qla 037 I thought you might enjoy some gratuitous late fall/early winter scenery. It’s leftover from a photo shoot I did yesterday for a client’s blog.

I’m not good at photography, as we all know, but I’m good at blogging, so I’m calling it a photo shoot in spite of how silly that sounds, given the quality of my photos.

Yesterday I added a new client, thanks to a fellow xangan’s referral, for which I’m most grateful. I finished a website’s working draft of the content (subject to changes required by the design as it emerges). I did my oDesk assignment, graded papers, did reasonably good blog posts for all my blogs, and tutored.

Then I skipped rehearsal to spend three hours getting my new software installed. Not that I intended to spend three hours on that. It just involved installing, reinstalling, uninstalling other stuff, reinstalling, uninstalling, copying to the desktop and reinstalling once again.

Oh, I left out the bits where I went to the Adobe support page and traveled around in circles there. And the parts where I went to Google and typed in the symptoms and ended up in forums where they communicated entirely in acronyms unknown to me. Though it was in  fact in one of those forums that I found the solution.

And when I finished, I discovered that I still couldn’t get into my website, because I have the wrong password.

Having already missed rehearsal (and it’s the Brahms; I’m not all that excited about the Brahms, to tell the truth), I just had the boys call out for pizza and read Bernard Lewis’s new book, Islam: The Religion and the People. This is an Amazon Vine book. I hadn’t expected to enjoy reading it, actually. I just felt that I ought to know more than I did. My information about Islam prior to reading this book came mainly from a) ordinary levels of knowledge picked up here and there and b) having had a number of Moslem students over the years.

Oh, and I guess the shocking experience of hearing, at an ESL conference in San Francisco, that “the Arabs should know what we think of them.” For an ESL conference in San Francisco, this is the equivalent of a racial slur, which is why I still remember it to this day. It was met with shocked silence. Even though I think a lot of us would have said that our Arabic students’ cultural beliefs were in many ways very incompatible with our own. If pressed to say something, I mean.

Lewis’s book combines history, humor (not that he ever gets very hilarious, but he includes a smattering of Islamic jokes), and information from the Koran to explain where some of the incompatibilities arose, and how the other side of the question sees it. He maintains a neutral tone in discussions of the place of women in Islam, the notion of the jihad, the separation of church and state, and the Crusades. I once innocently stumbled into a discussion of the Crusades in a classroom evenly divided between African Catholics and Arabs, and I can therefore truly admire Lewis’s ability to discuss these things calmly.

So, what with one thing and another, I feel as though I’m learning things. Always good.