Thursday, August 18, 2005

[Passions Take Many Forms] ACU to perform "Seussical" as new Homecoming Musical

My the theatre department at my alma mater, Abilene Christian University, recently came under fire for casting a caucasian woman to play the title role in the musical Aida this fall. You can read article that seemed to spark the controversy here, President Royce Money's response here, and a 2nd ARN article describing the cancelation here. (Free Registration required to view each article)

Although I was dissappointed at the reaction and controversy that surrounded the casting decision, I cannot say I was surprised. In fact, I probably would have been one of the opponents of the casting decision if I didn't believe that I knew the hearts and reasoning of those who made the decision (Aida, more than being a story of black and white, is a story about different ethnicities and cultures. That was going to be reflected more than the traditional black/white cultures). In today's politically correct world, our social consciences are vigilantly on gaurd for anything that might be offensive. Frankly, that's a very good thing. It forces us to reconsider our assumptions and interact with people on an equal level. But sometimes our radars pick up something that isn't there. This was probably one of those times. I can't blame the people who objected to the casting. As I said, I could easily have been one of them. But I've seen the talent that they had cast (she is a fantastic actor and singer), and I know the people who made the decisions. Their hearts and minds are pure. They held no malice or prejudice in their casting. Perhaps they misjudged the reaction of the public, but that can be an easy mistake. I feel for them and everyone else connected to the ACU Theatre Department.

As a replacement, they have chosen to do Seussical - The Musical instead. They have a monumental task infront of them to pull it together in a mere two months, but if any department is up to the challenge, they are. I believe they had a similar task 13 or 14 years ago when they were preparing to do Annie Get Your Gun and had to change it to Meet Me in St. Louis because of some sort of problem with the licensing rights (that was a few years before I came). I wish them luck. I probably won't be able to see the show, but I look forward to hearing from those who will. The talent working on that show will likely make it work, and they will be able to rise from the recent controversy as strong as ever.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Staying in Lansing

As most of you know, Kari and I had been planning to leave Michigan for a while. We wanted to get closer to family in Texas while I began my internship and wrote my dissertation. Nothing in Texas worked out, so we were looking for anything that paid. (There was no way we could afford for me to have no salary.) As a last resort, I had been talking to the head of the Behavioral Science Department at Ingham Regional Medical Center here in Lansing. I say it was a last resort because it was an unpaid internship, and I really needed something that paid.

After interviewing with a number of different places, it looked like we would be moving to Lexington, KY, and I would take a job with an outpatient mental health clinic in rural Kentucky. Early last week, they called and offered the job to me. It paid decently, and the benefits were great. It was, though, working in rural Kentucky, and required a commute of an hour or so. Also, we weren’t that thrilled with living in Lexington. It’s not that Lexington is a bad town, we just weren’t that impressed when we were there for the interview. The main downside, however, was that it would not give me any kind of unique work experience. I can’t say that it would have made me that much more marketable in the future that I would have stood out among other candidates. Also, it was a full-time, permanent position, meaning that I would feel a certain amount of obligation to work there for a few years before looking for something else.

Meanwhile, I had still been talking to the Department Head at IRMC about possible funding for the internship she had available. About the same time that I was offered the job in Kentucky, she told me that she had secured a small amount of money from the MSU College of Human Medicine. It wasn’t as much as she had originally thought she might be able to get, but it was a start, and there was still other funding avenues left to pursue. So Kari and I began to look at our budget. In addition to Kari’s recent raise and the money from the College, we began to look for ways to bring down our personal expenses. From there, it appeared that things began to fit into place in such a way that I must attribute it to divine intervention. Knowing that we had to move because of the need for a bedroom for Regan we looked for other houses to rent in the area. We found a house much larger than our current house for the exact same rent. At the same time, we found out that a friend from church who provides childcare out of her house had two openings. Her rates turned out to be much less than what we had spent when Aidan was in childcare for two years. The best part about this, though, was that her house is a mere two blocks from the house we had found. Also, the house is within walking distance from the Medical Center. We soon realized that we actually could make it in Lansing. We also realized that we didn’t want to leave the area for Kentucky anyway.

So, we’re staying here. We will move to the new house in about a week, and I begin my internship in a couple of days. This internship will give me the opportunity to fulfill the internship requirement for my degree, work on my dissertation, get clinical ours towards licensure, and supervise junior therapists as I work towards Approved Supervisor status. Because of the money coming from the College of Human Medicine, I’ll also be required to help them write research grants, which will be extremely valuable experience. The experience of working with and being embedded in the medical community will also give me the kind of unique experience that should set me apart from other candidates when I begin looking for a permanent position when the internship ends next year. Most importantly, we can stay in a community and a church that we’ve grown to love for another year, and Kari can stay in a job that she enjoys and pays very well.

This means, however, that we’ll be thousands of miles away from our family for at least another year. While we wished we would be living closer to them, we understand that this is where we should be for now. Plus, that gives all of you bums who have promised to visit another year to do so. (Kyle and Amanda, we’re looking in your direction…)

So after August 15, this will be our new contact information:

Jason, Kari, Aidan, and Regan Martin
1931 Harding Ave.
Lansing, MI 48910
(517) 974-3322 (Jason’s cell)
(517) 614-0860 (Kari’s cell)

NOTE: We will no longer live in East Lansing; we’re moving to Lansing. Also, we decided not to have a home telephone, so you should use our cell phone numbers (preferably after 9 PM ET or on weekends to avoid using too many peak minutes).

[Passions Take Many Forms] Aidan & Regan

Aidan has really taken a liking to his baby sister. There hasn't been any of the resentment or hostility that I feared. I hope to help nurture that relationship so it continues to grow.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

[Passions Take Many Forms] New Planet

"My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas."

That simple mnemonics device has recently become obsolete. Astronomers at Cal Tech (click the title of this post for more info) have recently discovered a 10th planet. It has an orbit that more wacky and eliptical than Pluto's (that's saying a lot), but it is believed to be much larger than Pluto, which some claim is really just a large asteroid.

The new planet has a new name, but it won't be announced until it gains approval from the IAU. In the meantime, it's simply known as 2003UB313.

I'm guessing that the new name is either Proserpine or Juno.