Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dumbledore's Demise Not a Gandalf

MSN has posted a series of video's of author's reading from their works. J.K. Rawling read a bit from Half Blood Prince and then took some answers. She confirmed that Dumbledore will not pull a Gandalf. When questioned further, she plainly stated that Dumbledore is dead, and that the people over at www.dumbledoreisnotdead.com will be greatly disappointed.

So, could he pull on OBI? Watch the video.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Star Wars: What has Changed?

I remember seeing Star Wars in 1977 and many times thereafter when it was re-released. I was thrilled in 1997 when it was re-released with the enhancements, but, once the charm of seeing the film on the big screen wore off, I hated the animation that they added. It sticks out like a sore thumb. Even with the 2004 release to DVD, Lucas still made some minor changes, but these were mostly unnoticeable (until you get to ROTJ).

2006 will be known in fandom as "the milking of the geeks." New Line will be releasing the "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy where the extended and theatrical release will be contained on one disc and you choose the version you want to watch. The Star Wars Episodes IV - VI will be re-released on September 12th with a "bonus" disc: the original version of the movies .So, if you are curious about the changes since 1977, here is are some comparative photos from the Star Wars web site.

Episode IV: What Has Changed?

Yard Work

I heard a comedian talking about how his dad is alway checking on the lawn. I think I am turning into one of those types of dad because, of late, the condition of my lawn has caused me some concern. Let me put it this way, if it weren't for the crabgrass, there would be very little green out there. I keep thinking to myself "how hard can growing grass actually be?" I am not looking for that pristine lawn that your neighbor probably has (unless you are that neighbor), I am just looking for grass that isn't crab.

The other project that I am doing outside is outlining our pool with lawn edging. Between the pool deck and the edging will be about two feet of white marble rocks. I have already done this around the pool pumps and it looks fantastic, but, best of all, it keeps the grass from growing right up to the pool deck. This of course means that I don't throw a ton of grass into the pool when I am cutting grass (or crabgrass). This project was supposed to be a "several week" project, but yesterday I went out, outlined where the edging would go and removed the grass that was growing nearby. Thinking that the hard part was over, I sent Cindy to Lowes to pick up the rest of the materials while I cleaned out the pool. As it turned out, the hardest part, digging a v-trench for the edging, lay ahead of me. Apparently, all of the loose soil that I remember from when they finished the pool has become nice and hard. After two hours of "digging" (I felt like it was chipping), I gave up. It was going on 5:30. If I was a contractor and I came across a problem like this, what would I do? I'm thinking power tool. So, I am going to swing by Sunbelt Rentals today to see if they have some kind of trencher that I can rent.

Seriously, how hard can it be?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

George Lucas Appreciation Society: Star Wars Shortened

Ok, mid-week laugh, you know you want one. So, for the George Lucas Appreciation Society's "Star Wars Shortened".

Also, head over to the Star Wars Website for "Life in 1977"


Eggads. Sometimes I read through Ricks lists without realizing that I just got tagged. Unfortunately, I am not as well read as either Rick or Todd, tending to lean more towards the Science Fiction/Fantasy side of literature.

1. One book that changed your life. THE DUMMIES GUIDE TO PROGRAMMING IN C++ (laugh all you will, but, this was the first book on programming that I owned and was but the footsteps to my current career. From Band Director to Programmer, that is definitely a change).

2. One book that you've read more than once. LORD OF THE RINGS, by J.R.R. Tolkien (I don't know if you guys knew this, but I was reading these books constantly in high school).

3. One book you'd want on a desert island. TREASURE ISLAND, by Robert Louis Stevenson (currently our after dinner read. What great writing).

4. One book that made you laugh. HITCH HIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, by Douglas Adams

5. One book that made you cry. HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, by JK Rawling (At the end, where Harry is fighting Voldemort, and the last people killed by Voldemort's wand start appearing, including Harry's parents. I have desires in my heart to see departed family members)
6. One book that you wish had been written. THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SLEEPING WITH YOUR EYES WIDE OPEN.

7. One book you wish had never been written. JUDE THE OBSCURE by Thomas Hardy (Not that it was a bad book, it's just I waited till the night before it was due to read it. I had an all night marathon session to get through it. Perhaps the start of my coffee addiction.

8. One book you're currently reading. A GAME OF THRONES, George R.R. Martin (Great Fantasy writers must have 2 R's in their name)

9. One book you've been meaning to read. WILD AT HEART, by John Elridge (I have started this book at least three times).

And, LJ, if you are reading....Consider yourself tagged!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Caption this Photo!

Make your funnies, but keep it clean.

A day in the life of Netflix

I just came across this article, "Tear, Slap, Clack" by Susan Sheehan on the New Yorker Web site. It describes a day in the life of a Netflix Associate at one of the distribution centers.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bahama Mama Enema

Today was my last "summer friday" at work. During the summer, I get a half day every other friday. It's a great perk. I took the girls to "Ocean Breeze Water park" for an afternoon of water slides and wave pools. What a blast! I have not gotten on a slide since I was in middle school. Now, of course, I am really sore. There were two rides that really left an impression. The first was called the Hurricane: you drop down an enclosed tube and are deposited into what I can only describe as a sink. You spiral in the sink and finally are deposited through a hole in the center. It's fast, and you get disoriented quickly. The second was a long and fast ride called "The Bahama Mama." Before going down, you are instructed to cross your legs and cross your arms over your chest. The reason for crossing your legs became clear to me only after I received my "Bahama Mama Enema." Still, other than feeling really really clean now, we had a great time.

Seeking Answers

I sat in my car listening to the radio. Cindy had just left to take the kids into the church's child care. Half listening, half watching some carpet layers packing up for the day, I noticed a middle age woman enter the children's ministry wing. I didn't recognize her, but, with a church our size, that is not uncommon. Momentarily, Cindy exited the building talking with the woman. It was obvious that both of them were going to get into the car. Better turn down the radio a bit. Opening the door, Cindy smiled at me, and introduced the woman. She was visiting the church and looking for a bible study. What a coincidence, that's just where we were heading.

I drove to the other side of the building to jockey a parking spot closer to our bible study. Cindy introduced our guest to the class, while I got lost in the chit chat that typically occurs prior to getting started. As our teacher started making overtures that the class was about to begin, our guest asked a question. She made a reference to Matthew 23, about Jesus calling the Pharisees hypocrites because they say one thing, but do another. It turned out that, because she smoked, she had been called a hypocrite Christian. The question was passed around the classroom and it settled in the grace of God.

When we accept the grace of God through Jesus, it does not mean that we stop being sinners (but, we should not use that grace as a license for sin). We Christians can carry many burdens regarding our salvation, and I think that this is just a sly trick of Satan. If he can't take us with him, he is going to foul up our relationship with Christ the best way he can: make us doubt the sincerity of our faith. As soon as we finished praying for one another, our Guest got up and left. A quick remembrance of something she had to do called her away.

I sincerely hope that she found an answer.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just Do It

Rickwell posted about becoming an "untool" earlier this week at Good Coffee. I came across a verse today where Paul in encouraging the Corinthians to "make good on" their words:

2Co 8:10-11 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.

How often do I start my day with God with good intentions of prayer, bible study but find myself distracted by my electronic newspaper? With everything we dedicate ourselves to in life, their has to be action that accompanies our words. For me, I talk a lot about developing a "personal" relationship with Christ. Christianity differs from other religions because salvation is purely based on a relationship and not by any ritual. It is not me burning a sacrifice, performing community services or even fighting to keep the environment from going up in smoke. It is not about attending church, it is not about playing in the orchestra at said church. It is about a relationship. So, how can I place more importance on developing that relationship when there is so much around to distract me?

To quote a famous marketing campaign: Just Do It! Keep me in your prayers.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Old Toys

We are preparing for our first Garage sale where the objective is to unload a lot of the stuff the kids have added to the home. Tonight, I climbed up into the attic, braving insulation and silver fish to bring down the boxes that were packed so long ago. Once down, we started rummaging through to see what we had. Some memories started to flow as I played with the Pooh Bear "Jack In the Box" that plays "Pop goes the Weasel." The girls discovered old Halloween costumes and stuffed toys that were once faithful companions. I can recall the feeling: as a child, old toys that you had not seen for such a long time became cool again. I just have to keep my eye on the objective. But, I might keep that Jack in the box

My Sweetie

I really love my wife Cindy. Over the past fourteen years, we have grown closer together than I have ever imagined. She has a sweet spirit and a servant's heart. Cindy knows when to offer suggestions and when to let me vent; she is a perfect sounding board. She doesn't laugh at me when I am being stupid, but she laughs at my stupid jokes. I am absolutely comfortable around her, even if I am uncomfortable with myself. My lack of self confidence is wiped away by the confidence she has in me. She is my help meet, and my best friend.

The Matrix

Ok, so I am many years behind this, so laugh if you will. I have never given a thought to the title of the Keanu Reeves movie "The Matrix." Not once, not even twice. Prior to the film's release, there was a marketing question that asked "What is the Matrix?" After seeing the film, we all had a good idea of what the matrix was.

So, this morning, I am doing my discipleship study (on giving), and came across Exodux 34:19 (KJV):
"All that openeth the matrix is mine;"

Hmm.Outside of the movie, I have always associated a matrix with an array. So, what does matrix mean in the Exodus context? It means womb. Applying this to the movie, the Matrix was also a Womb. Remembering Neo's"birth" scene, this sorta makes more sense now. Anyways, you could extend the whole womb metaphor because the Matrix was a "safe and happy" place for everyone going about their daily lives.
Well, I thought it was neat anyways.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Adam

Today we got the chance to help the Robinson's celebrate their son's birthday. Hard to believe that Adam has turned nine. It only points out that Katie will be reaching that age in two more months. Yikes! Where did that time go? Both families went to Bush Gardens. It was probably one of the best outings to BG that I have had in many visits. Most special was lunch in the Fest Haus. Right as we sat down, the Fest Haus show started. The timing could have not been more perfect!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Some thoughts about Mel.

I really hate to see an actor that I really like hit the skids, and right now, I hate to see what has happened recently to Mel Gibson. To me, he will always be "Mad Max" more than "Braveheart" or the director of "The Passion of the Christ." I am sure that many will look at his alcoholism and his anti-semitic tirade and say "and this man claims to be a Christian? what a hypocrite!"

The past month, Pastor Jim has been teaching about God's Grace. There have been a few things that have come to mind today, things that I have jotted down in my notebook.

  • God does not require a person to do XY or Z. Zero, nada, nothing. Is that not a relief? God's Grace is a free gift, that only needs to be accepted (okay, so, that is the only thing that you have to do).
  • There is nothing that I can do that will cause God to love me any less than He does right now. So, when I mess up and swear at someone because I am mad, it doesn't dull the love God has for me.
  • Conversely, there is nothing that I can do that will make God love me any more.
  • Finally, and this is the hardest for me, there is no sin so awful that God can not forgive. This goes down paths that I can not even fathom, because I can imagine all sorts of evilness. But we all come to God in the same manner: a sinner. If there was something that he could not forgive, then where is the hope?

There is a perception that because a person is a Christian it means that they will never sin (or enjoy the effects of sin). Unfortunately, this is not true. Personally, I struggle with this in several areas. In Romans 6, Paul tells the church that they need to remember the image of the Baptism: that is, they died with Christ in baptism, and raised to walk a new life. Remembering this should help us to stand strong and make choices that do not yield our bodies to wickedness, but we still struggle, and we still fall. And through it all, God's Grace will cover me. And Mel.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Clutch Master

Just enjoying my new Racing Name, thanks to Sony Pictures and Talladega Nights!