Monday, February 27, 2006


Looking back on the remains of another failed attempt to have a girl think of me as something other than a nice, sweet, smart, guy that no girl would ever think of dating has made me nostalgic [But I have to add that things at least reached the best conclusion they can when a guy is head-over-heels and the girl has absolutely no interest in him. She let me know where she stands, but had waited for the chance to do so in person, because she was honestly concerned with being as gentle with it as possible.]

Specifically, I regret the times when there were nice girls who may have been interested in me, but I was too busy chasing after somebody else to notice. I can be a very one-track-mind sort of person. I was once watching an advance screening of The Green Mile with a group of people at UNR. It had been arranged by someone in advance, and I had to leave early to go to a Bible Study (where there was, of course, a girl I was interested in. But I also was leading worship on the guitar, so I really did have prior commitments). But shortly before I had to go, they had the botched execution scene. I was sitting next to a girl from a group I was in at the time. During th flaming death scene, she grabbed my arm. First, and only time that's happened to me, and I really didn;t know how to respond. Mostly, I just wish I did something other than leave 10 minutes later.

But that, too, is now water under the bridge.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

More Fun With Hyperlinks

This is a post I ran across at work Friday. I browsed the rest of the site, and was generally pretty amused. If you've read Alice in Quantumland, you may appreciate the blend of science and humor that I enjoyed here.

Here's an article
that explains the benefit of private property in an Economist's mind, as opposed to public goods. It was posted Valentine's Day, and I thought was funny. But, I'm an Economist. I laugh about jokes about Adam Smith and Karl Marx going into a bar. I'm just unusual like that.

In other news, the Your Corner Coffeeshop blog got some updates. The idea is, I'll put up some contiguous passages of Scripture. As you [yes, you. The person reading this right now.] read the passage, let me know what it makes you think of. Questions, ideas, challenges, expository teaching. This blog is meant to be a discussion among various parties on Scriptural topics. If you're interested in becoming an admin to post new threads, please just let me know.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Interesting Links

Things you should read if you get as bored as me:

An interesting article about the hoopla concerning the operational control of 6 U.S. ports being aquired by a company in the UAE. Even more interesting is the profession of the person who wrote it.

Were your Jr. High science fair projects this interesting? Neither were mine.

A link of slightly more value: The Food Bank of Northern Nevada. I'm interested in volunteering here. It's practical, it's local, and it's (I assume) pretty easy. Anyone else interested?

Sunday, February 19, 2006


In the world of Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs), grinding is where you do mindless, repetitive tasks over and over and over in order to gain experience to advance your character's skills, abilities, experience, etc. It's what drove me away from the one that I tried - I play games in order to accomplish things, but as a way of balancing large multiplayer games, achieving the very highest levels requires a lot of persistence. Most people I know learned ways to massage the system. I always just wanted to be able to do the task at hand.

Most grinding becomes almost absurd. To gain weaponmaking skill, you might just make 10,000 pistols, and destroy them all. The in-game markets become flooded with people trying to sell their worthless items, before they realive there's a thousand other people doing the exact same thing.

This comic made me laugh. But you need to know what grinding is for it to make sense.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Shadows and Substance

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and have all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered, or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be set aside. For we know in part, and we prophecy in part, but when what is perfect comes, the partial will be set aside. When I was a child, I talked like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
-Paul the Apostle

Context, context, context. One would think that in the evangelical culture, with its emphasis on the true meaning of the Scriptures that a passage such as this would receive different attention than it receives. How often do we hear this in the context of marriage, or romance in a broader sense?

The Corinthians were as difficult a bunch of believers as one could imagine. Immaturity, infighting, and boasting of despicable sins characterized their reputation. "It is reported that sexual immorality exists among you, the kind of immorality that is not permitted even among the Gentiles, so that someone is cohabiting with his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you have been deeply sorrowful instead...?"

Each one, wanting to be better than the man beside him in church. You speak in tongues? Well so do I! You have knowledge and wisdom? I have more! Paul explains to them the wonder of diverse gifts within the church - this one teaches, that one speaks tongues, another heals and speaks phophecies. God works this all into a tapestry, a living body made up of individual parts.

He brings us this passage as a light to the "more excellent way" for the Church to interact. This passage ought to be at the front of our hearts as we interact with our fellow believers. To defer or limit this passage to the world of candy hearts and flowers is a great injustice. It excuses us from the unity we are meant to have with each other, from the commitment to the Body we are called to have.

Granted, I'm not a huge fan of romance right now, bad experiences and all. But if love is something we associate primarily with romance, I believe we are running the wrong way. In our culture we place such a high value on such relationships that love is distorted into something it is not, weakened and shrivelled into a shell of itself. The Church is the Bride of Christ, but it is also so much more! We are the Body of Christ, a holy temple acting as His very emmisaries on earth, a living monument to His glory. We are the branches of Christ, drawing life from the Author of Life to distribute the fruit of His grace to the world. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, fueled by His Spirit to season and illuminate a drab world. We are co-heirs with Christ, adopted into the family of the Almighty. We are the children of God, we are ambassadors for the King, we are the Church against whom the very gates of Hell cannot stand!

That we are the Bride of Christ is a way of expressing the fiercely tender affection of our Lord. The jealous protection of His hand. But our marriage-centric worldview cant make us forget that the love we are called to is so much more than finding our "soulmate." Our love for one another in the church is our mark. It is that which should distinguish us from all others. A church without a passionate love flowing through the body is a church not worth attending. Our knowledge is but partial, but love is eternal. Someday we will see clearly, no longer as in a cloudy mirror.

No longer do I tolerate the half-hearted love I have allowed myself to be limited to. Love is hard. I can be rude, easily angered, envious, self-seeking, resentful, boastful, impatient, boastful, and proud-believing nothing, abandoning hope, and collapsing under pressure. My "love" is too often a sham, a utilitarian tit-for-tat. Such love is a lie, and a poison.

C.S. Lewis has said that the problem with our passions is that they are too weak, not too strong. We content ourselves with playing in the mud in the yard when we are called to a vacation on the beach. The quest to find love in a single person is such a weak passion for me - a shadow substituted for the substance of all we are meant to be. I want more; the overflowing cup I have been promised instead of the beggar's portion I had asked to content myself with.

When I was a Child

I used to try to roll my eyes back into my head, so if I was ever attacked by zombies or vampires in the middle of the night, when I awoke, I'd only show the whites of my eyes, and then they's think I was one of them.

I also used to be afraid that the things on my posters would come alive every hour, on the hour (but only in the dark, when I was in bed). I would hide under my Voltron comforter, which I believed had the power to protect me. I would peer out at my digital clock and wait for the evil minute to pass. I would try to keep my body from moving, tightening my stomach as I inhaled with my chest to balance things out, hoping to avoid detection.

I had a "blankie." It was yellow, and I suspect it had flowers and such things on it. It was my blankey since my early youth. I wasn't wuite as bad as Linus, but often close.

Vampires were my biggest fear. I even still have vestigal nervousness sometimes - irrational, but it just gets me in a soft spot. When I was in 4th grade, the principal at my school was going around to all the classrooms on Halloween reading stories. The story he read our class was about a vampire outside the room of an unsuspecting victim. I remember him sitting in the rafters, looking down as the moonlight fell across the victim's neck. To this day, I keep my blinds angled the opposite of most people. Mine are aligned so that from the outside looking in, you have to look up - not down. I used to have a window above my bed, and I was terrified to look up through my window to see the overhang of the roof outside.

My first distinct memory is being tall enough to look out my bedroom window and see across the street. I also remember being short enough that reaching as high as I could I could just touch the surface of the kitchen countertop. And going to the "loft" my kindergarten had after I finished all my assignments early.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The "Too Strange To Not Be True" File

"NEW YORK (AP) - Al Michaels was traded from ABC to NBC for a cartoon bunny..."

A partial headline from Fox Sports and the AP. You can read the whole article here.

Al Michaels, beloved play-by-play announcer for Monday Night Football, and one of the more recognizable voices in sports was traded from the Disney/ESPN/ABC family for, among other things, the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

The other things must have been quite important, you say? They are The TV rights for the next four Ryder cups (a golf tournament) and increased rights for ESPN to show Olympic highlights.

At the very least, it gives me something amusing to say. What with the U.S. backing away from calling the situation in Darfur genocide and the worldwide outpouring of rage over the illustrations of Muhammed, the world can be a violent and unhappy place.

So hooray for Oswald!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Benefits of Being Single

While cleaning my room the other day, I finally got around to attaching my headboard to my bed frame. The two were purchased seperately, with the headboard being made for a queen instead of a full (or whatever is just below queen) bed, but there are holes drilled in it for both. My headboard had been propped up by my end tables (pushing it toward the wall) and a towel behind it (bunched up, pushing it into the room). As I moved out the end tables, I made a discovery.

A can of Dr. Pepper that had fallen behind one, some time in the no-longer-memorable past. It was like a hidden treasure. I got to drink a cool can of soda that has probably been on my floor for months. And not feel weird about it at all.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Roommate's Response to the State of the Union

Posted here unedited but for a couple grammatical corrections. He decided to write topically instead of stream-of-consciousness-ly.

The President began the speech with a memorial statement for Coretta Scott King, which was a good and noble sentiment especially considering the recent death of Rosa Parks and the recent acknowledgment of the Civil Rights Movements.

President Bush’s remarks about party cooperation and civility comes quite late from a President who has done nothing to reconcile one of the most divided Congresses in history, and has in election campaigns used some of the most harsh political attacks to gain political ground.

I do not believe that what President Bush means when he talks about isolation and protectionism what I mean or what many other people mean. Is it isolation to wish to build an international consensus before entering into a war that destabilizes an entire region of the world? If the U.S. acts without the international community's consent it is Imperialism. I would also point out that of the 122 democracies that President Bush mentioned only a handful are functioning well, and with a strong tradition of civil stability. Those democracies that came to the ideals of the rule of law themselves have done the best. Democracy is not grafted easly into soil that is hostile towards it. That said we have invaded Iraq and managed to incur only grumbles from the international community, so we must see it through. To leave Iraq before there is a government and military in place is not possible nor should it be seriously brought forth for discussion. Instead we must focus on not making policy mistakes such as these in the future. I believe that President Bush’s remarks to Iran went to that, and for that I am grateful. I do believe that to continue reforming and stabilizing Iraq we need to recruit old allies to help us.

President Bush seems to believe now that military commanders should be entrusted with decisions reguarding the military in Iraq. This is a far cry from the micro management that Donald Rumsfeld used when he threw out the Pentagon’s plans for invading Iraq especially as to the lists of which groups to activate and in what order. Despite my own feelings, I believe it is Congress's job to determine when we have met our objectives in Iraq because they are the ones that control the purse strings for the budget. This is as it should be. President Bush believes in Presidential power, and the Imperial Presidencies need powerful checks.

I wish that fallen soldiers and their families would not be used to generate applause, and by extension applause for military policies for governments.

I also wish that when members of the opposition see that they are on camera they would try to look polite instead of smiling as though they are suffering through some idiot. Hilary Clinton looks like Martha Stewart on crack when she smiles like that.

President Bush believes that our economy cannot be maintained without immigrant workers. Good! I am glad of the acknowledgment, and hope that we can allow them greater opportunities than to pick fruit for us. Also, I think that to believe that you cannot have completely secure borders. So to attempt to tighten up our borders against smugglers without excluding the workers we need too.

I think that urging Congress to act fiscally responsible when he spends a dime for every nickel he gets is a bit of a hypocrisy.

Wiretapping without a warrant violates search and seizure laws. Consulting Congress is nice, but you don’t need to consult with Congress you need a warrant. Even under the Patriot Act you need a warrant. Safety is important but the idea of what governmental officals could do with that power presents a threat of a different kind.

As regards education I think that to encourage math and science is not enough for an educational policy. The No Child Left Behind Act has not been a good initiative. We need to encourage a culture of education, erudition and excellence in all aspects of academics. We ultimately lose if we compete in the sciences, but create a culture without vestige of a culture.

I have to say it I belive in cloning research and that it is not the job of the government to legislate morality and to categorically dismiss stem cell research when some strains are legal seems to be a compromise to me.

My own comments will come in a comment, or two, or three, or possibly a subsequent post.

Things I Need to Remember

God is more than a cosmic matchmaker. Letting my frustrations there overly affect my opinion of Him is therefore not a great idea... but really easy to do.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Super Bowl

I had a pile of interesting things to say here about the big game yesterday. Well, not really. But I was going to say something to demonstrate that I had things to say other than the sole topic I've had for the last 2 months.

But as fortune would swing, that's all out the window. The Super Bowl is one of those occasions that you're supposed to spend with all your friends, and I did in a way. I ended up calling a guy I know who recently moved to Tahoe, and who I have not seen much of recently, to see if I could come up and hang out with him. I did, and a few other people came too. As it ended, it was three married couples, and Dave (who spent most of the time playing with the dogs). I had a standing invitation to a single guy's place here in town, who I knew to be inviting other people my age over. But I avoided it for the same reason I've been away from church the past few weeks.

It's been hard. The next week will be really hard. In the time when I was still thinking things might, just maybe, work out with her thought of things to do. Things which included going to this particular Super Bowl party. Things which included something (though I didn't know what) next Tuesday. I wanted to have ideas with which to follow up on successfully doing something together, so I did not fall into the trap where one thing goes well and then I don't call or talk to her for a month because I have no plans or am unsure how to proceed.

So to spend time I had hoped to be enjoying her company fleeing her presence is tough. But it saves me the akwardness of moping in public. That, I get to reserve for sitting alone in my apartment in the evenings. But at least I don't rain on someone else's parade. I'm sure when I'm social again that she'll be friendly, sweet, and just as uninterested as before. But I am not always good at telling apart "girl willing to acknowledge that I exist" and "girl who could be interested in me." I once spent 2 or 3 years bouncing between repeated rejections and becoming friends again, only to think that maybe this time, it will be different. I have to banish all thoughts of "maybe it will still work out" before I can be in a position to deceive myself.

Because I still wish in a corner of a broken heart that maybe everything will change. I still want to believe the lies I told myself, and would seize on any opportunity, no matter how convoluted, to do so. Forgetfulness, then, requires (1) she hooks up with someone; (2) I hook up with someone, or; (3) I have a serious change of heart (or any combination of the above). I want #3, pray for #3, ask others to pray for #3 for me, and work at it as far as I know how.. #1 is a devastating but effective way of choking off those thoughts, but even then it comes only slowly. #2... even if the opportunity were available, I don't consider myself ready to do that. To try to use one girl to forget another seems dehumanizing to both, and I'd like to believe I have more respect for girls than that. I try to be a gentleman, as best as I know how.

And let me just say that the officiating in that game was terrible. I know I probably could not do as good a job, but I judge them not compared to myself, but compared to their peers, as demonstrated in other games I have seen. Hence "I'd like to see you do better" isn't a vaild retort.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Small Joys In Life

Putting on socks fresh out of the dryer.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Feeling Better

Just wanted to make sure that not every post I put up here detailed the coming end of the world (or so it may have seemed). I do have good days and poor days, but life does go on. Have you ever been afraid to let go of something, even when you know you need to, because it has meant so much to you for so long that you almost feel... dishonest if you can drop it too easily? Maybe I'm just strange like that.

I've had piles of interesting thoughts recently (or at least, more than over the past couple months). But it seems I've been pretty busy, though I cannot remember over what.

One such thought, in brief. The song God Will Lift Your Head had a special place in my heart recently. I associated it with her, and hoped though I did not want to expressly say it, that it was a sort of sign. That may yet be the case, but not in the way I had hoped, but in the way I blogged about in the past.

But It caused me to think of the story of Joseph. Not as we often hear it ("When life sucks, remember that God is behind it and will make you second only to Pharoah"), but about the story of the cup-bearer and the baker. As I recall, they both had similar, yet different dreams that Joseph interpreted. One's head would be lifted up, meaning that he would be restored to his place of honor. The other's head would be lifted up... from his body! I remember thinking that the way Joseph revealed this seemed rather harsh - using the "good news" phrase early on, but with the dramatic "you're hosed" twist at the end.

God is always in control, but that in no way exempts us from the suckiness of life. Remember the Israelites languishing in slavery for 400 years. We see the triumph with Moses as "God heard their groaning, and remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the Israelites, and God had compassion."

It strikes me that the way this is written does not support the implication I always had - that it took God 400 years to notice their pleas. The way the book is written, it seems that way. The struggle is set up, the hero is put in place, and then God remembers and ZOOM!, everything is made better.

But the "God heard" passage is written as an aside: "During that long period of time..." It makes more sense, and is more in keeping with what I believe of God that He heard all the groanings. And was constantly reminded of His covenants with Abraham and family. And that He held back. To know that He heard tells us He was aware. To know that He remembered the covenants tells us that He cared. He knew, He cared, and He demurred.

Point: God hears and cares, even when generations come and go and He seems to be doing anything but. God's plans span the ages, and He is able to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Morning Update

Feeling kind of down today. Vivid dreams about predictable things last night. If you think of it, I'd appreciate any prayers you offer. Thanks,