A Busy Week and a Soapbox

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Well, so much for the early appearance of spring. All week it has been sunny and in the 70's...much like early June. But I woke up this morning to a snowstorm. Not that the snowstorm is really a big deal; this is Indiana, so I expect such things. But I was enjoying the warm weather.

You probably noticed that I didn't post any entries this week. That's because this week I was a lot busier than I intended to be. We started outdoor tennis practice this week, and unlike previous years, we're spending the first 20 minutes or so on conditioning. Not that conditioning is a bad thing...I certainly need it. But, I end the day physically exhausted...in a good way. The good thing is, although I took a year off from playing on the team, everything is coming back. We played a "king of the hill" drill yesterday, and I held my own against the top guys on the team. This ought to really help the weight loss, too. Let's see...I started at 268 at the beginning of January. By February I was down to 250, and by the beginning of March I was at 237. I'm shooting for 225 by spring break (April 1), and 200 by graduation (May 27). After that, we'll see, but my original ideal weight goal is 180. Once I get to 200 I may decide that I don't need to lose that much more, but I'll find that out when I get there. Most people are really supportive of what I'm doing. A few people, who I know are only genuinely concerned with my well-being, for which I am grateful, but also who do not know all of the facts, are concerned about the long term affects of the Atkins diet. One such concern should be dispelled when I give blood this quarter. If all is as expected, my blood pressure and cholesterol (which have always been normal), should be still normal, or slightly below normal. One of my brothers asked me about my energy level. To be completely honest, I've got so much more energy now. I would never be able to keep up with practice every day otherwise, because the coach is pushing us fairly hard.

Besides tennis practice, I've had Design group meetings every afternoon. The last 6 weeks of the class, each group will be working on its own plant design (called the Capstone Design Project, since it is the final project we do as seniors, and incorporates pretty much every class we've taken); however, for the first 4 weeks, we work through a plant design (in this case, a plant that separates propylene from propane) as a class. And the professors thought it would be a good idea to give us homework every night, due the next class. So, instead of being in lab, every afternoon is spent with my Design group.

On top of that, every night this week after tennis practice, I participated in the phonathon my fraternity was doing to raise money for the fraternity's educational foundation. I actually didn't do too bad; in about 7 or 8 hours of work, I raised just under $1000. The chapter as a whole raised about $17,000.

So, as you can tell, I kept pretty busy. I went to pay my license plate fee on Wednesday. I got to the license branch at about 2:00, and the place was closed. Now, what kind of business closes at 12:30 on a business day. I can understand, maybe, if they were open for a few hours on Saturday to compensate, but they're not open Saturdays anymore, either. It turned out not to be a big deal; I just used to BMV-version ATM to register.

For a college student, I tend to be fairly politically active. I'm Republican; actually, I'm about as conservative as one can get without being fanatical. So, I found the events of this past Tuesday to be quite interesting. George W. Bush all but wrapped up the Republican nomination with his near-sweep of Super Tuesday. It's funny, Bush has been winning the Republican vote by about 3 to 1, yet the talking heads keep talking about the "division" in the party. The only way McCain stayed in the race was by getting the vote of Democrats and Independents who voted in the primaries. Now, I have no problem with independents voting in the Republican primary, but they should have to declare Republican affiliation (at least for the primary), and no one who votes in one party's primary should be able to vote in the other party's primary. If it weren't for Democrats voting in the Republican primary, the results would have been all too apparent a long time ago. And now, McCain is "suspending" his campaign. What the heck is that? Why not just give up, and let the party start pooling it's resources for the general election? Before, he at least put on a front of caring about the party, and "issues;" now, he just looks like a sore loser.

I watched Stigmata last night. I thought it was a really good movie. It is interesting - I was raised Christian (no affiliation to any particular denomination), and one of the reasons I could never be Catholic is precisely the main topic of the movie. The movie pretty much centered around the controversial Gospel of Thomas, which I have never read. Basically, in the movie, some priests translate a very old scroll, older than any of the canon Gospels. This new gospel, which the movie identifies as possibly being "the Gospel of Christ," begins, "The Kingdom of God is inside you. The Kingdom of God is all around you. Split a piece of wood and I am there. Lift a stone and you will find me." (Sorry if I paraphrased that.) Now, although I have never read the Gospel of Thomas, this idea is one of the basic differences between Catholocism and the rest of Christianity. From what I understand, Catholics believe that believers must go through the Church as a mediator between the believer and God. However, protestant Christianity believes that no such mediation is necessary. If you haven't seen the movie, I recommend watching it. It's one of those movies that can really make you think, and can spawn some rather interesting conversations. I think, after watching the movie, that I'm going to try to find a copy of the Gospel of Thomas, and read it...just to see what is in it.

Well, I think I've gone on long enough for today. I'll keep trying to be more consistent with the journal. Hang in there while I develop the habit.