Thursday, December 28, 2006

Barry Zito Signs With Giants

One Barry obviously wasn't good enough for the S.F. Giants. They signed Barry Zito for $126 million to add to their pitching. It makes me emphasize something I've said before: defense wins games, and in baseball pitching wins games. The A's seem to breed good pitching. I wonder what gem they'll find next, and if they'll ever get the complete package they had almost 20 years ago. A sad day in Oakland, but they might be moving anyway.

Barry Zito signs contract with Giants

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I Am the Time Man of the Year

Time Person of the Year = Tim

And so are you if you are someone who created content in cyberspace. Apparently ANYTHING is considered relevant now as long as it's on the internet. This makes me think of a quote from a recent great movie:

"Oh, I'm real all right. Real enough to defeat you! And I did it without your precious gifts. Your oh-so-special powers. I'll give them heroics. I'll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so that everyone can have powers. Everyone can be super! And when everyone's super...no one will be."
~ Syndrome from The Incredibles
So when you're posting on your blog, commenting on mine, visiting forums, uploading to YouTube, or linking to various other websites, you are taking away the powers of the Supers. This begs to ask the question, how do we gague what is truth in a world where truth can come from anywhere (including Time Magazine)?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Of Pigs And Pearls

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to lead a men's bible study at the predictable location known as Starbucks. The topic was one I came across while slogging through Dallas Willard's The Divine Conspiracy. In it, he takes a different approach to the passage in Matthew chapter 7 where Jesus says, "do not give dogs sacred things to eat, not try to get pigs to dine on pearls. For they will simply walk all over them and turn and take a bite out of you." (Matt. 7:6)

Here, we normally view the "dogs" and "pigs" as sinful or unchurched people, or whatever you want to call them, and the "pearl" is our salvation in the Christ. I don't think it's any coincidence that this is also referred to in another story as the "pearl of great price" for which a man sells everything he owns to obtain. Here is how Dallas Willard explins our traditional translation of this passage:

"The long-standard use of this verse is directly opposed to the spirit of Jesus and his teachings. That use suggests that we may have certain wonderful treasures, of truth and of service perhaps, that we could give to others. Perhaps the 'treasure' is the very gospel itself. But there are some who are not worthy of those treasures. We have to watch for such people. Normally they are thought of as people who will not accept our 'treasure' or would not use it rightly. They are the 'pigs or the 'dogs' in question. And we are not to waste our good things on these worthless or evil people." (p.228)
Does this understanding of this verse make you throw up in your mouth a little? It should. Willard suggests, as did I at our bible study, that in fact the pearl will be trod upon by pigs and not accepted not because the "treasure" or "pearl" is not worth anything, but because it is not helpful to them. In their eyes, it does not meet their needs, so instead they will bite you, for as Willard says, "you at least are edible".

What I tried to bring out in our study is the idea that forcing the "pearl" of the Kingdom on someone will not help them. Trying to force your beliefs on someone won't make them see its value. It is when you live the life that is blessed by the "treasure" that others will truly see its value and purpose working practically and wonderfully in you, for someone must see the value of the "pearl" before they are willing to go sell everything they own to purchase it. Otherwise, they hold on to things that have less value and cannot cherish the "pearl" the way it should be cherished. In other words, the way to share the "pearl" is to cherish it in your own life and live in a way that displays its value to everyone.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why Can't They All Quit?

Wiggles' Singer Stops Performing

The Wiggles are Australia's top grossing entertainers. That's more money than Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe (as the article points out). They've made enough money. Now can't they leave us in peace? That "octopus" freaks me out.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Day Off

If you haven't noticed any changes here yet, you're blind and should stop using the internet, or be like this guy and sue Target because their website isn't web reader accessible. I'm not Target, so get off my back. What was I saying? Oh, right...

I've gathered some of your requests from this post, and though you will never see this blog in pink, I've been making some updates on the ol' bloggeroo, for today, for the first time in two months, I'm not working on a saturday. Besides some cosmetic changes, I'm adding a few blogs I've been lax to do, and removing those who haven't posted in almost or over a year. I've removed the ad thing, because it was just ugly and I haven't seen a dime, and I've added a map that plots where all my visitors are located, and a cooler and more reliable counter (hopefully). In place of the old counter on the bottom, you'll see random quotes occasionally updated from notable (or not so notable) people, so don't forget to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page from time to time. The last thing I hope you'll notice, since I won't be working sasturdays for a while, I shall do my best to give you insights, news, haikus, funnies, music, pictures, and other wonderful things from the world of Tim on a more regular basis.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons Movie

You know you want to see it. I know what I'm doing for my birthday.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Actions of Faith

What have I been up to? I'm working 50-55 hours a week at a photo editing company that deals primarily with school and sports photos. Because those come during a certain time of year, it's a seasonal job, but the pay is decent.

At our men's bible study on wednesday, our discussion leader talked about how the metaphor of water is used throughout the bible. In the specific instance where Jesus is talking about being lukewarm, the place he is speaking is a place where two rivers come together, one that is cold and one that is hot. Our leader pointed out that either one may not be inherently bad, but that they might even reflect personality traits. The hot river used for soothing pain like the quieter, more laid back person, and the cold river used for rejuvenating and refreshing like the more outgoing person. When Jesus speaks of being either one, just not lukewarm, he could be speaking of who we are in Christ, and what purpose we serve. Our discussion looked at the effects of damming up the river, bringing the temperature of both rivers to lukewarm, and serving no purpose.

This made me think of a section of something I have been reading in Dallas Willard's The Divine Conspiracy. While discussing the purpose and power of the "Sermon on the Mount", Willard makes this observation about the last part (you may all now sing "The wise man built his house upon the rock..."):

"Jesus gives us urgent warnings about failing to actually do what he calls us to do in his teaching and mentions the specific things that are most likely to trip us up in this regard. Dietrich Bonhoeffer forcefully states, "The only proper response to this word which Jesus brings with him from eternity is simply to do it." Remarkably, almost one sixth of the entire Discourse (fifteen of ninety-two verses) is devoted to emphasizing the importance of actually doing what it says. Doing and not just hearing and talking about it is how we know the reality of the kingdom and integrate our life into it. This final section therefore concludes with the well-known images of the wise man who builds his house upon the rock (he is the one doing the words of Jesus), as compared with the other man, who does not."
If I am a follower of Jesus, others should be able to tell by what I do, not by what I say.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NaNoWriMo Again?

Official NaNoWriMo 2006 ParticipantWill he or won't he this year? It's less than a month away.

November is NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. Last year I unsuccessfully took a stab at the NaNoWriMo competition, finishing with somewhere around 20,000 words, where the ultimate goal in one month is 50,000 words. I have already come up with three or four of what I consider to be pretty good ideas. The big problem is that this year I'll be working over 50 hours a week through the end of December, so making the decision to enter again is very difficult. I know a few of you already gearing up for the challenge. So what do the rest of you say? Are you up for it?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Temperance

I recently got a seasonal job working with school photos, so I haven't had much time to be on the internet, let alone this place of refuge for myself, in the past two weeks.

The internet sometimes becomes to me a thing which possesses almost addictive qualities. One good effect of being apart from it has been the reminder of making sure that nothing comes before knowing God. There are many things in our lives that try to separate us from God, such as money, politics, food, family, regardless of if they are inherently "good" or "bad" or neither. What is most important to us is that which we worship, and remember, God doesn't like competition, and in the end the competition won't stand a chance.

"One great piece of mischief has been done by the modern restriction of the word Temperance to the question of drink. It helps people to forget that you can be just as intemperate about lots of other things. A man who makes his golf or his motor-bicycle the centre of his life, or a woman who devotes all her thoughts to clothes or bridge or her dog, is being just as 'intemperate' as someone who gets drunk every evening. Of course, it does not show on the outside so easily: bridge-mania or golf-mania do not make you fall down in the middle of the road. But God is not easily deceived by externals."

~ Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
What stands between you and God? What are you still holding on to?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Proof That Cats Are Evil

Careful if you're at work. It's kind of loud.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Next American Idol?

Not likely. After hearing that they are holding American Idol auditions in Seattle this year, I was really tempted to go and check it out, if not only to make fun of the people in line. I was really tempted this year because it's so close, but also because I turned 28, making this the last year I would be able to try out. Then I remembered how little this competition is for singing ability than it is for marketability. How would the Simons go about marketing me? So...what do you think? How would you be marketed if you were on American Idol?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Yummy Books...Books Are Good

A book that changed my life besides the Bible:
Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli

A book I’ve read more than once:
Jesus Freaks by dc talk and The Voice of the Martyrs

A book I would take with me if I were stuck on a desert island:
Ultimate Survival Guide by John 'Lofty' Wiseman

A book that made me laugh:
Get Fuzzy: Groovitude by Darby Conley

A book that I wish had been written:
How To Write Awesome Worship Songs

A book that I wish had never been written:
I've probably got a couple, but I thought this one was kind of ironic

A book I’ve been meaning to read:
The Body Broken by Jack Reese

I’m currently reading:
See list on the right -->

I’m tagging the following bloggers to answer these questions:
Jason Campbell (fellow book nerd)
Alan Lewis (daddy-o)
Jared Ranum (fellow unemployed friend...for now...)
Rebecca Marie (Winters...brr...)
I guess you're supposed to keep it going. So...GO!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How Would You Rate Your Pain?

I posted earlier about my trip to the ER because of some chest pains, but I've been to the hosptial and doctor's office since then for other reasons. Prepare to get personal, or even grossed out.

About a month ago I started feeling some pain during urination and knew almost immediately that I had some kind of urinary infection. The problem was that it was saturday night and the doctor's office wasn't open until monday. On the way to church on sunday I got some phenazopyridine hydrochloride (Uristat) to alleviate some of the pain. In case you don't know, this also makes your urine dark orange-red. When I finally got an appointment, I found out my doctor was on vacation, but thankfully the one I saw gave me antibiotics and told me to call in two weeks. Also thankfully, Eric made the usual movie reference, this time to Tom Hanks in The Green Mile after hearing about my affliction.

After a week of antibiotics, the infection went away and a week later I saw my regular doctor. He was concerned about me having a urinary infection, since they usually only happen in women, unless there is something wrong with the urinary tract, so he referred me to have x-rays taken of my kidneys to make sure there was nothing wrong with them. In order to take the x-rays, I had to undergo a preparation, which included two days of laxatives in order to see the kidneys and bladder. Needless to say, I felt like Jeff Daniels in Dumb & Dumber.

So the x-rays have been taken, and I have been diagnosed with bladder diverticulum, which they tell me isn't too big a deal, but I am now being referred to a Urologist to keep me healthy. I'm starting to get a little tired of being worried about my health. It must be a sign of my getting older. If there are ever lengthy times where I don't post now, it's not because I have nothing to say. I think I'll always have something to say or post a link to. It's because my neck and/or back is hurting and I need to do something else. Also remember, if you're ever on a trip with me and I say I have to go to the bathroom, you'd better just pull over.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Two Years Ago...

On this day two years ago, a blog was born that would forever change the face of the blogosphere, the internet, and the world. Also, there was mine.

Over 30,000 visitors (the counter is wrong and I need to fix it) and many posts later, from Unfortunate Star Wars Costumes to Personal Missions and Book Reviews, you have left comments on my fragmented thoughts. Whether you agree with them or not, or find them humorous or inane, I thank you for sticking around. This blog will continue to take shape over the years, from the links on the side, to the people reading, and on to the topics brought up. I ask that you be a part of what you would like to see here.

What things would you like to see added, topics discussed, links provided (or removed), template colors or images changed or modified to make this blog better? Would you like to hear more songs? Do you want more humorous topics? More pictures? This is one of those posts requiring feedback, but not asking much of you besides your opinion. No one will shoot down your ideas (unless you start cussing or namecalling, which forces me to delete comments) and some of the good ideas will most likely be implemented. I await your ideas. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cat Bling

I couldn't help myself. This is funny.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Newsweek Piece On Billy Graham

Whether or not you agree with everything he says, this man is a world-changer, and I think for the good. This piece is a great look over his life and some of the things he believes (or no longer believes), showing that people can change what they believe and the way they think, even disagreeing with his own son on certain things. Take a read and see if you come to appreciate this man's life.

Newsweek Looks At Billy Graham's Life

Friday, August 04, 2006

China Kills Dogs

Chinese County Massacres 50,000 Dogs
China Orders Mass Slaughter of Dogs

There are places in the U.S. that are trying to place bans on specific breeds such as pitbulls and rottweillers, so don't think that China's the only crazy place. Of course, at least here we have some rights. Just be careful what you write on your blog.

(Chinese) Professor Wins Suit Against (Chinese) Blog Site

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"I Know It Says We Won't Know The Hour, But..."

Tim Lahaye is still at it.

With the fighting in the Middle East, the divisions in our own country, the world turning against us, and "global warming", are the end times upon us? What do you think?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Look At My Bookshelves

I recently took a trip to a used bookstore in downtown Salem with the wife and found myself salivating at the goodies that awaited me there. I had to go home and look at my bookshelves in order to make myself purge them to make room for the aforementioned goodies. I've read maybe a third of the books I own (maybe slightly more), including a small collection of fiction, science fiction, and fantasy books on a couple of shelves. Many of these, I'm not even sure where they came from, only knowing that I've never read them. Instead of just dumping them and getting new books, I decided it might be better to plow through them and actually try to enjoy the stories they tell. This explains the couple of books on my "What I'm Reading" list that don't really fit into the usual genre.

The one I finished about a week ago is the hardback version of Dark Winter by William Dietrich. I don't know much of anything about the author, but he does a good job of capturing the cold of the South Pole as a group of scientists spend the long, eight month winter without sunlight, cut off from civilization without chance of leaving. Things start off fine, until people start dying, and blame and paranoia set in.

He does a good job describing and weaving the story, but the end, and the last half of the book, for that matter, were too predictable, as the person deserving the scrutiny (the real killer) is the one never given it. Having said that, it is a good, fast read that I'm glad I took the couple of weeks of evenings plowing through, in order to know if it is worth keeping or selling to take away chaff and add some meatier stuff to the shelves. Having read it now, I'm selling it to make way for new adventures.

More to come, as I clear off my shelves for new (to me) books.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Because I Can

Or because I want to be like Rebecca Marie, here is some photoshop art. It's not supposed to be anyone in particular. Maybe I should start taking orders for portraits.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What Is Gospel?

Upon finishing Brian McLaren's book I took a look at his bibliography and came upon another book that was sitting on my shelf that I haven't read since college. I've dug into it again and can see anew what N.T. Wright was saying, and where McLaren got a lot of his ideas from.

In both of these books, they take a look at what the gospel of Jesus really is. While McLaren's is more user-friendly, Wright's takes a more historical look at the Jewish Paul and what he was saying Jesus' message is. Here is a summation of what Wright says Paul's gospel about Jesus is.

"My proposal has been that 'the gospel' is not, for Paul, a message about 'how one gets saved', in an individual and ahistorical sense. It is a fourfold announcement about Jesus:
  1. In Jesus of Nazareth, specifically in his cross, the decisive victory has been won over all the powers of evil, including sin and death themselves.

  2. In Jesus' resurrection the New Age has dawned, inaugurating the long-awaited time when the prophecies would be fulfilled, when Israel's exile would be over, and the whole world would be addressed by the one creator God.

  3. The crucified and risen Jesus was, all along, Israel's Messiah, her representative king.

  4. Jesus was therefore also the Lord, the true king of the world, the one at whose name every knee would bow.
It is moreover, a double and dramatic announcement about God:
  1. The God of Israel is the one true God, and the pagan deities are mere idols.

  2. The God of Israel is now made known in and through Jesus himself." (p. 60)
This has made me take a look at what is important in the message Jesus was and Paul proclaimed, especially when viewed in Romans 1:
"For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes-Jews first and also Gentiles." ~ Romans 1:16 NLT
Again, Wright sums up this message:
"The gospel, Paul would have said, is not just about God's power saving people. It is God's power at work to save people." (p. 61)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More Than Meets The Eye

In case you haven't seen this.

New Transformers Movie

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Fresh Perspective Of The Kingdom

I've recently finished Brian McLaren's newest book called The Secret Message of Jesus. He has already gotten a lot of flack from some people calling his book "gnostic", but after reading it, I gather that they haven't read it, and are simply trying to put down anything that calls them to change their outlook on what it means to follow Christ.

From what I gather, McLaren tries to show that Jesus' message was not how to "do church" or even how to "be saved" by the conventional definition, but that he came to bring a shift in how we think and live. He also tries to show that God's kingdom is among us here and now, not just a far-off, future place in heaven. He shows this in quoting Jesus' prayer quite a few times that God's kingdom is come on earth, as it is in heaven, not just in heaven. It is these Kingdom values that are important as we live our lives, not necessarily that we do what it takes to "be saved", but what it takes to follow in Jesus' footsteps, by His example, and in doing so, God establishes His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

One thing I like that McLaren says, is that one book, his book, cannot encompass the entirety of Jesus' message. He says that some things plant seeds, some water those seeds, some harvest, etc. The book is only to spark interest, intrigue, and awakening to do more study on the subject, and to display the Kingdom values on earth, here and now, not waiting until we're in heaven (whatever that means).

I suggest everyone should take a look at this book maybe even more than they should read something like Blue Like Jazz. I think this book covers some pressing issues that every person should take a deep look at in their own lives.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fun At The ER

Early Wednesday morning around 2 or 3 AM I awoke from my sleep feeling nauseous and with chest pains. I hadn't felt pains like this before and hadn't been to the doctor in quite a few years, so to be safe, my wife and I went to the emergency room at the local hospital.

We arrived and one of the first things they asked me to do is to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10, which actually made me laugh, due to a comic routine of one of my favorite comedians. After a few more questions they made me go wait in a room in one of those little robes. After talking to a nurse and the doctor and showing him where the pain was, he decided that it was too high and close to my chest to be indigestion and wanted to do some tests. So in came many more people doing EKGs, chest X-rays, drawing blood, etc. They all showed up pretty good and clear of anything looking like "blood clot" or "heart attack" or something of the sort. We felt a lot better, but my wife made an appointment with our new doctor (this was the first visit) for that afternoon after she got off work.

At our meeting with the primary care physician, he told me it was probably muscular or cartilage related, with my ribs, or the cartilage between my ribs and sternum because my blood pressure and weight were too normal to be worried about blod clots or heart attacks. I had also told him I have been feeling some neck pain over the past couple of months, which led him to believe it was from straining it from strenuous activities, such as playing ultimate frisbee in the park after having done not much of anything physical in a while, and sitting and working incorrectly in front of my computer for too long every day. This made a lot more sense to me, since that's exactly what I've been doing the past few months, looking for work and doing other graphics-related work.

So now I am taking ibuprofin, taking breaks from working on the computer (or not doing it at all), and refraining from keeping my head and body in one position for too long. I have an ugly bruise from where they missed my vein the first time and my wife is tired. I also have lots I want to write about, but I should probably go do something else so my neck and chest don't start hurting again. Don't worry, I'm just fine and dandy, but it doesn't hurt to be safe than sorry.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Cell Phones Vs. Driving Drunk

Cell phone talkers as bad as drunk drivers

This is another study that says that driving while talking on the phone is worse than driving drunk. Maybe they should be giving out tickets for this. It doesn't matter how busy you are, you don't need to talk on your phone while you're driving. Before cell phones, people did just fine waiting until they got home to return a call.

This only confirms what Mythbusters did a while ago in episode 33.

Also, kids don't need cell phones, especially in class. Emergencies used to be when your parents called the office and they came and got you out of class.

Friday, June 30, 2006

What If A Law Opposes Your Beliefs?

This one's for Dwayne: Amish Farmer Says Milk Law Opposes Beliefs

An Amish Ohio farmer was busted for giving away unpasturized milk (unheated to kill bacteria) to an undercover agent from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. He lost his license to sell milk.

In his words: "While I can and I have food, I'll share it. Do unto others what you would have others do unto you." According to the AP story:

Now, Stutzman is fighting the law that forbids the sale of raw milk, saying he believes it violates his religious beliefs because it prohibits him from sharing the milk he produces with others.
In our country, we aren't persecuted to the extent that the early Christians were persecuted. We aren't threatened with torture and death for simply saying the name of Jesus or assembling on Sunday morning.

Are there laws that truly go against what you believe? I'm not talking about laws that you think are unjust, that you don't like, or even that are dealing with what is culturally right and wrong. I think it has more to do with even what you believe. Does it go against what Jesus taught? I'm talking about kingdom values here. If there were a law that said you can't give food to someone who is hungry, would you do it anyway? If the law said that only the church has exclusive rights to interacting with God, would you share it with those outside the church?

Are you defined by what the law says? Do your beliefs tell you to live according to the laws?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Spider-Man 3

You may not be as excited as I am about this movie. Then again, you're probably not as big a Spider-Man fan as I am either. You may have seen the first two movies, but how many Spider-Man comics do you own? Do you have Spider-Man action figures? What about a stuffed Spider-Man doll? I didn't think so. (By the way, I have a Green Goblin action figure/doll too, complete with flying sled)

If you're any kind of Spider-Man fan, you will watch this trailer and want to see it now. The Green Goblin is back (as per the comic book), the Sandman is here (played by Thomas Hayden Church), and a certain symbiotic alien turns Spider-Man black. Will we see Eddie Brock, and will his hatred of Spider-man be noticed by this symbiotic alien? Unfortunately we'll have to wait until next year.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Old Computer/New Computer

It finally happened. My old PC (which used to be James' PC) is finally toast.

I haven't installed the new Microsoft security updates, because I have several programs which require CDs that I don't have, for one reason or another, which would stop working. I was installing some new antivirus software that came free with my internet provider, because my old antivirus had expired many months ago. In order to do this, part of the installation process was uninstalling the old software. Either something attacked during this process, or was already on my computer and infected my computer. I have been able to get rid of most of it, but I'm pretty sure there are a couple still on it that I can't get rid of, so I have decided to finally make "the switch".

Luckily I had a dual 1.8 Ghz G5 PowerMac sitting right here only being used for recording and storing music. It's a hundred times better than the old computer, besides the lack of software I own for it. I've got Photoshop already on it, installed OpenOffice for creating documents, and I'm looking into web authoring software.

This post was created on a Mac.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Problem With Popular Music

I could rant on and on about why popular music is ridiculous; unfortunately most people either don't realize it and keep buying the prepackaged garbage that the record companies keep releasing, or they don't care and like being told what "music" to listen to. Here is just one more reason why the music industry, as it stands, is broken. The only way to fix it is to STOP BUYING CRAPPY MUSIC. This includes downloading ringtones because, as this article points out, they make a lot of money off those too. (there's no reason to buy ringtones anyway, since most new phones can transfer music to them from your computer)

Ringtones Go Gold And Platinum

I have to admit my weakness of watching American Idol. It doesn't mean I buy every person's album in the top twelve from the past five years. In fact, I haven't purchased any of them. It doesn't mean they're all bad, but the only inclination to buy any of theirs has been for Taylor Hicks this year, because he seems more than just a person trying to make it, but a person who really loves making music, and it shows through each song he sings. I have never voted, because it's just another way to perpetuate the problem. I will let my vote resound when I buy or don't buy every artist that gets popular because they have the record label machine promoting their album. I will stick to buying music from people I know are good, regardless of if they are signed with a record label. In fact, I would be more inclined to buy music from people who don't have a label.

Like I said, I could keep going, but I'll let you continue or reject the rant. If you reject it, just remember: you're wrong.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ironic Justice

Rock, Paper, Scissors To Decide Dispute

From the AP:

TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge, miffed at the inability of opposing attorneys to agree on even the slightest details of a lawsuit, ordered them to settle their latest dispute with a game of “rock, paper, scissors.”

The argument was over a location to take the sworn statement of a witness in an insurance lawsuit.
Lawyers playing their games of stalling and redirecting to get their way got a taste of their own medicine when this judge told them to play Rock, Paper, Scissors, basically rendering their arguments null and void. While I don't like judges giving out verdicts against the law and Constitution, this in an instance where I think ridiculous bickering gets in the way of real justice.

Now if they could only do this to Teddy Kennedy when he's filibustering.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Voting and Politics

I keep hearing how more people voted on American Idol than in the presidential election. Plenty of people have their opinions on government, justice, which politician to demonize, recommended level of involvement and reasons for siding with which political party, etc. I'm also sure I'll get plenty of comments on this one, so don't attack anyone, cause I'm not afraid to delete anything. I'll do it. *finger hovering over the "delete" button*

Back on the American Idol comparison. It is a bogus comparison, and here's why:

  • 14 year olds can't vote. The age range is much greater for those voting for Taylor Hicks and Clay Aiken than for the president.
  • You only get one vote (theoretically). Fanatic 14 year old girls voting 1000 times each week isn't the same as each person choosing their candidate and voting. ONCE.
  • Voting for president takes a little more effort (not much more in Oregon). If all it took was dialing your phone and sending text messages, I bet 90% of people would vote for the president, even if they could only vote once.
  • You can only vote for president ONCE. Did I say that already? A hundred thousand teens voting 500 times each is (do the math...quickly...faster) 50,000,000 votes. It's easy to get to 65 million or whatever number American Idol says when you look at it this way.
  • You don't get to see the candidates in action until after they are elected. You can look at voting or political history, but until they are in office, it's like voting for an AI contestant without hearing them sing.
  • Can you trust any politician?
Are you getting what I'm saying? There's no comparison. It's a shame more people don't vote. I considered not voting simply for the fact that though my one vote may count, it may also count in not voting (I did vote by the way). As a follower of Christ I must put my efforts to showing love faithfully and providing healing to hurting people. Vote, but give to Caesar what is Caesar's. God's Kingdom is much more important.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Invisibility Cloak

Apparently invisibility cloaks aren't far off. They talk about Star Trek and Harry Potter, but I think the article is forgetting the most deadly use for this technology.

(click for sound effects)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New Comic Book Movie

I know what you're thinking: Another one?

But listen. This is one of my favorite characters, second only to Spider-man.

Forget Superman.

I give you...Ghost Rider.

I've even mentioned it before. This is one I really hope doesn't suck.

I'll say it again: Why, oh why, did they get Nicolas Cage?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mitch Fewell - 1nDependence

I've got no problem with shameless plugs, especially when it comes to good music, and even moreso when it's by a friend or family member. I've done it for my uncle's mandolin music and now I'm going to do it for a friend of mine.

Mitch Fewell is a guy I met while running sound for Rescue (also working on a new album...shameless plug for them to come). I knew I liked him the second I met him. He's got a heart for God and an ear for sweet a cappella music (I know I'm a nerd. I just don't care) and he has just finished recording a 7 song album and has it for sale on his website. If you listen to the audio clips, I'm sure you'll agree that he's produced an awesome project worth having in your collection. Go now and support independent artists, starting with this album (and my uncle's).

Mitch Fewell - 1nDependence

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Soda Sales in Schools

Say that five times fast.

I've seen several articles this morning about how major soda companies, including Cadbury Schweppes PLC, Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and the American Beverage Association have signed a deal (by the Bill Clinton Foundation) to pull all non-diet sodas from public schools. The articles I have read have said this is a step to fight child obesity, which I think is a good step (whoa...on the same side as Bill Clinton...), but I think it is also a step to helping in the classroom as well, with ADD.

Several studies and books link ADD to sleep and eating habits. The next step for public schools would be to provide healthier meals in the cafeterias. Unfortunately, the real culprit of ADD and ADHD is most likely at home, where sleep happens and where meals happen more often. If what these studies say are true, then the solution must come from parents.

I am reminded of stories from my wife of kids she worked with in public schools, where parents were giving their kids coffee on a regular basis to "wake them up" for school, and of kids staying up until midnight or later, because their parent(s) were up partying with friends. And the same parents wonder why their kids are doing poorly in school.

FOXNews Article
MSNBC article
The article on Comcast

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Church in Postmodern Culture

I've been reading several books recently. One of them is SoulTsunami by Leonard Sweet. It's a pretty good description of postmodernism and religion, a little wordy at times, but I came across a couple good sections on the redeemable qualities of the postmodern culture and the responsibility of the church. Here is one thing he says about "spirituality".

"One of the most haunting phrases in Matthew's passion story is this one: "sitting down they watched him there" (Matt. 27:36 KJV). A lot of postmodern spirituality is nothing more than "sitting down" and watching God work...It is possible to be deeply "spiritual" and never get your duff off the BarcaLounger. This makes a mockery of biblical spirituality." (p.341)
And his great statement about what the church's responsibility should be for the postmodern world.
"One of the church's greatest contributions to postmodern culture may be its instilling in pragmatic, lack-of-sense-of-direction postmoderns a sheer love for truth, the moral banister to guide our steps up to the truth, and the ability to make urgent moral decisions even when the whole truth cannot be found." (p.342)
Will the church step up and lend a shaky moral culture a handrail to hold on to in order to stand, not in a judgemental way (the old Law was established for that) but in a loving, shepherding way?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Cadence Concert

For those nerdy enough to care, Kori and I went to a Cadence concert in the SeaTac area on Friday night. They are an a cappella group of which we used one of their songs in our wedding ("Sunshine", which they performed), and their albums are incredibly made. We found out on Friday that they are just as good, if not better, in concert. We also discovered that this is the first time they have ever performed in the NW, as they are based out of Toronto.

Here are some pictures from the concert:

Opening with "New Day":
The intro song...very funny:
Sporting black hats:
Playing "instruments":
Singing "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps":
After the concert:
No, really. I'm an a cappella junkie.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New Audio Clip

I'm been pretty busy, even though I'm not working right now. Apparently I had enough spare time to begin working on recording a song idea I had. The last audio clip I posted was A Cappella Techno, which really didn't have any words (except "Let's Do This"). It was so fun to make that I had to get back into it and start working on some new stuff. This next idea will have more than three words for lyrics, but as of right now, I haven't recorded any of them, as I'm in the middle of writing them.

I hope you will enjoy hearing the work in progress and hear it develop into the song I hear in my head. Hopefully that will actually happen one of these days.

Work In Progress Beat

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Two Weeks & Still Kicking!

Since it is our two week anniversary, I won't withhold pictures out of spite for the whiny, er...I mean, impatient, er...I mean...here's some pictures:

Kori getting ready with her sister:
Not sure what I'm looking at here. I should be staring at my beautiful bride:
This is more like it. Maybe I'm laughing at the 89 bobby pins in her hair, or maybe I'm laughing at Rich sitting behind her:
The cake:
The dress:
So you can see, I'm not making it up. I really did get married. There will be more pictures, thanks to our awesome photographer, and all the other people that took pictures. Thanks to all our friends that came from near and far to celebrate with us, and our families for supporting us, and those that couldn't make it or weren't invited (the building's only so big). We celebrated by going to the DMV to get Kori a licence with her new name, working on church stuff, and cleaning. Don't be jealous.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Elastic Ammo

Reminiscent of the rubber band fights I used to have with my brother, especially when he had a paper route, imagine the clean-up with this baby. I wonder what the load time is too. It's only $395!

Rubber Band Machine Gun

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Healing A Religious Rift

Thanks to Wade Hodges for posting this article on his blog. Wade is the director of the Tulsa workshop and preaching minister at the Garnett Church of Christ in Tulsa. This year the workshop focused on healing the split between the Churches of Christ and the independent Christian Churches.

Here is the Associated Press article:
Churches talk about healing century-old split

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Simpsons Movie


If you watched The Simpsons last night, you might have seen the teaser trailer for The Simpsons Movie, due out July 27, 2007. I know what I'm doing for my birthday next year.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Posts From A Returning Newlywed

I have many posts to come. I'm sure you're all waiting for pictures. So here they are, though they're probably not the ones you want. I'm still waiting for most of those, plus I need to edit some of the ones I got, and they'll be in a different post.

I have to leave you in anticipation (because I can) by giving you some pictures reminiscent of the Sir Mix-A-Lot Day comments from this post. One day during our week-long honeymoon, Kori and I went to the EMP to experience music in project form. In it, we found Sir Mix-A-Lot's fur-lined leather coat:

and his bling:
and me on the ones and twos:
So now that I've properly annoyed those looking for wedding photos, I'll leave you with Kori and I on top of the Space Needle with Seattle behind us. It's good to be back at home.
More pictures to come!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sweet Mandolin Music

It's been almost a year since I've mentioned this, but in honor of my uncle Terry's new blog I thought I'd give you a taste of what he is working on for his third album (soon to be released). If you follow the link on his blog to his soundclick site you can hear clips, including a couple in the works.

I also found a couple of links to websites that are promoting his music as well. If I haven't said it yet, you must buy his CDs. Do it. Now. You won't be sorry.

Wandering the High Wires - 2005 release Wandering the High Wires.
Just Married - 2004 release From Melancholy.

As you can see from the picture on his soundclick site, we are indeed related.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sacramento Kings in the Playoffs?

Say it ain't so!

I know most people could care less, and honestly, I don't really care all that much. The funny thing is this all came to pass after the Ron Artest deal and the Kings are now half a game over the Lakers. In fact, the Lakers now have a chance of being pushed out of the playoffs (though not likely). Back to March Madness or whatever you were doing before.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Live Action Simpsons Intro

Simpsons fans enjoy the live action version of The Simpsons intro. You'll notice that "Marge's" car is backwards. That's because this was done by a British company (with aid from the producers of The Simpsons).

Live Action Simpsons Intro WMV
Live Action Simpsons Intro MPEG

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Quote For The Day

To add to my last post and to the awesome conversation happening, I found this great quote from the famed philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

"This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of wealth: To set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and, after doing so, to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer...to produce the most beneficial results for the community." ~ Andrew Carnegie from The Gospel of Wealth, 1889
I'm not sure why I call it "Quote For The Day". I don't do them every day.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Helping People (To What Extent?)

One of the things we've been trying to emphasize at Cascade Hills is the act of service. After reading a situation on my friend Adam's blog and the situation his friend is going through in becoming homeless, it got me thinking of what Jesus calls us to be and do as His followers.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
~ Matthew 25:35-40
I am reminded of a story that came out about an Ashland, OR couple who were making $300-800 a day from begging, not paying taxes, while still receiving $500 a month in food stamps. I hear stories like this and it makes me not want to give to people asking for money on the street corner. Then I hear about Adam's friend who was legitimately paying his bills and trying to support himself, only to be stolen from and forced to the streets. How do we know who to help? Should it be us who decides who really needs help and who is just taking advantage or lazy?
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
~ James 2:14-18
I thought of my apartment and the extra bed in the extra bedroom, with the heat and power on, food in the cupboards and fridge, the extra bathroom and shower, and about how much I have. To what extent shall I help? Do I help the bum on the street corner? Maybe I find someone like Adam's friend who may need a place to stay for a week or two. Maybe I only use it for my close friends and family who already have a place to live somewhere else. Adam posed the question elsewhere that his wife may not be comfortable with the situation, or maybe I would be aware of keeping my family safe. To what extent am I cautious of strangers stealing from me or harming me and my family? At what point does the call to help others supercede caution?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
~ 1 John 3:16-18
We help our friends when their car breaks down (thanks Eric), or we may give our friends food when they need it. What do we do for those we don't know as well? What about total strangers? There are a lot of questions here. I pray for the Lord's wisdom in helping people.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

All Things New

As a part of our new life together, we bit the bullet and Kori and I bought a brand new Toyota Matrix XR. It's actually a really cool ride; one that I've sort of had a twitch in the back of my brain to buy the past several years. I don't know if it's the name of the car or the features it includes, like a 115V plug in the dash and fold down seats including front passenger side for tons of storage space, but I just like it.

We went to a dealership in the Portland area because the one in Salem was giving us the usual car-salesman crap, and they had one with the exact features we wanted in the exact color (they call it "Phantom Gray") for an uninflated price. I say it had the exact features, but it also had a couple extras including a 6-disc CD changer with 6 speakers, which is fine with me because I like tunes. Kori was fantastic with the salespeople with their barrage of techniques. I hardly said anything while she talked them into doubling their original trade-in offer for her old car (2001 Saab 9-5).

We drove home in the new car very satisfied with our purchase, knowing that we will be paying it off for several years, but also knowing that we have a long warranty and free regular tuneups. If you've been on this blog long enough, you know of my experiences with cars. You also haven't heard about Kori's Saab (not anymore) getting backed into three days after buying it, and the random $450 recall part failing a week before she got the letter (they tell us she'll be reimbursed even after selling the car).

It will be nice to not have to worry about little things like engine malfunctions and repair costs while we are in the beginning stages of our life together. Plus we'll look good in our sweet new ride.

Monday, February 13, 2006

My Friend Rich

I've been back for a week now. I've just been busy or lazy to write anything, but perhaps both.

Though he wrote in after I arrived back in Salem, Oregon, I have to declare Ryan Peters as the winner, mostly because I have tons of good stories about Rich to write about, and because Rebecca Marie's made me sweat too much to accurately press keys. Maybe one of these days I'll bring back up your suggestion in two or three parts, RM, or maybe a novella.

To my sister, Rebecca, I love you. And for this story and its inspiration. If Rich ever need an arch nemesis, may he live in fear if it were you.

I met Rich at Cascade College. He started a year after me, and from the day I met him, we became quite good friends. He is one of those guys you either love or hate. There's not much middle ground with him. He has a knack for getting on people's bad sides, and for some reason was always getting blamed for campus pranks.

For example, he was busted for putting soap in the fountain, not because it made lots of bubbles the day before graduation, but because it loosened up the soap in all the pipes, causing a huge clog in the pump and breaking in, rendering it inoperable. Another time he cleaned his dorm room by throwing out the trash from his third-story window onto the lawn. If you know him, there was a lot.

The story I want to tell begins with my sister. My sister used to carry around with her a simple metal whisle. I think its purpose was to act as a rape whistle, since the college isn't in the best of neighborhoods. It somehow morphed into the "Rude Whistle". Whenever someone was being rude (or perceived to be being rude by my sister) the offending person would receive an abbreviated whistle blow in the face. How she became the manners police, I'll never know.

As you can guess, this habit might get quite annoying with some people. One of those people happened to be my friend, Rich. In order to repay the aforementioned acts of the "Rude Whistle Bearer" Rich began to plot. In no way was his vengeance going to be simple and lame and emotionally driven by the heat of the moment. Rich was calculating how best to repay, and he thought of it. He began to carry around with him a hammer one day. The day turned to days. Days became weeks, weeks became months, until one day, Rich seized the perfect moment. My sister placed her keys on the table one lunch in the cafeteria and Rich pounced, running out of the room and down the stairs. The hammering could be heard from miles away, while children cried and animals howled at the pain exuding from the great whistle, rendering it unrecognizable. The hammering only slowed when the hatred for the whistle subsided and Rich's wrath had been finalized by inserting the flattened mess into its owner's campus mailbox.

I wish I could say this tale ended here. Revenge is a two-sided coin, which longs for the taste of blood and anguish. Anguish came at a meticulously planned later date, during pledge week. The "Rude Whistle" had been reborn and multiplied and entrusted to the pledges of Lambda Chi Omega. Rich strutted the campus fearlessly, to his own demise. He was chased down, outrun, and surrounded by thirty (or so) of these pledgees and deafened by the sound of as many whistles, forever proclaiming Rich to be rude.

Many other stories have been told of Rich Jandt. If they are true or false, only a few people know. To meet Rich in person, he will be at my wedding wearing a tux next to me. I'd rather he was on my side.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sorry I've Been Busy...Too Busy To Blog?

Things are a giant whirlwind right now! Here's what I'm talking about:

Wedding preparations are well underway, we've got just about everything taken care of, and the big thing we really need to do is send out invitations. We figure things will settle for a while after that until a couple weeks before the wedding. I am blessed with an amazing woman who can pull all this off.

Kori just started a new job working at DePaul Industries teaching adults job skills. What a blessing at a much needed time.

I found out I was laid off from Best Buy. They suck, yadda, yadda.

Things with Cascade Hills have seemed to have been taking off the past month or so. We've been getting more and more visitors at Encounter every week. Summit moved to a new location and reformatted and more visitors have been coming there as well.

I'm flying to Texas with Rescue this week to run sound for them. The bad news is I'll be in Texas. The good news is that I'll still get to see the Superbowl and I'm earning just a little extra money.

I'm sure I'm leaving some stuff out, but as you can see, things are trucking right along and I'm just trying to hang on. I won't be able to post for another week. (not that that's a real change this month, right?) Feel free to leave comments and I'll get back on it when I get back.

In fact, you can leave a comment on what you would like for me to post on when I get back. I'll pick the best one and write a post on it. Your prize is: I will give you credit for your magnificient suggestion. Have fun while I'm gone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Kings-Pacers Trade

I'm sure many other people, especially in Sacramento, are wondering the same thing as me: WHY?

Kings trade Peja Stojakovic for Ron Artest

Monday, January 09, 2006

Starbucks' Short Cappuccino?

Because most of our meetings happen at a local Starbucks, I found this article quite interesting. It tells of the secret short drink available at Starbucks. Why is it not on the menu, you say? They say it's because there's not enough room on the menu board. Take a look at the website though. It's not there either. Do they not have enough room on their web server? Read the article and find the conspiracy (or genius, depending on how you look at it) behind the mystery short size. Try ordering a short cappuccino next time and see if you get a confused look from the barista.

The Short Cappuccino

Another secret of Starbucks: the Peppermint Mocha only comes out at Christmas time...WRONG! You can get a Peppermint Mocha anytime you want. The only difference is at Christmas time, they sprinkle peppermint shavings on the top.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Summit 2006

We're gearing up for a new year with ministry events with Cascade Hills and one of those things is the Summit Coffeehouse, where we hope people will feel free to come and converse with us about God and culture topics and enjoy a nice cup of coffee as well. We also have added a blog in order to continue conversation, and to spark new conversation when we're not at the coffee shop. We have changed locations to a place called The Blue Pepper to try to meet some new people and a different audience than we have before with a slightly different format.

We want to make sure that Cascade Hills is reaching out to all types of people and meeting them where they are in order to have more open conversations about their lives and their questions and spiritual relationships. Pray that we can meet some new people, that we are open to new questions and can hear God calling to all of us.