Random Recent Pics

OK, between the 365project and my posts on here of rejects from the 365project and the fact that I’ve had more event-specific galleries lately (Vegas, STS-130, Nathan’s b’day), I haven’t done one of these general-pictures-I-took posts in a while, and, even now, I’ve used most of the A-material already. Nonetheless, I’m posting this anyway. I mean, who’s blog is this, you know?

God Is Great, God Is Good

This is the latest in my series of blog entries taking a fresh look at a variety of topics over the next year. I’ve set up a page on the blog explaining the project and linking to my entries. This week’s topic is “Saying Grace Over Dinner.”

OK, this week’s is particularly hard, because of the things it’s not. “Prayer” in general has its own topic, on Week 38, and Week 15 also covers some of the stuff I might otherwise say today.

So, within those constraints, random thoughts:

— I’m better about giving thanks with other people than alone, and I’m far better at it with other believers than not. Either might seem like hypocrisy, but there’s a reason I’ll get to later. Trying to do better about doing it by myself.

— I was at a dinner a couple of weeks ago that I totally should have prayed before, and didn’t. And afterwards, had no idea why. It wasn’t even oversight; it was a conscious decision. In a way, it was tantamount to denial. And that bugs me.

— Susanna used to say, quoting, I believe, her pastor father, that if you have to catch up with God at mealtime, you’re doing something wrong. And I agree.

— My youngest brother has prayed the same blessing since he was a wee slip of a lad. It intrigues me, because part of his phrasing is “thank you for our creations.” And I’ve never been sure if he was thanking God for creating us, or for the things we create.

— I for a long time tried to stay away from formulaic blessings, which gets into some of what I’ll say in the prayer post. However, I find myself falling back into one. It’s not rigid, but I generally pray a close variation of it.

— That standard prayer generally includes thanks for the food, sometimes a request for it to be blessed, and almost always thanks and/or blessing for “the opportunity to break bread together.” As I alluded to earlier, this gets into Week 15, “The Rite of Communion.” I’ve come to believe that fellowship over food is an important part of Christian brotherhood, of “church,” as it were. The prayer then serves as a reminder to myself to consecrate that time to Him.

— Apropos of nothing, but when I typed the words in the title of this post, the immediate association was the Joan Osborne song “One of Us”.

“Yeah, yeah, God is great / Yeah, yeah, God is good / Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Yeah Yeah”

The Nephew, The Proud

Saturday my family celebrated the first birthday of my nephew, Nathan.

Step One

Yet another 365project reject. I went with the picture I did for today’s post because I needed something colorful, but, after finishing with that version of the pic, decided to play with it a bit more. I stuck with the other one for my official photo for the color, but wanted to share this one, too.

More Linkdump

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world …

Surely some revelation is at hand …

Various and sundry:

— Not a link, but I suffered horrible heartbreak last weekend before going to Vegas. I made yet another attempt to go to the all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet that had become my Moby Dick over the past year — For months, it tasked me, and yet eluded my every attempt to eat there. And now, it’s closed. Alas. On the plus side, however, I did get to do some Brazilian-style dining while in Vegas, fulfilling a far more longstanding dream.

— Someday soon, I’m going to tell a story about some Polaroid film, as soon as I know what the story is. I will say it involves this old post and a photographer friend of mine, who takes pretty pictures.

— For anyone who hasn’t seen it, First-Person Tetris is an interesting take on the game, even if the title is a bit misleading.

— There was a day when I realized that I’d been living in the Mississippi Delta too long. That day was the day that I opened up The Clarion-Ledger, the Jackson paper, and saw a brief news story about how they’d discovered a problem with one of the fuel lines on the space shuttle. That, however, wasn’t what I thought it meant when I read the short headling — “Crack Found In Space Shuttle Fuel Pipe.” I even did a fake news story for the assistant police chief about the Indianola Police Department seizing the shuttle after finding the drugs and converting to be his new IPD vehicle. That’s why, even though it’s a horrible story, I was rather amused when my coworker Heather sent me a story headlined “Cocaine Found In Restricted Space Shuttle Facility.” On a side note, the facility was OPF3, where I saw Discovery back in May.

— This, I found rather cool. My Google notification alerted me to this article with a video about a supposed UFO sighting from Skylab. The video is interesting but bunk. The cool part, though, is that in debunking it, someone posted a comment citing Homesteading Space. That makes me happy.

— In other Homesteading news, if you would like to buy the book in Japanese, you can. Note that the book isn’t in Japanese, just the buying process. I’m curious what the “著” behind my name means. I think I’ll get it as a tattoo. 😉

— In other other Homesteading Space news, Owen Garriott and I will be signing the book at 1 p.m. on January 30 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, prior to the annual gala event that evening.

— Fans of Despair Inc. and candy message hearts can combine both with BitterSweets.

— If Avatar gave you a headache, you’re not alone. (Speaking purely about the effects here.)


cake with candles reading 30

Cake and candles from the birthday party we had at the office for my co-worker Heather.

In case there’s anyone out there in danger of being confused, it’s nowhere near my long-gone 30th birthday; that picture is from my co-worker Heather’s party that we had at the office today. I’m mainly posting it as a reminder about the 365project, which you should all participate in. Or not, as you see fit.

I will say about Heather’s birthday that I was proud of myself that I had not a card, but cards, for her. I used to hate buying cards, and was lousy at it as a result. Thankfully, I was introduced to the idea of buying cards when you find them, instead of trying to find cards when you need them. One of Heather’s cards, I bought in June.

Other random stuff going on:

— I ate at I Love Sushi on Saturday. After being introduced to sushi roughly a year ago, I’ve had it a couple of times at Surin, which has a total of one thing I can eat. For those that don’t know, I’m deathly allergic to seafood, which narrows down the sushi options. I had always assumed it eliminated them altogether, but was informed that there is such thing as vegetarian sushi. I had heard that I Love Sushi had more options, but I only saw one. That said, they were a little less clear on the implications of my allergies and the need to avoid cross-contamination. Supper didn’t kill me, but I had to eat it very slowly. Not bad, though.

— I talked a bit in the last post about the difference between the blogging software I use for this blog versus my old one, but neglected to mention that, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve implemented a new design for the blog. Back on ATW, that would have meant going into the code and tinkering with it; here, it means clicking on which design I want to use now. As a result, there are a few things in this design I’m not too sure about, but don’t know how to change. Thoughts, anyone?

As an aside, the whole issue is kind of interesting to me. I do still have some of the HTML skills I cultivated for about a decade, but find myself using them less and less as more and more of my Web time is on sites that I simply post things to instead of coding. This is probably what it felt like for people a generation or two older when they stopped being able to work on their own cars.

— I saw a rather interesting pass of the International Space Station on Monday night. It was supposed to be particularly bright, and was, but rather than getting brighter as it rose higher into the sky, it grew brighter for a while, then grew dimmer and turned red as it got higher, and finally disappeared, not near the far horizon as I’m accustomed to, but at “apogee.” It was neat seeing the station do something I hadn’t seen her do before.

— As I mentioned in the last post, I had promised someone a depressing post that I’m not going to publish. Partially because the situation has changed a little, partially because it didn’t pass editorial review. The gist of it was — I sometimes feel like I may paint a sunshine-and-roses picture of my spiritual walk on here, but, I assure you, I do struggle. In lieue of publishing that post, I’ll post this link. So there you go.

— It’s kind of cold. But I’ve nonetheless managed to get a couple of hikes in lately. It’s required rearranging my schedule; getting into work while it’s dark so that I can leave while it’s light. But totally worth it.

— One day until B.B. King. Two days until Lain and Richie come. Four days until I leave for Vegas. Yay!


I started this blog a year ago Saturday with the idea it would be a companion to the one I’d been writing for about six years at that point. Since this one was going to be a little more intimate, a little smaller in scope, I was content to just use an off-the-shelf blogging system, without the customization tools that I had with the old one. By and large, it’s served me just fine. But every now and then, I find that I miss something about the old system.

At the moment, it’s the linkdump. My old blog let me set up a sub-blog in the sidebar, where I could post links that I found interesting. If I read, for example, that you can now buy iPod Touch bedsheets, that obviously doesn’t merit a full post on this blog, but there’s no convenient way to post just that link like there was on the old one.

So how do I handle things like the fact that NASA has selected 15 finalists for its patch contest marking the end of the shuttle program? Things like this I might have just e-mailed to interested parties, but I think what I’m going to try doing is hanging out to the links until I have enough to do a post gathering them up together. Kinda like this.

Which gives me a place to say that if you’ve seen Avatar, you really should read this, which is kind of funny.

Theoretically, it also gives me a place to post links like this story about McSweeney’s newspaper project, which should merit some discussion but, since I’ve had the link for almost a month and haven’t done anything with it, apparently I’m not going to say anything about. Ironically, I read that story about an interesting deconstruction of how newspapers could when my coworker Heather sent me a link. The irony was that she wasn’t trying to share this story, she was trying to share a story about the death of Editor & Publisher.

I will say that the McSweeney’s project plays into what I think should be the two main focii of the newspaper industry today — localization and depth. These are the two things newspapers can do better than anyone else, and, taken together, that no one else can do. Stop trying to compete with CNN and the internet. You’ve already lost those battles. It would be like Five Guys or Red Robin deciding they needed to make a cheaper burger than McDonalds. Leave low-quality and fast to the people who do it well.

And while I’m ranting about newspapers, I’m also going to take issue with this story Heather sent me about 10 things you shouldn’t buy in 2010 because they’re obsolete. I agree with it completely about DVDs, which is why I upgraded to Blu-Ray a year ago. No point sinking more money into a format that’s going away. I agree somewhat about landlines, but am not quite ready to make that leap myself. I’m unsure about external hard drives; I need to look into that one some more.

I disagree with them about compact digital cameras. I don’t have one, and don’t need one — I have a DSLR for one end of the spectrum and my iPhone on the other. But I can understand why, for a lot of people, a compact is far more useful than an SLR. I disagree with them about CDs. Sure, digital may be the future. But if a CD is the same price as digital; buy the CD, and make your own digital version. And that way, if you lose the files, or want to listen to the CD in your car, or want to loan it out, you have it. Why would you not buy the CD?

So the fact that they’re wrong about those things makes it easier to not take them seriously about the newspaper. In fact, their own argument belies itself, and reflects the biggest problem people fail to realize about the decline of the newspaper. They point out that you don’t need the newspaper anymore because you can access the same content online. The problem is this, folks — when the newspaper goes away, so does the content. And the day we go online and there’s no more news generated by investigative reporters is going to be a sad one indeed.

On a completely different note, one of my over-Chapman-Mountain friends asked me a while back what they did at the Agribition Center. While I still have no idea, I can now say that apparently the answer includes monster trucks, which will be there Friday and Saturday, but unfortunately not on Sunday! Sunday!! SUNDAY!!!

(I’d originally planned to use this post to do a Weekend-Update-type catch-up, but this is long enough as it is. That’s coming at some point. I will say that I promised one of my readers a depressing entry the other day, and that’s not coming. More on that later.)