31 May 2005

They're Coming...

One of my good friends gave me an earful about the new Nokia N91 the other day. I had to check it out for myself. Sure enough, it doesn't suck.
For starters it's a Nokia with all that implies. Stability, accessories, style, and cost. Okay that last one I just threw in for fun. ;-) But seriously, I've always been a Nokia fan mostly because they don't suck. This new two megapixel musicphone sure sounds legit. The phone should be out shortly, although dates for wide availablity aren't known. A phone with this capacity and features is definitely hitting the market sooner than anticipated. It is part of Nokia’s new media-centric N Series, which is a direct assault on Sony Ericsson and Samsung. The critical punch is the 4GB microdrive which can store one heck of lot of music. There is an industry standard 3.5mm headphone jack which means you don't have to settle for a crappy phone vendor headset any more. It will support the playback of MP3, M4A, AAC, and WMA audio files although I haven't verified the level of DMA capability yet. It does come with USB 2.0 so you can just drag and drop your files which promises a smooth synchronization experience. For the true technocrats though the N91 has 3G (WCDMA) and both built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. This means you can push music any old wireless way you want! You'll definitely want to check this phone out when it becomes available later this year.

Week in Review

If you are following along so far then you've probably been waiting for the pictures that go with the last week or so worth of posts. Here you go: For those of you not particularly interested in my comings and goings, I am working on some new Technobabble and Reflections. Maybe today, probably tomorrow.

30 May 2005

On The Beach

For my quiet time one day I and walked on the beach. There was an old couple out for a stroll coffee cups in hand chatting lazily. I was perched on a huge rock with Bible in hand and headphones precisely as I'd sat many years prior. All at once I was hit with a total sense of déjà vu. Then I looked eagerly forward, having at the time had only a few yesterdays. Now I looked only backwards and was almost void of any thoughts of tomorrows. Westward view in mornings glory They walk the beach clichéd but not No sun but Light and Joy of self and Him Slip-slide in sand but stable Memory awakens Many morns alike in years past Introspective then of days to be Retrospective now no desire to be Unbidden still they come Intrude in solitude. What...Life...Remember?

Holiday's Will Do That

This weekend I took part in the same tradition that many adhere to on Memorial Day weekend. I went with some friends to spend time out doors, sleep on the ground, eat meat cooked on an open flame, get eaten by bugs, and general cavort in the wilderness. Camping is such fun. This particular weekend I had the pleasure of socializing with several of my best friends in a spot I remembered well from many years past. The beach was bright and sunny, the grass green, and companionship excellent. I even had the pleasure of making some new acquaintenances. None of whom had all that much Frisbee Golf experience going into the weekend, and all of whom have considerably improved on the outset. I'll have plenty of pictures polished and present shortly. Sunday I had to bolt back to Denver to catch up on some work and on this holiday I was mostly neck-deep in numbers and sinking fast. Because I believe most fastidiously that respect for others is a matter of my own honor, I did take time to reflect and offer a sincere salute to those this day remembers. Consider my words encouragement for you to offer your own accolades to the deserving.

26 May 2005

Babies & Interviewing

Yesterday my babies had an award ceremony for the Awana program they've been doing. I was really tired after my trip to L.A. and I slept on the plane. It was a beautiful day and we had a barbeque and played outside. After the ceremony we read more of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. This morning came really early as I had to be in Seattle by 10am to start interviewing candidates. There weren't as many as originally planned but it still makes for a long day. Tonight is the Kelly Clarkson concert at the Paramount. Pretty good seats so it should be fun. That reminds me I need to call Ticketmaster. They sent me the wrong tickets.

24 May 2005

Fat Rabbit

Today I'm driving to Los Angeles from Seattle. My friend Cory is going with me and we've driven most of the afternoon and evening. We're stopped in a little town in California to catch some zzzz's. We've had some neat adventures and laughed till soda came out our noses. Cory flirted with some chicks in the Taco Bell and then again in Fred Meyer when we had to buy a lock for the truck. There was a young lady named Victoria who thought Cory was just the cutest thing. She couldn't stop giggling and flirting with him. It was pretty funny and a joy to watch. There was another guy who was obviously waiting to talk with Victoria but she preferred to talk with Cory which made the other kid a little upset. The bad news was that we hit a deer on the road tonight. Very sad. It took out one of our headlights and banged up the front bumper. They were just standing in the road and materialized out of nowhere, there was nothing I could do. Cory wants me to remind everyone that he is sooo suave that he got the guy at Taco Bell to give him a free soda. Evidently he enjoyed flirting with that guy more than the girls. Go figure! The phrase for the trip was "I still haven't seen a club!" which was the main complaint in driving through these small towns. Then out of nowhere we came across Club 71 right next to the freeway which advertised itself as the hottest nightlife around. We'll post more of our adventures tomorrow.

19 May 2005

Nice Catch

This morning I was catching up on my reading of a few blogs I find particulary good. As usual I've not paid enough attention to some of the excellent commentary out there. My hat goes off to T-Bird Charlie for his insights into the ongoing issue of two judges being questioned by the senate. Definitely check out his post and follow up with the article as well. A good example of a sane voice questioning the goings-on as well he should. Good catch, T-Bird!

18 May 2005

A Contradiction

This post took me while. It's a hard subject for such a non-judgemental person like me. What's funny is that I'm so thoroughly opinionated but I only subject myself to the application of those opinions. Crazy, I know and I'll write more about that at a later time. The subject of this post was bantered around in other entries I've completed lately and seemed to be a recurring theme during some discussions I was having. It centers around the relatively modern proverb spouted by some in the religious community concerning how to deal with subjects, situations, or lifestyles of which they disapprove. The phrase is usually offered something like "Love the sinner, Hate the sin". One day I found myself offering this juicy morsel to an acquaintence that was struggling in a relationship. What stunned me upon reflection is that this is a stance which I don't particularly agree with. How did such an easy-going, accepting, loving guy as myself (I'll take a bow later. [wink]) find these words coming out of my mouth? In retrospect I think I wanted to offer this person some way, some handle, something they could use to make sense of their conflicting emotions and allow them to continue in their relationship. Evidently, I must not really have been giving them too much thought or attention if this crummy platitude is all I could come up with to offer. What a lousy friend, eh? During my quiet time as I reflected on my words, I wanted to understand my reasoning and frustration so as to be sure I had something better on tap the next time I'm called upon in such a situation. Here's a sample of the meandering journey to organize my thoughts on this subject.

The thoughts and intents of his heart are only evil continually. -- Gen. 6:5

Bottom line, we all suck. We all have capacity for evil, we are all fallen. In words the supernaturally sensitive would better understand: we all make choices that are hurtful to ourselves and others everyday. My dad always put it like this: "There are two things I know to be true. One, there is a God. And two, I am not it." Just knowing we are all sinners is enough to start unraveling this concept. But it didn't really address the point of the predicament did it? If we are all sinners why love at all? What would be the point? Not from a WWJD perspective, but from a practical, realistic, give-me-next-steps point of view.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? -- Rom. 2:4

One reason we as sinner are born into and are able to enjoy this world rather than wake up as an infant in hell, is the benevolence of God. In His infinity mercy and grace He has given us a chance, an opportunity to repent. To make things right. To choose wisely. Unfortunately we mostly just use it as a chance to sin some more. Well, what did you expect, we are sinners!

Whom the Lord loves He chastens. -- Heb. 12:6,7

It can take some maturity and experience to realize the truth of this. Any good parent knows you have to provide discipline, structure, and right expectations of your children. If we never feel consequences of our actions we never learn to make good choices. True moral behavior must be practiced to be perfected. The good news is the truth of behavior is a private thing between God and the individual. We have no call to pass judgement or enforce this moral code. If we truly love someone, we will want them to know the liberating freedom of knowing God as we do -- to experience the power of God to liberate us from the sins that do so easily beset us. However, urging them to simply change their choices, to give up their sins, to conform, isn't usually effective to that end. Far more effective is to love them as Christ loves. Then, by our own conduct and communication, we can model a better way. If by our actions we can uplift the right and the good, then sin will appear in its true colors. Conversely, if we do not model the love of Christ and give no evidence of His power in our lives, no amount of verbal haranguing will induce others to change their choices, to give up their sins, to conform to His likeness. Our behaviors will only drag us down further, for by beholding we become changed; whether we behold Christ in His purity or the sinner in his sinfulness. Applying the rule of love so succinctly easily allows us to discern a pragmatic stance towards this precept. However, there is a far more insidious issue to be addressed. Usually when we are flipping out this phrase we are only relating it to what we deem as open or obvious sin. Meanwhile we pass right over and neglect our less visible yet often more dangerous sins. We are quick to call down judgement when it's a clear case of violence or debauchery or whatever our hot-buttons happens to be. But when we come across the more subtlely nefarious problems like pride or prejudice, we just look the other way and make excuses.

16 May 2005

Birthday & Family

Home. If you have allergies and Palo Verde's are blooming it isn't always the best place to be hanging around. ;-) My father had a birthday this weekend. In my mind I know he is getting older but for some reason in my heart he is stuck at 53 whenever I've thought about him for the last decade or so. I guess we just filter our image of those around us. Yes, i know that is true. Some of my friends I don't see often and in my head they look just a certain way. When I see them in person I get a chance to update my mental photo directory. My sisters were there (mostly). I have a sister that looks just like my mom and it kept making me smile. All the nephews and my little neice were around and it was great. I had this little movie in my head of my family being together. For a while I think I was afraid it wouldn't be like that in real life. But it was. And better because it was real. Enough sappy nonsense...we had a good time. Happy Birthday Dad!

12 May 2005


Do you ever get that feeling that you have too many apples in the bucket? So many that it's more like a swirly than just plain old bobbing for 'em? Seriously. I'm typing as fast as I can but there is just never enough time in the day. So many things I need to do, so many things I want to do. I make a point to remember to do something but I get to busy to take of it. The funny thing is I don't want a vacation. I want to be more productive. Am I the only one who's ever felt this way?

11 May 2005

Escalades and H3s

Hertz is going to start offering rentals of Escalades and H3s as part of their fleet. That should be a sweet upgrade!

YAMSS: Yet Another Music Subscription Service

Just what the world needs. Another way to "rent" music. Don't get me wrong, I love Yahoo. They are one of the best online service providers ever to exist, in my decidedly arrogant opinion. They have slick and useful services, great integration, a reliable interface, and excellent economic value. I just hate that they are forced to sink to such grimy depths as renting music. On the other hand, being able to download music for purchase is something I have been waiting for. If you've been around me at all you know how keen I am in the ability to download legit music. The Windows Media Player 10 is an exceptional product with great features, remarkable ease of use, and an excellent integration story. Having said all that, Yahoo's Launch service kicks MSN Music's booty and has done for quite some time. Yahoo did an excellent job with online playlists, ratings tracking, and IM integration. Their library is very comprehensive and their stations are much better programmed. The ability to ban songs, keep ratings in your online profile, and subscribe to the playlists of others is phenomenally huge value. For the longest time, their online buying experience has been the only drawback. MSN has the integration between their catalog, Media Player, and the buying experience down cold. Unfortunately the catalog needs work, the stations blow, you can't ban songs, and your ratings don't seem to affect anything at all. Not having a community around the ratings and stations means your ability to get exposed to new music is greatly reduced. Of course this also comes back to MSN having a very limited online catalog. I guess we just have to see if Yahoo's new service is up to snuff. MSN is way ahead by providing access to all these other online stores from the same Media Player interface. The fantastic upside in all this is that it is not an ISuck...er...IPod based solution. Not being able to move files around to other devices, for example my phone or my XBox, is a huge stumbling block to my personal adoption of the IBlow...I mean IPod. Not to start a religious war or anything so I won't further bad-mouth such a closed solution. Besides the sheep will never believe they are sheep.

Lawyers and Loan Sharks

This morning at breakfast my gregariously extroverted personality kicked in again. Some gentlemen from the South, Georgia it turns out, were trying to find their way around Denver. Now I know a lot about being in a new city and trying to figure the best routes around to the sights and whatnot. Being far to nosy and helpful I interjected with a minor correction which prompted a short conversation and netted me some new friends. Unfortunately, I don't travel often to Georgia but on my next trip there are a few friendly fellows I will definitely be looking up. During the course of our shared repaste it came up they one of them is a mortgage broker. Not a terribly unique profession and no surprise really, but it was quite coincidentally timed with the article I had been reading in the USA Today about rising housing prices across the nation. The fact that my baby sister is a loan processor and doing phenomenally well in the Phoenix market was anecdotal as well. The gist of the article was that housing prices are soaring in this massive bubble that's been building for a bazillion years or so. Alright that might be an exaggeration but it's at least the last several; don't distract my dissertation with data points. So this bubble that is building is bringing bidding wars and brouhaha by the bucketfuls. The implication of the article (and my diatribe) is that the median income families are losing out to speculators (read: cotton-pickin' opportunistic investor type scoundrels only looking for a quick buck!). The joint labor shortage and lumber shortage and evidently common-sense shortage are all contributing to this crazy carnival of capital. My point in all this, aside from sincere sympathy towards my good friend Eric (good luck on the house-hunt), is that the only ones winning in all this are the financeers. Namely folks like Steve and Charity, my new friend and my baby sister, respectively (and unrelatedly). These ever-helpful individuals, much like lawyers, always stand to gain, regardless of market direction. My not-so heartfelt apologies for the comparison towards the legally minded. Or vice-versa, Trina and Mark. Independantly and selfishly, I take the advice I hear often in the screwed-up religious circles of the day: Love the sinner, hate the sin. While that particular phrase will most likely be the subject of an upcoming Reflections post, it applies in this situation in an overly generic way. Just because I like people who work in an industry I despise doesn't mean I'm a hypocrite or shallow. I prefer to think of it as open-minded. Or socially indiscriminate. Or maybe just good old fashion friendly.

10 May 2005

The Value of our Academia

Recently, I had the good fortune of running into a bright young woman working on her MBA. Along with an article in USA Today and an ancillary SlashDot post, it sparked me thinking about the value of our various secondary education programs and education in general. It's a politically charged beast at best and quickly devolves into a religious debate even among reasoning adults. After all, this is your alma mater we're talking about. A significant part of your social network, and no small part of your maturity quotient too. To begin with, I would never disparage someone for going after their secondary education (or MBA, or certification, or whatever). In fact, I whole heartedly support and encourage it! All learning is good. Education is vital and important. I'm an avid fan of certifications and degrees and whatnot. Here's an example of some reasons I'm a fan of MBA's in particular. Having clarified my pro-education/pro-MBA stance (especially for you Katie!) I have to ask. Is this another of those systems that is in place where everyone realizes it's mostly farce but there's nothing we can do about it? Okay, maybe that was tactless, but I'm trying to be direct here. Jeffrey Pfeffer and Christina Fong have been researching this for quite a while. It can certainly be argued that these two are making a living by being critical of our management education in America, but their research is extensive and seems to carry some weight. The whole value of an MBA thing I don't really care about, it's not my point. It is simply the idea that we are continue emphasizing the education and academia, instead of the (currently) peripheral benefits. It seems that these extra benefits (networking, experience, maturity, etc.) are continually side-lined. If these are the true assets gained during an educational foray, why are they not given higher visibility? Nine times out of ten one question I am asked by interns, new hires, and the like is "What do you think about an MBA?". We are feed this propaganda about the quality of the academics, the publications of their instructors, even how up-to-date their curriculum's are. These are all quantified, debated, retorted, and generally bandied about like Beckham's laundry. Conversely, it's rare that you hear anyone quantifying the value of the alumni connections, the job placement assistance programs, the small groups, the mentoring programs, and the community outreach programs. If your choice were between an Ivy League that receives no executive mentorship from several of the Fortune 10 and a state school that has more than a dozen active executive mentors, which would you pick? This is a real example, by the way. This paradox of true value happens more than you think. With all the hurdles faced in the executive world today (for example, check out Fiorina's recent speech), I think it would benefit us all to stop hiding away the good stuff. Let's start emphasizing the undisputed value of these programs. Why promote the debatable virtues simply because it fits our outdated mode? Instead push the undeniable attributes which better suit our fast-paced, ultra-connected, information age. I'm not suggesting we discount the value of academia, only that we emphasize the other aspects of secondary education. If that fails, then we can pick the dismal quality and/or value of the education our academia provides. ;-)

09 May 2005

L.A. with Vengence

Most of this L.A. Story has been edited for appropriateness and length. Thursday Drew and I hung out waiting for Josh to finish a final. Then we had a little fiesta at the pad. We were up to late, and a little too loud. The neighbors are cool, and everybody had a good time.

Friday Moving day, errand day, etc. We had to move everyone out of the dorms into their respective new abodes.
Somehow Cory managed to get me and Drew to move pretty much all his stuff. None of his stuff was ready to go so we made him start working on it. Meanwhile, we went to sell back books and hook up with some friends on the noll. When we got back, he was eating Thai food with Kelly from next door! What a punk. ;-)
We tried to get something started at the Playa house, but alas everything fell apart. So we ended up back where we began for another great shin-dig. Again up to late. Again everybody enjoyed it.
Saturday It started much earlier than it probably should have. But at least this time we had real food for brunch! Josh and I went down to Manhattan Beach and walked around. It was fun playing tourist a little. And just sitting in the sun with a good friend. No uncomfortable silences, just the perfectly comfortable ones. All the usual deep/semi-deep/shallow conversations as well. It was meaningful, and real. Much needed. Saturday night I went out with my buddy Mike who I haven't seen in quite a while. We met up with some friends of his and I got to enjoy a little of the L.A. bar scene. The company was most excellent and more than made up for the environmental short-comings. While we were in the bar, someone actually set off pepper-spray so everyone was running around and stuff. It was kindda crazy. Sunday Mike and I had a nice brunch and what-not on Sunday morning. Then I went back down to Santa Monica with Josh, Cory, Drew, and Alexi. We did a little shopping and a lot of people-watching. It was good to just chill a little with Cory. Drew and Alexi are always little snuggle-bunnies and Josh is oblivious so me and Cory just went off own and kicked it for a while.
That led up to yet another late night of games and a late-night Ralph's run for munchies. Josh bought a lottery ticket from a vending machine, just on a whim. Then proceeded to go off on a tear for like 15 minutes about the evils of gambling and how the state is enabling addictions. Right. Monday Back to work early. Really tired.

04 May 2005

First. Just to be First.

In an article in the New York Times Dartmouth College is moving all their phone, cable tv, and internet services to WIFI (wireless for the technobabble-impaired). There were several things I found funny about this starting with the hilarity of being able to see the words "wireless cable" in a legit newspaper article. Talk about your morons...er...oxymorons. They are trying to spin it so it looks like having wireless replacements for services they already receive is somehow going to release this deluge of creativity and capability. As if somehow the ability to sit "on a lawn, in a coffee shop or while relaxing in a dorm room" will inspire heretofore unheard of feats of scholarship! Exactly what is in this professors coffee? Not one idea in the entire article has any significant requirement for wireless connectivity. Instead it requires that the school, the professors, and the students simply take advantage of the capabilities they already have. The implication is that it's only worth providing all this new content and access to information if you can do it in a completely lazy fashion while laying out or having a manicure. For sheezy. What on earth does wireless have to do with allowing people to create content? What does wireless TV (hehe, that's a giggle-fest right there) have to do with increasing academic achievement? What is stop students from leaving MTV on during class under the guise of notetaking or research? Not only is this a laughable snow job, but ultimately must become a detrimental cost to the university. No matter what the techno-monkey is telling you to get you buy all those access points (1400 wireless, 24K wired huh?), the bandwidth and technology still costs real money. More content always equals more bandwidth. More bandwidth is more money. More usage is more components which is more money. More diversity of usage always equals more pilfering. More pilfering equals more maintainence, more maintaince is more money. It all boils down to money, greenbacks, dollars, cash. Sure, if bootstrap costs aren't accounted for it appears to costs less to maintain the same capability. It might even appear cost less to grow in the short-term. But growth without cost always grows faster than expected. In almost every other instance of growth without cost the growth is always exponential (think Napster, Kazaa, CD piracy, etc). It stands to reason that exponential growth incurs an signicant cost. Which explains why the ISPs get so ticked off about P2P file sharing. To me a big part of the core issue is about setting unrealistic expectations. Wireless does not equal free. If you set expectations for this free-for-all access to media, services, and content then even as the demand increases the expectations do not. Which means instead of 50 people today, tomorrow you have 5 thousand people all expecting the same access, the same services, at the same cost. Unfortunately it is never the same cost. In no interpretation of reality does it cost the same to serve 50 or 5 thousand, with or without wires. But the ambiguity and delayed effect of growth cost is what is allowing profiteers to sell solutions like this to our clueless collegiate friends. Shame on them.

03 May 2005

Modern Worship

Worship is a driving force for me. If you know me at all then you know I love me some worship! I never miss an opportunity for singing and I'm passionate and deliberate about prayer. One part of my enthusiastic drive for more and more worship is my sincere desire to live in worship. I'm just not down with "Let's go to worship". We get the family or friends together and we drive someplace. We leave one place and go somewhere special. There we can engage in what we call worship. That's just not me. At least I hope not. I don't want it to be. I strive vigorously so it won't be.

Consider Jesus speaking to the woman at the well (John 4:23). We must worship in spirit and truth. And He specifically strikes down the notion of worship being tied to geographic locales.

Worship is an attitude and a perspective, or so I believe. A conscious indwelling and introspection. You can go to worship services constantly and still not be worshipful. Alternatively you may never step foot in a church and yet be constantly engaged in worship. When we meet for worship they should in reality be another means of blessing each other. Much more than just performing together an act of worship to God. Acts of worship is much more an Old Testament concept; the idea that God is located in a certain place. This is completely changed by the New Testament in which we learn that God does not live in temples made with hands. With His Spirit He now lives in each believer. This indwelling can then result in a constant act of worship because we truly live in the Spirit.

More than just the theoretical, this view can change our perspective and remove our prior limited view of Holiness. In many ways today's "churches" tend to be more Judais-tic in form than Christian. This creates a dichotomy between structure and theology. Special buildings can give the impression that God can be found only in this special place and we must meet Him via a special means. Consider how often you have heard it referred to as "the house of God".

Formalization isn't always a good thing. Keep in mind this is being said by an engineer who absolutely adores standards. In areas so nebulous and fragilely formative as faith, it seems the more structure that is provided the more it is instictively rejected generations steeped in a mad brew of extremist liberty and rebellious personality choices as expressions of individualism. Bottom line...let 'em worship their own way, if it shows respect and furthers their faith.

Being raised in a church that makes significant distinctions between formal and informal worship (the Reformed Presbyterian Church) this area is one of constant tension for me. My conflicting desires to see worship accorded respect and organization, against my personal choice to worship privately and continuously. Okay, so if you've heard me singing you'll realize I'm not that private. ;-)

I've no choice but to go on witnessing to the freedom in Christ and the spirit of worship which spontaneously flows from all who have an awareness of their union with the Father.

That explains why I'm so keen on Planetshakers, eh?


Once again, this blog has helped me connect with an old friend. Turns out he's moved and now is geographically just around the corner. Of course, if you know me at all you realize how little geography means to me. Which I suppose is why I found it funny that he's so close to yet another transient locale of my aboding. In any case, it's good to know he's alive, and hopefully well. I won't really be able to verify that for several unfortunately. While checking the schedule looking for a free moment it now appears that during May I will be busier than a one-legged farmer in a butt-kicking contest. I better get hoppin'!

02 May 2005

OMSI is cool

If you have never been to the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry you should check it out. The place is tons of fun and has lots of interesting things to learn and see and do. This weekend I went and it was outrageous. Feel free to email me if you'd like a link to the pictures.