Thursday, March 09, 2006

Deepwood Drummer and Singing Tree

I've had a bunch of stuff that I've wanted to blog about, but never got around to it. Oh well, I guess I'll write more later if I have the time and motivation. Firstly, what I wanted to do is see how my last two spins of the Divining Top went:

Got two midterms back today
1) CS 436 Distributed Computer Systems
Predicted Mark: 65% - 85%
Actual Mark: 78%

Okay, so I had a really big prediction range here. :P Well, I wasn't really sure how much I had to write for a lot of questions...and so I didn't know if I would be getting full marks for them. Also, I almost ran out of time near the end, so a lot of thigns were rushed, and I wasn't sure how much part marks I'd be getting for some of the more significant question near the end. It turns out that I ended up losing marks mainly for forgetting some details, lost about 3 marks for misterpreting an ambiguous question about TCP commmunication schemas, and 8 marks 'cause I didn't study how to calculate a checksum. All in all though, I think I got a bit better than the mark I deserved. I'm not doing that well in the course though, I tanked all of assignment 1 and most of assignment 2...and assignments are worth 25%. I should try to stop slacking and attempt to get more motivated...even if I do have "a lot of other stuff to do."

2) CS 338 Computer Applications in Business: Databases
Predicted Mark: 55% - 75%
Actual Mark: 85%!!!

Finally...I wrote this exam like... the week before reading week lol. And I finally got it back today...and man, they were really really REALLY generous on a lot of the SQL questions. After I checked the notes once I finished writing the midterm, I figured that I'd get 0 for some of my SQL queries, but I guess the prof was more accepting of pseudocode than I thought. I mainly only lost marks due to forgetting definitions, and a mark or a half on forgetting a few tiny details that I didn't feel were worth arguing about. (such as whether or not you had to explicitly include a "Street" attribute for an "Address" entity, even though the question didn't exaclty say that they had one. I think that the markers were very lenient in general though. What this means for me is that all I need to do now to pass the course is pass the final. I can ignore all the rest of the assignments because of the prof's "best of" marking scheme, which will allow me to just use the midterm and final to calculate my mark. Given my mark on the midterm then, even if I only get 50% on the final, which I have to pass, I'll end up with a 60% overall in the course. So good haha.


So anyways, enough of that Top. Time to set a Pithing Needle to it. Yesterday, I went to worship cell, and Alex Langelo was there. Apparently, he's been very into music sine he was a child, and as such, he knew a thing or two about drumming and singing that he was willing to teach us. So the first half of worship cell was him instructing us on the basics of playing the djembe and the basics of singing. It was pretty embarassing for me, 'cause I suck at singing, and I'm not a good drummer at all even though I'd already had lessons from Alex in an earlier meeting of worship cell. :P When I was younger, I had to be part of a choir in my elementry school, and a bunch of people in my class made fun of me while I was singing, saying that I had a bad voice and etc. I guess those negative thoughts have stuck with me through most of my life; even nowadays at church and etc, I find it really to just sing out to the best of my ability. I always hold back.

As we were going around practicing the first part of the chorus of "Here I Am To Worship" a lot of people were struggling to get what Alex was trying to impart on us, mostly due to the fact that the majority of us had never had any real vocal traning. When he got to me, Alex was like, "You're only using 10% of your volume, you need to give your voice more support when you sing, man." and I replied "I know, I'll try." I guess hopefully, in time, I'll get over my pyschological fear and be able to sing properly. I'm getting a bit better at djembe though...and I'm feeling bold enough to maybe try and play it for worship during next week's CCF. It would the first time that I really did worship leading at all. Though later I found out that next Friday is also going to be a Bible study, which means I'd have to be prepared for that too. It feels like it would be a lot of responsibility to have to do worship AND Bible Study leading on the same night, I have enough stress leading Bible studies as it is. :P But, well, if Betty can do it, then maybe I can too haha. I guess I better ask Chris what he thinks...

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Thanks Wen for helping me come up with an interesting post title to my last post. I was kind of stuck trying to think of one for a while.

Anyways, although I've had a mostly relaxed week this week, I haven't really been motivated to post much. Why? I've had some random thoughts of stuff here and there, but none that seemed really significant enough or practical enough to make into a "real" blog entry. I spent a lot of this past week just chilling out, hanging out with people at Worship Cell and Lifesong, playing through a lot of X-Men Legends 2 with Wen and Duy, and having dinners with them and Alex Chen. Most of my midterms are done, and so I have a small break before my assignments will start to pick up again. Academically speaking, I'm doing "as expected", though I probably could be trying a bit harder.

Lifesong this year was another big drama production, this time featuring Herman's testimony. It was pretty cool to hear him share about his life and how he came to be where he is today. I thought about the people I knew who had lost a parent due to cancer or some other circumstance, and realized that I knew more such people than I had realized. Thinking about it sort of put a new perspective on things; it made me appreciate my parents even more, especially since they usually ended up spoiling me so much when I was younger. There were times when they were super strict too, but in general, I had a pretty good relationship with them, and it got better as I grew older.

Has anyone ever noticed that sometimes when you greet people, no matter if you're just chilling out or passing them in the halls, they sometimes go on autopilot and not really hear/read what you say? For example:
Me: So how was Lifesong for you?
Friend: Oh, it was okay, I had a midterm on Thursday, it went pretty well...
Me: (I guess he figured I'd ask him how his week was...)

2) (Over MSN)
Me: Hello sir. What's up?
Friend: Not bad thanks. What about you?
Me: (That didn't really answer my question...)

At first I thought that maybe the other person just wasn't fully mentally in the conversation at first. I figured it was a psychological thing, that they would asssume that this social interaction would start off like most other social interactions usually do. But then I thought may be it was my fault for speaking too softly. (at least in the non-MSN cases) I've had a fair number of people not hear what I say clearly in converastions, and I've had to repeat myself. Though I might be just exaggerating the number of those occurrences in my mind. Memory is easily affected by our emotions, after all. So what do you guys think? Do I speak too quietly sometimes? How often do I do it? Should I try to talker louder than I normally do to make up for it?