Friday, January 28, 2011

On Think-Tanks & Stockholm

It was a long week. While I'm glad the weekend is here, I'm afraid it's not going to be quite as much of a break as I wish it would be. I have a take home test for Spanish which I already started on it this evening, though I still have more than half of it to go. I'm also going to try and work ahead a bit on some of my homework so that next week doesn't end up like this week, with me skipping lunch and staying up until 2am everyday to get everything done.

I feel like things turned out alright though for the most part. I got my first story published in the Triangle, which is cool. I also had what is hopefully a breakthrough with my next story, and it looks right now like it's going to turn out to be a lot bigger and more exciting than I thought it would be when I asked for it. My interviews aren't scheduled till Monday though, so I'll let let you know about it when it unfolds.

Classes went a bit rough today... I had a quiz which I bombed for Spanish and homework do for my Logic/Algebra class that I didn't understand. Fortunately I did well on all my other Spanish stuff, and a friend saved my life on the math this time. I'm a bit worried about it for the future though, because I know I can't rely on that happening forever.

Last night our ACTS Project class met for the second time this semester at the Benson's house. It was pretty fun, but we were given our syllabus, and that class is going to be a lot more work than I think anyone thought. My friend Andrew and I were talking about it a bit as he drove us back to Bryan. We had both assumed that all we would have to do was read some books and discuss them together. Instead we have assignments due every week, a presentation, and these "cross-cultural experience" activities that sound like they will have us running across Dayton and Chattanooga... so-so much for an easy class.

In other events, Break for Change is picking up speed as we get closer to the date. I got my flight itinerary, and it sounds amazing! I was next to ecstatic when I found out that one of our connections on the way back is in Stockholm... some place that I have wanted to visit lately. Unfortunately, the layover is only about 50 minutes, so there won't be enough time for me to sneak out troll around places mentioned in the Millennium Trilogy... alas. Our fundraiser that we are finally doing looks like it will be well attended (and if you are in the Dayton area reading this, you should totally come).

In Political Communication, the only class I have that isn't stressing me out right now, we had a guest speaker come from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) which is a Neo-Con think-tank in DC. It was quite interesting, and I learned a lot about what think-tanks do. It actually sounds like it would be a cool place to work someday, so I took the guys card.

I have so much stuff going on right now it's crazy (like the length of my posts lately has been crazy - I sincerely apologize). I used to always think that if I had such a full schedule and so much hanging over my head it would be like the worst thing in the world, but it really hasn't been so far. In fact, sometimes I almost think that I'm happier like this. Of course, it could just be that with so many issues, I never have time to worry about one thing for too long. Or maybe it's because this is only the 2nd full week of it, and I'll completely burn out on the 3rd or the 4th, or the 17th. But that hasn't happened yet, and for now I think I'm doing okay.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 4th Estate or Something Like That

It's been a long week so far... and it's only two days in. As I said in my last post, I started working on the staff for the Bryan Triangle, the campus newspaper. I was given a story to work on at the first meeting, but it unfortunately got shut down because certain faculty felt that it shouldn't yet be public knowledge, which was annoying. By the time they actually told me this, however, the week was already half over. One of my editors gave me a new story to work on about the start of the intramural basketball season, which I wasn't really thrilled about, because I don't normally follow sports very much and had decided early on that I would avoid sports stories as much as possible. Despite my misgivings, I took it, not wanting to have to come to the second class empty handed.

While not really being as interesting as my original story, the new one was much more complex. Instead of just interviewing one person I had to do a half dozen, not to mention sitting in on four or five games which is not really my favorite thing to do. I also had to take a lot more pictures, and get a lesson on how to use an SLR. On top of all that, I had to basically learn about the entire event from scratch, as I've never been familiar with basketball, let alone something as specific as intramural basketball and the unique nuances that surround in on one campus. Somehow I actually started to enjoy it though, even if it didn't convert me to being a sports fan, the challenge of it all was kind of a rush... which is good, because I'll probably be doing a lot more stuff like it this semester.

I had my story peer edited at the meeting last night before going to more games to take pictures and see if I could beef it up at all (although it's still probably shorter than they want). This morning at nine I had my conference with the department's journalism professor to do a final edit. He made some minor adjustments but told me that it was quite good overall and that he really liked my style of writing, which was good to hear, because sometimes I wonder about it. Then it was off to class. I spent my lunch break writing a response to a "A Rose for Emily" for Intro to Literature, which I didn't write last night because I unexpectedly ended up covering two more games for Triangle. I'm afraid it probably wasn't a very good response, because I was pretty tired and rushed, which is a bad combination.... The rest of my classes went well though, and I was able to make the final tweaks to my story and submit it to the server. So it should be in the paper Thursday morning.

I'm a little worried because while I was watching the state of the union address with my Poli-Gov major friends I got several texts from one of the staff editors asking me for more details about the games last night, which could mean that they want to add to it. Yesterday I basically rewrote it twice and finally felt like it flowed well (which my professor commented favorably on) so I really kind of hope they don't go and change it all around. At any rate, I can't do much now but wait until Thursday and see, and regardless of what happens, I'm glad that I'm done with it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Raking & Reporting

Rather than taking MLK Day off, Bryan has a rather long tradition of making it into a community service day where students go out in teams and spend most of the day helping people and organizations in the local community.

Last year, I was sadly unable to participate, and ended up having an experience that  held some parallels to most descriptions I've heard of the zombie apocalypse. 

This year fortunately, I had no such problems and spent the better part of the day raking leaves in Cleavland Tennessee my Break for Change Team. It was complicated by the fact that much of the ground was still covered with snow, and that which wasn't snowy was still extremely wet. It ended up working okay, although I was rather muddy by the end of the day.

That night I was feeling extremely tired, and questioning the wisdom of what I had just done while still technically recovering from strep and the flu. I also spent some time questioning if I should go to the first meeting for the school newspaper. I had wanted to join last semester, but told myself (and the editor & chief) that I couldn't because I was taking 19 credits. Now it's this semester, and I'm taking 19 credits again... so I really have the same dilemma. It's something that I have felt like I should do though, and this is my last chance to do it while my friend Katie is still editor, so in a way, I feel like it's now or never. So last night, I psyched myself up and went to the meeting.

I was the only new person joining the staff, everyone else having stayed on from last semester, so I couldn't help but feel a little intimidated. I am, after all, the new guy stepping into the workings of a team that's been together for awhile. Katie had said something to me about just coming and checking it out to see if I liked it, but comfortable or not, I somehow ended up with an assignment, and a person to interview, and a deadline. So it will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Once In a Long Time, Eh?

Shortly after transferring to Bryan this time last year, Dayton Tennessee had a major snow storm. This, the locals assured me, was extremely unusual... something once in a decade. Well, how about now?

Being rather ill yesterday, I was unable to make the journey to Tennessee by myself, so my Dad drove me down. As we made it further and further south, we observed something relatively unusual. Rather than getting warmer and there being less snow, the temperature stayed remarkably stable, and the amount of snow-cover increased until we finally got to Bryan College here and found a full five inches on the ground.

I like the snow really, but the thing is, whenever I drive 13 hours due south, I tend to expect it to get at least a little warmer. So it's a bit disappointing when I go right from one winter wonderland to another.

Speaking of disappointment, I had some this afternoon when I found out one of my friends I was planning on going to Latvia with over spring break will no longer be able to come. Apparently a lot of people were unable to raise the necessary 50% of funds by the deadline, and because of a new set of policies regarding payment, were simply told that they would be unable to go. So I'm not really looking forward to finding out how many more people in the group, which was already small, may no longer be going.

Other than that, my first day back on campus went pretty well. I really only had one class. Normally I'd have two, but because of the snow, one of my profs canceled. The one that I did have was contemporary math, that legitimate higher math course that I'm finally taking after literally years of remedial courses due in combination to my abysmal scores in high school and academic red tape in college. So even though I'm terrible at math, I'm almost looking forward to this, because after I'm done it will finally be over.  

I think my strep is starting to react to the medication now, which is good. I still feel a little tireder than usual, but the general bad feeling of being sick is mostly gone, so that's good.

In addition to friends from the past two semesters, I also saw Sam and Samuel Spatola from Italy who are here for a missions conference that runs for the rest of the week. I talked to them twice; once after chapel, and then again when I ran into them in the library. Sam wanted to make sure he had never promised to give me money if I sent any friends to SBI, since I did in fact send two this fall. I assured him that he hadn't. We did however, agree upon a price if ever send anyone else, so if you ever do have the interest to spend three months studying and traveling in Italy in a Christian environment, tell Sam that I sent you ;)

Monday, January 10, 2011


I have been quite ill the past few days. I woke up Friday morning with something that felt like a bad fever and then felt miserable for the rest of the day. That night I barely slept and felt even worse on Saturday. This seemed to be terrible timing as my break was ending and I was expected to return to Bryan by today (Monday). As it turned out though, a huge snowstorm hit the South-East today, and Bryan canceled operations and asked all students not to return until it had passed. That was a bit of a relief but I was still feeling pretty down... especially after I got the bill for maintenance on my car, and found it was about three times what I had been expecting. Since I had time now, I decided to go to the doctors, where they gave me a strep throat test.

As I was in the room waiting for the results, my Dad texted me with the news that Talisman Energy, the company that has been leasing our land and preparing a drilling pad for the last year or two is finally starting to drill! This is great news, as it means we may finally see the payback from all the stuff they have been doing around our farm, and, it just may be enough to seriously help my parents with their financial situation.

Just as I was replying to my Dad's text, my doctor came back in and informed me that I did indeed have strep. While I'm not exactly happy to have it, I'm glad that it's that instead of the flu, because it means I can take a prescription for it, instead of just waiting for it to go away (which I had been doing unsuccessfully for the last three nights).

It kind of makes sense now... considering that I've felt kind of run down for most of Christmas break. Although that could have been just from how busy I've been. In the three weeks I've been back, I've take care of so many annoying logistical things: traveling to Lynchburg with my Dad to pack up the Soul display, getting my car inspected, getting my car's window repaired, renewing my drivers license, and mailing out lots of support letters for an upcoming missions trip; all combined with the normal social obligations of the holidays and people that I needed to visit because I won't have another chance for months... it almost didn't seem like a break.

Anyhow, I had been feeling a little hopeless the last few days. But then, I usually do when I'm really sick. Now that I will apparently be able to be cured (even if I haven't actually taken the stuff yet, because the Walmart pharmacy is running a full three hours behind schedule) I feel a little bit better. And the are drilling on our land... which could potentially solve a lot of my other problems too... so that's hopeful.

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Place In New York

Yesterday I was able to go down to Queens to see a few oldish friends of mine, Pete, Amanda, and Hannah Wells. I met all three of them at SBI and hadn't seen them since, so it was really great to catch them while they were, at least relatively speaking, close. Pete and Amanda, who are the main part of the band The Perennials are leaving for England tomorrow to start a tour or Europe, which I hope will be great for them.

I spent the afternoon at a house of a friend of theirs, and that evening listened to them play a show for some of their friend's friends. There ended up being thirty or forty people there, all from the Queens area, and it was cool to meet all of them. I've never known anyone from NYC before, which was probably the main reason I so seldom go there. That may change though, as I had several people invite me to come down for a weekend sometime.

The show was great. I was amazed to hear how much both of their skill has improved since playing with Pete back in the day. If you're at all interested in their music, you can check out their myspace page here.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Couple Years & a Couple Continents

Happy New Years Day! By the time I finish this post, it will probably be the 2nd, but know that I started it on New Years Day ;) 

I had a pretty good time celebrating. I started with a bit of a New Years Eve-Eve party with my friend Chris at my place. We stayed up till the wee hours of the last day of 2010 playing SWAT on Halo Reach. The next day we drove back up to Corning where I met my family at the Cornfield's house where I spent most of the evening talking conspiracy theories with Joe - something I haven't done in a while. We went home at nine and my Mom and sisters started watching this perfectly horrid James Stewart movie from the 60's. In addition to being perfectly horrid, it was quite long, so we ended up staying up past midnight. My sisters all said that they had no interest in watching the ball drop as we usually do, and since they were using the TV for the movie, I tried to set it up on the computer. Unfortunately, while was showing streams of all the people in Time Square, they weren't actually showing the ball drop. Then, at about 11:59, my sisters suddenly changed their minds and decided that they did want to see the ball drop after all. What followed was a frantic scramble to pause the horrid James Stewart movie, fix the antenna, and find the right channel to see the drop. They missed it by seconds.

Tomorrow we will be in NYC for real though. I had decided this summer to go down and visit my friends Pete and Amanda in the city as they are briefly staying there before going back to Europe. I had originally wanted to go down earlier this week, but because the mechanic took several days to inspect my car, I was delayed until tomorrow. Then, when I explained my plans to my parents, they decided they wanted to come along... and take their car, which means that I didn't really need to wait all this time for mine to be legal. Anyhow, it should be fun, and I'm glad I'll get to see my friends again... it's been a couple years and a couple continents since I saw them last time.

That was back in Italy of course. Speaking of which, I spent this evening visiting one of my other friends, Nicole, who I accidentally convinced to go to Italy this past semester. It was interesting to hear about her experiences... how they were similar and different from mine.

So now I should really be getting some sleep, but after spending the last few days staying up so late, I just can't. I tried for about half an hour, but the longer I lay in bed, the more awake I got, so I decided to blog instead to see if maybe it would reverse the process. I'm afraid I haven't been successful.

And Dreams by Passion Pit is the bomb. Just stayin'