Friday, March 31, 2006

I've decided to write a book...

Yep. That's the plan. I'm going to write a book.

"And what is the topic of said book?" you might ask, and right you would be to ask. I haven't quite figured out all the specifics, but I think it's going to cover my college and grad school years, a sort of short-term autobiography consisting of whatever I can remember and coherently organize into something remotely resembling book form. I'm thinking it will center on my experiences in higher education (or more likely, the stuff I learned outside of class with the veneer of an actual educational process), how an ambitious, driven overachiever cast aside his dreams of world domination-through-entrepreneurship and opened his eyes to something remarkably different and beautiful.

This idea just sort of hit me tonight, although I think it's been brewing for a while. I've thought often about writing as a career (or at least a second job- I gotta eat, you know?). I actually tried to start writing a book the summer between my junior and senior years of undergrad. I didn't stick with it. At that point, I was completely unsure of what I wanted to do post-graduation, and I think the beginnings of that failed pursuit (the book, not graduating- I did that) were an attempt to figure some things out. I figured them out, so I do not consider the time spent a total loss. It served its purpose.

To that end, this book will serve as a way for me to reflect upon what will be 7 years of college education and experience by the time it is done, to make some sense out of things, to have a little fun, and to begin to formulate a coherent theology (in the future, I'm thinking of constructing a systematic theology- yet another book idea. First, I should probably take Systematics, and some other theology courses). I think I'll interweave stories from my college years with relevant links to my past and with theories and ideas. At least that's the general concept for now. I reserve the right to change this format without notice...haha.

So, that's what has been on my mind this evening. I may even use posts here as parts of the text. I haven't thought it all out yet. Primarily, I hope it will help me figure some things out. Hopefully it will be useful for others as well.

Friday, March 24, 2006

MuteMath in Concert, or How I learned to stop worrying and love the Keytar

I went to see MuteMath in concert last night, with Greg and Patrick (one of Greg's friends and a pretty cool guy despite that fact...oh, burn). I think between the two of them, they knew half the crowd. It was crazy.

Anyway, I was excited to see the 'Math in concert. I've been following their career since the Earthsuit days (a couple of the band members were formerly in Earthuit before MuteMath), and I've always loved the sound. Earthsuit had almost a "reggae-rock with a fistful of rap" feel. MuteMath has a more "electro-synth rock meets U2" sorta thing going on. Both are incredible. Paul Meany, the lead singer for the two bands, is an extremely talented musician. Actually, all the guys in MuteMath were great.

The show was great. The opening bands, The Futurists and The Working Title, weren't bad. But MuteMath rocked it hard. It was crazy intense, with the band members operating in some sort of amorphous, pulsating awesomeness. The bassist was playing both his bass and a bass drum, Paul rocked a keytar and a piano, the drummer played everything from his drums to various parts of the set. It was awesome.

So, in response to the music of MuteMath, I've been inspired to buy a keytar and learn to play it. Eventually, I want to have enough instruments and equipment to record my own music: I've got the bass, need to get some drums, keytar, guitar, etc. A cowbell. Gotta have more cowbell! And of course stuff to record with. Whenever I settle down and get a real place, I plan on making a home studio and creating some of my own music. I've got a long way to go. I should probably learn to actually read music first. That's a good place to start. But, if you know of anyone with a keytar for sale, let me know. I've been watching on eBay, and tomorrow I plan on going to some music stores to see if I can find one.

I guess that's all for now. I think I'll go watch a movie and enjoy a nice, peaceful evening alone...ha.

I am Jack's one-man band...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Fantasy Fight Club...

"How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?"
-Tyler Durden

I was watching Fight Club the other day, and it reminded me of the numerous conversations (mainly in Transy's cafeteria over long dinners) that all started with "So, who would win in a fight between..." Those were some great debates, though they often ended with no clear winner. Anyone who has ever pondered the merits of Batman versus Superman, or Lincoln's long arms versus the resourcefullness of MacGyver (or any other random pairing of combatants) knows about that which I am speaking. A fight is so simple, just two (or more) people (or whatever) going at it. It's intriguing to me anyway, who would win. How we fight (be it physical or whatever) tells a great deal about us. Plus I'd just love to know who would win in a battle between the Justice League and the X-men, because I am a superhero fan.

Wouldn't it be cool to have some sort of Fantasy Fight Club wherein we could pit two entities against each other to see who would win? There used to be a website that did something like this (, as well as I think it would be interesting anyway. Maybe that's because I am a big dork. Anyway, my friends and I spent numerous hours debating the merits of various battles. It doesn't even have to be two people (see: rottweiler vs. rottweiler's weight in chihuahuas ) So much fun. Hopefully I can entice some people here at Emory into these type of discussions...

I mean, who wouldn't want to see, say He-Man vs. Optimus Prime, or Einstein vs. Edison? Imagine the possibilities! It doesn't even have to make sense. If only there were some way to do this, some sort of online virtual reality fight generator, capable of quantifying and comparing opponents. We could even use it to stop wars: instead of people killing each other, just have the countries plug in some stats to the computer, and see where it goes! (This idea is related to my paintball war idea: instead of real guns, just use paintball guns. Last one standing wins. As an added bonus, paintball-related deaths have to be significantly less than war-related deaths!)

Yes, I realize this is completely flawed and ridiculous. Work with me here!

I think it would be amazing. If this were a reality, I'd probably never leave my apartment. The possibilities are endless...

Enough of that rambling. Although it would be really cool. Anyone reading this, feel free to leave your dream matches in the comments!

Spring Break was good. Went to the new Georgia Aquarium, the Zoo, the Coke Museum. Good times. Got quasi-lost just about everytime we went out, but never so lost as to not be able to get back on our own, so that's good. Josh and I went crazy at the Coke Museum (poor Colleen had to put up with us. Sorry 'bout that one), when our comedic minds combine...we are...probably loud and annoying. But funny.

Now it's back to the real world. Papers. Class. Reading. Studying. Working. I need to figure out what Scripture I am going to use for my Old Testament exegesis paper. That might be a good start.

The semester is about half way over, which is amazing. This school year has gone by so fast. I'm almost a third of the way done with the program here. Wow. Dang. I should really figure out what in the world I'm going to do after I graduate. Gah! I think I'll just retire. That sounds good.

That's enough rambling for now. Just wanted to let everyone know what has been on my mind as of late (and as you can see, it is nothing productive). Again, feel free to leave your dream matches in the comments! I'm off to figure out whether Zwingli could take Luther in a cage match...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

WOO! Spring Break is here...

Finally. After a long week, Spring Break is finally here.

So, to recap the week...

I was supposed to hear from the people at Briarlake on Monday. I didn't. Instead I spent the entire day doing homework for the week, so I could study for my Old Testament test on Thursday.

Went to class on Tuesday, nothing eventful. Spent Tuesday night and all Wednesday studying (except for a few hours for class Wed. night). Still no word from Briarlake. I am Jack's confusion.

Thursday morning. Cram session for Old Testament, a test over 15 different prophets. Gah. Too much information. Anyway, as I'm outlining an essay about the gendered metaphors in Hosea 1-2, Jeremiah 2-3, and Ezekiel 16, I get the call...

Good news! They want me for Con Ed. And they want me for the summer. And they want to pay me. I am Jack's rampant enthusiasm. I'm going to meet with them soon to iron out some details, so more on that as it develops.

1:00pm. Zero Hour. Prophecy in Israel, here I come. We begin, and I look over the test. Nothing too crazy. I rush through, barely finish the exam. Overall, I feel very good about it.

Thursday was great.

Spring Break began Friday afternoon, after working at my current Con Ed site. I've just been relaxing, hanging out with some people, etc. Spent the better part of today cleaning. I'm about to go to the airport and pick up Colleen, who is spending Spring Break here in A-Town. We're gonna go to the new Georgia Aquarium on Monday, and the Coke Museum some time next week. It should be a blast.

So, it's been a great, but busy week. I'm sure everyone is thrilled with the excitement that has been my last few entries. I'll try to come up with something a little more intruiging soon...

Off to the airport. Let's pray I don't get lost...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Rise Up...and more

I went to my first NBA game last night, to see the Atlanta Hawks (Rise up!) play the Sacramento Kings. Greg (a Candler friend of mine, for you non-Emory people) scored some free tickets from a friend of his (thanks Matt), so we went to support A-town. Since I don't have an NBA team that I really care about, I think I'm going to adopt the Hawks. And the Braves, since I don't really have a MBL team either. I forgot my camera, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures...idiot.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, from haranguing Ron Artest ("Ron-Ron eats babies!") to watching a young Hawks team play together(seriously, they've only got a couple of players with more than 4 years experience in the NBA). And the Hawks have no viable big man, although crowd favorite (by crowd I mean Greg and I) Zaza Pachulia was trying. I was hoping to see Artest flip out again and then we would have a riot, which would have been my first riot too. Sadly, I did not succeed in my endeavours to incite a riot. Maybe next time. I want to get tear gassed. Wait. No.

Let's see, what else interesting happened this week. Oh, Tuesday was a great day. I started it off well by actually getting up relatively early. I went to meet with the student minister, Alfred (he's not a "student," he is in charge of ministering to students) at Briarlake, the church I have been attending and hope to work with this summer and next year. The meeting went well, I think. I hope I made an accurate presentation of how much I want to work there. I really liked Alfred, he seemed very laid-back and friendly, but I could see a fire in his eyes about working with youth, which was one of the things I always look for in youth ministers. I REALLY want to work there this summer. And wouldn't you know it, they REALLY need people for this summer. Someone to help do some planning stuff, go on the many trips, help with the administrative side of things, etc. I can do all of those things. I was a business major and I've worked for 5 or 6 years in clerical-type positions: I can definitely "push paper" with the best of them.

I really and sincerely hope this works out. I'm tired of jobs in which I have no real interest. I want to have a job where I feel like I am actually doing something. Actually helping. Actually ministering. I wonder if the position at Briarlake this summer will be a paid position. Let me clarify- this is not a "I want to make a ton of money to do nothing" sort of thing- I work hard, and will work hard. I only wonder if it will be paid because I HAVE to have a paying job this summer. I haven't had a real paying job since I graduated from Transy. If I don't make some money this summer, I won't be able to stay in school. That is a sad but true fact. If this job is not paying, I'll have to get another one, 40 hours a week, which will severely limit the amount of stuff I'll be able to do at Briarlake, i.e. I won't be able to go on any of the mission trips or fun trips or anything that would require me to miss work. I simply won't be able to devote the time I want and can give to them. And that will suck. So, I hope that this could be a paid position (it doesn't even have to be much. It could even be a salary or stipend, and then they could have all the time I have to give. They could monopolize me for a summer and I would love it. I'd just need a few days over the summer to see the fam at some point). Honestly, I would/could do it for say, around $3,500, give or take. While that seems like a lot, I would be willing to help full-time for about 3.5 months. So, 40 hours a week for 14 weeks is 560 hours. $3,500 over 560 hours is $6.25 an hour. It's cheap! I'm cheap...? And that's just 40 hours a week. I would be giving more- especially on the mission trip (24/7), etc. To be honest, it's pretty close to a bargain. Plus, I'll (hopefully) be giving them at least 5 hours a week for an entire school year following this summer for Con Ed.

Man, I really hope this works out. My motivation is to work with the youth group. I want to get involved, I want to help. I want to get into some ministry. But despite my motivations, the bills must be paid. And if I cannot pay them, I cannot stay in school. Which will prevent me from getting an education and being an actual educated youth minister (sorry, personal bias coming through- I STRONGLY believe youth ministers need at least an equal education to full pastors. I'll rant about that some other time). So, to summarize, I want to work full time at Briarlake. But I simply cannot do it for free, which I hate. I can volunteer a few hours a week for free. But if I want to really be involved on a substantive basis, unfortunately I'll have to make some money. I don't like money. I really don't, which is extremely weird for a former business major to say. But it's true. I do not like money.

The people at Briarlake are supposed to get back to me on Monday about Con Ed. I can do that for free, no problem. In fact, I'd rather do that for free. I'll have to talk to them about this summer at some point soon, so if they cannot do it (which I would understand- it's hard to find money like that), I'll have time to find another job. And if I have to find another job, I guess I'lll just suck it up and do it. And I'll just volunteer as much time as I can at Briarlake. But I would love, absolutely love, to not have to do that. I've been praying it all works out so I can give the church my time, not some job I won't really care for. I'd appreciate your prayers too, if anyone happens to actually read this.

I have a passion to work at Briarlake, a passion to get involved in their youth ministry. It's been a while since I've had a real passion for anything. There have been things that I've really enjoyed, things I like. I'm not ridiculing or discounting anything I've done lately, but it's been some time since something has hit me like this. Actually, I guess it has been since I last did FUP (the First-Year Urban Program, for you non-Transy people. It's a weeklong service project that I was involved with at Transy, until they decided they did not want me. That's also another story...haha), or even the summer I volunteered to be the quasi-interim youth minister at Forks of Elkhorn (my home church). The people here at Candler have yet to see me doing anyhing about which I am passionate. All my Transy people out there know how I can get some times. I love doing something about which I am passionate. That last sentence seems rather obvious. Maybe I should say I feel the most alive, the most useful, the most real, when I'm doing something I feel actually matters. That's it.

Now, I just hope I can express this to Tommy and Alfred, and whoever is involved in the personnel stuff at Briarlake. I want to be able to give them all I can. I need to be able to give them all I can. I need to feel alive.

I feel these waters stirring within me...