Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pour on water, pour on water

Yesterday my church burned down. When I left, the brick exterior was still standing and the fire department was doing all they could to keep the flames off the steeple so that it wouldn't fall, but the roof had pretty much entirely collapsed, the heat from the flames had blown all the windows out, the the building looked pretty much gutted.

It started when we were sitting listening to broadcast for a multi-stake conference, and the fire alarm went off. I thought that it was a little irritating that the fire alarm would malfunction during the middle of a conference, but after a second I started to smell a hint of smoke in the air. The presiding authority then stood up and instructed everyone to exit the building quietly.

As I looked back after exiting the building, I saw smoke pouring from the roof and a little bit of smoldering in the eaves of the building over the chapel. When the fire department arrived, I think that they first were trying to stop the fire locally by going into the building with fire extinguishers and by cutting holes in the roof. Within a few minutes though, there were huge flames all over the roof and they realized that it was more important just to keep the flames from spreading to some of the houses that were only feet from the burning chruch.

It was really impressive to watch. The fire got so hot that you could feel it from across the street. At one point, the heat also blew all the windows out and caused the roof to collapse. You could see the flames devouring the chapel through the smoke-tinted, large, round window over the choir seats. I've only attended church there one and half times, but sitting and watching the building eaten away by flames and being able to do nothing really was an emotional experience.

I'm not sure what we are going to do for the rest of the summer now, but there are several church buildings in the Boston area. I heard as well that the Episcopal Church across the street has offered their facilities while we are getting something more permanent. It's funny how tragedies tend to bring communities together.

What a weekend.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Summer reading

So I forget how much I enjoy reading while I'm not doing it. In fact, if you had asked me a few weeks ago if I liked to read, I probably would have told you no. This did not stop me during the last week of classes last semester to read through 1600 pages of Fabelhaven when I should have been writing papers and preparing for finals. (They are really good, by they way. I give them a hearty recommendation.)

Now that summer is here, and I haven't made dozens of friends yet. I find reading one of my leisure activities of choice. So far I've read "The Last Lecture" and "Outliers." I think that they both got a lot more hype than they deserved, but each his'er own.

Today I went to the bookstore to get a copy of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" for my summer book club. It was going to be a quick run: rush in, grab it, and rush out. (And pay for it somewhere in there too I suppose.) The problem is that I'm a bookstore junky, and The Coop in Cambridge is one of the more beautiful bookstores that I've seen. So I took some time to wander through the shelves.

In short, I discovered that the next "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" book came out a few weeks ago. I was really excited, so I left with 2 books instead of one. Oh well. I'm really excited for it though. (That whole series also gets a hearty recommendation.)

I'm game for other people's recommendations too. I sort of think that I want to read Julia Child's autobiography, but that is the only one that comes immediately to mind as I sit here.