Sunday, August 28, 2005

I am Hermione Granger

I have shared with most of you my general apathy when it comes to personality tests. I am dizzied still by the Myers-Briggs letters, and I generally tend to fall between most of the polar categories upon which many of these tests are based. Sometimes, I think that the satisfaction that these tests engender has more to do with an exterior recognition of your personality that is rare in a world in which compliments can be few and far between rather than in gaining some new insight into your self.

All that being said, I thank Loni for pointing me to this fantastic personality test for all Harry Potter fans. Here are my results:

You scored as Hermione Granger. You're one intelligent witch, but you have a hard time believing it and require constant reassurance. You are a very supportive friend who would do anything and everything to help her friends out.

Hermione Granger


Ron Weasley


Harry Potter


Remus Lupin


Albus Dumbledore


Sirius Black


Ginny Weasley


Draco Malfoy


Severus Snape


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with

I always knew I was a teenage witch in the dark recesses of my mind! In all seriousness, I pity anyone who ends up most like Voldermort. Scratch that, I pity that person's friends and family.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Are Apple owners in a cult?

Perhaps there is some evidence today that those of us who own Macs are a bit fanatical in our brand loyalty. If a cheap iBook can inspire a mad rush over old ladies and anyone else who gets in your way, how much longer until old models are enshrined as relics? A scary scene . . . but $50 for an iBook is a pretty good deal!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ghana pics and reflections

I have posted pictures from Peachtree's trip to Ghana this summer here. These images tell of two weeks spent teaching and learning, worshipping and praying, loving and being loved.

There is nothing like international travel to reveal the isolated enclaves we tend to call home, the narrow cultural bounds that feel familiar to us. My trip this summer to Ghana served as a fresh reminder of how the mundane and quotidian for Americans is the stuff of dreams in much of the rest of the world. From what I understand, Ghana is not among the most impoverished nations on the African continent; nevertheless, the indelible fingerprints of the destructive colonial enterprise remain still. Amidst traditional huts of mud, clay, and straw are the teetering remains of imperial architecture; the same is true on a metaphorical plane. The legacy of the slave trade and several hundred years of imposed rule have filtered into the everyday lives of most Ghanaians. Yet, there is a centuries-old vibrant spirit singing still amongst the people of Ghana. I learned a great deal on this trip, especially about the difficult mingling of Christianity and culture.

As an outsider in the Ghanaian culture, I often wondered what kind of posture my critical perspective should take in relation to the culture I was experiencing. I came up with a litany of empty and unsatisfactory options. First, I could commit the error of too many liberal Westerners and idealize the culture of Ghana. A typically tourist mindset, this perspective stresses the exotic and the strange. In a sense, the African drum brought back to the states serves as an emblem of a culture at which we can only gawk as visitors in a zoo. Second, I could commit the opposite fallacy and presume that Ghanaian culture has nothing to teach us, that the culture of the other must convert to the "right" way of life. History teaches us the dangerous depths of such a sinful stance. Third, I could take the strictly relativist position and argue that I have no grounds upon which to critique--whether positively or negatively--another culture. In any of these approaches, the cultural other is held at arm's length and either celebrated, scrutinized, or simply neglected without an earnest encounter with the culture itself.

The solution, I found, is not simple and probably lies beyond our rational capabilities. One can only hope in the end to meet and try to know, empathize with, and love specific individuals whose culture, language, food, and dress call into question my own. Unfortunately, the lessons of a trip overseas, no matter how impactful, tend to dissipate as complacency grows and one's own culture becomes commonplace once again.