I ran over a pigeon the other day, on Alma. I was actually pretty distraught about it. But you know, birds often fly in front of your cars, and they always manage to fly away at the last second. Well I’m driving down Alma, and this pigeon lands in the street in front of my car, and I figure it will move, so I just kind of slow down, but it doesn’t move. At the very last second, I realize this, but there’s nothing I can do, and I just try to aim so I don’t flatten it with my tire. So all I heard was a big thump. I actually don’t think I ran it over, just maimed it. But I was distraught over it.

Anyway, has anyone else been thinking how FiCS has too much emphasis on alumni? I mean, maybe it’s just me, but it was weird. Like with the ski trip, didn’t people feel like it was alumni dominated, maybe not in terms of numbers but in some weird way in terms of influence? I felt bad, because there were all these people who were actually in the fellowship who felt more uncomfortable. At least, that’s my take. There’s something wrong with that, you know? It’s their fellowship, we’re the outsiders; they should be the owners and we should either be gracious guests or not there at all.

Anyway, I don’t know, I just get this weird feeling that sometimes there’s too much reminiscing about past FiCS or too much alumni emphasis. Even if it’s not a lot, it still makes me feel weird. Like, all the alumni were listed in the FiCS directory this year. I just don’t understand that at all. Like, who was that for? Us? Meaning alumni? Why should anyone care about us; we’re not FiCS anymore. I mean, does that affect how like freshman and sophomores view FiCS at all? Does it hinder them in any way in accepting it as their own fellowship? I don’t know, I was just thinking to myself.

But seriously, I don’t get the listing of alumni thing at all. Seriously, all these undergrads should just kick us out permanently, so they can be left alone and take care of themselves without us meddling. Even like with fics-chat, maybe they should just kick us out. Maybe we should form like an alumni mailing list, where people in FiCS now can choose to subscribe or not, but what the heck are we alumni doing still dominating these e-mail lists?

Honestly, I’m just talking out of my rectum, so you can disagree, it’s just it makes me feel weird. I’m only thinking if I was a freshman, if there was all this alumni influence, in the directory and in the mailing lists, and whatever, and more crucially, that I could not be a part of that because I could not meet the majority of those people, I’d feel like this fellowship is like this entity that exists, not really like my fellowship, you know? It would be like this big part of it is something I could never be a part of. I don’t know, that’s just me. But get rid of all this alumni influence and let them have their fellowship, is my take.

I finished reading The Green Mile, and it’s actually a pretty good book. King has a gift for description. Anyway, the format of the book is a little different – it was originally published as a serial, in 6 parts. He formatted it so it was this old guy reminiscing from an old folks home, and each introductory chapter in the serial deals with that.

It’s a little sad what happens to you when you’re old. I remember when FiCS went to the nursing home to sing and do stuff for them, and it was just sad, there’s no other way to put it. But most of them had lost a good measure of their faculties. And the question is, did that happen because they went there, or did they go there because that had happened, that they weren’t able to think clearly anymore?

Regardless, it happens, and it’s sad. Erma Bombeck once had this great column where she was driving with her mom, and something happened in front of them, and she instinctively threw herself in front of her mom. And afterwards, they were both a little stunned by that.

All her life, if they had been driving together, had there been a potential accident, her mother would have thrown her self in front of her to protect her. But now, she had done it to her. This strange thing happens in life where your parents take care of you as children and then when they become old, you take care of them in almost the same way. And when that switch happens, it’s a little surprising. It’s just interesting to me, how life is like a cycle, where we’re cared for, then we care for others, both young and old, then we need to be cared for again. It’s also interesting to me how people speak to really young and really old people in the exact same way. Think about that. It’s strange.

At any rate, The Green Mile is pretty good, especially by the 3rd serial. And it fills me with melancholy. I don’t know if I can explain what that means, but, there’s this melancholy emotion I often get, a mixture of sadness, longing, nostalgia, and a whole bunch of other things in one. And it sounds like it’s a bad thing, a depressing thing, but really, it’s not. In fact, the things that affect me the most and make me feel most good all give me a feeling of melancholy. The Shawshank Redemption, Out of the Grey, The Wonder Years in the first couple seasons – I love all these things and I love most how they make me feel, and a big part of this is this melancholic feeling. I don’t know why I’m saying this, I just am.

So you might not understand this, but I’d been struggling with money a whole lot lately. I’m in the beginnings of searching for a job, and it’s been a big struggle for me. Well first, I realized that finding a job as a Computer Science major in Silicon Valley is one of the easiest things to do. I went to a couple job fairs and people were nearly offering me jobs on the spot. I’m not even joking.

What it is is this – I’m specialized in a particular field, and that makes me pecliarly qualified for only certain positions. Like I could do a programming job, sure. But I could do best jobs in my particular specialty best. I guess what I’m saying is that my specialty applies to only a fraction of those jobs advertised at job fairs. The thing is, my training makes me extremely qualified for those positions that are relevant, so those people want me. So when I say I can get a job easy, that doesn’t mean I can get any of those positions for CS majors, but that I can get one of those 4 or 5 jobs per job fair that are looking for particular people like me. If that makes any sense.

Anyway, never in my life have I been in such a position of being able to make much money, and never have I had to make a choice between money and principles before. Like here’s the thing. I could with certainty get a job in which I would make a considerable amount of money, say with a startup or something, and be stuck doing something that I may totally love. Or I could try to find a job that matches my intellectual interests most closely, that almost certainly wouldn’t pay as much.

Anyway, it’s a struggle, and it wasn’t so much before, because I had been thinking, even if I went the second route, I don’t doubt that I’ll do OK financially, so it’s not much of a sacrifice. So I was talking with a guy at the job fair, one of the companies that kind of liked me, and I was really interested in the stuff they were doing also. AI type stuff. Anyway, I asked him about the size of the company and the turnover, and they have a 20% turnover rate annually. Which is pretty high, so I asked him why, and he responded, “Well, they all say they love the company, and like the people and the work and all, but I mean, they want to buy a house. And if you work for a startup, and it makes it big, you can buy a house.”

The implication being that if you work there, you can’t buy a house. In Silicon Valley at least. So suddenly I was faced with this dilemma, either go to a startup and be able to buy a house, or do something else I might like better and not be able to buy a house.

And maybe this seems lame to you, especially if your family never owned a house, but I need to admit a little selfishness – I want a house. I’ve always lived in a house, and it’s always been an assumption of mine that I would have a house someday. There’s just something very comforting about being in a house that I am reminded of everytime I go home.

So it was a big dilemma for me, what I was going to do. You might not understand it, but it was.

Anyway, I’m over it now. Here’s where I stand now: I may still end up going to a startup or a research place or whatever, but the point is, I’m not going to let money dictate my decision. Does this make sense? Like, I’m not going to go somewhere in order to make money. If that happens secondarily, that’s fine, but it’s not going to be my goal. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but it was to me, and forgive me if I seem a little proud of it.

Of course, one thing I still haven’t resolved is why trying to make a lot of money is any worse than doing something you want to do. Isn’t the main point glorifying God? Aren’t both of these things, money and your own desires both contrary to glorifying God if that’s all you seek? Aren’t I just substituting one bad motivation for another? And I still don’t know about this. Intuitively, I still think doing what you want to do is better than trying to make a lot of money as a motivation, but I’m not totally sure why.

Anyway, what I realized is that I was lacking faith in God. So I know some friends of mine are totally against those churches that kind of do things just trusting in the will of God to make it happen. Like with building a church beyond their means. And I mean, yeah, that is irresponsible, but I don’t know. One thing about Experiencing God that really impacted me, is that God’s work is stuff that is too big for us to do on our own. If we can do it on our own, then when it’s accomplished, the glory doesn’t go to God. But like, in the Bible, when things happen that could not have happened without God, the people around (the world) always give glory to God.

Anyway, it happens too much in the Bible to ignore, both Old and New Testament to ignore, I think. If we really believe in God, doing His work will at times necessarily involve doing stuff that seems a little impossible, maybe irresponsible, but that’s God’s pattern in the Bible. Of course, as always the key is having relationship with Him for discernment, but the main point remains. It all comes down to trust.

Actually, what I just wrote is pretty much irrelevant, but what I realized is that I wasn’t trusting in God. It seems a simple thing, but I wasn’t.

Another thing that changed my thinking was I guess the influence of my parents. Since I was young, my dad has always said that we need to give until it hurts a little. You know, it’s the whole story of the woman who gives a few coins, and how that glorified God more than the rich people who gave what they didn’t need. Anyway, he’s always said we need to give until it hurts a little, until it causes us to sacrifice just a little bit. And, I think, my parents have lived by that, and seriously, God has taken care of them financially. It’s an irresponsible financial philosophy, I think, but I mean, it’s trusting.

Anyway, I’ve tried to do that in the past, to varying degrees of success. Like, you know, forgoing buying a guitar or a computer, or stuff like that, stuff that would be nice to have. Of course it helped then that I wasn’t making any money. I wasn’t as good at it this year, where I’ve pretty much not denied myself anything I’ve wanted, except for the guitar, which I don’t need anymore since Paul Jung gave me his, and a computer, which I don’t need because I use Henry’s. So this past year wasn’t very good. But I was reminded of it again, to give until it hurts a little, I mean, causes us to sacrifice just a bit. I mean, what does it mean at all if we give ourselves everything we want and then give God the rest? Pretty much nothing, I’d say.

I don’t know, it’s just some people, they get everything they want, all these gadgets and toys and whatnot, and that’s not healthy for me. Here’s a weird thing I do, though. I end up being friends with these people, not for the reason, but somehow, and I love that they have all this stuff, because I am a great mooch. Like I have a friend in Houston, I love that he has all this stuff, because it means I get to watch TV in his car, or play Dreamcast, or whatever. It’s great. I reap the benefits of sometimes being able to use this great stuff without suffering from the paralyzing guilt I would have if I myself owned it. So I encourage these particular friends to get all this stuff. There’s something wrong with that.

Anyway, I’m just rambling now. The point is, if it hurts a little to do something I think is better for me, I gotta trust that I’ll be OK. It’s just hard when you start thinking that your decisions will affect people besides yourself, you know? That people will possibly be depending on and influenced by the decisions you make.

Anyway, I love Jieun. She is so not into money it’s wonderful. I mean, she said she wants a copper engagement ring, nothing fancy. And to her, a house is no big deal. I love it. She makes these difficult, gut-wrenching decisions for me much easier.

OK, the last thing that’s influenced me in regards to my job search was Darlene’s last entry, or I think it was her last, the one with Mary Niu in it. She was remarking how she wished there were more Christian artists, who were passionate about “life and death” as she put it, and could influence the world in a positive way.

Incidentally, my mom’s friend is an artist in Paris, and she does all these abstract pieces that make no sense to me but have the Christian names like “Golgotha” and stuff like that. But I digress.

Anyway, I totally agree. I might be wrong on this, and John can correct me on it, but I think what glorifies God most in terms of our work is when we do something we are passionate about to the best of our ability. I think when we pursue excellence in anything, and approach it with a Christian viewpoint, even if we’re not trying to share the Gospel, it will come through and make a difference. Seriously, I’m becoming a big believer in this, especially after reading that Charlie Peacock book I’ve talked about before.

Anyway, I gotta be guided by trying to find something I want to do and do it excellently, and not consider money at all. That’s where I stand right now. Thanks Darlene for guiding me.

OK now some things that annoy me.

I totally agree with Dave, that Christians and atheletes are pretty much the same but we get a much worse rap. I’ve actually thought this a lot before. Anyway, like he said, a lot of criticisms against Christians are justified, but some are overdone, and the criticisms of being too cliquish are, although somewhat justified, too much.

I guess I just get annoyed when Christianity or Christians get unjustly criticized. I mean, there are enough good reasons to rightly criticize us, so why don’t people just stick to these? When it’s an unjust criticism, it’s just annoying, that’s all.

That’s all I have time for. There are several other things on my mind, one of them something that annoys me, but that can wait.

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