Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Review: Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment. Written by the great Dostoevsky. (Or so I am told that he is great. This is the first book I have read by him and thus do not have a fully formed opinion.)

I did not read this book. I listened to it on CD while I drove long distances. It is a book that philosophizes through the narrative and thus requires more reflection than can be given while driving and listening to it constantly. It is a character driven novel, definitely not plot driven. In fact, the plot is so meandering that at times it is maddening. I did not really enjoy the plot. I didn't really love the book as a whole. I liked certain characters, such as the main character's friend Razumikhin, and the character that pulls at your heart strings like no other, Sonya. But the main character, Raskolnikov, drove me crazy. And that, in retrospect, is fitting as he was driving himself crazy throughout the book. The most interesting thing about the book is that it is A. not predictable and constantly making you wonder what this mad man will do and B. is a fascinating study of a deranged mind. Raskolnikov never does what you want him to. He is frustratingly odd. However, all his oddities stem from basic human nature and the truth is I could easily see myself becoming as mad as he.

Was I bored at times? Yes. Was the plot incredible? No. I can't even say I would recommend it. However, Dostoevsky does do an amazing job at reveling the human psyche. I enjoy talking about this book with others who enjoy Dostoevsky more than I enjoyed listening to it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lion Furniture

Driving down the road the other day I passed this little beauty (don't worry, I was driving and my passenger took the picture):

That's right. Those are amusement park ride cars being transported. Monkeys and bears. It was so funny to see this.

Just two minutes later Joey and I pass a certain semi truck. This truck's trailer had a large piece of art on it. Since we were passing it, we naturally saw it from back to front and slowly had the whole piece of art reveled to us as we passed the truck. This is what we saw: a large, Sams club sized parking lot with cars in it. At the end of the parking lot is a massive store. Somewhere it said the name of the store. I don't remember the name but it was a furniture store. #1 If you are a furniture store, why not have pictures of furniture on the truck instead of a large parking lot. I guess the idea was to show how large the store was. Anyway, the kicker is this: at the front of the trailer is an image of a lion laying on a grassy hill which over looks the furniture store. WHAT! How do these two things relate? Joey and I immediately start to mock this, creating fake ad slogans that might explain the trailer's art. "Do you like lions? Do you like furniture. Us too!" & "Have you ever been on safari? Do you use furniture? Us too!" & "Buy our furniture or this lion will eat you!"

We were tired. It was insane. I laughed until I cried. It still makes me laugh.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weird Coincidence

When I am on the road I listen to books on tape. They help pass the time, keep me mentally engaged, help me become more well read, etc. (So far this travel season I have finished Crime and Punishment, Grace Eventually, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. My thoughts on each coming soon.) Yesterday I started listening to Moby Dick. This is a book that has always been presented to me as long and boring, the death toll of high school English that I somehow avoided. This, so far, has not been true. It has been quite good. The only negative is that the reader at times sounds like Will Ferrell's professor character that is always in a hot tub.

Anyway, what this post is about is the weird coincidence that happened. Not long after I got on the road, I saw this:

Whalin! What are the odds of seeing a truck like this while listening to a book about whaling? Slim. I just love the little surprises life gives.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Story from the Road: The Vulture

I do a lot of fairs. Graduate Fairs. Career Fairs. Job Fairs. Combos of all three. You start to see certain figures that come to these fairs. My favorite, and at times least favorite, is the Freebie Vulture.

The Freebie Vulture is the man or woman who walks through the fair and takes every freebie they can. It might be a squishy car from Enterprise. It might be a Frisbee from Waffle House. It might be chap-stick. ANYTHING. They will take it. I don't do give-aways so they usually ask me if they can have one of my pens. The one thing they DON'T take is your materials. They do not care who you are, what you are their for. They unabashedly are there for the free stuff.

The Freebie Vulture

Monday, October 18, 2010

Story from the Road: Sweet Tea

The Moody Bible Institute fair was fantastic. One of the reasons it was fantastic was that they gave every recruiter one free drink at their coffee shop. I had just finishing setting up my booth and found the room rather stuffy and hot. I felt like I needed a cool drink to refresh me so I went and got in line. As I am waiting, I peruse the menu to find that perfect cool drink that will restore me to sanity before the fair begins. And then I see it. On their menu is "Southern Sweet Tea." I think, "Is it possible for them to have actual SOUTHERN sweet tea here in this coffee shop in Chicago?" But my desire for the nectar of the gods that is sweet tea outweighed my skepticism and I ordered. The girl behind the counter takes my order and asks where I am from. "Kentucky," I answer. "Oh, well then you will have to let us know if our sweet tea measures up," she replies. I wait. She grabs a pitcher out of a refrigerator and pours me a tall glass. She hands it to me and I take a swallow. My taste buds rejoice to find that this, indeed, does measure up to what I was hoping for. Not exactly my wife's sweet tea, but good enough. The cold tea cools restores my body to a proper temperature and the taste of the tea makes me feel at home. I am happy and am ready for the fair. Bring on the students.

Friday, October 15, 2010

On the Road pt.1: Where I've Been

I have not been posting because I have been traveling so much. I am the Coordinator of Admissions and Marketing for Asbury University’s Master of Social Work program. What this means is that there is a period of time each Fall, and to a lesser extent each Spring, that is my “travel season”. All admissions persons have this, but I have made mine especially intense this year. When I signed on to do this job, the MSW program had only been around for a year and really was just beginning to get on its feet. I committed, if only to myself, to stay in the position until the program was absolutely full, so that we were turning people away. Obviously I want that to happen as soon as possible. I travel as much as I do simply to try and connect with as many people as possible, to grow the number of people who know about Asbury’s MSW program.

So enough prologue. My travel season started Sept 28. This is what I have been up to:

On Oct 28 I left Wilmore, KY and drove to Waynesburg, PA. At Waynesburg I met Chyrul, a middle age African American lady whose table was set up to mine. She happened to also be in social work and we made small talk about jobs, family, etc. It is always nice to have these types of encounters on the road. The fairs I recruit at can be long and tiresome and it is nice to have a kind person set up next to you who can help pass the time when the fair is slow. The next day I did West Liberty University and Bethany College. These schools are either in West Virginia or Ohio, I don’t remember which. There I met a guy who recruited for the Kaplan testing system. I think his name was Brian. We mainly chatted about marriage as Brian was 21 and getting married in 9 weeks. Again, nice to make a friend. Brian actually ended up charging my TomTom for me the next day.

Bethany College

Day 3 was Wheeling Jesuit University and Franciscan University of Steubenville. Franciscan was beautiful! We (recruiters) were placed in an art gallery and the art was awesome. While there I met a woman who has her Ph.D in library sciences and has a specialty in children’s libraries and literature. I asked her about how to get published (I have written a children’s book) and she gave me some wonderful advice. It is these chance encounters that really liven up the road experience.

A stone barn chapel at Wheeling.

So, if you are counting, that is 5 schools and 3 states in 3 days. I got to be at home for 3 nights and then headed out to Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. I love Asheville. I went to college and hour away from Asheville and just love the whole hippy vibe they have. The College served beef from cows they raised and vegetables from their own garden. When you put away your tray in the cafeteria there was a section for food waste they used for compost. I love it. Sadly I didn’t get to spend any time in the city and had to hurry home. The next day I did a Career Fair at Morehead State University in KY and that evening left with Joey Styron, the Asbury Seminary recruiter, for Malone University in Canton, OH. The fair at Malone was a total bust but I did see a professor friend there who had me come speak in his class, which made the trip worth it. When that ended Joey and I got in the van and drove to Chicago. Yep. From Ohio to Chicago. Over 6 hours. (In case you are wondering I have logged right around 56 hours driving in the last three weeks). Chicago was a neat experience. We got dinner at a great Italian restaurant (Maggiano's Little Italy: 516 N Clark St.) that gave you both your in house meal and a to-go meal for $12.95. Crazy right?

The next day we were at Moody Bible Institute. I didn’t know how this would go for me and I was extremely surprised. Many students were extremely interested. I met a professor there who is a social worker and pushes his students to get an MSW. A great connection for sure. I left Moody to go to a huge Chicago area fair. It had hundreds of recruiters, boasted 30 co-sponsor colleges, and had 1200 people come through. Surely I would make come good contacts here right? Nope. I only talked to 1 student and he was from a school I was planning to visit in a few weeks anyway. It is weird to think that out of a pool of 1200 I only got 1 but at Moody I got 8 or so from a pool of maybe 200.

I hit the road again Monday to go to Kentucky Christian University, about 2 hours from where I live. KCU is a great connection for us and two of our current students are from there. The next day I drove to Ashland, KY (2.5 hours away) to speak to a group of students. That night I had to leave for Murray, KY (4.5 hours away). That means that on Tuesday, Oct 12th, I was in the car for 9.5 hours. Ridiculous. Yesterday I went to Transylvania University in Lexington, KY which is a short drive away. Their Director of Career and Calling is this VERY energetic lady named Susie who hugs everyone and just loves everyone. Her assistant’s husband went to Asbury Seminary and thus was pretty excited about us being there. Another great connection.

So that is what I have been up to so far. Maybe a boring post but it gives you the gist of what my life has been like. Next post: Stories from the road (including a very strange picture, I promise).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Video of New Hymn

I said I was going to post a video of that hymn I wrote. Here it is. Please know that I am not a fantastic singer. By the way, this thing needs a title...lets call it "Behold, He is coming."