Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Last Day of Blog Challenge, Squirrels, and Other Miscellaneous Stuff

Today is the last day of the Blog Challenge! I think I've succeeded.
It's sad that January has come to an end already. I can't believe that we're a month into the new year so quickly.
I wish I had something extremely insightful to say on this auspicious day, but I don't.

Our AP Biology midterm is tomorrow. Wah.

I don't want to quit piano lessons, but I'm seriously doubting their worth when I don't get to practice enough during the week. The piece I'm working on now is really hard, and I feel guilty that I can't give it the time it needs to be good. I don't think I'll be ready for a recital in May.


Apt Visual Depiction of High-School Students at USP:


they say you're really not somebody
until somebody else loves you
well i am waiting to make somebody somebody
soon.
~ Are We There Yet - Ingrid Michaelson
(Emmie showed me this today and I love it :D)


Look outside. Stick your head out the front door. It's a beautiful day today.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"trickies"

That's a folder in my bookmarks. It contains all the sites I find useful in a slightly sneaky sort of way.

So in case you were all wondering.

Convert Files - This nifty little tool lets you upload, convert, and download files (though not always in the best quality). It also lets you download videos from quite a few video-hosting sites, like YouTube. Which is how I watched YouTube videos back in the days of Jorund, my old computer. It takes a while, but is mostly reliable, so I still like this 'un a lot.

YouTube to MP3 - This essentially performs what its name says, converting YouTube videos to mp3 files that you can download. It's useful, but I liked it a lot better before it got all fancy and advertisement-happy. Convert Files (above) also has a convert-to-mp3 option for videos, so I tend to just use that.

Video Toolbox - A pretty nice video-processing website with a lot of cool functions like adding watermarks, embedding subtitles, trimming the video, etc. It works but not all the time, at least not for my computer. Sometimes I try to upload a video and it never uploads.

Site2Pic - I actually haven't used this, but it gives you a screenshot of a site from a URL, plus a link to that image. I used to use Aviary's Firefox extension for that function, but it doesn't work anymore, so I might use this sometime soon.

sleepyti.me bedtime calculator - I LOVE THIS ONE. It calculates sleep cycles and tells you when you should try to fall asleep in order to wake up feeling refreshed at the time you need to, because it'll be at the end of a sleep cycle as opposed to the middle, which makes you feel groggy.

media.io - Another conversion site, but this one just for audio. I like it because it has a neat, compact interface, and also because it works really quickly.

Dropbox - Basically allows you to access the files you upload into Dropbox from anywhere. You can work on the files on multiple computers, and it'll sync the updated versions to all connected computers after you're done.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Typical Conversation #8

ME: Mr. Sommar was talking about majors in college, and he said something like, "Say I went to college and decided to major in twelfth-century Chinese women's studies--"
MOM: That's what, the 1100's? Twelfth-century Chinese women?
NATHAN: Oh, that's you, Mom!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

-_-

sometimes, when i'm tired, i put my clothes on backwards.
and then i feel really dumb.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I FOUND LAMBY

Yes, she was lost, but now is found. She was dead, but is now alive.
Well, underneath my brother's bed, but now in the washer.

I am so relieved.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Favorite Music Videos

 because i had nothing else to post about.

Warning: Majority of content will not be in English. I'm sorry about that. I need to listen to more music that's in English. Ohhh well. 
Advice: Do not watch all of these in one sitting unless you have time to spare. This is not a good-enough reason to waste time if you have something important to do.


CATEGORY 1: Made Me Laugh

   


CATEGORY 2: Is Well-Made and/or Pretty

 


CATEGORY 3: My Favorite Dances (not quite music videos anymore...)

 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Home

The sunset sky last night was beautiful, bright red and orange and yellow streaked across a soft blue-purple canvas. I watched it through the black naked branches of the trees stretching up into the west, and it took my breath away. Just a day before that, crystal-white snow covered those same branches and blanketed the ground, while sparkling icicles hung from every twig and roof and windowsill.
There is something about the quiet beauty of Nature that stirs a longing in me, a yearning for something else. It is a longing that I have always had, but mostly stays sleeping within me, only awakening from time to time. I think this is a longing that everybody has, though each person has a different perception of it. It's perhaps funny, because many people look to Nature to satisfy that longing, but for me, it only makes the longing worse. I stared out the window the other day, thought of forested hills and golden moonlight, and wondered what I was looking for. Then it occurred to me.

I want to go Home.

It is as simple as that. I see the sunset and I think of a wider sky, perhaps painted with more colors. I see the trees and I think of taller ones whose branches will hold me without fear of falling. I see the rivers that we pass by while driving and I think of walking along one's side, marveling at the sweet clear waters and the joyful rushing sound, walking, walking under dazzling open skies and over higher, greener hills. Following the river on and on until I come to a shining city where the gates are always open.
What will it be like to open my eyes to a brighter world, to wake up free from sin, to finally run to my Father and feel His arms around me?

I can't wait to go Home.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cows

Emmie mentioned yesterday that I had sent her a really long sentence about cows once, so I went through my email to find it today.

The results of my search (with a few minor grammar corrections):

Now, as I am to write the longest sentence I can possibly craft regarding the subject of certain animals of the bovine family--namely, cows--it will no doubt have some mention of every characteristic I can think of that is unique to (or not necessarily unique to; it is quite acceptable for animals of different species to share certain aspects with each other, such as the presence of teeth, skin, and coloring, as it in no way proclaims them as exactly the same species) these large-eyed, generally mild creatures: large eyes naturally being one of these characteristics, cows are also found to have horns on occasion (usually males possess these, though in certain varieties females may have them as well), are large in bulk when full-grown, have split hooves, come in a wealth of different colors--including brown, black, white, tan, and the classic black-and-white--and quite possibly their most well-known feature: the ability of the females to produce, with relative regularity, a white creamy substance known as milk, originally intended for the nutrition of their own offspring, but in modern times harvested widely for human consumption.

  
[I now wonder why I spent all the effort it must have taken to write that.]

Monday, January 23, 2012

North Korean Famine, 1997



While half the world away,
these children starved--
a healthy, happy baby
was born.

Why me?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Typical Conversation #7

JEREMY: Do they make cows with lactate?
Mom says something about soymilk.
JEREMY: Soymilk comes from cows?! a pause. OHHH, that's why they call them sows!
ME: THAT'S A PIG.
MOM: So what's a baby female pig called?
ME: Um. A piglet.
MOM: No, no, there's a word for it. What about a baby boy pig?
ME: A piglet.
MOM: No! There's a word!
JEREMY: Piglet... So then a baby cow is a cowlet. And birds are birdlets! Who needs words like "calf"? Ha!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hi (again).

I am not home, again. 

I am at a robotics competition.



So yes. Um.








....


OH. Here's something for you.




Friday, January 20, 2012

Approaching the Bible

The Bible comes from God; God doesn't come from the Bible.
Our knowledge of God is a different story. What we know about God, definitively and redemptively, comes from the Bible. And that is, the Bible that comes from God, who himself comes from nothing.
These are the foundational pieces to understanding the doctrine of revelation, and therefore, the doctrine of Scripture. God, utterly independent and essentially revelatory, has made himself known. This is stunning. And it helps to read the Bible with it in view.
D. A. Carson writes,

To approach the Bible correctly it is important to know something of the God who stands behind it. God is both transcendent (i.e., he is "above" space and time) and personal. He is the sovereign and all-powerful Creator to whom the entire universe owes its existence, yet he is the God who graciously condescends to interact with human beings whom he has himself formed in his own image.
Because we are locked in time and space, God meets us here; he is the personal God who interacts with other persons, persons he has made to glorify him and to enjoy him forever. . . .
The point to emphasize is that a genuinely Christian understanding of the Bible presupposes the God of the Bible, a God who makes himself known in a wide diversity of ways so that human beings may know the purpose for which they were made — to know and love and worship God, and so delight in that relationship that God is glorified while they receive the matchless benefit of becoming all that God wants them to be.
"Approaching the Bible," Collected Writings on Scripture, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 19–21.

From: desiringGod.org

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zombie Attack Survival Manual

Method #1: Follow what the mathematicians say.  “Hit hard and hit often.”

Method #2: Follow what the CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response Zombie Apocalypse Manual says. (Basically, prepare as you would for any natural disaster.)

Method #3: Obtain your own chainsaw and be an awesome hero.

Method #4: Pretend that the zombies outside aren't real and continue to kill the virtual zombies in your zombie attack game.

Method #5: Shuffle.




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How My Day Went

(In non-chronological bullet points, as I am too lazy for actual narration.)


  • I have this. I wore it to school today. This miraculously saved me from getting scolded when I was a little late to math class, because Mr. Sommar likes his daughter and that was her Halloween costume. Apparently she called herself "Hamster Boy."
  • There was a lockdown drill today during AP Bio. It was sort of cool, although the prolonged silence as we sat there did amplify the sounds of stomachs growling or saliva gurgling in throats as people swallowed. I was also still in my hamster thing. The tail makes it uncomfortable to sit on the floor.
  • I forgot to print out an assignment for AP Language and didn't have it on my flash drive, so I heroically re-did the whole thing during second period, and then at the end of the period something went wrong with the saving of the file...and it got deleted. I was devastated. (Good thing Mrs. Z is a wonderfully reasonable teacher who said I could send it to her when I got home for credit.)
  • Emmie made an amazing birthday gift for me. Much thanks to her and to everyone else who contributed to the video! I love you all ^^
  • I am going to miss Mrs. Farr so much, I just... 
  • Drama club Act III memorization deadline was today. It went quite swimmingly. I do enjoy the way my character behaves herself in this act. She rambles about the pooka, whines about her lack of social life, gets annoyed at the cab driver, then goes hysterical (again)--during which I get to yell at Alix to shut up :D That being said, though, I started laughing really hard about three-quarters of the way through the rehearsal and couldn't restrain myself for anything funny after that.
  • I still have a bunch of Chinese work to do. Urk.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Loose Threads

Loose Threads is a novel I was writing last summer. I got to about Chapter Four and then realized all the things that were wrong with the story, which is what tends to happen with most of my potential novels. My problem with writing full-length book stories is that I always have a completed backbone of the main events, but don't plan enough for the flesh that provides transitions...so I just sort of stop when I don't know how to get the characters from here to there. Loose Threads was an interesting case. It was actually intended to be a tying-together of all my previous abandoned stories: The Dragon Rider and The Healer (awful title), Carry the Night, Dream-Weaver (which I've now turned into Weaver of Dreams), and another untitled one involving fairies--which meant tons of characters and numerous plotlines that I had no idea how to handle. I am actually considering picking it up again and narrating beginning from a different point. After more planning, of course.
Anyway, though, in digging through some files to reexamine the story this morning, I came across this ridiculous little thing I wrote to help myself get to know the huge cast of characters. Heh.

~~~


Song and I are sitting together in my room on my bed, talking. We are talking about lots of different things. Right now the topic of conversation is giraffes.
"I still don't get it," says Song, chewing doubtfully on the latest piece of candy I've given her. "How can an animal have such a long neck? Wouldn't it just, you know, fall over and break? I mean, break and fall over, and hey! You know what? I just realized this sweet thing is really good too! Do you have more?"
"I think they just have strong neck bones," I tell her, purposely ignoring her last question. I do have more candy, but I'm afraid to give her any more than she's eaten already. At present, I am dreading the imminent sugar-high. Song has probably never had this much sugar at one time in her life before.
She looks at me suspiciously, swallowing. "How do I know you aren't making these giraffe things up?"
"You shouldn't be one to question that," I say, "Considering, you're a made-up person."
She is about to answer, but is interrupted.
"Hi Author!" Kah comes bounding into the room and bounces onto the bed next to Song and me. The move knocks one of my pillows to the floor.
"How'd you get in here?" I ask, retrieving the pillow. Kah grins and winks cheekily.
"It wasn't too hard. I heard you were with Song, and everyone knows you can hear her talking from miles away," she says.
"Hey!" Song exclaims, hitting Kah, who winces under the blow.
"By the mountains, Song, do you have to be so violent all the time?" She edges away from the taller girl. Song raises an eyebrow.
"So violent? Are you serious, Kah? I'm a soldier! What did you think?" Song grabs the pillow from me and starts whacking Kah with it, despite the string of protests. I try to stop her and quickly discover that there are disadvantages to having created a character who is five times as strong as I am. Song probably didn't mean to actually injure me, but I am nevertheless forced to hold my hurting arm and watch the violence helplessly. Though it looks like Kah's own fighting instincts have kicked in, because their struggles have landed them half onto the floor by now. I am just trying to stay away and not get hurt further, though I worry for their safety. I had no idea they didn't get along—
Oh wait, never mind. They've stopped and are giggling like little kids now. Gosh, is this what they consider play-wrestling? That probably would have killed me or something.
"'I'm a soldier'? That is possibly the stupidest thing you could ever say to another soldier," laughs Kah, slightly breathless from the fighting episode. Song is laughing too hard to answer, and it's getting more high-pitched by the second. I suspect that's the sugar kicking in.
"What a commotion!" says Eir, dramatically slamming my door open. I am not pleased with the cracking sound it makes against the drywall. He eyes the two girls curiously. "What have you been doing in here?"
"Fighting!" says Song, suddenly coherent. "You know how much I absolutely hate Kah, heheehee..." Her speech trails off into giggles again. And Kah is giggling too. I think it must be some sort of long-standing joke between them. Eir rolls his eyes and pulls them both up, instructing them to fix their clothes and hair, which is enough to sober them both down.
"We know how to do that," Song tells him, irritated. Eir is unfazed.
"Then do it," he says easily.
Song makes an inscrutable grumbling noise, and I can sympathize with her. I completely understand how his calm, composed tone gets on Song's nerves, though I wonder if his getting equally irritated would be any better. On the other hand, Kah seems to find it amusing. Then again, she seems to find a lot of things amusing. Sometimes I wonder if she ever gets angry. (And you'd think, of all people, I should know.)
At this point, Li comes in with a tall girl with long blond hair, whom only I recognize. They are chatting away like old friends, which puzzles me.
"Who're you?" demands Song, pointing at the unknown girl. Dearie me, is she ever the tactless one.
"N.," says the girl.
"No way!" say Kah, Eir, and Song together. "N. is a guy!"
"Yes, I'm a guy," says N., walking through the doorway. "Why is this being questioned?"
Girl-N. looks at me, then at N. in horror, then back at me again. "That's what you turned me into??" she asks incredulously.
"I needed more male characters," I explain lamely, giving her a sheepish smile. "But how do you know Li?"
"We met in the hallway," Li tells me. "I like her a lot better than the newer N."
"I would get offended at that," says N., smiling amiably, "But I'm too flat to have regular human emotions."
Li scoffs, then pauses. "I guess I shouldn't be talking, because I'm flat too," she admits. Then adds, "But not that flat, and I won't be for long."
Girl-N., meanwhile, is still aghast. "I can't believe you kicked me out of the story for that," she gapes at me. "He's not even as handsome as I'm pretty! And way less awesome."
That was rather strange for her to say. I look at her. "When did you become conceited? I definitely did not give you that much depth." (Perhaps this is not a good time to mention that I've already kicked N. out of the story too.)
She shrugs in response to my question.
"On-the-fly character development," suggests Li. "I think it happens often."
"But she's not even in the story anymore," I protest.
"This is a story right now," comes the swift reply. Okay, I have no idea how Li figured that out. I guess I made her scarily perceptive. Or maybe it's that on-the-fly character development she was talking about. Which is absolutely bizarre, because she's the character and I'm the author, and how can she be talking about something that is happening to herself that I am making happen and also making her talk about because I wrote it—ouch. My brain hurts.
"What the—!! Mar!" Kah suddenly yells from the corner. Everyone jumps. (Except for Song, who is fast asleep on my bed, presumably from the sugar crash. I really should have held off on that candy.)
"Go 'way," mumbles a grumpy voice. We all go over to see Mar huddled in the small space between my dresser and the wall, along with all the old spiderwebs and dead spiders that I never got to cleaning out.
"Uh, Mar," says Li, putting her hands on her hips, "What are you doing?"
"Nobody cares," Mar mutters darkly. "I've been here the whole time, and you never noticed. Of course you wouldn't notice."
Li glances at me. "I think she's trying to get attention."  
I think I made you too smart, little dragon rider.
"No, don't say such cruel things," says a light, sweet voice from the doorway, one that I recognize as Rhia's. "She's just hurt, badly hurt. You have to try to understand her."
Mar scowls and hides her face. Rhia looks heartbroken. I am wondering how to make Mar less emo. In a way, both Rhia and Li are right. Mar wants attention that will heal her hurt. Unfortunately, I've emotionally stunted her so much that her only methods involve silent brooding among cobwebs, which is not particularly effective.
"It's all my fault," says Rhia, almost crying.
"Oh! Small child!" says Girl-N., not concerned about Mar whatsoever.
I assume that means Tei is here. Which, I also assume, means Ká is not far behind. Sure enough, the two fae have made their appearance, one tall and lanky, one small and short, both slightly glowing in that weird fairy way. (Is it just me, or is it getting sort of crowded in here?)
Kah seems surprised. "Ká, is that you?" she asks in shock. "You look so different!"
"I was...eum...up—er, updated," says Ká with her funny stumbling accent. It's a pity that now when she speaks human, it sounds so awkward. Her voice is beautiful when she's talking to Tei, though I'm usually the only other one who can hear it. "Long fingers." Ká holds up her newly-long fingers to show Kah. "And my, er, legs—longer too. But hair is same," she adds.
"Kah..." says Eir carefully, "What are you talking to?"
"The little one is cute," Girl-N. comments helpfully.
"They're fairies," I explain. "Ká has somewhat learned human speech, but Tei hasn't, so the cute little one won't be talking."
Tei smiles adorably and melts most of the girls present with her huge blue eyes. (Except for Mar and Rhia, who are both still absorbed in their own melodramatic world.) Maybe I should make her less cute. But no, that would be such a pity. I'll just have to make everyone else less susceptible to Tei's cuteness instead. Excluding myself, that is, because that would be impossible—
Oh, well, apparently Jun has picked this opportune moment to come barreling in and knock Ká to the floor. Uh-oh. She does not look happy. Jun gasps in terror at her or at something else, and leaps nimbly all the way over to the bed, where he lands atop his sister for a rude awakening. Not a smart move, kid. Now you have two women seriously ticked off at you. Thankfully, before either of them kills him, another male enters the room to distract them. It's Aílcruinn, looking mighty amused.
"Boy," he calls out, "I wasn't going to do you any harm, but now you've really got yourself in trouble." I can only imagine that he's referring to the death-glares coming from Ká and Song. Jun cowers and tries to hide. It's not a very hard task, considering the crowded state of the room. "Ká, calm down," says Aílcruinn, chuckling. "No hurting anyone."
"But Father—" I can hear her protesting as she slips into fae-speech.
"No, Ká." He is shaking his head. Ká pouts like a whiny child and obeys. My goodness, sometimes she can be so immature. Song, on the other hand, is pummeling Jun anyway, though it's obviously a gentle punishment. Or what those soldiers classify as "gentle", meaning it would still probably kill me.
"AAHHH!!" the young boy screams, "I wasn't trying to hurt you I promise I was just running away from that guy AHHH because you know how I am jittery around unknown places AAAHH and he was coming after me!! Stop it please Song I'm sorry!! Ahh!"
"Huh, I guess the talkative genes run in the family," I mutter, half to myself. Song drops Jun and transfers her glare to me.
"What did you say?" she demands threateningly, raising an eyebrow. Um, this—this is not good. This is, in fact, terrifying. I duck around five people and run out the door in hopes of escaping her wrath. Then I slam right into Youn and Ifan, who have been standing in the hallway for who-knows-how-long. Ow, that really hurt. Since when were they so solid? Both of them cross their arms and block my path stolidly, forbidding me to pass.
Wait, why are they—?
Song drags me back into the room, which looks considerably different from when I left it. Tei is standing on the bed with arms crossed. Everyone else is kneeling on the floor around her, as if she were some sort of queen. Tei imperiously points to the ground in front of her.
I cannot believe what I am seeing.
Song throws me roughly down in front of Tei, bowing deeply.
"Here she is, Master." (Those words did not just come out of Song's mouth.)
Tei grins impishly. "I am in control now," she declares to me triumphantly. 
I look at her in disbelief. "Uhhh...no, Tei, you're not."
She frowns. "Yes I am! See?" The child gestures to the kneeling people around her. "I told you what to make them do." That explains a lot.
"But just because I can hear you doesn't mean I have to listen, especially now that I know you're doing it," I say. "You realize that?"
Her face falls. Aw, poor little thing. I stand up from the floor and give her a hug. "It's okay, Tei," I tell her. "Don't order me around, but you can help me write the real story."
It's amazing how quickly her face brightens again.

Nothing much else interesting happened after that. Basically, Tei and I kicked everyone else out of the room and are now getting down to the business of planning and drafting the actual stuff. From time to time, we have to check the corner to make sure Mar hasn't come back in and started crying among the spider remains again (it's only happened twice so far), but other than that, things are going well.

There is now a sign that appears on the door when we're doing extra-hard stuff:

DO NOT DISTURB. WE WILL KILL YOU.

It might be a good idea to notice that when it comes up.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Golden Birthdayyyyy

I was actually awake (though lying in bed) when the day turned from the 14th to the 15th.
At 11:58 or so, I had just randomly--and I mean really randomly--remembered the whole beer-can-in-British-accent vs. bacon-in-Jamaican-accent thing, so by the time 12:00am rolled around, I was lying there whispering "beer can/bacon" to myself and giggling.

What an idiot I can be sometimes.
Do I even deserve to be fifteen?

I guess, in the grand scheme of things, I don't even deserve to be alive at all.

So thank you, God, for giving me these fifteen years of life. I hope to serve you well in this sixteenth, and may my life glorify you as long as I have breath. 




(MOM: wailing softly. WAaaaahahhaaaaaaaaaa you're fifteen don't grow up I don't like iiiitttttt waaahahhaaa)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mud Flats

Look at how the mud just goes on and on.

ME: You know, I want to go to a mud flat someday and just like, wrestle with somebody.
MOM: I have never had that desire. You're so weird.

BUT IT LOOKS LIKE FUN.

especially if you're doing something as cool as catching octopi.


or maybe football or crab races. Imagine that.

I mean, playing in a mud flat would be like playing in mud puddles x100awesomeness.

So.

 Does anyone want to come with me, or am I alone in this endeavor?


Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Read the Bible

I was looking through the papers in the back of my Bible and found this. It's from a Vital Life seminar I went to a little while ago. (Parenthetical notes) are my own additions based on how the speaker elaborated.

Reading the Bible for Change

DON'T primarily leaf through the Bible to find something that fits your situation. DO develop a reading plan that allows you to get a well-rounded intake of God's Word.
(The Bible is not "life's handbook")

DON'T spend your entire life in Read the Bible in a Year plans. DO develop plans that allow you to read at various paces over time.

DON'T rely on your own personal insights in reading the Bible. DO take advantage of good commentaries and resources to help you understand passages in context of the redemptive storyline of the Bible.

DON'T read the Bible as if it is a magic book. DO read it confident that the Spirit can illuminate your understanding of it for application.

DON'T allow any decision or perspective to be unevaluated by Scripture. DO seek to develop a Biblical worldview that will help you discern God's voice and God's will in the confusion of life.
(The Biblical worldview of having God at the very center is really important, because there are a lot of decisions and perspectives we'll have to choose that are not referenced specifically in the Bible.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Typical Conversation #6

We are talking about my brother Jeremy.

MOM: with happy sigh. It's like he evolved, from a baby boy into a young man.
ME: Uh, isn't that just what happens when you grow up?
MOM: Oh. Yeah.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Song Lyrics Mashup


in the dark
i hear a call
from across the distant shore

why do you weep?
what are these tears upon your face?

hope fades
into the world of night
through shadows falling
out of memory and time

what can you see
on the horizon?

o shenandoah
i long to hear you
away, you rolling river
away, i'm bound away
lift the wings
and carry me away from here

(cut me free
leave me be)

find me,
look for me
where stars are rising

somewhere beyond the sea
somewhere over the rainbow

over the hills and far away
a light on the water
voices                  
clear and pure
find the way home somehow

open your heart

i am calling you
right from the very start
your wounded heart was calling too
the never-fading
rain in your heart
the tears of snow-white sorrow
slipping through my fingers
all the time.

dont your feet get cold in the wintertime?
the sky won't snow
and the sun won't shine
but you cant jump the track
we're like cars on a cable
and life's like an hourglass
glued to the table
so cradle your head in your hands

it isnt strange
after changes upon changes
we are more or less the same
after changes
we are more or less the same
sometimes i think i see familiar faces
but they're always strangers
staring back at me
and i've been lost
in so many different places

and you know
city parks have daffodils...

if you miss the train i'm on
you will know that i am gone
you can hear the whistle blow
a hundred miles

oh how i wish
for soothing rain
all i wish is to dream again

all my memories keep you near

there's no escape now
no mercy no more
no remorse
cause i still remember
the smile when you tore me apart

you're the best thing
i never knew i needed

you and me
we can ride on a star
if you stay by my side

we can rule the world--

and you'll be here in my arms
just sleeping...

 ~~~

If you happen to just know all the songs here, then you must be exactly like me, and I will love you forever.
(Well, the love-forever part is a maybe. But we might be soulmates.)

Other than that, you can see the list of songs used here.

Into the West - Annie Lennox, LOTR

Shenandoah

Lift the Wings - Riverdance

10th Man Down - Nightwish

Homecoming - Lisa Kelly

Beyond the Sea

Over the Rainbow

Over the Hills and Far Away - Nightwish

Into the West (again)

Non C'e Piu - Celtic Woman

The Call - Celtic Woman

Amaranth - Nightwish

Slipping Through My Fingers - ABBA

Desperado - Eagles

Breathe (2am) - Anna Nalick

The Boxer - Simon and Garfunkel

Sometime Soon - Lynn Hilary

500 Miles - Peter, Paul, and Mary

Nemo - Nightwish

Memories - Within Temptation

Angels - Within Temptation

Never Knew I Needed - Ne-Yo

Rule the World - Take That

Into the West (again)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yan Yan!

I opened my Yan Yan today (THANK YOU ELLIE).

The sticker on the top is an additional gift from Ellie.

There are "fun words" on the cracker sticks inside. 
Here are a few:


Note the animal illustrations.



There was also a cow that said MUUUUUU, but Mom ate it before it occurred to me to take pictures.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sunday Morning Prayer


You know, the groups of people who stand in front of the stage, praying, before each service on Sunday mornings?
Early morning prayer is one of the things I want to start doing regularly. I need to learn to pray out loud in the presence of others, and it's amazing to listen to the prayers of the other people who are up there.
It so happens that I forget about Sunday morning prayer a lot. Thankfully, Stevie seems to have taken up the habit of reminding me every week, which is great--but I was thinking, why not invite all my other friends to come too? Occasionally, I'll go up in the morning and find a group of young people praying together and join them, and that is awesome...so why not make the group even bigger?
One thing I've noticed is that it tends to be mostly the young men from around my grade, and the girls are, well, not there. Thus, I'm inviting all of you guys (who come to CovFel) to join me and Stevie and everyone else in together drawing near to our Father's throne with our requests. It will be good for you. It will be good for me. We can remind each other. And it will be so encouraging to the adults who regularly pray on Sunday mornings.

Of course, praying in front of other people can be awfully scary. I'm still terrified of sounding stupid, being the baby in my prayer life that I am. But praying is really just about talking to God, and His is the only opinion that matters--not the people around me who are listening to me pray. I hope I can remember that more often.

Also! Speaking of prayer, the A Praying Life seminar on Febuary 25th!! SO EXCITING.






P.S. (completely unrelated) Today I came upon a stinkbug in the bathroom. As I watched, it proceeded to take one step along the wall, fall off, bounce on the mirror and shelf, and land on its back in the sink. Those things are unbelievably clumsy.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Self-Advertising

From my Chinese course, as we learn how to compare three or more objects:



Later, in a quiz:

"Which is a superlative sentence?"
- 中文很有趣。(Chinese is interesting.)
- 中文比英文更有趣。(Chinese is more interesting than English.)
- 中文是所有语言中最有趣。(Chinese is the most interesting out of all the languages.)

LOL

Thanks to Emmie showing me this, you are now all obliged to browse my blog with a hamster.
You're welcome.


Also, make sure to feed the fish.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hi.


I'm not home right now. 


Sorry (ish). This counts as a post anyway, though, right?

Well, have fun. Like a dance party or something.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Absurdedly Paradoxical Pieces

These things. I forgot they existed. Then I looked through my Google Docs again, and I found a compilation of them by various authors, myself largely included. What are they? I don't even really know.
The absurdedly paradoxical piece, or the app, was a form of writing that was pioneered by my friend Asher quite a while ago, then taken over by my other friend Bethany and me and developed from there. Basically they were long paragraphs of carefully-crafted nonsense--as in, the sentences made sense grammatically, but only grammatically. Other than that, the definition is very fluid. Much of the time there were not many paradoxes within them at all (though perhaps some oxymorons), and the only thing absurd about mine is how proud I was of them.
Here is a sample of one of my apps:
"But does two plus two truly equal four? Think about it: put a cloud and a ninja together with a fairy and a rainbow (that's two plus two) and what do you get? Only the fairy, which is one, because the cloud could not dance, the ninja could not ripple, and the rainbow could not sing. Therefore, two plus two equals nine."
I am not sure so much about Bethany's, but almost every sentence in each of my apps was deeply symbolic, its surface-content linked back to the real content by about three or four stops on the thought-train so that only I could know what I was writing about. It was totally brilliant, or at least I thought it was. The problem is that now I can't remember half the things I meant to say, and my own words confuse me.
Anyway, my own path of developing apps turned into a strange method of journalling my thoughts and feelings--cryptic narrative poetic prose, of sorts. I will share one of my later apps with you: one that was inspired by something I don't quite remember, that is kind of prettily written (and slightly emo), and that certainly mixes fiction with my real sentiments. The only part I fully understand is the ending, and I do like the ending.

The flaming red mingled with deep blue was crinkled, deformed in my hands, stiff and stubborn in its misshapen state, the yarn limp and torn across my shaking arm. The firm border was gone, leaving frail white cardboard folded, showing jaggedly beneath the ragged, frayed cloth.
It got wet. Why? It rained. Why?
You never wore it much, anyway.
What does that matter? What does that have to do with my friend who flew across the world and brought that back for me? And so I lowered my head, trembling upon my knees, and wept, for the old memories now tinged with grief, for the death of any new ones before they happened.
Then I looked inside, and wondered, where am I going? Tears dropped from my eyes, stars beneath the rain, burning on their paths down my face, leaving streaks of fire. Were the spirits free? The answer is blowing through the golden meadows, a tossing ocean of melody within my dark, dark hair. Shall I run, or wait, so I may fly? My wings are broken because I tried to catch you--I implore you, don't speak of your shattered dreams to me. Don't you know I know, and hurt for it? I wonder why I wonder and wander, everywhere, nowhere, knowing but never speaking. And I wished I could turn to liquid, my movements flowing, fluid, a dancing river leaping over rocks and trees. Why?
Words are beautiful, but only because of the meaning they contain. And they can only hold so much. So I found another way to show what I meant, but then I saw those were words, too, and wept again, because what I want to say I cannot say nor show. Only see. But how can I see it if I cannot say what it is, to tell you? And so the years went by, and the mountains were swept to the sea, crumbling dust tumbling over the dry, dry sand. My wings were still broken, never healing, the pain never leaving.
Who could hold me gently enough to keep me, to bring me back to life, to show me beauty greater than words?
The One, He picked me up, filling the hole in my heart, and said to me, you're not guilty anymore. No more filth clings to you. I have healed you; your brokenness is gone. I set you free, you are no longer captive. You will find the greatest beauty in my love and new life in my death.
Never forget. Now you are Mine, and I will never let you fall from my gentle hand.
I wept the third time, for joy and beauty and all things good, for they came from Him, and I am His. My wings will grow back soon.
Until then I can run like the river, all the way home. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Typical Conversation #5

NATHAN: If I had to do the Bo Peep dance, I'd feel sheepish.
DAN: Well, I won't lambast you about that.
NATHAN: I'll just say mutton!
DAN: I'll look pasture flaws.
ME: You guys are so unwoolly.
DAN: OOoh, that was shear witticism!
NATHAN: Bleats stop!
DAN: After ewe.
ME: This is baaad.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Davina Is A Geek Pt. 2

This time I'll begin with a picture, instead of ending with one.


I understand that now, in light of the picture, calling myself a geek has suddenly become pretentious. However, someone else showed me this thing and told me I was a geek, so I think it might be okay to say that. That was when I was telling her about my adventures on my robotics team.

Ah, yes. Robotics

A few months into the school year, I joined (at her invitation) a team that my friend Alix has been on for the past two or three years. I really didn't know exactly what I was getting into. At that point, I still held a pretty cliche mental image of robots as these clunky humanoid constructions of metal or as advanced artificial intelligence. So it was interesting to find out that the robot we were building was pretty much a box with things attached to it, and we were mostly designing its functions to be remote-controlled by, well, us. Also, we have very specific tasks that we need the robot to accomplish: collect raquet-balls from the ground in some way, sort between magnet-balls and regular ones, put them into crates, grasp and lift crates, rotate them, stack them--and, of course, good basic mobility is always important.
I spent much of my time just listening at first, which was already confusing to my thoroughly mechanically-illiterate brain.

Axle collars, nylon locking nuts, channels, bushings, long bolts and short bolts, threaded rods, servo motors...

Sorting all that out was just like BLUGHAGHH it'll take me the whole year just to figure out what everything means and how they work together so I'll never contribute to ideas for building the robot so why on earth did I sign up for this in the first place??

However, I'm getting there. I'm competent enough as a pair of working hands, at least, with enough experience now to know how to deal with the basic mechanics. I like to say that the scar on my knuckle is a battle scar, but it really is from when I accidentally scraped my hand across a gear while reaching for a hex key too hastily. Alix and I occasionally race to see who can get four bolts unattached from the steel channels first. I've beat her a few times.
We have lots of opportunities for these races, because we are constantly taking parts of the robot apart, tweaking them, and putting them together again.
It's like, we attach the mechanism to the robot, test, well that didn't work, what went wrong? let's try switching the gears around, detach the mechanism, do whatever, reattach. Test again.

It is so cool. You get to take the theoretical and make it real within a few hours--from an idea in the mind to a working prototype almost immediately. I'm learning a lot: problem-solving, teamwork, and new motor skills (heh), among other things. And when we actually get to drive the robot, it's like a video game in real life, which is just awesome.

So yeah, that's another way that I'm a geek. I create and fix really cool stuff, though that's not through much aptitude on my part. I just got the opportunity to be this kind of geek, and I took it.
If you ever get that opportunity, and you've got the time to spare, I advise you to take it.
It's definitely rewarding.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Davina Is A Geek

There is a picture at the bottom. If you don't feel like reading all this, you can just skip to the picture.

By geek, I mean language geek, to be more precise. Though I will admit that I have a distinct bias towards East Asian languages, since I'm most familiar with them after English.
I got so excited the other day when I was reading my Korean language book that I received for Christmas (see? I asked for that for Christmas = I am a language geek), and I could understand an entire written conversation without the use of translators. I suppose that would be rewarding for any student of any language, but this accomplishment was the product of countless hours poring over dubious sources on the internet, pasting words into multiple translators to see what they might really mean, attempting to translate song lyrics, documenting the uses of every single particle I discovered, and writing random Korean words over and over whenever I had pencil and paper to familiarize myself with the writing system.
So reading that conversation felt good. Really good.

One of the most discouraging things in the world is when you paste "dama" into Google Translate, and it comes out "dama."
I think I love and hate Google Translate at the same time. On one hand, the dictionary-ish thing that pops up for single words can be extremely helpful in figuring out various uses for them, and it's great for translating simple vocabulary terms that I just don't know--and for Chinese, the "read phonetically" function aids me tremendously, because it gives me the pinyin needed to type the characters. On the other hand, I will be frank: it's well known that the grammar is atrocious.  
"I like that cat better because it's prettier than other cats" in Chinese becomes "I prefer the cat, the cat because it is beautiful than the other."
Also, I don't know how much to trust the thing, period. I put "한치 (hanchi)" in once, trying to find out what it means after hearing it in a song, and I got "FLAMMABLE LIMIT". I don't think that was quite right.

I also have a love-hate relationship with my Mandarin Chinese course. Firstly, I love it simply because it's teaching me Chinese, and that is a language that I am totally ashamed to not already know. My parents are both fluent in Mandarin as well as a few other dialects. I feel like I should be, too. Most of my relatives speak Chinese. Some of them don't speak good English. I want to be able to talk to them.
One of the good things about the course is that it makes me write and read a lot, which is absolutely essential for any foreign language, but especially so for learning Chinese characters. Another good thing is that when we are given passages to read, my teacher never provides the pinyin (phonetic spelling of the characters, in case you didn't know) along with it. I know that other Chinese students can have problems with learning the actual characters when the pinyin is always included, because they end up just reading the alphabet they're familiar with in order to recognize words. I'm forced to memorize the characters themselves. No alphabet. Just words. MEMORIZE.
But then, my teacher also forgets to include pinyin when she's first teaching us new vocabulary. It took me a while to figure out that I had to just go to the course dictionary to find how to spell something. Before that, I just stared at the complicated characters, baffled as to how she expected us to just understand her sentences, grammar, sounds, new vocabulary, and all. Oh yeah, that's another thing. A lot of times she gives us long PowerPoint presentations to teach us new stuff, and there will be absolutely no translations inside. You have to figure everything out from prior knowledge and the pictures. Perhaps it's an attempt to simulate the way you'd learn through immersion. Just figure it out yourself.
I think that's a little similar to Rosetta Stone. Supposedly, you're going to "learn like a child." I wonder if that really works without actual immersion in a separate culture, where you'd be forced to use the new language all the time. Can you learn like a child while sitting at your computer and listening to one person's voice speak?
Maybe. I've survived through my course so far. All the same, I'd really like it if my teacher gave us translations.

If anyone asked me whether Korean or Chinese was harder--a question I think I've received at least once--I don't have a definitive answer. Both are really quite difficult for the native English speaker, but definitely not impossible for the dedicated student. Korean's writing system and phonetics are simple, a whole ton easier than the Chinese characters and tonal phonetics...but its complicated grammar structure and nearly inseparable connection to hierarchial Korean culture balance out any difficulty advantage that the alphabet provides. (Seriously, you use a different set of vocabulary and conjugate all your verbs differently depending on the societal status of the person you're speaking to.) Chinese grammar is a little more similar to English. IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING PICKING ONE OF THESE LANGUAGES TO LEARN, I RECOMMEND CHINESE, NOT BECAUSE IT IS MY HERITAGE AND I AM BIASED, BUT BECAUSE IT WILL PROBABLY SERVE MORE USEFUL IN YOUR FUTURE, AS CHINA IS A RISING WORLD POWER RIGHT NOW.  AND IF YOU WANT AN EASY LANGUAGE, JUST GO FOR A EUROPEAN ONE THAT IS RELATED TO ENGLISH. 

I haven't dabbled much in other languages. I took a little bit of Spanish when I was maybe ten, so I forget virtually all of that. I took an eight-week course in German once, but I forget most of that too. I tried learning Irish once. It's not as bad as Welsh, but the phonetics and spelling hardly made any sense to me, so I never really got past that. Japanese is one of those languages that I think I'll get to studying sometime in my future, but I'm not too interested at the moment. And Latin...eh. I learned that for a little while too. I will probably find my old books and go through them at some point soon, since I'm aiming to study biomedical stuffs, and it'll help.
Then, I'll learn Icelandic and Nahuatl and Aboriginal Australian. 'Cause I totally have the time. Pfft.

Oh wow. This is a pretty long post. I guess that suits the title.

 To make it even longer, here's a cool infographic I found:




Monday, January 2, 2012

Typical Conversations #3 and #4

ME: Looking at writing examples in my Chinese course. Why would you ever say, "I prefer these elephants because they are prettier than other elephants"?
MOM: Elephants are so ugly.
NATHAN: Well, maybe if you were a princess, and your father took you to see some elephants, and he said, "O princess, which elephants would you like for your birthday?" And then you would say, "I want these ones because they are prettier."

 ~•~

JEREMY: Coming into the room suddenly. You know...sometimes all you need...is a potato.
MOM: For what? To throw at people?

Bunny Spam

My earlier post on cute things was just not enough.
I'm sorry if this crashes your computer.
 



Cred: I get most of these in emails from Ellie...I dunno where she finds them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I've never really made New Year's resolutions. I can't recall a single year when I made one, remembered it through the whole twelve months, and actually accomplished something about it by the end of December. Perhaps I didn't make resolutions because I was a little disillusioned, thinking that they didn't really work, and why do they have to be resolutions every new year? Why not just make resolutions throughout the year? Something like that. 
I still don't believe too much in New Year's resolutions--at least not as anything magical as I might be tempted to make them seem. Yes, I do believe that they can be useful, as in, the beginning of a new year is a convenient mark to begin implementing changes in one's life. But the changes can't happen all at once (though wouldn't that be nice?). It's slow. They'll take a while.

I am not articulating this as well as I hoped I would.

Anyway, I'm making New Year's resolutions and documenting them for the first time this year, because while they won't happen very quickly, at least it's a starting point. And starting points to slow change are better than not changing at all.

I want to draw closer to God.
This is my ultimate resolution for the year, the one that umbrellas over all the rest.
I had something of an emotional breakdown the other day, in which I basically realized that the way I'm living is all messed up--priorities, time management, and everything. It coincides with the fact that my spiritual life has been dry recently from neglecting to read the Word and neglecting to pray, among other things. I'm aiming to put my life back together in a structured way that optimizes my productivity for God's glory. And first things first, I need to put my Heavenly Father right in the middle of that structure. I need to know Him and learn to hear His voice, because without that, my soul will starve and search for fulfillment in all the wrong places.

In that vein, I want to read my Bible and pray every day.
The Bible is God's Word. The Bible is primarily how God speaks to me. Here, the living God is speaking, yet I so often forget to open these pages and listen to what He wants to say. If I want to know God, I've just gotta read my Bible! • THIS MEANS THAT ALL YOU READERS ARE GIVEN PERMISSION TO NAG ME AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE TO DO MY DEVOTIONS DAILY. IN FACT, I ASK YOU TO. PLEASE.
And as for prayer... I read a Desiring God blog post a while ago that dealt with being spiritually lukewarm, which is to be self-satisfied with your spiritual condition: essentially, complacent. Complacency is one of the most dangerous places to be. The opposite? Needy. How do I know if I'm needy? Well, how much do I pray? Praying consistently, praying like a beggar who desperately needs grace in everything, praying as a child learning to talk to her Father, praying for joy, holiness, boldness--without it, I don't know how I expect myself to grow in godliness at all.

I also want to manage my time well.
I don't. 
Procrastination--and its cousin, time-wasting--have not served me in my attempts to read my Bible regularly or bless my mom by doing housework or reach for excellence in playing piano. I feel like I've allowed school to swallow my life, and it really doesn't have to. 
Randy Pausch has an extremely insightful and helpful lecture on time management. I am hoping to implement his ideas in my scheduling and planning as 2012 begins. I recommend bookmarking that video and watching it when you have an hour or so to spare. It is really, really good. (Alternatively, it's also available as an mp3 download on iTunesU.)

I want to get organized.
Right now, my desk is in okay-shape, but I don't have any concrete filing system for my papers, nor a good place nearby to put all my textbooks. Woe is me. Did you know that when your necessary materials for an assignment are not within an accessible distance, it becomes incredibly easy to procrastinate and just not do the assignment? Maybe that only happens for me, but oh does it happen. This is probably one of the things I'll need to spend a lot of effort on early in the year, so I can be prepared for the rest of 2012.
The other thing that needs to get organized is my room, which currently looks like a junk-pile with an unmade bed in the corner. I'm probably going to need to throw a lot of things away and designate specific places for everything else. Keeping my room clean, or at least making a system that makes it very simple to clean, is one of my main goals this year. 

I want to take good care of my body.
Mostly meaning exercise more and sleep more. I've become a weak vegetable of a human lately from sitting around all day. I did two pushups a few days ago, and it made my arms sore. It's absolutely pathetic. That needs to change. Exercising my core muscles will also probably help with my back pain that comes when I stand up too long. I strengthened that before when I was actually doing physical therapy for my back, and it worked. So I'm gonna try to do it again. And more pushups. I hate how weak my arms are.
Sleeping is equally, if not more important. I know it's essential for any teenager, but I also know that fatigue triggers my epilepsy, so I think I have to be more conscientious and careful about my sleeping patterns than I have been for the past few years. Time management plays a lot into this!

I want to learn to be a joyful servant.
To family, friends, and community at large. 'Nuff said.

Aaaand that's all I can think of for now. 
Welcome, new year! 
I am gonna DO stuff.