April 29, 2003

I Forgot...

Something happened to me today (yesterday, whatever) that I was sincerely hoping would never ever happen. For one brief moment, I forgot that my sister was dead. I was standing in line to get a drink in Saga when I ran into my peer advisor. We said hi, and for some reason I started wondering what college my sister would go to and what kind of peer advisor she would get. As soon as I finished that thought, the realization of her death hit me and I just almost dropped my tray. I actually had to force myself to move away from the drink fountain and go sit down. The feeling I experienced was almost as bad as when I first heard about what had happened to her. I'm blaming the whole incident on the lack of sleep I received the night before.

I remember reading a book in which the main character forgets that his mother was killed in an accident and tries to call her. He realizes what he has done the moment someone picked up the phone on the other end of the line. I remember thinking something like, "How could anyone forget that someone they loved died?" I then thought either they would have to go through an extremely traumatic experience as the guy in the novel had or they would have had to have not loved the person as much as they thought they did. Now I realize that the most disturbing thoughts can and will go through your head if you are tired.

Posted by Randy at 02:07 AM

April 27, 2003

Identity, True Lies, and Previews

I feel like I should say something, so I will just ramble on for a while. If anything meaningful comes out, it was by accident.

I saw two movies today. The first was Identity. I know that there have been several movies that are like it in one way or another, but it was an interesting movie that I really enjoyed. I would highly recommend going to see it if you don't mind actually paying for your entertainment. The second movie was the new spy "classic," True Lies. I still enjoy that movie. Comedy, action, pseudo-drama, it has got all the ingredients a successful movie needs.

Before watching the first one, I saw several previews. Not all of them because we arrived after the reel was started (Thank you, Mark!), but a few did stand out.

Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle. I only have one comment and I am stealing it from a movie review of the original, "They have finally discovered a successful formula for summer movie blockbusters: sexy women in tight clothing kicking ass." The movie will most likely do much better than it should, but I lost all respect for the average movie-goer back when XXX was so popular. Although, A Man Apart did raise my amount of respect for Vin Diesel. He was in a movie with a plot that consisted of slightly more substance than a "Look, there's a bad guy, let's kick his ass and make lots of explosions" plot. The acting still wasn't great, but he's getting better.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Somthing I Don't Remember. It looks interesting. I didn't say it looked good, I said it looked interestng Don't really know anything about it except that Orlando Bloom (who will forever be known as Legolas) is in it and his chick gets stolen by ghost pirates, or something like that. Anyway, Legolas, along with this other guy and the chick, hurt a lot of ghost pirates in the trailer. Legolas killing ghost pirates? Sounds like a fan-fiction writer's dream.

Malibu's Most Wanted. DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE! IF YOU SUPPORT THIS MOVIE, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE THEM! I say we organize a nation-wide boycott so this P.O.S. will die an agonizing and slow death and painfully descend into the fiery depths of Hell in which it was spawned. Then we should assassinate everyone involved with it in order to remove whatever horrid, sickening genes they may pass on to another generation. I normally don't like (real) acts of violence, but if I know anyone who reads this personally, and I find out that you paid to see this movie, I will hurt you. Please don't make me hurt you.

And on a completely different note, I also went and got my nut and bolt back. Somehow, I made an 83 on it. I find that absolutely amazing, but I am very happy about it. Who knows, maybe somehow that will get me an A in Manufacturing Processes Lab instead of the B I am expecting.

Posted by Randy at 02:35 AM

April 26, 2003

Partial Bliss

I'm very happy right now. I have completed and turned in the two major projects I had been working on for the past week. I have been back from the Machine Tool and Design Lab for almost an hour now, and I will never have to go back there in order to work on a lathe again. I have, unfortunately, decided to not go home this weekend. I have two papers that I need to write and I need to start studying for my calculus and English final exams. After listening to the cynical one last night, I will from here on out refer to my current English prof as the Nameless One.

Speaking of last night, I had a lot of fun. Last night was really the first night this week where I could do absolutely nothing and keep my grades up at the same time. I made up for a week's worth of missed game time as well as spent a few hours talking and listening to several other people involved in the Honors Program. Too bad that is the last time we will be meeting like that this semester.

Posted by Randy at 12:21 PM

April 24, 2003

Work, Work, Work...

Today has been another busy day. At least today I woke up on time. Anyway, I went to English class and made up that horrible test. I think I did ok on it, but I'm not too sure. I printed out the big sheet for my Engineering Graphics final. Now all I need to do for that class is turn in all of the little sheets. I made progress in Manufacturing Processes Lab. I turned down and threaded the shank of the bolt and made the shoulder for it, so now I need to chamfer the head and cut it off. Then all I have to do is finish the knurled sleeve and make the hex sleeve. I will have to do this during the four hours I can work on it Saturday morning.

I'm tired. I'll probably be going to bed early tonight so, hopefully, I will hear my alarm in the morning.

Posted by Randy at 10:33 PM

The Good and the Bad

To steal the quote from Anna, the glass is both half-full and half-empty. Lots of progress made today, lots more needs to be made tomorrow.

Today has, overall, been a living Hell for me. I slept through my last Fundamentals of Engineering Design class, I skipped Engineering Graphics and discovered he gave a review for the final, I did not do a Calculus assignment because I didn't know about it, discovered I had a crapload of English homework due Thursday, and I had to make up a missed Physics I lab. I only had about an hour to work on Manufacturing Processes Lab stuff, and I almost lost my temper while working on Engineering Graphics. Mechanical Desktop makes me so mad that words can not truly express my anger and frustration with it. I have also had little time to study for the make up English test I'm taking tomorrow.

However, today had its good moments. For most of the day, my allergies have not been aggravating me; partly because of the rain, I know, but it still made today easier. I found out that with no studying and a few notes in my calculator, I made a 64 on the replacement comprehensive Calculus II test. It wasn't great, but I think it was good for no studying the night before. Except for printing it out on a huge sheet of paper, I have finished my Engineering Graphics final project. I made a small amount of progress in Manufacturing Processes lab, completely finishing the nut. When I went to make up the Physics lab I missed, another student walked in to make up the same lab, and working with him made it a bit easier and faster. My parents also came to the school today and we went to Texas Roadhouse to eat. They also brought me some more photos of my sister.

And speaking of my sister, I have found that my mind wanders to thoughts and memories of her more often than I wish it would at the moment. I hope that that statement doesn't sound as heartless to everyone reading this as it does to me, but I have too much to do over these next few days to be thinking about what my sister will never get the opportunity to do, what she had done, what she liked, etc. (Before you think anything, the reason I'm blogging at the moment is to take a break from English) However, at the same time, I am scared about getting to the point where I don't think about those things. The thought that one day I will go an entire twenty-four hour period without thinking about my sister is even more disturbing to me than thinking about her so much that it becomes a distraction. How I long for those happy mediums that are almost never a reality.

Posted by Randy at 02:26 AM

April 23, 2003

Schoolwork and Morbid Thoughts

I hate being jealous of other people. I have heard several people now talk about how they only have one major project left to complete. Really irritating. I would probably only have one left if I hadn't needed to go home for a week. I did a lot of engineering graphics tonight. Printed out a lot of crap. Will probably print out more crap tomorrow. I have to make up a physics lab tomorrow afternoon, and directly after that I have to go and work on catching up with Manufacturing Processes Lab. I have today and tomorrow to try to finish that stupid nut and bolt. It's probably not going to happen, but I'm going to try. After that time tomorrow, hopefully I will finish my engineering graphics and have one less thing to worry about. Once again I reiterate: "Work sucks."

I'd like to apologize for any readers with which the paragraph may be offensive, but thoughts like these have been in my mind lately due to recent events in my family.

Now for today's morbid topic: if you died right now, would you want to be buried with anything that is "special" to you, and if so, what? For some reason I started thinking about this today. It might have been the memory of my parents planning my sister's funeral, but the thought has been stuck in my head for a while now. Also, if something did happen to me and my parents had to plan my funeral, I would like to think that this would make it a little bit easier. Unless they are touchy about the subject, it can also reveal insight into a person's personality. I would probably want my hardback copy of The Stand by Stephen King, the green Ty Beanie Babie bear I bought for my sister, and a copy of the photo of my mom and dad dressed up in leather when they went to a Harley-Davidson rally. I would have no objections to anything else being added to that list, but my sick mind likes the idea of those things being buried with me when I eventually die.

Ok, I know that most of the people reading this will think that is disgustingly morbid to think about, but I told you in my title that all thoughts placed here come from a weird mind. Besides, we all will die (unless Jesus comes back sometime soon) and thinking about these things makes it easier on those still alive. Of course, at the moment I would never tell my parents these thoughts were in my mind because I could imagine what it would cause them to start thinking.. I wouldn't want them thinking that I was thinking too much about death. However, if it is here in writing, they would eventually get to it and make plans accordingly.

Posted by Randy at 02:12 AM

April 22, 2003

Blood Rant

So I go to eat lunch, and when I finish, I decide to go to MSC1 to check my mail. I walk through the door and I am bombarded by some woman who emphatically explained that my donating blood would save three lives. "Every donation saves three lives!" Right. First of all, I've been feeling sick, so I don't think they would really want my blood. Second, just because the "average" states my blood would probably "save" three lives doesn't mean it will. Third, I have a phobia of needles. As much as I would like to give blood, I can not make myself get strapped into a chair and have a needle stuck in my arm for a few minutes. It's not going to happen.

Don't try to guilt people into doing something they may not want to do because of a "fact" that sounds good. Inform people of their chance to give blood, advertise it, offer to grant them amnesty on any overdue library books, do anything ethical you want to try to get people to give, but don't you dare come to me and imply that I am killing people because I don't like needles.

Posted by Randy at 12:06 PM

April 21, 2003

Link Updates

Well, upon discovery that uploading a photo would mean upgrading my blog service (unless I made a website to upload the photo from), I have decided instead to just put a message on the top of all the links to the left. Maybe I will eventually discover how to make that section a little wider and make it look a little better. Until then, that will just have to do.

About my new link, Katy is a friend of mine from my high school who is coming here to LU this next semester. Her sister is going here now. She is a happy person, so if you are very cynical you probably won't enjoy her somewhat randomness.

I am going to once again warn any readers I may have about the something positive link. It is a very twisted, sick, and dark humor comic site. It is often lewd and violent, but some of the strips are extremely funny. If you are offended easily by sexual references, don't go there.

As far as any more template updates, I am going to try to get a message board, but I need help with it. I am amazed I have been able to do what I have done.

Chapel today was the awards chapel. It was extremely boring, but was made enjoyable by laughing at the professors and some of the students who got the awards. Before you start thinking it, I am not jealous of those who got the awards. First of all, it was mostly seniors and juniors anyway since the awards were designed for them. I knew several of the people who got the awards, so I have the priviledge of laughing at them. Congratulations on winning that scholarship Anna!

Posted by Randy at 12:26 PM

School Rambling

Here I am sitting in a dark room in front of my computer at midnight on either Saturday night or Sunday morning (depending on your outlook) while my roommate is watching Good Will Hunting on his computer while laying on his bed. Strange how many thoughts you can cram into one sentence by using prepositions.

I finished all of my calculus work and did a lot of Engineering Graphics over the weekend. Tomorrow I have to find my sadistic English professor to get worksheets to do homework for his class and find out when I can make up the test I missed in his class. I have to have some meeting with the team that I am in for my engineering design class tomorrow. I've got to do physics homework eventually and I may have to do some rescheduling to get my physics lab done early so that I can work on my Manufacturing Processes Lab crap.

Work sucks. Sometimes I wish I could just sit down and do nothing for days on end. Too bad reality says that I can't do that and have good grades. I truly envy those who can do that here. I did that all through high school, but I can't here. Oh how I long for the days in which I could play games and other things all day, do a few minutes of homework, and get A's in all my classes. That was the "great" thing about high school, it wasn't challenging. At all. At the time, I loved it, but now I wish it hadn't been that way so I would be better prepared to not procrastinate.

This post went a weird direction. I guess that is just how my mind works. Start one way, ramble for a while, end somewhere completely different.

Posted by Randy at 12:16 AM

April 20, 2003

General School Update

Well, as far as the addition of a photo, I haven't even asked for help yet. I'll get on that after I'm caught up with everything. I have the actual photo picked out, but I need help with actually putting it on this site. It will all work out eventually.

I didn't get near as much work done today as I wanted to do. I got a large amount of the Engineering Graphics final project done. I believe that the prof has decided to punish our class for the incredible lack of attendence. Out of my class of about twenty or so students, about five attended class regularly. That would piss me off if I was teaching the class. Maybe if the class wasn't so freaking stupid and pointless more people would decide to go to the class instead of going to lunch early. I also caught up slightly on some of my Calculus homework. Still have two assignments for that class to do, though. Fortunately, we are working on the same stuff in Calculus that we have already done in Physics. Hopefully, it won't take me much time to finish these next assignments.

I wish that I didn't procrastinate. I put off all the work I was going to do on Friday for Saturday, and I didn't do much of that work today. Part of that might be because I brought a game back to school with me. I need more willpower.

Posted by Randy at 01:40 AM

April 19, 2003

Return to LU

"The more things change the more they stay the same."

I have no idea who said that, but it is frightening how true it really is. Here I am, one week from the date of my sister's death, and I am back at LU doing homework and messing around on my computer. Altogether, though, I feel like I have been really just going through the motions.

It is almost creepy how fast a person can truly recover from such a tragedy with the help of the Lord. I'm sure that Jessica would want me to get on with my life, but thoughts of her are always in the back of my mind. I feel like there is a hole inside of me where she once was. I brought four of the Beanie Babies that she had collected with my to LeTourneau, along with two photos of her and a token somebody left near the guestbook at the visitation. It says: "Follow the footprints of the Lord. They will lead you through troubled times and brighten your life." On it's back (or front, whatever) it has a little drawing of two footprints in what I am assuming to be sand. If anyone wants to see the Beanie Babies and hear the story behind each one I picked out, my door is open.

I've also decided that I want to place a photo of my sister on this blog with a caption that says something like "In loving memory of Jessica. November 5, 1987--April 11, 2003." That will take some HTML manipulation, so I'll probably have to have a friend help me with it.

Posted by Randy at 02:13 AM

April 17, 2003


What a day. This has probably been the best day that my family has had since this thing started. After my post early early this morning, I went back to our living room and found my mom, Bonnie, and Levi looking over old photo albums. I joined them. I highly recommend going through your family's old photo albums. They are a lot of fun.

Today I was left alone for the first time I can remember since I came home. Nothing personal against anybody, but I enjoy being by myself so that I can actually collect and look over my thoughts. My parents when to some track meet in order to show their support for the girls' track team. I didn't go because Stephan was over at my house. I was going to head over to Levi's house with his mother, Bonnie, but on the way I found out he wasn't home, so I had her drop both Stephan and I at his house. After seeing Stephan's uncle for the first time in about a year and talking with Stephan's family, I had Stephan take me back to my house so I could go and see family members before I leave to go to LU tomorrow.

As far as thinking things over when I was alone, I wish I had gotten that opportunity earlier. Thinking by myself really helped me today. I made some decisions, which I will not reveal here at this time, and hope to carry those decisions out in the near future. I also looked through some of the photo albums that I hadn't had a chance to look through yet.

I've got four days worth of schoolwork to make up once I return to college, but I have Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday to work on all of that. It really is amazing to me that I feel like I do now. I miss my sister Jessica so much, but I do have to get on with my life. I will never forget her and she will always have a special place in my heart.

If any of you reading this have siblings, tell them how you feel. I would give anything for a chance to speak with my sister for five minutes just to tell her how I feel about her. I may not have a chance for those five minutes, but you do. Don't waste them.

Posted by Randy at 09:57 PM

Memories and Reflections

Well, I meant to update this thing every day that this was going on, but I happened to miss both Tuesday and, technically, Wednesday. Oops. Anyway, I have had several thoughts these past two days. These thoughts should be preceded by the fact that all four were buried today.

The first thoughts are all sad ones. I am currently typing this on the computer at my house. Sitting at this computer and thinking about my sister almost brings me to tears. Never again will I try to get on Yahoo Messenger and have to log off of her name or tell her friends that she is eating. Never again will I come home and change the background because she changed it to a picture of Vin Diesel or some other "hot" guy. Never again will I have to try to uninstall any stupid thing that she downloaded onto the computer. Never again will I argue with her over computer time. I have so many memories of her surrounding this piece of crap computer. I miss her so much already, and it hasn't even been a week since she has been gone. I can not even imagine what this will feel like next week, next month, or next year.

The next thoughts were slightly more happy thoughts. If you remember, previously I stated that I was mad at God. While I am still upset at my sister's death, I am now thankful for the fifteen years that I was able to spend with her. These same thoughts were reflected by some of my family members in the past couple of days. Even though I miss her as much as I do, I believe that she is in Heaven, and I would not want to take her from there.

My next thoughts were those of gratitude. Gratitude towards my town, gratitude towards my friends, and gratitude towards my floor (which in a way could be part of both of the former ones). All have been incredibly supportive of my family and my sister's friends. Either in prayer or in (a large amount of) food, all of the families involved have felt so incredibly loved. If you have been a part of this in any way, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For those of you on my floor, my parents will be taking me back to LU on Friday. I will see you then unless you are gone for the three day weekend.

Posted by Randy at 12:43 AM

April 14, 2003

My Sister's Friends' Visit

Before I was able to go and search for a copy of FF10, I was informed that two of Jessica's friends were on their way to come and talk to our family. I decided to stay and wait to talk with them. They are still here while I am writing this. Earlier this morning, one of my sister's friends called the house and asked for Jessica. She knew what had happened, she had just been hoping it wasn't true.

The bodies have been returned to the funeral home and they are being prepared for the visitation and the funeral.

I still don't want to go home, but I do need to go and talk with my cousins. I have no idea how they are handling this, but I haven't seen them at all since this has happened so I need to go down there.

More will come later.

Posted by Randy at 06:50 PM


It is really weird. When you don't allow your mind to think of something, you can be entertained by almost anything. I spent twenty minutes today watching a bee fly around outside of a window. I need something to keep my mind occupied.

What I have decided to do is borrow my friends Playstation 2 and rent Final Fantasy 10. Mind-numbing, but entertaining. What more could a person ask for in a distraction? This probably means I won't update again for a little while, but if anything important does come up I'll be sure to write about it.

Stephan, if you are still checking this, I want to thank you. You have really helped me through this.

Posted by Randy at 05:36 PM

Sleeping Pills and Funeral Arrangements

Well, here I am again. If I had absolutely anything to do, I probably wouldn't update this nearly as much.

I don't know if you could tell from my post from after midnight last night, but I wasn't able to go to sleep on my own. I never knew that sleeping pills could work so effectively. I feel much better today. I think that I had been holding in too much emotion for too long. That "outburst" last night helped me more than I can say.

The people on my floor just thought that I drank a lot of Dr. Pepper. I have drank an incredible amount since I've been here. I know that it probably isn't very healthy, but I don't care about that at the moment.

My parents went up to the funeral home again today. They needed to check on the arrangements and check the obituary or something like that. I don't know if I need to open up more to my parents about this or not. I am afraid to, because I don't want them to think that I am taking this badly, although I'm sure that they already do. I've been trying to be "the strong one" to all of my family members, but it is so hard.

Right now, Bonnie and some other woman are talking about Jessica almost right behind me. "At least she went out doing what she loved." That is true. I guess that is kind of a consolation. I'll miss her. I am missing her. I'll never stop missing her.

Posted by Randy at 03:41 PM


I'd like to thank everyone who has been reading this and praying for my family and friends.

For all Dorm 4 and anyone else from LU, if you want to come to the funeral, you are welcome to come. If you want directions or whatever, find a phone book that has Mt. Enterprise in it and call some of the numbers concerning Landmark Baptist Church. They can probably give you better directions than I can since I have never been to where we are having it.

For Alicia, if you read this, thank you. Your support does mean a lot to me. I will continue to keep your family in my prayers as well.

Posted by Randy at 01:34 PM

Memory Stream

Warning: The following is a display of very deep and powerful emotion. This has nothing to do with what is happening as far as my family is going, but consists of what my thoughts have been the past two days. I've been wanting to write this stuff down on paper, but I really don't trust myself to do it right now. I'm not sure I would be able to read my handwriting afterwards anyway.

I miss my sister so much. Emotions seem to come and go in little outbursts. I damn big one hit me a few moments ago. I can't believe she is gone. I've been writing about for two days now and I still can't believe it. I see her everwhere I look. At my friend's house, I see her sitting in front of this very computer, checking her email and chatting online. I see her upstairs, messing with Levi, Keith, and Dustin. I see her sitting in the hot tub outside on their porch. I see her swimming in their pool. She loved swimming so much. Going to their bathroom to change. Getting sunburned from staying in the sun too long. Playing with their dogs. Playing basketball outside. Play-fighting with Levi. Walking on the road. Playing in the pasture. Making herself food. Sleeping on the couch or in one of the beds.

My last truly coherent memory of her was last Saturday. My grandma and aunt were taking my sister and I home. All the way home I was fucking with her about wearing her seat belt. She got so aggravated with me. We stopped in Carthage so my aunt could pick up some plants. My sister and my aunt went to look at plants at Wal-Mart, and my grandma and I went to buy drinks and snacks at HEB. My aunt bought Jessica a chocolate bunny and she ate it on the way home. Later after we got home I took my sister to my cousin's, where they would spend their last weekend together. I can't remember anything about dropping her off except that, like always, I dropped her off at maw's and made her walk the rest of the way up the driveway. All because my selfish ass didn't like taking my car up that rough piece of shit driveway.

The car itself brings its own flood of memories. We always fought over the radio station. She liked rap and R&B, I liked rock. If a lighter rap song came on, I would usually let her listen to it, but she liked so many songs. I took her to her friends' houses countless times. She would always tell me how when she got her car and she had to take me anywhere, she would pump the music up and make me suffer through it. She had just recently gotten her driver's permit. I would never let more than one person sit in the front seat. I always tried to make her put her seat belt on, but it almost never worked. I probably still have some of her makeup in my car. My car is still in the Trinity dorms parking lot because for some reason I didn't get it when I went up there.

Mom and dad went to the house to stay the night. I don't see how they can do it. Right now I think that I would almost die if I went there. The memories there are everywhere. Playing basketball outside when Levi, etc., came over. All the times she and her friends came over. The amount of time they spent in the hot tub. All the arguments we had over the computer. The number of movies we watched together. Her watching television in the back room. Me making fun of her because she was still watching the Disney channel. All of the beanie babies she had collected. Her horse figurines. Her asking me to take pictures of her and her friends when they dressed up. Her getting ready for all of the formal dances that they had. All of the times she came back exhausted from her basketball games or track meets, which I almost never went to. Her making fun of me because of all of the books I read. The number of photos she took with the webcam at home and has saved on their. All of the vacations that we had. Her taking Sonic, her little stuffed bear, with her on almost all of them. Her downloading rap music, and then me going and deleting it when I saw what some of the titles were. The number of times she came and complained to me when she was pissed off at my parents for something. The times when I found out that she had done something she wasn't supposed to and I promised not to tell.

Getting that phone call from mom has been playing through my mind constantly. Why didn't I stay home longer last weekend? That damn paper wasn't that fucking important. I had already done most of the work anyway.

I'm not going to lie. I'm pissed at God right now. Not as much for what is going through my mind, but for what my family and her friends are going through. I know that everything will happen according to God's will, but to be perfectly honest, that isn't very comforting at the moment.

Please, keep my family and our friends in your prayers.

Posted by Randy at 12:08 AM

April 13, 2003

Memories and Funeral Planning

Today has been rough. Not as rough as yesterday, but not near anything resembling easy. I don't think that I have the words necessary to describe what it is like helping to plan the simultaneous funeral of four young teenagers.

I had a long talk with my friend Levi (the oldest son of the friends we are staying with) today. He is the one who took me up to LeTourneau to pick up clothes to wear to the funeral. Jessica was like a little sister to him and his two brothers. He is taking it hard, but he isn't showing it to many people. Like me, he is trying to not get too emotional around groups of people. I'm especially trying to not get emotional around my parents. They are having such a hard time that I don't want them worrying about how I am taking this.

Levi, unintentionally, sparked so many memories concerning Jessica. There are too many to try to write down right now, though I'll probably try to start writing some of them soon. Levi was also the last person from here who had contact with her before it happened. They were text messaging each other. They had been talking because Jessica hadn't wanted him to join the marines. Her last message to him was "I'll miss you."

My mother has pretty much taken over everything surrounding the funeral and visitation plans. She went to our house with my dad and the friends we are staying with to pick up pictures of Jessica and clothes for her funeral. Afterwards, they went to the funeral home to plan out the visitation. As of now, it is planned to be on Tuesday night, with the funeral on Wednesday morning. Because Mandy died Saturday afternoon, she was sent to be autopsied after Jessica, Justin, and Pless were. We don't know at the moment if she will be back at the same time as the others.

Naturally, the newspapers have messed up all the information around this. One even said that all of the kids belonged to one family. This has, quite obviously, pissed off a lot of people in my family. Hopefully it will get straightened out without any threats or harsh words from my relatives.

I said earlier in the week that writing stuff out was therapeutic. I know now just how true that statement really is. It is making me actually think about everything that has happened. As much as I hate doing it, I think that writing all of this has really helped me cope.

Posted by Randy at 08:32 PM

Visiting the Accident Site

This morning, my family, my cousin's family, and Justin's family all went out to where the explosion happened. Here I learned, or maybe I just now registered, that there was a fifth person with them that night. He was killed instantly, just like Jessica and Justin. We saw where everyone landed. It is amazing how far the explosion sent them. The only blood that I saw there was from the fifth guy, Pless.

I'm about to head back to LeTourneau to pick up some things. If anyone from my floor actually is reading this, don't be surprised if you see me there. Mainly what I'm going to be wearing to the funeral. All four of the people who died, Jessica, Justin, Mandy, and Pless, will have their funerals at the same time. Visitation is going to be Tuesday night, and the funeral will probably be around 11 on Wednesday.

I'll talk more later.

Posted by Randy at 02:22 PM

April 12, 2003

Personal Reactions

And so ends the first day of this Hell. I went to see both my grandmother and Justin's mother today. Both were taking this very hard. However, of everyone not in my immediate family, my poor grandfather is definitely taking this the worst. I can't even speak to him without tears welling up in his eyes.

I'm exhausted. I want to go to sleep, but right now I can't. I need to sleep. I only got somewhere around four-five hours since I woke up yesterday. Although I don't want to, I may have to take one of those sleeping pills my mom bought. I am worried about my mom. This has been very hard for her. She hasn't slept since yesterday, and I don't think she has eaten anything since yesterday, either.

I went to my house for the first time since I've been back. I've been staying with my parents at the house of a friend of the family. My mom isn't able to go back to the house yet, and looking through it, I see all too clearly why. My sister's swimsuit is still in the bathroom, hanging up from the same place as it always has. The shirt my sister slept in is still laying on the couch from when my mom was doing laundry. My sister's rabbits were still outside in their cages. They had been fed and watered by other family members who had stopped by to take care of some of the animals my family has.

And then there was her room. My sister was the kind of person who loved taking and having her picture taken. She cut out the parts of photos she like and put them all over her wall. Three years worth of pictures of her, her friends, our pets, our vacations, our families, and all of that. My mother will not be able to take that right now, but she doesn't want anybody to touch any of Jessica's things. I think that I am a bit stronger than my mother emotionally, but I could not take it for very long. The best analogy that I can think of would be rubbing in salt into a fresh wound.

This is going to be a hard year, and I am almost 100% certain that any plans that I had for this summer have just changed.

Posted by Randy at 10:07 PM

More Bad News

Unfortunately, I have an update.

My cousin Mandy died about twenty minutes ago in the hospital. We were holding out hope that she would make it. Sadly, she didn't.

I feel so sorry for my grandmother on my father's side. She has lost her only two granddaughters.

I just realized I haven't really told you about my sister. She was 15 years old and a freshman in high school. Justin, her boyfriend, was the same. Mandy was only 14, and she was in the 8th grade.

I have been told that they were on top of the tanker when it exploded. I have also been told that the tank held saltwater, and when the saltwater was brought up it brought several natural gases up with it. They think that they may have opened up a lid to look inside, and when they put it back down it caused a spark. That is the theory at the moment.

Posted by Randy at 04:58 PM

Family Tragedy

(Edited to inform that all titles to this have been added long after the events that are described took place.)

Well, since my last post I have some very bad news.

Last night, at around 1:30 AM, I was watching a movie with some of my friends in my room. Shortly after it started, I received a phone call. At first, I thought it was one of Nathan's friends calling about playing Counter-Strike again. So, I told my friend to pick the phone up and set it back down and that I would pick it up if it rang again. It did, so I went and picked it up.

This next part has been playing through my mind repeatedly all day. My mom was on the other side in tears. At first, I didn't recognize her voice. After asking me whether or not I was alone, she told me that my sister had been in an accident concerning an explosion at an oil tank. My sister had been with her boyfriend at his grandfather's hunting lease along with some of her friends. They had arrived late enough that the grandfather wouldn't let them ride their four-wheelers, but he said that they could walk around. For one reason or another, they made their way to this oil tank thing (the details about this are a bit sketchy at the moment, I may explain this more in detail once I have the correct information. We don't know how at the moment, but the tank exploded.

Of the four that were there, my sister and her boyfriend were both killed. My cousin Mandy, who was also there, was severely injured. At the moment she is in the hospital showing no brain activity. The fourth person there not only survived, but only suffered a large bruise on his chest. Supposedly, he was running and jumped right when the explosion occurred. This made him fly farther or something. I am not sure of the details around this, but I thank God that someone survived the explosion.

Currently, my sister's body is in Dallas and we are waiting for the people there to determine what the exact cause of death was. Plans are being made for the funeral now, but we don't know when the funeral will be. I also don't know how long it will be before I return to LeTourneau. To be honest, I want to go back so that I can lose myself in my schoolwork and stop having to think about this right now.

Posted by Randy at 03:49 PM

April 11, 2003

Blog and Life Updates

Another late post, but honestly, do you expect much different? On a technical update, I'm hoping the links I've added actually work. When it comes to manipulating html, I'm a very stupid person. Considering I've done everything here on my own, I don't think I've done too bad of a job. Of course, since I only had to click a template and say, "I want my blog to look like that," it would be fairly hard to mess this up. Hopefully, I'll eventual get a message board running. Then maybe if anyone is actually reading this, they can make a comment or two. Of course, I have found that just writing out my thoughts is very therapeutic. I highly recommend blogging to anyone who may be reading this and thinking about starting one.

By the way, I strongly suggest that you do not go to the Something Positive link unless you have a slightly twisted sense of humor. It is very funny, but there are often lewd comments, sexual references, and violence. You have been warned.

I am now finished with my English research paper. My group gave the presentation today, and I would like to think that I did a fairly decent job. Shortly afterwards, I had another University Physics I test. Considering my performance on the last few tests, I believe I did exceptionally well on this one. I answered every problem and I am confident in the majority of my answers. I guess I'll find out how I did on Tuesday. As long as I am on the topic of my classes, I would like to say that I greatly enjoy the machine tool part of the Manufacturing Processes Lab class. The welding class was, in my opinion, a waste of my time. However, working with the lathes is very interesting to me.


Finals week itself isn't so bad, but I absolutely hate the preparation for it. Especially when I have to prepare for classes such as Calculus II and Univ. Physics I. Not to mention my English-class-from-Hell. With my sadistic English professor, I'm terrified of the lengthy amount of stupid material he is going to give us a "test" over. I hate memorization tests over pointless material. I hate memorizing and regurgitating stupid facts that I will immediately erase from my mind. The class is supposed to be over creativity, but for his tests he hands us worksheets he gave to us previously with the blanks moved around. His idea of being "creative" consists of changing the way we line our desks into an semi-circle instead of a line and passing out to us multi-colored handouts instead of white ones. Why does this man teach that class? I can think of several different profs off the top of my head, and all of them could do better than him.

It is so easy to go off on a small rant. Anyway, a lot more thoughts are bouncing around in my head, but I'm sleepy. I'll probably post some more tomorr...I mean, today.

Posted by Randy at 02:10 AM

April 09, 2003

More General Updates

I have now officially read all of the Chronicles of Narnia. I highly recommend them if you need something to read and don't mind Christian beliefs being placed in books. Now that I have finished them, I will probably try to move on to The Stand by Stephen King, but that will have to wait for a few days. After all, I have a major English presentation to prepare for as well as an upcoming Physics test that I am not ready to take. Sometimes I wonder what possessed me to decide to be an engineering major, and sometimes I can't think of doing anything else. Although, I have been told by someone that I would make a good English major. I can't even imagine doing that. At the moment, I do not want to become a teacher.

The Themelios meeting went well. Themelios is a greek word that means "foundation," if you were curious. It looks like I will be in a group with Amy. Amy is another student who is in the honors program here at LeTourneau. She is intelligent, funny, and outgoing, which makes her a perfect person to be a Peer Advisor. I don't think that I could have been assigned to work with a better PA. Unfortunately, she has decided to not apply to be the PA for the honors students. I really don't care that much about whether or not I am with the honors group during orientation, but I think that Amy would have been a great person to lead one of their groups.

Unfortunately, I am also becoming accustomed to being the last person on my floor left awake. It does get annoying sometimes. Especially when I am tired of doing something in front of my computer, but can't really do anything other than go to the lounge and read. I guess that problem would be solved if I would just go to sleep earlier, but I think that I will survive. Tomorrow, however, I will be doing a large amount of work, so I probably should go to sleep. Stupid semi-insomnia. I suppose the caffeine doesn't really help much either, but bottled water is too expensive and I don't really like how the water tastes at this university. I'm sure that there are other alternatives, but I don't like milk and most juice just doesn't taste good enough. I guess that probably sounds silly, but I am very picky about what I put into my body. And even more so when there are several different options.

Posted by Randy at 01:50 AM

April 07, 2003

Books and Other Updates

Well, not much has really happened since the last time I updated this. I went to Hootenanny, the annual event at LU where students produce and compete in skits for cash prizes, on Friday. Supposedly, this has been one of the best Hootenanny's in a long time. The dance skit entitled Phantom of the Opera won. It was a short dance based on the Phantom of the Opera and was danced to a techno version of the famous theme song to it. I think that it was definitely the most skill-intensive of all the skits and deserved to win.

I got through book five of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and found an incredible passage in it which seems to summarize C.S. Lewis' intent when writing these books:

"'It isn't Narnia, you know,' sobbed Lucy. 'It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?'
'But you shall meet me, dear one,' said Aslan.
'Are--are you there too, Sir?' said Edmund.
'I am,' said Aslan. 'But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.'"

This passage is incredible when one remembers that Aslan is strikingly similar to Jesus. I can't help but wonder how many children went searching for someone that resembled the great lion Aslan after reading, or after being read, this book. Anyway, I'm through five of the seven books now.

On a completely different literary note, I have finally found a hardback copy of The Stand by Stephen King. I have been looking for one for quite some time now. It is a rather nice copy of the book, too. It even has a few illustrations in it. And I mean a few. After flipping through the book, I have found three full-page illustrations. I am sure that there are more, but they are few and far between. I'll probably start reading it after I finish with Narnia.

I also made a B on my Calc II test. I need to finish writing my part of the research paper. I've got about four pages of it written so far, with at least one more page to go. Hopefully I can finish it rather quickly. I have a Themelios meeting at 5:30. Themelios is the student-volunteer organization which provides to help with incoming freshman during the fall semester, and we are hoping to do more than just help in the fall this upcoming year. At 9:30, I'm going to some ice cream place with some of the other people on my floor to discuss the direction that we want to try to lead our floor next year. Almost all of the upper-classmen are leaving our floor to go to the honors apartments. I've got the GPA needed to move over there, but I would much rather stay where the majority of my friends are at.

Posted by Randy at 03:00 PM

April 04, 2003

School and Other Things

Well, I'm about to go and take a Calculus II test. Hopefully, I can do as decently on this one as I have with the previous ones. I've realized that I've done a lot of complaining about school work, so I'm going to talk about something different.

Lately I've been reading the Chronicles of Narnia. So far, I've read throught the first four of the seven books. C.S. Lewis is a genius. In the first two books (chronologically, The Magician's Nephew and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the parallels of the creation of Narnia and Aslan's death and resurrection with the creation of our world and the death and resurrection of Jesus are amazing. He continues with Christian parallels throughout the series. These books may have been written for children, but I would highly recommend them to anyone.

In Chapel today they school invited a bluegrass band to come perform. Why? Well, they were a gospel bluegrass band. I'm not a very big fan of bluegrass. Never really have liked most forms of country music, although, like every type of music, it does have some good songs in it. Apparently, however, a large number of students did like it. Which probably means that good ol' Chaplain Carl is going to be bringing back more like that group. As long as I keep up on my Chapel attendance, I don't really have to worry about having to sit through another hour of bluegrass anytime soon.

I have also decided what I want to do this summer. I'm planning on going to Brazil with a group of students from other colleges for a summer mission trip. I'm really looking forward to it. The trip was highly recommended from the RA of my floor, who went on the same trip last summer. The only thing is this trip is going to cost money. Lots of it. I will be getting money from LeTourneau Student Missions, but I will also be writing letters asking for support to practically every relative I have. Maybe even to some other people I know.

Posted by Randy at 12:44 PM

April 03, 2003

Busy Me

I have now realized why so many college students update their blogs at this hour. This is often the first opportunity given to sit down and collect one's thoughts, especially at LU. Thinking about how much work I've done over the past few days, I'm amazed.

I spent at least a good six or seven hours doing nothing but research for and writing of notecards for that sadistic English professor. We were informed today that my group will be turning in its paper and giving a 20-25 minute presentation on next Thursday. One week to write for my group to write the individual parts, integrate them into a 12-18 page paper, and create a semi-entertaining presentation. That is ridiculous. I've also spent about three hours doing Engineering Graphics homework. That wasn't hard, but it was very tedious. A good three hours of Calculus II homework, an hour studying for a Calc II test, and at least two hours on Physics, and I don't understand a lot of stuff from those classes still. With a test in Calc II on Friday, I've got a lot more studying to do for that class . And none of these times include actual class time, either.

College is fun, but it is a lot of work. If I don't get a good job after three more years of this, I might just go crazy.

Posted by Randy at 01:30 AM

April 02, 2003

A Bit of Stress

Well, I have tried to update this thing twice since my last post. The first time, I couldn't even get to the update post page. The second time, I was informed that Blogger couldn't publish anything. I now know why some people blast Blogger on some of their own blogs. Anyway...

[rant]I hate research papers! Especially when I am forced to do notecards and source cards. These things are so freaking stupid! You do not need source cards because you have a bibliography at the end of it. You do not need notecards because they are basically your freaking researcher paper printed on 3x5 cards. I would not mind actually doing the paper if it wasn't for that pointless busy work. To top it all off, I only have a limited subject on which to get these 40 notecards. Forty would be a halfway decent number if I was doing the entire paper on my own. But when you are in groups of three and each person must find twenty sources and make forty notecards in one and a half weeks, the prof is being absolutely ridiculous. To top it all off, I also have a Calculus II test, Physics I test, and Engineering Graphics final project all coming up way too quickly.[/rant]

On a happier note, it seems like the floor has all but finalized room plans for next semester. I'm moving across the floor with another guy and my current roommate will be rooming with his friend in the room right across from it. There will also be a few interesting editions to my floor from the third floor. I have a feeling this floor will be a bit louder next semester.

Posted by Randy at 12:24 AM