A General Life Update

It’s been a little more than a month since I settled in at LeTourneau University.

Classes have been fun, but I wish I had more credit hours. My adviser said that I had challenging classes, so should take fewer credit hours. I’m blazing through homework in those “challenging” classes and the fifth week of school is over. I could have taken three more credit hours and still be under the 18 hr/sem limit.

Speaking of classes, I’m really enjoying our Bible class. It’s more challenging than my high school’s Bible classes (well, I’d hope so…) but we’re also going through lots of books outside of C.S. Lewis and it’s making me understand my faith more. I’m thinking about things frequently that had never crossed my mind a year ago.

I’ve joined the rugby club for exercise and socialization, and that’s going well. Practices are 6 hr/wk.

Because I have experience with yearbooking in high school, I supposed it wouldn’t be bad to do it here. I get paid by the spread, and I get to meet new people through my work, so I’ll try my best to take advantage of that.

Getting along well with my roommate. He’s cool.

Found a church that I think I will continue attending. Some of my friends also attend, so that’s nice. Right now, we’re going through the book of James. It’s good that our pastor started off with emphasizing that works are a fruit of faith, and not the other way around. So many people tend to justify salvation through works based on the book of James. Plus, the youth group there is cool with coffee and the discussions. Separate from the main pastor’s sermon, we’re going through what it means to “strengthen oneself in the Lord” (1 Sam. 30:1-6).

In a way, the fewer credit hours are opening up different opportunities for socialization/getting to fit in with yearbook and rugby, so I’ll try to look on the bright side of that.

About my recent non-functioning photos

A while ago, my images stopped displaying correctly. After a lot of troubleshooting and forum posts, I finally found the reason (and solution to) my image links not displaying correctly.

Images on the web work by referencing other files; like receiving a letter without photos but the letter itself asks the receiver to look at images they can already look at (maybe like “remember our summer on ’06? Take a look at the album we made all those years ago!”). The images could not be loaded because the sender asked the receiver to look in the wrong location for the photos.

This happened because I had moved WordPress multiple times and it moved my photos to that same location as well—however, my “letters” didn’t update the “receiver” to look in the right place. Now, WordPress posts are managed by a database. I can easily update the database to point the old locations to a new location by looking for patterns. I ran a SQL command like this:

UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content, "src=\"http://www.christophermartin.name/blog/wp-content/", "src=\"http://www.christophermartin.name/WordPress/wp-content/")

WHERE post_content LIKE "src=\"http://www.christophermartin.name/blog/wp-content/ %"

It ran. I couldn’t for the life of me get the SQL command to return a result, the whole reason for running such a command. So I’m now manually replacing such information using a fantastic Mac application called Sequel Pro.

The fact that I can’t correctly write a SQL command just shows that I have to brush up on my MySQL.

Until next time.

The Screwtape Letters chapter 8 response—or, “I’m feeling relatively lonely recently.”

Chapter 8 of The Screwtape Letters is about the natural undulations inherent to human nature. The Patient is currently in a “Christianity trough” in the ups-and-downs of Christian life. Every chapter that I read (or the class reads) is incredibly relevant to me and the world today.

As students are teaching/guiding the class, we have specific response questions to do. This chapter’s was something like “imagine that for the next two months, you have late assignments [our school penalizes 10% per day, stopping at 50% off] and still are assigned more and more, making even more late assignments, you’re getting into fights with your family members, don’t have a good time when you hang out with friends, and don’t have the funds to do what you want. On top of all that, you have several quizzes and tests every few weeks.”

This response prompt is so relevant to me, especially about the friends, that it hurts. I haven’t really felt a place among my classmates save for a few close friends. The problem seems to be that I’m involved in so much extracurricularly. I’m on my school and church’s sound and lights team, do middle school ministry at my church, work at my school after my studies three out of five days of the week. I’m just “the guy that’s always there” and get left out of many conversations in my classes. Even the one class I feel welcome in I’ll have to leave next week to start a new semester with Digital Photography.

What’s worst is that everyone thinks that I was at this school for my Freshman year. Well, I was overseas for the whole year. As one person described it, “Chris, we always feel your protective presence!” I have no idea if that’s good or bad, but what I do know is that I was left out of many class-bonding experiences that my class had in 2010-11. Among other things:

  • My class ousted the most-despised teacher in the school because of his sexual harassment of girls in any grade. Keep in mind that this guy was married, too. On top of showing gender-based favoritism (and harassment—not that equal-opportunity harassment is good), he also disliked Asians… too bad that half of our grade, if not more, is like that.
  • This was the year that the 3/11/11 earthquake happened in Japan. My schoolmates were out for over a month, taking classes and discussing online. While school was out, students were helping with whatever relief they could do, between asking for donations in the busiest parts of Tokyo and aiding in immediate relief.
  • Right when people seemed to be getting over the earthquake’s effects and graduation was drawing near, a Senior was involved in a motor accident which suddenly ended his life. The chapel that the school had following his death, was, obviously, filled with emotion with people who’d never think of doing so hugging each other.

It just seems weird that I haven’t been together in the bonding experiences in the worst trials, yet everyone thinks I was there. The more I think and write about it, it probably means I don’t even need to be in this grade because I pose no specific purpose to it “always being there” and all.

As for the other things, like school work, I’m taking seven classes out of the seven periods that we have every day, with no study hall at all. The only day I have free to do homework right after school (place and time I can concentrate the most) is Thursday. If need be, I can move things around, but it’s not ideal for myself or the others that are either hiring me or expecting me to be practicing with the chapel band. Next year is going to be equally stressful if I do take all the classes I’m anticipating to, which are

  1. Bible & PE (required)
  2. Spanish III (personally optional, but I want to learn more)
  3. AP Psychology
  4. Physics
  5. AP Calculus
  6. English (required)
  7. Japanese Culture/Global Issues (required)
  8. Computer Programming/CompSci (before school, so no schedule conflict yet and possibly a one-semester class)
  9. Art I (one semester)
  10. Yearbook (year-long class)

Those are eleven classes, of which four are required and one is before school. I’d need nine periods in the day to do what I want to do. I also have my job, which I can quit next year, but don’t want to. My service activities surrounding worship and other things are going to take at least ten hours out of every week. If I want to join the Student Council and am elected to do so, that’s another average of two to four hours out of my week. I can hardly do independent study, and Senior year is supposed to be even more stressful than Junior year because we have a thing called Senior Comprehensives where we need to find a global issue, present on it, and offer solutions for it as a year-long project. There’s so much that I want to do, but not enough homework time, motivation, and relaxing time.

Re-examining (and challenging) myself.

When I was a Freshman and Sophomore, I was fairly prideful about the fact that I had a sense of direction in life. The university I was aiming for was decided, as well as my major there. However, in light of more recent events, I’m finding the need to re-evaluate the plans I have for my future not because they’re bad plans, but because there are so many uncertainties it is confusing me.

A year ago, I wanted to go to LeTourneau University, a small Christian university specializing in computer science and engineering (especially aviation), topics that I find great interest in. There, I was going to take their “Aircraft Systems Computer Science Concentration” course. Ever since going on GT last summer, though, my desire for Christian ministry has been realized even more. I am really lost at what I want to do, in addition to satisfying my parent’s desires for myself. No matter how much I want to respect my father’s wishes, it seems like he wants me to live a linear, impactless life of graduating high school, going straight to get a Bachelor’s, then getting some sort of job where I’d wither and die after working for 50 years. I know it’s a generational thing where his generation wants to provide a future for their children, while my generation regards rebellion and independence as virtues.

In examining my current situation, I find that I’ve been spending more time on consumption rather than production. I’m consuming TV episodes like a flame consuming kerosene-soaked cloth. I’m endlessly reblogging on Tumblr. I enjoy doing things like cooking, writing, and knitting, more than consuming, yet I’m spending more time consuming than producing because it’s so much easier that way. Ironically needed, my school’s theme this year is “Do Hard Things,” taken from the identically titled book. I’ve learned that by challenging myself, I’ve increased my writing ability by blogging and discovered new, yet enjoyable, skills like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator editing and knitting.

In absent-mindedly consuming (reading is active-minded) I quickly lose time and essentially tie my own noose because of procrastination. From what I learned over the summer, I believed that this year would be a year of restoration/healing. I’ve seen relationships that have been broken between myself and others being rebuilt, and there is still some way to go. But this next semester, I want to start challenging myself in more ways than I have before, including touching the guitar that’s sitting in the corner of my room, playing more than an Em chord.

This next semester, but also starting now, is going to be full of new challenges. I’ll be taking a Digital Photography and Graphic Design class that’ll teach me better photography and framing techniques and polishing the Illustrator, Photoshop skills that I’ve started working on. I’ll commit myself to reading at least three chapters of my Bible per week, as I’ve severely lacked devotional time.

Challenges, challenges…

Long time, no see.

Wow, I haven’t written in a long time, considering that I believe that writing is a way for me to relax and let my feelings out.

Recently, my life has been marked with procrastination, both academically and personally. I have to redesign the main landing page. I have to unify the appearance of the WordPress blog and my “normal” website, write a report to the CAJ PTA about my GT experience… the list seems to go on forever.

I guess I have to examine the reasons for my procrastination.

First of all, my life seems to be picking up so much fun and work and it’s easy to get lost in all I do at school. CAJ is such an academically demanding environment, yet offers so many extra-curricular activities that I am sometimes marveled at students’ ability to juggle so many things.

Second, just like any other human, I love entertainment. I’m being unproductive if Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, or reddit are open in my browser. And I basically put off homework until the night it’s due because I could just be entertained instead of working ahead on any assignments.

Here’s the killer: classes aren’t integrated. At all. This totally kills my desire to do any homework. I love seeing connections between various topics/subjects. Bible, PreCalculus, English, US History are all pretty much connection-less. This would have been availed by taking Humanities (done by my favorite teacher!) but I can’t because PreCalculus pushes it  off of my possible class list.

No matter how much I manage my time, if I never get the desire to do my assignments, I’d lose purpose in managing my time. Even if I forced myself to make unrelated connections it would be purposeless because I hate forcing things.

I guess that’s all for now. Great, isn’t it? I broke my writing hiatus by complaining. Marvelous.

“Instead of building mac…

“Instead of building machines, if EVERYONE contributes a little to NOT throw away things in the middle of the street, take action to turn off a light, and use renewable energy, the world would be a way better place.” —Christopher Martin

Instead of building machines, if EVERYONE contributes a little to NOT throw away things in the middle of the street, take action to turn off a light, and use renewable energy, the world would be a way better place. —Christopher Martin

A change in direction of this blog

Until now, I’ve been posting personal world views as this blog was started for my world views class. I think I want to take it to a more personal and casual direction, with things like product reviews, things I like, etc.

See you next time in my revamped blog!

Looking at details

I was thinking today (yes, I do lots of random thinking) after an especially intense workout at my school’s gym. I forget exactly how my train of thought reached this point but I’ll post parts of what I was thinking anyway.

Everything’s made out of atoms. Basic Physics class, right? And then the atoms are made out of things called electrons, protons, and neutrons. Those are the smallest units of all matter. Wrong. The neutron is made up of even smaller particles called subatomic particles. Look it up if you want to delve deeper into it, I’m just too lazy to look things up any further and post it.

So, the lesson here?

Even when you think that you know the teensy-weency details of things, there are even smaller things behind an action or object.

After zooming in, look again at the bigger picture.

Your perspective may turn around 180°.

Heck, I think this blog will just turn out to be a “note to self” kind of things.

I hope not, and honestly hope that you walk (browse?) away with something more with every post.

First post

OK, first post, here it goes.

BTW, I can’t guarantee that my grammar, sentence structure, and other rules of the language I’ll be posting in will be followed perfectly.

So, why is the title of my blog “Mein Weltbild”? I was wondering what to call my blog, then I realized that I have a World Views class. What would sound cool that is related to world views? Well, Hitler showed his world view in a book called “Mein Kampf.” Of course, if I ever do something that makes the news, the media will take this post out of context and say that I am a supporter of Hitler and anti-Semitic. Well, that is not true at all. So I hit Google Translate and translated “My worldview” into German and POW! there was my blog’s title. A quick search on Google revealed that “Mein Weltbild” is also the title of a book by Albert Einstein. I respect Einstein as a scientist, as I am deeply interested in science.
Maybe I’ll use this as a reference for what to write in my World Views class. Things like “What exactly was I thinking back then?” I guess it’ll just be a big experiment.
Also, I’m open to comments. Who knows, you might change my world view!
Oh, quick note. Trolls will be subject to ASAP (because I probably won’t have too much time on my hands in the future) moderation (aka having your comment deleted – wait, can I do that? – or banning your account from commenting after the trolling reaches a certain point – um, can I even do that?).
Anyway, yoroshiku! (That’s Japanese for, uh, there isn’t really a good English translation. Something to the extent of let’s be nice to each other?) If you have a better translation, please put it in the comments section.