Monday, February 27, 2006


The title: I've now officially crossed the 15,000 visitor mark on my blog. wow

The high dive certification on Thursday went well. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s where we get to go up in the 727-200 simulator (the nicer one the seniors usually fly) and they simulate an explosive decompression at 35,000ft. The air is so thin up there that you have about 10 seconds of useful consciousness before you become hypoxic and black out. During that 10 seconds, your cheeks flutter as your breath explodes out of you, your eardrums burst, your eyeballs bulge out, and all sorts of other unpleasant things as your body fights to hold itself together while equalizing pressure with the outside world. I’m told that it is an incredible amount of pain, but they didn’t actually depressurize us. During that painful 10 seconds you have, you have to reach behind you and grab the oxygen mask, slam it on your face and turn it on (and they did put us on real tanked oxygen so we could see what it was like). Then you check in with the other two crewmembers to make sure they’re ok and start an emergency dive down to 10,000ft, where the air is breathable. You dive at the “barber pole” speed, which is a moving bar on the airspeed indicator that tells you the speed not to exceed or risk structural damage to the aircraft (it moves because it’s dependant on the speed of sound, which varies with altitude). Pretty exciting. It was also cool because of how much better the -200 sim is (it even simulates the motion of the plane settling when you bring it to a stop on the ground like your car settles back when you stop at a light). Little touchy on the ground steering though, tended to throw us around a little bit if we didn’t use the tiller (kind of like a quarter of a steering wheel used for taxi) just right.

As of right now, there are only 29.5 hours left in our annual celebration of Facial Hair February. Sadly, this is likely the last time I’ll be able to participate because I’m hoping to have job interviews next year. Ordinarily, that’s not such a big deal (yes, guys have gotten jobs without having to shave mid-month for their interviews), but the airlines want interviewees to be in a position that they could start work right then if hired, and any facial hair apart from a mustache is banned because it would interfere with the seal of the oxygen mask I mentioned above. As I was thinking about what I’m going to do in the hair department at the end of the month, I briefly considered opening it up to a public vote via comments on here, but then I realized that it wouldn’t work because the only votes would be for mutton chops by Amy Schott (which I am not considering because: a. I can’t stand them, and b. I couldn’t really pull them off anyway) and for a mullet by Edgar (which is totally out of the question, but my willingness to make a deal that if “he grows a mullet, I’ll shave my head” still stands). As always, you’re free to offer opinions because I’m certainly not going to discourage comments, but no mob rule today. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see me this month, here’s a picture taken a couple hours ago:

In other news, the test I had on Friday in my 727 Systems class went better than I thought. It was one of those things where I was up until 3am studying the night before, didn’t feel very prepared, and didn’t have a great feeling about it when I walked out, but then I was pleasantly surprised. The test that I was up late studying for last night got moved to Wednesday, so I have an extra couple of days to improve my study sheet and get to know the material better. I also have a paper to write for that class this week, which makes me sad because I’ve managed to do so well in the paper department over the last three years at Purdue. As much as some of you will hate me for it, the paper I wrote last week and this one this week are the first two papers I’ve had to do here. Yeah, community college rocks…

In AT320 last week (my High Performance Aircraft class), the professor wanted us to understand what went into the making of things out of composites (the new big thing in aviation materials because they’re incredibly lightweight and are as strong as steel), so he took us over to Purdue’s Advanced Composites Laboratory to make our very own composite rulers. Yep, that’s right folks; I now have a carbon fiber composite ruler. A few of us are guessing they cost about $50 each in materials. We took sheets of graphic fiber cloth and cut them into 10x3 segments at various angles and sandwiched them together, then we baked them in a vacuum at 600 degrees for 24 hours and trimmed them down to size. Mine isn’t perfectly straight because of the way we trimmed it, but it’s close enough and pretty cool. To give you an idea of how tough this stuff is (keep in mind that our rulers were made from 6-layers of the cloth), if you make a composite of 16 layers, you have the leading edge of the Space Shuttle’s wings. Yeah, this same stuff, not even 3 times as thick, is enough to protect the Shuttle on reentry. So I could probably toss my ruler from space and it’d survive the trip down. However, if they don’t cure quiet perfectly in the oven, you’re in trouble. Take for example the composite diving board Professor Kroes made for his pool when they first built the lab at Purdue; shortly after they installed it, Prof. Nolan was over taking a swim and goes to jump off the board, jumps once, twice, and……CRAACKKK…..the board snaps in half. Poor Nolan…

Before I do some actual research for my paper, I’ll be nice and give you guys a couple of links (which is, as we all know, the real reason you’re here):

First, the Microsoft Origami project. What it is, we don’t really know for sure. Early hints indicate that it’s a tiny TabletPC with integrated GPS, Bluetooth, EVDO (wireless internet over the cell networks), all-day (think 8 hours or so) battery life, and potentially a sub-$800 price point. Here’s a teaser trailer that’s leaked out onto the web a few days before they officially announce what it is (Microsoft is now claiming the video is a couple of years old and they’ll only be showing an example of the technology, but I’m hoping there will be an actual device like this in the next few months) (if the video is jerky, pause it for a few seconds to let it buffer):

Because today’s third link is a reinterpretation of the original Trogdor video from Homestarrunner, I thought I might refresh your memory on the original first:

Now, the new Trogdor video someone made (I don’t know who made it, but they used clips from the movie Dragonheart set to the music)(my Windows Media Player gave an error when I tried to play it, but it still worked when I hit Ok):

Thursday, February 23, 2006

High Dive

I have my High Dive Certification test this afternoon. Should be kinda fun because we're in the -200 sim (much nicer than the -100), but it's also going to be really hard. Please pray for me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Heard from Purv...

An AIM transcript:

Adam Purvis: Lets just say......
Me: yeah?
Adam Purvis: .....
Me: come on man
Adam Purvis: You'll probably get a tan for a few weeks over the summer

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I talked with Adam Purvis on the phone a few hours ago. He applied to the same Summer Project as I did (Desert Rivers) and got the call that he was accepted this afternoon. Apparently the guy he talked to asked if my voicemail message was kind of weird (which it is), saying that he'd called me and left a message. The problem is that my cell phone insists that I have not missed any calls and when I call my voicemail it says I have no messages (I'm getting increasingly dissatisfied with Cingular, because this has happened a handful of times over the last few years and it usually takes a couple of days to get the original message, if ever). So after a few hours of waiting for the message to come in, I called Purv and had him give me the guy's number so I could just call him and explained I never got his message. Just my luck; I got his voicemail. So I left a message explaining the situation and hopefully he'll be calling me back soon. Adam sounded like he was excited but trying to hide it for when he calls, so I think this is good news. In any case, Purv said that if I hadn't heard back by midnight (half hour away), which is still a reasonable time of night where this guy is located (California), then he'll tell me himself if I got accepted or not.
In any case, please remember to keep praying that they change the length of the project back to the original 6 weeks to make our time there really worth the airfare to get to the Middle East.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Bird Strike! and "Pride and Prejudice"

’91 Honda Rustbucket – 1
Adult Red-Tailed Hawk – 0

After I finished with my second church of the morning (which went very well, stayed awake and all sermons were good, although the Kossuth Street pastor was out of town for a family emergency. See last post if you have no idea what I’m talking about), I went to lunch at Earhart (made to order chocolate-chip pancakes!) and gave Blue (Rebecca) a ride back to McCutcheon. On the way there, we were going about 35mph on State Street and all of a sudden BAM!, something HIT MY CAR. Even scarier; it hit the upper left corner of my windshield, so there was no way to see it coming through the roof of the car and was right in front of me. In a flash of brown it was gone and we were confused out of our minds. Blue was looking out the window as I parked in front of McCutcheon and determined that it must have been a bird that hit us. When we walked back to the site, we found a Papa Johns delivery guy on the phone with the DNR and standing over a Red-Tailed Hawk on the side of the road. As soon as he told them where to find it, he left to go deliver his pizzas while we stood there and looked at it. The good news is that it ended up right next to the curb, so there wasn’t much danger of more cars hitting it as they drove by (and of course we weren’t going to move it even if it was in the middle of the road, because you just don’t touch birds, especially birds of prey). It was obviously quite hurt, although there weren’t any gaping wounds visible or a lot of blood (just a few drops out of the beak). By the time the DNR guy showed up about a half hour later, the bird had breathed its last. He put on some special gloves, and after checking to make sure it was dead he picked it up and gave it a little examination. He said that neither of its wings were broken, and there were no apparent wounds (like I mentioned before), so we’re guessing it broke its neck on impact with my car. It was an absolutely beautiful adult specimen and he thought they might stuff it for display at a state park or something (makes me sad that it’s illegal to own feathers or other parts of raptors unless they are for a religious purpose, because I would have loved to have one of those feathers). Why it hit my car, I don’t know; maybe it was sick or messed up in the head or didn’t notice us coming as it dove for some prey. For all I know we might have just saved the life of one of our precious Purdue squirrels…

My busy evening went well, although I’m going to miss being able to stay for more than the first half hour of action group because I have to leave early for my Freiburg meeting at 8pm. Judging from the way we interacted as a team last night, I get the feeling that spending spring break overseas with that group should be, shall we say, interesting (and I mean that in a good/hilarious way). We still haven’t had much chance to get to know people, but I can tell people are picking up on the usual Chip-Fack-Pauline-Me banter really fast.

On the way back from Prayer & Praise I was able to share less-than-popular opinion with the ARK (Amy-Ruth-Kathy) girls on our entertainment Friday night. As a bit of background, for a period of several months they’ve been twisting the arms of Eddie, JChen, and I into seeing Pride and Prejudice with them and it was showing Friday night at Fowler. So after Cru a large group of us found ourselves scattered around the theater attempting to follow fast-paced Old English dialogue. After the movie got done Amy spent the ride from Fowler over to Harrison Grille attempting to pry my opinion of the movie out of me, but I would only say that I wanted to think about it before I said anything. It would be safe to say that my thoughts, when I finally shared them Sunday night, didn’t go over very well. In brief summary (and I suspect largely due to the attempt to translate such a large novel/6-hr BBC series into a 2-hr film, but it’s entirely possible the novel also suffers from the same problems, I can only speak for the movie because it’s all I’ve seen/read and should be evaluated as such):

  1. Because of the large amounts of events/details/subplots going on in the highly complex storyline and the lack of clear connections between all of them, the plot as a whole seemed convoluted or, at times, downright schizophrenic.
  2. Apparently the movie is supposed to span a series of several months (or longer), but there is no clear sense of the passage of time. Apart from a very rare mention in the dialogue that someone’s been somewhere for a month or similar time marker, there’s no way to tell if a scene is separated from the next by a matter of hours, days, weeks, or longer.
  3. The love story itself, which is apparently the main focus of all this chaos, feels about as believable as that of Anakin and Padme/Amidala in Episode II (Star Wars). For those of you unversed with that movie, it is notorious for going from him as brooding, moody teenager obsessed with her and her barely tolerating him to them both wildly in love (and he’s still a brooding, moody teenager) without any visible movement from one to the other (the only scenes that make the love subplot even remotely believable can only be found in the “Deleted Scenes” section of the DVD, but I digress). Pride and Prejudice felt largely the same way.

On a more technical note, the mixing of the music/dialogue was often done in such a way as to have the music partially drowning out the dialogue so that it was even more difficult to follow than it would otherwise have been (I can understand spoken Old English just fine, if I can hear it (actually, it's not technically "Old" English, but a relatively early form of Modern English)).

The responses the girls offered to my reasons for saying I didn’t care for it essentially boiled down to “well, you should watch the 6-hr BBC version/read the book.” But, as Tiller so aptly pointed out the other night, I wasn’t asked to evaluate the BBC version or the book, I was asked my opinion of the movie. If to understand or appreciate a film, one must consult a rendering 3x as long or a novel that would take even longer to read, one can conclude that the film cannot stand on its own and is therefore only “poor” at best. Granted, the other sources can be used to enhance one’s understanding/appreciation (as it did for the ARK girls to the point that they were able to fill in all the discrepancies mentioned earlier without even thinking about it), but a movie simply must be able to stand on its own merit.

As a humorous side note before I leave the topic, when I mentioned to my Mom on Saturday that they’d twisted our arms into going, she said she wished she’d known in advance so she could strongly admonish us not to go because it’s “too much of a chick flick.” Even funnier, when I mentioned that comment to the ARK girls, they immediately attempted to argue that because it comes from a piece of “great” literature, it doesn’t count as a chick flick! (an argument that flies in the face of the definitions of “chick flick” provided by Wikipedia (where it is even listed as a specific example of the genre), Encarta, the Cambridge Dictionary Online, and is regarded as such by my Mom, Tiller, Natalie Samples, both of my roommates, Amy Chen, Rebecca, and others).

And now for a shout-out to Rebecca and Amy Chen, who just paid me a completely random visit here at the AvTech Library (I’m at work) while I was typing this. Just one more thing to add onto an already good day (you know, when your first two classes of the day are cancelled so you don’t actually have anything until 1:30, it makes for a very relaxing start to the day).

In other news, a friend of mine has the first season of Hogan’s Heroes, a classic TV show from the same era as Gilligan’s Island on DVD and I’ve been working my way through it. I used to watch it when I was little and they had it on daytime TV, but I hadn’t seen it in years and had forgotten just how funny it was. Yeah, let me know if you want to join me for an episode or two sometime.

Ok, time to get some actual work done around the library and then meet Chris Rausch for dinner…

Saturday, February 18, 2006

How’s this for a weekend?

Chip has a Turkish friend through the grad school that he’s been getting to know and hoping to share the gospel with (although he hasn’t yet), and the guy just up and asked Chip the other day if he goes to church and if he’d be willing to take him with sometime. Chip said yes (rather enthusiastically, I might add). So because this guy had never seen how Christian brothers interact, Chip got Shane, Fack, Bliggy, and I to come with them to Calvary Baptist’s Saturday service with plans to go out to dinner at a Turkish restaurant afterwards. Well, the dinner thing fell through, but the guy did say that the sermon answered a lot of questions he’s been asking the last few days and wants to come back (yay!!!).

When the rest of us met up for dinner later, Chip told me that the pastor at Kossuth Street Baptist is starting a sermon series on Luke tomorrow that’s supposed to be really insanely good. Even though I won’t be able to attend in future weeks (because of sound commitments at ECC), he’s managed to convince me to go to the 8am service with him to see what it’s like (and if I like it I can get MP3s of the rest of the series off their website). Then Chip and I will split up and he’ll go back to Calvary for the rest of the morning and I’ll go to ECC for Sunday School and the later service there.

Yeah, three different church services within a 24 hour span! Not to mention Sunday School, Action Group (a meeting of Cru cell group leaders in the Quad), a Freiburg team meeting, and Prayer & Praise later in the day. Pretty crazy, huh?

As for Perelandra, over the last couple of days I’ve been able to talk about the pros and cons of the Saron-vs.-upgrade question (see last post) with Tiller, Chip, and Fack and they’ve all expressed agreement with my thoughts and the Station Manager’s official decision. As excited as we all are about the sensitivity the CSS-TRIO array has shown so far, we’re going to go ahead with those upgrades instead of starting further research on the Saron band. Like I mentioned before, the earliest we expect to be up and running again is shortly after spring break, but it could take longer depending on how things come together. We’re hoping to pick up right where we left off on Saron, but there’s too much work to get done between now and then to make any reliable predictions.

Ok, now to bed so I don’t fall asleep in church tomorrow…

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Hundred

It’s now been a week since that fateful phone call from Chip I last blogged about. While the decision was made last Friday morning, I haven’t actually gotten around to mentioning it on here yet: I’m going. After all that time thinking and praying about it and talking with other people, it became pretty clear to me that this is what God wants me to do with my spring break. So thank you for all of your prayers, thoughts, and thought-provoking questions that helped me have assurance about this.

In other news, today has been substantially better than most of the rest of this week for me. For various reasons I won’t go into, I have been emotionally drained down to about zero in the course of the last week. Several of you probably noticed my “blah” state the last few days because of it; I just didn’t have the emotional energy to express my interest in other people’s lives, support them, or have an attitude of joy in my own life. I was able to spend some time talking with Chip last night about everything, and after a little venting about what was going on, confessing some attitudes aggravating the situation, and praying together about it, things started to get better. I felt more rested than usual this morning and after some praying and worshiping as I showered and got dressed, I was able to spend some time with Him over breakfast and the effect has been powerful. God really revitalized me this morning and man, that makes a huge difference on your day.

On Tuesday I hosted the Third Annual Singles Awareness Day Party down in Meredith and it was a huge success. As a point of background, a couple of years ago I realized that there were way too many Cru people sitting alone in their rooms on “V-Day,” so I decided to put something together so single people had something to do. In the past we’ve had a good time doing things like watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 and playing GoldenEye/Halo, but attendance was pretty low. This year attendance went up 575% to a peak of 23 and we had a great time watching a movie and playing games afterwards. BTW, the movie of the night was a Robert Redford flick from ’92 called Sneakers and it was pretty funny, so I’d recommend it if you want something to watch (Sarah was kind enough to suggest it and then bring the tape back from home so we could borrow it instead of having to rent something). One sad note was that I had to explain to Dustin (with great remorse) that he wasn’t welcome at the party this year, even though he’s been a staple at the S.A.D. Party in the past. Then again, the reason he wasn’t welcome is that he is now in a relationship (the only requirement to get in is that you have to be single), so I don’t really feel sorry at all about turning him away because he’s got a really awesome girlfriend. In any case, the party was a big success and I think people enjoyed having things to do. Three notable absences that night were the ARK girls (Amy/Ruth/Kathy), but you’ll have to hit the link over to Amy’s blog to find out why (see the links section to the right of your screen).

Seeing as how it’s been forever since I gave you a Perelandra update (I think the last one was in October), I might as well bring you up to speed. Last I mentioned it, we were in the midst of competing with another station about trying to establish contact on the “Betry” channel. Not very long after that update, our Station Manager decided the lack of any promising results weren’t worth spending any more of our resources on, so the plug was pulled on that project (incidentally, the other station managed to get a pretty reliable signal and has been communicating at about 36kpbs since sometime toward the end of Christmas break, so congrats to them). At the start of the year we shut down the station completely for about 3 weeks to upgrade some components and have been operating at a reduced capacity since then. Even though we have some more upgrades to do (and might have to go through another complete shutdown for an even longer time to install them sometime in the near future) and the ones we just installed aren’t perfectly tuned yet, we’ve still managed to detect a previously unknown channel using the new CSS-TRIO array. Preliminary analysis seems to be indicating that this new “Saron” channel is giving us better signal quality than Betry (we’re even getting an occasional “ping” reply!), but doesn’t necessarily have the same potential for a wide-bandwidth connection farther down the road. Right now the Station Manager is going over our data and the reports on our findings so far and is deciding if we should go after this one or wait to decide until after those upgrades I was mentioning earlier. If we go for the upgrades, we’ll probably be shutting down until after spring break at the earliest while we install some components and wait for others to arrive. The good side of that is that they would be some pretty significant upgrades, but the bad side is that we can’t realistically shorten the amount of time they would take to do. So basically we’re just waiting for a decision to be made before we start sending out stronger signals or shutting things down.

Some of you actually still reading at this point might be wondering why this post is entitled “The Hundred.” Quite simply, this is my 100th blog since I made my first post back on the 5th December, 2004 (where I explained that I’d only signed up for blogger so I could comment on friends’ blogs, I didn’t start actually blogging until February 26th of last year). A hundred posts in a year, that’s averaging slightly better than a post every 4 days! (and this, from the guy who hates to write)

Anyway, I should get this posted so I can head back to the Quad and watch Smallville with Purv, GE, and King Richie (as is our weekly tradition). Ok, fine, I’ll give you two links to go along with this 100th of posts:
What could I possibly link to that’d be appropriate for today? Hmmm…what better than the 100th Strong Bad Email? (coming to you in exclusive "Huge Screen" SWF mode)
And, just for kicks, one of the funniest Strong Bad emails ever: VIRUS!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Need Some Prayer

Ok, something HUGE has happened that I need some prayer about. I'm completely reeling from shock over what's happened. I know some of you will give me trouble for updating the blog when I haven't even started the homework I have due in my 10:30am class (it's currently about 1am), but if it makes you feel any better I copied the explanation of all of this out of an email I wrote earlier this evening to some friends. Anyways, PLEASE be praying for me and I'll be sure to let you know once things are decided. So here's what's going on:

As you may or may not know, my plan for this spring break was (up until a few hours ago) to go home, work, and relax a little bit. I had about a 95% certainty that would be the case, with maybe a 4% chance of God providing out of nowhere for Big Break like he did last year, and a less than 1% chance of what's just happened tonight.

When Chip told me at Christmas Conference that the Claytons had asked him and Shane to be in charge of the Freiburg trip, I had a gut reaction (totally not a God thing, just a feeling in the back of my mind) of "oh crap, somehow I'm going to end up in Germany." Again, that was just a gut reaction. What it did was prompt me to pray about it a little because I hadn't already and as a result I came up with some pretty firm thoughts that I said to God, my family, and any friends I talked with about it. Basically, I've committed to dedicating all my resources to Summer Project (especially fundraising), so if God were to suddenly drop an envelope full of money in my mailbox, I'd use it for project. If God were to drop an envelope with $1400 in German currency, I'd take the hint and consider going to Germany over spring break. The idea was that He'd have to provide in a way that I clearly couldn't also use for project before I'd even consider doing anything for spring break.

Well, I don't have any German currency in my hands; but metaphorically that's exactly what's happened. This evening I got a call from Chip explaining that through a diverse set of circumstances, God has provided all the funding needed for me to join the Freiburg trip. Are you shocked yet? I know that at that point I was absolutely reeling (I still am).

So he explained it all to me and I gave my parents a call. Once they were assured that it was all on the up-and-up and the money was actually there, they said they had no reason for me not to go (something of a surprise in and of itself, I was expecting them to have more reservations). So I talked with Chip some more about the exact details and now I need to give him a "pretty sure" answer by mid-afternoon Friday and a definite answer by Monday morning.

Keep in mind that I'm not necessarily even all that interested in going to Germany over break (skipping classes and major jet lag being among the reasons not to go), so this is completely out of nowhere. My go/no-go personal opinions are all about 50/50 right now, but I certainly can't ignore this not-so-subtle hint of God providing the money. I don't want to make this kind of decision without a lot of prayer. So basically I need you to pray that God would make it clear to me through prayer if I should go to Germany or not and that He would do it by the deadline tomorrow. As a side note, this "hint" is strong enough that I'm running on the game plan that unless He says otherwise, I'll be going to Germany; but I still want to be really sure through prayer about all of it.

Thanks again for your prayers in all of this. Now, onto my AT 322 pressurization homework…

Monday, February 06, 2006


While the Cru women were gone on Women's Retreat, the guys got together at ECC and celebrated the second annual BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat). Some highlights:
My U.S.D.A Choice grade, 1.25lb T-Bone steak:
Shortly thereafter:
A tray of meat headed for the grill:
Edgar taking a shot at Carpetball:
If you look carefully, you can see the blurred bball that was just thrown:
Garet on his way to a swirly:
Yes, they actually gave him one:
Joe closing his eyes while throwing in dodgeball:
Bliggy just after the throw:
Edgar, Dustin, and I:
And a bonus picture from when we watched a movie in Windsor the night before, Courtney, Dustin, and I:

Ok, as a double bonus I'm even going to give you links to my two favorite commercials from teh Superbowl last night.
First, my top favorite commercial (too bad it's for beer): "Magic Fridge" -Bud Light
Second, "Stick" -FedEx

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Creative Dates #2 and #3

We must be nuts.
In the course of one week, my cell group managed to have three creative dates. The first one, which I've already told you about, was with the Windsor Monday cell group, the second was with the Windsor Wednesday group on Wednesday evening, and the third we had with Shreve on Saturday.

We planned to have our creative date with Windsor on the same night and time as their usual cell group so that as many girls as possible would be able to come. Because most of our guys were either on their way to Cary from other things or helping prepare the food, I went to walk the girls over from Windsor by myself. While we were waiting for the last few girls to show up, the girls asked about our plans for the evening and some expressed concern that Matt Chupp was the master chef in charge of dinner. I promised them that he would do a good job and not mess up spaghetti and, thankfully, I was right (I never doubted his cooking skills, but it would have looked bad if something had gone wrong after I promised it'd be good). I wasn't able to walk the girls all the way to the Music Room in Cary East where we were eating because Chris had a really bad headache and we had to stop by my room for some Advil, but I was able to call ahead and have Sean Valencourt come to the loading dock to walk them the rest of the way.

After a nice spaghetti dinner with garlic bread, I brought out my special surprise dessert that I'd been hinting at all evening. Clad in aluminum foil to keep its nature secret, I regaled the group with the tale of how their dessert had been personally brought to the United States by my parents on an 8-hour flight from Europe. Then I proceeded to unwrap the foil and show to the room the two bars of 70% Cacao European dark chocolate I was holding. After giving instructions to those who didn't know the proper way to each dark chocolate (and yes, there actually is a right way) for maximum enjoyment, I proceeded to pass them around so each person could take a couple of squares. For most, the chocolate was a big hit, and for a couple of others the part of the right technique of having it in small amounts was completely lost:
What you see here is Keri Bias with a whole square in her mouth:

Here is a similar picture of Justin:
Sean about to join them (I doubt there was any coincidence that all three people who committed this grievous crime were all sitting together): After dessert I stayed back with Sean and Matt Chupp to finish the cleanup while everyone else headed over to the CoRec to play some Wallyball. Sadly, a couple of the guys and about half the girls had other commitments that evening, so only a small group was able to come play with us. We played three or four games and had a lot of fun with the group that was able to come. Here are the faithful eight who stayed until the end of the date:

Jumping ahead a few days (past the weirdness of my Friday night plans and duct-taping Mike), we had our creative date with the Shreve cell group. Unlike Windsor and Cary, which have cell groups on multiple nights of the week, Shreve people all meet together on one night and then split up into smaller groups for actual Bible study time. That meant that we were going to have a big date, possibly 15-20 girls alone, much less the guys of my group. Because some of our guys weren't able to come (slackers), we recruited a couple of random Cary guys from other cell groups like Jonny Sieber (the pirate), John Cobb (my roommate), Mike, Cromer, and one or two others to join us so we wouldn't be quite so terribly outnumbered. As it turned out, there were 17 girls and 13 guys in attendance.

Because we didn't even want to think about the logistics of cooking for a group that size, we decided to have an event we had brainstormed on at Christmas Conference called Dress-Up Dining Hall. Everyone dressed up for the evening with the guys all wearing nice shirts and ties (we said no sport coats, but Jonny and Mike wore them anyway). After a tie-tying frenzy in the last few minutes before we left the Quad for the guys who either hadn't had time or didn't know how to tie a tie (guilty on both counts), we headed for Shreve. I have a strong feeling that anybody seeing us around that evening thought we were all Greeks, because you really never see groups of guys roaming around all dressed up unless they're doing something with their frat.
We met the girls in the Shreve lobby, and after basic introductions we walked over to Earhart Dining Court where a couple of our guys had gone ahead to prepare one of the back rooms for our private use. Some pictures of the group:
Table 1: Table 2:
After dinner, we went back over to Shreve to play games in the vending lobby behind the main office. Everyone split into smaller groups for games like Uno and Catchphrase, and then after a while we consolidated into one big group for a game of French Charades. For the sake of time, I won't try to explain the game here, but you can think of it as a cross behind Charades and Telephone (the game kids play where a message is whispered in people's ears as it's passed around a room and usually ends up wildly distorted by the time it reaches the last person). Only a couple people in the room had every played it before, but they all caught on really quickly and it was a riot. After we finished the game we declared the evening a success and headed back to Cary. A couple of shots:
A group picture before the games started:
The silly shot:
Jenga! Waiting for our turn in the hotseat during French Charades:
All eyes on me as I walk in the room (Kelly, center, is about to act out the three skits):
Kenny acting:
Matt acting:
Carrie acting:

In other news, yesterday was the official start of the annual tradition of Facial Hair February (aka "FebruHairy"). As some of you may remember from last year, FebruHairy dates back many, many years for Cru guys in the Quad and in the recent past has spread around to include guys all over Cru. The official rules (unchanged for at least the last two years, possibly longer) state that: "Don't shave your face for the entire month of February. Exceptions are same as in the past: 1) If your neck hair connects with your chest hair, by all means shave the point of connection, 2) If the upper cheek region is chaotic, you can shave it." Because I hopefully won't be able to participate next year ("hopefully" because I'm hoping to have job interviews), I'm definitely doing it this year. There is now a Facebook group with nearly 50 members for the guys participating and Amy Schott just started the "Women In Support of Facial Hair February" group for girls to join. Expect pictures at the end of the month.

Today's links brought to you by Google Video (and Josh Weis, who pointed these particular clips out to me):

Ghostly car commercial (watch as the car goes behind a tree and disappears). According to the description, the best part is that you can even hear the cameraman whispering in the background about it near the end of the clip (you have to really turn up the volume for it):

The second link is a guy complaining about Mac computers. As you all know, I'm no fan of Macs, I consider them counter-intuitive and vastly overpriced. This clip rings very true in my experience with, as I call it, "Macintrash." LANGUAGE WARNING: There are a few profanities in the middle of his rant, so don't watch it if that's enough to spoil your enjoyment of the whole thing:

This video is just plain funny to all technophiles. Mocks the iPod fad with something called the iPod Flea:

Ok, one more before I resume studying for my test today (for the record, I wrote this post yesterday, but didn't get a chance to upload the last few pictures and post till this morning). This one is quite possibly most hilarious to college-age guys, but some friends and I all consider it a riot. So, here you have it: "Somethings that women can't do in public."