Line by Line

Archives: 2012

Far from the end of the world (no, I can't not joke about it), 2012 saw a rather pleasant increase in posting compared to the previous year.

Christmas Gifts

posted December 24, 2012

Tags: Religion, Christmas

I love Christmas.

I also love Christmas presents.

It's easy to see the presents as a bad thing, at least from a religious perspective: Let's be honest, the materialistic aspects of the holiday do tend to steal the spotlight. And there's the whole Black Friday abomination.

But I love the gift tradition. Okay, yes, I enjoy getting stuff, but that's not what I mean. I mean I love the symbolism. I imagine most people probably think of the gift-giving as a remembrance of the gifts of the magi, insofar as they think of it in a religious way at all, but it goes deeper than that.

Imagine being a kid waking up on Christmas morning and seeing a huge pile of presents with your name on it. Think about the happiness that you get from having people who love you shower you with gifts.

That's a little taste of the joy that comes from knowing that God loves you and showers you with the gifts of His grace. God gives us all kinds of stuff: The Eucharist, Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Church, and of course sending His only Son to give His life for our salvation.

That's what the gift-giving tradition means to me, at least. Your mileage may vary.

You know, I never thought of this as a "Catholic blog," but it seems like most of my posts have wound up focusing on religion. Huh.

Two More New Pictures in the Art Gallery

Posted December 02, 2012

Another new addition to the art gallery today. This one's called One of These Things. It's my first real attempt at drawing waterfalls.

Not much to report, other than that. There are a couple things in the works, but nothing remotely ready to post yet. I'll let you know.

Happy Advent!

Two New Pictures in the Art Gallery

Posted August 29, 2012

I have two new additions to the Art Gallery today. The first is something I did last summer and haven't posted because I couldn't get to a decent scanner. Still on the Train Watercolor is a colored version of the last entry. Appropriately enough, both versions of Still On the Train were my experiments with different media.

The second piece is a sketch (though pretty close to finished for one of my sketches). I drew Comfy? because I was bored with other projects and it had been a while since I drew a dragon. Then I decided to shade it, which I've never seriously tried before, so I guess that makes this one an experiment, too.

I also did a little maintenance work in the gallery: I made the titles more consistent, tinkered with the scripts to toggle full-size versions of certain pieces, and added a missing deviantart link.

Hymns that make you go "Hmm...": "Battle Hymn of the Republic"

posted July 5, 2012 (Written July 4, 2012)

Tags: Religion, Hymns

I had planned for the next post in this series to be "Be Not Afraid." I wanted to do one I actually liked in order to bring the theme of series back around to "Let's think critically about our liturgical music" instead of the "Here are all the reasons this hymn sucks" formula I wound up using on "Gather us In."

But then I got the urge to be topical. Today[ish] is July 4th, Independence Day in the United States of America, so this past Sunday we celebrated by singing "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory," better known as "Battle Hymn of the Republic." I'll be dealing mainly with the version from OCP, but the lyrics are available on the Wikipedia article. The only differences I can spot are some verses cut out of OCP's version, and that OCP has the chorus repeat "His truth is marching on," whereas Wikipedia's version uses whatever was "marching on" in the corresponding verse.

My problems with the song are twofold: First, its approach to battle, and how God relates to human warfare, doesn't seem to mesh well with Christian ideas. Second, it's not really much of a worship song, which makes me think it's not really appropriate for use during the Mass.

Iím not doing a full-blown explication of the song, by the way, as that would be excruciatingly boring for you and me both. Iíll try to stick with just the highlights.

Here's the first line:


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My Art in Search Results

posted May 30, 2012

Tags: Art, Internet

I checked my server logs today and discovered something extremely exciting: This site was visited yesterday by someone other than myself and search engine spiders! Okay, no, that wasn't it. (Though that was exciting, too, which is a litle pathetic.)

The reason I'm excited is that a little investigation turned up the fact that my drawing of a bored foxgirl on a train shows up on the first page of Google's search results for "foxgirl art"! When I looked, I was about a third of the way up from the bottom.

Okay, okay. It's not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. There's no guarantee that you'll get the same results if you do a Google search for "foxgirl art" yourself. Besides, it's not like this site is about foxgirl art.

Still, I thought it was kinda cool.

(By the way, I'm also on page 1 of the same search on Bing, albeit all the way at the bottom this time. Oh, and that link may have some faily-unfriendly image results.)

Thoughts for Holy Week

posted April 5, 2012

Tags: religion, Lent

So Holy Week is upon us once again. Sunday is Easter. How the time flies.

Now I'm not an especially spiritual person, sadly, so for me Easter is largely notable for being the day when I get to play video games again. This is unfortunate, because Easter represents so much more than just the end of an arbitrary, self-imposed penance. We're talking about the commemoration of the event that is the lynchpin for all of Christianity. It's the most important feast in the entire Church calendar. (Sorry, Christmas. We still love you.) Easter should be the single most joyous day of the year. And I'm going to try, once again, to keep that in the front of my mind, instead of how much I'm dying to start Portal 2.

But we still have some Lent to get through first.


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Adventures in Self-Disclosure

Posted March 03, 2012

Howdy, folks! Today I have not one but two new blog posts, one on questionable liturgical music, the other on my writing space. Speaking of speaking of myself, I've also made some changes to the About page.

Finally, I did a little long-overdue maintenance work on the blog. All posts from the years 2010, 2011, and 2012 are now archived properly. (Well, 2012 up to now. I hope that's not all I post this year.)

What's next? Well, there's one new piece of art that I'm going to post as soon as I can get it scanned. (Turns out my scanner is color-blind.) I also have a couple of behind-the-scenes upgrades to make, and I'm partway through the latest draft of the first HTML tutorial. I'm not going to make any promises I can't keep, but I do have high hopes for the coming months.

Where I Write

posted March 03, 2012

Tags: photos, Jennifer Fulwiler

Jennifer Fulwiler, Catholic blogger and progenitor of the 7 Quick Takes phenomenon, has posted a pictorial tour of her personal writing space and an invitation for others to post tours of their own spaces.

Never one to take up a challenge, but also never one to pass up a chance for a stupid joke, I decided to join in the fun. Here's where I write:


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Hymns that make you go "Hmm...": "Gather Us In"

posted March 03, 2012

Tags: Religion, Hymns

It's no secret that Catholics have a problem with bad liturgical music. Some hymns are borderline heretical. Others are basically error-free but watered down. Some praise the people rather than God, and some have us sing as God. Some are overly complicated and can't be sung by laity who aren't trained singers (and--let's be honest here--aren't all that into singing anyway).

I sometimes wonder why Catholics put up with this, but on further reflection I think I know the answer: We get so used to our usual hymns that we don't even stop to think about what's wrong with them. That's why I've decided to go through some hymns and point out what it is about them that bothers me. I hope I can inspire people to start asking questions and making more careful choices in the music we sing.

Today I'm looking at "Gather Us In," which is published in the OCP Today's Missal - Music Issue that my parish uses. It's credited to Marty Haugen, and © 1982, GIA Publications, Inc.


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