28 December 2005

Waiting for a flight

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

My Nephews

Hanging out with my nephews on Christmas eve. My sister wasn't feeling well so we were getting out of the house. Unfortunately, all the bowling alleys were closed. Merry Christmas everyone!

23 December 2005

Portland is so rainy!

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

Some New Photos

Just FYI...I finally got around to posting the photos that have been piling up on my hard drive.  Let me know if you want high-quality versions of anything.
You can view and or leave comments at Flickr if you'd like.  If you're a member, add me as friend.

17 December 2005

Beautiful Sunset

Sitting in the Phoenix airport, watching the most amazing sunset. I lead a charmed life...

15 December 2005


How many times have you heard this one: "My friend is in this band..."

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

Not A Cloud In Sight

I've decided that a new way to organize gifts, giving, occasion reminders and the like is definitely needed. How do you keep track of all the birthdays, holidays, sending this here that there and so on? Doesn't it suck re-typing addresses? When will I have one good storage in the cloud for all my people data and assorted crapola that goes with them.

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?

It Just Keeps Coming

My good friend is getting treated poorly at work again. It makes you feel powerless to see others taken advantage of and mistreated.

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

Gets Funnier Every Time

Check out this summary post on The Superficial about two Playboy models who got arrested trying to proposition two cops who were questioning them about disrupting an airline flight because they were drunk! I'm telling you, we just can't make this stuff up.

07 December 2005

Random Love

While doing some much needed clean-up of my writings, I came across several notes and drafts of entries that overlapped.  This post is an attempt to string them all together into something else entirely.  Being that I am, and forever remain, a hopeless romantic, the subject, of course, is love.

Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

From a sermon...

Love is the process of meeting needs.

From a journal entry...

Love is the process by which you become a child again,
after everything in the world has pushed you towards being an adult.

From a letter...

Life is a process, and such is love.
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 recover quickly
,some may suffer for a long time
,only time mellows the pain
,it lets you get out of the shadow.
In life I have found that
,those who take a long time to recover from love
,know more about love
,because they have deep feelings about love
,which can destroy their lives
,but also can give them lives.
To recover is a great feat. No one can indulge his own dreams without awakening. For love is the process by which you replace loneliness with anguish and relocate emptiness from your heart into the pit of your stomach.

From a note sent to a friend...

If an authentic love is what you desire then you must love, honor, and cherish yourself as a truly precious and lovable being.

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

He Knows?

This is a shout out to my good friend Mike who wrote an exceptional post today. Actually he writes many good posts. Which if you only know Mike a little might be surprising.  This particular post speaks volumes to how mature and capable he's becoming.

Super kudos to you, Mike!

05 December 2005


As if you needed more proof that you can find anything on the internet, this article from The Register (UK) about a new Liquid Condom is a little unusual. Or maybe unsettling is a better word.  Either way, it kind of freaked me out.

Finals Weekend

Finals are hard. Of course, EE is so much hard than the cheesy majors that kids today settle on. One of my friends was pushing himself too hard and needed a break. So along with his GF and her friend we hit the town for some nice non-academic conversation while we munched some grindage (as Pauly Shore would say...).

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


Went with some friends to Tradition. You'd have loved it. The lights, the costumes, the festive atmosphere. Here's a collage:

You can find the whole set here.

Happy birthday, lil Sis!

29 November 2005

A La Carte Television Channels

This tidbit was pointed out by an observant friend of mine. Okay, so maybe observant is a little much, but there is no denying he is literate and reads good paper. ;-)

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 Note I Got Today

This came in my inbox today from a friend:

I was just feeling rather thankful for you being a gentleman at lunch today - when a door was nearly smashed into my face by a male co-worker oblivious to the fact that I may want to go through the door also... Thank you for being one that hold doors open. My gender highly appreciates it. hmmph.

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

Turkey Day

My sisters boyfriend Mark convinced me to partake in the Turkey Trot this morning.  It's an organized fun-run put on by the Arizona Road Racers.  It was actually lots of fun, even if we did have to get up way to pickin' early!

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: Hope your Turkey Day was as outrageous as mine!

20 November 2005

No More Training Wheels

This weekend was excellent. My babies and I went to see Chicken Little and read books and just had a great time.

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

Serendipity on the Ferry

Recently, I had the opportunity to ride the Washington State Ferries again, specifically to Bainbridge Island. Aside from a remarkable coincidence where upon I ran into some very cool friends of mine, I noticed the outrageously poor spelling on the signs. There were quite a few examples to choose from, but I actually took a picture of this particular one.
And here is a photo of the most excellent Eric & May & Company. His parents are absolutely adorable!
While I'm showing pictures, here's the astounding view from the deck.

15 November 2005


The first pictures of little Bianca went out today.

Ain't she adorable?

Beautiful Snow

Walking home from work late last night it was snowing in downtown Denver. It was late so there wasn't anyone around. It was peaceful and exquisitely beautiful.

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

A new life. A broken heart. And something Yummy.

My little sister had her baby Bianca this weekend. They're doing fine after only an hour of labor! She's so cool.

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

Little Ones to Him Belong

Considering the self-centeredness of my previous blog entries, I thought I'd continue to thread by bringing to your attention a matter of importance to me. My friend's child is in need of your prayers.You can read specifics here. Since many of my readers are people of faith, I thought it wouldn't be too weird to specifically throw out a request such as this.

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

Why is the Rum gone?

Finally, I can totally understand the seriousness of this question. Whilst on work business in the great city of Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to visit RumJungle at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. What an exceptional venue!

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

Happy Coincidences

The coolest random event exploded all over me on Sunday afternoon. After days of rain and gunk in Seattle, we were out and about in the clear blue and decided to take a ferry ride. Lo and behold who should we run into but Eric and May, two of most favorite people EVER! And as it turned out I got to meet Eric's dad and tell him what an amazing son he produced.

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

Yahoo Music Hiking Prices

Mountain Man is considering dumping Yahoo Music because of the impeding price hike. What do you think he should do? Keep in mind he needs WMA support, so an I-Pod only solution isn't really helpful.

24 October 2005


You know those people you come across who are so smart that a casual conversation can be almost painfully intimidating?  My friend Thomas is one such character.

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

Oh Palisade!

Can I just say how much I love Palisade?! What a remarkable restaurant.  Exquisite food, good friends.  Do I live a charmed life or what?

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

Smoking is Gross. Or is it?

Frasier: "All right. Now Bebe, tell me, what is so wonderful about smoking?"
Bebe: "Everything. I like the way a fresh, firm pack feels in my hand. I like peeling away that little piece of cellophane and seeing it twinkle in the light. I like coasting that first, sweet cylinder out of it's hiding place and bringing it slowly to my lips. Striking a match. Watching it burst into a perfect, little flame and knowing that soon that flame will be inside me. I love the first puff, pulling it into my lungs. Little fingers of smoke filling me, caressing me, feeling that warmth penetrate deeper and deeper until I think I'm going to burst then WHOOSH! Watching it flow out of me in a lovely sinuous cloud; no two ever quite the same."

I'm not a smoker and never will be.  But this gave me some insight into the addictions of some of my friends.

Yay for Pay TV!

For the last two years I've been ranting about how the networks could significantly increase their revenue streams by releasing rights-protected versions of their shows over the internet on a daily basis.  It would appear that finally somone at the networks woke up and realized the potential.  Or maybe Steve Jobs is sneakier than everyone previously believed.

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


Flew into Denver this morning amid a most excellent snow storm.  Considering that I spent the weekend in the glorious Phoenix heat, it made for an interesting change.

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

An Italian Prince

This has been a very full week. So full, in fact, that I missed a concert I was really hoping to see. We all know how much I need my music!

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

On the Lake

It was a long week, and a busy weekend.  But it ended with an absolutely spectacularly wonderful afternoon on the lake.  Some good people, some wakeboarding, tubing and all around chaos and mayhem.

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


It's time for a quick recap of the last two days.

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

Yay for Nathan. And Happy Birthday.

Last night I got a chance to hang out with my Sean, Dave, and Nathan.  It's been a while since I've had a chance to see Nathan since he's been in Germany most of the summer.

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

Oodles of Charm

So I'm driving through Hollywood on my way to UCLA with my good friend Habbib in the passenger seat.  The wonderful thing about hanging out in vicinty to him is that he is positively dripping with charisma and charm.  Some have called him a "lady magnet", still others have referred to him as the Sultan of Suave.

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

Me, Sick?

Evidently sitting through hours of conference presentations, eating conference fare, and being altogether to busy to workout are indeed, bad for your health.

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

Most Creative Give-Away

Walking through the Expo today I came across several old friends who I haven't seen for many years.  Amazing what can change in a decade, huh?

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:
Still supporting your customers with old technology?

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?).

Brett is SOOO Cool

At the opening keynote they announced an amazing deal to a limited set of attendees.  They were offering an HTC Universal (JasJar) for $149!!  This is a device that has an MSRP for $800 and will regularly sell for at least $600.  What an incredible opportunity.

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

Business Intelligence

The new SQL Analysis Service, BI Development Environment, and Reporting Services are just cool.

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.

PDC So Far

Visiting the PDC this week and heartily enjoying myself.  Met up with old friends, hanging out with new ones.  There have been several great presentations.  Most humorously the video with Bill Gates & Napolean Dynamite.  Most excellently the presentation on Office "12" running on Windows Vista.  When they presented the amazing conditional formatting techniques I almost peed myself.  The most impactful , most transformational new technology is the SQL Service Broker, it will totally rock and I'm already deeply and passionately in love with it.

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.

Sometimes I Stumble

This will be hard for a lot of you to believe, but I screwed up and hurt a friends feelings yesterday.  I know, I know...not what you'd expect from the bastion of sensitivity that is me.  Needless to say, I've been feeling awful about it, and beating myself up at random intervals.  I'd hate to lose a good buddy just because I'm a ignorant.

12 September 2005

...And that's the truth.

A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.
-- Terry Pratchett

Head Spin

It's been a while since I've had the time to post and now I am correcting that.  If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well, right?

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


Every now and then I come across a great band that for whatever reason, I just didn't hear about.  The most likely cause is my own self-absorption.  Excluding that, I'm willing to blame my friend Scot whose musical elitism knows few rivals. Well, actually Neal's the king there, but since I hang out with Scot more it's a fair bet he's been rubbing off on me.  (Not like that, sicko!)

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

Get it right

"The proper term is 'smite evil', not 'bump uglies'." -- The Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew


After a very long lapse during which I very nearly went into withdrawal, the Joss Whedon machine has finally produced a follow-up to the greatest television show ever created - Firefly.

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

A couple of things...

First off, I want to welcome Nathan home.  He's been away for a while and we were all starting to have withdrawals.  Look for the party scene to pick up now.

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

Catch the trailer here.

22 August 2005

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

Friends help you move.
Real friends help you move bodies.
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. ;-)

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

Scared in Krakow

This post is the text of an email I received from my friend Cory.  I laughed so hard I just about fell out of my chair.  Then I knew I had to share this with the world.

I'm all alone in Krakow right now at a 24 hour internet place.  The following is a true story, Dan Brown style...

Chapter 118
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.

Chapter 119
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.

Chapter 120
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.

Chapter 121
The two europeans were extreamly happy that they had trapped thier prey, and the stupid American was oblivious.

Chapter 122
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.

Chapter 123
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.

Chapter 124
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.

Chapter 125
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.

Chapter 126
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.

Chapter 127
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.

Chapter 128
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.

Chapter 129
"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.

Chapter 130
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.


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

United States of Wal-Mart

It seems that I can't go more than a few days without someone bringing up Wal-Mart these days. In my opinion they are one of the primary forces behind the downfall of western civilization, and I have no problem telling people that. Most of the time people just look at me like I'm a total nutter and the conversation fizzles.

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

Ongoing Worship

In continuing my personal exercise of critical thinking about worship, I found myself covering the Old Testament laws again. This raised the question of whether we have been given New Testament laws concerning worship. Primarily this came on becausethe more I pondered it the more I realized that in our efforts to love and obey God we have somehow changed worship into a legal system of salvation. We have not recognized the new covenant as a covenant of forgiveness enabling us to obey God's eternal law of love. The new covenant is not anew law, but rather a release from the penalty of God's eternal law.

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

I Want to be Brave

Had a physical exam today and it was more encouraging than anything else. Sometimes you just need to hear someone else give you some positive words to make the road seem less long.

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

Forgotten Post: Quote of the Trip

This morning I was archiving some files and I came across a clip from my last outing with my good friend Robin. It is from him that I coined the Quote of the Trip for that particular outing.

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

Information Age, yea right.

It's common knowledge that I'm big on personal privacy. And it's not like I don't have good reasons to be paranoid. Unfortunately give a little privacy scare to the general public and they go bum-over-teakettle with rules, regulations, and restrictions.

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

Medicaid for Millions

Sometimes trying to find something the government is getting right feels harder than it should be. Then out of nowhere some blokes in Congress unlock the Medicaid doors and you realize the power of good government.

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

Oh Canada!

This weekend I was able to spend some much needed quality time with some great friends in lovely Vancouver, Canada. We partied hard, rested well, and ate some Amazing food. I'll have the picture sets put together soon so check back.

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

Honduras & Italy

According to Kiplinger's Personal Finance two of the best places to buy vacation homes outside the country include Honduras and Italy. Of course, the case they make for Italy is not look in the trendy places.

How come no one ever suggests Denmark or Malaysia?

Where would you choose?

27 July 2005

The Poor Kids

The federal Kids Count report was released recently and barely made back-page news. This is really sad considering that kids are supposed to be our future.

Among the morass of details there were some good things...
  • teen birth rates down (43 per thousand)
  • high school dropouts decreased (8%)
...and some not so good...
  • 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
Meanwhile, WalMart still refuses to allow its workers to unionize and has one of the lowest average wage rates in the country. Not that anyone is counting or anything.

25 July 2005

Minding the Store

As far back as I can remember, I've been an avid Pauly Shore fan.

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

Lightening My Load

Tonight, I was having dinner with a friend and something hit me.

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


So I've been doing two-a-days for the last couple weeks and they seem to have broken me out of my slump. That and eating mostly fruit for every meal. ;-)

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

A Fellowship of Two

Right now I've been thinking about my perspective as a believer who is in-between the church as a building and the church as a lifestyle. I think a key to having church be a lifestyle is knowing how to walk alone.

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

The Casual Adventures Company

Here's another great business idea that was bouncing around in my head a while back. A friend suggested I should be writing them down. So I figured why not do that in the blog?

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.

Not sure about Justice

It's nice to see that Mr. Ebbers got a nice big sentence for his part in the WorldComm debacle. Personally, I think if you have managed to swindle any public company into giving you a salary in excess of 10 million a year you deserve to go to jail for fraud. At the very least you should be required to have disclosures similar to what a public company is required to submit.

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.
I'm going to go weep now...

12 July 2005

Fellowship Failures

As a full-time traveler it can be hard to keep relationships running smoothly. We all know that any relationship takes work, but when you don't have that day-to-day forced contact from a shared experience like work or a club it becomes arduous at best.

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

The Swiss & The BBC

One of my friends has been doing so tooling around overseas. Evidently Basel is the place to be right now. I'll have to go check it out. Anyone else have recommendations?

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


It took long enough, but finally another prediction has come true.

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

It's about Respect

The hypocrisy of big business never ceases to give me a chuckle. How does a company like Google just decide that it can record, index, and expose the collected creative works of the world? On one hand it says "Do no evil". Then it goes out and violates copyrights any way it feels like in the name of free access. At $300/share I hardly call that free. More importantly, at what point did we cross over into the dimension where anything you create can be recorded, indexed, and exposed to the world without your prior consent? They bash spam laws that require an opt-out approach and yet they are taking the exact same stance when it comes to copy protected works!

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

Big Roller Coasters

Just got back from a whirlwind day at Cedar Point in Ohio.

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

A Matter of Style

A long time ago I used to hear this lady on the radio who talked about education, raising children, and the like. Her tag line was basically that "It's all a matter of style". Coming from a home where education was very individualized, attending a small private school, and being one of those "gifted" children I certainly appreciated this perspective from the moment I heard it. Of course being on the receiving end and know watching parenting styles in action are two totaly different things. Even people who seem to have common sense, who appear to be capable parents, can really miss the boat with their own children. Something about the forest and trees, or being too close to the situation, or something like that. I'm not really sure what causes these lapses in common sense, patience, and normalcy. I guess we are always harder on the ones we love, right? The behaviors in a stranger we find cute or at least tolerable are completely offensive and unacceptable from our own children. The littlest thing they do can just grate on your nerves and make you totally lose all measure of a balanced response. To be clear, I am not talking about myself here, simply pointing out an interesting effect I have noticed in others. While I am sure that given sufficient opportunity I would develop quirks and idiosyncrasies to rival the best of them, at the current juncture it's my complete composure that drives others around me crazy. I simply do not see the point in getting riled up or being controlling. When I was younger, and by this I mean last week, I used to love listening to the same silly song over and over and over again screeching the inane lyrics at the top of lungs for all to share my joy. Why should I stop the younger generation from these same past times? Basically, if two kids want to while away an hour playing "got-ya-last" inside a 4 foot square, why shouldn't they? No harm, no foul. You want to wave at passing cars, go right ahead! Feel the need to run around in circles until you can't stand up? Be my guest. Does your sock puppet want to read the words on every signpost in the city? Have at it. Excepting for activities that are unsafe, why put restrictions and bindings? I know someone who actually has a Limited-Repeating Rule! You can't repeat something more than twice. Are you kidding me? Why strike down such a favorite past time? Are you that self-absorbed that must have silence all the time? Maybe it's just that my own semi-hallucinogenic inner monologue has made this behavior in others seem almost normal. Or at least nothing that should concern me. My littlest sister once said that I was the most unjudgemental guy she knew. Which I took to be a huge compliment. It certainly is something I strive for in my every day life. Perhaps I'm getting better at it? Maybe I'm picking up some of Hyde's Zen-like attitude. Whatever. That's cool.

22 June 2005

Age of Empires III

After quite a long sabbatical Ensemble Studios has announced that they will be releasing the next installment in the Age of Empire series. Age of Empires is one of the best games ever created. I have wasted many a day playing this completely addicting game. Check out some teaser previews at AgeOfEmpires3.com. Once you see how detailed and articulate the interface is going to be I'm sure you'll be hooked just like I am.

20 June 2005

Patient Patience

Twice over the weekend, I was confronted with my ineptitude for waiting on the Lord. The first was while praying for patience. The second was the sermon this week which happened to be on the attributes of God specifically infinitude. When I'm floundering about in a vain attempt to be patient with the flow of the world it can be hard to pull myself back into quiet subservience. My own puffed-up sense of self-importance obscures the reality of my insignificance. Like everyone I tend to revert to thinking about The Plan. You know, like in Jeremiah 29:11 -- For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Exactly how screwed up is my perspective that I can make the assumption that because the Lord has a Plan for me, I must be entitled to know what it is? So egotistical can I be that I just take for granted that I can somehow figure out or understand this Plan. Just because there is a Plan doesn't mean I'll ever be able to comprehend it. After all, my purpose is to bring Glory alone. 1 Peter 4:2 -- As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. I'm not called to understand or judge the ways His Glory is manifest. Only that I strive to make His Will my own. One of my favorite verses Ephesians 6:6 makes this clear. The interesting part of that is how quickly I can erroneously go from Will to Plan. Will is a finite moment, a measured activity, and purposed response. A Plan is the execution of a series of pre-meditated activities; the prolonged exercise of Will. Keeping in focus that my purview in its greatest extent might only glimpse His Will, makes service possible. God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things which we cannot comprehend. -- Job 37:5 As I bring this full circle, it becomes more clear why I struggle so with patience. Hebrews 10:36 -- You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. It's hard to have patience when you don't know the game plan. If you can't see more than the Now; if your focus shifts from His Will today to guessing His Plan for tomorrow, you undoubtedly lose your footing. When we take our eyes off the present, off the tasks at hand; that is when we most vividly feel awash in anxiety and worry. Suddenly our false sense of the control conjures up concerns of every kind. We find ourselves doubting, wondering, wandering. With a smug sense of satisfaction I put away my pettiness. Patience will have to be patient. I have His Will today, and that's enough. 1 John 2:17 -- The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

16 June 2005

The Click Five

I just listened to an advance copy of the upcoming album from newcomers The Click Five. Actually a good friend of mine is in tight with the band and gave me the skinny on these talented Bostonians. To be fair, I've been promoting Just the Girl for a while having bought the single quite some time ago. But since getting a chance to listen to the rest of the soon-to-be-released album, I must say...these guys are going to make a mint! It's obvious teen-pop but it's really solid. They deliver several of the kinds of memorable anthem choruses you can't forget even if you try. Along the way, they show a talent for the use of the singable lyrics and other musical gimicks, smoothly polished bridges, and some truly outstanding production quality. After hearing a first-hand account on the caliber of musicians these guys are, it would be easy to assume they would have been turned into musical elitists. Evidently they prefer instead to simply sell a gazillion albums using proven formulas and unbelievably catchy melodies. Of course the fact that they've been working with some of the best in the business might have helped them stand-up through production. When the album hits stores you should definitely give them a listen. Except you Neal and Scot. They wouldn't make your cut, and I don't need another lecture... ;-)

15 June 2005

New Shaimus Tracks

Did you know that Shaimus is working on an album? The tracks they've posted haven't been polished, but it's a good prelude to some excellent work to come. Check 'em out!

Content Wins Again

There were quite a few nay-sayers when the satellite radio companies first got lifted off the ground. While questioning who would pay for the services, can it be profitable, and just plain why?, they forgot one of the cardinal rules in our ownership society.
Content is King
It'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

Three Types of Lies

This made me laugh... There are three types of lies. 1. Lies 2. Damn Lies 3. Statistics --Samuel L. Clemens One in four people get this quote wrong.

A Lost Phone

Sad, sensitive, almost sullen. A misplaced phone, a sound reason for no phone call. When they are just too busy, is that a hint? I knew that going in. The walk and the talk are disconnected and dichotomous. Maybe I'm too fragile still? It's well know that I am the biggest fan of independence, and I give privacy and freedom highest marks. How to know if my expectations are normal, or exaggerated from neglect. Some simple sign, surely? Again I'm patient. After all, a servants time is not his own.

A Redirected Prayer

My father is amazing. I know everyone thinks that, but mine really is extraordinary. Okay, everyone says that too. You'll just have to take my word for it. We were discussing prayer requests today on the front porch. It was a lovely evening, by the way. I mentioned that I was looking for some direction, some clarity of purpose. Realizing that my life is in a very transitional phase and not sure what's next, my natural tendencies to second-guess, plan and otherwise prepare have been running rampant. Instead of launching into a quick prayer as is our usual custom, he said he wanted to remind me of a story. He started with the story of Abraham and Lot after they had been wandering in the Negev. They'd been growing in fortune for several years and now their herds and workmen were starting to compete for resources because they kept in such close proximity to one another. Now Abraham presented a solution. In Genesis 13:8-9 you see that Abraham offered Lot his choice of which direction to take his family. Whichever way Lot chose, Abraham would take his family the opposite direction. What was interesting in that Abraham as the elder and more powerful should have had first pick. But instead he offered it to his younger and weaker nephew. There is a lot to learn from the story, but the key thing my dad was pointing out is the reason that Abraham could be so unselfish. He knew it didn't really matter. The direction you take, the road you travel, the choices you make aren't really important if it isn't for God. If you are doing the Lord's will, any road will do, any choice is perfect. Which way he went didn't matter, because he was following God either way. God would be with him either to the right or the left. What an insightful application and wonderful redirection. Instead of spending energy on what door will open, what do I need to prepare for, which way should I be going; I need to focus solely on my Savior. If I'm doing the Lord's will, the doors will be there when they are needed. The road will unfold as He deems fit. If I'm on God's road, I'll get where I want to go with no worries. Worrying is pretty a-typical for me, so it was an interesting flag to my father that he astutely picked up on. Gently, purposely, he set me right again. I told you he was amazing.

11 June 2005

Brave Saint Saturn

The latest album from little known Brave Saint Saturn entitled The Light of Things Hoped For is very, very good.
Every now and then I just come across a few melodies, rhythms, or lyrics which I find really moving and exceptional. Its rare to find them all together. Gloria, for example, is a fabulous concoction of tasty elements that fill many of the reasons why I listen to music. Their changing style will appeal to a whole variety of musical palates. As always, I encourage you to buy the album. Or at least check it out online, then buy it once you've succumbed to the haunting charms.

10 June 2005

8 Gigabytes?

Hard-drive manufacturer Seagate made an announcement a couple of months ago that they were delivering the first 6 GB 1 inch drives. That's an insane amount of data in a 1 inch form factor. Now, they've come back and said they are delivering 8 GB drives to their OEM partners. This is just fabulous! I have long contended that the key to the next revolutionary phase in technology is not processing speed but faster access to more and more data. As the quantity of data that can be accessed increases without detracting from the time to access it, a whole world of possibilities can now be reality. Cameras that can store thousands of hours of high-quality video at usable speeds. Three-dimensional maps can be instantly constructed and retrieved; for example 3-d directions in a high-rise building or massive cruise ship, highly detailed reconstructions of xray images for medical purposes. Think about taking several first-run movies with you on the plane, then using bluetooth to broadcast them to the seat-back screen. Now that's video on demand! Imagine taking full photo-descriptive catalogs of every major store with you to peruse while you wait in the dentists office? Browse the entire Amazon or Barnes & Noble product list, complete with graphics, reviews, etc. any time you want, wherever you want, no wireless needed. Or if you are magazine buff, why not just take the entire newstand with you into the loo? Once I start thinking about it, the ideas just keep on coming. I don't know about you, but I can't stop rubbing my hands with glee and making little Bwwaaa! noises.

09 June 2005

Failure in Common

Struggle, struggle, struggle. How easy it is to believe that's the story of my life. And I couldn't be more wrong. Failure really sucks most of the time. To have it rubbed in your nose makes things worse. Or so it would appear. In reality, we all have failure in common. It is the universally equal experience. Oh sure, people like Scot, Neal, Corey, or Josh have never failed at anything in their lives; but I'm sure their chance will come. At least that's what I tell myself whenever I'm feeling snippy for how perfect their lives are. ;-) Then out of nowhere I get a little snog and "poof" perspective is restored. With fresh eyes it is much easier to see that no matter how I struggle, I'm just a commoner. No matter how I succeed, I'm just a commoner. Win, lose, draw, I'm just ordinary, plain, vanilla...normal. Mostly. As I struggled (there's that dang word again!) to embrace my status as commoner I found some encouragement from some other commoners. In Acts 4, when the disciples began to preach that Jesus had arisen, one of the reasons that the leaders of the day had it in for them was because they were commoners.
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.
-- Acts 4:13
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.