Monday, November 28, 2005

Beautiful Petoskey

Spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Michigan.

First went to visit Krista's sister (Shara) and her family in Petoskey. They have five girls under the age of 8. Right now, one's enough for me. In twelve years, Pete (Shara's husband) will have 5 teenage girls (but I'm not going to tell him that). I thought it would be chaotic, but it wasn't. Pete and I spent hours talking theology. It was a great trip and we had a blast with the whole family.

A few photos:

The view from their backyard.

Waterfall in a nearby park.

A bridge in the same park.

Driving through Petoskey

Afterwards we drove further south and visited my family. A picture from a night in Flat Rock, MI:

Snowy Michigan night.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thankful for Babysitters

I love watchdog organizations. Especially the ones that can help me be a good dad. I'm glad the Parents Television Council is there to tell me that The Ghost Whisperer is the #4 family friendly prime time show. It's creepy, sexy Jennifer Love Hewitt talks to dead people, and it contains only "minimal foul language [and] mild violence..." American Idol is just above it at #3. I guess that makes sense. Its message that you too can be successful; though talent alone won't get you anywhere - you've also got to have the right look is one that kids probably won't otherwise pick up in our culture that looks so far beyond the surface.

And now, W.A.T.C.H. (world against toys causing harm, inc) tells me that the Fantastic 4 Electronic Thing Hands is the 9th most dangerous toy for 2005. They are dangerous because the giant fists might be used to hit something. It's this kind of research that makes me appreciate how much less responsible I need to be with these analytical minds doing my job for me.

In a completely unrelated story, the Toy Industry Association had named the Electronic Hulk Hands the "Boy Toy of the Year" for 2003.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


How many stores are opening early on Thanksgiving so that people will start their holiday shopping not on the day after Thanksgiving, but the day of Thanksgiving? I guess the retailers will be giving thanks this year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


It's the second time I've quoted him in about a week, but...

Quote of the Day
...there is no gift of telling everyone else what to do.
-Greg Newton, Travelers Blog

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Perfect Storm

I recently finished reading StormFront: The Good News of God. It's an exceptional book, describing the idea that the main point of what God has done isn't so that Christians everywhere could go to Heaven, but so that we could be workers in God's kingdom, meeting the needs of people on this earth and sharing Jesus rather than keeping Him to ourselves. (Although, that's a bit of oversimplification.) Considering it's subject matter, I think it could be a bit more accessible - it's more an academic essay than anything - but I think it's message supercedes the writing level, and if you can spend some time with it (it's definitely not an easy read), it's worth it. As most of us have, I've spent the primary part of my life thinking that Christianity is about me. I think I agree that it's about time we've begun to focus outward.

Quote of the Day
The gospel sees our humanity not in terms of needs to be met, but in terms of capacities and gifts to be offered in God's gracious service. We are created not to consume but to know God, not merely to meet our own needs but to participate in God's life and mission.
-from StormFront: The Good News of God

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm on fire!

Whenever I see a marquee like this one, I can't help but analyzing it by asking two questions:

1. What are they trying to say?

2. Who is the intended audience?

I've been wracking my brains with this one, and the best I can come up with is:

1. You better get to church or you know where you'll be going to next.

2. Guilt-ridden ex-churchgoers.

I really can't imagine someone who's never known Jesus driving by that sign, slamming on the brakes (doing a 180-degree turn in the middle of the road), turning into the parking lot and asking to be saved.

I can almost see (not really, but work with me here) someone having a lot of guilt about not going to church and this pushing them over the edge.

I'm not sure why I always think these signs are trying to say something about going to church (as opposed to searching for God or trying to know Jesus).

Either way, I don't think it's the way I'd try to reach people, but that's just me.

And yes, that is the same sign as I talked about in my previous post. Guess they've ignored my pleas. Or maybe they don't read my blog. (No, that can't be it.)

Quote of the Day
I'm glad someone is creating charts about being incarnational.
-Greg Newton, Travelers Blog

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Tip of the Day

I've recently been convicted that I need to change my tipping habits. I've been a server before - I know that servers make around 1/3 of the minimum wage that other people earn. I've always (to my wife's chagrine), had a commitment to high tipping. If service is neither laudable nor horrible, I usually leave 15%. Meaning, if they did the job poorly, but had a really good, helpful attitude; or if they were efficient, but had a bad attitude, I leave what I consider to be "the minimum". If service is excellent, I tip 18-20% or more, depending on the setting, the price of the bill, and a number of other random factors.

However, I've always thought (even with my experience waiting tables) that it is my duty both as an American citizen and a consumer to tip poorly if the service is deplorable. When I worked as a server, I felt that if I couldn't do my job well, I didn't deserve the tip. When I tip low for bad service, I have the ability to send a message that "yes, you sucked at this, and I'm making my opinion known." I understand that messages are not always received as the giver intends, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make.

The issue here is, I am first and foremost the citizen of another kingdom. As such, I need to be living by the rules of that kingdom. I need to remember who I'm representing, and what kind of message I need to be sending with my actions. I think if we look at the life of Jesus and the example He set, it's easy to see what kind of message we need to send.

I've rethought my position on tipping, and I think that I'll still be tipping high if I really like the service; but (again, to my wife's chagrine), I won't be tipping low if I don't.

double-u double-u double-u

I sometimes love the fact that if you are looking for something on the internet, you don't even have to use Google. Just type in just about anything you're looking for, but a "www" in front, and a "com" in the back, and voila! There it is. Not being able to find a word in Miriam-Webster's on-line Thesaurus, I typed in and found the word I needed in seconds.

If you have no idea what a company's or a movie's website is, you often don't have to know it's address; just sandwich it in between those 6 letters and there it is. It doesn't work all the time, though. Looking for the website for the movie Sideways, I tried and, before I finally had to use Google to find it at And I won't even go into the story about the woman I work with that found out the hard way (at work) that you need to type in the full name to get to the website for Dick's Sporting Goods ( But it tends to work more often than not...

Have I asked this before: Ain't the internet grand?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Shaolin Computers

Last Saturday evening, we were in downtown Florence (Alabama), and we stopped in at Shaolin Computers. We met Chris and Angela Webb, who own the store, and enjoyed talking with them for a while. They let Julianna run around, looking at everything, while we downed a couple of Dark Chocolate Decadence coffees. They've got a beautiful store, and if you live in the area, you need to stop by just to take a look - the store looks like an art gallery with some amazing pieces (such as a water-cooled computer). It sounds like their biggest offerings will be custom computer design and networking, but they'll be providing a number of services; take a look at this excellent piece of writing in the Times Daily for a little more detail. We're looking forward to going back, if nothing else for the coffee and atmosphere.

To see some of the work they had to do to get the store set up, take a look at Chris's blog.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Weird Search of the Night

Hypothetical situation.

You are trying to find the Veggie Tales Silly Song, The Bunny Song (about eating a chocolate bunny).

You do a search on Yahoo! using the four words:

want don't bunny eat

The first thing you find on the list is my blog.

Ain't the internet grand?

(Actually, somebody recently did that search on Yahoo! and linked to my blog from it; I'm just assuming they were looking for that song...)

Fascinated by this revelation, I Googled lightsaber spoon to see if the Museum of Pop Culture came up. Alas, not until page 57. (Well, I get up to page 11 if I put it in quotes.) Well, at least if I do batman cereal, I'm on page 1.

Note: When you start to dream while you're awake, it's time to go to bed. Enough blogging about my blog. I'm boring myself.

Good Night.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Retractions II

  • Pictures seem to be working again.

Weapons of Medieval Destruction

caltrop ('kal-tr&p), noun. a device with four metal points so arranged that when any three are on the ground the fourth projects upward as a hazard to the hooves of horses or to pneumatic tires

I don't know what sadist engineered my daughter's butterfly hair clips, but these sharp, metal, half-inch-sized caltrops seem like they were designed with pain in mind rather than hair. I think I caught one of my action figures using one as a weapon.
* * *
There has been a little curiosity about my profile (very little, but I thought I'd share anyway). One of my fondest memories in college is of going down to the game room and playing Street Fighter II - I don't know why I tend to be drawn to the token large, hairy, monster in the games that I play. When the cool action figures came out a few years ago, I had to have my own Blanka.


  • I was able to get the batteries back we left at the checkout at Target. (I feel $2 richer!)
  • After my genius wife got on the phone with Dell, and figured out we had a bad power supply, she bought a new one off eBay, got it in the mail, installed it herself, and now we are up and running again.
  • We've had some nice 70-degree days, so I guess I can't complain that Alabama has no in-between weather.
  • But I still think nobody's going to haul anything in that Cadillac pick-up.

No Flash Photography.

My wife let my daughter pick what cereal she wanted when we went to the store today. I guess somebody decided Froot Loops weren't sweet enough. They came home with Marshmallow Froot Loops.

Pictures aren't uploading to blogger right now. I hope it's not my computer. I'll have to finish this tomorrow night...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

But it keeps me up at night.

Why is it that any time I go to a fast food restaurant and order a hamburger with ketchup, mustard, and extra pickles, the person making the burger is intent on supplying me with extra ketchup, extra mustard, and extra pickles?

Other mysteries of life pale in comparison to this conundrum.