Thursday, August 09, 2007

Worth Posting

So I was running to the mall at 8:45, to buy the WoW board game on impulse. I got there, and the gaming store was shut down (like, to be remodeled or made into not a game store).

However, I did manage to overhear a conversation, as we walked by Victoria's Secret....

9yr old girl: "Mommy, what's Victoria's Secret?"
Mom: [In evil, angry voice] "A place your father likes to go"

It was worth going to the mall for just that. I almost fell over.

Monday, June 18, 2007

FYI: I Lived

A little late, and I missed posting some of my later journals, but I'm home. No bullet wounds, stabing, ect. Missing journals may be released with the special edition DVD.

Very glad to be back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Today was exciting because Manuel was around to work with us, so I got a lot done. He hit the same problem I was having with the DNS errors, but he’s tapping into his network of people to find some solutions. I’m finding out from working with him that while he doesn’t have superior knowledge in all subjects, he knows who to get in touch with for answers, and that’s just as good (if not better).

It was raining on the way home, so I got pretty wet. Busses and Subways can get really stuffy when their packed full of wet people. Class was nice because it’s held in an air conditioned room. I should also mention that the movie we watched was really good, “Real Women have Curves”.

PS: Yes, the Weapons Museum took up most of my time, and Science Museums are defiantly about the touching.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday


This morning was a lot of fun. We spend a few hours at Ayuda, a community organization, helping setup and run a family day. Beyond the mundane moving tables and picking up the streets (it was a block party), we got to help distribute food and run activities. I spent a lot of time running the big blowup jump cage thing. It was fun interacting with all the local kids, and then the rest of the day was readings and food.


Today I got the chance to meet up with a friend of mine from Messiah, Michael Craig, and go visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I was proud of myself for being able to find the train station where he got off at, and then get us to the museum, but I suppose that’s another story. There was a bike race going on right at the museum, so there was extra activity going on outside.

Once inside, we spend a lot of time at the swords and armor in one exhibit. The rest of the time was split between European and Asian art (including the tea house exhibit). Highly enjoyable overall. On the return trip, I saw the same con artist running the same act on the subway as before. Needless to say, I didn’t fall for the same trick twice.


Going to Open Borders today, our group was able to navigate the subway with a new level of mastery. This mostly came out as being able to emerge from the subway on the right side of the street to get the connecting bus, but it made the difference between missing and getting our bus.

We’ve also been finding that our bus on the return trip doesn’t come often, and walking is quicker. It’s quite a few blocks, through a pretty poor neighborhood, so we see a lot of sad sights. For as much of the culture as we we’re exposed to on public transportation, there is still something to be said about walking places.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


The first part of today was pretty standard. Lunch was all right, and I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary on the way to my community service. The full time volunteers were in a meeting with some board members the whole time we were there, which limited what we could get done, since we had some questions. Regardless, I was still able to get some stuff done. (read as, we were dumped onto this organization who doesn't really have the time to train and manage us because they were contacted the day before we got there, and now we're more of a burden then anything else)

Today’s interesting event was on the subway ride home. Between two stops, someone got up and started rattling off a speech, asking for donations. They were (apparently) from some homeless aid foundation type thing, and asking for donations (15 cents) and signatures. The signatures were supposedly to help get funding from the city.

I thought that his pitch was pretty good, so I gave him the spare change in my pocket (16 cents) and signed his paper. Most people in the car gave something, many people dropping dollars into his manila envelope.

When we got off the subway, Adam told me that the guy was a con artist. I had suspicions, but didn’t think that the small amount I gave was a big loss. As we talked about it, I realized how that kind of an operation could be really successful. The people have a captive audience, first off. Second, as soon as one person gives, there is peer pressure for others to donate. And finally the whole thing took less then three minuets, in which I would guess he made ten dollars. He could easily keep working his way up and down the cars, and never have the same people in a train twice.

So I lost a little bit of money, its something that I won’t likely do again. I know that donating money is always best done to a reputable organization (Red Cross, for example), but this guy really had me going (he rolled a 20). In any case, 16 cents isn’t bad for a learning experience.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


This morning I got up and ready, preparing to go back into the city for another day of community service. Subways are now pretty comfortable for me, except for the smell. I still do take a while to figure out which way I need to go, and which direction is north and south.

At the place where we wait for the bus, there is a guy who sells pirated CDs and DVDs. He’s there every day working out of a CD case and a laptop. I’ve now got his pitch memorized, “CDs…DVDs…watch em’ before you buy em’, CD’s…listen before you buy em”. In other bus news, I’m finding that busses are largely unreliable in general, and many of the people who lived in Philly that we have gotten a chance to talk to don’t take them typically.

At work, I spend the majority of the time in the computer lab trying to unify their network. I don’t know if I have the technical ability at this point to do it. Usually with a day or two of brute force and applying the things I do know, I can figure out how something computer-related works, and fix it. Creating and administrating a network using DNS under Windows server 2003 and Windows 2000 might just be above me. Its not all that bad, since I’ve got a better handle on things in general for when I have to go start installing the software they needed on the computers, which I’ll probably ask to start on Tuesday.

--------------------Not included in journal-------------------

Monday’s class was a disaster. We had the Philly Messiah administrator come in, and we got into dialog with our teacher about problems that we were having. I know some girls specifically who feel very uncomfortable about going into Kensington and the badlands in small, all-girl groups (2-4 people). That being said, there are some bigger guys who don’t feel safe going into Kensington for their service. Others complained about the lack of orientation we got to the city, especially for people who have lived in rural areas their whole life.

What we got told, is that Messiah can’t be at every street corner and tell us about every danger, so they aren’t going to even try. The admin and teachers all life in the area, so they know what’s safe and what isn’t, though their twenty-some years of experience. Many of us are clueless to bad areas, and don’t want to “learn through experience” (being mugged, attacked, ect). We were also told that we will simply have to be on our guard at all times, on the street, in our building, and in our rooms. In general, people had their concerns ignored, and were told that constant fear is something you have to suck up.

This all went on for an hour and a half. The guest speaker then got up (who thought she was going to have the full three hour class). She was a white women from a white background, who now lived in the city, and was going to speak to us on the topic of racial justice. While our primary teacher (who has yet to teach a class period) is only subtly anti-white, this woman made a girl cry out of embarrassment for how terrible our race is. Her message was that white people have been / are so terrible, that we must live solely for the purpose of racial reconciliation. From her handout…

“Give serious thought to where you will live long term. It is probably the most spiritual decision you ever make. If you move into an area of people just like you, you will likely be committing spiritual suicide. If you move into an area of diversity where these issues will be in front of you every day (and will be affecting your own family, neighborhood, and friends), you will likely stay engaged in the process.”

She went on to call out how spiritually dead people are that live in the suburbs, have their kids home schooled, and live around people like them.

At one point, one of my classmates asked how he should react to people of other cultures when they are racist against whites when we try to respectfully approach them, either to talk or to give aid. One thing we all thought about was the author who read on Saturday, who was constantly going “gringo gringo gringo” and saying that all whites are terrible, rich people who oppress others.

The teacher first asked how old he was (22). She then tearfully told him that he was an embarrassment to her, and that in seventy years he would never know the magnitude of injustice done to Latino Americans and blacks. She told him that he was being defensive, and lots of other things that came from a highly warped sense of what he asked. Every student in the class stood up to defend him, but it was students vs. our teacher and guest speaker. They didn’t listen, or change their message, same as with the girl who was crying our of embarrassment for being white.

The whole class was terrible – ignored concerns, then white-bashing. As a group, we’re about one more bad experience from not going to class. I really won’t abide having my race attacked by my superiors, and our concerns being brushed off.

On the bright side, a bunch of us went and played soccer on the turf field after class, to get some anger out. It was a really good time.

Sunday - Short

Sunday's only plans were church in the morning. They gave us a list of churches, and we signed up in small groups. My group went to St. Veronica’s Catholic Church. It was a little hard getting there based on the directions we were given, but it happened. This is more that most groups could say, as their directions got them hopelessly lost and made them turn back. Some groups were even given directions that used busses that don’t run on weekends.

The rest of the evening was spend on homework and hanging out with people. The roof on this building is always really cool and breezy compared to everything the rest of the city.