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A date
Saturday. 9.20.14 10:20 pm
I think this will be a side of me that you haven't seen before. I went on date that I'm pretty happy about. I'm going to write it out here for the sake of posterity, and in case any of you are interested in what it looks like for me to have a fun date.

Actually, I have this mindset that says that most of my friends don't really see me as the kind of guy who goes on dates ever, much less as often as I have lately. And when I talk about it, they're surprised to learn that about me. But you guys don't know me that well so maybe you don't even think that. Interesting how that works out. Anyway...

I was worried when I was planning the date that there wasn't enough going on, that it would seem like a half-hearted effort. We (the guy I was doubling with, and I) planned to start directly after a big fundraising event at Georgia Tech's campus. My date and the other couple are all from a nearby school (about 40 minutes driving) so having them nearby was really helpful. For this post, my date will be referred to as Homegirl. The other couple is Dude and Chick. So this is what happened:

We left the event at 11:30 to go to the Physics building nearby because my car was parked there and people wanted to change. I showed them around my lab and up to the fifth floor (unfortunately, roof access was locked so I couldn't show them the observatory.) We drove to some campus restaurants nearby and ate gyros outside, which was delicious. This was a good time for everyone to sort of settle in (the other couple has never been on a date before, and I've never doubled with either of them). The conversation moved in a few directions that I wasn't expecting, including some interesting poop stories from Homegirl.

From there, we drove back to campus and walked to a nice climbing tree. Chick wasn't very excited about the prospect of climbing a tree (she's never done it before) but she wanted to try so we went through with it. I personally helped her and Homegirl onto a low branch by letting them climb on me, and from there we all had to coach Chick to move to the trunk and find a nice fork to sit in. She was terrified but she really acted like a trooper. Apparently she's afraid of heights...I don't think she was more than 8 feet up. Meanwhile, Homegirl and I went almost the whole way up and stayed there for a few minutes to enjoy the view and chat a little.

Next, we walked to the learning center to play Quelf. Quelf is a board game that involves drawing cards that have instructions for random acts, quizzes, that sort of thing. It quickly turns into a mess. At one point, I got up, and with no warning started jumping around, flapping my arms and saying, "Chicken!" The whole group was trying to figure out how they're supposed to react (Do they get up and join me? Laugh or not laugh?) Then I asked how many times I said "Chicken." Anyone who gets it right moves forward a space. That's Quelf. I suggest it for small parties. We played that for a while.

The Learning Center has a rooftop garden, so we went there with pieces of blank paper, and split into couples to make airplanes. We ended up borrowing some markers from another student and we spent our time drawing and talking instead. Eventually, we folded up a bunch of planes and threw them off the roof, one by one. Then we went to go collect them (no littering!)

I wanted to stop by the Starbucks on campus because Homegirl really loves coffee, but they had just closed. A sharp blow.

Then we walked around campus for a bit longer. The other three really liked Georgia Tech campus. Chick recognized the learning center from scenes in The Internship, so I showed her where they shot the Quidditch match and then we went our separate ways. All in all, I was with Homegirl from about 11:30 til almost 6. A lot longer than I planned the date to last but definitely a blast.

Some anecdotes:
Everyone loves science. I might have been showing off a little when we went through the lab I work in.
I got a parking ticket while we were eating because I'm foolish and didn't double check to make sure the meters were open on Saturdays. They aren't.
The poop conversation and references followed through the rest of the date, culminating in one of the girls (I won't specify) audibly farting next to my head when I was helping her with the tree. It doesn't really bother me but as much as amuse me. Did not see that one coming.
Because of Quelf, Dude had to get down on one knee and perform one of Shakespeare's love poems for Chick.
Airplanes make good date souvenirs, if you're into that kind of thing. Unfortunately Homegirl kept all of ours.

:3

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Empty-handed
Sunday. 9.7.14 12:11 am
I wish I had a little haiku or something for you guys, after not being around for so long.

I'm currently frustrated because I had this really beautiful thought about grace n' stuff, but I can't remember what verses it was actually based on so. I think I wrote it down somewhere, but I can't find it anywhere. guh

I'm quite peachy. I have...plans for the future. Neat plans. :D

...I think it's in Hebrews...

I'm just going to leave this here.

Wait. No.

I was thinking about words. And the brain. Honestly this isn't my forte so this might not seem very profound to you...but the brain is friggin' cool. So much of what we do is just done automatically by little parts of your brain without you needing to worry about it. Like words. We have a thought we want to express, and some part of your brain internally translates that into bite-sized chunks, and then into the actual words. And then some other part automatically translates that into the muscle movements that form the sounds that other brains will translate back into raw thought and emotion.

But what if we didn't have those embedded functions? I'm not talking about neglecting to learn language. I'm saying, what if your brain didn't translate your thoughts into words? What would you have left? If we can't order our thoughts into words, even internally, how much room for thoughts do we even have? Assuming we have souls that "live" outside of our brains, how much of that capacity is included in our souls? Speaking of which, if memories are chemically etched into our brains, and a soul is somehow non-chemical in nature, do our souls have memories? How does that work?

mmmm

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λόγος
Friday. 6.27.14 12:45 pm
It's a fantastic word.

Biblical usage: (Taken from blueletterbible.org)
of speech
> a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea
> what someone has said
> > a word
> > the sayings of God
> > decree, mandate or order
> > of the moral precepts given by God
> > Old Testament prophecy given by the prophets
> > what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim
> discourse
> > the act of speaking, speech
> > the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking
> > a kind or style of speaking
> > a continuous speaking discourse - instruction
> doctrine, teaching
> anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative
> matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law
> the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed
its use as respect to the MIND alone:
> reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating
> account, i.e. regard, consideration
> account, i.e. reckoning, score
> account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment
> relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation
> > reason would
> reason, cause, ground
In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world's life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man's salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.

That's just its usage in the Bible. Before being pulled into Judaism and Christianity, where it tends to refer to the principals of will, order and reason that the universe is founded upon, (And, in John 1, it refers to Jesus!) λόγος was already a nifty word referring to discourse and logic. Logos (the English spelling) has a long history in Greek philosophy. It was nefariously hard to translate into Latin and still doesn't really have a solid English translation. Aristotle grouped it with πάθος and ἦθος, pathos and ethos, as means of communication and persuasion. Quoting Paul Rahe (Thanks, Wikipedia!): "For Aristotle, logos is something more refined than the capacity to make private feelings public: it enables the human being to perform as no other animal can; it makes it possible for him to perceive and make clear to others through reasoned discourse the difference between what is advantageous and what is harmful, between what is just and what is unjust, and between what is good and what is evil."

All in all, it's a wonderful word, and certainly one of my favorites. Especially because I have a hard time understanding and identifying my emotions, I tend to fall back to a logical way of thinking (which isn't always a good thing). I'm a thinker, and the idea that the universe was created with specific characteristics of order, and further that this founding order comes from and IS God is just a beautiful idea to me. That God would start the creation with his words, and that the Greeks would consider words to be the close to the heart of existence itself is beyond my ken.

So, naturally, this was the logical conclusion:



If I can get a better picture (it's healed up really well so far) I'll put it up.

Hope you're well.

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Of the mind
Monday. 6.2.14 11:30 am
So much.

I ended the semester with higher than a 3.0, which was nice. One of my final grades (statistical mechanics) was a 64.01, but the range for a B was 64-80 or something like that. Such is my life.

I went to Utah again for about a week. We would hike all day, then come back to a small condo in Moab to eat and sleep. One day we were supposed to go backpacking and camp right next to the Green River, but the day of our camping reservation it rained/hailed (what awful timing) so were weren't able to go out at all. No camping for us.

You may recall that on a previous trip to Utah, I lost most of my pictures from the trip. Specifically, I had photos from when my brother and I climbed a mesa over our campsite and it was beautiful. I'm happy to say that I was able to reclaim that particular memory because we happened to be passing our old campsite and I took the liberty of making that detour. Over all, I have about 260 epic photos from the trip, most of which are on Facebook. Check it out, if you're able.

I came back to Atlanta in time for a training program with my church. It was exhausting and convicting. A friend from a sister church in Clemson came and stayed with me, and we were able to spend a lot of time together. I am thankful for his friendship.

As soon as that was over, another friend came from Columbia SC and stayed with me for a weekend. This is a guy I've only spent time with briefly, but he's basically a taller and more-white version of me. We had a grand time, and I am VERY thankful for his friendship. He's great. I actually started feeling insecure around him because it seems like he's just such a cool guy, and I look up to him in a lot of ways. I hope that will pass.

I was finally able to get back to my job, and I've already made significant progress on our project. I'm coding up the system that's going to control temperature in these camera boxes. It's fun! I look forward to spending a lot of time on it this summer, because it's hard to prioritize it during the school year.

I've seen two couples get married in the past week, and this weekend I'm going to be IN a wedding for the first time. Summer, man.

-----

Jordan locked his keys in his car recently. We were waiting for AAA to come and let him in. We were talking about how he keeps forgetting his keys in his car, and he asked us how our minds work.

His is like a stage. It only really allows for one stream at a time, but he has total focus on all the elements and players. Sometimes he just leaves out some of the 'behind the scenes' details.

His girlfriend's is like a series of boxes. Everything has a place, and she can keep several things in the forefront of her mind at once.

I think...

I'm not big on psychology, so I tend to have a simplified understanding of how the mind works. The image I have is of the subconscious, which is really the biggest part of the mind, and the conscious "me" that sits on top of that and pretends it knows what it's doing. In computer speak, my conscious self is just a graphic interface, an abstraction layer that sits on top of all the crazy subroutines that keep the system going. It's my subconscious that handles all my sensory input, directs muscle memory, and does basic problem solving, on top of the obvious things like beating my heart and controlling my various glands.

I often feel like I'm on autopilot. I'm one of those guys whose head is in the clouds all the time. I can walk, drive, and even read and talk to people (on occasion) without really paying attention to it. I just let the subroutines handle it, while I think or worry about what the wind blows my way. That means I'm often forgetful, that I rely on habit. I try to break everything down into its simplest parts. Tasks and goals are only easy for me when I understand how to fit them into my subroutines. If I can't, I struggle. I think this is why I found college life so hard, and why I'm so anxious about post-college life. It's too much, too fast. I have so many things that I'm trying to fit into my life, and I can't adapt quickly enough to do it well. On top of menial day-to-day things like studying, work, my walk with God, and other stuff like that, I also have to worry about taxes and maintaining my car and preparing for graduation and being a leader...

I've said before that I didn't understand myself. I saw a problem with how I was trying to handle life, but I couldn't get to the root of it. I think this is the next step. Now I know that my problem is a matter of organization. I still don't know how to change that core idea of my self, but I CAN focus more on integrating new things into my life as they come, instead of trying to solve my problems with obsolete tools.

hmm

In the meantime, this song is the best representation of my mind that I can think of. If you can understand that, then you might understand me.

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