Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Friday, July 08, 2005

I love the Mountains

I was trying to explain to a friend today why I love going to the mountains for a week of my vacation.

I think it's a little important to do without the extras for a while, though. It's a reminder that, in some ways, our society is an artificial construct. For one thing, we are often distanced from our food these days. In the mountains, you are facing an environment in which living things feed off of other living things. Animals like ourselves have no choice but to feed on living creatures in order to survive. Even a vegetarian eats living things; sometimes just taking a part of the plant, and sometimes taking its life. That's the way it should be.

It's also interesting when you think about how we live in such elaborate homes, built by someone else. We have so many features in these homes, and rules about how a home should be built.

It's not so much that I think our society is wrong, but just that we should recognize that it is our construction, and not a thing in itself. Being "civilized" is an artificial standard, but one that has generally been accepted.

Just some thoughts I plan on pondering on while I'm taking a week in the mountains.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The only thing worse than feeling lonely when alone is feeling lonely when in a crowd.

Apologies for the atypically "down" post. It's just been one of those weekends where my emotions have been a bit off. No reason I can think of; it just happens sometimes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Marcus Wesson is sick, to state the obvious.

The news has been shouting every detail of Michael Jackson's disturbed nature, but Marcus Wesson is far worse.

This man is just about as sick as they come. I just can't understand how the system failed to catch on to him sooner. He had multiple children with his own daughters and neices, even when they were underaged, then kills several of his kids when it looks like they might finally be taken away.

The other thing that is so utterly reprehensible is how some of his family is still sticking by him. I can understand if they don't believe that he killed the kids. What gets me is that they seem to have no problem with him treating the girls in his family like his own harem. When it's shown that he is father and grandfather to some of these children, how can they still condone it?

I don't really care if he actually is executed or not, Wesson just needs to be permanently kept away from his family.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hilgard Meadow, at about 9,000 feet, I think. Posted by Hello

A shot of Rose Lake at 10,000 feet in the Sierra Nevadas. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 17, 2005

It has been a bit of a stressful week. I'm one of two people running the office, and the other has been on vacation for the past week and a half. Too many jobs to do and I frequently am forgetting something I was supposed to have done earlier. Only two more weeks until I leave for my two week vacation, though. Posted by Hello

For those wondering just how it is that I can refer to myself as a "Semi-Celebrity," it's due to this picture. This was a picture my mom took of my brother and I about 26 years ago now. It enjoyed a fair amount of popularity in rural areas, enough that that the picture was used as a basis for other collectible items.

Actually, even "semi-celebrity" is overstating it a bit.Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Myself at Seldon Pass in the Sierra Nevadas. This was during a backpacking trip I took with the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew last year. I'll be doing a camping trip this year. It was a great trip, and I highly recommend this organization.Posted by Hello
This will be my second blog. I used MSN Spaces for a while, but I believe I will probably be ending that association soon. I mainly started there out of curiousity, since I already have an MSN account (hard to avoid it in many cases).

While I have never harbored any animosity towards Microsoft, I have sometimes disapproved of their business practices. I don't believe in harboring a grudge agains any entity. It doesn't do me any good to show such anger, and Microsoft is certainly used to the hatred from many of the more tech-savvy.

I have been moving away from Microsoft products for some time now, generally due to the pricey nature of many of them, but also due to their often lack of good features and/or thier security flaws.

Some examples of my replacements: OpenOffice instead of MS Office, Firefox (highly recommended) instead of Internet Explorer, and Thunderbird instead of Outlook. I've also begun to test out Linux as a second operating system on my computer. I've been using the Mepis distribution for now, but have been looking into others. For those that haven't tried these, they are worth looking into. All of them are open-source, meaning that they cost little or nothing to get ahold of, so you don't have much to lose by downloading and testing them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Unleashed - Movie Thoughts

I just recently saw the movie Unleashed, starring Jet Li.

It's an interesting premis: a man is raised to be basically think and act like an attack dog. If the collar is on, he's timid and almost fearful, but when that collar is removed, and he's given a direction, he's a brutal fighter. He was conditioned from a very young age to believe that this is his place in the world.

The next part is: what does it take to make the "dog" into a man? I think the answer this movie gives is a (much) less racy version of the method used in the Epic of Gilgamesh to make Enkindu the Wild Man civilized.

For those unfamiliar with Gilgamesh, it's good reading for anyone who thinks that ancient stories are tame and boring. To summarize this little section of the epic: Enkindu is causing problems, and Gilgamesh is asked to help, so Gilgamesh's solution is to tame Enkindu by hiring a prostitute for him. Enkindu falls in love, and decides to go back to civilization.

Without getting too much into the story, I think that Unleashed is doing something similar, but the love is a bit more of an innocent form.

So, it brings an interesting question: Is love what makes us human? I'll have to think about that some more.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Why History is Important

I recently heard a girl in High School complain that she doesn't like history because it's "in the past." I've heard people say that before, and I think there is something important that she, and others like her, are missing.

The things in the history books aren't just about books. If you understand history, you have a big step towards understanding today. History isn't just about the past; it's about the present as well as the future.

The girl was talking about a report she had to do on Hitler. If you want to see how Hitler impacts our lives today, take a look at the Middle East. The horror of what Hitler did to the Jews gave them the the political pull with the United Nations to establish the nation of Israel, which angered the Islamic nations of the Middle East. The United States has played a major role in establishing and preserving Israel, helping to foster the deep hatred of the U.S. found in the region today. It's difficult to say for sure, but it is likely that if Hitler had never come to power, the Middle East would be a much less chaotic place today, and probably would not be nearly as angry with the U.S.

Just a reminder: "those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Elephants and parallels to our society

I was telling my pastor about this story I had seen on the news years ago. It has some very interesting implications.

There are some wildlife preserves in Africa which have been repopulated with wildlife from another preserve. Years later, they began finding several rhinoceros dead, with fairly massive injuries. After some investigation, it was discovered that bull elephants were doing it. However, the experts were confused, because this is not normal behavior.

After trying a few different things, they came to the realization that all of these elephants were essentially "teenagers." There were no older males on these particular preserves. These young males were essentially trying to fill the role of an adult male before they were ready, and they became confused and more violent than normal.

As a result, the solution became apparent: Older bulls were brought in from established preserves, and once that was completed, the killing ended.

Now that you've read my version, here's the story as seen in the news.

I think many of the implications for us and our society are obvious. We have problems with young men becoming violent without any apparent reason. I look around my neighborhood and see a lot of kids without fathers, and very few with adult friends. We may not be elephants, but I believe God intentionally created a commonality in many of His designs, and humans and elephants are both mammals.

My men's group was discussing Ephesians chapter 6, but we stopped at verse 4. Our current meeting time prevents many of us from helping with youth and children's ministries at the same time. We are going to have to decide if we want to adjust our meeting time in order to do our part to help raise kids. We will take two weeks before we make a final decision, so we are going to spend some time praying and thinking about it in the mean-time. We want to do this, but we also want the men's group to be there for men who come needing support from other men.

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About Me

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I'm a Christian and political moderate (I tend to be more liberal on core issues and more conservative on the hot-button ones). I have a B.A. in Biblical and Religious Studies and Philosophy.