Showing posts from June, 2007

A great conversation

I had a great conversation with my boys (the oldest especially) last night when we were on the swing about spiritual things. It mostly had to do with God and what He created. The oldest asked how God created everything (a good philosophical question that, wrongly, has led many to reject the Creator) and I said we did not know the mechanics of how He did it, but that we know He did do it. Obviously I phrased it something along the lines of God being super-smart and we cannot understand how He did what He did. I mentioned to Him that Jesus was God and, after a moment or two of his disbelief, he thought that seemed right to him. So that continued for a while. Then, just before they both went in the tub, the oldest asked me if God ate food. I said that He doesn't have to eat but that if He wanted to eat He could. Then I said that when we get to heaven Jesus is going to have dinner with us. The oldest took me back a little when he asked if Jesus was going to eat bread and wine with us.

Definitions, definitions, definitions

Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord? Hamlet: Words, words, words. Lord Polonius: What is the matter, my lord? Hamlet: Between who? Lord Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord. (Hamlet II, ii, 191-195) I used to be much more careful about assuming I knew what someone was talking about when they asked me a question. Recent assumptions have come back to bite me. For example, when I was in college people knew that I was a Christian. A guy named Mike Hall (whom we called the "Dude") asked me one day if I was a Holy Roller. Now, it would have been easy for me to say "yes." Even though it is an old term for a believer in Christ I guess it could fit me at the time. Well, in a shot of wisdom, I asked him what he meant by Holy Roller. His explanation of what he believed one to be was so bizarre I started to laugh a little and said "no." I was in a discussion with someone about legalism and he defined it as the presence of ritual. I said that w

Observation Report: 6-25-2007

Well, the clear sky alarm clock went off yesterday so I did some hasty preparation (more on that later) and headed out to the parent's house for some observations. I wanted to bag a couple of double stars (and one triple) in the constellation Ophiuchus so I recorded their Hipparcos (HIP) catalog numbers and headed out. The air was humid and their was not a breeze to be bought at any time during the night. That having been said the views were still a little soupy but were better the closer to zenith I got. Because there was still a lot of ambient light when I set up (21:15 or 21:30) I went to the moon (waxing gibbous) and Venus first off. Venus was showing a nice crescent but was setting and was not as sharp as I would have liked it to be. Jupiter was next on the list and all four of the Galilean moons were visible. It was getting darker and the first star I saw was Vega so I thought I would try and alignment. Things went well and my second alignment went to Vega and Arcturus (the s

If this doesn't work

People who have worked with me before know that I often say "If this doesn't work I will eat my left arm." Why the left arm? Well, I have grown quite attached to my right arm and, for some reason, I think that the left arm would be a tad tastier. Well, this is one of those times I guess. We went out and dug up the azaleas and planted the summersweet over the weekend. We had a choice between three different varieties and went with the Hummingbird as it looked to be a nice height (less than 4 ft) and a decent spread. We both dislike tall bushes in front of the house and do what we can to keep things underneath the height of the front railing. We weren't entirely sold on the white flowers as we would prefer something more pinkish, but our choices are a bit limited as to what we can put in the garden that would match our taste. All and all they are nice looking bushes. Their branch structure remind me a lot of our forsythia but we need to help them maintain their shape a

And the verdict is....

I finally got a clue about what was happening to the azaleas on Wednesday morning. All my clue needed was confirmation from someone in the know, so to speak, and that came last night. We had a couple of lines of heavy thunderstorms that moved through the area on Tuesday night. That was a bad bit of timing for the remaining azaleas as I had watered them on Sunday night and I knew that there would be too much water for them come Wednesday morning. I was right as the big azalea was showing signs of stress.So, my wife had the idea that we dig it up and bring it to a nursery for a diagnosis. It came back as root rot which is indicative of poorly draining soil which leaves the plants too wet to survive. Azaleas have very fine roots that grow close to the surface and any prolonged wetness will damage them beyond repair. So, we need to dig up the dead bushes and transplant the one that is just hanging on in hopes of resurrecting it. So, poorly draining clay soil in partial shade may be a decen

Not quite uber-geekery, but close

While I was in the shower this morning I was thinking about an online collaboration space for our annual school auction. Yes I was. Well, I knew that Google Docs was out there and I had played around with it a bit in thinking of ways that I could use it to record the Live Auction results and have them fed back to the registration table in real time and it looked very promising. Another online collaboration space that may look even more promising is one called Zoho . One of the cool things about Zoho is the ability to construct and script entire database-driven applications and launch them in a collaborative online environment. This actually means something. I could, for example, construct the registration forms in Zoho and have the fields that record what each person has won populated as they win items in the Live and Silent auctions. This will all be done automatically and greatly improve the check out experience and time it takes to get everyone through the line at the end of it all

Dvorak Symphony #9

I woke up this morning and really had a yearning to listen to Dvorak's "New World" Symphony. I am doing that right now. I remember the first time I heard the piece it was with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra on a subscription that I had purchased when I was a senior at SUNY Brockport. One of the nice things was that students received a 50% discount on all tickets purchased so it was a great way to spend one evening a month. I opted for the Saturday night performances as I had early classes on Friday (if I recall correctly). It was very moving and something I will not forget. Sort of like the experience I had hearing the Hebrides Overture ( Mendelssohn ) that Summer night at the Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center. I knew that I had heard something very special (on both occasions) and instantly connected with the pieces and the composers. A foretaste, perhaps, of the dawning of the new world that is yet to come. Powered by ScribeFire .

Content hosted in a couple of different services

Thankfully this is not as big an issue as it could be through the use of ScribeFire, but I opened up another blog (the same content) over on Wordpress . That way there will be more of my rambling to go around and I will get a little more exposure for the price of another mouse click or two. Not a bad deal overall. Powered by ScribeFire .


From the I-literally-have-no-idea-what-I-am-doing department: I had a friend who would not reset his password to his main computer before he left work for the weekend. That makes sense to me and I have practiced that. Well, apparently I cannot even reset my password before I leave my desk for a meeting. I did this yesterday and I found myself locked out of my computer. I didn't think it was going to be a huge problem so I looked on the world wide web for some cracks to get back in. Well, I found one that required making a boot disk from a CD. I didn't have any blank CDs so I had to import one from home. Well, a couple of hard shutdowns, boots into safe mode, and restarts later and I am in thanks to these instructions . Now about those Azaleas that are biting the dust in the front garden, well, that is another issue. I need to really get an extra set of eyes on those to diagnose how I seem to kill them every time I put them in the ground. On a different note it seems as though w

2's and 3's Sunday School

Five years ago if you told me I would be knee-deep in paper bags and multicolored streamers in a Sunday School class for 2 and 3 year old I would have said that you were crazy. My wife volunteered to do the teaching at our church's Sunday School class for "2's and 3's" (as we like to call it) and said that I did not have to serve with her. Well, I did, and did, and did...and have seen what ifts these little guys and girls are. Each one of them is so different and they are actually starting to respond to us (me especially) in unique ways. It is nice to be consistently in there as I am sure that consistentcy pays off in building relationships with these little ones. Last Sunday my wife came across a really cool craft to do with the boys and girls that they really got into in a big way. The day didn't start out so well as there were no less than 20 kids in the class (thank God we continue to have the help we do in 2 people who have been there as consistently as w

Captured my imagination

Some things that, over and over again, capture my imagination (in no particular order): The commissioning of Isaiah and the coal that removes his iniquity; The story of Jonah, the gourd, and the worm; The great protoevangelium; The fact that in Him we live and move and have our being and the implications that is concerning His omnipresence; When the Apostles marvel that "even the wind and the waves obey Him"; When John the Baptist points to Christ and exclaims "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"; The Trinity (in no small measure); The statement that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and that with the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified (Niecene Creed); The descent of the New Jerusalem; The last verse in the book of Lamentations; The charge God gave to Cain to master the sin that desired him when he was contemplating killing Abel.

Loving submission

Yet another moment where a great mystery (to me anyway) was unlocked in my head. I always struggled a bit with the concept of the submission of the wife to the husband and the submission of the husband to the wife. When should one bend to one versus one bending to the other? Clearly the Bible calls for both for Christ gave himself up for the church. In the same way as a husband I am to give myself up for my wife. But what does that mean? What does that look like? Our pastor preached a sermon about husbands loving their wives and made a key statement for me. When I am thinking about playing the "submission card" I need to make sure it is a clearly defined area of right and wrong or that I can point to Scriptural principles that would shed light on the decision being either wise or unwise. In absence of that, I am to lovingly submit to my wife. Now that makes sense to me. A bit harder perhaps is to remove any obstacles that I may be putting in my wife's way that would cause


There is a song by the now long gone band Vengeance Rising called "You Can't Stop It". Come to think of it I am missing my Once Dead album from them. I wonder where it went? Anyway, whenever I hear this song I think about how relentless God is in pursuit of that which He deserves - His glory. A former pastor of mine was keen on saying that "the mills of God grind slow but they grind exceedingly small". Exceeding small indeed as He leaves nothing and no-one unturned in the pursuit of His glory. Including me. Including you who may be reading this. God is a complete and utter deliverer to me because I have made my peace with Him. He scares me at times when I realize what my hands have wrought at times. It is always and forever exactly what He said it would be. By the same token God is an absolute terror to those who wage war against Him. He never sleeps in His relentless pursuit of His glory and will not deliver those on whom His favor does not rest. The only reaso

Good for something

I won a Xerox M750 inkjet color printer at a company-sponsored picnic one year and I really like it. I think I have had it for about 5 years and it is a nice printer that does fine with color and black and white text. Of course, they have been discontinued and the print cartridges are getting harder and harder to find. Staples carries the black cartridge, but the color ones they have discontinued. My wife went there to get some and scored the black one. They said they could order the color ones, but it would cast a little over $70. She's much too frugal to do anything like that. I am glad she didn't. I found a source for generic cartridges and thought I would give it a try. I spent a whopping $10 (including shipping) for all four cartridges and, after a little cleaning of the color print head last night, all is working well. I guess I hadn't used the color cartridges in such a long time that the ink dried up in the print head. Some alcohol, water through the nozzles, an

Honeoye Lake

We had a great opportunity to visit our neighbor's cottage on Honeoye Lake over the weekend and had a great time. We could have easily spent more time there then we did and the boys were just jazzed to be by the water. We went for a boat ride and the boys had fun "swimming" (more like wading) in the pretty warm water. The lake is rather shallow so the water heats up pretty quickly. As the boys were wading the oldest began a conversation with "Daddy, Jesus walked on the water didn't he?" "Yes," I said excited that I could tell the story. "The Apostles in the boat thought he was a ghost!" The boys laughed. And I went on. "But Jesus said, 'I'm not a ghost'. And then Peter said, 'OK, if you are really Jesus then tell me to come out to you.' Then Jesus said, 'Come on over!' Then do you know what happened?" "What?" the boys seemed to ask in unison. "Peter walked on the water toward Jesus. But

I'd like to know where it went

Never had that feeling Until I first met you Never felt like kneeling Now I do, yes I do (yes I do) All my dreams came true last night All my hopes and fears All my dreams came true once more In tears in tears Be near me, be near - Be Near Me, How to be a Zillioniare , ABC I had this song in my head this morning. I once owned the album (in vinyl) but is is long gone. And so is this song, and that is the reason I am writing what I am today. It seems when relationships are new and love is a strange thing indeed songs like these were so frequent in my head and heart. I imagined singing them to the girl I would be dating and eventually marrying. But now that I am married (and have been for a while) they're no longer sung nor even brought to mind. When you need a friend, don't look to a stranger, You know in the end, I'll always be there. But when you're in doubt, and when you're in danger, Take a look all around, and I'll be there. I'm sorry, but I'm just th

Blogging blogging everywhere

I guess it is a good thing I like to write. In school I would rather have written a 60-page paper than taken a multiple choice test. At work we were told that every one in our group needs to have a blog. Very work-related stuff (obviously) but a blog nonetheless. For one, I think it is a great idea in that it captures the knowledge that is trapped in our heads most days and gets it out into the collective knowledge of the organization. Novel ways to do things or an "aha!" moment are more efficiently captured and shared through wikis and blogs. I am hoping to do an entry a day in the blog to maximize its potential. All of that still does not explain all of this, but it is interesting how the workplace is changing and technology is getting more information (and noise) into the air. It is also very helpful that I know how to edit (hack) HTML when I need to as well.

1.0 version of eyeOS

To get geeky once again: I am running an XP machine with an Apache web server on it. It is fairly slow, but it does allow me the opportunity to install and play with web applications that I would not normally get to play with. Today I saw that there was a 1.0 version of eyeOS and I got all excited about it. Not only was I running the 0.93 version of it, but I noticed that the UI was quite a bit different than what I was used to so I was looking forward to the improvements. Basically eyeOS is a web-based desktop that allows me to create and manage short documents, contacts, and other office-type stuff that are then accessible through a web browser. I would have to say that, along with the MS Outlook I can access via the web, eyeOS would help me do about 70% of my job. That is a pretty good chunk. We are, as a group, looking to do more and more of our stuff on line through blogs and wikis so something like eyeOS would be the next step in the way forward with these web-based tools. So ge

Treadmill update/mystery solved

OK, the i2Workout/Audacity/cheapo mp3 player combination for structuring my workouts is going just fine. I have it all hooked up and my treadmill routine has gotten a lot (I mean a lot) more interesting and I am enjoying it more. I really think I need to increase the intensity of my intervals. Right now I am at 5 mph for one minute, 5.5 mph for one minute, then 6.0 mph for two minutes, then back down the same way, then back up the same way for 4 intervals. I think I need to bump everything up .5 mph. Hopefully this is a sign that I am getting better conditioned rather than that the new treadmill is inaccurate in how fast I am jogging. I would like to do the Corporate Challenge next year (5 Km) and I think I will make it a goal to get to the point of doing it in under 40 minutes. I would like to get to the point where I am doing it in 35 minutes (which would be about 6 mph) but maybe I can surprise myself if I aim just...a...bit...lower. On a different note I found the hygrometer that I

Affect follow up

OK, I am still on this affect thing so please bear with me. I think the real work is not necessarily on affect (unless I am constantly being misunderstood) but on the heart where the emotions actually spring from. Rather than trying to mask my emotions or betray them with how I am coming across, why shouldn't I just deal with the emotions that are the overflow of my heart anyway? That would be the most God-honoring thing to do and I am sure that my affect would follow suit. In other words, if I am concerned I will show concern, if I have a bad attitidue I will show that as well. It will happen. How quickly and with whom is another matter. Time for the real work where I make sure that when confronted with someone who disagrees with me, or even a disagreeable person, my heart drives my affect. I fear it is impossible the other way around.


In social work school we often talked about affect. I had to look this one up to get the words to describe what it is, but it behooves me to keep it in mind at all times. Basically affect is the external, observable manifestation of emotion so it has everything to do with the way I come across. It can betray me or it can heighten the sensitivity that others have of the emotions that I am displaying. Recently I was in a conversation with someone where my affect was absolutely critical. He was a bit hyper and, on more than one occasion, used rhetorical devices to get his point across. I have to admit that I was slightly taken aback by his debate/discussion style and felt myself getting a bit riled up. Taking a step back in the midst of the conversation (through envisioning a dispassionate observer taking stock of how we were interacting) I was able to, I think, remain calmer than I would have in the past. I was less concerned about winning the debate than I was to seek understanding -