Showing posts from January, 2009

Flourish Excel update

Well, the fish geekery continues... I am just about into the second week of dosing the tank with Flourish Excel and I have, indeed, managed to kill my anacharis. Rats! rats! rats! It was looking good after the initial dose and my every-other-day dosing of the tank, but I overdosed on purpose to see what would become of some of the stubborn algae still clinging to life and that did it in. I tossed the stuff this morning and I need to clean the tank tonight as a result. After I fold the laundry of course. I am going to try to score some more and see if I can find the right balance to the dosing and care for the plant before giving up all hope. On a positive note the java fern seems to be really taking off (boy, I'd like bigger one of these) and the algae on the anubias seems to be held in check quite nicely. This is especially true of the coffeefolia. I may even try to re-introduce the liquid fertilizer to see if this will stimulate the plants even more. It would be zippy if it did,

Nostalgic fantasy

And so it is...through the eyes of a child like me. I think the concept of nostalgic fantasy is one of the most endearing qualities I find in books and movies. I find it in one of my favorite books of all time, Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, and I read it into one of my favorite movies, Mary Poppins . I had a childhood that had its struggles as every childhood has, but as I look back on it I find soaked with the fantastic. Those mythical bike rides into another universe, the days spent at Dead Man's swamp, the shadow that would come into my bedroom and close the window ahead of the approaching storm... All of it is, at the same time, so familiar and so otherworldly. My imagination often just ran wild over reality. This happened so frequently and to such an extent that my imagination became part of my reality. In some cases it was the sum total of my reality. As I look back the "imagined" part and the "real" part seems blurred at times and I need to really conc

"All of it"

After the sermon on Sunday morning these three words stuck in my mind: "All of it". It was an overwhelming thought that all of my life - every single activity - is an act of worship. With that master stroke the line between the sacred and the secular is done away with. It is not even is obliterated. There is nothing that separates the two for each and every act has significance and I will either grow more Christ-like as I act in such-and-such a way or I will die, a little bit more, to righteousness. I have heard people say that they have made up their mind that they will not give one more moment of their life to something that does not matter. They usually use this to justify their running to a vocation that deals with a full-time commitment to work on behalf of building Christ's church. While I appreciate the sentiment of that statement, even though I am not in a traditional , full-time, church-building vocation I would like to think I am in a full-time, chu

Stories and why I tell them

I like to tell stories to my boys. I especially like to tell them stories about growing up and how my brothers (mainly) and I liked to whittle away the time we had been given. Most of the stories involved mischief of some sort because, well, I was mischievous. Others are more moralistic, but I would be lying if I said that those held their interest as much as the ones that are full of mischief. I guess I like stories so much because I have seen the power of them first-hand. I remember one year (I forget which) when I was walking in one of the All Star "resorts" in Disney world and I noticed a table where there were three men and a young boy. I think the boy was probably 12 or 13 and he was listening so intently to a story that was being told by one of the men. I have a feeling that it was a tad off-color, given the reaction that the other men had to his telling of it, but the boy was reacting to it just the same. I am sure that if the man was providing some kind of lecture on

I don't know why I find this so funny...


And we danced...

My wife and I didn't date that long before we were engaged to be married. We actually dated for about a year (and what a year it was!) and through all of it we knew that we were meant for each other. She showed an unbelievable commitment to me during that time and I tried my best to show the same to her. I recall one night when we were saying goodbye to each other (she was living in Williamson and I was still in Greece) when I danced with her in the garage of her Nana's house and sang the refrain to a song called Rose Colored Glasses . I recall hearing it on 90.1 WGMC which was a small radio station in Greece that, primarily, played jazz music. Well, I did some searcing around today and found out that the band that recorded the song was called Animal Logic and was comprised of Stewart Copeland (ex-drummer for the Police), Deborah Holland (what a great voice she has even today), and, to my surprise, Stanley Clarke (on bass of course). I guess I shouldn't be too surprised as

The life she has

My wife has the pleasure of the continual domestic presence of both a computer and fish geek. That person is me of course (who else would be so dorky?) and this post is about the aquarium that I set up for/with my youngest son. I went out errand-running yesterday and decided I would stop into the local fish store (Pet World in Ridgemont Plaza - a great store!) and see if they had any Java Fern or Panda Cories (I would like one more of these). I was quite excited to find that they carried Flourish Excel from Seachem as the only good sources I have been finding have been online. I have been dealing with brush and a bit of staghorn algae lately and have found that there is, most probably, an excess of phosphates and a CO2 imbalance that is causing the problem. I have cut the feeding down to once a day to take care of the phosphate issue (hopefully) which left the CO2 imbalance issue. I tried to go the DIY CO2 route to try to rectify the imbalance without much success so I suspended that a

One of the most bizarre things I have ever heard

I was reading the Wikipedia entry for the song "Don't Pay the Ferryman" by Chris de Burgh when I came across this rather bizarre fact: Many fans of the British science fiction show Doctor Who believe that the actor who portrayed the "hooded old man at the rudder," [a lyric in the song] in the video for the song is none other than Tom Baker, the fourth actor to play the famous doctor. Though he and Chris de Burgh deny this, the rumor persists. I don't even know where to begin with this one...that is even too weird for me.

Wow...just wow

There is a struggle that goes on in me between the part of me that wants to know what God wants me to do RIGHT NOW and the part that knows that I cannot know that. Obviously this cluelessness is in regards to his sovereign will and not his moral will. The moral will is well-known and the obedience to that is more of a struggle for me there rather than it's articulation in my life. No, this is in regards to questions like "Where does God want me to work?" or "What does he want me to eat for breakfast today?" Those are the questions that are difficult to answer if there is no moral reason why I should choose Cheerios over Rice Krispies, for example. Last October I changed positions in the company I work for. I struggled a bit in that decision, because I had really grown to like my boss and he showed genuine affection for me as well. I couldn't help feeling like I needed to make the jump as I looked at the long-term prospects of real, funded work in the positio

What would Jesus do (Edith Bunker).

My wife and I were watching a PBS special series last night about American comedy called Make 'Em Laugh . The show we were watching focused on the American television situation comedy and was intensely interesting to the both of us. We even pondered a bit about the greatest American sitcom. There was a point in the show where the comedy All in the Family was profiled and there was one comment about the show, and the way the writers/producers approached one of the characters that stuck with me. Now, granted, I have never seen a full show of All in the Family and what I know about it and have seen of it I do know that there is a lot about the show that is revolting to me - I would never recommend anyone actually subject themselves to it on purpose. At the same time, one comment made by Norman Lear, I think, was very telling. He mentioned that they approached the activities of the character of Edith Bunker with one simple question: "What would Jesus do?" I am not sure if h

Being a parent is hard

I have to admit it - being a real dad rails against my flesh. I love inconsistency (as long as it benefits me), sloth (a little sleep...a little slumber...), isolation (until I get bored and pull you from your alone time), and all those things that make me a poor dad and an example of how not to do things. It is so easy to mail it in and rest on my laurels. There are certain times in the day when I realize that I need to suck it up and play the ball. Like when I am tempted to sit down and know that the last opportunity I have to mop the kitchen floor this week coincides with my time I was looking forward to sitting on my patookis. It seems like fatherhood is even more in my face than the ever-present housework that I do from time to time. Even the times when the boys are in the basement I need to pay attention to cross wards, crashes, and the verbalization of the two sounds that parents tend to dread: "Uh-oh." And I don't do it. I just don't. The two most precious gif

30 inches

Well, the table is constructed (not sanded, primed, and painted but definitely finished) and there were only a few minor hiccups along the way. Most of them were self-induced, but one of them was not my fault. That's pretty good for me. My oldest son helped me out a bit and was excited about the whole thing. It was good to see and he had a suggestion about the color of the table that I am thinking about taking. I had a 1x3 that was 96 inches long and I needed it cut into 30 inch sections. I was busy doing something else with the table and my oldest son wanted to do some measuring so he said that he was going to measure out the 3 30-inch sections that I needed. I thought that would be fine so I let him do it. He got the tape measure out and went to work. He finished his measuring and placed the board in the miter box and placed the saw on the 30 inch mark and, after some prompting from me, waited for me to complete what I was doing. I went over to the box and wanted to confirm that

DVD playback geekamundo

I haven't had a pure tech post in a while, so I thought I would blog about the resolution of an issue I was having with my DVD playback on my Dell Latitude D610. I noticed that a lot of the DVDs I was playing using any player (but in this case Windows Media Player 10.0) were played back at a very low volume. I went round and round with this issue for a while and actually changed a couple of things that made a big difference. The first thing I did was re-install the sound drivers for the system. I found the right ones on the Dell website and had an easy time getting them installed. A reboot helped in the process. I think I may have been messing around with them to get the sound going on my Ubuntu installation that is set up as the second OS in my dual-boot mode. The second thing I did was download and install an application called AC3Filter . This is a great little program that I configured to run automatically on DVD playback. It turns out that increasing the gain (on the Main tab

Patrick Swayze

Admittedly I am not a Patrick Swayze fan, but I just read short blurb on Yahoo news that made me think a bit. It is no secret that he is battling cancer. He went on to say that this battle with cancer "tests everything I believe in." I know that there are situations that I can encounter that would throw me into this kind of doubt, but I cannot imagine going through a situation where everything I believe in is tested. I would have to think that the emotional and mental pain that causes would be worse than the physical pain of the affliction (if that is what I would be battling). At the very least my faith and belief in the holy God of the Scriptures would give some context to my present suffering. Not having that as a lens to view my current circumstance through, or not trusting what I would be seeing through it, would be awful. As terrifying as that would be I cannot even begin to imagine what my relationship with God would be like if my belief in Him was tested to the core a

The table

I need to build a table this weekend for a table-top game that we got the boys for Christmas. I think I am going to use 4 2x4's for the legs, a piece of plywood supported by some 1x3's and a 1x1 to serve as a lip around the edge to hold the table-top game in place. I think I have all the dimensions right and I just realized that I have an electric drill to use seeing as how I keep frying the batteries on my cordless one (3 in the past year). I think I have a decent idea of how I can get this done and I will run the plans by Nan as a sanity check. She is much better with the spatial-dimensional things than I am (by far). It should be an interesting project and I certainly hope that it does not require too many trips back and forth to the Home Depot. Thankfully, there is one not 5 minutes from us. The only issue I have is the amount of money I tend to spend there when I go.


What a great album Seeds of Change by Kerry Livgren was. I really enjoyed listening to that old cassette and would like to try to score it on CD before too long. I got to thinking about seeds today on my way in to work as I listened to the updates on the radio about the situation in Gaza. I just can't be surprised about what is going on over there given seeds of hate that have been sown. The fruit of death is the inevitable result. Can I expect anything but the current situation? What good fruit will grow from such a vile sowing? None I'm afraid. Inspecting the fruit in my life I cannot be surprised about the bad things that crop up from time to time - much more than they should. I can't expect anything good from sowing the seeds of idleness, bitterness, thanklessness, and isolation. I guess the crud that springs forth from the fertile ground doesn't surprise me, but it doesn't seem to motivate me to sow different seeds. This sowing to the Spirit business is hard, b

A strange feeling for sure

On my way into work today, about 3/4 of the way through my commute, I was passing a van that happened to be on the right side of me. That is not all that strange, but I had the distinct feeling that I was passing right through the van on my way down the road. It was quite a strange sensation and I attempted to shake it off but there it was again...I couldn't get rid of the feeling. I wasn't too sure whether I should embrace it or not. It was gone by the time I was passing the next vehicle which also happened to be on my right. The disappearance of the feeling brought a bit of relief, but I wasn't even sure if the relief was something that I should derive comfort from or not. I am not sure what I will chalk all of this up to, but suffice it to say that it through me for a bit of a loop. I fell into line behind the car that would take me to Phillips Road and on into the office. Should I miss that feeling? Is there a "should" here at all?