This past Sunday concluded the big stewardship drive at our church, which aims to retire the church's debt incurred during a building expansion several years ago. As new members, we wanted to make a pledge, so we did, though it's far less than I would have liked to give. It's funny, I never liked thinking much about money and religion, perhaps because it conjured up all the negative stereotypes about moneygrubbing televangelists and fundamentalist zealots that corrupted my views on Christianity in college and only recently have I been able to get past in my quest for a deeper spiritual life. However, I really am feeling a desire to get more involved, partially because the all-are-welcome approach at our church is so comforting and partially because of the emphasis on outreach in the community challenges members to do more for others without expecting anything in return. Time-wise, we're hoping to do at least one service project every month or two as a Sunday school class, and money-wise our eventual goal is the Biblical tithing standard (though we're not quite to that point yet).
In other news, I read an interesting article today about the retailer everyone loves to hate, Wal-Mart. It seems a documentarian is about to release a film that continues the string of PR nightmares for the chain regarding its predatory pricing actions, poor employee treatment and complete lack of interest in community involvement. Sure, they're underwriting NPR programming now, but to me that seems little more than a tiny Band-Aid on a giant, gaping wound. The small part of me that's an activist is giddy about this, but the bottom line remains that most people don't give a crap about any of that stuff - they just want their Charmin, Doritos and Coca-Cola at the cheapest price. Oh well...
We did spend a little dough this week on a new printer/scanner/copier thingy to replace the gimpy inkjet I have had and Em's old scanner that now leaves a line on every scanned image. I found an incredible deal via FatWallet that ended up getting us $70 off the original price, so I think it was definitely worth it. So far it's
working very, very well.
Another tidbit of technological news: Since I'm still awaiting our new laptops at work, I ran across an old one sitting in a corner that hadn't been used in several years, so I took it home and tried it out. As it turns out, this thing is a 1995-era Dell Pentium 133 with 32MB of RAM and a tiny hard drive that is (languidly) running Windows 98. However, after getting the drivers for my Orinoco wi-fi card installed via floppy, and adding Intranet and VNC clients, I can just connect to my box at work and use this as a glorified terminal. With the broadband connection it is able to refresh at near-normal speed (even when playing back streaming video), so I am finally able to get some work done while sitting on the couch or out on the patio. It ain't perfect, but it'll do nicely until we get the new machines in a few more months.
My film selections for this week were inspired by a mini-Kevin Spacey festival they were having on IFC the other night: The Usual Suspects and Glengarry Glen Ross. The former is a near-perfect noirish thriller that is well-written and constructed without being too cloying or derivative; the latter is a great adaptation of a stageplay by David Mamet that features a stellar cast (Pacino, Lemmon, Spacey, Harris, Arkin and Alec Baldwin in a brief cameo that just kills) and the most frequent, creative use of the word "fuck" I've ever seen in a film. Go rent 'em if you haven't seen 'em.
That's all for now - it's 1:40am and I *really* need to get to bed. Besides, Morrissey's "November Spawned a Monster" just came on the Sirius college station, so I need to go oscillate wildly around the room in a slightly effeminate manner for a few minutes.
Or maybe not.