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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Yay-hoo!

I heard a girl say it here on campus. It was weird, but it was funny. I'm tired. Personal accounts of the goings-on here in the VU 'hood will be in news-headline-format today.

STUDENT SPENDS EXTRA NIGHT WITH GIRLFRIEND, SAYS 'YAY-HOO'

PROFESSOR OF BIBLE COURSE IS GRACIOUS; CLASS ENDS EARLY

LITERATURE TEACHER ILL, CANCELS CLASS; STUDENTS REJOICE

WEDNESDAY PLANS CANCELLED DUE TO TO-DO LIST

STUDENT SHIRKS CHORES; LAUNDRY-BAG REEKS

There's my dragon, Kaizer.

Almost forgot these: Happy Birthday to Mandy S., Natalie T., Heather M., and Jenihe, whose birthday I was unaware of until I was informed by my informant.

And let's not forget to wish Toe-Mass and Christy a Happy Anniversary! ^_^

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Pendulum Swings

I'm actually writing this post before I choose a title for it, because I really don't know if everything I'm about to say will fit under one title. We'll see.

My weekend with Llaura was a roller-coaster. Not our relationship, necessarily, but just a really mixed weekend. Had a lot of good stuff happen, and a lot of stuff that taught me a little bit more patience. I don't regret staying with her family at all... I just wish some things had happened a little bit differently, I guess. Going to the beach stank, except Llaura enjoyed some of it, so that part of it ruled. It was hard to find time together, where we could just focus on each other and have no distractions or anything, but that made it more valuable, I suppose.

Cheese... her grandparents' church service was the most "Christian" church service I've ever been to. Ever. I guess they were trying to do a "seeker-friendly" service, because they had one brunch service instead of two sermon services. We had pancakes and bacon and sausage and stuff, and saw a skit about three people who went to debtors' prison and couldn't get out until the prince of some faraway province died and left all of his wealth to be used to pay off all debts. Cheese, talk about generic and cliche! It was a well-done drama, but its message is so old, it just REALLY needs to be thrown out. Same mission, everybody, but we've got to change the approach.

They had someone come up and talk about his friend Tony who died mysteriously and without apparent cause, some weeks ago. Central message: "Count your days, and decide whether you want to go to heaven or hell, because you could croak anytime. Jesus offers eternal happiness, if you'll just accept Him into your heart." I was getting sick. I shouldn't have eaten that bacon.

And that wasn't even the pastor, just someone from the congregation. After that little sermon, the real pastor spoke about putting your faith in the Lord and saving your soul from the fiery pits, because if you become a Christian and trust Christ as your personal Saviour, you will be with Him and all your Christian family in heaven, for ever and ever and ever.

...but if you don't, you will be tortured for ever and ever and ever. And then the pastor told us he was going to say a prayer, and if we wanted to become one of God's children, we could just silently repeat after him, each in our hearts. Dear Jesus... please come into my heart... I realize that I'm a sinner... blah blah blah.

I'm not blaspheming. I'm not chattering heresy on my blog. (Not this one, anyway... ;) stay tuned for that.) I just fail to see how the "if you want to go to heaven, convert to our religion" message is seeker-friendly. Yeah, the brunch was nice, and the music was very happy and welcoming, but seriously now. There's no seeker-friendliness in the way they did things. It was kind of sad.

Not that there are any perfect churches out there or anything, and I'm not better than any other person in the world, nor can my pastor beat up their pastor (maybe)... but when they say it's seeker-friendly and then present the gospel as an invitation to avoid torture, it just makes me sigh.

*sigh*

Anyway. I could tell lots of stories from this weekend, but some are kind of ;) personal, and others are still being arranged in my mind. New thoughts. I'm learning alot here, just by being. Oh, and that reminds me... my "Foundations for Christian Life" class RULES. I was literally trembling during class, because of the things we talked about and the way we talked about them. I could not ask for a better class. I'm beyond thrilled. Wow.

...then there's the bad news. Oo, I just thought of a good title for this post. Cool.

Next class: the empirical world. I won't capitalize it, because it doesn't deserve it. I've already ranted about it, I'm sure, so I'll spare you, but... cheese. Please pray for me in that class, and thank God for using it to teach me patience. A cussing three-and-a-cuss-cussing-half-hour class, and the guy doesn't know how to talk!!!

Pardon my english. Or should I say minglish? ;) I'll explain that later. Maybe.

Weight-lifting. Interesting. I haven't stretched like that since judo. I hurt. Ow. But it's good, because now I can be a real boy! with real arms, even! =) It's good for me. I just hope I don't smash anything, or make a fool of myself. I have never taken a p.e. class in my life. Ever. Weight-lifting is totally new to me. We'll see what happens. LoL watch, I'll come back and I'll be fat from eating too much, and you'll go, "You had weight-lifting and hip-hop? Yeah, right!"

I'll be sad if you say that, but you can think it silently if you want.

It turns out my books for this semester won't be very expensive. I've bought four books for $70 so far. Not bad. I expect to spend another $40 or so in the next couple of days, because some students have flyers up advertising books I need...

...so I've got everything taken care of except for (you guessed it) my natural sciences class textbook, which is $109 in the bookstore. Foofy. I can't find the 2004 edition online anywhere, so I may end up buying the crappy thing. Life is so cruel...

But sometimes it's okay, because I have music like "It's the Sneak" to make me smile after my 3.5-hour class. And I get to ramble on my blogs. Like this. Better stop now.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Oh, to Blog Again...

Yet another blog for you to briefly glance at while you're bored...

http://godthoughts.blogspot.com

I need this separate one because it's made for a specific purpose. I'm not obsessed with blogs.

¬_¬

Actually, this one is pretty serious. You might laugh. You might cry. It might move you. By the way, I'm leaving. Laura's gransparents live very close to me, so we're both spending the weekend there. I posted a few more stories than I had planned to, to make up for my weekend absence. Enjoy! And remember to comment, and to tell other people about my blog[s].

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Praise Lloth!

They served beans and pork carnita (or something) tonight. I am free!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I had coco (sp?) puffs and golden grahams for dinner. "I've got the world on a string..." I'm so happy, I could pee. Or start putting quotes in all my posts. In fact, why not a whole SLOUGH of them?!?!

...er... slew... whatever.

"What is that thing and why is it smiling at me?" -Garrett Stipe

"What are you eating, man? And... how are you eating it?" -Garrett Stipe

"No excuses. I'm just going to have to find myself another Filipino." -Garrett Stipe

"I say we just go to Panama lane." -Garrett Stipe

"Yeah, dude, these 'anonymous' quotes aren't gonna work. My quotes are going to be the only ones on the page. They're gonna know it's me." -Anonymous

CHEESE!!!

Monte Carlo's. Grilled swiss cheese sandwiches with turkey and ham. Curly fries. Steamed vegatables. Chocolate milk. Rice crispy treats.

Shrimp fried rice.

I told myself I was going to have some cereal. And I did. I had a half cupful of golden grahams... for dessert.

Help.

At least I've got some p.e. Hip-hop on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and possibly weight-lifting on MWF. And lots of stairs, and walking, and bike-riding, throughout the semester. And even typing! (Do these gloves make my fingers look fat?)

Behold: The Derivative

Most of you guys know how to graph a line. Kind of. Right?

y = 3x + 4

What would that look like? Well, the positive 3x means that if you pick a point on the line and move upwards 3 spaces and right 1 space, then you'll end up on another point on the line. The + 4 means the line intersects the y-axis (the vertical one) at a point 4 spaces above the origin (where the axes meet).

What about more complicated stuff, like f(x) = (x-4)² ? What the heck kind of graph is that? you may ask. Well, it's a parabola, which in this case looks like a letter "U", kind of (it's just a curved line).

Let's pretend we're using this curved line, this parabola, to represent your level of hunger. Yeah, that's right, we're getting personal, now. Bear with me. The curve starts at the top left corner, swoops down and to the right, and then changes direction vertically (but continues moving to the right) and eventually reaches the upper-right corner. If it's 12:00 p.m., lunchtime, at x = 0 (the horizontal origin), then that means you were very hungry at lunchtime, but then as you got closer to 4:00 p.m. or so (x = 4 on the graph), your hunger decreased. But after 4:00 p.m. (or so), you started getting hungry again, and your hunger eventually climbed back to where it was at lunchtime.

The graph for that is something like y = (x-4)². It tells us how your hunger (represented by the y-value, or vertical measure) changed over a period of time (the x-value, or horizontal measure).

But what if we wanted to know the rate of change? What if we wanted to know how quickly your hunger was changing over a period of time? Well, then we would take the derivative.

y = x² - 8x + 16

The derivative of the equation above is, very simply:

2x - 8

And that, of course, is just a line. What the heck does that mean? you ask. It means that even though your hunger can be viewed as a curve (it decreases at first and increases later), you can view the way it changes as a straight line. The derivative may seem very complicated, but it's much simpler than the original equation (the parabola).

All the 2x - 8 means is that your hunger is changing at a fixed rate. That rate doesn't change. Your hunger changes, but the rate at which it changes does not change. To make use of our example, let's say your hunger is at like level 10 at lunchtime, then it goes down to level 2 in the afternoon/early evening, and then rises to level 10 again at dinnertime. If we measure the changes in smaller increments, say from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., we'll find that it went down two levels during that hour. From 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m, it went from level 8 to level 6.

It's changed twice so far (judging by the way we've measured it). But there's one thing that hasn't changed: the rate of change. It went down two levels in the first hour, and it went down two levels during the second hour. The rate didn't change. Let's say we measure the change in your hunger every single hour, and find that it always either decreases or increases by two levels each hour. What does that mean?

It means the equation is changing, but the derivative isn't.

"But it does change," you may say, "'cause my hunger is decreasing on one side of the parabola/letter-u thingy, and increasing on the other side of it." Yes, it is, but all that means is the line that represents the derivative (the rate of change) is below the x-axis (the horizontal line) for a while, and then rises above it after that. It's negative at first, and positive later. The rate doesn't change.

Now. What the heck can that possibly have to do with my life?

Culture changes. Words come and go. Remember when "your face" was the worst insult and funniest joke? That changed, didn't it? Well, it changed from something else before that, and it'll change to something else again. The words change, but the change itself remains constant.

(And that's why we will never have complete, perfect chaos, by the way. If the world was perfectly chaotic, then nothing would be orderly, which means nothing would be constant. And if nothing is constant, then the chaos can't be constant either, and if the chaos isn't constant, then that means sometimes things won't be chaotic. They'll be orderly. Which means chaos can't be perfect, because if it were, it wouldn't be perfect. Just a side note there. A simpler way to think of it is, "The only thing we know for sure is that we can never know for sure.")

So the derivative is all about change, and the rate of change. When applied to life, it becomes a perspective that, if grasped, can make things much simpler to understand (even though understanding the derivative requires a deeper understanding of life in general).

When I used to hang out with the people at Fresno Christian High School, I would hear about people getting together and breaking up again all the freakin' time. "Hey, guess who's going out with so-and-so!" I would hear people say. There were even times when friends of mine came up to me and said, "Yeah, I'm engaged now. We'll probably be married in a few years."

I believed at first. After seeing hundreds of relationships fail, though, I saw the derivative. With every break-up, it became more and more clear to me that the only constant was change. Things constantly changing (interesting paradox, there). When I saw that, it gave me a new mindset whenever I heard about new relationships. I wasn't surprised or disappointed or confused anymore.

Another example: when I'm driving through heavy traffic, and I'm wondering whether a gap will appear in a certain lane, I remember the derivative, and realize that I can always expect change. There are way too many factors involved for things to be predictable. I can't tell you when that car on the right will make room for me, or which way it will go, but I don't have to. I take the derivative, anticipate the changes in traffic, and react accordingly when the equations present themselves, even if the derivative's solution doesn't involve the car in question.

(Some of you know I've received four traffic tickets in the last few years. Pay that no mind, those were not the result of a mathematical outlook, I swear.)

Taking the derivative is sort of like zooming out, except that you're moving backward in four dimensions, not three. It's like being inside a maze, and having no idea what's going on, and then suddenly having eyes in every wall, feeling the hallways as if they were parts of your body. You don't have the bird's eye view, because even that view would be confusing and chaotic, to some degree. Sometimes it's better to understand why you don't understand, instead of what you don't understand.

All comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

This Just In

More similarities to FDC. Our residence assistant wants to promote community, peace, and honesty on our floor. He wants us to become more like a family than a group of students that share a common altitude. We had our first floor meeting tonight, and it felt like a small group even though there are around two dozen of us. I actually introduced myself to someone, of my own free will. His sense of humor really brings back memories of bandos (from both church and FCHS). It's pretty encouraging.

I also saw an old friend of mine tonight. She lives fairly close by, and I hadn't seen her in... maybe two years? A year and a half? I don't know. Anyway, it was good to talk with her again, even though we were both a little awkward, due to past experiences in our relationship, most of which were my fault (the negative ones, anyway), so that made it even worse... but it was still good to see her. I miss her now, and hope that I will have more opportunities in the near future to be a better friend, and witness, than I have been so far.

I almost typed the word poopurtunities (accidentally, I swear) just now. It must be beddy-bye time. Actually, I do have to get up at 7a tomorrow, and I have to shower by 7:30a to be at breakfast on time before I have my first class at 8a, second class at 9a, chapel at 10a, and my third Wednesday class from 2:30p to 6p. It's going to be exhausting. Oh, and then there's the Rez Rally at 9:30p, which is mandatory. Cheese. At least the internet connection will be working tomorrow. I'm actually typing this in Notepad, and I won't be able to post it until tomorrow afternoon. Of course, now that you're reading it, I haven't the slightest idea what time it is, except that it's no earlier than tomorrow afternoon, which could really be today's afternoon for you, or maybe even yesterday's.

Ah, relativity. I hate and love it.

Stay tuned for that explanation of the derivative, all you non-math-haters.

Clovis Christian: Fight the man.

Micu Family Siblings: Don't abuse your recess privileges this year. Foofs.

Extended Family: Yeah, you know you're the only one who fits in this category, Ug. Don't let any jump spots sneak up on you while I'm gone.

Llaura: I Llllove you. Talk to you soon, hope you're enjoying these public entries.

~Isjami~

Photo-Sensitive

I hate cameras, when they're pointed at me. But I just got my picture taken for my student ID, and it took about 30 seconds. This pleases me.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A Place for Everyone

Most of the blessings in my life have been handed to me. The majority of the good things in my life, I haven't had to work very hard for. I could list so many. I think I said this already in a previous post. Anyway, I'm going somewhere with it, now.

This is where I'm supposed to be. I don't know that for sure, but I feel it. What a switch! For years, I was someone who knew some things for sure but felt very little. Another good sign, I think. I feel like this is the right place, because I can tell it will be a challenge. I can tell that it will require initiative and hard work on my part. I can tell that things are going to get hard now, that my homeschooling days are over, that my being two years younger than most people in my grade was creating an out-of-place feeling that is now fading. This is where I'm supposed to be, because the people here are closer to my age, and if not, they're older.

There's no college group at Clovis Christian. I hung out with the high schoolers for an extra two years. I know I was needed there (supposedly), but that didn't change how I felt about it. I was really kicking back, especially after I quit my job at Burger Queen (as Caleb calls it). Now it's different. I have to come up with almost $4,000 this semester, to cover what financial aid didn't. I have to come up with a major, and that means acknowledging/finding my talents, and recognizing (or analyzing) their true worth. The way I see myself, and the world, is going to change alot. I can already tell.

It's changing now, or else I wouldn't be blogging, right? I've got these thoughts that I have to express before I lose them. I know they're important because they're the result of change, and change is very important to me. I was just explaining to Llaura that I take my own failures more seriously than anyone I've ever known.

When my parents tell me to do something, I'm supposed to do it. If I do a good job, that's not anything extra or special. It's expected. That means that a success can be valued as a zero, a neutral. Failures, in my book, are big negatives. Even little things like creating an efficient, enjoyable website are things I take seriously, because my skills, my worth, is reflected in every success and every failure.

I want to be worth more than I am now. That is a very un-Christian thought, isn't it? Supposedly, we are all worth Christ's very life. But I don't feel that way. I feel like my worth is determined by my usefulness to others, and by my ability to do those things that are truly important. I feel like I have to earn my right to exist.

It's going to be difficult. Part of me is very anxious. Part of me is glad that I have finally been pushed out of my ridiculous comfort zone, into a place where maybe I'll be able to become the person I want to be.

It's late. I'm sleepy. I'll save the derivative analogy for another post.

Freshman 15?

I kept hearing this. I finally had to ask what it was.

"Oh, that's the weight you gain as a freshman." Oh, really? That doesn't really fit with the college student stereotype that says we're all poor.

"Well, you know, there's just always food around, so you just keep eating, and pretty soon you're fifteen pounds heavier."

That doesn't compute. No money, too much food, everyone gains weight. I really doubt this is going to happen. Especially when I only have a bicycle for transportation. I've already gone like fifteen miles on it since I got here two days ago! Yeah, they serve alot of food at mealtimes, and yes, I'm signed up for the 15 meals per week plan... but seriously. If you're not hungry, don't eat. Pretty simple.

So I just finished overeating at the dining commons, and I now have free time (while everyone else is running around scavenger-hunting) until 5:00 p.m. dinner (I'll prolly overeat again), and then there's dessert with the faculty right after that. It's lookin' to be a grood day.

I'm trying to decide what to do. I've got an undeclared major, an unused flute, a much-argued-over voice, and a need to serve. That's kind of hard to work with... I'd much rather the campus had some needs for me to fulfill, rather than me having a need to be needed.

I really hope the fine arts department will be able to point me in the right direction as I try to move forward. You know what I've realized? One of the reasons I feel very blessed (or lucky?) is that I have hardly had to take any initiative at all in the past few years. It seems like things just come to me. Vanguard came to me, most of the money came to me (though there may be more to that than just filling out forms...), the nice bike I'm using came to me, this laptop and my webspace and so many things. I hope I can find some good opportunities here soon. If you're one of those people who knows that I need prayer, the next time you mention me to God, thank Him first, before you say anything else.

If you hate math, don't look forward to my next post. I'm going to try to explain derivatives, because the analogy I've discovered in my life really expresses how I feel and where I'm at, and the derivative is a great concept... but if the word 'calculus' makes you cringe, I apologize in advance. I just need to explain this, because so many of my thoughts correspond with it, and even rest on it.

For now, I think this post is quite long enough.

Confessions

So now that the blog lives up to its name, I change it. Why? Because even though it was a good idea (eProps to Fred), it doesn't fit me. Confessions of a Myslexic Dind. I don't confess (except for right now, the confession being the fact that the subtitle was neither my idea nor a fitting name), and I'm dot nyslexic, so it's time for a change. Suggestions are welcome.