Thursday, September 29, 2005

Provocative foreign films


I definitely have noticed that I can get into passive ruts if I let myself. I guess that's why I tried to keep TV out of my life for ten years or so. I watched way too much as a kid; I think four or five hours a day at its worst when I was in grade school. Why did my parents let me have a TV in my room?

The internet isn't that much better if I just randomly surf; it feels like window shopping at a mall when I don't really wanna buy anything, just can't think of anything better to do.

Picking up a challenging book or my egghead-type magazines filled with essays and no pictures is still preferred to the tube for me. Or reading stories together with Jessica. Or taking Chispita for a walk. Or watching provocative foreign films, taking dance lessons, going to a lecture at the Getty, cooking new foods, ... So many new things to try.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Simple tips for cultivating a healthy mind


Yesterday I came across some advice from SoCal-based philosopher/theologian J. P. Moreland for developing new routines to encourage the development of a healthy mind. Basically, the idea is that an active lifestyle encourages an active mind, because you'll have more energy to concentrate on challenging ideas.

  • During low energy times, exercise instead of watching TV. "Often, when our energy is low... we go into a passive mode and turn on the television. I believe that an intellectual life is easier to develop if a person learns to limit television watching and spends more time getting physical exercise. ... Learn to use low-energy times, or moments like after work ot dinner, as occasions to engage in physical exercise."

  • Try something. Get out of passive ruts. "Try something. After dinner go for a walk instead of turning on the TV. When you get back, sit down for 30 minutes to an hour and read an intellectually challenging book. The important thing here is to get out of passive ruts, especially those passive couch potato moments, and replace old habits with new ones that create energy to read, reflect and be more proactive."

Monday, September 12, 2005

The system is down


Did anyone utter mayhem?

I was sitting in my office at USC around 1 pm today when the lights went out. I thought maybe they would come right back on, but they didn't. The strange generator sound next to my office which is always going was winding down. And I heard people get out of their offices.

Interestingly, the internet still worked. And since I was working on my battery-powered laptop, my computer work was uninterrupted. The computer screen gave me at least some light to see by. There were no emergency lights on, just an annoying alarm.

After a couple of minutes, I realized the lights weren't going to come on again soon. I figured maybe a "breaker" for the building was responsible. I wandered out to the hallway and downstairs, only to walk around campus and realize that every building was without power. I called Jessica and let her know what was up. Nothing was on the news yet. So maybe it was just USC.

I was hungry, so I went to the nearest Taco Bell. They were without power too! All the traffic lights as far as I could see on Vermont Avenue weren't working. The Taco Bell had no drinks. Not even water, they said. The place even stopped serving food right before I was to give my order. "The food is cold and we don't want to serve it. We're very very sorry." So I wandered about some more and figured I should just think about getting home.

As I passed by students and staff, I heard conspiracy theories and things like "I hear the whole mid-city area is without power." Nobody was panicked though. There was just more than the usual loafing about. I asked one guy I work with if this had happened before. "In my 13 years at USC, the power's never gone out." Hmmm. I tried to recall what that SoCal Al Qaeda guy had said on his threat tape...

But nature called and I really had to pee. So I went back into my building, and felt my way in the dark through the bathroom. The plumbing worked at least. I got my backpack and computer, and left to go get the truck and drive home. The ride was pretty smooth. I only passed through one dicey intersection, where people were forgetting to treat it like a four-way stop. But since I left early (around 2pm), the traffic was fairly light.

I later heard that power was restored at USC at about the time I left. Oh well, I got home a little early. That's okay.

That was my adventure during the LA blackout.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Posts don't have to be long



Greetings to all!

OK, after Jessica and I got back from our EuroTrip on Aug 26, we saw John from Ann Arbor who made a speed-run, purportedly for business reasons, to Pasadena. It was cool to see the old domestic partner. We also went swimming with Michele and Michael Harwick; Michele subsequently went into labor and had Mark John Harwick and mother and child are healthy! In the midst of all this, the largest natural disaster to hit the US occurred, in the form of one of the largest recorded storms on Earth.

Now I'm going to try to take all the academic papers and books I had at Caltech and move them to my office at USC. Oktoberfest begins tomorrow. I'll be speaking about loving God with all your mind at the Caltech Christian Fellowship's Discipleship Week next week at a YMCA camp. I recently ate a sandwich.