Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime

Yes, my dear readers, here is the official Christmas Day blog post.
I thought about writing out a Covenant "Twelve Days of Christmas" (Twelve Days of Finals?) that's long overdue, but that will just have to wait. My creativity is taking the holiday off, it seems.

So... Alabama didn't grant us a white Christmas this year. That's alright; the last time I remember snow on Christmas day, I was probably seven or eight. Perhaps one day I will live in a state where it snows during the winter. ^^

Well, let's see.
The presents are open...
The food has been prepared...
The food has been eaten...
That leaves dishes, kitchen clean-up, and the car ride home this evening.
Yesh... It's been a good day.

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours, my lovelies; may it be merry and bright, and full of wonderful celebration of the coming of our Savior.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Just What I Needed

...and now I hope that song is stuck in your head, too. It's still in mine.

Anyway.

As we wrap up Finals week here on the mountain, the thought of being on Christmas break is a pretty happy thought indeed. If I may wax metaphorical, I imagine the break will be like the moment just after an amateur swimmer surfaces after being underwater for a little too long: his lungs are aching for air; his limbs are burning from the strain; his mind is reeling from the panic of being seconds away from drowning... but as he breaks the surface, he is finally able to breathe once again.*

Unfortunately, this week has been the moment right before all that.

So when my hallmate found this video yesterday, it made this marathon week of enduring pain and suffering just a little less... well... less painful.

I now share the video with you now, dear reader, in the chance that you too might need a session of theraputic laughter.
Remember: it's only insulting and mean if you perceive it that way. :)
__________________________
*No swimmers were harmed in the making of this blog entry.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Revolutionary

One of the classes I've been taking this semester is "Cultural Heritage of the West", or CHOW for short. We read the works of all the greatest (and sometimes the not-so-great) Western minds and in turn write about them, all in an attempt by the administration to bring "culture" to the Covenant student population.
We started the semester reading Greek and Roman writers like Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, and Marcus Aeurelius. Our textbook also included passages from the Bible, and when we got to Matthew and the Sermon on the Mount, here's what I wrote for one of my journal entries. I'm not trying to be too theologically deep about this; but if perhaps this is not a restatement of the obvious for you, as it was not for me, there could be a chance you enjoy it.
As a point of interest, I wrote all my journal entries in pencil (and I always write in pencil anyway) until I got this particular entry back, graded, with a note at the top from my professor: "What do you have against pens?"
---------------

While I find it nice to be back in familiar literary territory, I'm reeling from the abrupt change in worldviews. At least the Greeks and Romans differed over little nit-picky details; this is different in a huge way, like going from walking through sand to walking on a juiced-up moving sidewalk. Reading Matthew in light of studying Homer and Plato and Virgil is a shock -- Who is this Jesus guy, anyway? What's he trying to tell us? We've never heard anything like this! One God? Blessed are the meek? Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you? What kind of teachings are these?

But that's the message -and the impact- of the Gospel, isn't it? No to say the intention of the Sermon on the Mount is to just bring shock and awe... rather, it just naturally shocks and awes anyone who comes in contact with it, and with anyone whose life is the portrayal of the teachings of Jesus. And in the time of Christ, his words were not only freakishly new and different to the Greeks and Romans, but also the Jews and those who followed the Law of Moses. When Jesus takes all the "don't"s and pulls out a list of "do"s (or more precisely, "Blessed are those"s, I guess) and adds a new perspective of "inward" religion to a legalistic society, it absolutely blows the mind. "Eye for an eye" becomes "turn the other cheek"; "Love your neighbors and hate your enemies" becomes "love your enemies and pray for them"; "Do not commit fill-in-the-blank" becomes "do not commit fill-in-the-blank in your heart", much to everyone's (and I mean everyone's) surprise. His way of thinking was nothing short of revolutionary.

To take a quote from Back to the Future: "That's heavy, Doc." Very heavy indeed.

I guess I believe in a revolution, then. People could look at this Jesus Revolution (I randomly coin a term that reeks of oversimplification, but I'll save that argument for Doctrine class) and say, yes, this is the most peaceful, nonviolent kind of revolution. But it's only peaceful to those who choose to remain unaffected by it. To be truly immersed in this internal revolution is to see your own selfish thoughts and desires, your own sinful heart and mind be torn apart in the most painful and wonderful way possible. It's an internal one-eighty that I'm fairly certain the rest o the world could never understand.

Nonviolent? Possibly. But peaceful? Hardly. Not "peace" as the world sees it, anyway; it's internal turmoil that most could honestly do without, if given the choice. But from this struggle with sin comes a peace that surpasses human understanding.

So here's to the revolution: the revolution of the Gospel.

That's still heavy, Doc. But no one ever said a revolution was easy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Remember You; Remember Me

I suppose I write this because the memories of yesterday can be, if nothing else, bittersweet. And sometimes I like it that way.
----------------------------

Efad leaned back in her chair and rubbed her eyes tiredly. The paper-in-progress that was open on her computer screen just sat there, waiting for her to finish a sentence that, she decided, was going nowhere. With a quick frown and a flick of the Backspace button, the sentence disappeared. Good riddance to bad writing.

The record that had been playing now fell silent, and the record player gave a -click- as it turned itself off. Efad listened to the sounds coming in from her open window for a moment, debated putting on another record, and didn't stand up. Instead, she allowed herself to be distracted by glancing around her desk. College hadn't had the effect on her that she had hoped: in spite of her best efforts to learn how to keep a tidy workspace, her desk was quite messy. That wouldn't surprise anyone who had ever seen her room back home; in fact, if anyone from home had seen her desk just then, they would have marvelled that bits of the desktop were still visible.

And there, peeking out from behind the pile of notebooks and papers, was a picture frame.

Efad reached and plucked it from its hiding place. She felt a pang of guilt as she realized, judging by the layer of dust that came with it, she had placed it on her desk upon her return to Covenant this past August and then forget all about it. It was a simple silver frame with a whispy black design of curves and spirals; she had probably received it as a graduation gift two years ago. In it, she had placed a picture of a group of smiling people kneeling, crouching, and standing in a huddle on a beach. At the top in curvy white letters was the inscription "Panama City Beach, 2003". Efad smiled a little at the picture. She knew all the faces that were grinning back at her. They were all, at one time or another, members of her church youth group, including the youth director. She herself was in the picture as well, in the tee-shirt and overshirt she still owned, and a faded blue hat she had retired into her keepsake box back home.

...a moment captured in time...

"What'cha looking at?"

Efad looked up. Her roommate's chair, which had previously been unoccupied, now held a smiling young man. He was still wearing his normal blue "NIKE" tee-shirt, ripped jeans, and sandals, even though the occasional breeze from the open window told Efad it was well below sixy (or even fifty) degrees outside. Had it been anyone but Aaron, she would've thought the boy to be crazy, if not a little bit cold.

She smiled at him. "Hullo, Aaron."

"Hey." He craned his neck to look at the picture frame. "Wow, what a flashback. Where'd you find that?"

"On my desk. I-- oh, stop laughing."

Aaron choked down what otherwise would've finished a loud laugh, but couldn't suppress the rest of the grin. "Sorry. What happened to keeping a cleaner desk this year?"

"I like keeping things where I can find them." She looked at the piles. She had taken no great pains to make sure they were organized by both height and chronology: the tallest piles were clearly the oldest. "I'm afraid they're just not always in retrievable form."

"I see." Aaron hesitated, then shifted to lean his elbows on his knees. Efad didn't notice; she was looking at the photograph in her hand. He cleared his throat, and she jumped a little. "You, um... you okay?"

"Am I... uh, yeah. I guess so." She looked at the picture again.

...a moment captured in time; put the memory in a frame, keep it safe...

Aaron nudged her chair with his foot. "You sure?"

"Yeah." She didn't look up. "...I just can't believe how much as changed since this picture was taken."

"Ah."

Yes. There they were, all grinning and carefree on just another summer retreat... Efad brushed the cold glass with her fingertips; they started at the top row, moved down along all the happy faces to the next row, then the next, then the last, tracing a snakelike line in the dust. "I remember this year. This was the summer before my sophomore year of high school..." Her fingers started at the top again, resting on a dark-haired boy in a white shirt. "Joseph's actually smiling... he came from Baton Rouge to go to RYM with us." She felt so silly, telling Aaron things he undoubtedly already knew. Any of her memories would be his as well. She went on anyway. "He and his family were in Prattville the summer before last. He was trying to quit smoking, and got mad at me when I found cigarettes in his backpack... and when we all went to Wal-Mart, he rode the kiddie carousel for laughs." She was grinning in spite of herself now. "I still wish I'd gotten a picture of that."

There was a pause from the other chair. "Have you heard anything since the last update from his dad?"

Her grin faded. "...he's probably still recovering from the accident. He... he shouldn't've even survived, y'know, the way that eighteen-wheeler hit him. It's a miracle he did at all."

"Yeah, I know." Aaron looked back at the photograph and chuckled. "And there's John and Nate and Marie -- I didn't know all three Layor cousins went in 2003."

Of course, she knew he was lying, but Efad went with it anyway. "They did. Marie's married and has a little boy now... John is off in the army, and Nate's still back home." She paused. "I had better call John soon. His brother's fourteenth birthday would've been tomorrow."

"Yeah." Aaron looked at his feet. "To be honest, I thought you weren't going to make it dry-eyed through the funeral visitation."

Efad let her eyes drift out of focus as she stared at John's grinning face. "I didn't."

...a moment captured in time; put the memory in a frame, keep it safe, let it watch the world change...

"Soren and Rebecca look happy."

"They do." Efad looked at her two best friends. "Rebecca and Soren's cousin are going to the same college now. Rebecca's probably going to get engaged to that boyfriend of hers, too." She sighed. "I don't even know where half of these people are now... see these three girls?" She pointed. "They've disappeared from my radar. Last I heard, this one was going to college, this one was in a foster home, and this one... I think she graduated high school with Nate, but that's the last I've heard of her."

Aaron took the picture frame from her hands and put it on top of the desk. He smiled at her and tousled her hair. "I guess a picture can be worth a thousand words, then." He crouched down beside her and made her look at him. "E, it doesn't do you well to dwell on the past. You know how melancholy you get when you do."

Efad nodded once, solemnly. "I know."

Then Aaron was gone. The room was silent again, and Efad was left with her thoughts, her laptop (which had gone to screensaver), her messy desk, and her picture frame. She took it in her hands again, brushing her fingers over the familiar faces squinting in the Florida sun.

She wondered what it would be like to go back; travel back to a time when nothing really mattered... A time before death and tragedy had invaded the quiet little community she had once known.

What if Joseph hadn't been in that horrible car accident?
What if John's little brother hadn't shot himself?
What if friends hadn't drifted apart?
What if she had stayed?

What then?

"If we're not supposed to dwell on the past," she murmured, "why do we keep it stowed away in picture frames?"

A picture is a moment captured in time; put the memory in a frame, keep it safe, let it watch the world change around its glass sanctuary.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Say You Want an Update

I wish I actually knew how "Say You Want a Revolution" went, so I could start randomly singing it on my blog. Oh well.

Because I'm cheap and short on time, here's what I updated my deviantArt journal with. I hope it suffices until I have more time to reflect on these last few months of voluntary indentured servitude to my education.

"BWAAAAAAAAH!
I shouldn't be on dA right now! I have two tests tomorrow (one of which is my most dreaded foe: The Math Menace), and while I've been studying all week for them, I slept in this morning just because I could and now I've gotten nothing done all morning and still have five chapters of Doctrine left to review, a Credo to write, things to memorize, and math to review!
BWAAAAAAAAH!
(how's that for a transcontinental sentence? *snicker*)

Ahem.
Anyway.

"The only thing we can report at this time is that there is nothing to report."
There's a good M*A*S*H quote for you.
And it's true. I have nothing for you right now; no art, no pictures, no writings, no nothing. I've been swamped since my last journal entry with all things school-related. Seventeen semester hours is definitely doable, but it takes a toll on some other areas of my life... like my art... and pieces of mah sanity...

But the good news is, I've been trying since September to finish the Pratchett/Gaiman book "Good Omens", and yesterday I succeeded before the real Apocalypse happened. That became my goal after two months of staring at its status of "Reading Now" on my Facebook page.
That should tell you how much time I get on a regular basis to sit and read.

The other good news is I'll be on Fall Break as of 2:00pm tomorrow!

Okay. Doctrine and Math are totally not being studied right now. I'll get back to you when I'm sitting at home bored out of my skull... And I'm looking forward to every minute of being bored."

So there. See you in a few days, my lovelies -- until then, it's back to studying for me.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Public Service Announcement

Today's post is a PSA from the video-gamer community.
. . .
I don't know if it'd help to know the characters from this webseries, but I hereby acknowledge that there are a couple of inside jokes mentioned. Sorry. I know it's not nice to use an inside joke when you know someone will be left out of the humor, but I think the rest of the video can stand alone well enough.
Beware of some mild swearing and a couple crude jokes (so put your headphones in to keep the kiddies from overhearing)... but feel free to take in the thinly-veiled satirical humor and smile. I did.
Actually, I laughed. A lot.
Enjoy.
______________________

PS: Andy is a bomb. That's why it's funny for him to be on top of an exploding laptop.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

An Addition to the New Book of Proverbs

(note: this goes in the chapter following "Watcheth where thy maketh thy rest in the Psychology Lab, and beware that thou dost not poketh thy nose into business that is not thine, lest ye discover ye sitteth next to the brain of a sheep.")

"My son, taketh thee not a high-maintenance girl into thine heart. She is the viper that shall bite thy tongue and surely she will sicken thy veins with her venom."

Sometimes, when something like that news article crosses my path, I begin to suspect that one of the direct results of the Fall was the irreversable loss of common sense.

---
edit: in retrospect, this post seems incredibly cynical and insensitive to the consequences of this poor drunken idiot's decision of how to impress his ex-girlfriend. But hey, he's okay now; have a guilt-free laugh, folks.
And watch out for snakes.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Perchance to Dream?

Just to help put this post in perspective, your reading material for today is a Wikipedia link about dreams and the process of dreaming. The first paragraph is a good summary, but it would behoove you to look at the rest of the article as well.

So. Backstory: Recently I was required to observe a newborn for a Developmental Psychology class, and most of this observation was spent watching the child sleep (yes, I know; imagine the odds of catching a newborn in the middle of naptime...). She slept for about an hour and a half, during which she would occasionally make anxious/distressed grunts and moans in her sleep; these noises were accompanied by the slight shifting of positions (not much, since she can't even hold up her own head...), some gentle kicking, reaching, and grasping.

Sounds like dreaming, doesn't it?

See, the thing is, it's a standing theory that newborns aren't supposed to be able to have dreams. Admittantly, the theory follows a logical train of thought: if dreams are fabrications of the mind and are made from the combination of memories and one's own imagination, then babies, lacking experience in both of these areas, should not have "dreams".
There is also the physiological aspect to consider. In particular, except for some stages of REM sleep, certain neurotransmitters react with associated specific areas of the brain to trigger the emotion- and motor-related responses we see when we watch someone dream.
But which is the cause and which is the effect? Do the neurotransmitters cause a dream, or does a dream cause the brain to fire off the neurotransmitters?
What was making the child distressed? What made her kick or reach to grasp at nothing?

I do not pose this because I have an answer. I merely thought it would make an interesting discussion; if you have any thoughts on the subject or any responses to my musings, feel free to post. I'll try to push the right buttons to make "anonymous" posting possible in my blog settings (still, sign your name so I know who you are), but if not, feel free to drop me an e-mail.

----
Edit: Anonymous comments have been enabled for a while -- if I start getting spam (which happened a lot last time I left the comments open to Anyone), I'll have to change it back, but it's all good for now.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

You Never Know What You'll Find Around Here

I have no earthly idea what class requires such a thing as this, but it was found late at night in the Psychology lab.

Yes, you read that right. "Sheep brain". And while you're at it, check out the name on the label. Mike Rulon is my professor and academic advisor; he's shown us a human brain in class before, so I suppose a sheep brain shouldn't be that shocking...

The story behind this isn't terribly extraordinary. I was sitting in the Psych lab with some friends (and with my camera) last night, and at some point I accidentally bumped a container that sloshed, so naturally I investigated. I put some distance between myself and the brain before I came back and took the picture.

The moral of this story is, don't go poking your nose into business that isn't yours. You might find out you're sitting next to a sheep brain.

Friday, September 07, 2007

What's This?

Two blog entries in two days? Try not to look too surprised, folks. It probably won't happen again.


See, a funny thing happened on the way to chapel today...

...well, alright, it happened while everyone else was in chapel. Everyone except the girls from Caledon, that is.

They came in right in the middle of worship and moved in a semi-solemn procession in front of the stage looking something like this.







Those robes belong to Brethren, a guys' hall in Founders; Caledon is another hall in Founders. Be ye not fooled by the limitations of my picture: there are twenty-something girls on Caledon. It was a long line of monk-robed girls waking in front of everyone in the Chapel. I don't know how the girls got their hands on the robes, but I've got to admit: I am deeply impressed.


The spirit of pranking is back at Covenant, my dear readers. And I must say... I think I like it.
Mwahahaha....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Your college tuition dollars at work!
Yes, my friends, this is what we do in class here at Covenant College.

(Please ignore the fact that this shot makes my right thumb disappear.)
. . .
Let me explain.
...no, there is too much. Let me sum up.
We did an experiment in Drawing I this afternoon involving contour lines and markers.
Fear not, it is washable.
And yes, even though class got out at four, I kept the stripes 'til after dinner (which is now). ^-^
Booya.
____________
Edit: My summing up was not complete. For those who don't know, in high school I had a history of getting in trouble with my parents for drawing on myself. Thus, I found today's exercise particularly ironic. ("But Mom, Professor Carpender made me do it!")

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's That Time of Year Again

I've been back on campus for a whole twenty-four hours (roughly, anyway). Highlights include moving furniture, an episode of extention cord/power bar confusion (in which we sought to borrow two power bars from a former hallmate, only to find a power bar and an extension cord that my dear roommate had forgotten about), one Wal-Mart run, one Bi-Lo run, two meals in the Great Hall, a visit to New Residence Hall (which is desperately in need of a name), and more hugs than I can count.
I'll probably be homesick for the first week. I already am. How does a nineteen-year-old justify homesickness?

Hopefully I'll be kept busy; being busy will help me to focus on where I am and keep me from thinking about where I'm not.
I have to register, i.e. give the admin. all the information they already have so they know I'm still me.
I have register my car, i.e. make sure I can park on campus even though the parking lots are overcrowded.
Classes start tomorrow.
I never finished the book I resolved to read over the summer.
Sigh...

In the immortal words of Samwise Gamgee: "Well... I'm back."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fleeting Glances: Documenting Real Life As It Passes By

Previous titles include: "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" and "Look Who Figured Out How to Upload Pictures!"
-----
Heh... a glitch in the Matrix! These twin bugs were spotted outside the Rave theater in Montgomery.

The funny thing is, we spotted these on our way into Harry Potter... and on our way out, we saw someone cosplaying as Harry Potter driving one of these two bugs. o.O I can only wonder what happened to his Firebolt.
-----
And now for something completely different.

This was found in a flea market in Montgomery.
You might be a redneck if you ever owned this. Jeff Foxworthy, eat your heart out.
-----
I still haven't figured this out...
Who even makes signs like that?
-----
The epic moving of the foosball table! I got Kate to take the picture; it was a comedy of errors getting the foosball table from the study to the den.

Good times... good times.
-----
Big, dark clouds... and I was driving as I took the picture. Totally safe, I know... but it explains the poor quality of the picture XD

A massive storm hit Alabama back in June; the day it hit, Kate and I drove from Prattville to Mobile and back again, each time passing through different parts of the storm. This was taken as we left Mobile. About five minutes later, I was a few feet from the car in front of me and could only follow the phantom brake lights; we couldn't see the car at all.
-----
Fourth of July at the house...

We were watching the fireworks show at Stanley-Jenson Stadium from the comfort of our roof. Dad got a little bored. :)
-----
Just lookin' at a David in a box.

It was almost as fun to see him climb in as it was to see him climb out.
-----
Never miss an opportunity to practice "artistic" photography!

^-^ I like clocks.
-----
I also like typewriters.

This was found in a house on the open house tour back in May. The clocks above were in the same house -- it was a nicely decorated place...
-----
I know I have this up on Facebook, but I couldn't resist putting it here, too.
I'm not kidding you. Chunky, Mississippi really exists.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the sign for "Chunky Creek".
-----

The truth is often stranger --and funnier-- than fiction.

Everything has a story.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

[Camera Pans Left: Close On the Steeple of the Church]

Without you
the ground thaws
the rain falls
the grass grows

Without you
the seeds root
the flowers bloom
the children play

The stars gleam
the poets dream
the eagles fly
without you

The Earth turns
the sun burns
but I die

without you

The moon glows
the river flows
but I die
without you

Should we ever grow accustomed to the timely, yet unpredictable nature of death?
At best, we would be declared logical or realistic; at worst, calloused.

The world revives
colors renew
but I know blue
only blue
lonely blue
without you

Without you
the hand gropes
the ear hears
the pulse beats

Without you
the eyes gaze
the legs walk
the lungs breathe

The mind churns
the heart yearns
the tears dry

without you

Wednesday night, a thirteen-year-old boy in the congregation killed himself. No one saw it coming.
Please pray for our church congregation. The funeral is Saturday.
______________________________
("Without You" -- from RENT)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Spontaneous Mission Trip? Why, Sure!

This afternoon, my friend Kathryn and I were talking on the phone. Earlier in the week we planned for her to stay overnight here at the Milton Hilton, since she would've been staying the next town over on her way to a mission trip in St. Louis. She let it slip that some of her group had dropped out of the trip at the last minute, and that their already-paid-for slots were open to anyone who wanted to go.

Now, seven hours later, I'm packed to go to St. Louis in the morning. o.O I don't really know how it happened. It just... happened.

Perhaps there will be a blog entry about the trip when I return next Saturday. In the meantime, keep us in your prayers -- it's going to be a fun week. XD

It's taken two months for my summer to get interesting. Hooray for spontaneous mission trips!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The 4th Update

And in regards to the title... please, check your puns at the door.

Well, my lovely bloggers... another year, another July 4th with the fam. My relatives are currently engaged in the annual domino's match, Kate and I are watching a TV marathon of Law and Order, and I've had my yearly margarita. All is well. Of course, most of our little second-cousins have left, and the ones who are here are out back in the pool under careful first-cousin supervision... so I'm just happy to not be babysitting right now.

For those unfamiliar with the Milton family traditions, the Fourth of July means lunch with my Dad's side here at our house. And I'm not afraid to admit that the fun begins long before the actual event. Cleaning the house begins days before, especially now that my Dad's office is no longer in our house (this is first year since Dad started his appraisal business ten or twelve years ago) and Mom and Dad are not at home during the day to help prepare on the 3rd. I admit, the cleaning is not nearly as bad as the time we prepared the house for weeks before my cousin's post-wedding reception reception (yes, she had two receptions, and the second was "small" enough to host in our house), but memories of that experience still haunt me and have conditioned me to dislike house-cleaning. And all the cleaning has to be done at least an hour before everyone is supposed to show up, because there's always someone who comes early. This year, everyone was supposed to arrive around 11:30. My grandmother was walking in the door at 10:45.

Once all the family comes, the lunch itself is quite enjoyable. This year there were several more little second-cousins than I was prepared to handle; four, to be exact, when we were only expecting two. But we could've had five -- cousin Andrea, mother of two-year-old Noah, is expecting a little girl and is going to the hospital tomorrow to enduce labor. We didn't have to do much babysitting today, and for that I am glad. Matthew and Andrew still come over expecting to watch "Dinosaur" --The Land Before Time movies-- and nothing else, and even though we tried hard to push Disney to them this year, Beauty and the Beast is "full of girl stuff", in the words of six-year-old Andrew, and they're just not interested in Aladdin. Sigh. They just don't know what they're missing.

After lunch, if Matthew and Andrew aren't watching enough Dinosaur to make the typical adult brain explode, the adults break out the domino's and Kate and I break out the TV remotes. And after an hour or so of that, they break out the margaritas. Now, don't think any less of me, but I like margaritas. I have since I tried one a couple years ago (at July 4th... the only time my family mixes and drinks margaritas).

By the way, don't get tequilla in your hair. Dries it out somethin' awful.

Anyway.

Unfortunately at this point in my rambling, my dear blogger, I must leave you. There is clean-up duty yet in store for me, now that I've had a few hours of Law and Order and blogging on Rodney. Tonight I'll climb out on the roof with Dad and Kate, and watch the fireworks from the show down at the Prattville stadium downtown. It's the part of the day I most look forward to... other than this blog entry, of course.

Happy Fourth of July, everybody.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Additions to the Quotes Page

Eh, it's about time I did another one of these just for fun. Now here's hoping at least half of these quotes can make sense stand-alone... or perhaps they're funnier because they don't make sense on their own. XD

I love my friends. Really, I do. But interesting things happen when my friends all hang out...
For instance, we can't watch a TV show or a movie without making fun of it.

While watching "Magic Knight Rayearth" (don't ask me WHY... x_x):
"It's a scantily-clad toga!" --Pat
--
"...did that thing just say 'poo'?" --Jasmine
(brief explanation... there's an odd little critter that makes what is supposed to be a cute-little-critter noise, but really... it's just saying "poo". It also makes food appear out of nowhere and somehow speaks telepathicly with the main characters.)
--
"My green is hair like your eyes!" --Efad (supposed to be "my hair is green like your eyes")
--
"There are words in my heart... along with the poo." --Pat
--
"Hey, small irritating creature, can you fart me out a Coke or something?" --David

While watching Cyrano DeBergerac:
"They're going to populate the world with stupid, pretty, superficial babies!"
"Well, it worked. [...] They're probably responsible for Brad Pitt." --Efad and Kate

While watching Reign of Fire:
Efad: "I want a dragon!"
Kate: "What?"
Efad: "I want a pet dragon! I'll name it Herbert!"
Katie: "That's probably not a good idea..."
Efad: "Aw, c'mon!"
Katie: "No, no no... Herbert go RAWR! Herbert go FWOOM! Efad go crisp!"

But we don't just watch movies with each other.
We also like our video games. We like them a lot.

Katie: *opens up her fortune cookie* "Hmm. 'A man who dares to waste an hour of time hasn't discovered the value of life...' Well, we don't waste time. Now where is that other Gamecube controler?"

We tend to become a tad vocal whenever we play.

--
"A car just fell on my head!" --Katie (Super Smash Brothers Melee)
--
"Squirrel! ...who appears to be wearing a tablecloth..." --Kate (Animal Crossing)
--
"Lyude, I cannot properly defend myself with cheese!" --Efad (Baten Kaitos)
--
"Right now, your life's ambition is to wear pants." --Efad to Katie (Final Fantasy XI)
--
"Hey -- you there! Get back in his mind!" --Katie (Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker)
--
"I spy with my little eye... something I can set on fire..." --Efad (Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker)
--
"I'm pulling an 8-bit Rambo!" --JJ (Gallaga)
--
"AAAGH, I hate him, he's so hard to kill! Especially when he's... um... not easy to kill." --JJ (one of the Dragonball Z games...)
--
"FEAR MAH ELBOWS!" -and- "My butt is on fire and I'm flipping you off in Koopa!" --Efad (Mario Kart: Double Dash)
--
Efad: "Hey, it's got little bits of soup in it!"
JJ: "Of course there's soup in it. It's SOUP." (Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)
--
"Captain Falcon: Moose Inspector!" --JJ (Super Smash Brothers Melee... Capt. Falcon's taunt is "show me your moves" and we kinda misheard him...)
--
"I'll see your P-button and raise you a DEATH!" --Kate (Super Mario World)
--

And, like any group of friends, we have our running jokes, too.

-walk up to Pat, look him in the eye, and say "Little bottle of bleach".
-Start saying "Wheee!" randomly during a conversation with Katie.
-Every roof in Miami is red. Because 'CSI: Miami' says so.
-A list of Anime guys who have a Wrong Time of the Month. (Inuyasha... Ranma from Ranma 1/2... Dilandau from Escaflowne...)
-The phrase "Freezin' my FRICKIN' ARMS OFF!"
-The "WHO WEARS SHORT SHORTS!" song.
-Coffee Gnomes.
-And, of course, the exclamation of "Quotes page!" when someone achieves Quotes Page status.

But other than that, we're pretty normal.

--
"I had to rate my latest fic PG-13 for sustained scenes of danger and graphic pottery violence." --Efad
--
"I'd like to have a sensible voice in my head that gets hangovers." --Kate (watching A Beautiful Mind)
--
Katie: "Oatmeal isn't supposed to make you high!"
Michael Ben: "This is some awesome oatmeal, then..."
--
Katie: "Angst-muffin!"
Efad: "Angst-muffin?"
Katie: "Angst-muffin."
--
*Katie tries to stick a grape juice label on Efad*
Kate: "Don't label people, it's rude!"
Efad: "Yeah -- how would you like to be labeled a prep, or a jock, or..."
Katie: "...a bottle of grape juice?"
--

...well... essentially normal, anyway.

Katie: "This is your sneeze... THIS is your sneeze on crack!"

...okay, perhaps not.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Dangers of Writer's Block

---------------
Yes, I know, I take forever to finish even the shortest of projects. I started this in the most opportune of writing conditions: it was a day when I had absolutely nothing to do; I was sitting in a place where no one would distract me, armed with my notebook and pencil... and still it took me a month to finish it. Aargh.
That said... enjoy.
---------------

I lean back against the walls of the booth and let out a tired sigh. I've been trying to write. I've been trying to write something, anything, for weeks now. My notebook falls aimlessly onto my lap as I stretch my legs out, and I slip my pencil behind my ear for safe-keeping. It's still too early in the morning to concentrate on writing, anyway. I let my eyes wander until I find myself watching the ways the morning light reflect through my plastic glass, and I occasionally turn the glass to see the reflected light on the table change, morphing like a kelidescope of Powerade-yellow light. The sounds of the Great Hall are buzzing around my out-of-the-way booth, but the breakfast crowd can't hold a candle to the dull roar usually caused by the dinner crowd; most of the sensible Covenant students are asleep at this hour of the morning, anyway, and I don't know why I'm not. It's the day after finals and I should be resting... but all I want to do right now is write, even though I have nothing to write about.
I stop playing with my drink, sit back again, and close my eyes. If I listen, I can hear people talking, dishes clattering, silverware clinking, the drink machines humming... and if I concentrate, I can make myself hear nothing at all.
But a sound penetrates the silence: two sets of footsteps, shuffling along on the tile floor. I listen harder. Both people are wearing flip-flops or sandals, but not the flimsy ones the girls on my hall so often wear; and whoever is walking, both of them have long legs, judging by the length of their strides...
"Hey."
I open my eyes. Two tall boys are standing beside my table. The one closest to me, Aaron, is smirking and looking expectantly at me, and the other, Kevin, looks a bit cross, but I'm not worried. Kevin always looks cross anytime before noon.
"Oh, hey, guys." I'm a little surprised, to say the least. I haven't exactly been expecting to see them... "What are you doing here?"
"Never mind us. Don't you have things you need to be doing?" Kevin crosses his arms. "You're going home in a few days and there's packing to do."
I grin at him. "It's not like I've forgotten about going home, Kevin. Give me a break -- I just finished finals yesterday, for goodness sake." I look up at them again. They haven't moved to sit down yet. "Um... you can have a seat if you want, you know."
"Don't mind if we do." Aaron slides into the booth beside me, and Kevin stretches himself out on the seat across from us. I try not to grin at him again; even with his back against the back wall of the booth, his feet are still sticking out over the side. Aaron takes a sip of my drink, and his expression makes me laugh. "What is this?"
"Sprite and Powerade. That'll teach you to take other peoples' drinks, won't it?"
"It's not my fault you can't drink one or the other like a normal person." He looks sideways at me, and the twinkle in his eye betrays his jest. I chuckle at him. If anyone else had said it, I probably would've been a little put out at such an accusation, but I've been familiar with his sense of humor for a long time.
Kevin kicks off his sandals onto the floor. "What do they have to eat around here?"
"If they had anything worthwhile, I wouldn't be drinking Sprite and Powerade. You're welcome to look for yourself, though." I slip my pencil from behind my ear and start to idly fidget with it. Call it a nervous habit, but I tend to fidget with things when I'm not completely at peace with the world. A part of me knows that it's been a little too long since the last time these two showed up. Aaron was good about popping in every now and then, but Kevin was mostly content to wait and come until he knew I wasn't going to be busy with school or around all my Covenant friends. But now, both of them coming at once... something must not be right.
There is a slightly uncomfortable silence, during which Aaron takes another sip of my drink. I wonder, why can't he just go get his own? But before I can ask, he breaks the silence. "Alright, I know that look."
"What look?"
He sighs a little. "I know it's been a while since you've seen us. We've kinda tried to let you live the life of a college student without having to keep up with us--"
"Oh, don't be silly," I begin to protest, but he won't let me finish.
"--but really, there's a reason why we're here."
"You mean you're not here to make sure I'm packing to go home?" I inwardly wince at how sarcastic my tone sounds. I'm not angry with them...
"It's a little more serious than that."
I look up. Kevin is sitting with his arms crossed, and he's staring moodily at the wall on the other side of the room. Whatever's on his and Aaron's minds, it's not good news. "What's wrong?" I ask, and proceed to make a poor attempt at acting casual by reaching for my drink.
Kevin won't look at me. "Derek's gone."
"...what?" The plastic glass in my hand suddenly feels heavy and I fear I'll drop it, so I put it back down shakily. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Aaron shift uncomfortably. Kevin still won't look away from the wall, even though I'm speaking to him. "What do you mean, gone?"
"I mean, he disappeared! He vanished! He's completely gone, and he's never gonna come back!"
Aaron tries to warn him, "I think you should calm down," but he continues.
"I will not calm down!" Kevin fumes. "There's no reason to calm down! It's obvious that Derek disappeared because she" --he points at me-- "stopped writing, and you and I both know that the rest of us could be next!"
Now I'm the one who can't make eye contact. "I haven't completely stopped."
He scowls at me. "We wouldn't have come if you hadn't... because Derek wouldn't be gone if you hadn't. You don't even care that he's gone, do you?"
"That's enough." Only the tightness of Aaron's voice and his glare across the table give away how angry he is. "I think you should either calm down or leave. I didn't bring you so you could interrogate her." Kevin tries to say something more, but Aaron won't let him; he finally sits back, looking rather peevish about being reprimanded. I hear Aaron sigh through his nose. "I understand that Derek's disappearance isn't exactly sudden," he says, picking his words carefully. "He stopped coming around long before you stopped writing him into stories and such. But that doesn't change the fact that one of your characters is gone for good. You know the rest of us are at risk of disappearing like that too, right?"
I feel a pang of guilt. "Yes, I know."
"If you know," Kevin interjects, "then what's the problem?"
Aaron scowls at him. "Kev, if you won't stop your mouth from talking again, I will."
"No, it's okay," I say. "He's right. I can't seem to keep up with writing with y'all, and it really is my fault." I look back down at my notebook so I don't have to look up at Aaron and Kevin. "But I'm almost out of school for the summer. I'll have more time to write when I'm home, but there's still so much to do right now that I can't really sit down and concentrate on writing with a clear mind, you know?"
"We're not trying to pressure you or anything," Aaron says soothingly. "We just wanted to check and make sure everything was okay. ...well, I did," he adds with a pointed look across the table.
Kevin frowns. "Oh, come off it. I'm not heartless -- I was worried, too."
I smile to myself and start to say something, but I stop as I feel an odd shift in the room; the sounds of the Great Hall come flooding back to me and I jump, startled by the sudden noise. I look around for a moment, but Aaron and Kevin are gone. Perhaps they're content to leave me be for a while, now that they've gotten their point across to me.
I look down at my notebook again, and then at my watch. I've been in the Great Hall for almost an hour. With a small sigh, I close my notebook and pick up my drink as I leave the booth. It strangely didn't pain me to know that one of my characters had left me... he had always been reluctant with me, anyway, like he didn't want to be written after all. But maybe I could keep my other characters, the ones I've truly grown attached to, from disappearing forever. Now if I could only find some inspiration to write again, and such a thing was hard to come by these days.
As I think about my characters, the image of Aaron and Kevin sitting in the booth with me flashes before my mind's eye, and as I leave the Great Hall a smile creeps its way across my face. Perhaps I have something to write about after all...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

No Wonder They Call it "Hell Week"

Today was the last day of class. This can only mean that finals are just around the corner.

A week from today, I will be completely finished with my Freshman year of college.

Ten days from today, I will be home for the summer.

Ten minutes from now, I'll still be wishing that today was next week.

This afternoon I was cleaning up my desk; packing up the non-essentials, throwing away papers from last semester, putting my books into boxes, and all the while feeling like I was packing up to go home tomorrow. Talk about agonizing. I'm two grains of sanity away from jumping in my car and driving home tonight. And driving home tonight would mean leaving my worldly possessions behind, getting fined for leaving my worldly possessions behind, and leaving my college friends for the summer without saying goodbye.

I have a heart full of wunderlust and a schedule full of tests. How dreadfully ironic.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Practical Application of Clinical Psychology

Dysthymia (dis-'thI-mE-ah): (n.) depression characterized by a lack of enjoyment/pleasure in life that continues for at least two years. (See also: college)
Clinical Depression ('klin-I-kal dI-'pre-shun): (n.) a state of intense sadness, melancholia or despair that has advanced to the point of being disruptive to an individual's social functioning and/or activities of daily living. (See also: finals week)

Cheeky ('chE-kE): (adj.) Flippant; making light of something usually regarded as serious or sacred. (see also: signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation from studying 'til three a.m. for a psych test)

Two more weeks...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Look, Ma, We're In The News!

I'm actually not as excited as the title makes me sound. Read it again, this time with sarcasm and just a dash of frustration.

You might want to read this before continuing with the rest of my post.

. . .

No, this is not an April Fool's joke.

See now, I don't know if my frustration is justified in any way, but I am honestly more than a little miffed. Whoever wrote that article did a botched job, I think; unless they were trying to leave out some important details, in which case they absolutely excell at their job. The greatest offense is that the article doesn't mention the "terms" discussed between the two parties, but instead leaves it to the imagination influenced by the power of press-made suggestion. As far as I have been told, the Covenant administration tried to extend multiple opportunities for the Equality Riders to come onto the campus; they would be allowed to talk with the students, the faculty, attend chapel, and have lunch in the Great Hall. Soulforce would not agree, so they were not permitted to come onto the campus property at all. After three hours of dialogue between the students and the Riders, four of the protesters came onto Covenant property in full knowledge of prior warnings, and consequently were arrested.
...also, the article left out that the Covenant students took boxed lunches to the Equality Riders. But that might just be me being nit-picky.

I think Channel Three has a better article than The Chattanoogan, but Channel Nine has a video with the coverage that I believe is the most fair and balanced for both parties. The Chattanooga Times has a pretty decent article, too.

Now, I know where I stand on all this, but I want to know what y'all think.
For your consideration:
the Soulforce homepage
Covenant's statements regarding the Equality Ride visit

UPDATE:
The Soulforce on-the-road blog updated with their take on the visit.
I must say, when I read it, I didn't know how to react. I still don't. My mind is still trying to muddle through conflicting experiences of indignation, distress, and confusion.

But I put all this up for you, the reader, to make your own decision based on all the evidence (or literature) that surrounds the Soulforce visit to Covenant College. I hope you will take everything into a careful evaluation of what happened this last Monday morning.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The March Post... Update... Thing

I'm afraid there might not be too much to this post; I'm just trying to remind the electronic world that I haven't been wholly beaten and broken into submission by Realityland yet.

March (AKA spring) has hit full-force up here on the mountain. I think there might've been a day of transition between winter and spring, but that's just life in the South for you: Tuesday you go through the day wearing two layers and a jacket, and Wednesday you're down to a tee-shirt and a light windbreaker tied around your waist. And it's not just the weather that's taking a turn for the better -- the entire campus is coming back to life. Trees are budding, flowers are blooming, birds are singing... and there is a good number of students who can be found sprawled out on the sunny chapel lawn like a plague of lizards coming out of hibernation. And keeping in mind that we are a Christian college, I do wonder (with some amusement) if visitors think the students are encouraged to participate in sun-worshiping, what with the way they're all lying prostrate on the ground whilst in the presence of the almighty sun. I would say they're all doing their yoga, but this goes so far beyond just Sun Salutations into a near-religious zeal and infatuation. Of course, irresponsible sun-worshiping does bring about an epidemic of sunburn... and I bet there is a remarkable shortage of aloe around here. Heh.

Another point of interest: Wikipedia says there is no biologically scheduled mating season for the homo sapiens species, but I beg to differ. From all my psuedo-scientific observations from the Official People-Watching Window of Room 340, I have concluded that if there is no mating season, there IS a biologically scheduled "coupling season". In the same way a majority of the Covenant student body has rediscovered life in the warm weather and sunlight, they also have apparently rediscovered that there is, in fact, a decent representation of the opposite sex on campus. I know that coupling up in the winter is a little bit difficult at times; after all, it gets hard to tell who's who when everyone is bundled up and only exposing the three-ish inches of skin from the tip of the nose to the eyebrow line. You either give all your friends name-tags or you get really good at identifying people by their eyes.
But in regards to the increasing number of happy little couples engaging in the Let's Get Together game, it baffles me as to how some of these people DO get together when I'm relatively sure some of these couples didn't know each other existed before the end of February, much less all last semester. This is typically the pattern of the Firs' Year student. Yes, although it might give the 2010 class a bad rep, I'm afraid that most of the "Spontaneous Coupling" contest participants are of the Freshman variety. It is a tad amusing, though, that I hardly see one partner in a Freshman couple without the other inseparably joined at the hand. My cynicism tells me that very few of these couples will make it past the three-month mark, but my common sense tells me to mind my own business. And my muses tell me to write about it :)

Fear not, dear reader, for not all is sarcasm and cynicism in this little world of mine. There is something in particular that has kept me excited all month: Founders Music Video Night. Now for those who are unfamiliar with this one magic night of entertainment, I'm pretty sure you can put two and two together here... all the halls in Founders (the building in which I live) each have the opportunity to make their own music videos that will be shown in a single campus-wide event. It is a competition --the hall who wins gets $50 for their hall, I think-- held in the highest regard, but it's more fun than I've had in a long time. The actual event is tonight, but we Gallery girls have been planning and filming our video all the way up until the deadline (last Friday)... and, of course, I was heavily involved with the filming. We had to use my camera, after all, so I was automatically assigned the role of Head Camera-Person, but I didn't mind at all. I think I'm too much a kindred spirit to Mark Cohen to ever turn down an opportunity for filmmaking. Of course, this all involved frustrating brainstorming sessions in when the filmmaker and the self-proclaimed director locked horns more than just once or twice (much to the annoyance of several other Gallery girls... apparently it's okay for everyone else to have opinions except me), the filming process and taking too many takes, too few takes, not enough varied footage, too little varied footage... not to mention the painful hours that our wonderful and amazing editor put into making the footage into an actual video (thank you, Ike!). I know it all sounds like a great way to get a stomach ulcer, but up from the ashes of disaster and frustration came a music video. I think that's pretty shiny. I'll try and post it if someone ever puts it on YouTube or the like... :)

And here at the end of March is where I must leave you, my dear reader. Until next time... (or next month...) Same blog time, same blog place.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

SEPA, Or "Fear and Loathing In New Orleans."

(note: I've taken the liberty of assigning nicknames to everyone, just so's I can write about them without their permission and get away with it. And yes, it did take me a day and a half to finish this entry. Warning: this post is long, so beware of frequent digressions into nothing of great importance.)

The trip actually started when we left Mac Circle at 1:30 (eastern) Wednesday afternoon, but the bus ride was so uneventful that even taking pictures of the sleeping people lost its interest. Everything became much more interesting for us when we arrived in Louisiana.

It was 9:30 (central) when our bus slowed to a stop in front of the Sheraton on Canal Street. It was normally a very busy street, what with it being just a stone's throw from the heart of New Orleans, but with the exception of a car or two and very few people, it felt desolate and dormant. It was quite dark for a city, despite the orange security lights and white streetlights that illumined splotches of the sidewalk and even less of the street, but the last two trips I had made to New Orleans had been in the broad daylight. The darkness and the desolation combined only made the city all the more eerie to me.

We found out to our delight that we were all staying on the twelfth floor, and with our room assignments and luggage in hand, group after group went up the elevator to get settled for the evening. Keep in mind, dear reader, that everyone getting on these elevators lives at Covenant and with the Covenant elevators; and if you are unfamiliar with the significance of Covenant elevators, then, well... to just call them "slow" is an understatement. I'm fairly certain that every Covenant student spends 25% of a semester waiting for or standing in an elevator. So when I say that the elevator at the Sheraton positively flew up and down the shaft, I want you to know exactly what it felt like. I'd never ridden the Tower of Terror until I rode the elevator in that hotel. And I wasn't the only one -- stomachs lurched, hands gripped for support on handrails (or the nearest person who was already holding a handrail), and guys and girls alike let out grunts of discomfort at feeling their entrails being squashed down by the force of the G's. Twelve floors and 0.2 seconds later, we staggered out and found our rooms.

We'd already had Adventure #1, and we hadn't even spent five minutes in the hotel. Oh, my.

There was a mandatory meeting at 10:00, after which some of the group decided to explore the hotel and find the conference rooms where we would all need to be tomorrow. I brought my map, conveniently printed on the back of the conference program, and followed one of my roommates for the weekend, who I will from here on refer to as Cassie, and a couple of the guys down to the third floor. As it turns out, going down in the Mach Five is even worse than going up had been, and I felt I had to hold onto the handrails to keep from feeling like most of me was still up on the twelfth floor. But we arrived safely and started to look around, following the map that was not only not drawn to scale, but also more of an artistic interpretation of the hotel layout than an actual map. We walked up and down the long hall several times before we got our bearings, and soon after we had found most of what we were looking for, our small exploration was joined by another group consisting of Cyclops, Beagle, Rockstar, Wings, and a few upperclassmen, including Captain, who was the senior SEPA-attendee in my room. And when we helped them find the same rooms we had already found, Cassie and I learned that they were all planning to go walking around the French Quarter, and we jumped on the elevator with them and zoomed down to the lobby without a second thought.

If Canal Street had looked desolate when we had pulled up in front of the hotel an hour ago, it was all but abandoned now. Hardly anyone was walking around except our group of college kids, and thanks mostly to Cyclops, we were a slightly rowdy group for that time of night. As we walked, we noticed bits and pieces of broken Mardi Gras necklaces lying on the sidewalk and in the street: "Oh, Mardi Gras was yesterday, wasn't it?" Someone mused. Now reminded of that, the guys got the idea that if there were still some unbroken necklaces around, they would find them and take them home as souvineers... so the first leg of the trip consisted of the girls watching the guys climb fences, trees, and each other to get beads from ridiculously high places. Cyclops and Rockstar were even yelled at by some bouncers at a club across the street for their climbing antics. As the trip went on, the rest of the group got tired when one or two of us would stop to retrieve yet another necklace, so the stragglers eventually started to be left behind until the necklace gathering was put on the back-burner for a while. Instead, we scaled the stairs of a little semi-circular performance area (where I remembered I had seen a magician/comedian perform when I had been in New Orleans for my first time), found a little area up above that overlooked the nearby train tracks, and we all were entertained by watching a drunk guy stagger across the tracks and off into the night.

We eventually found ourselves in front of Cafe du Monde, home of the famous dougnut creation "the beignet", which is actually quite like a funnel cake on steroids. I'm telling you now, dear reader, you MUST have a beignet before you die. Yes, it's just deep-fried dough and mountains of powdered sugar... but eating a plate of beignets is something that must be experienced. And my finely-tuned pastry sense (thank you, Nii-san!) was going off like crazy when we found that the Cafe was open all night, but there were no late-night beignet stops in our plans, seeing as how more than half of us had blindly followed the party-goers without stopping to think about fetching wallets or purses. Sigh.

On the way back, we almost got arrested.

...okay, I exaggerate. The cop didn't even get out of his car, so it doesn't really count as even an "almost".

Alright, it isn't even that exciting in retrospect, but at the time it was a little scary. The full story is, as we had finally turned around to head for the hotel for the night, Rockstar spotted some beads in a tree that he deemed within reach, so he climbed the fence below them and started to try to get them down. The rest of the group didn't seem to notice he'd stopped, so I stayed behind with him since I didn't know what else to do. Unfortunately, in his rush to get the beads and in my mild panic about being left behind, neither of us noticed that the fence he was climbing was one of the fences of Jackson Square (at least, I think it was Jackson Square...), which had been locked up for the night to keep our mischievous imps like us. And when the police car that happened to be driving by slowed to a stop on the street behind me to see if we were trying to break the law, I panicked even more, and all I could think to say to Rockstar was, "Um... there's a cop behind me..."
"Are you serious?"
"Very."
Rockstar looked at the police car, gave the necklace one last obvious look, and jumped down. We started after the rest of the group at a brisk walk, but it escaladed to a jog. And he had a little too much fun relaying the story to everyone else when we caught up with them...

After our first night of awesome adventures, we made it back to the hotel and turned in for the night sometime around 12:30 or 1:00... only to wake up the next morning at seven and be late for breakfast at Cafe du Monde (Pastry senses... tingling...!) with the rest of the team. Three out of four girls in my room and a few others who had been left behind all power-walked down the the French Quarter, which in the morning light looked very normal and considerably less eventful -- a huge contrast from the sleepy, kinda shady downtown we had seen the night before. The clubs that had been thriving with nightlife and slightly intimidating in the dark were now dead, abandoned, and the buildings themselves seemed to have hangovers. All the small alleyways we walked by no dead bodies or passed-out drunk people, much to the dismay of the CSI fan in me. It was all almost as disappointing as discovering that the monster in your closet is actually the family cat tearing up a cardboard box at two in the morning.

But I digress.

After breakfast (hooray, beignets!) and registration for the conference back at the hotel, we spent the entire day sitting in paper sessions and lectures, wandering around the poster displays, and asking questions of a lot of people who were far older and much smarter than we. We all had so much information crammed into our brains in just one day, but I shan't bore you with the details, because I think the only thing I learned that I could easily communicate to a mass audience is, "I really DO need to take Statistics."

For the sake of brevity, I will skip ahead to the next adventure: dinner. Now, keep in mind that the group I hang out with could make anything into an adventure; dinner just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, in a manner of speaking. All thirty of us hiked down and around New Orleans until we came to Acme Oyster House (and you are not a true Looney Toons fan if this neither sounds suspicious nor makes you snicker), marched in the front door only to be shooed back out because of the size of our group, filed up the side stairway only to come back down because of a failure in communication, until we were finally standing outside while the servers played rock-paper-scissors to decide who would lose and have to work the tables of twenty-nine college students and their professor. And we all proved to be quite an ordeal after all -- even though there were repeated attempts by some of the "of-age" students to get permission to break contract, we were quite the rowdy crowd, rather messy, and when the oyster and crawfish plates were passed around... well... the simplest explanation to it all is that boredom begets creativity. It was the most entertaining night I'd had in a long, long time.

After dinner, there was nothing left but to resign ourselves to our fate: the notebooks. Since we SEPA-goers were all getting two credit hours to take the conference as a class, we all had to show our "process of learning" for a class that had no tests. These notebook assignments asked us to journal our "new learning", some ideas we wished to remember from the SEPA convention, the summary of each day we were at SEPA, a summary of our "new learning", a summary of what we had discovered about our major because of SEPA, a lot of other random notes and such, and things like five favorite memories of going to/being at the convention with everyone, five issues that stuck out in our minds, five ideas we wanted to apply to our daily lives after the convention... as you can see, it was a lot of writing. ...at least, a lot more than we thought it to be. And looking at this mostly empty notebook on Thursday night with the promise of "Oh, I can do some of this tomorrow night...", a lot of us put off the majority of the notebook writing until the beautifully indefinite Later and went downstairs to watch the SEPA presentation of Crash (brief summary: an intense and powerful movie, but definitely not for the kiddies...).

This "Later" turned out to be the next night, when a lot of us ended up writing 'til well past three in the morning to finish those dern-blasted things. We took over the hall of the twelfth floor and sat and wrote until we could write no more, and even then some of us were still rushing in the last few hours Saturday afternoon to get finished before the deadline of 2:00. So, as the deadline drew nearer, more and more students found themselves suffering through symptoms of carpal tunnel as they scribbled furiously in their notebooks, desperately praying for a miracle to slow down time itself, willing their hands to write just a little faster...

In retrospect, the convention was just one big rush-around chaotic trip; it was amazing fun, but absolutely insane. We were all so stressed and sleep-deprived that we could barely walk a straight line Saturday afternoon, and it was a long ten-hour bus ride later that put us back at Covenant after one in the morning on Sunday. We staggered out, went our separate ways for the night, and collapsed into bed; by Monday, we were barely back on our feet in time to tackle the last week of school before Spring Break.

If given the chance, I would do it all over again.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Life Lesson #23: "Scary" is Subjective

There's a little bit of history involved in this little lesson, so try and stay with me.

The Backstory:
I do not like horror movies. In fact, in the tiny, barely visible corner of the universe where I'm allowed to file My Likes and My Dislikes, horror movies are filed in the way far back of the My Dislikes drawer. And it's not like I don't want to watch them because "They're stupid!" or "They're a waste of time!" (even thought they are...); my overactive imagination takes anything that is realistically impossible and convinces me that the impossible is hiding in wait for me in my closet, behind my door, or underneath my car. However, show me anything that is completely possible or let me read the supernatural freaky things, and I'm just fine. That's why I can watch CSI, Criminal Minds, Secret Window, and LOST (dude, trust me, it's a lot freakier than you'd think) and I can read Bram Stoker, Neil Gaiman, and Frank Peretti, but I have nightmares from just seeing the trailers for Chucky, Freddy vs. Jason, and Saw 1/2/3. Maybe it's the visual aspect. I don't really know.

The Situation:
Kate and I regularly watch Criminal Minds, which (as you hopefully gather from the title) often delves into the darker side of the human mind, into the thoughts and motives of the most sinister, most psychotic, most frightening people. As you can imagine, when it shows the crimes as they are being committed, it can be rather frightening to see what human beings can do to each other. Now, since the TV-watching pattern is predictable, we sometimes get hallmates who come in and start watching with us, but they come in a little unprepared. Because of this, some of them get a little freaked out about the show. One girl got up from an episode declaring, in all seriousness, "You guys have fun, but this is too scary for me."

The Lesson:
What is defined as "scary" in TV or movies is dependant on the viewer. Why did it take me this long to figure this out? I don't know. It's also a bit amusing how I expect people to be sensitive to my inability to watch horror movies, but when someone finds something that I like "scary", I can't for the life of me figure out why.

Hmm.

I'm not sure if this teaches me to be aware of others' tastes and tolerances, or if I have a really weirdly-wired mind. I'm willing to believe that both are true, and to add that I'm a bit of a slow learner. ^^; But no matter, everyone else can have their horror movies as long as I can have my psychological thrillers.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Weather Outside Is Frightful...

...and the classrooms aren't delightful...

*ignores the bespectacled asparagus in her head screaming "And stop being so SILLY!"*

And another semester begins. I've only been through my first month of classes and I'm already tired, even though I attribute most of the fatigue to my 8am class, which is a pretty big change in my schedule for night-owl me; also, I've only been back for a month and it's already snowed a couple of times. Well, nothing stuck, so it I suppose it flurried. ...very short-lived flurries. More like a distribution of snowflakes that one day hopes to grow up and be a flurry like its daddy. And while I'm on a rant about the weather, the cold temperatures freezing our fair campus only serve to remind me that, though I was born in the northern lands, I have yet to develop a decent tolerance to the cold. The only solace for my shivering soul is the knowledge that with this kind of cold comes snow, and with snow comes a snow day... and keep in mind, I'm a twelve-year homeschool alumnus from Alabama. Even when it DID snow (five years ago) I had no excuse of "There's no school today!" So the concept of snow days is, to me, the best thing since mashed potatoes. So, yeah. Baby, it's cold outside. (I'm sure you're just dying to know how many song titles I can fit into this post. Oh ho, ye of little faith -- I've only just begun.)

Tomorrow is our January "Day of Prayer", the news of which is greeted by most Freshman with a look of excitement and "You mean we get another one?" Yes, after the first month of each semester Covenant students are given a day to pray, have worship services outside of Chapel, and bond with our brothers and sisters in Christ... and, most importantly, not have to get up for an 8am class. And even though we, unlike other schools, may not get get off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Labor Day, President's Day, Columbus Day, Groundhog Day, Winter Stolstice Day, National Talk Like A Pirate Day, Saturnalia, Lupercalia, and Every Crazy Person Gets A Driver's License Day... we get Day of Prayer. And we like it, almost as much as we like Preview Weekends (it's a weekend plus good food to impress the ikkle previewers -- what's not to love about it?).

I'm afraid this is all the update I can give you for now, dear reader. For now, I must go and read more in my philosophy textbook. Oh, how I love reading about Socrates and his wily boy-loving ways... but I leave you with your Website of the Update (warning: contains foul language and spoilers for 24). Until next time!

And on another ADD note, I now know that I'm too big a fan of Crossing Jordan; I debated doing a celebratory dance when I figured out that Lu was written out of the show for good. Is that bad? ...does it count for anything that I didn't? o_o;

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pointless Update #2!

^^a More videos for your entertainment, but they're not mine. It's a Harry Potter fan-made flash video series called the Potter Puppet Pals; the videos are ridiculous, bizarre, and positively hilarious. And, although something so random should not follow a sequence, they have a specific order in which they must be watched. Here they are:

The first...

...the second... (slightly longer than the first, and more entertaining)

...and now the third.

I don't know if it helps to have a vast knowledge (trans = the tendency to do obsessive-compulsive Wikipedia searches for all those weird little questions that fans ask when they have way too much time on their hands) of the Harry Potter world, but they're still fun. The third video deals quite a bit with things related to Order of the Phoenix, like all the wizard angst and Harry's random outburst of swearing, and it kinda helps to know who Dobby is and why it's funny to the fans that Harry has nightmares about him...
On the other hand, if you're a Harry Potter fan that gets injured by fanstuffs easily (not that I blame you, considering the never-ending supply of fanfics that make you beat your head against a wall), let me warn you that these flash videos are actually a bit irreverent and rather stupid as entertainment goes. A naked Dumbledore is such an absurd idea that it goes through the back door of comedy and comes all the way around the universe until it's funny. Personally, Wizard Angst (the third) had me laughing out loud, and now there's the running joke between myself and three others on my hall that we Bother! each other in passing... so...

On an ADD note, Crossing Jordan is finally back on the air tonight! W00T! *dances*

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Much Funnier Than It Should Be...

My grandmother got the ten-year anniversery, THX-embedded Tickle Me Elmo for Christmas. I got to see it when my family went to Huntsville for New Year's and, well... you just can't help but laugh. ...and yeah, I know, it's bad that I found Dad grabbing Elmo's eyeball almost as funny as the toy itself. ^^;