What I'm Doing

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Time is Near...and Programming

Wow, only a week to go until Christmas! I don't know if it's because I've been so busy with the wedding website or what, but Christmas has really snuck up on me. Thank God for ThinkGeek; I can still order some stuff from there and, hopefully, get it by Christmas.

Maybe it's because I've hardly been in the stores, but I think this is the first year I've not gotten sick of Christmas carols before Christmas. I do know I feel much saner for not going shopping during this time of year.

I have had my own insanity-inducing activities, though. Back when Kristen and I first started planning the wedding, I had the idea to build a website for the wedding so that everyone who gets an invitation can RSVP online at the site. I was going to build a little web app that they could log into and select whether or not they were going.

After a few false starts, I finally have the website up, but I hadn't really gotten much done on the RSVP app. Last week, though, I started getting emails from people wondering when it would be available so they could RSVP. So, this past weekend and week, I've been working on it in earnest. The scary part of this is, I'm learning this stuff as I go. It's actually become a rarity that I've spent the majority of the time I've slept in my bed. Either I fall asleep at the computer or I make it to the couch. I would share how late I've been awake most nights, but I honestly don't know.

Now, some might read this and think I'm complaining. I'm not. I haven't had this much fun on the computer in a long time. Granted, this is the kind of fun I can only handle (physically and mentally) for a week or two at a time. I can't do this constantly. But, when I can, it's a blast. Solving problems, new challenges, late-night coding sessions...this is why I'm a programmer.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Long Live the Geek!

I just learned that Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2007 was recently voted on, and the winner is...


That's right, Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year is "w00t"! So, to celebrate, everyone go to woot.com and, um, buy something this week if you happen to find something interesting!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Great Headline

Scrolling through news feeds today, I came across what may be the best headline I've ever read:

Delta Plugs Hole With Former Krispy Kreme Chief

The story, which you can read here, was less interesting. I much preferred the story that immediately formed in my mind:
Delta flight x was saved from disaster today, thanks to a quick-thinking flight attendant and a former Krispy Kreme executive.

According to passengers on the flight, they felt a loud thud, and a sudden drop in pressure. Somehow, a hole had been punched through the wall of the passenger cabin, just near John Doe, a former executive at Krispy Kreme.

Although nearly everyone on the plane panicked, flight attendant, Jane Smith, kept her cool, grabbed Doe out of his seat, and stuffed him into the hole. His considerable soft mass was able to seal the hole long enough for the plane to make an emergency landing.

Doe is currently recovering from minor injuries sustained from the event, but says that he is glad to have helped.

Smith has faced mixed reactions of praise from the passengers and their families, and criticism from the NAFP (National Association of Fat People).

"While we appreciate what she did for the people on the plane, we believe she chose Mr. Doe specifically for his weight," said Glutius Maximus, head of NAFP. "We believe this constitutes discrimination against a fat person."

Investigators have not yet discovered the cause of the hole's appearance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Computer Bugs

The case for my PC has a temperature display on the front, which alternates between two temperature sensors inside the case. One of the sensors is near my hard drives, while the other is near the processor (and I don't remember which is which on the display).

A day or two ago, I noticed the temperature display blinking at me. One of the sensors was picking up a temperature of 133°! I decided to shut the PC down overnight and let it cool off. When I booted back up in the morning, the temperature was still high. This evening, it was still pushing 130°, so I decided to open the case and see if I couldn't figure out where that heat was coming from.

Upon opening the case, I noticed cobwebs in the bottom of the case. Now, I had just gone and blown the case out a couple weeks ago when I moved, so I don't know where all these cobwebs came from. Well, obviously, they came from the spider corpse that I found in them. What's worse, I found some evidence that this spider had, in fact, caught something.

Yes, that's right, I found bugs in my computer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How Addicted to Apple Are You?

I just came across this quiz, and thought it would be amusing:0%How Addicted to Apple Are You?That's right: I am one of the apparently few that have resisted the brainwashing of the Cult of Apple. I have never owned an Apple product. Ever.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Internet Access!

Well, as of Monday evening, I finally have Internet access set up at the apartment! Hooray!

And, of course, the cheap router I bought at OfficeMax a while back is set up, and the Wii and DS both have WiFi connections. So, what have I been doing as far as computer use goes this evening? Other than playing with the new Check Mii Out channel on the Wii, I've been playing...Portal. A single-player game.

Yes, I enjoy it that much. This makes the third time through (second time was with developer commentary turned on).

But, hey, now I'm posting to my blog...from my apartment! Yay for Internet access!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day 5 Without Internet

Yesterday was day 5 without Internet access at the apartment. So far, things haven't degraded to this...

...but it is getting close. Of course, in my case, it would be less like Survivor and more like Castaway, since I'm the only person there.

Anyway, fortunately, I've not missed it too much, since I've been busy. I've still got plenty of unpacking, which I've been doing slowly. I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning the bathroom at my former place (I had promised my roommates I'd get it cleaned). I've still got to get another bookshelf and a CD/DVD rack, as well as some other stuff. It's amazing how much stuff you need that you never really think about until it's not there.

In addition, it's a good thing right now that I prefer single-player games. I finally finished Bioshock the other night, and got started on Portal. I've also got Half-Life 2: Episode 2 to play, and I still have yet to beat F.E.A.R. Of course, if I get really desperate, I could always load System Shock 2 back up (never actually finished that; now I really want to). Then there's my games on the Wii and the DS...

Of course, I've also got a number of books to read. So, as long as I've got the Internet at work, I can manage, I guess.

All that said, I do still feel like I'm going crazy without the Internet. Yes, I have plenty to keep me from being bored, but I just feel...disconnected. The apartment will, I think, continue to feel more like a hotel suite or something until I have Internet access.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Really Don't Like AT&T

This is going to be a long one, so I apologize in advance. As I mentioned in my previous post, I moved into an apartment recently. One downside to this is that, in the apartment, my only choice for Internet access is AT&T's DSL service. So, I call AT&T to get DSL set up last Wednesday, and thus began my ordeal.

Grievance 1
It all started when I asked to set up a DSL account. The lady I was speaking with looks up my area on the computer, and comes back, telling me that there are no DSL ports available in my area at the moment. I was somewhat stunned, as this was totally unexpected. "What?" was all I could say. She explained that there are only so many ports available, and they were all taken. So I asked if she could tell me when a port would become available, and she didn't know, but she could put me on a waiting list and they'd call me. I pressed a little, and she checked some other system or something and said that "they" were working on it, and there should be more ports available in two weeks.

At this point, I began thinking that I should cancel the phone line I had just set up and call the apartment complex to see if there is any way I could get Internet access with another company. It seems to me unacceptable for a company to make an exclusive agreement with a property, and then not be able to support that property. With this in mind, I explain to the representative that I would like to cancel the phone line, get put on a waiting list, and get everything set up when DSL is actually available. She says that she doesn't think she can put me on the waiting list if I'm not a customer (nevermind that I had mentioned earlier in the conversation that I am already an AT&T Wireless subscriber). So, I decide to forgo the waiting list and call back in to weeks (assuming I can't get the leasing office to let me use a different provider).

When I tell her that I'll just call back in two weeks, she finally decides to check something else, and puts me on hold. I wait for 5 or 10 minutes, and she comes back saying that, for some reason or another (I forget exactly why), they do have a port available. I decide to jump on that, and I set up my account. She explains that my DSL modem will be shipped UPS and should arrive on Monday, and that my access should be connected then, as well.

Grievance 2
Fortunately, Monday is a holiday, so I didn't have to take off of work. I did have a couple things I needed to do, but I made sure to be in my apartment as much as possible so as not to miss UPS when they came with my modem. However, that afternoon, instead of my modem, I get a call from another AT&T rep. explaining that my order has been delayed, and they won't be able to get my access connected until Wednesday. Also, my modem will not get shipped until Wednesday, and it should arrive at my apartment on Friday.

I'm a little annoyed by this, especially because I'll have to take the day off of work to wait for the modem. So, I ask if there's any way to send my modem to my office instead of the apartment. Apparently, there isn't. The order was already in the system, and they couldn't change the address. What the rep said they could do was send a second modem to my office, and when I got the first one at the apartment I'd send that one back. Given that the second modem would likely show up later than the first (since they'd have to process the order), and I still have the problem of a modem being delivered to my apartment when I won't be there, I decide to just plan on taking the day off to wait.

Also, because I didn't really trust AT&T to actually get the modem to me on Friday (they'd already failed to do what they said in not delivering it Monday) I ask if I can get the order tracking number, so I can track the order. The rep said she didn't have the tracking number yet, but if I called the next day, I could get it.

The next day (Tuesday, aka yesterday), I call to get the tracking number. What I didn't realize, though, was that the automated system only knows how to look up information based on the home phone number, which I don't know and didn't have written down with me at the office. Of course, the automated system makes it difficult to just speak with a person, but when I finally got to talk to someone, he also couldn't look up my account without the home number. So he forwarded me to another department where they could look up my home number, from which I would have to be transferred back to the DSL department to get things taken care of. However, I was on hold there until I didn't have any more time and had to hang up.

Granted, I'm not counting the above as a grievance, since I should have had the number with me.

Grievance 3
When I get home last night, I check my mail, and am slightly excited to see the first piece of mail addressed to me (as opposed to the various previous tenants). It so happens that this mail was "detariffing" policy information from AT&T, which is rather boring, but it's my first mail at my new place. When I looked at the address again, however, I noticed something: my last name was spelled one letter off. Now, this would normally be something I would laugh at, and happily call the next day to get fixed. However, thanks to the issues I'd had up until this point, this was, instead, yet another annoyance added on top of everything else. Icing on the cake of customer disservice, if you will. This was yet another problem I have to deal with, and more time I have to spend on the phone with them.

Grievance 4
And that brings us to my phone call today. I call up the customer service number given on the letter I received (this time, I wrote down the home number and brought it with me) and explain (kindly; I really try to be patient when first talking with a rep, since I know this person isn't at fault for whatever is wrong) that my last name was spelled wrong on the letter, and I'd like to get that fixed. The rep fixes the problem, things go smoothly and I'm happy. When he asks if there's anything else he can help me with, I explain that the situation with the modem shipment. He doesn't have the tracking number, but he's happy to send me to the DSL service department where they can help me. I thank him for his help, and he transfers me.

When I reach a person at the DSL service center, I confirm my number for him, and explain to him that my DSL modem was supposed to be shipped, and I would like the tracking number. He looks up my account, and says that the modem has not yet been shipped. Beyond that, my Internet access has not yet been connected. What?

He explains that they are having "technical difficulties" or something, and they won't be able to connect my account until the problems are fixed. Since they haven't been able to connect the account, they haven't shipped the modem. I ask about the ports to make sure that it's not that they lost my port, and he confirms that I have the port, the account is set up, it's just not connected yet.

So, I ask for a timeframe when the account will get set up. He doesn't know, but there's apparently a work order for a few days from now, and if I call back on Monday, they should be able to tell me when the problem will be resolved. Notice that he did not say, call back Monday, and the problem will be resolved, he said, call back Monday and we'll tell you when it should be fixed.

In other words, for all I know, it could be 2 more weeks before I can get Internet access, but I won't find out about that until Monday.

To Be Continued...
At this point, my patience is wearing thin. I have until Monday to decide what my plan of action is, in case the answer I receive is unsatisfactory. Right now, I think that, at the least, I am going to insist that I not be charged for any service (including the phone line, if I can, since I've been very clear that I'm only getting that for the DSL) that I've not been receiving. I also, if necessary, will escalate my call as high as it needs to go.

Right now, I am finding this service unacceptable. What makes it worse is that, because of the apartment situation, I don't have any other choice. If I were in a house, I could drop AT&T and move to another provider. I don't have that luxury. On the upside, I only have a 6 month lease. God-willing, by then, Kristen and I will have found a house, and, at this point, I know that, once I have a choice again, I will not be using AT&T.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Moved In...But No Internet

I moved into the new apartment on Saturday. I think I counted 10 people that came to help me move, and I'm grateful for all of them, especially since I had to move stuff from 3 places (Chris's house—where I've been living—, my parents' house, and Kristen's house). Of course, I couldn't help thinking the whole day, "In six months, we get to do this again" (my plan is to find a house after the wedding and move in there when the 6-month lease is up on the apartment). Fortunately, in 6 months, everything will be getting moved from one place to one place...I hope.

So, since Saturday afternoon, I've been going through the long process of unpacking my stuff and getting things set up. I had Kristen and a friend, Todd, helping Saturday night, and Kristen helped Sunday, too.

My parents got us an HDTV (since we needed a decent-sized TV) as an early wedding present, which is set up in the living room. I decided to opt out of getting cable, since the only thing I really watch on TV is Heroes. So, I've been playing around with an antenna off-and-on the past few days trying to get a signal from NBC. I'm hoping they have a HD channel, which would be cool. Unfortunately, reception isn't the best right now. But I refuse to give up.

The computer is also, of course, set up. However, I still don't have Internet access (I'm posting this from work). I'll write more about that in another post sometime, since I don't want to ramble on too much here. Suffice to say for now, AT&T is the sole Internet provider in the apartment, and I'm thinking when I get a house, I'm getting Comcast. I was supposed to get the DSL modem yesterday, but instead I got a call yesterday saying that the order was delayed, my Internet access won't start until Wednesday, and the modem probably won't get to the apartment until Friday. And I can't change the delivery address because it's already locked in or something, so I'm going to have to take Friday off and wait around for a modem. >:-O

Anyway, the apartment is slowly starting to feel like home. The weirdest part about it is having all that space to myself. At Chris's house, my computer was downstairs with the others, but everything else I had was stuffed in my small bedroom. I slept on a dumpy, old twin bed for the 2 years I was there because my larger bed wouldn't fit in the room.

Now I have my computer, digital piano, bookshelf, etc. in the "office," and my game systems are in the living room. I have a huge walk-in closet for my clothes (as opposed to the tiny closet at Chris's). My bedroom is bigger than it was at Chris's, and all I have in there are my bed, a small bookshelf, my dresser, nightstand, and a floor lamp. I think it'll be a while before I get used to having so much space.

I'm also getting used to having an "empty" home, and that's just about as weird as having all that space. Up through college, I lived at my parents' house. Then, after graduating and getting a job, I moved into Chris's house, where I lived with 3 or 4 roommates (including Chris). Kristen's been over a lot this weekend, which has helped, but during the week she's going to be busy, so I'm going to have to get used to spending the evening at home without anyone to hang out with. I'm sure I'll get used to it; I've got video games, books, movies, etc. to occupy my time. And, of course, I'll be busy continuing to unpack everything.

I just hope I can make it to Friday without Internet access...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Something I've heard before is that you don't realize how much stuff you have until you move. Well, this evening I've been packing up my stuff in preparation of my move on Saturday (moving out of my friend's house, where I've been living the past 2 years, and into an apartment) and I've been discovering how true that is!

The biggest surprise this evening has been the books. I've ended up with 12 boxes stuffed as full as I could get them with books. I'm sure some of you who read this will probably look at that and say, "only 12 boxes? You don't read enough." However, for me, and given how small my bedroom in this house is, that was surprising. Fortunately, with the extra space in the apartment, I will have room for another bookshelf or two to actually store all these books...

Of course, I've also thrown out a lot of stuff, too. Unfortunately, I could be throwing out a lot more stuff, but I've waited too late and don't really have the time right now to go through everything and separate the chaff from the wheat. Hopefully, I'll get around to that once I'm moved into the apartment.

So, one evening of packing down, three more to go. I've still got a lot to do here, although tomorrow I'll be at my parents' house packing up stuff there.

Monday, November 05, 2007

New Photos

Sky Through Branches
Originally uploaded by coderforchrist
Pulling into the driveway after church today, I noticed how brightly red the tree in the front yard is. So, I pulled out my camera and start taking some photos. I uploaded the best ones to my Flickr account.

By the way, the photo I've included in this post is probably my favorite of the bunch. My second favorite would have to be the one with the tree and the house both in the picture (Chris, the friend I've been living with, just got his house repainted, and it looks very nice).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Name Ideas Needed

Okay, I'm having a hard time coming up with a new name to use in Steam-related games (Half-Life 2 Deathmatch, Team Fortress 2, etc.). It appears, due to the profiles page in Steam, that this is likely to be something more-or-less permanent, so it needs to be something good. My usual online name, 'coderforchrist,' just doesn't seem to fit in the DeathMatch world (actually, I logged in with that name to a IRC channel recently and, without me even saying a word, a flame war erupted...).

I've been using 'Dr. Tran,' from this video (language NSFW) lately, but I'd rather have something perhaps more original. I've had a few ideas of my own, but I want to see if my few readers can come up with some good ones I haven't thought of. So, what do you think?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Hooray! It's raining! More than that, it's been raining the past couple days. Yesterday, we had a good, strong rain for a while, then it let up and has come and gone.

This is exciting for me. We've been in a severe drought for a while, now. Our water resources are near drying up. Granted, we need quite a bit more than a day or two of rain to get us out of this, but what we've had the past couple days certainly will help.

Thank God for the rain. I hope He continues to send it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What Kind of Reader Am I?

Well, wezlo posted his results, so I decided to give it a go of my own:

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Literate Good Citizen

Dedicated Reader

Book Snob


Fad Reader

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

I've got to say, in my case, this may not be terribly accurate. I mean, I answered the questions as honestly as I could, but I just don't read all that often. I do have a tendency to be working through multiple books at once (a habit I should, perhaps, cut back on, actually), and I do carry books around with me and read whenever I have a moment. However, that's usually the bulk of my reading time. When I get home, there's so many distractions (Kristen, video games, Internet, roommates, etc.) that I actually have very little "serious reading time." The downside is, most of the books I tend to read require more of the sustained concentration approach than the "grab a moment when it comes" approach.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Apartment

With Kristen and me getting married in January, I needed to get my own place to live. Up until now, I've been living at a friend's house with some other roommates. However, I don't think that would be an ideal living situation for a married couple.

So, I got online, did a bit of research, talked to some friends, and this Saturday, Kristen and I went out to a nearby apartment complex and got an apartment. Well, we applied for the apartment and got approved. I don't sign for the lease until my move-in day (beginning of November). The one thing I didn't have on me was my 3 most recent paystubs, which I faxed to the girl at the desk today, so everything should be taken care of.

I did learn today that the maintenance crew may not have time to get the apartment ready for me by the move-in date, which may end up pushing the whole move-in process back a week. So, here's hoping that everything works out there.

I'm pretty excited, though, because, beyond finally getting my own place, this is something that I actually took initiative and did for myself. For most of my life, I've been a pretty passive person. One could say that life happens to me. I mean, I will do what I need to do, but usually I need a push—even to do things I want to do. Lately, though, I've been learning to take initiative. I didn't need anyone to tell me that I needed to get the apartment taken care of. I didn't need anyone to remind me to go fill out the application. I did it on my own initiative.

In other words, I guess I'm growing up.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cold-Weather Clothes

I woke up today, and it was 45°F. Wow! Up until now, it's felt like summer would never end.

Of course, this means it's time to break out the cold-weather clothes. Long-sleeves, shoes, etc. The trick is figuring out which of my clothes fit me. I've been trying to lose some weight, and get back down to wearing a medium. However, what I found this morning was that it seems like some of my large shirts are too big, but my mediums are still too tight. I ended up putting on a t-shirt and my jacket, instead.

This got me thinking. I've started wearing t-shirts more again. I think they feel more comfortable than the "nice" button-up shirts. However, all of my long-sleeved shirts are either button-ups or sweaters, and it's not cold enough yet to warrant a sweater. Besides, I'd like to find something like what they have at ThinkGeek, only long-sleeved.

So, if anyone happens to know where I can find some cool long-sleeved t-shirts, let me know.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Nintendo: WTF?

This past weekend, I finally decided to get a Nintendo DS. I've heard of a number of very cool-sounding games for it, and the dual-sceen (+touch-screen) format just sounds very cool. What I had forgotten about until after I bought it was that the DS has Wi-Fi capabilities. Sweet!

I have yet to try out the Wi-Fi connection (Phoenix Wright—a non-Wi-Fi game—has eaten up most of my play time). Even so, the thought has already occurred to me (and, apparently, to a lot of other people) that it would be awesome if the DS had a web browser.

In my fantasizing, the browser could be just a limited as the Opera-based browser on my cell-phone, and it would still be useful. If nothing else, navigating would be much more convenient with the DS's touch-screen as opposed to pushing buttons on my cell's keypad. Even with the additional limitation of requiring a Wi-Fi hotspot (as opposed to the cell phone's more available network), I would find this to be a wonderful convenience.

Certain that someone has figured out a way to do this, I took to the mighty Google, and, surprise, Nintendo and Opera are way ahead of me. Apparently, after producing the Opera browser that runs on the Wii, they released the "Nintendo DS Browser." My initial excitement was quickly shattered when I learned one thing: the browser costs $30.

$30? WTF?

First of all, the capabilities of this browser are, as expected, similar to my cell phone's, with the above-mentioned additional limitation of requiring a Wi-Fi connection. As I said above, that's not a huge deal to me, but, hey, my cell phone's browser cost me nothing. On my old RAZR V3, I downloaded the Opera browser for free. On my new RAZR V3xx, it came on the phone. Is $30 too much to pay for convenience? I'm leaning towards yes.

Secondly, compare the two Nintendo systems: Wii and DS. Browsing on the Wii is, best I can tell, a gimmick. I've tried it (Google Reader even has a special interface designed for the Wii browser), and it's a neat idea. However, after the novelty wears off, its easier to just browse on your PC. If someone, for some reason, has a Wii and a wireless network but doesn't have a PC, I can see this maybe being useful. But for those of us with a Wii and a PC, I can't see why anyone would seriously use the Wii browser.

On the other hand, as I said above, a browser on the DS could be a very useful addition to its functionality. Mobile browsing seems to be gaining popularity. The PSP even has a web browser (for free). So, not only would it be convenient, it would make the DS an even stronger competitor against the PSP (granted, the PSP is more of a "media device" whereas the DS is a "game system").

So, to summarize, the Wii browser is merely a gimmick, but it's free. The DS browser could be a significant enhancement to the system, but it costs $30.

And, yes, I understand that the Wii has a system to download new "channels," therefore it costs little if anything to distribute the Wii browser, whereas the DS does not seem to have this capability, so the browser has to be distributed via a DS game card. So, I can understand charging to recoup the manufacturing costs. But does it really cost $30 per unit?

Apparently, this browser was popular enough in Japan (and there was enough of a demand for it here) that Nintendo decided to bring it to the States. At that price, though, I doubt very many people are going to buy it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The weather is starting to get cooler, and I'm seeing a few leaves changing. This means that autumn is upon us. As a result, I've been in a fairly happy mood the past couple weeks (overall).

I don't know why, but Fall is one of my favorite seasons. It's the season of the apple festival up in the North Georgia mountains (maybe I'll make it up there one day this season). It's the season of apple cider, donning long sleeves, and cooler weather. It's the season of sitting outside at a coffeeshop with a hot espresso drink and a good book. Autumn is a very sanguine and laid back season. I just want to go outside and enjoy the weather.

And before too long, I get to start wearing my favorite hats again.

Autumn feels like a season for new beginnings. Maybe that's because I've spent most of my life so far in school, and the academic year begins just before Autumn. Whatever the reason, I find it fitting that the liturgical new year in the Orthodox Church starts on September 1. This is as it should be. Whoever decided that the year should begin in the dead of winter?

I just hope that I'll be able to get out and do some hiking and mountain biking this week, and enjoy this weather while we have it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Coming Home and Anime Weekend Atlanta

So, today is my last day in Florida (I've been visiting the main office of my company this week). I came down here to meet with another out-of-town developer that I'm working with on a project that constitutes taking an existing web site and writing a SOAP web service interface for it. This project makes my first time 1) using Perl, 2) writing any sort of web service API, and 3) using XML.

So, our main objective for this week was to produce and demo a working web service. It's not connected into the actual database yet; that'll be step 2. For now, I've created various stub routines, settled on the format for passing the data back and forth, and my coworker has connected the client to my service. We demo'd our work to the VP of Development and the manager for this product yesterday, and they were very pleased with our work. Our CEO was pretty excited about it, too.

Next week, though, I'll need to get back into my other product that's more boring, maintenance work. Need to get a release out for the quarter, and I've still got a bug to take care of...

Also, today is the first day of Anime Weekend Atlanta. This isn't quite as big or exciting as DragenCon was, but I've been looking forward to it, too. I think I'll be stopping by on my way home from the airport, if nothing else to get registered for the weekend. Yes, I am a geek.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Found this flyer in a Publix. It's funny that something started by two guys has become this widespread. Anyway, have a good Talk Like a Pirate Day, ye scurvy dogs! Yarrr...

Monday, September 17, 2007

How I am an Idiot

So, this week, I'm in Florida on business (company's main office is down here). Near the main office, the company has a condo where up to two out-of-towners can stay when visiting. When we come down, we are supposed to first check on the availability of the condo, and only if that's already booked up are we supposed to get a room at a nearby hotel.

Now, the trip that I'm on this week was planned about 2 or 3 weeks ago, and I should have gotten everything together back then. I did get the plane tickets in plenty of time, however, I kept forgetting to email the person at the company that keeps track of the condo. I would remind myself, on my way to work some mornings, to do so, but once I got to work, I'd get busy with one thing or another and forget again. This went on until this past Friday evening, when I realized that 1) the trip was the next Monday, 2) it was past quitting time and everyone had gone home. Oops.

In that "oh crap" sort of panic that's ultimately useless, since it wouldn't have mattered if I'd gotten the email out 30 minutes later (when I got home), I boot my computer back up and (finally) send an email to the necessary person, hoping that, maybe, she'll happen to check her email over the weekend (hey, it could happen). I also decide to go ahead and book a room at a Doubletree hotel near the office, just in case. I decided to book it on my own personal card, so that, if the condo did end up being available, and I had to pay some sort of cancellation fee for canceling the reservation at the last minute, the fee would go on my own card, since it was my stupidity that brought this about.

Sure enough, I get an email while about to board the plane this morning saying that the condo is, in fact, available for the week. So, after landing in Florida, I go into the main office for the remainder of the work day. While there, I get online to cancel my reservation at the Doubletree.

Unfortunately, because it's within 24 hours of the check-in time, I can't cancel the reservation online. I call the number it suggests, only to find that the "central reservation office" couldn't cancel the reservation, either. I was going to have to contact the hotel directly and talk to a manager to get it canceled.

I call the hotel, and get transferred to the reservations manager. After waiting on hold for some time, I get sent to voicemail; the manager is not currently available. Sigh. I left her a message, with my number to get back to me. I never heard back from her.

Wanting to get this taken care of, I finally decide to just drive down to the hotel after work and talk to the front desk directly. Preparing for resistance (just in case they wanted to give me a hard time), I walk into the hotel and explain to the guy at the desk that I need to cancel my reservation. I'm sure he was wondering why I'd be canceling my reservation while I'm obviously in the area. So, I explain what's going on, and he hit a few buttons and says, "Okay, you're done!"

I was kind of surprised; that seemed too easy. No cancellation fee? Nope. No paying for a night or anything? Nope. Just canceled the reservation and I was on my way.

Yeah, boring story, but I said in a Twitter update I'd post it (since I alluded to it in the update), so there it is. Sorry you had to read that.

Friday, September 14, 2007

iGoogle Quote of the Day

Here's another good quote from my iGoogle Quote of the Day module:
If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?
- Scott Adams

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Random Quiz

1. If I looked in your trunk, what would I find?
Dirty hiking boots, a coat, an emergency blanket (I think), a spare tire, a jack, and probably some other random stuff that I don't remember.

2. Do you go to the bathroom with the door open or closed?

3. Are your underwear and socks folded in your drawers, or just thrown in?

4. Sleep on your back or stomach?
yes. I have also managed to sleep in bed on my side, while sitting in various chairs, and I think I actually dozed off while standing once, but I'm not sure.

5. Are you a cuddler?

6. What would I find if I looked under your bed?
I don't even remember...

7. Something that happened today that has made you mad?
Nothing that I can think of...

8. What were you doing before this survey?

9. What will you do after this survey?
eat dinner

10. Marriage or living together?
marriage, which will involve living together, soon

11. What are you wearing right now?
jeans, sandals, Hawaiian shirt.

12. How many times have you been in love?
I've been infatuated with a few girls, but I think I've only really loved one.

13. Does delabeling a beer bottle make you sexually frustrated?

14. Do you talk about your feelings or hide them?
I don't really want to talk about it.

15. Is there something you regret and wish you could take back?

16. First thing you do when you wake up?
try to figure out which alarm is going off, then deduce it's location relative to myself.

17. Kiss with your eyes open or closed?
Depends on whether anything is on TV. =-O

18. Bite or Lick?
Wow...getting a little naughty there, aren't we?

19. Last argument you got into?
I don't remember.

20. Do you tend to rip the paper off water bottles?
sometimes, if I'm bored and need something to do.

21. When you shut off your alarm clock, do you tend to fall back asleep?
that's kind of the point of the 'snooze' button, isn't it?

22. If you were given the chance to take care of a monkey for a weekend, would you?
Monkeys rock. And roll. All the time.

23. Do you have or want any piercings that may suprise others?
ouch, sticking holes in my skin. DO NOT WANT!!!

24. What are you looking forward to in the next few months?
Anime Weekend Atlanta, Christmas, Epiphany, and the wedding. Oh, and my sister's wedding, too!

25. Would you ever paint a penguin green on GoofyAuctions.co

26. Are you ticklish?

27. Where do you wish you were right now?
mountain biking

28. What song are you currently listening to?
October, by a group called Pristina

29. Have you ever passed out from drinking?

30. If you caught a significant other cheating on you what would you do?
I don't want to be with someone I can't trust.

31. What time did you wake up this morning?
I don't really remember...

32. Do you have any cousins?

33. What makes you laugh?
A lot of things that probably shouldn't.

34. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?

35. What is the WORST subject they teach in school?
Health, I suppose

36. Where do you plan on living when you grow up?
in a house.

37. What was your dream this morning?
dunno, but given the ones I have remembered, it's probably rather weird

38. How many times have you seen your favorite movie?
I don't even know what my favorite movie is!!!

39. Where was the last place you traveled?
Atlanta, for Dragon Con!

40. How was your past weekend?
More fun than should be legal (note: this statement should not be so construed as to imply anything about the legality or non-legality of any of my actions committed within the past few days. I assure you, they were entirely legal.)

41. What is your favorite song?
I dunno. Perhaps "Goodbye" by The Echoing Green.

42. Why are you doing this survey?
I'm...not really sure.

43. What is the best ice cream flavor?
I'm not a big ice cream eater.

44. Do you think you are attractive?
Not particularly, though I'm told otherwise

45. Is someone on your mind right now?

46. Can you say the alphabet backwards?

47. Do you worry about how you look?
not really. I mean, I comb my hair in the morning, and I generally try to wear clothes that aren't obviously dirty...

48. When will you turn 50?
26 years? 25.5? Something like that. I'm half-way there! Where'd my hair go?!

49. What color is your toothbrush?

50. Have you ever been on stage?
Yes; I was in band in high/middle school.

51. Do you like the beach?
It's nice at night.

52. Can you whistle?

53. Would you do anything for that special someone?

52. Do you know who Stewie Griffin is?
The future dictator of the world

53. Do you have any plans for today?
Plans are for organized people

54. Have you ever thought a friend could be more than a friend?
Well, once I had a friend with multiple personalities, so he was able to be two friends, which is more than one.
Oh, wait, you meant romantically. Well, yes. But I was wrong.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

End of My Weekend at Dragon*Con

After church this morning, I headed back to Dragon*Con for my second (and last) day of the weekend, and I actually have more time to write about it tonight. Technically, the convention starts on Friday and goes until Monday evening. I would love to have been able to do all 4 days. I had planned on going Friday evening, actually, but I was feeling so worn out and tired, I knew that if I didn't just go home after work and get some rest, I would've been miserable the rest of the weekend. Monday, I've got other stuff that needs to get done.

And, so, for me, Dragon*Con 2007 is over. It was a lot of fun, although I really wish I'd had more time. I only got to go to two of the sessions, one being the Q&A with Ron Glass and Mark Sheppard I mentioned yesterday, and the other, today, about folklore, fairy tales, and mythology in modern fiction. Both were very interesting, and I really wish I could've done more of that.

Also, I missed all the parties. That was a bummer. There's a part of me that would almost want to, next year, actually just get a room at one of the hotels and stay the whole weekend. Of course, next year, I'll be married, and I don't think Kristen would be too happy about that. Then again, maybe by next September, she'll just be glad to have me out of the house for a while. ;-)

The biggest difference between yesterday and today is that, for quite a while today, I was just on my own. Robert, who I hung out with yesterday, didn't make it down until later in the day, so I just kinda did my own thing for a while.

Anyway, I did manage to procure much loot while there. The photo with this post is the Serenity ornament that I bought (in the photo, it's on a display stand). I also got the FLCL anime series on DVD, and the Hong Kong release of Macross Zero (since it doesn't appear to be getting released officially in the States anytime soon). The Hong Kong release has English subtitles, so I can understand it. I got the t-shirt that is the photo for yesterday's post, and I got a photo of the Weasley twins from the Harry Potter movies autographed by the two actors for Kristen. I'm probably forgetting something, but it's late and I'm tired.

I'm hoping that, next year, I'll have things better planned out, and can do more with the convention. In the mean time, Anime Weekend Atlanta is coming up in a few weeks...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

End of Saturday at Dragon*Con

Went to Dragon*Con today with my friend Robert, and his friend, Nick. The picture above is the front of a T-shirt I bought. :-D

Really, this is the first year I actually registered, so I could get into all the fun stuff. Fortunately, I pre-registered, so I was able to walk through the sign-in pretty quickly. Unfortunately, Nick had to wait in the very long registration line. So, about two (or more?) hours after he'd gotten in line and Robert and I were walking around the dealer rooms, Robert gets a text message from Nick:
Day 487 of my d-con registration captivity. water running low. natives are nice. i will try to build a fire again. the natives didn't like my earlier attempt.
He did finally get through, by the way.

So, the whole day started with a parade of a bunch of the people in costume. After this, Nick went to registration and Robert and I did some wandering around. I took a number of pictures at the parade (and a few around the con), which I plan on posting to my Flickr account when I get the time (probably Monday).

Later, we attended a 1-hour session with Ron Glass and Mark Sheppard, two actors who played Shepherd Book and Badger (respectively) on the TV show Firefly. It was a Q&A format, and both actors were very good at engaging with the audience. They were a lot of fun, and had some good answers to some tough questions.

I had to leave a little early to make it to vespers at church, and after that, I decided to just head on home. However, I am looking forward to spending the afternoon/evening down there tomorrow!


Today and tomorrow, I'm spending most of my time in downtown Atlanta for Dragon*Con, and this year I actually registered, so I can do all the cool stuff.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Atheist Gets Mormons Back

[Edit: Oops, almost forgot! HT:Geek Orthodox]

On the list of Things Reverend Skippy Can't Do at the Pulpit, item number 20 reads, "Jehovah’s Witnesses are not ‘our nemesis’ and we need not knock on their doors ‘to get some back.’" Well, it would appear that this doesn't apply to this atheist regarding Mormons:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Change of Place

Go where you may, you will find no rest except in humble obedience to the rule of authority. Dreams of happiness expected from change and different places have deceived many. —Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
And why is this so? I think that, perhaps, this poster is relevant.

Friday, August 03, 2007

DUI Suspect Arrested Wearing "I'm A Drunk" Shirt - News Story - WSB Atlanta

DUI Suspect Arrested Wearing "I'm A Drunk" Shirt - News Story - WSB Atlanta: "A Florida woman arrested on charges of drunken driving for a second time since April was taken into custody wearing a T-shirt that read, 'I'm not an alcoholic, I'm a drunk -- Alcoholics go to meetings.'"
I can just imagine her conversation with the officer who arrested her.

Officer: You're sure you're not drunk.
Woman: Yes, I'm fine.
Officer: Um...you understand that your shirt somewhat undermines your credibility...
Woman: Daaang...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wii Fit Parody

Wezlo posted a while back about a Microsoft Surface parody video. Well, the group that did that is back again, and this time, they're taking on the Wii Fit. No ruminations on the church and relevance from me, though (partly because I'm also watching the Discovery Channel). Just the video:

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Another Insightful Quote

Here's another quote from my iGoogle "Quote of the Day" module:
Seeing ourselves as others see us would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them.
- Franklin P. Adams

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How Addicted to Coffee Are You?

Well, at least I'm not as addicted as Qohelet.

Interesting coincidence; I come into work this morning and we're out of coffee beans. There's still the grinds from yesterday (where I had to mix the remnants of two blends together to get enough coffee) and the brewed coffee from yesterday in the cofeemaker. So, I add some water to the coffee, pour in back into the "input" and brew it again. It tasted nasty, but it had to do until my coworker got back from the store with more coffee.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

DragonCon Guests

So, I was listening to The Signal, a podcast about the TV show Firefly (and it's later movie incarnation, Serenity), and they announced that Ron Glass, who plays Shepherd Book on the show, and Mark Sheppard (Badger) will be at DragonCon this year. That's pretty exciting; Shepherd Book is one of my favorite characters in the series.

So, while I was checking the DragonCon guest list to make sure I'd heard right, I noticed something rather saddening: so far, it doesn't look like anyone from Heroes will be present. If there is anyone I'm hoping to see at DragonCon this year, it's a) Firefly cast (yay for the two mentioned above!) and b) Heroes cast. Granted, DragonCon isn't until September, so, maybe, they can still decide to show up...

Of course, this'll only be me second year going to DragonCon (and first year actually registering so I can get into all the cool stuff) so I'm sure I'll be plenty busy getting oriented.

Oh, yeah, I hope everyone had a good 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Got Pwnd

From a conversation over at Christdot:

qohelet: Sweet. I suggest you celebrate by listening to "Play that Funky Music White Boy" by Wild Cherry, followed by James Brown's "Sex Machine."
giziti: get up! get on up!
qohelet: get on the scene! like a lovin' machine!
CoderForChrist (me): Is it bad that the only time I've ever heard that song was in an AMV?
giziti: It's bad that you watch AMVs.
qohelet: +1

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bush's Solution to Global Warming

According to a highly credible news site*, The Onion, President Bush has finally unveiled his solution to global warming: build a giant air conditioner to cool off the US. The total cost for developing this unit is, apparently, estimated at $100 trillion. You can read the whole story here: Addressing Climate Crisis, Bush Calls For Development Of National Air Conditioner

In other news, after blending into American society for the past 5 years, a terrorist cell in California has, apparently, become "too complacent to carry out [their] attack."

*I managed to type that with a straight face! ;-)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Seeing God in Relief

I've been rereading the book Beginning to Pray by Archbishop Anthony Bloom. This passage, from the first chapter, has been something that jumped out at me both times I've read through it:
...when a man or a woman experiences love for another, other people no longer matter in the same way. To put it in a short formula from the ancient world, 'When a man has a bride, he is no longer surrounded by men and women, but by people.'

Isn't that what could, what should happen with regard to all our riches when we turn to God? Surely they should become pale and grey, just a general background against which the only figure that matters would appear in intense relief? We would like just one touch of heavenly blue in the general picture of our life, in which there are so many dark sides. God is prepared to be outside it, He is prepared to take it up completely as a cross, but He is not prepared to be simply part of our life.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My New Toy

My New Toy
Originally uploaded by coderforchrist
I recently got a new toy: an Air Hogs RC Havoc Heli. The 'copter charges off of the remote (hence the cord you see between the two in the photo), and goes for about 6 minutes (I think) before needing to be recharged.

These things are incredibly sensitive to the slightest movement of air, and as such, you've gotta be careful if you fly it outside. Just the breeze from an A/C vent can send it out of control. Fortunately, this thing can take a beating!

So, how did I come across this? My brother and sister picked up a couple for my dad for Father's Day (which we celebrated on Thursday). We all had so much fun flying them around my parents' house, I went and got my own the next day!

Given it's aforementioned resilience, this toy gives a lot of fun for it's price: $30. Granted, after a weekend of abuse, my dad's 'copters have needed some repairs. I suppose I've not abused mine as much, because it's still running fine.

And, I think I'm finally getting good enough to really annoy people at the office...

Oh, if anyone wants one, I got mine at Target, and my sister got the two for my dad at Wal-Mart. If you'd rather order it online, they've got them over at ThinkGeek as well.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Insightful Quote

On my iGoogle homepage, I have a module called "Quote of the Day," which, as you might guess, gives me a quote for each day. Sometimes the quotes are just silly, but today's was, I thought, pretty good:
We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones.
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Sunday, June 17, 2007

High-Level Nerd

Okay, apparently I'm slightly nerdier than wezlo:
I am nerdier than 83% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Now, That's Politics!

Apparently, a fight broke out in the Alabama Senate recently. Well, not much of a fight; one senator punched another in the head. Regardless, if this kind of thing went on more often, I might actually watch CPAN!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Buddhism and Suicide

Another great bash.org chat log:

<Neo-Tokyo> wouldnt you say suicide is a permenant solution to a temporary problem?
<`[6]> I'm a Buddhist, I'd say suicide is a temporary solution to a permanent problem.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Out-Moralizing the Bible?

Found this great IRC chat log here. For convenience's sake, here it is:

*** Now talking in #christian
-Word_of_God- Welcome Abstruse to #christian I am a Bible Bot. For more info type: /msg Word_of_God !info
<abstruse> !kjv numbers 22:21
<word_of_god> Numbers 22:21 -- And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. - (KJV)
*** SageRider sets mode: +b *!*@c211-30-208-111.rivrw3.nsw.optusnet.com.au
*** Word_of_God was kicked from #christian by SageRider (Please dont Swear)
<abstruse> I know I'm never going to be able to come back in this channel again after this, but damn was it worth it to see that...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

YouTube Spam

So, as you'll notice from the below post, I recently started a YouTube account. This is part of my attempt at incorporating a mobile blog into this one. Just as I can upload photos from my cell, with YouTube, I can also upload videos.

Anyway, today, I receive my first message from another YouTube user. The entirety of this message was, "hi, please upload all your videos to [site removed to protect the...um...I just wanted to be nice]."

Having done a search on that website, I have found that I am not the only one to receive this (at the same time, the author claims to be doing these messages "by hand," and not using an automated bot). Others have received this as comment spam (perhaps the backlash against that is the reason he's moved to private messages now). In addition, a video uploaded to YouTube about this site points out the "odd" similarity in site design to YouTube. Looks like a total rip-off.

I'm not really concerned about that; it's the Wild, Wild Web, after all. What I found the most interesting is that this guy is blatantly advertising his site on Youtube. He has a YouTube account, obviously, but has no videos posted, and, from what I have seen, says nothing in his comments or messages but, "please upload all your videos to [his site]."

Totally classless? Ignorant? Gonzolas the size of basketballs? Given his comments on some blog postings complaining about his spam, I'm going to assume the...err...best about him (i.e., that he's being honest in those comments) and go with "ignorant." He doesn't seem to get why people might be annoyed by this.

I mean, seriously, I'm all for the little guy, but if someone, for example, started up a new soda company, visited the World of Coke (yes, we have a museum about Coca-Cola), and did nothing the whole time he was there other than tell other visitors to buy his beverage instead of Coke, he'd probably get escorted out rather quickly.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dexter Trip at Georgia Renaissance Festival

If I remember correctly, he had 200 Black Cat fireworks duct-taped to his chest. I think I started "filming" just after he lit the fuses. Oh, and, yes, he lived.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Which Church Father Am I?

Got this quiz from Wezlo and Dr. Q...

You’re St. Jerome!

You’re a passionate Christian, fiercely devoted to Jesus Christ and his Church. You are willing to labor long hours in the Lord’s vineyard, and you have little patience with those who are less willing or able to work as you do. Your passions often carry you into temptation zones of wrath, lust, and pride.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Google Reader

I think I'm going to give Google Reader another go. I tried it out back when it first appeared, but the interface was absolutely horrid, and I ran straight back to Bloglines. More recently, I discovered that the interface has been redone, and looks much better. The only thing keeping me from trying it out again was that I didn't see a mobile version. Well, I finally found that, so I'm going to try it out, and see how it goes. If I like both interfaces better than Bloglines, I may be switching...


So, on the heels of our engagement, Kristen and I now have another announcement: Sunday morning, we were received by Holy Chrismation into the Orthodox Church. I would have posted this earlier, but I was waiting until I had told my parents; I didn't want them finding out by reading it on our parish's website again. That was how they discovered that we had become catechumen, and it didn't go over well.

They are genuinely concerned for me and Kristen, and I understand why. Please pray for them, whether you think Kristen and I are right or wrong in joining the Orthodox Church.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


(Note: This is a cross-posting from a journal entry I posted over at Christdot)

Well, I've been rather busy, so I'm a few days late posting this.

Anyway, Kristen and I are engaged! I proposed this past Saturday, May 5. Now that the initial announcement is over, here's the story:

I decided to propose on May 5 because it was the three-year anniversary of our meeting. It was also my birthday, which some people seem to think is noteworthy. In addition, I wanted to do something reminiscent of our first summer together, and, in particular, one day that we spent together that was probably as close to a "first date" as we have.

On that day, we had gone to a nearby state park (Kennesaw Mountain) to hike, as we were wont to do (sometimes with friends, sometimes alone). Afterwards, we went to Waffle House for lunch. Then, I wanted to go put a slinky on an escalator at the mall, and after we did that, we went to see Spider Man 2.

So, with that background out of the way, here's how it all happened:

Kristen had known that I had the ring for a while, and she'd been bugging me about when I was going to propose. Concerned that I might give away my plan if I kept trying to fend her off, I devised a game.

If you have read The Hobbit, I'm sure you, at least vaguely, remember the part where Gollum and Bilbo have the riddle contest, which ends with Bilbo's wondering aloud what he has in his pocket (he'd forgotten he'd picked up the ring), and Gollum's mistaking it for a riddle. So, I gave her a riddle each day from that sequence that she had to solve in order to get a hint. I had it timed so that the last riddle, "what is in my pocket?", would fall on May 5.

As it happens, we went to a late showing of Spider Man 3 on May 4 with some friends (that wasn't originally part of my plan, actually), and then, on the 5th, we went to lunch at Waffle House, and I took her up to Kennesaw Mountain. We found a slightly secluded spot, and, after waiting there for a moment, I said it was time for the next riddle.

By this point, Kristen had figured out where the riddles were coming from, and she knew that I knew. So, when I asked her what was in my pocket, she thought I might try to fake her out, and guessed a few different things. After 3 guesses, I took out the ring, gave a little impromptu speech, and asked her to marry me. Apparently, I didn't phrase the question correctly, because she made me "ask her properly." And, of course, she said "yes."

We then made the rounds to visit both sets of parents, and have been slowly informing everyone else since then.

Oh, and I took some photos in the aftermath of the proposal, which you can see here.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Global Climate Change

I came across a couple articles today on (cue movie-trailer voice) "Global Climate Change" (bum bum bum...) that were interesting. The first, from an Australian news source, is headlined, Ocean currents to blame for global warming: expert, and begins with this sentence:
The United States' leading hurricane forecaster says global ocean currents, not human-produced carbon dioxide, are responsible for global warming.
The second article, from the British edition of Times Online, is titled Climate change hits Mars. I found this part particularly interesting:
Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.
Just a couple tidbits you probably won't be hearing from Al Gore anytime soon.

Now, just to head off any criticism (i.e., I'm pretending I actually have an audience that might criticize me), I'm all for being more environmentally responsible. I grew up in a family that turns the lights/TV off when they're not being used, that recycles, that turns off the water when it's not needed, etc. As a Christian, I believe that God has tasked us with caring for the Earth that He has given us.

I just find the doomsday scenarios one hears from such public figures as the previously-mentioned Al Gore to be rather doubtful, and am somewhat incredulous regarding claims that human activity is to blame.

It is my, albeit uneducated, opinion that climate change is a natural phenomenon, and is merely part of the life-cycle of our planet. Frankly, "Global Warming" is such a politicized issue that it is hard for me to accept the rather one-sided presentation that is often given in the media.

Part of my issue with the alarmist aspect is that, if successful, it may lead to efforts being pushed through to "reduce carbon footprints," etc. before they've been well considered.

Take ethanol, for instance. It has been pushed as a "clean" fuel; instead of fossil fuels, ethanol is made from corn. At the outset, this seems like a great idea: a renewable energy resource. Except that, as ethanol use increases, corn which could have been food for people or livestock gets bought up by ethanol companies. As a result, the price of corn rises, the price of livestock rises, and we end up with a clean energy source that literally starves the poor.

In other words, it's a case of the butterfly flapping it's wings in Beijing and causing a hurricane in San Francisco.

Friday, April 20, 2007

My Soteriology

Christ did not come to get sinners into Heaven; He came to make sinners into saints.

This mobile text message is brought to you by Cingular, now the new AT&T

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Feed Issues?

I was talking to Kristen earlier, and she said she hasn't gotten any new RSS data from this blog in Thunderbird since October, and that Thunderbird is giving her an error that the feed is not valid. She's using the feed URL provided in the first link under "Subscriptions" to the right, which is a feed produced by Feedburner. The benefit of Feedburner is, IIRC, that it can produce an RSS or Atom feed depending on what the user needs, which was why I decided to use it instead of Blogger's default Atom feed.

I decided to investigate for myself. When I click on the link in Firefox 2.0, it shows an up-to-date preview of the feed and allows me to choose how I want to subscribe (good old Firefox!). When I get to Bloglines, however, (Bloglines is my online feed reader of choice), and preview the feed from there, the most recent post is my March 28 announcement, Changes Coming Soon.

There is a link at the very bottom of my blog to Blogger's default Atom feed, and, when I try subscribing to that, it seems to work fine. I sent Kristen that URL, and she said it didn't show anything in Thunderbird, but it didn't complain that it wasn't a valid feed, either.

Has anyone else noticed any issues receiving feeds from this blog? I know a couple of you have signed up to use the FeedBlitz service to the right, to get this feed in email; have you noticed anything awry? The more info I have, the better, so let me know! I want to try and get this fixed soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

From Florida

I'm out in Florida on a business trip. This is a view from my balcony. Right now, I don't have Internet, so I'm posting from my phone. I wanted to say something about the shooting at VA Tech today.
God have mercy on all those involved, the victims, the families, and the man who was so disturbed as to commit this heinous act. May God have mercy on us all, for we are all part of this culture that produces such violence.

Friday, April 13, 2007

What Kristen and I Do On a Date

The writing is the algorithm we devised to find the nearest multiple of y to x. This started by my spilling the salt and saying, "Oh, no, 400 years of bad luck!" Kristen noted that bad luck usually comes in 7's, so we wanted to find the nearest multiple of 7 to 400.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Warm Weather Again

That's a view out the window of my office. The cold is leaving, and the skies are clear! At least, until this weekend.

Comment Spam

Since I've started this blog, I've noticed that the more often I update, the more often I get comment spam.

For those who don't know, comment spam is where people (or, usually, machines) post advertisements in your comments. Sometimes, they make a meager attempt at sounding like a real commenter. They'll say something like, "What an interesting post! By the way, buy my crap!" Sometimes, they don't even care to disguise themselves.

The other day, I got one that was more along the latter. It was a blatant advertisement for some webmail software. However, in the last line, the author was so nice about the fact that I'll probably delete the comment I almost felt bad deleting it!

Well, I've been able to keep that stuff out for the most part. I get an email every time I get a comment on the blog, so any spam is usually gone within a day. However, I tire of keeping up with that, so I've decided to add a "word verification" to the comment posting process.

All this means is that, when posting a comment, you'll be shown an image of some characters, and you have to type those characters in the corresponding text box to prove that you are a human and not some machine. Anonymous comments are still allowed, so the few of you who actually read this and don't have a Blogger account can still comment. You know, on the off-chance I post anything comment-worthy.

It's not a big deal, but it's a change I thought I'd let people know about.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

That's the refrain that was sung multiple times in the services tonight.

Happy Pascha (Easter)!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holy Saturday

On my way to church for Holy Saturday morning. Tonight, we'll be in church from 9pm until 3am, celebrating Easter (Pascha) at midnight. Then, the Paschal feast!

White Easter?

This is a photo I took tonight of snow on my car. I had just gotten home, so there's not much there yet. However, this is snow, in Georgia, in April! What does this mean? Personally, I think Hell is starting to freeze over.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Free Admission Promotion at Theme Park Goes Awry

According to a local news station, a free admission promotion by the Six Flags Over Georgia theme park worked a little bit too well. The article is great, so go read it here. Anything else I can say here would probably only take away from the humor of this.

Update: My brother, apparently, tried to make it out to Six Flags for "Ditch Day" (that's what they were calling it). He left school around 4am, but, fortunately, before he got to the park, he got a call from a friend ahead of him telling him that they'd ended it early.

Friday, March 30, 2007

No More Worrying About Cold Days

No PS3 In Jail

From CNet's gaming blog:
ITV is reporting that the U.K.'s Home Secretary, John Reid, has made the shocking and momentous decision to ban Sony's PlayStation 3...in jails. Yes, that's right. The reasoning is that the high-end gaming console, which went on sale in the U.K. last week, could be used to send or receive radio signals with its built-in Wi-Fi and connectivity features.

But, um, isn't it jail?
My whole notion of jail has changed. You get a roof over your head, 3 square meals a day, apparently time to play video games, maybe even cable TV, all on the taxpayers' dime! Okay, so, there is this:

But, hey, besides that, jail sounds pretty nice...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ah, Spring Is Here

The writing on my car reads 5,937, which is the pollen count today. The news says this almost meets the record of 6,013, which occurred on April 12, 1999. By the way, my car is clean compared to some I have seen.

Abstinence and Sexual Disease Prevention

Lately, there have been two conversations related to sexually transmitted diseases that I have come across. One is on a vaccine for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The story there is that 1) HPV has been linked to cervical cancer, and 2) at least one state government is considering making the vaccine mandatory. The second story is about the WHO backing a plan to prevent HIV spread via circumcision.

In discussions on both stories, the topic of abstinence came up. The general idea is that, if you save yourself for marriage, then, assuming your spouse also saves (him|her)self, you will not be at risk for either HPV or HIV. In the case of the HPV vaccine, the concern was that having your daughter get the vaccine would imply that you don't trust your daughter's sexual morality. In the HIV story, someone made the statement, "if your son and his wife save themselves for marriage, circumcision won't change his HIV risk: 50~60% of 0 is still 0."

The issue that is not mentioned in either case is involuntary sexual encounters (i.e., rape). Sure, your daughter may have an impeccable sexual morality, but that's not going to save her if she is raped. In fact, I just read earlier this morning about a 15-year-old girl who came home from school the other day to find a strange man in her house who tied her up and raped her.

Also, there is the fact that men can be raped. Granted, man-on-man rape isn't going to be affected by circumcision, but I remember reading some time ago about an issue in Africa where HIV-infected women were going around raping men in order to infect them (apparently in revenge for their being infected).

As far as official policies go, abstinence is a great policy within a family, perhaps even a small community, but no government is going to be able to mandate abstinence (unless it's a totalitarian government, but who wants that?), and no group (like the WHO) can make people suddenly become monogamous. While, certainly, these groups should promote abstinence and monogamy, they need to augment this with other efforts to prevent disease among the population.

So, in conclusion, the argument that abstinence and monogamy will protect you against STD's is not 100% correct. Sure, it will greatly reduce your chances, which is something that should not be ignored. However, to say that it will reduce them to 0% is simply wrong; there is always the possibility of rape, and this possibility should never be ignored when looking at possible ways to prevent STD infection.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Changes Coming Soon

If anyone is still reading this, you've probably noticed that I don't post very much. There have been a few reasons for that. First of all, I'm horrible at managing time, so I usually end up never having time to actually sit down and write anything. Secondly, I haven't really had much to write. Okay, actually, I've had plenty to write, but it never seems to make it from a jumbled mess in my head to anything resembling a logical process of thought. Sometimes I do get something written down, but I look back over it and think it might be wiser, for some reason or another, not to post it. Generally, this is because, upon rereading my glorious writing, I realize that it's really rather apparent that I'm just talking out of my arse.

In addition, I've had some issues going on in my personal life for a while, involving some tough decisions I'm still trying to sort out. Maybe I'll make a post out of that in the future, but, at the moment, I will just ask for your prayers.

So, to the point of this post. I was reading the other day about Twitter, a micro-blogging service. For those of you who use Facebook, Twitter is basically your Facebook status, only public across the Internet, and organized in more of a blog-ish format. As I was looking into this, I realized that, while I stink at maintaining a "real" blog, I could probably do something like Twitter, with typically short posts that I can send in from my phone as well as my PC. However, I also want to be able to post pictures (and perhaps even videos) from my cell phone. Just a sort of potpourri of random thought, photos, etc. from my daily life.

As I looked further, I discovered that what I was looking for was a "moblog." Blogger already has some support for this (in fact, I've used this feature for some posts on this blog), except that it lacks videos. I've decided that a temporary solution for videos (if I ever want to post one) could be to post them to YouTube, and then embed them in a blog post from my PC later.

I was going to create a new blog specifically for this purpose, but, after much time spent failing to think up a good name, I have decided to just use this existing blog. It is already more of a personal blog, anyway, and I've already done some mobile posting here. So, from this point on, this is going to become a sort of hybrid: the deformed offspring of a normal blog and a mobile blog. I hope that this will mean more updates, although the updates may be even less interesting than before. The posts will primarily be shorter posts, sometimes even just a photo with no caption, though I may also have some slightly longer posts about random musings or interesting things I've read online.

If I ever get around to actually writing anything more significant or serious, I'll start another blog for that purpose. But from now on, this blog is simply going to be a window to my world. It will probably be banal, perhaps even inane. However, just like a shotgun, firing a multitude of pellets rather than just a single bullet, perhaps a few of my posts will hit the target of interestingness.

Consider this the warning shot. ;-)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Forgive Me, a Sinner

Paul once wrote, "knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth," and "if any man think he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him."

Also, James writes much about the tongue, that it is a burning fire and untamable, that if any man does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the body.

I am far from a perfect man, and am an ignorant one, at that. I tend to forget this. I have often spoken out of turn, and been critical and judgemental of others. I have lacked charity in my discourses, and in my zeal for truth, I have despised my brother. I have not restrained my tongue from evil speech (nor my fingers from evil writing) and have not spoken only those things which edify.

In addition, to those who know me, I have not been the friend, sibling, son, or Christian I ought to be. I have often neglected to pray for you, and have simply not loved you as I should.

If I have offended anyone who reads this, in word or deed, and, especially, if I have caused any of you to stumble in his or her faith, whether on this blog, or in my comments on others, please forgive me. As a friend of mine once said, Paul called himself the chief of sinners, but he hadn't met me.

If you will, please pray for me, that I might "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing" (Col 1:10), and that my conversation may always be tempered with grace, that it may not be for tearing down, but for building up, and, above all, always to God's glory.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Got a New Hat

Okay, so I really want to start blogging more. However, I seem to have writer's block or something. So, instead of writing out some great post, here's a photo of me in my new hat.

The story behind this is that my mom found some hats on clearance at Old Navy, and this is the one she got me. I don't think this photo does much justice to my beard, but, hey, it's my phone's camera (my "real" camera would've been more difficult to take a photo of myself with).

Perhaps this will become a trend. If I can't get something together to write about, I'll just post a photo.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Transfiguration of the World

Starting on Christmas Day, Fr. Stephen Freeman (possibly related to Gordon Freeman? ;-) ), an Orthodox priest who should be familiar to those who read Fr. Alvin Kimel's Pontifications blog, posted a series of entries on his own blog on "The Transfiguration of the World" that have somehow decided to get stuck in my mind and bug me every now and again (in a good way). Although written from an Orthodox perspective (so some ideas may seem foreign to Evangelicals), I think a lot of what he says should be good reading for any Christian. And so, for the benefit of those who may not have read them, I decided to post a list of links to each entry:
I'm not sure that last one is part of the "series," but it seems to me to be at least an appendix.