Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bad President or Bad Publicist?

It seems to me that rather than doing a terrible job at being President, Bush has done a terrible job of communicating with the American public. Why do we hear nothing about successes?

The Economy. It's in great shape. How often do we hear about that?

How many terrorist attacks have we had on US soil since 9-11? None! Honestly, I never would have believed in 2001 that we would be nearing 2006 with zero attacks here in the intervening time. It just doesn't seem like it would be THAT hard to do. It can't all be luck. I think Bush-haters are forced to recognize one of two possible realities: either CIA/FBI/etc are now co-operating and finding out about attacks before they happen and dealing with them or our military being in Iraq really is bringing out all the jihadists there where our professionals can deal with them. Or maybe a third option would be that our increased readiness has made other countries easier targets. Regardless, the actions of our government would be responsible for any of those alternatives, right? It's just not an option to think that the terrorists simply don't WANT to attack us.

Church - what is it good for?

Our recent attempts to find a church have led me to ponder what it is I look for in a church. Here's the list I'm working on - feel free to comment. Of course, I realize no church is perfect, so I should probably prioritize into musts vs likes, but these are my first thoughts in no particular order.

- a focus on developing mature disciples of Christ
- a welcoming attitude towards newcomers
- Bible-based preaching
- challenging message that gives me some meat to chew on during the week
- opportunities to serve
- a place to develop friendships and accountability
- does NOT overly focus on marketing and money (I know it's subjective)
- contemporary feel, but doesn't chase the latest trends
- strong focus on home group Bible studies (which often accomplishes several of the other points).

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Christmas lights

Like many Americans, my wife and I have done a lot of shopping over the past couple of days. For us however, it seemed like this was disproportionately focused on Christmas decorations. This is my first foray into putting up Christmas lights at all, and since we all know that I am neither handy nor artsy, it is something of a challenge for me. I've got a few lights up, and I figure we can build on what we have now. If it doesn't look too crappy, maybe I'll post a pic on here. In the meantime, check out this site so that whatever I do will look great in comparison.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Where are they now?


Must...resist...urge...to...attend...just...to...heckle.

Oh, the fact that it would cost me at least $40 really helps me not want to go see the evil one my ex-boss.

My apologies for the crappy pic from my camera phone.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Celebrity church

For a variety of reasons, and with a great amount of consideration because I hate the church-shopping phenomenon, we've recently decided to try to find a new church here in the Mckinney area. Thus last week we visited Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, the suburb next to Mckinney. This church is actually pastored by Chuck Swindoll, who has been on Christian radio as long as I can remember, hence the title of this post. It was kind of a funny experience. First of all it was totally old-school with a relatively dressed up congregation and hymnals and the like. I actually can't remember the last time I used a hymnal. Incidentally, this prompted me to realize that I can no longer read music. Are all those years of trombone playing wasted? Probably not; I'm sure I could pick it up again. However, without actually playing an instrument and without singing from hymnals, I realized I am never confronted with the opportunity to read notes. So, like a seldom-used language, I have forgotten how to do it. That tangent aside, the most contemporary song we sang was Rich Mullins "Our God is an Awesome God", which was new in something like 1985. The rather large auditorium was completely packed. And I mean completely! Those ushers could double working a Secret Service gig. They use hand signals (and earpieces?) to shoehorn latecomers into every available seat until the building is completely full and the rest of the tardy crowd is banished to overflow rooms. The sermon, on the sovereignty of God out of the book of Daniel, was of course thought-provoking and challenging, and application has cropped up several times this week. This is something we are really seeking. However, it was an odd feeling to be there with someone who has such a distinctive voice and you are so used to hearing on the radio. I discussed this with my parents, and Mom said that she thinks they listened to Swindoll on local radio in LA around the time I was born there in the mid-70s and Swindoll had a church out there. And I definitely remember Dad listening to him on Christian radio when we moved back to the US from Japan in 1983. My wife and I still listen to him on the radio today, so we're at over 20 years of continuous listening. So in a strange way, hearing and seeing Swindoll felt like being home. However, we definitely prefer a more casual, contemporary style of worship, and I especially desire a church with active home groups, which I didn't find on the web site. I just saw more Sunday-school type classes, which are fine, but not the same thing. I have a slight preference for a smaller church as well. So, while we liked the church, I think we'll keep looking.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Good news and Bad news this week

Good news: I got free lunch on Monday and Tuesday and free ice cream on Thursday.

Bad news: I had a four hour phone meeting Thursday
Worse news: My laptop's hard drive crashed
Worst news: It crashed ten minutes before I was supposed to present in the massive, four hour meeting!

It basically worked out, however. The meeting host had my slides and was able to show them to everybody in the meeting. In a mad dash, I was able to print off a copy of my slides from a coworker's computer, so I could at least talk through the info, although I couldn't see where they were on the screen. IT has my computer and is attempting to salvage info from the hard drive, although things don't look promising so far. One would think I would have learned my lesson about backing things up when my hard drive crashed at home about a year and a half ago, but no, I didn't. Anyway, it really sucks to not have a computer, as that is 95% of my job. I've bummed a loaner off of a coworker for now, but I'm definitely missing some info I need.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Revenge of the nerd

We haven't featured enough heroic nerdery of late, so this story of a basketball stat-guru helping the Sonics win (for only $30k!) should warm the heart of every sports-loving smart kid out there.

I'll use this as an opportunity to plug Wired as well, from whence that story came. I kind of fell off reading Wired after the dot com crash, but of late I've seen several very good articles on there, and often with an interesting focus that you don't see elsewhere. Check it out occasionally when you have some free time.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

hmmm



I found him!


I even pictured TO here with what appears to activate his disease: having a microphone in front of him. It's mind-boggling how this guy is such a great receiver, but has managed to do the exact same thing to two different QBs and teams. It's like we're reading from a script of what happened in San Francisco, except now the stage is Philadelphia. Ridiculous.