House Rules for Dungeons and Dragons

Heavy Weapon Cleave Source In my campaigns, we use a variant rule that allows “overflow” damage to cleave through adjacent enemies when using heavy melee weapons. For example, say you hit a kobold with your greatsword and do 11 damage. The kobold only has something like 5 hit points, so you can make an extra attack against an enemy adjacent to the kobold (in your reach, of course). If this attack hits, you apply the remainder of your damage.

Challenge Writeup: Squirrel

This little bugger caused me no end of grief the last two days. It’s part of a ctf challenge. The text of the challenge reads as below. a picture tells a story. search for more details. download The download link is a zipped file containing the squirrel image above. Once unzipped, I checked the file out. [bash 5.1.16] $ file squirrel.jpg squirrel.jpg: JPEG image data, JFIF standard 1.01, resolution (DPI), density 180x180, segment length 16 Looks normal.

SSH to PowerShell

Last week I needed to work in PowerShell on a set of remote machines. No problem; the machines had ssh installed! First problem: SSH dumps you into a command prompt, not PowerShell, so you need to run powershell on login every time. Thankfully, ~/.ssh/config (since version 7.6) has an option to do this: Host windows_server RemoteCommand powershell It works! But: problem! I use a dark theme. The defaults for PSReadLine make the “Operator” and “Parameter” tokens dark gray, also known as invisible or at least heavily obscured against a dark background.

Professional Soldiers

I am reading portions of Makers of Modern Strategy: from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age and the first truly striking observation I have is that modern American society’s conception of a “professional soldier” differs greatly from the historical definition. From personal experience, I would guess that the average American thinks of “professional soldier” as synonymous with “mercenary”. The truth is exactly the opposite. The military revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries was a movement away from mercenaries, who were considered ill-disciplined because of their propensity to “mutiny, desert, or defect, paralyzing operations.

Xkcd: Egg Strategies

Image credit: xkcd Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you clear and convincing evidence that Randall Munroe is wrong on the Internet. As Exhibit A, I present to you the comic above, wherein he labels it both “Lawful” and “Good” to shepherd ones’ as-yet unused eggs into the middle of the carton. He further asserts that splitting eggs as evenly as possible between each end of the carton is “Neutral” but “Good”, and that somewhat evenly distributing the eggs throughout the carton is also “Good”, if “Chaotic”.

Gemini Protocol

Gemini is a lightweight internet protocol for something simpler than the web. Drew DeVault has been chattering about it quite a bit lately; I decided to put up a server. From his blog: Some people argue that what we should have is “the web, but less of it”, i.e. a “sane” subset of web standards. I don’t agree (for one, I don’t think there is a “sane” subset of those standards), but I’ll save that for another blog post.

Atkinson Hyperlegible for Arch Linux

I packaged Atikinson Hyperlegible, a typeface from the Braille Institute, for the Arch User Repository (AUR) today. Hat tip Jason Kottke. To install the package, use your favorite AUR helper (yay) or build the package from source. yay -S atkinson-hyperlegible-fonts git clone cd atkinson-hyperlegible-fonts makepkg -si

Markdown, Not AsciiDoc

So yeah, I had this drafted weeks and weeks ago and I kept thinking I would rewrite it to not be just bullet points. I decided the bullet points work fine. See the title for my conclusion (after working really hard to like AsciiDoc…). AsciiDoc Advantages Comments. No need for HTML in markup document. Video iframes already parented. Add arbitrary classes to arbitrary elements. Citations are <cite> AsciiDoc Disadvantages (Currently) only supported externally in Hugo.

AsciiDoc Support in HMVT

I’ve added basic support for AsciiDoc to the Hugo Minimum Viable Theme. This post shows some of the results. AsciiDoc AdmontionsHere’s the source code…​ NOTE: This is a note. TIP: Notes and tips in AsciiDoc result in ``<aside>``s in HTML. IMPORTANT: The other admonitions in AsciiDoc result in ``<section>``s in HTML. [CAUTION] Why are different admonitions handled differently? I don't know, you decide. WARNING: I do not guarantee results if you do not use https://github.

Hugo and AsciiDoc?

A few weeks ago, Jianmin started a blog. His first post covered his blogging setup with Hugo, the same generator I use. Instead of writing his posts in Markdown, though, he writes them in AsciiDoc. I did a little ducking and the claims for AsciiDoc sound pretty good. The Manning Free Content Center has a comparison of Hugo-supported markup languages; its author uses AsciiDoc and notes that since 2014 there have been dicussions of native AsciiDoc support in Hugo.

Quarantine (Online) Church, 5 April 2020

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?

SARS-CoV-2 Thankfulness

So, we’re the ones who, with an incredible sense of timing, scheduled a major kitchen renovation right before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Here we are, first-time homeowners for a couple of years, ready to replace the cabinets which are falling off the walls. And now we’re trapped here with the kids and no kitchen. I’m washing the dishes after dinner tonight in a comically tiny bathroom sink. All I can think of is how thankful I am to have running water.

Quarantine (Online) Church, 29 March 2020

The Lost Missional, evangelical Western churches use the word “unreached” to denote an ethnic people group among whom fewer than two percent of the people profess to follow Christ. The idea is that these are the ἔθνεσιν (ethnesin) of Matthew 24:14. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14 A good resource for understanding the scope of lostness (unreached peoples) in this world is the Joshua Project.

This Generation

Reading [Psalm 24] tonight, as one does, and I was struck by this verse. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Psalm 24:6 I never made the connection before, but here’s Jesus speaking in [Matthew 24]: Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Matthew 24:34 What if Psalm 24 identifies the generation Jesus is talking about?

Psalms 20

This is a prayer for my children. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! … May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! … O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.


FEAR NOT Once upon a time I was an air assault helicopter pilot. The patch I most liked on my helmet looked liked the words above. “Fear Not”. Those words appear all throughout the Bible when God speaks to His people. People He’s chosen. People who love Him. People who are receiving the great gift of salvation. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12 (NASB) I am saved by grace alone, through faith alone; it is not because of my work that I am loved and forgiven, but only because of Christ.

More Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 29 Galatians To the churches of Galatia: Galatians 1:2(b) I am constantly wondering about churches, plural. What does that mean? Galatia is pretty big, so I suppose I can cling to the idea that Paul is writing to all of the different gatherings of the church in many different cities of the region. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone…

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 26 Exodus 39-40 and I Peter Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. I Peter 2:17 Yep, yeah, uh-huh, what? “Honor the emperor?” Paul, brother, you’ve clearly gone mad. I don’t think Paul has gone mad. Even now, in America. There is no worldly reason to honor the emperor, but there are godly ones. We honor him in the understanding that we, too, are sinners.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 24 Exodus 26-32 And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” Exodus 32:21 I have wondered the same thing. What is the difference in how Moses is looking at things and how Aaron is? A few verses earlier, God says to Moses (paraphrasing), “Get out of my way so I may destroy them.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 23 Exodus 22-25; Psalms 6 and 146 [A]nd they saw God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stones, like the very heaven for clearness. Exodus 24:10 Somehow in all times I’ve read the book of Exodus, I never noticed this before. The elders of Israel see God. The best they can come up with to describe the experience is a paving of perfectly clear sapphires under His feet.

More Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 22 Exodus 19-21 and Matthew 5-7 This was a really interesting juxtaposition which I didn’t even catch until I sat down to write tonight. The Ten Commandments and beginnings of the Law, and the Sermon on the Mount. Wish I had something interesting to say about it but I don’t, other than bravo to the people who generated this reading plan!

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 21 Deuteronomy 5:12-15 We often celebrate the Sabbath as a day of rest. I celebrated it this weekend by blowing leaves (and playing video games). I read this passage Saturday and I wondered what the Israelites thought of the Sabbath requirements. I think it must have seemed onerous to them because they needed to get things done. They needed to feed themselves (and their households, and their animals); they needed to keep the fires burning, they needed to draw water.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 20 Exodus 14-18 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. Exodus 14:16 On dry ground. Not “on the seabed” or “through the mud”, but dry ground. God does not work miracles halfway. When we think of Moses parting the Red Sea, we think of water standing up, colossal towers of sea piling up on either side of the path.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 19 Exodus 7-13 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been seen before, no ever will be again. Exodus 10:14 Even when God works using earthly means, He shows his supernatural power. The enormous clouds of locusts we see in BBC documentaries are scary, but they are nothing compared to the swarm God brought against Egypt.

More Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 18 Exodus 1-6 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. Exodus 2:25 God knew the affliction of the Israelites. We often talk about the Exodus as a metaphor for deliverance from sin. Something I think we don’t explore as often is the metaphor of the Israelites' bondage in Egypt as sin. The people of Israel go into Egypt willingly, for their own good — God prepares the way.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 17 Galatians For am I now seeking the approval of man, or God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 Passages like this always feel like a particular challenge to me. I want, oh so desperately, to be liked. To be admired. Even when I am acting seemingly contrary to the opinion of those around me, I feel in my heart I am doing it because it will result in someone’s opinion of me increasing.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 16 I Corinthians 10 “All things are lawful”, but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful”, but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. I Corinthians 10:23-24 Acts 7 Jacob steals his brother’s birthright and blessing. The Israelite patriarchs sold their brother into slavery. Reuben defiles his father’s marriage bed; Judah neglects his daughter-in-law and consorts with prostitutes.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 15 Genesis 48 And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” Genesis 48:11 Jacob (Israel) puts his hands on the “wrong” grandsons when blessing Ephraim and Manasseh. Joseph tries to correct him. I don’t know whether to be surprised by the great impacts that small change had many generations later, or to simply chalk that up to cultural truths in ancient Mesopotamia.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 14 Deuteronomy 5:12-15 Thank the LORD for our Sabbath rest!

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 13 Genesis 42-47 I just heard a pastor preach on these passages last week. He said that Joseph plays games with his brothers to hide his own emotional pain. I can see that pain. Joseph was ripped from family by his brothers’ disdain and anger (which was not undeserved). His brothers were hurt by their father Jacob’s obvious preference for Joseph (and Benjamin). In my own life, I am one part of a family that has been ripped apart, and often I am the only connection between two (or three) warring factions.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 12 Genesis 37-41 And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.” Genesis 38:23 (Emphasis added) What a picture of the human (my own) response to sin! What a caricature of human-centered “repentance”. Judah does not even recognize his own sin in the matter of Tamar and his sons.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 11 Genesis 33-36 and John 18-19 But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?” Genesis 34:31 It seems like Simeon and Levi deal pretty well with Shechem to me.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 10 Genesis 29-32 Reading Genesis forces you to understand humanity’s sin nature. Jacob coerces his brother Esau to gain the birthright. Rebekah deceives her husband to steal Esau’s blessing for Jacob. Laban deceives Jacob and withholds Rachel from him. And this is all just within the family. I am so blessed to have the family that I do, even with all our struggles. John 17 “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 9 Genesis 25-28 and John 14-16 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” John 14:8 Jesus rebukes Philip because having seen Jesus, Philip has already seen the Father. This is a clear claim of divinity. Jesus is God. Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?

Quiet Time Keep The Feast, day 8 Genesis 21-24 and John 12-13 Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there.” Genesis 24:6 LORD, see to it that I do not take my sons back into sin. Other Thoughts In John 11:39, Martha tells Jesus that Lazarus has been dead four days. Where is he during that time? We often make the assumption that Lazarus was saved; how could he not be?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 312 Mark 13:1-31 I don’t think I understand this passage. Thankfully I think I understand enough: the end of time will not be pleasant, and I can only be saved by God’s choice. I pray, God, that you shorten the time of deception (verses 20-21), and that you add my name with my children and my wife and all those I love and many, many more to your book of life.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 311 Mark 12 “But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’” Mark 12:7 We know who Jesus is. That is why we despise Him. Not because we don’t understand that He is the Son, the creator of the universe, but because we do, and because we think we can overthrow Him.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 310 Mark 11 Jesus has ordained the colt to be ready at the necessary time. He has ordained that the bystanders will question unknown men walking off with said colt. And He has ordained that the disciples obey his words to the letter in their answer. It never ceases to amaze me that God ordained us and our actions into His plan. What happens if the disciples dither, or answer in arrogance, or strike the rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:11)?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 309 Mark 10:32-52 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Mark 10:47 The kingdom of heaven is at hand. This is the day that the LORD has made. Cry out and say, “Have mercy on me, a sinner!” Jeremiah 52 …

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 307 Proverbs 25 Figuring things out is the glory of kings (verse 1). Don’t reveal other people’s secrets (verse 9). It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory. A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:27-28 Psalms 119:121-160 …

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 306 Mark 10:1-31 God relates to us in grace and provides for our hardness of heart (verse 5). Christ our ransom was required because of our hardness of heart. Jesus loves us enough to say the hardest things to us (verse 21). We will receive back a hundredfold anything we lose in pursuing the Gospel (verses 29-30). Jeremiah 50 Being the last of your line is a disgrace (verse 12).

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 305 Mark 9:14-50 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 I do not cry out often enough for God to help my unbelief. This man watched his child suffer from birth…. Don’t argue about your own greatness (verse 34). Give glory to God instead. Sinned lately? Did you cut off your hand and gouge out your eyes?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 304 Mark 8:22-38 If you are setting your mind on the things of man (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), you may not be setting them on the things of God (which included death, imprisonment, and suffering for Jesus and many of his disciples) (verse 33). Mark 9:1-13 I never noticed that right before the transfiguration, we find out that people thought Jesus was Elijah or one of the prophets (Mark 8:28).

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 303 Mark 8:1-21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?" Mark 8:21 Jeremiah 40 … Jeremiah 41 People are violent people. Jeremiah 42 … Jeremiah 43 All that the people of Judah had to do was follow the LORD’s commands. And they didn’t do it. They refused to believe that God had something better for them than what they could see for themselves.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 301 Mark 7 What comes out of you defiles you. What’s come out of me lately? As a side note, human evil comes from within us (verses 21-22). We don’t get to blame our circumstances or the adversary. Jeremiah 37 Even if you think you have escaped the LORD’s plan (and his wrath), He will still bring it to pass (verse 10). Jeremiah 38 …

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 300 Proverbs 24:8-34 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Proverbs 24:10 THS (Tiny Heart Syndrome), right there in Proverbs. Christ did not faint in the day of adversity. He did not come down off the cross and save Himself. He did not walk away from the love He shows toward us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 299 Mark 6:30-56 Jesus orders the disciples away to a desolate place because they don’t have time to eat (verse 31). Take time to eat. But an amazing thing happens. They never make it away from the crowds, and eventually Jesus feeds not just the disciples but the crowds as well! Do you trust Christ to give you your food at the appointed hours? Do you not need to, because you are not laboring that much?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 298 Mark 6:1-29 I don’t think I would do very well being rejected by my friends and family (verse 4). How painful that is, that no one listened and everyone thought You strange and arrogant. Jesus tells his disciples to find a house to stay in, and not keep moving around within the same town/area/“there” (verse 10). Is this an indication that we’re meant to build a single congregation in any physical/geographic location?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 297 Mark 5 There’s a legion of demons in this man. They are controlling him, and no one can subdue him. They ask Jesus’ permission to go into some pigs instead. That is weird. They are in control of an uncontrollable man, and yet they cannot overstep Christ’s authority enough to take over some pigs. Christ’s authority is absolute. Complete. Even over the demons. And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 296 Mark 4 “The sower sows the word." Mark 4:14 Not, “the sower looks for good soil,” or “the sower carries a bag of seeds around in case he sees a perfectly tilled empty farm plot.” The sower sows the word. How have I sowed recently? Good soil hears, accepts, and bears fruit. What parts of God’s word am I not accepting? Do I truly believe that serving God is better than my job (and the money I make from it)?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 295 Mark 3:20-35 “But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder the house." Mark 3:27 The parable speaks of the devil. Christ has bound him, and plunders his house, stealing us. Some horrifying implications here: without Christ, we are the devil’s. Some joyful implications here: the devil is bound, and now we are Christ’s.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 293 Proverbs 23:17-35 Drunkards and gluttons have the same end (verses 20-21). I feel like verses 27 and 28 perfectly describe pornography and the modern smartphone. Proverbs 24:1-7 Twice (Proverbs 23:17 and verse 1) in this reading, we are warned not to envy sinners. In what ways am I guilty of that? Sometimes I look at my bank account and daydream about how much higher the numbers would be if I had not tithed for the last n years.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 292 Mark 2:18-28 Have you never read (verse 25)? I find this passage relatively straightforward, and yet somehow I don’t understand it. What is the new wine? What is the old garment? Why was it OK for David and his men to violate God’s law, but not Uzzah (II Samuel 6:6-7)? Mark 3:1-19 Jesus is grieved at our hardness of heart (verse 5). Apostles are with Jesus, they preach, and they cast out demons (verses 14-15).

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 291 Mark 2:1-17 Jesus does not heal the paralytic because the man needs to be healed. He forgives the man’s sins, because the man needs forgiveness. Then, Jesus heals him. To make a point. What we need is not worldly healing (though that’s awesome). What we need is forgiveness; the blood of Christ, covering us and washing us clean. What we need is to be right with God the Father, at peace with the creator of the universe.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 290 Mark 1 Where does John the Baptist get the idea of baptism? …“The time is fulfilled; and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:15 And then: …“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Mark 1:17 And more: Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 289 Philemon 1 Paul writes this letter to Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and the church in their house (verses 1-2). I wonder what their relationship is, that the three of them share a house? In any case, Philemon gets all the credit — I’ve never noticed the other names here before. I also find it interesting that here again is a church “in [their] house,” again meaning a congregation that meets in their house.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 288 Titus 2 Am I a member of “older men” (sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness, verse 2)? Or younger men (self-controlled, verse 6)? Probably both. Certainly there appears to be some sort of process of sanctification at work here given the large disparity in expectations. If we are not moving forward in our love for God and for our neighbors, we are probably missing something.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 286 Proverbs 22:17-29 Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. Proverbs 22:29 Want to impact the world from the very top? Do excellent work. Proverbs 23:1-16 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod,

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 285 Titus 1 Paul instructs Titus to appoint elders in every town (verse 5); the set of qualifications (verses 6-9) he gives is pretty comparable to the set given in his letter to Timothy. I am particularly interested to know how the local churches were separated geographically; this seems to imply that each town had its own church with its own leadership. In America, each town has several “churches”, each with leadership — even the smallest town is likely to have at least two churches, because in America we just don’t get along with our neighbors.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 284 II Timothy 3 I feel this way sometimes. Lover of self. Lover of money. Proud, arrogant, and abusive. Ungrateful, unholy, heartless, and unappeasable. Slanderous, without self-control, brutal. Reckless. Swollen with conceit. Loving pleasure rather than loving God. LORD, please forgive me for I am an unclean man. I do find it encouraging that Timothy was “from childhood … acquainted with the sacred writings,” (verse 15).

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 283 II Timothy 1 …for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher… II Timothy 1:11 Paul claims three of the spiritual gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11. I tend to disagree with the idea that these “APEST” spiritual gifts are the “only” or “main” gifts. It seems to me that these are gifts for the leadership, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry,” (Ephesians 4:12), meaning that the saints doing the ministry are not (necessarily) expected to have these gifts.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 282 I Timothy 6:3-21 I wonder sometimes if I stray into the “unhealthy craving for controversy” or “quarrels about words” territory (verse 4). What is the edge of wanting to be as particularly correct as possible, versus evil suspicions and constant friction (verse 5)? But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. I Timothy 6:8 LORD, make me content with You and nothing more.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 281 I Timothy 5 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. I Timothy 5:8 I look ahead in my life and I wonder how I will handle my parents’ and in-laws’ needs as they advance in years. When is it acceptable, pleasing, or wise to consider “managed care,” “retirement communities,” or “nursing homes”?

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 279 Proverbs 21:23-31 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23 Shut up, Stick. Proverbs 22:1-16 … Psalms 117 Praise the LORD! Psalms 118 His steadfast love endures forever!

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 278 I Timothy 3 Qualifications for overseer: Aspires to the office Above reproach Husband of one wife Sober-minded Self-controlled Respectable Hospitable Able to teach Not a drunkard Not violent but gentle Not quarrelsome Not a lover of money Manage his own household well With dignity, keep his children submissive Not a recent convert Well thought of by outsiders They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 277 I Timothy 1 …desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. I Timothy 1:7 So, do not be too quick or too presumptuous that you may teach. First, understand. This is more or less impossible for me. My pride opens my mouth, instead of my love opening my ears (and my mind).

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 276 II Thessalonians 2 …who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. II Thessalonians 2:4 This is what Paul terms, “the rebellion” (verse 3). Man proclaiming himself to be God. Adam’s sin included trying to become like God; this final sin is proclaiming ourselves to be God.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 275 II Thessalonians 1 Paul and his companions boast about the Thessalonians’ faith and works (verse 4). We ought to follow their example and boast about those who are working faithfully, as a means to “spur one another on to love and greater deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). We should boast for the martyrs, of the persecutions they are enduring for Christ, as we are supporting them in whatever way possible.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 273 I Thessalonians 4 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that is indeed what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 272 Proverbs 21:1-22 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. Proverbs 21:4 Elsewhere the Bible tells us that God’s word is a lamp for our feet. The proverb tells us that pride is a lamp for the wicked. When I am led by my pride, it is no wonder I am led into wickedness. Psalms 114 We skip rocks. God skips mountains (verse 4).

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 271 I Thessalonians 2 Paul seems so …full of himself, to be honest, at least until the end of the chapter. I wish that all men (myself included!) could be so blameless as Paul in speaking the word and giving instruction. …but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 270 I Thessalonians 1 …remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 1:3 What was the labor of love, the work of faith, (the evidence of) the Thessalonians’ steadfastness of hope? Paul tells us that they became imitators of the Lord (verse 6), receiving the Word in affliction and joy, to such an extent that they became an example to others (verse 7).

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YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 269 Colossians 3 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Colossians 3:8 Putting away anger is difficult in a house with toddlers. Imagine how God feels. Colossians 4 How do we make the Gospel clear in our speech (verse 4)? Make the best use of your time (verse 5), and be gracious (verse 6).

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 268 Colossians 1:15-29 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16 My Jehovah’s Witness friends never liked this verse much. This whole passage might be one of the most direct evidences of Christ’s deity in the entire Bible, aside from John 1 and John 14-16 and a bunch of Psalms… pretty much just part of the whole thing.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 267 Colossians 1:1-14 Paul is writing a love letter to a church of people he’s never visited. Unity across geographic and relational boundaries within the Church. being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy… Colossians 1:11 The power of God is given to us for our endurance, patience, and joy. Job 19 For I know that my Redeemer lives,

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 265 Proverbs 20 It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Proverbs 20:3 Let’s not argue about this, OK? Psalm 110 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Psalms 110:1 It’s a little scary that this chapter is all about Christ and it talks about kings being shattered and nations being filled with corpses….

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 264 Philippians 3 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:11 That is pretty strong language from a man who once refused (violently) to even believe Christ’s resurrection happened. Paul writes that he works to make Christ his own, because Christ made Paul His own (verse 12). The change in Paul’s heart came from Jesus and not from Paul.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 263 Philippians 2 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, Philippians 2:6 I think this is one of the most profound statements about Christ. He was in the form of God. He was God, the same that was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2). Even though Christ is one and the same with God, He is still submissive to Himself the Father.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 262 Philippians 1 Paul’s imprisonment (like everything else that happened to Paul) is for the advancement of the Gospel (verse 12). Some of his detractors are preaching the Gospel under false pretenses, to somehow hurt Paul (verse 17), though I don’t understand what they hope to accomplish. However, I do think it is powerful that God uses their preaching, in earnest or not, for his glory (verse 18).

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 261 II Corinthians 12 Why does Paul go on boasting when he writes, “there is nothing to be gained from it” (verse 1)? I think he means that nothing is to be gained for him, because indeed Christ’s power rests on him in his weakness (verse 9). It’s difficult to view oneself as strongest in the midst of “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities” (verse 10), but that’s what Paul writes.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 260 II Corinthians 11 I don’t understand what Paul is writing here, beyond him warning against being deceived by men of sweet speech and false gospels. Job 4 “Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?” Job 4:17 No, no; he cannot, except by the blood of Christ. Job 5 …

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 258 Proverbs 19 Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste wit his feet misses his way. Proverbs 19:2 I am reliably informed that this verse isn’t a warning about running, but about buyer’s remorse. Verse 3 tells us that when we rage against God, it might actually be because of our own foolish decisions. Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 257 II Corinthians 10 The Lord gives authority to apostles (and others, I believe) for building up and not for tearing down (verse 8). And we should be careful not to compare ourselves (favorably) against others (verse 12). I am guilty of this constantly. It is more or less how I get through my day: “Oh, wow, such and such person is really good at X!

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 256 II Corinthians 8 Man, verse 8 rubs me the wrong way. “These other people really love God so they gave a lot of money, and that means you should too.” How do we deal with this? I understand — and agree — with everything else Paul writes in the passage, but I cannot find the good in measuring myself against others. Someone will always have given more charitably and freely than me, and from a position of greater poverty.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 255 II Corinthians 6:3-18 Paul has a serious definition of endurance (verse 4-5). How am I expressing my rights in a way that is an obstacle to others, instead of enduring as he did? II Corinthians 7 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting…. II Corinthians 7:9 LORD, do not spare me the grief that leads to repentance.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 254 II Corinthians 4 I think it’s very interesting that Paul feels the need to explicitly deny tampering with God’s word (verse 2). What is it that people were accusing him of? For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. … But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 252 II Corinthians 2:12-17 Even the apostle Paul misses his friends. II Corinthians 3 The covenant of grace is so glorious that the covenant of the law, which made Moses’ face shine, has no glory at all (verse 10). When humans read the law, they see the glory of God through a veil. If we give our lives to Christ, the veil is removed, and we see the glory of God.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 251 Proverbs 18 Got into a pretty interesting discussion of Matthew 18:20 today with someone who doesn’t think “two or three gathered together” has anything to do with the church. It is eating me up that someone could be so misinformed and so sure of themselves. I’m sure that’s the way a lot of people see me. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 250 II Corinthians 1 Suffering in Christ is our comfort (verse 6), because in our suffering we learn to rely wholly on Christ (verse 9). This is so wrong by earthly standards. There is nothing worse than human suffering, as far as humanity can tell. This is certainly the hardest teaching I can think of. Who can accept suffering as a good thing? Who can accept the crying of children as a way to draw us to the LORD?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 249 I Corinthians 16 Paul expects that the church at Corinth (and in Galatia) will support the church at Jerusalem with an offering. It isn’t clear to me whether Paul himself expects to receive part of that offering. But he expects them to give it. More than that, he includes them in the work he is doing — they are “to put something aside” every week (verse 2).

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 248 I Corinthians 15:35-58 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. I Corinthians 15:42-43 Paul tells us that we have no idea what our life, our bodies, will be in resurrection, but it won’t be what we are now!

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 247 I Corinthians 15:1-34 What a weird passage. Verses 3-8 sound like a pretty good defense (or at least retelling) of the passion and resurrection. Then Paul continues to insist that the dead must be raised, because Christ is raised. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. I Corinthians 15:19 I start to get confused at verse 29, baptizing people on behalf of the dead.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 246 I Corinthians 14 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. I Corinthians 14:3 Recently several people around me (some whom are very focused on the APEST spiritual gifts inventory idea) have remarked to me that I am a “prophet” (under the APEST framework). I think that this verse reminds us of the reason to prophesy (note that I mean prophesy in the “bring the Word of God to bear on a situation”, not “predict the future and win money in the stock market” sense).

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 244 Proverbs 17 In the crucible and the furnace (verse 3), silver and gold lose their form and become the pure element of what they were meant to be. In the LORD, I lose my individual form and impurities, becoming the pure element of who I really am. …and the glory of children is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6 I know it warms me with joy when my children rejoice with me.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 243 I Corinthians 12:12-31 This is a hard passage to understand in light of American christianity (small “c”). How can there be so many “bodies” in every small town, and yet we drive across town to get to the “right” one? I know we place less emphasis on unity than is right, but I don’t know how to fix it. Do we each simply go to the geographically closest house of (reasonably) Christian worship and join that congregation?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 242 I Corinthians 12:1-11 No one can say, “Jesus is Lord!” except in the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 12:3 Is this verse meant as reassurance? Paul reminds them that once they were led astray… does he mean that they must now be in the Holy Spirit because now they say “Jesus is Lord”? II Chronicles 32 Hezekiah trusts in the LORD but still makes human preparations.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 241 I Corinthians 10:23-33 … For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? I Corinthians 10:29 This sounds like exactly the opposite of what Paul said before — that I should refrain from things that, while not sinful in and of themselves, could cause others to be confused and then sin. But Paul is still talking about the same thing here. I think he is saying don’t worry about what you eat, unless someone else points it out to you… maybe?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 240 I Corinthians 10:1-22 It is terrifying to think that the Israelites “drank from the spiritual Rock … Christ,” and yet God was not pleased with them (verses 4-5). With what will I please God, if not Christ? I have no merit of my own, and indeed great sin. I must subsist only on the security that Christ “lost not one,” (John 17:12). From that verse in John, though, we find that Christ “lost” the “son of perdition.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 239 I Corinthians 8 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. I Corinthians 8:2 Ouch! Paul really doubles down on setting the standard here; even if I’m not actually doing anything wrong, I need to be aware of how others perceive my actions. This is doubly true when I am living in the pride of my own knowledge.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 237 Proverbs 16 How is it that “the answer of the tongue is from the LORD” (verse 1)? I know it is not from the LORD when anger, fear, resentment, impatience, and pride come out of my mouth. On the other hand, “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). God brings all things to light, even the depths of our hearts — possibly through our speech.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 236 I Corinthians 7 Listen up, men. Title of the chapter (at least in ESV): Principles for Marriage. …Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. I Corinthians 7:4 I do not own my body. God owns it. He has given it to my wife. Whatever I do with my body then should have my wife’s approval. It is weird to think that marriage is not the default state in New Testament Christianity.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 235 I Corinthians 6 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? I Corinthians 6:7 It is hopeless for us to try such a thing in human strength. Who can ever say they would rather be wronged than avenged? Or rather be defrauded than …raise a storm? Yet Christ did not answer his accusers one word.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 234 I Corinthians 4 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. I Corinthians 4:1 How do I steward the mysteries of God? How often in my walk, especially in my judgment of myself or others, do I “go beyond what is written” (verse 6)? Yesterday I noted that discipleship should be (at least in good measure) about making me dead.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 233 I Corinthians 3 Paul chastises the church at Corinth for remaining infants in Christ, not because they have not learned about God and Jesus, but because they have “enmity and strife” (verse 3). When we disciple, are we worried about knowledge? Skills? Character? Whether they love God and love people? How much of my Christianity is focused on making me better, instead of making me dead (Galatians 6:14; Colossians 2:20; Romans 6:2, 7, 11, etc)?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 232 I Corinthians 1 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: I Corinthians 1:2 The church of God … those sanctified … together with all those who in every place call upon the name.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 230 Proverbs 15:25-33 This passage starts and ends with pride versus humility. I wonder about some of the verses in between: The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. Proverbs 15:28 How does this manifest in pride? I think the teacher here is saying to me that my tendency to be brusque and impatient with people comes from my pride.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 229 Matthew 28 No one expected the resurrection. The disciples are hiding out, dejected and confused; the women go to the tomb to clean a dead body buried in haste. But the chief priests… how do you have this incredible thing happen, and not just deny it but pay others to keep it quiet? How did they think that would work? What did they think actually happened?

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 228 Matthew 27:2727-66 The Roman soldiers mock Christ by saying, “Hail, King of the Jews” (verse 29). The literal lowest thing to them was to be one of God’s chosen people. They did not recognize His deity, of course, but in their minds the God of the Hebrews was disproven by the very fact that Rome (like many other nations before it) had conquered Israel/Palestine. People who worshipped this God were worthy of scorn.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 227 Matthew 27:1-26 Isn’t it strange that the chief priests thought it wrong to put blood money into the treasury, but not to pay blood money out? Pilate was the only one who understood what was going on: “For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered Him up” (verse 18). But even Pilate could not wash his hands of Christ’s blood.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 226 Matthew 26:36-75 Strange that Jesus calls Judas “friend” (verse 50). How often are we told to rejoice that Christ names us friends (citing, for example, John 15:15). All of Judas’ story is strange. How great a patient forgiveness Jesus shows in this instance. I do not mean to imply Judas is ultimately forgiven, merely that Christ gives him such grace to continue calling him “friend”.

Quiet Time

YouVersion Reformation Reading Plan, day 225 Matthew 26:1-35 What does it mean for Jesus to say, “For you will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.” (verse 11)? Is this as simple as His body dying, rising, and being taken up? Is He trying to tell us something about the poor, or about Himself, or both? I wonder about the way we see tithes and offerings used in the New Testament: the general rule seems to be that these are for the poor.

Installing WildFly 12

Get Java 8 Most of what I’ve seen online says to use Oracle Java 8, but as far as I can tell, WildFly 11 runs fine on OpenJDK. Also as far as I can tell, you only need the headless version of OpenJDK. Most of the installation information is available in the WildFly docs. Arch Linux: unneeded (the AUR package takes care of this dependency) CentOS 7: sudo yum install java-1.

Docker on a CentOS 7 VM

Last updated 2018-03-03 Install Docker Community Edition I am working on a clean CentOS 7 VM clone, so I don’t need to remove old versions, but I do need to set a new hostname. echo docker-centos7.stma | sudo tee /etc/hostname sudo hostname -F /etc/hostname From the Docker Docs. sudo curl -L -o /etc/yum.repos.d/docker-ce.repo sudo yum update sudo yum install device-mapper-persistent-data docker-ce lvm2 sudo systemctl enable docker Note that sudo systemctl is aliased to sctl in my bashrc.

CentOS 7 VirtualBox Guest

Last updated 2018-03-02 VirtualBox guest machine setup Name: “CentOS7”; Operating System: “Red Hat (64-bit)” Base Memory: 1024 MB Create a virtual hard disk now, VDI, fixed size Shared Clipboard: “Bidirectional”; Drag’n’Drop: “Bidirectional” Boot Order: Optical, Hard Disk (deselect Floppy) Enable extended features and all processor acceleration Enable 3D Acceleration Remove IDE storage device, add optical drive to SATA controller Disable audio and USB Change network card to preferred network and select Paravirtualized Interface Set up shared folders: C:/Users/xxxxx/Downloads -> Win_Downloads, auto-mount, permanent /home/xxxxx/Downloads -> Lin_Downloads, auto-mount, permanent OS installation Install from minimal installation disk (1708) Set disk partitioning to Standard Partitions and automatically create partitions, then change swap and /boot to 512 MB each and set / as large as possible Set hostname , turn on networking Set root password Create user, with administrator privileges Reboot, log in as “stick”, sudo yum update, reboot Security Secure SSH sudo vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Vim Movement

Learn something new every day Ok, fine, I knew some of these already, but I’m no Vim Wizard. Thanks to Coderwall. If you’re interested, my vim configuration is available. Undo, redo u: undo U: undo entire line Ctrl + R: redo Move the cursor b: move backward one word w: move forward one word (: move backward one “sentence” ): move forward one “sentence” {: move backward one “paragraph” }: move forward one “paragraph” ^: move to beginning of line $: move to end of line fX: move to the next occurrence of X on this line FX: move to the previous occurrence of X on this line gg: move to beginning of file G: move to end of file Note that a sentence is a sentence-ending punctuation followed by two spaces, at least according to StackOverflow and a paragraph is a block of text separated by blank lines.

Happy Square Root Day!

Only five more Square Root Days this century!

Guest of Sinners

Luke 19:7 says, “When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’” Thank God that He came to be a guest among sinners! Sometimes I get irritated on Sunday mornings when others aren’t dressed to my standards, or don’t praise to my standards, or don’t fellowship to my standards… but I don’t do any of those things to God’s standards either, and He still comes to meet with us.

Call Them "Sir"

I Timothy 6:2 says, “Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.” I have been really uncomfortable lately because most of the men with whom I worship on Sundays and labor through the week outrank me, yet they don’t want to be called “sir” at church.


Just a quick observation today, brought on by being back in the United States (after three years travelling the world) for almost a month: Everyone here speeds. I mean really, constantly, without even thinking about it. It’s just a normal thing. Seth Godin mentioned speeding today, noting that “rushing,” as he calls it, rarely has any advantages and often ends in tragedy. But we all still do it in our cars, every day, all the time.

Some Thoughts About Salt

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men." (Matthew 5:13) What does Jesus mean by that? (Or in Mark 9:49-50, Luke 14:34, or Colossians 4:6?) ◦◦◦◦◦ From Wikipedia: [S]alt has been the best-known food preservative, especially for meat, for many thousands of years…

Standard Capacity Magazines - Call Your Congresspeople!

Here is the bill: This link will take you to a website where you can quickly and easily email your Senators, Congressmen and the President: I just sent the letter below to President Barack Obama (D), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), and Representative John Carter (R-TX). I’m writing out of a deep concern regarding the upcoming bill to be introduced by Congresswoman DeGette that will ban firearm magazines larger than 10 rounds.

Laptop Gears Grinding

You know what really grinds my gears? I bought a new laptop four years ago, and now I’m in the market again, and the market hasn’t improved. Yeah, so Mac introduced a backlit keyboard four years ago - I’m sure someone else did it first, but it was the first one I saw - and now, four years later, backlit keyboards are still not mainstream. My first laptop, a 17" Dell monstrosity, had a 1920x1200 (WUXGA) display.

Lonely Places

The Kuwait City International Airport ranks highly among the most interesting places on earth. The building, certainly an architectural marvel, is neither particularly wonderful nor particularly unique; as such, it might be at home in any major city of the United States. Curved ceilings and tiered lighting, Starbucks and Cinnabon facades, and a thousand Ikea-esque chairs serve as nothing more than a simple backdrop to the sensory overload that is the people.

Among Those Born of Women

Luke 7:28 says, in part, I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John… Pretty impressive words from the Word Himself. Among those born of women meaning among men, or among humans - John is the best example. But what was it that made John such a great man? What was it about him that Jesus held up so highly? I can tell you what it wasn’t - a man clothed in finery and living in luxury (Luke 7:24) or a “reed shaken by the wind” (Luke 7:25).

CPT John J. Brainard

CPT John R. Brainard, TF GRIFFIN K.I.A. 28 May 2012, Kabul, Afghanistan

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.

“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” -J. R. R. Tolkien A lot of great quotes coming out of the woodwork at today.

Go Spurs!

Also, I love Tim Duncan.

Wants and Needs

What’s the difference between wanting something and needing something? Mark 12:44 is the best example I can find from the Bible. It’s Jesus' conclusion about the poor widow who put two meager coins into the offering box. He says that she has given more than all the wealthy with their lavish gifts, “for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.

CPT Anne M. Montgomery

CPT Anne M. Montgomery, USMA 2008 R.I.P. 12 December 2011, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

Give God His Breath Back

I found this video today and tweeted it already but I had to post it here too. It makes me wonder about my ability to articulate the Gospel and my faith. The best line in the video? I’ve changed my mind four times today but I think this is it: Sin brings death. Give God His breath back - you owe Him. G.O.S.P.E.L. from Humble Beast Records on Vimeo.

Arch Linux Screenshots

Reposted from the Arch Linux forums, my March 2011 screenshot set: Clean: Busy: FVWM Config Conky Config .Xdefaults .bashrc FVWM with xcompmgr; background from NASA. Conky, rxvt-unicode, and the usual*. *It’s a new usual. Yes, I’ve run Fedora for the last eight or so years, but I’ve just switched to Arch Linux in the last month or so and I love every minute of it.

Strong and Weak Ties

I found an article by Malcolm Gladwell this morning about Twitter, Facebook, and Social Activism. There are a lot of interesting points, but the best one is about the value of strong ties versus weak ones. Weak ties allow us to gain vast amounts of information very quickly - via Twitter, YouTube, or other means. What they do not lead to, Gladwell writes, is “high risk activism.” Is following Christ high risk activism?


Seth Godin posted an interesting thought the other day. A lot of the time, it’s impossible to persuade people of anything with just a bunch of evidence, no matter how concrete. Godin writes that in marketing, we should try a different tactic: …Evidence isn’t the only marketing tactic that is effective. In fact, it’s often not the best tactic. What would change his mind, what would change the mind of many people resistant to evidence is a series of eager testimonials from other tribe members who have changed their minds.

1LT L. Larkin O'Hern

1LT L. Larkin O’Hern, USMA 2008 W.I.A. 30 December 2010, Kandahar, Afghanistan

Net Neutrality Rider

The following post is an open letter which I submitted to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison after she submitted a bill barring the FCC from protecting net neutrality. Ma’am, I’m concerned about a bill you submitted on December 16th, a “rider” that would ‘prohibit the FCC from using any appropriated funds to adopt, implement or otherwise litigate any network neutrality based rules, protocols or standards’. I’m concerned about this bill firstly because I am in the military, and I find it unbelievable that military spending is so often used as a vehicle for other political aims.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

Found this story about teens becoming “fake Christians” yesterday via Neatorama. I want to add a few comments to two quotes from the article: No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future. Otherwise known as a testimony (I John 5:11-12), true Christian fellowship (Hebrews 10:24-25), commitment to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31), and hope that comes from a living and faithful Savior (Hebrews 3:6).

Monopoly Deal

Played an interesting card game last Sunday that I thought I’d pass on… Do you love Monopoly, right up until an hour into the game when things start to get ridiculous and boring at the same time? Yeah, I’m right there with you. Monopoly Deal sounds pretty hokey at first - another Monopoly knockoff? - but it really does bring out the fun of Monopoly’s gameplay in a condensed form that lasts all of twenty minutes.


I do believe; help my unbelief! I think the sentiment in Mark 9:24 above is profound. It’s a plea for hope, when we’ve started to place limits on God. The exclamation comes from a father who brings his little boy to Jesus and asks, “If You can help him…” And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” I think Christ is a little bit irritated (Mark 9:23)!

1LT Christopher S. Goeke

1LT Christopher S. Goeke, USMA 2008 K.I.A. 13 July 2010, Kandahar City, Afghanistan

Happy Fourth of July

This came out back in February, but it was so good, I felt it needed another showing.

The Secret Life of Crabs

If you’ve ever wondered what hermit crabs really do at night, here’s a video that will explain everything. I produced it, in collaboration with Emma at The Daily Hermit and Miles at PMPA - Speaking Of Precision. Our first video, Night at the Crab Tank, was posted yesterday.


Are you a hungerer for God? I heard a pastor talk Sunday morning - incidentally, a pastor who was once a Chinese law student and present at Tiananmen Square and he had some great things to say about how we should pray. His text was Matthew 6:11, which is pretty short, but his message was that we should pray as receivers of all good things from God, as hungerers for God and His grace, and as our brothers’ keepers.

Happy Towel Day!

“Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” [Note: Today is a great day! It’s Towel Day, of course, but also Geek Pride Day… and Fedora 13 has been released!]

Happy Anniversary!

I have waited a whole year to post this; I didn’t want to end up like this. Emma, I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you.

I'm a Truck Kinda Guy

I’ve got a truck just like the one pictured. It’s a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500HD Crew Cab with a six liter V8 and a sprayed-in bedliner. It’s got 110,000 miles on it, a brand new set of Wildcat tires, and a window decal that reads, “Real Men Love Jesus.” It’s the only vehicle I’ve ever owned. That truck may as well be my identity. But I’m going to have to sell it.

No King but Caesar

The nineteenth chapter of the book of John starts with “Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him,” and it ends with, “they laid Jesus there.” It’s a moving story of the crucifixion of an innocent teacher - remember, the people involved didn’t know about the resurrection yet. In the middle of the chapter, Pilate asks the Jews, “Shall I crucify your King?” (John 19:15). I think their response is chilling.

1LT Salvatore S. Corma

1LT Salvatore S. Corma, USMA 2008 K.I.A. 29 April 2010, F.O.B. Bullard, Afghanistan

Three Annoyances in Fedora 12

First, empathy, the new default chat client, does video. But to make it work seamlessly with your friends who use GoogleTalk on Windows, you’ll need all the gstreamer plugins. Here’s how to get them: sudo yum install gstreamer-ffmpeg gstreamer-plugins-* -x *devel -x *docs Second, Google Earth is a pretty sweet program. But to make it run on 64-bit linux, you need some compatibility stuff added in. Here’s how to get it working, courtesy of bigjim-network

Story of Our Lives

John 13:34-35, probably one of the more often quoted passages of the Bible, centers on the commandment that we love each other as Christ loved us. Pretty straightforward, except Jesus starts it with this bit in John 13:33 about the disciples not being able to follow Him to the cross. Peter doesn’t get it. “Lord, where are you going?” Then, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.


I have a problem with authority. Specifically, I think I ought to have authority over my life. Which doesn’t sound ridiculous, but it is. Check out these examples. Luke 14:18-20 - The Parable of the Feast “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.

The Point

On Thursday, I wrote that there was something terribly wrong with my ministry: it was about me getting credit with people. But I knew something was missing. This video, from Chuck Wood, asks the fundamental question that I wasn’t asking myself. Chuck says that we need to ask those we’re discipling, “How are you becoming more like Jesus?” If someone had asked me that two months ago, I might have said all kinds of things, but today I’d probably tell you that I hadn’t become any more like Jesus in a long time.


Yes, I realize it’s April Fools Day, but this post isn’t a joke, or even related to that holiday. Mark 2:27 says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” I’ve been on a Sabbath of sorts this month; my wife and I pulled back from the ministry we were doing with our church’s praise team and the men’s and women’s Nav bible studies. We knew that we’d both be extra busy with work this month, but even more than that, we were feeling burnt out.

Do as You Are Commanded

Reading my Bible made me angry this week. It doesn’t happen often, but some teachings are hard to accept. So here’s what I learned, from Luke 17:7-10. “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’?

The Possessions Exercise

I found this idea on Jake Seliger’s blog The Story’s Story and it seemed pretty insightful…. List the ten most expensive things (products, services, or experiences) that you have ever paid for (including houses, cars, university degrees, marriage ceremonies, divorce settlements, and taxes). Then, list the ten items that you have ever bought that gave you the most happiness. Count how many items appear on both lists. I made the two lists below; it took me several hours to think of the ten things that bring me the most happiness.

Google Chrome?

After reading several articles about Chrome on Lifehacker this week, I decided it was time to try Google’s browser again. And I think I might keep it. I’ve been a die-hard Firefox user since way back when it was called Phoenix (that was before Firebird) and I can’t stand browsing the web without my beloved AdBlock. But Chrome is changing things; it does (almost) everything Firefox does! AdBlock: Now on Chrome.

Image Issues

Whose image are you made in? “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” -Genesis 1:27 I’ve seen a lot of people lately making themselves in Peyton Manning and Reggie Bush’s images - or at least wearing their jerseys. There are also a bunch of people making themselves in the image of a “Tea Party,” aside from those making themselves into the image of President Obama or Rush Limbaugh.

Bridles and Fences

James 1:26 says that if anyone doesn’t bridle their tongue, their religion is worthless. So do you bridle your tongue? Or do you fence it? Or does it roam free? There are two reasons to build a fence. One is to keep things in; the other is to keep things out. When we’re talking about horses, fences keep them in the pasture and out of the dangers of the wild. So if James had written to “fence your tongue,” we’d be good if we just never said anything bad - if we kept ourselves from gossip, malice, deceit, and all unrighteousness (Romans 1:29).

RealCrypt == TrueCrypt in Fedora

So, I didn’t know this, and I’ve been installing TrueCrypt from source every time I update my system, but via a comment on this guide page I found out that RealCrypt is a rebranded version of TrueCrypt that’s available in the RPMFusion repository. Hello, encrypted files (with no compiling required). Just thought I’d share the knowledge since it’s Data Privacy Day.

I Could Do Better

With $5,725,813,591.00. That’s the total amount (thus far) spent on 100 interesting projects funded by the recent government stimulus bill. It includes such gems as $2.2 million spent to build water pipelines to a golf course in San Francisco and $350 million to build a map of America showing where broadband internet is and isn’t available. Or $219,000 for a “Study on ‘Hookup’ Behavior of Female College Coeds.” No really, that last one didn’t come from some college humor website or even Facebook - it’s real (number 33).

Banking and Newspapers

Just opened my iGoogle page and the “Quotes Of The Day” widget had two very insightful quotes… so here they are! To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter. - Aleister Crowley He was right… but nowdays, the newspapers are failing due to their failure to adapt to the ubiquity of the internet… but I’m sure Aleister Crowley would say the same about ninety-nine percent of the 3.

Engels and Gray

Today at a Saturday morning study with some guys, one of them mentioned the Engels Scale, of which I had never heard. So I looked it up. Basically, it’s just a number line applied to a person’s receptiveness to the Gospel. +5 Stewardship +4 Communion with God +3 Conceptual and behavioral growth +2 Incorporation into Body +1 Post-decision evaluation New birth -1 Repentance and faith in Christ -2 Decision to act -3 Personal problem recognition -4 Positive attitude towards Gospel -5 Grasp implications of Gospel -6 Awareness of fundamentals of Gospel -7 Initial awareness of Gospel -8 Awareness of supreme being, no knowledge of Gospel I’m not entirely sure how useful it is, except to inform one’s personal ministry, but as a Christian I believe that part of my purpose is to influence others to accept Christ and become disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).

You Are Insecure

This post brought to you by writer’s block. If you’d like, find the Skribit box in the sidebar on the right and give me something to write about! You’re reading this blog, which means that you’re using the internet. Which means your data is insecure. If you don’t believe me, here’s some evidence. Read it, and you’ll want to lock yourself in an internet-free box for the rest of time… until you get bored with no Twitter.

Design Update X3

Just a note about recent changes to my CSS… Turns out that the default monospace font on most Windows computers is awful. Which made this site a pain to read for anyone using that operating system. I did a day’s worth of reading on typefaces and font selection last week which resulted in the new stick online font stack (code below). Many thanks to Code Style for their Font stack builder.

Brit Hume and Christ

Everyone else has already seen this I’m sure, but I may as well put it here too. Bill O’Reilly, Brit Hume, Tiger Woods, and Christ.

Eight New Concepts

My church is starting a sermon series (well, started last week) on the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, 6, and 7. Today the pastor talked about why it’s important to study this passage of scripture: it’s basically God’s standard for our lives. I want to share a quick list that he put out, almost as a sidenote to the sermon. These are eight “new” concepts (well, they were new to the Jews in Jesus’ time) from the Sermon on the Mount.

Christianity, the MMORPG

As I was driving back to work today after a stop at a computer parts shop, I was wondering if the shop owner I’d just spoken to was as much of a nerd as he seemed. Did he play Everquest? And I had a thought. I sometimes treat Christianity like a role-playing game. Like I might not be a Christian at work. Or I might not be a Christian on Saturday.

2010 Resolutions?

I’ve struggled with this post (and it’s a couple of days late) because I really don’t know what to do for resolutions this year… 2009 was the first year I ever made resolutions, and putting them online turned out to be pretty good motivation, so I wanted to do it again. But I have no idea what to resolve for 2010. I could go the comedy way, but I want to actually accomplish something.

Web 2.0

Back on 10 December, I urged you to quit Facebook after they changed their privacy policy (and I quit myself). During the holidays, I ended my brief Tumblr career, deciding that having an in-between step filling the space between Twitter and my blog* just didn’t make sense. Why post things on a website that doesn’t even allow comments? Anyway, after canceling Facebook and Tumblr, I started to wonder about some other social-media-Web-2.

Final 2009 Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23 this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. I did it. Use my credit card whenever possible but never carry a balance. This worked great. I highly recommend it. Contribute the maximum amount to my Roth IRA account. $5,000 in. Good to go. Build a three-month emergency fund. Done.

The Story in Afghanistan

A friend just sent me a link to a great essay written by a major in the US Army about his perceptions on the conflict in Afghanistan. If you have any interest in the situation in that country, or the condition of the United States-led effort there, it will be of interest to you.

Dave Barry FTW

If you’ve been hiding under a log all year, his 2009 Year In Review should get you up to date. If you haven’t been hiding under a log all year, his 2009 Year In Review will remind you why you might want to go find a log for 2010. What I’m trying (and probably failing) to say is go read it. Quickly, before this blog gets hijacked by Somali pirates!

Look What I Got for Christmas!

Christmas Eve

So, I was going to post something today but I couldn’t figure out what. My wife beat me to it. Click to head on over and read it.

Cat Engineers Strike Again

This is my new favorite Christmas video… although I’m not sure what it has to do with Christmas. Anyway, these guys are awesome.

Cornerstone Bible Reading Method

This idea is not original - I’ve seen it presented at least twice, by two different people. However, I couldn’t (easily) find it on Google, so I wanted to put it here anyway. I wrote last week that I’d finished the Bible and that I was thinking that maybe reading the Bible straight through more than once would be less than productive. So here’s the method I intend to use.

Ethics of Wardriving

Is connecting to an unsecured wireless hotspot wrong? I’ll admit, I’ve done it, and I always secure my own wireless networks as much as possible, but there are some pretty good points made here about the idea that while illegal in many places, it might not be wrong. What do you think? I’m divided.

Flavored Hot Chocolate

Tried this idea today. I found it on Lifehacker; the idea is to brew tea and use that to make hot chocolate rather than plain water. I used Constant Comment tea and Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate mix. Tasted great!

Where Do You Pray?

Fantastic post from Stuff Christians Like today - if you haven’t visited that site, you should.


I finished the Bible last night. Yeah, you read that right. Frontal assault style, Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, straight through, do not pass go, do not collect $200. It took me 347 days, but I did it. Do I recommend it? Yes, but just once. Because it’s definitely not the most efficient method of reading in terms of Christian growth*, but you gotta do it, if only so you can say to your friends, “Yes, I’ve read the Bible, the whole thing, straight through.


BEAT NAVY. National Champions: 1914 - 1943 - 1944 - (1945) Heisman Trophy: 1945 (Blanchard) - 1946 (Davis) - 1958 (Dawkins) Outland Trophy: 1947 (Steffy) Forbes Best College In America: 2009 Watch the Army-Navy Game today on CBS at 1430 Eastern Time, and vote Army at GO ARMY!

Putin's Honored Mentor

I’m not even sure if this is real, but it’s HILARIOUS. Vladimir Putin rules in the shadow of… is that a mouse? Maybe a hamster?

Quit Facebook

BLUF: Delete your Facebook account. I would like to make everyone aware of some interesting changes in Facebook’s privacy policy: You also have a set of publicly available information, which helps your friends find and connect with you. This includes your Name, Profile Picture, Current City, Gender, Networks, Friend List and Pages. This is an unacceptable change to account privacy. If Facebook wants to publish that information, they need my consent and they do not have it.

The Truth Comes Out!

Study Reveals Most Children Are Unrepentant Psychopaths!



Google Releases Chrome for Linux!

Get it now!

Good Question

Best of Year One

I started stick online with this post back on 10 November 2008. It’s been just over one year and there are now 162 published posts, running the gamut from short “found” blurbs that took me two seconds to some long, wandering articles that took me days to post and probably aren’t even worth reading. However, in the mix are a few good articles, and I want to highlight (what I think are) the Best of Year One.

November Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23 this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. I have exactly ten pages of the Bible left to read in December. I’m in Revelation 5, when a bunch of seals start getting opened. Talk about some crazy stuff. Use my credit card whenever possible but never carry a balance.

Somali Pirates Open Stock Exchange

“We’ve made piracy a community activity!”

Great Argument

Why The Prosperity Gospel Just Ain’t Right.

You Cannot Serve God and Money

But I don’t even know what it means to serve money. No, really, what on earth does that mean (Matthew 6:24)? Apparently I’m not the first to ask the question, and I think that this article gets at least this much right: it’s a warning, against the kind of storing up that is a symptom of greed and acquisitiveness, of the love of money, and a love of the independence from God that it seems to allow.

Just for Fun

Something to spice up your weekend: Go to the pet store and pick up about fifty feeder mice (the live ones you feed to snakes). Divvy them up between yourself and four or five friends. Go to the movies, with the mice in your bags. Once the movie starts, wait for a really dramatic part, then stand up and yell, “SNOWBALL FIGHT!” I think you can guess the rest.

Where Did You Go to College?

Did it really matter?

Dear Government...

A great open letter to the U.S. government.

One Step Closer to Lightsabers

Laser cannons on fighter jets… we’re only one step away from the guys below, plus sharks with lasers on their heads.

Portugal: Just Do It

I really wish I had a (better) picture for this post. So this buddy of mine (whose name was Sunshine) had a great shirt. It was kind of an ugly yellow color, and it had three things on the front, which I’ve attempted to re-create below. Now, of course upon seeing the Nike Swoosh, the first three words that pop into any American’s mind are “Just Do It.” These words are followed by a strong desire to go watch the Chicago Bulls play basketball until one remembers that Michael Jordan is now (for the last time) retired.

Drive a Car With an IPhone

Q would be impressed. When I see things like this, I wonder first why I don’t have time to do things like this. Then I wonder why I don’t have the motivation.

The American's Creed

“I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

November Eighth

This Comic May Have Changed My Mind

Wait, Isn't This the 21st Century?

Iraq Swears By Dowsing Rod Bomb Detector

Without Reference to Sin

Hebrews 9:28 - So that Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. What does it mean to have salvation without reference to sin? Hebrews 4:15 tells us that our High Priest, Jesus Christ, is without sin despite having suffered all the temptations of earthly man. He is the one and only perfect person - 100 percent.

October Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23 this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. In all of October, I’ve read just 14 pages (to page 916) but that’s included Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews 1-4. Partly it’s also a symptom of the fact that these books are so packed with knowledge and insight into our lives in Christ, but two verses came together this morning to make it clear: I need to consider Jesus (Hebrews 3:1) and pay much closer attention (Hebrews 2:1).

Happy Halloween!


Virtus (Manliness)

This is the final post in a series explaining my five core values. Manliness is a hard thing to define. If I wanted to construct it in depth, it would take volume upon volume and double the size of the internet. Manliness is like beauty… you just know it when you see it. It makes you pause for a second or two; it makes you wish you had …whatever it is.

Something to Share

Today our pastor likened Christian life to flying a helicopter. It’s not much of a stretch, and it’s not all that amazing a metaphor - probably a couple hundred people have used it before. However, one thing that did seem really insightful to me was that the pastor correlated all the people in the back of that helicopter to my Christian life. So here’s the basic metaphor: can you fly a helicopter?


Google’s Android Goes Military

Siim Siim Sala Biim!

Why do we use the word “Hadji?”

Be Perfect

I tumblogged (is that a word?) James 4:17 yesterday with the tagline, “Ouch!” Anyone here never not do the right thing? Yes, that’s an intentional double negative. I’m not asking if anyone’s never done anything wrong, but whether you’ve ever not done something that was right. Is it wrong by default for me to not do something that’s right? Or is there some point total, where as long as I don’t do anything wrong, the “right” things I do just add points and I might not get a gold medal like the overachievers who do all the right things but at least I could get bronze?

The 10 Commandments of Marriage

This is the seventh review in a series of posts about books for married men. The 10 Commandments of Marriage, by Ed Young, is definitely the most basic of the seven books I’ve reviewed so far in this series. It’s a great primer on the relationship of a husband and wife… how do do the big things. Here’s the ten commandments: Thou Shalt Not Be a Selfish Pig Thou Shalt Cut The Apron Strings Thou Shalt Continually Communicate Thou Shalt Make Conflict Thy Ally Thou Shalt Avoid The Quicksand Of Debt Thou Shalt Flee Sexual Temptation Thou Shalt Forgive Thy Mate Thou Shalt Keep The Home Fires Burning Thou Shalt Begin Again And Again Thou Shalt Build A Winning Team As far as the content of the book goes, that’s it in a nutshell.

Why Even Pay for Cable?

Seth Godin gives good reasons to turn off the TV…

What's Heaven Like?

Everyone wants to know what heaven will be like. You know, streets of gold and blind people acting like they just got LASIK and no wheelchairs. I saw something at an airport today and now I know what heaven is like. You’ll never guess what it was. What does that sign have to do with heaven? Well, I Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21 are pretty clear that those who live in sin will be stopped short at the “Authorized Personnel Only” sign that’s hanging on the pearly gates.

Spiritual Discipline

I read I Timothy today. (Yes, the whole thing. It’s not that long.) Among other things, I noted I Timothy 4:8. Paul writes, “bodily discipline is only of little profit.” Wait, what? What about I Corinthians 9:27? Paul wrote that too, right? “I discipline my body and make it my slave,” right? Actually, the two passages say the same thing. They’re both contrasting our worldly ambitions with our spiritual ones. My wife and I went out running tonight, about two and a half miles.

Writing Utensil -- Essential Gear

I have found that all my writing utensils are woefully inadequate, and I’ll tell you why. My favorite four writing tools: Staedtler Multi 4: This is a great writing tool: four different writing instruments. It came with black, red, and orange (“highlighter”) ball point pens and a 0.5mm mechanical pencil installed; I’ve removed the red pen and replaced it with a stylus cannibalized from the 4-in-1 below. I really like the (not rubber) grip on the Staedtler, and having four different points is pretty awesome, even if I almost never use the orange pen (even though orange is my favorite color).


These guys are awesome!

No. No No No. NO.

I have just become aware, via Slashdot, that President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The BBC has this to say: In awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian committee is honouring his intentions more than his achievements. For comparison, here’s a list of my intentions: I intend to cure cancer (all forms), HIV/AIDS, and every other disease. Looks like they better give me the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.

Browser Wars Revisited

Back in June I tried out Opera 10 and nine other browsers, eventually coming to rest back on my favorite, Firefox, despite the fact that Opera performed much better on the Acid3 test. Yesterday, after finding Fedora packages (repod, no less!) of Chromium, I had to try it. Just for fun, I also pulled Fedora’s package of Arora, an ad-blocking browser recently reviewed by Lifehacker. Chromium, which I’ve been waiting to try out, is definitely the best browser of the three.

Cyber Security Awareness Month

Just a quick blurb of good reading today in honor of Cyber Security Awareness month (via the Official Google Blog)…. First, update all your software. Seriously. Run updates on everything. If you’re using IE, stop right now and go get a better browser. I use Firefox (since Chrome Just Doesn’t Work™ on Fedora yet… actually, I just found this article that says it does, so I’ll be trying this), and Mozilla has a pretty nifty little utility to make sure your plugins are updated as well.

An Apple Pie From Scratch

I recently rediscovered Carl Sagan’s Cosmos when the video below was posted to Slashdot. I had forgotten how awesome the Cosmos series was. One of the best lines in Cosmos, I think, is in the very beginning of this video…. If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. It reminds me of God’s words to Job in Job 38:4-11. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

Take Heed

Colossians 4:17 is an exhortation from Paul to Archippus, but it’s valid for each one of us: Take heed of the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it. I wish it was rendered with an exclamation point! How painful it will be on judgment day if the Lord of Hosts says to me, “Stick! You wasted your ministry! You received it from Me and you didn’t fulfill it!

September Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23 this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. I’ve just finished Colossians, page 902. 47 pages to go this year. Use my credit card whenever possible but never carry a balance. The wife and I barely bought anything this month aside from groceries, so this was too easy. Contribute the maximum amount to my Roth IRA account.

DFD 2 Impressions

This is the fourth post in a series where I’m reviewing each of the Design for Discipleship Bible study books. Now, I just reviewed DFD 5 a few weeks ago, so this is a little out of order, but I completed The Spirit-Filled Follower Of Jesus way back in January, before it was suggested to me that I run my mind back over each book at its conclusion. It’s probably a good idea for anyone working through the series to go back and review earlier material anyway, so whatever.


This is the fourth post in a series explaining my five core values. Matthew 24:13 and Mark 13:13 are two of my favorite verses. They’re two of the hardest verses to live with. He who endures to the end shall be saved. If you read my Father’s Day post, you’ll remember that my father once told me, “Never, never, never give up.” A paraphrase from Winston Churchill, it’s an incredible statement of character.

"Gorilla" Tactics

The following is an outline of a workshop that my wife and I presented last Saturday after hearing an extended and more in-depth version a few weeks ago. The theme of the talk was “Ministry While Deployed,” but it included a lot of things that are just as applicable to ministry wherever you are. The meat of the workshop was guerrilla tactics used by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro during the Cuban revolution… and on the model of Christ’s ministry during His time on earth.

Yarr, Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

That’s right, me ’earties, ’tis come again: International Talk Like A Pirate Day! And a good mornin’ to yer, scallywag!

DFD 5 Impressions

This is the third post in a series where I’m reviewing each of the Design for Discipleship Bible study books. Page five of Foundations for Faith begins In this book you will explore these five areas: Who is God? The Authority of God’s Word The Holy Spirit Spiritual Warfare The Return of Christ Those are some pretty weighty areas of study! Who is God? Pretty deep. The actual questions are deeper than those of the earlier books as well.

Never Forget

Patriot Day 2009

Personal Responsibility

This is the third post in a series explaining my five core values. Personal responsibility is the single biggest problem with our culture. We sue McDonald’s when the coffee is hot - we ordered hot coffee. We (continue) to sue tobacco makers when our loved ones die of lung cancer - they smoked every day, they knew it was bad for them, and we never pressured them to stop. We sue our alma maters when we don’t get jobs - we graduated with low grades and no drive.

Guard Your Testimony

I heard that phrase today for the first time. It’s a new one for me, so I decided I’d explore it a bit and share some thoughts here. What does it mean to guard your testimony? John 17:16; John 18:36; Romans 12:2 We are not of this World, just as Christ and the Kingdom are not of this world. If we let ourselves become conformed to the world, what’s the point of our testimony?


Men, this one is for us. I Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. Think about all that you are a steward of: Your own body (I Corinthians 6:19-20) Your wife (and children) (I Peter 3:7) The world around you (Genesis 1:26) The mysteries of God (II Timothy 2:15) Here’s a quick refresher on the word steward: a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.

Ephesians 5:18-21

I want to share a quick note from Ephesians 5:21. “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Everyone gets all up in arms about this verse. I really don’t think it’s all that controversial. Here’s my take on being subject to one another: Be a servant. Philippians 2:3 tells us to consider others more important than ourselves. Even better, Matthew 20:26 tells us that to be great, we must be servants.

August Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23 this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. I’m now on page 863, Romans 8. I’ve read every chapter in Romans two or three times - I’d forgotten how long it’s been since I’ve read the New Testament. There is so much more to God and the Gospel that I’ve been missing!

Drop the Phone!

Look, I don’t care who you are, there is no reason you should be texting while driving. Your life will not end if you put the message on hold long enough to pull over, but you might end someone else’s life (or your own) if you take your eyes off the road! Texting is worse for you than alcohol, where driving is concerned, and I’m all for the legislative efforts to kill the combination.

Romans 3:10

As it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE. Just a short note today, things that have been stewing in my mind. Not sorry if it’s too corny for you. Our lives without Christ’s cross: immor ality (Isaiah 64:6). Our lives centered on that cross: immor†ality (John 3:16).

Useless Standards

I am for standards in general, but tonight I’ve realized a list that I’m against. I am against them because they fail in their purpose, either having no positive effect or actually making things worse. Daylight Savings Time. Who thought this up anyway? (No, it wasn’t Benjamin Franklin - go read the linked Wiki). The whole point is that we’re wasting free light from the sun - because we don’t get up early enough.

(Also) a Stickler for Handwriting

This post was spawned by this article from Time Magazine, wherein a 15-year-old is allowed to use a computer on standardized test, since his handwriting is so bad. I say fail him. If he can’t read and write, then he doesn’t meet the standard. Especially considering that the reason he can’t write is that he likes the attention of being “that kid with really bad handwriting.” An open letter to that kid’s mom: Child-whacking sticks are on sale wherever wooden spoons are sold.


This is the second post in a series explaining my five core values. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32 I value truth because there is no point in knowing something that is not true. There is no point in being something that is not true. Who wants to live a lie? One of the best proverbs regarding truth is Proverbs 23:23, “Buy truth, and do not sell it; get wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Alien Checkride

Someone at work showed me this video yesterday and I think it’s hilarious. Definitely a cop-out post so I don’t have to write anything and I get to say I posted!

I'm a Stickler for Grammar

I abhor lolspeak. Seth Godin wrote a while back that he finds bad punctuation “distracting.” I’d say that’s entirely too kind a characterization. Maybe we blame the terrible American public schools, or maybe we blame mobile phones and the internet, or maybe the ubiquity of spell check. I don’t really care. My hammer of judgment falls (figuratively) whenever I accidentally view comments on YouTube. Anyone want to venture a guess as to why language developed?

Not a Spiritual Gift

Want to share a thought… People like to talk a lot about spiritual gifts, doing what you’re good at - what God has made you good at - for the good of His kingdom. Filling pews is not a spiritual gift. Romans 12:6-8, I Corinthians 12:8-10, I Corinthians 12:28-30, and Ephesians 4:11 make up a pretty decent laundry list of spiritual gifts. Here’s a gee-whiz table to show them off:

Too Good to Waste

I support citizenship tests for members of Congress.


Two months ago, as part of the 30 Days to a Better Man project, I posted my five core values. I’ve decided that they’re one subject that could do with a little more explanation. So here’s value number one: Christ. “And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

A Simple Challenge

Say “God Bless” fifty times this week. And next week. And the week after…. Say it to the people who check your ID when you go into the security area at work. Say it to whoever is left in the office when you leave. Say it as a closing in your telephone conversations. Sign off from email and IM with those two words. The only reference I have for this is Numbers 6:24-26, but I still think it’s a good idea.

You Must Be Kidding

My wife sent me this article last night, after the two of us and a couple of our friends had a pretty long discussion of personal responsibility. The article is about a woman who’s suing her college because she can’t find a job. A woman who graduated with a 2.7. A woman whose job search has lasted only three months. A woman whose excuse is, “It doesn’t make any sense: They went to school for four years, and then they come out working at McDonald’s and Payless.

What to Pray?

This is the final post in a series on prayer. To wrap up my examination of prayer, I’ve been mulling over what to pray. What does one say to God, the Creator, Master, and Redeemer of the Universe? What does one say to our Father, our Savior and intimate Friend? To start with, here’s the prayer I pray more than any other, it seems: Dear God, Help. Amen It’s a fantastic prayer, and I hold no copyright on it so you’re encouraged to use it, but that seems a lot like stiffing God for time, effort, and concentration that He deserves from us.

July Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23 this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. Another 50 pages down, still slow, but I’m pretty bogged down in everything right now. Consistency is the name of the game for me now. Use my credit card whenever possible but never carry a balance. Still going strong with no balance on the card.

Tender Warrior

This is the sixth review in a series of posts about books for married men. Stu Weber has some pretty intense manliness credentials. At left is the Bronze Star, the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces. Stu Weber has three of them. That he won as a Green Beret. He also holds a Master’s of Divinity, and a doctorate. Anyone with higher qualifications of manliness may skip this post.

For Whom to Pray?

This is the sixth post in a series on prayer. I’ve always prayed mostly for myself, my family, my church, my nation, and the world, and generally in that order. Last week a buddy of mine (Kit) gave a talk on prayer and he used the term, “praying in concentric circles.” I think it’s a fantastic way to structure requests in prayer. So here’s how I work prayer request subjects.

With Whom to Pray?

This is the fifth post in a series on prayer. The whole idea of this post is that we are unlimited in our possibilities for communal prayer. We can pray alone, in ones and twos and threes, in groups (Acts 1:14), or in masses (try Psalm 135:1-3). Christ prayed alone; in this series I’ve already alluded several times to Mark 1:35 and Matthew 14:23 as examples of Christ having a quiet time of prayer, alone and therefore unhindered by anyone else’s presence, but there are varying degrees of “aloneness” modeled in Christ’s prayer life.

Something About Prayer

In the middle of this series on prayer, I want to share something that God showed me today during my study through DFD 5. Luke 6:46 reads, “‘Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?’” Christ is really on to something here (imagine that). Matthew 21:22 tells us that if we believe, we will receive; if you believe, you will be obedient. James 5:16 says that the prayer of a righteous man will avail; righteousness is in obeying God.

Fedora 11 Is BACK!

I discovered yesterday after deciding to check in on the state of Fedora 11 on aluminum MacBooks that they have the trackpad working now! And it doesn’t even require any editing of fdi policy files, it Just Works(TM). You may recall my dismay at Fedora 11’s poor showing when I first installed it, but with the touchpad working it was too good to resist. So I promptly pulled out my Fedora 11 netinstall CD and went to work.

Speed Limits

I’ve been pondering speed limits a lot lately. Did you know that the German word for speed limit is geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung? It means something along the lines of the absolute highest speed at which you can drive. Why is it that people have such a problem getting that simple idea into their heads? Now, before you call me hypocrite and start throwing tomatoes, yes, I’ve been known to speed some, like most of us on the road today.

When to Pray?

This is the third post in a series on prayer. As I mentioned in the first post of this series, my wife and I pray together every night before bed; we also pray before each meal and I generally try to make prayer a part of my quiet time, although I have not done as well as I would like. So in this post, I’m researching times that the Bible shows us we should pray.

Sheet Music

This is the fifth review in a series of posts about books for married men. Sheet Music, by Kevin Leman, is an interesting book to review since it deals with marriage exclusively through sex. This is perfect if you are newlyweds, or if your marriage needs some “BAM! Kick it up a notch!”; however, it’s not a book for anyone who’s more than a week away from marriage. That said, the review will be G-rated (and rather short since the book certainly isn’t!

Marriage in Time Magazine

Here’s a great article my wife Twittered @me today from Time Magazine. One good line: “A lasting marriage is the reward, usually, of hard work and self-sacrifice.” Now, that’s certainly not to say it isn’t worth it. But it’s like anything else: a good marriage doesn’t come from a microwave. Is there hope for the American Marriage?

Reasons to Pray?

This is the second post in a series on prayer. So, what reasons do we have for our prayers? If I look back at my (nasty, brutish, and short) life, I can easily find the main reason I’ve prayed: I was in trouble. E.M. Bounds writes in The Essentials of Prayer, “Trouble belongs to the present state of man on earth,” and “What an infinite variety there is in the troubles of life!

Happy Fourth of July!

When I tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY. (cue the whale) Also, this article is very appropriate for Independence Day.

Why Pray?

This is the first post in a series on prayer. My lovely wife and I pray every night before bed, thanking the Lord for one more day together on this earth and asking Him to give us the next one. She told me recently that a lot of her friends envy this small gesture that I make in my relationship with God and my relationship with her. I started to examine my own prayer life to see how it is, and it’s not where I want it.

June Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23 this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. I’ve moved from page 729 to page 777 and finished Matthew and Mark this month; I wish I could say that it’s because I’m spending so much time meditating on each passage but it’s actually just because I’m spending so little time reading.

For Women Only

This is a guest post from my lovely wife. I’m including it in my series of reviews of books for married men since it is the original book from which For Men Only was derived. I will say that the book (which I haven’t read yet) has helped me a ton, since it’s helped my wife love me, and a loving wife is the most precious gift God has given me aside from salvation.

Why This Blog?

In May, I wrote a post on being unconventional and asked two questions. [W]hy are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you doing it the way you’re doing it? I started writing this blog eight months ago because the opportunity was there. I thought that an online, indexed, accessible forum would allow me to store and access my thoughts in a way that my memory (highly imperfect), a notebook (not indexed), and even my own computer (not always accessible) don’t.

Tiger- And Elephant-Resistant Laptop

Wow. I own an aluminum MacBook, and it’s pretty tough, but this Panasonic Toughbook is ridiculous. Wish I could pull the video over, but Forbes’ website doesn’t allow it, so you’ll have to click through to see the ridiculousness.


What makes a man? What makes a man a man? What makes a great man a great man? This website is partially my stream-of-conscious attempt to answer those questions. At the heart of many of the bits of answer I’ve posted is one principle: discipline. There are a lot of articles about Walter Mischel’s Bing studies on self-control out there, and while not statistically perfect, the studies provide pretty good evidence that self-control is a good indicator of potential.

Happy Fathers' Day!

The most important role model in my life is my father. The moment in my life that has had more impact than any other was a Sunday morning right before I was graduated from high school. My church held a breakfast for all the graduating seniors and their parents. The parents were encouraged to write letters to their children and then read those letters at the breakfast if they chose. I will never forget my father standing with tears in his eyes and speaking in a clear voice of his pride in me, and giving me the admonition of Winston Churchill at Harrows School in 1941….

For Men Only

This is the third review in a series of posts about books for married men. For Men Only (and the counterpart For Women Only) by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn were required reading when Emma and I went through our marriage counseling. They’re quick reads - but they were also some of the most helpful books we read. For Men Only is really a guide to understanding why women do certain things.

Ubuntu on a MacBook 5,1

After posting my short review of Ubuntu 9.04 a couple of days ago, I felt that I had not done justice to it, nor to the effort I’ve poured into learning it. This post will attempt to both provide interested parties (myself included) with a complete reference, and chronicle my missteps in a (hopefully temporary) migration to Ubuntu. First, set up your partitioning. I’ve been dual-booting Fedora 10 and Mac OS X on my MacBook for a pretty good while, so this was already done.

I Want One

Tesla Motors, which produces the all-electric Tesla Roadster, is one of my favorite companies to watch. I saw a review in Road and Track magazine that gives very good marks to the Roadster, and noticed something I’d missed - Tesla now makes a sedan! A quick look at the company’s website shows the sedan does 0-60 in 5.6 seconds, seats seven, and goes 240 miles on a 45 minute charge. With gas averaging $2.

Ubuntu 9.04 Impressions

After a dismal showing from Fedora 11 on my MacBook, I downloaded Ubuntu 9.04 last Friday. It is slick; they’ve got a lot of stuff working very well on the MacBook 5,1. I have a few gripes about Ubuntu so far, but I am using it until somebody figures out how to get multi-touch functionality for my MacBook in Fedora 11. So, here’s the good: Wireless works, out of the box.

Flying Robotic Penguins

I meant to post this video a couple of months ago when it first came out and I found it in my “stuff to blog” pile, so here it is. How much cooler does it get than cooperative flying robotic penguins? Am I the only one that thinks this is AWESOME?!

Parable of the Five Talents

I was reading Matthew on Thursday and I came to Matthew 25:14-30, the Parable of the Talents. I’ve read this scripture, or had the parable explained to me in sermons and Sunday school, probably a thousand times. But it never occured to me that there are four servants in the passage, not just three. First, there’s the guy who gets five talents to start with and ends up with five more - pretty good investing.

30 Days, Day 12: Bucket List

This post is a response to the 30 Days To A Better Man project, Day 12: Create Your Bucket List. I read through the challenge yesterday and I’ve had a lot of real trouble coming up with anything. I’m not a huge thrill-seeker, so jumping out of airplanes or cliff diving or whatever sounds cool but I’m not going to have an unfulfilled life if I never get to do those things.

Fedora 11 Impressions

So far, after a day of use, I’m completely unimpressed. Fedora 11 fails to even recognize the trackpad on my MacBook; while in Fedora 10 I couldn’t enable multi-touch options, at least the trackpad worked! Also, the default browser is Firefox 3.5.4b, which is still beta - and I get that this is Fedora, so it’s supposed to be the bleeding edge and all - but seriously, Firefox 3.5 beta 4 is not ready to be a default browser.

Love and Respect

This is the second review in a series of posts about books for married men. Love and Respect, by Emmerson Eggerichs, was given to Emma and me as an engagement gift and the advice in it has helped us more than we know. Dr. Eggerichs writes about relationships between man and wife based on Ephesians 5:33. He believes that the deepest need of a man is to be respected, while the deepest need of a woman is to be loved.


Found this article via Slashdot the other day, thought I’d share it. Not that I recommend downloading music illegally, just that I think some of the things that the music and motion picture industry says and does to “protect their business” and “protect the artists” are ridiculous.

Fedora 11 Released!!!

Get to the download page! Do it now!

Business School Needs This

I found this article in Time magazine as I perused a copy while waiting in line to get my hair cut last week. The article is about the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona; what makes them special is the “Thunderbird Oath Of Honor.” While they don’t require graduates to take the oath, it’s recommended and included in the graduation ceremony. I will strive to act with honesty and integrity.

Browser Wars

A good subtitle for this post might be, “Why I’m still using Firefox.” I’m not happy with Firefox’s performance; it should not, under any circumstances, take up 1GB of ram and another of swap space. That’s ridiculous. I suppose the colossal list of extensions I have running might be half the problem, but after playing around with nine other browsers today (Opera 9 isn’t listed below), I’m pretty sure Firefox is the best thing around for me.

The Five Love Languages

This is the first review in a series of posts about books for married men. It’s a pretty common recommendation for newlyweds to read, and for good reason. Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages is a relationship classic with editions for couples, singles, parents, divorcees, those struggling to feel God’s love…. I know without a doubt that it has helped Emma and I to understand and show love for each other - which makes us both feel more loved!

Seth Godin's Saints

A couple of days back, Seth Godin posted a thought-provoking question. He asks, “Where are you?” on a spectrum of “greed/joy/work/good” in your current job, and in your current spending. Where am I? He mentions a few extremes, and I think it’s interesting to see who his saints are. First one is, “[Y]ou donate all your belongings and income to the poorest and sickest in the slums and ghettos.” Then, “Would you take a 10% pay cut to market a product you truly love and believe in?

How to Be a Married Man

I got married last month, and lots of people have given me books about how to be a married man, how to treat my wife, how to understand (or at least cope with not understanding) my wife, etc, etc, etc. And I think that, if you’re married, being a real man depends very strongly on how you get along with your spouse. So I’ve decided that I’ll review each one of the books as I read them (or as I find the time to write reviews) with the goal of doing about one every week or two.

Cool House

This month’s issue of Metropolitan Home (which I subscribed to for free) has a very interesting article about a very cool house. It’s 25 feet square - 575 square feet. My current apartment feels cozy, and it’s 1019 square feet - almost twice the size of the house in the article. But I can’t help wondering how cool it would be to get rid of all the clutter that having so much space generates.

30 Days, Day 1: Core Values

I’ve decided to get on board with Art of Manliness’ 30 Days To A Better Man project, on condition that anything they end up including in the project doesn’t violate my own sense of manliness. This post is a response to the 30 Days To A Better Man project, Day 1: Define your (five) core values. Five core values. At some level it seems ridiculous to categorize myself by five finite words, but here goes.

May Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23 this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. This didn’t happen. In April, I wrote that I had only read 71 pages in an entire month; this month, I’ve gone from page 485 to page 729 - 244 pages. A major improvement, but not enough. I finished the Old Testament on May 21, and it’s pretty taxing to read the entire New Testament in two days when you’re trying to get married.


This quote popped up in the Quotes of the Day widget on my iGoogle start page… it goes very well with my post from yesterday . “Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd.


My roommate’s New Yorker from a couple of weeks back has a great article on using the full court press in basketball. It also mentions Lawrence of Arabia and King David’s younger years. What do all these things have in common? Incredible success, due to incredibly unconventional tactics. While I’m inclined to dismiss claims that doing things differently from everyone else will always work out perfectly, I think it’s great to examine every single thing you do and ask if there’s really a good reason to do it the way you’re doing it, or even to do it at all!

Way Out of Line

And a little bit scary: this article, emailed to me by a friend, details a San Diego couple who are being told that they will be subject to fines if they continue to hold a regular Bible study in their homes without a “major use permit.” The article is watery on legal details, but I assume the law in San Diego County differentiates between primarily residential and primarily commercial properties, and that churches provide income to the county because they must be zoned as commercial properties.

Knife -- Essential Gear

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my $200 knife. A lot of frugal people might think that’s an exorbitant purchase, considering that pocketknives may be had for $3.95 and up on Google. I’ll wager very, very few knives that cheap have blades made of steel as good as the S30V in my Benchmade 943SBK. The point is that a knife is, beyond doubt, essential gear. The convenience of having a knife close to hand makes everyday life quicker in hundreds of tiny ways.


Finally! Emma, I have longed to be with you day after day… this is the happiest day of my life, and I know that when I wake up tomorrow morning with you beside me, I will be that much happier. I love you. If you were wondering, yes, I wrote this post ahead of time; right now, I’m completely focused on my wife. “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband.

A Wedding Present

So, I am now the proud owner of my very first firearm: the Springfield Armory XD Sub-Compact 9mm. It was a gift from my lovely fiancée, who also bought me a SuperTuck concealed carry holster from CrossBreed. She received from me the XD Service Model 9mm, as well as an “adorable” (her word, and I agree) dress she’d picked out at Caché. We’ve been thinking about buying pistols since last May (before we were engaged) and we finally had the money in our “Goal” account to do it.

Wolfram Alpha Google

I’m all for getting things done as efficiently and thoroughly as possible, so when I saw this post on Lifehacker, I immediately installed the Wolfram Alpha Google extension in Firefox. It’s a great idea - two very different and very useful search engines, with the results on one page. One slight concern is that the Wolfram Alpha results take forever to load, but I can live with it.

A Tour of My Plumber's Bag

The Simple Dollar had an article a few weeks back where Trent explained each item in his messenger bag (and Lifehacker has several such articles), so here’s my response. Trent wrote about the frugality behind each item in his bag; my bag is about convenience and readiness. I think that a man should be able to respond to his situation when necessary; part of that readiness is knowledge, and part of it is tools and equipment.

Pack Light

Here’s how. It’s called OneBag, found via Unclutterer. I grew up as a Boy Scout, and while “Be Prepared” is a great motto, it does lend itself to taking too much stuff everywhere you go. At this point, I would argue that manliness is completely unrelated to the stuff you have with you (except perhaps a knife), and dependent on the physical readiness and skills you posses which will allow you to deal with whatever situations you encounter.

Don't Buy Luxury Goods

Seth Godin has a great post today about the difference between luxury goods and premium goods. His insight into luxury goods - “Luxury goods are organized waste,” is spot on. Luxury goods are when you pay more for a designer’s logo. I don’t buy luxury goods. Premium goods, he writes, are “Pay more, get more.” I own a $200 Benchmade knife. While it probably didn’t need to cost that much, it is very high quality.

Please Try This at Home

SPECK Highlighting

When I’m reading my Bible, I often find it helpful to mark certain passages because they seem especially important, but I’ve never had any method for deciding which ones to mark. A friend showed me this technique several months ago and I couldn’t find any place where it’s explained online (if you know of one, please post it in the comments!), so here it is. This is the best method I’ve found for highlighting important verses to find them later.

Why Pornography Is Bad

Because God said so (Matthew 5:28). Because it makes you less of a man. I thought it was great that a blog like Art of Manliness posted what they did about pornography. While the author would not agree with reason number 1 above - he writes, “it transforms porn into an even more desirable forbidden fruit… and prevents men from being honest in their need for help” - he does present a lot of good arguments and he’s certainly on the mark in his conclusion, if slightly indecisive - “I don’t think porn is good in any setting.

CDX 2009


Hearing God's Grace

Ever wonder what your conscience is? Isaiah 30:21 says that our ears will hear God correcting us whenever we turn to the right or to the left. The whole passage, from Isaiah 30:18-23, is really interesting because it’s smack-dab in the middle of one of Isaiah’s prophecies about judgement, and yet these verses are an assurance of God’s love for us. “Burning is His anger… His tongue is like a consuming fire,” says Isaiah 30:27, and yet Isaiah 30:18 states that God waits on high, longing to be gracious to us!

Why Not Fire Bad Teachers?

I found this on Slashdot this week… it’s an article about how hard it is to fire teachers in California. I think that it says a lot about personal responsibility. The article notes that even when commissions found that a school district had reason to terminate teachers, they weren’t allowed to do so. One example reads, “The district wanted to fire a high school teacher who kept a stash of pornography, marijuana and vials with cocaine residue at school, but a commission balked, suggesting that firing was too harsh.

I Am Nothing

I can accomplish nothing; I can give nothing back to my Creator. What’s the point? I’ve just finished reading through Ecclesiastes; can you tell? Ecclesiastes 1:2, right off the bat, tells us that everything on earth is useless. “All is vanity,” writes Solomon, and I know just what he means. Ever get that feeling like you can’t do anything right, or that even if you do, it won’t matter in the end?

DFD 4 Impressions

This is the second post in a series where I’m reviewing each of the Design for Discipleship Bible study books. When I reviewed DFD 3: Walking With Christ last month, I wrote that each chapter built on its predecessors in a grand process of maturing in Christ. Design for Discipleship 4: The Character of a Follower of Jesus again points out that process, in chapters at either end of the book, and then covers three somewhat separate and very practical applications of Christ’s teaching to the life of a man.

April Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. At the end of March, I was on page 414 of 949, starting Psalms. Today I finished Psalms, and I’m on page 485. Nothing near the 300 pages I had planned to read this month, so I’m way behind. No excuse. I have to make time for God in my life, and that means I have to make time to read, study, and meditate on His Word.

What Did You Do First With Linux?

Via Slashdot, I stumbled upon several articles answering that question. So here’s my answer. I started using Linux in mid-2003. I had received $2000 to build a computer for Christmas 2002 (and nothing else, either for Christmas or my birthday, that year) as I was at the point in high school where I really needed one and interested in learning how to put my own together. Knowing that I could spend an extra $100 on slightly better hardware if I didn’t pay for Windows 2000, I obtained a copy from a friend… yes, illegally.

Fixing Microsoft Windows

I’ve spent the last few days helping out some old friends with their four Windows XP computers (all from Dell) and it amazes me the amount of stuff I needed to do. My friends wanted me to wipe three of the four computers and see what I could do to speed up the fourth (I couldn’t wipe it as it actually belongs to their church and too many people use it for me to have talked to each of them about what they actually needed backed up).


“To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.” -Shakespeare Psalm 15:1-2 tells us that a man who walks with integrity will abide with the LORD. The Art of Manliness has an article this week on doing just that - and it’s one of the best articles I’ve read there yet. If you want a rock-solid explanation of integrity, read the article.

Service Culture

I read an article in the Birmingham Weekly a few weeks ago that really struck me, and I just found the page I’d clipped as I was wading through the deep piles of stuff on my desk. While the article is about other things, one paragraph near the end is worth noting for the on-the-money comments about real service in our culture. “That’s where we’ve relegated service in our culture. We’ve made it something for the young to do instead of getting drunk … on a beach in Mexico,” writes the author.

Remember the Alamo!

Great article over at The Art Of Manliness on the men in the Battle of the Alamo. I think the three section headings say it all: Never compromise your values. (I Corinthians 16:13, Ephesians 6:11, 13-14) A great man keeps company with great men. (Psalm 111:1, I Corinthians 15:33) Great men are courageous in the face of adversity. (Deuteronomy 31:6, John 16:33)

March Resolutions Update

Read through my Bible this year before I get married May 23; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. I’m on Psalm 1 today, and I haven’t done today’s reading yet; page 414 of 949. I’m slightly behind the curve for finishing before May 23, but it’s definitely still an achievable goal. Gotta hit the Book! Use my credit card whenever possible but never carry a balance.

Lightning Has Struck My Brain

Or at least my apartment. I am oh-so-thankful in this moment to have [most] everything backed up and have more than one computer, since my main desktop will no longer respond to the “on” button. Everything was behind a surge protector, and almost everything survived, but not elijah. Hopefully my renter’s insurance will replace it? However, that is only small consolation, as my cable internet modem also fried and upon calling Time Warner this morning I found I will be without internet in my home until at least Friday.

First Foray Into Christian History

I recently finished reading Justo L. Gozalez’ The Story of Christianity, both volumes. A friend loaned me the book after I remarked that I felt uninformed about the origins of things like the Apostle’s Creed and the various Protestant denominations. Volume one works (basically) at the ascension until Luther’s revolution; volume two completes the Reformation and brings the reader into the present. The book is great. It’s an engaging read, and while the author is Methodist, he gives an extremely balanced treatment to every form of Christianity, if slightly minimizing the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

I Wasn't Born Yesterday

Well, actually, as far as God is concerned, I was. John 1:1 says that God was here when time began… John 1:3 says that He made everything, and I firmly believe that everything includes time itself. I discovered an interesting passage in Job today, Job 8:8-10. “Bildad the Shuhite” is trying to comfort Job by telling him that God will bring good to Job’s life again, despite his terrible loss. He says that Job should consider history - God had never failed!

Trophy Redistribution

If anyone has an original source on this story, please let me know - it’s hilarious!


The Art of Manliness blog has a good article today that’s just a list of “Unclassified Laws of Etiquette,” from a very, very old etiquette book. Here are a few of the best ones on the list: Never fail to tell the truth. If truthful, you get your reward. You will get your punishment if you deceive. (Proverbs 11:3) Never borrow money and neglect to pay. If you do, you will soon be known as a person of no business integrity.

Glory to God

It’s interesting to me how little the modern church points to the glorification of God as the point of our lives. Perhaps that’s a harsh statement, but this is a harsh reality - we’re all gonna die! (Romans 6:23) II Chronicles 7:13-14 says that if we humble ourselves before the LORD, He will be gracious and merciful towards us. James 4:10 says the same. II Chronicles 7:19-21, on the other hand, says that if we forsake God, then our fate will become a byword to everyone.

UK Schools Foster Narcissism

Just like our schools do! Hooray, Johnny, you’ve come to school for 13 years and not killed anyone! Here’s your diploma! Hooray, Billy, you didn’t actually even come to school very much the last three years and you’ve been busted six times for marijuana possession, but you’re going to some Division I school on a basketball scholarship, so here’s your diploma! No wonder our nation is failing… our workforce believes that they are entitled to all the benefits and none of the work - they’re told over and over in school that they’re special and good and perfect and, wonder of wonders, they actually believe it.

Coaches Can't Pray

I was listening to NPR today in the car and I heard a blurb about East Brunswick, NJ high school football coach Marcus Borden. I was surprised to learn that the US Supreme Court had declined to hear his case after he was barred from even bowing his head and taking a knee while his players prayed before games. The argument was that he had previously (for 23 years) led his players in prayer before games and that to allow him to bow his head showed that if a player didn’t pray he might not play, causing religious discrimination.

Happy Pi Day!

DFD 3 Impressions

This is the first post in a series where I’m reviewing each of the Design for Discipleship Bible study books. Last week I finished the NavPress’ Design for Discipleship 3: Walking With Christ. I think the overall point of the study is summed up well in the first chapter, “We must remember… that there is no such thing as ‘instant maturity’ in following Jesus.” The book does what I think is a pretty decent job of setting up four crucial steps in that maturity in the later four chapters.

February Resolutions Update

I’m three days behind again; maybe I’ll claim I thought it was February 31st? Read through my Bible this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. I’m on page 310 (I Chronicles 1:1) of 949, or 32.6% finished, not including what I’ll read this afternoon. That puts my average at just over 5 pages per day, finishing on July 5. I’m upping the ante.

Mr. T and Ezekiel 22

Found a great picture on the internet today… It’s funny because it’s halfway believable. We all know our government needs all the help it can get right now, but the A-Team isn’t going to help us. I heard a story on the radio this morning about dairy farmers laying off their cows, and the DJ ended by saying, “Let’s keep those farmers in our prayers.” Sudden conviction moment. Ezekiel 22:30, one of my favorite Bible verses, never ceases to convict me on this subject.


I’ve discovered that BibleGateway has a great Lent Reading Plan all four gospels and a few other passages during the 40 days of Lent. I know I’m a couple of days late, but I’m going to add it to my daily readings for the next 38 days! BibleGateway has a few other reading plans available, as well, that I may delve into once Easter arrives.

Grace and Mercy

Psalms 23:6 finishes one of the best known Biblical passages with the words, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” The word lovingkindness is from a Hebrew word that’s rendered mercy in many translations. Mercy is not getting what we deserve; grace (or goodness) is getting something we don’t deserve. Seth Godin had a blurb yesterday that reminded me that God has indeed been good to me.

How to Be a Real Man

This is a list of verses I’ve found that speak about real men, or what it means to be a man… Genesis 4:26(b) -> Call upon the LORD I Samuel 16:18 -> Musical, valorous, prudent, and the LORD’s favor Proverbs 24:16 -> Persevere Matthew 5:13-16 -> Be different from the world’s ideas Ephesians 4:11-16 -> United with other believers and speaking truth Ephesians 4:25-32 -> Speaking truth; not being controlled by anger

The Wedding Industry Is a Lie

I know, I’m getting married. But we all get carried away sometimes by marketing hype… what office worker can resist an Embody Chair? I think the next big step for me in living a frugal lifestyle and building wealth is to ditch the marketing. It’s amazing to me that I somehow still fall for marketing, since I browse ad-free, I don’t watch television, and most of the ads on Hulu (where I watch Bones with my fiancé) aren’t even for purchased products - they’re for stuff like Feed The Pig, which, ironically enough, is a website devoted to saving!

Be Linux

This post brought to you by the Linux Foundation’s “We’re Linux” video contest. And flying penguins.

January Resolutions Update

Well, it’s already February 3, so I’m a few days behind, but here’s my monthly update on how things are going with my 2009 New Year’s Resolutions, point-by-point. Read through my Bible this year; the entire thing, cover to cover, reading at least a chapter every single day. Well, I missed a few days here and there, but none in the last two weeks. I finished Numbers and started Deuteronomy this morning, and I’ve been struck by some of the things I never noticed before, like the fact that the Ark of the Covenant had a cover over it whenever Israel moved, so all those movies where you see the ark itself being carried are missing something.

FVWM Screenshots and Config

Here are a couple of screenshots from my home computer; they show my personal desktop configuration. I don’t run a desktop environment, since I don’t need most of the things they provide. My window manager is FVWM2, which is very lightweight, standards compliant, and extremely configurable. FVWM configuration is not for the faint of heart, since it requires creating and editing a text file, but that same early learning curve also makes the infinite personalization possible.


Read This Article. Just do it.

How to Configure Fedora 10

[EDIT 29 Jan 2009:] I just figured out something very important. Upon completion of the “Firefly” series on, I pop in my DVD of Serenity, and… nothing. VLC won’t open it, neither will xine, nothing. Having used libdvdcss in the past, I immediately go to yum and try to install it, but it isn’t there. Afer searching teh blagoweb for several minutes, I finally find, in a comment on this post, that the repo at rpm.

Credit Cards

This weekend I found, by way of Get Rich Slowly, a post from Coleman Unlimited that intrigued me about the usefulness of credit cards. The post’s basic point, lost on me when I made my New Years’ resolutions, is that some credit cards do, in fact, pay you money! Upon checking my account online, I found that my credit card has earned between 0.35 and one percent cash back on all my purchases.

IPhone Is Now a Kindle

We are rapidly approaching the point where your phone is your computer. Here’s your future: The 5x optical zoom, 10-megapixel digital camera is built in. Video playback (which means audio, duh) is built in. Instant messaging is built in. Internet browsing is built in. Mobile gaming is built in. “eBooks” are built-in. Video capture is built in. Video conferencing is built in. Once you pair your earpiece with the phone, it automatically, and wirelessly, connects whenever it is turned on.

GEN David Petraeus

Found a great article in GQ today (no, I don’t get the magazine, no, I’ve never picked it up before, I was waiting as my fiancée got her hair cut) on a great man, GEN David Petraeus. The whole article is available online, for which I give props to GQ. One of the recurring events in the article is a question GEN Petraeus poses to soldiers serving under him. “What have you learned?


I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions before, but I think this is a great year to start. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” I know that there are a lot of things in my life that aren’t even right in my own eyes when I look back on them, and if even a fool thinks his way is right, what does that make me?


I’ve just figured out that BOINC is included in Fedora. I’ve been installing it manually and it’s right there in the repos. Hooray less work! Now, if you’ve never heard of BOINC, it’s a distributed computing program which allows your unused processor cycles to be pressed into service for any one of several worthy projects doing anything from looking for a cure for cancer to looking for alien life. My personal favorite is the World Community Grid; it runs several other projects, mostly medical, alternatively.

Merry Christmas!!

MacBook, Fedora 10, FVWM

I love this stuff. The background is from Stratification, edited to reflect that this is no ordinary Mac. Yes, I blurred out the names… but that’s the only editing done on this screenshot. Enjoy. I’ll post an explanation of my desktop software sometime in the future.

The Scout Oath and Law

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Yes, I was a Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, OA Vigil honor… and I think it was great preparation. Just look at the Scout Law above and replace “Scout” with “Real Man.” Think about it for a second, and measure whatever standard you have in your mind, whatever man you admire. I think the only point which brings up questions is Obedient.

F10 on Aluminum MacBook: Sound Working

Update to this post about installing Fedora 10 on a brand-new MacBook… To make the sound work, at least from the headphone jack, I had to run this command, from a guide Naresh put up on his blog… echo “options snd_hda_intel model=mbp3” >> /etc/modprobe.d/sound This sets the soundcard model option for the sound server. I then followed this guide to get PulseAudio running by changing one line of the pulseaudio config file /etc/pulse/default.

Really Had to Link This

While it does poke fun at the Christian religion (which is different from following Christ), this comparison of religions to programming languages made me laugh this morning. Aegisub: If programming languages were religions…


A friend of mine brought this article to my attention yesterday: 10 years later, school still sugar free and proud. It notes the surprising story of Browns-Mill Elementary School, and the principal who, according to the article, single-handedly removed soda and junk food from her school and got kids asking for broccoli. I think it’s terrific. Someone saw a problem, and, instead of complaining to the federal government for more money or new laws, went out and fixed it.

Essential Gear

What is “essential gear”? Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar wrote earlier this month about the Suitcase Test. The premise, as he states it, is “If you had to fit all of your belongings in a suitcase and walk away, what would you pack?” From a personal finance standpoint, this leads to getting rid of a lot of stuff anything that doesn’t fit in the suitcase - and only buying new things if they fit.

Resolution: Clean Up My Mouth

“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” -Luke 6:45 I hope that my heart is not only filled with the evil things that come out of my mouth all too often. “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.


In my first post about notebooks, I mentioned a green Army-issue notebook that is roughly the size of a moleskine, 5.5" by 8" and 92 pages. I couldn’t find them online at the time, but now I have: the Federal Supply Service item 7530-00-222-3521. Price? $2.33 each, shipping included. Moleskine notebooks run $9.60 and up. Add a piece of duct tape and you’ve got a pen holder - wrap it sticky side out around a pen to form the holder, place that against the spine of the notebook, and wrap another piece of duct tape around the whole notebook cover (sticky side down) to hold it in place.

Fedora 10

I own four computers. Three of them actually work. All three run Fedora 10. In preface to my earlier post about Fedora 10 on my MacBook (yes, I know that prefacing something that’s already happened is backwards, but I’m doing it anyway), here’s a guide to installation and post-install configuration of Fedora 10 for my uses. YMMV. Note: all commands meant to be performed as root. Get Fedora. Install Fedora. I always separate my /home directory on its own partition and use a 2GB swap partition.

Fedora 10 on a New MacBook

That’s right, folks, I’m running Fedora 10 on my shiny new MacBook 5.1… and you can too!! Here’s how to do it. Partition your harddrive with BootCamp. My harddrive is 160 gigs (yes, I bought the cheapest MacBook since it was all I could afford), so I shrank the Mac OS X HFS+ partition to 40 GB and left the rest for “Windows.” Note: don’t actually install Windows, just exit BootCamp once the partitioning is done.


George Washington wrote that “it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.” “I know I’m a lucky man; God’s given me a pretty fair hand.” -Montgomery Gentry “I think we all sin by needlessly ignoring the apostolic injunction to ‘rejoice’ as much as by anything else.” -C.

The Problem With Macs

Sloppy-Focus (Focus-Follows-Mouse). If Apple implemented that one feature, I’m pretty sure I’d recommend Macs to everyone. But all indications are that Focus-Follows-Mouse without Autoraise isn’t coming any time soon, since for some reason the Apple UI doesn’t recognize a difference between focused and foreground. Steve Yegge (no, I don’t know him, I just found the article in my search for some way to get sane behavior from my new window manager) has a very informative article on his blog about the subject.

Essential Software

Since I spent a fair amount of time yesterday configuring a Gateway T-6330U that became worthless inside an hour of use, and I’ll be looking for the same application set on whatever computer I buy today to replace it, here are the “killer apps” that I use every day. -> Firefox (duh). Yes, I regularly try Opera, Safari, and IE, but the plugins always bring me back. -> Adobe Flash Player.

This Post Written From a Mac

Yes, yes, I have fallen to Steve Jobs’ evil empire… I bought a MacBook. It’s the lower-end of the two new aluminum 13" laptops. And it’s a thing of beauty. The one thing I regret about it is that my local PX didn’t have any with the backlit keyboard available. So small, so light… battery life of four to five hours… Bluetooth… Energy Star qualified… there’s no way I could have gotten all the features of my new MacBook from another retailer.

A New Era... (Or Laptop) [EDITED]

Well, my old Dell finally bit the dust. HDD just couldn’t keep up any more. So I bought a new one… and then I returned it. DO NOT BUY a Gateway T-6330U. They do not work. During normal usage, the T-6330U freezes every 5 to 8 minutes. Normal use. Freezes. Don’t buy it.

Beauty in a Laptop

After my recent (and sporadically continuing) laptop woes, I was reading through the Uncrate blog and found the Voodoo Envy133. Good grief this thing is pretty. While the technical specifications fail my wishlist expectations, it’s still a tempting buy. The big killer, which also rules out the new Samsung X360 line, is the lack of an optical drive. I can live with only 2GB of ram and a 1.8 GHz processor (current laptop has 1.

Laptop -- Essential Gear

I’m traveling away from home each week this month, and my laptop harddrive failed last night. Horror. Although all my data was backed up on an external (aside from the presentation I’d just started), it all became useless. Thankfully, it magically rebooted six hours later, but not until I had seriously considered a new laptop. Having done the consideration, I figured it was time to post ’em. So here’s my wish laptop.

Sunglasses -- Essential Gear

I demand a lot from my sunglasses, just like all my other gear. AR 670-1 states that sunglasses must not be “trendy, or have lenses or frames with initials, designs, or other adornments.” The lenses must also not be “extreme or trendy colors, which include but are not limited to, red, yellow, blue, purple, bright green, or orange,” but rather “traditional gray, brown, or dark green shades.” Since my sunglasses have to go with everything I wear, brown is out… can’t wear those with a black suit or jacket.

Backpack -- Essential Gear

Guys, let’s face it. Women got the better deal whenever it was decided that they could carry stuff around in bags during the day, and we couldn’t. There are plenty of blog entries on the net defending the murse, but this isn’t one of them. I am proposing something completely (sort of) different. Backpacks. Yes, that’s what I carry. I do have an “Urban Plumber’s Bag” from the now-defunct Bohemian Traders, and it gets a lot of compliments.

Notebook -- Essential Gear

“I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.” –Beryl Pfizer One essential piece of gear for anyone who needs to remember anything is a notebook. I have one with me, either hand carried or in my gear bag, ninety percent of the time.


Here’s what I want. A good quality weapon that I can use to maintain proficiency shooting on a target range once a month or so, with ammunition in a caliber useful for personal defense that also won’t break the bank on those monthly range outings. My pick: the Springfield Armory XD 9832HCSP06. A .40 S&W caliber pistol, small enough for concealed carry, but the right size (with a magazine extension) to practice shooting as if it were a Beretta 92.


Yes, I have a degree in computer science. Yes, I own my own domain(s). No, I don’t host my own website. It’s fantastic. Lifehacker, one of my favorite websites, ran an article on hosting a domain with free tools. I’m all about free stuff. So here it is.

1LT Timothy W. Cunningham

1LT Timothy W. Cunningham, USMA 2006 K.I.A. 23 April 2008, Golden Hills, Iraq

2LT Emily J. T. Perez

2LT Emily J.T. Perez, USMA 2005 K.I.A. 12 September 2006, Al Kifl, Iraq

1LT Laura M. Walker

1LT Laura M. Walker, USMA 2003 K.I.A. 18 August 2005, Delak, Afghanistan