Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grad Student

Good evening, all!

I know I’m missing out on some Saturday night activities out there (which definitely bums me out), but it was time for me to come home after my activities today: a nine hour class, driving around a bit, and now I’m home to get some more work done before tomorrow morning. The fun never ends. :-P

Which started me thinking about my classmates and how they’re all having long days. For example, I just dropped off a couple classmates at the airport so they could fly back to their respective homes. Yes, you read that correctly, I did say airport. Isn’t that insane!? These classmates of mine fly in for each and every single class (I know ASU students that won’t roll out of bed for a class that’s 30 seconds away!). In my mind that makes my classmates superheroes.

They’re committing a large amount of time and energy towards something they’re passionate about. It won’t make them famous… won’t make them tons of money (“wait, hold up, a life of ministry doesn’t lead to a ton of money?” the crowds gasp)… but they’re pushing themselves beyond the point of exhaustion because they know it’s something profoundly worthwhile.

These superheroes, they’re working hard because they yearn to get better at caring for the people God has placed in their lives. And it’s their drive/discipline that inspires me to work hard myself. Their love for Jesus encourages me to be intentional with my own priorities.

So it’s in their honor I share a few graduate student jokes I stumbled across recently (and by the way I can honestly say the below items are true for my own life, haha):

You know you’re a grad student when…

* you can identify universities by their internet domains.
* you are constantly looking for a thesis in novels.
* you have difficulty reading anything that doesn't have footnotes.
* you understand jokes about Foucault.
* you consider caffeine to be a major food group.
* you've ever brought books with you on vacation and actually studied.
* Saturday nights spent studying no longer seem weird. (hahaha! As evidenced by what I’ll be doing when I finish posting)
* the professor doesn't show up to class and you discuss the readings anyway.
* you appreciate the fact that you get to choose which twenty hours out of the day you have to work.
* you find taking notes in a park relaxing.
* you find yourself citing sources in conversation.
* you've ever sent a personal letter with footnotes.
* you are startled to meet people who neither need nor want to read.
* you have ever brought a scholarly article to a bar.
* you rate coffee shops by the availability of outlets for your laptop.
* everything reminds you of something in your discipline.
* you have ever discussed academic matters at a sporting event.
* there is a microfilm reader in the library that you consider "yours."
* you actually have a preference between microfilm and microfiche.
* you can tell the time of day by looking at the traffic flow at the library.
* you consider all papers to be works in progress.
* professors don't really care when you turn in work anymore.
* you have given up trying to keep your books organized and are now just trying to keep them all in the same general area.
* you have accepted guilt as an inherent feature of relaxation.
* you find yourself explaining to children that you are in "20th grade".
* you look forward to taking some time off to do laundry.
* you have more photocopy cards than credit cards.
* you wonder if APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as "personal communication".
* you have a favourite flavour of instant noodle.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Online projects

Many of you know that my family just started a video blog we're uber-excited about: The Emphatics!

But ours isn't the only interesting project taking place through the great interweb:

* Postsecret

This weekly blog showcases the anonymous secrets people send in on postcards. The guy who started it just wanted to give his friends a way of anonymously getting something off of there chest... but the idea caught on so quickly that he now receives millions of postcards from around the world, has published several books of the secrets, and tours around the United States giving lectures on his project. Some secrets are sad, some are very profound, some are great just because of the artistic design --- but no matter what their appeal, they are always worth checking out.

* Brotherhood 2.0

Two brothers decide not to communicate except through video blogs for an entire year... and they don't mind if you watch them do it. I absolutely love this site. It began as a small challenge between two brothers and grew into a community of fans (who have their own social networking site). One of the brothers is a favorite author of mine, John Green. Click on the link and see why their project attracted so much interest.

* 1001 Journals

Though the project has changed a bit since it was first made, it's still a fun idea. Originally the person left 1000 journals across the country with a simple message in the front, "Move these books around until they're full, then send back to the included address." Some books came back quickly, others took years and years to be returned, some are still out there (or probably got destroyed). But the success of that initial surge of journals led to a more organized way of keeping community journals. Give it a quick peak if this kind of thing sparks your interest.

* Geocaching

All you need is a handheld GPS unit and you can join in the greatest scavenger hunt ever devised! Within 10 miles of where you're currently sitting are dozens, possibly hundreds of secretly hidden caches to discover.

* Bookmooch

The above link is just one of the many examples of sites popping up where the purpose is to facilitate a free, point-based exchange program. Basically, if you have a bunch of books lying around that you don't mind parting with, you can send them through the bookmooch system, build up points, and ask for books from others. I've seen other sites that use this same concept with video games, movies, etc.

Also, I've seen a similar trend of sites that use a free achievement/point system to motivate their users to contribute. Allpoetry is a good example for casual poets/writers, Sparkpeople is a BRILLIANT site to get people motivated to live healthier lives (it includes the most exhaustive recipe and nutrition tracking database I've ever seen, points awarded for reaching personal goals, a community aspect so you have others to share in the process with, etc).

But anyways, I just thought I'd post some of these links up in today's post because they show that there are a lot of really fascinating social projects taking place online these days. Paper newspapers are disappearing in place of online publications (will news aggregation sites lose out in the new legal battles?), music bands releasing their cds online for "whatever you feel comfortable paying" are proving to the music industry that new mediums can be successful, etc., the list goes on.

Have you guys seen any interesting online trends lately? Leave a comment if you'd like to share with all of us what you've seen :-)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beyond Soda

I have a new love... and that new love is Pop the Soda Shop which is at McDowell and 74th Street. The entire store is filled with specialty sodas from around the world, most pretty bizarre. My kinda place.

Somehow Brent convinced me to split the cost of a Root Beer Keg. Sigh, haha. So now I can truthfully say, "I've bought a keg." What has this youth group done to me!?

This communist soda has got to be one of the funniest sodas in there. "There's a party in every bottle..." "A taste worth standing in line for..." "Lininade..."

Who wouldn't love that?

Here's a Japanese soda. Unlike the Leninade, this soda seems less gimicky, more genuine. I don't think it necessarily makes me an honorary Japanese citizen... but it certainly brings me one step closer.

And here's a soda that's really popular in Austria. Oompah?

Brain Wash, blue flavor. The kids insisted. Would they say why? No. Does that make me suspicious and scared? Of course.

The tamest scenario I'm imagining is that it will turn my mouth blue. But I honestly don't know...

If anyone finds out the dangers of this soda, contact me IMMEDIATELY before I drink it within the next 24 hours.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Sigh, it's normal to spend twenty minutes clicking your alarm clock button until it feels even, right? If friends come over and slightly move the books on the bookshelf, it's normal to feel off until the books are straightened out again. To avoid pens with caps because you don't want people to notice how much attention you put into lining the cap up with the pen's lettering. To go to the restroom not because you need to go, but because you feel the compulsion to do one of your tics and you don't want to embarrass yourself. All normal, right? Oiy. Well anyway, here's a couple videos that mix funny with sad on the issue:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Activities

Easter Weekend

Here is the dashboard Jesus the youth snuck into my jeep between services. :-D Isn't it awesome!!?

My family (including my grandparents from out of town) also went to the Botanical Gardens where there is a wonderful glass exhibition.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Batman is really your only choice.

Sure, the gunslinging days of yesteryore hosted a whole slew of characters you may have admired. The Lone Ranger with his black/white morality, Captain America with his one-dimensional patriotism, Superman with his flawless shiny American perfection. These heroes were what we needed when the world was simple and morality was a binary system.

But we don’t live in that world anymore. Ethics and truth get muddled into a soupy mess until the only thing left to do is create a community, value experience over logic, and start building up an ideology again from that experiential foundation. Of course I’m pretty vocal about the ideology I hold true --- God loves me but I disobey Him, and that injustice requires a payment which Christ paid, making it possible for me to have a relationship with God again, whew--- but I find the way I talk about the Bible with a 20 year old is different than the way I talk about the Bible with a 60 year old. The Bible hasn’t changed, and certainly God hasn’t changed, but we approach the truths from a slightly different angle (we in the postmodern generations). But I’m sidetracked… back to Batman:

Batman is really your only choice in a postmodern world. Movie heroes nowadays are relatable first, admirable second. And while a simple anti-hero might have satiated the appetites of audiences in the 80’s and 90’s (I’m looking at you, Hulk), the modern audience clings to the conflicted. I mean, just go back and watch a film from the 1950’s. The men and women fall perfectly into the stereotypes established for them. Now how about a movie from 2009?

Here’s what happens at a party:

*Lone Ranger, Green Lantern, The Shadow, the Flash. These men of the 1940’s sit in the corner, rasping stories at one another about the “good old days.” While it’s okay to say hi to one of these guys, I certainly don’t want to be cornered by any of them, forced to listen to stories that drone and only barely pique my interest. Besides, their cigar smoke is giving me a headache.

*Slick-haired Superman is talking with Wonder Woman by the punch bowl. They’re hovering over an old copy of the Gazette, and, argh, they won’t move more than three feet from the punch bowl because they’re waiting to grab your shoulder and pull you into the peppiest, happiest, shiniest conversation you’ve ever been a part of. Partygoers who liked the 1950’s will flock to the punch because, simply put, in their stories the good is the goodest good possible.

*Gambit, Wolverine, the Hulk are too cool for school. Their 80’s style feels cramped in such a still-standing environment. Psh, they don’t need all these old fogeys, they need to grab a piece of vanilla cake in their fingerless gloves and race out into the summer wind. They have no clue who James Dean was but wow do they drive like him.

*Spiderman is here too, proudly sporting the 90’s. Meh, I have no real complaint against Spiderman. He’s a cool enough guy, just can get annoying sometimes. Regardless, a friend always gives him a call and so I can’t really kick him out unless I make a big scene… meh, which isn’t really worth it.

*And then there’s Batman! Everyone loves him. He doesn’t try to be the life of the party like frat guy Superman, instead he moves around the partygoers, asking quite genuinely how you’re doing and always giving good insight on your struggles. He adapts with the times, has a noble but also dark side, and even though he wrestles with his own demons there is no sense of whiney-self-absorbism. Batman’s the guy you call when you’re throwing a huge party, or when you’re grabbing a couple close friends for a cup of coffee.

Batman ftw!

Thursday, April 9, 2009



It really sucks to be an imperfect human being, doesn't it?

I mean, let's be honest --- it's miserable to be trapped in this body that does things I don't want it to do, to have a mind that thinks things I don't want it to think.

As I enter into Good Friday, I'm opening myself up to the sobering reality of my imperfection. By the time I get to Sunday I'll be ready for the full celebration of a Savior who loves and transforms me. But until then... Matthew 9:12, Psalm 119:147, Psalm 22:6,11, ...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Totally possible

Recently someone accused me of expecting the impossible. So below I've described a very realistic and possible scenario --- so possible that it could happen at any moment, really --- like now... ... ... well anyways, I can't imagine a more realistic and possible scenario than this:

She says, "Oops, I'm sorry, I just bumped into you on accident. Which is odd because people normally describe my movements as incredibly graceful. But I guess I was just too lost in thought --- that happens sometimes, I have to admit --- I love how many interesting things are out there to think about, discuss with others... new hobbies to discover and interests to share. Plus, I find that depth and integrity are really great building blocks for establishing healthy relationships with others, ya know what I mean? Before I bumped into you I was busy thinking about my loving Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. I don't know how you feel about God, faith... what your background is. Of course I'll always lend an open ear if you'd like to talk about it. But all I know is that God has been so good to me, and even though I absolutely don't deserve it He's patiently taught me. I can look back on the last few years and see, wow, that God has really transformed my heart into something I never used to be able to imagine. There are still the occasional moments where I doubt if I'm really good enough, or how in the world God could ever love a person like me, but I remember verses I've memorized and I'm comforted by the knowledge that God truly does want to work through me. Eeps, I hope I'm not making you uncomfortable. There's my verse pack over there, it must have been knocked down when we bumped. Oh, and there are the poetry books I like to read too, right next to the iPod with all those indie bands I'm always finding on music blogs. Ah, dorky me, why am I spilling all of this information to you? I guess there's just something different about you... I feel this comfort, like we've known each other for decades. Normally I'm slightly closed off. People will comment on my beauty ::people to the side are talking about how beautiful she is:: but that's never been the most important thing to me, so it's slightly embarassing. I'm actually kinda shy, really. Most days I'd rather curl up by a fire with a good book, maybe write in a journal, and spend time with the people who matter the most to me. Sigh, if only I met a guy who loved God first and foremost. A guy like that could be drawing strength from the right source, that way he'd be able to really keep a marriage together in a powerful way. If only... if only I met a guy who I could love in a similar way, a guy who was okay with how much time I spend with the Lord and how often I'll pull open my Bible (the English, Hebrew, and Greek all next to each other). It's certainly realistic and possible for me to eventually meet a guy like that. He must be out there somewhere. So if, no, i mean WHEN I find that guy, we're going to have the most ridiculously fun and God honoring relationship ever."

So see! Evidence is above, we can all picture these words pouring out of someone's mouth. It's not like this scenario is any way rare :-P It's not like the odds of this happening are in any way small. It's not like the chances of meeting a girl who is uber-genuine with her faith, not perfect but growing over time and interested in sharing her thoughts with people she cares for... it's not like the chances of meeting her are so astronomically small that you can almost use the word "impossible."