This is the archive for May, 2009.
- Day 151 – I Would Like Advice, Please
I have been struggling with this question for quite some time, and it came up tonight, which rekindled my thinking on it:
How do you ask a man behind the counter for a soda when you don’t think there is a man there?
You could use Pascal’s wager on this and say that you can only gain by acting as though the man behind the counter exists. For example, if you act as though he exists, you have four possible outcomes: 1) he exists and you get a soda, 2) he does not exist and you get no soda. In either case, you either win (get a soda) or stay neutral. If you act as though he does not exist, however, you also have two outcomes: 1) he does exist, and you get no soda because you acted as though he does not, or 2) he does not exist, and therefor no soda, but you expected this. In this second situation, you either lose (not getting a soda when all you had to do was believe the man was there and ask) and stay neutral. Pascal would argue that I should act as though there is a man behind the counter and ask for the soda, because that situation is the only one where there is a positive outcome. He is exactly correct. (Plot it out on a matrix if you are having trouble understanding.)
There is a problem, however, if the man behind the counter can tell whether you actually believed he was there or not, and used that knowledge to determine when to give you a soda or not. In this case, he only gives soda to people who actually believe he is there and ask for the soda. So people who come up to the counter using Pascal’s wager (acting as though they believe and thus asking for a soda, but not truly believing) can never win. Either way they act, they lose–if the man behind the counter is there, that is (if he is not, people who do not believe he is there are no better or worse off).
You are probably wondering where I am going with this. I am going to be honest–I have been struggling to figure out what I believe, especially about God. I am unsure whether I believe in God or not, and I have been thinking about it A LOT lately. I have talked to many people about this, and a few have told me that I should ask God to help me, for faith is a gift that God gives you. One even cited Pascal’s wager (kind of as a joke, but he turned out to be serious) as to why I should ask God for help.
Well, apply what I wrote above to me asking God for guidance in sorting out my beliefs. In this case, from what I understand from listening to other people’s beliefs, motivation matters to God. So, if I were using Pascal’s wager, God would be like the man behind the counter who only gives you soda if you truly believe he is there, not if you are just using Pascal’s wager and do not believe. Therein lies my problem; I am still trying to figure it out, so I cannot definitively say that I believe. In fact, since I am trying to figure it out, one would have to say that I do not believe. Since I do not believe, I would only be using some sort of Pascal’s wager if I asked for guidance. Let’s say that God does exist. As far as I can gather from what people believe, my motivation for asking for guidance from him would be off. Since I have the wrong motivation in that situation, where would that get me? Most likely nowhere. If God does exist, would He want me to lie to myself and falsely address him when I do not believe? Would it not be better to be honest with myself?
I have another issue here: I cannot bring myself to earnestly talk to someone or something that I am unsure is there or not. It does not make sense to me. Let’s say there is a curtain that is in front of me, and I am unsure whether someone is behind it or not. I cannot move this curtain–all I can do is ask whether there is someone there or not. I would prefer to be able to ask and either 1) get a response, in which case I would know there is someone there, or 2) get no response and be able to know there is no one there. I tried this with God and got no response. One of my friends told me, however, that God does not work that way. He might not give an answer. My friend said that no answer did not mean that God was not there, and I had to have faith.
You could say I am pretty lacking in the faith-area. I guess I do not have it. If in fact it is a gift, it looks like I have not received it. (By the way, I think there is a difference in faith in God and faith that someone else will pay you back when you lend to them. In the second case, you most likely base that “faith” in how that person has acted in the past. If it is someone you have never met before, I would say that you probably don’t care whether that person pays you back or not. You probably take a quick guess on whether that person will pay you back or not if it is a large sum of money given their appearances and how sincere they seem. That was probably a bad example, but anyway, I think there is a difference between faith in God and other types of “faith”.)
What do I do? Does anyone have advice for me? Has anyone gone through something similar? I am struggling with this, and it is bothering me. If you do not want to leave your advice in the comments, email me. I will keep it confidential.
- Day 150 – Portraits, Portraits, Portraits
I took portraits all day today, starting with my cousin and her daughter in the early afternoon, and Michelle in the late afternoon/evening. I learned a great deal about how to use off-camera strobes and different outcomes from different setups. Please check out the galleries and let me know what you think.
Here are a few samples from the galleries:
Kristi and Madi:
- Day 149 – Spider Holster
Note: This image is a screen shot from spiderholster.com.
Tonight I went to see Angels and Demons with Amanda. It was a pretty good movie, but I did not know how long it was! It started at 9:35 and let out at midnight! So, I know what most of you are thinking right now. Yes, this post is retro-dated. I posted it after midnight, after I took Amanda safely home after the long movie. I will try to be more aware next time.
Photography side note: I took photos of a class playing with rockets today at the high school. You can see the photos at the Amherst School District’s website.
- Day 148 – Scenes Around Steele
I spent part of the day taking photos around Steele High School. Here are a few shots of the Senior Steak Fry and some students in the TV studio:
- Day 147 – Analytics Report
Download the 13 page analytics report for cagrimmett.com. The report shows stats since I started the project 365 on January 1. It has some pretty neat data in it, so check it out!
The weather was rainy most of the day here, so I did not take track photos as I expected to. I am hoping to get out and take some photos tomorrow afternoon.
In other news, if you like party mash-ups, check out Mash-Up Your Bootz. They make wonderful mash-ups, and provide them to the public as a free download on their site. I have been listening to their stuff all evening. Props to HankD for telling me about Mash-Up. Girl Talk is also really good.
- Day 146 – More Smoky Mountains
As promised, I posted more photos from GSM National Park above. They are best viewed large, so click on them!
Today I worked for a while, then come home and cooked dinner for my parents (no big feat, because it was Zatarain’s Dirty Rice Mix, which you really only have to cook ground beef for, then let everything cook together, and how hard is that?). Then, I went to Crocker Park with Sean and Lydia, where we went to Borders, Barnes & Noble, the Apple Store, and then Aladdin’s for dessert. I bought two books: a Linear Algebra book to prepare myself for the course I am taking in the fall, and The Essential Lighting Manual for Photographers, which I am really looking forward to reading. It is well designed, and it has great examples and diagrams for all sorts of lighting scenarios. Hopefully soon I will post some test photos I take while going through the book.
If you are looking for something to read, Dr. Bob Murphy had a good post about Memorial Day over at his blog, Free Advice. In his post, he explains many of the same feelings I had when I attended the festivities in my town. I suggest reading it.
Oh, by the way, I miss Hillsdale. A lot.
- Day 145 – Manuel & Cara
This is another off-camera strobe test. The strobe was off to the right on the ground, and I fired it with my Canon ST-E2.
Manuel and Cara are a wonderful couple who I had the pleasure of meeting this year at Hillsdale. They both look tired because they just finished their last final exams of the semester about an hour before this photo was taken, and I don’t think Manuel slept the night before. They just happened to walk by while I was testing my skills with off-camera flash, so I persuaded them to model for me. I am pretty sure they both took naps right after this was taken.
- Day 144 – Subjective Burger
I went and shot a round of trap and a round of skeet this morning. The people at the Gun & Reel club on Middle Ridge Road are very nice and super friendly! I like shooting there.
After I got home, I decided to make myself lunch (my parents are on a cruise, so I am on my own for the weekend). I looked through the fridge, and decided to make a burger.
I dubbed it “The Subjective Burger,” because there were no objective measurements involved in making it. I went on what I thought tasted good, how much spice looked like enough, and how long it cooked until it looked done.
Mix enough ground beef for a large burger with shredded cheese, black pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, and Famous Dave’s Devil’s Spit bbq sauce. After it is well mixed, form it into whatever shape burger you want. Then, throw it on a hot grill. While it is cooking, grill some bacon and thick slices of bread (lightly butter the bread first). The bacon burns easily and quickly, so watch it closely. Cook the burger to your specifications (in my case, medium), making sure to put a mound of shredded cheese on top before you take it off. Yes, the cheese melts and drips all over the grill, but the taste is worth the cleanup afterwards. (If you don’t think so, add less cheese. Remember, this is the subjective burger!)
I do not care for vegetables on my burgers, so I ate just the burger with the bacon and ketchup on the grilled bread. I also ate Sunchips and pickles on the side, with lemonade to drink.
What a tasty lunch! If you want to try this, let me know how it turns out. Feel free to substitute or add anything you want. My subjective preferences are not your subjective preferences, so do not feel bound to what I mixed together.
Here are a few photos: