Friday, a story I submitted got accepted as a screenplay. I'll get paid (tuppence, really), but more importantly, credit. A company wants to do a film of mine from my "Jill Rides and Airplane," I wrote a while back. I got the contract on Friday. Woo!
Saturday I went to DC and hung out with ninjacooter. We had a great time. First, we met at the Air and Space museum but it was so crowded that it was very unpleasant, so we quickly left. Then we went to the Cochran and that was better, but we got stuck in a loop in the "depressing medieval art period" wing, and I really got my fill of the Virgin Mary and little Bebe Jezuz. There are some painting from the 1500s and 1600s, though, that are so realistic, I think souls are trapped in the paintings.
So we got bored with that and took a bus down to Chinatown, which still sucks. DC Chinatown, for you out-of-towners, is about as Chinese as as the "Chop and Wok" fast food you find in large shopping malls. If you see it in your tour guide when you come here; skip it. Our Chinatown is about a city block in size, has maybe a dozen shops and restaurants (most of the corporate shills), and they are scattered between a Starbucks, Fudruckers, and a huge sports arena called "The Verizon Center." Apparently there was some NCAA nonsense going on, if I even knew what that meant. I think that's basketball. Well, it was crowded, too, but ninjacooter and I managed to find three shops that seemed authentic, except one had Hispanic employees. There was one herb shop that was SOAKED with some spiritual mojo. I ended up getting two Chinese lanterns and one of those silk red knots (which one of my cats promptly tried to eat when I got home). How touristy of me.
Then we wandered around that area and found the Spy Museum (too much) and "Madame Tussauds Wax Museum" (too much) and I didn't even know we HAD one of those in DC. When did that happen? Then we tried to find a bathroom, and eventually I found one in the McDonalds in the Verizon center which was *filthy* and broken (the sink didn't work, the toilet had no seat, there was no soap, and there was piss all over the floor).
One of our biggest "finds" was St. Patrick's Cathedral in DC. We went in, and I was amazed by the awe and spectacle of this church. They were out of holy water, though :(. The preacher there told ninjacooter, with a poker face so I couldn't tell if he was brushing us off or not, that the water had been removed to prepare for some special water being blessed for Easter.
Right. All this weekend I forget it's Easter.
After that, we stopped by a book store, and rested a bit. After 5 hours and 9 miles (according to my pedometer), we were exhausted. We ended up spending our last hour hanging out at Metro Center, watching the metro cars come and go. She went home to visit a friend of hers from Scotland, and I went to Frederick, Maryland, to hang out with some of the MSD crowd. I got there rather later that I had planned, so I could only stay for a little while. The food was excellent, and I got to spend some spiritual time with aynne_witch, and evilpassion8's youngest daughter, a 12 year old WoW player.
My dreams have been weirdly prophetic lately. Like Hollywood level "waking dreams" I only thought happened in Frank Herbert books. I can't elaborate but things like, "from a hurricane comes a drum maiden with the name of the heavens," and then you meet a drummer who fled Katrina with the name "Angel".. that can really be jarring.
I didn't get home until late late. But I had to wake up early to see anyarm's baptism. She is getting married to Brian in June, and she needed to be baptized at Brian's church, which he really hadn't attended since he was a child. Brian is half Korean (the right half, if you must know), and his mother is Korean so it was a Korean Baptist Church. Some of my friends from McLean would know (either because you were Korean or knew the same friends I did) that most of the Koreans in our area who exercise their religion are either Baptist, Methodist, or some traditional Shinto-Buddhist. The last Korean religious anything I was at was a friend's... something. They dressed her up in red robes, put her hair up real high, and there was a lot of singing, dancing, and robe twirling in the former Greek reception hall on Maple Avenue. I am pretty sure it was a Buddhist ceremony of some sort.
This church was... you know those ads for Christian CDs you see on TV? Yeah, like that. These kinds of places make me feel rather uncomfortable. They are all Jesus this and Jesus that. It feels like a cult. While I'd say the clergy was extra-nice and the churchgoers were far more polite and focused than other churches I have been to around here (which are hypocritical to almost be a farce), I still found this Korean baptist's church methods a little pushy. I think they tried to recruit me like 4-5 times during the day. They tried to get anyarm to convert me. They made me write down my number and address to attend (I gave them fake info). I wanted to say, "You do realize I am at least 6 inches taller than the tallest person here, have no Korean background whatsoever, I practice Wiccan and Buddhist dogma, and think that accepting Christ as a God is, at the very least, idolatry forbidden by the first and second commandments stated by Moses in Exodus and Deuteronomy?" But I did not, because you don't go into someone's temple, no matter how many golden calves you might see, and throw out their moneylenders.
This church was in a temporary location, right above an industrial building that housed spare nursery equipment, Rugby supplies, a Jordan Kitts pickup area, and who knows what else. It was the kind of place featured in half of "Grand Theft Auto III." When I walked into the narrow doorway and climbed the steps to the second floor, I didn't expect much. But this church must have had the entire second floor of this building as it unfolded into a labyrinth of doors, hallways, rooms, and giant common areas. And it needed the space; there were a LOT of people. I know it was Easter, but wow. I'd say there were easily over several hundred people there. LOTS of kids, too. Most everyone was cheerful, but I felt the heady aroma of money everywhere. Old men in very expensive suits dotted the crowd, talking to other men in business suits. Women wearing the latest fashions for the up and coming Korean moms chased after kids in their Sunday best. I had this very odd feeling if I ever wanted to make contacts for my company, I could easily start here. If I was Korean, that is. Or maybe not, I don't know, everyone wanted me to be a member. I totally felt like a Swedish dork. Totally. But no one ostracized me or stared at me, other than many small children staring at might impressive height. I suspect this will happen to me in Japan, too. Their main hall, which sat about a few hundred, had the kind of audio/visual equipment that would have make Katsucon tech door in evny. "I don't recall church being this elaborate," Brain said, almost apologetically. "They never had any of this when I went. It's so BIG now..." Fifteen ears can made a big difference.
But apart from the sales pitch and the "you're not from around here, are you boy," vibe I was giving myself, the baptism was touching, and like I said, the clergy very friendly. Poor Brian, who hadn't attended church since he was a kid, and didn't speak much Korean. And everyone who worked at the church did their VERY BEST to accommodate us. For instance, we were given wireless translators, like the kind they use at the UN. So while the reverend talked about resurrection, we listened to what sounded like a bored male teen translate on the fly in our stereo headsets.
My little sister anyarm was dressed, head to toe, in white. She sat in the tub, got dunked, and read from her speech how she accepted Christ and whatnot that made my stomach sour. I am not sure which was worse, the fact she had to say this, or she didn't mean it (part of me hopes she does in some way). They were both conflicting morals in my gut. And afterwards, they introduced me and Brian, gave us flowers, and... I was treated like a celebrity. Oh, how guilty I felt. I hoped no one asked me if I accepted Christ as my Lord and savior because I might have thrown up on them. I didn't know how to say, "I believe he existed, and think he had some really good ideas, but how come you portray Mary Magdalene as a whore-- you know what, never mind..." I really didn't want to "spread my seed" of doubt among the patrons. That's just rude.
anyarm wasn't the only one baptized. There was another guy, who looked about 29-32, but already had 4 kids. One of his kids turned out to be the lead singer of Harp 46, a Celtic band. Another had blue steaks in her hair, and her twin sister had streaks of Copper in her hair which stabbed my heart because of my friend Copper, named because she died her Korean hair copper as an accident in trying to bleach it blond and decided she liked it better, was murdered 25 years ago this year. Punk Korean girls will always have a place in my heart. Miss you still, Copper.
They fed us Korean food (rice, bean spouts, some chili pepper sauce, and kim chee) in a separate room with the pastor (which seemed to be partially a sales pitch of how awesome the church was once they move back to their recently renovated church in late April). Again, they tried to accommodate our "needs." One of them, comically enough, was to give us plastic spoons and forks which they scrambled to find despite the fact ALL of us could use chopsticks very well. "Oh... ha ha... good..." they said but gave them to us anyway. "This is hot," they said about the chili pepper sauce. You think? "Cam-sa nee-da..." I said like 50 times today. The only Korean words I know. I have to learn more. So on my list of "Languages I have to learn fluently before I die:"
Right. Better get on that.
I am VERY glad I went. It was an experience. And while it had some uncomfortable moments, I'd say I wouldn't mind going again. But only if I get to debate with the clergy.
So, in addition to the medieval paintings, St. Patrick's Church, and this baptism... I had a very Christian weekend. Oh, on top of that, my Uncle sent me some e-mail saying he was in Vegas last week with a cousin of ours from Sweden (he is also trying to find his Swedish roots). The cousin's name? Christian.