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Thursday, October 16, 2014

The VA Cathering


What a great gathering! This was the first CPNC organized gathering in the Northeast/Midwest region. God saw fit to change our original camp reservation plan into a more homely gathering, and we are grateful for it.

October 1st, Wednesday:
Thursday was the official start of the great VA Cathering (more on that title later), but due to some logistical shifting, people arrived the day before. Carrie and Amber Thompson picked up Faith Burnside and I in their truck. College Plus road trip! The only incident we had with the trip was picking me up, there were some construction going on which confused Garmin, our GPS. Everything else was smooth sailing to the McFarlands. We had a surprise on arrival. With God working behind the scenes, He directed the Stotts' planes from Florida after some airport shenanigans. Previously, they were supposed to arrive at the Charlotte-Abermale airport hours away, but instead they arrived at the nearby Dulles airport a day early, as well.

Our host location was one of the most inviting places I have ever been in, to say the least. You could see that this wasn't just a quick backup location alternate the camp, this was meticulously planned and prepared for us. We even had personal questionnaires that we hung on the wall when we were done.

We had a devotional where the ground rules were set, a time of prayer, and all of us headed to a good night's sleep. The girls were up talking - we boys could hear them.

October 2nd, Thursday:
The official start of the gathering was supposed to be only a laid-back planning day. It was more of a random game playing time. Games of Apples to Apples, Settlers of Catan, pool, and whatnot. We also had a bit of dancing in the basement and the culdesac. We learned the Virginia Reel, the Electric Slide, the Golden Slipper, the Broom Dance, and the California Waltz.

Evan Strite and Elyssa Ranck arrived during dinner. We were expecting them much later, so it was a very nice surprise.

October 3rd, Friday:
Time to head to DC! After we were dropped off at the Fraconia-Springfield station of the DC Metro, we got our tickets and boarded the subway.

The security at the attractions are overbearing, but understandably so. We shed our belts, devices, wallets, etc. into TSA-like conveyor belts... to get into a library! (Well, it was the Library of Congress, but still.)

In the Library was a Civil Rights exhibit, and Thomas Jefferson's personal library exhibit. In the center of Jefferson's library was the best echo/amplification chamber under the dome, and we started lowly humming, and the hum got louder and louder. Needless to say, we entertained ourselves quite a bit.

I've always wanted to see the inside of the Capitol. One must usually make a reservation to do so, but luckily, Faith had her Congressman Todd Rokita on call, and we got a staff-led tour! Highlights were the Magna Carta, the Rotunda, and various statues of the Presidents and patriot heroes. Our tour guide, a staffer from Congressman Rokita's office, guided us through the underground tunnel and all the rooms.

The Holocaust Museum was a sobering experience. No photography was allowed inside the exhibit, which lent to its pensive atmosphere. The very next day was Yom Kippur, the only time the Holocaust Museum closes in the year, so to have gotten in was a treat. To see and hear the horrible stories of God's chosen people, it truly put our lives in perspective.

October 4th, Saturday:
Another day traveling to the Capital. Carrie proceeded to teach us the "signs" game. Basically, it uses hand gestures in a subtle manner to pass signs around, as in code.

Right after we came to the entrance of the National Air and Space Museum, Carrie notified us that she has lost her phone in the subway. After some panic, her phone was texted just in case someone may find it. We gathered in a street corner to pray so we could find it. Right after praying, someone texted back. Our group split off so that Carrie could retrieve her phone, and we stayed at the museum. And a couple hours later, they come back, phone in hand.

The National Air and Space Museum was definitely filled with aviation and airplanes and things. One of the CPers in the group, Bailey, is going to be a helicopter pilot, so he was the focal point of the trip. We didn't get to see much of the space part, because by then, it was time for lunch!

After the museum, we walked the National Mall of monuments towards the Lincoln Memorial. We passed along the Washington Monument, some of the World War (I and II) memorials, and the Vietnam War memorial. Since apparently there was no love for Lincoln in our group (bunch of Southerners, I tell you), we just posted for our group picture facing the Washington Monument.

October 5th, Sunday:
All things must end, even gatherings, even the great VA Cathering. Evan proceeded to cook us one last breakfast. Packing our things, we gave our goodbyes and hugs, and we rolled out. The others headed out throughout the day .

There were so many stories and inside jokes and mannerisms and conversations and little things that only those that attended could understand and cherish, like all gatherings do. The Kiss & Ride, the Aaron Theme, Mommy Cat, monkeys in the brain, slap happy theology, the cube of Rubik.... Things that wouldn't make sense. But that's okay.

I want to thank the McFarlands, and especially Catherine, for hosting the gathering. If you didn't notice, the Cathering title is a reference to her. I want to also thank fellow CPNC organizers Faith Burnside, Evan Strite, Cassie Porath, Bridget Proffitt, and especially Jillian Heersink, who sadly couldn't make it, but was instrumental in everything. I also want to thank the Thompsons for the transportation and going out of their way to pick some CPers up, including myself. A thanks to everyone that came, and most of all, to our Father in Heaven for guiding us and making this a reality.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Short Story: When Foolish Words Are, For The Sake of A Friend

Probably my first foray into "heavy" science fiction storytelling.

When Foolish Words Are, For The Sake of A Friend
by Samuel Garcia

In the bubbles which are not bubbles between the universes (universi?), the foam of the Void, the multiform of dimensions, which are, in a way, mini universes (universi definitely sounds cooler) themselves, a stray bubble which was not a bubble touched upon another bubble, and that both bubbles went POP!

Except that it was not POP, it was more like both universes crunched and entropied and shifted to a zero energy state, BUT THERE WAS NO POPPING SOUND, FOR THERE ARE NO SOUNDS IN SPACE WITHIN THE UNIVERSE, AT LEAST MOST OF THEM, in accordance to each of their laws of physics. Howbeit, the point is, both were annihilated, because each of their personal bubbles intruded upon the privacy of each other.

I kid, for what was beside the point is actually important. If you recall, the sword does not cut always with its point, but its blade. Their annihilation were in accordance to the laws of physics of the universi (multiverse? Or is that too technical?). This led to a variety of doomsday apocalypses.

The most common laws of Universi Annihilation included that in the common tongue, a Universal Big Crunch, in which all stars, asteroids, planets, cheese, your grandma's mailbox, and multitudes of alien civilizations and their colonies and hermits outside of those, crunched into a single point of singularity. And not the cybertechnical singularity, but the event horizon one. I think. A cousin to this Universal Death is the Universal Big Quack, in which the universe is squashed, not into a singularity, but a singular all-encompassing duck. When it quacks, it croaks.

Alternatively, if the variables and constants were correct, instead the Universal Heat Death would happen, in which all stars, asteroids, planets, cheese (melted by entropy), your parallel universe grandma's mailbox, and multitudes of alien civilizations and their colonies and hermits outside of those, lose all heat and energy and atomic movement and probably subatomic and Planck motion as well, plunging everything to absolute zero and even colder.

Even less common was the Universal Death through Integalactical Bureaucratical and Brutal Tax Auditry, in which the laws of physics of that universe send it to its graveyard by a rapid exponential growth of desk jobs and paper work and deterministic desk workers that encompass the universe. Any conceivable and inconceivable and aconceivable subatomic movement and photonic energy and any quantum fluctuations are heavily regulated, taxed, accounted, interviewed, mortgaged, sent for coffee, shredded, made redundant copies, passed on to the next call representative, and legislated. This slows down the universe afflicted with this death to near zero time relativity, in which the speed of light is simply, practically zero miles per hour. If light decides to speed, then whoa, whoa, whoa, it will get ticketed. The call tree of this universe is in the degree of septillions, so much so that the music of the spheres literally is call music that you hear when you are rerouted to India. When that bubble finally bursts, it is seen by the relatively smaller void dwellers (and yet the void does not have nor recognize the concept of size!) as a shower of paper trail confetti.

Yet an even rarer Universal Death is through Universal Death through Hologram Spam. Think of a universe where your spam came to life as holographic characters, no, persons and races. There would be phishing spam, insurance spam, random spam, chain letter spam, creepypasta spam, canned spam, all represented as ghostly embodiments, rightly called hologram spam. Schroedinger's Cat is viral Nyan of the lengths of stochachistic numerals of rainbow super strings. This is fine and dandy, but when trillions of spam are spawned,there are only so many cans to go around, and the universe that fills up with the spam afterlife disintegrates like an email going to the Trash Folder. Luckily, most universes have spam filters and firewalls.

I've gotten carried away, haven't I? Well, it just brings me to a universe, that is probably not our own, or rather quadrillions of centuries in to the future, or some other distant conjecture through time and space and inbetween and nowhere and nowhen. In this universe, the apocalypse was of the constant, eternal invasion of shadow hyperspace entities that are closest shaped to puppies. Except they were beings of pure vacuum darkness. Not an evil darkness, but simply darkness that drains the light into its bowels. Instead of a common Big Crunch however, the pups of annihilation invade the edges of this universe, expanding space at dangerous planar lengths that are equal to imaginary radical numbers and letters of the alphabet. In doing so,

In the awareness of this Pupocalypse, the Spanning Imperial Omnidemocradoms of the Constellation Stovansglow, residing in the edge of the universe, almost to  thesoapy  surface of said bubble not bubble, grew restless.

You see, in the Omnidemocradoms, which only was truly a democradom by false pretense, and not by any solid or relevant nature, like the misnaming People's Republics of the communists of here yonder universe, had the High Imperial and Only Ever Powerful Servant of the Omnidemocradom and its Rightful Heir of its Manifest Destiny Beyond the Constellations and Even Beyond That declared an infinite eulogy to be sung in his name. The civilizations of this universe prized eulogies, for the longer the eulogy, the more immortal one is, a goal in many universes. So there was this hope of immortalizing the narcisstic ruler in the end of time (and space).

A call was heard throughout the stars, and the stars covered their ears as the bellowing signal rang for the best singers, poets, drama artists, pantomimes, radio announcers, and even beeping melodious doorbells and electronic card musical silicon chips. The logic is, that the sound would attract the narcissm of the ones who ply the trade of performance so that they can correct it. Thus many planets lost their Grand Poet Laureate, and galaxies their great Oratorious Maximus. Even the long dead alternate universe counterpart of Shakespeare and Lincoln was raised from the dead, and those who were time traveling and had a lick of singing ability was plucked out of the 4 dimensional time vortices by the bellowing signal.

And thus the High Imperial and Only Ever.... oh, you know who it is was pleased to see the best of the best performers eulogize his deeds and misdeeds (and mostly because the horrible signal was psychostatic in their brains, meaning that they have to sing and sing and sing to block it out of their minds). Verses rang out in the auditorium that is the space between the stars.

Oh, Mighty Servant of the Cosmos.
Ruling guiding hands we all feed on.
You invented the coffee thermos!
He who bites you be cast to the sun!

Each atom is pleased by your humility,
The quarks, and Higgs boson, too.
You make Stovansglow tranquility.
With your aid the cows go moo.

Though the darkness bark,
Literally.
You will make your mark,
Eternally!

The Andrimedia, woman of the seven nebulae, who sang to swirl the plasmic gases in a harmony, beautiful in face, heart, spirit, and song, was taken from her place, to the sadness of her prince and her people.

Resist, my love, the bellowing!

But she could not, for the treble the universe was in was disharmonious. The seven nebulae held what basically was a funeral procession for their Lady.

Even the best of the best could not hold entropy at bay, the traitorous pups of of annihilating doom. They babbled and grumbled and foamed and fell, for they were tired, and the High Imperial you-know-what didn't really have that much to be proud about, even made up redenkulous ones. (In that universe, that is how ridiculous is spelled, don't ask how this universe English can be translated otherwise)

Even the Andrimedia was muted, vocal chords strained. She lost her identity in a song, not of her own praise, but to one who did not deserve so. And she ebbed away and faded into vibration... she dissolved into a song! A pretentious song indeed!

Off with their heads! the ruler cried. Find me more performers! I shall live beyond the death of the universe! A lone pup started barking.
Oh, but what is this?

A hunched, hooded figure stopped the people's fuming autocrat. With a raspy voice, he cried, Sir, o sire, do not cut off their heads, for it is their heads that sing. If they cannot sing, they cannot turn the canine tide and make thee live beyond the inevitable death.

Go on, the skeptical Servant of the Constellation raised after declaring a proxy war against the canes of his empire. Apparently, the canes were conspiring to make old people fall in nursing homes by failing their structural integrity, thus making the grown children amass huge lawsuits against the ones responsible for making the canes, that is, the cane megafactories, and thus collapsing the Imperial Omnidemocradom's economy. A whole department of spies, called the Cane Intelligence Agency, sprung up from the declaration (that is, they literally grew and stepped out of the paper of the declaration of war the Servant just signed), and arrested all canes within the palace premises about, and three star systems away. Never mind that when they did the arrests, the old people who were holding on their canes fell and broke their bones. Thus the canespiracy theorists point that out this very day.

My solution, sire, is that I will build thee a great singing machine in the model of thyself, for who other than thou, knowest what you have done of all infinity? Then that yonder statue machine likeness will be set in the point of relativity where the center of this universe is, for then all the universe shall hear of thy greatness, and the Cerebus dogs of the hades would stop in their tracks and flee to nether regions unknowable.

The High Imperial Servant stroked his chin, and muttered, yes, yes, splendid idea! Thus his highness commissioned that nothing shall be withdrawn from the hunched-back man's requests, and gave his word.

O Ruling Servant, I beg of thee only a few things, that all the canes you have arrested become part of my workforce to build said statue, and all those that are performing here shall lend their vocalistic trembelutions and throaty sonic shrills and poeticrastic cerebellums.

Go! Go! Said the proud ruler. May his immortality ring throughout the bubble bath multiverse.

The hooded man went away as mysteriously as he came, like a singular quantum fluctuation in the sea of chaotic random-pseudorandom generation. Except that there were a flotilla of battleships and transports and space galleys full of canes and performing artists traversing to the CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!

The CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE was boring, only filled with boolean alien civilization hive mind who held its consciousness in a neural net of celestial bodies like neurons, who were decimated quickly with death rays to make room for the statue.

What is it to me, an annihilation of a civilization, a species, the greatest supercomputer of all, for the memory of myself woven in the fabric of infinity and beyond!

In another universe, a certain toy spaceman felt a disturbance in the force.

In what seemed to be no time at all, but in reality, a very 7ZIP compressed recursive time/chrono loop with a terminating program, a colossal statue of (fool) gold, (glass) diamond, and other (fake) precious stone of the Servant was erected by the cane workforce. The cane workforce feudalized, democratized, unionized, communistized, splintered, outsourced, WAHed*, and globalized within the compressed centuries time loop.

In a separate subroutine within the time loop, a great tubular musical instrument was being assembled. The statue's mechanical arms were to play the flute to memorialize him!

So it was done after the program terminated and set into a self-sustaining orbit.

The end was nigh. The dogs were nibbling the edges and cutting swaths with their paws!

With no time to lose, the hooded figure invited the Ruling Servant inside the instrument. It was explained that all the performers voices and speeches and playing were in record here and perfectly amplified. All the Servant had to do was to enter this chamber, complete with a throne magnificent, think happy thoughts about himself, and the telepathic circuits would translate it into a universe shaking song.

Happily, the Servant sat himself down. The figure left the throne room, along with a parade of canes in ships to bunker down.

But it was all pretense, for you see, it was not an amplification chamber for a song. But for something else.

Neither was it exactly a musical instrument.

The time loop inside the instrument was restarted as the High Imperial Servant whistled, trapping him.

And the puppies of the universal darkness heard the eternal canine whistle, and rushed back to the CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE. Colliding and barking and colluding and scratching and chasing tails, their gravitational spin increased.

It became what is known today as the Dog Star. And the orbiting statue with the trapped Servant keeps the Pup-ocalypse contained to this very day.

For you, Andrimedia, and our people, and the universe.

Thus the mysterious hooded figure raised his mysterious figure hood, and revealed the prince of the seven nebulae underneath with eyes of sadness.

And the high pitched whistles in the air and space had a tinge of melancholy, when foolish are words of the proud, but vengeance will come for the sake of a friend.

(The prince resurrects Andrimedia and they marry in the far, far future, using a string, a epigenetic recreation machine, timeline disperser, sound bounce container, and some cheese, but that is yet another, entirely different story)

*WAHed is the process in which outside work is completely turned into a house activity. It is an abbreviated form of "Work-At-Home - ed"

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why Dating, Courting, And Generally Just Finding Someone To Marry Are Fundamentally Flawed

Because there are sinful people involved. Yep.

(Written in response to this article and its waves.)

But in seriousness, there are many ways men marry women, and one is not more fundamentally flawed than another. Dating, courtship, arranged marriages and betrothals - all have worked to produce both good, godly, and bad marriages. The whole thing itself always has been a mystery. But God is the one that brings couples He wants together, ultimately.

"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord."
Proverbs 18:22

“There be three things which are too wonderful for me, Yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; The way of a serpent upon a rock; The way of a ship in the midst of the sea; And the way of a man with a maid” 
Proverbs 30:18–19

About the article itself, it does make good points, but is overshadowed by bad observations and assumptions. I wouldn't say I wholeheartedly support his recommendation for traditional dating or condemnation purely on his grounds.

There are many Biblical principles that can be applied to any system of marrying. Particularly these important ones:
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
2 Corinthians 6:14
Principle #1: Christians should marry Christians.

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"
Amos 3:3
Principle #2: Christians should marry Christians whom they agree with. Whether in theology, finances, children, etc.

There are more principles.

Rather than prescribing a system to marry or challenging the article's points, I will address what the article calls the problem: high divorce rates (presumably among homeschoolers, Christian homeschoolers that is).

The Bible is clear that fornication before marriage and adultery (which counts as fornication if it is practiced consistently and not repented on) after marriage is forbidden. Guess what? Those two things are the only things that the Bible allows for divorce.

"And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
Matthew 19:9

So, to keep a good marriage, avoid those things. But enough about the negative, there are positive things to avoid divorce and have a loving marriage, whatever system of marrying you used. Such as:
"21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."
Ephesians 5

Really, what I'm trying to say is, if you want to avoid high divorce rates, teach unmarried couples to apply Biblical principles to their pursuit and  married couples to have good marriages before and after they get married.




Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Questions at a Split Session #SBCYC14

Some say the split sessions at the conferences do not have as much impact as the main sessions. I object. The split sessions offer more practicality and a more personal direction and depend less on emotional response. I place them in more or less equal importance as the main sessions. My main summary of the conference can be found here.

A little background: Bro. Reno Likins, before preaching a sermon on Tuesday, went into a matchmaking deal. He called up some of the single youth workers and chaperones that were guys and matched them with girls in the audience. I was pushed onstage, and I was matched with a lady named Genna.

I guess that's the IFB version of Christian Mingle?

Anyways, the following day at the split session, Bro. Dean Miller got me up front to ask me some probing questions about it.

"What was going in your head when you sat by Genna?" or something through that effect. The guy is hilarious, by the way. New favorite comedian preacher.

I said I prayed. And I did pray. But that's not the whole story. I chaperoned at this conference because the times I was at Shawnee YC and the Indian Creek Camp were some of the times where God's will was most clear to me. I'm a 20 year old in my senior year of secular college, and I have no/some idea what I will do afterwards. I have a record of past decisions, but my current situation and emotion makes me question.

Preachers always say that the one whom you will marry is the second most important decision after salvation. As much as I looked cool, confident, and debonair in the conference, I was terrified at the possibilities of what might happen next.

I'm not a Calvinist. I believe because there is free will, possible alternate universes/timelines (at least in the mind of God, not physically existing, mind you) where every decision except where God willed otherwise (that is, there are no universes or timelines where Jesus did not come down on Earth and was crucified and rose again, but there are timelines where I picked Reese's Puffs instead of oatmeal for breakfast). In that same vein, each girl that one might possibly marry represents a possibility, a new universe, a timeline, a possible will of God.

"Was she the prettiest girl you sat next to?"

No. (A gasp from the audience, probably one of her friends.) Probably not. Just being honest. Besides, I didn't have much time to study her.

"Top 5?"

I couldn't name top 5. I've sat next to some of the most beautiful girls. Some of whom have broken my heart.

All I could say was that she wasn't bad at all. She is beautiful in her own way.

After sitting down, he preached on Ruth. Or was it Esther? Probably Ruth. I didn't name the speakers in my sermon notes.

But what rang in my head was that the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ speaking to me. I remembered the earlier sermon on Ephesus. I remembered how they lost their first love. I then remembered Bro. Miller speaking on falling asleep in God's will,  and then waking to find his wife. Neat story.

"Fall in love with Me, first," He said.

But, but-

"Fall in love with Me."

This thought is what rings in my head after all the sermons have almost been forgotten. And within that thought encapsulates my conference decision.

Actually, there's still more to it than that simplification.

Being in a secular college through a Christian college program called College Plus, I meet many, many good Christian girls. Good, yes, but most of them are not the strain of Baptist I was raised in. Some are non-denominational, Reformed, Baptist, all very good Christians and I'm very blessed to be one of their friends. I started to wish I could date/court a couple prospects, because I can't find any girls within my circles of fundamentalism.

Remember that part where each girl represents a possibility of the future, a possibility of God's will, a possibility of an alternate, parallel universe? With one girl I see myself being a rich scientist of a corporation or even an entrepreneur. With another, I see myself as a leader in a non-denominational missions organization. Others still represents the veins of political power or educational standing or high society.

What if I married one of these good Christian girls who are not the same exact faith as I have? If God wants me to be a Baptist preacher as I surrendered myself years ago at Indian Creek, then... they don't represent the future, the timeline, the will God wants for me.

And my heart aches, because I have to wait. But that thought still rings in my head.

"Fall in love with Me."

I pray I surrender to this thought every day.

Thank you, Bro. Miller. I know your questions were in jest.

Shawnee Baptist Youth Conference '14: Power Up #SBCYC14


Quick Rundown:
The Shawnee Baptist Youth Conference is the best youth conference I have been to, many times. I've been to Hammond and Grace Baptist Teen Skitacular and a host of many smaller ones, but I love Shawnee's.

My public Facebook album for this year's.

I believe the last time I was in Shawnee was in 2009. Here is the welcome video.
The first time I was in Shawnee was in 2008.

Summary.
Monday:
After piling up the suitcases, we left around 8 am in the morning towards Louisville, KY.
Funny orientation video.
First split session. I was at the College & Career class. Bro. Moon preached.
Kenny Baldwin ended the evening.

Tuesday:
Hurricane Bay are belong to us. The wave pool and lazy river were my places to swim.
I met VDP Chief Justice Joshua Speer in the evening service.
Deal or No Deal game.
Bro. Miller preached. Speer left as it ended. Got to meet the family first.
I was arranged by Bro. Reno Likins to have a church date with a lady named Genna before he preached. Apparently, he has some mad matchmaking skills.
I gave Genna my VDP business card. At the end of the sermon, we went our separate ways.

Wednesday:
The last day of the preaching part of the conference.
Split session with Dr. Miller. He dubbed me "Sam the Man". People kept on asking me if I had a good date or if I got Genna's number yet.
Larry Chappell preached on "All Systems Go".
Dave Delaney ended with the sermon "Power Up".
Chaperoned the guys to McDonalds. Nick yelled at them.

Thursday:
The last official day of the conference, held at Kentucky Kingdom. Free drinks with a wristband.
Met some new friends. A couple Whovians. People who kept on asking me if I had made a move yet.
Rides. All you can eat lunch that ended abruptly. Sea lions. More rides.
I saw Chinee, old friend of mine from Grace Baptist of Delaware, Ohio.
Preached a little sermon in the bus.
Toured the creepy tunnels under the church.
Cici's in the middle of nowhere for dinner... and two other churches chanced upon the same one.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Short Story: Stepping Back from The Nail

Stepping Back From The Nail
by Samuel Garcia

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The day I stepped on a nail was the worst day of my life.

We were playing in outside. Somehow, just somehow, it was protruding from the ground.

I screamed.
Then came an onslaught of infection, surgeries, amputation, atrophy, innumerable doctor and therapists, bedstays, quarantines... friends left, family died off...

I did what anyone would do after years and years of focused determination to overturn these events.

...

I built a time machine.

...

After a jump to the left, a step to the right, and madness after the warp, and almost falling a down, I dropped into our old family barn. I heard the children playing and laughing. Me.

I thought. And thought. I leaned onto my cane. The crutch of my existence.

I just stood there.

I glanced at the place where the nail was supposed to be. It was not there.

I grabbed a nail from the barn, hobbled while they were gone, and stuck it upwards in the soil. And warped away.

I stepped back from the jump and planted my cane to set myself.

While I do not walk the space of this universe, I walk time. That nail was my first step.

Time is fixed.

...

After a jump to the left, a step to the right, and madness after the warp, and almost falling a down, I dropped into our old family barn. I heard the children playing and laughing. Me.

I thought. And thought. I leaned onto my cane. The crutch of my existence.

I just stood there.

I glanced at the place where the nail was supposed to be. It taunted me with it's rusty shine.

I yanked it from the mud, hobbled while they were gone, and dropped in by the barn. And warped away.

I stepped back from the jump. No cane. My leg is back.

I will walk to right the wrongs of the past, present, future.

Time is plastic.

...

After a jump to the left, a step to the right, and madness after the warp, and almost falling a down, I dropped into our old family barn. I heard the children playing and laughing. Me.

I thought. And thought. I leaned onto my cane. The crutch of my existence.

I just stood there.

I glanced at the place where the nail was supposed to be. It taunted me with it's rusty shine.

I saw myself yank it from the mud, hobble while they were gone, and drop in by the barn. And warped away.

But if I saw myself here, is there more than one line of time?

I slide to each universe, looking for my equivalent selves, wishing their time and observing their sadness and happiness. That time when I stepped on and stepped back from the nail.

Time is parallel.

...

And on and on and on...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

On Thee Subject O' Shipping : Wishful Matchmaking

Some recent thoughts about the same subject from She-Who-Doesn't-Want-To-Be-Named prompted me to write my own thoughts (I was the acquaintance in the post, woohoo!). Also, give her blogs lots of views and comments and things!

Basically, shipping is wishing. As in, wishing for certain two people (fictional or not) to become a couple in a romantic relationship. So it's a step below active matchmaking. More like passive matchmaking, or wishful matchmaking(?).

The word is usually used in a "fandom" context, which is the general term for the fanatic fan bases of fictional works. Yes, I just described "fans" as "fanatic".

Apparently, I'm the President of the CP Matchmakers Club, by the Founder of the Club, C_____ Thompson (first name removed to protect identity). So I have a lot of expertise regarding this. I did bring a couple into a long term relationship. (But really, that was more of things working out rather than I having some invisible hand in it, I think. Meh. I'll take credit for it).

My friend here, She-Who-Doesn't-Want-To-Be-Named, points out that shipping friends is, well, awkward.
Especially when you are at the receiving end. There goes "So-and-So with So-and-So", and so on. Thing is, people, even our best friends, don't know their own friends that well. Or they are just bad at judging.

Or maybe, the friends don't know who they are shipping you with. They may know you, but they don't know the other person well enough. At least, you know things they don't know. It can range from superficial differences to deep rooted doctrinal belief systems.

Or maybe they do know their friends well, but the "opposites attract" principle actually applies to the people you like. I get tired of people pairing me with short girls, or girls with glasses, or girls with dark hair, or fill in the blank. Just because I am one way doesn't mean I want my future mate to be like that!

Gianna Jensen, an abortion survivor and pro life activist with cerebral palsy, sums it up well. I heard her say the following at the home school convention in Cincinnati. She may be a survivor, but she is a victim of shipping.

My friends would always tell me that they found a great guy for me. He's smart, handsome, etc. whatever.

And the clincher.... he also has cerebral palsy. (Gianna makes a distraught face)

Just because someone is going through the same thing as us doesn't mean we want our future spouse to be going through such things. Maybe we want them to have already overcome those things. Or not have to worry about them. Or we just prefer not to be reminded about ourselves and our shortcomings.

Also, just because a pair are really good friends does not mean they will make a great, or even a good couple. Friends at work, friends at church, or anywhere. They may make a good time, but in the end, you don't want to spend the rest of your life with them. Having romantic notion will kill some friendships. There is a good reason for friendzones. Sometimes, they are just there to preserve that relationship. Personally, I keep girls I like to an acquaintance level before dating them. I do not want to be close friends with them. I will not date any girls that are close friends with me, currently. If I consider you my sister, or something, I definitely will not date you.

It's also coupled by the fact that really good friends sometimes fall for the ones you do like, because they see that person perfect for them, not you. Many a rivalry have been started between friends because of love triangles, simply because the friends were so alike. It makes me sad, bu also, I've experienced friends fall for girls I like enough that I don't have that many close friends who are of the same gender.

It boils down that there are a lot of factors one must consider for that perfect pairing, not only in paper, but naturally, as well. What looks good in theory, will not always work in practice. I guess that's where dating comes in.

I do wish someone would accurately ship me with people I do like. Haha. ;) Also, if I do not recoil from your ship of me and another person, she might have a chance! XD Usually, it would be a person I have not met yet that I would give a chance.

In the end, some of my ships have been wrong. Shipwrecked, as one would say. But looking at the couples today and how happy they are, I'm glad I was wrong. Still, I have a reputation for matchmaking, so... all hands on deck!

To conclude, here are some of my "ships":
Artemis Fowl series: Artemis Fowl and Minerva. I think an Artemis/Holly pairing is way too mainstream.

Doctor Who:
The 10th Doctor and Madame Pompadour. I love Girl in the Fireplace! There is no reason for the Tenth to simply time travel back to take her again to be a companion.

The 10th Doctor and Astrid. If not Madame Pompadour, Astrid is my second ship for the Tenth Doctor.

The 11th Doctor and River. This is canon and OTP (One True Pairing). (I had to look that acronym up, too)

Sherlock (BBC): Sherlock and Molly, hands down.

ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) comic strips: Ace and Christi, of course! Stop being so platonic! (Granted, I don't know anything that happens after the 6th grade PACES)

Real-Life: Initials only for privacy, but you can guess. Ask me privately, and I'll confirm if you are right. There's a mix of church friends, college friends, online friends....
D M and L M.
M S and C M.
J M and A T.
L G and B P.
H S and J G.
E K and R M.
A S and J G.
B P and P K.
J G and T H.
A Y and B J.
Will edit as I think of them.