Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Book to Read

Zayd's Dad has a quick review of a book that looks very good. There really aren't very many good Christian financial books out there. This one looks like it breaks the stereotypes and goes after solid Biblical ground...about time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Stupid Comments

churchmarketingsucks.com is given yet another excuse to address the "Christian leader makes a stupid, uncalled for comment in public" routine again. CMS actually uses the opportunity to do what they do best, refocus the discussion on proper ways of dealing with such a situation, not bashing on the person who made the comment. Let's face it, everyone makes stupid or insulting comments. The question isn't whether or not to bash on the person making the comment, we shouldn't be doing that. The question is about how we react when someone may associate us with the person who made the comment. It's an excellent and focused post.

Folding Spike

Stanford University developed some software that is examining peoples' scores to make sure they had been tallied correctly. I got quite a nice little spike yesterday. You can see it here, though you'll have to scroll down a little bit.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Pray for Scott

Keep my Folding team mate in your prayers!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

First Impressions of DC

I've been here for a night, here are my very first impressions.

Overpriced: I'm paying way too much for my hotel room. It is tiny. There is barely enough room to walk between the bed and the TV. Definitely not handicapped accessible; I'm sure there are rooms that are, but mine is not among them. I'd pay more for internet access in my room this week than I'd pay for it at home...for two months! I found this out when I used my own ethernet cable to plug into the modem...the hotel provided setup doesn't seem to have all the connections in place. My iron is not designed to sit in an upright position, you know, the position that you set it in when you are letting it heat up or when you are moving your clothes. If I set it upright all the water runs out. I think there is supposed to be a water tight valve on it, but its not there. My toilet is installed crooked, so the seat hits the countertop and won't stay up. Nice design touch there. Of course, the handle to flush the toilet is about 8 inches under the counter, so I have to bend over to find the handle just to flush the toilet, yet another nice design touch. Breakfast is not free, as seems to be the case at "nice" restaurants. I could have saved $50 a night and gotten all that free at "low-cost" hotels. Instead I get to pay for breakfast, borrow a neighbor's wireless access and get a tiny room with an almost partially usable toilet. Whoopee!!

Arrogant: OK, admittedly I've only met one person actually from DC, but she was among the most arrogant people I've met in a long time. I felt very bad for our shuttle driver as the lady next to me was barking out directions to him as though he doesn't know his way around the city. It didn't help that the driver misunderstood one person who wanted to go to Capitol Hill, not the Capitol Hilton. Think about it, how many people get off an airplane and take their luggage to Capitol Hill? I thought it was a pretty reasonable misunderstanding. When my pompous seatmate started "pleading my case" I told her to relax and leave the driver alone. The van ride was much quieter after that (and the other out of town passengers were grateful!). The only other comment from that seatmate was informational: I really should visit the "upper crusty farmers market" at some train station. Yeah, right. Like I want to pay $5 for a cucumber...as though DC isn't overpriced enough as it is!

I'll meet Jack in a couple hours, so I'm sure my image of DC will take a turn for the better. Right now, I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time in my dorm room...er, hotel room (dorm rooms are bigger and have free internet access).

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Finally Arrived

I'm finally sitting in my hotel room in DC. The hotel wants me to pay $10/day to access the internet here. Fortunately I'm on the side of the hotel with no view. That means there's an apartment building across the street. That means there's an open wireless connection across the street. That means I'm not paying the hotel $10/day to access the internet, yet here I sit, typing away. In a worst case scenario I can log on via my cell phone and bluetooth. I found out what my access numbers are for my SBC internet, so I can simply dial in using the bluetooth connections on both my computer and my cell phone. Sweet! Off to bed now, it's 11 pm eastern time, so I've got to get some rest for my exciting day tomorrow!

Sitting in Pittsburgh

I was on my way to a NeighborWorks training in Washington DC when my flight was diverted to Pittsburgh for a medical situation. Apparently a stewardess fell ill and a doctor on the flight recommended we land. The plane was then short-staffed and we are waiting for another steward/stewardess to come in to Pittsburgh so we can take off again. The Pittsburgh Airport is first-class. Excellent restaurant choices from fast food to sit down, with wireless access in the food court area. As I'm sitting here typing a thunderstorm has moved in, so time will tell when we are actually able to fly out of here. There aren't any planes landing or taking off, so if our new steward/stewardess was supposed to fly in, they won't be flying in for a while.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to meet up with Jack, who I don't think I've seen since he was an usher in our wedding. He's active at Cedar Ridge Community Church, the home of Pastor Brian McLaren. I'm looking forward to worshipping there and spending time with Jack and Kim, including some time with their small group Sunday night. If only I can get to DC...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Third Windows Install

I'm now installing Windows for the third time in two days. Our original setup was working quite well, but then I got software for school (included with a book I had to buy) and found out that it was Windows only. The 2 GB hard drive we had originally used wasn't big enough for Windows AND software, so I raided an old pc in the basement and found a compatible hard drive. My first two installs would not let me erase this new hard drive (yup, up to a 4.3 gb hard drive!), so the performance was terrible and the drive was full of files that were totally useless, but they wouldn't let me delete them. This third install seems to have wiped the hard drive clean, so hopefully this one will work out better. There was actually a price tag on the hard drive that we put in. That little puppy cost over $300!! Can you imagine paying $300 for a 4gb hard drive?!? Yes, this is an old hard drive, but its hardly been used in the last five years and is currently running fine. All its gotta do is last through the fall semester as far as my class goes. I'd hate to have to buy a new hard drive for the little bit that we use Windows. It really isn't worth a hill of beans as far as I'm concerned.

Anthony Addresses "Wife Beaters"

Anthony Nails It! I am so tired of the "Wife Beaters." I know too many of them and they are exhausting. I find myself spending less and less time with them and I find myself wanting to spend less time at church because of them. My job will cause me to be working at a Mormon singles conference instead of going to the next church business meeting, and I'm actually glad that I get to miss the meeting (though I'm still dreading the conference). If something were to come up that would get me out of the conference then I'd be looking for another excuse to skip church that Sunday. It has really gotten that bad.

Pray for Pastor Jason; he's on the front lines of it, and all he's done is exactly what he was hired to do...go figure.

Hat Tip to Joe for the link.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

You Go, Girl!

Ambra's posting on the race issue again! She pulls no punches, takes no prisoners. And she points out the hypocrisy of people who think far more highly of themselves than they should.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Teachers Will Teach

The Rockford Public Schools seems to have averted yet another teacher strike this year. The deal still has to get approved by the various sides, but at least there's an agreement. I must admit I'm a little bit surprised. I'm guessing that the District Superintendent wasn't as tough as he talked. He hadn't done a whole lot to make friends with the teachers' union, so there was a bit of distrust going in to the negotiations. A mediator, however, seems to have done what they were supposed to do, a good thing.

iBook is Here

Our new laptop arrived today. We're slowly getting it set up by copying stuff over the wireless connection. Not the fastest way to do it, but we've got other things to do so its no biggy. The computer has the dimensions of a piece of paper and its more than 50% faster than the eMac it'll replace. Sweet! We've had a laptop bag for a while. This computer fits in a little over half the bag! Half!! I will be enjoying this for a long time to come.

And yes, it's Folding!

Pray for Jordon

One of the leading bloggers in the emerging church has been seeing serious health problems the last few months. Pray for Jordon. His was one of the first blogs I started following.

Note: If you read the comments, you'll see that some people can be truly evil when they can hide behind "anonymous."

Pastor Rocked the House!

Our senior pastor preached a sermon yesterday that needed to be preached years before he even came to town, and he's been in town for 13 years! There has been an attitude at our church that if you don't like a pastor, quit giving. That attitude is wrong. Yesterday Pastor John took people to task for it. He didn't go so far as to name names (he doesn't have the names to give out), but he could deal in groups. He noted changes in giving patterns in particular groups without naming them. Of course, lots of us know who those groups/individuals are because they "brag" about their sin. Now they'll probably call for his head not realizing that they're pulling a Cain thing (I John 3:12). Ah, the joys of dealing with humans. Some people avoid churches because of this type of thing, but end up doing the same thing in their neighborhoods or social clubs or whatever. Seems that where ever people gather life gets rocky.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Success in Iraq

This is what it will take for Iraq to succeed.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Jesus of Suburbia, Jesus of Bible

The Odyssey has a wonderful post contrasting the Jesus of suburbia with the Jesus of the Bible.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

First Stitches

First Stitches
Originally uploaded by A Bob's Life in Pictures.
Tonight we spent the last part of our evening at Physicians Immediate Care. Nathan got his first set of stitches, only two, but still, enough to qualify. He was running through the kitchen on his way outside to play and ran into the corner of the countertop. He's just tall enough that he bangs it every now and then anyway, but tonight he was running full speed so the damage was much worse. Of course, we learned during our first emergency room visit a while back that that is not the place to go if it's not necessary...too much chaos. PIC got Nathan in immediately and things went very well. The nurses all oohed and ahhed over him, and he didn't cry a bit during the entire time we were there. Not bad for a three-year-old getting stitches.

Originally posted at The Dad's Group.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Jail Time!

I got my dad arrested. Yup, he wasn't very happy. My mom was asked to pass along the following message to me: "Thanks a lot."

Every year the local branch of the Muscular Distrophy Association in our area has people "arrested" and held in a mock jail. They are given a cell phone and asked to call as many people as possible in an hour to ask them for a donation. I was supposed to get arrested, but its the week I'll be in DC. I gave them my dad's name instead. He's a pastor, so he's supposed to know a lot of people. :-) Actually, he'll do a great job. I would have done it if I'd been in town. I'd never been "honored" like that before.

Washington DC

I just mentioned in my last post that I'll be going to DC. I'm getting a week's worth of training. I landed grants to cover all my costs! I'll be staying here. I'm dreading leaving Jill for a week, but I'm also looking forward to a chance to get away and have some peace. It'll be weird being gone for so long and staying in a hotel the whole time. Looking forward to seeing Jack. I don't know that I've seen him since our wedding! His wife writes the absolute best "post-epiphany" letters, though that tradition has changed in an attempt to keep friends on their toes! Very cool.

Waiting Impatiently

I'm waiting impatiently for two things:

1) My grade! My prof is supposed to have my grades turned in to CU-Denver tonight, so I'm waiting...and waiting...and waiting...I've only logged in a couple of times so far. Ugh, the torment is too much!!!

2) My iBook. With an upcoming trip to DC during the same week that my next class starts, I really have to have online access. The laptop that we have is a Windows 98 model (read: a model that doesn't access hotel internet). We ordered an iBook for my trip. We got the cheapest new model with a student discount and no add-ons. It has dimensions slightly larger than letter-sized paper. Too cool.

Microsoft Bashing Taken Too Far

If you read my blog for long, you'll quickly learn that I'm no fan of Windows, but this is going a bit too far. I'm with the author of the article, laughing so hard at the stupidity of it all.

New Shoes from Nike

Perhaps these are all over TV ads by now, but I don't watch enough TV to really know. Anyway, Nike has designed a new shoe that is supposed to more closely emulate running barefoot. They found that the foot and ankle motion when running barefoot was significantly different than when wearing shoes. I'm not a runner, but if I was, I'd be all over the Nike Frees!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Protesting Mega Church Expansion

This is becoming all too common. If the church were smart they'd ask why people are protesting their expansion. The pastor argues that they are just trying to serve their parish. If they were really doing that, would the people living in the parish be protesting their expansion?

Brian McLaren Responds, Part 1

It's found here. This is the first of what is supposed to be a three part series by McLaren in response to criticism he has been under for a while now. I have a feeling it won't matter. At some point he'll have to do the point by point thing that he mentions not really wanting to do. The problem is that he is telling a story when the people he's responding to simply want facts. They don't want a story. I'm not saying that a story is bad, it's just not going to communicate with his critics. Yup, that post-modern vs. modern thing again.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

They've Survived!

The answer to many prayers around the world, the Russian submarine was freed and the sailors have survived!!

Barna Moves Toward Emerging Church

The Barna Group has restructured and has decided to emphasize real, life-transforming ministries. The result? One of their three new divisions will be focusing exclusively on the emerging church. They got frustrated with doing surveys of churches that weren't really having much of an impact, if I read their site correctly, and decided to go to where the action is (that action being life-transformation ministry). So, while the emerging church has collected its share of critics, the American Church's top researcher has decided that the most effective ministry is in that controversial group of churches that are willing to step out of the traditional way of doing things in an effort to bring about life-transformation.

Gmail Invites

Yup, I've got some. Let me know if you're interested.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I John

Tomorrow I start a two week lesson on First John. I view it as one of the most important books in Scripture for our current days. It argues firmly that Jesus is God incarnate (in the flesh), but it also argues firmly for the need to act as though we love God by loving one another. Sometimes it seems as though people believe one or the other. We're supposed to believe both.

First Computer Build

I "built" my first computer yesterday. I ordered a new motherboard, RAM, and video card and installed it in an old box I had. I even installed Windows. We have a bunch of old Windows-only games for the kids, but we haven't been able to get a computer stable enough to run them. Had to go all new components to make it happen. And yes, the $250 for the components and OS was a lot cheaper than going with a new Dell, at least, for the power we got. Dell doesn't even offer AMD processors, the last I checked, so out-powering Dell was pretty easy, plus we have a separate video card, admittedly low grade, but that saves us eating into the RAM that we installed. I set it up to Fold and I'm getting great results. I do think I'll pull a fan out of another box, though. This baby is running a lot warmer than the Macs in the house so it'll need a little more cooling power if its going to last.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Power of the Gospel

It's too powerful to let it grow!

Test Your Browser

There's a lot of talk about standards compliant browsers. Now there's a test to see just how compliant your browser is to accepted standards. Hint: I haven't had a browser test out well yet, but there are noticeable differences.

I've run Firefox, Safari, and IE on the test, both in Windows and Mac. IE for Mac didn't even find the starting page for the test, so I really don't know what it would have looked like. Firefox appeared to test out the best of the three browsers, though I doubt that's a big surprise to anyone. It tested about the same on both Windows and Mac. IE was easily the worst, with the word "error" even occuring in one spot. All you're supposed to see are the words "Hello World" and a smiley face. To see what the smiley face is supposed to look like, go here.

Originally posted on Mac OS X Software.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

New Apple Mouse

Ok, lots of companies make computer mice, so what's the big deal? Apple has actually released a multi-button mouse! Apple has been known for it's unwillingness to make a mouse with more than one button. Now, they have broken with their own tradition and released a mouse with four buttons. Of course, it really doesn't look much different that their previous one-button mice. The only noticeable change is the little scroll "ball" on the top. Apple uses touch sensitive technology instead of actual buttons, giving the mouse the sleek look that people are used to seeing with an Apple mouse. My understanding is that the touch sensitive technology allows users to scroll simply by running their fingers over the top of the mouse. This scrolling is only up-down, left-right, but the tiny scroll ball allows 360 degree scrolling as well.

If I was interested in buying a mouse, this would definitely be the winner. I've been avoiding mouse usage as much as possible for a long time because, well, I hate using mice. I much prefer a scroll ball. This gives the best of both worlds. With four buttons at my finger tips, this will do everything that my current logitech scroll ball does.

Oh, did I mention that its compatible with Windows?