The Independent Variable - Matt Haugland

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Catalina Island & Ensenada

Here are some pictures from the two cruise stops (Avalon and Ensenada).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Long Beach to Reno

Long Beach to Reno was an amazing drive. California has some of the most diverse landscapes in the world, and that's easy to see on a drive like this. My favorite part was going through the Owens Valley. Toward the west is a view of 14,495' Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states. Toward the east (on the other side of the mountains) is Death Valley, 282' below sea-level and the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere.

We drove to Reno because my brother was in a bowling tournament at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno. That's an interesting place. Imagine a giant bowling alley with stadium seating, even luxury boxes. It's where many of America's biggest bowling events are held.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Catalina & Ensenada

Monday-Friday I went on a cruse from Long Beach to Santa Catalina Island to Ensenada, Mexico and back. My favorite parts were the stops at Catalina (Avalon) and especially Ensenada.

Catalina Island is far enough away from the coast of California that it feels like it's in the middle of the Pacific. It's like a (very) miniature country. The main town Avalon is surprisingly big but very compact. The neatest thing about it was that most people use golf carts (on the roads) for transportation there.

Before Ensenada, the only other place I've been in Mexico was Ciudad Juarez. Very different!! Of course, I tried to stick to the worst neighborhoods of Ciudad Juarez, but still, Ensenada seemed like a very nice clean city in comparison. But that's not a good comparison. A more fair one... the nicer parts of Ensenada are very similar to the worst neighborhodds of San Jose (East side). The worst neighborhoods of Ensenada were worse than anything in the U.S., but not like the sprawling slums of Juarez. Mostly cinder block houses as opposed to cardboard.

Seeing one of the nicer cities in Mexico makes it even less surprising that so many try to come to America.

By the way, I have some great pictures from the cruise. One is in a contest now, but I'll post others here soon.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Only a few hours until I get to see my family! I can't wait!!! I love them and miss them so much and seeing them is exactly what I need right now.

We have some very interesting things planned for this week. I'll try to give updates (including pictures) whenever possible.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Single again

This has been a hard week. Though it was a very exciting and encouraging week for NanoWeather, it was a very sad one for me. The relationship I was so excited about, which was going so well just a couple weeks ago, is now only a friendship -- and a pretty awkward one at that (at least for now). One of the lessons I learned was that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. But at the same time, I believe God works ALL things together for good (Romans 8:28), and that includes things that hurt. So in a way I'm thankful even for the sad things that happened this week. It's not easy to praise God during such times, but I'm ready to do that.

Some words (from a song) that help explain how I feel at the moment...

"I was sure by now, God You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm "

- Casting Crowns

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Knitting again

When I was around 6-7 years old, one of my favorite things to do was knit. I don't know why, but I loved it. I was pretty good at it. I could even do some of the fancy stitches and designs.

Then I completely stopped doing it for almost 20 years.

A friend recently was giving away her extra knitting needles and yarn, so I decided to take some and see if I could do it again. It was hard at first, but after a few minutes it started coming back to me and it felt totally natural. Not exactly like riding a bike, but almost.

And it's still kinda fun.