Winter College Visits

Saw Stanford, University of California-San Diego, and Washington University in St. Louis.  I shall refrain from expressing my beliefs on these institutions for now, seeing as the admittance process is in full swing right now…and who knows might stumble upon this blog.  Thus, I hope some pictures suffice.

(I’m experimenting with less-cluttered photo layouts.  I like the gallery feature for sets of fewer than nine or, at most, twelve.  Slideshow seems better for anything more than that.)

How Great Thou Art

A day after the state track meet in Cheney, I traveled to the San Juan Islands for an ecology field study.  This included investigations at Jakle’s Lagoon (~3 mile hike), Cattle Point, and a number of other tidal areas.  I’m not ecology’s biggest fan, so the science of the trip was not my favorite part, but snooping about tidepools is always fun.  Highlights, though, included climbing on/up rocks at the beaches, lighting campfires (Pacific Northwest = wet firewood), paddling about a lake in a kayak, and evening worship, which inspired the title of this post.

After the stress of state track, an ecology trip was the last thing I wanted to do.  I just wanted to sleep, and sleep, and sleep some more.  It’s not that I was that tired–I actually got a goodly amount of sleep at state–but more that I was mentally exhausted.  Thinking about food webs and phosphate contamination and pH values of the ocean has never been my idea of “fun”, and certainly not last weekend.  As much as the ecology part bored me, seeing God’s creation and being out in the fresh air was good for me.  Here, as in the hills of Cheney, I saw the beauty of creation–merely a clouded reflection of who God is.  If creation is that awesome, how much moreso is the Creator?

I didn’t take very many pictures, so I haven’t anything to share with you in that regard; instead:

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

~Carl Boberg

The Weather Has an Attitude

Wind.  Hail.  Rain. Clouds.  Sun.  –no, not the weatherman’s forecast when he doesn’t actually know the forcast: this was my weekend in Cheney for state track championships.  Of course, the sun didn’t come until after my race, as it would.  The first morning we froze; that afternoon was tolerable; the second day we all turned into tomatoes with ears (even me, who “never burns”).

After the second day, our skin matched the color of the infield.

We arrived in Cheney mid-afternoon on Thursday, visited the stadium at Eastern Washington University, ate dinner, and relaxed in the hotel.  Friday we left for EWU in the morning and stayed until around 6 pm for sprint preliminaries, field finals, and distance finals.  Saturday we went back to EWU for sprint, field, and distance finals.  Unfortunately, the pole vault pit ran remarkably late (whereas the track events proceeded remarkably promptly), so we did not arrive home until midnight.  It was a long, but fun day.

If you want to know about my race, let’s just say it wasn’t ideal.  For me, my season goal was to qualify for state, and I did.  But as a team, we did well–one state champion, a third place relay, and a number of other medalling finishers.  The past week has been a learning experience: in success, in failure, in the importance of friendships, in tolerating adverse conditions, in teamwork, in prayer, in the importance of using sunscreen.

Beautiful landscape outside the stadium--encouraging.

Spring Break Trip

As a prospective college student, I spent spring break touring colleges. I spent a couple of days in Chicago, followed by almost a week in the D.C./Baltimore area. I visited Wheaton College, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University. For the sake of my future college application process, I will abstain from speaking too much of my feelings regarding the colleges, but it was an informative trip.
In addition, we visited a number of the “regular” D.C. tourist sites: Capitol Hill, the National Zoo, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and the Washington Monument. We saw the White House, but unfortunately were not allocated to tour the interior.
Pictures will follow soon (read: too many AP exams for which I must study!)

It’s a Small World

I spent four days in the Happiest Place on Earth.  That’s right, Disneyland.

disneyland2011-01

My school’s choir and band (I play tuba) traveled to California for a long weekend to perform and do a workshop in the park.  (The workshop was probably the best part of the whole trip–we were directed by Donald Duck himself…that is, the man who voiced Donald for five years).

I enjoyed the trip, and I would certainly choose to do it over if I had a time machine.  Disneyland, however, does make me feel a bit awkward.  It seems almost endemic of America’s consumerism and materialism.  Where else but an amusement park can you voluntarily subject yourself to stress hormone-inducing activities, purchase overpriced knick knacks, or eat whole fried turkey legs (at least they have healthy foods, like overpriced apples, now, too)–all for over 100 dollars?  I am blessed to be able to afford this sort of leisurely activity, but I know that not all people are.  It’s as though within the park, you really are in a surreal, small world, isolated from the real world.  I’m not ungrateful or dissatisfied with the trip, just pensive about the value and meaning of such indulgences.

But I’m done with philosophizing, for now–back to the trip.  There were a number of firsts for me: I took the tuba on an airplane for the first time, I saw fireworks in real life for the first time, I rode a rollercoaster for the first time. Two songs got “stuck in my head” the whole time: “The Wells Fargo Wagon” (from Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man, in which I played euphonium two years ago) which loops on Main Street, and, of course, “It’s a Small World After All.”  While waiting in line for rides (which, due to slightly damp weather, were on the shorter side), we translated the whole song into Spanish and French.  (Another symptom of our geekdom: we tried to create calculus word problems based on the Tower of Terror).  We also figured out how to play “It’s A Small World” by ear on our respective instruments. Hilarious, albeit annoying.

I was trolling the internet after the trip, and came upon these renditions of “It’s a Small World”:
This one is just cool. I wish I could play the piano like that.

We told our band director (half-joking) that we should play this for pep band. I’m sure the crowd would love it.

Spokane

I spent the past weekend in Spokane, WA, with my school’s pep band following our boys’ basketball team in the state tournament.   The five-hour drive over was tedious, but there was some nice scenery along the way.

spokane2010-02

Scenery on the trip

spokane2010-03

More scenery

Neither observing high school basketball games nor playing in the pep band have ever been among my favorite activities, but the games were exciting and the weekend fun nonetheless.  One of the perks of being in band were the center-court, front-row seats at the game.

spokane2010-01

Pep band at state basketball tournament

There was a goodly amount of free time during the trip (only one game per day), which permitted time for homework, having fun, and hanging out.

spokane2010-04

Band in a large wagon

There was plenty to do, especially because at least three floors (not counting the lobby) of the hotel in which we stayed were taken up by people from the school.  There were cheerleaders, basketball players, fans, the band, family, extended family, or school faculty constantly milling about the hotel.  We probably drove the poor receptionists in the lobby insane with our constant presence (and noise!).

spokane2010-05

You can always tell it's a band trip when there are people playing cards...on a cymbal

New York City

I spent three days in New York City (two days traveling) this past week.  As I mentioned in my previous post, my primary purpose was to attend a seminar at NYU Poly.  However, in the other two days, I toured the city, went to a Broadway show, and climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty.  Rather than boring you with nonsensical narrative, I will let a few of the approximately five hundred photographs I took tell the story.

NYC2010-01

Strawberry Fields, memorial to John Lennon

NYC2010-02

Atlas at the Rockefeller Center

NYC2010-03

Helios (I think) and the ice rink at Rockefeller

NYC2010-04

NYC2010-05

Empire State Building

NYC2010-06

Great architecture

NYC2010-07

Chinatown

NYC2010-08

South Street Seaport

NYC2010-09

Staten Island ferry

NYC2010-10

The Peace globe which stood between the World Trade Towers and was damaged on 9/11; now stands in Battery Park

NYC2010-11

Trinity Church, featured in National Treasure

NYC2010-12

New York Stock Exchange

NYC2010-13

Ground Zero

NYC2010-14

The future Freedom Tower

NYC2010-15

Times Square

NYC2010-16

Westside Story at Palace Theatre

NYC2010-17

WWI and WWII memorial in Battery Park

NYC2010-18

NYC2010-19

NYC2010-20

Battery Park

NYC2010-212

Liberty Island

NYC2010-22

NYC2010-23

The weather was beautiful the day I visited Liberty Island

NYC2010-24

The size of the Statue's face--it's actually pretty small

NYC2010-25

"The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus

NYC2010-26

In the crown!

NYC2010-27

NYC2010-28

The pedestal

NYC2010-29

Ellis Island

NYC2010-30

In Times Square

NYC2010-31

The M&M store

NYC2010-32

Polytechnic Institute at New York University--the seminar I attended here was the primary purpose of this trip

This trip was a great adventure.  While I enjoyed the fast-paced lifestyle of NYC, I must say I was glad to return to the Pacific Northwest where I can see trees and grass and more than two square inches of sky at once.