Monday, July 30, 2007


Alex, Melissa, and I have been watching this over and over for a couple days. We find it hysterical and are now reciting it amongst ourselves, much to our parents' sadness.

I got it from, of all things, a certain Catholic uber-blogger named Mark Shea at Catholic and Enjoying It. If he checks the sites that link back to his, I suspect he'll be pretty bemused to discover this is what I got from him and am sharing with the world (that's assuming, of course, anyone with a life not directly linked to mine cares about this to begin with). Dear readers, if you will follow the posted link, you will see for yourselves that Catholic and Enjoying It* is far more substantial than this post indicates.

*This raises an interesting question of mechanics: how do you format blog titles? I would assume they follow the general rule , that being of italics if it "holds stuff" and quotes if it is "held" applies(example: Theophany All Over, "Gratuitous"). The problem, as with most things linguistic, is that those rules are not written in stone. I had different, respectable and reliable, professors of English tell me eight different things in college, and I bet the Bedford Handbook and Strunk and White have different opinions on a lot of it. Of course, Strunk and White have fallen out of favor in some circles... but all of this is another (boring) post.

Woo Hoo! (pt 2)

When a person who has never made an effort to watch the show is reasonably excited about the movie and nerdily psyched about making a character in her likeness, you know said show has had a profound impact on society.

Get your own. The whole site is very entertaining.
Well, I had a little time on my hands, but this is worth a little idleness, I think.

Reason 732 I love Louisiana

Thank you, France, for rejecting the Cajuns and sending them this way.

Change of Pace

No one who has spent time there would call California, at least outside of the L.A. megalopolis, a really fast- paced place, especially if you compare it to its metropolitan peers on the eastern seaboard. Next to almost any place in the south, however, especially the town where my grandparents live, San Bernadino County is a certifiable frenzy.

We flew into Houston late Tuesday night and pulled into my grandparents' driveway early Wednesday morning. Dad arrived Thursday. Since then, it's been a whole lot a nothin' ("Nothin'" in a positive sense, the lazing around the house and fishing off my uncle's dock find of nothin'). Yesterday was Charlie's birthday party, which I somehow managed not to get any pictures of. Actually, with Dad and I both here, there are about thirty-seven-million pictures being taken at any given moment, including yesterday, so I'm not worried about it.

Anyway, that fishing excursion. "Excursion" in this usage meaning "Uncle Richard's dock".

Alex trying to spot the fish, I guess. Perhaps he thought he could spear them, or dive in and catch them.

Charlie and Melissa ponder the mysteries of life. Or of fishing tackle.

No, Charlie, don't do it! (For the record, I had no part whatsoever in inspiring or encouraging this posed picture. None at all.)

I was rather surprised to see Noona playing with a dead shrimp on a hook. She tends to be rather squeamish, but evidently wearing her PaPa's hat cures that.

Before too long here, I will hopefully have the last of our California adventures up. If I recall correctly (as I almost never do), Sea World is all that's lacking.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A View (or, Why I Picked This Weird Blog Title)

For some time now, I've been thinking I ought to explain the title of this blog. I logged on tonight debating whether to do that or write about our trip to Kwik-E-Mart and realized this is my 50th post. Being sentimental, I opted for the former. Fifty says to me, "Well, high time."

I love my rational brain. I depend on it every day, and deem it largely responsible for no small portion of the good things in my life, including my faith. I'm not a warm and fuzzy, touchy-feely kind of person. A good friend recently told me, "For someone as nice as you, you're about as sensitive as a ton of bricks," and I didn't argue that at all (except, perhaps, the nice part). Still, I am very emotionally driven and very reliant on hunches, gut feelings, and that sort of thing.

I also love my faith. I'm fascinated by the Catholic Church, inspired by saints both living and triumphant, and flabbergasted by God, who pours out so much that I can't even take it in (I try sometimes, but my heart starts skipping beats, my lungs shrink, and my brain overheats). Mine is a faith, in its best moments, characterized by awe at how God has worked His wonders and miracles in every corner of the universe: from cell mitosis to the Milky Way; from the grandeur of the Church to Charity between strangers; from the laughter of friends to the creepiest little crevices in my heart. It -- the whole incomprehensible structure of everything I believe and see -- is a big cosmic masterpiece that I examine in wonder time and time again.

Thanks to a cocktail of reason, intuition, and wonderment, my belief, bean sprout that it was when I started to realize these things, came to a pretty solid place. There's a saying I've heard a few times, that there are two ways to see the world: either nothing is a miracle, or everything is. Sometimes "coincidence" is switched for "miracle". While I don't quite agree with the absolute nature of either statement, both variants are akin to my view of God: I couldn't help believing in Him if I wanted to because I see Him everywhere. I would have better luck denying the sun -- it at least disappears nightly.

Flash forward to my planning period one day in March, shortly after I started this blog (under a different, dumb title). For no reason I can recall, I thought of "Theophilus", the addressee of Luke's Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. I pulled out a dictionary to make sure the name meant what I thought it did (friend of God). Theophilus was a no show, but right over where it would have been was the word "theophany", a word I'd never heard before but which struck me instantly as describing the way I'd been seeing the world for a while.

"Theophany" is properly used more strictly to describe direct, unveiled revelations, like Moses and the burning bush or Jesus at the Transfiguration. While I can't say I've ever seen God's glory except through His creation, I have seen Him, and I think my usage of theophany is as legitimate as the use of "revelation" or "epiphany" to describe their small (but significant) "ah-ha!" moments. I promptly changed the name of the blog.

I have rarely posted items on the subject of faith or Catholicism and even less frequently outlined the God connection in the things I write about here. I have a reason for that: it is no more my place to pontificate on my perspective on God than it is to lecture on astronomy. My authority on each subject is exactly nil. My hope, instead, is that those reading my humble little nook of cyber space will instead have their own theophanies -- maybe while reading my blabbing, maybe not.

By the way: a few weeks ago, I looked up which saints' feasts fell on my birthday and discovered that there is a St. Thophanes and his fest day is March 12. Coincidence? Well, I don't put much stock in coincidences, personally.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Woo Hoo!

To promote the new Simpsons movie, Fox and 7 11 teamed up to turn a handful of stores across the country into Kwik E Marts, like in the show. We went to the one in Burbank, and let me tell you, it was a wonderous thing, historic even. More details and pictures later.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I am SO Addicted to Catholic Blogs

...and this is one of the hundreds of reasons why:

In your pursuit of your passions, always be young. In your relationship with others, always be grown-up. Set a standard, and stay faithful to it.
-Tom Brokaw

(Note: The quote I've linked from is quoted within the post at Disputations and is not written by the author of said post. This is tacky blog behavior. I'm sure, however, all involved will survive.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Balance, People

I've discovered two new blogs that have had Alex, Melissa, and me in stitches for the last twenty minutes. Their names pretty well speak for themselves, and so I'll just give you links and samples.

Cute Overload...

...and Ugly Overload.

I must confess, I think I like Ugly Overload better. I don't think they're run by the same people, but they're both brilliant. Enjoy!

Part 3: Some Drive-In and Some Self-Deprication

There's a drive in near here we like to go to. Sadly, for the time we're here, the selection of movies isn't great, but this past Friday Ana and I packed up the kids and let them watch Ratatouille while we watched Transformers on the next screen.

Saturday, after the fair, the older kids (Ana, Alex, Carmen, and I) went to In-and-Out on a whim. While there Carmen took some pretty embarassing pictures of me which, despite their reputation-killing-nature, I found amusing enough to share.

Catch-Up, Part 1

The Orange County Fair, aside from having the most absurdly pricey carnival, was probably the nicest I've been to since Puallup. Again with the slide show (be sure to turn on the captions with the little speech bubble).

Catch-Up, Part 2

You're not crazy -- there's no part 1 yet. I just got all the pictures for part 2 up first and I'm running a bit of an experiment, so you get part 2 (Sunday) first. Fair enough?

Sunday, we went to Balboa Beach in Newport. The usual beach antics ensued, and I took as many pictures as I could without sacrificing my camera to the waves. Sad, actually, because we had boogie boards this time and it was unqualifiably awesome. (If anyone would like to drop about $200 to gift me with a water-proof camera case, I wouldn't mind much). Today I dicovered that Picasa lets you make and embed slide shows from your albums. Let me know how this goes for you.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Consider Yourslves Tided

The Wild Cisneri have actually been pretty busy the last few days, limiting the eldest's time for blogging. In my next real update (and/or the ones following it), you can expect, dear readers:

* Drive-in movie watching
* Orange County Fair-going
* In and Out Burger shenaniganing
* Newport Beach bumming, take 2
* Ginormously awesome pictures (it's a real word now, remember?)

Until then, a story from today’s trip to the fair: We entered the livestock zone, specifically the goat tent, and at once found our olfactory senses beaten upon by the very natural smells that accompany things like goats and cows (who happened to be next door). Alex and I instantly look at each other and, without any cuing and in unison, say, "What an incredible smell you've discovered!"

Be proud, Daddy. Be very proud.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Two Things You'll Never See Me Without...

...are my wonder at my faith and the people who share it and my appreciation of the country I was born and live in.

This is an extrordinary man, and while I would never claim people of other faiths don't have the same guts, I nonetheless take some pride in the fact that no small number of courageous people like this are Catholic (Coincidence? Well, I don't really believe in coincidences, personally).

I'm also glad for the fact that the abundant population of people in the United States who are not exactly fans of their president can say so without fear of mysteriously disappearing.

While I'm linking around:
- Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything exisiting in the aforementioned great country more evil or insious than abortion. Here is an example of why.
- "Ginormous" is a real word now. So are these.
- 28 days until I go here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Culture Day

Alex and I have made a habit of going to the movies while the kids are at VCJ (and by habit, I mean we've done it twice). Yesterday, we saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Needless to say, it wasn't as good as the book, but as a cinematic event it was very enjoyable. As the books have gotten longer and longer, the movies have necessarily covered a smaller percentage of their pulpy conterparts. Had I not read the book, I think I would have been a little lost at some points, and having read the book I felt the absence of some elements. Still, the creators deserve ample credit for effectively condensing that tome into two hours and eighteen minutes.

After VCJ, the kids and I (translation: I, under the pretense of doing it for the kids) badgered Camu into taking us the the library. The new Ontario library is an impressive structure, comeplete with uniformed security guardes who double as quiet police (with excellent results: it's like a tomb in there). An hour later, we scampered out with ten books between us and returened home, whereupon the kids (and I) dove right into said volumes.

Today, Charlie and Fabian continue the cultural awakening but adding their own dramtic voice-over to their game of Lego Star Wars. A sampling:
Charlie (as Anakin Skywalker): I'll never turn to the Dark Side!
Fabian (as General Greivous): Good!
C/AS: What do you mean? You're the terrible Gen. Greivous!
F/GG: I'm really Obi-Wan Kenobi dressed in a robot suit!
C/AS: Wow! That's awesome! Now we can rule the galaxy together!
F/GG: Only I'm really Gen. Greivous.
C/AS: Nooooooooooo! How could you DO this to me?!
F/GG: On, and by the way, Padme wants to marry me.
C/AS: Give me back my wife!
I truly miss the days when I was young and simple enough to come up with stuff that awesomely soap operatic.
Aw, heck... while we're at it...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

We Live, Dear Readers

...but the frustration of your narrator mounts. While I thought I had solved the photo-posting problem, Blogger tells me otherwise. Thus, image posting remains limited for the time being.
Fortuneatly, the picture I managed to get up is a cute one.

Anyway, things otherwise are going well -- of course, it's hard for things to go badly when your daily routine is made up of movies, eating, more movies, vacation Bible school, and more eating.

Vacaciones con Jesus started Monday. Fabian is in his third year and so was ready to jump in. Charlie, surprisingly enough, also dove right in. Melissa was rather put off at first, not believeing us when we promised her teachers and classmates would indeed speak English, but instantly feeling better when she heard it for herself.

In other news, I've developed a significant intellectual preoccupation with this blog, run by one Fr. Z (as he's known in the blogosphere). Actually, sometime in February I developed a certifiable obsession with Catholic blogs in general (see side bar for a mere sampling of the blogs I read daily), but this may be my favorite.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Same Old

Every summer in California has certain standard features. For example:

Going to the Primm Valley Resorts at State Line (and the accomanying visit to Vegas proper),

going to Balboa Beach in Newport,

and best of all, our cousins.

As you can see, we've already covered all of the above. We're working on watching movies, eating, and swimming in other people's pools.

You can say it: it's criminal.

Bettering the World, One Eighties Homage at a Time

Tell me this isn't an awesome first dance. I dare you. I feel it's made all the better by the fact that these folks are British.

In other, more practical news, something is keeping me from uploading pictures directly to Blogger from my dear tia's computer. I did find an alternate way of posting (loading to another site and linking), but it's time consuming and so I'm looking for a way to just fix the Blogger issue. If I can't find one by tomorrow, I'll give up and bring you pictures via the slow method.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Bright Light City

The annual pilgrimage to that mecha of virtue (note sarcasm) finds up standing on Las Vegas Boulevard waiting for fireworks that may or may not come. While this would not have been my first choice on Independence Day, i suppose I'll just count my blessings and include seeing the world's largest Coke bottle among them. Only in America.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Wild Cisneri, Episode 2: Return of the Cisneri

The Wild Cisneri are on the loose again!

We arrived in Ontario Monday night around 10:30 local time. Tuesday morning (which, I understand, is a delightful restaraunt... or a discount store... I don't recall), we drive into the desert and to Las Vegas for a night. Beyond that, I don't yet know what ventures we'll be undertaking, but I'm sure they'll be blissful and you can be sure you'll get all the highlights here.

I'm adding a new tag ("Cisneri Gone Wild", aptly enough) to assist my dear readers in sorting through all my mischellaneous posts.