Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lyn's Mini-Bucket List

Before I delve into practice-land, I decided to take a page from Maria Johnson's playbook and come up with a little mini-bucket list of my own. This, of course, is subject to change.
  • Meet some SQPN community members in person, especially Fr. Roderick Vonhögen, Inge Loots, and Mike and Denyse Kuypers. I know there are others I haven't named; I'd love to meet them in person as well! (I've already met Deb Schaben, Jeff Nielsen, and Jenny Townsend. :) )
  • I would love to return to Rome someday. I spent one wonderful week there with Sherrye Glaser and Martin Kaczocha following a conference we had attended in Naples in June 2004.
  • I would love to visit some of the most beautiful (and historic!) organs in Europe. Too many for me to mention here.
  • Making a return visit (or several!) to the Philippines would be lovely, too. I still have many relatives who live there, not to mention other friends and schoolmates who had returned to the Philippines after having studied here in the US or other countries.
  • I know this is entirely up to me, but there are some pieces I would love to be able to play on the organ fluently. Most of them are pieces by Bach and Buxtehude...
  • I would also like to regain speaking fluency in Tagalog. I can still understand it. This is another thing that is entirely up to me.
  • Of course, the companion item on the bucket list is: learn other languages. I envy those who can switch from one language to another quite effortlessly. That includes my friends here who are conversant in Cebuano (or their other native dialect), Tagalog (most of my friends learned that after they left the Philippines!), Spanish, and English...
  • Go back to Hawaii and explore the other islands I haven't yet seen. I spent a week on Oahu as the guest of a friend at whose wedding I played the piano. I also spent a week on Maui with family last September. I really really love it there; it feels like home to me. :)
  • Travel to Australia and New Zealand. I often wonder how Ross Landles is doing. He was an exchange student to San Diego who my family hosted during my senior year in high school. He's a year older than me and is from Launceston, Tasmania. I hope he's well. I also have friends in Australia and New Zealand I'd love to visit with.
  • I'll echo Maria's tenth item on her bucket list: go on the Camino pilgrimage. It would be nice to do it with friends; I'm not sure I'd be up to doing it on my own.

Well, enough dreaming for now. I have work to do to prepare during this Holy Week. Many blessings to you and yours! x

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Conclave Excitement and SQPN's Lenten Giving Campaign

(Photo courtesy of Fr. Roderick Vonhögen. If you click on it, it will take you to Catholic Insider Episode CIV009: Extra Omnes.)

If you've been following the events going on in the Vatican, you'll know that the Conclave had started earlier today. My friend, Fr. Roderick Vonhögen, has been there since Sunday evening, doing what he does best: bringing us the information, the news, the environment, the ambience through audio podcasts and short videos that he shot and edited himself. Of course, he's also fulfilling his duties for Dutch TV whilst there.

For Fr. Roderick, his being in Rome right now brings him full circle: his podcast career was launched in 2005, thanks to the growing popularity of the audio recordings he released in the wake of Bl. John Paul II's death and the 2005 Conclave that elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. Then as now, you can hear the enthusiasm in Fr. Roderick's voice and the excitement he and those around him are feeling as we all wait together for the conclave's chimney to spew the white smoke that would lead to the Habemus Papam announcement that a new pope had been selected.

Within the past couple of days, Fr. Roderick has released five episodes of the Catholic Insider, one audio teaser on SoundCloud, and at least 5 pairs of videos (one each in English and in Dutch) on his YouTube channel. He has also posted videos and photos on both his own Facebook page, as well as the Facebook page for SQPN. So you can see he's been very busy.

What makes it possible for him to bring us this content (and facilitating sharing on the social networks via his producer, Inge Loots) is the support from listeners and viewers just like you and me. Fr. Roderick and Inge are part of a Catholic New Media organisation called the Star Quest Production Network (SQPN). SQPN is currently in the midst of its Lenten Giving Campaign, and the goal is to raise at least $50,000 by the end of Lent. The end of Lent is just around the corner. If you are enjoying the audio and video content that Fr. Roderick has been releasing on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., then please consider becoming a friend of SQPN. Any amount, big or small, will help bring SQPN closer to its goal. It will also help Fr. Roderick bring more content like that he's already delivered to you.

I'll end this post with Fr. Roderick's words in which he ended Episode CIV010 of the Catholic Insider earlier today, as well as a YouTube video of his Lenten Giving Campaign appeal that he recorded last month during his earlier visit to Rome.

Father Roderick said, "Support us, support SQPN, support our network during our Lenten Giving Campaign. We can only continue to do this kind of stuff if you help us, if you can provide us with the financial foundation for our work. We do this with you, we do it for you. If you enjoy it, we hope that you want to support us as well. Thank you so much!"

Again, please do consider giving. Click here to donate. Thank you!

(For the record, I am one of the podcasters on SQPN's roster, having co-hosted the Secrets of Harry Potter podcast. I still keep up with SHP's blog whenever interesting Potter-related news pops up from time to time.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

What's Up with Lyn?

Oh, hello there! Remember me? I will admit that I really haven't done much blogging lately. (What I really have to do is consider updating the look of my blog. Kind of tired looking, isn't it?)

Right... what I've been up to lately. If you've been following Fr. Roderick Vonhögen's show, The Break, you'll know that he's been working on writing a book that he hopes will be released in the Fall of 2013. His deadline for submission was March 1. I had volunteered to beta-read his manuscript and mentioned that in addition to my adminning for The Petulant Poetess, I also had extensive writing experience from my days as a neurochemistry researcher, having written a Ph.D. thesis, several first-author papers, and a couple of book chapters. Oh, believe me, research is not the only thing you do in that field. If you can't write well, forget about being able to compete successfully for grant funding!

But I digress. Back to Fr. Roderick's book. Thanks to the unexpected announcement of the now-Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's intention to abdicate his position at the end of February, his writing schedule was thrown off as well as our revision schedule. I was hoping to have had a chance to both alpha- and beta-read his manuscript. Fr. Roderick had allocated two weeks for that to happen. However, thanks to the demands of his "other" job with Dutch TV and radio, he wasn't able to get a manuscript to me until almost the last minute. We essentially had two-and-a-half days for me to proofread the whole thing and for him to go through whatever corrections or comments I might have and revise accordingly. To be honest, for what would be a ca. 160-page book, that really wasn't enough time to do what I would consider to be a thorough job. So I essentially had to "move heaven and earth" to get the whole thing proofread. I would have wanted to do much more than check for SPaG (his writing tended more towards UK grammar usage, and his publisher is American, so I had to essentially "American-pick" his work in addition to taming his commas and his sentence fragments), but oh well. By the way, English is something like his third or fourth language (Dutch is his mother tongue) but for someone for whom English is not his native language, his writing is amazingly good and, frankly speaking, much better than a lot of Americans whose native language is English.

Complicating the entire thing was the fact he had to go to Rome for three days to cover Benedict XVI's last hours as pope for Dutch TV. So I took it upon myself to get the whole thing read and commented before he returned to the Netherlands. I figured if I were able to do that, it would give him a chance to incorporate any comments or changes in his manuscript before he submits.

Complication #2: the time difference. There is a 6-hour time difference between me in the East Coast of the United States and Fr. Roderick in the Netherlands. As far as his deadline is concerned, that works to his advantage, but for me... not so much! So I worked through the night to ensure that he would have something to look at if he had any down time in Rome (to be honest, it didn't sound like it). There was even one very early morning (for me) when I received an IM from him, expressing surprise that I was still awake. I think it may have been around 4.30 am my time (10.30 am his).

Sleep was lacking, but I managed to finish proofreading his manuscript before he landed in Amsterdam. This enabled him to get his edits done much sooner than he expected, and I received a message from him around 1.45 pm my time on March 1 informing me he had sent the manuscript to his publisher. The smile on my face when I received that email was so huge, and nothing would be able to wipe it away for the rest of the day... except for a little bug I somehow picked up, which eventually landed me in an outpatient clinic last Sunday. But I digress.

What is his book about, you ask me? In Fr. Roderick's words, "It's a book about all my adventures in new media. It talks about geeks, Hobbits, and Jedi." This is not surprising if you know Fr. Roderick well and if you're a long-time listener to his podcasts.

You want to know a working title, don't you? Uh, sorry, but I value my life too much to divulge that information to you. But if you want to follow Fr. Roderick's journey towards being a published author, feel free to subscribe to his "Secret Diary." To do that, you'd have to go to his blog on FatherRoderick.com and sign up to get his updates.

If you're curious about his writing style, I'd say as I read through the manuscript, I can see it evolving. One thing I can tell you is that you can really hear his voice as you read his writing. His writing is very engaging, and his personality shows through very clearly, as does his keen sense of humour. I had completely lost track of time as I was reading, which tells me that his book, when completed, has the potential to be one of those page-turners that you won't be able to put down until you've read the very last word... and then you're going to want to pick it up and read it from the very beginning once again!

Life goes on. I'm hoping to have some quality time with the organ this week, especially since I'm trying to get back a pair of Bach pieces back in the fingers as well as learn a new Buxtehude piece that I hope to play for Lent V. This, of course, doesn't include all the practicing I'd need to do for Holy Week and Easter.

So now, I'd say you're all caught up with me. I do spend quite a bit of time on Facebook and Twitter, so you might be able to catch up with me there.

Pax et bonum!