Friday, May 27, 2005

Maggie, you have a very bad attitude

I called the passport information center to check on passports for our family. Applications were submitted on Apr 11th and I know the goverment cashed our checks on Apr. 25th, however we have not received them which is why I called. Actually, I was kinda shocked that they even have a human that you can speak to.

Maggie answered my call and said "what's your last name and birthday?" in a curt manner. So I replied. When I realized she was going to use them to look up the application I quickly stopped her and said, "err, but you probably want the information for my wife and children, because I wish to check on the status of the application". And I told her my wife's birthday. It took her abour 4 tries to get it right because she kept mixing my birthday with my wifes. Finally she got it right and said "it's in New Orleans"... So I started asking more questions like "will I get it in time?", "can I call New Orleans?", "what's the number?"... She got really rude with me and basically said she couldn't tell me because of privacy laws. I was ticked and not thinking clearly so I just hung up when I realized that my one year old wasn't going to be able to call back. She should've at least let me get more information about my kids.

I called back immediately and got a VERY HELPFUL and nice Shirely. She put urgent messages on all of the applications and told me to call back Tues. to check on the status. Thank you Shirley!

Hat tipped in deference for my title

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Everything Bad is Good For You

My son got Zelda The Minish Cap for his gameboy for his birthday, and I've been playing with him. We each have our own "file" and while he's really good at the game, I'm still better ;) Anyhow one of the thoughts that I've had watching him play is that how incredibly spatial the game is, and how quickly he grasps it. He'll say things like "remember that castle over on the right" and I'll say "huh?" and he'll say "go left, go up, go up, go right, go right, go right" and we'll be at the castle that he was talking about. So I've been wondering whether you can learn spatial relations, or perhaps more generally, can video games make you smarter. Traditionally, parents treat video games like addictions that suck your brain out, and certainly they do simulate addiction. We learned this year that you NEVER give a gameboy game for a birthday BEFORE you're done requiring your child's attention. Our son was immediately absorbed in Zelda (and Super Mario Bros. 3) and we had to pry him away when we needed him for cake (can you believe it?!?!) or pictures, or saying goodbye to guests. That said, there's an interesting new book out called Everthing Bad Is Good For You. I heard an interview with the author on NPR and he argued (somewhat convincingly) that television programs are more sophisticated today than they were in the 70's and 80's and require more refined intellectual skills to follow and enjoy. I haven't read the book, but you're welcome to buy it for me ;)

Friday, May 20, 2005

New book by Brian McLaren

If you’ve read other books by Brian McLaren, particularly New Kind of Christian or The Story We Find Ourselves In, you probably already know… But he’s got a new book called The Last Word and the Word After That So far it’s every bit as captivating.

Going to see Lance

I’ve bought tickets, and have a preliminary itinerary.

I’m flying into Heathrow on July 11th. Then I’m jumping over to London Luton for a flight to Grenoble France with several friends from Seattle who work in Edinburgh. We stay the night in Grenoble and begin following the Tour on stage 10 from Grenoble to Courchevel. We’ll camp in Briancon for a couple of nights, and then camp on the Mediterranean near Montpellier for a few nights. We then fly out from Nimes back to Luton and I return from Heathrow.

Lots of things to be excited about, but I’m hoping to see the finish in Courchevel (though coordination might make that hard) and the summit of the Col du Galibier (stage 11) where I’m hoping to take a rental bike from Briancon in reverse up to the top of the climb (about 40k and 1500m vertical).

We don’t have almost anything planned out beyond that (e.g. what to do when not watching the race, eating, etc.) but that’s part of what makes it exciting. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Thanks Shiree for letting me do this! I’m very much looking forward to it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


I’m only a through the introduction for “A Generous Orthodoxy” but I found this interesting quote:
A warning: as in most of my other books, there are places here where I have gone out of my way to be provocative, mischievous, and unclear, reflecting my belief that clarity is sometimes overrated, and that shock, obscurity, playfulness, and intrigue (carefully articulated) often stimulate more thought than clarity.

I’ve seen several reviews that revile the idea and call it a rejection of Truth. That kind of thinking treats theology and the pursuit of God more like studying physics. Why are we certain that we know God that well? Certainly there are some things that we must say with certainty or else we have no place at all on which to stand “mischievously” and “playfully.” I think that McLaren would certainly agree with that.

Personally, I find the idea refreshing, and am looking forward to the rest of the book.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Very interesting article about something that I've had an intuition about, but never been able to articulate. Somewhat related to my point about love.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

One lesson down...

Now that wasn’t so hard.

About three weeks ago, I went out with my brother-in-law. He threw me into the lions den and I survived. I stalled a couple of times but only in places that didn’t matter. I also did a lot of practicing on hills and got good enough (at least in that session) that my brother-in-law could stand a foot or two behind the car and I wouldn’t squash him. My main point of weakness was letting out the clutch too slow and pushing the gas too fast and hence peeling out.

Time for another session.