Showing posts from May, 2009

Is this abnormal?

I was pumping gas this morning at our neighborhood Hess station ($2.53 a gallon today) and I noticed a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt. It was an orange shirt with white Hawaiian-style flowers and it looked pretty nice. I wondered if I had a Hawaiian shirt that I could wear if I was invited to a Luau-themed party. Then I wondered what I would wear to the party if I had a propensity to dress in a Goth-like manner. I would think that someone with this proclivity would be fairly limited in their choice of clothing. Now, whether a person who would dress in a Goth-like manner would go to a Luau-themed party would be another question altogether, so the point may be moot. However, there it was...the question of the day and a new status on Facebook. How this all pops into my head is a mystery, but that's all right. There is no way I could ever come close to figuring out my mind and the way it works. I am all right with that. I just need to make sure that I do not go off the deep end too much

Could it possibly be better than NPR?

I do like listening to NPR during my commute, but lately, for some unbeknown reason, I am having a hard time getting AM 1370 in on my radio. I finally started listening to some "Let My People Think" podcasts that had been languishing for a while and found a particular point to be pretty interesting. The point had to do with a world views and Zacharias mentioned that, no matter who we are, we unswervingly hold to a prior commitment we have made to arrive at truth. I like the way this is put because it shows the impact of a world view on the life of an individual and starts to get at the heart of our acquisition of knowledge. It also shows me the necessity of the Gospel because it changes absolutely everything about an individual. It changed me and the way I view things and I have seen it change others as well. At the tail end of the podcast Zacharias also made the point that fruitful discussions can be held here. I find that fascinating as well. I can see that a couple of peop

Nostalgic fantasy redux, the youngest

I have written before about my fondness for nostalgic fantasy. I am not sure if there is a great body of literature that is out there where I could explore this genre a bit more, but I think that my affinity for it is one of the reasons why I enjoy listening to Chris Rice so much. His "Run the Earth and Watch the Sky" album is full of the stuff. Now admittedly I have an easier time picking out the presence of it when I come across it, but there is a drawing to it that is unlike any other. It is more than a preference - it is more like a resonance in my heart...all the way down. The tone is so pure when it is thrust into my consciousness. Yesterday my wife told my youngest son that we were going to be working on teaching him to tie his shoes this Summer. This was his reaction: "Woo hoo...wait, I mean...oh, right...woo hoo!" Shouldn't that be my reaction to my life? With God leading me into Christ-likeness shouldn't my life be one giant "woo hoo"? I

Something I recall from my childhood

I don't remember why and I am having a hard time entering into those feelings again, but in my youth I remember finding it a bit unfair that the letter "r" came before the letter "s" in the alphabet. I always had the feeling that the letter "s" had more of a right to come before "r" and sort of felt badly that it did not. Thinking about it now, there does not seem to be a real rhyme or reason why the letters are arranged the way they are in the "alphabet song" so I guess I could have put the "s" before the "r" if I wanted to. It is funny, however, that I never thought to do that and that I did not have the same feelings for any of the other letters and the order that they occurred in the canonical arrangement of the alphabet. This feeling has, admittedly, diminished over the years, but it is still firmly planted in my memory for some reason. I wonder if it will ever come back? Or have I moved on from there?

Not great but certainly fine

I had to cut quite a few baseboards last Saturday and Sunday and I think I did a better job overall than the last time I did them. Of course, I have a miter box and a hand saw (nothing mechanical) and I think that there were less pieces that I messed up than I am usually subject to. One thing I ventured into a little more was coping all of the inside corners rather than mitering them. The inside corners in our house are so deformed by paint that there is no way that they are square. When I cut the inside miters for the dining room I then needed quite a bit of caulk to make it look presentable. This time I used the coping saw to get a rough cut of the profile of the molding and then used my Dremel tool to file it so that it would rest flush against the face of the butt joint. This worked out pretty well - not that they are perfect copes, but they are close enough that some paint and a bit of caulk will make them look fine. I still need to cut the baseboards for the bathroom and detach,

Too well for my own good

" ...He made the woman too well for anybody's good... " If You're Listening, The Choir I know this exactly. The knowledge that the woman He has given me to help me is truly helping me, challenging me, to be more like Christ. This isn't some passing fancy or fad that she has. Nor is it something so self-serving where my Christ-likeness would be realized for her comfort or convenience. What could be more uncomfortable or inconvenient than living with someone who is like Him? But there she is and there she goes, time after time, to help me realize areas in my life where I need to surrender control to the Spirit. She helps Him form me into the man that He wants me to be. Thanks be to God that she doesn't give up. Though I can be frustrating at times she never stops loving me in this way. In a worldly sort of way she has been made and fashioned far too well for my own good. But in a spiritual fashion she has been molded into someone that He can use to bring me to w

It will happen

Being concerned, worried, fretting, or having my thoughts consumed by this, that, or the other thing does me absolutely no good. Railing against that which I cannot control (like the weather or my schedule at times) means nothing and merits even less. Disappointment is merely discontentment and I am wise to make sure that I am satisfied with the place I find myself in. This doesn't discount planning and foresight. Rather it enhances it because I am not subject to my circumstances as I look to the future. Thankfully I am not even a slave to fatalism because Someone is numbering my steps today and will also do that tomorrow as well. It will happen. I am not entirely sure how or what but I am sure that something good will happen. It won't always be easy, it won't always be something of my choosing, but it will be good. If I am careful to not resist the Spirit it will also make me more like the Son.

What is going on in there?

I do like the big picture look at things as it helps me sort out the activities that I need to engage in to keep things moving forward. For example, I heard somewhere that fish-keeping is more like water-keeping where the fish and plants are a bonus. I would tend to agree and here's why: There are three things that are poisonous to the fish that are being kept in an aquarium. In order of toxicity they are ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Ammonia is removed from the water via plants and, most importantly, bacteria. The bacteria that remove the ammonia produce nitrite that is removed by a second type of bacteria and some plants (like java moss for example). The bacteria that remove the nitrite produce nitrate that is removed by plants and water changes. Excess nitrate can harm fish, but it takes a lot longer for this to build up to toxic levels than the ammonia and the nitirite. Plants remove nitrate from the water and there are certain tanks that are so heavily planted that they do not

Are you going to talk about me?

My wife and I were visiting with my mom and dad last night and were talking up our oldest son quite a bit. He got to show them a math test that he did particularly well on and we also talked about how he has tested out of his speech and OT services. He had every right to be talked about and we were right in holding up his hard work as something to be admired. As all of this was going on my youngest son was drawing a picture of a bunny for my mom on a small table in our family room. He asked a question that was almost drowned out in the din of our conversation that gave me pause: "Are you going to talk about me?" We try, very hard, to make sure that the boys feel equally valued in our eyes. If I am praying and thank God for something that the oldest has done, I make a point to mention something great about the youngest. Obviously this is a bit of a balancing act as we don't want to feed into any selfishness that may have been inherent in his question. But I do remember fee

tightvnc keyboard mapping problem in Ubuntu 9.04

I have been, off and on, having an issue with the keys on my keyboard mapping to the correct values when using the tightvnc client when paired with the vncserver vino in Ubuntu 9.04. I am not exactly sure what keyboard layout the client and server was expecting, but it seemed like every time I restarted the OS the keyboard mapping problem would come back and I would be at square one again. Well, I think I have found the workaround I was looking for . Hopefully this will help anyone else that is having this issue.

Yes, but does it flush

In the bathroom this morning at the office I noticed an offer for a National Geographic magazine that is geared towards little kids. I immediately thought of my youngest son and the fascination that he has with animals and bugs and how much he would enjoy the receiveing it. I then thought about it's flushability. In other words, I considered the effect that the offer card would have on the piping and the sewer system if I were to attempt to flush it down the toilet. My thoughts then turned to other objects on my desk and in my house and if it would be possible to flush those down the toilet as well. I guess my fascination with the flushability of certain work and household items is due to the fact that where things go when they leave my sight is a bit of a mystery. It would also be a tad interesting to see the process of, for example, the sewage treatment plant's approach to fitering out a flash drive that happened to find its way into it. I would be interested to see the array

Setting eternity in our hearts - blessing or curse?

We humans have a tendency to pervert anything that God has intended for good. I know from the Scriptures that God has placed eternity in our hearts. This is so much the case that, according to C.S. Lewis, we marvel at the passage of time. It would seem that, if we existed merely as creatures of time, that we would be very used to it and embrace it. But we rail against it, we lament over it, and we even curse it at times...all because God has created us for something more than this. He has given us an eternal perspective where time will no longer be an issue and has placed, among other things, a desire for that in our hearts. I was thinking about black holes this morning and how there may be some that are roaming the universe seemingly unattached to anything. I was also thinking about the effects of a roaming black hole coming into a close proximity to Earth and a report that it would soon engulf our planet. Thinking about how certain people and populations would respond to their impend

Here they come...Part 2

Every couple of years we are blessed that some part of the creation has chosen to invade our house: pavement ants. Now my wife keeps a very clean house so we are not exactly sure what they are after. The kitchen is quite well-kept and with the occasional crumbs dropped here and there, we are generally not well-versed in feeding the wildlife. Of course, these ants don't seem to mind all that much that there is nothing there for them. I tried to ignore them and keep everything much cleaner than normal but they still came in. So, I decided to bring out the big guns last night: Terro ant control syrup with one of my favorite compounds: boric acid. Now, the last time I used this stuff it worked brilliantly, but my placement was a little off. The story of my life: good idea, flawed execution. You see, we have a microwave cart on the right hand side of the counter and I put all of the syrup cards underneath that. Well, that led the ants to where I wanted them to be, but we had the pleasur

Here they come...

I was looking out my window this morning at my front lawn trying to deduce where the grass was coming up and where it was not when...flop...a big old clump of oak blossom fell right on the lawn. I couldn't help (well, I could but chose not to) but feel a little bit of disgust at the whole incident especially when I began to notice a bunch of oak blossoms dotting the lawn here and there. But then I realized that my reaction was more about my personal convenience than anything. Why in the world should I be railing against the presence of these blossoms rather than celebrate that, for another year, our majestic oak tree will be filled with leaves again? Why not hold the Spring that is in full force now (thanks be to God) close to my chest and drink it all in? Have I grown so cold as to not think that this rebirth is but a foretaste of my own? Celebrate I shall. On a separate note I cannot tell you how many times I have said, either privately or to my wife and in reference to our house

The problem with magic dust

Other than the obvious, there are issues with the application of magic dust on an object or a situation to alter it. The main issue I can see is that my knowledge of the universe and the way a situation or object ought to be is limited and flawed. I have such great ideas about how things could be better or how this or that could be different. The problem is I really have no idea what my application of the magic dust could do to me, others around me, and the work that God Himself is doing in my life to make me holy. Wishing this or that away not only undermines God's provision in my life, but also puts me in charge. I have borked up enough situations to know that I could mess this one up as well. I could guess right, but my track record suggests the opposite is more likely to happen. So what of it? I am exactly where I am because a loving God has put me here and has my life in His hands. This isn't's trust. A trust that is violated by me wishing for Saturday, o

Best practices

One of the great things about the internet is getting "best practices" for everyday jobs around the house. For example, our sink-mounted garbage disposal has given up the ghost and I am going to be replacing it tonight. One of the tips I received on replacing the unit is to use clear silicone around the drain flange rather than plumber's putty. I picked up some at Home Depot yesterday when I got the replacement unit. Now, there is a chance that I will not need to replace the drain flange as I may just be able to hang the new unite from the exiting one that is installed, but if I need to replace the flange I will be sure to use the silicone. There are numerous other tips and tricks that I have gleaned from a quick perusal of the web in preparation for a home improvement project. Some I have taken and some, quite frankly, just seemed like a lot of extra work. It is nice to have the web as a resource as I do not have to have all of the answers and it saves me from using the