February 29, 2004

Leap Year

It would be so cool to have been born on February 29. I still think that 08/04/84 is a good date, too.

Anyway, I just wrote this to have something written on the twenty-ninth.

Sorry to have wasted your time.

Posted by Randy at 07:26 PM | TrackBack

February 28, 2004

Death and Pain

Tonight in the weekly Bible study I attend along with certain other people, we studied Amos chapter four. The following verse was included in the study.

Amos 4:10:
" 'I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me,' declares the Lord."

This (along with a few other verses) led to a discussion I found rather interesting. It started with the general agreement that God was killing certain people in order to get the attention of others. The discussion pretty much continued with whether or not God still took the lives of some people to grab the attention of others. It seemed that the response to this was that He does. Given the recent situation that my family has gone through, this quite naturally grabbed my attention.

The possibility that God may have taken the lives of my sister, my cousin, and two other people I knew in order to grab the attention of certain people has more than once entered my mind. Normally, I try not to think about it simply because this train of thought is painful. It causes the selfish side of my personality to become enraged at God. This rage then seeps into my relationships with the people around me. I remember the amount of anger that I expressed over this last summer and during part of the fall semester. I don't want to do that again.

Unfortunately, when my thoughts wander again to this possibility, the anger towards God does return. I can't help this. What's worse (for my mood, anyway) is that I know that I'll never know why He took my sister and the others so early in their lives. I know that He had a reason for it, and I know that I would probably never be able to comprehend it. It brings to mind a short passage from the play Shadowlands:

"God knows. Yes, God knows. I don't doubt that. God knows. But does God care?
We're the creatures. We're the rats in the cosmic laboratory. I've no doubt the great experiment is for our own good, eventually, but that still makes God the vivisectionist."

It describes how I start to feel every time these thoughts surface in my mind. I can't stand these feelings. They hurt.

Posted by Randy at 12:50 AM | TrackBack

February 26, 2004

The Opposite of Stress

Something really weird is going on inside my head. I am fairly sure that I did well on both my Circuits II test and my Anatomy & Physiology II Lab exam today. However, I have this horrible lurking feeling that I just wrecked my grades for those two classes this semester. I'm not sure how those two conflicting thoughts are skipping merrily together inside my head.

Now that I have taken both of those tests I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. In reality (or should I say metaphorically?), only a couple decent sized pieces were chipped off of a giant boulder. After all, I still have a Circuits II design problem to comprehend and complete by Tuesday, a Gen. Biology II Lab exam on Monday, a Comp. Sci. 1 test on Wednesday, an Anatomy & Physiology II test over the immune system on Thursday, and a program due relatively soon.

Despite all of this, I am strangely calm. I feel almost no stress or pressure about any of it. I know this isn't due to confidence in any of those classes. I think that I might have stopped caring. If that is the case, I need to start caring again soon. All of this apathy does not go well with my scholarship.

Posted by Randy at 04:28 PM | TrackBack

February 25, 2004

My Family...

"I'll never be able to buy a Japanese vehicle. I would have already bought me one of those Toyota pick-ups if it hadn't been for Pearl Harbor. I just can't forget that."
--My grandfather

Thus began my hour spent dining with my mother's parents. Throw in a few more remarks like that one, additional "er" sounds in every other word ("How're ya d-er-ing?"), and a steak from Outback and you have pretty much got the gist of the entire event.

Posted by Randy at 06:32 PM | TrackBack

Warning: Game Talk Below

(This post was inspired by this Penny Arcade news article.)

Video games. To some, these little collections of data are the most boring and pointless way to waste time that man has ever invented. These people often pity those who play video games because they waste so much time watching flashes of light on a television screen. To others, these same collections of data have become almost idol-like. These people are willing to sacrifice time, grades, money, and any form of social life just to earn the next level or get the next rare item.

Where do I fit within the above spectrum? I'm not entirely sure. I sometimes use games as a way to kill time. However, I have also been known to be completely obsessed with one game--gladly sacrificing other activities in order to complete the game. I am sure that over the course of my life I have spent several hundred hours locked in a fierce battle, solving either ridiculously complex or stupefyingly simple puzzle, and running from or shooting at zombies. I believe that, as far as the "gaming" world goes, I am probably around average.

One thing that I've learned is that I need games to have a plot. Any plot, even "the Princess was kidnapped by a giant turtle thing go and save her," is better than nothing. I prefer a game to have a complex plot. Thanks to my reading background, I am unable to consider any game "good" unless I am satisfied with the story that goes along with it. This is why I usually don't enjoy fighting and racing games, but it is also why I have come to love role-playing games.

To me, playing a "good" game is like reading a book or watching a movie. The game must be plot-intensive and it must have a decent plot. This becomes very important if the gameplay time exceeds twenty hours. It must involve characters that are developed throughout the story. If I reach the end and I do not care about any of the characters, the game has failed.

Anyway, the point of this is to say that I consider the plot of a game to be one of the most important factors in determining how I rate any game. Yes, other things are involved in my rating system. Graphics, replay value, battle systems, overall difficulty, and other things (not in that order) also affect my final judgement on a game. This might make my opinions of certain games a bit skewed, but that is just how I think.

Posted by Randy at 03:26 PM | TrackBack

Money, Money, Money

"You see, God didn't create money. Man did. It's ok to abuse it."
--Nathan (Former roommate, current suitemate)

Posted by Randy at 12:13 PM | TrackBack

February 24, 2004

Abnormally Green

What would you do with a green polar bear?

Posted by Randy at 09:38 AM | TrackBack

February 22, 2004

A Social Life?

Last night I attended a performance by the Longview Symphony Orchestra. This has been the second time I have attended a performance of classical music, and I believe that I enjoyed this time more than the first.

I happen to enjoy classical music, but only if it is being performed live. I do not understand why, but I am not a fan of classical music if it is on the radio, a tape, or a CD. Does anyone else feel that way or am I just weird? Either way, I believe the selected music for this performance was better than the first one I attended.

I also had a lot more fun this time. I went with more people, and I've also become a bit more outgoing since the first time I went to the symphony. There were about eight of us who left together. There was me (naturally), Mark, Jonathan Spaulding, Kyle, Lisa, Cara, Lindsey, and Caleb. Kyle and Lisa went together in Kyle's car, of course, while the rest of us piled into Jonathan's van and prepared ourselves for the journey that lay ahead of us.

After spending about five minutes looking for a place to park, Jonathan finally found one. We climbed out of the van and started the hike to the building. Once we finally got to the building, we valiantly struggled against those unfortunate souls who, for one reason or another, had an extra ticket they were trying to sell. Some of our group recognized these poor people and sympathy began to fill their hearts. The rest of us had to remind them of our mission and push them forward. We then had to battle through the crowds of the lobby and the lady who asked every single person in our group if he or she was with the person standing behind him or her. These two problems were resolved thanks to the incredible courage of whoever was in the lead and the quick-thinking strategy of answering "no" to every question. The hunt for enough seats for all of us soon began. Thanks to a masterful bit of persuasion by one of the group, an older couple was kind enough to move down a row so that we had enough seats. Victory was ours!

Sort of, anyway. I happened to enjoy the performance which followed. A certain female in our group, however, fell asleep during the second half of the performance. I believe she was awakened with a jolt when people began to clap at the end.

After the symphony ended, we all climbed back into the van to seek out Applebee's. We found it, and after a relatively short wait we sat down to eat. It was when we sat down that I noticed our numbers had increased by nine people. This made for some rather interesting, and probably loud, discussions. Despite my most valiant attempts to avoid it, politics were brought up at the table. This normally isn't a problem for me. It becomes a problem when the "discussion" consists of things like "Liberals suck" and "I agree." I then had to restrain myself from verbally decapitating someone who remarked that the bad thing about LeTourneau was "we are all right and we all agree."

After the fun of Applebee's, we returned to campus and some of us accompanied Cara and Lindsey into the biology labs (all still in formal dress) and watched them do whatever they needed to do for their respective experiments/jobs. This was entertaining because I was also able to show those who went down there a dissected fetal pig by going into the lab across the hall.

We then finished the night by dropping off Cara and Lindsey at their respective buildings, parking Jonathan's van, changing into clothing that is comfortable, and singing "Happy Birthday" to a guy on the floor. I would like to do something like this again sometime.

Posted by Randy at 02:16 PM | TrackBack

February 19, 2004

Biology Labs

WARNING: Biology stuff is mentioned below. I am not liable for any reactions you may have by reading the following.

Education. One of the single most important aspects of a young person's life (ideally, anyway). This semester I am taking two different biology classes. What is the best way to educate students in biology classes? The answer is surprisingly simple. Have them look at dead carcasses.

What have I gotten to look at this semester? So far, I have looked at a plethora of dead bacteria. I have examined several plants that were dying. I have cracked open an egg to examine a three-day old chicken fetus. I have held and played with the heart of an adult pig. Later today, I will be performing a dissection on a fetal pig. All of this has been in the name of science, of course.

One thing I have discovered outside of class is that people react strangely when given information about biology labs. For example, when I tell people that I have aborted a chicken fetus, the most common reaction is a jaw drop follewed by an exclamation of "What?!" It is particularly entertaining to watch someone react to "aborted chicken fetus" when a chunk of chicken is in his or her mouth. I really don't understand that reaction at all. Most of these people eat eggs. All I had to do was crack the egg at a different stage of development. People don't like to think about that, though.

The fetal pig I will be dissecting later today should be interesting. I'll be examining that with people who are as interested in it as I am instead of generic General Biology students who are just getting their general science electives out of the way.

Posted by Randy at 01:50 PM | TrackBack

February 18, 2004


Now this guy is just frightening. How can anyone spend $50,000 a year on that kind of stuff? How many "disneyphiles" like this are there?

Posted by Randy at 10:13 AM | TrackBack

February 17, 2004

That Sweet Sound...

"True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment."
--William Penn

Right now I'm experiencing a phenomenom that I rarely get to appreciate on this floor. I never began to appreciate the value of this until I began to live on a dorm floor. I am sitting in a silent room.

My roommate is at work; therefore, I hear no music coming from his computer or the television. My door is shut and locked. This makes it more difficult for people to stop in and start talking and helps to muffle any noise from other rooms. The window is shut and it is effectively keeping out the majority of outside noise. All I can hear is the hum of the computer, the tapping of the keyboard, and the rattle of the A/C unit. It isn't perfectly quiet in here, but it is as close as I have gotten to complete silence in quite some time.

Most people do not appreciate silence. Some people almost seem to fear it. I have learned to love and cherish it. My room has practically become the floor lounge. There are several reasons for that, but I don't particularly care to rattle those reasons off at the moment. This means there is almost always some kind of background noise around me. It might be someone sitting on the couch watching some ridiculous television program. It might be some inane conversation that no one really cares about. It is always something.

But not right now. Right now, silence is music to my ears.

Posted by Randy at 07:24 PM | TrackBack

February 16, 2004

Randy vs. Chapel

Chapel. Today. Words fail me. It would appear that some people enjoyed this morning's chapel service. I, however, am not one of them. I am not exactly sure where to begin.

I guess I'll start with the worship band itself. I have never enjoyed that band. I do not appreciate their singing "talent." I did not enjoy the amount of times someone or some instrument was off-key. I do not have the best ear for musical notes. I know this. If I can tell that they are off, they should also know it. If not, they shouldn't be up there in the first place. They do have talent in one area, however. They can magnificently tear apart and paste back together songs. They ripped several good songs to shreds in order to pick the "best" pieces out and only play them. I understand that praise and worship should have nothing to do with the band itself. I believe that if the band is consistently distracting towards actual worshipping they should not be playing at all.

The lead female vocalist said something early in the service which grated on my nerves. She said that it was fine if people wanted to raise their hands, etc., to worship. I agree with that completely. However, she then continued by saying it was alright for all of the people "too-cool-for-school" who didn't worship by raising their hands and singing at the top of their lungs. Why did that irritate me? I am generally a quiet person. Everyone who knows me pretty much knows this for a fact. I do not worship by dancing around, throwing my arms up in there, and singing loudly. That just is not me. To imply that those who do that are more spiritual than those who do not greatly irritates me. It's nice to know that she would consider me to be a very spiritual person if I danced around yelling "Praise Jesus!" The fact that similar messages have been said in one way or another in previous chapels greatly bothers me.

The male vocalist also irritated me when he began to speak. He quite blatantly stated that emotion is the single greatest part of worship. "If you aren't excited right now, you should check your pulse." Personally, I have never been "excited" while I worshipped. That is not the emotion that I experience. I usually experience some degree of joy and happiness when I worship. However, I apparently don't experience enough joy and happiness because I was not "excited." I must not be a truly spiritual person.

The end of chapel. The calling of those who were "sick," physically or spiritually, to the front. I have never really liked the "call to the altar" service. It is a great way for a person to look like he or she is a very spiritual person. In reality, everyone is sick in some manner or another. To be completely honest, every single time there is a call to go to the altar every single Christian should go up there. That is why I don't like it. It is redundant. Everyone can just as easily put a hand on someone from their seats as they can standing in front of a stage. The fact that this call was supported by using a verse that sounded as if it wrenched out of context doesn't help their case very much.

I left chapel disturbed by what I had witnessed, and I know that several people agree with me. I don't mind if other people liked this morning's chapel. That is fine with me. I just want my opinion out there.

Posted by Randy at 06:06 PM | TrackBack

February 12, 2004


Wow. This is truly an interesting couple.

So, the husband found out that his wife was cheating on him by going to a smut website? I wonder which started first.

And speaking of interesting, here is a fun little game where you have to decide if a title is from a Jack Chick Tract or a Dirty Movie!

Posted by Randy at 05:41 PM

February 09, 2004

Long Days

If you had to describe the past few days with a single word, what word would you choose? I know my choice.


That's right. These past few days have just been one big "blah" after another. Calculus III homework, Circuits II homework, Gen. Biology II homework, and all sorts of applications have taken up the majority of my time. Seriously, how do these things always get piled up like this? Sunday night was extremely stressful, and Monday has just been a very long day. To top it all off I may be getting sick. Again. I am going to be extremely pleased when I crawl into my bed in a few minutes.

These past few days haven't been all bad, though. I have decided that I will be going to China this summer. That is, of course, if they accept my application. Over the weekend I managed to secure both of my references for the application. Unfortunately, I am going to have to ask one of them for a separate reference letter so that I can apply for LSM funds from LeTourneau. Argh.

Another thing I am happy about is that a committee has accepted a paper of mine and I will be presenting it at the C. S. Lewis conference at LeTourneau in April. From the sound of the email Dr. Solganick sent me, he may still need papers to fill time slots. Even if that is the case I am still happy that I get to present a paper I worked on for a long time. Unfortunately, I now have to fine tune and format the paper so that I can read it aloud easily. That shouldn't be too hard. However, since this might be presented to a good number of people, the perfectionist in me is going to be screaming at me up until I actual give the presentation. I can't complain about that, though. I knew what I was doing when I submitted the paper.

Anyway, I'm crawling into bed now. Maybe I'll ramble more tomorrow.

Posted by Randy at 11:55 PM

February 03, 2004

Star Trek

After a rather interesting discussion of the quality of the Star Trek genre tonight at dinner, my roommate and I have compiled the following list. Please check his blog for the complete story of the events.
Please feel free to add to the list.

Excellent Ways to Irritate a Trekkie:

"Oh yeah, I know Star Trek. That's the movie with the little green dude, right?"

"You know that chick with the telepathy? Wasn't she the princess of a planet that was destroyed?"

"I couldn't believe when they froze Spock in that carbonate stuff!"

"Remember the episode with the wookie?"

"I loved the ships in that series! The TIE Fighters and X-Wings were gorgeous."

"William Shatner was a horrible actor!"

"Captain Kirk was the worst Jedi ever! All he ever did was make attractive women go insane long enough to sleep with him."

Posted by Randy at 05:51 PM

February 01, 2004

Quizzes Again

Test #1 told me nothing new. I've suspected I was paranoid for quite some time now.

Personality Disorder Test Results
Paranoid |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Schizoid |||||| 30%
Schizotypal |||||||||||| 46%
Antisocial |||||||||||| 42%
Borderline |||||||||||| 42%
Histrionic |||||||||| 38%
Narcissistic |||||||||||||| 58%
Avoidant |||||||||||||| 54%
Dependent |||||||||||| 42%
Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||| 34%
Take Free Personality Disorder Test

Test #2 gave me an answer which surprised me.

What Famous Leader Are You?

Test #3 just shocked the hell out of me. I mean, who would watch this movie and think of me?

What Classic Movie Are You?
Posted by Randy at 11:16 PM

The Super Bowl

As you read the following, please remember that I did not see all of the Super Bowl. I missed the entire third quarter (as well as the half time show) and I did homework while the rest of the game was playing. Enjoy.

Overheard quotes from Super Bowl commentators:

"This is a guy that nobody knows nothing about."

"He is the type of player who always wants positive yards."

"These coaches should have come and asked me...I might eat these words later, but I doubt it."

" 'I sure as heck didn't go over everything, because if you go over everything you confuse the defensive players.' " -- quoting a defensive coordinator

"I'm not gonna overstate this, but that's big stuff."

"A touchdown is huge."

"He went to [college] as just an athelete, not even knowing what position he was going to play."

Motto of the Carolina Panthers according to a reporter interviewing the coach:
"Run the ball, and stop the run."

Posted by Randy at 08:31 PM