Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Interesting Bible Stuff

I'm listening to the Saddleback Drive Time Devotions via the iTunes podcast during my drive home each night and it's been a study of Exodus, a chapter a day.  It was interesting that they pointed out that when they're talking about the Sabbath Regulations and Building the Tabernacle in Exodus 35, that it's all with people who were willing.  It wasn't everyone, they weren't commanded.

And then today there was a guest speaker in Chapel at work and he was talking about the the sermon on the mount and one of the things he pointed out was in Matthew 7 where Jesus says "...anyone who hears these words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man..." that the chastisement is for people who have heard those words.  But those who haven't had them are exempted -- he said if you looked carefully in the Bible, Jesus reserves his criticisms of people who claim to be pursing God and yet fall short.

And then a third thing, he talked about Philippians - how we all know it's a letter to the church in Philippi (but also to us), written by Paul from jail and it's four chapters long.  So what do we do?  Read a chapter and then close our Bibles for the day.  We'll get the next chapter tomorrow.  Really?  He asked "If you were to get a four page handwritten letter in the mail from a loved one currently incarcerated, would you read the first page and then save the next page for another day?"  He suggested that the way we read the Bible that we're just reading the words, but he challenged us to savor them - to pick an area and then live there for awhile, allowing yourself to become immersed in it.  He suggested reading that large chunk daily.  He did that and ended up memorizing a large section of the Bible and has since gone on to memorize other parts.  He didn't like that term, though, he thought of it more as "internalizing," savoring, feeling the Bible come alive.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

500 in 300: Rundown

This isn't looking good.  I have continued to struggle to find time to run.  These days, when I leave for work at 8 am, it's barely light out.  When I leave work at 5 pm, it's pitch black.  I've run in the dark before, but it's a little more difficult now, because it's either raining, windy, below 40 degrees, the ground is wet, or some combination.   I could run at lunch, but then it's gotta be a short run in order to have time to eat.  What's worked best for me is to work through lunch and then run at 4 pm.  But even though I've blocked the 4-5pm hour on my schedule, it's become necessary lately to have some meetings at 4.

So, I've stalled long enough.  Time for the chart, but warning, it's not pretty.

Yep, I am officially behind schedule.  The good news is that I'm only 111 days in (36%) but have only completed 34% of the running.  I should be at 185 miles but I've completed 172.55.  I think it will continue to look bad until the weather turns, but I'm going to try to get out there more at the end of my workday.  That's worked well and is worth 2-3/4 miles each time I make that loop and it takes me less than half an hour.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stretch Toward People

(Cross-posted on YouVersion)

Stretch Toward People
Message #5 of "s t r e t c h"
Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church; Federal Way, Wash.;
Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011 (My notes from the 9 and 10:45 am services, I pray it will be helpful to you. I would appreciate prayers for me, our church and our pastor.)

--- The 'Stretch to Win' Mindset (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) ---

This is who I am: a winner of people to Christ
This is what I do: win people to Christ
Really? Uh, no.
Why not?
Fear - fear of looking dumb, of not having the answer to a tough question, the fear of conversation itself.

40% of teenagers consider themselves as shy. The number who self-identify as shy goes up as you survey older and older groups of people.

But it's actually just a lack of practice.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Sift 321-325

The Sift 321: Cars
  • Honda's Small Sports EV concept proves electric can be svelte, comes to Tokyo Motor Show next month
  • GM demos accident avoidance system with brains and long range
  • Mercedes F125, the Fuel-Cell Hybrid From the Year 2025
  • The True Cost of Commuting
  • GM's got a brand new electric motor and it'll give you the key

The Sift 322: Energy, Environment and Science
  • New Bee Species Discovered Brooklyn, NY
  • The Air Force will give you $150,000 to blast its weeds with a laser
  • When Should You Not Use a Energy-Saving CFL Bulb?
  • GE's new factory will push out one solar panel every ten seconds
  • Empty Storefront in London Turned into World’s First Farm in a Shop!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Muppets Movie

Saw it tonight.  Hooray.  Thanks, Disney, thanks, Henson.  (No thanks, Oz. You missed out.)

The movie left me with two questions: "Why did you leave?" and "Does this mean the TV show will come back?"

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Problem with the Theater

Watching a movie at home

  • Find movie
  • Select TV with the correct (Blu-Ray/DVD or DVD-only)
  • Turn on TV and DVD or Blu-Ray player
  • Insert disc
  • Skip some previews
  • Watch movie
Watching a movie at the theater

  • Check showtimes
  • Coordinate babysitter for Ben (or decide who gets to go and who stays home)
  • Get in car
  • Stop at grovery store for candy
  • Drive to theater
  • Look for parking
  • Get in line to buy tickets
  • Get in line to get into theater
  • Get in line to buy popcorn
  • Get in line to get to area where theaters are
  • Find seats
  • Watch pre-show commercial for Chevy
  • Watch computer animation for theater from the 80's
  • Uncomfortably long message about turning off phone
  • Watch trailer for Japanese-style remake of The Borrowers
  • Watch trailer for Alvin & the Chipmunks Chipwrecked (ok, so I don't think anyone can make "Bad Romance" sound bad)
  • Watch trailer for Brave (yay, Pixar)
  • Watch trailer for Smurfs
  • Watch trailer for Journey 2
  • Watch trailer for several other movies.  
  • Try to remember what movie you even came to see.  Realize you've already finished your soda, candy and popcorn.
  • Watch movie.  Listen to kids crying and people talking.  And walking in and out of the row.  And your feet stick to the floor.

The Problem with the Internet

So last night, the internet once again captivated me in the strange way it does.  It's such a good example of how dangerous it can be to someone like me, inately curious, especially when the one thing I wish I had more of was time.  The internet can so quickly rob me of that.

So last night I started on the homepage of MSNBC.  And then Arab League threatens sanctions against Syria. So then I had to look up Syria on Google Maps.And then I wandered around the Middle East until I ended up in Tarsus in Turkey.  And then I was puzzled by street names ending with the abbreviation "Cd" and "Sk" 

So, off to Wikipedia and then it was all rabbit trails from there:

And then just like that, more than 30 minutes was gone.  Reminds me of this NSFW xkcd.

Never did figure out what CD or SK meant.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


How has no one caught this?

How does one take their cutes?  Especially from the electric side of blues?

Do better, iTunes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stretch Your Neighborhood

(Cross-posted on YouVersion)

Stretch Your Neighborhood
Message #4 of "s t r e t c h"
Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church; Federal Way, Wash.;
Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011 (My notes from the 10:45 am service, I pray it will be helpful to you. I would appreciate any prayers for me, our church and our pastor.)

--- Wontchu Be My Neighbor? ---

Performance art. Mr. Rogers on screen and Pastor Jeff on the platform changing into cardigan and sneakers. (no sneakers for Pastor Jeff. ha)

--- Learning from "The Neighborhood Chapter" --- (Luke 10)

The 72

1. Where you are, see yourself as APPOINTED BY JESUS TO BE there. (v1)

You're not there by accident. God put you there.

2. PRAY about your neighborhood. (v2)

Pray that they would be blessed, but not so blessed,they think they did it themselves. Pray about your place and impact on that neighborhood. When to speak, and when to just be a light in how you live.

3. Don't present yourself as SELF-SUFFICIENT. (v3-7)

Jesus didn't send them out so everything they needed. They needed the people around them. Those they were ministering to where also supporting them.

4. Respond to their PHYSICAL needs. (v8-9)

It may open up the chance for a conversation.

5. Respond according to people's RESPONSES. (v10-12)

Jesus didn't tell them to pester people. You will never harass someone to God.

Fish where the fish are biting.
Don't drown any planted seeds.

6. Experience JOY in fruitful faithfulness. (v17-21)

The disciples returned changed people themselves. This wasn't just about telling others about Jesus, this wasn't just about conversion, but about their own growth, strengthening their own relationship with Christ, having a relationship worth sharing.

--- The Good Neighbor --- (Luke 10:25-37)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Really, Evernote?

I must get this error far more frequently than the good people of Evernote, Inc.  Because I must see this several times a month and it always makes me cringe.  And it's not new -- it's persisted through several versions now.

If I were working at Evernote, I'd be making someone work on Saturday for a few months over this one.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mail Drop (A Work-Related Post)

Full disclosure, more for the 3-letter agencies that might be looking into me:  I wasn't thinking too clearly when I did my first search on Google Images and the types of images made me realize that this was not quite what I had in mind.  I don't plan on writing manifestos in a cabin in the woods while wearing a hoodie.  And I certainly don't want to be parodied by Will Ferrell.

So I've talked from time-to-time about how my job involves a lot of email.  Not only do I have a team that sends out marketing/fundraising email, but it's also the primary communication method for both of my roles.  So I get a lot.  An average day is probably 150-200.  That's a slight reduction from the past, but it's still quite a bit.

I've talked before about my methods of organization, but I'm not sure if I've mentioned this technique before or not.  Most, but not all of my work is accomplished when I have an empty inbox.  However, I rarely have an empty inbox.  Usually that only lasts for a few minutes, right before I go on vacation.

But at certain times of the year, when it's slow, I can get it down to a very small number.  Usually what remains is those "unknowns" - please check out this website, please review this powerpoint, here's an attachment for a strategy document - all the low-priority stuff that I'm not sure how much time or brain-power I'll need to invest before I can delete.  Sometimes this stuff can hang out for 6+ months before I get to it.  (I can tell it's not important because no subsequent conversation ever comes up with the same subject line, there's no call to action in the email, things like that.  Plenty of clues.)

The worst part, though, is that really productive day of email slamming results in people responding.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wish List

So I've been feeling the guilt of stuff lately.  Or the crush of stuff.  And at the same time, people say "I looked at your Wish List and I'm getting you a Tesla or a DMC.  And I'm certainly not buying you Australia."  (But I've always wanted the keys to a shiny new Australia.)

So they mentioned today at church that on January 28 they've invited 4 other churches to join us and we're building Caregiver Kits.  So there are parts of Africa where medical supplies and medical facilities just don't exist.  At the same time, there are all kinds of people suffering.  So there are people who travel, typically by bicycle, to care for them.  In many cases, they are dying of HIV/AIDS, these caregivers are simply making their final weeks and months more comfortable.  So these kits - they provide medical supplies to the caregivers.

Caregiver Kit Builds are events at churches, corporations and organizations where people come together to pack the supplies into the kits and then write a note.  Many people also pray for the kits.  It's pretty cool.  Medical supply companies make the contents of the kits available at near cost, sometimes for free.  It's good publicity for them and when they provide it at less than cost, they get the write-off.   So when a group decides they want to do the kits, they coordinate through World Vision who coordinates with the suppliers who deliver the materials to the build site and then coordinates to ship the kits once built.  (The plastic cases go on to additional lives once the supplies are exhausted - mostly in about a month's time.)

I've participated in kit builds before because I work for World Vision.  But I hadn't participated at one with a church before, so it's kind of exciting that we're doing it this year.  Each year we do what we call "Advent Conspiracy" where we pick a project and then collect money during the Christmas season, challenging people to buy fewer presents and donate money instead.  And so this case the AC benefactor is the caregivers.  I do not know if I'll get to build kits or not -- Lori also wants to do it, so it may be that I hang out with Ben while she and Rachel (and maybe Lori's mom) make the kits.

But, here's where the Wish List comes in.  If you were thinking of buying me something this year, maybe instead you'll donate money towards the cost of supplies.  If you'd like to do so, mail a check for $28 to Our Savior's Baptist Church, 701 South 320th Street  Federal Way, WA 98003 and note that it's for Caregiver Kits.  And if you're in town, please consider coming by - these build events are described as "exciting" and "rewarding" and "fun."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Abbreviated Weekend

Tomorrow I'm running sound for the church services and then we have practice for the Christmas play in the afternoon.  That means today was pretty much it.

And it was a good it.  I had a few hours to myself as everyone slept in, I spent time getting Rachel to do stuff to help the family and to be creative (we started yet another blog).  I also finally hung Lori's Christmas present from last year.  And I hung up the icicle lights over the garage.  They aren't plugged in yet, but the moment I see another house in the neighborhood with lights on, I'm plugging them in.

I think things slow down again next Saturday.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sense of Belonging

I was driving through the neighborhood tonight on my way home from work.  Now that the time has changed, the drive is in complete darkness.  And in that part of the neighborhood, that means nearly complete darkness because that's the non-association side and there's no street lamps.  I recalled someone once who was just agahst - "Why on earth would you want to be part of an association?"

I thought of how the next street over, a less traveled street, how rundown the houses are.  Some, I suspect, might just fall over soon.

And no one cares.  Their neighbors might, but who cares, really?  If things get bad enough, you can call the City's code-compliance officers on them, but that's pretty fascist.  Which is ironically, my friend's argument against HOAs was that it felt fascist to them.

But I thought about my past living experiences.  There was with my family, then in a college dorm, then an apartment complex, and then a non-association neighborhood in a pocket of county surrounded by cities, and then an association neighborhood with nearby non-association homes.

So in every case but the non-association, there was something there: community.  We're all in this together.

Even if that means I have to get approval in advance on any color I want to repaint my house.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Comcast vs DirecTV

So we recently switched from Comcast to DirecTV.  And I have to say, it's not been all aces.

Without further ado, here's my list of reasons why Comcast is better than DirecTV.

1. The DirecTV DVR does not have a clock on the front.

This concludes my list of reasons why Comcast is better than DirecTV.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

500 in 300: Run Away, Run Away

Wow... now how's that for ugly?   Today marks 1/3 of the way through the challenge and I'm at 1/3 of my goal.  All of my hard work is gone.  I've been sick, I've been busy, it gets really dark lately and the weather hasn't cooperated.  Tonight would have actually been a good night to run.  It's rainy, but at least it's in the 50s instead of the 30s.   Unfortunately, I was engaged and unable to run.  We're looking at a lot more rain in the near future, we'll see if that causes the temperatures to warm up.  I've been healthy for a few days, but my children have been sick for nearly a week, so I don't want to do anything to lower my own immunity lest I catch something from them, or worse yet, catch something myself and bring it home.

I have no doubt that I'll get this done, though - there will be a lot of beautiful weather between now and June 4. Just not sure how many of them will be in the next few months.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Sift 316-320

The Sift 316: Social Media
  • Twitter Has 100 Million Monthly Active Users; 50% Log In Every Day
  • No, Facebook Is Not Ruining Your Grades
  • Hack a Label Printer into a Twitter Hashtag Ticker
  • Facebook Friend Count Linked to Brain Density
  • Adam Ostrow: After your final status update

The Sift 317: Space
  • NASA Details the Next 25 Years of Space Exploration
  • NASA Launches Solar-Powered Twin GRAIL Spacecrafts
  • NASA Unveils Plans for the World’s Largest Rocket
  • NASA Turns its Space Missions into a Kid-Friendly Video Game
  • Virgin Galactic to Charter Suborbital Flights to Space With NASA

Monday, November 14, 2011

120: Night

Interesting how the night could be so dark, so black, so oppressive.  Because, actually, it was not as dark.  If there had been no clouds, it would be darker.  If there were no clouds, you'd be able to look up, see the stars, feel the breeze.

But the cloud cover was extensive.  As far as the eye could see.  It was a dark, dark gray.  The clouds felt so close, like he could reach up and touch them.  There was no breeze, stiffing even.  The cold pressed in, you could feel it, like a physical force pressing in on your skin.

Each breath in was like drinking, the air had a weight to it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stretch for Life

(Cross-posted on YouVersion)

Stretch for Life
Message #3 of "s t r e t c h"
Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.;
Sunday, Oct. 23. (My notes from the 10:45 service. I pray they will be useful to you. Please consider prayin for me, the church and our pastor.)

--- Christ's Purposes ---

OSBC's Tenets:
Worship, Growth, Fellowship, Service, Outreach

They are not WHAT WE DO, but WHO WE ARE.
Not another task, another activity on our to-do list, but overflow of what's inside us. Far Side cartoon - a disaster waiting to happen. We think of outreach as something we have to get the courage up to go and do. But we should be thinking of it as what Christ has created to be. God gave us a message to share (people can get right with God).

--- Who We Are (2 Corinthians 5:19-6:1) ---

* Christ's ambassadors
* God's partners/co-workers - working alongside what God is doing in the world

--- "stretchbent" people ---

What is "stretchbent"?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Not That Simple (A Work and Life-Related Post)

A few thoughts have recently stuck with me in a big way.  The first is something Lindsey Talerico picked up at ideation, the weird notion that we've turned poverty into an industry - does my salary depend on someone else's poverty?  The second is just my own desire to simplify, to be more focused, to have less distractions, less clutter in my life.

The first is an interesting bit - in Matthew (26:11) were hear Jesus quoted with the familiar phrase "The poor you will always have with you but you will not always have me."  So, organizations like mine that try to make the world a better place for children will probably always have a reason to exist, I know many of us who work there desire to put ourselves out of a job. But at the same time, I travel each day to an office building, take the stairs to the third floor, go to my desk, drop my laptop in the dock, press power, grab my coffee cup and stroll to the coffee maker.  I'm really far removed from the "real work" - the boots on the ground, those who are working *with* people in communities where there is great need, to help them plan for self-sustainable futures where some of the current problems - water, food security, education, health are enjoyed by the inhabitants when we leave.  The model is a little bit complicated because it's not a hand-out.  We're not in the business of socialism or Robin Hoodism.  We don't ask donors in the United States to give because they're rich so we can skim some off the top before handing money over to poor people somewhere "out there."  We don't build wells and roads and then say "Good luck with that."  We go into a community and ask if we can help.  If the community is willing, we produce a plan together that allows us to leave after a certain period of time and the community is better off and stays better off.   We bring expertise from having done this process many times in the past several decades, but it's not us alone going in and telling people who to do, it's us going in, partnering with people and helping them to improve the quality of their own lives.  Which means programs specific to that community, to address the issues they face.  In simplest terms, we don't drill for water and build a pump.  We help them buy a pump, we make sure they're trained on how to maintain the pump and have a plan to continue to maintain the pump and afford replacement parts after we leave.  *Then* we drill for water.  So, yeah, it is complicated.  

So we look at programs that simply focus on a single aspect, like water, and yearn for the simplicity of their value proposition. 

And then we go "but our process, our methodology is different, more involved, more complicated."

And then we tell our constituents that it's more difficult.  And then we turn around and do complicated stuff in the office.  You might say complexity is the norm.  We say "trust us, we know what we're doing" but then we say "but it's really complicated."   Sometimes we then try to explain the entire process, sometimes we talk about pieces of it.  And it takes a long time before you feel like you have a good understanding of how your piece of the puzzle fits into the grander picture.

I read an article recently about the advice Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook had received from Steve Jobs: "That's focused on building as high quality and good things as you are. How to keep an organization focused, right, when I think the tendency for larger companies is to try to fray and go into all these different areas."

I certainly know in my work and home life that I could stand to be a little more focused.  I'm working on it.  I'm thinking that it might be my "theme" for next year.  I'll certainly work at simplifying before then, but I'm toying around with the idea of how to make that into a mission for my life for next year.

I think if I could have lunch with the boss, I'd suggest we need that approach for work as well - that we all need to look at what we're doing and wonder if we'd made it overly complex.  If we slowed down and really looked carefully at everything we were doing, could we reach the same ends more efficiently?  Is there any areas where we've lost focus?  What if, from the top, we heard the message "Make things simpler."?  

I know this isn't specific to our workplace, I've heard it from others who have come from other places and I've experienced it myself in my past jobs as well.  It often feels like it's the problem that's causing so many problems in government these days as well.  

I recently read a quote -- I'm getting it wrong now (because I'm looking on Google to attribute it and coming up empty) but it was something like "All great civilizations operate on the edge of chaos."  That feels like it sums things up for me in my personal life as well.  At the same time, I'm looking at my daughter and the Amazon wish list she's building, people are starting to ask me for gift ideas for me and I'm looking at all the stuff I'm having trouble maintaining as it is.  

I recently took stock of all the things I was trying to juggle and created a "meta" list to keep track of how on top of them I was.  It's harder than I thought.   So now I'm toying with the idea of creating a theme or mission for myself next year of "Simplicity" and then looking at all the ways that I might make that happen.  

How about you?  How's your focus?  

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Sift 311-315

The Sift 311: Finances and Banking
  • Negotiate Before Signing a Credit Card Agreement to Get Valuable Concessions
  • Square ditches $1,000 per week limits, has 800,000 merchants processing $2 billion per year
  • Why Banks Don't Lend All Your Money
  • Bloomberg TV Begins Live Streaming to the iPad
  • Yasheng Huang: Does democracy stifle economic growth?

The Sift 312: Food and Health
  • How much of something can I eat for 100 calories?
  • MobiUS smartphone ultrasound hits the market two years too late for relevancy
  • Monkeys control virtual arm with their brains, may herald breakthrough for paraplegics
  • Help from Yelp: Harvard study shows online reviews boost Seattle restaurants
  • Josette Sheeran: Ending hunger now

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I had to start a list to keep track of all the things I'm trying to keep track of.  It turns out that it's harder to stay on top of everything than I thought.  

Reading: when did I last pick up the magazine I'm currently reading?  I have a massive stack of unread magazines.  I'm going let many of the subscriptions lapse.  Once I'm caught up (ha) I'll think about resubscribing.

Reading: when did I last pick up the book I'm currently reading?  I have a massive list of books I want to read, so if I want to learn and grow, I need to regularly be making progress.

Email: when did I last get my personal email up-to-date?  It gets out of hand quickly.

Quicken: when did I last reconcile spending and check for new bills to pay?

Run: when did I last run?  Now, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 220 miles left to run.  I'm ahead of schedule, but barely.  And it's been difficult to fit it in lately.

Calendar: when did I actually look at the calendar to make sure I'm keeping up on all of the larger things, like preparing for events and holidays and stuff?

Laundry: laundry is one of the things I do to help around the house.  If I don't keep up with it, it piles up quickly.

Cat: I feel guilty about how little time we spent with our pets in the past few years, especially now that most of the cats have passed away (or in the case of the dog, placed in a new home).  It became habit to keep the pets all confined to the downstairs so that the upstairs stayed cat-hair- and cat-mess-free.  But then if we were only downstairs to watch TV while we exercised, the pets got very little attention.  So this is to remind me to make sure that the cat gets some attention, whether it's spending time sitting on the couch while watching TV, or letting him up (since he's not messy) from time-to-time to be around us.

Prayer: when I hear of prayer requests, I place them on my prayer list.  There was a while there where I neglected it, only to revisit and find prayers requests for babies-on-the-way only to realize those were now babies who were here.  So this reminds me to regularly pray for a few requests and then move them to the bottom.

Bible Study: it's at our house, but then I kept not doing the reading and being disrupted by children during the video.  So this is supposed to help me to do more study during the week and watch the video ahead of time.

Google Reader: keeping up with all the stuff that I find interesting and want to keep current on.

Remember the Milk: this is what makes it meta.  When I use RTM, it keeps me current on all the stuff I need to do.  When things get busy, I ignore it for a day or two.  I found that if I can get it updated the night before, I'm much more likely to use it the next day to get the important stuff done.

So now as long as I look at this meta-list frequently, I can easily see the area most in need of attention.  We'll see how useful this is in the long-run.  (Though the really long-run actually needs to consider simplification.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

500 in 300 - Running Around the Clock

It's continued to be a struggle to fit running into my day.  Last week was busy and I was a little bit sick.  I thought I'd get a long run in on Sunday but I started out too late and got so cold.  Eventually had to stop, buy an extra-hot Starbucks and then walk the rest of the way.  I usually try to get in some personal time at work before heading home, a little bit of time to wind-down.  The last two days I had been unable to really have lunch so I ended work a few minutes early and got in a quick 2 mile run.  It's felt good.

We're 30.33% in and I've completed 33.40% so far.  We're on day 91 and I should have completed 151.67 so far and I've completed 167, so I'm ahead by 15.33 so far.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Review: Consumer Reports - Nov. 2011

I'm trying to get more caught up on my magazine reading. And then perhaps books. I'm way behind, it's something that's slid recently. We'll see what slides if I start reading again.

Anyhow, a recent (this month!) Consumer Reports. I can't guarantee that all of my future magazine summaries/reviews will be this up-to-date. In fact, I guarantee they won't.

Stuff I learned:
* Fabric softeners will make towels less absorbent. Wash them without every so often and they'll dry better.
* Most of the world's most common currencies contain BPA (a pretty nasty chemical with health hazards) - another reason to wash your hands after handling money

Things they reviewed:
* Digital Thermometers
* Laundry Detergents
* Outlet stores and outlet store products (these days most products are produced especially for the outlet stores - no factory seconds here)
* 500 products by price level (great for gift buying)
* Vacuum Cleaners
* Car Wax (Nu Finish is a top scorer)
* Car Tires and Batteries
* Hyundai Genesis, Toyota Avalon, Acura TL, Chrysler 300, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Nissan Leaf (normally they break a car in for 2,000 miles before testing.  They couldn't do that this time, plus they couldn't buy i t locally so they had to ship it.  An interesting anecdote in and of itself.)

You can read parts of the issue online.

I highly recommend subscribing to Consumer Reports

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Sift 306-310

The Sift 306: Music
  • Spotify Opens Music Catalogue to iOS App Makers
  • Blondie To Release New Album Exclusively Through Amazon
  • Google Music Downloader Lets You Take Back Your Tunes
  • 4 Ways Steve Jobs and Apple Changed the Music Industry
  • Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better

The Sift 307: Apple
  • 5 Hidden Gems in iOS 5
  • iOS 5 review
  • Siri gets lost internationally, promises to do better next year
  • iPhone 4S: How to Teach Siri to Tweet
  • One Last Thing: Steve Jobs Documentary to Premiere on PBS

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Stretch for Eternity

(Cross-posted on YouVersion)

Stretch for Eternity
(Message #2 of "s t r e t c h" - Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash. -; Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 (Notes are mine from 9 and 10:45 am service. I pray they will be useful to you. Please consider praying for me, our church, our pastor.)

What "s t r e t c h" is (Philippians 3:10-17)

--- Stretch for Eternity ---

(1) Know the NEED - why it's a big deal

- Everyone DIES

When you're young, it's not something you think much about. But as you get older, you begin to think about it more and more. It's like a backpack with a coffin in it. When you're young, it's easy to carry, but as you get older, it starts to impact your decisions.

Steve Jobs Stanford Address
Third story: "If you live each day if it were your last day, some day you'll be right."

"Do I want to do what I want to do today?" if the answer is "no" for too many days in a row, it's time for a change.

"Death is the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent."

It changed the way he viewed his life, it should change the way we view our lives but also the way we view every person around us. So what's the big deal? The big deal is that it doesn't just end there.

- DEATH is forever (Hebrews 9:27)

There is no second chance for you or for the people around you - you have a single chance to get it right. What do we need to get right?

God, who created us, has expectations for us in this life.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011


I cannot imagine being this carefree.  I found it annoying.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Wait... what?

And here I thought Raul was the kindler, gentler Castro.

In all seriousness, good for Cuba.  Hope to visit there someday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Sift 301-305

The Sift 301: Google
  • More About Google's New Design
  • Google finally pulls the plug on Buzz amid 'fall sweep'
  • More Bad News for Google+? Research Shows Sustained Downward Trend in Activity
  • Google Analytics in Real-Time
  • Google to launch MP3 store in coming weeks?

The Sift 302: Social Media
  • Facebook Launches New In-Line Translation Tool
  • Google+ Now Lets You Lock Down Posts Before Publishing
  • Google+ Has 40 Million Users, Says Larry Page
  • StumbleUpon Doubles User Base in 16 Months, Surpasses 20 Million Users
  • Twitter CEO: Promoted Tweets Working "Better Than We Could Have Ever Hoped"

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

To Comma or Not To Comma

I can be a picky proofreader, in fact got paid as a copy editor for our newspaper in college.  I don't have the eagle eyes of my wife, but I did see this and wondered if this guy meant to put a comma there or not.