Monday, May 30, 2005

Monday Musings

  • It doesn't take long to lay laminate. Maybe not. But it does take forever to pull out the carpet, fix the wall, paint the fixed walls, etc. before you can put that laminate down.

  • I'm the Emperor of the entire universe, and I can't even keep track of one little family in a far corner of the universe. If I'm the evil dictator of the entire universe and a kid named Skywalker shows up on Tatooine, he's dead. Good grief, it's not that hard.

  • The French can't even be convinced to vote for a socialist constitution. I'm happy that I'm not having to watch the talking heads ramble on and on about this, but I'm not at all surprised that Chirac and crew are implying that there will be a second try at ratification.

  • Speaking of talking heads, Mr. McCain has probably finished his chances at getting out of the Republican primaries. I've not mentioned the Republican Party's debacle in the fillibuster "compromise", but I wasn't a bit surprised when I heard that McCain was in the middle of it all.

  • Indiana Jones 4 is moving. I'm not sure yet if it should be moving to the circular filing cabinet on the floor yet, but there's one hope: Lucas isn't writing it.

  • Thank you for those who served our country, and continue to serve.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Day 3 of vacation - Family Break

We spent all of yesterday pulling up carpet and getting things ready to fix. Little Miss ended up having to go to the doctor because her hacking cough wasn't getting better. She ended up having a sinus infection, and is now on antibiotics. Since that left her and Milady out of work all morning, I was able to pry Number 1 Son away from the Gamecube enough to get every bit of carpet out of the family room. That was really hard work, and I was very impressed with how much effort he put forth.

Since our trash pickup is Monday, we now have a large stack of carpet and padding bundles on the back patio, waiting for the make-up day on Wednesday. I've already told the family to visualize less trash for the next couple of days, since we're down to 1/2 of a trash can left. For this crew, that's not much.

Last Night at Home Depot, I finally met another 'we'. As I've mentioned before, Milady loves to say "we" will do something that I know will end up being my job. As I was putting the exterior paint* in the buggy, a lady at the counter commented that I had a lot of paint. I told her that Milady had told me that "we" had projects to do. She said that her husband had made the same comment about "we". Then Milady got back from the wallpaper section, and her husband came up too, and the two ladies started in. I almost got a hernia laughing so hard. The poor guys at the paint counter weren't sure if they should laugh or run us off (the $300 in paint in my buggy pretty much precluded the latter...).

Since we've had two good days, we've decided to take a break day.

*The exterior of the house and garage need painting to match the new siding. Milady has also determined that we need to paint the currently-unpainted concrete portions of the garage.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Moving slow on the first vacation day

We got in bed late last night, so it was about 10AM before Milady got up (to answer a phone call), and I didn't get up until almost 11AM. I hope the poor Jehovah's Witnesses who got to see me pre-shower with my white undershirt, a pair of shorts, and hair going everywhere weren't too scared. They were real troopers about that (probably used to strange dress), but when I not only wasn't scared by their "You know there won't be poverty eventually" speech, but I explained that I was a Christian apologetic and study end-times theory regularly. They started getting that "Oh, no, the Jehovah's Witnesses are at the door" look I usually get, and made their apologies and left as rapidly as possible.

We didn't get started in the house until 1PM, but by 8PM all of the stuff in the family room was either in the garage or in my office, including our former wet bar. I'm not sure if I'll be able to walk tomorrow, much less pull out carpet and start laying down the laminate.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

And we're a depressed, "backwards" state?

Alarming news passes along (via Red State) an Andrew Roth article on The Club of Growth: listing the US states as entries in the international Gross Domestic Product listing.

I was interested in the following numbers from Mr. Roth's article (I've added the population Stats myself):

StatusCountry/StateGDP in USDPopulation (est)
7United Kingdom132,000,000,00060,441,457


76Kentucky128,982,000,000 4,041,769

77South Carolina127,251,000,000




Kentucky has a bigger economy than either Israel or Ireland. Israel, while still suffering the aftereffects of the most recent recession, still has the healthiest economy in the Middle East. Ireland is the growing dynamo of the EU, with low taxes and excellent industry growth. We earn more GDP per person (about $31000 per person) than even the United Kingdom ($25150).

Kentucky's GDP per person is better than any of these economies, yet we are one of the poorest states in dollars of effective government services per person, especially personal education. I don't know if it's poor management or poor expectations, but it's disappointing to see just how much wealth (and by that wealth, tax base) the state really generates, and yet it can't deliver the services we need while taxing at a very reasonable level.

This is hardly a call for more taxes. There is already more than enough tax revenue to fund good services, with minor exceptions (primarily in higher education). That tax revenue usage simply stinks. It's not a Democrat problem or a Republican problem, and that means I don't know if Kentucky can fix it.

One can hope.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Paul had a thorn in his flesh, as he describes in 2nd Corinthians 12. The original Greek word, skolops, isn't used anywhere else in the New Testament, but its use elsewhere in koine Greek is as a thorn, a prickle, or an object with a sharp point. A few people have speculated that Paul was feeling homosexual tendencies. Most commentators of note believe that it was a physical problem of one form or another. It is clear that Paul was given this embarrassing condition to hold back his pride. When Paul would ask for it to be taken away, God would instead point out that the thorn was for Paul's good.

I've always been fascinated that Paul didn't identify his thorn. A lot of people love to identify their thorns. Sometimes, in the case of addictions and groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, this is essential. In other cases, we want to wallow in the sin. Bill Clinton's sexual history was critical information. People were fascinated by the idea that George W. Bush may have taken cocaine during his college career.

Paul's goal was to glorify God. It glorified God for Paul to talk about his trip to heaven (either through a vision or a bodily translation), but it gave more glory for him to speak about it in the third person. Paul describing that God has given him the thorn glorifies God, and helps other believers to deal with their own thorns. Since the details of his thorn won't help us as much, and doesn't bring glory to God, Paul leaves them out.

We need to keep this in mind in talking about our troubles too. We are not our thorns. If God is calling you into a specific ministry (like Alcoholics Anonymous), then you need to talk about your thorns. For the "rest of us", we may need to bring less attention to our problems, and focus more about giving glory to God.

You see, I have whined here before about my weight. I've mentioned how I have trouble reading my Bible regularly. I have other thorns that I have not mentioned. I too have asked God to remove my thorns, but He has chosen to leave them with me. Spiritually, they attack me by making me think of myself as a pincushion for my thorns instead of being a child of God who still is flawed but is under grace. The Lord appears to be leading me against dwelling on my thorns, so instead of focusing on them, I'm going to accept that He will fix them when He is ready, and will strive to get past them with His grace.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Quick prayer requests

The grandmother of one of Number 1 Son's friends has an unruptured aortic aneurism that is growing. They are going to evaluate her for surgery tomorrow, but there's no promise that they will operate yet. Please pray for healing for her.

Also, I am driving to Cincinatti at 0 Dark 30 tomorrow morning for an all-day class being given by IBM. I don't do well with driving tired, so please pray that I sleep well, and don't sleep at all tomorrow. :)

Slow death by Nutrasweet

TheAnchoress is having health issues, and still manages to write a wonderful article about David Horowitz's new book. Our prayers go out to her, and we hope she gets better soon.

Some of the commentors mentioned that TheAnchoress should kick her Diet Pepsi habit. I had decided to leave a comment on that regard, and then it got too big, so a trackback will do.

I was violently allergic to MSG when I grew up. Any trip to McDonalds, and many of the meals in the school cafeteria, would give me a migraine. Almost everyone has quit using MSG, so my sensitivity to it has gone down a lot in the intevening years. Aspartame is sufficiently similar to MSG that I'm also allergic to it. I would get headaches and other light symptoms every time I ate or drank NutraSweet products. I also hate its taste, so it wasn't hard to not use the stuff.

A couple of months ago, I started taking the low-sugar version of SlimFast without reading the label. I react badly to stress. I am a person that no one, even me, likes to be around. I can't stand anything, and lash out almost without provocation. Since I've started with Current Employer, I've only had the lightest of stress, and can deal with it. Except when I started taking that SlimFast. Then the grouch was back. By the first week, it was rough, but I wasn't getting my traditional headaches so I didn't notice. I skipped the SlimFasts a couple of days and noticed that I wasn't grouchy-bear any more. Two cans of diet formula quickly entered the trash can.

Aspertame metabolizes into methanol, which metabolizes into formaldehyde. Worse, aspertame deteriorates rapidly under 130 to 140 degree temperatures, which aren't hard to reach in shipping crates and trucks in the summer, producing formaldehyde in larger amounts. Aspertame and its children can also cross the blood-brain barrier. There's widespread speculation that Nutrasweet is the cause for the large growth of Parkinson-like symptoms in young people and "Grave's Disease", among other issues.

I was going to suggest that TheAnchoress look at sucralose (Splenda), but the health troop are starting to point out its chemical similarity to DDT and other chlorocarbons. Research it yourself, but don't just jump from Aspartame into Splenda.

Stevia has a fan club, but it tastes metalic to me, and a few people are countering the "all safe" designation. Saccharin appears to have weathered the "rat bladder" problems, but I still don't trust it, and it tastes metallic to me too. I think that Americans need to retrain themselves to a sweet-free diet. Given that I am obese, I know it's easy to say and hard to do... :)

TheAnchoress, drop the Diet Pepsis now, drink water (and for a while, a lot of it) and light juices, and get better. We can't take too many light posting days. :)

Light traffic this morning, and ditching SiteMeter

I woke up fairly early this morning, and noticed that everything inside the network was working OK, but I couldn't log in anywhere. OK, uptime's around 5 hours, so the storm must have knocked the Packrat Antique SuperComputing Complex™. Then I remembered that I'd never fixed the firewall's default route. Nothing in, nothing out.

Since around 12:30AM ET, no one could read Kentucky Packrat. If you were one of the insomniacs who missed reading me, I'm sorry. I've fixed the problem so it's won't reappear. I'm just impressed at the 21 people who were able to get in from between 12am and 12:30.

I've also been collecting my own statistics on visits (the joy of running your own web server), but I decided that I'd like a second opinion, so I signed up for SiteMeter. That was an exercise in futility. It cought my own visits, and maybe 5 or six others in a day, but everyone else coming in didn't even get counted. SiteMeter is now gone.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Taking the bar down

One of the best "selling points" for our house has been the wet bar (sink, fridge, and bar) in our living room. The previous owner loved to entertain, and used his parties to help his sales career (he sold office furniture). We thought it'd be a nice little feature for the house, but there was one little problem: we never used it, unless you count me occasionally hanging the clean laundry from it.

Since they put the bar on top (!) of the carpet, we have to take the bar out either way before replacing the carpet down here with laminate. I wanted to keep some form of cabinet, but Milady kept vetoing each of my ideas, so eventually I figured out that we* weren't putting another cabinet back in there.

If we hadn't had a party over at the neighbor's house, I'd have had the rest of the bar out tonight, but I'll have it out tomorrow or Tuesday night. Then, the bar will sit for a week or so in the garage, and then spend the rest of its life in Milady's niece's new house, either as a kitchenette or as a ammunition reloading stand.

*Our next door neighbor has started calling me "we". He pointed out that, every time Milady has a new homemaking idea, she says that "we" are going to do it, and then I do it, so my name must have been changed to "We". He exaggerates, but Milady and I now laugh that "we" are going to do something.

Friday, May 20, 2005

A King of the Hill quote from tonight

"It looks like the Bomb Squad, Hank."

"Get away from that box, you idiots. It's a smoked turkey."


Thoughts about the Sith

Number 1 Son and I made the midnight showing Wednesday night. We didn't make it home until 3AM, and I was up by 7:30 to make it to work again. I'm getting too old to deal with that little sleep any more, and I'm still really young. ;)

There are some light spoilers here, but if you haven't already figured out the basic storyline, it's too late for you anyway...

Some random thoughts, in no particular order:

  • TheAnchoress asks if Lucas is targeting the Catholic priesthood? I have my own issues with the celebate priesthood, but I don't think Lucas is trying to present it as a problemper se. First, there are women Jedi, and even women Jedi on the Jedi Counsel (think the top 10 cardinals as a governing body). Second, Lucas loves his symbols, but like the Greek myth writers, he can't be subtle. If you don't feel like he just beat an idea into your head with a hammer, Lucas didn't mean to tell it to you. :)

    I think Lucas is trying to portray Anakin and Padme as both being ambitious, and that is their downfall.

  • It helps to be able to tell who the good guys are. Anakin couldn't. Obi Wan lied and deceived, and if you annoyed him you could kiss that arm goodbye. The Jedi Counsel was willing to use the same tactics as Palpatine. There's no tactical differences between the Jedi and Sidious.

  • The bad guy is the only person interested in Anakin as a person. Obi Wan preaches patitudes. Yoda basically says "Get happy your loved one will die." It's Palpatine who offers him a way to save her. Of course, being the bad guy, he's helping Anakin actually cause the problem, but Lucas likes old myth-based ideas.

  • I am beginning to wonder if Lucas is intentally bad at writing the Star Wars dialog, in some vain attempt at emulating the Joseph Campbell-style hero stories too well. Read the Odyssey or the Iliad sometime. The dialog in almost all of these stories stinks, and you like the hero because he's the hero, not because the hero gets you to like him. The hero's loved ones have no reason in the story to love him (think about Penelope's loyalty to Odysseus, despite his sleeping with every woman he's come across), yet they do. Occam's Razor leads us to believe that Lucas just can't write, but I hold a vain hope that he might just be doing it on purpose.

For my final verdict, I'll quote David Elliott: "Lucas speaks cosmic Crayola, in tones both murky and obvious".

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Anyone want to use this code?

I just haven't had a large amount of creative resources this week. There's two articles sitting in the draft box, but they won't get done tonight.

One thing I did get done last weekend was the Database & JavaScript code that provides the Christian Carnival hosts dynamically. Now I just update the database every so often, and out pops the Carnival hosts.

I will provide this as a service to the rest of the Blogosphere, if so desired, but I'd first like to see if any other hosts want to use it. If you do, email me here and I'll see if I need to copy the script to a hosting server or if I can run it from here.

Is this something someone else wants to use?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The (fake) power of the pseudonym

I've been debating off and on about staying pseudonymous. Pseudonyms make some people think they have more power than they really have. Critical Mass has the story of an SMU adjunct professor fired for blogging about her students and colleagues. Ms. Liner made the mistake of giving away too much information. Any one post at any one time won't carry enough information to identify you, if you're careful, but the total collection of data will sink you. That's why interrogators WANT you to lie a lot. You'll drop enough truths eventually to let them find out what you know. (It didn't help that Ms. Liner appears to be violating confidences in articles, but other people have addressed that issue.)

I've had one cardinal rule about staying pseudonymous: Assume anyone you're writing about knows who you are and will read your blog. Would you say the same thing to them in person? If not, then don't blog it. It's easy to think that the target of your rant won't read your blog, but they just might be, and even if they aren't, God is. He sees the things done in secret, and will show them in the light, either in this life or at judgement. I try to not say anything here that would make Him mad either.

Right now, anyone who put out a small amount of effort could identify who I am and where I live. Given Eric Ragle's problems with a stalker, I am hesitant to come fully "out of the pseudonym". If someone latched on to me, that would pester Milady, and I won't have that. That job is solely reserved for the Lovely Darlings and me. ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Semicolon has the Christian Carnival

I know I'm late, but Semicolon has Christian Carnival LXIX. Share and enjoy.

Number 1 Son is easy to please

it just takes 2 tickets to the premier of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. :)

I told him and told him that there was no way I'd wait in line for tickets for the premier. I still won't, but the closest theater happens to do online ticketing. A couple of clicks later, I am the proud owner of 2 tickets.

He's even going to take me to dinner with his saved allowance.

Changing the World, or at least a Hospital

Number 1 Son has very bad allergies (a gift from me). They started to get bad yesterday, so Milady took him to our new pediatrician. There, we saw a friend: the resident from ICU who monitored us for Dr. Werner (the head of the Pediatric ICU at UK). She stayed most of the nights we were in PICU, and helped keep a watch on things for us (and on us). She has now cycled out and is spending residency time with our pediatrician.

She was telling us how that Dr. Iocono (the surgeon who took over my son's case) took his case and used it to change the way pediatric empyemas are handled at UK. Instead of using a gradual process of chest tubes and patience, they are going to use the VATS procedure* very quickly after the detection of an empyema to clean out the pus and existing dead tissue. If they'd done the VATS the first week Number 1 Son was in the hospital, the lung would still have been damaged, and they probably still would have had to remove his middle and lower lobes, but he'd have been out of the hospital in 10-14 days instead of the almost 4 weeks he was in. After several months of work, Dr. Iocono finally got everyone to agree to change the protocols to allow the immediate surgery.

Number 1 Son got nervous over hearing that. I think he got disturbed at the concept that his case was so different than others that it could move an entire hospital. Once I figured that was the problem last night (and when Number 1 Son turns down a cheeseburger, there is a problem ;) ), I reminded him that Dr. Iocono has had many other cases, and that his was just the "final straw", the perfect case to illustrate his point. Then Milady and I both told him that the Lord may well have used a big, strong fellow like him to help them change their protocol, so that some sicker child doesn't have to die because of a "wait and see" policy. He liked to hear that.

The VATS procedure is an arthoscopic surgery where the surgeon operates using a camera sent down the throat, and a knife in a tube inserted in an incision in the side. It's a lot easier on the surgeon and the patient than cutting open the side.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Cover yourselves

To the junior high girls at my church, their parents, and the Church leadership:

The Kentucky winter has finally faded, and summer is in the air. I am as much a fan of comfortable clothes as anyone else. I greatly appreciate that the Current Employer allows blue jeans and "business casual" shirts. The winter pants and the heavy ankle-length skirts are heading back into the closet, as they should.

This is the second year in a row that I have been distressed at the length, or more importantly, the lack thereof, of the skirts being worn by the junior high and high school girls at church. They may be fashionable in the secular world, but there is no excuse for wearing a skirt to church that barely covers one's underwear. It is not modest for any lady to wear a skirt that goes much above the knee, and it is more immodest still for a child to be so dressed.

Girls, modesty starts with you. Short skirts and flashy clothes do get you attention, but it's not good attention. You are advertising yourself not as a person, but as a sex object. Christian women are called to dress well, but to dress modestly. Advertise yourself with your personality and your attitute, not with the "promise" of easy access.

Parents, you are the ones buying these clothes. Christians are not called upon to be frumpy or dowdy, but we are to be modest. There is nothing modest about a 14 year old girl wearing a skirt that barely covers her underwear. There is nothing modest about a 12 year old being unable to sit down without flashing someone. Buy fashionable clothes that look good for your children, not turn them into sex objects.

Leadership, when parents are not drawing the line, it's the Church's job to step in. I know how hard it is to get young people to want to come to church, and its not our place to put undue burdens on our youngsters. However, we must also not allow immodest behavior continue unchecked. Send a letter home to all parents of teens, saying that the church has seen the problem start. State that after a given date, all teens who are wearing inappropriate clothes will be asked to go home to change. State that skirts shorter than one inch above the kneecap (or a similar standard) are inherantly immodest. And then do it.

There are areas where we need to make a stand, and this is one of them.

Monday, May 9, 2005

My furnace got its revenge

with the help of the cat box, no less.

I am very bad about changing the furnace filter. It's an odd size (18x20), so I have to get one of the cut-it-yourself filters. That usually means a special trip to Lowes or Home Depot. Our house is on a split level, and of course the furnace is under the floor in the one level. I don't fit well under that floor, and it's rare when I can avoid a scrape or cut trying to crawl over the large-gravel floor. I procrasinated all of April, since we barely ran the furnace or AC. However, May finds us needing the AC, so I finally crawled under the floor. I got to the furnace, put the replacement filter in, and got out without even the smallest of boo-boos. I had cracked the plastic cat box (accidentally grabbed it trying to crawl into the floor), so I grabbed a knife to cut off the sharp edges until I could buy a new box. Bad mistake. The knife slipped, and

cut about a 3mm deep gouge on my left index finger. It was a bleeder too.

I had to yell to Milady to get up to help me bandage the finger, since I couldn't stop the bleeding AND bandage it. (Did I mention this is all at 7AM? It keeps the rugrats and the pets (who are sleeping with said kids) from wanting to climb under the floor with me). I finally left for work with my entire hand covered in gauze and taped solid to keep me from bending it and restarting the bleeding.

I now have a rather angry-looking gash in my finger, fortunately from the clotted blood and not from infection, and a 3mm deep hole that likes to show itself.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Melting servers, watching horses, and asking about home improvements

I thought my poor web server would melt this week. 4256 visits on Wednesday, 1660 on Thursday. Wowsers! :) If anyone's managed to stick around, welcome to the site.

I'll break one of LaShawn Barber's cardinal rules: don't blog about why you're not blogging. Boy, the Christian Carnival is difficult to put together. I loved the opportunity to read every article in advance, and if I hadn't had a killer Saturday last week, I probably would have taken twice as long reading as I did. :)

I didn't mind filling everyone's entry out, I just hate doing something more than twice on a computer without scripting it. I'd type (and cut & paste) an entry in on my web site, and then say "You know, I could make a database with all these entries in it, and then just spit these entries out. I could even make it rather intellegent..." If I'd thought of this idea 4PM Friday, I'd have worked on it. But 4AM on Wednesday morning isn't the time to start hacking, so I kept typing. :)

So I took off a couple of days off blogging, and then Friday, Milady and I helped her brother and his wife move in their new house. They got a hot tub as part of the deal, and I starting to covet. Then I remembered all the bills for all the work we've been doing to get the house fixed so far, and the urge to buy a hot tub just went away.

Saturday, we had one of Number One Son's friends over, and our neighbor (who's a horse trainer) had a small Derby party. Milady really loves me, and she proved it once again because she told me to buy Nutter Butters for the party. Nutter Butters helped me gain at least 10 of the pounds that I'm carrying today. I just LOVE those little sugar bombs.

It was neat to have our neighbors tell us about the people behind the Derby, and how the guy who trained today's winner really deserved the win, and details about the various people.

Anyone out there putting down laminate flooring? The carpet is getting nasty (too many animals have done their bodily functions on it), so it's leaving. I've got enough credit money left over from the windows & siding to buy the flooring, but not enough to actually pay a professional to do it. Milady is sure that this is a disaster waiting to happen, but I really want that table saw think I can do it. Am I crazy?

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Christian Carnival LXVIII

Welcome to this week's Christian Carnival! I have been so blessed to be able to read all of these posts ahead of time, so I'll hurry up and let you get to them too. Please excuse my methods of order, but I am a Packrat, I just gather stuff into the first pile that seems to match. ;)

Walking in Faith

Kim Bloomer of Sharing Spirit brings us The Perfect Substitute. "We might think that our moral convictions are part of what really counts in our Christian walk. Really though, God wants us to surrender even our convictions."

At 21st Century Reformation, Brad Hightower posts Thesis #3 - Shalom in the Home - Marriage and Divorce in the Church. "This post is part of a series (The New 95 Theses Project) Brad at 21st Century Reformation is undertaking to look at how to define the vital problems facing the Church (especially with respect to bridging the 'knowing/doing Gap') and creating theses to articulate (ultimately) solutions."

Bob at Mr. Standfast posts Christian, You Are the Light of the World. "Meditation on Matthew 5:14, Christ's astonishing assertion in the Sermon on the Mount that his listeners, and by implication all who follow Him, are the light of the world."

On Between Sundays, Robin posts It's The Little Things. She "contemplates how very little she has to complain about, especially after studying the life and ministry of Paul."

Martin LaBar at Sun and Shield posts What is teaching? "The post is a reflection on what I've done, over almost 41 years of teaching at a Christian institution of higher learning. I'm retiring at the end of this semester."

Kim of Ramble Strip posts Why I love my God and my church. And it's not because JC Chavez's twin attended in the 1920s.. "Some of my fondest memories are in the senior high Sunday School class, which at one point grew to be so large that we had to switch classrooms."

On I Was Just Thinking..., Robin writes Answer Me This Way. "Too often we ask God not only to answer our prayers but to answer them our way, not His."

Phil Dillon of Another Man's Meat writes the wonderful article Conforming to the Standard of Non-Conformity. "At a time when conformity seems to be everything, some wisdom about the Biblical standard of non-conformity."

Mark Olsen of Pseudo-Polymath posts On Virtue. "I follow a word study on Virtue where it leads."

violet of promptings has written a heart set on pilgrimage. violet posts some devotional thoughts inspired by Psalm 84.

Dadmanly writes at Gladmanly the article A Place for Faith. "God wants us to find that place of rest in His peace. The prophet of Proverbs 30 illustrates a proper attitude to keep that pathway clear and the beacon strong."

Louie Marsh of The Marshian Chronicles presents No Hope Here!. "Who or what holds the hope of the future? Some point to this and some to that - but for the Christian Christ must remain our all in all!"

At Sprucegoose, Bruce Harpel asks Are Christians Haters? "Compromise is the easiest way to stop hating. Many Christians substitute a reluctance to judge for a hate of sin. Jesus had a love for the sinner, but never excused the sin."

Here at Kentucky Packrat, I have posted Whining on the Job, about my struggles with remembering the Lord in my work life.

Marla Swoffer shares Bad Words. "Is language ever sinful? A discussion of swearing and itsvsubstitutions using my own life, the Bible, and other forms of analysis."

Ron Stewart of Northern 'burbs blog blesses us with the first part of his testimony at My Path... Part I . "First part of my testimony - nothing flashy, but a miracle nonetheless."

At Listen In, Paula posts Sand in My Shoe. "In 'Sand in My Shoe,' one of the gritty realities of marriage is considered by Paula of Listen In."

RickInVA at Brutally Honest posts Noah's First Communion. "Nephew's first communion brings opportunity to experience God in more ways than one."

Shannon Woodward of wind scraps brings us gone fishin'. "Apparently, all Oklahomans fish. It's not optional."


John Pettigrew of "/ musing / struggling / dreaming /" gives us Original Sin, an original look on this very traditional theological concept.

Mark Daniels of Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels brings us Like Being Peas and Carrots with God. What does it mean to be reconciled with God and how does it happen?

On dokeo kago grapho soi kratistos Theophilos, Richard H. Anderson posts Transference and the Day of Atonement. In this post, he references psychoanalysis in an analysis of the Gospel of Luke.

Smells and Bells has the post Rogation Day. "A discussion of a wonderful, beautiful, powerful sermon I heard during my May 1 service. Truly an inspirational description of what it means to live for Christ, as a part of His vine."

Hammertime of Team Hammer's Musings has written the article Theology Tuesday: Free Will. "Team Hammer tackles the debate between free will and God's sovereignty, and comes up with a solution that should satisfy us all."

Kim of The Upward Call brings us Seriously.... "This entry is personal reflection about the importance for Christian women to know theology."

The Online Pilgrim has the first post in a series: The Communion of the Saints The Trinity, the Community, and the Individual in Postmodern Context. "This post begins to ask the question "what role does individualism play in being a protestant?" The language of the post is meant to be a play on the matrimonial nature of the Church. The subsequent posts will deal with what role Church History should play in the development of our own personal beliefs, and finish with how this relates to the current postmodern paradigm."

Rebecca Writes the third in her series: His Workmanship, Part 3. " This post is commentary on Ephesians 2:6-7. It also explains why you might be just a little like the Stanley Cup."

A Penitent Blogger brings us The 500, a "reflection on the 500 brethren who saw the risen Christ."

Derek Gilbert of Weapon of Mass Distraction notes the new sale, Number of the Beast--Now 7.5% Off! "A newly translated fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament seems to reveal that the number of the beast isn\\222t what we thought. Instead of 666, it may actually be 616."

the bloke from the outer... posts False and True Religion. 'An investigation of the phrase "false religion" and applying what James (especially verse 26 and thereabouts) has to say about the matter, concluding that it might be often inappropriately applied to most religions today.'

Debate and Discussion

David of A Physicist's Perspective makes some very good points in Politics, rhetoric, insults, and charity. "I've noticed that, when people disagree, they often resort to name-calling and insults. This happens especially in politics, as we all know, but it happens in other areas, as well. I think Christians need to learn to demonstrate a little bit of what people used to call "charity" in this regard, and I explain what that means."

Plaidberry also addresses debate behavior in Come Together, Right Now... Electronically. "Particularly among those who share the Christian faith, I believe it is crucial to expand the dialogue beyond those with whom we agree politically. Regardless of our views, it is crucial to understand why it is that those who share our faith have a very different worldview"

On The Journey, Rodney Olsen asks What happened to forgiveness? "While many are calling for authorities to throw the book at Jennifer Wilbanks over her faked abduction, should Christians be responding differently? Is it naive to want to forgive?"

Matthew Anderson at Mere-Orthodoxy presents Egalitarian Histories and the Claims of Scripture. Matthew quotes a comment by a reader about history, and then explains and defends the Christian view of the Bible as history, and as more than just a recording of history.

Pastor Russ guest-blogs on The Bible Archive with the fascinating post Russ on Total Depravity. "Rey welcomes Brother Russ to post his take on Total Depravity from a Non-Calvinist perspective."

Dr. Ray Pritchard has posted Why The Jews Rejected Jesus at his Blog at "The Jerusalem Post recently published a book review by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of David Klinghoffer's new book, Why the Jews Rejected Jesus. As Boteach's review makes clear, the major point of contention between Jews and Christians has not changed for 2000 years: Who is Jesus?"

John Schroeder of Blogotional posts in Controversial Concepts a request for calm, spirit-driven discussion about the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit".

bill at Faith Commons writes Is the Jesus story just a copycat of Pagan deities?. "A look at one of the claims that the Jesus story is merely a Jewish rehash of Pagan god-man stories from other cultures."

Sven of World of Sven has written God, the rose-tinted past, the glorious future, and the present. "Christianity has a rich heritage, but by over-idealising the past and lamenting the present we are cutting ourselves off from what God intends for us."

At Christianity is Jewish, cwv warrior writes Seven Years To Go. "Trying to wrap up Daniel's Seventy Sevens, cwv warrior gets caught in the debate between traditionalists' and the Bible-believers' interpretations."

On Plunder the Goods, Sam Peterson posts Veritas Forum/ Intelligent Design. "There was vehement, angry opposition to the excellent talk by Prof. Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution at the Veritas Forum at Stanford last night."

At Truth Be Told, Jerry McClellan discusses Tithing.... "Is it biblical to tithe today? Are we as Christians mandated to continue the tithe and if so, who should we be paying this tithe to? The churches, ministers and clergy?... A careful analysis of scripture reveals some interesting if not startling points about tithing that are not brought up in many of today's churches by or by our Christian leaders."

Jeanette of Oh How I Love Jesus has written What Is the Christian’s Duty to the Poor? In this post, she discusses what she feels any one Christian's duty is to poor people.

Dory from Wittenberg Gate sends in On Judgment vs. Discernment and Sin vs. Crime. "A passage such as Matthew 7:1, ("Judge not, that ye be not judged...), as well as many others can be easily misunderstood if we don't recognize the difference between judgment and discernment and the difference between sin and crime. Dory discusses these differences and applies them to the Biblical concepts of church, civil and individual government."

Dunmoose the Ageless posts Lectio Divina. "A short reflection and a couple questions based on a reading from the Old Testament book of Baruch."

Funky Dung of Ales Rarus poses An Open Question to God-bloggers. "Do you use the Blogdom of God? Are you a member? If either applies to you, I'd like to hear your opinions on a few issues."

Lance Salyers of Ragged Edges tells us Why I'm Anti-Abortion. 'Focus on the Family's decision to spend over $4 million on ultrasound machines, and Planned Parenthood's opposition to it, reminded me of when I first met my daughter, Ella, via ultrasound, and why I'm not "pro-life" but "Anti-Abortion."'

William G. Meisheid of Beyond the Rim... posts Garbage Day Redux. William provides an excellent discussion of the challenges involved in finding someone with whom to confess your sins.

Kevin of Technogypsy posts Pascha Thoughts. He presents a meditation upon the Pascha, the "Passover".

Denominational Discussions

On Informed minds want to know., Blake Kennedy posts Is Fundamentalism Essential to Brethrenism?. He "contends that Plymouth Brethren thought is incompatible with fundamentalism as expressed in the latter half of the 20th century, demonstrates its incongruencies, and calls upon assemblies to reject fundamentalist influence in favour of historic evangelicalism."

Jeremy of Parableman gives us Ratzinger on Ecumenism With Protestants. "This post corrects some false statements I've made (though I did have good justification for making them) about Benedict XVI's attitude toward Protestant views on justification."


Wayne Moran of Questions and Answers posts Why do Liberals Hate Christian Conservatives in Politics?. As Wayne summarizes, "Liberals are like these "health experts", they first talk of this crisis, then the next one then on to another one. They are constantly changing what is right and wrong, both in politics and in society and they change the measuring stick by which we are to judge the issue."

Bill Wallo of Wallo World brings us The Standard on Religious Expression. "The challenges religious expression faces under the legal standard that there is no religious exception to "generally applicable" laws."

Education and Family Life

DeputyHeadmistress at The Common Room presents Books Build Character. As DeputyHeadmistress says, "I think with books, I can warn my children against certain character types long before we actually meet any of them without encouraging a judgmental and critical spirit, and without exposing them to personal unhappiness in the process."

At Bear Witness, Beary Ann writes Who is Raising Our Children. "We complain about some public rights that as christians we losing, but do we live those rights in our own homes?"

On Cerulean Sanctum, Dan Edelen posts Stay-at-Home Dads (or "Guys the Church Would Like to Forget Exist"). Dan discusses the issues he's run into being a stay-at-home dad, and how family-friendly Evangelical groups don't react well when it's a dad who's staying at home.

Agent Tim shares with us Homeschoolers Are Odd: Discrimination at it's Worst. He "takes on Scott Thomas of the Illinois Leader, who has started calling homeschoolers 'odd.' He looks into the fallacies of Thomas' statements, and discusses why Homeschooling is not odd, and how this is truly a type of discrimination." (Agent Tim also asks that we please note his new URL in the link above.)


Catez Stevens of Allthings2all posts Why I Like Television. "It's a major part of most people's culture. Is there anything worthwhile on television? This post says yes there is - from the great historical moments unfolding live - and the memories they give us, to the thought-provoking drama and the opportunity to see excellence in action in big sporting events. Catez explains why it is that she likes television - with examples you may relate to."

Messy Christian at Messy Christian presents More talk on [a certain female undergarment]. "Talking about sex always seem to make some Christians nervous. Apparently, so do talk about undies."

Joy McCarnan at karagraphy posts microphone check, micr-microphone check. "Just a quasi-comical anecdote about last night's/this morning's experience with a radio station production crew who didn't realize they were on the air."

At The Regulator, J A Greer posts about one of my favorite subjects, CS Lewis. In CS Lewis and the modern situation, he "describes CS Lewis' approach to modernity and individuals, particularly with his literary skills considered. His ability to communicate was enhanced precisely because he was converted out of the modern pagan situation."

Mark Woodward of CowPi Journal tells us about the Paperclip Campaign. "This week is the national week for the Days of Remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust. As a way to remember them, and to remember all victims of terrorism and hate crimes, wear a paperclip on your collar this week! But why a paperclip?"

Tools and Technologies

Over at Notes, Leo Wong provides us with Jesus Prayer Variations, an interesting Java program that provides "the Jesus prayer" in multiple different languages.


Matt Grills of The Minor Prophet brings us The real Indiana Jones. He "has interviewed international explorer and Bible scholar Robert Cornuke who believes he may know where Noah's ark is located (for the May issue of American Legion Magazine)."

Book Reviews

"rev-ed" at Attention Span gives us Book Review - "Plan B" by Anne Lamott. "In a search for the best of conservative and liberal ideas, I read Anne Lamott's latest book in an attempt to understand how we might better love those in need."

Richard J. Radcliffe of lawreligionculturereview brings us Book Reviews, Part VII (A Life With Purpose). He "reviews the 2005 biography of Pastor Rick Warren, A Life with Purpose (Rev. Rick Warren The Most Inspiring Pastor of Our Time) by George Mair."

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Whining on the Job

Almost 3 years ago, I decided that I wanted to be ambicious at the Previous Employer. I didn't have a desire to enter the management track, but I did want to join their massive Research division. To get PE ("Previous Employer") to pay for the Masters I would have to earn my way into a program to pay for the masters, which would include 1 semester of pay just to go to school. Only a few people get in the world get into that program every year, so I was going to have to hit the top to do it.

Subconsciously, I decided to do just that. I would take the Broom* company from machines in boxes to production on my own back. I wouldn't care if the job really needed three people, I'd do it myself with the help of one person who (then) didn't know a lot of AIX. If it took 60 hours a week, so be it. If it meant that I worked all hours of the night and day, so be it.

So I did it. I did 50-60 hour weeks. Since "PE" had Saturday to Friday weeks, it wasn't uncommon for me to have my 40 hours in by Wednesday. I comp timed almost an entire week one time. I was even talking about an ongoing problem to a co-worker on my cell phone in the above-ground-level portions of Ripley's Aquarium while in Gatlinburg.

It finally came to a head when the Broom account started having a series of high-profile mistakes, including 2 by me. We were making almost 500 change activities a month on Broom computers, and no one could keep track of it. The final mistake that I could take was one a co-worker did on my instructions, taking down a computer ahead of a change window. I'd already worked about 40 hours, and it was either Tuesday or Wednesday. I knew I couldn't be trusted to be competant, so I had him do the work, and asked him to check the schedule. Then I told him a time that I thought was right, but wasn't. When I came into his office, and we realized that he'd done his work three hours early, I was too tired to think straight. However, my co-worker told me later that I turned so white that he was afraid I was having a heart attack.

A few days later, I realized my need to get out from the stress. One of my other co-workers was driving us back from a Chinese buffet, and she went to make the left turn when there was an oncoming big truck. She hesitated, and from my view in the front passenger seat, all I saw was the oncoming truck. She only hesitated a moment, of course, and immediately pulled on in, but that was the last straw for my poor system. The next afternoon, I was at my doctor's office, with mild heart-attack-like symptoms. I had a battery of tests, primarily because I've inherited my father's strange heart rhythm patterns, and all that came out was a prescription for acid reflux medicine and an instruction to lose the stress (and some weight, which I haven't really done....). My manager then pulled me off the account and for all intents and purposes put me on the bench for a couple of months (I'd comp time out a bunch of the overtime, and do needed, but not high-intensity, work).

After winding down a while, Paula and I decided that there wasn't a lot of room for advancement at "PE". My manager was regularly under more stress than I was. Moreover, he had earned a significant promotion by taking a deathmarch project in New Jersey for six months, but that promotion had never come. I didn't want to hit the management stream at 30, which left project management and solution development. They too worked killer schedules with constant stress. They weren't any more an improvement than my job then. We started praying for the Lord to open up new opportunities. Then something rather unexpected happened.

He said "No." At first, this didn't bother me, since the Lord surely had something that just wasn't ready. Then three months passed, then six, and finally a year, and two. I spent a second tour of duty on the (fortunately MUCH calmer) Broom account. Where was the Lord?

Finally, I realized that I was content at "PE". I didn't need to move up, down, or sideways. If I worked thirty years in exactly the same job, drawing my paycheck, that was fine. I had to shed my sinful resentment of my employer's use of my own overeagerness, and start working like I was working for the Lord, which the Bible tells us I was. If the Lord had a better job ready, that was great. If not, I'd work there until I couldn't work any more.

I reset my work expectations. I decided to become the most useful person in my department. I would never be account lead, and would like it. I wouldn't stand out anywhere, just be the one person who could (and would) do anything that needed to be done. And most of all, my first loyalty was to God, my second to my family, and then my third to "PE", but when working for "PE" I would give it my best.

I had just been told that I had been (for the second time) considered for a low yearly rating just because of my previous mistakes, not for any problems with current work. An opportunity through the best local contracting house fell through because of their management's lack of desire. It looked like nothing was going to happen. On a whim, I checked the web site for my current employer. Wow, a job administering SAP systems on AIX. Just exactly my skill set. I go onto their web sites, and the project looks well thought out, and not going to collapse under its own weight (a common problem on SAP implementations). The HR policies are good, and I can live with the insurance plans.

So I apply. The hiring process takes months, but they take me for a salary that improves my finances enough. When I told my boss in his office that I was leaving, he actually did a real double-take (you know, when the cartoon character jumps back when surprised). He had called me into his office to assign me to Broom yet again, so I got out while the getting was good.

I've been here at the Current Employer for 6 months, and (other than Number 1 Son's illness) it's been the best six months of my professional career. We've straightened our own finances, and gotten some work done on the house.

This is why I struck out the whining I did in my post over the weekend, and prayed for forgiveness that I did it. It's not a place the Lord wants me in, and I'm not going anywhere He doesn't want me.

*No, this isn't their real name, but it's close enough that those who know me in Real Life will know who it is. Of course, everyone in Real Life has heard this story so many times, they're sick of it now... :)

Preparing for the Carnival - and buying boots

I haven't been ignoring you guys, it's just my week to do the Christian Carnival. I have a post sitting on the computer at work, half-done.

I promise. And the check is in the mail. :)

For the bloggers who read me, send your best Christian post of the week to by midnight Tuesday evening to see it in.

I have a singular fashion problem: I love to wear boots. I can live with brown boots, but black boots are better. And they have to be good boots. I'm sufficiently overweight right now that cheap imitation-leather or vinyl just won't cut it. It has to have a really good arch support (I'm flat footed too), and the material has to be a good quality. The last pair was a pair of Wolverines whose soles cracked into two pieces after around 9 months, and the suede leather was scuff-attractive instead of scuff-resistant. The black vinyl "manager's boots" I had the time before started cracking over the toes about 9 months as well, but I knew they weren't as good when I bought them.

This time, I got tough. I went over to the Gall's showroom in Lexington around closing time yesterday, and decided to get a good leather boot. Most of the ones they had had Gore-Tex fabric "bubbles" on the sides, and I didn't like that. Now this boot was an entirely different matter. It's made well, and is a quality boot without being too military. It's only fault is that it isn't steel toed, but I've never needed the steel toe in the last three boots. I'll just have to keep my feet out from under the computers.

Old computer geeks used to wear boots in case a mountain popped up in the middle of the machine room. Guess I'm ready for it too.