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Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 - 8:16 PM

"Jim Guy Cabin Trip"

Jim Guys sitting in traditional booth in Bend McDonalds

Click here to see more photos from the trip.

Early this summer I called the Jim Guys (Jim, Marcus & Dave) to plan a trip to the cabin. I may be wrong, but I think this was the first multi-day event we've had together since Jim's bachelor party. We've gathered together a great number of times in various combinations, but it's been ages since we have all been together for more than an extended evening. It took some advanced planning because we are all adults (well, in some ways, and in others not) and have more complicated lives and schedules. Fortunately everything worked out for a 3-day weekend. To sum up our time at the cabin, I'll simply use what I wrote the cabin journal.

Thursday July 26 - Sunday July 29, 2007

A Jim Guy reunion of sorts. Dave, Jim, Marcus and I drove via 26 Thursday evening, stopping in Sandy for Yakisoba dinner. Our itinerary for the evening involved watching the Simpson Movie at Old Mill Theater, an 11:59 (midnight) showing. The movie was quite hilarious, better than I thought it would be.

Friday we went into Bend. Ate lunch at Mazatlan Mexican Restaurant. Stopped at Bend Pawn to get some $3 movies (I found a Jackie Chan). We bought groceries at Food4Less for a traditional Jim Guy taco feast. Most of the afternoon we spent back at the cabin, either playing video games or juggling the soccer ball. Taco dinner, of course.

Saturday we got a late start and headed to the Lava River Cave. It had been a couple/few years since I went there. Jim and I were the adventurous ones, climbing up into the stacked tubes and shelves while sacrifice the bones and the skin. The rocky surface was quite sharp and horribly wet. This was the first time I've ever braved that climb. The pictures should make it a worthwhile risk. Then at the end of the cave, Jim and I continued down to where you have to crawl under the low ceiling. Rather, we did ape man walk - great exercise! Originally we had planned to go on a short hike in the afternoon, but the sun was hot, and we were too tired. We ate lunch at Chans in Bend - massive food (mine was essentially 2-1/2 meals - dinner that night and Sunday lunch). Saturday evening was spent pretty much the same as Friday.

Throughout the trip Dave and I were trying to play video files that he, Jim and I made some years ago. In so doing we discovered that the public library leaves their wireless internet on. We were never able to download & install the proper video codec and couldn't view the files.

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Thursday, July 26th, 2007 - 8:59 AM

"Two Dollar Bike Fix"

WD-40 $2 Bike Fix

It was apparently by providence that all the bike shops were booked. Early this week I called three bike shops in the area to see if I could get my bike in for some maintenance. I wanted my bike to be in good repair for some wilderness trail riding this weekend with JimGuys - not to mention that I ride my bike to and from work every day. My chain and gears have been acting up ever since I started riding again this summer. It turned out that all three bike shops were booked at least for a week, so I was unable to get my bike in prior to this weekend.

I probably would have paid $50 to $75 to get a bike tune-up, plus any replacement parts that they suggest (whether needed or not). It made me realize that bike mechanics are probably not much different than car mechanics. The difference is that bikes are far less complex, and any serious biker (or total amateur for that matter) really should be their own mechanic. It really isn't that complicated. Fortunately I decided to do the work myself.

What may have cost me $50, I got at Target for $1.90. I bought a can of WD-40 and sprayed the chain, gears and other moving parts. Turning my bike on end, I spun the wheels and found the link in the chain that needed to be worked out. I moved it back and forth several times, and it was like new. Seriously, didn't feel any better when I first bought it! It is ridiculously quiet and smooth. I'm sure the mechanics wouldn't have done much better - though I may still have parts that need replacement, who knows. I tend to use things until they break anyway.

Oh, and Target had a kick stand for about $5, so I bought and installed that as well. My bike didn't come with one, and I've always leaned it against things (annoying). This one does the job perfectly well, with a height adjustment et al.

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Monday, July 23rd, 2007 - 7:43 PM

"Fall Come Early"

leaves with fall colors

A couple days ago I noticed what I considered to be oddly seasoned leaves laying in the grass outside my workplace. What caught my eye was the variety of color in a single leaf, with green, red, orange, yellow and brown. I gathered as many of these uniquely colored leaves as I could while waiting to be picked up. I visualized great images that I could capture, but lazily took some mostly ordinary images. See them all on EsoShow.

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Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 - 6:19 PM

"Shoey So X"

Listen

shoey sod: verb

To keep (paste tense verb) a soccer ball from touching the ground using feet and other legal soccer hits (ie. no hands), passing the ball between them. Quite often the number of completed passes - not individual hits - is counted and recorded.

Listen

chalcord: noun

A recording of data or events, written using chalk on a surface such as pavement or a chalkboard.

Additional Information

Listen

chalcord: verb

To record data or events, using chalk on a surface such as pavement or a chalkboard.

Additional Information

Last Thursday Dave and I shoey sod . We didn't achieve huge numbers of passes (though 63 isn't too bad for us), but the chalcord was larger than ever before because we simply kept going. After all that, tried a currently nameless activity which involves passing over great distances. Normally when we juggle, we are standing 5 to 15 feet apart. To make it more interesting, we stood 30 to 100 feet apart. Passing involves a fairly powerful kick, and it is rather challenging to catch such a pass (or even pass accurately). The goal, of course, is to receive the long pass without dropping the ball and to continue juggling until the next pass is attempted. Both Dave and I did fairly well at this, being able to control quite a few impressively long passes. I was especially surprised at how well Dave did because he has never - to my knowledge - done such a thing before. I have done this several times by myself, kicking as straight and high into the air as possible and catching it on the way down. This activity requires far more attention and focus than standard juggling. It is also an incredibly rigorous exercise, particularly in chasing down all the passes that don't quite hit their target. We don't currently keep track of our passes because we are not consistent enough, though I think we got 4 or 5 in a row a time or two - not an easy feat! This is the first time I have stayed out juggling until dark - without any artificial lighting to help. The primary reason we stopped was because of the lack of light. The temperature and conditions were perfect otherwise. The large grassy area in Quimby Park is good for this longer passing.

Shoey So X Chalcord

Shoey So X Chalcord
14 4 3 12 5
4 28 12 13 11
3 9 9 3 4
12 14 9 10 4
7 4 2 12 4
6 12 13 3 8
13 4 6 16 6
1 63 10 12 18
9 5 8 12 8
13 11 6 18 8
8 42 2 24 10
13 21 21 4 8
13 6 5 6 8
13 3 38 2 10
10 8 6 18 14
12 34 24 20 22
12 4 12 1 4 5
57 3 5 1 1
28 13 9 11 1
16 11 6 3 11
1 1 28 7 6
15 12 1 24 12
Total Recorded Hits: 1247 Average Hits Per Volley: 11.23
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Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 - 5:32 PM

"Bible Study Begins With Glory and Love"

Doug, a friend from Ethnos and I recently agreed to start some sort of accountability relationship, focused especially on reading the Bible. Our first idea of communicating via email didn't work out too well. We talked Sunday and arranged to be far more intentional and aggressive to get started. Doug is calling me at 6:45 every morning. The idea is for us to catch up, share what we've read the previous day, and pray together. After our phone conversation, we take advantage of the early rise and get some Bible reading in. This morning was our second morning.

Yesterday we ended up talking on the phone for nearly an hour. I was left with little time to read before having to take off for work. As a substitute, I decided to read that evening.

The last years of my life have been easily been the longest span of time for me without consistent spiritual food. To put it simply, I haven't been reading at all, and my prayer life has been much less than desirable. Through this time I've definitely experienced great spiritual hunger, as well as drought and desperation at times. This wasn't the first time I learned the value of spiritual disciplines. I know full well from earlier in life the consequences of not maintaining good habits.

My heart has been crying out for more intimacy with Christ, while all the while the answer is right before me. Sometimes I get dissatisfied with simply reading and praying; I want to see Jesus face to face. Nevertheless, these valuable tools He has given us should never be neglected. They are in fact the answer to most of our yearnings, and a remedy to much of what ails us in life.

My time in the word last night turned out to be one of the single best encounters with the Spirit that I can remember. The words I read came alive in new and exciting ways. When I first talked to Doug about our devotion plans, I chose Philippians for my first read. Since then, I have tried reading the first couple chapters, but usually when my eyes can't stay open. Last night was the opposite. I found a group of three verses in the first chapter that seemed worthy of closer inspection. I ended up stuck on the first phrase in the first of these verses. This phrase led me elsewhere in the Bible, and it became an extensive and interesting study. Rather than belabor the point, I'll copy my 12 pages of journal notes I kept as I was studying.

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Note: the large, red superscript letters and numbers (1 A B etc.) are for cross-referencing within this post. Since the verses I was looking up were interrelated, I made some of these markers so you can go back and forth, comparing all the highlighted pieces with the same letter or number.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more1, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation - the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ - for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Philippians 1:9-11

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real loveA - not that we loved God, but that he loved usA and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expressionA in us.

And God has given us his Spirit as proofB that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.C

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraidD on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect loveD expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not not fully experienced his perfect loveD

I John 4:7-18

Watch the Progression

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face.

I Corinthians 13:12

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The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Hebrews 1:3

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My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them might be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:20-23

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For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called, those he called, he also justified, those he justified, he also glorified.

Romans 8:29-30

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And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

John 17:17-19

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But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come

John 16:13

I John 4:16

If it was up to me, my hand would [and has many times] let go. But it's not about me, it's about Him... and His grip is stronger than mine.

The miracle was the distance bridged in an instant.

Matthew 14:22-32

Jesus saving sinking Peter

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Sunday, July 8th, 2007 - 11:03 PM

"Transformers on the 4th"

Optimus Prime

My good friends Jim and Marcus invited me to go with them to see the new Transformers movie. I have been looking forward to seeing this movie like few others, so I was happy to go, especially with two of my best friends who I know are crazy about Transformers. These guys are the type who like to quote their favorite movies, you know the type, like die-hard fans of the cult classics: Star Wars, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Princess Bride, etc. So of course they have Transformers the Movie (1986, animated) practically memorized and were quoting it on the way to the theater. I consider myself almost equally as profound a fan, but quoting movies (or songs) has never been an aspiration of mine. I don't even quote Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, which I watched probably 50 times. I find myself more concerned with appreciating the story lines and characters that drive the fiction.

As a child, aside from perhaps Construx, Transformers were easily my favorite toys. I was the type that liked to invent, build and take apart. Complicated toys that took on two or more forms fascinated me. I always transformed them without looking at the instructions. Unlike most of my friends at the time, I never broke any of them! The only barrier that inhibited me from collecting them all was their price tag, and I only had a scarce few. I did have Metroplex, my prize possession at the time. I also had Ultra Magnus, Rodimus Prime and Astrotrain among others. Of course I watched the animated Transformer TV series as often as I could... the original, not the horribly annoying "CG cube interface remakes?", Beast Wars, or other variations.

I am hearing mixed reviews about the new Transformer movie. I think all of my friends came away somewhat disappointed, probably expecting perfection. I tend not to get overly disappointed from movies. Most of the time I'm thrilled that someone takes the time and money to at least attempt to make such fantastic dreams reality, even if imperfectly done. I tend to expect less and thus enjoy more when I finally see a film. I think the worst mistake is to closely follow all the hype prior to big movie releases, as such heightened anticipation almost guarantees disappointment.

I was overly thrilled after the movie was over, almost with tears in my eyes - I feel silly at admitting this. From the previews, I was expecting the robots to be void of personality, more alien-like, with emotionless actions and voices. I worried that the cool, laid back, human personalities from the original series would not emerge. After all, mixing immaculately modeled CG characters with admittedly cheesy antics might not go over well in live action. After all, most cartoons don't translate well.

Transformers the Movie

Without these goofy lines and human personalities, the Transformers would not be who they are. Optimus Prime in particular has always had a special place in my mind as a child. His personality traits were so noble, yet another fantasy archetype that resembles the character of Christ. He is a servant leader, always looking out for his friends. Even the humans, who are completely inferior and helpless compared to him, he cares for. Optimus is even willing to sacrifice himself to save another, and this happens a number of times in past story lines. Even after the defeat of Megatron, his mortal enemy of millions of years, Optimus calls him "brother". I believe the new Transformers movie captured the spirit of the original characters quite well. My eyes were especially glued to the screen each time Optimus made an appearance. Both in truck form and robot form, I was just sitting there, staring, thinking, "That is Optimus Prime!" I didn't care so much about the other characters, as I was impressed with just him.

I was thrilled to see no lacking personality in the robots, though the Decepticons and supporting role Autobots were not developed as well. Their voices were full of human emotion. The scene where the Autobots were attempting to hide in Sam Witwicky's backyard at night was priceless. Just seeing a hugely powerful robot caring enough to say, "Oops, sorry" after ruining some flowers (and exhibiting massive patience with the pathetic search for the all important glasses) was more than enough to satisfy. I'm sure that these things, which I fully appreciated, were unbearable to other viewers. Perhaps someone who didn't have past appreciation for the Autobots' human characteristics would have some of these moments quite cheesy or unrealistic. For me it was an affirmation that, yup, these are the Transformer characters I grew up watching.

As far as effects go, Transformers assuredly demonstrates the most amazingly detailed computer models ever devised. To see the complicated transformations and robots in live action was astounding. I have no idea how the models were created. Their movement is fluid, yet their structure remains intact. I can't even begin to imagine the kinematics involved in making all the pieces move together. Wow!

Aside from the well played personalities of the Autobots, I most enjoyed the movie's "robots in disguise" element. In the original show, very little interaction with humans occured. It seems all the action took place in remote deserts and mountains. The whole idea that the Transformers took on real-world vehicle shapes had little relevance. The movie really played on this idea, as each character transformed into a real model that blended in with any other in the human world. Even the interior of the cars and inner workings were identical. It would be impossible to perceive a difference between the Transformer and a real car. I loved to see this very important aspect of the story portrayed so well.

While I recognize the shortcomings of the Transformers movie, I couldn't help but enjoy the film. I was so enthralled with what I perceived to be incredible pluses that my mind looked past the faults. I look forward to when I can get it on DVD, as repeated VI$IT$ to the theater are absolutely a thing of the past for me.

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Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 - 11:57 AM

"Blender Sculpting"

One of my first experiments with the new Sculpting tool in Blender. Can you guess who it is? I know, it's not that great. It's just a first attempt.

Batman in Blender

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Monday, July 2nd, 2007 - 12:40 AM

"Battlefield Fall"

This poem describes the annoyance of the Fall of mankind, though connecting it with thoughts more abstractly personal. Enemies lurk everywhere in the darkness, while each moment of life seems to confuse and ruin. Yet there is one who seeks us. The meter is imperfect, so it has to be read slowly, without great expectation.

Battlefield Fall

by Phil
June 30, 2007

Night shades lurking quietly,
mere shadows of the Fall.
Diversions smirking silently
with the tippest toe of all.
Attacked without a warning,
'twas no obvious assault.
I should have watched more carefully;
my demise is my own fault.
To be cast without a Seeker
is a fate I cannot bear.
Ev'ry moment grows me weaker;
seems I'm crushed beyond repair.
Whistle blow and stop the line I'm in,
all the faces look behind.
Gold Seeker calls me from my sin,
says "You are my greatest find!"
Flowing water, shiny ripples in His hand,
washing darkness from my soul.
Out of line now, for He cut the band,
dosed me freedom to the full.
No longer fear the garden's shades;
don't bend knee to do their will.
Sure their call is strong, but all fades
next to One who's stronger still.

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Monday, July 2nd, 2007 - 12:25 AM

"Uttering Replicas"

A couple nights ago (6/30/07), I was in a little bit of a poetry-writing mood. Perhaps rather, I was in a little bit of a defeated and discouraged mood, and this outflow of poetry is what resulted. This first one reflects my feelings of failure in my spiritual walk at times. I want to be a reflection of Christ and be disciplined to do His will, but often I act like the exact opposite. I feel my lack of will to act makes me no better than His enemies. Hope is never lost, but obvious reason to hope often feels distant. I find comfort in times when there is no apparent reason to hope, because there is always hope in Him.

Uttering Replicas

by Phil
June 30, 2007

Why don't I listen to the crying Savior?
I witnessed His messy wounds, a bleeding heart,
Yet my hasty actions and selfish ploys
Speak for His death, uttering relicas
Of a then hateful Sanhedrin, stirring up the hateful crowd.
Life flies by and iron shields the glistening clouds.
Fire by night and cloud by day,
Yet I cannot break the fetters of eternal blight;
My wings not fit to kiss the sky or shove the wind.
Who folded up the grandeur, the intimate steps and whisker tips in time?
Is the clock my darkest foe?
How has it all been exchanged for "All days bright except tomorrow"?

What can be done to make good use of my unopened toolbox?
Who told me I could not succeed?
Why did I believe him?
Lost in messy toil.
Lacking fire.
Unfit for life.
Sought but lost.
Alone in a crowd of self.
Dusty, unopened book on tilted shelf.
Savior, hear my silent plea.
Must I build a hill from hardened tears?
Elevate my hope.
Let my lips be heard uttering replicas of You.

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