Monday, February 28, 2011

This is the song that opened up my Australian Identity Class. He described it as so bad that most australians hate the guy who sings it, yet it is a vital piece of Australiana. Thought it worth sharing, because it is that bad. My professor said "Thank God thats over!" when it finished. haha

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Brief Overview

Here is a brief overview of my trip so far, for those of you who want to know what i have done.

1. Plane rides. Long time, small seats, bad food. Standard
2. Arrive in Cairns (pronounced cans)
3. Day at rainforestation. Saw kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, snakes, crocodiles, and dingos. Got to throw a boomerang. Watched indigenous guys play didgeridoo and dance. Tried to play didgeridoo and failed. Took a jungle tour on an army duck vehicle (sweet amphibious vehicles)
4. Whitewater rafting in Cairns. We got flipped and it was wonderful.
5. Community service day in Cairns. We planted 200 trees. Kind of silly but not a bad day regardless.
6. Great Barrier Reef day. Snorkeled twice on the great barrier reef after riding on this super sweet boat out there. I was going to try and do the introductory scuba dive, but they would't let me due to my medicine and sinus infection. However it was still ballin.
7. Flew to sydney and got settled. I have four roommates, three from the states and one from Indonesia. We have no AC and no clothes dryer, but our house is pretty sweet.
8. Got registered and everything at UNSW. Saw all of the university clubs and everything, and got familiar with campus. Also grocery, sheet, and towel shopping. Also went to Powerhouse, Hillsong's wednesday night service for 18-25 year olds.
9. Took my first bus to the middle of the city and set up my bank account stuff. Took the wrong bus home, but ended up at the beach so that was sweet. Then went home. Then i joined the adventure club, the photography club, and of course the ultimate frisbee club. Went to a sweet bbq and some guys house from Hillsong. Met all kinds of people
10. Went to see the city with my roommates. The opera house is really really big and the harbor is beautiful. And the bridge is amazing. I also bought some gelato. Finished the night by relaxing and watching Happy Gilmore.
11. Today I have been a vegetable and have done nothing and just relaxed. Success.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sydney is a big city, and this post doesn't mention it.

     Tonight I went to my second Hillsong event, this one was a barbeque for a “tribe” which is all the people in several “connect” groups. Basically it was like a midsize group gathering. We hung out, had your standard Aussie Sausage sizzle (that’s what a bbq is here, no shrimp, sorry.), and played monopoly deal. Monopoly deal is a super awesome card game that we will definitely all be playing back home.
     Anyways, the reason I mention this is because of who was there. Tonight I met someone from: China, Singapore, Indonesia, Canada, USA, UK, and of course Australia. I also didn’t meet everyone there. It was crazy how diverse this group of people. And then it just hit me; this is the church. All nations, races, peoples joined together under Christ, the head of our beautiful body. It was and is awesome. And it was great to have some friends who just wanted to play games at night for fun instead of drink and party… But seriously God is beautiful.
     More strange things about Australia:
     ·      Phone numbers; they vary in length, from 6 digits to 10 digits. Way strange. It also ruins my mental math post. No area codes.
     ·      Toilets; they don’t have a lever, but instead two buttons on top. What is the difference between each button? I still don’t know.

     ·      Heaps; this is such a great word and they use it for everything. I was with heaps of people tonight having heaps of fun and was heaps full of thankfulness. Hopefully I come back saying it.
     ·      The letter z; the call it zed. Weird.
Ill put some pictures up of my place and stuff soon.

Personally, I am doing ok. I still am not settled and because I don’t do well with transition it has been a little hard. But I am meeting people and getting settled and Jesus is constant so I am getting by. The stress and loneliness will fade even more over the next few days.

I miss everyone back in the states and wish yall were here with me! And for everyone who has sent me an email, if i haven't responded its just cause it got lost in the mayhem. Sorry dudes!

Peace and Joy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Australia 1

Quick Update on my adventures.
1. The first TSA agent who looked at my passport said I looked like Justin Bieber in my picture. Thanks, I guess.
2. On my second flight, my phone fell out of my pocket during takeoff and slid alllllllllll the way down the aisle to the very back of the plane. Some nice people passed it back up to me.
3. Cairns, the city I am currently in, reminds me of everywhere I have traveled in the past 5 years. It feels temperature wise like the Bahamas, the place we are staying is like Mahanaim in Peru (shower heads at shoulder height and all), and the architecture of the city is the same style and colors of an SC beachtown.
4. Interesting Aussie Slang:
chockers – full (of food)
skull – chug
stuffed – broken
sunnies – sunglasses
g’daymatehowyoudoing – greetings friend how are you today?

5. Here’s some pictures:
6. Throwing a boomerang is not like throwing a Frisbee. At all. Quite disappointing. You release it almost vertical. I had one try and I reverted to the oh-so-natural motion of a flick, which caused the boomerang to curve straight up, into the sky, then dive bomb down.
6. Koalas are always asleep, a dingo might have really eaten someone’s baby, wallabies are like miniature kangaroos, and kangaroos don’t like me. I sat down beside one that was laying down and it hopped up and growled/snarled.
7. Didgeridoo native: Internet is slow. Ill upload later
8. I still feel sick. Partly jet lag, partly sinus infection crap, partly strange new place feeling. Hopefully I’ll be healthy soon.
8. I’ll keep everybody posted. I love and miss you all.

God is faithful, more so than me. Too cool.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God -- the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God."

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "After Ten Years",  An essay on what he and others had learned in the ten years since Hitler's ascension to power.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Time Travel and Mental Math

     So here's the deal. I get to travel through time lots these next couple days. Not just the standard forward at a constant rate like we are all used to, but no backwards and forwards at varying speeds. Am I part of a sci-fi novel that is come to life? Maybe a sci-fi novel from the middle ages where airplanes where just as far fetched of an idea as the earth being round. But no, I simply get to sit in a tiny personal space for an extended duration of time as I fly around the earth in a large metal vehicle at really fast speeds. The sun gets to do the disorienting. For those of you who care, and for my own personal stability, here's what time travel looks like for me.

Flight # 1: Greenville to Charlotte.
   Duration: 57 minutes.
   Time Traveled: 57 minutes (into the future)
   Relative to Greenville: Correct
   Level of Disorientation: None

Flight # 2: Charlotte to LAX
   Duration: 5 hours and 28 minutes
   Time Traveled: 2 hours and 28 minutes (into the future)
    Time Relative to Greenville: 3 hours in the past
   Level of Disorientation: Slight

Flight # 3: LAX to Brisbane
   Duration: 14 Hours
   Time Traveled: 33 hours (into the future)
   Time Relative to Greenville: 16 hours ahead
   Time Relative to LAX: 19 hours ahead
   Level of Disorientation: Fully

Flight # 4: Brisbane to Cairns
   Duration: Don't care
   Time Traveled: Too confused to care
   Time Relative to Greenville: 16 hours ahead of me caring
   Level of Disorientation: Shouldn't I be eating dinner instead of breakfast....?

So there you go. I travel 3 hours backwards, then 19 hours forwards all while time is really moving forward. I spend a  total of 22 hours 45 minutes (real time) on an actual airplane. And finally, I end up 46 hours in the future (from 2ish Greenville time on the 15th to 12ish Cairns time on the 17th.)

My mind is preparing to be boggled.

Oh, and eventually I get to come home and leave Sydney at 1 in the afternoon and arrive in LAX at 9:45 the same morning. That is when I will really be screwed.

Now, for some math.

Let x and y be integers. 
Let a and b be integers as well. 
It follows by the properties of binomial multiplication that:
     (x + a) (y + b) = xy + ya + xb + ab 
By the properties of equality, it holds that:
     (x + a) (y + b) - ya - xb - ab = xy

What does this mean? Basically, it is binomial multiplication using variables, basic math that you did in algebra 1. (Think (x +3) * (x + 4) [which is x^2 +7x +12 by the way.]) How could this possibly be used and why on earth did I think about it?
Well, I was trying to multiply 49 times 49 in my head earlier. 49 times 49 is hard to do mentally, however 50 times 50 is easy: 2500. I knew there was a way to quickly get  back to 49 times 49, and it is shown in the proof.

49 * 49 = 50 * 50 - 49 - 49 -1
49 * 49 = 2500 - 99
49* 49 = 2401

Easy. No calculator necessary. 

Why was I trying to do 49 * 49 in my head? Well, if you really want to know, I was wondering if Australia needed area codes for their phone numbers. The number of possible combinations of phone numbers is just 10 ^ 7, which is 10000000 or ten million. Which alone is enough to tell me that they need at least three area codes (population ~ 22 million.) But then I started thinking about all the numbers they couldn't use. You can't start a phone number with 0 (at least I have never seen one), the triple 5s are  reserved for the entertainment industry, and whatever three digit emergency number can't start a phone number, ect. Which leaves 7 choices for the first three digits apiece. I figured for the forth I would use another 7 to take out anything else i forgot, then multiply by 1000 for the last three digits. Leaving 2401000 (2.4 million) numbers in one area code. Anyways, Thats why I started trying to calculate 49 * 49. 

If you followed all of that (the thought process more than the math), we should hang out more. (If you followed the math, you get props for understanding algebra, mental math, and jargon.)

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the mind of this time traveling math major.

Friday, February 11, 2011

7 months till football....

But in the meanwhile be jealous of this guy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Points of Interest

1. I am not in Clemson anymore and despite the fact that I will not be in Australia for a little less than a week, on the off chance anyone sees me it is unnecessary to say, "Why are you here man!" or "What are you doing here" or even "Back so soon?" I promise I am leaving.

2. The first Superbowl has finally been found on video. And, surprise, the NFL is demanding that it is their property.

3. I played frisbee for the first time in over a month two nights ago. It was great.

4. Clemson might make the NCAA Tournament this year. I am completely shocked. Brownell is solid.

5. Galatians 6: 14

6. Bump sinus infections, hooray antibiotics.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A real halftime show. Just in case anyone forgot how it should be done.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Weight of Grace

The weight of grace really struck me yesterday. Fully and completely. The night before I found myself asking to be overwhelmed with the idea of grace, specifically to be strangled in grace. I thought the juxtaposition of strangle with grace was kinda funny, though realistic and desirable. I felt underwhelmed. But grace is central, and I knew/know it. So I asked to feel its weight, its magnitude, and its purpose. It was a simple thing to ask. And it was simply given.
The magnitude of grace is enormous and changing. It removes fear, removes pain, and provides perspective. For grace does not and did not come cheap, but came at the price of death, so that I might be freed from the fear of death and everything underneath death's reign. Yet it was freely given to me.
And the best part about grace is that is a sign and a symptom of love.
The result of this is simple, I don't feel nervous, anxious, or afraid. About Australia, or about the rest of whatever I spend time worrying about. Compared the size of the hope of Christ and the weight of grace, nothing seems to matter.

This seems fitting:
Hebrews 13:6 "...I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

as does this:

Galatians 6:14 "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

Song of the moment:
I Want to Be Well - Sufjan Stevens

A close second:
Big Country - Béla Fleck and the Flecktones

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First they came for the Socialists, and i did not speak out-
because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade unionists, And i did not speak out-
because I was not a Trade Unionist.
They they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a Jew.
And then they came for me-
and there was no one left to speak for me.

-Martin Niemöller, on the Nazis and the church and intellectual community's lack of action.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I came across this (in context) in a book. Thought it was a freakin' awesome word.

niggle |ˈnigəl|verb [ intrans. ]cause slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort, or anxiety : a suspicionniggled at the back of her mind | [as adj. ] ( niggling) niggling aches and pains.[ trans. ] find fault with (someone) in a petty way : colleagues say he loved to niggle and criticize people.nouna trifling complaint, dispute, or criticism.

Isaiah 9: 1-7

Do it.