Posts Tagged With: daily duck

Volunteering at Empty Bowls Monongalia

Saturday afternoon I was lucky enough to volunteer at Empty Bowls Monongalia.  This program promotes an end to hunger and strives to bring awareness to local hunger issues.  The phrase “We’ll stand in a SOUP LINE so others WON’T have to…” was on the backs of shirts that were made for the event.   A ticket was $15 for endless soup and your own handcrafted bowl.  The bowls were made by  many local artists and donated to the event.

While I was expecting a good turnout, I was in no way prepared for the size of the event.  When I arrived, the line was out the door!  It stayed pretty steady until the last 45 minutes or so of the event. I sampled two delicious soups, a chili, and a crab soup.

My job was to refill the cookie trays at each table in my section, with ten tables to look after I was constantly moving.  I volunteered by myself and was working with a group of people I had never met, everyone was great.  Working a few hours made me appreciate waiters’ feet a whole lot, mine were killing me by the end of my shift.

In the back of the space was a small section with three tables holding the donated bowls.  As people were constantly taking a bowl, other bowls were set down to take their place.  I went back once to make sure I had gotten the right bowl and I think I made the perfect choice.

My bowl!  Look at how cute it is!

My bowl! Look at how cute it is!

My biggest regret is that I didn’t have enough time to sample all the soups but there’s always next year!

Save the date indeed!

Save the date indeed!

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“Lie down, I’m an undertaker.” A Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Debate

On Tuesday night I was very fortunate to be able to stream the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham.  I only learned of the event hours before it happened but knew that it would be a great way to spend my evening.  Boy, was I right!

Many will know of Bill Nye from his popular television show Bill Nye the Science Guy, but as I learned last Tuesday he has an impressive list of accomplishments longer than my arm.  These accomplishments include writing 5 books, hosting 3 television shows, and being the Executive Director of the Planetary Society which is the world’s largest space interest group.  Bill Nye graduated from Cornell with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Ken Ham, while completely unknown to me prior to the debate, has a long list of accomplishments as well.  A native of Australia he is the President and Co-Founder of Answers in Genesis, a Bible defending group upholding the authority of scriptures from the first verse.  He is behind the Creation Museum located in Kentucky.  Mr. Ham is also a well-known author, and radio show host.   Ken Ham holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science with an emphasis in Environmental Biology from Queensland Institute of Technology as well as a  Diploma of Education from the University of Queensland.

As soon as I found out about this debate, I opened the stream in a new tab and let the countdown commence, when 7pm rolled around I was glued to my computer expecting a fun time listening to Bill Nye crush whoever his opponent was.  I don’t think I was disappointed.  I believe Bill Nye crushed Ken Ham.

Ken Ham opened with a definition of science and continued his argument throughout the night based on different definitions of science, historical science and observational science.  His point was there is observational science, the science we can observe and do in labs, and there is historical science, which as far as I could tell is a way to establish a timeline.  I’m not very clear on historical science because Mr. Ham wasn’t very clear about it.

Ken Ham’s argument was, “Creation is the only viable model of historical science confirmed by observational science in today’s modern scientific era.”

Bill Nye opened with a search for all the bow ties in the room, there were just two from what he said.  He continued on with an anecdote about his grandfather getting his bow-tie tied by an undertaker.  Mr. Nye used CSI, a popular crime drama, as an example of science at work saying there is no distinction between observational science and historical science, pointing out that that distinction is only used by Ken Ham and other believers of the creation model.  In his opening statements, Mr. Nye very bluntly stated that he did not think Mr.  Ham’s creation model was viable, calling for evidence to prove him wrong.

Both men continued on supporting their view and debating their opponent’s view.  I think, from a speech point of view,  both men presented well.  They were pleasant to each other, did not resort to personal attacks, and were well-prepared to present.  However, as is typical in my dealings with debates of this nature, I often wondered if the men were even debating the same topic due to semantics.

At the end of the debate there was a 45 minute section for questions and answers, and this is where I think Ken Ham truly lost the debate.  While many of the things in his presentation you could get behind, when he answered questions there was no following where he was leading.

My first reaction post-debate was “I think Bill Nye crushed it, and Ken Ham missed an opportunity to reconcile his beliefs with science and reach an even larger audience and connect them with Christianity.”  This sums up my thoughts Tuesday night and right now.

I think this pretty much sums it all up.

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Something to YAC About!

This past weekend was YAC (Young Adult Conference).  It’s a weekend event for adult 4-Hers held at Jackson’s Mill.  I had a blast!  I always do when I’m at the Mill.  I love having a winter camp. After aging out, YAC is my last camp as a camper.  It’s really fun connecting to all my friends that I haven’t seen since last YAC, and even the friends I see during the year.

The best part about YAC is the magical snow that comes to the Mill.  At least it seems magical…it’s so different from my usual experiences at the Mill, in the summertime that the snow adds something special to my YAC experience.  Usually we’re still able to have Council Circle outside, but unfortunately the temperatures were too cold this year and we had it in the West Virginia Building.

We had three classes and I went to Irish Cuisine, Line/Folk Dancing, and YAC Planning 2015.  I had a great time in all of my classes.  I learned a new bread recipe, a line dance to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, and got to throw out ideas for the next YAC.  Oh, we also got to eat a lot of bread and have some tea in Irish Cuisine class, best time ever!

Saturday night was the camp dance and I got on the floor and grooved to a lot of different songs, probably my biggest amount of exercise in a good few weeks….maybe months haha.  I took stuff to donate to the Silent Auction this year, but there wasn’t a lot of exciting things to bid on.  Probably the most exciting item was a hand-crafted wooden canoe/kayak/some type of boat paddle, it had the clover and YAC wood burned in it.

Sunday’s announcements were fun.  Even though I graduated college in May, I’m still interested in helping out Fairmont’s Collegiate Club and there were numerous updates and things to look forward to on the collegiate level.  We also have officially hired a new Global Education Specialist, which means that someone is going to focus on the IFYE applications.  Hopefully they’ll be out before I get hired somewhere else for next year, but I can always apply for the trip after this one.

On another note it was so cold that it took my car forever to start, even with someone jumping it.  After we got it started I didn’t shut it off until I parked at my apartment.  The ride home took almost twice as long as usual because the roads in Morgantown were so scary; I saw someone drive sideways, luckily not into me.

I had a fantastic time this weekend and can’t wait to make my world a better place.

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Book Review #2 Bunheads

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On Sunday I read Bunheads by Sophie Flack.  If the title and cover didn’t give it away…the book is about ballet dancers not just any dancers though, New York City ballet dancers.  I really liked that the author spent 9 years as a professional ballet dancer in New York City, this gives more believability to the book.  However, she doesn’t overwhelm the reader with technical ballet terms.

The story follows Hannah Ward through a year of ballet.  Hannah knew she wanted to be a ballet dancer since she was a little girl and hasn’t explored many other options outside that life.   All that changes with a chance meeting of Jacob, a musician and NYU student, at her cousin’s restaurant.  We see Hannah struggle to maintain a relationship with a non-dancer while trying to forward her dancing career.  Throw in other dancers competing for the same parts, another suitor, as well as Hannah’s endearing inability to navigate the “real world” and you have all the components for a wonderful read.

I definitely enjoyed this book and would suggest it to anyone interested in dancers’ lives.

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Book Review #1 The Revenant

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The Revenant by Sonia Gensler is the first book I finished from the library.  Yes, I really did finish it in less than 24 hours.  It was a pretty fast read but still powerful enough to draw you into its world.  This book is Young Adult historical fiction with a bit of paranormal activity thrown in.

The story takes place in 1896/7 Indian Territory (now present-day Oklahoma).  The main character, Willie, has lied about her identity to teach at the Female Seminary School.  Expecting little more than rough, backwoods-y Indians, Willie is very surprised at the sophistication found at every turn in the town.  Living in the room of a murdered student causes Willie to question her belief in spirits and form a rocky friendship with a fellow teacher who is also a budding medium.  Throw in a mysteriously handsome young man from the Male Seminary School and you have the perfect ingredients for romance, intrigue, and adventure.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed The Revenant and would read it again.    Any book with a main character constantly relying on Shakespeare to get them through tough times is a must read for me.

I’ll bring more book reviews as I read them.  I plan to number each one to see how many books I can read in a year.

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Lauren Mann

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