Friday, April 28, 2006

Check and check

The final presentation for my senior design project was today. We had a whopping 15 minutes to cover a semester's worth of analysis, design, manufacturing, assembly and test. I think that we did a pretty good job.

We spent 10.5 hours yesterday assembling our project, since half the parts we needed did not arrive until yesterday morning. It was pretty satisfying seeing this theoretical nebulous thing turn into a (almost) working tool right before our eyes. Of course there was a lot of blood, swearing and throwing of random broken metal pieces, but that all comes with the territory.

Tonight is Village Fest, which is a concert to raise money for a girl in the community with cerebral palsy. Service Mosaic (read: Nate) found out about Megan and her mom through Love INC. Her mother is single, and works really hard to keep her home and make payments to frequently take Megan down to Riley's Children's Hospital. All the proceeds that the concert earns will go to the purchase of a van which can easily transport Megan (she is bed-ridden).

Tomorrow I am headed up to watch the regional ultimate tournament in Naperville, IL. I don't get to play because I played on the B team for sectionals, but IL is in the general 'home' direction, and I can stop and see the illustrious Mr. Jonathan Caldwell (Monsieur General) at Wheaton College.

And then it is home for 4 days of errands and reading and running and outdoors and not school.

P.S. 1 final separates me from the completions of this thing called college.

-Monsieur Fluer de Agrippa Sans Ferdinand Mon Sharc de Tuna

Monday, April 24, 2006

One down

And one to go.

I turned in a project for Machine Design II today, which represented a month long investment into equations, text, modeling and analysis. I like looking back at projects from this side, seeing all of the work come together, and in this case, seeing a complete and (almost) actually functional gearbox. I think I like the process of these projects too. Except when they are so large that I do not know where to begin.

With that project complete, MDII is basically wrapped up (except for the technicality of a final exam next Thursday), which leaves only Senior Design. Final presentation for Senior Design is on Friday.

I think I am looking forward to it.

Being done.

No, I *am* looking forward to it.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Things Fall Apart

I think this is going to be a multifaceted walk through the convoluted emotional turmoil of a 23 year old soon to be college graduate who does not have everything together. Just to warn you.

This weekend brought two glaring deficiencies in my recent behavior to light. After playing Bridge with my grandparents and mom last night, I sat on the couch and talked to my mom for 20 minutes or so. It was the first time in too long that I let down the "I have it together" mask, and honestly looked at where I was. It was not a pretty sight. This entire semester has been marked by three main actions: an operation in distraction from a painful bereavement from one of my best friends, ignoring the looming challenge and unknown represented by Teach for America, and graduating. And as I talked with my mom, it was suddenly like it was okay to be a kid and to not know the answer and to be terrified that I would never be friends with B again and terrified that I would be the worst teacher ever and terrified that I was leaving school.

And I was. I am. Terrified.
I almost cried. But I didn't. Missed opportunity I guess.

So the first deficiency has been ignoring these very significant rumblings in my soul. I do not think avoidance behavior is a productive undertaking, but happened. The second deficiency was brought to light be attending church today. I had not been to Campus House in 5 weeks, due to ultimate and spring break and stupidity. During that time, I saw my interactions with pretty much everyone become more strained, hard. I started acting like a jerk all the time. Doing really, really dumb things. And I would think, "Come on, you're past all this childish stuff (like saying "your mom" after *any* thing), get your game together" and I would try harder. That would work for a couple days maybe and then I would do dumb stuff for a while again.

Enter into this mess a sermon about trusting God versus pleasing God, given at church today. The 'pleasing God' road led to the room of good intentions, full of rules and steps and falseness. The 'trusting God' road led to the room of grace. And I do not want to turn this into some proselytizing blog or whatever, but the truth is, if there is some list, some set of rules that I have to meet for *anything*, I can't. I just can't make it. I cannot be a perfect employee. I cannot be a perfect student. I cannot be a perfect husband/boyfriend/friend/brother/son. With Christ, however, I can be the perfect Jacob Blair, even if that sounds lame.

So I was ignoring the call to trust in God.

And now for some biblical inspiration.
"But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:32-33