Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Great Garn Video



Finally, after much pain, trepidation, computer disaster, nit picking manufacturers, and YouTube being stupid and bringing their video cap back down to ten minutes prompting another day of the above mentioned agony, David finished the Garn video, and here it is!

Happy New Years Eve by the way!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, Merry Christmas to all!

We read the Christmas story and gave gifts this morning. I received mainly luggage and a lot of tea, which is good, if you know me.

Last night I read the Christmas story in Mathew and Luke (I set out to read it in all the gospels - only to realize that it's really only in those two....). It's great. I'm always amazed by it.

I was pleased to find that there was still snow on the ground this morning, despite rising temperatures and freezing rain yesterday, but then, we had a lot, so it should take a while to melt under any circumstances.

Merry Christmas : )

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Serious Snow

We have had some really serious snow this year, making it the first in a while. Today I through a sled in the back of my Audi and drove up the road to where the pipeline, which is basically a long path that cuts through the woods and fields and whatever else stands between Big Flats NY and Philadelphia PA. I walked down it for a little ways and found a path jutting out into the woods in a more or less downhill direction. Here is me sledding on it:

Friday, December 19, 2008

The 19th of December

I turned 19 today, on the 19th of December. This morning my Mom took me shopping. I got an Italian language program and a bunch of clothes. We hardly made it home because it was snowing so hard. They say we could get as much as 14 inches today, and we still actually had a little on the ground when it started. Perhaps I will post some more later.

- drew

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Adventures of Vandrewlongstrider

Here is a very corny animated short that I made using blender and the iLife suite. I finished this a couple weeks ago, and was thinking about expanding it. I decided however to just post it like it is and if I do much more it will be as a separate project. Enjoy (the whole 28 seconds of it):

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Time Being

I'm done with school! [for the time being]

I had my last final today! It snowed! And I have a minor caffeine dependency, and my last cup of tea, was early this morning, and there was an algebra final between that last cup of tea and my current position in time and space, so I have been a rather black humor despite being exited about being done.... So you know what? I better go get a cup of tea.

- drew

Monday, December 01, 2008

The 3rd 1st Day of Deer Season + The Sky

Well, I did it. I went out while it was still dark and sat in the field below the Inn for about 45 minutes while the sun came up. I heard about a hundred gunshots, some of which ended up uncomfortable in my direction. I saw some deer down at the hill along ways in a horse pasture that belongs to my neighbor (no, they were not horses) but they were a long way off and it was just dark enough that I couldn't really identify if they were buck or doe, so I didn't shoot. And that was much the story of the rest of the day, save for three little doe that I sat and stared at me for a minute or so. They were to small though (I've had this personal rule about not shooting anything that weighs much less than me) so we just stood and stared at each other for a while. The weather was unexpectedly beautiful though. There was still some snow in the fields, but most of the ice had melted making it easier to walk, and it was about 37 degrees, which seemed very warm after the last few weeks here. The sky was amazing pretty much all day long. I took some pictures of it early:











































So at quarter after eight I came back, took a quick shower, jumped in the car and drove to school to be a my nine o'clock oral comm class. I worked at the office for most of the rest of the day since my other class was canceled and then headed back to hunt again. So that was the first day of deer season.

I got my new passport today which was awesome and totally beyond my expectations. So now I can go to Italy! (well, actually there are just a few other things to take care of, but that was a major one).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Here it goes again....



















Tomorrow is deer day. Save for getting my licenses this summer I hadn't really thought about it much until today, what with college and all. I just went out and practiced a bit with my guns, finally found where I had buried my hunters digest (a magazine the state puts out) in my room that had my antlered license in it, and get my orange together. According to tradition it is terrible weather on the first morning, and this year looks like it's shaping up to be a bad boy, with sleet and snow and everything. I probably would be much better off waiting until the 2nd day, or at least tomorrow afternoon, but at this point I'm feeling like going out first thing (we'll see how I'm feeling about it at 5 o'clock tomorrow with the sleet and the snow and Oral Comm at 9, although my professor said I could skip if I wanted to).

You know, I actually started this blog to talk about hunting. That would have been way back in 05. And you know I haven't gotten anything since, so maybe I should stop blogging about it. ; )

Not a chance.

I'll let you know what happens.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Pet Plant



Here is a video of my Venus Flytrap in action. I've kept these periodically throughout the years... rather hard plants to keep alive in this climate... but this one seems to be doing ok so far.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On Foolish Adventures in the Wilderness and the Culturally Trancendent Nature of an Offensive Symbol




























Some rather interesting stuff happened since my last post. The weekend before last I ended up lost on a mountain in Blackwell in the middle of the night.

It was the annual men's night for Navigators you see... and Josh, who is the leader you could say, decided that a really masculine thing to do would be go hiking in Blackwell, which is basically a wilderness about twenty miles from Wellsboro PA, that being the nearest thing that could be called civilization. So around 4:00 PM after a good long drive listening to some strange classic rock that Patrick and Lee liked (not that I should judge, as my musical tastes aren't exactly... shall we say mainstream) we started on up this path that was supposed to lead us along the rim of the mountain ridge and then back down.
It's easy to see why Blackwell was never settled... all the hills and mountains are extremely steep... and to make matters worse the slopes are pock marked with gorges and ravines and in places covered with jagged rocks so that it is almost impossible to walk without danger of twisting an ankle.
We hiked up for about an hour without stopping (aside from John having to pull down a couple of trees) and eventually reached the top. But that was where it got crazy. It was dark and the path of occasional orange marked trees we had been following turned to red... Josh optimistically assumed this meant we were headed back down... little did we all expect, this was in fact another trail... and three hours later, after many frustrated stops to find try and find the way, the trail, wich seemingly led us across the same stream about six times, mostly skirting the edge of gorge where the foot path was only a foot or two wide, we arrived - on the other side of the mountain... eight miles from our cars.
We hiked two miles on the road we came to, before we stopped a hunter who was driving a pickup and took us back to our cars, warning us that what we had just done was extremely stupid. So we went back to Patricks house, and ate hot dogs and watched Ironman, which was a really stupid movie.

This past weekend I went with my club, the Social Science Club that is, to Harrisburg, to see the State Museum of Pennsylvania. It was fun, although it's also a relief to be done with it, as I was appointed treasurer for the club, and had to procure the money for the trip for the college, which wasn't really fun.... Here is William Penn... the dude who started it all:














Here is a representation of an old North-Eastern native American pipe bag. Notice the symbol on the front? It's interesting how the swastika, or svastika as it is called depending on which way it is spinning, is considered to be so offensive, when it was really used by many groups other than the Nazis with which it has recently become ubiquitous. It was used by the Native Americans in their art, by early Christians as a symbol of eternity, and is today a prominent symbol in Buddhism. Some analysts have actually been led to believe that possibly the only place it was not used in ancient times was Germany. History is ironic no?

















On the dinosaur floor we came upon a sign that said not to through coins in the forest... so ofcourse Bill decided that we had to:










Mungyin, a Sociology major and her friend Lan, both Chinese exchange students who came with us (to think that just ten years ago Sociology was officially illegal in China):













Angie, another Anthropology student and myself in front of the Pennsylvania capital.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Aspen



Check out our new video that my Dad, David, Derrick and I made for the ThisWarmHouse YouTube Channel!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

2nd Peter

"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self control, to self control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love. For if all these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. "

2nd Peter 1:5-8

I had been meaning to read 2nd Peter for a long time now and I finally started, and I only got this far. It is a good book.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Endings and Beginnings

Well, it's finished. Or in a way just beginning. Obama was elected - and the country is going to change. I doubt it will be nearly as dramatic as most of his chief promoters or detractors claim, but it will. It's scary in some ways. He stands for some things that I am against (and I think most of you who read this also). On the other hand though, it's kind of exiting. After all... it has been eight years of rule by one party. And an African American President! Who would have thought so soon? Also, I think this was the most involved elections I have ever seen... and I believe it is correct to say, the most voted-in in recent history. And I think that is good. People being involved in government is good... they have spoken... and perhaps America has decided it's ready for a little bit of socialism....

I took this picture today in Mansfield. These guys were redoing a war memorial in a prominent location in town that has been the same for as long as I can remember it. It happened to be right next to the polling station. I thought it was rather descriptive of the whole day.















McCain's concession speech was good wasn't it? I think I actually grew to like him a bit in the last couple of weeks. He seemed to be more animated and genuine... pity that things turned out the way they did... in recent history and older history also.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Too much of it [me] darling, too much!

I was rather convicted today about how stressed out I've been getting about this whole election season and all. I was thinking how much I've been trying to figure the whole thing out myself and how little I've actually asked God for help. Not that I haven't thought a lot about the things that I believe as a Christian... or even neglected to look in the Bible for answers... but when it came right down too it today, I realized that I could hardly remembering praying about it at all and actually asking God what was best. Not that I really ever receive straight up writing on the wall answers (and not that I would really be entirely eager to get one of those, unless it was good... and a lot of other people saw it too....) but I think I've had at least the wrong attitude toward it all. And I want to apologize to you guys for trying to drag you into my frame of mind so much in the past.

This doesn't mean that I'm any happier about the current situation or that I'm taking down my Joker banner anytime soon... just that I want to approach it a bit more humbly... and maybe try to see how it could work out for good. And ask Gods advice, even if I am really terribly late in doing much of that... but then, better late than never I suppose.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Me and Lamont

This past weekend my family went to Lake Placid again. I stayed behind this time, first because I had an unnerving amount of homework to do, second, because it has been a few years since I really enjoyed traveling with my whole family that much... so it was just Lamont and I. He is my sisters pet fish. He is Chinese, but she is into French things, thus his name. There is also Bella, our dog that the Slacks left us, who somehow ended up living with me, I being the only one who hadn't been in favor or adopting her from our neighbors in the first place. She was formerly Baily, but my sisters decided it was to masculine and changed it to Bella... which is also French. Then there is Mansie... the cat, who was formerly Tansie, but my sisters decided that was too feminine... so they changed it too.

Lamont:

































We have a little snow on the ground (above).
I went up with Derrick from work to a football game in Corning. I ended up hanging out with some old friends from our church that we used to go too. Most of them I hadn't talked to since then... so it was good catch up.

































































































































Saturday my Grandma and Grandpa invited me down for supper since my parents were gone. I talked with them about my going to Italy and all that. It's moving forward pretty well now... I got my paperwork. I'm going to get my medical stuff together tomorrow and my parents are looking into the plane tickets and all that. Hopefully I will be able to get a new passport... it's not expired, but I look like a different person than the picture on it (I had hair over my eyes and down to my shoulders back then). I still haven't told to many people at Mansfield... except for my adviser, as I had to explain why I won't be registering for any courses for next semester. He was really cool about it once I explained. He had actually been through the town where I'm going before (he's a cultural anthropologist like I would like to be someday, and he's been all over the world). I still haven't told the people in the Social Science Club, which is going to be hard, as I'm their treasurer. So I'm waiting for a good opportunity to do that. We will hopefully be going on a trip to a Museum in Harrisburg in a few weeks. I'm in charge of orchestrating all the funding and paperwork. That has been (and will continue to be) a little adventure in bureaucracy... hopefully it will all come together.

So back to my Grandparents. After Italy, and eating, the conversation drifted as it usually does to politics. They are very adamant McCain supporters, which always vexes me because of my Grandpas unhappy history with McCain in Vietnam (google Walter Wilber and John McCain if you care to find out)... you know, I just realized this is going to be too big a subject of confine to the end of this post. I will have to do another one devoted to it....

to be continued

Andrew

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Snow, Unorthodox Grading Techniques, and An Old Friend

Last night as I was headed home from Mansfield I began to notice the rain falling horizontally instead of vertically, which, I thought was somewhat strange. Sure enough, upon arriving home, there was a fine dusting of snow on the deck. Now this morning I can see flurries. So it is first snow!

Quote of the day, the week, perhaps even the month: "I got your exam essays back. I'm sorry if my notes are illegible, I did it late last night, and I may have not had enough sleep. I may also have had too many glasses of wine...."

- One of my professors

So he may have been slightly stoned, but he gave a good critique of my papers, and an A, so you know, to them that's theirs.

I have two tests this morning. I'm not too worried about either of them... which could be a bad sign, but I think it will be fine, the professor in my Oral Comm class said the test would be easy, and in Social Stratification it may not be easy, but I got 100 on the first one just by looking at which of the answers best supported conflict theory and choosing it. I don't know what the average grade was for that test, so maybe he will make this one harder, or maybe I'm just really good at it... but who knows.

I got all my papers for SBI, so now I can start filling them out, and getting ready.

Last night I bumped into an old friend at Walmart... Kayla, we had been in Karate together back in the day. It's funny how running into someone like that, who even if you weren't very involved with personally, was part of an environment that you were very involved in, and then all of a sudden weren't, can bring back a lot of memories and make you think, it did for us at least. So that was cool.

God Bless,

Andrew

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Social Stratification and Poverty Today In the U.S.
















"Social Stratification in the United States Chart Analysis

Andrew Wilber

The American Profile Poster paints a picture of U.S. Society as a steeply tapered pyramid with the bulk of the population sitting in the lower and middle regions below $60,000 dollars income and becoming narrower from there on up with the final grouping (were it possible to include) consisting of only a few individuals and being more than three stories high! One primary factor in this stratification is occupation. While Administrative and professional jobs are fairly well distributed throughout the different income levels, they become disproportionately dense at the highest bracket. The mid levels are composed rather evenly of professional, clerical and blue-collar workers. In the lower area, under $30,000, we begin to see the administrative jobs all but disappear, the body of the chart now swelling with unskilled blue-collar workers and retired individuals. The lowest level is composed largely of the jobless living on public assistance along with some unskilled-blue collar workers and retirees. At this bottom level we see Africans and ethnic minorities over-represented, bringing race into the equation. People down here are also predominately single, often with dependents."

Today, is (just barely) Oct. 15, which means it is Blog Action Team Day. This year the subject is poverty. For a Sociology class I'm taking I just completed an assignment in which I had to analyze The American Profile Poster by Stephen J. Rose and Dennis Livingston. It is a graphical display of the Social Stratification (how much money is made by how many people and how does it affect how they see themselves and each other) in the United States. It was a short assignment, only about a paragraph, but could have easily been a book (and in fact has been... several books). What it shows is rather sad. That although there are some really wealthy people in our country, there are even more living in abject poverty. So anyhow... I always sign up to do this Blog Action Team thing... but I thought that since I was just doing this to night, and this year is poverty, I would post it up hear.

So, thanks for taking the time to read : )

Andrew

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Animation : )

Last spring over my break I started teaching myself (via a wiki tutorial) to use the 3D modeling and animation program blender http://www.blender.org/. I got to be ok at the modeling part, and could make some pretty cool landscapes and things, but I've never been able to make anything move. Now it's fall break, and I spent all of yesterday pouring over the animation section of the wiki - trying to apply it to the program - failing - and then, at about 10:00 or 11:00 pm, it all came together:



So, it's not much, but I was ecstatic when it finally started to work. I already have some more complex and dressed up versions of it... and now I hope to start applying it to some of my old still models to actually make some real scenes.

Andrew

Friday, October 10, 2008

Saints Bible Institute

Ok, Saints Bible Institute is a Bible School in San Lorenzo, which is in North Eastern Italy. It was started by the Moody Bible Institute as a mission outreach.

I had been wanting to travel... soon... and my Mon read about this in a magazine with a list of other schools. It sounded cool, and so I applied (I think I actually posted a little blurb about it on here, but nothing much). It took me a long time to get all the appropriate paper work together and I hit a minor road block or two, but in the end it worked.

So I will (God willing... more certainly than before, but still God willing) be going there this spring for almost three months. The way it works is like normal college throughout the week, and then on the weekends you have the option to travel around to different cities and historical and archaeological sites (I intend to do this as much as possible).

I'll be taking some theology or evangelism courses, as it is a Bible school after all, and also intro to Italian, and (a big reason this interested me) intercultural communication.

So that's really about all I know about it myself at this point... I haven't even told to many people about it yet... but I'm happy I got in, because as I was kind of alluding to before, I have been wanting to do something different for a while.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

SBI

I got accepted at Saints Bible Institute in Lorenzo Italy today! I had been applying for the last five months or so... and today, I finally got in! I'm at work and don't have time to say much about it... but I got accepted!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

John Brown's Body

Last weekend we went to Lake Placid again for a stove delivery, and while we were there we toured the Grave and Farm of Abolitionist John Brown... who was hanged after attempting to start a slave uprising in the South and is often attributed with expediting the onslaught of the Civil War:



















Here is his tomb stone:


















Here are the buildings he lived in:












Here is my brother seeing how they would have carried their water:













This week went well. My Oral Comm Presentation turned out very well especially I thought. This past Thursday I the Social Science Club hosted a Guitar Hero Tournament, and I went, being the treasurer and all. I don't really care to much for the game myself (I think the fact that I play guitar in real life would make it harder for me) and since money was on the line I figured it wasn't the best time to learn how to play.... It was still fun though, and we had more of turnout than we were expecting as we had scheduled it on the same night that a bunch of Greek Clubs were holding their initiation rights. Here are Bill and Tiffany setting up:



















This Friday night I took my brother to our cousins for a "Guys night" and we played xbox in their barn. Unfortunately it's not heated up there at all... Daniel and I brought in a big old kerosene heater and that was the only warm spot. The heater made so much smoke though (either it was really, really dirty, or what Daniel thought was kerosene was actually something else) that eventual we had to turn it off:


















The next day we drove to Wegmans in Corning and met up with the rest of our family and some other people and went grape picking up in the finger lakes:




























So that was the last week and a half or so....

And I am learning how to play Knights of Cydonia, which is a rocking song.

Andrew

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Warning: Big Logical Circle Alert

Well... it's been a kind of crazy day. Oral Comm speeches are getting to be due... and I volunteered to go on the first available day (Friday) thinking that I was almost ready and that I should get it out of the way quickly before I really had time to get nervous. Unfortunately I had a lot more to do than I realized this morning when I somewhat compulsively raised my hand... and the rest of the day was spent frantically outlining and looking up sources, and finally rehearsing the speech that is due in about 48 hours and that I hadn't even started writing yet (aside from in my brain). I have the outline just about done now though, and I think it will be just perfectly under the time limit (I'm a little worried about that, because it's a fairly complex topic for a five minute speech and you get an automatic D if you go too far over time.) so now I'm sitting back and taking my first real breath since 9: 35 this morning when I momentarily lost my sanity and volunteered to do this in the first place.

So I've been reflecting... looking over blog posts of what I was doing this time last year... and it amazed me how much things have changed... and I've changed. But then again, looking at how I thought about things then, I haven't changed as much as perhaps I had thought... and yes, my circumstances have changed drastically in some ways since then... and yet really they haven't changed that much. I was thinking about that the other day as I walked from one of the outer commuter parking lots at Mansfield... how I've really had a remarkably stable life... almost bizarrely... I've lived in more or less the same place for my entire life. My parents are together. My Grandparents are all alive and live close. Things have stayed almost frozen in time in some ways.
And yet there has been so much chaos... I've lived through two big church splits (and several small ones) and lost almost all the friends involved both times; my Dad has started more businesses than I can name here... all starting with so much excitement and yet so much panic... I can remember a year when about every week he would come home and say it was all over, and this was the worst it's ever been, and we are going bankrupt. There was a crazy artist that I thought was my friend... and a football team... and several rock stars (not that I met any of them), and lots of surreal events that make me look back and think "Wow... that actually happened?" I started life as an only child... and now I have five siblings! One of them is from China. Go and figure. We were farmers... we were loggers, we were glass craftsmen. My Dad had a stroke and almost died... but he didn't. If we had a fortune for every business plan that culminated in one in the last five years, I would be rich. But we're not. If we had folded once for every time that we were sure it was over the magnitude of our crisis would rival that of the one on Wall Street right now (though I doubt the government would he bailing us out). But we haven't... which brings me back to the point of things not really changing... like I'm watching all of this from behind a screen... like the LCD screens that I spend so much of my time behind... and rant, and sympathize, and kill and flirt and die... but in the end I'm still just sitting here behind the screen and everything around me is really the same as it was before.
Now, there is a superstitious side of me that almost thinks I should stop this post, and delete it, because I'm somehow asking for things to change in a way that I won't like....

Then, it should also be a time to realize how much Grace God has had on me and my family, that disaster had been so close so many times, and has miraculously been averted... on the other had, it seems like crazy success has been so close... but it never happened either? I suppose that's another question I probably shouldn't ask, because I'm grateful for all the mercy that I've been shown... and all this is really nothing in the end compared to how much mercy I was shown in God not having eternal wrath on me for being such a neurotic sinner... and on all of us for falling. But then... I've always wondered... why did we have to fall in the first place? I used to torture myself over that a lot... (after I first read the Westminster Catechism in 8th grade especially). So maybe I'm just asking maybe I'm just getting back to the same questions that I asked five years ago when I was thirteen... it was on a theoretical level then... but now just applying it to reality. Why are things as good as they are? Why aren't they better?

So that's actually why I have had this blog titled the floating world... because of not knowing if I'm moving forward or backward or just in a state of equilibrium....


So, that was random... or abstract... but I think only to the extent that everything is abstract... and now I've made the full circle in my feeble mind... and everything from here will just be smaller circles, so I better sign off before it becomes [more] apparent that I'm just a bombastic idiot with no real solutions.


So... it is always interesting to look back at posts from the year before, or even earlier. Just not to often, as it usually precipitates this kind of nonsense. Perhaps next year I'll look back at this one... and perhaps I will have to change the name of this blog, because 'The floating world' in light of events that have transpired, will seem as inaccurate as it probably truly is. I hope and pray that they will be good changes... or that I'll be given the right frame of mind to be at peace with them at the time.

God Bless,


Andrew

Monday, September 22, 2008

On the Fabrication of Dubious Correlations

Today I became the treasurer of the newly revamped Social Science Club. This was only it's second meeting, but we were already overdue to appoint officers. There were only six students there, so most people had to take something, and I was appointed treasurer as no one else would do it (apparently it had something to do with them saying that the treasurer is the only member of a club government who actually has to do anything). At any rate, I am the treasurer now. We spent most of the day planning events for the next couple of weeks, which led to fabricating a dubious correlation between Super Smash Brothers 3 and Sociology ; )

I'm happy that the club is going on though. It will be something of a Renaissance for it as it was just about dead by last year. So now we are all new officers, and hopefully it will be fun.

I got my score back from my first test today in Oral Comm; I got a 94, which is cool. I just finished my topic approval paper for my first speech in that class, I decided to do it on heating with wood, as I know a lot about that. I had considered doing it on Anthropology and saving the wood topic for later, but I couldn't figure out how I would narrow the topic down to something that would be acceptable for a five minute informative speech and still be interesting and not to technical (or require and insane amount of research on my part for that matter).

I have two more tests coming up this week. The first is in Sociology and the second in Math. I must say I am somewhat more nervous about the math one : 0. I know how to do most everything we've been taught so far, but I don't think we will be allowed to use calculators on the test, and some the more simple arithmetic things are what really slows me down for some reason. Math in general is one of major giants in my mind that I knew I would be facing, that I've never been able to beat before, and this is probably my last real chance.

My first paper for Medicine in Society got back to me this past Friday. Dr. Clark is the first professor I've had that I think really reads my papers and gives constructive criticism on them. I got an A-, but when I first opened it up I was worried because there were comments written on just about every other line. I actually prefer that though (so long as I still get a decent grade). I would rather get an A- with a lot of suggestions than one without any.

I got to watch the movie Sicko in Medicine in Society last week, and it was very good. It's a Michael Moore film, so I thought I would hate it, at least for what I had heard about him. I have to say I agreed with most of his points though, and the movie was very entertaining, whether you agree with his conclusions or not.

So that is my post for now I suppose.

- Andrew

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pellet



Here is a video about one the products that we sell at ThisWarmHouse (where I work) I did some editing and cutting (mostly cutting) so we could post it on youtube.

The Social Science Club (hopefully soon to be renamed) had it's first meeting today, and although I was one of only four students in attendance I'm still very exited. The new Anthropology Professor is great, and I think this is now going to be what I had hoped for (not that my hopes were ever very specific) when I first decided to major in this department. I think about three times as many people will be there once we get the schedule worked out. Dr. Clark talked about some attractive possibilities for field school (maybe as soon as next summer) to learn the art of contract archaeology. After you do that, so he said, you will be able to get a job at a dig every summer. So it should be good. And I think a lot more people will show up once we get the schedule worked out (we all knew of about 8 or 9 that had conflicts). So this is good. And week three is over.

- Andrew

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Nice and the Not-So-Nice

Wow. It's been a little while since I posted. Two weeks of school have come and gone, tomorrow being Wednesday of the third week, and I haven't said a word about it. I actually haven't been extraordinarily busy... just more in a different frame of mind I suppose.
The first week was kind of rough. I ended up dropping a course: Composition 1. I did for a couple of reasons the first of which being that I was afraid I had underestimated the amount of writing I would have to do (I am taking Oral Comm and a writing intensive Anthropology course also this semester, and between the three of them I would have had fifteen or so major papers to write). And second (and mainly) because the Prof, to the best of my discernment, was not a nice person at all. She seemed to have something against actually teaching much of anything, preferring to demand things and then leaving you to figure it out from either books or other people. She also referred to former students as morons seven or eight times during the intro class. So I decided to drop that one. I found our later from an adult friend who had taken the same course with her, I probably made a good decision. Still, I was depressed for a while because I had been hoping to take a heavier load of fifteen credits this semester, and am now down to twelve. To make it worse, one of my courses is a remedial on for Algebra, since I'm really bad at math of all kinds, the credits from it don't count toward graduation, so my real net take away from this semester is only going to be about nine credits. Still, it's not like I'm really in a terribly great hurry to get anywhere, and looking back just last year, that thought that I would be going to a University full time would have seemed pretty far out. So I guess I'll take that as enough to vindicate myself of failure in my own mind (at least in that one area).

The math course is primarily stuff that I should have learned in high school, but couldn't. I just have such a hard time with it though. It sometimes makes me wonder if there is something wrong with me. I have a 4.0... so apparently I'm not retarded... and yet I'm probably one of the slowest people in the class (which is not exactly made of of math geniuses either). So I don't know what my problem is. And unless I have some sort of breakthrough in the near future here, I may not even be hanging on to that 4.0 for much longer as Mansfield, being a liberal arts school won't let you slip through without taking any higher math courses.

All my other courses are going well. I am particularly enjoying Social Stratification (a sociology course) and Medicine in Society(an Anthropology course). Dr. Molla, my adviser last year left Mansfield, and was replaced by a new Professor, Dr. Clark. I wasn't really too sad about the change as there had always been a bit of a communication barrier between Molla and I, he being from Bangladesh (not that there is anything wrong with that). Dr. Clark is great, possibly my favorite professor yet. I will probably have more to say about him later, but it's late now, and I have Oral Comm early tomorrow, so I should be signing out here.

One good thing about my slightly relaxed schedule has been that I've been able to work more, and also participate a little better in Navigators. I just had my first Bible study with the guys this evening in fact. So I think that will be good. I'd like to make some more friends with guys I think, as I never really have had any. For some reason I've always done much better with girls, or with guys who are much older than me. On the other hand, I could be leaving for a long time next semester, so I'm a little hesitant about building too many relationships at this point, in my department, or out of it. I don't know why there always seems to be some sort of complication to everything. I guess that's just life though.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Geocaching with Uncle Eric

geo•cach•ing - The recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a Web site.


My Uncle Eric came up from Florida on Friday to visit my Papa T because my Grandma is in the hospital (as she has been for some time). This afternoon we went to Corning to go get groceries and coffee and such. We had just come out of the Soulful (our favorite coffee shop) and were walking down the side walk when my Uncle (whom it turns out likes geocaching) started seeing objects on the GPS on his blackberry just a little way off from our location. We ended up spending most of the rest of that day Geocaching in Corning and back in Pennsylvania (who would have thought people hid that sort of thing near our house, actually we didn't find those, so we may never know). We found two in Corning, or rather Uncle Eric did. Here are some photos from the day:

















































Sunday, August 24, 2008

V for....

I start back to school full time tomorrow. I'm pretty happy about going back, although a little apprehensive about the amount of homework I will be having. I'm also taking a math course and even though it's a pathetically easy one I've never really been able to succeed at a math class in my life, so I'm hoping that that is one more thing that will come more easily at college (coming at all would be an improvement), and so far most things have.

I'm kind of tired right now, because last night I stayed over at the Cornfields house. Delian and Josh and I went for a five mile run, during the course of which Josh (or Shwaa, as most people call him for some reason) introduced us to some of the marching chants they sing in the Air-Force (albeit slightly censored versions). Then we went out to see the Dark Night at a Drive in theater. It was my second time seeing it, and my first time ever at a drive in... so that was interesting. Then we came back, and stayed up talking until really early in the morning (Shwaa is writing a short, abstract story about furniture in a house... why I do not know.

The night before last I was up late too. I watched two movies actually, so this is really quite unusual for me, because I don't watch many movies, but the last two nights I have. The first I watched with my Mom (because its one of her favorites). It was Waking Ned Devine, which is an Irish film about the residents of a small sea side village who all play the lottery. One an old man in the village wins - and promptly dies of a heart attack. So the entire village ends up faking that he is still alive so they can collect the money. I didn't like it quite as much as I had hoped I would, but it was still good. Then I watched V for Vendetta (without my Mom, because she would have hated it). It was good. I liked the feeling of the movie a lot, and I actually agreed with some of the over arching ideas in it. The context however, struck me as somewhat offensive. It's basically a totalitarian state run by Christians where gays and Muslims fear for there lives. Now, lets think about that for a minute, in the movie, someone gets arrested for owning a Koran. In real life no one anywhere gets arrested for owning a Koran, there are on the other hand, hundreds, if not thousands of people who get arrested every year for owning a Bible. In the movie there was a totalitarian State run by Christians. In real life there are dozens of totalitarian states, but none of them are run by Christians, in fact, they all persecute Christians. As far as the Gay people getting in trouble with the government, the only place that happens today is in Muslim countries... which makes one wonder why the makers of the film, who were obviously pro-homosexual, went to such lengths to defend Islam. So, at any rate, I like the movie, I just disagreed with many points. As Evey and V (the hero's) both said however, sometimes "Artists use lies to show us truth." And perhaps there is some truth in that, as even though the context, as I said in more words, sucked, there were some ideas that came through or over the absurdity that I think I could actually agree with... although most of those things I think just about everyone already does agree with... so... I guess I would have to recommend V as a good movie, but not something to think to hard about....

Regards,

Andrew

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ker-splat - AG Progress Days 08



I'm in State College Pennsylvania right now selling at the Ag Show. Here is a video I took of a safty demo I watched.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The 3rd or so cousins I never knew I had
































I had a really cool experience today. We went to a family reunion for some rather obscure relatives on my Moms side and I met a bunch of really cool cousins that I never knew I had (actually they were more like 2nd or 3rd cousins, but anyways....) It was up in Syracuse NY, and it was hosted by my Uncle Bob (whom I hadn't seen since I was little, as was true of most of the people there that I had ever seen at all).

Now, I was expecting it to be a bunch of older people, and a lot of them were, but what I didn't expect was that there were also some, not so older than me people there too. So I met Steve, Bill, Tom (whom a number of people said had a creepy resemblance to me) and Brooke (who has a creepy resemblance to Ann Hathaway). So, the kids of my Moms 2nd cousins... I'm not quite sure what relationship they officially have to me, but one thing is true, I look more like some of them than anyone in my direct extended family, which has always puzzled me (how I don't really look much like most of the people I'm related too) but maybe some of those genetics from this other side were expressed in me... so that was cool.

- Andrew

Thursday, August 07, 2008

"I can see it's head!"

This past weekend we went camping with the Spanos. It's been great to spend so much time with them in the past two weeks, as we used to hang out all the time, but have really hardly seen each other much in the last three years or so. We used to go camping at least once or twice every year in fact, but hadn't happened in a while. (perhaps since I started my blog. I will have to check that). We had a very good time throughout, but there usually is one moment or joke or event that seems to define the whole time and be the thing we remember it by even after we have forgotten what year it was and all that. So, since I actually have a back log of posts right now (I just got back from Empire Farm Days in NY, so I want to do one about that after this) I will just describe that one... shall we say... punchline, of the whole trip:

We were at the beach, I was in the water with Nicky and my Brother, and most of my other siblings as well. My parents and Nick and Sue were on the shore in the sun talking. Suddenly, this nine or ten year old kid starts saying in a shrill voice: "Help, there's something in my pants!" "Ouch! There's a bitey' thing in my pants" We all just kind of stared at him uncomfortably without saying anything thinking he was just making some kind of joke or something. But he kept on at it, and then runs up on the beach in from on everybody and starts hopping around shouting: "There's a fish in my pants!" clutch his leg and limping a bit. So some people started to shout out advice... I think most of us still thought he joking or being sick or something. Finally Nicky told him to start rolling up his swim suit, which he did, and then yells: "I can see it's head!" (at which point Nick just about fell over). Sure enough, a few seconds later this seven or so inch long perch drops out of his pants onto the beach! So everyone felt sort of bad for not believing him... but who had heard of a perch getting stuck in your swimsuit before? So that was our memorable moment, and below is the photo I took capturing the moment when he first got it out and picked it up:
















We usually play telephone around the campfire after it gets dark, and that night I started it with "Help! Help! There's a bitey thing in my Pants!" That was not what it ended up as at the end of the line, but I'm afraid it would be inappropriate to write here.... Needless to say, I think I may have reevaluate my image if people who have known me about my whole life thought I said what it turned into... but anyhow... yeah.

Here is my Dad fishing, the fish stayed safely away from us (our poles and our pants) for the most part on that trip.

























The tarp that Nick and I put up in the pouring rain. We decided that three years of not camping must have made us forget how to do things right, as he usually puts it up as soon as we arrive.















Here from left to right are Nick, My Dad, and Sue, who, in this photo are actually planning reservations for next year (we hadn't even left the campsite yet!):















Sanna checking out the ranger's wildlife exhibit:
















So I have to do another post about Empire Farm Days... there is another funny story about fish that I may tell. If your reading this blog you will probably think I'm really into fishing or something... but I'm not at all really. It's just that there have been a lot of note-worthy coincidences... or sovereign evens, depending on your theological view point, lately involving fish.

Just a note for the future that perhaps nothing will come of, but I applied to the Saint's Bible Institute in Lorenzo Italy for the Spring 09 Semester. But I don't know if I'll be accepted, so I don't really want to say much about it right now.

God Bless,


- Andrew

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Deep Ocean - Vast Sea - No Fish

Yesterday I did something I had never done before. We went deep sea fishing.

I week or so ago Nick Spano, and a friend of ours suggested that we do it, and it sounded rather crazy, so we went ahead with. Sunday evening we drove down to NJ and staid at a hotel from about 1:00AM to 4:30 AM. We then drove another hour to the ocean, ate breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, bought water and energy bars, and arrived at the dock. We had been worried that we had to make reservations or something, but as it turned out there was a whole line of boats and their captains competing to take us out, so we easily found the one we had been intending to go on, paid, and that was that. It was very foggy that morning as you can see in my first picture.















We left the dock at about 7:30. Everyone got sick except for me... which was strange because tend to get car sick... but apparently I was built for sea travel or something... I don't know... anyhow, after taking medicine, everyone but my sister Mattea recovered and after traveling about an hour out off the coast was able to begin fishing.















It was fun for the first half hour or so... but as time went by and no one caught anything I started to wonder what was up. Finally we moved to a new spot, and some people got a couple of fish, but still not much to speak of. It was especially frustrating when this boat with three old guys and this little fat kid pulled up right across from ours, in our spot, that our captain had found, using our ships SONAR and started reeling in lots of fish. After several hours of this, we moved again.















It got to be around 2:00PM and finally the captain decided to call it a day. We made it back to the docks in about an hour, ate supper at a Mexican Restoraunt where Lizzy could speak more Spanish that the waitress could speak English, drove six hours home, getting in around Midnight.















So... That all sound pretty grim, but really it wasn't. I atcually enjoyed that whole thing rather imensly, I had never been our on the ocean like that before, and just doing that was worth it. I discovered that I don't get motion sick, even when I everyone is my party is, and there is this huge mexican guy throughing up so loud that you can hear him across the ship, and I like fishing, it just would be nice if I we caught some.... Just the photos and videos I got alone were worth it though. You can see some of them on my Facebook. I would put more here, but blogger has been such a pain lately with how you have to format them on the page and it takes forever. It could be my browser, but I have tried a couple different ones and its the same. So there you have it, our Deep Sea Fishing Adventure!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Lone Film Maker

This is a video log posted by a guy who is attempting to make a feature film entirely on his own in Switzerland. I've been following along on his progress for some time now and you may have noticed I added a link to his site on my side bar a while back. He seems to be doing a really good job of it, and I love the idea. I'm concerned though that his videos aren't getting enough hits, so, for what it's worth, I'm embedding his latest post on my blog. Give it a watch if you have a few minutes:




Monday, July 21, 2008

Fair 133

Today marked the beginning of the 133 Troy Fair, and my 5th or 6th year of working there at the ThisWarmHouse booth (although it wasn't called that when we started). We have a really great team this year, and our booth looks really cool. I'll post some pictures later perhaps. Tonight was the tractor pull, and man... I think that gets louder every year... that or I get more sensitive to it. It's not even something I can really even describe you just have to feel it. Seriously, you could be completely deaf and you would still be able to feel it. So anyways, I'll be there 12 hours a day, everyday for the next week. 

Andrew   

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Natural History and Big Metal Wirily Things

We had a really good time in Washington D.C. We went to a couple of the museums and things, which I had never done before, and had always wanted to do. Here are some pictures from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery of Art among other things:


Out side the Art Gallery:














At the World War II Memorial in Annapolis (that's the Navel Academy across the bay):  













The National Gallery of Art (looking down I was really exited to see the big red metal thing hanging from the ceiling, the name of which escapes me, but I have a stamp collection with it on it, although I always thought it was a little painting, so imagine my surprise to see it!) Also, you can see the  poster for the Afghanistan Exhibit. That was probably my favorite part. They had all these ancient Persian treasures that had been in the Kabul National museum. Now, as you can imagine, the Kabul National museum has been through some turbulent times in the past few years, and they thought all these golden treasures had been stolen or destroyed, but as it turns out, some of the curators had packed them up (at great personal risk) and hidden them and they were just discovered in 2004 and are on display now for the first time:      














Actually, my favorite exhibit may have been the Western Culture room (being an Anthropology major) where they showed the evolution on human civilization and had all sorts of awesome artifacts like these pots:


















Here is Misha in the animal area joining the frenzy: 















Here is the T-Rex scull from the dinosaur area: