Die Frauenkirche zu Dresden

Monday, 31 October 2005

I have mixed feelings about this. I have been here several times over the years, visiting family and friends. The last time I was there many of the new pieces had been arrayed, and construction was about to begin. A part of me would have liked to see a construction project of the same cloth as the Gedächtniskirche in Berlin, only somehow less glassy. I hope that over the years the colors of the newer stones and those of the older, original stones, remain distinct. To me it would be a shame to lose touch with the tragic history of the building.


A Blessed Reformation Day to All

Sunday, 30 October 2005

Take a moment and read a thesis or two…or ninety-five.

So, How We Feelin’ About the 24-Piece Set?

Friday, 28 October 2005

I kid you not, Uncle Rico stopped by my house today. Only he was a she, and she wasn’t selling any NuPont Fiber-Woven Bowls; no run-of-the-mill Crapperware, either. She was selling vacuum cleaners.

I hadn’t really ever had someone come door-to-door selling things before, so I invited her in to give her spiel. It was great. It was just like my own personal Uncle Rico–Aunt Rica, if you will. Check out the correlation:

“You look like a strong, young pup. See if you can give that a good tear.” :: “I bet you think you’ve kept your house clean. See what comes up with this suction.”

“I bet you don’t have one of these…” :: “…I’ll throw in this pair of binoculars for free.”

“We need something to make us look all official-like, like we’ve got all the answers. (How about gold braceletsss?)” :: “I just got this ID badge today.”

It was almost too much. I wasn’t about to spend $2000+ (that’s not a typo) for a vacuum cleaner. I can think of a car I’d rather put a down payment on. But it was an hour’s worth of free entertainment in an otherwise ordinary day.

Falling short

Thursday, 27 October 2005

I’m humbled by what a few months (ok, 13 or so) out of the game can do to a guy. I have been so busy over the last year or so that I have let my family’s website fall into severe disuse. I haven’t updated it in quite a while. So I went back there the other day, only to see that the weeds have grown all around it (some vicious spammer filled the guestbook–yes, we had a guestbook, that stupid little feature–with advertising), the links are up on blocks, and the pictures are all rusting out. I’m in need of something nearing a complete overhaul.

Part of my problem is that I created it in FrontPage. Yes. FrontPage.

I’ve been working to learn Macromedia Studio MX lately. I picked up a copy about a year ago, in hopes of getting things worked out then. Something about a “path” and “good intentions” is coming to mind right now.

Anyway, my hope is to create something that is a little more than just boring HTML, something a little more interesting than a static website.

This is where you may come in. If you should read this and feel like helping this pastor out, I ask for your assistance. What free and accessible resources are you aware of that would help a guy learn at least enough to be dangerous in the realms of ASP, ASP.net, PHP, or the like? This may be a tall request. I’m a little bit hindered by the fact that I don’t quite know what I’d like to do, just that I would like the knowledge to be able to think about what is possible and go from there.


I’m not alone in this

Thursday, 20 October 2005

Apparently Drew Litton is as appalled as I am. There are frankly just too many goals being scored this season. I hope the powers that be in the NHL will take a hard look at the changes they’ve implemented this year. Perhaps they’ll be willing to pull the NHL back to something that resembles hockey in the 2006-2007 season.

A Blessing and a Curse

Thursday, 13 October 2005

First the blessing. I am entirely stoked about the new laptop. For anyone keeping track of the ongoing saga of OSC’s CPU fiasco, it has indeed arrived. And to date it has performed admirably. This thing just wants to fly–not in some Dead Poet’s Society desk set manner, but in that computation at cutting edge speeds way. I’m excited about it.

And even better, I just salvaged all my data from the old hard drive, thanks to some brilliant techies at a local computer repair shop–the real kind, with retro ads on the walls advertising Intel’s new 80386 20MHz processor with 2MB RAM (upgradable to 16MB!) and an 80MB hard disk for the low, low price of $8400 (monitor, keyboard, and mouse not included). Boy, those were the days. Anyway, the guys did a yeoman’s job at saving all my data, and now it’s all being commuted over to where it belongs on the new beast.

Truly: thank God for all that. As I’m looking over all that I’ve put onto that machine, I’m really amazed. At the very least it’s a fair amount of history. I’ve got class notes and correspondence on there from the last 10 years (I had moved a fair amount over to that computer from computers past). Every sermon I’ve ever written was on that hard disk. Family photos. Video of my kid from the day of his birth. A lot was there! Granted, a fair amount had been backed up already, but not all of it. I had experienced some write failures as I was attempting to back up that drive the very week of the disaster! Murphy’s Law, or something.

But now the curse. At the same time I’m thankful for the salvage of my data, I’m also alarmed at how much I entrust to computers. I’m not one of those technology-is-evil kind of guys. I’m the polar opposite of that guy. I’m a geek. But I find that I’m well and truly sunk when a set of circuits, wires, and plastic goes dead.

And that’s not entirely true. Were I forced to live without electricity, I could do it. I could probably provide pretty well for my family without it. My problem is that I so readily choose to live in a technology-dependent fashion. And I wonder if there’s not some inherent sin in there.

In the Large Catechism’s handling of the First Commandment we read that a god is “that to which we are to look for all good and in which we are to find refuge in all need.” Perhaps computers specifically don’t qualify as such, but I might wager my salary against yours (trust me, you make more) that technology does for many, perhaps even and especially for me. As long as things work the way they’re supposed to then everything’s right with the world. But when something goes off the wire, well, then it’s a different story.

For me it’s probably more than food for thought. I know for my own sake I need to do more to unwire–certainly not totally, but in some way.

How sweet is this?

Saturday, 08 October 2005

Ok. Here’s the story. This past Sunday I was setting up to teach my adult bible class. It’s on the Large Catechism. We’d only just begun the previous week with the prefaces, and it was on to the First Commandment. I enjoy teaching the Catechism greatly, so much so that if I’m not careful we will spend six weeks on each commandment/article/petition/whatever. So in order to streamline the class some I decided to PowerPoint it.

I’m not a huge fan of PowerPoint, mind you. This was a first for me, using that particular application to teach the Catechism. But it worked well for the Prefaces, so I went ahead with it. A good deal of the point for me was that I would do a lot of highlighting and amplifying, while the people would go home and read it. To this end we took orders and procured copies of the new Concordia Readers Edition for anyone who wanted one. It was gratifying to see how many availed themselves on the opportunity to have one. It laid the foundation nicely for the walk through the Book of Concord that they may not realize they may have begun!

So they arrived last week, and Sunday morning we began to distribute them. It was not the most disorganized distribution it could have been. So I’m off to the side unpacking boxes and handing out books. All of a sudden there was a great crash. It probably wasn’t all that great, actually, but it was amplified by the gravity of the crash (no pun). I turned to see a blue screen where my presentation once had been projected. And there on the floor lay my 10-month-old laptop…in pieces.

I remained calm. I quietly collected the pieces and went to set it back up again. It was totalled. The person who had knocked the podium over, quite accidentally, was mortified. It was the latest in a string of events that was making it a bad day for this person as well, so I did what I could to reassure this one that it would be ok, knowing that the computer itself would certainly not be.

The sign for me that I must have entered a new stage of life somewhere back there was that my first thought was for my data. Regardless, I set it aside and taught the bible class, but not before my good wife broke down and wept. For her it was a last straw of sorts, the latest in a string of unfortunate events that has lately befallen us. One gentleman–not a member, mind you–who was there took a moment and prayed for us, for which I was thankful and by which I was very moved. So then bible class went along. I think God took care of his humble servant in that hour, because I was remembering to mention things that I had not prepared, and the class went well.

So anyway, the CPU’s totalled, but the hard drive was intact. I took it to a local place to have it removed and my data salvaged. And then I ordered a new computer. The church’s insurance should cover a good deal of it, and the church agreed to make up the difference–a tremendous blessing.

And now the sweetness. The replacement was scheduled to be built by and ship on the 14th of this month. I just visited the website and learned that it shipped today. I may have it as early as Monday. That’s hot. I’m told it’s supposed to scream, too: Pentium M 740, 2 GB RAM, 256 MB video RAM. I think I’ll have to work to put this one through its paces. The Lord is indeed good.