Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weird Al and Things I Fundamentally Enjoy

This past week, Weird Al came out with his 14th album of his ridiculously long career, Mandatory Fun. In doing so, he released eight music videos from the album in eight days through eight different video distribution services (e.g. Youtube, VEVO, Yahoo! Screen, Funny or Die, and several more I hadn't heard of.) He linked them all on his website, and they're pretty good, so check them out! My favorites are Word Crimes, Handy, and Mission Statement, but Tacky and Foil have also grown on me. Inactive doesn't have a music video, but it's also pretty good.

On a different note, I'm looking forward to my family visiting Boston in August. I've started to think about what we'd like to do with which of my friends, like who to go see a Red Sox game or eat dim sum with. It's a somewhat complicated problem to try to pair up all of the different combinations, since I want them to meet all my friends while doing fun Boston things together with them.

I also recently got back from a leadership retreat with the Graduate Christian Fellowship. As a small part of the retreat, I got plenty of feedback on how the large groups that I had organized had been. We had found the top 11 "Burning Questions" topics the fellowship was asking and found pastors and professors from a variety of backgrounds to cover those difficult issues.

How are these three things related?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Managing Tasks without Deadlines

This year, I've reached a subtle but important transition point in my academic life. Up until now, I've mainly been taking classes, which usually means that my work came in chunks due at regular intervals, whether they are readings, problem sets, or essays.

This meant that the main way I kept track of all of that was through calendars and to-do lists with deadlines. For instance, I used Google Calendar's tasks heavily, 

By contrast, from here on out (at least while I'm in grad school), my academic work consists primarily of open-ended tasks like "investigate this research question." Those sorts of tasks often don't easily admit a characterization into "done" and "not done" or have deadlines. So I needed a new system.

After trying out a couple different ideas, I've come across something I find I really like. Here's the idea: I plot all the various things I have to do on two axes. The first axis is how important or urgent that task is. The second axis is how enjoyable, fun or rewarding it is. Earlier, I posted a cruder version, but here's what that graph currently looks like:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Apologetic Value of Modern Day Miracles

Why are some very smart people Christian, and some aren't? This is an important question, because we can't both be right. In this post, I share my new approach to rationalist Christian apologetics, and why I think there are still important questions that need to be answered here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


The last month or so has been pretty relaxing. First, I visited home for my sister's graduation and Mother's Day, and then I went to Caltech for Ditch Day and hung out there for another week after that. Since then, I've remained pretty relaxed, and allowed myself to sleep in quite a bit. As a result, I've started dreaming more.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Friday and Christian Music

Yesterday was Good Friday. For the last several years, it's been the Christian holiday that I've most consistently emotionally connected with. Easter is a close second, but in this post I'd like to discuss a more general topic that I think explains why I've connected with Good Friday.

When I first started attending my church, City on a Hill in Brookline, I loved everything about the church, but surprisingly, it was the music that stood out the most. For a long time, I wasn't really sure why. I knew that they sung a different mix of songs than I was used to, and somehow I loved them, but it wasn't until a sermon by Fletcher Lang six weeks ago that I realized why.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Games and Addiction

As I wrote in my "I'm Back" update, I'm going to fill in what happened in the previous year steadily in smaller chunks, rather than all at once. I'll go in approximately reverse chronological order, meaning I'll start with what's happened most recently.

Prior to these last two weeks of living intentionally, the previous three weeks of my life were characterized by one thing: Games. I'd like to take a step back and look at this in the context of my life and previous approaches to games before describing what I learned about myself during that three-week stretch.

I'm Back!

Hello everyone!

Whew! It's been a year since I've done any written reflection like this. If you didn't already receive them, I used to write rather long reflection documents and e-mail them out to my family and close friends. Now, after talking with some of you about this, I've decided to move to a blog format. Feel free to subscribe!

Why now? Well, the last two weeks, I've made a serious effort to live intentionally, keeping a schedule of my time, and now that i's clear that that's here to stay, reflecting is something I decided I'd like to have in that routine, probably at the rate of about one post every week or two.

Now, there's a year of my life that many of you only have snippets of, and I've sketched some thoughts down about that time that I'll slowly add back in when it feels appropriate.

Why here? I created this blog over a year ago with the hopes of populating it with deep theological reflection on the intersection of Christianity and rationalism. Well, I'll still hopefully have some deep reflections here, but I'll also (and possibly primarily) share personal stories and realizations from my life.