Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Oh, and here's to Days Just Packed with watching football and making cool logo designs that make my team look good even if we lose.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I was hit by a wave of inspiration. Avatar: Pretty much the grown-up, sci-fi version of Disney's Pocahontas. It's true! The more technologically-advanced people travel to a new world in search of precious minerals. These people consider the natives to be savages and don't seem to have any problems with destroying them or their world in order to get what they want. A soldier (John Smith) attempts to get to know them and understand them and finds out that they have their own technology by way of their connection with the world around them. The natives answer to a tree spirit (Grandmother Willow). The soldier falls in love with one of the natives and eventually ends up taking their side. Don't get me wrong, the underlying message, if taken in this way, is good. Respect others, respect their lands and way of life, respect nature, etc. I know that it's been forever since I've seen it, but this just might also line up pretty well with Ferngully. Seems like it would.
Had I not seen these movies as a child, I may have enjoyed Avatar a little more-- or maybe not; I don't know. As it was, the plot "just ok" and I was really sad that my little TV wasn't able to give me the 3-D effects that would have made it a little better.
Anyway, that's just my take on it. It was a very symbolic movie, and there were several different ways to interpret it. I've heard a few other interpretations, but they aren't nearly as nice!
Inception: Now THERE's a GOOD movie! I just saw it the other night at the theater. Amazing! Go watch it.
Here's to Days Just Packed watching movies like Inception and not Avatar (even though you have to watch a few crappy movies too just so you appreciate the really good ones!)
Friday, August 20, 2010
I often show up to work in the morning, fire up my computer, pour a cup of coffee, and start up Pandora. Pandora can be summed up in one word:
Yes, I love my Pandora account because I can go there, pick a station I have custom made to fit a certain style of music, and then just let it play in the background as I work. The only times I ever really have to mess with it is to pause when someone comes into my office to talk, to tell it I really don't like the song it picked out (not likely), or to tell it that it should play more songs like the one it just played (I usually only do this enough times for it to get the idea).
I have 18 different Pandora stations. I know that my title said "More than 31 flavors," but I lied-- 31 sounds better. Anyway, picking a station to listen to in the morning is like asking myself, "Hmmm...what flavor should I pick today?" Like picking out ice cream, it really depends on my mood and how I feel. For example, this week's menu included dixieland/jazz today, gypsy punk/ska on Thursday, the kind of stuff you hear at Starbucks on Wednesday, "old vocals" like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Perry Como (<----odd one out?) on Tuesday, and Monday was 80's music. I'm surprised that the musical side of my brain hasn't been turned into blended mush with all the different kinds of music I throw at it.
For the curious, my current favorite is the Starbucks blend. It's really catchy, but still relaxing. I can tap my foot, but it's not hard-driving rock or chair-bouncing jazz. I give it my "Best Flavor for the Workplace" rating. Speaking of work...
Here's to Days Just Packed with the many flavors of music! (just not all mixed together at once, because a "music blendie" may be a horrible, horrible thing).
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I know that this past March I finished off that chapter in my life, and I even made a blog post about it. I "turned the page" so to speak, but I also "didn't close the book." The best stories are the ones that continue to be told even if the following chapters follow a different direction. I know it sounds geeky, but this week was one of reflection for me. I flipped back a few pages and looked back at some of the greatest memories I had while being in the band-- friendships I made (many of which have continued), the long, hot days I complained about but secretly loved (a far cry from my new life in the air-conditioned office), losing my voice and hurting my hands as I yelled commands and clapped the cadence time and time again until the new marchers "got it" (maybe I don't miss that as much!), and the feeling of successfully running through the entire show for the first time with music and drill (one of the greatest feelings of "mission accomplished" a band member could feel at the end of camp). *Sigh (typically the rest of the alto section would respond in chorus with another, even louder sigh).
Yes, I miss band, and yes, that makes me a band geek. As I said in my last post, music is still a big part of my life, and I'm sure it always will be. Even though I'm a little sad this week as I look back at my memories of band, I don't see this as a bad thing. For one, I have something to miss, which means that I was once involved in it. And secondly, I miss it, which means I enjoyed doing it. So, as always...
Here's to Days Just Packed with some very fond memories!
Monday, August 9, 2010
I have always loved music. From the time I was a little kid I loved to sit down with an instrument and just let the music flow out. I admit that there were, and are, some times when what was flowing into the air was more like pollution rather than sweet music, but I still loved doing it. It was a form of expressing myself, a way to make others smile, and an outlet to step outside of reality for a moment.
Although only a handful of people have ever heard my pieces, I also love to compose music. Just sitting and creating a piece that is completely fresh and new is something that I can spend hours doing and days agonizing over in order to get the sounds "just right." Writing music is a big outlet for me when words just won't do. Sometimes l like to think that there is a muse sitting next to me and softly humming the melody into my ear. This becomes even more fitting since the file extensions on my Finale program are ".mus" (nerdy, yes, but I have to feel like the muse is getting some credit with every music file I save on my computer).
Unfortunately, until a few nights ago I haven't been able to compose a decent piece of music for the past 8 months-- and how I did try! I would sit and look at a blank staff and wait for that soft whisper but it just wouldn't come anymore. I feel like this boils down to the fact that I had linked my muse to a specific person in my life. I felt that when she left, so did my inspiration, and this became extremely problematic for me. At a time when I felt like I needed the musical outlet the most, I felt that I had been abandoned by my muse. In reality, I had really been pushing the muse away.
This last Thursday, I heard the whisper again (metaphorically speaking, of course). I had just finished watching a movie when I started humming a tune I had never heard before. In pure excitement I ran to my computer and started writing. Four hours later I had finally managed a piece that I could consider "mostly finished." This small event was exciting for me for a couple different reasons. First and foremost I could finally write music again! I had worried that my muse would never return. Secondly, this helped show me that I am continuing to move forward with my life and that my muse is something that cannot be taken away. I refuse to allow past hurts to prevent me from doing the things I enjoy or things that define who I am. Life is too short and some things in it are too wonderful for me to spend my time living under a rock. Besides, the underside of rocks are dark and smelly--and there are spiders.
Here's to Day's Just Packed with music!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
One of the big stereotypes I have had since growing up about people living in Denver (or the Denver area) was that they aren't typically the friendly sort. No passing by on the sidewalk with friendly smile and a warm hello. Of course I have family and friends from Denver, so this rule never applied to them--only those "other"people. Now it's time for me to swallow my pride and eat a big helping of humble pie. Okay, I may be exaggerating a little, but I've still been pleasantly surprised.
The people around where I live are really friendly; that's one of the first things I noticed when I moved in. Usually when I get home from work, Tim from across the way and Kevin from upstairs are outside with their sons Liam and Kai in the midst of a never-ending squirt gun war. They always smile and ask me about work or how I'm getting settled in, if I've been watching the World Cup or if I'm planning on going to another Rockies game soon. Sometimes Jack from next door will be out on his patio watering his flowers, or Gay (yes, her name is Gay) from the other next door will be out riding her "trike" with her dog Ralphie. Nice people.
My new church, Our Father Lutheran, is great! I feel really welcome there, and the people are really nice. A few weeks ago they convinced me to "Ride the River," a 30-mile bike ride along the Platte to benefit their youth ministry, and last weekend I joined in on Sunday night volleyball. More nice people.
About once a week I hop a train to Downtown for a ball game. I usually find myself in some sort of conversation. Whether it's a girl wanting to take a picture of my CSU Rams hat (weird?), a guy who wanted me to help him start train-wide "Go Rockies", "USA", or "Yankees suck" (again, weird?) cheers, or just a random group of people who decided I needed to be in their conversation, I don't find myself terribly bored on the train. Granted most of the people riding back from Downtown are a bit tipsy, but their still really nice--do we see a pattern?
Here's to Days Just Packed with shiny, happy people! (and yes, I did turn on the REM song when I wrote this).
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
If you're thinking to yourself, "Duh, you can't buy happiness," then you're on the right track, but that's not really my point. Let me explain: I had a conversation with someone today who told me, "I just want to be happy." Although I didn't share it, a thought popped into my head--"Even happiness can have a pricetag." This thought bothered me a little. Am I really that cynical?
The conclusion I came up with was slightly more uplifting. We live in a world driven by action and reaction, cause and effect. We can't be happy with every situation that life throws our way, so we seek out ways to make our lives better--happier. In some of these cases we find that sacrifices need to be made in order to achieve the happiness that we want. To put it bluntly: if you want to make an omelet you're going to have to break some eggs. That's the kind of cost that I'm talking about here. You can still have your cake and eat it, but you can't always expect to have every single piece. I know I haven't been very uplifting yet, but bear with me.
Prepare for liftoff! Happiness is a wonderful feeling, but we can't expect it to be a constant feeling. God wants for us to be happy, but why does it seem so hard sometimes? Maybe it's because we're trying to "buy" the wrong brand of happiness. Worldly happiness isn't always a bad thing, but we need to read and understand the fine print on the label: "Effects temporary. Re-dose as needed." Eventually after enough "doses" of worldly happiness you're going to need to go pick up some more and, in keeping with my price check analogy, this can become a bit expensive. This is why we can't completely rely on that product to keep us happy. We need the "good stuff!" Luckily God has already provided the solution--and it's free!
True happiness is the joy found in the love our our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, yet even this true happiness came at a price. For our salvation (and true, eternal happiness being the result) God sacrificed His Son on the cross to pay for our sins. With this we were given a source of true happiness and joy that surpasses any kind of happiness that Planet Earth Inc. may try to sell us. This kind of happiness will never run out and we won't have to go looking for more. Best of all, it comes free of charge to us. The debt was paid in full through the death and resurrection of Christ. Here's to days just packed with the true happiness which comes by way of God's love for us!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Here's a little-known fact about me: Baseball used to be my very favorite sport. This was probably due to the fact that my Grandpa Janssen lived for the game and was a die-hard fan of any team with players who would "play the game" (mostly the Cubs). I was pretty young, but I still remember bringing my favorite baseball cards to show him whenever we made the trek across Nebraska to visit him and Grandma.
This is also part of the reason why baseball and I had a sort of falling out. When Grandpa fell ill with the sickness that eventually sent him home, all he could do was lie in bed and watch the ball games. That was also the year of the strike. I felt that in a time when he needed baseball the most, it left him; and all this out of selfish greed for higher paychecks. I still enjoyed the game, but I held a BIG grudge. I think it's time to forgive. That's what Grandpa would have wanted anyway.
As a result, this year I've been really getting into baseball again; and I'm really excited! In addition to keeping up on my favorite team (the Rockies, who else?), a week or two ago a good friend of mine invited me to try something new: Fantasy Baseball. All of this got me thinking, so I had to share it in my blog. I just started my team and designed the logo. My team is called the Phelpstowne Farmers, and I put the logo at the top of the post. I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'm sure I'll figure it out! At any rate, I'm glad I can fully enjoy the game again.
Baseball: I forgive you. Let's be friends again.
Here's to days just packed with the sounds of wooden bats and the smells of leather gloves, outfield grass, and roasted peanuts.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
On Friday afternoon I went to the gym to relieve some of the angst and excitement that the week brought me. After a substantial time bonding with my jump rope, I went to hit the speed bag for awhile. Since our new mat studio, equipped with two wall mounted bags and variously-sized big bags, STILL isn't open, I had to play with the crappy free-standing bag in the weight room. This bag isn't exactly stable, which makes it both hard to hit and VERY noisy. I'd been hitting this bag since they opened up the new part of the rec, but today I was annoyed in about 5 minutes. In my annoyance, I took my sweat towel and jammed it between the top mounting board and cross-braces. Instant fix.
Another time, I had to deal with a doorstop that wouldn't stop the door. Anytime someone would try to get the little wooden wedge to keep the door open, it would just slide across the floor and make a frustrating "buzz" noise as if it were laughing at our feeble attempts. Eventually, somebody went looking for a sandbag to prop the stupid thing open. Again, the engineer in me kicked into gear and I told them to save themselves the trouble. I took the wedge, spit on the bottom, and replaced it under the door. No more stupid door-that-wouldn't-stay-open.
I know, I know, it sounds like I'm bragging about being able to fix a few simple problems, but it's my blog and I feel I'm entitled to a little bit of bragging rights. I do have a point behind all this though. When I provide these simple, unthought-of fixes people actually seem a little amazed, like they can't believe how I came up with it. And they stay amazed until I tell them, "Oh, it's no problem. I'm an engineer." With that quick phrase, their amazement makes a sharp transformation into one where it makes perfect sense that I came up with a solution; I guess it's like saying, "Well, since he's an engineer, it's not so impressive."
Is this a problem? Not at all. If I was in the business of impressing people, I wouldn't tell them that I'm an engineer when I'm done fixing something. Why is this significant? I think it helps define my goals as a person. I just like fixing things and helping people. I try to use the gifts I have been given in order to help others. Spiderman and Superman don't like to take much praise for what they do, and they are in the business of stopping runaway trains filled with women and children and such. For them it's "All in a day's work."
That's how I think it should be. "All in a day's work." Go forth and conquer.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Maybe I just have a lot on my mind. If that's the case then some blogging might help, or it could tire me out at least. I never wanted to use my blog as a place to vent about my issues, but I feel like I just need to get some things out, especially since sleeping is not much of an option right now. The way I see it, I have at least three main issues on my mind: I am getting pretty close to graduation and I don't know where (or if) I will be working afterward; Since I don't know where I'll be working, I don't know where I will be living; The last thing is something that I have, for whatever reason, decided to keep to a minimum on my blog. I guess I don't want somebody I care about to just stumble upon it on here (which is a funny thought because I don't know how many people read this anyway) but it's something that is best said in person. At any rate, it starts with a D and the second half rhymes with "horse." Call me if you need further explanation.
To put it like Dr. Klaus's Lutheran Hour sermon a couple weeks ago, I just had a "duh" moment. In my complaining I just realized that these issues that I have been worrying about so much are just the things that God wants us to take to Him in prayer. I almost deleted this post because the complaining I did in the beginning seems so, for lack of a better word, silly. I decided to keep it because it helped me realize something important. When I said "call me if you need further explanation," I guess God picked up the phone...
I don't want people to get the idea that I haven't been praying about these things. I have actually prayed about them quite a bit. My problem hasn't been in the delivery however, but in the follow-through. I have gone to God with my worries--but then I keep worrying about them! Imagine asking a friend to help you get through your "to do" list and then racking your brain about how you are going to manage to get it all done yourself. Yeah, it's kinda like that. I don't expect God to fill out my resume or go house-hunting for me; those are my department. God wants to handle my worry though, and from what I've read about it in His book, He's pretty good at it.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28
Maybe I should spend less time worrying and more time praying--and then actually letting my worries go. Besides, life isn't about my "to do" list anyway; it's about God's. I would also say that I should spend less time blogging about my worrying, but that actually turned into something constructive here. I did say that some blogging might help, right?!
Monday, March 29, 2010
Last week I decided that my brain needed to shift gears for awhile; try something new. I have always admired people who can draw/sketch/paint. My grandmother was an amazing painter, and I have a photo of one of her best paintings hanging in my bedroom (I've actually been thinking of moving it to the living room so other people can enjoy it). The actual painting is hanging in my parent's house until I have a permanent place to display it. My mom acquired the talent, and I love watching her paintings progress on her blog or whenever I make it home for a visit (I think I have a link to her art page somewhere on here). I also consider my sister to be a very talented painter.
Up until last week I guess I figured that the "art gene" was limited to the women in my family, so I never really tried much in that category. As I said earlier however, I felt that my brain needed a gear shift, so I grabbed my sketchbook and a picture of one of my favorite places (Greyrock up the Poudre Canyon) and I began a pencil sketch. It's not quite finished yet, but I'm happy with the result so far. Even if the drawing isn't any good "the result" can also refer to how relaxing it was just to sit with some music and draw. Now I see why my grandma, my mom, and my sister enjoy painting. It really helps to refocus the mind, especially when things aren't going so great.
I hope to have it finished when I go home to visit the folks for Easter this weekend. When it's done, I might get up enough nerve to post it on here. We'll see!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Last spring, we started an herb garden in the kitchen window. As the herbs grew and thrived in the sun, the kitchen was filled with the fresh scent of herbs. In October, I could see the leaves falling from the trees through the kitchen herb window; a milestone of the changing of seasons. I raked the leaves in the front yard into a huge pile just waiting to be jumped in. We always played in the leaves, but some drastic changes were in the works last fall and this pile was left untouched. The first snow buried it for the duration of the winter months. Like the pile of leaves, the herb garden was also left untouched and it died. I closed the window blinds.
Yesterday I raked the pile of leaves. They were pretty wet and gross from sitting in a snowbank for several months, but there was still some new grass trying to green up underneath. When it was all cleaned up, I saw my first robin of spring; yet another milestone of changing seasons. Today I replanted the herbs in the window. All that was left of the old herbs was withered up leaves and dried up soil. When I was finished planting, the smell of fresh soil filled the kitchen and the dried up leaves from the old herbs left a sweet smell--one last time.
This whole business of old leaf piles and dried up herb gardens being cleaned up and replanted helped to remind me about the renewal and rebirth found through Christ. When life threw me an inside curve ball at the end of this last year I was at a loss for what to do. I felt like the leaf pile and the dead herbs would outlast some larger issues. In a way, these two things started to represent those bigger problems, somewhat like a shrine to "the issue." God has a speciel way of helping us see that His undying love will always endure, and that through Him we can get through anything life throws our way.
I cleaned up the leaves and replanted the herbs. As a result I saw new grass, I heard a robin's song, and I smelled the freshness of new soil mixed with the final smell of something good that had passed away. It was as if God was holding me in His embrace and telling me, "See, it's not so bad. I have made everything new. Life goes on."
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed
away. He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everyting new!'
Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
Saturday, March 13, 2010
First off, I'd like to mention that there are some really great people that I have come to know in the band. Vegas was an opportunity to hang out with these great folks in an "out of band" experience that led to some really great times and lasting memories. Given my current situation with someone I had spent almost my entire CSU "career" with (especially in band-related activities), I took this opportunity to break out of my usual clique. I spent some time with people I had always considered to be good "band friends" but never really hung out with. Between late-night bowling, hot-tubbing, Fremont Street, the Hofbrauhaus, and walking around just taking it all in, I found myself in a new "rat pack" so to speak.
One of the truly memorable points was the game against SDSU on Thursday. The men's game against SDSU was both heart-breaking and heart-warming. Our team played fairly well, but we ended up losing by one point. Our desperate three-point shot at the buzzer fell a little short, but I hold true to the fact that our guy was horrendously fouled just outside the three-point line and should have been given shots that may have won the game. With the outcome of the game aside, the band sounded amazing! In the last 10 minutes of game time, we had the entire place rocking. Our usual small group of die hard CSU fans was increased by a factor of 10 (not kidding) with fans from around the conference all chanting for CSU. We had people from UNN and UNLV even starting up chants for CSU that they had converted from their own stuff, and every time the band would play we were met with a roaring crowd. It felt like everyone in the Mountain West (except SDSU) was a Ram for the night. It almost brought me to tears. I will feel like I will remember that night for a long time when I look back to being a proud member of the CSU Band.
As far as gambling goes, I actually left Las Vegas this year with more money that I started with. I played some blackjack on Tuesday night and left the table $20 up. After giving a buddy a crash course on how to play back at the hotel Wednesday morning, I proceeded to lose my Tuesday winnings as well as the $20 I had spent to buy in. My friend ended up winning $5 and calling it quits. After our basketball team lost on Thursday I hit the tables again before we had to leave the next morning. One of the guys from the UNM cheer squad also playing at the table won over $200, but a guy from UNLV slowly lost an equal amount. I never imagined that I would be holding a $100 chip, but when I finally cashed out, I was holding $125 in Southpoint Casino chips. Wow! It was a great way to end the night (well, it was actually about 4:30 in the morning when I was done).
I have thought recently that life is a lot like a book with many sub-books and chapters that are all interrelated into one amazing story (a lot like the Bible actually). The book about my as life as a CSU band member is almost finished. It has contained some amazing chapters about friendship, camaraderie, and love; and some of the chapters have shown some deep conflict, sadness, and hurt (especially recently). I feel like the chapter just written about this final trip to the Tournament in Vegas showed a lot of climax and resolution with some amazing experiences and friends that helped begin a great ending. As the epilogue is written, it's time for me to look to some of the other books I'm writing.
Turn the page, but don't close the book.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I LOVE the gym. I started going at the start if this semester and found that I haven't been this dedicated to working out since high school. Along with working my body into better shape, I find that I have the chance to work out some of the issues in my own mind as well. Whether it's taking a long time to think while on the bike or treadmill, getting out some frustration and angst while hitting the speed bag, or thinking about absolutely nothing and letting the "animal mind" take over for awhile while using a weight machine, I find that time spent at the gym is time well spent. Once things starting warming up for the "spring thaw" I hope to transfer some of my gym time to the glorious outdoors.
Here's to time spent at the gym! A time of physical improvement and personal reflection. Cheers!
Friday, February 26, 2010
When I said, "Bring me that horizon," I had no idea what that kind of request could actually bring. I said that I got an interview...yeah, the interview was to work at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Definately a new horizon-- and a far one! The PHNSY is looking for civil engineers to serve as maintainence, repair, and materials inspectors for the submarines and other large ships docked on Base in Pearl Harbor. They wasted no time in scheduling my interview either, because it was this afternoon. The interview went very well, but I have mixed feelings about starting my engineering career in Hawaii. I still definately want to keep this as one of my options. I will have to wait about three weeks to see if I've been selected for the position. In that timeframe I hope to be getting a few more calls from other employers as well just to keep my options open. I would absolutely love "working in paradise" as they called it, but I wouldn't be expecting to see much of my friends or family. I think that would be the hardest part. Who knows? Maybe I would get visitors since they would be getting time to catch up AND a great island getaway!
At any rate, this was the ONLY engineering interview I could think of that I could answer the question, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" with "Relaxing on the beach in Oahu!"
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I have had an amazing experience working at my current internship with CTLThompson here in Fort Collins for the past three years. I have learned some things that couldn't have possibly been learned by sitting behind a desk in school, and I have created a great working relationship with the entire staff there. I would have to say that they have treated me very well. As far as future employment goes however, I would like to keep my options open. They have expressed a very big interest in bringing me on as full-time staff, but they can't make any commitment to me until they know they will have enough work. Chances are that they will hire me, but I need to know what else is out there.
This brings me to Plan B, and the reason for getting excited about the Career Fair tomorrow. I feel that there might be some other opportunities out there for a recent engineering grad with three years of experience, and I would kick myself if I didn't take the time to find out. I would love to stay in this area of Colorado (especially Fort Collins), but part of me is finding the same words used by Captain Jack Sparrow, "Now...bring me that horizon!"
As an engineer, I have to admit that I have expanded my options all the way down to Plan D. I could even have a Plan E if I wanted to look at options outside of engineering, but I don't plan on going that far down my list. As it stands, tomorrow is a day to pursue Plan B in the hopes that I will have some very big decisions to think and pray about over the next few months. What's over that horizon? I don't know, but I have set my course toward finding out!
Wish me luck!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I signed up to follow the "30 Days Challenge" so I could at least use the archives from last year to start fresh this year. I should have known that in signing up to watch my cousin's blog I was asked by my computer if I wanted to start a blog of my own. Since I already keep a daily journal on my computer, I thought, "Why not? This could be fun!" I have some friends who have blogs, so it's about time I got with the times. Which brings me to...
"The Days are Just Packed" Isn't it glorious? I love Calvin and Hobbes (I have a cat named Calvin), so I thought that this would make an excellent title for my blog page. I lead a fairly busy life with school, work, band, church, the gym, etc. For me, the days are definately packed, but I've found that it's always nice to sit down and have a little bit of "reflection time" on what exactly they have been packed with. This blog is that reflection time, and I thought that it would be nice to share some if it with my friends and family (especially since some of us live pretty far away from each other).
Here's to "days that are just packed," in the hopes that they will be packed with good things!