Saturday, December 26, 2009


In contrast to the wonderful time I've had with friends and family over break so far, I started thinking about anticipation (we did not used to be friends). For a while I've wanted to get some of these thoughts down as a manner of coming to terms with myself and closing a chapter of my life.

What comes to my mind most when I think about anticipation is all of the negative experiences I had as a child. My most vivid memory of anticipation was for a trip I took with the "Travel" class in sixth grade. It was an exploratory course that looked into how and why we traveled. The most enjoyable part of the class was to be a trip we would take at the end. It was very short and simple because of the non-existent budget the class had: a train ride on the Amtrak from Grand Rapids to Holland. Perhaps one of the safest ways to travel. However the night beforehand was one of the worst nights of my life. I was up for most of it, my insides churning and my mind despairing of any of the painful deaths to which I could imagine myself succumbing (thinking about it now though, there are really only two, derailing and collision, both extremely unlikely, oh well). For me, as a child, the new and unknown were the worst thing I could be put through. They were to be feared (think swimming lessons) and shunned because they represented uncertainty. It was hard to grapple with the notion that not everything I would experience was something I had done before or could handle with ease. This is a very constricting way to live, which is probably why I spent my time reading about people who did the things I was afraid to do. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my childhood, and the time I spent going to other galaxies and doing crazy things through reading, but it was really more of a defense mechanism than anything else.

What caused me to consider all of this is my upcoming trip to China. Having never flown before, I immediately considered thoughts of being lost in any number of places and having everything stolen. Reverting to the instinctual fear. But the funny thing about new things is that because you don't know everything beforehand, there is incredible opportunity. That is the flip side of the coin I have never seen. Considering that, I rethought it a bit: I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to fly halfway around the world to visit a country I've only heard of, to see things I've only seen in pictures and to experience a culture like I never have before. I may never have a chance to do his again. Wow, that's kind of entirely different. Could I get lost, dismembered, fed to pigs and forgotten in doing so? Perhaps, but at very least it will be a new experience and I'll probably be surprised enough that having my body rent asunder won't bother me much.

But seriously, I think it's time to embrace the new. Look the unknown in the face, wish it a good day and inquire when tea will be served. We'll see how this goes. (Even more seriously, if you hear about any mass dismembering in China, please let me know.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

True-ish to form

It seems like after each semester is done, I will inevitably dream about failing at least one of my classes. Let's be clear, that didn't happen this year. I'll keep this short in the interest of not boring you.

I was driving with Joel O. in a desert. He was using the wheel, I was working the pedals and we were both sitting in the drivers seat, which is impossible considering that neither of us is the least bit small. I ran a stop-sign for some reason and became angry at Joel when I got the ticket, even though there was nothing he could have possibly done about it.

Considering the amount of dreams we have, compared to the amount of dreams we actually remember, I think I'm getting jipped here. The next time I dream, I demand to recall cross-country skiing with polar bears through the streets of Hudsonville while pulling tricks in the air from jumping off of houses. The polar bears will be equipped with lasers and be playing acoustic guitars real mellow-like (I'm thinking Valley Winter Song by Fountains of Wayne). None of this getting a ticket or failing of classes nonsense.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More than your last retreat

Here is a recipe that will lead to success every time:

Get a cup of coffee + hot chocolate,

wear a warm hoody,

listen to "More Than a Memory" or "Rocking Chair" by P.W. Gopal,

look at a picture of the Straits of Mackinac covered in ice,

imagine you are kayaking beneath the bridge in the summertime.

(a liberal portion of sappiness should also be applied)

That is apologies or excuses.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Feeling Blessed

I thank God that I can live with great friends.

That I can use the intellect that I have been given, no matter how modest.

That my housing situation has been solved and that the worry of having to move has been taken care of (by a move, which went smoothly).

That I can be happily single, and recognize that what happens will happen.

That I have the opportunities to travel abroad extensively in the near future.

That I can worship without fear.

That I can listen to wonderful music.

That I can be transparent and not worry about being judged.

I've been listening to P.W. Gopal, the man who was the music leader at Castaway a few summers back when I was privileged to go there with some awesome guys. These are his lyrics:

You were sent to remind me of faithful things
That there are mountains beneath the sea that I'll never see
That were put in place with gentle hands
Knowing you and I will climb - we'll climb and stand
And let all His grace, let all His grace remind me
--Remind Me

Also, based on the size of his arms, I'm guessing he can lift and perhaps toss about many, many heavy things.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cold falls

It sprinkles down in little pieces,
resting on my head and shoulders, a blanket.
Nestled in the crevices it fills the folds,
and spills over, falling away in patches.

Dampness begins almost immediately,
where my flesh is left to the air;
tiny crystals melting into a trickle,
a river of molten ice running down my back.

How exhilarating to feel life coursing so,
to feel alive and free and real and right.
The directions to this happy place are simple:
embrace the earth and make your angels of snow.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train

The day was passing class by class;
mind filled with Hawthorne and Gibbs.
It was rather prosaic a fall afternoon,
but for the door that opened to me.

Dark brown hair dangled freely,
a frame housing lovely features.
Exquisite to behold, quite the dame,
these are words that go together well.

But for such a rare moment,
it was not unlike any other day.

between the lashes of your eyes

This is what you shall do:
Love the earth and sun and the animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labors to others,
Hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
Have patience and indulgence toward the people,
Take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
Or to any man or number of men,
Go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
And with the young and with the mothers of families,
Read these leaves in the open air,
Every season of every year of your life,
Reexamine all you have been told,
At school at church or in any book,
Dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
And your very flesh shall be a great poem,
And have the richest fluency not only in its words,
But in the silent lines of its lips and face,
And between the lashes of your eyes,
And in every motion and joint of your body.
--Walt Whitman

I was reading "Leaves of Grass" last year, during a Chem lab I think, when I came upon this passage, which is an absolute delight (they should probably make a commercial for bluejeans with it or something). I stumbled upon a representation of it today, which jogged my memory, so naturally I had to share it. There's not necessarily a particular line that I can pick out as a "good" one. The whole passage comes as a package. What it comes down to, is that I want to be this poem.

Largely, I think this passage is Biblical as well. Whitman certainly didn't intend it to be, but except for "argue not concerning God" (anti-evangelism maybe?), I think that Jesus lived each line of the poem. His life was a great poem in the way he lived it, in order to die for us. As Christ followers, the life we live should have the "richest fluency" not in the language of men, but of God.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

¡A Alemania!

Voy a vivir y trabajar en Alemania durante el proximo verano! Tengo un puesto de interno con una compania se llama Boehringer Ingelheim en Ingleheim, Alemania. Es una compania de farmaceuticos. Recibi las noticias hoy, de mi profesor. Es en Alemania ahora, con mi jeffe futuro. Hasta hoy, solo he viajado a Canada, en terminos de otros paises. Asi, estoy muy emocionado para ir a Europa y vivir solo conmigo.

Puedo communicar en espanol con un poco dificultad, de mis quatro anos en la escuela secondaria. Pero aleman no es espanol. Ahora tengo la opportunidad aprender una otra lengua, y para mi, es el parte mas fantastico (y tambien la cultura y la compania y viviendo en un otro pais con extranjeros).

My mind traces the steps, passed over so many times,
etched into memory, they leap out, concrete.
VanBuren, Marlin, childhood stomping grounds;
dreams of following jets to unknown places.

We would lie on the grass, having vanquished our imaginary foes,
and see their trails stretch across the sky.
Inklings of other times, places, to be explored someday,
under circumstances more Franklin and less Bond.

What business has a boy from the salad city,
tracing the steps of humanity, history?
His business is wisdom,
and the development of his frail mind.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Lately I've been reminiscing about Young Life, and my experiences I had there. Particularly I've been thinking about Campaigners, and missing the guys from that group, and the discussions that we had. I haven't found anything like that since I've been at Calvin; those friendships are hard to build quickly. In that context, Sunday night came as an absolute delight, and blessing to me. As a house, we did a Bible study. It was nothing elaborate, no one had planned anything for it, but we talked about some scripture, and about some of the different things that had happened during the week. And it was the most amazing thing. I've been living with these guys for over two years now, and now have the opportunity to talk with them seriously about things that matter. It was refreshing to be sincere and to think deep thoughts with some of my peers, and I fervently hope that this becomes a regular thing.

I've been listening to Hillsong quite a bit lately. Here are some of the lyrics that have been particularly stimulating to me.

A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
my heart and my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out
--From the Inside Out

Also, I have to include this, because it is awesome:

Amazing Grace Techno - Computer Controlled Christmas Lights from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Wow, what a day today was. First of all, it may have been the most beautiful day of 2009. Scratch that, it was the most beautiful day. It made me happy to have to wake up early and do some work, mental and physical.

The biggest part of today was cleaning up the old house and getting everything moved over. It should be noted that some walls were torn down today. Namely walls of drywall and two-by-fours. At this point I would like to recommend that if you must dismantle such a wall indoors, it would not be advised to use a circular saw. It may be that in the course of your cutting you in fact fill an entire house with dust. No guarantee, but...yeah, it's a guarantee.

The rest of the day can be summed up very succinctly: Cam'nNate, Guitar Hero, hw, "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," apple pie.
A cloudless bluebird sky hangs effortlessly above,
taunting beautiful spring before a blustery onslaught.
First morning breath, afraid to leave, catches in my throat,
but is welcomed by balmy arms.

As my bike gathers speed, the squeaking and squealing build in a distinct crescendo,
and I reach the peak, easing into a gentle coast; suddenly silent.
The warm air rushes past my face,
liberating from my vocal chords an expressive, "Yawp!"
--Cómo hermoso el día, la vida

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Housing update

We moved on Saturday and now just have a few things to take care of at the old house. However, currently we have only one key to our door, and it only stays closed when it is locked, so that's fun. Our garage doors are stuck open, and tied that way which means that I keep my bike in the living room, also fun. Finally, we won't have Internet access until Friday, which is why I'm writing this from the basement Chemical Engineering lab. Despite some rather unfortunate parts, I really do like the new house a great deal. Most everything about it is better, it is cheaper, and since we split up the seven of us there is more room in the refrigerator (in which there is a joyful dearth of alcohol). Also, there is just more space especially since Mark and I have the whole basement as our room now.

Though, the best part of the new house is the natural light in my room now! I wake up, and am bathed in wonderful soft, white light, and I see the bare trees that stretch skyward, trying to grab the planes constantly embarking and arriving. Their swarthy bark, a stark contrast to the pale grey sky above, having dropped their colorful charges to the ground beneath, like a slow steady rain. That is why I love this house.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Octubre [edited: Mamihlapinatapai]

Soft grey clouds stretch to the horizon:
svelte, occasionally undulating, blanketing.
You walk in their perpetual shade; at each moment,
a million droplets threaten to obscure your frame.

A chill wind strikes at your sweatshirt, whipping it about;
it seeps in, toying with you, sapping heat for no purpose.
Still, I wish to walk with you, to shuffle through the dampness;
leaves clinging to our shoes, listening to the wind in the trees.

I watch as images flow from your pen;
they're trapped in my mind: beautiful, evocative.
Sadly I trundle away, my head quickly turns,
wishing that this could be, yet too reticent, coy to ask.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Odd milestone

Today, Google Analytics tells me that search traffic (via Google and Yahoo) to this page has eclipsed the 50% mark in terms of relative sources. I've been getting a lot of hits from terms like "tennis etiquette" and "peter singer famine affluence morality", even "60 ton angel" (Porcupine Tree reference). Which is weird because those are only three posts that have those terms. I'm sure that they didn't find whatever they were looking for (I know that for a fact because the average time on the site was 00:00:00, and there were 100% bounce rates across the board! :]).

I also think its weird (mostly cool) that I get occasional international traffic: Brazil (spam bots), South Korea, U.K., Norway, Japan, Vietnam and Ecuador. There's someone in Belgium who visited, and even comes back occasionally (Amazingly! I mean, I'm barely relevant to my friends, much less a Belgian. Nonetheless, thank you for reading).

I guess because I intended this initially as a place for me to be introspective and occasionally sappy (then as a place where I can write things that Alex will read), it's weird to me that others read it, albeit mostly unintentionally. But I certainly don't mind.

Orbiting the Room

This evening was host to a boisterous jaunt with some buds. We went to see Mutemath at the Orbit Room. The opener was a local band called: Something, something, way too loud and flappy bass. They were ok, but the bass was way too loud and flappy. As Tall As Giants followed, and though their singer was back home having surgery, they played some wicked instrumental tunes with fantastic energy. The bassist was electrifying; a very exciting human being.

Mutemath followed and played some songs from their album Armistice. They really brought a good mood and got people up on their feet. Roy went on to dominate the cello which really made my night. Both of my favorite songs from their first record were played: "Typical" and "Break the Same". This was the first time seeing them in concert, and I was very impressed. I probably wouldn't mind seeing them again.

Arguably though, the concert had three best parts all of which took place during the encore/reset portion of the show. First, was the man in the balcony who whipped off his shirt and made out with a girl who was up there (strange), then, the drummer Darren put his bass drum on top of people in the crowd, and stood on top of it for a bit, then leaped off in order to crowdsurf. And if that weren't enough, a man in a bear suit, followed by Goldilocks walked in front of me on their way to leave. An actual bear suit... i.e. he probably killed a bear, skinned it and made it into a suit that he could wear. He wasn't dissing @JohnCMayer though.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Walden Excerpt

"I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if if were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."
--H.D. Thoreau

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beauty in the differences. This was never real to me growing up. Sure, my little sister is Chinese, and we spent time at multicultural festivals, but there was never any real interaction there. My experiences were of someone who saw from afar, different people, but did not comprehend. This became especially obvious to me (and I learned that I am a sad confused little boy) at a recent visit to Meijer. The particular Meijer store I went to is often referred to as "ghetto" Meijer, and I had never been there before.

Let's be clear, this was no grand revelation, which is what makes it particularly pitiful. Apparently during any interaction that I've had with Africans or Hispanics or Asians, or any other race, I have been in the majority. At Meijer last week I was in the minority. This certainly wasn't the first time that I've been in the minority as a Caucasian, however it was probably the first time it was salient to me. How sad is it, that as a 20 year old college student, I finally became aware of such a thing. The worst part, the part that makes me feel utterly juvenile is that I was very uneasy. Pathetically uneasy. I felt like a racist pig, in my feelings of unease. There was no reason to feel ill at ease, yet there I was, dodging eye contact like one of those racist fathers depicted in movies about the south before/during the Civil Rights movement. These feeling hurt me; hurt that I felt like I had to act that way.

It seemed that for all of my welcoming intentions, my reaction went around my brain's back. My visceral reaction brought me to the sad and obvious realization that racism is not over. Academically, I believe in the beauty of difference, in the celebration of difference, and in the realization that for all of our outward differences, we are the same. We are a tapestry, beautiful in scope, that is made of the same thread. The strands are of course individually beautiful, however in combination they set each other off. African thread looks different than Caucasian thread, looks different than Hispanic thread, looks different than Asian thread, BUT IS THREAD!

I realize I've said nothing new in this post. It is intended to draw to the forefront of my mind something that needs to change in me. It is intended to show me that I have to rectify my instinctive reaction with that which I believe in my heart.

Diversity is pulchritudinous. I want to feel that in addition to knowing it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I desperately need you

Drops of light, they glide over the sphere we call home,
like water on a snow globe, lit by the brightest day, during the darkest night.
Peering into our world in short bursts,
obedient to time and space, they wait for us each year.

In our appreciation we spurn their advances, for what can we do,
but allow them to render themselves vapor?
Glorious and vibrant they streak across the sky in a most violent and beautiful death,
they think us rude, but we just stand and stare.

Temprano en enero hay ésos azules y rápidos de Bootes,
pero en un instante no son no más.
Los mejores vienen durante agosto, se llaman Perseids, y son tan hermosos,
ésos que cepillan el pelo oscuro, suave y fluyendo que es el cielo del noche.

Necesito practicar más a menudo (mi español se está volando)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

This is just to say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
-- William Carlos Williams


I have indirectly told
the police
that you are
in violation

though you
were rather quiet
and bothering
no one

Forgive us
we don't understand
that you
aren't housing prostitutes.
-- Calvin College

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Like an introvert

This weekend couldn't have been more spectacular. I got to spend Friday night with some good friends watching the beautifully done Ghostbuster films...for the first time: " you smell something?"

Saturday morning brought a couple of sets of tennis that were far better than last week for the both of us. We might have looked somewhat competent this week. Night ushered in Thermo homework while watching Fight Club, a fantastic combination if ever there was one.

And now Sunday I got to go to church with my roommate from last year at my school church home, followed by lunch at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Quiet sure, but that's how I like them. Our house finally wasn't host to a party which meant no tripping over who knows what on Saturday morning. AMEN!

...I drew my overshirt.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Curses on fire-alarms

I've been known to rant in the past about the fire alarms in Kalsbeek-Huizenga, the dorm I lived in during the last two years. The new addition to the dorm apparently wreaked some havoc with the electrical systems, and additionally people find it funny to pull the things at 3 in the morning. Well fine, I can deal with that, very explainable: wiring and college kid antics. I absolutely enjoyed my time there, and kind of expected to be free of that in our new house. Until I realized the guys who I live with and I are cursed. Last night, inexplicably, our fire alarm went off three times in 20 minute spurts for a duration of about 3 seconds each time. This was just enough to wake us up sufficiently. Our fire alarms are of the kind that yell, "fire!" in addition to beeping, so that was kind of annoying. By the third time, one of us had a bat, and was hell-bent on hurting anyone who wasn't us in the house. Of course no one could be found, so we've just chalked it up to a curse. If there are no unexplained alarms in KH this year, we'll know it was us. We'll also probably defecate in our respective pantses.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Boot to the head

I managed to incur a strange injury while running the other day. My roommate Mark and I started running together Tuesdays and Thursdays for 3 miles. Not a ton, but with the idea of staying in shape. Our route takes us down Lake Drive, which has no sidewalk and is particularly busy, so we run along the side on the grass and among trees. Some of these trees/bushes hang particularly low on the side, which isn't a too much of a problem. Anyway, I kind of bumped one of these low-hanging pieces of foliage and didn't think much of it. Well, later as we were jogging past the dorms, I had gotten particularly sweaty, so I went to enthusiastically rub my face on the shoulder part of my shirt. Sweat in the eyes is certainly no fun. So I plunged my face into my shirt, and instead of becoming dry, my face and eyes were penetrated by a nest of burrs that was stuck to my shoulder. Clearly not a horrible injury, but the sweat filling the cut sure made it smart.

In other news, as I was composing this, I got a twitter update from Don Miller about the manuscripts they are hiding around the nation to promote his new book. One was in Grand Rapids, on Wealthy St.: Yesterdog! In mid post, I left with a housemate to scurry over there. It turns out that someone had gone in 5 minutes before we got there. Quite a bummer. Oh well, now I can finish this post.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Momentous Occasion

Moments ago I created my first program using the C++ language. The program is so complex that I'm going to have trouble explaining it to the plebs. Those who know a bit about C++ will understand how momentous this program is. I'll throw a bone to the rest of you that can't appreciate upfront the wizardry involved: It cures cancer while creating excess food, and distributes the food simultaneously to those who need it most (also, the food is delicious).

I know, I can tell that you're all impressed. You wish you had thought of it first. Sorry folks, history favors the dutch kid from West Michigan with no skillz. There's nothing to be done about it.

As an aside, I've had no luck displaying the code with correct formatting using the blogger, the small ineffectual .bmp will have to suffice.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

To a new year

Huzzah and such, for a nascent semester is upon us. This year is notable personally because it is the year when I end my reliance on the cooking of others. I will be attempting to cobble together food-looking stuffs for my own consumption. You can point to this post in the future if I: a) Die of starvation or b) Am found auto-poisoned to death. It was probably my fault. My mob ties had nothing to do with it.

Fall 2009 brings a new roommate in Mark. Nate and I live in different rooms for the first time in two years, so that's kind of weird as well. We finally got our things moved in and settled now, so I can relax a bit before the academic rigor begins. The good news: Mark's already playing vinyls as I write this. The neutral news: he has enough wines and whiskeys to float several ships. The bad news: none yet, unless his calm, small exterior hides an abusive step-father.

[Removed: boring details about how hard I think this year will be academically.]

I think it's also worth noting that I will be traveling to and from school via bicycle this year. Hopefully it will only be raining on weekends.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tennis Etiquette

I just came back from watching a high school tennis match that my brother Jeff played in. The problem is, I cannot imagine a worse display of etiquette, tennis or otherwise, from the opposing parents and coaches. Usually I have to get after my mum and dad for things like this, but today they did fine.

The main "ridiculosity" I'll call it was the opposing coach. Each time she chose to cheer for her player came after an unforced error from my brother. Now, it would be one thing if she had applauded winners from her own player, that's understandable. But no, she did not. Often, when Jeff would hit it into the net, I would hear clapping and some variation of, "Good job, way to go Vlad!" I can maybe see a parent doing something like that, oblivious or unknowingly, but a coach? I almost had to leave the courts to stop from going over to her and backhand slapping her. Coaches should know better than to cheer unforced errors from opposing teams. The worst part is, when her player hit winners I heard no clapping or cheering. And it that weren't enough, the parents were insufferable as well.

The parents of Vlad seemed to think that we were there to cheer for their son, and that he was the most fantastic thing. I heard the mother say to my mother, "He really needs a win." Oh really? Well guess what, we could give a crap lady. We want Jeff to win! Then of course, they would make the inane noises when balls were close, question obvious balls and all other manner of inane-ry. But in addition to all of the small faux pas that are largely excusable, the mother of the opposing player had the nerve to say one simple sentence that I did not believe I would ever hear in high school tennis. She said, near the end of the match, "All right now Vlad, finish him." FINISH HIM? EXCUSE ME?!? Ma'am did you just say finish him? What is this, a game of high school tennis or are they playing Mortal Combat? I still can't believe the gall of that woman. That had to be the most rude and inconsiderate remark I have ever heard from a parent. She's lucky I have some level of restraint, or she would gotten a dressing down right then and there from me, maybe a punch in the ovaries to boot.

Anyway, I had to say that to some audience just to get it out of my system. Be it Alex, who is probably my sole reader (btw thanks!), or the 13 Brazilian spam bots. Actually, that's not fair, I have a sporadic international readership, no inkling as to why though.

Oh, and Jeff lost his match, it was close. The tennis was great though, really good playing by both sides.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

... ... ...Abraham Lincoln

Haven't been able to run in over a week due to a silly hip flexor strain I sustained during softball. From slowpitch softball of all things, not soccer, not from running, from making a stretch from first for a force-out. How silly. I suppose it didn't help that I tried to play soccer and re-injured it, then re-injured it again when trying to run on Thursday. Needless to say, I'm not a fan and I would certainly not recommend that anyone get one. It may look appealing at first, especially since it's fun to say flexor, but you don't want to open up that can of worms. Now a can of beans is a much better thing to open. Or peaches. I would recommend opening some of my Grandma Split's baked beans. She doesn't mix in any hip flexor strains to her recipe. However she does mix in pineapple I think, which is far better, and some bacon, which is best. Even better than bears, beets and Battlestar Galactica. Things that are also better than Battlestar Galactica and beets, IMHO, include Stargate SG-1, flannel sheets, wall-sized Periodic Tables, "Jordan, Jesse Go", potatoes and Spanish-English pocket dictionaries. Translating the Periodic Table from English to Spanish, using the pocket dictionary, is the second best thing, followed by rainy summer sundays. There are few other good things worth mentioning.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I'd really like my hip flexor to be back to normal so I can start running/playing tennis again.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

SG-1 completed

Well, tonight I finished watching Stargate SG-1, seasons 1-10 in order. Nate and I started it during school and this evening I finally completed season 10 and the Behind the Mythology episode. The only things left then are the Ark of Truth and Continuum movies. Now none of this is particularly interesting in itself of course. I just think it's kind of strange how attached people can get to a television series. (I know I'm not alone out here. On an unrelated note, the same thing happened with Scrubs.) With absolutely no basis in reality, the characters still grow on you to a somewhat ridiculous extent. I think at this point, if I saw Michael Shanks on the street, I would walk up and expect him to know me. I guess my point is that visual media in the form of a lengthy series is powerful and a poignant form of storytelling. Drawing the line between life and production is harder than we might expect. This is also me sulking because they had to cancel the series when they did (I really missed Colonel O'Neill in those last couple of seasons).

Side note: I expected Michael Shanks to be brilliant because Daniel Jackson is brilliant, but in the "Behind the Mythology" segment none of the things he said made sense nor contributed meaningfully to the topic being discussed. It seemed like he was just saying things as a kind of filler. If I find out that Amanda Tapping can't tell a wormhole from a black hole, there will be hell to pay.

To Atlantis!!

On second thought, I should have titled this: "Look at how big of a nerd Steve is and laugh at him please."

Monday, August 17, 2009


Well, my summer research fellowship is finished. I'll probably update soon with a general overview of what went down. Most likely for posterity, maybe for the 1000's upon 1000's of people that read this.

I have two weeks now to do next to nothing. Today was a great start. Brian gave me an amp and speakers that they had no use for anymore, so I've been working on getting it set up with another set of speakers we have, and my record player/ipod/computer. Got a great start today with a trip to Radioshack and picked up "the Unforgettable Fire" from the Corner Record Shop. Tomorrow will hopefully be devoted to getting it all online and set up in Jeff's room (he'll be taking care of it while I'm gone at school). So that's fun.

The best part of today though was softball tournaments tonight. It was by far my best night of the season. During our first game, I had a two singles, a double and an unassisted double play. I bring this up not to be a boring snooze-brag, but to point out how uncharacteristic and statistically impossible such a performance is for me. We did win the first game handily, but the second game was a disaster. We were mercied by our other church team, I re-injured myself and didn't make it to base. This was punctuated by my last out where I watched as the ball dropped in as strike with no swing from me. Awesome. I guess all good things must come to an end. It was still a very enjoyable season and I think I'll remember this game for a while.

Finally, tomorrow morning our Japanese student Moe (Moy-ay) will be leaving. She is part of a Jr. and Sr. High handbell choir from Japan that toured the Midwest this summer. They were in Hudsonville since last Tuesday and put on phenomenal performances. Moe is a small girl but she plays the biggest bells they have. She throws around these massive bells so quickly and with such precision (most songs were from memory), it's reallllllly amazing. I'm convinced she has the arms of an NFL linebacker. Anyway, we will all be sad to see her go.

Well, that's all I have for now. It had been a while though and it feels oh so good to write things even if they are quite trivial and esoteric. Domo arigato.

Saturday, August 01, 2009


This summer has proven to be a fulfilling one thus far. I've taken up running/jogging and have been reading like I used to before college made it a chore. The work is also more stimulating than any work I have done before. Progress is measured in the creation/reading of papers and establishment of new procedures rather than square feet of carpet cleaned or classrooms restored. I think that working with a computer during the day has given me a new love of things that don't revolve around transistors or pixels. Truly this has been a learning summer, perhaps this will continue, or more likely, I will run into an unforeseen and painful roadblock that shakes my very core. Anyhow, I have enjoyed the months which have transpired and hope to wring some last productivity and progress from the remainder. ¡Vive el verano!

Also, we went to Michigan's Adventure today. Even though it rained, a good time was had by all.

Also also, never trust the driver of a white Saturn Ion (He is most likely a poor driver who thinks that the lane going around a busy entrance is for him to enter, in order to let people that don't want to turn, use the turn lane to pass him. Though I prefer not to pass judgment, it should be noted that such a man is an idiot, and his car naturally stinks of ignorance.).

Also also also, I apologize to responsible drivers of white Saturn Ions. You should give one of your own a talking to. Teach him how to not be terrible at driving. ¡Ay chico! Soy serio.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

nox noctis divum

The firmament, revealing and ancient, stretches boundless.
Each pinprick of light revealing a sight millions of years past.
A quick glance above yields more history than a thousand museums.
Fresh light from the moon absconds photons of antiquity, bathes humanity in purity.

Light predating Alexander and Gilgamesh presents itself faithfully.
An ocular masterpiece, deep and dark, it delightfully suits the retina.
Planets, swiftly tilting in the continuum of spacetime, pay visits, the omens of old.
I want to dance among the stars, to sing their song, to listen to the sounds of the world.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Illinois mayor and other minutiae

I was listening to the Free Beer and Hot Wings Show today when they were interviewing the mayor in Illinois (Robert Butler) who wants the Guantanamo Bay detainees to come to the penitentiary in his town of Marion. At some point during the interview, Butler differented between the inmates already there, and the terrorists by referring to, "Our good American prisoners." That sounded kind of ridiculous to me, considering that the men and women in that prison are rapists, murderers and thieves, but not so bad as to be terrorists. So I sent a quick e-mail to the guys, telling them that it had been my favorite line of the interview. A minute later they read my note and name on the air! Made my day. Inconsequential yes, but wow that felt good.

Oh, and thanks to my good friend Alex I finally started listening to You Look Nice Today for the first time today. Those guys are excellent, hilarious and right up my aisle humortaceously (not a word).

In other news, I'm making good progress with research and will hopefully...finally be in the lab next week tearing hexoses and pentoses from woody mass.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

You can not be serious...

Tonight played host to some of the poorest tennis of my life. Three sets of lameness and failsauce, punctuated by a few bright winners (though incidentally, I might have fixed my foot fault tendency and gained a better first serve). Which is funny because last night playing with Quack felt like some of the best tennis I'd played in a long time.

I think if Coach had been there tonight, from double faults alone he would have made me sprint 11 miles then do hurdles, after convincing me to shoot myself in both heels with several arrows. It would have been completely deserved too.

I suppose failure is inevitable though, that's why it sucks. And it likes to sneak up on you and kick you where it hurts most. It is a nice reminder of humanity however (and by nice I mean incredibly unfortunate), and serves to knock us off of our high equinaceous beings (note: equinaceous is not a word, but it can be used in combination with "attila" to get one result from a google search).

But I digress...even failing at something as silly as a friendly game of tennis doesn't feel good for anyone, but we deal with it. Humans are resilient like that. Also, it makes for a good angry run; maybe not 11 miles though. I stuck with my normal 3, but immediately following three sets even that was a challenge.

Ahhh...writing feels good. Even when it's read by none and serves as a memento mori.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Unknown Soldier

Vintage image of soldier saluting
You need not ever know my name
This unknown soldier seeks no fame

I'm here to bring out thought from you
May your heart see more than your view

America, we marched with pride
We gave our life, for you we died

How well we knew the time might come
When life could sound that final drum

Please think of us as life moves on
We tried so hard till that last dawn

Do let our spirit fill the land
Pass treasured freedom, hand to hand

God blessed this country with such love
Hold in your heart, abundance of

And when you stand before my grave
Think not of one, but each who gave

--Roger J. Robicheau

This verse seems particularly poignant today. May God bless those in our military and the principles as well as millions upon millions that they protect. I think especially of Stephen, Justin, Ron, Rob, Cam, Alan, David, Rachel and Darin; they have and deserve the utmost respect from me, from us. Thank you.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer night run

Leaving the house I quickly become the night,
my body warm and white, blending with the dusk.
Water hangs in the air, holding my breath,
lungs foolishly requesting it back.

Air rushes past, convectively driving away heat,
my Reynolds number laminar, sub-3000.
Sweat pools on my brow,
a dam set for catastrophe.

Venturing into my eyes, the brine wakes me from my reverie,
eyes focus through the pain, on the asphalt ahead.
The street lights flicker on as night falls,
falls like my footsteps as I pass into the distance.

Acclimated to the heat, lungs purr and arms sway,
and perspiration rises from my pores like a flood.
Legs churn past rows of houses and slumbering folk,
I arrive glistening and spent, completely fulfilled, first shirtless run.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

To the guy...

that melee'd me in the face tonight with his nerf gun at Zomb, drawing blood and giving me a nice goose egg: You are naughty.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cinci update: ramblings

It's raining and thundering and lightninginging right now, which makes me giddy. Adam and Rachel were married tonight despite the weather, and I pray that their road together is long and storied. Those things are wonderful, but my time in Cincinnati is currently at the forefront of my brain.

This was my sixth visit to Cinci in as many years, so I knew what to expect generally, but I couldn't have known what God would accomplish this week. The small group that Justin assigned me to was the 8th grade/Freshmen guys, with him and Cam. The guys didn't really know each other that well, with a few exceptions, and I didn't know them either. Throughout the course of the week, were were able to have some good discussions. This was especially surprising, since not only were the other guys unfamiliar, but these were guys either entering or just finishing their first year of high school. I know when I was that age, conversation and sharing were not high on my list of things to do. I'm not sure that would have happened without the power of God.

This trip was bittersweet. Justin will be leaving for Pasadena (Fuller Sem.) in August. It was likely his last trip with us to Cinci. I know that he is going on to bigger and better things, but I'm going to miss him a lot. He and Dawn have been with us for five years now, and he's become a powerful example to me. I'll probably write more about Justin in later months.

During the course of the week, and painting and such things, I was able to hang out with Wiechel quite extensively. We made some very inappropriate jokes, and had a good time putting some paint on walls. Prematurely of course. "I'm a hip-hoppapotamus and my lyrics are bottomless." "Did Steve tell you that? Steeeeeve!"

Though I didn't work with the kids this week, I was able to see Bruce and Jonathon. Bruce didn't talk much when I sat by him, but it was good seeing him and the other kids that I got to know last year. I don't know if we can ever know the impact we will have, but I am confident that the seeds we plant are nurtured and God will do good things with these kids.

It just doesn't seem like the right time to blog about this, but I will risk sounding silly. I might update this with a more concise and cohesive report later. Right now I just want to sleep.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

It says it in every detail of your face

"Up, M'Lady--Pack your things, this place is not your home.
Nor was it ever, sever every tie, tonight we ride. Tonight we ride."

I can't say enough good about Thursday night. First, I got to hang out with two friends that I really enjoy (oh, Steven and Josh too!), and La Dispute & company always put on a fascinating show. The opening bands have been high quality lately, haven't had to deal with a Three-esque band recently. Oceans just blew me away as well. The instrumental bands they bring with them are just awesome. They've had Lights at Sea with them before as well, those guys know how to play. Native was great as usual, they always manage to top themselves in energy and quality.

Night washes over the hushed bodies,
frames draped with expectation.
The lights dim and we jostle for room,
moving as one, tonight we ride!

We are become the song from his mouth,
singing back one hundred fold.
Sweat begins to fall as we close in,
there is no room to breathe, only move.

Pain is forgotten as the lights flash,
well-being imparted, and voices lost.
A large family united by common joy,
he screams in my face, I scream back.

Like it began, the moment is ended,
they are once again men, for the time.
Sopping, we cool quickly in the chill night,
Prufrockian sentiments we have not.
Slurpees we do.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mighty to Save [the wretch that I am]

Everyone needs compassion
Love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations

We sang this song in Cincinnati last year with a bunch of other high school youth groups who were serving in the area. It was a powerful atmosphere, which gave an emotional high, but I think that can be dangerous sometimes. The words have deep meaning, and when we sing them, we are making some strong statements. The song acknowledges our need, something I have trouble with personally, and I know I'm not alone. The words are from a person who is broken. I don't know if we know how broken we really are. My hope for this year in Cincinnati is that the students (and us leaders) see God moving through the other members of the group, through their brokenness and inadequacies. I hope that our hearts are broken by the things that break God's heart, to take a page out of Justin's book.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Today summer began. A new job, doing new things. I suppose that it was about time. I'm a junior now, I will try my hardest not to act like one.

I got wiring loose inside my head
I got books that I never, ever read
I got secrets in my garden shed
I got a scar where all my urges bled
I got people underneath my bed
I got a place where all my dreams are dead
Swim with me into your blackest eyes

Tonight it rained. So we ran. The drops cooled and drenched us utterly. It was liberating; steaming we ran, feet pounding the pavement, underscored by the soft hush of precipitation. Tomorrow comes quickly and sleep is relentless. Buenas noches.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Transitions [alternately: Mind spewings]

School is done, and half of my undergraduate life is complete. Perhaps not complete, but completed. There are things I have not done, people I have not met and methods I have not learned...leading me to the conclusion that I am human. I miss the floor, camaraderie, tricking and being. Those men are my family. I will see some again, but for now they are missed.

I must have time for two families, perhaps three, and summer is for those who birthed and developed me. For them I give thanks. I give thanks as I wait for my marks, worrying about the half results I have received and wondering, what errors may I have made. I enjoy them while I can, before another semester of learning draws nigh. Time spent with family is never lost and each moment must be welcomed at whatever cost.

A third thing I ponder as summer approaches, much less consequential or maybe far more. I see couples cavorting, enjoying themselves (a friend now engaged!?!). I have no one to empty myself to, to tell all my secrets. To comfort, to hold and know all is well. Mayhaps she will come (mayhaps is no word), mayhaps I was not meant to find such a girl. Mayhaps my mutterings on this wired journal are my only consolation. This I doubt though, I will have to make time, for I feel that there is one out there for even me.

For now I put these thoughts to rest and will soon venture out. The lawn must be mowed, and there is work to be done. And tonight, my brother and I will...jog.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hello net trolls [Read: human race]

Whenever I am feeling inadequate or particularly lame, I go online and read the comments section following most any article. The emotional distance between the people that comment and between the commenters and author is so incredibly large that everyone feels free to be a pompous @$$hole. Unfortunately, a side effect of this self-medication is a loss of faith in the human race as a collective. The internet needs more Youtube-like voice playback features. Or fewer humans.
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Sunday, May 03, 2009


mellifluous. is full of sunshine. conversations(questionable). hella tight. engr 204. laconic phrases. living our faith together. epic mario kart. jokes. organic chem. kinderen. irresponsible. sang real. consecutivas noches de futbol. her. idiosyncratic symbolism. soccer. played freebird almost :). ridiculous good friends. eat the rice at your own risk. talk. to. it for later!
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Monday, April 13, 2009

The Importance of Wind Power

© Guerito 2005Image via Wikipedia

I just arrived back from a seminar that Calvin held, by Dr. Imad Mahawili, the Executive Director of the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. This man is taking an approach to renewable energy and resources that is one of the best that I can think of. The main sources of energy he is looking at are biomass and wind energy. Our lakes are some of the best places to harvest energy from in terms of size and potential. If we build wind-farms offshore far enough, they don't have to be an "eye-sore", which is what some claim. To be honest with you though, there are few man-made structures more beautiful than the windmill to me. Birds die from flying into windmills, this is a fact, but if the structures are far enough from land, the bird problem won't be an issue, as apparently they require food, which they largely get on land. Also, Dr. Mahawili brought up the statistic that cats eat on the order of ten times more birds than turbines can kill.
In Germany, there is an abundance of windmills. This comes from their commitment to losing no German lives in the pursuit of resources through war or other strife. If we invest sufficiently in turbines for our waters, not only would we reduce our emissions, but the amount of energy that we have to import from other states and countries. When we import as a state and country, we not only lose money, but we lose the jobs that the money funds elsewhere.
Biomass is another component that is worth investment. It does more than convert manure into fuel and energy. The sulfur is removed by bacteria, the residual water with essential nutrients is re-introduced to the fields with 90% of the E. Coli bacteria killed off, the leftover solids are not left in the fields to emit methane, but are re-processed and sold as fertilizer or bedding for cattle, so the process is very sustainable. This is a very real thing. In fact, Mahawili designed a plant that does this in West Michigan, which has been operational for almost two years now. The problem is that the company that built it is now working in Texas, doing this, which is great for Texas, but not Michigan.
The policy is not there yet, we need to work at it with the politicians, but it will take time. Dr. Imad Mahawili believes that an entrepreneurial approach is a sure and resourceful way around this, and so do I.
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Friday, April 10, 2009


...are going well, not amazing, but well. I got the research fellowship for this summer that I wanted, which is awesome. I'll be looking at ethanol extraction from an invasive woody shrub. Maybe more later on how that goes. I'm home now for Good Friday, and I get to hear one of my friends give the sermon tonight. Also, right now I'm going to play tennis with one of my favorite people. It's a good day, I hope yours is too.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Research Fellowship

Well, I got a research fellowship at Calvin this summer. I'll either be looking into recycling technologies, or the possibility of using buck thorn, an fast-growing invasive species, as an alternative to corn for the generation of fuel ethanol, similar to how switchgrass is being used in warmer climates. I would prefer the ethanol research, but it's very up in the air at this point.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Winter Camping

Got back from Mackinaw City last night (I prefer the French, Mackinac though). It was cold, but not as cold as last year. The birthday gifts I received this year (Mummy bag, socks and boots) really came in handy, and made this trip a much warmer one than last year. My cousin Nathan went again this year, as well as my friend Sungmin. We did a little bit of skiing, much of the snow had already melted, on a trail that we skied last year. Turns out there were some geocaches on it that I didn't know about before. Speaking of geocaching, we did quite a few, both in the city, and in Wilderness State Park. The water and ice was amazing to see this year though. It was not thick enough that we could confidently walk far onto the lake unfortunately. We did find a great view of the Mackinac Bridge from the Lake Michigan side however...and saw some amazing houses on the shore. These dwellings must have cost a fortune, but are probably worth it due to the amazing view. There is one in particular just east of the park by the Bridge that is just immense. It might be the biggest house that I've ever seen, and in the best location that I can think of. I think that it's been under construction for at least 8 years now, but when it's done it will be epic. Maybe by the time it's finished I will have achieved my dream of owning the beautiful lake-front, bridge-view lot next to TeePee, or some property east of town...who knows? I can dream...yes, I can dream.

Special thanks to the Cooleys for letting us stay at TeePee for free again this year.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Disintermediate Strategic Vortals

Cumulative distribution and probability densit...Image via Wikipedia

Found a cool economic word generator site today. There are tons of them, but this one seemed immediately useful considering the economic climate we are in. I had just read an article in Wired about David X. Li's Gaussian copula function, and its incredible mis-use by the securities industry. It made me wonder, if someone threw my ridiculous, made-up term into conversation how many financial experts would claim to know what it means.

In other news, I just checked my feed reader, and the BBC just posted: The world's youngest billionaires lose one-third of their wealth. How sad.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Settled a bit

Binary_Clock_PrototypeImage by tbutanol via Flickr

This week is so much better than last. I won't bore with the details, but I'm happy it's over. Last week and this week have also confirmed how much I have had it up to the gills with EE classes and am entirely sick of them. To all you 'lectrical's out there, "You do good work, but I would hate your job." ChE I'm finding is definitely the way to go for me. Not only is the lab setting better, but there are no integrated circuits to deal with, or diagrams to pore over. I cannot wait until this semester is over...hopefully by then I will have landed an internship...hopefully.
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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rangeela 2009

I went this year to the cultural celebration that is put on by Calvin students. Needless to say, it was EPIC! The acts came from across the world: Hawai'i, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, Africa, China, Europe (ha), India and Japan. The audio for the opening sequence was Jai Ho, Oscar winner this year, it gave me chills up and down my spine for its entirety. Diverse and impressive, each was a treat for the eyes and ears. Jin Ha Kim opened with "We Are One in the Spirit" and was joined by a small choir and the house band. Excellent beginning.

The first act was from Hawai'i. They did traditional dances, first with solely hand movements. The second set used sticks to create rhythms and follow the beat, then a second group came out with gourds and did a dance. The movements were incredibly fluid and beautiful.

Next came a Filipino mock war dance (Maglalatik). The performers beat on their chests and backs with coconut parts. It was a very powerful performance. The version that was performed actually represented coconut gatherers joyfully working int the fields.

The dance from Vietnam followed. The performers did a fan and umbrella dance. It is done to celebrate the lunar new year in Vietnam. The fan motions and umbrella wielding resulted in a masterful and resplendent rendition. This was probably my favorite part of the evening because two of my friends were in it, An and Tu, they were so good!

Indonesia arrived next with "Angklung", played with traditional instruments made from bamboo. The arrangement reminded me of Western handbells. It was far more than that though. Chanting and an extremely intricate set of hand clapping and synchronized movements combined to form an inspiring was rly good.

A Hispanic performance of the Guelaguetza was next. This is a partner dance, that is similar to the square dance in the structural element. The dance tells a continual love story between the dancers of each couple. A friend was in this one two, very cool dance.

South Korea finished the first set with two dances: Traditional ladies dance and modern guys dance. The ladies were in traditional dresses and danced with So-Go drums (hand drums). It was very elegant and flowed exquisitely. The men (and one woman) did a more modern dance with large trash cans (very effective for making beats). It was great, they had a couple of guys lay down the powerful main beat by pounding the cans on stage, and the others beat on them with sticks. Some friends in this one too, a very powerful performance.

After intermission came the African dance. It was done historically in the gold mines of South Africa and used as a means of communication. A percussion oriented piece using body parts and their boots.

A love story from China followed this. The moon goddess falls in love with a palace guard, but is challenged by a high official. The women dance first, the official chases them away, then the palace guard does a martial art themed dance (suh-weet!). The two lovers finally dance, the official enters and kills the leader of the guard...oh no! Well, they find each other in heaven and all is well.

The European act was next and better than I thought it would be. It featured a study in contrast between Spanish and German dance. The performers were very proficient...very. Strict tradition met fun and informal Spanish pride...excellence was emitted.

From India came the "Aaja Nachle" (let's dance). The first dance was effeminate and very pleasing to the eyes ;). The performers hands and bodies moved gracefully and effortlessly. The next two songs both involved men, who did exceptional jobs as well. The final song was traditional Tamil, in which the man admires his lover's beauty. Much was to be admired.

The final performance was from Japan. The dances were full of energy imparted from the rhythm of the drums and lofty melody of flutes. The dances were elegant yet powerful, and displayed vibrant colors on beautiful clothing (kimonos for the women and vest-like wear for the men).

I don't think I could be more impressed right now. The mood was charged, and the performances were seemingly flawless. I will likely be attending next year as well, it had been several years since I had been there. It meant a lot more to actually know some of the students involved this time though. To all of my friends involved, none of whom read this, you did an excellent job! So good, so good. It makes me want to be from a culture that involves more dances than those with wooden shoes and rigidity. Sublime. Mellifluous. Pulchritudinous. Rangeela 2009!
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fry and Laurie

I came across this tidbit through a tweet by @stephenfry today. He is the Fry of Fry and Laurie, incidentally is an avid twitterer, and is absolutely hilarious. I think I might have to peruse more of their content on youtube. Also, I like the juxtaposition of seeing Hugh Laurie on House, and his comedies of yesteryear. It's very refreshing.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009


There have been murmurings of fake followers on Twitter. I would like to know who cares, and why. Does it make you cooler to have more followers that don't contribute? I have far more respect for those that contribute valuable information, or even simply tweet about their lives. Two outstanding examples of this are @stephenfry, an Englishman who writes about his life very convincingly and in interesting fashion, and @zaibatsu, a maven of social media as his profile proclaims. People like these two bring so much to Twitter and are followed because of this. If Twitter has turned into a follower competition, maybe users are missing the point. It seems to me that people should be more worried about getting real eyes to their feed, if that's their thing, than worrying about "fake" eyes that really don't contribute to "prestige" or add content.

Also, ev, Twitter's CEO has replied convincingly to these rumors, so I'm inclined even less to worry about this non-issue. I'm only writing about this because of the ridiculous amounts of posts I've been seeing referring to it. Tweet on.
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Remembering Marquis, Marquisha

City of CincinnatiImage via Wikipedia

I remembered something that Marquis and Marquisha's grandmother said to me in Cincinnati. When we were there, the political campaigning season was in full sway. She said, "F--- McCain, Obama, Clinton...none of them ain't done s--- for me...only thing I can do is look out for myself and my kids." It's so true, especially when I think about where all that bailout money is going. You can be sure it's not going to them. I can't stop thinking about them and the place where they live. Are the walls cascading with trash, and frigid to the touch. Is their home cold, or have they gotten electricity money for the bills? Are they growing and learning? I think I'm going to have to e-mail Pastor Pam. God be with them.
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Saturday, February 14, 2009


It's been a year now. We hope, we pray and we pray some more. Things are beginning to look up, but the job market just isn't what is used to be. Everyone knows this. Our family's is just another unfortunate story of the millions that are being lived and told. We'll see what this year has in store. Perhaps faint glimmerings will become realities soon.
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Another week bites the dust

Well, here we are at the end of another week. They always seem to go so fast. Tonight I'll probably do the normal routine that most awesome bachelors do. Homework while watching a movie. I realize that this is incredibly lame, but I really don't care. I kind of enjoy staying in and just doing whatever. I'm kind of working through a movie list right now, and my homework needs doing. Might as well be productive right? It might not seem enjoyable, but the stillness is nice, and tomorrow I get to see my family.

On an unrelated note, I managed to add a decent reader, configure Tweetdeck and Thunderbird to my liking. Hopefully this will minimize my online time to the necessary things and increase my homework time.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Because I Can

I decided to post, for no other reason than that I can, and that Zemanta is fun to use. Well, I guess it is noteworthy to say that I added a translator to the old blog today. Now my vast audiences from around the globe that number in the zero can access this delicate prose in their native tongues. This does bring me to the Blogger template. I don't want to move to a layout version. Give me my HTML. Do I want to have a nice little UI that I can use to pull boxes all over the place with? No. Steve wants to be able to make things as wide and skinny, tall and short as he so pleases. Also, I decided to use all the links Zemanta provides from now on, even if they do not fit. Take UI for example, interesting, but not so relevant. Maybe next time.
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Monday, February 09, 2009


Ross' HomeworkImage by laffy4k via Flickr

Lately I've been feeling kind of constrained and backed into a corner with homework and responsibilities; pretty normal for a college student. Yesterday though, I felt more at peace than I have in a long time. It might have been the spring-like weather, or seeing my extended family, but something changed. At L.O.F.T. last night, I was filled with overwhelming joy, and I could not stop smiling. I think I even laughed aloud during a song we were singing. I hope this lasts; it feels good.
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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Thanks much

By the way, thanks to Alex for relaying the good word about Zemanta. It's really a great blogging tool, it recommends tags and offers to insert links for you to Wikipedia pages. I'm impressed.

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So in middle school and high school, I was involved in Science Olympiad in region 12 doing a variety of powder and chemical analysis events. I never really understood the chemistry of it until now. In O-Chem lab, we started integrating chemical analysis of substances with the normal IR, GC and NMR methods that we usually use, and it's all coming together. It's kind of sad that it took me until my second year of undergrad to understand why the things I did in 8th-12th grade worked, but let's not dwell on that. Kudos to David VanDyke for instructing middle schoolers in identification chemistry.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

60 ton angel

The album In Absentia is the most beautiful collection of music I've ever heard.
I got wiring loose inside my head
It has an mellifluous quality to it that is just amazing.
I got books that I never ever read
The rhythms flow and writhe.
I got secrets in my garden shed
Bass echoes from the bottom of my soul, urging it to sing.
I got a scar where all my urges bled
The lyrics are compelling and peaceful, yet passionate.
I got people underneath my bed
Reminds me of a time and place, not long ago, that I dearly miss.
I got a place where all my dreams are dead
Yet I'm left hopeful of what is and has yet to come.
Swim with me into your blackest eyes

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


When walking back to class today, I couldn't help but think that it was kind of warm outside. Sure enough, when I got back, the thermometer said 26.8F. Time to break out the swimsuits (I guess that's the beauty of waking up and seeing 0.7F). Anyhoo, I'm warmed up considerably now, from dancing (wild, awful dutch-boy style) by myself to Jaydiohead. Thank you to my friend Alex for hooking me up. (Currently downloading the album...w00tz)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Emily Dickinson

The poetry of Dickinson has continually fascinated me. It fascinates me that people can make a shred of sense from it. Now I don't claim to be a poet, and maybe I'm incredible dense, but I just don't get it. One particularly vexing portion is from poem 398, or "I had not minded--Walls...". Actually the entire poem is a jumble to me:

I had not minded - Walls -
Were Universe - one Rock -
And far I heard his silver Call
The other side the Block -

I’d tunnel - till my Groove
Pushed sudden thro’ to his -
Then my face take her Recompense -
The looking in his Eyes -

But ’tis a single Hair -
A filament - a law -
A Cobweb - wove in Adamant -
A Battlement - of Straw -

A limit like the Veil
Unto the Lady’s face -
But every Mesh - a Citadel -
And Dragons - in the Crease -

Thomas Wentworth Higginson goes as far as to call it, "poetry torn up by the roots, with rain and dew and earth still clinging to them." It sounds more like the writings of a woman who needs a stronger command of the English language. Since most of her poems were published after her death, I think that English majors decided to make up a bunch of meanings from this nonsense. The poem is so general that it probably meant something to her only, but if anyone can find meaning in it, let me know so I may be enlightened...Please...*Please*.