Wednesday, October 29, 2014

3 Weeks to NEAS 2014

8:09pm Wow! It's scary to see that only 3 weeks remain till the big day! I believe I've done the best I can to prepare, & feel very confident that I'll do a decent job of presenting it; however, I'm going to remain pessimistic about the expected reaction so that I won't be too disappointed on the ride home.

Today I received my NEAS conference badge, & promptly Paleo-Hebrewized it:

I made another rehearsal video last weekend, & here are 2 bloopers:

I've been yawning quite a bit during my late-night, before-bed rehearsals, so that one Saturday morning was unexpected. I think it's cute, & will have it in my arsenal in 3 weeks, but only use it if I sense the audience's mood to be appropriate. I'm hoping it'll be fun/pleasant.

Yesterday began on a fun/pleasant note, as can be seen in this video of me reciting 2Ch31 on my way to work in the morning, not missing a single word, even as I rode through a busy intersection (Aviation Blvd & Marine Ave):

Things went well at work, & I received my first paycheck, which covered the 2 days I worked in September. On the way home, I stopped by my financial institution to deposit it while singing one of my favorite Gospel Reformation hymns:

I continued singing, all happy & everything, minding my own business, but about halfway home, I crashed. It was by far the worst bicycle crash ever for me.

It happened along Redondo Ave, adjacent to the MBS Media Campus (formerly named Manhattan Beach Studios, click here for a list of films & shows recorded at this facility). On this occasion, there were no celebrities hitchhiking or any traffic at all when I fell. As usual, it happened so fast that I don't know what caused it. All I remember is that I was singing, riding in the gutter, slowing down from about 10 MPH as I approached a stop sign, began to stand up ... all of this totally normal that I've done a gazillion times over the past few years, 4,200 miles ... & then something happened. It's as if something pulled the bike forward out from under me, & I ended up going down face-first, landing hard on both knees & both hands.

My hands got scraped against the concrete & turned red, but never bled, & they're totally back to normal tonight, a day later. I have a long/wide but shallow trophy-scar running about 2/3rd's of my left forearm (just in time for Halloween), which I suspect was caused by it rubbing against a part of the bike as I went down. My right knee is scarred & sore, but usable. My left leg has several deep but small cuts, one of which was still bleeding a little when I went to bed last night, but I haven't removed the bandages today, so I presume it's scabbed by now. My left knee is in bad shape. It hurts no matter what position it's in, but I'm grateful to God that neither of my kneecaps was smashed, nor any broken bones. Great design on God's part, those kneecaps are!

I've been exercising to maintain my staircase racing skills, using my 40# weight-vest & 10# ankle-weights, which I occasionally switch to my wrists when going for short (half-mile) walks during work-breaks. I thought it was time to crank it up a notch, so last week I ordered a 20# set of ankle-weights, so I could keep the 10#ers on my wrists for a total of 70# overall. It's truly ironic that after limping home from the crash/injury last night, wishing I were about 150# lighter, the new weights were "waiting" for me on my front porch!


G.M. Grena

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Philatelic Historian on Drugs (PHD)

These 2 quotations (with numerous typos corrected so as not to interrupt the humorous aspect of what was written) came from customized placards currently for sale on eBay:

"The ‘Flying Scroll’ which is portrayed on all five stamps of this set leads us back deep into the history of Israel. It was the seal of the pious King Josiah of Judaea (644-608 B.C.) under whose successful reign the fifth Book of Moses (Deuteronomy) was discovered in the Temple of Jerusalem. ... The Jewish nation was under the sovereignty of a benevolent conqueror, Emperor Darius I (King of Persia, 521-486 B.C.). Darius waived tribute, ordering taxes collected among the Jews to be used in the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem. An unknown potter during the reign of Ziph, a contemporary king of Judea, remembered Zechariah’s vision and used the flying roll as his mark in making vessels for the collection of taxes on wines and oils. The design on the stamps was taken from fragments of pottery and ancient woodcarvings found in an excavated temple in Trans-Jordan."

Can't help but wonder if this philatelist graduated from Tel Aviv University with honors...

G.M. Grena

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

4 Weeks to NEAS 2014

9:21pm Starting last Sunday, I've begun doing daily rehearsals. I made too many mistakes on Sunday, so now I'm reading my script as slowly as possible, & have been pleasantly surprised because it affords time for my brain to think up additional quips that entertain me. I'm still making mistakes (tongue just doesn't go where it needs to sometimes), but the quips should temporarily distract my audience from those occurrences. And my overall time hasn't suffered much, slipping from the usual 29.5 minutes to as long as 32--still comfortably in range. I enjoy pausing at certain points for dramatic effect, but the danger is that if I pause too long, my mind wanders, & I risk getting out-of-synch with my page-turning & PowerPoint clicking.

I did not send out my mailing-list announcement yet, because I'm still mulling over whether to include a sample slide. I probably will, just to pique everyone's curiosity. It's one I'm planning to distribute on paper to attendees.

I haven't had time to peruse the SBL schedule, so I'm still not sure whether I'll be attending any of those. Will definitely attend at least 1 day of ASOR though.

Will close tonight's post by simply recording my feeling that I was extremely discouraged about my presentation by something that happened this past weekend, but want to remain optimistic about the outcome.


G.M. Grena

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5 Weeks to NEAS 2014

9:16pm Saturday's rehearsal went well again. I recited 2Ch 31:5-12, & then worked my replicas & FDC into the 2nd slide informally. Total time: 29:42. Since coming up with the idea of practicing 2Ch in public last week, I haven't been to any crowded, noisy place yet where it would be appropriate to do it, but I'm ready for the first opportunity!

Last week I forgot to mention that I had begun reading my Lv1 book a couple weeks ago, but alas, I got about halfway done, & haven't had time to proceed into the Ussishkin era. Up to that point, the only scholar who I quoted relevant to a non-neutral interpretation of the icons is A.D. Tushingham in BASOR 201, who viewed the x4X as a "device" (symbol/emblem) for the northern tribes, & the x2x for the southern. He also made an interesting statement about Assyrian kings relevant to the Lipschits et al. interpretation, but I'm not going to delve into it here. I attended 2 Heritage Singers concerts last weekend, so that ate up some time that would've been spent reading, but there's still plenty of time to finish it.

I received a couple of interesting E-mails this week, that I'll share via screenshots below. The first is confirmation of my ASOR conference badge, which upon receiving in San Diego I'll promptly add the Paleo-Hebrew version like I did in 2007!

The 2nd is an invitation to pre-register for the next USA championship staircase race (because at the time, I was still ranked in the Top 50, but since I forfeited the big L.A. race last month, I'm actually #58 right now out of about 16,000 men, & expect to drop out of the Top 100 after the next big local climb & the Sears/Willis climb in the coming month):

This weekend I'm planning to send out an E-mail to my LMLK mailinglist inviting LMLK VIPs to my lecture. Had I not encountered my chest problem(s), I would've challenged everyone to race me up the hotel staircase. Oh well. And since this weekend starts the 30-day countdown, I'll begin rehearsing my lecture daily.


G.M. Grena

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Comparing APLs and Eagles

On p. 21 of my Lv1 book, the note under Fig. 3 includes a homemade acronym for the 3 "almost-parallel lines" seen on the x2x icons: "APL". When I began writing it in 2003, my goal was to remain as objective/neutral as possible with regard to the various interpretations of the icon (sun rays, light beams, scroll folds, bird feathers, or something else). On the next page, Fig. 4 showed an eagle since the icon had been interpreted thus; in fact, my drawing came from an actual museum placard:

As I went for my typical walk around the block during a work-break yesterday, I was practically floored to see the following gigantic logo staring at me from the side of an 18-wheeler truck, which was making a delivery to a yoga-mat warehouse:

It turns out to be one of the oldest shipping companies in business, American President Lines (named thus after its ships, which were named after ... wait for it ... American presidents). That photo's cropped from their website since it resembles the blue truck I saw (& I pasted a blue-letter version from their website that isn't angled). Here's a direct link to a large, detailed version of their logo (protected by copyright) at WikiMedia.

G.M. Grena

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

6 Weeks to NEAS 2014

10:14pm Last weekend's rehearsal went well overall. 29:53, again on target. I attempted to improvise an informal intro, which didn't really feel right, so I'll have to modify or dump it. I'm taking Kris Udd's handle replicas & a 1948 FDC, but had written the 2nd slide not knowing the audience's familiarity with the subject.

An alternative intro I've been bouncing around in my head is simply reciting 2Chr 31:5-12 for general context since I already have it memorized. That's extremely risky though, because of the dynamic nature of the event. All this year I've been posting videos to YouTube to get comfortable with public speaking, but maybe this weekend I'll experiment with reciting this in public places. Should be entertaining. If I can do it each week at a different place/time before the big day, I'll probably go with it; but a single mistake, & it's out.

On the work front, things are going well at my new job with plenty of overtime available, so I'm happy about that; however, I received a jury summons last week, & might have to serve the first week of November, so that's going to be an interesting month!


G.M. Grena

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

7 Weeks to NEAS 2014

8:05pm My first full-paper rehearsal went well last Wednesday. The 1st reading was about 29.5 minutes, & the 2nd one 29.0 minutes ... both right on target. So that's with all props (books & journals quoted plus a special Halloween-themed one that arrived last week & looks killer ... pun intended), paper page-turning, & laptop slide-clicking. It should go without saying, I was quite pleased overall. The biggest thing I'm concerned about now is my incurable stuttering on various words/phrases (different ones each time I do a rehearsal). I expect this condition to abate during the final 4 weeks when I begin reciting my paper every single day.

Another thing I'm concerned about is my occasional delayed breath-catching (that's the best I can describe it). I noticed this during my first video a few weeks ago. It's like a slow-motion yawn that can't complete. Now that I think about it, it happened earlier this year during another video. Not much I can do about it, but it bothers me.

No matter how bad I sound next month, it's unlikely that it'll sound as bad as in this audio recording I made 40 years (yes, 4 decades) ago:

Somehow or another it'll come out pretty good, right?!?!


G.M. Grena