Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some cool gadgets and other stuff

If you're into gadgets, tech stuff, and that sort of thing, here are a few things that might catch your interest.
1) Some cool RC robots from www.inspectorbots.com.
Here's a video of the one I think is one of the most awesome:



2) 


[to be continued...]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!
We were testing out our new Wii Fit Plus a little bit ago - a Christmas gift from one of my mom's sisters.
Unfortunately, I am still sick with a cold and still have some sort of a rash or hives or whatever it is (although not as bad as some cases of hives I've had in the past).  It looks as though we will be spending Christmas Day by ourselves.  Oh, well.  Anyway, I hope you have a great day.  If it isn't, well, just try to make the best out of it.
-Max out

Monday, December 21, 2009

And more sweepstakes

Well, if you like sweepstakes, here are some more for you, courtesy of hearitfirst.com.
Hear It First sweepstakes
As far as I know, for these, you only have to be 13 or older to enter.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Celtic Woman sweepstakes

If you're a Celtic Woman fan and have wanted to see the group in concert (and you're over 18), here's your chance to enter a sweepstakes to do so.
Celtic Woman sweepstakes

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yes, very boring

Recently, I've been looking at some other blogs written by teenagers and the feeling I have that the content of my blog is very boring, written in a boring style, with perhaps a boring look as well, is fairly depressing.
However, I can only try to improve it somehow (constructive advice might be appreciated) and look at the disclaimer at the top of my blog's home page...although I'm not exactly sure what good that does.
Hm, I wonder if A Waste of Your Time would be a more apt name for my blog...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Recount of the Cincinatti Trip

Well, everyone (seriously, do I have more than one reader?), I'll try to start telling what our time on the road and in various places was like.
The night before we left, I got to sleep at 2:30 (I spent a long time packing) and woke up at around 6:30, so I got about 4 hours of sleep. If I remember correctly, we left on Tuesday the 8th at about 8:15 am.
We first headed to Kentucky, where some family friends from years ago live, and tried to eat at an Indian restaurant - as in, from India - but we got there in between lunch and dinner and it was closed.
So...we went across the street to a Chinese supermarket and bought a bunch of stuff.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to get the assorted drinks such as milk tea with "pearls" (you might know what I'm talking about - those black, chewy things), since the store only sells them on weekends. 

After that, we found our friends' house, and after a short visit with them,we headed across the border to Tennessee (only about 15 minutes away) to my aunt's house.
Although she was at some sort of school at the time, her husband was there, and we stayed overnight.
Our next destination was a hotel called Homeward Suites, where quite a few people I know (mostly from our old church) were staying also. 
We stayed there overnight, and left sometime after breakfast the next morning.
I should add that some of us staying there stayed in the lobby that night and played some games like Buzz Word, but I'll have to tell about that later, since it's 11:11 now.

Okay, back to the first night...
Well, now I'll have to stop since it's 11 and I'm getting up early to go to a Bible study tomorrow morning.


[12/25/09] I didn't end up going to the Bible study after all.
I'm going to accelerate the pace of this post by condensing it into a shorter length; I don't really like to write long posts.  So when I make my next update to this post, I should be much closer to the end. 


[12/27/09] 
Let me see…on the night we stayed at the Homeward Suites, I played a few games with some people I know (from my old church, Heritage Bible Fellowship, and another, Providence PCA).  One was Buzz Word, a word game where your teammate who's acting as reader reads your team a "buzz word" and a clue and you have to guess the word or phrase the buzz word appears in.  For instance: 
[reader]"Apple" (the buzz word); "New York is...?"   
[reader's teammates] "The Big Apple!"
It can even be like this: 
[reader] "Stand"; "A well-known soldier who lived with the Pilgrims"
[teammates] "Miles Standish"


Also that day or night, a few of the girls and guys were outside when it was snowing, and when I asked why they were staying outside when it was so cold, one girl (I believe it was Casey Burton), said something along the lines of "We're experiencing the snow!"  Admittedly, it wasn't that cold, like it was when the wind was blowing, when we'd first arrived.  Then it was freezing.  However, I was only wearing a T-shirt and a thin hoodie or something, so I wasn't dressed for cold weather.  Anyway, I let the girls "experience the snow" and went back inside.  After all, it was basically only flurrying at the time.


The next day we went through Tennessee and crossed the Ohio River into Cincinnati.  


[1/2/10] In Cincinnati we headed over to the Apple Store, since my dad's iPhone had gone dead because of a defective battery.  I got to look at a few iPhones and iPod Touches there.  They're pretty cool, mainly because of all the apps.  Well, after my dad got a new iPhone (which, unfortunately, did not have the screen protector he'd had on the one he'd switched in, and it naturally didn't have all the apps he'd put on it either, but hey just needed to be put back on again - not all that big of a deal)   
We then went to the Creation Museum, which turned out to be an interesting experience.
When we first stepped out into the museum parking lot, it was freezing.  Now this might just have been my perception, since I wasn't adjusted to the cold, but considering the wind was blowing pretty hard, I think it really was cold.   

 

After leaving the Creation Museum, we checked in at the Embassy Suites, where several other families we know (several had been at the Homeward Suites with us) were also staying.  The Marriot had a bridge across the street to the convention center where the conference was being held, but since the Embassy Suites was only the next building down, it was ok.  


[1/3/10] Now to the conference itself...
Speakers at the Sufficiency of Scripture conference included such notables as Ken Ham, president and founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum; Voddie Baucham, pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church (he's been interviewed on CNN); Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum; and others.
There were many different sessions covering a wide range of topics, but the uniting theme was - as stated by the name of the conference - how Scripture is sufficient for all of life.
     
[1/4/10] 
The session that had me the most absorbed was Ken Ham's, in which he detailed how not taking the Genesis account of Creation literally leads to many problems, including young people leaving the church (those polled said it was because of hypocrisy - preachers and teachers who didn't believe in a literal seven-day Creation but held to other teachings from the Bible as fact), as well as a host of other consequences.




[-Max out...for now]
  
Some interesting signs I saw on the road (unfortunately, I don't have a camera and I didn't get any pictures of them):
1) "?" 
Yes, it was just a blue square with a white question mark on it.  I believe there was an arrow pointing to a rest stop above the square-shaped sign.
Something like this:                 <- 
                                              ?

2) I don't remember what the second one said, unfortunately...it was the same as the first, but had some words as well as a question mark and an arrow sign as if to say, "this time we think we might actually know what's over there, but we're not sure."

And my personal favorite:
3) "Resume Legal Speed"      

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back At Home

Well, everyone, I am now back at home; we got back after a long drive just about an hour or a bit more ago.
I'll try to say more about the conference and stuff later.
-Max out

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Last Night In Cincinatti

Hello readers,
Here I am in an Embassy Suites hotel in Cincinatti for the last night.
I haven't been able to tell about the trip here or the Suffiency of Scripture conference I've been at with my family so far, as I've been busy and haven't had time.
Besides, even if I had my own device to access the internet so as a laptop, netbook, or something like an iPod Touch, this hotel charges you $13 per night for wireless internet access.  Ridiculous.

Well, I'll say more about what's happened later, since it's nearly 11:30 pm.
For now I'll just say that I've gotten to listen to quite a bit of good preaching, meet a lot of people, and visit the Creation Museum.  More later.

-Max out

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas music

Here are some Christmas albums and songs I've found that I've liked.  In many cases, I think most of the songs on an album are ok, but I particularly like a few of them.

Albums (in no specific order):
1) Home for Christmas - BarlowGirl
Although I didn't notice that much harmony (something the band is well-known for), but the songs are still done well.  BarlowGirl is my favorite Christian band (quite possibly overally favorite group), but I don't think I'm being too biased here. 
2) Winter Magic - Hayley Westenra
3) Christmas...From the Realms of Glory - Bebo Norman
4) Peace on Earth - Casting Crowns
5) Noel - Josh Groban
Perhaps you'll agree with me that Josh Groban has one of the best voices of any male singer out there today, but even if not, you may find you'll like some of his music anyway. 
6) X Christmas - Various Artists
7) My Christmas - Andrea Bocelli
Even if you don't care for Andrea Bocelli's style of music (classical/pop, etc), you might be able to appreciate his impressive voice.




Songs (also not in any specific order):
1) Veni Veni Emmanuel - Winter Magic - Hayley Westenra
2) Carol of the Bells - Home for Christmas - BarlowGirl
3) I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Peace on Earth - Casting Crowns
4) Carol of the Bells - X Christmas - August Burns Red
5) Mary, Did You Know? - X Christmas - Kutless



Also, Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra have some cool "modern-sounding" Christmas songs.

Once again I'll sugest that you check out the free mp3s on Amazon.  Right now there is a lot of free Christmas music from well-known artists such as BarlowGirl, Casting Crowns, Jars of Clay, House of Heroes, and many more, as well as non-seasonal music.  Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to see, say, all "free Christian music" or "free Celtic music", or...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back

Hello readers,
I'm now back at home, having arrived safely at somewhere around 5:30 pm.

-Max out

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Down" in Durham

Or something like that.  Whatever.  Anyway, right now I'm at a Marriot Courtyard in Durham.
I'm with my church's pastor and a guy from my church; we've been here in the city since around 8:00 am.
We've been at a pastor's conference (for pastors, that is, although it's been mostly pastors who have been preaching/teaching) all day.  Considering I fell asleep probably sometime past 1:30 am and got up at 5:30, I've been a little tired today and especially a couple of hours ago, but at the moment I'm actually not really tired.  A good portion of the teaching has been on noted personalities in church history such as Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards.  Besides Cooper (the other guy from our church), the other young guys who aren't pastors are with a pastor of a church in Wake Forest, Scott Brown.  He brought his interns and some of the other young guys with him, so there were others around my age.  We'll be at the second day of the conference tomorrow morning.  Right now I'm writing from a computer in the hotel lobby, watching people come in through the front doors.  It appears there is at least one girls' soccer team staying here, as well as some other people...but that's not really worth mentioning.  And no, none of the girls I saw were particularly attractive.  Believe me, I would have noticed if there were, as I tend to notice a pretty girl...
Anyway, I'm going to go back up to the room now, since I'm just about out of stuff to say.  

-Max out  .
            

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Food, Inc.

Yesterday, my family and I watched the recent documentray, Food, Inc.
It shows the process of food production and delivery - that is, how your food goes from part of a cow to becoming part of your cheeseburger, and much more.
If the fact that animals are herded together without regard for the conditions they're in (many chickens don't even see daylight) because you figure, like some people, that the animals are going to be slaughtered for food in a short time anyway, some other things in the movie might make you sit up and pay attention.
First, the conditions that the animals killed for food, including the food they eat and how sanitary their living conditions (as well as the food processing plants) are should concern you, since what animals eat and have put into them becomes part of them, and in turn becomes part of you.
Also, because these big food companies are only concerned about money and not about the health and conditions of the animals used for food, the workers, or consumers, even though there have been numerous deaths and serious illnesses (some that affect people for the rest of their lives, requiring them to have constant treatments, alter their appearances, and more), "big food" doesn't want to take any steps to change things for the better.
The government constantly wastes taxpayer money, due in a large part to the idea many people have, namely, that the government should take care of them.  That is an incorrect mindset to have,
but it should be said the government does have some responsibility to take care of its citizens, at least in the sense that it doesn't allow big corporations to take advantage of consumers and workers.

     


[to be continued...]

Friday, November 13, 2009

JSO 10K

Well, today my dad, brothers and I ran a 10k annual run today.
It was pretty tough, as always, and true to the tradition of this race, it rained!
This time, it had already been raining for a few days and only rained lightly during the beginning of the run, but the ground was still all muddy and full of mud puddles, slippery mud and clay, etc.
I drastically improved my previous time (I think I did 66:30 two years ago and then 69:00+ last year) this time, with a total elapsed time of 57:31.  Not too fast, but better than before.
Here's the website where you can find the link to register, provided you want to run in the race next year.  I believe it's open to the public, once you get onto Ft. Bragg.
JSO 10K
Scroll down to close to the bottom of the page and you'll see a slideshow of photos from last year's run.
There's a photo of me at #87.  Photos from this year's run should be on the site soon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just chillin'

Let me see…
We put up Christmas lights on our front porch after getting some LED light strings at Home Depot (you'd get a $3 off coupon for the LED lights if you traded in your old lights) on the 5th, so we were (and still are) the only people in our neighborhood to have Christmas lights up before Thanksgiving.  Actually, we're the first to have the lights up at all.
I'm going to take a shower now, so that's all for now.
-Max out

[update from 11/14/09:]
My brother found my Zen X-Fi for me the other day, and last Saturday I saw a new white Nissan GT-R; the second I've seen so far.  The first was also white (possibly the same one, but I'm not sure).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not doing much

Well, as the title of this post states, I haven't been doing much recently.
My car has engine problems, so we're proably going to take it to the mechanic's shop.
Hopefully it won't be permantly messed up, since I don't have the money to buy a new engine (or a new car).  Another engine can actually cost almost as much or even more than the car.  :(

We had a family over for dinner this evening.  We both used to go to the same church (Northview Baptist), but they now go to another church, as do we.
We hadn't seen them in a long time, so partly because of that, we had a pretty nice time with them.
Not to say that we wouldn't have a nice time with other people we have over at our house, but  you know what I mean.

Well, I'm heading off to bed now.
-Max out.
  

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Max is.

I've used this (the post title) as a current status on different sites before.  It kind of reflects how I feel quite often; could be better, could be worse, but I'm pretty much just ok. 

Let's see...
I watched The Bourne Identity recently.  I thought it was pretty good, and pretty believeable as well for an action movie.  In a lot of action movies (think the Die Hard series, for instance), a good amount of suspension of belief is required.  For someone to fall out of a car from a long way and just get up and dust himself off is a bit too much for a non-superhero.  The only things I think are unrealistic are the silenced gunshots sounding like spits (as with many movies and books), and maybe Bourne shooting accurately while falling through the staircase railing.  That might be possible, but I'm not sure.

And now it's late, so I'm off to take a shower and get ready for bed.

-Max out

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Free MP3s on Amazon

For those like me who like free stuff, including free music, Amazon.com is a good place to check out.
Just go to "MP3 Downloads" and find the free ones.  There will be links that will get you to pages with free songs and albums.  There are some that I've gotten that are classical music and others from names I've never heard before, but there are also free songs I've gotten from well-known artists (today I got Hello Sunshine, by BarlowGirl, for free). 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When's the last time you saw something like this on Ft. Bragg?

This was in the Ft. Bragg Commissairy parking lot, in an SGM parking space.
It's an Aston Martin V8 Vantage (correct me if I'm wrong), and probably a couple of years old.  If so, it could be worth around $75,000, a reasonably obtainable price for someone in the military, provided they were deployed for a while.  However, if it was new, it would be more in the $120,000 price range. 
Regardless of price, and provided it's the pre-'09 model, regardless of power, this is still a nice car.
I just love the sound of a nice engine with 8 cylinders or more.  This one sounded great, and I could have heard it better as it drove away, but unfortunately, my door was closed and the window was rolled up due to the rain.  
[update: today on Ft. Bragg I saw a Porsche Carrera S, a car that sells for around $100k, so it could answer the question posed by the title of this post.  However, I see Porsche 911s every so often, but this is the first time I've seen an Aston Martin in person.] 

  


Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Charlotte

We got back from Charlotte earlier this afternoon.
First of all, here are a few photos taken with my cellphone of two pricey cars in a parking lot in Charlotte. The first is a Bentley (A Continental, Continental GT, Continental GT Speed or something like that) and the second is a Mercedes S65 AMG.










Ok, about our time in Charlotte.
We stayed in the Renaissance Suites for two nights, and got back home Thursday afternoon. 
The Renaissance Suites is supposed to be a four-star hotel, I believe, but I'd subtract at least one star because a bottle of water provided "for the guests' service" is $4, and wireless internet access in the room costs $13!  To its credit, the hotel did look pretty impressive from the inside, when you were on a floor above the first (ours was the 5th; there were 9 in all) looking down on the first floor.  To give an idea of what it looked like, imagine a 4-sided building with rooms and balconies facing inwards, so you can walk around the side of the hotel next to the wall.  [Sigh] I'm not too good at explaining things like this; I should have taken some pictures.   

Mainly, we just hopped around from restaurant to restaurant, utitizing coupons and saving a lot of money.
The hotel was 3.8 miles from a place called Underground Racing, I think.  Underground Racing is a tuning company that equips cars that are already fast with things like twin-turbo kits and makes them even faster.
I wanted to see if I could see anything like Lamborghini Gallardos around the place, but I didn't get to go.
During our time there, we didn't actually do a whole lot, except for eat.  ;-)
Actually, we did go to a  went to a park for a little while and do some other stuff as well.
We stopped at a Blockbuster once.  It was closing, so most of the DVDs were 8 dollars or less.   Although there were some things I would have liked to have gotten, I didn't get anything.  Although I will likely be able to watch all or many of the movies and TV shows on my Mac (everything from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Heroes to the Bourne series and much, much more), I guess I'd like to have the actual DVDs.

When my parents went to get dinner one night while we were there, my younger brothers and sisters watched MacGyver on my dad's laptop using Netflix Instant Viewing, but Lucas and I played a Call of Duty Nintendo DS game with each other.  We only have two DSs, so Josiah and I took turns (which was fine with me). 


[to be continued, maybe...]

-Max out

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another sweepstakes

OK, quite simply, here is a link to another BarlowGirl sweepstakes (and please refrain from any eye-rolling here).
This one's grand prize gives the winner and guest (winner's parent or legal guardian, if under 18) a paid round-trip flight to the city a BarlowGirl & Superchick concert (both will be at the same event) will be at, hotel accomodations for one night, and two concert tickets.

The first prizes are simply the two concert tickets.  So look at it this way: the first prizes are the same thing as the grand prize, only with everything but the tickets taken out.  ;)

BarlowGirl & Superchick concert sweepstakes

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Race to Witch Mountain

Finally, something to write about.

This evening, I watched Race to Witch Mountain with the rest of my family.
It was one of the movies I suggested my mom get from Netflix, since there are many movies I'd like to watch that aren't for children, but I also try to look for movies our whole family can watch (and preferably ones that I will like also).  Many of the reviews I'd read (at Christian movie reviews) said it was a good family movie, so I thought it might be a good idea.  As it turns out, I am happy with my choice. 

For those who haven't watched the movie, here's my take on it, provided you don't care about having some of the surprises spoiled.  If you have yet to watch the movie and don't want to see the plot spoilers, skip to the "end of spoilers" part. 
[WARNING: Some plot spoilers ahead]
The movie begins with a taxi driver, Jack Bruno (played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), taking people where they want to go.  It may be my odd & twisted sense of humor or something, but the Stormtrooper scene in the beginning had me laughing.  His next passenger, Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino), spends much of her time studying and giving lectures on UFO phenomena, but Jack doesn't believe in the existence of UFOs, which rather disappoints Alex.  Later, as Jack is driving along without any passengers, he looks in the rearview mirror and sees two kids in the back seat!  He comes to find out that their names are Sara and Seth, and they are aliens on a mission to save Earth from destruction by the more war-inclined denizens of their planet some 3,000 light-years away.  Unfortunately, they are being pursued by government agents and a Siphon, an alien assassin sent to kill the kids.  To help matters just a little bit, the kids both have special abilities (i.e. superpowers): Seth can withstand tremendous impact without being hurt and can pass through solid objects, and Sara can read minds and can manipulate objects with her mind (telepathy and telekinesis).
The trio later team up with Dr. Friedman and try to stay one step ahead of the government and the rather unfriendly interstellar intruder, all the while trying to find and get to the siblings' spaceship.  I won't say what happens next, so watch the movie to see the rest. 
[End of plot spoilers]
      
The movie has no objectionable language that I caught, and no sexual content at all.
Overall, even though it does require a good amount of suspension of belief, I found it to be enjoyable on the whole and satisfying (I can't say the same for Inkheart, which I watched recently; I found it to be too illogical and lacking...something...), funny in parts, and pretty good with some of the special effects.  
In case you didn't know, I think superpowers, especially telekinesis and other mind powers like telepathy, are really cool.

Something in the movie that some people might have a problem with is the fact that the government agents, presumably from the CIA, FBI, or another large and well-known intelligence agency, are the "bad guys" trying to use Sara and Seth for their own ends.  Naturally, this doesn't bother me in the least, as I am, well, a conspiracy theorist, and I have no illusions or delusions regarding the government.  In fact, I believe some think me somewhat of a pessimistic/fatalistic prophet of doom for saying things like "the government is becoming totalitarian and might be like the former U.S.S.R. and other countried relatively soon, and we can already see how many of our freedoms have been and still are being eroded and how the government's power is steadily increasing..."
Well, enough about that.

Here are some themes I see in the movie that I believe can be seen biblically (although the biblical themes may be only loosely connected):
1) When seeing how Jack and Alex develop a close affection for the kids, even though they were previously total strangers, we can be reminded how God loves us and adopted us into his family, even though we hadn't known him before.   





[to be continued...]

WorldMag Editorial Cartoons

Some of these are pretty funny.  These are from a few weeks ago; I especially liked the Kanye West & Obama one (if you haven't heard about the Taylor Swift incident the cartoon is a parody of, you can find it in the news).
http://www.worldmag.com/articles/15887

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ted Dekker's Blog

OK, so you all know Ted Dekker is my favorite author, or at least one of my favorites.
His books are very good, but he also has insightful things to say on his blog from time to time.
For instance, the "The Baby, the whole Baby, nothing but the Baby, so help us God." and "The Challenge of being Gay" one.  The second is not about what you're probably thinking, just to reassure you.
Here's the link to his blog: Ted Dekker's Blog
Also, read The Gunslinger and see if you have the same expression when you finish it as I did ("What?!?!?")
The Boar, on the other hand, has a message that is easy to see. 
Well, got to go.
-Max out.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

And yesterday it rained pies...!

Well, not really, but I'll get to that in a second.
Today we went to church as usual, and I managed to wake up at 8:00 am, even though I was tired and had gone to bed at past midnight the "night" before. 
Not much else happened that wasn't the usual stuff, but yesterday we did get three boxes of pies from Ft. Bragg (3 boxes with 10 pies each), thanks to a program called "Pies for Patriots."  Apparently, anyone who is active duty can get free apple pies from this annual event.  And so now we've been eating apple pies...
When we first got them, they were still nearly completely frozen, but we ate one like that anyway.
You might like hot pies and think that frozen pie would taste like a lot of other foods do when frozen or cold (i.e. not good), but it was pretty good, and of course, it stayed together pretty well; that is, it didn't crumble as much.  We don't have that many pies left now, because we took a case to church this morning and two were eaten during the fellowship meal and we gave all but one from that box away to other families.
But, we still have some, so if you come over to our house very soon, you can have some apple pie, although I must admit that we are out of ice cream.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

More boring stuff (yes, more car photos)

To tell the truth, I was actually wondering what I should write about (besides cars), because nothing's really happened to me that I'd call interesting, but since I can't think of anything, here are some photos taken with my mom's cellphone camera and my brother's camera (he took the pictures of the F430; I was driving).


I saw this Ferrari F430 Spyder parked next to the Harris Teeter parking lot some months ago, but since this photo was taken right before I turned onto Raeford Rd. where Harris Teeter was, I think it's safe to assume the owner lives nearby.




Does this car


look somewhat like this one?








That's all for now.
- Max out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

There must be something...

Well, I think there must be something worth writing about, but I can't think of anything at the moment.
Today I ran with my dad, but did 4 ½ miles instead of the usual 2 (there are some uphill parts).
I am not a very fast runner (short sprints are one thing, but I have no stamina...but then, there are many who are much faster sprinters than I am), so if you're a girl around my height, you can probably stand a pretty good chance of beating me in a race, even if you're nowhere near as good of a runner as Neely Spence is.
Oh, well, maybe I'll be a faster runner with more stamina someday. 

Well, got to get to bed now.
-Max out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some impressive new cars

Considering I haven't written a post about cars in a while, here's one. :)
These are a few new cars that are very nice, and almost certainly very out out of your price range.
1) Lamborghini Murciélago LP670 SuperVeloce
A pretty impressive-looking "super" version of the LP640, don't you think?

2) Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Mercedes finally came out with another supercar, taking the place of the SLR McLaren and SL 65 AMG Black Series.  It's a tribute to Mercedes' 300SL Gullwing of the '50s (notice the way the doors open?) and expensive like the 300SL was, but it's naturally much more sophisticated (and probably better in just about every way), and much, much faster.

3) Bentley Continental Supersports
The most powerful Bentley ever makes up for its hefty weight to some degree by having a twin-turbocharged W12 engine that produces 621 hp. 

4) Ferrari 458 Italia
This is Ferrari's new mid-engined V8, and while the styling will have to grow on me, its performance is a substantial improvement over the F430. 

5) McLaren MP4-12C
While not as radical as the F1 in terms of things such as styling, weight, and price the new McLaren is supposed to live up to McLaren's reputation.  In the words of McLaren,"The rules in the sports-car world are about to be rewritten."  It's equipped with a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 putting out about 600 bhp, and with a host of other features, it should be pretty impressive.  It's logical competition should be 2-seater sports cars in the roughly $200,000-$250,000 range, such as the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 and Ferrari 458 Italia.
6) Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG
Here's yet another luxury/performance sedan (joing the mid-size 5-seat luxury/sport sedan class that includes the BMW M5, Cadillac CTS-V, and Jaguar XFR) that is already garnering excellent reviews.
Not because of the price, naturally, as it should sell for more than $80k, but you usually get what you pay for, and this super sedan shouldn't disappoint in either the luxury or performance department.

7) Aston Martin Rapide
It is agreed by many that this car is one of the most beautiful sedans to be made recently.
It will compete with the likes of other exotic sport sedans such as the Porsche Panamera - although this one is thought be many to be the better-looking car - and the Maserati Quattroporte, although the Maserati is probably at least half the price.

I admit, I didn't use to like Aston's styling (I still find the One-77's front end a bit odd), but as with the Bugatti Veyron and other cars, the looks have grown on me.   
My tastes in many things has changed greatly from the past, from perceptions of beauty (in cars, not just physical appearances) to music and other things.   

8) Brabus EV12
Although I won't post photos of them here, the Mercedes CLS tuned by Brabus that the German tuner called "The Rocket," and subsequently the BMW M tuned by another German company, G-Power, are the most recent record holders to claim the title of "World's Fastest Production Sedan."
Apparently Brabus didn't appreciate being one-upped by G-Power, so once again they hold the world record for the "The World’s Most Powerful High-Performance Sedan," the E V12, which has a top speed in excess of 230 mph.  It gets its power from a V12 Brabus put under the hood (as opposed to one of Mercedes' V8s).  The engine produces 800 hp and 1,047 lb.-ft. of torque!  Probably in order to spare the car's tires and make it easier to drive, the torque has been electronically limited to 811 lb.-ft. and the top speed is electronically limited (definitely because of tires) to 217 mph.  However, electronic governors can be bypassed with the right devices.
More photos and info about the car can be seen here: 2010 E V12
The G-Power M5 Hurricane RS, here: G-Power BMW M5 Hurricane RS 
The Brabus Rocket, here: Brabus Rocket and here: Brabus Rocket 2
And the G-Power BMW M6 Hurricane CS, which I am putting here simply because it looks like a big improvement over the regular M6, at least where looks and performance figures are concerned, here:
G-Power BMW M6 Hurricane CS




[more to come]


BarlowGirl music video: Beautiful Ending

Here's a music video from BarlowGirl (yes, another thing from my favorite band), but it's a good song, and you may be able to see why I and others say they do harmony very well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BarlowGirl sweepstakes

In the event that you are a fan of BarlowGirl (as I am) or simply like their music, here's a sweepstakes to win a copy of their latest album, Love & War, and some other stuff:
BarlowGirl sweepstakes

And in case you like BarlowGirl's album, How Can We Be Silent, you can get it here on amazon.com for less than $5: How Can We Be Silent (premium edition)
It comes with a bonus DVD with interviews, music videos and other stuff.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Total Truth

Today I finally finished a book that I have been in the process of reading for a long time.
The book's title is Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey.  While it is a fairly long book, it's very good and I highly recommend it.  Its main premise is something like this: "Many Christians have a two-story perception of truth and Christianity; that is, they have relocated Christianity to an "upper-story" realm of "facts & values while placing everything else in the "natural, physical realm."
For instance, for many people, Christianity falls under the "religion" category of their lives, and they go to church on Sunday, but when it comes to applying Christian principles in the rest of their life (such as at work), they aren't intellectually equipped to do so.  

Total Truth deals with having an all-encompassing Christian worldview that is applicable to all of one's life, not just with things that deal with strictly spirtual matters, such as attending church.

My explanation of the book is woefully inadequate (I may revise this post at a later time and put it better), but if you read the book, you will not only read what I missed, but you will likely be better equipped to combat illogical, naturalistic worldviews.  Here's one thing it may help with: refuting evolution.  Other people, books and movies have shown evidence against evolution, but this book shows why evolution undercuts itself.  Also, in this age of relativism, it is helpful to show that there is absolute truth.
The book shows that to be consistent with their stated beliefs, evolutionists have to believe in a world completely without moral rights and wrongs (including things that are appaling to most people, such as genocide and other things).  Otherwise, if morals are just a human creation and evolved like the mind, who's to say what's right and wrong to you is better than than right and wrong to me?

I haven't said this very concisely and orderly, but I'll try to write more later.
-Max out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The church I am attending

For now, I am going to a church called Moore Christian Assembly, in Pine Forest.  Just like when my other church, Heritage Bible Fellowship (in Hope Mills) used to meet in a Kiwanis rec center, this one meets in rented building, a place called the Train House.  However, unlike Heritage, this church meets at a "normal" time: 10:30 am as opposed to 3:00 pm.  Some unique things (to my experiences, anyway) about this church are the fact that it has fellowship meals every week; the second part of the service, in which we are currently going through a child-training DVD series; and some other stuff, such as after the preaching has finished, the men of the church (as in heads of families, I think, but I'm not exacly sure) ask questions or elaborate on the passage that was preached on.  Two Sundays ago, three kids were baptized.  They are two brothers and their sister, and their dad, an elder of the church, baptized them.  The place of baptism was also unique to my experiences.  I've seen "regular" baptisms in churches in the baptismals behind the pulpit or outside, or wherever it was, one where the person being baptized did not "want everybody watching her, so we'll close the curtains..." (rather odd, if you ask me; what's the purpose of baptism?), and I've also seen people baptized in the ocean.  That only made sense in Guam, considering the 30-mile-long island has a beach pretty close to wherever you are.  However, these baptisms were the first I witnessed that happened in a pond.  

After the service and meal and DVD seminar is over, we fold up the chairs and clean up, and then go outside to the adjoining park, for "extended fellowship."  This may consist of talking about the sermon or other theological issues...or playing Ultimate Frisbee or baseball with the little kids.
Well, that's all I really have to say for now.  Adios, ciáo, good-bye, or whatever.
-Max out.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photos of assorted stuff

The Porsche photos were taken at a parking lot in Cary, the photos of the "doggy driver" were from a Walgreens in Sanford, and the ones of the sign were from Harris Teeter in Fayetteville. (I added the circles)  Finally, the Gallardo photos are from last year at the Barnes & Noble parking lot in Fayetteville.
OK, so they didn't come out in the order I wanted on here, but oh, well.  Such is life.
                            
                                                                                                   

Back in the business

Well, I'm back.  After receiving some helpful advice (something like this: "Your blog would be easier to read if you changed the colors of it from red on black"), I decided that a change might be good. (even though I think a black background looks pretty cool...guess what one of my favorite colors is?)
So, for now I'm testing out a blue background and leaving the previous text the same color as before.  I will be exmerimenting with my current text color also.  I'll switch backgrounds soon to something else (maybe a shade of gray) if I don't get any feedback on the color.
Any advice and/or other comments would be welcome.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'll be busy for a couple of weeks

OK, I'm going to be busy trying to study for until September 12, so don't be surprised up I don't update my blog until then.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Funny conversations I had

Well, while at Harris Teeter (once again) last Thursday (the 20th), some funny stuff happened.
After I got out of the van, I noticed a Mercedes E-class in a handicapped-marked parking spot. And yes, the car did have a "handicapped" placard, unlike some I've seen who are perhaps mentally handicapped, since they seem to be just fine and don't have any placard.
Anyway, as I walked around the Mercedes, I noticed a silver badge that said "6.3 AMG" on the side. I thought, "cool, it's an E63 AMG." Shortly after, two women walked over and started looking at the car also. One asked me, "Is this your car?"  I thought that was kind of amusing, like the time a guy at Pep Boys asked me if the BMW M5 in the parking lot was mine.  No, I don't exactly have that much money just yet.
So yes, I told her it wasn't my car. 
Then they started saying things about the car, and one asked me if it was the new E class.  I told them that it wasn't - the new model has different headlights.  Then one said something like "Oh, it's an E63 AMG...Black Series!"  I thought it was pretty neat that they were interested in the car (most girls don't really care for fast cars, right?); however, there were a few things they didn't know about certain cars (well, the same certainly goes for me).  I said "I don't think there was an E class Black Series.  I think somebody just stuck the "Black Series" badge on the back."  Well, after a while, they walked away, and I went into Harris Teeter.


However, I came out a minute later and decided to take a few photos of the car with my cellphone camera.  While I was doing so, an old lady (maybe in her 60s) came up behind me and said, "Do you have a question about my car?"  I, rather surprised, replied, "This is your car?!?  No, I just like fast cars."
She told me that she wants to take it to a racetrack (!) to try to hit its top speed.  And the rest of the conversation went something like thisshe said something like "I like to put the pedal down sometimes...it's a shame it's someone like me driving it and not a young person like you.  Are you going to get one someday?"
I said, "Maybe something like it."
[the lady] "So work hard - and save."
I meant I might get a luxury performance car such as a Cadillac CTS-V, BMW M3, Mercedes-Benz C63 or E63 (the new model, not the one the lady had) AMG, or something like those (but I'm not sure what new cars there'll be when I have enough money to get one)

    

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Do Hard Things Review


[from last year]



I've finished reading the book Do Hard Things and these are my thoughts about the book.

The authors are twins Alex and Brett Harris, home schooled teenagers who are the younger brothers of bestselling writer Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This book describes in detail the Rebelution, a "teenage rebellion against low expectations." The word "Rebelution," coined by the authors, is a combination of the words "rebellion" and "revolution." The two brothers have organized campaign rallies, been the youngest interns to serve on the Alabama Supreme Court, and grass-roots directors for an Alabama judicial campaign. Alex and Brett make the point that when expectations are lowered, young people dropped their standards to meet the expectations society had of them. They give the examples of our first president, George Washington, who was a surveyor at seventeen; David Farragut, the first U.S admiral, who was in charge of a prize ship at age twelve; and Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, who cared for her sick brother at eleven. These three went on to do great things, but only because they chose to "do hard things" when they were young. Many examples are shown of ordinary teenagers today who went on to do extraordinary things because they refused to be satisfied with mediocrity. This book encourages me to not to be content with less than my best because many other teens gave their best and accomplished much more than they could even have dreamed of doing had they not done their utmost. This showed me that since they are just normal people like me, I too can accomplish much if I, like the many other rebelutionaries will become part of the rebellion against the low standards and expectations commonly accepted by the world today. This book will likely spur on a Christian teenager and even those that are in their twenties or older and want to start going somewhere with their life and rise out of insignificance to give their best for God. However, it is also good for an unbeliever, because the biblical principles are applicable for everyone, and the gospel is presented in the end of the book. A good thing about it is the fact that while it is full of useful and practical information, unlike other books I have read, it is not given in a dry or hard to read way, and the twins do a good job of making themselves understood in this book. Join the Rebelution. Change the world. -Max

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Awesome moves



Now this is pretty cool. It's a gymnast/acrobat/martial artist doing a whole bunch of flips and other stunts.
I wish I could do some of this stuff (and have abs like this guy!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Teen Soldier for a Day

OK, here's what it was.
On Tuesday, my brother (Lucas) and I went to an event on Ft. Bragg called "Teen Soldier for a Day." Only having briefly been told about it beforehand, I wasn't sure what to expect and wasn't too thrilled by the prospect. To tell the truth I was expecting "Jr. Boot Camp." Not exactly my thing, as I don't like exercise just for exercise's sake. Anyway, when it began, it was just easy stuff like "P.T." (ha, instead of real P.T. it was only like 30 push-ups and other laughably easy exercises)
Then there was some things like marching drills, but that wasn't difficult either.


After getting in the big Army trucks and driving for a little bit, we ended up at the jump towers, where soldiers training for jumping out of planes get somewhat prepared. I don't like heights (really high up, anyway), but that is partly because I don't feel usually very safe high up - if I was sure there wasn't any way I could fall, I'd be OK. The jump towers we jumped out of were not that high (only 34 ft., my dad says), but even so, I was a bit nervous at the doorway. Did I mention that I don't like falling? Yep, you won't find me on a lot of roller coasters.


Well, I just thought something like "the heck with it already" and jumped. I didn't have too much time to get the sinking feeling when my stomach jumps to my throat, since the drop was only a few feet before I stopped falling with a jerk. After bouncing a bit more along the cable (the whole thing is basically a zip line with you attached by the risers on your parachute equipment), I reached the end, where the soldiers had a bit of difficulty in getting me off the line, but which happened without any injuries or trouble.

OK, let's see...
After that, we went to a Humvee simulator, with three large screens around the room. I thought it was horrible, to tell the truth. I was the driver, so I didn't have an M-16 like the passengers or the .50-cal M2 like the gunner.

The guns are real, I think, but they're hooked up to the machine, so nothing is fired from the barrel. Anyway, as the driver, I shifted into the highest gear and kept the pedal floored, but as if it wasn't bad enough having a vehicle that was very difficult to drive (compounded by the fact that nothing was actually moving under me), I had a Humvee with a defective engine! At least something was wrong, since the other Humvees in the convoy were going off into the distance and I was left in the dust. We missed most of the action.

Well, after that we tried out a small arms simulation training center, and did target practice with M-4s. I did OK, but it was hard to tell what you were "hitting."

For lunch, we had...guess what - MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat)! MREs aren't exactly exquisite cuisine, and I've certainly had enough of them in Guam, but my Ckicken Ravioli was actually not bad.

Unfortunately, I ate just about everything in my MRE, and since I drank quite a bit of water also, I was feeling rather full after that.
So, when we went to the obstacle course used by soldiers going to enter Air Assault school,
I wasn't feeling as ready to go as I should have been.

The various obstacles weren't as hard to complete as they usually were, since we didn't have to do some of them how the soldiers did (such as not having to climb to the top of a rope ladder), due to safety reasons. If I can remember correctly, the obstacles were the following:
1) a row of parallel bars (imagine this bracket - "[" - only much bigger, and on its side);
2) a structure with two climbing ropes, a tall ladder-like structure, and a rope ladder/net on the other side; 3) more parallel bars, like the first one, only differently sized and spaced;
4) a pyramidal structure, also with wooden bars (kind of hard to describe this one easily);
5) a short plank wall; 6) a dirt area with barbed wire about two feet or less above the ground;
7) an obstacle with ropes hanging from a beam and a log at the opposite end of you;
8) a log structure with two logs: the closer one close to the ground and the other higher up and farther away; and 9) an obstacle that was basically just a giant ladder.

The first obstacle was supposed to be "traversed" (or whatever) by simply stepping sideways and putting one leg over, and then pulling your other leg over to repeat the process. You couldn't use your hands for this. Sounds easy? Well, it was if you were tall, like one kid. If, however, you aren't exactly well-endowed in the height department (like me, at 5'6"), you would probably have had a hard time. Different people did it in different ways: one kid that might have been the shortest there jumped backwards onto the bar so he'd be sitting on it, and then turned and did the same thing for the rest of the way. My method was to get my left over (and sometimes brace myself off the bar behind me with my right leg), facing forward, and then get my other one over the bar. I originally tried to jut go sideways and swing one leg after the other over, but that proved to be rather painful.

The next obstacle was really quite simple. Instead of climbing the rope, crossing the platform, and then climbing the (very tall) ladder and climbing down to a few feet off the ground, then letting go and falling onto a cushion, as a soldier did, all we had to do was climb the rope and come back down (which was easy, after one soldier showed us how to make a "brake" with your feet), and thengo around to the other side, climb up the rope net/ladder to a certain point, and come back down and fall at the end. I think they thought that someone could break their neck if they went to the very top and fell.

Obstacle #3 was supposed to be easy: vault over the bars until you get to the end.
However, I found I couldn't vault over for some reason, so I tried another method and slid and nearly hit the ground, looking very silly. Only when I was near the end did I realize that I could vault over by swinging my legs over to the left. Doh!

#4 was too simple. Climb up the bars on one side, and then climb down the other side. Actually, once you got to the top you could do it the "right" way and "thread" it, going over a bar and then under a bar, but I didn't do that because it looked complicated and I thought it would take too long. Plus, I was the last one in line before the soldiers, and they were going to do it too.
#5 was laughably easy. I just grabbed the top of the wall and vaulted over and sort of slid down. Some had trouble with this one, especially the few, shall we say, chubby, girls who were there.

I am pretty sure that obstacle #6 was the hardest one to complete for me.
Crawling (army-man style) wasn't as easy as it looks, and I had to continually keep my head down so I wouldn't get poked by barbed wire. Oh, did I mention that there was a heat index of more than 100° F out there? So, yes, it was very hot. Crawling through the dirt while the direct sun blazed down fiercely and the sweat dripped into my eyes wasn't fun, to say the least. And I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt over my T-shirt, to prevent my arms from getting too dirty or scratched, and that just made me hotter. The funny thing is when I finished, someone said I looked as if a giant Cheeto had exploded on my shirt. Oddly enough, I did look dirtier than anyone else. Unfortunately, I got a few small abrasions/cuts on my hands from rubbing on the dirt, but that could probably have been avoided by wearing gloves. It doesn't help that when I was in my car taking things out of my backpack to save weight and have room for water bottles I left out my pair of gloves and cellphone, two things that could have been quite useful. Oh well, just another one of those "doh!" moments.

To do obstacle #7, a soldier would throw a rope, and you had to run, grab the rope, and swing over the log that was at the other side. For some, including a fairly short Army guy, it was somewhat difficult. He didn't quite swing far enough and only got his legs over, but he was still holding on to the rope and so was kind of stuck. Anyway, he managed to get over the log. I just ran and flew over with the rope. Some of the Army guys nicknamed me Bruce Lee, which I thought was slightly fitting, considering I'm half-Chinese.
For #8, you had to run, jump off the first log, land on the second log, and flip or slide over.
On my first try, I landed on the second log on my stomach. Oof! Ok, so that din't work.
But the second time I made it without too much difficulty.
The last obstacle (#9) was very simple. Climb up the big, widely spaced rungs on one side, and then go through the rungs under the red-painted beam and climb down. It wasn't hard, but of course at least one of the "well-fed" girls had quite a bit of trouble with it.

And that's about it. After it was all over I got a headache even though I went through a bunch of half-liter water bottles. Well, does that sound like fun to you?

-Max out.









Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wilmington

Late post (I haven't been on the computer in a while).

We were in Wilmington last Friday through Sunday afternoon (the 31st to the 2nd), so here's a recount of some things that happened:

We stayed at the Hilton next to the Cape Fear (we were there because of a Fireproof marriage retreat for my parents, in case you were wondering), which is a pretty nice hotel. (although my dad says the Marriot he stayed at in Korea was nicer) Anyway, I watched my little brothers and sisters when my mom and dad were at the workshops. Although that was somewhat difficult as usual, it wasn't that bad, since my younger siblings mostly just watched G-Force (an old anime cartoon) on a laptop, and I played Super Smah Bros. Brawl on the Wii by myself and with my brothers when they wanted to. I considered playing Wii Sports, but a hotel room doesn't leave a lot of space for swinging and moving.  I actually connected the Wii to the internet for the first time and could look at the weather forecast and the news and tried to play Brawl online, but nobody was there.

We actually went to the Battleship North Carolina Memorial before checking in to the hotel.
During our stay, we also visited a train museum and some shops nearby.

-Max out





Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monster

Frank Perretti's novel, Monster, is a novel that is interesting, but also makes some important points. One of the main ones is this:
"One reason evolution can't be true is because it says that living things came about as a product of random mutations, and there really isn't such a thing as a completely beneficial mutation." It's pretty thought provoking...read it if you want yet another take on the evolution debate.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A cool action movie compilation video

Here's a cool video I discovered. It's a whole bunch of scenes from various movies (mostly action movies) that have been stitched together.  Anyway, it's pretty sweet.

http://thecircle.teddekker.com/video/video/show?id=2625704%3AVideo%3A153092

Friday, July 17, 2009

Driver's License

Finally, I got it.
After failing the road test for my provisional license twice, I got it today. Although I will have to go back to the DMV in six months to get my full license, I probably won't need to drive without my mom or dad at past 9 pm (certainly not before 5 am).
I still have yet to drive my car, but then, I've only had it for a few days.

-Max out.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My new/old car






Yesterday we picked up my first car, a 1990 Nissan 240SX.
I've been looking for a car for a while now, but we decided on this one because of a few things:
1) Even though it has 170k miles, it's in pretty good condition.
2) The main reason I was looking at this car was because it's an inexpensive rear-wheel-drive car, whereas most cheaper cars are FWD.
3) It wasn't that expensive.
4) It was nearby (within walking distance, even though we drove to get it)
5) While not as cool-looking as the '92-'94 model (in my opinion), it's still much sportier in appearance than the late model ('95-'98) and many other cars.

I have yet to test drive it (actually, I still have yet to learn how to drive a car with a manual transmission.