Sunday, September 7, 2008
I’ve always enjoyed being a problem solver. The reasons behind it are complicated. It’s almost as if, my thrill comes from the expression of creativity within the designing and problem-solving mode rather than from the actual completion of what I have done. I enjoy solving problems, especially if they involve something visual such as a device or design. I enjoy postulating and planning, building and adapting, but mostly I enjoy the challenge to continually make something better. I am a perfectionist. I can sit for hours building with legos just to figure out a more efficient way of doing something I can already do. I love to build and accomplish, and I like to continually adapt my project, often within construction, if I see a way to possibly make it better, more efficient, or miniaturized. For instance, in legos I discovered simplistic construction right away and quickly built bridges, walls, towers, and fortresses. I designed feudal technologies such as moveable gates that could still be as strong as the wall behind them and experimented until I found the best design. I then began to build Chariots and boats, finally settling upon weaponry and vastly improving them. The lego sets all included either small hand to hand weapons or long range weapons like cannons that did absolutely nothing—the force they exerted was so small. So I redesigned the weapons and created a working catapult model out of legos that flung large rocks up to 15 feet away. In lego dimensions this was a powerful weapon indeed, and although it did little against walls it was devastating to armies, units, and boats. Then I made a cannon that was 25 times as strong. I soon discovered that this new kind of cannon could destroy any gate, wall, or construction I had yet designed so I built stronger constructions such as my reinforced boats and rock fortresses. I even built a “Great Wall of China” which was impervious to my current weapons. But I was not satisfied. I perfected the cannon and catapult models until they could exert the strongest force possible with the current designs. I then abandoned the designs and made new ones. I quickly learned I could miniaturize the cannons or make them larger to exert more force, but all of my weapons still required force from me. So I redesigned yet again and created a larger, but more formidable cannon powered by rubber bands which would guide the force stored in tension down these near frictionless chutes. The bolts would then shoot out the end at about 3 or 4 times the speed of any other model. And I found that I could also shoot larger bolts increasing the damage factor of my cannons by about 10. My catapults I redesigned to have better balance and to shoot larger rocks and farther distances. These new models could destroy every wall and boat I had currently except for the Great Wall so I again redesigned all my structures. Previously they had been designed to be a generally strong structure, but the parts of construction were independently strong. I changed this so that all my new structures were designed to spread impact throughout the entire structure—eliminating the threat of any high-speed projectile that was not going too fast. The cannons still did a lot of damage, but they were now required to take multiple shots which gave the defenders a chance to retaliate with their own weapons which I built into the wall tops and structures. Boats changed from massive galleons to new armored steam models so as to deflect the new weaponry—and a new generation of lego ironclads was born. These were equipped with built in cannons of their own which were also designed to absorb shock and spread it through the boat, and so these new “lego fortresses” quickly become devastating. Impervious to nearly all weaponry they easily deflected cannon bolts and laid waste with their own weaponry to boats and shore-bound structures alike. When forced to encounter each other they would trade as much as 20 shots before a clear winner would emerge. At this stage I thought I might have finally attained equilibrium, but it was not to be so. Soon, two new types of weapons emerged—the shell and the artillery. The shell model started out as an experiment to see if I could make realistic-looking explosions out of lego pieces. I quickly discovered several models that not only exploded on impact, sending showers of lego shards in the air, they also did damage. And then I realized that my shells could replace the old rocks on the catapults. Although this new weapon did little to established forts or ironclads it was devastating to the standing armies and remaining sail-boats. While once an army had a chance against cannon weaponry, by spreading out and moving in with horse units to capture the cannon, they now had no chance at all. The catapults had but to place a shell in the middle of them and half the army would be blown apart. It took me about a day or two to design an attachment to let cannons launch shells as well. This gave the ironclads an even bigger advantage. Now, not only could they sit safely off-shore and deflect shots, they could shell the land and destroy any land-unit that yet existed. This all changed though with the creation of the artillery. Land-based fighters, now desperate to find a way to crush the ironclad, Created new, larger cannons that could shoot even larger bolts—some as big as a small ironclad. These large projectiles were inadvertently the undoing of every major structure yet created. After testing the weapons against the ironclad and discovering that not even the shock-resistant ironclad could deflect a well-placed bolt, I also discovered not nothing else could either. The Great Wall blew apart with almost a single shot. These new weapons were virtually the atom-bombs of my lego culture. They destroyed anything they shot at, even the best fortresses, and the construction of only one of them meant that a lego culture could become the new super-power. Under this new design, and the invention of planes with bombing capabilities, war ceased to exist because it was too costly. This harmony, however, was tentative. It only applied to the select few cultures which were advanced enough, and any uprising was quelled by a hammer stroke from planes, giant artillery bombardment, and ironclads. This advanced empire amused itself by blowing apart the smaller, primitive cultures it found springing up until it encountered a native culture that was actually able to match it. This culture did not have advanced weaponry, but soon learned how to build against it. They realized that the artillery, although nearly impossible to defend against could only destroy one thing at a time so they built a fleet of about 10 sailing boats and a culture of spread-out small bases. They also developed a new weapon I dubbed the giant crossbow which, although not as strong as an artillery was infinitely more accurate. The large projectiles were so big that they were also unwieldy and so the natives developed precision. With their giant crossbows they could easily hit a small, narrow target all the way across the room. So, when the raiders came again with an ironclad and cavalry to destroy them they had a surprise. Using muskets that they had acquired dealing with an opportunist they gave the impression that they were weak while still doing damage. When the more advanced units moved into range they opened fire. All 10 of the sailing vessels moved in to board the ironclad while the crossbows nailed down the incoming horsemen. In about 2 minutes all that was left was the ironclad which still managed to demolish the 10-boat fleet by ramming through it. The ironclad then opened fire on the natives, crippling one of the crossbows and destroying about half of the other structures. But the last crossbow had a surprise. Using a precision shot it nailed the artillery on-board the ironclad and disabled the weapon. The native vessels were then able to board and capture an ironclad. The natives then sent an envoy to demand peace in exchange for the vessel, but the empire refused. It considered itself immortal and sent every last vehicle it had including another ironclad, a steamboat with 2, on-board, giant artillery and another land army equipped with transport cars. They sent one of their primitive planes as well but it had little effect. But again the natives prevailed. They ambushed the troops again and the crossbows were able to destroy all but one horseman out of the approaching army. The large, captured ironclad proved to be a major asset and after a trade-out was able to sink the other ironclad. But not before disabling the giant artillery. These smashed through the on-shore forts and shot at the native ironclad, but the boat mounting was unsecure and these shots went wide. The natives then rammed the steamboat and knocked the giant artillery into the water. After the loss of these weapons the empire suffered another loss and was forced to deal with the new culture that so skillfully had captured all of their best weapons and technologies. These natives went on to change the war-torn industrial age into a modern one, and I was able to focus on more beautiful designs and architecture. One of the last weapons to be made was a new type of catapult that could fling its cargo across vast distances and was much better at resisting stress and therefore broke less times. My favorite test was where the catapult was able to fling a shell across half of the room while increasing the height of the projectile by about 5 feet. In other words it launched a rock that travelled about 2 miles without beginning to fall. This catapult was the start of my quest for excellence in machinery and my lego career turned toward mechanics. Through this experience and others in my life I have come to realize that my joy in problem-solving comes not from the actual solution. I love seeing something work, but the thrill for me comes from the pursuit itself—the image that I can always do better and do more.
(that was actually a journal entry for Engineering...we'll see how the proffessors like it!)
Friday, September 5, 2008
So after a lazy morning of showering I went back to my room to ready for my 7:45 class. It ended up that I had taken so long showering that I only had maybe 12 minutes so yeah...stupid me but oh well...I thought "I'll just skip breakfast" so I did and jogged on to my early class. That was when I realized that this morning was one of those mornings that my stomach does not agree with me. About 20 steps into my jog I realized that my stomach was growling like a rabid Tasmanian Devil on steroids! It wasn't quite as bad as my other days but it was bad enough. Glance at watch--8min--"nope no time" I thought and so I kept on...meeting up with several other friends. We then headed in to class where we proceeded to watch the rest of this really cool movie called contact. But not before I guilted everyone around me into giving me food...it was fun! All I have to do is mention that I'm hungry and some girl gives it to me. I think they find it fun to feed us or something. One night we were out directing hurricane victims to this shelter on campus. Except no one came down our road the whole 3 hours we were working. So instead we pulled up a truck and rocked out with a little music and flashing lights. Within the first hour 2 girls came over to join us and as soon as they found out we were hungry they went and made us dinner! I was pretty impressed...I mean it wasn't anything fancy but it was really nice of them...then the guys brought out donuts to rward us...apparently most of the other volunteers had abandoned their posts and good 'ol us were on the faithful list...so anyway...back to class...Mr. Bradshaw rocks! The movie was cool because it was professional but actually focused on God. The theme was how nothing in life can be proved...not even science therefore we must all accept something on faith...and God is the best! Amazing movie! I loved it so much! After that I went to Calc II again and ended up learning how to find the length of any line using the integral...pretty easy...then we took a test on solids which was also incredibly easy...and I was off to chapel!
Chapel breezed by and I had a fun time in it...it actually ended up ending so early that I got to hang with my friends for half an hour before Chemistry and on the day went...all positive besides Chemistry which persists in explaining to us for like th 5th time how significant figures work and what an atom is...ughhh! I spent most of that class trying to figure out how to handle my stuffy nose without anyone in the room noticing...I failed pretty miserably...stupid cold or allergies or whatever they are! It was all I could do not to let my stupid nose run all over my desk...where's a decent tissue when you need one?
After that came engineering lab where we got to take apart a drill and figure out how it worked Yes! That was so much fun...esp. because I was able to get how it all worked easily...I think I could build one if I learned a little bit more about how electricity is converted to kinetic energy in a motor...they sortof skipped that part...b ut yeah amazing day overall. After school I finished CHemistry homework while writing my latest poem and listening to "elevate" about 3 or 4 times all the way through...I hate online homework programs...they are so dumb because they don't accept variated answers...you get it wrong if you don't answer their way...(sigh)
But it was great. I met a bunch of new people and was pretty much smiling and singing all day wherever I walked. about 7 oclock I broke into the locked chapel (they foolishly left one of the 25 doors open) and yes I tried pretty much every one before I found it...Then I just sat in the middle of this enormous auditorium and just sang to God...speaking what I felt and phrases that came to my mind...praying and praising...it was an amazing moment just me and God in this huge quiet space where my voice echoed up and up...I left about twice as happy as before and then hung out in the girls' dorm (Fanning) for like 2 hours because it was one of the rare open dorm days...I had a lot of fun playing volleyball, apples to apples, and just talking...and they fed me again...seriously they must be trying to get rid of their food...lol...maybe they're scared they'll eat it and get fat or something...anyway after waiting for like 1/2 hour for Sheridan and Anna to leave and take me to the worship night hosted by Sanctuary...I finally amused myself by jumping up and grabbing the edge of the second story with my fingertips...I then pulled my body up with them and climbed this mesh railing at the top while dangling...it was really fun and not at all an easy climb...i did the entire thing with just my fingertips because their was no place for feet or hands...when I got to the top and turned around I discovered I had a crowd of cheering girls...not at all what I intended but hey! Perfectly fine with me...I jumped back down using the 10 foot lip as a swing drop onto the concrete and then I amused myself by sliding around the entire lobby on a swivel chair...those things are so cool! Finally we got to go to the worship night and had a blast...after singing my voicebox out and onto the ground and pretty much destroying my voice I got back to find starbucks open for "free" night and so I went twice and got as much as I could get...fun, fun! On top of it all I actually got to bed at a decent time and got to sleep in majorly!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
"Well...that was a traumatic night...God had me do something new and I wasn't too good at it...still I was brave and when I prayed about it later God told me that I did good...I just wish I had thought of more to say! All I could think of was "God loves you" but that IS the most important...it's just hard since I didn't see whether or not I had any effect...I know what I did was nothing less than blessing yet he practically seemed ready to kick me out...and maybe that was just a test on God's part...it definately couldn't hurt in my neighborhood and if so I passed it with flying colors...still doesn't make me feel awesome though...First of all God led me to just walk and praise and eventually I made it through the woods and back onto the road...but every direction I turned to walk seemed to be wrong in my heart...until I started walking into this person's yard. At first I was sure that God would have me pray for that house but he didn't he just led me on around to their back driveway and to this big house-trailer I didn't know was there and he just had me pray for it forever...I went practically all the way around it praying in about 5 places which felt right...At first it was general...on my second stop I felt that there was a person behind the wall and that God wanted them to gather their strength...strip away the shackles of obedience and learned helplessness and just show their strength and talents to others and to God. Then again I stopped and prayed a general specific for another person or maybe the whole van...I'm not sure...finally I stopped on the corner and prayed specifically for a person and then for the van and people in general...this time in tongues and then in tongues while singing...it felt almost done, but I felt like God wanted one more thing...then as I passed the last corner God stopped me...he had me lay my hands on the van and just speak out in its future...I just felt the urge from God to speak over the people in there and I spoke for their future...in the future I saw a light for them...where they would finally meet God after much pain and suffering...I felt that right now their eyes were glazed and they felt meaningless and hopeless, but that in the future they would finally find my creator and I prayed it out loud over them..."Later in life they will find you and they will be given the joy at last...they will shout for joy at their restoration and weep for those years that they wasted...those days spent in the fog of the world...they will rejoice and cry...crying for what they have done...and you will call them to you..." and then I felt I could finally leave the van...then I had the house...walking home I felt my joy surge and I began singing again but almost as suddenly it twinged...and I turned until I saw the house...the next one God wanted me to pray for...and it had a light on so I did...wringing my hands around the stop sign I prayed for them...against the apathy in their christian lives and the distractions that were making their lives unattractive...I prayed against it and begged God to show them just once the truth of his love...the great joy that they as christians were missing out on...they knew God and yet they didn't...they knew God and yet they were blind to him personally...and I just kept praying God would twinge my heart whenever I started to leave and so I stood there crying and laughing for them and praying in tongues again...my words rising with the sobs and laughter in a wonderful undulating murmur...and I was done...but not...I felt I little twinge...very small but anything from God isn't...I looked at the house and knew God wanted more...prayed I could give more and then it came...the thought of me ringing the doorbell and speaking to them...and God's joy surged on it so I started to walk up...all the time my heart began to pound harder and harder...hammering...I saw several large vehicles and began imagining a ton of people I never knew and what I would have to say when they saw I had rung the doorbell...finally I got there but the joy had faded replaced by a hammering nervousness...this was crazy...I didn't know these people and it was midnight...whatever would I say...so I sat down...calmed myself and just prayed solemnly...how I knew sometimes we as people can mean more and for God to please confirm this...should I pray up close or actually ring the doorbell...well wad'ya know? "Ring the doorbell" God says...oh boy...as I walked up the steps I saw the sign on the door..."NO SOLICITING" well great! These people hated people who went door to door too! Everything was going wrong and now at midnight some freak rings the doorbell...but I did it...in my heart I said to God...if I miss, I miss...I'll take the embarrassment on the off chance it isn't you because I am willing to be wrong just to be right sometimes..."ring" and a man's voice in the house yells "Don't get IT!!!" I was like oh great so I just waited and waited and then the steps approached...the guy slowly cracked the door...didn't even really open it and so I'm staring at this face through a crack in a rib-cage iron outer door...man I felt like such an intruder but I said...good evening...I ummm saw your light on and I just felt that God wants you to know how much he loves you...the man says: "Well that's all good and well but not at midnight..." and I said..."yes I know but I just felt like God really wanted you to feel and know that he loves you tonight..." and the guy said thanks quickly and shut the door...I left feeling like a failure...no crying...no breakthrough in someone's life...but oh well...I know it was God and he has the plan...we can't all win but we can start planting the seed...I trust that my words did something otherwise God would not have insisted...and yet even if it was a test...well all the more reason for me not to fail...it was just so scary though...I mean not that much because I'm much better at those things but just the totally negative reaction...well not completely...the second time I moved to the side so I could see his face and at first he was grumpy...he couldn't understand why God would send him someone at midnight...but when I said it a second time he paused...not long but his eyes told the story...I don't know if it blessed him but he got it...he got that I loved him and that God did too and although he still shut the door quickly my "senses" told me that all the tension had faded...when he closed that door I was at least less of an intruder than I had been if I hadn't repeated it again...but oh well...it still didn't feel like a success...the guy was more awkward and confused but hopefully he will dwell on it...afterward all these wonderful words came to mind for me to say when I was there...things about God not being far away but close...about his amazing love and about the sense I had gotten of what the problem was outside...maybe if I had given him that he would have softened and been touched more...and maybe it would have annoyed him to hear a long speel...in my heart I knew the guy was tired of what was rehearsed...he had the sign on the door...he wanted heart and although he didn't know it that was what he wanted...and what he got...I'll never know if I could have done better but I feel that I could have...and I was just telling God how I failed but...well I knew it wasn't true...it felt true even in my heart but God gave me peace and when I prayed whether I had done well the answer was a gentle yes..."
quite awesome! My fondest moments with God always seem to come from me trying to love, pray, or serve others. This was one of the nights where God had me pray "in depth" with those insights and "senses" that he can give us...A wonderful experience that I've found he gives whenever we pursue it! I love loving so much that it pains my heart to see how violent the real world is...I just want to be out in God's love and heal all that violence...to soak it up in myself just to see it go...but alas...the job is much too big. But God has me help others in my own way and in the night his presence will often guide me to pray over houses or pray things I feel about the sleeping people around me. Or sometimes I'll just walk with him! Here is a narrative I wrote when I got caught out in a freak thunderstorm one night...I love getting soaked spontaneously!
THE EARTH IS WATERED BY AN ORCHESTRA:
Rain streaks down from a darkened sky. A caress and breath from my God, and a gentle, rhythmic pounding, softly falling like chimes upon the leaves. The lines of water descend from the heavens in undulating waves--Like breakers pounding against the shore of existence. The drops--they splatter on my face and skin--a light smattering of water that moistens me with its gentle breath. And as I lift my face to the rain, I see waves of droplets swirling down in a steadily increasing deluge, reflecting the shifting tempo of God's song. The rain patters down harder, like Bongo drums ululating through an African forest. A flash of God's strobe lights brightens the horizon in anticipation of what is to come...and then...a gentle rumble of thunder...God's clash of Chinese symbols. The rain comes down...down...first in gentle waves, as the droplets dance over God's world of drums, then harder and faster as if the world cries out for more of God's soft touch. As each droplet falls it adds its own accent to the melody--each unique sound combining to build the gentle song of God's rainfall orchestra. A line of livid light crackles down to settle with a flash on the earth below, and a breath of wind settles over creation, carrying with it the swirl and swish of a thousand softly falling snows. And the rain pounds the earth with mystery, its spray awash over creation. Tendrils of the mist touch against me...like the inquisitive stalks of fern leaves...uncurling and brushing against my face and hands. Thunder rumbles like a gong, reverberating through the whiteness of moisture hanging thick within the air, and the sound slithers--like melted butter--through the hanging mists. The rain falls in large, fat droplets--hard and fast--a splattering of stronger chords played upon the wood and ground of the world--God's guitar...And as if the heavens suddenly opened, the rain swirls down in a swift pirouette like the wash and play of the northern lights upon a shifting sky...thunder and lightning crackles through the air producing an undertone of strong bass chords, synced to the pulsing of far-off disco lights upon the horizon. Lines of bright light flash downward, strong and fast, like the quick, clean strokes of a surgeon's knife, leaving smoky trails behind them...and just like that...the rain fades...like the mist...evaporating gently into the air and distance as the light stutters upon the horizon...a camera's shutter opening and closing to capture its last pictures of the wet world left behind...I hear the clash of symbols...faintly and far away, and then all that remains is the gentle swell and wash of the sea as it fades into the distance...and the earth gurgles in merriment...as I walk, I hear the droplets from the trees singing happily against blades of grass and the gutters rushing to play with God's gift of moisture...and the earth is watered...
~Live in love as love in God! Love to live and live with me! Love with me and we shall see--all the wonders that unfold! ~Dan E. Midgett III
Monday, September 1, 2008
Anyway...the week kept getting better! Sunday we had an awesome message and worship...I felt a great connection and was called to share 2 times once to my family and once to the entire church up on the podium. Afterward we headed out to Lunch and finally to my uncles lakehouse! Where we spent an entire afternoon surfing on tubes and disks. Me and Jonny actually did most of it on our knees and it was pretty cool...sitting on there going super fast and just letting go and holding up the "no hands." We had an awesome time! There were two of lexi's friends there too...California girls! ANd they were a lot of fun...we stayed there until pretty late too, watching CSI, playing cards, and generally being goofballs in a social situation. I was feeling pretty sick though...I've been sick with something for about 2 weeks and last night it was even worse than usual. I prayed and my uncle proscribed some medications to take which I did. Unfortunately it didn't kick in until after we left but it did make me feel good. Then I finally caught up on sleep, cleaned my grandparents' house, and filmed movies of my lego weapons destroying eachother and taking out towers and ships. My weapons are so powerful now that I hardly ever use them because the cleanup takes more than the fun. My catapults can fling shells and rocks across the room. My giant artillary and the giant crossbow machine fire large and small bolts at targets. The crossbow can hit almost anything dead on...it's great for precision. Unfortunately my memory card kept filling up so I can't show you these amusing video's yet. Have fun with this though...till then!