Saturday, January 31, 2009


I'm writing today and tomorrow, and that title is simply the only way to describe my current outline. Before I write a paper I always create an extensive outline to make sure that I stay on track (I have a tendency to rabbit-trail [mostly a by-product of my love for parenthetical remarks {which is probably due to my constant need to over-qualify every statement that I make (which is, I'm sure, evidence of some kind of deep-seeded psychosis or neurosis)}]). Today's outline is officially totally and completely out of hand. It is currently 3,949 words long. The paper is supposed to be 5,000 words long. Did I mention that the outline isn't done yet? It's hardly 2/3 done in fact. Ya, this is gonna end well.

Update: How's this for perverse? As I mentioned in the comments yesterday, my final outline was around 6,800 words. The final paper? 7,173 including bibliography, so really more like, 6,500 words. Ya, that's right, the outline was longer than the paper. Well, kind of. As always you can game stats almost interminably. When you add the footnotes to the word count of the final paper it's actually 9,600 words or so. Ya, I've got 3,000 words in the footnotes, got a problem with that? Also, I just want to reiterate that I love Endnotes. Without Endnotes I would have been up until 1:30am writing my bibliography, instead of just 12:30am. I can't believe that nobody ever told me about Endnotes, or anything like it for that matter, until last year. Typing out footnotes and bibliographies is for suckers!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Miami's Worst Cop...

I can't stand CSI: Miami.  The reason is pretty simple; Horatio Cane is an ass.  I'm sorry to put is so bluntly, particularly if you're fan,but there it is.  It's hard to know if Cane's many irritating idiosyncrasies are the product of David Caruso's influence, or the influence of the writers and directors of the show.  It's probably a combination of the two (though the rumours of Caruso's troubles on NYPD Blue may be some indication).  Caine's bizarre manerisms and idiotic dialogue are enough reason to dislike him as a character, but that's not why I call him the worst cop in Miami.

I've never seen a single episode of CSI: Miami where Caine does not at least draw his weapon, and he fires it almost as often.  CSI: Miami is currently running its 7th season.  As of January 19/09 they will have produced 155 episodes.  If we figure Caine's weapon-drawing ratio at once every second show (a wildly conservative estimate), then he has drawn his sidearm at least 72 times in 7 years.  That's more than 10 times per year.  I'll be even more conservative with my estimate of the number of times that Caine has discharged his firearm.  Let's say he shoots at someone only once every four episodes.  That means that he has, in seven years, fired his sidearm roughly 38 times.  Though he does not always hit what he shoots at, I'm sure that he has shot at least one person per season (again, a wildly conservative estimate).  So let's summarize our estimates of the good detective's stats.  In seven years Caine has drawn his sidearm 72 times, discharged it 38 times, and killed or injured more than 7 people.

I personally know three police officers.  To the best of my knowledge between the three of them, only one (a now-retired city cop) fired his sidearm in the line of duty, and that only one time in his entire
career.  Granted none of them worked in Miami-Dade county, which does have a reputation for crime, but I still think the comparison is meaningful.

If Caine were a real cop can you even imagine the number of times that he would have been investigated by IA?  Is there any chance at he would still be a lieutenant?  Is there any chance he would still have a job at all?

The point that I'm trying to make here is that good cops don't pull their guns every second day.  Good cops don't fire their weapons in the line of duty on a regular basis.  Good cops don't shoot lots and lots
of people.  In fact, good cops seem to do the opposite of those things.  Someone might object that Caine is just a television character and that I'm taking him too seriously.  He may be fictional, but the
place he holds in American life is as an icon of justice and that troubles me.  It tells me that justice in the minds of many Americans can be achieved through rampant violence.  That strikes me as a very bad thing.  It reminds me of an episode of the West Wing where Toby is arguing with somebody about gun control and he asks the rhetorical question "What?  Are Americans just more homicidal by nature?"

If Horatio Caine is an American hero, then Toby's question is worth exploring.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Just a quick plug: the first post of the new year is up on Four, Seven and Twelvefold.  For those of you who don't know, 4712 is a collaborative blog exploring conversations about evangelicalism and Christianity in the 21st century.  If you haven't been, check it out and feel free to jump in to the conversation.

Hooray for Empty Rooms...

I love weekends at the beginning of the semester.  Nothing is due tomorrow so there are no undergrads using up all of the plug-ins in the library.  Including me and the staff it looks like there are about 12 people at the Mills library today.  Hooray for empty rooms filled with books.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Locating Inspiration...

Where does divine inspiration lie in relation to the biblical text?  Was the author inspired tying it to authorial intent?  Are the words inspired tying it to the text?  Is the interpreter inspired tying it to reading strategy?  More importantly, how does the idea of inspiration and the location of inspiration relate to hermeneutics?  Do questions of inspirational location even matter if the hermeneutical considerations overshadow the problem?  For instance, if inspiration is tied to authorial intent but authorial intent is hermeneutically impossible to recover apart from the text itself, is it at all meaningful to call the individual authors inspired?  Or, if the text is inspired but texts are only interpreted (and perhaps even constructed) by readers, then is it at all meaningful to call the text inspired?  Or, if the reader is inspired then how does that inspiration proceed and of what purpose is the text at all?

These are the questions that are currently consuming my days as I attempt to write a paper about the relationship between biblical scholarship and Christian Theology.

At It Again...

The Christmas break is over and as of last Monday I'm officially back to school for semester #2.  So far it's been less overwhelming which is not surprising but still nice.  Though I enjoyed my classes last semester (particularly my OT in the NT class) this semester is much more exciting.  I'm taking Advanced Semitic Grammar and Linguistics, and Biblical Theology.  Biblical Theology in particular is a passion of mine, and linguistics is a discipline I've brushed up against a couple of times in the past and found very helpful (especially with some hermeneutical problems).

I also feel like I have a better handle on how to make this doctoral thing doable.  My research has gotten much more efficient and my focus much sharper, both of which are essential.  Hopefully that translates into better writing and less stress.  I'm not super hopeful about the second bit, but oh well.

The other thing I've noticed is how happy I am to be back at it.  I was totally exhausted by November last semester that the last few weeks were just a blur, like that final dash at the end of a long run.  But after a nice long break I was getting a little bored and stir crazy and it's nice to be working again.  After you train yourself for months and months to work all the time it becomes difficult to do anything else.  That's something to watch for I guess.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Joy of Cooking...

As some of you know my main hobby is cooking. I spend an awful lot of time cooking, creating recipes, watching cooking shows, reading cooking books, etc. I got some money for Christmas this year from my parents and my Gram J, and I used it to buy two more lovely knives, thus (basically) completing my collection. I bought a Wusthof-Trident paring knife, and a Kasumi titanium 13mm chef's knife (which is really more of a utility knife). Here they are on the left. I got them both for a wicked awesome price at the Boxing Day sale at The Casual Gourmet here in Hamilton.

Yes, the Kasumi (the bottom knife) really is titanium...well, kind of. The knife is actually a Molybdenum-Vanadium alloy (a super hard steel) with a titanium coating. That's why it's black. They say the titanium creates a non-reactive coating on the blade so there's no flavour transfer from the steel to the food. I've heard this argument before with regard to ceramic knives, and it still sounds like utter bunk to me, but the titanium does seem to provide an excellent strength to weight ratio for the knife. In any case, it's absurdly light. A little bit too light honestly. I do like the knife, and it's vastly superior to the crappy old utility knife I've been using up until now, but my Global Chef's Knife and Santoku Knife are in no danger of being replaced. My other criticism is that the angle of attack on the handle is a little bit too steep. It feels like I'm putting my energy in the wrong place when I cut. That might be my imagination or it might just be a comfort issue. Overall I'd only give the knife a B rating.

Though it was the Kasumi that I was excited about, the Wusthof turned out the be the real treat. I went to the store with the intention of buying a MAC paring knife, but nothing in stock really turned my crank plus I've heard some mediocre things about MACs of late. Then the manager showed me the Wusthof Culinar series knife. She's not planning to stock that line anymore so the display models were 50% off, which seemed like just he right price to me, plus the all-steel look blends nicely with my Globals, so I went for it. I'm not generally a fan of German knives. I hate my Henckels knives, especially my five-star paring knife. It doesn't sharpen very well and can't keep an edge at all. It was also rather pricey which only adds to my deep bitterness. I've also tried some Wusthofs before and never been overly impressed. With all of this I wasn't expecting a lot from the paring knife, but it is awesome! Wonderfully sharp, lovely balance and hand feel, cuts like a dream...the perfect knife so far. The only test now is the durability of the edge, but it will take quite a while to finish that test (I hope). Without accounting for durability I'm happy to give this one an A+, though that will drop down to a B if the edge won't hold.

On the subject of cooking, Jin had an idea that I like. She suggested some kind of recipe exchange with my friends, so I thought I'd start on the blog. I've got quite a few recipes that I'm happy with at this point, many of which are my own, and I thought it would be nice to share the wealth. I'd also love to see your recipes, be they your originals or riffs on someone else's work. Here's a start from me.

BBQ Tangerine-Marinated Chicken:

1 medium roasting Chicken
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tangerines (may substitute orange or any kind)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup good honey
2 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
bunch of fresh thyme
BBQ sauce for basting

Remove the breast and back-bones of the chicken so that you have two equal halves (alternatively have your butcher do this). Clean and dry the bird. Season all sides liberally with salt and pepper. In a bowl combine the zest and juice from the tangerines (strain out any pulp or seeds) and oil with the honey, molasses, and mustard. Quantities of honey and molasses are approximate, use enough to balance the acidity of the juice. Roughly chop the onion and smash the garlic and place in a large ziploc bag along with several sprigs of thyme. Place chicken in bag, pour marinade over chicken. Remove any excess air from the bag and ensure that all of the surfaces of the chicken are in contact with the marinade. Leave the marinating chicken in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours, and preferably overnight.

When you're ready to cook, preheat the outside burners of your BBQ (if you only have 2, preheat one side). Place chicken skin-side down over the hot flame until it's achieved a nice golden colour (be very careful not to burn, there's a lot of sugar in the marinade), then transfer to a spot off of direct heat and close the lid. Baste the chicken several times throughout the process with BBQ sauce (I use homemade, but a good store bought variety will do). It's difficult to suggest a precise cooking time as BBQs can vary dramatically in temperature. Instead use a meat thermometer and cook until the temp is about 170-175f (the recommended temp for chicken is 180, but the meat will continue to cook a little bit while it rests). Remove to a plate and tent with foil, let rest approx 10-15 mins.

You can carve the chicken into four pieces if you like, or if you have a couple of people with hearty appetites, go ahead a serve the halves as they are. I like to serve this with homemade fries and either a salad or a nice veg.