After years of silence, Daquell returns to life. I never thought this blog would be resurrected, but when my wife wanted server space, it was no problem pointing my address (daquell.com) to a subfolder and getting setup.

How much has changed since my last post? Lots:

  • Marriage
  • Pets (2 rats, 2 cats, 1 dog)
  • Moving (3 times)
  • Occupation change (3 times)

I remember when I started all of this, back in 2005. It was entitled Reckless Abandon: Daquell. That aptly described my life—reckless, and living with wild abandon. Others may have nicer things to say about me, but I’ll be the authority on what was going on in my heart.

During my college years, the title changed. Spontaneous Scholar. My posting was definitely spontaneous! God was shaping me into something less reckless. Something more… thoughtful, in tune with Him and less in tune with my wants.

Now I relaunch. God is working on me and shall work on my until I die, and so now I return as the Ponderous Pastor. Join me as I tackle life’s problems deep and light, share tech news that you won’t get elsewhere, and give brief updates on life at a small church in PA.

Because Oranges are better than Nuts, an Orange Peel must be better than a Nutshell.

My four most significant events of 2008 follow. While a good blog post will not be written quickly, this one is, purposefully. This way, the four most readily available, or the most impactful, events of 2008 should come to my mind.

  1. Africa! Aballah, Cameroon! Only 13 days, but my life will never be the same. The wealthy, the poor, the crowded, the spacious, the Christian and the heathen all together, this first time of leaving the country will be forever cemented in my brain.
  2. Pulpit Speech. For this one, I only have three main points and then I’ll be done. 1) We notice the Training of this class. When I finish it in May, hopefully my sermons will be more able to reach God’s people. 2) We notice the Timelessness of this class. The things I learn now will still be in use when I preach as an older man. 3) We notice finally the Teacher of this class. Mr. McGonigal is an amazing man.
  3. The blooding. This year, I got my sword. Shortly thereafter, I christnened the blade unplanned when I sliced three fingers, one to the bone. The nerves have not yet grown back, and my piano playing is not where it was. Perhaps not a repeatable experience, but a very memorable one as my roommates helped me do even basic events like getting dressed.
  4. I kissed the teen years goodbye. Note that this is logical reckoning. Imaginative reckoning still plants me solidly in the teen league, though I sometimes lapse into fits of adulthood.

As I wipe away a tear for 2008, I look forward to a frabjous 2009. What were some of your most memorable experiences of the past year?

Does the title need any more explanation?

I did not sleep the night before. That is actually a lie, because I did sleep for a couple of hours or so. However, sleep is difficult when one goes to bed three or four hours early. However, sleep or no sleep, when I woke up (or… didn’t, because I wasn’t asleep), it was Christmas!

This is possibly the most enjoyable Christmas I have ever personally experienced. I cannot say it is the best Christmas ever, because that is far too cliche, and also, the best Christmas was the first Christmas, when Christ came to earth to redeem men from their sin. Apart from that Christmas, though, this was the best.

The following items were bestowed upon me:

  • The first season of Hogan’s Heroes
  • All 17 episodes of the ooold George of the Jungle series (with SuperChicken!)
  • Four Don Knotts movies
  • A solid pound of gaming dice — see below for explanation
  • A happy red shirt (as opposed to the sad red shirt that is pining away in my closet)
  • Two ties to complement said shirt
  • A pair of jeans

All in all, I got all that I wanted and nothing that I didn’t want.

A note must be inserted concerning the gaming dice. I do not gamble. They are role-playing dice. Some may have trouble rectifying a conservative, Bible-believing pastor-in-training being a Dungeon Master, but I can promise you that one can morally be both. I could even prove it from Scripture. If you cannot role-play in good conscience, though, don’t start doing it for my sake. One of my next posts will present my view of RPGs.

I hope you had a merry Christmas!

Today I took the final two quizzes for my two hardest classes. Next stop: final exams.

It sure seems as if this semester has flown. At a slow rate, of course. Thinking back over everything that has been accomplished, however, it definitely looks full and long. And next semester looms ahead-aaah. Mustn’t think about that now.

Fourteen more days to go until Christmas vacation begins, and much must occur ere the sun sets on this semester. Tests to take, presents to purchase, various graduating friends to bid farewell. And a classical guitar concert… more on that later.

Next up… Movie Review: Enchanted. I pity you guys with no sisters!

Post Trivia: Identify the dog below and you will be rewarded with 2,000 g/1g, legal tender anywhere north of Cray. Which doesn’t really exist as a nation. But, anyway… it’s the status that counts.
Name this dog for: 2,000 cool points

Name this dog for: 2,000 cool points

Thanksgiving Break has been a whirlwind tour of home. Besides a number of other events that have gone on (and which will be duly posted), this site finally got a (much-needed) face-lift.

However, it is not complete. If you have any suggestions, please note them now. Or, forever hold your peace.

Finally, I beg forgiveness for not posting much. Personal blogs are a pain, really — not for the writer, but for the reader. Who really cares about my life, anyway? But, for posterity, I shall continue posting. And, I will try to be more frequent about it.

A friend of mine and I are producing a CD of tips ‘n tricks by our very own College Critters. A sample track is below. More tracks may follow…

Track #1 – Nasal Decongestant (if buffering is slow, try right clicking and saving to your computer) (or, you could buy me a faster server).

In the frenzy of packing my things for school, working the first few days to check-in all the new workers, plunging into classes, and setting up a software distribution system for the computer science majors, the past few weeks filched any time to blog away. Which, in a way, is good. Now I have something to blog about. Otherwise, this post would have looked as follows:

Here I Am Again

Hello all! I’m here at school again getting ready for classes. I wonder if I will be busy at all this week?

That would have been grotesque.

During the past few weeks, God has been teaching me some amazing things. My ministerial teachers have told me for two years now to put God first, to do my devotions even if it means taking time away from studying. That sounds good, but it certainly would never do for me… or so I thought. This semester has perhaps been the busiest experience in my entire existance. I get up at 5:30 AM, dodge between classes and my two jobs until 5:00 PM, swallow a dinner whole, study until my brain hurts, and cast my poor exhausted body onto my bed around midnight. Do not take me wrong: I am not bragging about anything I do. If I were responsible for the above mess of activities, several computer science teachers, a human resources manager, the ministerial enclave, and a slew of other people would be rather upset with me, because I would be home, preferably in the vicinity of a corner of dark bliss under my bed.

In fact, it is not me who is accomplishing anything. My teachers were correct. God is more than able to provide strength. Although there are some days when I look forward to life beyond the end of retirement, God gives me comfort, ability, peace, joy… and the list goes on. Without Him, it wouldn’t be worth doing anything. Without Him, my life would have no purpose.

So, I have taken up much more of your time than is meet. Forget the rest of this post, but remember: God is strong enough to handle any struggle you are going through. Trust Him–it is far better than floundering around by yourself.

So, every Thursday possible our pastor allowed me to teach the children (ages 4-12) for an hour and fifteen minutes. For anyone who has studied age-groups or worked with kids with such a wide variety of ages, this task does not look easy. But, I’m not posting to brag about the “great feats” that I attempted this summer. I’m simply describing what we did.

First, we did games. Children of all ages love active games (duh!); with such a large group of varied ages, I could pick three or four games a night and target them to either the younger or older kids. The little kids loved simple racing games. The older kids loved games that required either brains or brawn… or both. Game-time lasted about a half-hour, after which we all went to get a well-deserved drink.

Second, we had a prayer time. This, while not being as exciting, is essential; it lets the kids know I care about them, and it brings them closer to God. Hopefully, they are more comfortable telling God about their troubles (and thanking Him for all the good things He gives them).

Third, we sang songs. While I think children should know the longer, older hymns, I think fun teaching songs are also essential. We want them to think well of singing. “Father Abraham” was a favorite, as was “I’ve Got Good News,” “I’m in the Lord’s Army,” “I’m Inright, Outright, Upright, Downright Happy All the Time,” and “Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day.” We are usually pretty tired after singing…

…so, Fourth, we had a little puppet skit. My puppet, Jerry, is rather obnoxious, and he claims to never listen to the teacher or hear any of the Bible lesson. Furthermore, he is rude, illogical, and wild. The kids love him. Since Jerry never listened to the previous week’s lesson (getting him a stern reprimand from the teacher), we always had to review it for him. What a sneaky head-fake, but it worked!

Fifth, after more singing and teaching a Bible verse, I would teach. At my school, Bob Jones University, the ministerial teachers have a saying that goes something like “It is a sin for a teacher or preacher to be boring.” This is said tongue-in-cheek, of course, since the Bible doesn’t condemn any particular style of teaching (but rather the message itself), but I think a good principle of politeness does come into play. It is very unloving to be a boring teacher, not to mention selfish and rude, since the children are forced to not only come and listen but also sit still!

I don’t know whether I way boring or not, but the kids seemed to love the lessons. The reason? I dressed up each night, role-playing a different character. On the different nights, I was a brash buccaneer (Captain Wetworth), a super spy (Dr. Marlow), an adventurous Australian (Dr. Downunder), a clichéd cosmonaut (Captain Nebulae), and a dashing swordsman (Señor Cutter). Each character had his own accent, accessories, and personality; some of the kids seemed to not even know it was me!

All in all, the Thursday-night teaching was a success, though not by my own doing. God has a wonderful way of taking my poor efforts and making them brilliant. I will miss my kids and try to take the lessons I’ve learned from teaching them to school with me… to begin teaching the other group of children at school.

Introduction

Do you remember, way back in grade-school, when you were taught how to find the prime factors of a number? It was the biggest pain… especially since you knew that your teacher already knew the factors of that number, and that any work you did was not for anyone’s benefit. Let us face the cold, hard facts: factoring 27 into 1, 3, 3, 3 did not put food on anyone’s table, did not help a soldier compute the trajectory of a mortar rocket, and it certainly did not make your day any better (if, on the other hand, it did brighten your day, please email me; I am also a counselor. 😛 )

Perhaps now, so many years later, you have been demanded to program an algorithm to factor a number. I can hear your groans; once again, accomplishing this will not save the world. However, writing such an algorithm is not beyond the astute programmer. Actually, it can be quite fun. Let us walk step-by-step through this such daunting task.

(SIDE NOTE: All code on this page is in pseudo-code. Therefore, most schools will allow you to read this article without infringing on cheating policies.) Read on »