16 Things

I don’t much go for memes. They remind me too much of the ubiquitous and infinitely annoying email chain surveys that destroyed so many working hours not too many years ago.

But there is now Facebook, and blogs, and so we call them memes and we do them all over again.

So I was tagged, and now, apparently I am compelled by fate and the burden of social pressure to reply in kind.

Sorry.

16 random and little-known things about me, eh?

1: I tried blogging several times before I started iPandora, they each lasted between 2 and 10 articles before dying of lack of new content.

2: My fascination with big words and my proclivity towards them has been with me since I was a baby. Apparently I started with “hippopotamus”, which I chewed over for a few days, and then went silent for a few weeks. They another biggie, like “umbrella”, which I tried on for size, then went silent again. Sorry folks, I just can’t help it.

3: I’ve been playing piano for 20 years, but only 4 of those have been under a teacher. My primary skill is improv and playing by ear.

4: I played Freddy Ainsfort-Hill in the Woodland Christian High School production of Pygmalion (My Fair Lady). But I was home-schooled, and by that time I was graduated. I worked with the WCHS music department and by extension the drama department and had the opportunity when there were more male parts than male actors available.

5: I used to wake up between 4 and 5am nearly every morning and read. I’d sit over the heater vent in the living room and read for hours until the rest of the family woke up. I still am a bit of a morning person.

6: My first kiss was with my wife. Her’s too.

7: I’ve been doing professional computer support, service, and repair, for 10 years.

8: I like tapioca pudding, oysters, muscles, and calamari, but I do not like avocados, eggplant, or sweet potatoes.

9: I’ve paid 130 euro for a meal of tricolor pasta (pasta with freshwater muscles in their shells) and grilled fresh Sea Bass in Venice Italy. That’s about $175 dollars US. I did not know the meal would cost that much and had to go back to my hotel to get more money to pay the restaurant. The Sea Bass was being sold by the hundred gram at 11 Euro per hundred gram. The fresh (and live) lobster would’ve been cheaper at 8 euro per hundred gram. But it was really good. 🙂

10: (this only counts for people I didn’t grow up with) My first car was a ’65 Buick LeSabre. Cherry red. White soft-top. And miles of vinyl inside. It has a small-block 350 under the hood. And I drove it up to 130mph once.

11: My brothers and I played many games growing up. And even without the assistance of our female friends next-door, we played house sometimes. We played fort sometimes, too. But we actually played house.

12: I’m a Ham (amateur) radio operator, though it’s been a while since I’ve used my radios. My call-sign is KG6CQC, Tech “no-code” license class.

13: I got my best score in Laser tag while slightly buzzed. And no, I don’t make it a habit of being slightly buzzed.

14: I’ve shaved my head a few times. First time was as I was pondering a costume for the work Halloween contest. One of my younger brothers noted I should try a new hairstyle. I went as Mr. Clean. My head was cold for a while.

15: I like chick flicks. A friend and I went out to see Superman at the theatre. We saw Lake House posters and my friend noted she’d seen a preview for it. Our plans were originally to take a third friend and see Superman, and so we chose Lake House instead of Superman for that evenings entertainment. We never did get around to watching Superman at the theatre, and I didn’t really enjoy it when I did see it. Oh, and Pride and Prejudice, the A&C/BBC 5 hour version, is one of my favorite movies.

16: My wife and I enjoy playing Mario Cart Double Dash on our Gamecube, and recently found we both enjoy Burnout.

Cross Country Christianity: The Right Coast Vs. The East Coast

At this time, I have spent a couple years in the deep Bible belt of the East Coast. On a daily basis I have been working with Pastors and Ministry Leaders from all across Florida and the South East and have been able to learn from them and observe them up close.

These opportunities, along with all the experiences I have enjoyed growing up on the West Coast, have given me some unusual insights into Two Different Philosophies on Christianity.

My experiences on the East Coast have been very enriching. I have been able to work with some of the brighter minds in Biblical Doctrines and Biblical Practices and have enjoyed leaning from their knowledge and experiences. However, I have also been taken back by some of the East Coast trends.

Recently, while traveling with a church family to a Florida Gators game, I engaged them in a theological discussion. To my dismay, I was quickly introduced to some of their shaky theology namely, their belief that suicide victims are not allowed eternal life in spite of their salvation. A few simple arguments quickly introduced them to the concept of eternal salvation, but I was still aghast at their level of knowledge, even after being in the faith for over 40 years.

This example is just compounded by my observations at the University of North Florida, my school. At this school, and in the southern community in general, a large majority of individuals claim Christianity. However, after some simple questions and observations, I have been able to assume that generally, only about 40% of individuals claiming Christianity seem to practice it publicly or can engage in a simple conversation on the basic tenants of Christianity (i.e. Salvation by Faith, The Virgin Birth).

Recently, I compared this percentage of students to the students I met in my years in California. In California, it was uncommon to find students who would publicly claim Christianity; however, of those who did, 90% would be able to engage me in deep theological conversations of substantial value.

These two percentages provide the basis of two different stories and philosophies.

The first story I want to address is the one that the East Coast presents us. Despite strong leadership and uncompromising values, the church of East Coast has become uncontrollably weak. The basis of its strength has become tradition. The traditions of the church have become the primary source of information for its growing members. These traditions, while based on and (usually) in the Bible, are hardly a meaningful substitute for the Bible. The results of valuing a tradition over the scripture can be seen in the Catholic church. While the Catholic Church is a strong source of moral strength, it is not doctrinally sound and a majority of it members are solely members for traditions sake.

This traditionalism is quickly stripped when one approaches the West Coast. Sure there are traditional churches, but tradition is not the foundation of the West Coast Christian. Recently, one of my Alabama friends served as a summer missionary in Yosemite National Park in California. Upon her return, the student expressed to me “People don’t like Christians in California.” I laughed. I couldn’t understand her at first so I asked her to explain. She expounded by relating how people were not open to Christ and would publicly mock her for her faith. Once again, I laughed. After all, what was so unusual about that? That was what people did back “home.” I was not aware that this was unusual as it was part of every day life in my home state. I knew growing up that being “Christian” was not normal, usual, or cool in California. Individuals who are Christian are constantly attacked in many ways both physical and spiritual. Christians in California need a reason for being Christian. On the West Coast, the shroud of tradition is quickly shredded by teachers who don’t just opposed you for your beliefs, but publicly crucify you for them too. Through this, a student can only hold onto the greatest belief to preserve them. The belief in Jesus Christ and his infallible word, the Bible. This is the basis of the West Coast faith. Traditions, fads, and cliques might all be present in a church, but in order for it to grow with true Christians, it must preach a doctrine based in the Word of God.

I believe that this is the basis of Right Coast Vs East Coast Christianity. The Bible belt has long enjoyed Christianity by fiat. A Christianity because it is so. A Christianity that looks to its past (traditions) to insure its future. However, as is well known, an organism is grown and strengthened through tribulation. Tribulation has built the church of the West Coast and has forced the church to look to its creator for its perseverance. This creator is the same one that destroyed the traditions of the Jews to create a faith based in himself.

Technically It’s Stupid

Technology news seems to be a bit interesting today.

If technology is the latest and greatest proof of the evolution of man, it only serves to prove that nothing really is new under the sun.

Man acts in an irrational and selfish manner against the fact and tide of all that is known and proven.

First up, texting.

Think it’s cheap? You have no idea HOW cheap. And how much the standard carriers want you to keep thinking it’s only so cheap.

The New York Times published a story showing just how cheap those text messages really are for the big 4 versus just how much they convince you is cheap.

I’m not for legislating our way out of this, government will only jump in and muck up the system. But I’m very much in favor of putting pressure on the companies to get them to charge more competitive rates for texting.

This article is also scary in that it is yet another “real problem, fake solution” kind of piece which is born from and feeds the very Big Brother mentality of government. So long as government is called in to fix every problem, the solutions will be market takeovers and the socialization of companies.

Remember the Amazon1-clickpatent? Apparently the patent office didn’t learn its lesson and has continued allowing senseless and pointless ‘process’ patents which seek to limit legitimate and normal ways of accomplishing things rather than protecting truly original design and innovation.

Apple has patented its ‘swipe’ gestures used on it’s touch screen systems such as the iPhone. HP has integrated similar gestures on its touchscreen laptops and computers for nearly a year now and will likely face significant penalties and/or litigation from Apple to discontinue its use on their home media center systems.

And a small company nobody has heard of before today decided to use a patent they received regarding file previews to sue Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Sounds like their CEO idolizes SCO.

File previews are used by most mainstream internet browsers, Windows OS, Apple OS, Linux, Google Documents, and a host of modern user interfaces.

The previews usually display a small part of the contents of the file or files selected in order to aid selecting the correct file.

Their use is no great innovation and are accomplished so many ways there is no way to justly and honestly state that one person can patent and control the entire process.

And so mankind marches on blissfully secure in his own evolutionary progress and yet proving, over and over, he is no better nor worse than he ever has been. All other claims are fantasy and falacy, together.