Augustine's encouragement for accountability

Confessions by Augustine is one of my favorite books, recommended to me by an agnostic professor, but one that brings delight to my soul each time I read it. As with most great books, rereading allows me to learn something new I hadn't realized before. In the passage below, Augustine revisits his motive for testifying to the work of God in his life—a heartfelt and encouraging argument for church accountability. Would they share my joy when they hear how close, by your gift, I am lifted up to you, and share my prayer when they hear how far, by my own dead weight, I fall off from you? If so, to such I will open myself. For it is not a trivial help, God my Lord, to have "many give thanks for me or for many to pray for me.' I hope that a brother in spirit will love in me what you show him is lovable, lament in me what you show is lamentable—a brother, not a stranger, not 'a race of strangers, the speech of whose mouth is void of meaning, the work of whose strong hand is b


Repairs fascinate me. So do people who attempt them or make them possible. In his newest blog post, the writer of La Vie Graphite meditates on restoration . I read everything in this blog. I may disagree with his theology, but I love the elegance of his writing and the quietness of his life. I’ve always admired restorers of objects, structures, and historic artifacts. Gratefully, my speed-dial numbers include my typewriter repairer, fountain pen restorer, camera technician, and auto mechanic. These individuals are also esteemed friends. When any of us talk shop, we’ll often note the parallels between their crafts and mine as a bookbinder and conservator. The purposes of our respective restorative work is to keep things in fine operational order.  The part about pen repairs resonates me with me.  Pens present their own forms of mechanical puzzles. While rinsing a much-loved Reynolds fountain pen from one of my many sojourns in France, I watched the ring from the nib section roll across

Monogrammed pen case

The pens I take for the day—usually a fountain pen plus a ball-point or pencil—are housed in an elegant leather pencil case, monogrammed with my initials. The gracious and kind Nikki Gonzales-Ho, my co-faculty in Biochemistry, gave this to me. Many thanks to you, dear Nikki! 


I praise God for Matt Redman, Matt Boswell, and Matt Papa—all Matts !—for composing this joyful anthem about God's lovingkindness ! A blessed Sunday, dear friends.  Let praises now awake the dawn We’ll greet Your mercy with a song  Your people stand and sing for all Your lovingkindness  You’ve carried us in faithfulness  Upon the paths of righteousness  Our gracious King  You’ve crowned us with Your lovingkindness

Wingsung 699

I ordered a Wingsung 699 through Amazon, hoping some parts could be replacements for my Pilot Custom 823 Amber. The Chinese pen closely resembles the Japanese Pilot: the same size, feel, and elegance. The main difference lies in the nib quality: Custom 823's gold nib is superior to the 699's steel. But I was surprised how fantastic the Wingsung is. It's worth every peso! A wet writer that carries a substantial amount of ink, I've decided to use it as an everyday pen. The nib glides smoothly, albeit with minimal friction on rough hospital paper. I don't mind that, at all.  Because Wingsung 699 is a great pen on its own right, I've decided against swapping its parts with the Custom 823. (If you're curious: swapping is possible.) Pilot Philippines hasn't responded to any of my emails. If I happen to be in Manila, I might drop by Cosmos Bazaar to check if my Custom 823 can still be repaired. Here's how I write. This is the first "writing video&q

Faber-Castell Loom

Grateful for the gift of my high school classmate Greggy Granado and his wife Joanne: a new fountain pen. It's Faber-Castell Loom, in medium nib. The piano black variant looks so elegant.  It's a smooth writer, as most German pens are. The ink flow is perfect. I like how it fits perfectly in my hand. I'll include it in my every-day-pen rotation.  ( No response yet from Pilot regarding the Custom 823 . I ordered a Wingsung 699 through Amazon. I'll try switching the barrels and see if Wingsung's can replacement the cracked 823 barrel.)

A pestilential presence in your library

David Bentley Hart, in The Lamp Magazine , writes about the elegance and evolution of language and, in doing so, offers a tongue-in-cheek, hilarious critique of Strunk and White and George Orwell, known to many of us as the go-to book references for English grammar and style. (In the blockquotes below, the emphases are mine.) In fact, if you own a copy of The Elements of Style, just destroy the damned thing. It is a pestilential presence in your library. Most of the rules of style it contains are vacuous, arbitrary, or impossible to obey, and you are better off without them in your life. And the materials on grammar and usage are frequently something worse. Some of them are simply inherited fake rubrics—“however” must always be a postpositive, “which” must not be used for a restrictive relative clause, and other nonsense of that kind—all of which are belied by the whole canon of English literature. Others, however, are evidence of surprising ignorance. It is bad enough that the manual