Remember, Remember

the fifth of November … Odd how an extremist reviled for treason has morphed into something of a popular hero. Thanks, V for Vendetta. Not that it isn’t an interesting movie, but it does highlight some of the reversals in Western values over the past five hundred years or so.

I’m killing time until my currently unpopular office hours are over, since I’m extremely unmotivated to study for my STAT exam or work on my MECH problem set.

I’ve realized, over the past month or so, how often I and other people say “I feel that…” when we actually mean “I think that …” Feeling is not the same as thinking, and I think that when we don’t make a distinction between the phrases, we contribute to blurring the lines between the two. “I feel that…” might be deemed a less assertive or offensive phrase, but I think that sacrificing passivity in favor of clarity is not a bad thing. Consequently, I’ve been using the word “think” a lot more in the past few weeks. Words and word choice are important.

Two minutes, so some notes in random order:

  • There is a Pandora gadget!
  • I’m getting more motion in my right knee after ACL surgery. Thank you so much for all y’all’s prayers and notes/cards/messages! I will reply individually, but I can’t promise a timeframe yet. Eyyy grad school.
  • I have a roommate for next semester! The way in which it all happened was definitely Providential and I shall detail this at some point.
  • Model rocket launch for a class I’m TAing. I put some pictures on Flickr.

Alright, now I have to go be productive.

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On Advice

Here’s my prompt for this week: What advice would I give a graduating class of high school students, and “do you think there’s any point to giving advice to young people or is experience the only source of knowledge that sticks?”

I only have two points of advice on this, mainly because when one is giving advice, one wants it to be short enough so people will read it, and because one doesn’t want to say something completely ridiculous. Reducing words reduces the chances of that happening. The following assumes that the graduating class is going on to university, as I did. So here goes:

  1. Get plugged into a campus fellowship or a local church with a good college group. This is super, super important. When you start college, you will be absolutely bombarded with activities and clubs and other people who want you to join whatever they’re doing, because every organization wants to recruit freshmen. This offers an excellent opportunity to try new things; some of it won’t work out that well (for me, it was field hockey) and some of it will get you hooked (ie. cycling). But your first priority should be finding that fellowship where the members will offer you strong spiritual support in the times of growth, trials, and service that will follow. College is a time of really cementing who you are as an individual; having good friendships and involvement in a Christian community will critically influence your development. It’s really easy to be dragged away from Christ and the church as a first priority; there are classes, friends, parties, sports, other clubs – the list goes on. Get involved in a fellowship and stay there. Continue reading

So Close

Oh, look, I’m posting! … Sorry about that, folks. Life kind of pounced and began throttling me rather violently this past month. BUT I am not letting April go blog-less, so I win.

What’s new in my life, you ask? Not much. I have a few project/papers to go before I’m home free; I’m looking forward to a change of pace over the summer. Over the past month or two I’ve been working my contacts in an effort to land a lab or industry summer position, just praying I’d get something and that I wasn’t too late. And, after all that work and worry, an amazingly sweet project here at school just dropped into my lap, courtesy of my adviser and another prof in the department. Once again, God has this timing thing down to a tee.
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Back When I Was a Freshman

Dear Rice,

Now that I finally possess the right to designate myself a “concerned alumna”, I would like to address the topic of tradition. More specifically, I would like to comment upon a certain practice, pleading for a return to the values, customs, and doctrines that characterize our community and our university.

My most treasured memory of Orientation Week (familiar to Rice students as “O-Week”), (besides, of course, playing Sardines in Sewall Hall, ubangeeing co-advisors at other colleges, screaming at other colleges at the top of my lungs, losing my voice, and [of course] Austin Bratton) is engaging in the time-gilded ritual of hedge-jumping. After a thorough primer by our illustrious fellow, who was determined to see us initiated as quickly as possible into the ranks of Real Rice Students, my entire O-Week group lined up for our first attempts. I am proud to note that I rapidly mastered the correct technique: the gently curving approach run, the headfirst launch with the quarter-twist over the hedge itself, and the assertive shoulder landing and roll on the soft lawn. The fact that I emerged with the cuts and scars of warfare upon my arms is further evidence of my dedication and complete hardcoreness.

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I Like Ike?

No, not really. What gets me is why they called it Ike. Which is not even a real name, but rather a nickname (thank you, Mr. Eisenhower, for publicizing that). And a nickname generally makes a person/thing sound pretty friendly, unless the nickname happens to be “Spike” or “Killer” or something like that. I wouldn’t say Ike was all that friendly.

Rant aside, Ike was definitely an experience. The real deal, one might say, compared to Rita three years ago, which turned aside at the last moment while giving us a sprinkle in passing. We hung out in the commons for six or seven hours and then went to bed, while other evacuating students took eighteen hours to get to Katy, normally half an hour away. The term “contraflow” was suddenly coined, popping up on all the networks within five minutes of conception.

This time was a little more businesslike, although Ike took its sweet time in getting here. Between meeting with my senior design professor (!!! yeah, I know), bagging my electronics and taking my posters off the walls, prepping my room for possible hurricane damage, packing for a night in the servery/shelter, playing a pickup game of Ultimate, and witnessing the birth of a terribly profound mockumentary (yes, that is tongue in cheek), it was a full Friday. Since we were sheltering in the servery (the actual kitchen part where they had boarded up the two windows), dinner was moved forward so the area could be turned over to us at 7pm, when we were expected to need it.

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Patriotism

O say! can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
‘Tis the Star-Spangled Banner: O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
-Francis Scott Key

Fragments

I don’t have anything specific in mind for this post; just a random bunch of thoughts that aren’t really related – colored pebbles scattered on the sand, waiting for a ray of light to pick one out for the passerby … yeah, so I’m slightly incoherent right now.

Today was pretty sweet. I got to play around in the vehicle mock-up, just for the heck of it, and run a simulator through station docking. That’s why I’m an engineer – so I can play with expensive toys (as in, multi-million dollar toys) and get paid for it.

They’ve told us to treat the internship as a three-month-long interview. I don’t think I’ve made a complete idiot of myself yet. (I still have ten weeks to do that, though.)

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