Once again I find myself delayed waiting for a flight. The cutest little baby was crawling around gurggling. Okay, so Bianca is cuter.
25 December 2005
24 December 2005
23 December 2005
Christmas with the babies was tons of fun. You should see the amazing remote-controlled cars I found. Emma's was a Navigator with an MP3 player built into it! Caleb got an H2 that was serious 4x4. It went fast! The plays were fun too. I'll post more picture later. Right now, check out this gross view I'm stuck with.
19 December 2005
Flickr if you'd like. If you're a member, add me as friend.
17 December 2005
15 December 2005
But seriously, Shaimus is doing a concert tomorrow night (Dec 16th) in Los Angeles. They have some good music, and it should be a rocking good time. There's more details here.
They're putting out a new album soon, so keep your eye out for it at the end of January.
14 December 2005
Of course just storing the data is the easy part, I need the cloud to let me get it back out again. Better yet, integrate it with my favorite stores, sites, and programs. Remind me of important dates and make suggestions. Then just let me click some buttons and take care of the details.
Really, is this too much to ask?
They say that nice guys finish last, but they don't mention the beatings they take along the way. Sometimes it's like a bumper sticker come-to-life...the beatings will continue until morale improves.
13 December 2005
07 December 2005
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
From a sermon...
From a journal entry...
after everything in the world has pushed you towards being an adult.
From a letter...
Growth is always quicker when you can look back on unpleasant experiences.
It is when we overcome our pain that we can better see our lives.
The steps of growth can never be ignored.
It is the way of time that
,some may suffer for a long time
,only time mellows the pain
,it lets you get out of the shadow.
,know more about love
,because they have deep feelings about love
,which can destroy their lives
,but also can give them lives.
From a note sent to a friend...
Usually I like my posts to be a little more polished and refined. But sometimes it's better when you can leave more interpretation up to the reader. That would be you.
06 December 2005
Super kudos to you, Mike!
05 December 2005
Dinner was fun. Thanks for asking. You can find the pictures here.
Here's a shout out to those who have finally succumbed to the call of the blog. Yay.
03 December 2005
29 November 2005
The FCC is likely going to put some pressure on cable companies to start offering channels as individual choices instead of reserving them for purchase only via bundles.
Check out the details here.
Personally, I think that pay-as-you-go is the only viable option in the future. But perhaps I'm just moving a little to fast. Not everyone is ready for the future.
28 November 2005
A little encouragement in always nice, isn't it? The hmmph was an exceptionally nice touch; Methinks you don't hear that often enough.
24 November 2005
The traditional dinner was at my cousin Julie's house. Her husband Dave proved to be a most exceptional host. There was much merriment and carousing to be had by all.
You can find three photo collections here:
22 November 2005
20 November 2005
The highlight of the weekend was when Caleb finally let me take the training wheels off of his scooter. This is a really big deal! I'll have more pictures later.
For now, check out this new photo of my brothers baby. He looks just like his daddy. ;-)
17 November 2005
16 November 2005
15 November 2005
Remember when you were little how excited you got with snow but how depressed you got when it rained? The tactile sense is powerful.
14 November 2005
Sometimes finding out that there are limits to how much you'll invest in a relationship can be like a splash of cold water. It can wake you up, help you feel clean, but in the end, you still got wet.
This weekend I was able to go with some new friends to a small Italian place and eat some really excellent pasta. Then I was able to finish it off with a quick trip for dessert at the Cheesecake Factory. Thanks guys, for an excellent night on the town!
10 November 2005
I've been on my knees for this little one for some time. Send your love when you can. Make the time, they're worth it.
09 November 2005
The food was exquisite. I enjoyed the lavish excellence which was the Rodizio grill and a flight of Pyrat rums. My personal favorite was the XO Reserve, although the Cask 23 wasn't bad either. They went a long way towards making the meal into the sumptuous feast it was. I whole-heartedly and with gusto do enthusiastically recommend this establishment.
The service is attentive, friendly and it helps that more than a few of them are truly fantastic in the looks department. Who doesn't like to order drinks from an outrageously attractive person?! It made the entire experience a little like a fairy-tale.
If you are ever in the vicinity, do check patronize them. And try the Peach Fuzz too, you won't be disappointed, I promise.
07 November 2005
The ferries are just sooo cool. What a great reminder of the beautiful city! I highly encourage you to take a few moments next time it's clear and jet across the water for a spell. The wind and sun and waves are outrageously relaxing and energizing all at the same time. Try it!
31 October 2005
24 October 2005
If you've read my blog even a little in the past you will be aware that my usual assortment of compatriots include a higher than average share of multiple-doctorate-holding, biochemist, rocket-scientist, uber-intellectual friends. In short, I have more than a few wicked smart friends. That of course, is no reflection on me. But it does put me into a particular position to point out something significant when it surfaces.
For example, Thomas recently did some posts online that are quite insightful. Check them out at Mehlisms. Now one of my geek friends posting online is hardly newsworthy, usually.
But there is something that sets Thomas and his posts a little apart from the crowd. You see, most of the time when dealing with the ultra-brainy, you have to have your relevancy filter set pretty high. Evidently something about being super-smart means you lack the ability to apply your mighty mentality to issues more relevant to the Average Joe. Instead, they meander about minutiae and ponder primarily points that aren't applicable in practice. Thomas, is quite the opposite. His insight is often the most balanced and useful. He cuts to the core with an alarming alacrity that dispells that myth that genius is code for obscure and useless. I find his directness refreshing and his points both well-thought and thought-provoking.
My dad has often pointed out to me the difference between wisdom, knowledge, and creativity. In his words, knowledge is data and information you can collect, wisdom is knowledge applied, and creativity is figuring out how to get from one to other. While Thomas has long displayed wisdom, these posts illuminate his creativity as well.
17 October 2005
Happy birthday to Joe! Sorry we didn't get to catch up.
Everyone write Scot a memo and let him know you really want him to kick it in high gear and finish the worship album. His newest song is absolutely AMAZING! I am not that easily impressed and it blew me away. We've been having the same discussion about the music, the people, the impact, and the point for quite some time now. This was the first genuine, totally harmonious, boy-are-we-on-the-same-page discussion we've had. Usually, we snipe each other a bit and lock musical horns. In regards to his latest song, I am truly the biggest fan. It's exactly what is needed. Excellent work. Truly.
Now if he'd just lay "Ardent" down also...
13 October 2005
I'm not a smoker and never will be. But this gave me some insight into the addictions of some of my friends.
First he uses his battle with Disney to get Eisner (what a complete tool!) fired. That paves the way for Bob Iger who is more Jobs-friendly. Together they are finally able to pull off the coolest stunt I've seen in a few years. Getting the networks to release their shows the day after for $2 will totally create huge change in the consumer media market. They are effectively forcing every network to release their media at a totally reasonable price-point on a very aggressive timeline. About freakin' time.
Iger, you rock! Jobs, I tip my hat to you. NBC, get on the band-wagon quick. You'll make a mint off me.
10 October 2005
Being on the road all the time gets difficult when you switch climates and cultures often. I could wear shorts in the heat, but I'm going to step off a plane into a snowbank. Lugging along a jacket when I spend all day watching the Seattle sky dump rain just doesn't seem to make sense. My gloves and my beanie are my two favorite things when it gets cold. It seems no matter how nippy it is, I'm good if my hands and head are warm.
Oh, and I got to dance this weekend. Mark learned some new moves. It was really cool. We only played one game of have you met Mark. He's not that good at it. Of course, since he is dating my sister I had pretty low expectations. ;-)
06 October 2005
Missing out on Shane & Shane is a Very Bad Thing. To rub salt in the wound, I was supposed to go with my buddies Nathan and Scot. Alas, if only I cared less about customer service!
On the flip side, I've been able to spend the week working alongside an honest-to-goodness, real, live, Italian Prince. Ain't that the coolest? Unfortunately, I wasn't able to talk him into giving me a Ferrari. Maybe next time.
03 October 2005
To top it off, the sunset was simply eye-popping. I was mostly rested and ready to go back to work. Until I actually got to work. Argh.
01 October 2005
Firstly, Serenity was amazing! It was absolutely outstanding. A great movie experience, a great chance to reconnect with some of the greatest characters ever written, and a fun ride as a stand-alone blockbuster. I highly recommend this movie. You'll enjoy it.
Secondly, I saw Building 429 and Casting Crowns tonight. What a total waste of time as a concert. Don't get me wrong I like the music, but as a concert it was grossly mishandled. The lines were incredibly long, there were WAY to many people and no seats. The tour manager came out on stage and said there were 150 people who hadn't paid who came in through a back-door and would they please leave. The fire marshall was going to ask everyone without a ticket (like more than 300) to leave. The place was freakishly hot and cramped. A totally wasted concert experience. Extreme Faith Productions really needs to get there act together. Definitely they need to fire the tour manager.
Lastly, I need to wish Happy Birthday to Corrine and Eric. They are both getting older and more lovely. Cheers, guys!
29 September 2005
It's Sean's birthday today, YAY! He's old. But he's one of the coolest old guys I know. He's also a horrible influence on me. When he's had to much to drink he like to call people little piggies! I suspect he secretly has a piglet fetish. Not really sure what a piglet fetish is exactly, but if anyone has one, it would be Sean. Happy Birthday, succa!
On that note, can I just say great job on the company last night Nathan. That was pretty excellent. Sorry you couldn't play with us, but I'm glad we got hooked up at the end.
The last point is about Serenity on Friday. I'll be checking it out with Dave and I'm pretty excited. Not leg-humping excited, but pretty close. Don't stand to close.
22 September 2005
For my own part in this story, I was pretty much just the driver and an innocent bystander.
Okay, back to Hollywood. It's hot out so I have the air-conditioning on in the lovely Kia Amanti I was renting. My friend and I were heading to meet up with a scoundrel out on the UCLA campus. As we inched along, two ladies in the car next to us started making eye contact. It was pretty subtle. For all of like twelve seconds.
It was obvious to me that Habbib had once again ensnared some helpless chicas with his ultra-hip hair-do. Habbib was oblivious in his own special way. Then they started winking. At this point I pretty much knew he'd have to talk to her or they weren't going to leave us alone.
Those of you who know me are aware of my almost painful shyness around anyone of the fairer sex. It didn't help that these two were so blatantly enamored with my friend, while so pointedly ignoring me. I just sat there staring straight ahead and whispering out of the corner of my mouth.
They motioned for Habbib to roll the window down and proceeded to give his ego a verbal massage which finally enlightened me as to why they call it a "happy ending". He of course reciprocated in an astonishing display of flirtatious reparte. Needless to say I took copious notes in the hopes of one day being able to reuse the simpler bits of prose that seemed to come so naturally from him.
Alas, they were just going to the store to by cigarettes. Upon learning this he immediately suspended negotations and threw an assortment of "second-hand smoke kills" leaflets through their window before we raced off to get on the 405.
There were two great lessons that day. The first, was hang out with Habbib if you want to see what it's like when they put a bloody fish into a sea filled with sharks. Secondly, it doesn't matter how hot you might be, one cigarette makes you look really ugly.
19 September 2005
Today I should be enjoying the sunshine of beautiful Phoenix and preparing to be poked and prodded tomorrow. After all, it's better to go into serious stuff like that with a clear head and calm heart, right?
Instead, I'm stuffed up, more than a little cranky, as well as sore and sensitive. You can pretty much sum it up with blech. Sad but true, even I get sick and tired from time to time.
For my true fans, please be patient. I have excellent pictures from last week, several in-depth posts and a couple of essays on the way. Ever the perfectionist, I need to have my head screwed on so I can polish them up and get them out there.
For those who are able, we need many prayers for my friends baby. Healing, good test results, peace for the family. My knees are getting a workout, are yours?
15 September 2005
While wandering around I came across a company MyKB that makes a knowledge management solution. The give-away was an old 5.25 inch floppy disk that had the words:
This was by far the most creative give-away of the whole conference. When I gave the guy kudos I mentioned that I was posting on my blog that they would receive my vote for most-creative.
Now you guys all know my policy of not supporting junk. Ever. So to make sure I would be able to post it, I went and ran through their live demo and checked out the material on them. Needless, they meet my requirements for not sucking! If they had I wouldn't have posted their name, just that they gave away a cool gift.
Now that you know, go check them out. You can find them at MyKB.com (which makes sense, right?).
Of course, during the session I was paying attention, but some of my colleagues took initiative and ordered online from their devices right away. Cool use of technology, eh? So when no one else got one, my group of friends (except me) all got in on the deal. I was bummed.
All yesterday, they were walking around using the cool new device, emailing, messaging, etc. I was even more bummed.
Then suddenly at Universal Studios last night, my day brightened like a new dawn! My good friend Brett who had ordered one, won another one for wearing a special hat. In an amazing act of generosity, he offered to sell me his extra one for the price of the offer. Can you say AMAZING! He could have sold it online for more than a thousand dollars (several are listed on ebay for $1200-$1500) and instead he gave it to me for $150. What a guy! Needless to say, I owe him big time.
My second piece of good fortune was that Taft won a stuffed puppy and gave it to me, also. What great people, eh?
So now, I'm walking around with my amazing new phone, enjoying the sessions and posting from this outstanding device. I am truly blessed.
14 September 2005
It seems like every couple months I find myself arguing the merits of constructing and analysis database (warehouse, mart, etc) with someone who just doesn't see the value. Most of the time, that really means they don't understand the costs involved. Either they think it costs (money, time, resources) more than it truly does, or they believe they can achieve the same result another way. Occasionally they just don't understand the full benefits.
With this new package of tools and capabilities it should hopefully make it easier for engineers to embed rich business intelligence data into more solutions. The impact points for this type of data aren't just powerful, they are pervasive.
Another aspect I am looking forward to is how easy it will be for average knowledge workers to increase their efficiency significantly without learning new tools or rolling out all kinds of new infrastructure.
Keep an eye out for cool some more detail on this cool technology.
A presentation I've just sat through was on Microsoft's planning for the RFID space. The new API's they are coming out with, the provider model, and the backend integration points are very hot. This will definitely be a technology to keep an eye on in the coming months.
Of course I picked up lots of shirts, widgets, and assorted vendor crap, but the biggest thing I was looking forward to is that each attendee will get a copy of SQL Server 2005 when it ships. What a coup! This was on top of the GBs of DVDs of other bits already available. My knees get weak when I think about all the cool stuff I'm going to get to play with once I get back to the real world.
12 September 2005
In the airport today, watching our culture of consumerism in full effect. Surrounded by greedy little piggies engorging on anything and everything. As I tried to not be revolted, at them and more at my own hypocrisy, I was gently convicted. After all, I pretty much fashion the world to suit my own timelines and desires. In many cases I manage to pull off that swindle slicker than most. Is that wrong?
My friend Brett (such as stand-up guy, by the way!) asked me a very pointed question earlier this weekend. Even entangled in the throes of significant inebriation it still hit me like a ton of bricks. Okay, so it didn't really sink in until I sobered up and was recalling the conversation. But it sure made me rethink my own stance on how transparent I can be. He wanted to know why someone with such apparent confidence and competence in so many areas could be so inept, ineffectual and downright cowardly when it comes to women. To put it in the words of Travis "My Whitebread Friend", how come you aren't spinning any game?
With my usual self-brutalization I had to honestly admit that I've been hood-winked and bamboozeled. By me. Myself. I. My prime and potent ability to self-modify was keeping my goals in line with my sense of self-preservation. If being vulnerable can lead to pain, simply don't desire things that leave you vulnerable. All nice, neat, and logical, right? Don't want what will hurt, you won't pursue things that hurt, you won't get hurt. Nice theory, anyway.
Now I've seen the man behind that curtain. Game on.
31 August 2005
Anyway, I listened to Barlowgirl's new release Another Journal Entry and there was some good stuff on it. When I went back and listened to their previous release, Barlowgirl, I was hooked. Don't know how I missed 'em last year, but they have my attention now.
29 August 2005
It is a movie using all the original cast (yay!) and is called Serenity. Needless to say, I am looking forward to this more than just about any other cinematic event in recent years.
24 August 2005
The other thing I wanted to point out is how abso-freakin-lutely amazing Jason Statham is going to be in the new Luc Besson film Transporter .2
22 August 2005
Friends help you move.This last weekend I had a bunch of stuff to move but the help I had lined up kind of fell through. So there I was all by my lonesome hauling some serious heavy stuff up several flights of stairs. It turns out that all those stairs I've been doing every day at the gym sure paid off. Unfortunately they are in no way equal to the number of stairs or the volume of crap I dragged up and down them. I woke up this morning and my calves hurt so bad I barely made it out of bed. Thirty minutes of stretching later I could more or less walk normal, but stairs are still a challenge. ;-)
Real friends help you move bodies.
I did have a couple of great nights with some friends in Seattle which made the whole weekend enjoyable. It's always great to catch up and socialize with good people.
19 August 2005
I'm all alone in Krakow right now at a 24 hour internet place. The following is a true story, Dan Brown style...
Cory was cold, tired, and hungry. All he wanted to do was take a nap on the train to krakow. Two trashy europeans entered his cabin. Dang, he thought. He still tried to close his eyes, but they were snickering in some unknown slovic language at their cellphone. Finally after several long attempts, he managed to fall asleep.
The two trashy europeans were eyeing the sleeping boy. One had a beautiful faux-hawk, he looked like a majestic peacock, ready to court his female prey. Except this prey wasnt female. The peakok and his companion were laughing at incoming text messages, while drinking a beer and smoking cigarettes on the train. The peacock was making jokes of what he could do to the sleeping boy.
Cory suddendly awoke from a nightmare. He looked around glad not to actually be facing a 7-10 split in hell bowling with the devil. He looked over at the two odd looking young men and saw they were drinking beer. A beer, Cory thought, now THATS what I need. He pointed at the beers and asked where he could get one on the train. "swolfihjsafjksafh" the peacock responded "i see" Cory said. Soon after that the peacock offered him his own beer. Cory reluctantly accepted, glad to finally meet some friends. "afhkhksad kshs khskdhf" said the other man "excuse me?" asked Cory.
"lsadfljdsaslfjl resturant?" as he pointed at the both of them. Cory believed he was asking them if they wanted to go to dinner. He was very excited, and was glad to have some people to eat with when they got to Krakow. "yes!" he nodded.
The two europeans were extreamly happy that they had trapped thier prey, and the stupid American was oblivious.
Just as the train arrived, Cory was ready to get out. FINALLY, he thought. It was just then when he realized dinner tonight might not be the best idea. He looked down at the europeans cell phone and got a glimpse of his wallpaper. It was a young teenage boy with his shirt off. Then he spoke to Cory. "lshdfh dksfd?" and gave him a cute little tap on the head. "Yes." Cory nodded. Realizing that was a tremendous mistake, not knowing what he was agreeing to. Uh-oh, he thought. The european was crushing Cory, and crushing him hard. The hunger combined with the fatigue but a thick curtain over his gay-dar. Cory had to do something. And fast. It was too late.
The peacock knew he had Cory exactly where he wanted him. And if he played his cards right, promiscuous sex was right around the corner. All he had to do now was convince him to stay in an appartment with and buy him a couple drinks.
Cory tried to leave the train without the two men, but they escorted him out, one in front, one behind. Not good, Cory thought. As everybody left the train, a barrage of hostel advertisers rushed the scene. This could be my chance, Cory thought. The two europeans apparently didn't have a place to stay, and Cory did. At the Dizzy Dazy hostel.
The two europeans had to act quick. "lets find a small apartment for us and the boytoy." the peacock said in czech. "good idea. then we will screw his brains out after he blacks out." said the other weird looking male. They both had a good laugh.
All three men were standing around a travel agent. Cory was trying to make a move. Finially, he broke free for a moment, and asked another agent the directions to the Dizzy Dazy hostel. He wrote them down as clearly as he could. This would need to be a clean getaway, Cory thought. Cory joined the peacock and the strange looking man as they talked to a travel agent. "You know," she said to Cory "they are trying to find a room with you in it." Corys stomach turned upside down. Am I dreaming? Cory thought. "No, tell them I already have a place booked and everything. Please." Said Cory to the agent with full eye contact and raised eyebrows, trying to emphasize his point. She spoke to the young men in Czech, and they seemed to understand. This is my chance, Cory thought. He could see the exit. It was now or never. Cory lunged for the exit, turning back just once to say goodbye. "Bye!" Cory said. "Bye..." Said the peacock, in a morose tone, like a puppydog who just lost his bone. Cory knew he was free! He had his directons in his hand and stepped outside. Three steps later, he was completely lost.
The two sex-fiended horndogs had been deceived. This was unlikely, for they were pros. "How did he get away so easily!?" snarled the peacock. "It's, it's, his charm, and his dimples, he was just, so, attractive and perfect." responded the funny looking dork. "I know, he's like a unicorn, so beautiful, but untouchable.", longed the peacock. The peacock had never let a target go before, and he wasn't about to. Although Cory thought he was free, the peacock lifted his nose to the air and let in a giant wiff of Polish air. This way he said, the boytoy's this way.
Cory wandered in a small spiral, wearing two backpacks and holding a different Krakow map in each hand. This looks great, he thought. As he realized he was still right in front of the train station, it popped in his head that he was in danger. Just at that moment, he glanced over behind the glass in the station and saw the two boys. Arghh!!!!!!!!!! Cory thought. They were looking right at him. It's all over, Cory said to himself. This is how it's going to end. Cory looked up at the sky and saw a dove fly overhead, chased by two hawks. Perfect, he thought. He closed his eyes, ready for the worst. Darkness.
"Excuse me!" Am I dead? Cory thought. Then he heard it again. "Excuse me? You look lost, can I help you find where you're going?" Cory opened his beautiful blue eyes, they were like an endless caribbean sea. He looked over and saw a lady walking towards him. "Which hostel are you staying at?" Asked the lady. "The Dizzy Dazy, can you help me?" Cory quickly responded. "Yes! I work there, I can walk you there." Said the angel. Cory was the mormon, the boys were the locust, she was the seagulls. Cory was princess leah, the boys were jabba the hut, the lady was lucas skywalker. His savier. The one. Cory wasn't going to be a victim of leather bondage and S&M after all. Oh yeah, he thought. As he began to follow the lady, he looked back, apparently they hadn't seen him after all, as they were still standing behind the glass.
After all, the europeans with their swolen members were actually just staring off into blank space. They couldn't believe they had lost the most beautiful boy of their dreams. "We were so close" muttered the ugly one "Too close, let's go have sex, you're pretty" said the beautiful peacock as he smiled "Proseem." replied the moron.
Cory finially reached the Dizzy Dazy hostel after all. The lady at the reception ask him if he was alright. Apparently had had been sweating more than he thought. It had been a stressfull day after all. He went to go take a shower and realized he had forgotten his towel (for the second time this trip) at his last hostel. Ugh, he thought. He was hungry and left for a bite to eat at the town square. He ate half his pizza, got it boxed up, and found the closest internet cafe to tell the tale.
I'M SCARED IN KRAKOW!!!!!!!!
This post was an email from Cory and all spelling errors, omissions, liable, copyright or trademark infringements, bad words, inappropriate phrasing or subject matter are probably intentional, humorous, and all his fault. Hope you had a chuckle.
17 August 2005
Finally it seems, someone has taken the same arguments and thoughts I've shared and put them into a nice book. Which will probably not be sold at Wal-Mart. ;-)
Tarcher/Penguin recently released a book by John Dickers entitled The United States of Wal-Mart. In it, he details how the effect of Wal-Mart consumerism creates a sense of "entitlement" for the public. In my opinion this is a huge issue, but it takes a back seat in Dickers writing where he prefers to focus on the political and economic cloat wielded by the largest private employer, the largest retailer, the largest grocery store, and the largest corporation in the world.
At the heart of Dickers arguments, which are replete with factual data, references, and so forth, is that as Wal-Mart grows bigger and bigger our choices become fewer and fewer. Examples include numerous banned CDs books and even comedy albums (Sheryl Crow, Eminem, Jon Stewart, Eddie Murphy, etc).
There is lots of good background and insightful question-raising in the book and a total dearth of solutions, suggestions, or bad-mouthing. He just presents the issues, the facts, and the questions and leaves the follow-up to the reader.
14 August 2005
We know that God's eternal law was first expressed in the old covenant (the ten commandments) and ultimately revealed in the sacrificial life of Jesus Christ. The detailed laws of worship are far from an arbitrary test of faith. On the contrary, every holy day, every form of sacrifice, and every ordinance of the priesthood related in some way to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
In the Old Testament, willingly obeying God's why, how, when, and where of worship was a means to honor Him as the Holy God. They were trusting in His mercy and forgiveness. Before the cross, fellowship with God was only possible through the worship that God had commanded. In the Old Testament, worship taught that we must approach God on His terms if we are to be acceptable to Him. The New Testament equivalent is not a new set of laws of worship, but rather the fulfillment of the symbolism of the Old Testament laws of worship. We must always approach God on His terms, by surrendering our lives to Christ and trusting and depending upon His forgiveness. There is only one way to God and that is through the atoning blood of our Lord Jesus. Prior to the cross, this was an exercise of worship both in form and function. When Christ gave His life for us, he freed us from the exercise of worship as a form and instead allows us to accept the function solely by faith. Old Testament worship was never intended to be an end in itself, but the expression of complete trust and dependence in God. So to, the sacraments we observe even today are not an end in themselves, but rather an avenue to extend our worship.
The tithe is a good example of the difference between the covenant of law and the covenant of forgiveness. In the Old Testament we were commanded to give one tenth of all our increase to God. Understandably this had a practical side, but it also taught a deeper truth. Everything we have not only comes from God, but also belongs to Him. In the New Testament we are not commanded to give a specific tithe, but rather are exhorted to be a cheerful, and thoughtful giver. We give not one tenth, but everything to God. Our homes, our cars, our T.V's, belong to God and must be used in His service. It was love that motivated the early Christians to purposefully put aside money each week to send to the destitute Christians in Judea. We have taken this example of love and turned it into a "law" of giving every first day of the week. Actually, the people were to put aside the money "that there be no gatherings" when Paul came (I Cor. 16:2). No gatherings! Can you see how easily the intents can be perverted by ignorance and greed? The central idea is that giving should be purposeful, and not a last minute scrounging around. It is worth noting in that same passage that there are several indicators that this collection was a special response to a great need, and not part of the regular worship. When we consider the intent of these admonitions, should we condemn those who pass the collection plate on Wednesday in order to buy food for a hungry family of Christians? Does God really care if we pass the plate on Sunday instead of collecting resources outside the building after the assembly?
This is but one of many examples where searching for a law of worship will soon leave us missing the intent of salvation and worship...a wonderful, lasting relationship with God our Father.
11 August 2005
In the gym, working, in the gym, working, sleeping, repeat. It's always monotonous, sometimes lonely, but even still I can't keep this huge grin off my face. When everyone else is zoning into their step-machines and treadmills, I can't seem to stop dancing on the cross-trainer. These poor people at my gym must think I'm bonkers.
Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of my own perma-smile in the mirror as I'm grooving along and I freak myself out.
One song in particular (one of the few that aren't Planetshakers or Hillsong is by Nichole Nordeman entitled Brave. It's definitely a great anthem for me.
The gate is wide
The road is paved in moderation
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in
Welcome to the middle ground
You're safe and sound and
Until now it's where I've been
'Cause it's been fear that ties me down to everything
But it's been love, Your love, that cuts the strings
So long, status quo
I think I've just let go
You make me wanna be brave
The way it always was
It's no longer good enough
You make me wanna be brave
Why did I take this vow of compromise?
Why did I try to keep it all inside?
I've never known a fire that didn't begin with a flame
And every storm will start with just a drop of rain
But if You believe in me
That changes everything
So long, I'm gone
BTW, here's a shout out to Corinne. Thanks for being amazing! I miss your biscuits.
10 August 2005
I can't believe I woke up drunk.
This should in no way be a reflection on me, as I was actually quite fine. Rather, it's meant to celebrate exactly how much fun Robin had on this particular trip.
08 August 2005
How are we expected to get anything done in an era when you can't believe someone is who they say they are, you can't accept any proof from them directly, and third parties who could verify information refuse because of privacy concerns.
We are playing right into the hands of the credit bureas (a plague on all their houses!) with this moronic rigamarole. Honestly! It makes you start to appreciate the perspective of those tree-hugging wack-jobs who insist we all have to start living off the grid.
As someone who makes a living building technology purely to manage the flows of information, my thoughts over the last few days have been downright heretical against my industry. Then again, since a majority of the people in my industry are incompetent stooges, that's not the most uncommon of stances for me to take, now is it?
Enough ranting...happy thoughts. Happy thoughts...
02 August 2005
For those not in the loop, recent changes in eligibility restrictions on Medicaid are making it possible so that thousands of families who can't afford health insurance are finally able to receive care with federal funding.
This is great news for us as a country! It shows that we don't have to have a completely socialistic movement to make progress evening out the standard of living.
On the flip-side, it is worth noting how once again WalMart (translation: evil, despicable, parasitic corporation responsible for the deterioration of western civilization.) is at the forefront of employers who pay so extremely little and offer such outlandishly meager benefits. In USA Today the spokesman Dan Fogleman actually acknowledges that they are aware many of their employees are on Medicaid! He tries to spin it like their employees have a choice and are just being "cost-conscious". Of course, for the family to be eligible that means they are living below the poverty line! Their idea of fair wages is to pay people wages below the poverty line and provide such pitiful benefits that those families must turn to the government for health care.
Okay, I'm just going to say again how great it is that we are seeing enough governmental reform that the working class is finally getting the help they need. If I think about how much WalMart disgusts me, I might have to vomit.
01 August 2005
I also had the opportunity to check in with Mort and do some midnight bowling at the notorious Kenmore lanes. The lanes were all screwed up and wouldn't score properly and stuff, so we bailed.
Before I forget, I want to send out some mad props to me buddy Zac at Veritas Clothes.
28 July 2005
How come no one ever suggests Denmark or Malaysia?
Where would you choose?
27 July 2005
Among the morass of details there were some good things...
- teen birth rates down (43 per thousand)
- high school dropouts decreased (8%)
- 18% still live in poverty, more than the 16% in 2001
- only 68% live with two married parents
- serious crime among juveniles is up to 18 per thousand
25 July 2005
Okay, just hear me out. The guys got skills. He's truly funny. And like Sinbad, he doesn't have to be gross or dirty or foul-mouthed to get laughs.
I was watching Minding the Store and it just reminded me how much I wish todays entertainment scene had more solid people like Pauly.
23 July 2005
Okay, it wasn't an epiphany or anything, it was just another in long line of self-obsessed analysis of my own inner workings. What was mildly divergent about this was that I came across it whilst in the middle of a most excellent conversation about, among other things, someone else!
So by now, you all realize that under the facade of generousity and guilelessness I remain a steaming pile of egomaniacal eccentricity. Or at least you should realize it. If you haven't you should either wait awhile or hang out with me more often.
In any case, this friend was honoring me with insights into their experiences and a dialog on world-views. And pop, there goes a spectacularly clear perception about none other than yours truly!
You would think by now that I would have learned to constrain my moments of self-reflection and enlightenment to those periods when, say, I'm not in the middle of a conversation that isn't about me? Perhaps that is just so rare an event these days, that my inner monologue decided it wasn't in the mood to wait. In either case, no sooner had I realized this new perception of myself, when off my mind goes wondering why on earth would my mind choose this moment for such diversions?
To be clear, one cannot fault the company or the conversation in the slightest. I remain solely to blame for the mental failure. Needless to say, I put the immediate kibosh on my fickle mind and focused more resolutely on my companion.
The evening then progressed and much merriment was made by all. Skip to drive home...
In the car driving home I was zooming across the pitch-black desert and across the sky the streaks of lightening just crackled and crashed. Whole sections of night sky would light up and freeze momentarily like a huge camera was suddenly snapping a photo. The only thing I could think was a Psalm "The spacious heavens declare the glory of our God. The firmament displays his handiwork abroad."
Even in the dark of night, the heavens never cease to shout His fame. When I can't see past my own self to the wonder He has made, the night sky lights up of its own accord to ensure I pause and offer my praise.
21 July 2005
Bottom-line, down another 10 and I needed to punch a new notch.
Oh...and Troy picked up a Polar like mine. He seems to be doing the lifestyle thing pretty well.
I recommended that he get a Zen Micro because it would work with Yahoo! Music. After checking out what he got, I'm considering picking one up too. It's pretty outrageous.
19 July 2005
By no means do I think we should cease assembling together when we are able to do so. On the contrary, my life wouldn't be the same without the strength I receive from worshiping with others. But I do think that God wants us to truly learn what it means to fellowship with Christ, and sometimes this must involve walking a lonely road.
An insidious way we are led astray is when the desire to find other like-minded believers ceases to become a spiritual desire. Rather it is our emotions and our poor sense of self which yearns to be around people who understand us, who will complement our walk. By itself this isn't wrong, as long as we remember that we are called to forsake our own lives and be willing to go for a time without the comfort and fellowship of brothers and sisters. This is simply the natural reality when God has called us unto Himself. It is when we find that we absolutely have to be in the company of other believers in order to have any sense of Christ that we have ceased abiding in Him as we should.
In many parts of the world believers are not able to meet together for various reasons. They may desire to, but if they cannot, how will they maintain fellowship and connectivity to the Body being unable to gather? They must know Christ as Fellowship. It is through abiding in Him that they are able to maintain connected to the Body.
On the other hand, there are those with the freedom to gather. Shouldn't they take every advantage of their liberty to fellowship at every opportunity? Of course! Thank God for our freedom and make the most of it. That's not the issue. Instead consider what your spiritual state would be like should that liberty be removed? Is your usefulness to God limited by your ability to fellowship with others? Can you maintain connected to the Body when isolated? Do you grow faint and fall away when fellowship is removed?
Many of us can maintain a sweet spirit while they are in fellowship with other believers. But when that fellowship is interrupted, how quickly they turn sour. I've even heard them acknowledge this and say things like, "My attitude is going downhill since I haven't been getting to church. I have to go back this week." Then they go back to church, feel uplifted, and their attitude improves. Unfortunately experiences like this are common for those who haven't yet learned to make Christ their lifestyle. They aren't truly walking in the Spirit, they are walking near the Spirit.
In no way does this mean we should be isolationists who avoid fellowship with other believers. However, we cannot allow the absence of such fellowship to adversely affect our walk. If time apart from believers causes us to fall away, then perhaps this is the reason we go through periods of solitude; that we may be learn to truly see and experience Christ as our Fellowship.
13 July 2005
Imagine a company that organized team events for the casual adventurer. For example, the basic offering would be the 8 hour weekend race which is like a mini-Amazing Race around a particular town. It would promote public transportation, could be make use of bikes or roller-blades or even go-karts. Anyone can register and show up ready to play; Everything is provided and it's just a small fee which goes into a pot to cover costs and reward the winners.
A more advanced offering would use GPS waypoints in a rally race where every team has a different route; Or on foot in Colorado wilds for a more expensive total-package get-away. Then you could have rallies where part of the team stays behind and solves the riddles to uncover the next way-point on the journey.
You could have the sophisticated mystery adventures that involve role-playing, hidden doors, and secret codes. They might require researching special topics, completing puzzles, or giving directions from remote locations.
The key to it all is that everything is provided for the player. They just register and show up for the activity; All the gear, the meals, the equipment, everything is ready to go. All the events are scored across several categories so you can have different kinds of adventurers who focus on different things; puzzle solvers, strategists, athletes, drivers, navigators, etc. Stats would allow the formation of guilds or tournaments in different areas.
It would certainly be a fun business to be involved in.
In this day and age, when world poverty is rampant, we can't afford to pay teachers, healthcare is outrageous and infant death to treatable disease is at an all-time high, a public company has a responsibility to the world to share the wealth. I'm not talking charitable donations, simply issuing proper dividends and paying appropriate wages to the working class would suffice.
For a CEO to make 20 million a year for a company that has 5 thousand workers earning below the poverty line is just disgusting. The hourly laborers could all make 3 thousand more a year and still pay their CEO a respectable (5M) yearly salary. That doesn't include the perks and benefits consumed by these no-talent hacks; we're just talking about the number on their paystub.
Consider how much money that only the 20 highest paid CEOs remove from the economy every year. Taking back the compensation only from the 20 highest paid CEOs would be a shot in the arm of the economy to the tune of 1.4 BILLION dollars. If only the 20 highest paid CEOs were reduced to 5M salaries that would be more than 1.3 BILLION dollars that could be shared amongst workers, shareholders, and reducing cost of goods and services. That sounds reasonable doesn't it?
Here's some tidbits to close:
- Approximately 35.8 million people lived below the poverty line in 2003, or about 12.5 percent of the population, according to the US Census Bureau.
- There were 12.9 million living in poverty last year, or 17.6 percent of the under-18 population. That was an increase of about 800,000 from 2002, when 16.7 percent of all children were in poverty. The Census Bureau's definition of poverty for a family of four was $18,810, while for two people it was $12,015.
- Nearly 45 million people lacked health insurance, or 15.6 percent of the population.
- The median household income, when adjusted for inflation, remained basically flat from the previous year at $43,318.
12 July 2005
Once again my self-perception of uniqueness deludes me into thinking that I can keep these balls spinning and that my friends and family will "understand". In reality, every single one of my relationships ends up being significantly more about me then the other person. This is just another nasty side-effect of my unrelenting egomaniacal behavior. I don't mean to be that way, it just comes out that way!
Your walk talks, and your talk talks. But your walk talks louder than your talk talks.The crux of this is that keeping these relationships healthy is what helps me grow, mature, and be less self-centered.
Growing up and today within conservative circles the passage from Hebrews 10:25 is used to bully people into going to church.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.Not surprisingly, I tend to have a more pragmatic interpretation of this particular Scripture. At the core I (more than many) really understand the value of fellowship. I have an exceptionally gregarious personality and find no greater joy than the company of others. This is, of course, as shock to many of you. ;-) Instead of seeing this as a call to Worship, which what I believe is a primary function of Church, I see this as a call to congregation, a call to a life of fellowship.
I see a common mentality that is a symptom of the spiritual deadness in organized religion these days. It is a holdover from those who go to Church to "be fed". One weakness of the institutional church is that the majority of members are coming to receive, to be edified, to be encouraged, to be fed. It is all take, and very little give. Hence, there is very little Life.
To be clear, I am a huge (spectacularly, vigorously, blatantly) fan of organized Worship. I find that it is empowering and fulfilling. The take away is that I am simply in love with my God and cannot cease to Worship Him regardless of the setting, organized or personal. My Worship is no less empowering when I'm singing all-out in my car, or in the shower, or in the back of the Church on a Sunday morning. I rush as eagerly to pray and to praise with myself as I do within the confines of a service. For me, Worship is how I live, Church is just an opportunity to do more of that publicly.
Somehow I seem to have gotten off my original topic of why it's hard to keep healthy relationships with friends when I don't seem them at church. Perhaps I'm secretly distressed that so few people can manage a relationship without an organized structure within which to do it. I need to think more about that. And I'll try and frame some thoughts on Worship and Church for upcoming posts as well.
11 July 2005
I'm finally getting my hands on Season 3 of that most remarkable show Spooks. The way the last season ended just really got to me. What an amazing show. In truth, I think those blokes across the pond really know what they are doing when it comes to writing dialog. They all speak so beautifully compared to the mostly disgusting slang we speak on this continent. Surely that factors into how great the writing is in these shows.
For more excellent writing, check out Hustle and Coupling, both of which are exceptional.
06 July 2005
A relatively new company Sling Media has released the SlingBox, a device which retransmits an video signal over a broad-band connection. The call it place-shifting but really it's just piping the signals from your tuner card out through a broad-band connection so you can watch it from another computer. An idea that has long been predicted and finally someone is trying to make it commercially viable. Gauging from their initial sales, I'd say they are doing pretty well.
An interesting note is that this company is another example of a start-up pushing their research and development overseas to create products for release in the US. In this case, Bangalore, India serves as the off-shore incubator for this technology company.
While a fan of the innovation and respectful of their ability to bring this to market, I'm more engaged by the underlying moral dilemma this creates. Being on the road constantly I deeply understand the desire to have access to media from anywhere. However, this is such a blatant retransmission of copyrighted content, it is sure to create a firestorm of debate. I for one am anxiously awaiting the day that mainstream media produces realize their ultimate wealth is the sale of media as a source, not a distribution channel. The same awakening we see in music we'll eventually see in all copyrighted forms. It surprises me that not one mainstream producer can see the direction the water is flowing and jump into the stream. The first that does will have a significant advantage for certain.
30 June 2005
In the end, I'm all for access to creative works. Widely, publicly, easily, and most of all free. But I want to be clear that I believe in an opt-in strategy, which would require that content producers ask for their works to be made available. Anyone creating content for the wide distribution will certainly do so. In the world of advertising, of which content is crucial, this technique has proven time and again to be the best approach to delivering access.
At the heart of the issue, is that evil continues to be defined by a small cluster, namely Sergey Brin, which puts far to much power in the hands of far too few. When you review their actions and realize that their version of evil doesn't give one fig about infringing on the rights of others, it makes you step back.
It's a simple and obvious step to allow a chosen few to define what's in the interest of the greater good; take our Senate and Congress, or even our judicial system for that matter. I have no problem with the centralization of power. It is when there are no checks and balances in place to protect the not so greater that problems can arise. As long as the powerful truly are making choices in the interest of the majority, it is easy to look the other way while their power is amassed. When those choices become less about goodness and more about concentration and solidification of their power base, then it becomes easier to see how crucial it is to have a balanced system.
Make no mistake, I'm still a Google fan. But I think their choice to ignore the copyrights of others is just disrespectful. In my eyes that's downright evil.
28 June 2005
My favorite ride was the Magnum XL-200 which was the tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world...in 1989. I think I rode it like 9 or 10 times it was so fun. My friend Dave and I made some awesome poses whenever they took our picture. The initial climb is over 200 feet and it runs for like a mile which takes only a couple of minutes. They have these cool tunnels you go through which make for some neat drops especially after dark!
All in all, I highly recommend you spend some time at this park if you like rides. It was voted best Amusement Park in the World for the 7th consecutive time. As a growing park connoisseur, I must agree.
27 June 2005
22 June 2005
20 June 2005
16 June 2005
15 June 2005
Content is KingIt's easy to forget, sometimes not so easy to see coming, but in the end, the guy with the content will always prevail. Unless of course he flubs it royally and loses his exclusivity or ownership. Sirius Satellite Radio and Sprint are in talks to offer the content and programming currently available via satellite radio through Sprint's wireless entertainment package. This is a good thing, people. And one heck of a smart move for the chaps at Sirius. About time, those creative juices got flowing. Sprints entertainment offerings are definitely leading the pack. They've been the first of the typically bumbling U.S. companies to realize the value of content delivered via a headset. This latest move will significantly increase the value of the infrastructure they have in place which will further educate the market. The simple cross-promotional value alone makes fantastic sense. While I'm not sure what the resulting composite will really look like, I am positive this will be another weight to shift the balance of consumer expectations. As we all know, I'm a huge fan of proper consumer expectations. So kudos galore to both companies for this glorious news and here's hoping the brass tacks are polished soon.
13 June 2005
11 June 2005
10 June 2005
09 June 2005
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.These were not the type of men who led revolutions and inspired the masses! If they were just commoners, why were they being so successful in changing the world around them? Why did they represent such a threat to distorted normality? One clue to the difference can be found by reading the Gospel depictions of these men. In my studies I have read many biographies about influential people, cult leaders, corporate giants, political visionaries, and various movement figureheads. In almost every case they read like fairy tales. The key individuals never lie, they always do their duty, they show courage in the face of danger or adversity. Sure there are always the initial let-downs and challenges. The character building failings that they have to overcome as they evolve into the heros they are known to be. Excluding their detractors who try and bloat any small short-comings, the general picture of their lives is rosy and perfection-filled. Compare this to the disciples. These guys are portrayed with so many shortcomings and failings that you sort of wonder why they didn't fire their press agents sooner. There are numerous examples telling of the disciples bickering about which one will be the greatest; about how they doubted that Jesus could feed four thousand people even after he already fed 5,000. They wanted Him to call down fire on a village simply because the villagers didn’t like their preaching! The disciples fail again and again to understand the simplest parables. In fact they were so dense that one day Jesus even said “Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?” -- Mark 4:13. If the disciples were commoners, being a commoner must be okay. I'll certainly screw up at least as bad as any of them ever did, and it's a pretty sure bet it happens more often judging by the sheer volume of my bumbling. Conversely, the likelihood that I will ever do anything miraculous (or even noteworthy) starts at impossible and vanishes from there. Being a commoner who has Faith means you will be a commoner who Fails. The good news is that the Faith more than makes up for the Failure. At least from where I'm standing...on the fresh side of yet another Failure, one more step up another mountain of Faith.
-- Acts 4:13