Well, its still Friday, so there's still the possibility of a double posting. Let's get links out of the way and see where things go...

Google Base
is the big news this week. It was up briefly, apparently, but now it just keeps returning to the log-in screen when you put your password in. Why must you hold this power over us Google? Why?!? (If you don't know what Google base is, well, essentially it sounds like it could replace Ebay and Craigslist *both* in one fell swoop). Since this isn't really a Google link of the week, why not spend some time over at Google Groups. Did I link to this before? Ok then, fine. May I point out that Australia gets their own Google? What did they do to deserve that? Ok, that was kind of a boring one for link of the week. How about GooGhoul? Happy Halloween.

Gimme gimme gimme I want I want I NEED I NEED.

Oldie but goodie - this is where I want to work.

You can do anything at Zombo.com.

BookCrossing is cool...like WheresGeorge except for books. Speaking of WG, I found someone else's bill recently. Still haven't gotten but one hit on any of the bills I sent out...

Puppies Behind Bars
is a great idea.

Microsuck - Microsoft's Really Hidden Files. Proceed at your own risk. At least Microsoft feels your pain, right? Go download Firefox already.

Remember that cool world clock I found a week or so back? This one is full size.

Frappr groups people with photos then plots them on Google Maps.

NASA put together an awesome clip of all the 21 named storms from the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season (click on either of the pictures to DL it).

looks like a combination of del.icio.us and Firefox, or something. A social browser. I don't know. I can't keep up with the kids these days.

Wax on, wax Hoff.

There are about 38 million people on earth that are richer than me and about 6 billion poorer than me. This means I'm better off financially than over 99% of the rest of the world. How rich are you?


Sincerest apologies, but Thursday links are going to be Friday morning links this week. That means two-post Friday, however, so its like a special bonus to make up for it.

Today was a long day - great seminar and chance to network with a ton of the people at my level in the NY office. 95% of us never have a chance to connect with each other because we're all working all over the world, but this was a great way to make a lot of good contacts locally. After the seminar we took one of those big red double-decker tourist buses from the hotel (on the East side) to our little dinner party deal at the Hudson Hotel (West side). I'm pretty sure its one of the most expensive, if not *the* most expensive hotel I've ever been in. Modern and extravagant would be drastic understatements. Anyway, I'd be surprised if the Plaza was even anywhere close to it, price wise. There's really no way to describe it beyond that.

Dinner was incredible and drinks were...flowing. We were on the tented roof-top floor and had a view of pretty much the complete West side of Manhattan from the south of the park on down. More networking, then the few and the strong headed down to the club/bar they have in the same building.

Total Paris Hilton scene - Chanel, Prada, bling and the whole bit - we had big brass plastic buying us drinks so it was a big party for us, but this is the kind of place that you'd never find a suit like me dead in, at least on my own. There were a couple other groups of stiffs there, most older than us (we consulting folk are a younger crowd), and beyond that it was the normal super-upscale NY club scene. The stuff movies are made of, I kid you not.

I felt about as out-of-place as a chess champion at biker bar. I'm a successful, good-looking, single NY guy, but...dang. I am just not about any of the reasons anyone else seemed to be there for. I'm not better than anyone there, or looking down in any sense...I just hate the awkwardness of being in that scene, its like being on the moon with no space suit or something.

But still...there's just something about walking out of a place and seeing the line of beautiful people standing in the cold, hoping to make it in...


Well, it took me more than a quarter of a century, but I finally watched the longest game ever in World Series history. I knew I could do it. Go me.

Freakin Houston is looking great but just not great enough...disappointing.

Got a bit of a late start on the day thanks to being up all night watching the game, so I had to work a little late this evening, which is no good because tomorrow is an all day seminar over near Grand Central that goes all day, starting early. But there's an after-party deal to keep us motivated. Thursday linkery may be running a little late this week thanks to all that. Then Friday is more happy hour stuff - one for work and another for Redeemer's Vision Campaign.

My hands are doing well, thanks to the new steroid cream that the new derma hooked me up with, so for the first time in many years I am able to keep playing guitar now the weather is turning cold. Except life is such that I'm not finding time for guitar playing right now anyway. But at least I can fold clothes and shuffle papers and whatnot without pain and frustration.

Speaking of the cold weather, we passed a fall milestone today - we keep all the vents closed except the one in my room during the hot months, because my room for some reason (probably just me) is always too hot. So when we run the AC it generally cools the rest of the place faster than my room, even with the vents so strategically set. And in the cold months...we open all the vents except the one in my room, which is tightly sealed to prevent over-heating my room. This tactic seems to work relatively well, when combined with proper window management. Which, in the cold months, means "open" in my room.

The down comforter is still in the closet. Its officially cold when that guy comes out of hibernation.

Please keep my buddy Garland in your prayers. He's a buddy of mine from young life in the city, my age, and found out recently that he has a pretty rare form of cancer, that started in his neck. He's already had his first surgery and is in the midst of pretty intensive treatment right now. He's the nicest guy you'd ever meet. Why bad stuff like this always seems to happen to the best people you know is beyond me.

Today has been weird, potential projects have popped up all over the place, all of a sudden. From York, PA to Vancouver, Canada to Sweden, to Minneapolis, to local... they're just all over. Which is cool. At least a couple of them sound really interesting and like great fits for me, especially one that would be working with market segmentation for a new method of applying chemotherapy to the abdominal cavity - intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy, or IPHC. Of all things. I really hope that works out, it would be a huge shift from where my specialization has been before, yet utilizing skills I've already built. Which is just f-i-n-e by me.

Ever notice how the change of seasons seems to always bring out the romantic side of people? Winter changes to spring is the classic one - flowers and butterflies and all that. But spring changes to summer and everyone wants someone to picnic with and go to the beach with and bask in the sun with. Then summer fades to fall and everyone wants someone to watch the leaves change color with and drink apple cider with and wear new sweaters with. Autumn goes into winter and everyone wants someone to hug them tight when they're cold and throw snowballs with and go to the holiday parties with.

Everyone (well, for the most part) wants someone, and even the ebbs and flows of nature's most natural patterns serve to evoke these drives and desires in us. That, or just living in Hoboken and seeing couples together. Constantly.

The continual challenge for the single Christian person is to focus not on finding the right person, but on being the right person.


So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No tempt- ation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it... - 1st Corinthians 10:12-13

I like the NIV translation of this passage because it provides for we moderns a clearer picture of how temptation is to be dealt with, that being one of standing firm. The King James Version and New KJV use the terminology of "bearing" as one would bear a heavy load. This wording was probably more appropriate for its time and place when it was first put that way - in a day and age where people had more physical loads to bear. But now we live in a service-industry world - more and more we have found ways to not lift such loads, and as such, standing is perhaps the better metaphor to use in this context.

Standing for something is not usually the easiest thing to do. Usually, its easiest to sit silent with the rest of the crowd. When you stand, you stand out, you are different, and you better be ready to stick with what you're standing for, defending it to the end. For to sit would be the ultimate failure. Whether you take a stand against abortion, a stand for Islam, or a stand for the Red Sox, you are always going to quickly find those who stand for something else entirely. And so, despite your beliefs or associations, its usually easiest just to sit.

Temptation is no different. It's easiest to just sit and give in. Temptation most times finds us where we are already sitting, and caters to us at that precise location. For us to resist temptation in those areas we already clearly take a stand against is easy - and so temptation, most times, appeals to those areas we have already taken a lax stance on. To give in requires little shift in our position.

But how then are we to resist the temptations that find us at our weak spots? We are to stand.

Easier said than done...how are we supposed to stand when its so tough?


Riiight...and when I can't stand firmly?

Well, there's a way out.

Good, so I have the option to sit.

Not exactly. Note that the way out isn't provided so that you can take a seat. It says "...he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." The way out is just another encouragement to stand. That's all.

The simple fact of the matter is that there is no escaping temptation - no sitting while it passes by. Oscar Wilde put it best, "The only way to get rid of temptation is to give into it." We all will face it at some point, and we never have a valid excuse for succumbing to temptation - for, as previously promised, we will not face any temptation that exceeds our ability to withstand it.

So...will we be perfect? No - that's why we have Christ, the ultimate "way out," authoring and perfecting our faith for us. And because we have that, the promise of ultimate perfection, our response is a joyful attempt at perfection. This is the paradox of the Christian life - we aim at nothing less than perfection, knowing that we can't attain it, but also knowing that we will attain it, in the end.

And so, against all temptations, we are to stand.
...Scripture testifies that believers have to contend in this life with various doubts of the flesh and that under severe temptation they do not always experience [the] full assurance of faith and certainty of perseverance. But God, the Father of all comfort, "does not let them be tempted beyond what they can bear...", and by the Holy Spirit revives in them the assurance of their perseverance. -- The Canons of Dort, 5th point, 11th Article


Well along came fall. Its cold and wet and rainy and wet. I hid inside for the most part - Friday was take-out and working on the lesson. Saturday was A History of Violence with George. That was all I really did all day. I planted on the couch for the college games, slept, worked on the lesson some more, watched the world series, and crashed. It was great having a day of nothing for a change.

Sunday was Sunday - setting up Jr. High, sitting in the service with the Sr. Highers, heading down to the church offices, leading Sr. High, a leader's meeting afterwards, then back to the 'boken so I could hang out with Titus while C&M ran into the city to catch the evening service. Spending a few hours with a 2 year old is good for your perspective on life.

Then back into the city to catch Dawn's gig on the East Side. Dawn is good, and I'm not saying that because I know Dawn might read this when she gets back home. She's actually very good live, which is hard for most people to be.

Today I found out I may be on a pharmaceuticals project for the next few months, splitting my time between here, Boston, and LA. Or it might not work out, who knows. I wouldn't mind a little time back in the home state, especially this time of year.

I'm thinking I might try starting the week with my sermon notes from Sunday. It would be a way to make me type them out and a welcome substitute for the normal weekend recap mediocrity that I dole out come Monday nights. We'll see. If work kicks up its going to be all I can do to stay regular with the blog in the first place, let alone add on to my normal contributions.


What follows is a copy of this article that was published a few days ago in the WSJ...which unfortunately is unlinkable even if you do have a WSJ.com account (as I, technically, do). The article was reprinted in the Google blog recently, with the permission of the WSJ. Which I find completely ironic, based on the topic. I kind of doubt that Google would mind the article being proliferated across other blogspot blogs, so you'll find it in full below.

As noted in the WSJ and the Times a few days past, Google's profit (that's right, their profit) rose seven-fold (that's right, seven-fold) in the 3rd quarter. Current share price is a dime short of $340.00. And its going to keep. going. up.

Books of Revelation
By Eric Schmidt
The Wall Street Journal
October 18, 2005

Imagine sitting at your computer and, in less than a second, searching the full text of every book ever written. Imagine an historian being able to instantly find every book that mentions the Battle of Algiers. Imagine a high school student in Bangladesh discovering an out-of-print author held only in a library in Ann Arbor. Imagine one giant electronic card catalog that makes all the world's books discoverable with just a few keystrokes by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

That's the vision behind Google Print, a program we introduced last fall to help users search through the oceans of information contained in the world's books. Recently, some members of the publishing industry who believe this program violates copyright law have been fighting to stop it. We respectfully disagree with their conclusions, on both the meaning of the law and the spirit of a program which, in fact, will enhance the value of each copyright. Here's why.

Google's job is to help people find information. Google Print's job is to make it easier for people to find books. When you do a Google search, your results now include pointers to those books whose contents, stored in the Google Print index, contain your search terms. For many books, these results will, like an ordinary card catalog, contain basic bibliographic information and, at most, a few lines of text where your search terms appear.

We show more than this basic information only if a book is in the public domain, or if the copyright owner has explicitly allowed it by adding this title to the Publisher Program (most major U.S. and U.K. publishers have signed up). We refer people who discover books through Google Print to online retailers, but we don't make a penny on referrals. We also don't place ads on Google Print pages for books from our Library Project, and we do so for books in our Publishing Program only with the permission of publishers, who receive the majority of the resulting revenue. Any copyright holder can easily exclude their titles from Google Print -- no lawsuit is required.

This policy is entirely in keeping with our main Web search engine. In order to guide users to the information they're looking for, we copy and index all the Web sites we find. If we didn't, a useful search engine would be impossible, and the same dynamic applies to the Google Print Library Project. By most estimates, less than 20% of books are in print, and only around 20% of titles, according to the Online Computer Library Center, are in the public domain. This leaves a startling 60% of all books that publishers are unlikely to be able to add to our program and readers are unlikely to find. Only by physically scanning and indexing every word of the extraordinary collections of our partner libraries at Michigan, Stanford, Oxford, the New York Public Library and Harvard can we make all these lost titles discoverable with the level of comprehensiveness that will make Google Print a world-changing resource. But just as any Web site owner who doesn't want to be included in our main search index is welcome to exclude pages from his site, copyright-holders are free to send us a list of titles that they don't want included in the Google Print index.

For some, this isn't enough. The program's critics maintain that any use of their books requires their permission. We have the utmost respect for the intellectual and creative effort that lies behind every grant of copyright. Copyright law, however, is all about which uses require permission and which don't; and we believe (and have structured Google Print to ensure) that the use we make of books we scan through the Library Project is consistent with the Copyright Act, whose "fair use" balancing of the rights of copyright-holders with the public benefits of free expression and innovation allows a wide range of activity, from book quotations in reviews to parodies of pop songs -- all without copyright-holder permission.

Even those critics who understand that copyright law is not absolute argue that making a full copy of a given work, even just to index it, can never constitute fair use. If this were so, you wouldn't be able to record a TV show to watch it later or use a search engine that indexes billions of Web pages. The aim of the Copyright Act is to protect and enhance the value of creative works in order to encourage more of them -- in this case, to ensure that authors write and publishers publish. We find it difficult to believe that authors will stop writing books because Google Print makes them easier to find, or that publishers will stop selling books because Google Print might increase their sales.

Indeed, some of Google Print's primary beneficiaries will be publishers and authors themselves. Backlist titles comprise the vast majority of books in print and a large portion of many publishers' profits, but just a fraction of their marketing budgets. Google Print will allow those titles to live forever, just one search away from being found and purchased. Some authors are already seeing the benefits. When Cardinal Ratzinger became pope, millions of people who searched his name saw the Google Print listing for his book "In the Beginning" (Wm. B. Eerdmans) in their results. Thousands of them looked at a page or two from the book; clicks on the title's "Buy this Book" links increased tenfold.

That's the heart of the Google Print mission. Imagine the cultural impact of putting tens of millions of previously inaccessible volumes into one vast index, every word of which is searchable by anyone, rich and poor, urban and rural, First World and Third, en toute langue -- and all, of course, entirely for free. How many users will find, and then buy, books they never could have discovered any other way? How many out-of-print and backlist titles will find new and renewed sales life? How many future authors will make a living through their words solely because the Internet has made it so much easier for a scattered audience to find them? This egalitarianism of information dispersal is precisely what the Web is best at; precisely what leads to powerful new business models for the creative community; precisely what copyright law is ultimately intended to support; and, together with our partners, precisely what we hope, and expect, to accomplish with Google Print.

Mr. Schmidt is CEO of Google.


We start another fabulous trip through the land-o-links with a small collection of new takes on old movies, preview style - here, here, and my personal favorite - here.

Also in the video category we have pretty much the worst display of poor sportsmanship so far this year, perhaps in many.

Ok I'm probably the only nerd that's geek enough to appreciate this, but its basically one of the all time classic moments in video game history.

This may be the best beer ad, ever.

That's it for video. What other goodies have we?

This year's world-championship trip will be to Toronto for the world-championship of "Paper, Rock, Scissors," however perhaps next year I can make a showing at the world-championship of Beer Pong. In the mean time, I'll be using this site to practice my PRS skills. And, in honor of Saddam being in the news again this week, here's an oldie but goodie: Paper, Rock, Saddam. (brief language warning)

Your Google link of the week is somebody beating me to the punch. Crap.

Hats off to the Navy boys.

AIM users - find out if a buddy has blocked you (of course you could always register a new screen-name and ad them, right?).

World Press Photo's 50 years Gallery.

Cool ASCII Generator. I think the graffiti font works best.

Good Watertower, EVIL WATERTOWER

Are you old like me?

Say hello to my boomstick. (You're old if you can appreciate this link.)

More cool free fonts.

Take courses for free at MIT. No joke.

Everything you ever wanted to know about symbols.

Hey ladies...you can reach me at a-01-dig-elves.

Remember when I did that Paris skyline thing? This of course is much cooler. Our other NYC link of the week is yet another cool cultural art idea on the streets of the city.

Spam Stock Tracker - tracking how much money people can lose with penny stocks from spam.

Support Gulu Walk.

Firefox toped 100 Million downloads this week. 100 Million. If you're not using it already, you should be, if you are, well check this out.

And our far and away cool site of the week is...Jackson Pollock.

(Wow. That's a lot of links. Look how good I am to you. Go me.)


Its Wednesday again. I've got nothing again. Although, now I do have an excuse. Wednesdays used to be go-to-home- fellowship-group- and-come-home nights. Now the schedule includes home fellowship group, then out for philosophizing over pints with my new buddy Dave. Not so much new, as its just recently that we finally started hanging out on a more regular basis. Which is great, and I wouldn't change it if I could. Which I can, but that's beside the point, which is that I get home fairly late and in no state to attempt to write.

Last night was our end-of-3rd-quarter review for my accountability group, and I scored about a 6 out of 10 overall, with a LOT of work to do in the final quarter if I'm going to eek out an 8. At the same time, I'm a much different person from who I was a year ago, and some of that is in good ways.

Today I worked from the office. Got some stuff done, but didn't see the point in coming all the way into the city to do it, as usual. Although I did say "Hi." to a few old faces and was able to grab drinks for Karen's going-back-to-PGH party after work, so that was good.

I started this Mon-Fri posting business under the general assumption that a regular posting schedule is a good thing to maintain a regular readership. I don't view my blog as the typical "hey, here's what's going on in my life," deal that most people use their personal blogs for. I'd like to provide something of (slightly) more interest than that - as evidenced by Theology Tuesdays and Linkology Thursdays...

but I know I fall short of that on a regular basis. So, be advised that I am on the hunt for "More-honest-Wednesdays," and yes, they officially have a name, now. Subject to change, at any point. That point most likely being next Wednesday, at this point.


To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ. -– Richard Foster

For the new Christian, I imagine the whole concept of true, life-changing prayer is a pretty intimidating prospect. We like our lives, we generally are able to structure and live them out in ways that we enjoy, human nature leads us to make the best of what we have and live as comfortably as possible. But when the power for change that prayer innately has is brought to bear upon a steady life, resistance naturally occurs. We don't like change, we like the way things are, don't rock the boat.

That is very often the reason why it is so easy for us, be we Christians of many years or few, to casually avoid coming to God in humble and contrite prayer, expecting and hoping in drastic life change. We don't always want that life change - we're not sure that the new situation will be any better than the one we already have. Sure, when life turns tumultuous and the situations that face us are suddenly far more grave than our normal, peaceful lives - that's when prayer is easy. We don't like those circumstances - we want the change then. But the challenge lies in those days where the boat sits in calm waters. Are we praying for the wind that would bring waves, but nevertheless move the boat forward?

You see, the older and more experienced Christian fears prayer for quite another reason altogether. After years of prayer, be it frequent and earnest, or less diligent and focused, we all face the temptation to so easily assume that where we cannot see God's ready answer to our prayer, it must therefore not exist. We simply fail to maintain the constant wisdom that God very often answers prayers in ways we cannot see or perhaps understand. And through the years of facing and sometimes giving into that temptation, we begin to fear not the change that prayer will bring, but rather the possibility that our prayer won't bring any change at all. We begin, essentially, to disassociate any life change with the prayers that we offer. And that is when our prayers, in our own minds, become impotent. And that is when we abandon the habit as a regular pursuit. Content to sit and list in the doldrums of life, not praying for the wind for the simple presupposition that it might not come anyway.

We all know we need prayer to be a more central aspect of our lives, no matter where our walk is at this point. We all have our unique and particular reasons and explanations for why its not. We all have the powerful promises in Scripture that prayer is a central tool by which we bring change not just in our lives, but in the kingdom on earth.

We all need to change.

I asked the Lord, that I might grow in faith and love, and every grace;
Might more of his salvation know, and seek more earnestly his face.
I hoped that in some favored hour at once he'’d answer my request,
And by his love'’s constraining power subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of this he made me feel the hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell assault my soul in every part.
'Lord why is this?' I trembling cried, '‘Wilt thou pursue me to the death?'’
'‘Tis in this way' the Lord replied, 'I answer prayers for grace and faith.'

'‘These inward trials I employ
from self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may'’st seek thine all in me.'’
- John Newton


Just another typical autumn weekend in the world of David. Or Dave, depending on who you are and how well you know me.

Friday eve was working on the lesson, then a brief stop-over at Tony's annual Sinatra party. Good times but working myself into a suit on a Friday evening is just too tall an order. Saturday was an early breakfast with my man Glenn and then a park-cleaning service day with the youth group. Ran home for poker with 9 others here at our place, I tied for 4th, just outside the money. Wasn't getting good hands, nothing you can do about that. And Saturday night was a birthday party for Heather at her and Darin's place. Its not a party until I end up in Darin's handcuffs (Darin's a Secret Service agent), which he never seems to remember to put away when we all come over.

Sunday was the typical school-year Sunday - set up Jr. High, sit with Sr. High in the service, head down to the offices, lead Sr. High, head back to the 'boken with Cregan. Sundays become a bit of a full day and are never particularly restful with all the energy I end up putting into them (especially this past one, when I ended up heading back in to the evening service to help Cregan with the Vision campaign presentation they did after the service on the west side). Which makes it important to find some rest on Saturdays. Which can be a hard thing to accomplish. Saturdays are when the rest of the world schedules most of their non-work events.

This week I have some kind of commitment every night, including Saturday (babysitting fundraiser with the youth group during the bi-annual church members meeting), and then Sunday is another typical Sunday. I just don't seem to have time for anything outside of work and all the normal commitments. Keeping up with friends, pursuing hobbies (old or new), making good on my annual accountability goals, practicing the guitar, finally finishing any of the 18 books I'm reading, even getting out on a date now and again becomes a chore.

My life needs more organization and less procrastination. Also I could use a better memory, that's for sure.

I just need to remember to get around to making it happen.


Since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, is there anyone who does not, in some way feel like an exile? We feel ejected from our first homes and landscapes, from our first romance, from our authentic self. An ideal sense of belonging, of attuning with others and ourselves, eludes us. Exile was always considered one of the worst punishments possible because people's identities were defined by their role and place in society. In recent years, however, we have come to value in our culture those qualities of experience that exile brings--uncertainty, displacement, fragmented identity. Post-modern nomads consider home mostly as a site of narrow-mindedness and nationalism. Now exile is sexy and glamorous. But it comes at enormous cost.

I wonder if in this world of easy come, easy go, of sliding among places and meanings without alighting on them for very long, we don't lose internal focus. We risk being overwhelmed by what Milan Kundera calls "the unbearable lightness of being". It is the illness that comes to un-anchored people, those who travel perpetually to new moments and sensations and to whom no internal feeling is more important than another.

- Eva Hoffman, Wanderers by Choice


Leenkee leenkee...

HandBrake is a cool tool to rip DVDs to your computer.

Audacity is a similar tool for editing audio files. There may be better stuff out there, I've used different ones in the past, this is just one I stumbled upon recently.

A plethora of Google-y goodness this week.

First off, another reason to love Google: they're philanthropic.

elgooG is basically what Google must look like to the people on the inside.

Google Sets
- yet another toy being played with over in the wonderful world of the Google Labs.

gDisk makes using Gmail as a free online hard-drive an easy thing to set up.

My friends Clint and Bright run Here's Life Inner City. Check them out, consider helping a great ministry to the city.

43 Folders' Procrastination hack
- I'll probably never get around to actually using it, but it looks cool.

Remember The Milk is another useful getting-things-done tool, which of course I have submitted to Lifehacker, along with some of this other stuff. gDisk, for instance, I submitted today but they published on it at about the same time (ie. they found it before I submitted). They may be tagging me soon on their Remember The Milk post, but I doubt it will be a linked hat-tip, as they haven't linked to me yet. Not sure why. Maybe I have to actually post some kind of life-hack or tool I came up with on my own, like my Netflix calculation that I did about a year ago. Some guy put the basic calculations in an Excel file and they linked to him. I could have thought of that. Anyway, just from my comment on the Netflix post, I've seen a ton of Lifehacker traffic come my way. So I'm going to keep working on getting a front-page link from them, one way or another. They've mentioned my name (with no link) a few times, recently here , here, and here.

The Knowles Coat of Arms, Family Crest.

You can see the time that this picture was taken at by looking at the clock on the church tower in the distance. Wild.

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says.

Watch Frontline online at PBS. Cool.

The official U.S. time clock...actually cooler because you can see where its night and where its day right now.

Slayeroffice color palette creator.

FastWeb - find college financial aid, search for scholarships and get money for college - one I'll be emailing to my brother.

Institute: Dateline Kennel - a Lilek's link - haven't been reading his Bleat as regularly lately, but its still good stuff.

Think your friend / family member / co-worker / etc. might be a sociopath? Find out.

This is not funny.


Freak. ing. wow.

I had a monster post worked up for what- to-write-Wednesday, no joke, I had been working on it since the 3rd inning of the Angels-White Sox game (what a way to end a game - this one will go down in baseball history). Then I hit the spell checker, and Firefox right up and shut down. Grrrrreat!

So you're going to get a pittance compared to what I had, and I'm going to try to re-work what I was writing for Friday's post. Suffice to say I'm going to finally get around to some of the things I promised about a month ago.

Speaking of times past, about a year ago, I was doing a much better job of photo-illustrating my blog posts. I am going to make an earnest effort to get back to this, as my camera has sat dormant for far too long.

I'm going to go make dinner and try not to be...just, really TO'd at Firefox. I leave you with some worldly wisdom:
A woman has a close male friend. This means that he is probably interested in her, which is why he hangs around so much. She sees him strictly as a friend. This always starts out with, you're a great guy, but I don't like you in that way. This is roughly the equivalent for the guy of going to a job interview and the company saying, "You have a great resume, you have all the qualifications we are looking for, but we're not going to hire you. We will, however, use your resume as the basis for comparison for all other applicants. But, we're going to hire somebody who is far less qualified and is probably an alcoholic. And if he doesn't work out, we'll hire somebody else, but still not you. In fact, we will never hire you. But we will call you from time to time to complain about the person that we hired."


Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
-- Ps 37:4

Psalm 37:4 is a widely beloved verse in the Bible, with good reason. Its right up there with your Jeremiah 29:11's and Romans 8:31's and the like when it comes to getting that quick confidence boosts in God's eternal providence.

Yet... I submit that it may be one of those verses that might tend to fall into that Prayer-of-Jabez, name-it-claim-it syndrome. You know the idea: be good and do what God says and he'll give you what you ask for. Which, of course, flies quite in the face of the gospel reality that the Christian life will (and indeed should) involve at least some certain amount of suffering and trial (thus making us more Christ-like). And in some places, this sadly mis-focused mind-set that God is primarily here to give us the things we ask for has began to take quite an evident toll on the expanse of the kingdom.

"But what's wrong with God giving me what my heart desires?"

Well...nothing. As long as your heart desires the right things. And who can claim that their heart is constantly set on such things?

I don't believe that Ps. 37:4 is one of the most mis-interpreted verses in the Bible, rather I would offer that I believe it to be one of the most under-interpreted. That is to say, it holds so much more than is seen at first glance.

This verse is usually read in the sense that God "will give you that which your heart desires." But that's not what it says, in fact it is specifically worded to say that God "will give you the desires of your heart." Did you catch that? Not necessarily the things you desire, but perhaps He'll simply be giving you the very desires themselves, in the first place.

And that's when you move one step closer toward your heart being constantly set on the right things.

Yes, God can, and sometimes may give you the things that you do desire. This is a good thing - Christians should rejoice in the blessings of God that He gives us in this present world. There is nothing wrong with praying to be blessed - as long as its done with wisdom and a right understanding of what contrite prayer should truly be.

But a heart that is most completely delighting itself in the Lord is one that is not concerned with the affairs of this world, "where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal." Rather, a total delight in the Lord is a desire to have more of Him. And that is the desire that we know He loves to fulfill.

No post Monday! Two post Tuesday. One now...and one in a few hours.

Friday was chill, Saturday was cleaning around the place, working on the lesson, and then I caught "Two for the Money" with Chris. It was a decent flick. I guess I expected it to be a little different than it actually was, but Al's acting could save even the worst of movies (not that this was).

Chris has a new Saab. I like.

Sunday was exciting - we had the biggest group of kids for the high school group that we've ever had in my 3+ years here. Began our Spiritual Disciplines checkpoint, where we're focusing on the spiritual discipline of "Giving." Then it was off to the bowling alley in Port Authority for...bowling. Then Ollie's Noodle Shop just off of Times Square. Came home and pretty much collapsed.

Monday was back out in wonderful Wayne, NJ. And Monday night was spent in the city with Keller at Reservoir, a bar near where he used to live just south of Union Square. Steelers bar - so there were a few fans there to cheer with for the game. The Yankees finally lost about halfway through the 4th quarter of the Steelers game, so the place pretty much cleared out after that. The Steelers finally went to Heath Miller a few times, so I won my football pool for the week, which ties me for second in the pool. And Big Ben took a scary looking shot to the knee.

Dropped Dave off and headed home. Got in late, forgot to blog, and couldn't sleep. Feel like crap today because of that.

So I'm off to take a run.


It is seldom that any of our character flaws disappear by the force of mental deter- mination. But what cannot be destroyed may be dispossessed—and one taste may be made to give way to another, and to lose its power as the reigning affection in the mind. It is thus that the boy ceases at length to be a slave of his appetite, but it is because another taste has brought it into subordination. The youth ceases to idolize pleasure, but it is because the idol of wealth has…gotten the ascendancy. Even the love of money can cease to have mastery over the heart because it is drawn into the whirl of politics and he is now lorded over by a love of power. But there is not one of these transformations in which the heart is left without an object. Its desire for one particular object is conquered—but its desire to have some object…is unconquerable…

The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one. It is only when the heart is brought under the mastery of one great and predominant affection that it is delivered from the tyranny of its former desires, and the only way that deliverance is possible. Thus it is not enough to hold out to the world the mirror of its own imperfections. It is not enough to come forth with a demonstration of the evanescent character of your enjoyments…to speak to the conscience…of its follies… Rather, try every legitimate method of finding access to your hearts for the love of Him who is greater than the world. – Thomas Chalmers

FINALLY. A weekend. I've been needing this for like a freakin month. I am going to have a weekend. I've got a room to clean and a lesson to write for Sunday and church to go to and lots of football to watch, and I am going to love every minute of it. A weekend, with no work. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Late link but if you have a chance, try to check out at least one of the many opportunities around the 5 boroughs offered by Open House New York. This is an awesome once-a-year event put on by Target and it keeps sneaking up on me because its drastically under-promoted. Not sure if I'm going to be able to make it to any of the tours this weekend, but there's one at the Chrysler building and one on the architecture of Times Square, either of which I think I'd like to see. The Times Square one is late in the evening, but that could be fun, learning about the infrastructure that hides behind the neon - seeing what the tourists are missing. In the rain. If I go, I will finally get the camera out, because I need to take some pictures with that stupid thing. That pretty much means I'm not going to get around to going.

I like the rain. Tonight I ran in the rain. It was great.


Thursday means links.

Cool: Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus

I used to "not like" the French. Now "hate" is no longer too strong a word. Die, France (warning, tough link to see if you're a dog lover like me).

Google link-o-the-week: Google Ride Finder

Gem Sweater. Speaks for itself. Quite literally.

Petals Around the Rose. I got this after like the first .23 seconds. But that probably has to do with my gambling problems.

The Navy was training killer military death dolphins. And now they're loose. This is the stuff movies are made of.

The MegaPenny Project

Peter Jackson is directing the movie adaptation of Halo. I'm not even a huge Halo fan yet the nerd in me rejoices.

Cool info over at worldmeters.

Mind mapping at Mayomi.

Qnext appears to have serious potential.

iKarma probably has no potential at all.

Wikipedia link of the week is the list of made-up words in the Simpsons.

How to tie a tie. For the brothers.

How to beat the system at Best Buy. I don't condone this but it sounds for reals.

Bonus Google link - see traffic cams. Wild.


So with all the recent reflection on singleness and relationships and dating and...singleness, I want to write a decent article on the subject. Frankly I'm thinking there's a hole in the market for a good Biblical analysis of the topic, so I'm thinking about trying to actually sketch out a series of articles and see where it goes. Which is why I didn't try squeezing my thoughts on the subject into last night's last minute scramble for a Christian Carnival post. Speaking of which, CC is up over at Rev-Ed.

Singleness and dating and such aren't the only topics I've been hoping to turn into articles (and submit to Relevant and whoever else might have them) lately. There's my recent thoughts on love (quite different from singleness and dating, mind you), waiting, and especially the thoughts on beauty. I listened to a sermon that has been influential for me on this topic on my drive back from the burgh this weekend. I have a lot more I need to internalize on this subject, long story short.

So you can see how that could all tie in to a worth-while series, if I could get my thoughts sketched out in a sensible manner, and perhaps add a few more.

Today after work it was a quick run, then off to Arthur's with the guys to celebrate Jeremy's b-day. A liter of Killians and a massive steak and of course completing the tradition with malts across the street at Jonny Rockets. And here I sit, feeling ill, again. Why this is a tradition I have no idea. Its terrible. I feel terrible. But it is fun.

That's all I've got. You know...its Wednesday. We talked about this last week. I think I need a theme for Wednesday, at least something general. I had an idea earlier this week for it but I've completely forgotten by this point. I'm open to suggestions.

Steinbeck wrote something, once - I quote it every time my birthday rolls around:

Do you realize that I am twenty-six now? I don't. I don't feel twenty-six and I don't look that old, and I have done nothing to justify my years. Yet I don't regret the years. I have enjoyed them after a fashion. My sufferings have not been great nor have my pleasures been violent.
(emphasis mine)

My sufferings have not been great. This is certainly true for me. I've felt my unique sufferings, my own sadness, my minor physical ailments. So, in a sense, I'm writing on what I'm not quite fully qualified for, yet again.

So I'll be short. There's a right and a wrong (good and bad, even) way to suffer. The difference between the two is hope - right has it, wrong doesn't. And this hope is no small thing - no semi-confident belief that we're going to get through this present trial. As Christians, even in the worst circumstances, we have the ultimate hope of heaven to place our faith, our life, our loves in.

This is an easy point to speak simply on, because the hope I'm speaking about is just that, in one sense - simple. All-encompassing. Whether your suffering is a broken leg, a lost love (or a love never yet found), a oppressive job, or threat of death. Worldly hope thinks maybe things might change. Real hope - hope in Christ...knows that things are changing even now, and one day all will be perfect.

There's nothing left but to rejoice.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


And so the freak what if I was lonely?

Sunday came and gave me another 6 hours on the road to think life over. I like driving. I like being alone and occupied but having the freedom to let the mind wander - turn up the heat on all those things relegated to the back burner for so long.

Now that I'm thinking it through - what's so wrong with lonely? Why can't we admit our dependence on others? Why so much pride? Lonely in this day and age is weak, lonely is sad. Its needy. No one wants to be needy. Was lonely always this way?

I think you can be lonely in a healthy way, if you know what you're doing. Sure, there's unhealthy loneliness, but lonely and healthy are by no means mutually exclusive.

In any case I've had enough of married people weighing in on singleness, pretty much for the rest of my life. There are precious few people I know of that have been single longer than me and are thereby qualified to advise me on the matter. And apparently there are plenty of married people ready to advise me in the absence of more qualified individuals.

I have a lot more to say on the subject and hope to find the time and inspiration tomorrow. I simply don't have the energy to put it into type tonight. A depressing day at work after a depressing weekend and I'm feeling empty before Tuesday arrives.

They say depression is just anger without the enthusiasm, and tonight I couldn't agree more. If I had the vim, I know I'd be stewing right now. But its been sucked out of me. I've always believed that anger is a sign of weakness - nothing makes you angry, only you can let yourself be that way. Now I'm realizing depression is the same way. Just without the same vitality.

Great. Weak...and alone. Maybe even needy.



Today was one of the most painful days of my life in recent years, to be quite dreadfully honest.

I knew I wasn't going to enjoy my 5th anniversary homecoming, I just didn't know I was going to find it so very un-enjoyable. It was simply a nightmarish day for a person with the (slight) social anxieties that I seem to have developed.

People I haven't seen in half a decade. There were the uncomfortable avoiding sideways glances when I walked past ex-girlfriends on 2 separate occasions - more uncomfortable for them than me, I had been the one to end things with both. But I had kept in touch with neither and I suspect both hated me for it for quite a while, years ago, so there was very little indeed to speak on. Plus, they're both married now.

But that wasn't so bad. Both of these were just brief moments in an otherwise eventful day. Then there were the many vaguely familiar faces of people I had shared a classroom or lunch table or dorm hallway with at one point or another, but had never had any real connection. And it felt as though we had some cosmic duty to acknowledge one another and re-introduce and catch up as though it mattered, when we'd promptly be off to our own separate worlds for the next five years, come end of day.

But that wasn't so bad. The people you didn't know very well quickly saw someone they had known better and moved on to talk to that person (or I quickly did the same myself). Then there were the many familiar faces of friends long gone - the ones you hadn't been able to keep in touch with as you would have liked, and there was joyous reunion, and somewhat awkward conversation with a spouse you hadn't known well, or at all, but were genuinely glad to meet. The conversations would eventually lull and everyone would have that general realization that this too would pass, and though we might trade business cards, for the most part Monday would come in life-as-normal fashion.

But that wasn't so bad. There were the lifelong friends first formed in the college years that you see on occasion and regularly contact to inquire on their lives and loves and whatnot. Its good to see them but bittersweet that our time will be so short together. There's the difficult juggling of the day's waning hours between which friends you will grab lunch with, see the football game with, get drinks and dinner with.

But that wasn't so bad.

You know what was so bad? So acutely, horribly bad? Exactly what I knew and dreaded would be bad. The fact that I was alone. Apparently the miniscule percentage of my class that continues to remain unmarried was in large part wise enough to not bother to show up for homecoming, because I didn't see ONE of them, that I knew. Not even Knauer. Dammit. Everyone, and I mean EVERYone I saw had the husband or wife, fiance, boyfriend or girlfriend in their zone of social safety.

I'm not mad at them. I'm really not. I'm happy for them - for what they've been blessed with. But I'm sick of not fitting in because I haven't been given this blessing. Sick - as in it turns my stomach, at points. As in I can't stay and stand in these groups and feel like I don't need to run away somewhere where its ok to be alone and not be stigmatized for it. And in an atmosphere like Grove City College, this weekend, alone was the only place you could be where it was ok to be alone.

Leaving tonight bore the same sad, wistful relief of leaving this atmosphere behind that I've felt in the past few times I've visited, although this time was more difficult than ever before. Sad because it used to be such a happy place - and still holds some of the best memories of my life, and yet every time I return I am so forcefully reminded that I am getting older very, very quickly, and I am doing it all. by. my. self. And the drive away is wistful because...well, you're driving away alone. Just like you drove there the night before, except now you've had a day full of the abnormality of your situation placed in stark relief before you.

I am not a lonely person. I am alone. This is where God has put me, for as long as He sees fit. Why can't this be an ok thing?

(sorry for the no post Friday, after work I was on the road for 6 hours driving...)