Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Lock-in Live Blog (09-10)

7:29pm - Chris has been working for days to prepare for this and now the crowd is starting to arrive. He has a wonderfully organized army of volunteers and the whole schedule is carefully mapped out. Good job, Chris!

7:41pm - Here's the check-in staff. $10 per head; things start after 8:00. Thanks Jim & Pam, Paul & Claudia, and Vicki (and Dustin in the background).

8:03pm - Chris just gave basic rules and opening prayer. We're going to eat in a few minutes; the menu has barbecue pork, beef, ham, etc. It appears to be the best lock-in menu we've had yet. Thanks, Cherie!

8:07pm - The kids are funny; every year the first few hours they stand awkwardly in small clusters. It'll loosen up in a little while.

8:10pm - It looks like we have about 50 kids registered and about 20-25 adults helping.

8:24pm - The kids are eating now. It's good food! And more kids are trickling in. The worship team is getting ready; kids from camp are re-connecting. The adults look like they're having fun!

8:44pm - We're up to about 60 kids now, with a few more coming later. Generally at a lock-in, you want the kids the whole night, from start to finish. But at the same time, if we can only have your kids for part of the night, we'll take them!

8:57pm - The worship band is warming up. They've been working hard and now they have a guest bass guitarist, Phil.

9:40pm - Zach, the youth minister from Wallula, has everyone playing games. If you get everyone playing in one room, it gets crowded fast. Lots of fun, though!

10:16pm - Zach seems to have an endless supply of goofy games for these guys. There's been a lot of fun and laughing; this part reminds me especially of some of the fun stuff college camp teams do at church camp.

10:42pm - Worship began a few minutes ago. The band sounds great!

10:50pm - Our band tonight: Jessica and Dustin on vocals, with Dustin also on keyboard. Eric on lead guitar, Jason and David on rhythm guitar and Phil on bass guitar.

11:09pm - Our speaker tonight is Shane Wood from Ozark Christian College.

11:22pm - Wow. It's pretty much a rule that anybody from Ozark Christian College is an excellent public speaker. Shane is no exception; what a preacher!

11:55pm - Almost 2010! We finished worship and had an incredible message from Shane. The kids are milling about, talking and playing as we wait out the last few minutes.

12:01am - Happy New Year! Chris' shifts of volunteers are coming and going throughout the night. It's kind of neat as different church people keep showing up and joining in the fun. Now I'm off to play board games for awhile.

1:45am - So much for board games, most of us have been playing basketball and ultimate frisbee in the main room. Lots of kids are playing video games and ping pong as well. I'm a horrible sweaty mess, but hey, that's part of the fun of lock-in, right? Dodge ball is next!

3:39am - The faithful are still playing dodgeball. I can't believe I'm still hanging in there.

4:23am - After four hours of playing basketball and dodgeball, I have officially hit the wall. The kids are still doing well, scattered all over the building playing games and talking. I'll probably sign off here and get my things together and go home… I still have to work today.

My Daughter

Entertainment in 2009

Films & Television
  • Best recent films I saw in 2009: The best film I saw was probably Slumdog Millionaire (2008). It was more compelling than anything else, although Star Trek (2009) beat it in pure entertainment value. However, I really enjoyed District 9 (2009), The Prestige (2006), Aliens vs. Monsters (2009), Into the Storm (2009), Hear and Now (2008), Up (2009), Avatar (2009).
  • Best classic films I saw in 2009: Adam's Rib (1949), The Thin Man (1934), and Arsenic and Old Lace (1944). Classic movies are the great untapped resource of entertainment. My older boys watched Arsenic and liked it.
  • Best innovation to Home Video: Redbox. Super simple and convenient. Lots of free rental codes. One dollar per night, otherwise.
  • The worst film I saw in 2009: Age of Innocence (1993); perhaps I was in a sour mood that day but normally an Oscar-winning historical piece, Martin Scorsese, and Daniel Day-Lewis would capture my interest. Instead I was bored silly. Transformers 2 (2009) or G.I. Joe (2009) was a more entertaining sort of brain-deadness. Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2005) wasn't funny at all and made me feel sorry for finding Nemo's dad, Albert Brooks.
  • Recent films I wanted to see in 2009 but will have to rent in 2010: Ice Age 3, Night at the Museum 2, Public Enemies, The Informant, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 9, The Hurt Locker, Red Cliff, Coraline, Moon.
  • Films I didn't expect to see or like in 2009 but really did: Nim's Island (2008), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Run Fatboy Run (2007). Brad Pitt gave an incredible performance as Jesse James, so much better than Benjamin Button. Nim was just a good family show and Simon Pegg, well, it's Simon Pegg.
  • Best television show: "Survivor: Samoa." The last few seasons have been consistently excellent but this last season's evil genius, Russel, is perhaps the best player I've ever seen. Honorable mention: "Star Wars: the Clone Wars", "Mythbusters", "Dirty Jobs", and "the Office."
  • Best Canadian TV show: Thanks to WGN and YouTube we watched 107 episodes of "Corner Gas" this year. That said, a lot of sci-fi gets made in Vancouver, so maybe Stargate or something should go here.
  • Worst Anticlimax on TV: the final episodes of "Battlestar Galactica." Good drama and great sci-fi can be derailed by poor show-planning. You never want an ending that requires selective re-invention of the show's characters and mythos.

Books, Games, & Miscellaneous
  • Best fictional book I read in 2009: Watchmen (Alan Moore, 1986), and The Noticer (Andy Andrews, 2009). I also read and re-read The Shack (Wm. Paul Young, 2007) but I'm still not sure how I feel about that one.
  • Best non-fiction book I read in 2009: The Undertaking (Thomas Lynch, 1997). How could you not like a book about death, written by a poet/funeral director? I also liked Heaven (Randy Alcorn, 2004), The Forgotten Man (Amity Shlaes, 2008), and Legacy of Ashes (Tim Weiner, 2007).
  • Books I wanted to read in 2009 but will have to read in 2010: Liberty and Tyranny (Mark Levin, 2009) and An Appeal to Reason, (Nigel Lawson, 2009). That and the growing stack of 25 or 30 books that continue to tower over me.
  • Best board games I played in 2009: Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride. Catan has more depth while Ticket is more accessible and quicker to play.
  • Best video game I played in 2009: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006). Zelda games are almost always the best crafted, well-balanced games out there. I also liked Punch Out Wii, Mario Kart Wii, and Super Mario Bros Wii, largely for their nostalgic factor.
  • Best new Gaming Platform: My iPhone. I really enjoyed "Eliminate" and "I Dig It" but for easy mindless fun, I must of played 1000 hours (five minutes at a time) of "Flood-It!"
  • New favorite restaurant in 2009: bd's Mongolian Barbeque in Overland Park. Perhaps the only place I could go to everyday and not eat the same thing.

What did my kids do for entertainment in 2009? They played all of the Lego games on the Wii and, late in the year, Brennan and Tanner picked up the Nintendo DS. Brennan began to show interest in RPG games and longer puzzle solving games. Elijah came into his own on the Wii, playing a lot of Warioland Shake-it and other platformer-type games. They all were desperate to play the Rock Band games, but the cost and some of the content prevented us from investing in it.

My older boys loved the television show Star Wars: the Clone Wars. They're also fans of idiot shows like Sponge Bob and Chowder, etc. They watch these shows to undo the gains from homeschooling.

Here is last year's list: Entertainment 2008

Cats Don't Text

Our new kitty, Mellie, isn't a big fan of Shannon's iPhone. It's a terrible distraction from petting and stroking Mellie, you see.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Random Thoughts 12/29/09

  • This is NOT the final days of the decade!!! The decade will end on December 31, 2010 and the next decade will begin on January 1, 2011. Decades, centuries, and millennia begin with year 1, not 0, because there was no year "0" to start with. Think about it, when you count on your fingers, do you start with 0 and end with "finger number 9" or do you start with 1 and end with 10?
  • Bible reading plans online (especially for you iPhone users) here.
  • Read humorist Dave Barry here. [Thanks, Mike]
  • Why does no one America care that Iranians are on the streets protesting (and dying) for democracy? We're steadily forfeiting our rights and freedoms, perhaps we'll soon pass them going the other way.
  • Please come to our youth lock-in on New Year's Eve. We just got word that one of the larger groups canceled on us, so there's plenty of room and plenty of fun!
  • My family is love with our new kitty, Mellie. She's a sweetheart and healthy too!

Unanimous No. 1

So KU is no longer the unanimous number one ranked team in the nation in the ESPN/USA Today Coach's Poll, as Texas was given a few votes also.

So what. Both teams are undefeated (along with a few others like Kentucky and Syracuse); I would prefer not to be in the number one spot with the target on my team's back. Let Texas or Kentucky be number one in the polls; they're probably playing better right now anyway. I just want to see KU win games, beat Mizzou, and make another Final Four.

Who cares what they're ranked on December?



Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Xmas

Merry Xmas, everyone!

Remember, there's no "X" in Xmas, rather a Greek letter "chi" (say the word "key" while hissing like a cat).

The title "Christ" is spelled with a "ch" in English because the Greek word starts with "chi". The "chi" is perfectly acceptable abbreviation for Christ.

Xmas should not even be pronounced "ex-mas," but "Christmas."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Funny Pet Names, Part 2

With the unfortunate loss of our little kitty, Leukas, we found ourselves looking for a new cat and a new pet name.

Lo and behold, I came home from work last night and a little black-and-white long-haired kitty was running through my living room. Shannon and Tanner had found a replacement kitty, about the same age and size as Leukas but with much more energy. This kitten is a female and every bit as friendly.

This one's name is Mellie Snowflake, from the Greek melas meaning dark or black. So in a way, this cat's name means black and white (Tanner added the "Snowflake" part).

The Sports Machine Mourns

George Michael died today at 70 from leukemia. He was famous for his sports highlight show, "George Michael's Sports Machine," which I watched faithfully in the late '80's and early '90's, before I had ESPN.

The show ended last year due to budget cuts.

More on the Boeing 787

Here's more great info on the remarkable Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I don't fly much anymore, but something like the 787 has me salivating for the romantic days of yore, when jet-travel was something really special and not so much like being herded into a cattle car.

Here's a great article, with pictures, of the radical new interior.

Excellent background and technical geekery in this short article.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Poor Little Kitty

Tanner's kitty died today, probably of a congenital defect. We had him 10 days.




Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good Camo For Where You Are

…not the perfect camouflage for where you'd like to be.

The video interview with this British Army spokesman is about the best explanation for what modern "universal" camouflage schemes are actually meant to do. I thought this squaddie really spells it out: the perfect camouflage for one spot is likely to stick out everywhere else. So the goal isn't to have one uniform that's the best in one spot but a uniform that's not dangerously bad in any spot.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thin Man Marathon

I was introduced just this year to the Thin Man series of movies, consisting of six films from the 1930's and 40's.

On December 31 and January 1, there will be a Thin Man marathon on Turner Classic Movies that runs through the night. I'll be at a church lock-in, but it's a great opportunity to get all the films on your DVR, in order.

7:00pm - The Thin Man (1934)
8:45pm - After the Thin Man (1936)
10:45pm - Another Thin Man (1939)
12:45am - Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
2:30am - The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
4:15am - Song of the Thin Man (1947)

You could even have your own lock-in, watching almost 12 hours of Thin Man non-stop… well, perhaps that would be a bit much.

By the way, have I mentioned how much I like the free IMDB iPhone app? It's good stuff for cinephiles.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tanner's Birthday and Funny Pet Names

Tanner, my tender-hearted second son, is turning 8 today. That sweet little boy opened a couple of presents early this morning but his main present was Leukas, the Siamese kitten we picked up a week ago. Leukas (derived from the Greek word for white) sleeps with Tanner every night and is carried by him all day. He loves that kitty.

As for the goofy pet names, I name all of our pets in Greek (or loosely based on Greek).

Dogs:
Sophie - "wisdom"
Maury - derived from moros, meaning "foolishness"
These names turned out to be ironic because Maury is the smart one and Sophie is the idiot beagle.

Cats:
Kala - from the Greek for "beautiful"
Leukas - derived from leuk, meaning "white"
Tanner helped with the Leuk's full name: Leukas Snowflake Maxwell III

Piranha:
Thanatos - "death"
Dunatos - "power"
Chiliarch - "leader of 1000"
Sarcophagus - "flesh eater"
We sold the fish when we moved to KC. Someday though I'm going to have a huge tank of piranha again, maybe in my office.

Stained Glass

The local hospital had some new stained glass installed. I expected it to be more religious (since the hospital is a Catholic hospital and all), but the theme appears to be pretty generic: a heart, an anchor, a rod of Asclepius*, and a dove. The dove however could possibly represent the Holy Spirit, so I'll go with that. Hey it's art, I'm being subjective.



*Now that I think about it the rod of Asclepius might have been the two-snake, winged staff of Caduceus. I'll have to look the next time I'm there. The two have been confused for so long that they're used interchangeably now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Random Thoughts 12/15/09

  • KC-based Applebee's opened their 2,000th restaurant this week. For that kind of restaurant (fancy dining for college students), this is the largest chain in the world. And it's expected to grow even more, now that Applebee's is owned by IHOP.
  • Favorite App of the Week: Bump. I haven't used Bump a whole lot, but it's been updated and I used it today to pass a bunch of contacts from my phone to Chris C.'s phone. Worked great and was fast too!
  • Our church website got relaunched. It looks great! Thanks, David, for all your hard work.
  • Second Favorite App of the Week: IMDB. I'm a hopeless movie-nut and my wife and I are always pausing the TV to ask, "what's that actor's name?" or "what other movie was she in?" Now there's a really good app for that.
  • Geek alert: Avatar is released in theaters on Friday, "Chuck" begins on January 10 with three hours in two days, and both "V" and "Stargate: Universe" have had more episodes ordered, despite low ratings for both.
  • Do you care about the Golden Globes? Nah, me neither. But here are the nominees.

The 787 Takes Flight!

The super-advanced Boeing 787 Dreamliner had its first flight today. For aviation nuts, this is very cool, as the 787 is an innovative aircraft both inside and out.

Lots of pics and videos here, at the official website. More info here too.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Preview of "Entertainment in 2009"

At the end of this month, I'll release my annual review of entertainment for the year, or more specifically, my experience this year in what I found entertaining and what I thought was perfectly horrible.

2009 saw me reading a lot more books but playing fewer video games (I had entire months where I just didn't have the time). I played more board games this year than at any point in my life, but less Texas Hold 'Em than in recent years.

My regular dose of TV news and commentary was lessened somewhat but watched more Canadian produced entertainment than ever before. My dwindling list of classic movies was also neglected. After seeing dozens of the best movies ever made, it gets harder and harder to find the time to see the second-best offerings.

So what was my favorite movie of the year? I saw Up and Star Trek but I haven't seen Avatar, yet, so the jury is still out until December 31.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Move the Jags to LA

The Jacksonville Jaguars are 7-5 but can't sell out their own stadium. This week they play in-state rival, Miami, with playoff implications (they'd be in if the playoffs started now), which you'd think would generate some interest… but the Jags will once again be blacked-out on local television due to a partly empty stadium.

The Jags have seemed under-supported in the Jacksonville area for years, so maybe the right thing is to move them to LA (the largest television market without an NFL team).

This would possibly lesson the felt need by the NFL to expand beyond the 32-team-sweet-spot they have now. My personal opinion is that a 33+ team NFL would ruin its schedule, balance, and water down the talent too much. I'd much rather see existing teams relocate.

If the idea of the "Los Angeles Jaguars" doesn't sit well with you, consider this: It would make economic sense to reshuffle the AFC. You take the new LA Jags and put them in the AFC West with San Diego, Oakland, and Denver. Then you take the eastern-most AFC West team, the Kansas City Chiefs, and put them in the AFC South with Indianapolis, Tennessee, and Houston. The savings in travel costs alone ought to tempt the NFL.

This would mean, however, that the Chiefs would only play their old rivals once every 1 to 3 years, instead of twice a year. Chiefs-Broncos games and Chiefs-Raiders games are big deals around here, but if the Chiefs had been playing Peyton Manning twice a year for the last 10 years, that would be a bigger deal too.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obama Sounding Like Someone I Would Vote For

Not only was I terribly impressed by our President giving a speech that sounded like it was written by Ronald Reagan, alpha-male tough and proud of America, but this speech must be tweaking my liberal friends to near apoplexy (they'll just ignore it instead).

By the way, I'm doing here what many liberals could NEVER do, praise the President from the opposite party.

"Yes, terrible wars have been fought, and atrocities committed. But there has been no Third World War. The Cold War ended with jubilant crowds dismantling a wall. Commerce has stitched much of the world together. Billions have been lifted from poverty. The ideals of liberty and self-determination, equality and the rule of law have haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past, and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud."

(…)

"We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified."

(…)

"But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason."

(…)

"But the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions -- not just treaties and declarations -- that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest -- because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity."

Tomorrow's Space Tourism

This is Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Two, unveiled this week and flight-testing next year. The future is now.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Happy Xmas!

I just heard Chip Davis of Mannheim Steamroller do a radio spot giving an excellent history of the term "Xmas."

Wonderful, accurate, historical, excellent!!!

"Xmas," as a legitimate abbreviation of Christmas, is good, orthodox, historical, and a lot older than most modern Christmas traditions. I go on a crusade every year against the supposed traditionalists who think that Xmas is X-ing out Christ. Little do they know that the original Greek spelling of Christ (and the reason it starts with a ch- and not a k-) starts with a Greek chi, which looks like an English X.

Check that: some folks receive my explanation and just don't care. They still don't like it and they were happier before I told them.

Personally, I often use X, Xmas, Xn, Xnty, etc. when I teach (on papers and whiteboards and such).

College Bowls

I'm not a close follower of college football, but let me get this straight…

On the morning of January 8 we'll all wake up, college football will be over and there will be at least two, maybe three, undefeated teams?

How is that a solution? We could have three of the top six teams in the country go undefeated, but one of them will be declared a "champion"? Based on what? Without a playoff, you'll never know who really was best (Alabama).

That said, the congress is working on legislation that would force the NCAA to implement a playoff system. This would be the worst possible way to get a good thing. The NCAA just needs to apply it's experience with college basketball to what they already do with smaller football schools (which have playoffs). They also need the movers and shakers to be convinced that there is still good money in a new system.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Random Thoughts 12/8/09

  • Yesterday was the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Somehow, in spite of 9/11, most of us still don't grasp what that really means: there are people out there who want us dead. There's a famous quote from a sailor who was under attack that day. He was told that the planes that were attacking Pearl Harbor were Japanese, to which he replied, "I didn't even know they were sore at us!" This is always the case; how does this danger not compute in the collective mind of this country?
  • I haven't noticed too many Tiger Woods commercials lately… I wonder what happened? Actually, have you seen the SNL skit?
  • We finally bought Shannon a new computer and she loves it. She spends all her spare time putting together videos and sorting thousands of family photos. Surprisingly, after transferring her data and setting things up, I'm not geeking out on the new machine like I thought I would. On the one hand, I'm awful busy; on the other hand it's her computer and I have my laptop.
  • There will be a high temp of 15º tomorrow. Those poor, sweaty polar bears should move to Kansas.
  • I really enjoy wrapping Christmas presents for my kids. We're already done Christmas shopping and by tonight, all the presents will be wrapped and under the tree. One of the kids from church was over the other day and asked me, "Santa already came?" This one has, I suppose.
  • Burt Rutan's sub-orbital spacecraft is getting closer and closer to opening for business. Just $200,000 and you can be launched, temporarily, into space. That's pretty incredible if you think about it.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Thunderbird Down

I know this Thunderbirds accident happened a few years back, but I'd never seen this video review of the accident before.

It's a remarkable video with footage both inside and outside of the F-16, during the pilot's ejection and the subsequent crash. A full explanation of what happened is given by the narrator.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Why Scientists Lie…

I could not have written this any better myself. Hats off to Paul Shlichta.

Why do scientists lie?
Profit: Sometimes there's money in it -- a lot of money. This may be why, according to Fanelli's report, "surveys conducted among clinical, medical and pharmacological researchers appeared to yield higher rates of misconduct than surveys in other fields".
Laziness and ease of perpetration: It's so much easier to just make up data than to perform all those tedious measurements. And in most cases, no one is going to question you about it.
Career pressure: This is the most common reason. The data isn't going your way and you may fail to get your thesis accepted, or not get tenure, or miss a promotion, or lose your grant or your job.
Pride: Scientists are as hungry for praise and prestige as other mortals. And no one likes to be forced to admit he's wrong. So, when someone contradicts your earlier work, you may be willing to cut a few corners to defend yourself, or to prevent your opponent's paper from being published.
Ideology: Many feel that if a cause is worth dying for, it's worth lying for. As we shall consider below, liberal intellectuals are particularly susceptible to this weakness.


How is it justified?
1. Intellectual liberals believe that human beings are fundamentally good and that they are constantly evolving into something better. Moreover, they believe that intellectuals (i.e., themselves) are the best and wisest of humans and therefore the predestined leaders of mankind.
2. They also tend to believe that there are simple and drastic solutions to all of the world's problems. These solutions generally entail the creation of an all-powerful world government, staffed mainly with intellectuals.
3. Therefore, they tend to unquestioningly follow a charismatic leader who proposes sweeping reforms that will lead to a better world, with the intellectuals themselves in line for key positions.
4. They also tend to become bigots, in the Chestertonian sense of being unable to imagine any sane and honest person disagreeing with them. Therefore, all their opponents must be fools or liars. Moreover, the public -- the "common man" -- is a vast mob of idiots who must be manipulated for their own good.
5. Therefore, bending the truth a little so as to make it more blatantly obvious to the limited mentality of the public, or silencing the wrongheaded opposition so as not to confuse the simpleminded public, or crying "wolf" about a supposedly dire emergency so as to galvanize the lethargic public into immediate drastic action, are legitimate and even noble tactics.

Read the whole article here.

To contrast and compare, Religious leaders are in very much the same position. In fact, you can almost insert "theologian" for "scientist" in the article and it would still make sense.

The difference for me, is that I believe that I'm naturally a sinner. Because I am prone to corruption (like everybody else), I need checks and balances to prevent my corruption. If my power and influence was unchecked and unaccountable, I'd soon be going down the exact same road.

Random Thoughts 12/2/09

  • If you think that a scientist is an impartial, unbiased individual who couldn't possibly tell the public anything other than the plain truth. READ THIS ARTICLE: "Why Scientists Lie…". I'll blog separately on that in a moment…
  • Yes, AT&T is the worst major cell phone privider… and there's proof. But I still love my iPhone. Now the rumors are that Verizon won't have an iPhone until as late as 2012. If there were competition between providers for the iPhone customers, AT&T's service would have to improve (or they'd lose all their business).
  • The home computer we were desperate to get last summer will finally arrive soon. We had the money saved but the the washer and dryer went kaput, so the new computer went on hold. Now we're back at the point that we can finally get that new iMac and Shannon and I are really excited!
  • I decided to wear my lunch yesterday. I was sitting in my office and with a bowl of soup that was too hot to eat, when suddenly… AHHH!!! I somehow dumped it right in my lap!!! What a miserable mess.
  • The President does not want to win in Afghanistan, he wants to leave as soon as possible without upsetting too many people. It's embarrassing how "beta male" he is, trying to make everybody happy and get everybody to like him. Guess what, it's not working.
  • We had a baptism last night at church, just a small family affair. It was nice. I hope that folks understand that there is no law that requires all baptisms to be performed in front of a crowd of hundreds on Sunday mornings, only.
  • I sure like what I've seen about college football player Tim Tebow. I hope he gets a chance in the NFL (he's doesn't fit the mold perfectly of a pocket passer QB).

My Handsome Children

At Union Station today with their mother…




Elijah (5), Graham (3), Brennan (9), Anneliese (9 mos), and Tanner (almost 8).

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

To Hear or Not to Hear

The other night we watched the documentary "Hear and Now" (2008) about the 65-year-old couple, both deaf since birth, that get cochlear implants.

In a word: Wow! It's a real tear jerker and a great couple's movie.



Monday, November 30, 2009

Random Thoughts 11/30/09

  • Ugh, November was a hard month to blog. In fact it was my lowest output for a month… ever. Sorry about that.
  • It turns out that you can mix oil and water.
  • By the way, climate change happens, with or without us. Don't be so arrogant as to think we can can make a dent one way or another.
  • That said, pick up your trash, litter bug!
  • I'm reading the book, Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner, about the history of the CIA. Oh. My. Word. You've got to be kidding. Thousands of people were killed due to CIA mistakes in the first few years of the CIA with virtually no successes whatsoever. Other countries stole our secrets and fed us false information at will. It was amateur hour, with deadly consequences… for years. It's a wonder we survived that kind of incompetence.
  • I avoided the Black Friday lines. I feel like I find pretty good prices online, so why get out at 4am to go stand in line?
  • Though I'm not a big fan of standing in line at the store, I love to wrap Christmas presents for my kids. I wrap them and number them and then keep a master list, detailing which present goes to which kid. They don't know which present belongs to whom, hopefully preventing snooping.

Please Stop Bowing

From Gregg Easterbrook last week:

Mr. President -- Americans Don't Bow to Royalty!
The right-wing wing-nut faction is blasting Barack Obama for bowing to His Imperial Majesty the Emperor. That's how you are supposed to address the guy; you are not supposed to speak his name, Akihito. The wing-nuts are correct in this case: Americans, do not bow before royalty! That has pretty much been our policy for the past 233 years. Only the Japanese can say why Japan should still have a royal figurehead, much less with the goofy title "emperor." The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden and other nations can say why figurehead royalty still exists. But Americans don't bow to aristocrats. Our national spirit rejects the legitimacy of inherited positions.

Local custom, you say? [The author] does not much like Dick Cheney, but when he met Akihito in 2007, they shook hands. When Norman Schwarzkopf received an honorary knighthood in 1991, he said he would do so only if he were not required to kneel, because Americans do not prostrate themselves before royalty, even the royalty of good friends. Elizabeth II gave Schwarzkopf a box containing emblems of his knighthood, then they shook hands. If Akihito had bowed back to Obama, maybe that would have been OK as local custom. (You take turns bowing in Japanese culture.) If Obama had bowed to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the democratically elected leader of Japan, and Hatoyama had bowed back, that would have been fine -- Hatoyama represents the free choice of his people. For the democratically elected leader of the United States to humble himself before a royal who acquired his wealth and status entirely by accident of birth, while the "emperor" looks on smiling, is outlandish.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Glutton for Punishment

2:20pm - Why am I sitting here in my office, listening to the KU-MU football game? Really, what do I expect to happen this year?

Good luck, Tigers, you'll probably not need it this year.

3:20pm - MU 3, KU 14

Wait a second here…

4:20pm - MU 13, KU 21 at the half. Hmmm…

5:40pm - Tied at 36-36 in the 4th quarter. Now I wish I'd watched the game.

6:20pm - Bad guys win, 41-39. Wow. KU football is still horrible, but what an exciting game to listen to.

My Beautiful Family














Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Splash of Color

Here's a photo our church that I took and retouched on my iPhone. I'm so impressed with the video and stills that the phone can take and I'm especially impressed with the computing power the iPhone has.


Monday, November 23, 2009

104,000 Hits

Whoa, I missed that one. I guess we passed 104,000 hits a few days ago. Oops.

For some time now, I've been getting 1,000 hits every 10-12 days. Not a lot, but good for just family and friends. If the pace picked up, I'd only post a milestone every five thousand or ten thousand, or more.

Of course, the key to increased traffic is increasing the content and keeping it regular. And I've not done too well with that lately (darn you, Facebook, and your easy status updates!).

Thanks for Participating, Here's Your T-Shirt

I'm Rep. Dennis Moore's (D) new biggest fan!

Now let's see if he actually moves back home.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Evidence of Altic Women

Found near the church office…




Random Thoughts 11/19/09

  • Al Gore, who is making money hand over fist as government money is flowing to "green" companies in which he's invested, is still and idiot… and a liar. His latest book has some funny photoshop work, including some absolute impossibilities (hurricanes on the equator, islands with mountain ranges under water, etc.). Dear reader, please don't tell me that you think global warming is still happening or that it was man-made. Man-made global warming is quickly reaching flat-earth levels of ignorance. Don't be stupid.
  • I was in line at the post office for about 45 minutes the other day. Just think, someday these bureaucratic efficiencies can be applied to the already-slow doctor's office. Yay!
  • Intelligent, sophisticated women who like Sarah Palin don't really exist, do they?
  • Did I mention that man-made global warming is a hoax? It's just an excuse to implement government control of everything. Think about it. If the government runs health care (everything in your body) and passes climate change legislation (everything outside your body), in what area of your life can they not interfere? What you eat? What you drive? Whether your lights are on in your home or not? How big your TV is? Where you work or live? So much for the "land of the free."
  • HBO's companion series to "Band of Brothers," which is called "The Pacific," will air in March 2010. If it's half as good as the first miniseries, it will be worth watching. I've never paid to have HBO before, but just maybe…
  • If the terrorists go on trial in New York and are acquitted, but the Obama administration has no intention of then releasing them… then what's the point? If guilty, this is just a show trial. If innocent, the trial and verdict will be ignored. So the terrorists' fates are already sealed and a trial changes nothing – except that all of our secrets get revealed and our operatives get scrutinized. Wait… maybe that's the point.
  • Jesse Jackson says "you can't vote against health care and call yourself a black man." Really?! I know I don't understand (being a white guy and all) but I would be humiliated if someone suggested that my skin color dictated my political views. I have a brain and can come up with my own conclusions, thank you very much.

Thank You

Our lovely church family has outdone itself again. In the midst of very difficult economic times, our church gave us (Chris and me) very generous Pastor Appreciation gifts last night.

Considering the circumstances, I was totally okay with a handful of McDonald's coupons. That would be reasonable in a time when most families are really struggling. In fact, I was content to have already received my gift in July with my rock, which some of the church guys brought from Winchester to my house in Piper.

But our church family has showered us with cards and gifts, giving sacrificially to show their love for us. I was speechless, emotional, and greatly endeared to everyone last night. So…

Thank you. Thank you for your commitment to us and to the Lord's church. Words will never fully express how much this church family means to me. I thank God for how irreplaceable you are in my heart.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Jayhawk Thoughts 11/18/09

  • Kansas basketball is great. Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. And this year, it looks really good.
  • I had Dustin over last night to watch the KU-Memphis game. It was such a slow a game, we both ended up playing our on our iPhones.
  • I'm waiting for southpaw phenom freshman Xavier Henry to pull that line from the sword fight in Princess Bride: "Why are you smiling?" "Because I know something you don't know." "What is that?" "I am not left-handed!"
  • I have a long standing rule to never, ever, ever agree with Jason Whitlock, but I think he's right about KU football coach Mark Mangino. If Mangino gets sacked, I hope he does something drastic to lose about 200 pounds. His family (and his career) will appreciate it.
  • Remember the heady days of KU's 5-0 football team? Dreams of the Heisman trophy, topping the Big XII North and a bowl game danced in our heads… that was mid-October. Less than 35 days ago.

Happy 30th Birthday, Dustin

Happy birthday to my little brother, who turns 30 today.

Now… what would Dustin want for his birthday? Hmmm…

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's the Economy, Stupid

From the American Thinker blog:

Unemployment rate in December 2006 (last month of Republicans controlling both houses of Congress): 4.4%.

Unemployment in October 2009 (after 34 months of Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, and three minimum wage increases in those 33 months): 10.2%.


And from Reuters: 12 Reasons Unemployment will be 12 percent.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random Thoughts 11/11/09

  • If I had the time, I'd go over the National World War 1 Museum today on Veteran's Day. The son of Sgt. Alvin York and the daughter of Gary Cooper are speaking at 1pm and Cooper's Oscar for portraying York will be on temporary display.
  • Does the homicide rate correspond to the number of executions? Look here
  • Here's a great analogy for how government should work… if it were a chess tournament.
  • A new record has been set for the youngest World Series of Poker winner ever (beating last year's record). The new champion is Joe Cada, a barely-21-year-old from Michigan. He reward is $8.5 million in prize money. Phil Ivey finished 7th for $1.4 million.
  • Brennan and Tanner are new recipients of Nintendo DS hand-held game systems. They love them!
  • I've been enjoying a first-person shooter on the iPhone called "Eliminate." It's a lot of fun. Dustin and I play each other in quick little 3-minute games over the internet. If you're playing it, look me up!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Random Thoughts 11/10/09

  • I'm slowly losing touch with the games my kids play. I thought that as a video game-playing young adult that I would totally be in touch with whatever toys my children would play or TV shows they would watch. So much for that. Gormiti? Bakugan? Inuyasha? What?! I'm stunned at how out of touch I am already.
  • Back trouble again. My back went out Monday afternoon during my day off and it's been hurting ever since, in spite of an emergency trip to the chiropractor.
  • Speaking of my sore back, it kept me out of playing volleyball again. I've missed for meetings and my severely sprained ankle. Now I've missed tonight for my back and next week's final games for a church camp board meeting. Out of a dozen or more matches, I've only played twice (not counting the game where I sprained my ankle after 5 minutes).
  • KU (basketball) looks awesome!!!
  • I'm so glad Larry Johnson is no longer a Chief. What a malcontent. If only they had moved him out three years ago…

Realistic Army Video Game


Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks

The Intolerable Mac Monks

Here's a great article from the perspective of a Windows user on how much he hates Mac users.

That's hilarious!

Warning, it's a little bit crude at points. Thanks, Jessica for the heads up!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Men's Retreat '09

I'm leaving today to go to camp. I know that seems like more of a summer thing, but the men's retreat is this weekend and there's some serous hand golf to be played.

Random Men's Retreat Thoughts:
  • Is "retreat" really the best word to use? Especially as an encouragement for men to stand boldly for their convictions?
  • This is the first year in a few years that I'm not running the retreat. That feels weird.
  • I hate sleeping at camp.
  • I hate listening to other men sleep at camp.
  • Hand Golf: 18 holes of golf played by throwing a softball underhanded on a course of 18 buckets. I'll post some pictures.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

My Mouse is No More

My wireless mouse died. I bought this great little Logitech mouse 2 or 3 years ago for my laptop and it's worked fantastically, until just recently.

Lately it began to act out, double and triple-clicking erratically. The glitch had worsened to the point I couldn't use it anymore. Fortunately, a mouse isn't really an essential piece of equipment when the laptop has a trackpad.

Naturally, I took the thing apart; it was held together by only four tiny screws. Interesting… and a little disgusting. The track wheel assembly was coated in a nasty greasy residue, presumably from my greasy fingers. No more barbecue ribs while surfing the net for me!

Ewww…

Besides, I'm kind of eying the new mouse available from Apple. It's completely enclosed with no moving parts, a far cry from the nastiness-collecting things we've had in the past. Hmmm…

103,000 Hits

Just another mile marker.

Thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Random Thoughts 11/3/09

  • I've never watched the show but it's good news for television fans. "Southland," a big-network cop drama, got canceled but then picked up by basic cable's TNT. Increasingly high quality shows are being produced by "small" cable networks in recent years (such as SciFi's "Battlestar Galactica" or AMC's "Mad Man"). These smaller cable networks have lower expectations and narrower audiences that especially favor genre television shows; good news especially for science fiction fans.
  • Check your receipts. I caught a huge discrepancy at Walmart (in automotive) today, and after getting two managers involved, saved myself nearly $40.
  • Speaking of Walmart, I think I got hosed, even after my discount. Oh, well; I won't fret; God takes care of me. Psalm 37:1-3
  • 108 new bureaucracies in the Health Reform Bill. You've got to be kidding. I mean really, we're going to spend an extra trillion-point-two and we're already bankrupt. Really?!
  • I've been watching the governor races in Virginia and New Jersey. It looks like a win for in both states. Yay GOP. There's an argument out there that the U.S. House would change hands if that vote were taken today. The conservatives have had a great day.
  • This Monday's episode of "Heroes" was the best episode they've had in two seasons. Hands down.
  • I didn't play volleyball again. This is three weeks since my sprained ankle, and it still hurts a lot. No more bruising or limp, but it feels weak and and I have sharp pains at times. Grrrr… I'm getting old.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween 2009



We took the family up to Mom and Dad's in Platte City to let the kids go trick-or-treating. Brennan and Elijah (above) were ready to go, each in the own way: Brennan (9) was ready for duty, while Eli (5) was just ready for candy. I don't know how they both ended up in Star Wars garb, but Darth Vader doesn't seem as suited to Eli as it once did. He loves the costume but he's not the angry little toddler that he used to be.

Tanner
(almost 8), the sweetest little boy on Earth, was missing his cat mask, which would have perfectly completed his Kitty-Ninja costume. He watches way too many Japanese cartoons!

Graham
, the pirate, was his usual comedic self. That kid has a better sense of what is funny to other people (at three years old) than most people. He's the wittiest of the bunch.

The boys did so well, saying thank you and generally making out like bandits. They love going with their cousins and we sure enjoyed being with family as well.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Worst Bag of Skittles Ever

Trick-or-treating tonight, the boys picked up a bag of Skittle. That's right, an unopened package containing exactly one, lonely Skittle.




Epic Skittle fail at the factory that day. Shame, really.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Sleepy Little Girl

Anneliese didn't want to go to bed tonight. She thinks: I'll cry until mom gets me and then I'll snuggle and be coy.

Like that would ever work.








Random Thoughts 10/29/09

  • My children are precious. For Halloween (first dress up was last night at church) Brennan was a Star Wars clone trooper, Tanner was a ninja-cat of his own design, Eli was Darth Vader, Graham was a pirate, and Anneliese was a chicken. Oh, the cuteness never ends.
  • Watch Jonathan Ive talk about designing Apple products, like MacBook pros and iPhones. He admits that it is "a little obsessive" but it's still kind of cool.
  • Two long clips from Glenn Beck's Monday show: part 1 and part 2. This monologue is especially good, about the "me generation" and the direction our country is going. If you don't watch Glenn Beck, this would be a good introduction. This is Beck at his best, especially toward the end. I watched this on my DVR Tuesday, rewound it, and watched it again.
  • Do you technically "rewind" on DVRs, YouTube, and iPods? What else do you call backing up the video, the opposite of fast forward?
  • Did you see the Ares I rocket launch by NASA yesterday? It was actually a prototype of the Ares I, but still a really big rocket nevertheless. I'm not sold on the idea that we need to spend the time and money going back to the moon or even to Mars, which is only marginally feasible with little or nothing to gain from it. But the little boy in me loves to see a good rocket launch. And something needs to replace the Space Shuttle, sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our New Walmart

The new KCK Walmart opened today across from the Legends. Yay!




It's huge!



The layout is totally different too. The pharmacy is in the middle of the store, books in back, and the grocery layout is unconventional. But it's huge and new!



Monday, October 26, 2009

Nine Jayhawks Gone Pro

Nice rundown of here of the nine former Jayhawks that are in the NBA. The KU-gone-pro players are:

Darrell Arthur, Memphis Grizzlies
Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat
Nick Collison, Oklahoma City Thunder
Drew Gooden, Dallas Mavericks
Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls
Darnell Jackson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
Brandon Rush, Indiana Pacers
Julian Wright, New Orleans Hornets

Here's a rundown on NBA uniforms this year, if you're interested.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random Thoughts 10/23/09

  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
  • I'm sure there is some kind of commentary that should be made about American consumerism or perhaps the potential crazy-good jenga-skills of this Wal-Mart shopper, but in the end I'm just glad this was NOT my wife's cart.
  • God bless those believers out there who can't tolerate anything but a King James Version, but surely this is based on ignorance and misinformation. If one would only read the preface to the King James Version, you'd see that they had the same goals and suffered the same criticisms as modern translators. But for lack of knowing this, sprinkled with a bit of egocentric traditionalism, people think any other translation of the Bible must be from Satan! Including this guy, a North Carolina pastor who is going to burn (non-KJV) Bibles on Halloween. Wow, that's sad.
  • Old fashioned newspapers are dying… fast.
  • Anyone out there upgrade to Windows 7 yet? How's that working for you?
  • Have you ever looked to see if the unemployment rate goes up or down depending which party controls the Senate? I have now
  • The number of Americans who believe in global warming is down to 57% from 77% in 2006. The number who think it is man-made is down to 36%. Way to go, folks! Don't be suckered in my non-scientific scare-mongering! This is going to look flat-Earth-foolish in a few years. Be green for stewardship and conservation reasons; we're not big enough to change the climate. It changes just fine without us.
  • If you don't like post-season baseball umpiring, blame the union?
  • Why can't President Obama just make a decision already? The preceding link links to the brilliant clarity of one Victor Davis Hanson.
  • Here's a picture of the church building this week. I call it WCCC in Autumn.

Good Luck With That

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So Now You Have an iPhone

With App Store closing in on 100,000 apps for your iPhone, how do you know what apps to put on it? Here's a short guide based on my experience.

*requires iPhone 3Gs for certain functions

• FREE APPS:
App Miner - apps go on sale periodically and I've gotten several at reduced prices thanks to this app that tracks the prices of the other apps.
Facebook - excellent app for Facebook users.
Dictionary - from dictionary.com; an excellent resource.
Bible - the best free Bible, by pulling dozens of translations from online. Requires internet access to work, offline translations cost extra.
MyLite - one of several good flashlight apps; don't stumble through the dark without it.
Urbanspoon* - a fun app to show you where to eat out today.
Coupon Sherpa and Yowza!!* - use coupons directly from your phone. I've already saved $30 or $40 by using these apps.
SnapTell* - take a picture of a book, game or DVD and it automatically searches the internet and local stores for the best price.
DirecTV - this is one of my favorite apps, if you have DirecTV. It's super easy to see what's on TV and I have total control of my DVRs from anywhere.
Showtimes and Flixter's Movies - get local show times, upcoming DVDs, watch trailers, and do everything else movie related.
ScoreCenter - ESPN's great, customizable live scores app. Some people like Sportacular.
KC Star and USA Today - two of the best newspaper apps out there and one of them happens to be my local version of Pravda!
Google - Googles search app has voice recognition!
Accuweather, WeatherBug, and the Weather Channel - three great weather apps that I use in concert with each other. Each have their own strengths.

• PAID APPS (watch for these on sale):
Blog Press - ($2.99) This is how I blog on blogger from my phone, including this post. Also, WordPress has a free app for its blogs, but I don't use it.
Grocery Gadget - ($4.99) Especially for families with more than one iPhone. Shannon and I coordinate our shopping with this great app. Whoever is at the store knows exactly what's needed, even as the other one changes or adds to the list from their phone or computer.

• WEB APPS and good mobile websites: ESPN, NFL, Apple, Wikipedia, Fox News, Google Books, and many other mobile compatible websites, each of which I give their own icon.

• GAMES: I rarely pay full price for a game (see App Miner above) but there are a few that show off the power of the 3Gs and basic motion and touch controls of any iPhone or iPod Touch.
Flood-It! - (Free) very addicting, simple and free
Flight Control - (99¢) an iPhone classic
Zen Bound - ($4.99) relaxing and satisfying puzzle game like no other you've ever played.
Sol Free Solitaire - (Free) I like this so much I upgraded to the paid version, Solebon.
Harbor Master - (99¢) Very similar to Flight Control. If you like this you'll like Pirate Bay and any number of other "line drawing" games.
Fieldrunners - ($2.99) Surprisingly addicting
Scrabble - ($4.99) Shannon and play each other over our home Wifi.
Worms - ($4.99) If you already like the classic computer game, this is more of the same.

There are literally thousands of games in the App Store, most of them under $5. I always read reviews first at AppVee.com, Touch Arcade or other websites.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

102,000 Hits

Just another mile-marker post: 102,000 hits passed sometime yesterday. Thanks again to all the friends and family that read this blog.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chiefs' Unis

From the very interesting UniWatch blog.

The Chiefs were in Washington, where the Redskins generally wear white at home, so of course KC wore red. As several readers have pointed out, that kept alive the Chiefs’ streak of wearing red in every game so far this season. They’re home next week, which means red again, and then they have a bye. So their white jerseys won’t make their 2009 debut until, at earliest, Week 9 in Jacksonville. Has this ever happened before?


Well, at least the Chiefs finally have a win, whatever color they wear.

Congrats, Hank

Last night I went to a party for my good friend, Hank. Hank is an Elder at our church and is getting married this week.

Everyone is thrilled for Hank and his bride-to-be, Carol. So when I was invited to join Hank and a few friends/family at the local hibachi place (Stix), I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

So I found myself with a dozen guys around a hibachi in a Japanese restaurant for the first time. Several of the guys ordered salmon and a couple of us ordered steak and chicken but not many of us were interested in anything sushi-related. Personally, I was scared to death that everyone in our group would try something more exotic, i.e. Japanese, and I just didn't think that I had the nerve to try it.

In the end, my plate looked like this: lots of fried rice, vegetables, beef and chicken. It was great (and very similar to what I'd get at bd's Mongolian Barbeque).



The hibachi routine is pretty entertaining. Food, knives, and jokes are flying in all directions -- you've not really had a good time until a Japanese guy hits you in the face with a shrimp from across the room.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Right Foot FAQ

Q. Why are you limping?

A. I sprained my ankle playing volleyball, Tuesday. It's so Kyle's fault.

Q. Are you okay? Do you need crutches? Will they amputate?

A. I'm fine. I've done this before, more than once; I didn't even need crutches this time.

Q. So no big deal, right? Walk it off, you big girl!!

A. It's swollen and terribly bruised. By Friday it was so swollen that my toes hurt, but ice and wraps took care of that. I'm hoping to be back playing volleyball by next Tuesday, but I'm moving pretty gingerly right now. I limp badly first thing in the morning or after long breaks.

Q. So are you suing?

A. Bonner Springs Parks and Recreation? No. Kyle? Definitely.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Random Thoughts 10/16/09

  • The annual church bonfire is tomorrow evening at the Jones'. Call me if you need directions.
  • One foot is NOT like the other. My bad ankle is swollen like nothing I've ever seen. It doesn't hurt as much anymore but it sure is uncomfortably swollen.
  • Al Gore got owned by in a Q&A recently so the event people cut the microphone of the questioner. Nice. Listen carefully: Man-caused Global Warming is a Hoax. It hasn't gotten warmer in 11 years. It has been much warmer (and colder) in past centuries without any SUV's affecting anything in either direction. Don't be foolishly duped by people who just want to run your life for you.
  • Does it ever end? My formerly reliable cordless mouse, a great little Logitech job, is dying. The oft-used left button is shorting out, leading to double and triple clicks for no reason. Grrrrr…
  • I'm silly for solitaire lately. I have to play a game of confidence-boosting (because it's easy) Free Cell or Spiderette every night before I go to bed. On my iPhone I play Solebon, which is a simple and diverse collection of games. Cheap too.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Don't Look at my Foot

I said I wasn't going to post a picture of my ankle, but…




File that under "things you can't un-see."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Big Fan of Dyson

We have used Dyson vacuums for over five years now and think they're great. I'm not just pleased with its performance, which is excellent, I'm smitten with how clever the design is. Every part of the machine seems really intuitive and well-designed. In short, they remind me of my Mac computers and iPhone.

Now Dyson has another product which I'd love to see first hand, a fan with no spinning blades. It's called the Dyson Air Multiplier and how geeky-cool is that? A strong stream of air, blasting at you from an empty looking ring.

At our house, we primarily use fans for the white noise they make and I would never pay hundreds of dollars for a fan, but I'd love to see one of these things first hand.

Sprained Ankle

I was playing volleyball last night, went up for a block, caught my foot on the opponent's knee and came down directly on my turned ankle, spraining it badly. Way to go, me!

I actually took some pictures of the ugly, swollen, bruised thing. But after looking at the pics, decided that they were more unpleasant than informative.

Anyway, I stayed home today, unable to drive. And I'm getting around a little bit by hobbling (that's why I'm sure it's not broken, it doesn't hurt at all to bear weight on it). Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be walking a little bit better and driving too.

I've had several sprained ankles, broke an ankle once, and been on crutches half a dozen times. This doesn't seem that bad. I would love to be playing volleyball again as soon as next Tuesday, as we only have four games left.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Good Pair of Shoes

In the past five years or so, I've been wearing Merrell shoes. Merrell makes hiking shoes and boots, primarily, which is what I normally buy. I'm pretty hard on shoes, but these Merrells hold up well for 12-18 months of 6-day-a-week use and then they get demoted to yard work duty.

Some Merrell shoes are waterproof; I've had a pair of gore-tex Merrell shoes that I loved.

Apparently I'm not the only fan. Some soldiers in Afghanistan were photographed wearing these shoes instead of their normal army-issued boots. I don't know what the policy is for that particular unit, but I hope the soldiers enjoy them while it lasts.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Soccer Stadium in KCK

The new Wizards soccer stadium will be just down the street from me, along with the Cerner office building, soccer practice fields and about 8,000 new jobs. That's not a bad thing for our community or for our church.

The soccer stadium seats over 18,000 and will be used for other events, including international exhibition games if KC ever hosts World Cup games. The STAR bonds that have been paying for these Wyandotte County developments are getting paid back about six years ahead of schedule with huge tax revenues. All in all, things are going really well.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm

The President has been given the Nobel Peace Prize.

Seriously.

This is not a joke.

He hasn't even done anything. He was given the award for having good intentions! When I heard the news this morning, my head nearly exploded. On what planet has President Obama actually done anything to promote peace, or even his own agenda, or anything else?!

But the President is so vain and narcissistic that he'll actually accept this! He could refuse it, but no.

Nominations were closed last February 1, so President Obama receives this award for work done in his first two weeks as president, from January 20 to February 1. Can it get any more ridiculous?

I would be completely apoplectic, except that the liberal morons in Oslo have just added President Obama to a list that includes:
  • Adolf Hitler (nominated)
  • Joseph Stalin (nominated)
  • Terrorist Yassar Arafat
  • Al Gore, for his propaganda movie
  • And a long list of negotiators who ultimately failed to prevent or end world wars, major conflicts, and the deaths of thousands.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Birthday Stir Fry

Ah, that's good stuff! Today I ate at bd's Mongolian Barbeque [sic] with Shannon and Gary & Tina. It was a lot of fun and the food was great.




At bd's they actually cook your meal using swords, which is kinda cool. In the picture above, that's my meal on the front right: kung pao chicken, beef, and pork with extra garlic and crushed red pepper over brown rice. And, yes, I pick out most of the veggies after it's cooked.