Monday, April 30, 2007

Favorite quote from last week's Office

"Lord, beer me strength."
- Jim

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thoughts about VT

I am not sure who actually reads this.

My main purpose for starting a blog has been to give several high school friends (you know who you are) a way of keeping tags on me. Along the way, I know of a few others who pop in from time to time.

I make no excuses for what I believe, even though some who read this may wonder how I can. I do. There is a faith in God that runs very deep in the fiber of my being. Those high school friends were there when it began.

This week has been very somber because of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. For Rick, Jay and Todd, consider if something happened at USC. The impact that it would have in the local area gives you some idea of how this has impacted even Hampton Roads. We know families who were directly affected.

And in all of this, the question comes: why? And deep inside, I can only reply that I do not know. I only know that we live in a fallen world: one that has been given over to itself. We live in a world that does not seek God. No, not one.

But I have patience.

Like the harvester, God is patient for the rains to fall, for the harvest to be full. And when it is, I know that Christ Jesus will come back, and the second act will begin. But until then, we live and we die.

This song, by Third Day, has been coming popping up for me all this week. The refrain is:

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

It has helped me with this week.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fruit of the Vine

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. John 15:1-2

You remember the first day you saw the buds come out. Almost over night, branches that were bare suddenly had fat little tips on their ends. Then, one warm day, those buds burst open to reveal the most delicate little flower - their scent filled the air with new life. Over a period of time, those buds turned into miniature fruit: small, hard, sour. But with rains, warmth and time, they grew into fullness and harvested in due season.

And there you are, again, with bare branches tipped with tiny buds.

Friday, April 20, 2007

And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.
2 Chronicles 15:2 - 4

God never changes, but often we change God into what becomes convenient for us. We seek for a god that does not exists. When I became a Christian, God did not change because I am under the blood of the new covenant. He is still God. He is still Holy. And that aspect of Holiness has me awed. In church, we sing that "God is a friend of Mine." I understand the scriptural reference for the song, but if I think God and I are going to sit by the pool and joke around because we are "buddies", then I got this relationship backwards. He is still Yahweh.

I do not feel that I have sought God as I should. I might even say my "relationship" with him is more akin to that of a distant relative. I could visit Him from time to time, but I am much better at making excuses and finding something else to do. Consequently, I sometimes wonder where God went? Is it like the nice poem, "Footprints" that says God never forsook me, but carried me? Or is it like the prophet Azariah said "but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you." One sentiment is nice and warm. Written by man. The other cold and harsh. Spoken by the spirit of God speaking through a man.

I am at a crossroad where my small group leader is leaving. He has said that he feels that I am the one to take the class over. This scares me. Part of me says I would rather someone else do it. But should I be saying "Not my will but thine?"

Monday, April 16, 2007

Google Maps: New York to London

That's right: Swim Across the Atlantic:

Children of Hurin

In high school, my inner geek was best summed up by Star Wars, Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons and J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien held me in a way that continually had me reading his trilogy through out high school. I remember after reading the Silmarillion picking up "Lost Tales" and being ultimately let down. I loved Tolkien, but I was not ready to read what was essentially his notes on various stories. Nor, have I ever felt compelled to purchase any of the other books that his son Christopher has published in the past two decades detailing the history of the writing of Lord of the Rings.

But, this week, there is a new book. It is more akin to the Silmarillion in that Christopher takes on the editing role, on John gets the full authorship title. The book is "Children of Hurin" and is being billed as the first complete Tolkien story since the Silmarillion.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Weighing In, Too

I read Rick's post regarding Imus, and I agree that it has gotten more play than it deserves. Really, a good post. And not at all made up (like his April Fool's joke). But, as I was thinking of what to add to the mix, I kept thinking of this:

Matthew 12:33-34 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

My Jet!!!

Just googling tonight, and I came across the aircraft that I crewed in my Air Force Stint 78-0469.

Design Methodologies

LJ talked about humilty and arrogance in our profession. After an email that I had responded to in haste last week, I was afraid that I might have been the subject of arrogance, but I was assured that I was not. What sparked the blog entry was overhearing another developer reviewing code and database work on the other side of the cube wall. The phrase "The developer who did this should be shot" and "I wouldn't have done it this way" floated over for all to hear.

Once upon a time, I know that I have said these phrases before. Hopefully, not out loud though. But something along with experience comes maturity and realizing that you never know the conditions under which another developer is working when they are writing their code. To be sure, there are times when you come across something that indicates a knowledge issue on the part of the developer. But, in my job, I have found that I have to make decisions based on external factors.

I once blogged about the "Marco Polo Design Methodolgy." The game of Marco Polo is played in a swimming pool, where the person who is "it" closes their eyes and cries out "Marco." The other kids respond with "Polo." "It" moves in the direction of the sound and repeats the process until he catches another kid. The other kids, however, are free to change their positions at will. I feel that sometimes, as the developer, I am "It" calling out "Marco" and the requirements are the other kids. Sometimes they stay where they are, but many times they just move around to another part of the pool.

Another methodology is the "Larry The Cable Guy Methodoloy." Larry the Cable Guy is a comedian who uses the catch phrase "Get her done." And sometimes, we just have to get our jobs done based on what we know at the time. We have to move forward even when we know things could change. This can result in choices that are functional but maybe less than optimal.

Writing software is hard. The syntax is not difficult, but the art of moving from concept to execution and managing all of the external factors in between is hard. But the client does not care about that. They only care about the end product. Did they get what they thought they were getting and did they get it when they wanted it?

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Few Easter Bunny Videos

The Easter Bunny Hates You!

And of course, this classic...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Reading Fiction Again

I have to thank my co-worker (and fellow Starbucks Runner) LJ for getting me back into the realm of fiction. It was with George R. R. Martin's "Song of Fire and Ice" series. I say series, but honestly, it is more like a Fantasy Soap Opera. The story is spread across (currently) four books, approximately 1000 pages each. I believe two or three more books are planned. HBO has recently optioned to bring the series to the small screen.

The story uses a Point of View device to tell the story. Each chapter is labeled with a character's name and the story is then continued from their POV. This creates various story threads and you find yourself looking forward to certain characters. As the books change, so do the POV characters. The last book took two "bad-guy" characters and made them POV, giving new perspective to motivations.

As a Fantasy story, Martin breaks from the traditional Tolkien mold. The milieu is largely Medieval, and for the most part, is lacking in the various boogies that populate such stories. Oh, there are Undead creatures and Dragons, but they rarely make appearances. There is no "Quest" in the story, and there are no set good guys or bad guys (thanks to the POV mechanism).

As a Soap Opera, the story often gets a bit seedy. Also, Martin will sometimes keep you with a character, only to have that character get killed. After this has happened several times, completely throwing you for a loop, I found myself trying not to invest to much feelings for any particular character.

I liked the last book the least. Mainly because he took on many new POVs and left other (MAIN POVs) out completely. He ended the novel with the explanation that their story will continue, but he had so much story to tell that he would rather tell complete story lines, rather than have a bunch of hanging threads.

Somehow, I Completely Missed It.

Honestly, I completely missed the NCAA basketball playoffs, the final four, the whole schbang. I was here, I did hear about Duke leaving in the first round, but after that...nothing. No Office pools, no daily updates.

I discovered that I also, apparently, missed the month of March. I went to change my calendar and it was still displaying February.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Fools Day

When it comes to playing gags on people, I typically stink. However, the best one that was ever successfully pulled off occurred about eight years ago. I called up Jay in Seattle (the best gags always cross state lines) and filled him in. He phoned my house, posing as some one from the Virginia Beach Sewer Works, and this was a courtesy call. Due to some maintenance work, the pipes were going to pressurized and there was the potential for water to come shooting out of the toilet. What they were recommending was wrapping the toilets with saran wrap.

It was a theme and variation on the classic saran wrap the toilet bowl gag. Typically, the victim is someone going to the bathroom, not observing that there is a barrier between the commode seat and the bowl itself. This time, the trick was to get someone to wrap the toilet.

It worked better than it deserved. My in-laws were visiting and they assisted in making sure that both toilets in the house were secure. All the while commenting on the thoughtfulness of the Virginian Beach Sewer Works. The plan almost went nova, because they were getting ready to try and contact our neighbors just to make sure that they got the message. Thankfully, Jay called back to let them in on the joke.

They say that "hell hath no fury like a woman spurned." I am still waiting for the other shoe to fall.