Yesterday was odd. Very odd. I use that word a lot, but this time it is correctly used. In that first setence, the word “odd” is in its natural habitat. That’s where the word belongs. So I’ll give you my usual play-by-play of the day. (Hey, that rhymes! I’m so cool.) I guess the easiest thing to do is just to go straight through the day, because, well, that’s how most days go – from beginning to end.
The first thing that was unusual about the day was that some of my extended family members were over at my house. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just out of the ordinary. My Aunt Lois, and my Uncle Dave and Aunt Linda, plus their little three-year-old son Joel slept the night at our house last night. The reason for that was because they and my mom were at some person’s wedding. This person must either be a distant relative of mine, or else a friend of my mom’s side of the family, the way I figure it. At any rate, they can’t be too close of a relative or friend, because I’ve never heard of them before, I don’t think. Then again, it’s entirely possible that I’ve met them and just don’t realize it. But anyways, they went to this person’s wedding, and then came back to our house and stayed the night. The next morning, everyone was bright and chipper, and I was only half-alive. I had gone to a football game the night before with the youth – Hamilton Tigercats vs. Toronto Argonauts, so nothing too amazing – and although I really wasn’t out that late, I was tired. Having to wake up early the next morning didn’t help.
Anyways, breakfast happened, and then I went upstairs and had a shower. This turned out to be probably the strangest part of the day. I was, you know, washing and stuff, and I tilted my head to spray water into my ears. After all, ears need to be cleaned too. So the water sprayed inside and out my ear, and I thought nothing of it. Later, when I was drying myself off, I noticed that every time I tilted my head a certain way, there was some sort of weird sound in my ear. It was sort of a gurgling sound, and it felt like something was inside my ear. It kind of hurt, too. So, I grabbed a kleenex and dug around inside my ear. Nothing. There wasn’t even a lot of wax or anything to give me that feeling of something inside. I thought that was kind of strange, so I tried plugging my ear and then letting it go – you know, the plunger effect. I thought it was just sort of that thing you get when you go underwater and the water plugs your ears even after you come back up. Anyways, I tilted my head again, and I still heard the sound. So, I grabbed a Q-tip and dug around inside again. Still nothing. So I thought nothing of it, hoped it would go away, and went back to my room to get dressed for the day.
I believe it was when I bent down to put on my socks that I found out what happened. I heard the now-familiar gurgling sound, and I immediately put my finger to my ear – and this time, I pulled it away and my finger was wet! I sat up straight and looked at it, and couldn’t even figure out what was going on. I wiped off my finger and bent over again, doing the same thing. More water came out of my ear. And this wasn’t water that was just sort of left over, like I hadn’t dried them very well. I had stuck a kleenex in there, and it was completely dry. And now, suddenly it was wet, and I didn’t get that weird sound anymore when I tilted my head. It was the strangest sensation I have ever felt. Somehow, I got water trapped somewhere inside my ear. To be completely honest, I have no idea where it might have gotten trapped. The only place I can think of would be in that tube that connects your ear to your nasal cavity to relieve air pressure – but that’s on the inside of your ear, in past the eardrum. So it’s either that I have some weird space in my ear somewhere that isn’t supposed to be there (must have been that one time I stuck an ice pick in my ear…), or else I have a hole in my eardrum that lets water get through. I honestly have no idea. All I know is that I now have a cool party trick. Or not.
So anyways, after the exciting ear adventures, we headed off to Waterloo. Since I’m going there in the fall, my parents decided it would be a good idea to check out Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly, a church that’s fairly close to the university, and also, conveniently, the one that my dad went to when he was going to school. Uncle Dave and Aunt Linda and Joel came as well, while Aunt Lois went back home to go to her own church. The church itself is pretty nice. When we walked in, we had to run the gauntlet – on both sides of the doors coming in, there were about four or five people on each side to shake your hands. It was kind of odd. I mean, greeting visitors is great, but that was a little overboard. Oh well. The church also had a little sort of coffee shop off to the side in the foyer, with a few small tables. That was pretty cool, I thought. The actual service wasn’t all that different from New Life’s service – they sang a few songs I didn’t know, but most of them were familiar. I was quite impressed with the worship, actually. They had eight people singing, plus the worship leader. On top of that, they had an electric and acoustic guitar, bass, keyboard (which the worship leader played), and drums. The sound was excellent, so the sound people definitely knew what they were doing. The associate pastor also spoke a great message, and they had communion that day – I’m not sure why, but hey, you can’t beat remembering the Lord’s death twice in one month. I was pretty impressed with the whole thing – I mean, not that you can really judge an entire church based on one service, but still.
One of the biggest things that I’m worried about in going off to university is finding my place. I mean, I’m going to be in a strange place in a strange city, and my biggest fear is that I’m going to be a shiftless wanderer, not fitting in anywhere I go. Ultimately, I belong with God, but at the same time, humans are social creatures. We need some group of people with like interests that we fit in with. And of course, for the Christian, one of the best groups to fit in with is the church. I’ve really been praying that wherever I go, that I would find some place to use my gifts. I can play guitar and bass, and I’m proficient with most technical stuff as well. In the WPA bulletin, there was a little blurb about how they were looking for computer operators to help with worship, putting the words up on the projector and such. I mean, they looked as if they had everyone they needed as far as musicians go, but here there was a spot for me! I could do the Powerpoint. Give me ten minutes with whatever program they use, and I’d be ready to go. However, we’re only halfway through August, and the chances of them getting everyone that they need to help out would be pretty high. But still – one more person just means that the rest don’t have to do it that often. I just thought that it’d be a great place to start. Anyways, I still haven’t fully decided whether I’m going to stick with that church (although my parents seem to have it cemented in their minds), but I’ll definitely start there and see how things work out.
After visiting Swiss Chalet in Waterloo and having a waitress who was convinced that Joel was the cutest thing in the whole wide world, we went home, and my aunt and uncle went their separate way. The rest of my night was spent, I must shamefully admit, on su doku puzzles. I didn’t even realize that so much time went by. But I really wasn’t focussing on the actual puzzles so much as creating a little script on the computer to help me solve them. You see, with some of the harder ones, you can go through all the different rows and columns and fill some numbers in, but eventually you get stuck – there aren’t any numbers that you can say go in a certain place with certainty. What you get are a bunch of numbers that can go in two or three different places. So I created a script, using PHP, to basically do su doku puzzles on my computer. That way, I can fill in the numbers I already have, and then pick one number to go in a certain place – to see if it works or not. You have to guess at one number, then fill in other numbers. If you eventually end up with a box that can’t be filled in, or a number that can’t go anywhere, then it doesn’t work, and you put the original number that you guessed in the other possible spot. Then you continue on your way. It’s sort of an annoying way to solve the puzzles, but I can’t find any better way, and it’s better than having to write down all your guessed numbers in pencil, and then erase them all when you find out they’re wrong.
So yeah. That’s how my night was spent. It was the perfect end to an entirely odd day. I don’t want to bore anyone with the details of this script that I made, but I’m pretty proud of it. You can click a certain square, and then fill in a number in either black, grey, or red colouring. Putting in a 0 erases the number in that box, and I also added in a little bit that allows you to save the current number positions – so that you can go back to it later instead of having to erase each of the unwanted numbers manually. After creating this su doku solver, as I called it, I then modified it to help me solve the super challenger puzzles also in the book. Those ones are 16-by-16 grids, and you have to fill in the numbers 1 to 16. It’s pretty complex. So I had to create a pretty complex script to reflect it on the computer. Again, I don’t want to bore you with the details, but one thing I just must mention is that one part of the script uses four nested loops – a loop is basically telling the computer to repeat something several times over. So basically, you have one loop that says, “do this six times,” but then inside that, you tell the computer, “do this four times,” so that in essence, you’re doing 24 different things. You have to split them up into two different loops, though, because I wanted something like “1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 3-1…” and so on, up to 6-4. Anyways, I had four of those nested loops. The first three loop 3 times each, and the fourth one loops anywhere from 3 to 9 times, depending on which time through. It’s pretty complex, but pretty sweet when it’s all done. I’m just never going to remember how to fix it if it ever stops working for some reason.
But anyways, that was my day. Though it was filled with oddities, it was still good. Oddities are sometimes fun. And sometimes just strange. I’m still kind of freaked out by that whole water-in-the-ear thing. I have no idea how water gets stuck in someone’s ear. But hey, I guess it if hadn’t have happened, I wouldn’t have much to talk about on my blog here. So it’s a good thing I’m a freak of nature! At least, that’s what helps me sleep at night…