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
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