Thursday, May 25, 2006

America's got a new soul man, health final, move to YouTube

I've got my health final today. I hope I do good. I am not as worried about that one as I was about my piano final on Tuesday (which I got a 26.5 out of 30 on, with a 90 overall in the class...yay!). I do need to study though, which I'm going to do this morning.

I moved my videos over to YouTube after unsuccessfully trying to organize my Putfile page by changing the HTML. My new page is I finished moving all my videos there last night.

YouTube is way cooler because you can write descriptions of the videos and it uploads faster. Plus, it's a real community there, where people can send you messages, comment on videos, put you on a "friends" list, mark videos as favorites, and so on. Really cool. I already have added 2 friends (Firehunter, a friend from the Code Lyoko forum, and this other girl who right away favorited 3 of my videos) and got a couple more through friend list invitations from other people that I accepted. I have already favorited some videos too. I favorited a Sailor Moon video by the one gal I added as a friend, an Odd & Aelita movie by Firehunter, a "Hymn of Russian" video I found that has really great pictures, a hilarious video called "Star Trek Cribs," another Code Lyoko movie called "Code Lyoko Lovers" by someone else, and I think that's it. I even got two movie requests from the gal I added as a friend!

All last thing before I close. You're probably wondering why I put "America's got a new soul man" in the title. Well, because last night on American Idol, the man with the Soul Patrol -- Taylor Hicks--was announced as the new American Idol! My mom was really happy. I personally voted for Katherine (twice!) but I'm happy either way. I'll probably buy both their CD's as long as neither of them does anything inappropriate. But I don't think that's happened with any of the Idols so far.

I'm not quite sure why they need such a long results show. 2 hours it was. And announcing the winner and having him sing only took up the last like 5 minutes of the show--I'm not kidding you. (Coke even did a commercial right before the results were announced that said, "We'll make this quick. Drink Coke. Now tell us the winner, Seacrest!"...just what I was thinking).

Well I'm gonna check my e-mail and then I need to study as much as I can before the bus comes. Oh and get dressed, finish breakfast, and get my laundry together while we're at it so I have some clean clothes to wear for when we go to see Grandpa this weekend (he's really ill but well enough to see us this weekend, so I got off work so I could go up with everybody cause Mom really wants me to come). At least I can bring my career books, as long as I don't lose them or mess them up, since they're library books. I don't usually bring library books on vacations, but I figure it'll give me something to do on the 6-hour drive up there. I may bring my CD player too, and definitely my novel-in-progress for if I get bored with reading.

Oh speaking of my novel, I had an epiphany yesterday. The plot worked itself out in my head, just unraveled, while I was in the breakroom yesterday. So I wrote the basics out on a napkin and a paper towel (since I didn't have any paper). The only part I didn't figure out was the very end, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, I guess.

Must've been a God thing. But how did he know? Oh, duh, he knows everything.

Maybe this is his confirmation of my desire to be a writer?

This reminds me of a verse that says, "Delight in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." And then another that says, "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." That's from Romans 8. After last week's sermon, I decided to do a word study of several words in that chapter, which I began yesterday. The Greek word for "deep" is alalētos, which means "inexpressible." It comes from a combination of the prefix a (used as a negative prefix) and the word laleō, which means "to talk." So put together, that means "no to talk" or "not to talk." Something like that. The word "intercedes" in Greek is huperentugchanō, which means "to intercede, to make petition for." That is a combination of huper, which means "over, beyond, on behalf of, for the sake of, concerning" and entugchanō, which means "to chance upon, confer with, entreat." The word entugchanō is also used once in the passage by itself to mean the same thing.

Anyway, I'm gonna go cause I got to study. So long!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Career books and other things

Yesterday, I really wanted to get out of the house (well, and take out some money to get some soda, since there was none at home) so I went to school and checked out a bunch of career books from the list I'd made of books from a list under "vocational guidance" from the online library catalog. I only checked out like 12 because you can only check out 15 things at a time. I have read two. Here are my opinions:

~Word of Mouth: A Guide to Commercial Voice-Over Excellence: an excellent book about voice acting. It is primarily about voice acting in TV commercials but touches on animation voice acting.

~How to Find the Work You Love: I actually only began to read this, but I can't take it anymore. I picked it up because of the appealing title, but it didn't seem like a very helpful book. The arguments that were used were not very well supported, and the quotes from various authors were kind of pointless and just there to be there. I got frustrated with the book. It was all about individuality and personal potential. Though it did acknowledge the importance of integrating your philosophical view into the decision process, it seemed to make this out to be fairly not valuable.

I also started to read a book called Career Development for Teachers, but then I realized it was published in London and so wouldn't help me figure out how to be a teacher in America, so I decided not to read it.

I went to church today at Madison as usual. The sermon was on Romans 8:28 and explored the "urban legend" that everything happens for a reason. Pastor Larry (the main pastor at my church) taught that while things do happen for a reason, the reason is usually not the one we hoped for.

I'm listening to a CD right now that is a copy my mom made from a full audio CD Bible my dad has. The track I'm listening to is some chapter from Numbers, and has to do with what to give for sacrifices when. I'm not sure what God wants us to get out of chapters like that.

I took a few more spiritual gifts tests today online (and found a couple articles saying those things were hogwash...hmm). I took a paper one a while back which I bought at work. My highest gift on that paper one was Missionary, with Knowledge next. My third place one was a three-way tie between Administration, Celibacy, and Service. Number four was a five-way tie between Teaching, Exhortation, Helps, Leadership, and Leading Worship. Number five was Prophecy. Number six was a three-way tie between Wisdom, Discerning of Spirits, and Voluntary Poverty. The last one, number seven, was a tie between Pastor and Faith. There were also some things that were zeros and would be #8. Those were Giving, Mercy, Evangelist, Hospitality, Miracles, Healing, Tongues, Interpretation, Intercession, Deliverance, and Apostle.

As for the other tests, there were slightly different. (I'm naming them after my file names for those I don't remember the names of since I copied them into Word to save them till I could print them).

~Spiritual Gifts Test Analysis: Serving was highest; Knowledge and Missionary were tied for second; Leadership and Prophet were tied for third. Discernment was fourth. Music, Evangelist, Teacher, and Helps were tied for fifth. Apostle and Intercession were tied for sixth. Pastor, Exhortation, and Mercy were tied for seventh. Faith and Wisdom were tied for eighth. Administration was ninth. Hospitality was tenth. Giving, Healing, and Craftmanship were zeros and tied for eleventh.

~Spiritual Gifts Test Results: Service was highest; then Mercy, Teaching, Exhortation, Prophecy, Giving, and Leadership, in that order.

~Bible Spiritual Gifts Results: Teacher, Servant/Helps, and Missionary were the top three. Mercy, Leadership, Hospitality, Exhortation, and Evangelist tied with Missionary. Fourth place is shared between Wisdom, Pastor, Music, Intercession, Discernment, and Artistry. Fifth place is shared between Prophet, Giving, Faith, and Administration. Sixth place was Apostle, and seventh place was Healing.

~Here are your results: Knowledge (12) was first, and Missionary (9) and Service (9) was second. They then descend so: Teaching (7), Discerning of Spirits (6), Administration (5), Leadership (5), Mercy (5), Exhortation (4), Faith (4), Shepherd (4), Intercession (4), Wisdom (4), Evangelism (2), Giving (2), Healing (2), Helps (2), Prophecy (2), Hospitality (1), Interpretation of Tongues (0), Miracles (0), Tongues (0), and Voluntary Poverty (0).

~Spiritual Gifts Analysis ( Teaching was first, and Exhortation second. Third was tied between Pastor/Shepherd, Showing Mercy, and Administration. Serving and Evangelism were tied for fourth place. Prophecy and Giving were fifth.

I also took a personality test recommended on a site with links to spiritual gifts tests. Here are those results:

~Personality ID: Analyzer (I don't have the results printed out though cause they wouldn't print right)


I need to practice piano sometime tonight...I'm a little nervous about that. I need to clean the keyboard first cause I think the dustiness of the keyboard is making it out of tune.

Not really anything else to say...I'm pretty tired. Good night.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bioethics, Hippies win the Amazing Race, and Elliot gets the boot (FINALLY!)

I just finished the first of two books I am reading for the upcoming staff meeting at work (though I think it kinda stinks I'm having to do this with finals next week, but hey, I love to read so I don't care so much). The book is called How to Be A Christian in a Brave New World. It is all about bioethical issues, such as cloning and embryonic stem cell research. The book pointed out that all the successful medical treatments being done with stem cells so far have been from adult stem cells, which they can get from pretty much any cell except reproductive cells (i.e., the cells that work at making babies). One of the authors, Joni Eareckson Tada (well known as a Christian writer and speaker who is also a quadriplegic), mentioned that this one gal who was also a quadriplegic had gone to a doctor in Portugal and had stem cells taken from her nasal lining and inserted in her spine to allow her to be able to walk. Very fascinating. Up till now I did not know there was such a thing as adult stem cells, probably cause the media, including science magazines, conveniently make you think that there are only embryonic stem cells, and that these should be harvested in order to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's and diabetes. Huh.

As I said, finals are next week. Fortunately, my history teacher sent us (via e-mail, since this is an online class) our final earlier than expected, which means I can take care of that this week and get it out of the way so I can focus on piano and health for next week. Actually, I will probably try to focus on prepping for health study in the next couple days so I can focus on piano, which is the first final (next Tuesday). For my health final, I am making PowerPoints. I am almost done for the one on the first chapter the test covers. Thankfully, the final is not comprehensive (covering the whole semester) but only covers 3 chapters--the chapters on drugs, alcohol, and tobacco respectively. Conveniently, we have been doing our Drug and Alcohol projects the last few class periods, which provides us with a lot of info (though I'm sure Professor Shaffer will just test us on the stuff in the book...but you never know, so for the most part I have been paying close attention to the presentations, except during part of the Inhalants presentation, which went right after my group's presentation on alcohol, when I was trying to get internet on my laptop so I could submit ASAP the outline I had forgot to bring).

Speaking of school, the fall schedule is out in print so I picked one up. I have almost all my G.E. classes. I now need to focus on getting some major classes out of the way, once I figure out what my major will be. My main problem is they may require a year of foreign language to transfer, and though I took French 102, I haven't been able to take anything higher cause the higher classes aren't offered very much. This means I will have to take some other language. The languages our school offers are Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, and Japanese. I have heard Chinese is rather difficult, in fact the most difficult language in the world to learn (if you've ever seen any Chinese writing, you know what I mean). I got confirmation of this one day when I was sitting in the Quiet Lounge (which I do a lot cause it's the only quiet place where I can use my laptop or read and eat at the same time...the library does not allow food) and wound up having a chat with a gal who's a Chinese teacher at the school (and believe me, she looked way too young to be a teacher...just like Professor Chang, my piano teacher, who looks not much older than me, but who already has a Ph.D!). I might take Japanese since I already know some words (thanks to anime and a book called Essential Japanese) though the writing is pretty difficult too. The advantage to that would be I could always ask my best friend for help cause she knows Japanese really well.

So basically the only classes that are set that I still have to take are biological science, communications, and the first part of History of the Americas (to complete my two-course "group" for Cal State's American Institutions requirement). To do this, I can take BIO 101, COMM 101, and HIST 116 (the first half of the course I took this semester). The fourth spot is a toss-up at this point. It will probably go to language or a major class.

I am going back to the 4-class format this fall. Whatever it was I did this semester was a disaster with a capital D. I had 8 classes total, four of which were one unit (three sections of Basic Office Skills, and Intro to Career Planning). Then Keyboarding for Computers at 1.5 units. Then I had piano (3 units), health (3 units), and history (3 units). For a grand total of 14.5 units. Dang. And I was telling people it was 12.5 units. Oops.

Judging by my transcript (which I just looked at online), classes that I took which are both on Cal State requirements and IGETC requirements appear to count for both. But I'm not quite sure of this, so I am going to drop by the Transfer Center tomorrow just to make sure so that there's not a bunch of classes I have to repeat or something.

School news is going pretty well. Lenora and I are getting along for a change.

The 'hippies,' BJ and Tyler
That aside...The hippies (BJ and Tyler) won The Amazing Race tonight. I was so happy. Frankly, I would've been happy even if Ray and Yolanda had won, as long as the frat boys (Eric and Jeremy) didn't win. They are just so cool and fun-loving, those hippies. The picture on the right is of them in last week's episode, in Oman (they don't have pics from the finale on the show's site yet...they probably will tomorrow). They're the kind of guys I would love to have as friends. They're just so fun.

You are NOT the American Idol! Goodbye
As for the other reality show I'm following...American Idol. Elliot Yamin finally got voted off during tonight's hour-long result show. (I don't know why they went to an hour-long results show, when even a half-hour results show is too long. I mean, nobody cares about any of the show except for the last 5-10 minutes, when they actually give you the results). This means Katherine and Taylor will be in the finale, which is good cause I will be happy whoever wins. Not like last season where by the finale my liking for Carrie had faded since she started singing only country (I don't like country), and where I was secretly hoping she wouldn't win. Technically, following the pattern of winners, Bo should have won, because so far it had been Girl-Guy-Girl, so a guy was due to win, according to pattern. But not so. Anyway, though, Elliot got voted off, which was a relief. (I made the pic on the left...sorta. I took a pic from the Idol website and then put the words on it).

Well it's late so I better go to bed. Good Night.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Fantasy, frustration, and the like

This'll be short cause we're gonna leave soon for church (I'm going with my parents today cause it's Mother's Day).

Frustrating day yesterday. It started off good, but once I got to school to do Workplace Tech stuff, I had trouble getting the voice recognition program to work for me. Grr.

Good news: I finished the PDA and voice recorder stuff, and tested a BlackBerry and Tablet PC, so that stuff is done. I just have to do the voice recognition and PDA thumb typing. My Drug and Alcohol group didn't have to present on Thursday, primarily cause there wasn't a computer available to use for showing PowerPoints. But that's ok. I figured out the C Major Scale (though I should probably work on it today cause I told Professor Chang I'd work on it more this weekend) and the right hand part of my piece.

The career stuff is chugging along. Through a cross reference, I came upon books in the catalog for my school's library on "vocational guidance." There were 932 matches! Most of them were ebooks, and there were a lot of repeats. I found quite a bit of books that were actually at the library too, so I will probably try to look at those in the next few days (I probably could do it over the summer too if I had to, but I wouldn't be able to check them out cause I wouldn't have a current sticker on my ID card, unless I enrolled in a summer class, which I am not going to do again after last summer, when I had trouble getting things done on time cause I was working full-time and stuff...course I didn't have a laptop then either so I might be able to do it this time...I'd get a discount on a bus pass).

That's pretty much it. Bye.

Oh yeah and the novel continues too, though mostly through writing background notes.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The home stretch

Just this week and next week, then finals. Lovely.

I feel so stressed right now. I have to finish my stuff for my Workplace Tech class by the 20th, which is in 10 days. I've barely started it. I did find places to test a BlackBerry and a Tablet PC though so that is good, and that is pretty much all I have left to do for those sections. I started the PDA section but got bored with it and didn't finish, probably cause I was working on my "X.A.N.A. Attack Progression" video, which took practically all day Monday, some of yesterday, and a good part of today to finish, and I wanted to do that instead. I may have to do some of the stuff over cause I had to use the Palm III that is available at the lab instead of the Palm i705 we should be using cause the i705 wouldn't turn on when I tried it. At least my teacher will be in the lab tomorrow so I can ask her about it.

I have to read the novel I bought for history class, In The Time of the Butterflies, by next Monday to post on that. I started reading it today and got to chapter 8, which means I am more than halfway done. I'll probably be able to finish it by tomorrow, which would be great. I read it mostly this morning while waiting for my videos--the X.A.N.A. Attack Progression one, two Winx Club ones, and a W.I.T.C.H. one--to save. I also read it while at work before I had to clock in.

More than likely my group for the Drug and Alcohol Project will have to present tomorrow. But our PowerPoint is good to go and I have notecards written for my part and my outline done. So I'm not too nervous about that, unless while presenting I make a complete fool of myself.

Piano is my "thorn in the flesh" right now. I have quickly learned from this class that God more than likely has no plans for me to be a musician. I do not have the gift. My note reading continues to be disastrous and my discipline for practicing at home pretty much non-existent. Now I find out that I have to play the C Major Scale for Professor Chang (my piano teacher) next Tuesday on the grand piano we're playing our pieces for the final on, and I am all thumbs as far as that's concerned. As long as that's so, playing my chosen piece (Brahms's Lullaby) will be very hard.

I have progressed in my career/major research, weeding out the ones from the lists I made that didn't look like they would work. I now need to research those more in depth and narrow things down. All I know for certain right now is I still want to be a writer, since I feel God is calling me to that.

Speaking of writing, I am writing again, finally. I am writing a fantasy novel as part of the May version of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) being held on the writers' forum I'm a member of. (I say "May version" because the regular NaNoWriMo takes place in November). It is a novel set in the world of Walden which I have already written three short stories about (one of which I lost, unfortunately...however, as compensation, I am putting the principal players of that story -- the dwelves Argus and Alan--into this story). I am writing it in one of the nice notebooks my parents gave me for Valentine's Day, and I also bought a composition notebook for me to write background notes in. So far I have written entries on the geography of Walden, a race of half-animal, half-humanesque (since some of them are elves and other non-mankind races) people called the Kannarah, and a really long essay on the peoples of Walden. Like Tolkien, I want to know as much about my world as possible. I have created some bits of an elven language in naming certain things. Nothing like Tolkien's Herculean effort in creating Quenya and Sindarin (his two elvish tongues) not to mention all the other languages of Middle-Earth (though the Rohirrim language I think is basically Old English, so he may not have invented that one, per se).

I shall have to write some stuff about Chaimvin, the "life-friend," who is more or less God in Walden. He has various "manservants" and "maidservants" under him. I haven't quite determined who they are. In a sense they are like angels, and at the same time I also get a sense of a kind of status difference similar to the status difference between Eru Ilúvatar and the other Ainur/Valar. At any rate though they are not gods and not equal in status to Chaimvin. Chaimvin is God and no one else is. Naturally, coming from a monotheistic Christian family, one would expect me to do this, but if so, you should read my "Notes on the worship of Sitaka and the other deities of Zeta Andromedae." The title by itself suggests polytheism, and the "notes" go on to describe, in classic mythological fashion, the family of gods worshiped by the citizens of Zeta Andromedae.

I am not certain how these servants of Chaimvin came to be. I don't want to have them be made of something in heaven, for that lies dangerously close to the origin of the djinn in Islam (Allah made them in heaven from smoke and fire). Yet the Bible gives us no insight on the creation of the angels other than men were created a little lower than them.

I do have a sort of Satan figure in the form of the rebellious servant Marek and his followers though.

Anyway, back to careers...

Oh wait there's not really anything to say...

Oh crud it's almost midnight. How did that happen?

Oh hey good news and bad news for Amazing Race and American Idol tonight. On Amazing Race, MoJo (Joseph and Monica) got voted off and that's good cause I don't like them since they fight too much. This puts the hippies, the frat boys, and Ray and Yolanda in the finals. The hippies must've gotten a Fast Forward or something cause when the frat boys stepped in at the Pit Stop they were team #2. (I missed most of the show cause they moved it to Wednesday night from 8-9 and I have to work till 8:15). On Idol, Chris Daughtry was voted off...big surprise since people kept saying he'd go all the way and probably even win. Stupid Elliott Yamin is still on there...he is so dopey and not really that great of a singer. Well at least Katherine McPhee is still safe...I voted for her twice last night in hopes the extra vote would pull more weight after she got bad reviews from the judges last night. But, I mean, c'mon, you're making the girl sing Elvis for goodness sake. Like Simon said, she's at a disadvantage already. Even though she did good with old songs with "Great American Songbook" week with Rod Stewart, I mean, this is Elvis Presley we're talking about. Plus she sang a combo of "All Shook Up" and "You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog" for her first song. And everybody knows that hound dog song even if they hate Elvis. She did better with "Can't Help Falling in Love With You," which was more her style.

If that girl wins, or even if she gets runner-up and still makes an album, I'm gonna buy it. I think even if she gets second she will be able to have a career...I mean look at Clay Aiken.

I'm gonna go. Good night.