February 18, 2004


Describing AWANA is kind of like describing the stock market. What approach do you take? Brokers? The trading floor? Shareholders?

Conceptually, AWANA is a church-oriented club where boys and girls can come, play games, and learn about the Bible.

Organizationally, AWANA is a weekly hour-and-a-half club meeting that’s divided into three main periods: Game Time, Handbook Time, and Council Time. The kids play physical games during Game Time, they study Bible verses and moral issues during Handbook Time, and they listen to a mini-sermon and receive awards during Council Time.

This can all be very heavy-handed, if done wrong, of course. The goal is to provide a structure that doesn’t restrict the kids. It’s meant to be organized, but not oppressive.

(Heh. “Whereas OUR boys-and-girls club is meant to be oppressive!”)

Anyvay. The club is subdivided into smaller clubs by age and sex. So, for example, I’m now in charge of the 5th- and 6th-grade boys mini-club, which is called the Pioneers. Which is apt, considering my personal theme song is I Am A Pioneer. Anyvay, I’m in charge of them during Handbook Time and Council Time.

Handbook Time is fine, because there are me and three other adults to which the kids can recite verses and try to annoy (both of which they do equally well). I have to keep the records straight, but that’s just a matter of getting used to it. It’s Council Time that’s the real problem, as I have to come up with something to talk to the kids about.

I try to avoid Big Sermons, because A) they don’t work, and B) I don’t like them. I fall asleep while giving them; imagine how an eleven-year-old would react.

Instead, I’ve been playing snippets of anime or reading a Bible passage and asking the kids moral questions. It’s worked well; the kids really get into it, and so do the adults. It’s a good thing.

And now, more of the VR story.

Thomas’ brows furrowed. His toolset was professional enough to keep out spam, so this was a real message. He pointed at the window and circled his arms in several broad swaths. His system was good enough to interpret large body movements, but nothing so fine-grained as finger gestures.

The system resolved the address of the unknown sender. It was Client D. He immediately punched at it twice with his right fist, and it popped open. Text only.

hi! how’s it going?

Thomas narrowed his eyes. How annoying. Of all the people he felt like talking to right now, this was the last one.

As he stared at the IM, his lips curled in a frown, and a small flicker of anger flared somewhere deep within him. The more he stared at those four words, the more the anger grew, spreading wider and wider and hotter and hotter, until he shook his head and flipped a gesture at the computer. A circular keyboard glowed to life on top of the cylinder.

As he reached down to touch the keys, he heard people scuffling rapidly down the hall. As he turned, the door to his apartment slammed open and two very large Asian men wedged their way into the apartment. Each held a large pistol aimed at Thomas.

He turned to face them.

“Ahhhh,” he said.

It was all he could think of to say. He knew he was supposed to make a witty remark at this point — “I knew I should have invested in a better lock,” or “Make yourself at home.” But the words refused to come. His brain had become exceedingly distracted by the pistols and refused to comment beyond that point.

I normally type up my entry during lunch, but today I have to pick up my parents at the airport at that time. So, an entry will be coming later today, including the next bit of the VR story.

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