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Design Ninja
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31st-Mar-2008 01:51 pm(no subject)
So a week or two ago I had the brilliant idea of printing out my Amazon wish list and bringing it to the library. I use my Amazon list partially as a collection spot for books I'd like to read at some point but can't afford at the moment, so it worked like a charm. I found about half of the ones on there (the other half being obscure out of print books Neil Gaiman mentioned on his blog at some point), and I'm almost done with a biography of John Brown now. Good stuff. I'll have to do that again (or, as a librarian friend recommended, go to the library web site first and ask them to hold the books before I go).
31st-Mar-2008 01:05 pm(no subject)
Whew. Got back Sat. night from a whirlwind tour of the middle of the country. Six plane flights, two boys, and many bags. You would think that would be a recipe for disaster, but other than a few weakened backs, it went surprisingly well. We managed to keep all our bags throughout the entire thing, and the boys only screamed a little on the planes. Ayanna wasn't feeling well yesterday, but seems better today. So overall, surprisingly survivable.

The actual purpose of the trip? A week in Denver for Easter/Spring Break/Gma Denver's retirement (with connections, thus four flights) plus a last minute addition to Chicago for my grandpa's funeral. He had a good life, and got to choose to go off dialysis, so in many ways it was a relief. And almost the entire family was there (just missing Dena, who chose to come out while Grandpa was still with us rather than for the funeral, since she's in Australia).
29th-Feb-2008 09:46 am(no subject)
Woo hoo! Crazy upside-down day that doesn't really exist!

If I had a very pregnant wife today, I'd have her induce just so our kid only ages one year every four. Alas, my wife is not very pregnant. I feel sorry for me.

It was foggy on the way to school. I tried to convince Duncan that it's Leap Fog Day, but he twisted it back to LeapFrogFogDay.

We want to talk Jesus with the high school kids at church, and one of the angles we want to use to approach it is the variety of interpretations of Jesus. Bumper stickers cite "Jesus was a liberal" or "Jesus: the ultimate rebel" while Fox News commentators attribute their family values to him. So I've been doing some casual research (i.e., google) on different forms of Jesus.

I was expecting a variety of views, but I wasn't quite ready for the variety I found. I think you can literally type in "Jesus is" followed by anything and get a legit response. Not necessarily a scholarly view, but at least someone trying to argue that Jesus was that thing. For the record, I was adding "bible" as a search term to try to limit it to people who are at least trying to make a Christian argument.

For example, I did find the expected Liberal, and (with some hunting) Conservative. Libertarian - easy. Communist/Socialist - surprisingly hard to find, but plenty of people arguing against it. Going a bit further afield, Magician. Fraud. Carpenter. Not a Carpenter. Dark-skinned. Red-head. Blond. (One site that was very insistent that Jesus's beard was closely trimmed - not a long Hippie beard. Angrily insistent.) Jew. Not a Jew. Violent. Not Violent. And then I started getting silly, but I still found hits: Gay. Woman. Buddhist. Ninja. Zombie(1). Alien. Superhero.

Strangely (or perhaps not), the one thing I could not find is anyone trying to argue that Jesus supports family values. He has some clearly anti-family quotes in the Book, and anti-tradition, and I suspect that the people who would make the argument would be offended at the thought that they would have to make the argument. Oh, and the only argument I found for Pirate Jesus was a silly one. I couldn't find much of anything for Robot Jesus. But those were among the only failures.

Not exactly relevant, but "Jesus loves Reagan" only turns up 5 hits, two of which are for little girls named Reagan (so cute!).


(1) Did you know that in Matthew, when Jesus rises from the grave, he also raises some other dead people in that graveyard? Who proceed to hang around with him in town? I wonder if there's a Christian tradition for what happened to Jesus's zombie friends. Did they hang with the various people Jesus made into immortals?
So this morning, my son asked "Why don't we play Rock Band anymore?". And I... I didn't know what to tell him. I'm sorry, son. I've let you down. From now on, I resolve to commit myself more fully to gaming. For the children.
28th-Jan-2008 02:33 pm - The evil face
Over the past week or so, Griffin has perfected his grimace. He's been scrunching up his entire face much more than he previously would, giving rise to what we've dubbed his 'evil face'. He looks like an alien lizard creature that is about to spit poison on your face. We've been trying to visually document it, but only have shaky video so far. It's hard to predict. He seems to use it socially in some cases, but not just to show displeasure. I think he thinks it's funny. Snarky little boy.

A few other milestones I should document in a public place for when I am old and forget such things:
Solid Food: Just after Thanksgiving 2007, but still shaky on the subject apart from one day where sweet potatoes made him happy
Walking: Around Christmas 2007. Had been using a wiggle-based form of movement for about a month prior.
Stairs: Shortly after New Years 2008. Continues to enjoy them immensely.
Phantom Menace (Duncan): Jan 26, 2008. He liked it. Especially Darth Maul and Jar Jar. I even got his impressions on video, specifically in case he becomes a famous director so I can blackmail him with this for my retirement fund.

24th-Dec-2007 10:11 am - My new myth
So I was with Duncan in church on Sunday, and the children's story was amusing. God created the world, but found it too boring so she added fun things. Cute. It's nice to see God with a sense of humor.

But I think it mis-prioritized. My new creation story: God had this great idea for a joke, but realized that she needed to first fill in the backstory of the joke so everyone would get it. Thus, she poofed the world into being.

Some speak of the coming of the Great Punchline, when the purpose for the universe will finally be revealed. We'll all have a good laugh, then poof out of existence as our purpose has been fulfilled.

I don't know if it's good enough to be my favorite creation story (it's hard to beat cows licking existence out of a block of ice), but it's my favorite of the ones I've created.

30th-Nov-2007 01:00 pm - Red Scare
So a few days ago, I needed to request use of Duncan's school for scout meeting. (Yes, apparently I'm the Den Leader of Duncan's Cub Scout den. Nobody else really wanted to do it, and I like talking to the kids.) So I go the school office and get the form. The scouts already have most of the paperwork on file, but I need to officially request the day we want and all that. So I'm reading through the boring fine print on the form, as I am wont to do, and notice that buried in there is a mention that you have to attest that you are not requesting use of the school for a Communist group, or any group listed as Communist by the FBI. I was heartily amused. I showed it to the clerks there at the school, and they were surprised to see it - no one had ever actually read it before. We tried to figure out when they last updated the forms. There was a small date that might have indicated that they updated it in 2001, but I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure the Cub Scouts aren't a Communist front (although that 'sharing' stuff they encourage makes me suspicious), so I went ahead and filled out the form.

24th-Oct-2007 09:17 am(no subject)
Hi. I'm trying to follow the rule that if  you mention something cool to at least two other people, it's worth putting on your blog so everyone can see. It's an extension of the basic "did you bring enough for the whole class" principle. And in doing so, I realized I should put up my fire story. Fun stuff first.

Cool Princess Bride DVD cover that can be read upside down and right side up:

Nice big picture of the fire smoke plumes extending out about half a California into the ocean:
More pics:

And on a related note, technology can be used for good as well as evil. Discussion of the heavy use of Google Maps to track the fires:

OK, fire story:
This Sunday I took some of the church kids to the AIDS Walk in West Hollywood. All was fine and dandy. We heard a few reports of a fire in Malibu during the day, but didn't think much of it. Then we were driving home, coming through the valley toward the hills where Thousand Oaks is. And the whole Conejo Valley (our valley) was shrouded in a massive orange cloud of smoke. Which we were driving directly into. There was practically no one in our lane, but the lane going the opposite way was packed. They were getting away from the evil orange sky, we were not. As we entered it fully, the sun turned a pure evil blood-red color. With the debris that had already been whipped up by the winds over the past couple days (enough to wake both Ayanna and I the night before), it really did look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. We half-expected to be attacked by zombies. Everything had a strange orange hue to it that put everything on edge. We kept comparing it to Mordor, with the evil eye peering at us from the sky. We'd put the AC on when we got near, so it wasn't until we dropped off the first kid that we realized how strongly the outside air smelled of smoke and burning. The news was reporting one fire between Moorpark and Camarillo, which is just a few miles from where some of the kids live. Of course, this fire was smaller than the Malibu and other fires, so it was getting little to no reporting. Thankfully, it turned out to be mostly contained by that evening, but it was creepy. For the record, no one I know has had to evacuate or been hurt. A few kids I know have missed school, and Duncan couldn't play outside until today. Our area seems to be clearing up, but there is still smoke on the horizon.

Here's what it looked like (pics by another friend from church, no photoshopping): http://flickr.com/photos/jonsphotos/1678821851/
19th-Sep-2007 03:58 pm - Politics stuff
Republicans: Weak on defense. Unwilling to support our troops. Anti-military.

Why can I come up with good taunts with no effort, but the Democratic party never does? (Here's a free one: Define 'failure' as promoting recruitment for terrorist groups. Note that US troops in Iraq are causing a huge terrorist recruitment boom. Ask Republicans why they want the US to fail.)

Back a bit ago, when there was a big debate on military funding b/c Democrats wanted to cut troop levels through funding, Bush said he'd veto anything that cut troop levels. And then various people insulted Democrats because they were unwilling to work within this limitation. Bush SAID he'd veto it, so thus there's nothing they could POSSIBLY do. And thus anyone who tried to cut troop levels via funding was just causing trouble and being difficult and not supporting the troops. I'm very confused as to why the Democrats didn't just reply that they refused to send any bill that didn't cut troop levels, so Bush's talk of a veto was just causing trouble and being difficult and not supporting the troops. Saying that you're unwilling to compromise shouldn't end the debate. But the Democrats don't seem to be willing to push. They're as weak as the pansy-asterisk contestants on The Pick-Up Artist. Crybabies.

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