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Sunday, March 29th, 2009 - 11:48 PM

"Belly Bouncer and Toothless Pestered Frolicking Frog"

Belly Bouncer and Toothless
Pestered Frolicking Frog

By Phil Steller, March 29, 2009

Sublet room and sunlit sky.
Worthless moments passing by.
Jesus died so I can live.
Nothing left but life to give.
Make me fruitful, multiply.
Don't let fruitless time pass by.
By my breath, God glorify.
Don't know answer, question: why?
Turn the cloak and wave good bye.
Darkness bids, I answer not.

Not the best poetry I've written. After a late night ride from the Halls' house I was feeling weird and just felt like writing something. So it became my Facebook status for the moment. Figured I may as well put it here too, since I generally try to put most of what I write on my blog in some fashion.

Some parts of the poem reflect what I'm feeling right now at the moment. The rest is just stuff that came out as my phingers typed.

A person that reads such a poem might wonder about the relevance of the title. I like to explain it this way. The Belly Bouncer represents a really big Sumo Wrestler... cuz, well, they bounce bellies for a living. No frogs that I'm aware of have teeth. Nothing interesting there. The frog I speak of doesn't "frolic" either. What I'm talking about is a frog who uses its long tongue projection to lick the hair of people who have big hair (fro... like I'm building on my head)... therefore "fro-lick". My theory is that this particular frog hesitates to expel the revisions of his house plan that the evil architect repelled with magnetism-powered tools. Therefore, all the sumo logic comes into play. You know what I mean. No further explanation necessary.

OK, one more tidbit. All this relates to that annoying commercial Mazda did a while ago that kept saying "Zoom zoom zoom". ANNOYING! They WAY overused that. I didn't really like it the first time. Now I don't even turn my TV on ONCE in like 6 months... just in case I might hear that annoying ad. Speaking of reliance on way overused slogans, "Can you hear me now?" NOT good.

I'm not sophisticated enough to eat moldy cheese. I think it's old, ugly, and tastes yucky. I say Winnie the "Pooh!" out of my mouth.

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Monday, March 23rd, 2009 - 2:31 AM

"Stations of the Cross Construction"

Another of the stations our SW Hills Community Group took on to design for the Stations of the Cross event involves building a cross. I came up with this simple beveled cross design that I'm hoping to construct soon with the help of a craftsman in our church.

I decided to illustrate the design by modeling it in Ray Dream Studio and rendering it in Bryce. Of course I added some scene elements to make it interesting (and make it take WAY longer to render).

3D Cross Design

3D Cross Design

3D Cross Design

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Monday, March 23rd, 2009 - 12:27 AM

"I Am Willing"

Who will bear my burden?

In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. "Lord," he said, "if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean." Jesus reached out and touched him. "I am willing," he said. "Be healed!" And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Luke 5:12-13 NLT

Last Friday I met Tiffany at Oregon Decorative Rock during my lunch break. The two of us represented our SW Hills Community Group in looking for some rocks to use with our Stations of the Cross project. We committed to taking on three stations, one of which will involve writing on rocks. More specifically, those who visit the Stations of the Cross will be encouraged to write something on their rock that has been troubling them, a burden.

As Tiffany and I were talking with Jim, the friendly store manager at Oregon Decorative Rock, Tiffany said something "funny". She said, "Well, maybe we could return them when we are done." Not knowing if she was joking or not, I instantly recanted it by saying, "Nah, I'm sure we can use them again and again." Of course the reason I said that was twofold. First, it would be kind of rude to "burden" the business with a return, especially considering the relatively low purchase price. Second, we are going to be writing on the rocks, so they will not be in a returnable condition.

I revisited this conversation in my mind later that day, and something profound and powerful occurred to me about the symbolism of our rocks. I asked myself the question, "Who would want a bunch of rocks with stuff written on them?" Being that the primary use of the rocks is for landscaping and decorative purposes, I pictured a yard ornamented with our rocks and all their words. Can you imagine?

If people are honest when they encounter this station, they will write the burdens that plague them most. Some might write of broken relationships, addictions, guilt, stress, lost loved ones, financial trouble, and so on. Imagine now a beautiful garden with a bank of rocks partially embedded in a small mound of soil. Each rock has a burden written on it, some words too shameful or painful to look upon for more than a few seconds, much less consider deeply and sense the "weight" that word must represent for the person who wrote it.

This is a type of rock garden that probably no one would choose to construct. If they did, it would be a pious gesture, the yard would be ugly, and the problems written on the rocks would remain unsolved and unaided. Any sensible person would prefer clean rocks with nothing written on them for landscaping. Who wants a bunch of used, tainted rocks that represent a bunch of bad feelings and painful situations?

Something wonderful occurred to me as I considered that question. The beautiful answer struck me: Jesus is willing to take those ugly, written on rocks. If anyone has a garden and is willing to use such rocks to decorate, it is Jesus the Son of God. Each of the rocks we hand-picked is anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds each. Not so bad to carry one's own burden. Our pile of 300 something rocks weighed in around 500 pounds! Not so easy to carry. Imagine the weight of the burdens of a whole world full of people! Who would make that their lot?

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:6-11 (NIV)

Even if someone was so kind in their heart and wanted to help by bearing a burden, NO ordinary human could bear up under such a heavy load. It would instantly crush their body as well as their spirit. But Jesus who came in the flesh is also God! He alone is able. Thank You, Lord! Thank You for doing what we could never do. We were SO lost and without hope. You are for us a Living Hope. Just as the stone was rolled away from Your tomb, we too can be aided with our burdens! In this world we have trouble... but You have overcome the world. Anything born of Your Father also overcomes. We are reborn, and our faith also overcomes the world! Wow!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

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Sunday, March 15th, 2009 - 12:57 AM

"Weird"

I am disturbed by the game of the flashy light ball with goals of hitting other balls. Something isn't right about that. It's a game I was not willing to play. But co-adaptation is just fine with me.

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Thursday, March 12th, 2009 - 12:26 PM

"Ethnos Web Site and Stations of the Cross"

OK, I'm seriously behind on writing in my blog. I've been feeling fairly busy lately - which for me is generally OK nowadays. I'd rather be doing something than nothing, though nothing every once in a while is good too.

Last week the core Ethnos web team - currently Matt, Wes and I - transferred the Ethnos Church web site to a new host (namely mine, to save money). Since it's on my host, I'm kind of the technical contact, though historically Wes serves more in that capacity. Wes worked to transfer the forum and some domain level stuff. Matt went all out and redesigned the entire web site from scratch, updating all the pages and adding new ones where applicable. He contacted all the necessary heads of ministry and feverishly produced content at an insanely rapid pace. Hats off to his efforts, the site looks great à mon avis.

Ethnos Church puts on a pretty cool Good Friday program, and we are attempting to improve and expand it this year. It's called "Stations of the Cross". It involves walking through a course, encountering 14 artistic and tactile stations designed to allow the participant to be contemplative about the various final acts of Jesus' earthly life. I haven't myself attended or helped with this event before because I wasn't really around or involved at the right times in the past. This year I'm trying to be helpful and get somehow artistically inspired. Our Thursday night community group is going to take on a couple of the stations (speaking of SW Hills, you are welcome to join us on Thursdays for a casual dinner and hang out time... though for the next few weeks we'll be busy working on Stations stuff).

Speaking of that: Everyone's invited to come to Stations of the Cross! It's on Good Friday, April 10th at Beaverton Christian Church. Please RSVP if possible. Earlier times during the day are likely less "busy". See the microsite for more information: http://stations.ethnoschurch.org

I designed a little microsite for the event two nights ago. Just last night I came up with a simple graphic to spruce up the appearance a bit. I wasn't sure exactly what to make, so I just started scribbling in Inkscape, one of my favorite graphics programs. I discovered a pretty cool set of secret actions that transformed my random scribbles into a pretty interesting ornate set of shapes. I started out with a single vector shape that had something like 20,000 nodes on it. Phew, talk about tasking my computer! Almost like the "good ole days" of doing one simple graphical task and waiting 10 minutes for it to apply or refresh.

Stations of the Cross Design

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Monday, March 2nd, 2009 - 11:16 PM

"New Printer Cartridges"

Have I really nothing better to write about than new printer cartridges? Well, probably yes, but that's life, Gilligan. Who cares. Chuck Chew Squares and Fallible Stiffness Toes.

I bought new printer cartridges after having an inkless printer for a couple years. Shows how much I print - almost never. Now I can print. Phew, such a relief, since I pretty much never print anything. My life is now 0.00000000000000000083 percent more complete.

I received all sorts of violent insults and threats because I have recently been publishing my ugly face on my blog too much. This picture should solve some of those problems.

I used my new graphics software, Serif DrawPlus X3 to compose this fantastic image that is beyond compare. Woa, even Golgastein the Improvite is impressed. The next sonic boom created by a fighter jet that happens somewhere in the world... is hereby dedicated to the coolness factor of this imagery.

Got Print?

Oops, I almost forgot. The reason I wrote this is because I acquired the cartridges in a new way. I've tried various ink replenishing gullets (methods) before. I've forked out big bucks to buy new cartridges (no one should ever do that). I've bought a new printer, which is considerably cheaper than buying new cartridges, and the printer usually comes with cartridges (sick America we live in where such things are encouraged). I've even bought ink refill kits and tried to do it myself. That was a disaster! Ink everywhere - never again.

This time I looked at the ink refill stores in the area. I priced one out on the phone. Driven by curiosity, I looked online to see if there was a way to buy them cheaper. Sure enough, there are a ton of places selling "used" (no idea what that means... like a used cheeseburger or diaper) or "refurbished" ink cartridges. I looked on Amazon and found a seller that easily outpriced the local ink refill shop even with the shipping cost. A week or so later, and now I have my ink. Works great!

A week without ink for some people would be catastrophic. For me, it was like "who cares?" It might be six months before I have need to print something. But when I do need it, it'll be sitting there, drying into a solid block and clogging my print heads. Yippee!

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