Friday, May 27, 2011

There Will Be Taters

Here's a few pics of our potato garden:


We're growing Yukon Golds and something that is purple. These pics are a few weeks old. Now teh plants are blooming and about 26 inches tall. We should have a bumper crop!

Fly Boy

My father in law got a deflated promotional blimp from his work. So we filled it up and modified it with 7 more balloons for extra lift. If I had more helium I'd have attached my iPhone for some aerial video.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Geeking out

Once upon a time I took apart an AM/FM Radio/Cassette player. My parents didn't find out about it because I put it back together correctly. Of course this was after I took apart something else and didn't put it back together correctly and got into trouble.

Like most boys, and now like many men, I want to know what makes things work, or at the very least, I want to know what things look like on the inside.

We've had this old Sony laptop sitting around for 18 months or so, just taking up space. I've been wanting to use it for some grand re-purpose but never had the motivation to actually put the plan in motion. By the way, there are some GREAT ideas for re-purposing old lappy's over at the lifehacker blog. Everything from setting up a media server for music and movies to an arcade-style NES emulator. It's a pretty rad set of ideas for that old leg burner.

I decided that I'd combine a few ideas floating around, and make a homemade surveillance setup. I have a few old webcams and a old USB streaming-capable Sony Handycam that just need some action. Lifehacker to the rescue -- they have a DIY tutorial on how to get going with awesome home security. It'll even feed the video to my iPhone! WICKED!

But the problem is that the old lappy is really in bad shape to be running streaming video over the home WiFi. For starters it's power supply doesn't run at the right voltage. The computer needs 19.5, and the replacement AC Adapter puts out either 19 or 20.

Second is the actual AC plug in the back of the Vaio. It has a broken solder, so when it wiggles it cuts power. I have (what i think is) an ingenious fix for this.
[UPDATE: I spoke with a computer repair nerd about my ingenious repair plan, and he said
that's a great idea if you want your house to burn down." So I'm back to square 1.]


Third is the battery. No longer holds a charge, and actually causes the computer to lose power because the brains are competing for sources to draw juice. This makes it run REALLY hot and that's a no-no for lappy's.

To access the AC plug, I had to take everything apart. Super scary and TONS of tiny screws.


So until I solve the power supply problem(s), I can't proceed with my plans to revamp this old Sony Vaio laptop into a home surveillance system.

Oh, my goal in all of this is to catch the dog sleeping on the couch in the middle of the day when we're not home. And to prove my theory that Kate (said canine) hosts poker parties with the neighborhood hounds. I've found playing cards hastily stuffed under the rug, and the house has at times had the faint aroma of cigar smoke, bourbon and bad luck.

I'll update with security footage.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Church Wuss part 5

As I've mentioned before, violence and Christianity do not go hand in hand.

Yahoo news is reporting about a Pennsylvania pastor who lied about serving as a Navy SEAL to apparently beef up his legitimacy as a man of faith.

So, here are some questions:
    1) Since when did serving in the military (whose primary goal is to use violence to create "peace") enhance ones ability to emulate how Jesus lived his life?
    2) Why does serving as a Navy SEAL give a pastor more "street cred" than say, serving as a missionary, or an aid worker, or a human rights advocate, or a peacemaker. [Oh right, those people from the UN with the AR-15's and AK-47's are called "United Nations Peace Keepers"]

I respect the women and men who challenge themselves by serving their country in the armed services. Many of my best friends have service in their backgrounds. I serve a church in an Air Force town, where a large majority of the congregants are retired from the base, work military or civilian jobs on the base, have children or grand children who live/work/train on the base. For better or for worse, my congregation exists because of that Air Force base. My concern is not with military service as such, but how it is used as a manipulative tool in this case with the pastor, and how the message of war completely opposes the message of Jesus.

This whole thing bothers me because it lifts up the "man of God" who expanded on the story of his military service for his own benefit - too look better in the eyes of his parishioner. So he sold out not only the honor of serving his country in a brave way, but also sold out the honor of his clergy status by lying about his military service. Why? To be on better ground with his church. Selfish.

Yes he apologized, and that's what is right to do. But unfortunately all too often the worlds of war and Christianity come together in painful ways. And not to make light of the violence in the world at the hands of Christians, for that is indeed a deep, deep sin against not only God but ourselves, the earth and all that lives in it - but it is this exact kind of self satisfying, chest thumping, braggadocios attitude that Jesus actually taught against!

So I ask, when Jesus came to Jerusalem on that "Palm Sunday", and the people were expecting a warrior ruler with an army of 10,000 men with swords and shields - and they got a gentle preacher/healer riding on a borrowed donkey, where do we get the idea that our religious leaders should be people of war and not peace? Has anyone ever read Jesus?

My guess is, not seriously, not without an agenda, and not in a long time.

Outside play

Finally had some time to get out and play in the yard and on the playhouse!
**These pix taken with iPhone 3GS and edited w/ Lo Mob.

OKC Festival of the Arts (barely)

So the building has nothing to do with the Festival of the Arts. It's just the new skyscraper in downtown OKC - the Devon Tower. But the red sculpture in bottom/right is on the grounds of the Myriad Gardens area where the FoA is held. 

"I can almost touch it!"
Little girl shown to scale.

Cowboy Hall 'O Fame

Sunday for moms day we had lunch at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum in OKC. Here are some rad pics of the kids being all old timey.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Enrollment

Went to enroll the boy in Pre-K today.

Supposed to check which "race" my son is. So, I was either going to put "rat" or "human" but they didn't have those as options.

When I turned it in I was told to choose "white".

Here's a snapshot of my response:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Expanding Income Gap Stats

According to information gleaned from the CIA Factbook, and using a mathematical equation called the Gini coefficient, which calculates income stratification around the world, the United States is winning when it comes to large disparities in income between the rich and poor. Meaning, the richest folks in America are making more money compared to the poor in America at all-time high rates. Or to put it another way, the difference between income for the poor and income for the rich has never been greater.

Left-leaning blog ThinkProgress developed a handy chart to visualize where the US stands in terms of income gap. Note: the bigger the bar, the bigger the gap.








So what might this imply about capitalism, specifically "trickle-down" economics?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Initial reactions: Osama bin Laden killed

My first thought when reading about it on twitter was "no way" and "wow".
Second thoughts went to how retaliation always elevates the problem.


When this information gets put into history text books for high school kids, what will the lesson be about? Here are some choices:

- American military superiority
- American Nationalism
- Bad guys always lose
- Don't mess with the U.S.
- It's okay to celebrate the death of a human because he was a bad guy

Probably won't be on any of these to pics:
- Value and meaning of "justice"
- How in the years after 9/11 America was preoccupied with anti-terrorism and let the economy implode
- A critical analysis of the cultural response to the news
- A return to the debate of "Just War" / "Preemptive War"
- How Osama's death had little impact on the day-to-day operations of Al-Queda

What were your initial reactions to the news?