Two other thoughts came to mind, also random. First, has anyone seen like George Lucas interviews or pictures lately? The man has no chin! It’s really bizarre. His strategy is to have a beard, and he trims the beard like where the neck should be to kind of approximate the physiology of a neck, but come on George. He has no neck. It’s creepy.
Anyway, one of Connie Chang’s old observations is just kind of off. She was saying how people should be careful like, for example, when they pick their nose in public because they might think they’re not seen but they really are. Anyway, to me this shows a fundamental misunderstanding of people who pick their noses in public. It’s not that they think no one sees them, it’s that they don’t care. At least I don’t. I regularly pick my nose in my car, because I’ve got tissues and frankly, I don’t care if anyone I don’t know sees. I didn’t always use to be like this, but I don’t know, I’ve just become more apathetic. Or maybe my need to have a perfectly clean nose has just become much stronger. Anyway, I really don’t care if people I don’t know see me picking my nose. It’s different if it’s people I do know. But someday, that will probably change also, and I’ll be like Henry Kissinger, who picks his nose regularly in extremely public places, like before Congress on national TV.
A brief comment re: Henry’s entries before I begin. Actually, before I begin the comment, I’m glad that he’s taking his little trip. I’ve always wanted to do that, just kind of take off by myself for a while. Actually, my trip back to Cali from Houston last summer was kind of that. But anyway.
In Texas, especially in Houston, it is possible to be at the threshold where it’s raining and where it’s not. Especially during the summer, there are many times when it’s raining hard, I mean really hard, rain like you’ve never seen before if you’ve never been to Texas, on one side of the house, and on the other, totally dry. It’s kind of cool. Anyway, come visit me some summer, maybe the end of this summer, and you’ll see what I mean.
This entry is pretty random and boring, I think. So (this guy)’s been telling me how some people with thought pages, like, you read it, and it’s just utterly uninteresting and boring. You read it and it’s like, I can’t believe how little I cared about what I just read. I won’t say who, but they’re obviously females and obviously not Jieun because she is the most interesting person ever. And beautiful. Sometimes when I see Jieun, it’s like, dang! Her beauty sometimes just totally blows me away. She looked great at Kenny and Eugenie’s wedding. Anyway, I’m wandering.
Anyway, this entry is pretty much like a girls’, in that it’s pretty much utterly boring, even to me, which is why it took so long to write. So why am I writing it? Basically just to get some sort of update out there. It’s kind of unfair for me to expect other people to update their pages when I don’t myself. So this is my token update, and it is perfunctory. Incidentally, that’s the first time I’ve ever used the word perfunctory. You can tell already that this is going to be boring, ay?
During finals week, I was pulling an all nighter in the Roble computer cluster, working on a project writeup. Anyway, late in the night/morning, there was like a flash of light from the window. Anyway, at this point I got really freaked out because I thought that maybe the rapture had taken place and that I’d been left behind. I guess I was half asleep and the flash just kind of jolted me, so I saw it as brighter than it actually was. I’m not sure.
So I checked to see who was logged on and everyone had been idle for a couple minutes. So I got more scared. I zwrote George and he didn’t respond for a while. I was pretty freaked out, but eventually he wrote back. Which was reassuring because, you know, you figure George has probably made it, even if I didn’t, because he’s got a good heart. And as it turned out, the rapture didn’t happen (probably) that night.
Anyway, it was weird because that happened to me before recently. Like fall quarter, worship team old and new had this sleepover thing at the Marriott Residence Inn. Anyway, I was sleeping and in the middle of the night, there was this flash of light and all of a sudden I got scared that the rapture had taken place and that I’d been left behind. I was “sleeping” next to Sang Kong (he was snoring pretty loudly the whole night and I can’t really say that I slept that much, which is why I saw the flash of light) and he was still there, but that wasn’t too reassuring, because come on, if I was left behind Sang probably was too. So I kept looking around and Albert Shim was still there and that’s when I felt better about things.
Anyway, this might seem strange but I think there are a lot of times when I have doubts regarding my salvation. I know that’s a bold thing to say, but it’s just, I don’t know, I’m acutely aware of my hypocrisies and shortcomings, and I figure if anyone unexpected is gonna be left behind, it’s gonna be me. And it troubles me how I struggle with the same things over and over, with what seems like little progress. I don’t know, it’s just when I hear testimonies, they seem to be radically changed. And I just keep struggling.
In high school, we had this discipleship series at church, and the first one was called Assurance of Salvation. The idea I guess is that the most important thing at first is that you know that you are saved. The study included this verse from one of St. John’s epistles, where he writes, “I write these things that you might know that you are saved.” You know, the idea is for us to know that we are saved.
Anyway, to be honest, for me, I don’t know if I could ever be totally sure of my salvation. I mean, I’d say right now I’m 99.44% sure, but I don’t know if I could ever be certain. It’s just, what does it mean to be saved? The most troubling thing is if I really am saved because of what I believe, how come these beliefs don’t change my life more? It’s troubling.
So in high school we learned the Puritans had this weird idea, that they totally believed in predestination, but they knew they were predestined based on what they did, kind of. Kind of weird. But that explains how the Puritans could be so strongly Calvinist and also have such a strong work ethic. They were proving basically, that they were predestined. Maybe that’s what it means to work out your salvation. I don’t know. Anyway, that resonates with me, a bit – it’s like, I would be more sure of my salvation if these darn sins would just lessen a bit. Anyway.
I’m listening to the new Delirious? album, and it’s phenomenal. I’ve been kind of on a new music binge lately. But there’s a lot of good stuff out there. This album is terrific. It’s just very bold and creative, especially the first few songs. The rest is pretty good, kind of gotta listen more to get a stronger impression, but the first few songs just blew me away. It’s very very bold. I like a lot. Really interesting stuff going on in there. The instrumentation is very interesting – they throw a bunch of sounds in there, and do some interesting musical things. Really cool. And their use of stereo is very cool also. If you listen carefully, you’ll notice that they place the different instruments/sounds in different places in the stereo line. So like the lead guitar in the current song I’m listening to switches from the left side to the right. On one song the background vocals are only on the right side. Cool stuff like that. Good use of stereo is always very cool.
It’s a big departure from their previous stuff, and I think it’s great. It’s self produced, and I’m very impressed, because the production is pretty good. Even thinking how to produce certain sounds is really impressive. It’s like, how did they even think of generating a sound like that? And once they did, how did they manage to create it? It’s pretty cool.
One knock I have against it is that they do the same things repeatedly. Like one effect they use is totally cutting off all sound for a beat or two, and they do that a lot. The choruses are also repetitive – most of them he just repeats a line over and over, and they’re remarkably similar. So here’s the choruses of some of the songs (these are the complete choruses):
The Mezzanine Floor: And I’ll get to heaven, Yes, I’ll get to heaven
Heaven: Heaven is my home and there’s be no shame (same melody)
Follow: I will follow, I will follow, I will follow, I will follow
Bliss: I, I’m not backing down, I, I’m not backing down
Beautiful Sun: Like the sun, beautiful sun, Like the sun, beautiful sun
See The Star: So we run, never stop, keep my feet on the road, So we run, never stop, set my feet on the road, So we run, never stop, keep my feet on the road, So we run, never stop, I’m feeling sweet upon the rock
So the choruses are a bit repetitive. For some reason this reminds me of this review I read of a new CD by one of the members of Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony. I believe it was called Thug’s Life or something. Anyway, the reviewer pointed out how the theme of the album was so repetitive it bordered on the absurd. The songs were all titled like Thug Life Forever, Me and my Thugs, Ballad of a Thug, etc. That’s not the actual titles, but they all had Thug in it. Random.
Anyway, I actually think the Delirious? album is phenomenal. Especially the first 3 songs. I think I’ll eventually go through the album song by song and explain all the cool things about it.
The interesting thing about Bliss is that the chorus sounds remarkably like a song by Seo Taiji, I think from his 3rd album. If you’ve heard it, it will make you laugh, I promise.
Oh another random thing, there’s this new CD out called Streams, a like compilation project, like that My Utmost… CD. Anyway, it includes a duet with Delirious? and Amy Grant. What the??!!! I have yet to hear it, though.
In the “mornings” now when I drive to work I’ve been listening to Jim Rome’s sports talk show. It’s pretty amusing. Anyway, the crazy thing is, 75% of the commercials are for web sites. That’s just astounding to me. The web is crazy. I was also reading recently about billionaires and stuff. Anyway, it’s amazing how so many of them got their fortunes recently, thanks to the computer industry, in particular the ‘net. The crazy thing is that all they needed was one good idea that utilized the web in a novel way. So Michael Dell’s idea was to have instantly customizable orders through the web. I mean, that was his big innovation, right? He’s rich. Jeff Bezos (is that his name? The Amazon guy) had the idea of being able to order virtually any book over the web. The ebay people had the vision of web auctions. E-trade and Ameritrade. Basically, to get rich, you just have to figure out a new way of utilizing the web to do some kind of business transaction.
More than anything, it’s just being in the right place at the right time. I’m bitter because when Yahoo was starting up, I had the same idea! Except I only applied it to Chritianity related sites. Frosh year I compiled a list of sites related to Christianity in general, and to Christian music in particular. In its heyday, it was pretty good, a pretty extensive list of all the Christianity related sites on the web. Especially the Christian music list was really good. What I would do is find sites from newsgroups and pretty much explore every link I could find from there. Kind of like a manual webcrawler. Anyway, it was a good list, and it was referenced by quite a few people, including some random guy from England.
So it’s not like the Yahoo guys had an original idea, they just were more extensive with it. And so they get rich.
Anyway, I love music. In the intro to Different Seasons, the Stephen King collection of novellas that include the stories that eventually became the movies Stand By Me (directed by.. who was it? I think Rob Reiner. One of those fat directors with beards), Shawshank Redemption, and Apt Pupil (directed by Brian Singer, director of The Usual Suspects and costarring Brad Renfro, from The Client, the adaptation of the John Grisham book costarring Susan Sarandon), King talks about when he was a kid he would be totally excited when the magazines with the latest serials would arrive. He’d be hopping from foot to foot with expectation.
I totally understand that, with music. I’ve kind of been on a new music fast this past year, hardly buying anything. Anyway, one fault I have is that when I start making money, I want to spend it. So I went to Gospel Books, and it’s been so long, I felt like a kid in a candy store. All this new music to listen to! Such a great feeling! And when you listen and find a good one, it’s an awesome feeling. It’s like the feeling of finding a little treasure. You just get really excited and just want to keep listening to it.
I felt that way with the new Delirious? As I listened to it, I just got this big smile on my face. This album rocks! I felt that way with the Michelle Tumes CD also. They were actually playing a song over the house system, and I was blown away, and I was like, I have to buy this album. So I bought it based on the 30 seconds I heard in the store.
Anyway, I used to feel that way with Out of the Grey every album that came out. Just total excitement and expectation. When Diamond Days was coming out, I visited Gospel Books every day for like 2 weeks.
So what I’ve been thinking recently is that maybe I should go into music. I mean, I’m pretty good at it, and I love it. As you may or may not know, I started giving guitar lessons this past quarter. Anyway, I had a very specific vision regarding it – I wanted to teach total newcomers, and kind of take a praise oriented approach to it, and I really wanted to build a heart of worship in them, that they would just like to praise. And I wanted to get them while they were fresh so I could build good habits in them. With certain people, as they’ve already built bad habits, it’s pretty much too late. I mean, not too late, it’s just their progress will be way slower than if they had taken the time to build good habits first. You could see this in my class. The ones with no habits progressed quicker and passed up those people who originally knew more, but had bad habits.
Anyway, I structured the class according to my vision. We didn’t just practice chords and strums, but actually praise songs. Each week, we learned a few new chords and strums, and several new songs which incorporated only those chords and strums. Obviously, the chords and strums were a little dumbed down, but they were essentially there. This way, they would be able to practice with real praise songs we sing often, and learn more every week. But the key is, even from the first week, they learned to completely play a new song. For example, the first week we learned Times of Refreshing and You Are in Control. I mean, pretty good songs, right? Your first week of learning to play guitar and you’re already learning dope songs.
And of course every strum and exercise and chord learned built solid fundamentals. So by the end, everyone really was a very good, competent guitarist. I would trust any of them to lead praise for like a prayer meeting or small group or something. Or IV.
The best part was how everyone in the class responded. First, they really got very good. You’d be impressed if you heard them at the end, realizing that 6 short weeks earlier, they knew nothing. They were really quite good. And they were good in a fundamental way. Does this make sense? It’s not like they had just learned a bunch of tricks, like a lot of others. But they had honest to goodness skills. And all my strategies worked – they were excited about being able to play dope songs every week. And hopefully, they learned to value being able to praise on their own.
Anyway, I was super proud of them all. The class went better than I hoped for. It was a lot of fun. Also, not to brag or anything, but, it was way better than any other guitar lessons I had seen at Stanford. I’ll even be specific. So Justin Der had this little class a couple years ago in Serra (which met in my room, random). And you know, it was nice and all, but come on. Justin is a really great guy, and about 1024×768 times holier than me, but not that great a guitar teacher, I think. Actually, he was all right, he wasn’t bad, but just compare my students to his. Maybe it was just my students were better.
So yeah, it was definitely one of the highlights of my quarter. Anyway, this also made me think more about going into music. But what the heck would I do? I couldn’t hack it as an instrumentalist. I’m just not good enough at any particular instrument. And I definitely couldn’t a vocalist. I don’t know. I’m just rambling. Maybe I can be a professional Casio player in Korea. There seems to be a big need for that.
So this past Sunday I started playing piano (actually, it’s a Casio keyboard with keys that light up when you play them) for the children’s service (4th – 6th grade) at KCPC. It was really great. The bad thing about college ministry is that it’s so insular and it’s all you experience and in a lot of ways it doesn’t feel like a church. Playing for the kids I felt much more like I was getting involved with a church again. Like I work with Mrs. So, Deacon So’s wife, maybe she’s a deacon also. It’s like one of the few times I interact with anyone more than 10 years older than me at church. And I love goofing around with kids. Kids kill me. I was dying on Sunday. Pastor Eugene was speaking, and he had a branch, and he says, what happens if you break off one of the leaves? What happens? And after a while someone says it gets all hard and brown and dead. So he asks, now what happens to a leaf that stays on the branch? And a bunch of kids go, “It dies.” And Pastor Eugene is like, “No that’s wrong. That’s completely wrong. It’s actually the opposite.” That killed me. Kids.
Anyway, it’s great feeling like part of the church again, not just people my age, which sucks. Anyway, it was a little challenging. I’m playing this Casio thing, and like, you know, these things have no dynamics at all. It’s all the same volume. Which is challenging. And I for the life of me could not figure out how to change the sound. So it was stuck on this mode where the low keys are an electric bass, and the high keys piano, like a combo mode. Anyway, I’m playing hymns, and you’re hearing these low bass slapping and popping sounds like Seinfeld or Night Court all over the place with tinny piano. Amusing.
During praise, though, I know no one picked it up, but I was playing these dope jazzy parts. I was really smoking. Anyway, I had this huge goofy grin on my face the whole time. It was great. I was also rebuked in my mind. So this past year I always wondered why this one person in YAG would not come to YAG Bible studies. I pretty much in my mind was judging this person, like, ok, they pretend to be all into YAG, but they don’t even come to Bible study, just because it sucks and you don’t learn anything. Anyway, I never said anything, it’s just something I thought. It turns out this person doesn’t come because they’ve been teaching the kids Bible study this whole past year. Once I found this out, I just felt so bad. I mean, it was all in my head, but still, I felt so bad. The dangers of judging. You often get faced.
So it’s a lot of fun, and now I’m teacher Danny. Mrs. So is also really great. The great thing is how she really, well it seems like, anyway, believes in what she’s doing and how she loves her kids. That’s how she refers to them, as my kids. It’s just really cool to see. I was talking with someone and they were saying how a lot of times youth and childrens ministry seems really futile, because really, there’s not much you can do and it almost totally depends on their families. Good families will produce good kids and bad families, bad kids. But Mrs. So really seems to believe in her little ministry and for some reason, even in one week it inspired me.
Also after church on Sunday, a bunch of us played Knockout. You know this game right? You all get in a line, there’s 2 basketballs, and you shoot from the top of the circle, like 3 point range. The idea is to get a basket before the person behind you, or you’re out. Anyway, me, George, Greg, Irving, Rob, and a bunch of kids played. It was a lot of fun.
Obviously, the Sith wanted Naboo because Senator/Emperor Palpatine is from there. I believe Darth sees C3PO on the Cloud City, but I could be mistaken. I don’t know about R2D2.