Monday, June 25, 2007

Bricks, Bees, Knees, and Cathy's 10-20

Today, our church voted for new elders and approved the budget.. We had one service instead of two and our topic was about building and pitching in, drawn from the book of Nehemiah. It was a good message, encouraging our church members to help in the building of God's vision by picking up a metaphorical brick. Our pastor makes great use of props and visual aides. He is hitting on all cylinders and doing everything textbook right with great timing in terms of leading the church through change. It is a pleasure to behold.

My "brick" , as it were, is to try to make ministry possible, or as easy as possible,through the use of technology and by coordinating the front line ministries. I get paid for the first objective but no the latter. that is fine, as I see the former as logically prior to the latter anyway.

After lunch, I came home and began cleaning Cathy's office, which I share but have rarely had opportunity to use during Sophie's convalescence and the nursing of her kittens. It took me a while to clean it up; five kittens can make quite the mess!

While I was outside cleaning the litter box, I got stung by a bee! I've never been stung by a bee before, and it didn't hurt as much as I had imagined. I got stung on the tip of my right index finger and was able to remove the stinger quickly, perhaps minimizing my discomfort. Poor bee; I wish he hadn't stung me and died.

While moving around the furniture for vacuuming, I think I tweaked my left knee somehow. It's stiff and it really hurts if I bend it much. Fortunately we do not have stairs to climb.

Cathy is in New Mexico (not California, the other New Mexico). She should reach Arizona tonight and be home tomorrow afternoon. I had got it in my head that she would be home this afternoon, so I was quite disappointed last night when I realized she'd be gone another day. Well, that gives me one more day to clean up around the apartment.

She has some nice pictures which I am looking forward to sharing!

Friday, June 22, 2007

DO THIS!! Block Scams & Porn for Free

Amazingly enough, I have never spoke about OpenDNS on this blog. Your should start using this immediately. Here is their Wikipedia entry.

It's really easy to set up, just so long as you have configured your router before. To start using OpenDNS today, just change your router's DNS servers to and (if you are not sure how, there's a dozen configuration examples of the most common routers on their web site here).

What you'll get immediately is anti-phishing protection and typo protection. There's an example site at, which looks like this screenshot when you are using OpenDNS. It has helped my mother-in-law out in the past.

To also set up the adult site blocking, see these instructions. There's no signup for the basic anti-phishing, but for adult site blocking you need to give them your IP address some how. This would be the slightly more complicated part, especially if you have a dynamic IP address for your Internet connection. However, OpenDNS supports dynamic IP addresses, too.

I've configured this for church, and it was easy and free. Totally worth the 30 minutes it'll take you to read and configure this. Even if you don't go for the porn blocking thing (if dynamic DNS is too complicated for you), use OpenDNS anyway for the anti-phishing.

Some important links:
Common router configurations
Adult Site Blocking
Dynamic IP address configuration

Weapons and stuff

I played with nun chucks as a kid - in fact, I have telescoping nun chucks. Metal ones. Two pairs, actually. I almost broke my front teeth with them, too! I lent a pair to the son of one of my church elders. I'm not sure that was a wise move. I bought them after a Bruce Lee movie (who didn't?).

It's no surprise to anybody that we liked the movie, "Lord of the Rings." Cathy even knows the names of most of the swords, including swords that Gandalf used in "The Hobbit." I particularly liked Narsil, and Legolas' short swords. I suppose I could purchase a couple of swords from somewhere like King of Swords, which carries fantasy swords.

Something else entirely cool is the idea of blending martial arts with guns. There's a could of action movies, both written by the same guy (no coincidence), which feature this. They both have a post-catastrophe storyline and both feature the notion of guns as martial arts weapons. One is called Equilibrium, and the other is Ultraviolet. Both pretty violent... but if you are into action films, I'd recommend both.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Finally, we're back!

Well, finally, I am back from summer school. I must admit, I'm not making the best use of my time... and I have been so busy I have no idea what's going on it my friends' lives. I'll have to read some blogs and get caught up.

Some stuff to update...

First, Cathy's in Georgia. She was looking for a good reason to visit Georgia and to see her dad. Father's Day seemed like a good enough reason. There were two choices, to fly or to drive. Tickets weren't cheap, and Cathy doesn't like to drive rentals, so for the slightly increased cost but guaranteed freedom of movement, we opted for the drive. More about her trip in a bit...

Our 2003 Honda Civic badly needed a tuneup, especially if it is going to make a 5,000 mile trip. So, on Friday the 8th we dropped off the car at the dealer and got its maintenance done. I picked up Cathy in our 1990 Civic, which prompted tried to overheat in the parking lot. It also refused to start. I had been dealing with car trouble, and figured I would have to sink two or three thousand into the 1990 Civic for it to be a reliable car once again. I was hoping to nurse it until my graduation in December, and perhaps sell it and get a transfer to Georgia.

Well, we retrieved the 2003 Civic, and since we were at the dealer we checked out the newer cars. As you have likely guessed, Cathy drove home in a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid, and I drove home in the 2003. Our 1990 Civic has been a very good car for the last 12 years. I must say, however, that I am enjoying having air conditioning and a CD player, and I felt better about Cathy drive cross-country in a new vehicle.

So, we got a new car, and Cathy drove out to Georgia to see her dad. We've driven across the country on the I-10 and the I-40, so this time Cathy took the I-70 to Nashville, and then down into Georgia. I miss her, but she is enjoying her time with her dad, and I finished my class. It is good that she got there before Father's Day.

Ah yes, the class! Darrel Bock is a world-class exegete, and his commentary on the Gospel of Luke is the gold standard work. Bock comes to California as a visiting professor at our seminary each summer, and I greatly enjoyed thinking through the Gospel of Luke. It was two weeks of stimulating and thoughtful handling of Luke and, where appropriate, the Synoptics. I gained much from it, and hope to preach or teach through Luke some day. Just one more class in the Fall, and I'm done!

While Cathy is out in Georgia, I pretty much have the place to myself and the pets. I didn't really notice for the first several days, since I was still busy with the Luke class. But now that the class is over and I'm back at work, I'm starting to feel lonely. I wish it were possible for us to both be there right now.

Cathy likes it there a lot. So much so, in fact, that she would like to move there. There's a Starbucks in her dad's town now, so she feels even better about moving! As it turns out, the company I work for has an office north of Atlanta, so I asked my manager if I could get a transfer. I just asked today, although both my manager and the VP already know I would love to move there. Cathy's dad's church is praying that I will get the transfer - the really like me for my previous visits. If we do move to Georgia, I hope I do not disappoint them.

Let's see... there's the kittens. We had Sophie and her babies, and then another batch of orphan kittens. We almost lost Sophie a couple of times, but she and all five of her girls are healthy now. One of her girls, Marcy, is now named Boots and lives in apartment three. The other four are ready for adoption and are staying at the shelter with Sophie.

Of the other litter of orphans, I'm sorry to say we lost all but one of them. Cathy found hard for their survival, but they just couldn't digest any food. The vet indicated that it was likely a birth defect, and that none of the litter had a good chance. But the one Cathy named Bubba did survive. He's small for a six-week old kitten, but he's growing fast! It's almost like he's a couple of weeks behind on his development. I wonder if he'll be slightly under-sized?

I suppose that is about it for now. Going back to work was pretty difficult. I got into the habit of taking an afternoon nap, and I was soooo tired this afternoon! I better hit the sack.