Sunday, November 15, 2009

to look a lot like Christmas

I am really stoked for the upcoming Jolly Holiday lights. Waterworks Park, which is a fairly decent size park in downtown Des Moines with the river winding through it, will feature massive light creations. Think of the neighborhood Christmas lights on steroids! All of the proceeds go to help United way as well. The first night of the month long part there are no cars allowed. It is all walk through. One of the ROTC guys mentioned every soldier should grab a date that evening and head to it. Who knew some of these men had a romantic side?
I have been sick quite recently so I have been trying to get over that. Pretty sure I have made more tea in the last week than all of England for the last century. Hopefully that gets over quick because I need my voice back.
Basketball started this weekend. With a loss, but they will get back. Iowa state game is Tuesday. The place will be packed. I am really excited for that.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

running down a dream

Thoughts on a tattoo:
I have been thinking of getting a tattoo. I decided I would want one only to commemorate an amazing event. Therefore I started searching for amazing events and decided on the marathon. A friend once told me “there are days when I do not want to run the Marathon, and there will be a lifetime of knowing I have.
I looked at interesting ones to run. One of the biggest setbacks is I live in an area not conducive to running for 4 months of the year. I despise running indoors due to the constant need to turn and stale air. Treadmill is also a no-no. That would get ungodly boring. The Disney marathon is over Christmas. That would be an awesome one, running through all the parks. The humidity and heat are something I would have issues training for. At some point in my life I want to run that one though. The Dead Sea Ultra Marathon is going to be my final run. Start in Amman Jordan and end at the Sea. 31 miles. First half is straight down hill. I hope they include the knee replacement surgery at the finish line. I have decided on the Memorial day race in Madison, my home area.
So upon completion of the marathon getting the 26.2 tattoo. At least thats the plan. We shall see.


This weekend was a good weekend. I went to Ranger Challenge to watch Iowa State compete. We watched the rope bridge, which is where there are two telephone poles and a team must get across via a rope as fast as possible. Then we watched weapon assembly/disassembly. It was like Forest Gump. The fastest time I saw was a 48 second. Then the grenade assault course. All pretty cool to watch.
There was a meter shower recently but due to cloudy sky I could not see it. Some of the best pictures though were on
After my foray into astrophotography this summer I am hooked and want to try some more at Drake. One of the coolest things I like about going to a small school is that I may actually be able to do some of our work. With a small school it was possible to approach a professor and get the ball rolling on be able to dim the lights on campus. This will take a few months, so I will definitely keep you all posted.
My floor is going really well. The boss told me I was a good RA the other evening. I enjoyed this immensely. Some of my girls were initiated into a sorority which went well. A few of my girls had tennis matches and did quite well. My guys are doing well on their volleyball team.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All the pretty people

This week was homecoming at Drake. Eric Hutchenson gave a concert. I wasn’t there, but it was supposedly sweet. The day before Maya Angelou gave a speech to the packed Knapp center. Every semester Drake brings in someone of Angelou’s caliber and varies the field. Her, along with Thomas Pickering (for the Government folks) Ken Burns (Film maker) and a bunch others have graced Drakes grounds by their presence. Last weekend was a dueling pianos thing which my mother and brother were here for. It was a great time. My floor is doing an Office watching party this Thursday.
Once again Drake IR department has really earned it’s stars. There will be a trip for IR majors to Egypt this summer for 6 drake credits for two weeks. I might go, as it would be an amazing time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

All the leaves are brown...

I am an RA now. This leads to some very interesting stories, most of which cannot be shared due to the personal nature of those involved. The moment one comes up I will definitely let you all know.
My apologies for not writing for awhile. I have been very busy. The summer was excellent, though with less of an international theme. Spent time up on the Apostle Islands. Check out what I did with my father mark, and our friend John.
I have been here at Drake for 8 weeks. Classes are going well. The floor that I oversee of 38 first year students is fantastic. Life is going well.
The temperature is starting to fall, which makes morning workouts rather chilly. My Arabic teacher is from Egypt. She has never seen snow and though that 40 was cold. The winter might be pretty cold on account of the colder summer. The only time it got really warm I was on the island in Lake superior, where I was cold most of the time. I think this may be karmas response to two summers of average 100+ in Jordan.
Tour season starts soon here at Drake, so I will be sure to post responses to the questions I am getting. Rumor has it that Hubbell North is going to start soon, which means nice renovation done in time for next year! Score just in time for me to study abroad. Oh well at least there will be some improvement. I am really excited to see what it becomes, as the planning meetings for it were pretty interesting.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Harder Faster Stronger

I was promoted in ROTC today. I am now an MS-2. I wear the same rank as an E-4 (corporal/specialist) I have two bars now instead of one. Tomorrow is my last PT test. My legs still are not great so run time will not be much to note. However the magic number for me is 42. I need 42 pushups to pass. Other than that I should be golden. Wish me luck. BULLDOGS LEAD THE WAY!

One toke over the line sweet jesus

So someone asks about Alive on campus and it being a cult. I wondered the same and did some investigating for my RA class. This is what I am here to report. Obviously Drake can conduct an internal affair should they see fit, and this in no way represents an official university policy. Hope you enjoy:

Alive, and the governing body of Campus Fellowship is one of the largest organizations on campus. Alive is hosted on Thursday nights. However Campus Fellowship has something almost every night. Bible-studies based on residence halls, life/support groups, meals, and social events also become part of the lives of “Alivers.” (It should be noted that Alivers is the Drake colloquial term for those that attend Campus Fellowship/Alive events regularly. This term is not meant in any demeaning way. Those interviewed were generally very accepting of this term, and thus it will be used in the following pages. Alive, as well as many aspects of Campus Fellowship (CF) will be covered, as one cannot accurately talk about Alive, without discussing CF.)
I walked into Cool Beans on the Thursday evening before spring break. Attending Alive is the only time I had ever been up to that part of the building. When I got up there I saw a lot of people. Probably 200 or so, which seemed like an excellent showing for something right before spring break. I had been a few other times at the request of friends so I had a decent read on how things were going to work. They started off with a few songs. This was my favorite part, as I used to play in a worship band. I only knew one of the songs, but they put the words up on a projector so people could sing along. Halfway through a few people put their hands in their air like I see on those worship compilation CDs. I am not used to worship like that, so it was new, but nice to see people passionate about something. Then a brief social meet-n-greet time was given. It was at a previous one of these times that I was informed “Catholics don’t have the truth.” That was in response to my prodding about why members of the group were going to Italy (turns out they went to Spain instead) to “Share the word of Jesus” (colloquially referred to as converting.) That line of thinking I am very uncomfortable with based on Catholicism being around for 2000 years, Peter being the first Pope, etc. However this could have been one member’s personal view. There is not really an Alive doctrine, or bylaws. There is a nice little booklet that describes what the GCC (Great Commission Church) believes, as they are the ones who fund Alive through Walnut Creek Church. However there is no legalistic ruling on what can and cannot be done. This was a major misconception I had, and am glad I have had alleviated. There are definitely some cultural norms that most members self police on each other (see the TD article ) but I did not see any rule book.
The words and actions were interesting. The gentleman speaking was eloquent. He was quoting a new version of the bible, which made me feel uneasy. I have major issues when anyone changes texts, or as it appeared in this case, brought the verbiage up to current standards. I consider this “dumbing down” and am of the persuasion that it should not be done with religious texts, as things can get warped or changed, which could lead to some misfortunes. In terms of cult practices, there was no punch, and nothing was sacrificed. Students were not told to go bomb abortion clinics, nor to send their life savings to a smiling face on TV. I did have an issue because it seemed that when asked members were not sure why they do certain things. Most only hang with each other, as do other large groups on campus (Greeks with Greeks, etc). The issue I had with actions from certain members, was that once it was made apparent I was there for research, and not interested in joining, certain members stopped talking to me. I got the feeling from some members, not all, that they were only interested in talking to me to convert me. I could see this being an issue on the floor next year. Imagine a resident thinks he is making friends, only to find that if he is not 100% sold on the messages Alive sends and stands for, his friends might drop him. There are some members however that I have stayed in very close contact with, as well as many of my colleagues who I have found to be very pleasant and non-judgmental. I was only asked once if I knew where I was going after I died, and that if I didn’t accept Jesus Christ and live my life for him that I was going to hell. (I could see that being a potential problem for the floor as well.)
This experienced taught me to gauge my battles. It is never, ever appropriate for me to tell any of these members that they are wrong. I have no proof either way of who is right, or if anyone is right. I cam to college realizing I pray to the pulpit of I don’t know, and it has been an excellent adventure finding out. This experience has taught me how to ask more open ended questions. I really do not care what they believe, I care why. I want to know the motivation behind what they do. They live a different lifestyle than I would say the majority of students at Drake, which helps make Drake entertaining, intellectual and diverse. I care to know what motivates them. (upon finding out, this paper would get very long.)
There is no immediate danger for attending this group. However should my residents ask I could provide some reasons to not attend. A heightened emotional state tends to happen in certain aspects. I have seen people break down into tears at alive, and other CF events. I know I cannot protect them from everything, and it is not my job to shelter them by any means. However, putting them under emotional pressure will only compound the normal pressures they are put under in college already. If it is a regular occurrence I would not be accepting of that behavior intentionally elicited from my residents. Alive/ CF provides almost parallel programming. There is always something legal and free to do under the group’s direction. This is an excellent thing, as not all of my programs will suffice for all of my residents. However if the events that Alivers go to are dictated to them, then we have an issue. I have never seen an email that says “Thou will meet here at this time or though goes to hell,” so therefore I am not terribly worried about it. However it is something to be advised about. I could also use their programming ideas to implement in the hall or the floor. Some of my most entertaining experiences at Drake have been because of Alive social programs. Some of their political views are very different from my own. I firmly believe in the first amendment, especially the right to free speech, and the right to freedom of religion. However, both must be taken with a grain of salt. The right to free speech does not mean that if a resident of mine is gay, I will let anyone abuse them in anyway, regardless of what grounds. The reverse holds true. In fact this morning a student in my class was ripping into another student on their views of intelligent design/creationism. Civil discussions are fine. Verbal abuse is not. Whatever the opinion is, I may not agree with it, but I will fight like hell to make sure no one takes it from you. I do not have any instances of knowledge, nor do I expect any. It is undisputed that this group does not support homosexual marriage, which could get very interesting in the next few years in Iowa. My biggest fear though is summed up quite nicely in the TD article (Linked Earlier) “Some people believe those who attend ALIVE live a sheltered life. It doesn't necessarily center on a "no drugs, sex, or alcohol" policy, but rather those in ALIVE might miss out on diversity and ways of thinking beyond just what one is told.”
There are definitely some excellent aspects of this group. They provide one amazing support system to members. I also feel as if I could approach many of them should I have an issue. I see a very strong and unwavering sense of loyalty to each other in the group. I personally wonder if this loyalty would remain should someone decide the group was not for them. The discussions, when kept civil by both sides, really expand your mind. College is about bettering yourself. Learning to express opinions creatively and thinking from a different perspective is what half of this experience is about. That is the reason students leave their friends, families and homes: top live the life of the mind. Alive and CF certainly allow one way to challenge that.
Dr. Bakari has confirmed this is not a cult(see attached email). That is good enough proof for me. It has been a very interesting journey researching this paper, any questions or discussions feel free to contact me at


A viewer complimented me on my Half Marathon run. Then they asked what I use in my playlist. The trick to this is to keep the music upbeat, but also have some run songs. This way you keep light as you are running for 2 hours, this needs to be fun and not terribly serious so here they are in order:
1. Startin out with Blink 182s Untitled-It has a good beat, and it’s a nice “here we go” song
2. We Ready by Archie. We are ready to rock this thing. A little more serious song to keep the focus at the beginning. Good rap, and decent hook
3. Out here Gridnin-Dj Khalid. Pump it up, talks about being out on the streets. “I can go for 8 weeks” great lyrics, because it is going to feel like you are running that long
4. Jesus walks-Kanye West. Good Marine Corps cadence in the background. Also nice to know you have god on your side. Definitely need something to motivate you on the run.
5. Yeah-Usher. Another feel good song after some serious stuff. This is where you start to loosen up and dance a little bit. Shake it out some.
6. Don’t leave me-Blink. Upbeat punk song, good song to kick to. This is also about where the race splits, and the half marathoners head on out by themselves. Nice to stay motivated when you start to see people heading for the end, of the 8k.
7. Shooting Stars-cauterize. Great song off the Eurotrip Soundtrack. Nice punk way to keep motivation. Awesome guitar riffs.
8. In the Middle-Jimmy Eat World. Nice motivating uplifting and punk songs. Just hearing this always bring out a smile in me
9. MnMs-Blink. Brought back good memories of jumping off tables while we plays at school. More solid punk
10. What’s my age again-Blink. One of the greatest punk songs. Also brings out some energy in me. I believe it was this part of the race I started air guitaring.
11. Sandstorm-Darude. Greatest techno ever.
12. My president is black-Jayz remix. Very uplifting song. We were headin up hill when this came on. I am pretty sure I might have charged up the hill because of hearing this and being inspired by the lyrics
13. Beer-Real big fish. Fun drinking song=fun running song. Another potential jump around and dance on the road. Very chill, keeps things in perspective but good beat
14. 99 red balloons- goldfinger. Punk up an already tight song. When the German breakdown comes it is time to lift up your head
15. Drink up me hearties (pirates of the Caribbean 3) -Very motivating, and who doesn’t want to be a Pirate in Des Moines
16. Not your boyfriend-3oh3. Intense, Motivating, and sweet techno licks. Always nice to hear about representing your city
17. Pirates theme techno-Why not?
18. Livin on a prayer-Bon Jovi. My running partner and I sang the lick: Halfway there: Whoaa living on a prayer! At the halfway point, keep rockin
19. Get a clue-simon and milo-Solid punk
20. I’m on a boat-The lonely Island. Finally SNL has gotten funny again. Awesomely wacky song. There have been so many I’m on a boat parties here its insane. Good memories and the techno version is great pace.
21. If everyone cared-Nickleback. Solid groove and intense. God way to keep up the focus
22. Phantom of the opera punk version-Why not?
23. Took a boy and made a man-army cadence. Nice to get my steps down and reminds me off all the Army Pt
24. Harder faster stronger-almost as good as sandstorm, good motivation towards the back end of the run
25. Airborne Ranger where have you been?-Army Cadence. See 23
26. Pink Rock 101Bowling for soup. More uplifting punk
27. The anthem-Good Charlotte. Good punk to remind me of high school
28. Relax Take it Easy-Mika. Memories of Jordan, and hey you are almost there, so relax, take it easy
29. Rock Star- Pink. So what Im still a rock star. ‘nuff said
30. Viva La Vida-Coldplay. Jacks me up every time I hear it. Great beat to set pace to. Very uplifting.
31. Numb Encore-Jay Z/Linkin Park. More uplifting, lyrics talk about being the best. Needing severe motivation at this point
32. Remember the Name-Ft Minor. Drake Athletics song. Great rap to push yourself to. Closing in on the end
33. Let it rock-Kevin Rudolph. Nice pace, solid pop.
34. Shipping up to Boston-Flogging Molly. Irish punk at the end? You bet. Very motivating. If you like the Pirates music, check out Flogging Molly. Great for the last kick at the end
35. Gonna fly now-Rocky-duh
36. Final countdown. This should be it. Thank you for running with us. You are now free to move about the cabin.

Standing in the shadows of love

I started to play bass in 5th grade. I had really wanted to play sax, but that didn’t start until a year later. I was heartbroken when I couldn’t make a noise out of a sax but ended up playing trumpet because I wanted to be in band.
One day in 7th grade, my father took me to see the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. This was the film about the studio musicians for Motown. Collectively they called themselves The Funk Brothers. The movie talks about their lives and playing under all those big names. Together, they have played on more number one hits than the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis…combined. Throughout the film they get together to play with current RnB singers taking the place of the Motown artists. This was an amazing film. I am quite positive my jaw was dropped the entire film. I really took to the bass player, James Jamerson. He is without a doubt the best bass player to ever have lived.
After I walked out of the theatre I asked to buy a bass guitar. I wanted to be Jamerson. We also ended up grabbing my dads old PA system from when he was a kid. This led to many family jams down in the basement.
Later on that year I got to see the Funk Brothers live at Summerfest. Here were 10 guys in probably there 70s and 80s still jamming away. They were probably the best concert I have ever seen. This was the epitome of RnB, of Pop, of soul, of a generation.
Here is a clip of my favorite song. I hope you get a chance to see the full movie.

Alvin Simon Theodore

You all know how much I know how much I absolutely adore music. My roommate can attest to how many random and odd songs I have. While perusing youtube I came across an interesting phenomena. Type in Chipmunks on youtube. Click on anyone of the Alvin and the Chipmunk remixes. Wait for hilarity to ensue. “I kissed a girl and liked it”, sung by the dynamic high pitched trio. One of my favorites is by far is “Sk8tor Boi.” Pretty much every pop song has been redone. (Okay so when these are remade the pitch is just bent hardcore or just sped up) Regardless of how it is done, it is still pretty fun, as well as a decent way to blow off some steam.

Saturday in the park

So the weather has been very nice recently. This has led to me completely and totally neglecting my studies as well as skipping class to play the ukulele under the tree on campus. Just kidding. It has meant that we spend a lot more time outside. My tan lines have become very awkward because of this. My favorite new spot is Gray’s Lake. This is in Des Moines, right next to the river. It is just south of Downtown. If Drake and the Downtown area were to form a triangle this would be the point. It is a fairly close walk, I would say 2 miles or so. We have only driven, because once we get there we walk. Free to walk and talk as long as you want until midnight. Once the sun goes down, there is a very long bridge that gets lit up by funky lights. It sort of reminds me of a disco club. There is a nice park and a few grilles so hopefully this weekend we can make use of that.
Check out the site

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Carry on my wayward son

This is a precious time in your life, when you have the chance to soak up knowledge, challenge preconceptions, play with ideas and develop a philosophy of life that will carry you through the short time that we are given here on earth. Four years to live the life of the mind. A privilege given to so few. Enjoy it. Don't let it slip by without making the most of each passing minute.

Prof David Skidmore
Drake University IR chair

This hangs on my door, as well as above my room mates bed. I will give it to my residents next year. Where ever one finds themselves at school, remember this passage.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Runnin down a dream

13.1 miles. Through suburbs. With 1000 of my closest friends.
Drake Relays 100th anniversary was a time to remember. In the first part of the year a cute girl asked me to run with her. I said of course, (as that is the only appropriate answer when a cute girl asks anything.) We ran 13.1 miles in low 50s on Saturday morning, the Half Marathon Road Race for Drake Relays. It was awesome. I was glad to just actually finish. The winner 1:08:17 which is a 5:13 mile pace. My running partner and I finished both under 2 hours. My time was a 1.59.30.
Iowa has an an amazing running scene. In two weeks is Dam to Dam, which is a 20k race from the dam at Saylorville lake, to the dam in downtown Des Moines. There is also the living history farms race, which is a through the woods, cross country, running through creeks race in the fall. Hopefully I can do that. I will be goading my brother to run the ten mile Waunafest run with me. My new life’s goal is to run the Dead Sea Ultra-Marathon. 50 K, start in Amman, and run to the Dead sea. Half of it is downhill, which will probably require knee replacement surgery. First I will finish college and all that jazz, but at some point, that little stroll is going to be mine!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

return to sender

I really hope to go back to Jordan this summer. I applied and I should find out these next few days if I am headed back or not. I trust the readership will go up at that point. I am trying to keep an international flavor to this blog. If you have any ideas on what you would like to see let me know. Hopfully some of this is funny, and informative. I have a few more weeks left of school, to include Drake Relays. I assure you I will get some fantastic stories out of that weekend, along with my Half Marathon I am running that weekend.

Kissed by a sunset

Probably the best picture I have taken in my life. Wadi Rum Desert at sunset in Jordan.

back in the USSR

Ian is studying…
Ian is procrastinating…
Ian is working…
Ian has decided the art of conversation is completely going to die due to the influences of technology.
Ian has updated his every move to twitter because quite frankly everyone needs to know:
Facebook status update, Twitters whole reason for existence. I never need people to know what I am up to at the rates that are possible now with Twitter and Facebook. It rather scares me to think what my own children will grow up in. My own teachers are now jumping on the facebook craze, which is amusing yet scary at the same time. (Teachers have lives? I thought they just turn them off after class, or plug them back into the socket.) Regrettably one is hard pressed to function in college without a facebook. It is an excellent source social events, as well a way to keep up with friends. It is also the only place I know of where pictures are stored. If you want a nice trip down memory lane start at the first pictures people tagged of you and work your way through. I was cute once, and the proof is on facebook.
It is getting weird though that someone needs to update people to their exact whereabouts with twitter and facebook. Even weirder is the fact that someone thought a lot of people want to do it, and thus sell advertising. Imagine how that sales pitch went.

Dead right round the poker face which was kissed through a phone for giving you hell

All of my posts, at least the ones back Stateside are titled after songs. I absolutely love music. So here is my take on the current top 5 songs, courtesy of
#1 Flo Rida-Right Round-Ah yes the knock off of Dead or Alive’s You spin me Right Round. Great beat, always played at the club. At the Rez Hall ball this was the song played during the dance off. I felt really bad the other day having to explain the meanings of the lyrics to a rather conservative friend of mine. All in all a totally hip, completely forgettable song
#2 Lady Gaga-Poker Face. Gags signature sound, again, after her Just Dance, which also went through the roof. I imagine this will get over played on top-40 radio. Another club song which will get remixed a million times. I thoroughly enjoyed OAR’s Crazy Little Game of Poker, but Gaga ode to Hold ‘em is going to make me fold.
#3 Soulja Boy-Kiss me through the phone. Far too many nights spent bouncing left and right to this song at the club. The original Soulja boy dance still fills the dance floor, and after that it has been downhill. I mean really? Kissing someone through the phone? You just made out with AT&T! Another really forgettable song.
#4 TI and Justin Timberlake-Dead and Gone. It is nice when an artist gets out of the club scene of middle school pop to serious songs. Nice job TI and JT. A nice song with an essence of Collio’s Gangsta’s paradise. I am also diggin the hook. Probably one of the better rap songs this year.
#5 All American Rejects: Give you Hell. The epitome of Pop Punk. Great hook, and the music video rips on suburbia. Imagine if the preps of your school moved next to the punks, then decided to have a sing off. This song has been stuck in my head all day, and I am pleased that it made the cut. AAR: ROCK ON!

you make me feel like dancing

Imagine a small ballroom, even Cinderellaesque. You are dressed to impress with your best black and white. Your date looks stunning. As you and all your friends enter the Ball you are impressed with the entire wall of speakers, lights and subwoofers pounding out that latest dance groove. You give a nod to the DJ up in the booth as he mixes out new beats to your favorite songs. You have just walked into a Drake University Morehouse Residence Hall tradition: The Rez Hall Ball.
I am Vice President of my dorm, thus I am part of the Executive council for said dorm. Every year our dorm puts on a ball. This is the closest thing Drake gets to a Prom. This year we had the help of the Herriot Hall EC as well, which made planning go very well, and they also did an excellent job getting the word out to the other dorms.
The reason we have this is that the Greek System generally has a lot of formal type events. However only ¼ of the school is Greek. That means there are a ton of people who would go to such an event but have no opportunity to do so.
This year was the largest turnout ever. I am quite pleased of the work that was done, along with the EC. Everyone said they had a blast and that it was nice to have a change up of social activities on campus.
Readers who knew of my involvement in high school: Yup through my first college dance, and it went quite well!

Hail to the Chief

Student senate elections are this month. Every student pays a small fee called student fees. This is mixed in with a fair amount of other cash which gets dumped into a massive pot. This pot is then divvied up and handed out to organizations and initiative by The Student Senate. I know probably half of the Senators from different organizations that I am in, and classes.
Drake holds certain spots on Senate for first year students. There is also a first-year interest committee of things the First Years wish to see that reports directly to Senate.
I would encourage all readers to get involved in college politics, especially if you were never the student council type in school. It allows one to meet a ton of people and have a real impact on the lives of your fellow students. Good Luck to all those running.

in my room

Managed to clean my room today. Something tells me that sentence if published on facebook would get my parents to hit the “Like this” button. It is far too early to put up a packing list for college but there are some suggestions: do not over pack. I have tons of clothes here that are more or less sitting in suitcases. I did not really take back too many clothes over the breaks, so they are still here. Now it is rather pointless because it will soon be shorts weather. One of the issues I have is shoes. There are many shoes, all over the place. Find something to organize them if you have them. In order to justify myself they each have a purpose: black street shoes, two pairs of dress shoes, some brown casual shoes, two pair of running/athletic shoes, combat boots, and snow boots.
Get into a system of where to put things, especially things used frequently, such as books. My helmet and uniform always go into the same spot, along with my other ROTC stuff. Make sure you and your room mate discuss levels of comfort with cleanliness. If either of you are having guests, make sure to clean, spotlessly prior to their arrival. Extra cleaning should be taken care of if parents are arriving, and/or females.
Make sure you have some decoration in your room. Getting a calendar helps greatly. I have one of 1000 places to see before you die, and my roommate has 1000 places to see in Ireland. Adds a nice touch, and makes it feel more homely. Your room speaks a lot about you and when you all move in people will immediately associate your room with your personality. Also do not be afraid to change around your room at semester or whenever to keep it interesting.

sittin on a dock of a bay

I had a reader ask the other day: Ian you live in Iowa: are there any lakes?
Yes there are. Every spring Iowa floods and you can sail all the way form Dubuque to Des Moines. Just kidding. Yesterday I went to Grays Lake. This is a 2 minute car ride, or a 3 mile walk from campus. Around the lake is a lighted path. There is also an interesting strolling bridge over part of it as well.
This could be used as a fun/cheap place for a date, to hang with friends, to get away from campus or whatever. When you look for schools make sure there are social things to do. You should be studying nonstop 24/7, (another JK-always take some time to relax and let out off steam.) Be mindful of the seasons as well. In the Midwest we have some very distinct seasons but social activities change from season to season.
There is another very large lake for boating and fishing about 15 miles north of town. I have not been there yet but we are planning on going camping and having a bonfire once the weather gets really nice.
Also from talking to older students about this topic: Make sure if you are going fishing that you have a fishing license in the state. A buddy is from Wisconsin, fishes all the time there, has a permit, for Wisconsin. Apparently that does not hold up in Iowa. He got a $100.00 fine from the gentlemen of the IOWA DNR, so check your laws.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'll follow the sun

I used to attempt to take naps in the late afternoon. Now I can get in a 30 minute nap right before my first class. The reason for the change is my dorm window faces the sunset. I can come in to a gold wash over all of my yet to be done laundry and books. Wasted time never looked so pretty. Therefore I am going to attempt to capture a sunsets/maybe even sunrise over Drake photo montage. It is currently cloudy so I doubt I will have many to publish. It occurred to me that some of the best sunsets I have seen have been on campus. The best I have seen were in Wadi Rum Desert, everywhere else in Jordan, Hawaii, and the few times the sun did set in Alaska. Back home had some cool ones too, but my proximity of living there might have had something to do with that. I counted the other day and saw a 14 jet trails in the sky. Some of these help facilitate such gorgeous sunsets. Yesterday while walking I looked directly up and fully expected two jets to crash into each as they were about to meet. Thankfully they did not. This site however proves we do get a fair amount of airline traffic probably coming in and out of Chicago, St Louis and Minneapolis.
My dorm has a chimney on it from probably something to do with the heater. Occasionally on a perfect morning I will be coming back from PT and the sky will be deep jet blue. The Sun will just be coming up which means it will turn the steam coming off Morehouse a very light pink color. It is very pretty along with the rest of the campus at all times of day, but especially during the Golden Time.

Spirit in the sky

Yesterday I was strolling through campus on my way to a Muslim store nearby to purchase a Qur’an-Islamic holy book-with a friend. She is a very devout Christian and wears a crucifix. That crucifix she wears is generally visible and she was worried that someone would give her trouble for it. It occurred to me that even learned scholars of Drake University do not really know a lot about Islam. In certain cases some may make a point to not do so because they may be afraid of it interfering with their own religion. Never be afraid of that, especially if your faith is strong. I am not entirely sure what I believe. I consider myself a Christian and do recognize God and Jesus as his son. Past the big stuff, I am not really sure where I stand. I just have lots of questions I guess. Over the past couple months I have been spending a lot of time with what I would consider more radicalized evangelicals learning about them and their beliefs. It is very interesting, and I rarely agree with many of their teachings but the point is they share when asked. Of this I am very thankful. My Muslim friends always do the same as well. If I had questions about Judaism I imagine I could seek out the same sort of fervor as well. The point is college is a time to wrestle with and form your beliefs. Drake has given me a very open place to do that, with people that will be accepting of wherever this journey may take me.

Hail Hail

The Midwest is probably the only place on earth where one can be frostbit and sunburned in the same week. Yesterday was 55 degrees out. Half the school was in shorts and our civilians had their PT test outside on the track. Today its 33 with massive sleet and hail. Tonight it will snow.
I am enjoying the weather though because it is always different. Negative 20 makes up for all the 110 degrees I got to experience this summer. One of my friends goes to school in Miami and touts the fact “we study where you spring break.” That may be nice, but it is definitely part of the nice weather that raises the question “Is this heaven? It’s Iowa!”
For the current hailstorm, which when I started writing this was still in full swing, we now have shining sun. I attempted to get pictures of the storm, which came out to no avail due to my lack of artistic camera equipment. I am going to be trying to set up a sunsets over Drake montage so hopefully one of these posts will have some artistic marketing for my fine university.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My funny valentine

So Valentines Day has never been my favorite holiday. However this year I did something I have never done before. I was part of a Valentines extravaganza. Drake University has many different religions on campus. One of the Christian groups is fairly large. They call themselves Alive, and I believe are associated with a Great Commission Church. A decent amount of the members live in my hallway, so I get to interact with a lot of them. On Valentines Day they go all out. The gentlemen of this organization prepare a banquet of different food for the two days prior to the festivities. Then all the girls, about 200 of them, are driven to a secret place. This year it happened to be the church that this group belongs to. The women are escorted in to a decorated ballroom type place set out with fancy tablecloths etc. All of the gentlemen are in formal attire and they proceed to serve the women the meal, and then provide entertainment for the rest of the evening. It was a way for the men of this group to show their appreciation to the women. I got to tag along and ended up celebrating Valentines Day with 200 women. Not a bad evening.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

L is for the way you look at me

Romance is in the air for Drake students. I have the privilege of having my dorm located on a major thoroughfare of pedestrian traffic. My window overlooks the commons and this path. It is such a nice day out that I decided to open my window. While trying to study psychology at my desk, I have now been interrupted by female voices walking below. Of the past 5 voices of separate conversations, 4 have been conversing about romance. Names were mentioned regarding who they met this weekend, who might get married to who, and who their new relationship is. Another drawn out conversation was all about what Juliet was going to do with Romeo for Valentines Day. Presumably the lovebirds will find their way to Kissing Rock, especially if this weather holds. I doubt my psychology professor would agree to the validity of these statements, but of the 3 female alums I know who went to Drake, all are happily married to other Drake alums. (I also doubt the marketing department will use the slogan but: Come to Drake, get an great education, meet amazing people, have awesome experiences and fall in love)
Happy Valentines Day

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ballad of the Green Berets

0530-wake up shower get dressed
0630-in formation for roll
0635-“today we will be learning how to deploy the Claymore mine, effective anti-personnel killzone range 25m, maximum range 250m
0645 Boom! Claymore goes off
0650 “now we will teach you how to lay an ambush on a linear danger area (read road) The brunt of this assault will be the deployment of a claymore mine on enemy troops…Once the mine goes off, the entire squad should open fire nonstop for 15 seconds until you here the SL’s whistle. Understood? HOAH!
0700 the team walks through and executes the mission successfully laying ambush with claymore mine and rifle squad to two enemy soldiers

That was my morning. ROTC lab day. The day when Drake University is made to feel like Iraq. Before the sun is up about 20 students are in ACU, (Army Combat Uniform: the army camouflage) equipped with Vietnam era packs for ammo canteens, helmets and m-16s. Their weapons, the M-16s are referred to as Rubber Duckies. They are not actual weapons, they do not fire. In fact there are no moving parts, but they look feel and weigh to the exact replications of the current M-16s carried into combat.
This class trains officers out of students. Imagine another club or a Professional Fraternity (as both men and women are encouraged) but while other groups may be nursing a hangover on Friday morning, this group is standing in formation, screaming out cadences as they bound around the track. I have the distinct pleasure of participating and getting know these future warriors. There are 2 phases to ROTC. The basic phase, which is what I am in, is a non-binding trial period. The goal of the program is train officers. When my companions graduate they will be put in legal and moral responsibility for forty soldiers of the United States Army, Reserve and/or National Guard. Therefore they will not take just anyone. Hence the trial period, to make sure the student is right for the Army, and the Army is right for the student.
On Monday Tuesday Wednesday and Friday the ROTC cadets lead regular students in work outs to train for the APFT (army Physical Readiness Test) non-stop 2 minutes of push ups, another 2 minutes of sit ups and a timed two mile run, all before 7 am. This class gives the students the opportunity to get in shape, and the future officers the chance to lead.
US ARMY ROTC: Students into Officers
Any questions, check out

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

back in the saddle again

Wow the first week flew by. This weekend we made the trek out to Omaha Nebraska for the rival basketball game against Creighton. Drake won, which is an excellent and needed victory. Then I got to see more of the lovley state of Nebraska. I have never really spent a significant amount of time on this side of the Mississippi, so it is nice to be able to fill in my states visited application on facebook. Speaking of facebook if you are reading this feel free to contact me if you have specific questions-someone has already done that, and it would seem a very proactive approach to deciding which college one goes to. Talk to actual students!
Des Moines just got a new, and to my knowledge, our only hookah bar. The Arabic word for a moment as such is alhumdilallah-Thanks be to God! This is just another example of cheap legal things to do in the evenings in the Drake community. In fact I can throw a snowball from campus and hit it. One of these nights I will have to publish a post from there. I am sorry for the lack of recent posts. Things got hectic these last few weeks, but no not fret dear reader, I have not forgotten about you.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

All of my friends and families are doing well in the Middle East. A reader asked how they were doing with the recent operations undertaken by Israel. It is interesting to see how many news networks are giving this coverage. I have not seen this amount of interest in the region, especially in that particular conflict.
I miss Drake. Break is getting boring. I think I sleep too much. One of the nicest parts of college is the amount of people who live in such close proximity. Within about 10 feet I can always find something to do, someone to chill with, or people wiling to find something to do. At home, considering the recent winter ice storms, and people being spread out, it is hard to coordinate group activities. I wish I had more entertaining things to report. Maybe this week I can find something.
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