Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Cursed technology

Now don't get me wrong by the title of this post, I'm all for technology...within reason. But when people get it into their heads that it's a good idea to write nasty little programs that infect other people's computers, I start to get a little teed off. Imagine the sheer joy of booting up your computer in the morning to find out that not only does your Internet not work (read that: won't open Explorer), but you've mysteriously gained a program called "Golden Casino" from goodness knows where...!!! A program that, as it would have it, has the amazing capability of opening itself once you boot up your computer...I have no control. (I would like to assure you at this point that I am not one of those fools who opens odd attachments from strangers, nor am I in the habit of downloading...AND when I ran a virus checker after discovering my Internet would not work, it reported that my PC was fine...obviously not...)

Forgive me for venting, and in truth, this has all been a good lesson for me: patience is a virtue I still need to work on. One of these days I just might get it right; today was not that day.

In other more exciting news, I finally finished one of my papers today and in so doing discovered an extreme dislike for writing social work papers. I don't know why. It's my major and quite frankly the classes are interesting, but the papers bore me to death. And having to do citation!! Urk! I mean, I understand the point and all, but I'm getting really tired of having a required amount of sources totalling more than the required number of pages. It is my poor and humble opinion that paper writing is the bain of all students and quite possibly the worst way to try to get someone to learn something. If I'm going to learn about something, let me learn about it, but don't make me spew it back to you in some horrible form or fashion that doesn't truly let me express myself. Don't get me started on how much I dislike the current system of education...I could go for hours.

I probably could go on, but I believe for now I have successfully vented enough annoyance at the world in general to move on with the rest of my day. (In case you're wondering I'm not actually writing this from my own computer because, as earlier stated, my Internet explorer doesn't work...)

Friday, March 26, 2004

His strength, not mine

Once again, when I really should be doing homework, I find myself hard at work procrastinating with this here blog. In truth, homework bores me, and having spent most of this morning trying to motivate myself enough to write a memo for one of my business classes, I'm taking a break. Call it "burn-out prevention" if you will.

Actually, there's something I've been thinking about the past couple of days that I wanted to comment on. Recently I've had a couple of friends tell me how amazed they are with my strength, having seen the way I'm dealing with certain issues in my life on a daily basis. And while I wish with all my heart I could accept the compliment and say, yeah, that's the me, the strong one...I know in my heart I'm not. Rather, it is God who gives me strength, and I should be pointing the glory back to Him. Truth be told most of the time I don't feel very strong at all, and if not for Him, I doubt I would be able to keep going. I myself am amazed as I look back over the past year, wondering how I could possibly have managed to get through all I did, yet I know it was the hand of my Precious Lord that has been guiding me through the valleys to the mountaintops. I owe all I am to Him.

"He is all the strength that I will ever need." ~Mark Schultz

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The past couple of days have been rather draining to say the least. I do not enjoy being sick and having to miss both a choir gig and Church in the Box. Yet at the same time I can see God using this as one more lesson in relying on Him for strength. He has become my Stillpoint where I go whenever life's whirlwind becomes too much to bear, and I pray I might come to remain in His peaceful presence all through the day.

Some exciting things have been happening lately: I've found a house for the summer and for next year, and I've got a job for the summer at Connon's Nursery...nothing glamorous, just a regular greenhouse job, but I am so thankful not to be stuck inside at a desk like last year. Not to mention I get to work on a crew again...how I missed being with people while at Union Gas!! God is so faithful to provide.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

This is something I wrote a while ago while I had some free time on my hands...I came across it and it made me smile to remember the good old days when I had time to sit and ponder...

Issues of Boredom
The problem with being a student I've discovered, is that although we profess to be inundated with countless hours of homework and useless classtime, truth be told more often than not we find ourselves with entirely too much spare time on our hands. (Frankly, this is due in part to the epidemic of procrastination that seems to breakout every September and miraculously disappear upon completion of exams in April.) Outright laziness aside, it follows that one would strive to occupy themself in some form or fashion so as not to die of complete boredom.

Herein lies the dilemma. As a student plagued by the injustice of inordinately high rates of tuition, I must confess our options for entertainment are limited. Not to mention the fact that civilization is a good thirty minute hike in only one direction, and bus services are sporadic at best. I need not remind you that with temperatures at a chill factor of twenty below zero and pathways covered with snowdrifts past my knees, this spells a recipe for disaster in the form of hypothermia and frostbite.

What to do? What to dooo?

Several thoughts come to mind...

Cow-tipping. A last resort at best, the very mention of this joyous rural past-time conjures delightful images of cows being tipped the wrong way and small people such as myself never being heard from again. Besides which, there seems to be a not-so-surprising lack of cattle in the area...

One could potentially attempt to cure the procrastination epidemic by actually completing school work ahead of time, but then we'd lose the fun of those late night cramming sessions or papers being printed off mere seconds before the beginning of class deadline. And for those of us non-academic types who curse the education system with each breath, the idea is rather less than appealing. After all, there's a life out there waiting to be lived. Why waste time in a stuffy classroom?

There are, of course, your typical every-day diversions such as card games, movies, Star Trek Voyager re-runs, and who could forget the all-important and ever-so-amusing FreeCell, to which I have developed a strange addiction.

Am I a complete moron for finding it all so mundane? Is it wrong to want something different for a change? It's like having an itch, except you can't scratch it...

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Meaning in Music

I was doing some reading this afternoon for a paper I'm writing on Berlioz, when I came across this passage in a book talking about meaning in music:

"What we forget is that there is such a thing as meaning and understanding in one step, immediate and without immitation. Take a sudden cry. It bursts from someone near you, whom you know. The cry is an expression, and from the looks of the person and your sense of the situation you usually know whether it is a cry of joy, or of pain. But that is a mere tag. What the cry expresses is not the general subject pain or joy, nor a localized pain or cause of joy. It contains infinitely more than either emotion, general or particular. It expresses the whole being, that person at that moment. Strictly speakng, the cry is unanalyzable and undescribable....

Music--and every other art--is expressive in the same sense as a cry or a gesture. We say to the same effect a "facial expression"--it has no name, but it means. Music is of course far more complex than cries, faces or gestures, but like a brilliant pantomime its consecutive intention is immediately perceived and understood. No need of mentally guessing, translating, converting its passing forms into another realm of abstract or concrete perceptions. The better word for this power is not expression but expressiveness..."

I was reminded of something Jen said in a comment for an earlier entry, just about how hard it is to express music in words and maybe that's the point. This passage I think reiterates that point, and I was struck by how when you try to explain music in words, it tends to take away from the power of it. The point of music is that it is something you hear, and in the hearing of it feel the meaning as it strikes a chord within your very being.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Being Real

As I browse the many Redeemer blogs out there and the various links attached to them, I find myself thinking I need to be posting deeply philosophical posts discussing all these books that I know I should be reading but quite frankly don't have the time. And knowing that I can't possibly come up with anything remotely close to being as interesting as half of what's out there, I end up with this rather depressed, guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Maybe I'm not a true blogger, maybe there's no way I could ever consider myself a part of this kinda cool community I see forming here on the Net. Then I tell myself, so what? Who cares what other people think when they read this? It is my blog site, and my place to put what I want to say. So...in an attempt to be real, I've given up trying to think of something appropriately theoretical and decided to do this my way. If you don't like it, deal with it.

I was in night class tonight, and instead of paying attention like I should, I found myself contemplating emotions. (If you'll note that nice little personality test thingy that I took, ISFP's are emotional people...this could explain my hesitancy to engage in philosophical discussion.) And I wondered, is it possible to feel good and crummy at the same time? Then I realized this was a ridiculous question because it was exactly how I was feeling...but then I couldn't figure out, how do you truthfully answer someone who asks how you're doing? I mean, I prefer to give an honest answer to that question when asked...a simple "fine" just will not do. But trying to explain being happy and yet not at the same time is complicated. Somehow I find it hard to believe most people are willing to listen to the details of the inevitably long explanation that I would have.

And I realized the futility and pointlessness of asking everyone you meet, "How's it going?" I know I've had this discussion with people before, and it continues to be something that bothers me. How many people really want to hear the details of how it's going? If I think about how often I ask people so flippantly how they're doing, I realize that most of the time I'm not expecting them to tell me that they're feeling crummy. I can't help wondering what I would do if someone were to break down and completely spill every horrible detail of how badly things were going. I only pray that I would be sympathetic...

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

From My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers...
"The bedrock of our Christian faith is the unmerited, fathomless marvel of the love of God exhibited on the Cross of Calvary, a love we never can and never shall merit."

I could say more on this, but it would just be me attempting my hand at philosophizing, and since I am merely a humble student of sociology and not of philosophy or anything close to something ressembling deep thinking, I will suffice to say that I like this quote.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Passion

I saw The Passion of Christ last night.

mind-blowing speechless wonder

At the risk of sounding cliche, there are no words to adequately express the life-changing qualities of this movie. I am in awe of the incredible sacrifice that Christ made for me, and I can not help but feel so completely unworthy of His love. How can we even begin to imagine the depth of God's grace? That He should send His only Son to die such a horrible death for us? Goheen described it so adequately in last week's chapel, that Christ's awful death on the cross should be God's greatest act of glory is utter foolishness. Yet it is God's glory. And we can never even hope to begin to thank Him enough for all He's done. I said to my friend last night, all we have to give Him is our lives, how can we do anything but live every day and do everything we do for His glory and to worship Him?

Friday, March 05, 2004

Some thoughts...

There's something so amazing about taking just a little bit of time, even a half hour, out of your day to come before God and pray. The school had a prayer vigil tonight that I took part in, and it was such an awesome time. More and more I've come to see the incredible power of prayer, and tonight has only reinforced that. I wish that more people could realize how good it is to make this time for God, and how praying for someone is the greatest gift we could ever give. The half hour just flies by...

We're having an Amsterdam reunion over dinner tomorrow. I'm so excited! I miss everyone and Amsterdam so much... It will be fun to reminisce, relive the memories...(read that: get teased about dancing at the Paradisco...good times of course). What I wouldn't give to go back! Call it a laid-back style of living, call it running away from my problems, but life was a lot easier over there and I miss the freedom more than I thought possible.

I was playing piano in a practice room tonight, and I was struck by the incredible power of music. It's amazing how certain chords and harmonies can just strike you to the very core, allowing you to express feelings that you keep so carefully hidden beneath that thin veneer. I was playing to release, and I ended up releasing more than I'd anticipated...one minute I'm mellowing, the next thing I know I'm banging away on a wedding march (my anger music; it's complicated) venting frustration that I'm not entirely sure where came from. There's something about all the time I spend alone on weekends that tends to put me into an entirely way too introspective mood...
So I took this test...I think I could be in trouble.

Introverted (I) 53.66% Extroverted (E) 46.34%
Realistic (S) 61.29% Imaginative (N) 38.71%
Emotional (F) 63.64% Intellectual (T) 36.36%
Easygoing (P) 67.74% Organized (J) 32.26%
Your type is: ISFP
You are a Specialist, possible professions include - bookkeeper, clerical supervisor, dental assistant, physical therapist, mechanic, radiology technologist, surveyor, chef, forester, geologist, landscaper designer, crisis hotline operator, teacher
Take Free Career Inventory Personality Test.

This is it

I think I've finally decided on what I want this thing to look like. The colours are still a little on the iffy side, but trying to pick the perfect one to fit my mood with one of those awful little color chart schemes they give just isn't quite working for me...and hey! I finally figured out how to change the font of the comments link.

It's finally the weekend. I had not realized just how stressful this week has been until I sat down last night in between dinner and night class and just vegged out for about thirty minutes and I realized I hadn't had time to watch tv guilt-free pretty much all week. I am so thankful God gave us a day of rest.

So now that I find myself with some free time on my hands, (how else would I have time to figure this whole blog thing out?), I can not help but feel completely exhausted from lack of sleep, and think that maybe I should be getting a head start on all the homework I know I have coming due in a couple weeks or engaging myself in some sort of activity to prevent my mind from completely vegetating...at the very least contemplating exactly why it is that I feel this awful need. Yet for some reason my mind is blank...

The joys of fatigue...

I just noticed a quote on my wall that a friend gave to me last week...she had impecable timing with it then, and I realize looking at it now it applies more than ever:

"In repairing a relationship, it's essential to realize that no friendship is perfect, no marriage is perfect, no person is perfect. With the resolve that you are going to make a relationship work, you can develop peace treaties of love and tolerance and harmony to transform a difficult situation into something beautiful."
Learning how to mess around with this template is harder than I'd thought. I'm all about the trial and error method, but seriously...there's got to be an easier way to figure out how to do what I want. If I could only figure out how to change the font of that comments link we'd be all set...

Thursday, March 04, 2004

So I'm giving in and starting a blog site. I've discovered that this happens to be an excellent way to procrastinate...(the papers I should be writing right now...they're haunting me)... Not sure quite yet what I'm going to do with this, practice deep thinking I suppose and maybe learn html code while I'm at it. These template options are just dreadful...

I really hate first posts. I feel like I should be providing some sort of introduction to this whole thing when I really just want to get started in on whatever it is people normally do with these things. Oh the messes that need to be sorted out in my pathetically confused mind!

Consider this my introduction...