Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
5. Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
4. Peter Pan
3. Finding Neverland
2. Batman: The Dark Knight
Now you've got to be thinking, what could top the Dark Knight on this kid's ridiculous list? Some of you are going to hate it, and some will love it, but either way just hear me out.
1. A Christmas Story
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
In college, we are all looking for one basic thing. A degree. It seems like it is more complicated than that with all the different majors, scholarships, and organizations but those are all just a means to an end. Even though the goal in college is very simple, it is a complicated and confusing time for the people who attempt to conquer the endeavor. We find ourselves staying up all night studying for midterms and working all day to pay our tuition. We meet new people and have all kinds of relationships to maintain. We have to find a way to balance school, work, and having a social life. There are those weeks where we have 4 tests and 2 presentations and a full schedule at work and everything seems to pile up. Every day is a test of our mental and physical endurance, until Friday night (or Thursday night for some) comes along. This is when everything changes drastically for most.
Out come the button down polos, khaki shorts, boat shoes, and inexplicably dirty white hats for the guys and rampant amounts of jewelry, unnecessarily short dresses, and high heels for the girls. Oh, and don't forget the most important part, the beer. For me, I've never been real geared up to go to the club and dance behind some girl I don't know or go to a party and not remember how I got there, but most college kids dig that kind of thing. But my question is why? When most guys are sitting around figuring out how they can stack their beer cans or streak at the next football game I'm pondering stuff like this. What makes the weekend such a time to lose yourself?
Some people say they just "like to party" and some just call it hanging out with friends, but I think it goes deeper than that. I've had plenty of times where I just wished I could get away from all of the stress of college. Forget about my tests and quizzes and the grades and my next homework assignments. So my assumption, which I have heard bad things about those, is that college kids get so drunk on the weekends just to forget about the stress of college. They need some way to escape from the long hours they put in during the week so they just get drunk. For those 3 or 4 and sometimes 8 hours, they don't have anything to worry about. All they have is the moment they are living in.
Obviously I'm against it, but my real problem isn't even with that. It's that we have so much unnecessary pressure put on us. I'm a business major but I'm worried about speaking Spanish and doing advanced calculus. I stay up writing papers about African history and memorizing populations for world regional geography. I can't help but think how will this ever help me? Does it really make me well rounded or does it just fill my head with useless stats and facts until I don't even know what is important anymore? I'm all for learning everything I can about the business world and being well rounded and knowing Shakespeare and being cultured. I just can't comprehend spending four semesters learning an inadequate amount of Spanish to ever even put into use. I don't call memorizing dates of different bone discoveries in anthropology class being well rounded.
We have been pushed to be more of robots that go in and out of the system than we are encouraged to be individual students living through a learning experience. The one thing that I will take away from college is probably just how to deal with people. Whether it is jumping through their hoops, or being a good friend, or keeping them from snapping on someone else, I am learning how to deal with people. That's sad to me. I'm here paying boat loads of money, but not for an education. I am paying for a slip of paper with my name in fancy writing and an experience that hopefully can guide me through life a little bit smoother. For me, it's worth it. But for others, what else does it cost? I have to put up with the courses that are just pawns that play like kings, but they have that AND the consequences of forgetting about them. One night stands, bar fees, DUI's, a lot of puke, bad memories, and no memories.
At the end of the day, the system won't change. Neither will the kids. There will always be ridiculous classes that we'll never remember, and there will always be ridiculous parties that the kids won't remember. It just sort of scares me that not many people question either one. It may be a case of the chicken or the egg but it is a question worth asking. Is it all worth it? Are we going to college to receive something that we couldn't make it without or is it just an overrated ideal that has turned into a requirement? Maybe time will tell, but who knows, maybe it's just as much a riddle as the chicken and the egg.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
I was thinking earlier today about how much more complex life seems now. I'm in college and I've got a job and rent to pay and tests that decide my future and I kind of take care of myself now so I feel like I've got a million things going on at the same time. It made me think how I miss so much from my childhood that just made being a kid great.
I miss sharing my ice cream cone with our dog. I miss thinking 11:00 was late. I miss Jamal Anderson and the "dirty bird". I miss walking from my back yard and into the woods and stepping into a while new world. I miss having every Disney movie on VHS. I miss watching TBS's Dinner & a Movie on Saturday nights and only understanding about half of what went on. I miss being able to sport a different basketball jersey to class every day and it being cool. I miss kite day at school. I miss the rectangle pizza in the cafeteria that was terribly unhealthy for you. I miss birthday parties where you got to go down slides and got bouncy balls as party favors. I miss dressing up to the extreme every Halloween. I miss being freaked out by "Who's Afraid of the Dark?". I miss roller blading like it was awesome. I miss having lighsaber wars in the basement. I miss lowering the basketball goal to 6ft and dunking off of my neighbors skate ramp. I miss camping in the back yard. I miss taking all of the sofa cushions out and jumping over them onto the pullout bed like I was in the NFL. I miss my Bat-cave play set I had. I miss Growing Pains and Boy Meets World. I miss doodling in church. I miss bringing lunch to the swimming pool and staying there all day. I miss arguments over which Ninja Turtle was coolest, which by the way, is still Donatello.
All in all I think I just miss not having any pressure put on me. I could just do whatever I felt like doing. But if I'm really honest I still do about 75% of the stuff that I just said I miss, so my childhood isn't quite over yet. Maybe one of these days I'll grow up and want to do things like go to bars and stuff like that, but thats not really growing up to me. To me growing up is more about figuring out who you are and where that is going to take you in life. I guess that's why I finally stopped doodling in church. But the greatest thing about growing up is that you never have to stop being a kid. You never have to give up the innocent heart that you started out with. Some people may call it being naive but I just call it being hopeful. I hope that somehow what innocence I have left will rub off on the people around me, and then the people around them. Until soon, even though it may be tiny, it has made a difference. Who knows, I could just be rambling into cyber space about nothing. I just hope that somehow we can see the best in situations.
I hope that we can see princes in "street rats" and great lovers in hunchbacks. I hope that somehow through all of the craziness in the world we can find the time to think about what the 10 year old version of ourselves would think if they saw us today. We have all of these standards to live up to but it's important to not forget where we came from. The kid in us never dies, it just gets hidden more than it should. So sometime, dig up your childhood, and dream all the way to Infinity and Beyond!
Friday, March 25, 2011
“If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it’s OK to be different, that it’s good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, is a different color.” -Johnny Depp
For a long time, and still in some ways, I was afraid of letting go of all my labels and standings and just be me. It is scary, I admit that. But once you do, and you allow yourself to be the purest form of yourself it's incredible who you'll find. You'll find yourself happier than ever, not because you are better than anyone else, but rather because you're better at being yourself than anyone else could ever be. That's where true beauty comes from, letting yourself become truly unique.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
One of my friends from elementary school is an open atheist and the more I talk to him about it the more and more I feel like he has some big misconceptions about Christianity.
For starters, as Christians, we are all by nature hypocrites. But we have a big problem claiming that title. Of course our intention is to be as true to our religion as possible. The only problem with that is that we are ALL sinners. Every last one of us sins. I don't care if you're the pope, a homeless man, black, white, or Dr. Phil. You are a sinner. It's tough to really admit to that and to own it, but if you think about it I'm sure you sin every single day. I know I do. Whether it's judging someone, cutting someone down, or accidently idolizing Johnny Depp, I sin. For some reason we, as Christians, like to portray ourselves as some kind of miracle to the world that does no wrong. Maybe that's good in the respect that it encourages us to do less wrong, but think how intimidating that is to non-Christians. There's no way that would make me want to become a believer if the standard was being perfect all the time. Plus, it's part of why God is so beautiful. He sets this goal for us that He knows we can't achieve but hopes that it will help us grow into better people.
The next thing gets really sticky and icky. Church. I know just as much as every other Christian how vital church is, but at the same time, I get how uncomfortable it can be. Here's my problem with it. When being a "good Christian" becomes dependent on going to church. Now stop what you're thinking right now. What I mean is that I don't like it when people say "I go to church" as a response to are you a Christian. Being a Christian isn't about how many times you went to church or how many Bible verses you have memorized. It's about your relationship with God. That's it. Don't get me wrong here, please. Church and the Bible are two of the BIGGEST tools for a Christian. The problem is when someone that isn't a Christian that doesn't go to church and doesn't read the Bible decides they want to change their life it gets confusing.
Of course there's no set list of rules to get into heaven but the way I have been taught and what I believe is that church is a community for believers to learn from each other's experiences. Then the Bible is a source of God's word and stories that help us through tough times and teach us how to live. Both of them have the purpose of bringing us closer to God. So I'm here to tell you that you can have the entire Bible memorized word for word in three different versions and two languages and it doesn't matter unless you use it to advance your relationship with God.
I guess my real problem with how we treat Christianity is that we have tried to take the passion from it and just make is like a class in school. Not everyone, but just enough to make a difference. It just scares me that someone could be lost and finally turn to God for help and then be pushed away by the way religion is presented. So if you're a Christian, next time you see someone new in church make them feel welcome, even if they're dressed in rags. Or if someone asks you about sin, tell them how much you sin, it will let them know we aren't perfection robots in a cult. Be the community that God wants us to be.
"And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all". (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
And if this struck a chord for you and you realized that maybe you've misinterpreted the reason we become Christians, just take a step back and ask yourself, "What's my goal as a Christian?". Hopefully it is to go to heaven. Then start from there. There are a bazillion resources out there and it can be scary and confusing, so find someone you trust and talk to them about it. And when you don't know what else to do, just pray. God will be there.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Constantly we are molded and formed into the grown ups that we become without ever really taking the time to look at why and how. Of course we have our friends and family and religions, those should be easy to see. But what else contributes to us becoming who we are? Do we only believe in what we see around us or do we also see things that we don't believe in? Is it possible for us to not know who we are but to know who we aren't. It seems like backwards thinking but hang with me.
I've never received anything but positive encouragement in my life. I couldn't be more thankful to my friends, family, and to God for that. However, it has left me blind. Although I can't imagine how much harder life is for someone who is surrounded by negatives, I feel like it makes it easier to see what you don't want to become. Sure we are just a product of our environment but we still have our own heart. We all have the ability to search within ourselves and question why we are who we are.
So if ever I made a challenge to you, and to myself for that matter, let this be the one to test. Take the time to question yourself. Learn who you are and why. Ask yourself elementary things that seem so mundane and simple that they may just stump you. Question things, and question yourself. It is amazing what you may just find out about the person you thought you knew best. Before you know it, you'll be able to define yourself simply by who you are instead of who you aren't.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Live and explore. Explore everything around you. Learn everything you can about yourself, your family, friends, city, and everything that is important to you. Go all the places that you've always wanted to go. Figure out your favorite thing to do and do it every single day. Find something to be passionate about and someone to passionately share it with. Think. Think about everything that happens and why it happens. Think about what you care about and then fight for the cause. Set a time to go back to your childhood and remember what made you laugh. Remember what made you happy. Get in the car one day and just drive, drive until you're so lost that you need directions. Stay up all night long one night and then sleep all day. Turn off every electronic device you have for a full day. Let curiosity grow you until you can't grow anymore. Read a book that no one has ever heard of. Find God, trust me, He helps! Don't be effected by everything that is bad in the world. Be the cause that effects people and makes them happy.
All I'm trying to say is that nothing is certain. Nothing is for sure, not even time. We don't have much time here on Earth, let's be honest. So use what time you have. Dream, and dream bigger than anyone else ever could. Build yourself a life that makes you wake up smiling. Be the person that defines what life is instead of letting your life define you. Just go live.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Being 20 years old, I can't even imagine taking care of myself, much less another person. But when people asked me if I was worried about him getting married so young I always say no. He never seems to worry about anything. For some people that can be bad, but for Nate, it works perfectly. He just lives his life at his own pace. We always joked as kids that I was batman and he was superman but the more we've grown up together the more true it seems.
Most people get nervous about stuff or get down about stuff but he never does. He has a great perspective about what really matters. I really admire it. He has such a short memory about bad stuff and doesn't get effected by anyone. He's a pole vaulter at the Naval Academy and that in itself is a testament to his strength. He's one of those guys who can do absolutely anything he wants to do.
And as for his fiancée, Courtney is maybe the only person who could ever keep up with him. We go back and forth, and have for the past 5 years, but it is all in good fun. She has always been Tinkerbell. She actually mirrors Tinkerbell in the fact that she is extremely cheerful and fun to be around. She leaves that trail of pixie dust everywhere she goes that makes you happy. Although she does has a fiery mean side, just like Tink, she only uses it when she has to. It's always fun to see Courtney because even when I'm making fun of her she's always in good spirits. That's why she is perfect for Nate.
So when people say, aren't they a little young, this is why I always say no. Because if anyone can make it work, it's these two. They work more perfectly together than anyone I have ever seen. It's almost as if they were just made for each other. I guess that's why I'm writing this. Because in a world that so many people just get together on a whim and end up getting divorced, Nate and Courtney break that trend. I feel like watching them over the past 5 years has been like watching a love story unfold. It may have been romantic comedy, but still a love story nonetheless. They're a testament to the modern relationship and that it can work. I'm really proud of them and can't wait to see their relationship keep growing! It's really been a superheroes fairytale.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I'm begging you to hate me. Punch me, spit at me, cuss me out, throw sticks and stones at me, avoid me, start rumors, glare, do whatever makes you feel right. But please, please, please fall in love with hating me. Because I'm not going anywhere.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
In everything we do, say, or hear we have a vision of how it will unfold. When we ask our friends to go to the movies we expect that they will want to and will be able to. When we study for a week before a test we expect that we will make a good grade on it. Even when we hear a story, we have some preconceived notions about how it will end.
But what happens when our expectations aren't met? The image in our heads is almost never lived up to. Our friends have something to do or the teach throws a curve ball, and we get disappointed.
We obviously have good intentions for these expectations but how do we take them from the hope stage to the expect stage? Because, make no mistake, that is what we do.
I go to the beach and expect to lay in the sun, throw frisbee, throw football, and just hang out. When I bring people with me I automatically think that is what they'll want to do too. That's where my thinking is wrong.
It's almost like some kind of subconscious selfishness. I do it without thinking. But at the same time I don't how to combat it.
I feel like it's a symbol of growing up and becoming up tight and not being able to just go with the flow.
Going with the flow, it sounds so easy, it actually used to be easy. For some reason it has gotten harder and harder for me. I'm constantly challenging myself to live a better, happier life and this is another thing I want to add to the list. Just go with the flow.
Still work hard, play hard, and love hard. But don't expect anything in return. Always hope for the best, but expect nothing, ever.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
|My Kite at 300ft Out|
Monday, March 14, 2011
|Macaque Monkeys of Nagano, Japan|
|Christ the Redeemer Statue|
Rio de Janeiro
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -Dr. Seuss