Saturday, March 29, 2014

Compendium of Links #56

I'm such a baby when I get sick. All I have the energy to do is sit on the couch and read... if that. All I've got is a bad cold, and I slept till 11 a.m. today. I blame it on my sister. :P

A Japanese architect won an architecture prize for his beautiful temporary structures built in the wake of major disasters. Check out the photos of the buildings made of cardboard... paper... you name it! (HT: A cousin)

An addicting math-y game featuring Doctor Who! It's called 2048... I think because 2048=2^11 and there are 11 Doctors. So far I've only been able to get to the seventh doctor, I think.

A really neat GIF shows the progression of history through the borders of U.S. colonies, territories and states!

Tim Challies shares 8 ways to get more done this week -- very commonsense stuff but often overlooked or pushed aside! (I'm talking to myself here. :P )

Jon Acuff finally distinguishes between "haters" and sincere disagreement.

A quiz from Pew Research: How millennial are you? I got a score of 65, pretty close to the average millennial score. The spectrum also marks the general scores of Gen-Xers, Boomers and the Silent Generation.

How to make your own pop -- carbonation included! It takes a bit of experimenting to get it so it doesn't taste too bitter. I'd add a lime for flavor, too.

If you've seen the movie "Frozen" (which I recommend, by the way), you'll probably get a kick out of this parody.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Compendium of Links #55: Good advice edition

I took my Amiguita (my Little in Big Brothers/Big Sisters) to the YMCA pool today, but had the morning all to myself to get some chores done and take care of other fun things. Like blogging!

The Art of Manliness sounds off about what it means to pay attention and remain focused. Pretty good advice, too.

Speaking of my Amiguita, here's a list from of 20 ways to mentor in your 20's. This business about "finding yourself" and such isn't what life is all about. It's about finding God, and investing in others is part of that. You're never "too young" to start (unless you're, say,  9 months old).

A friend of mine is battling sterility and trying to have children. A blog she wrote a few months ago is a piercing insight into what she feels when she's surrounded by women with cuddly little ones, and how she must remain tenderhearted toward their joys.
Watching someone else live the life you thought you’d have is painful. You can easily become discouraged and even resentful. It doesn’t necessarily matter if the person or people living how you thought you would are deserving (which is arbitrary anyways because what we deserve, we don’t want!) or not, it can still feel like stinging reminder that something feels off.

The NSA had an advice columnist. Seriously! Apparently she went by the pseudonym "Zelda."

And for your entertaining video... a widely known pop-dance tune played... in a very country style!

First bike ride of the season

Yesterday I took my first bike ride of the year. Just a short one -- 3.5 miles was all I had time for -- but it was blissful to be back out on two wheels, taking in the fresh air and the gorgeous scenery in the setting sun!

This year I'm going to try to ride at least 6 miles on days when the weather is decent. And by decent, I mean at least 50 degrees out and not raining. There's a thoroughly shaded pathway I can take if it gets above, say, 85 degrees out -- in fact, you can see the general area of it in this photo (it's the part directly ahead with all the trees). Not the best when it's impeding snow melt, but great if you're trying not to dehydrate in summer.

Monday, March 03, 2014

A.W. Tozer on the necessity of creed

AMONG CERTAIN CHRISTIANS it has become quite the fashion to cry down creed and cry up experience as the only true test of Christianity. The expression “Not creed, but Christ” (taken, I believe, from a poem by John Oxenham) has been widely accepted as the very voice of truth and given a place alongside of the writings of prophets and apostles.

When I first heard the words they sounded good. One got from them the idea that the advocates of the no-creed creed had found a precious secret that the rest of us had missed; that they had managed to cut right through the verbiage of historic Christianity and come direct to Christ without bothering about doctrine. And the words appeared to honor our Lord more perfectly by focusing attention upon Him alone and not upon mere words. But is this true? I think not. ...

While we may worship (and thousands of Christians do) without the use of any formal creed, it is impossible to worship acceptably without some knowledge of the One we seek to worship. And that knowledge is our creed whether it is ever formalized or not. It is not enough to say that we may have a mystical or numinous experience of God without any doctrinal knowledge and that is sufficient. No, it is not sufficient. We must worship in truth as well as in spirit; and truth can be stated and when it is stated it becomes creed.

-- from "How Important is Creed?", That Incredible Christian by A.W. Tozer

My own two cents: That essay was published in the early 1960s. And it still seems like I run into lots of professing Christians who carry a disdain for theology, preferring ... I don't know what in its stead.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Compendium of Links #54

I woke up at 7 a.m. to shovel new-fallen snow off my driveway before heading to church for praise band practice. That's a good hour or two before my normal wake-up time. I think a traditional Sunday afternoon nap is in order!

But before I get to that, here's this week's Compedium of interesting stuff I found on the Internet. It's kind of like the questionable trinkets children come home with. "Mom! Look what I found!"

Ham on Nye: The high cost of winning an evolution/creation debate - A really interesting, long take on the recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, published on the Ars Technica website. The reporter appears to have done excellent research.

Courtdate: A generation of courtship culture on trial - Benefits and unseen consequences of the "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" culture, and how one may right the imbalances.

If men got the Titus 2 treatment - A hilarious reminder from Rachel Held Evans that we oughta be careful to exercise good hermeneutics when we're trying to make rules out of what the Bible says!

"I am still called by the God I serve to walk this out" - Lucia McBath's teenage son was shot and killed in an altercation over loud music. An Atlantic editor interviewed her recently, and the resulting article speaks volumes about forgiveness amid overwhelming pain. More of the quote that gives the article its title: "Forgiving Michael Dunn doesn't negate what I’m feeling and my anger. And I am allowed to feel that way. But more than that I have a responsibility to God to walk the path He's laid."

If you think you're anonymous online, think again - NPR talks with an author who says, basically, that in order to remain anonymous in the Internet age you'd pretty much have to live in a hut in the Yukon. Data is the currency of the decade.

What happens when placeholder text doesn't get replaced - Placeholder text, often starting with "Lorem ipsum...", is the gibberish that designers use as pretend-text when they're trying to see how a design would look when they're in the drafting stage. And... sometimes... they forget to make it real text. The results are hilarious.

Ask Dr. Boli - "The 'poem' your English teacher desires you to write, however, is a prose composition hacked into short lines. You will often find that what you are taught in school is the exact opposite of reality, but as you grow older you learn to adapt to it instinctively." Dryly amusing pseudo-advice on writing a poem for school!

For your video entertainment today, David Tennant talks about being the Doctor and his first three cars. Also how he picked his stage name (his real name's David MacDonald apparently!).

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Road trip to St. Louis

Since I moved to Indiana, I've been overwhelmed with the realization that I'm so much closer than I've ever been before to certain major national landmarks.

Like Chicago. When I realized Chicago was now within reach of a day trip -- not a 7-hour drive away or more -- it was a revelation, and I promptly convinced a friend to accompany me on just such a trip to see the city. I may or may not have gotten overly excited about a Bean.

Another friend of mine was interviewing at a university in St. Louis this week and invited me to visit her while she was there. I then realized that the city was a feasible weekend trip away -- again, not the daunting drive it's heretofore been. And I could even swing by the Illinois Statehouse to make it a circle. What could be more fun?

Thus, I present: An album, because everybody needs a road trip once in a while.

(Check the album for more photos!)

Monday, February 24, 2014

I've been thinking melancholy songs lately

This is the song I want to play for the musician's jam next month, if I can make it that weekend.

For the technically curious: I sang it and played simultaneously on my new-to-me Washburn guitar, recording it on my Samsung Galaxy SII phone using the app PCM Recorder and the built-in mic. Did no post-recording manipulation, as I don't really have the programs for that.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Congrats, Abby, on writing comment #1,400

If my Blogger comment dashboard has any semblance of accuracy -- and there's no guarantee it does -- my beloved sister Abby was the author of comment #1,400 on this blog when she wrote the inaugural reply to Compendium #53.

For this accomplishment, she gets a blog post dedicated to her glasses!

I hereby dedicate this blog post to Abby's glasses. Because she'd have a bit of trouble driving without them. And we can't have her stranded where she can't visit me, now, can we?


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Compendium of Links #53

I have not slept well all week. Last night I think I slept for maybe 45 minutes, woke up, and then proceeded to spend the next 6 hours trying to go back to sleep. However, today's nap and tonight's sleep will probably set me back to rights.

In the meantime, you may entertain and inform yourself with the following random links!

Annoying Things in Worship Songs - you know, like being simplistic, repeating endlessly... oh wait...

Buy a beard! Or a mustache! You can even get a two-part beard that looks like ram's horns.

To Dwell in Possibilities - A friend o' mine started a blog geared toward young single Christian gals. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Unknown mathematician proves elusive property of prime numbers - "Written by a mathematician virtually unknown to the experts in his field — a 50-something lecturer at the University of New Hampshire named Yitang Zhang — the paper claimed to have taken a huge step forward in understanding one of mathematics’ oldest problems, the twin primes conjecture."

On Buzzfeed: Which Jane Austen heroine are you? A few apparently silly questions claim to give you an accurate description. I ended up with Elinor Dashwood - "You’re mature and know when to be serious, but you also have a snarky sense of humour that makes you fun to be around. You’re creative and artistic, and appreciate pretty things. You’re a great listener and really good at keeping secrets, which means you’re a fabulous best friend." Well then.

Also on Buzzfeed (via my sis): 26 reasons babies are pretty much just tiny drunk adults!

Russell Brand reflects on a decade of fighting drug addiction - "Even if it began as a timid glass of chardonnay on a ponce's yacht, it would end with me necking the bottle, swimming to shore and sprinting to Bethnal Green in search of a crack house. I look to drugs and booze to fill up a hole in me; unchecked, the call of the wild is too strong. I still survey streets for signs of the subterranean escapes that used to provide my sanctuary. I still eye the shuffling subclass of junkies and dealers, invisibly gliding between doorways through the gutters. I see that dereliction can survive in opulence; the abundantly wealthy with destitution in their stare."

In case you were curious to know what it takes to get yourself your first U.S. passport, here's your answer! Assuming, of course, that you are a U.S. citizen.

Wolfram|Alpha answers your most pressing questions about your use of Facebook - including how your Facebook friends are connected to each other, their demographics, and of course, the words you use the most in your status updates:

And for your closing video, audio play of the original Cups song.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: Real Men Don't Text: A New Approach to Dating

Real Men Don't Text: A New Approach to Dating
Real Men Don't Text: A New Approach to Dating by Ruthie Dean

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not part of the notorious "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" camp of Christian non-daters. But I'll admit, it's hard to find solid ground where I can date with a clean conscience, given my understanding of being called to Christlikeness, but without the legalism. And how in the world do you find a guy willing to do the same?

A friend put me onto this book on the day the Kindle version was free. I figured, why not? I was pleasantly surprised to read some advice from a woman who didn't pretend she'd done it all right. In fact, a lot of the advice comes from having first done everything wrong -- and the bits her husband adds provide valuable clarity from the male perspective. Drawing on those experiences, sociological research and biblical morals (it's written primarily for women who are Christian or Jewish), she distills her advice into concrete do's (and don'ts), with clear and specific examples and a dose of "do this 'cause it works, not just 'cause I say so" ... which for a gal like me, who's unsure how to date well, is gold. For the record, there's a lot in here a guy may benefit from learning, as well -- if only because of the glimpse it provides men into the feminine psyche!

Gems like this keep you laughing through much of the book:

"KEEP ME UPDATED?! I read his last sentence at least nine hundred times and copied and pasted his message into an email to ten friends begging them to tell me "WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?" --in all caps, mind you. I remember reviewing over and over that he wrote "Hi, Ruthie" with no exclamation point, which clearly meant he wasn't excited after writing my name -- which could only translate that he just wasn't that into me. ..."

Spoiler (well, not really): The guy emailing that to her? She ended up marrying him.

I don't recommend it without reservation. Only about five books exist which I would. There are obviously situations in which breaking her rules is about the wisest thing to do -- and there always will be. But the author does an excellent job explaining the whys behind the hows so it's easier to discern when the hows don't necessarily apply. And for someone wondering how to date "in the world of texting, Twitter crushes and online dating," it's an easy read with a lot of food for thought -- and probably a good kick in the pants for some of us gals to build our confidence and shore up our identity instead of trying to find it in relationship with a guy.

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Compendium of Links #52: Video edition

I spent most of this week not sleeping well. Whether I just couldn't fall asleep until 2 a.m., or woke up earlier than I wanted to, or couldn't nap... it was just tiring. I finally got something close to eight hours last night, I think. And man, I feel far more awake this morning than I have for some time.

For this edition of the Compendium I'll merely have videos, since I've amassed several! Most of them are fun ones with a serious one or two mixed in. (Actually, looks like it's just one serious video.)

What does it look like when you mix paint with an audio speaker?

School administrators pretend they're Queen to cancel school.

HAHA! A while back I saw a video that made fun of stuff Christians in general say (or a lot of Christian guys). This one's for the gals.

Serious video: Inverting men's/women's experiences with sexist treatment. Or should I say, disrespectful treatment. Because that is the problem: Men who act the way the women behave in this video are sinning against their fellow human beings. (Notice: Trigger warning.)

A British TV show makes fun of Pride and Prejudice and it is hilarious! (Mom, there's an F-word.)

The folks from Bad Lip Reading bring us the NFL... again. And they don't disappoint! I laugh every time I watch this.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Being an INTP part 2: When acquaintances get married and you're nowhere near it

A question has been running through my mind the last several days, or months or years: Are some people's personalities simply less likely ever to fall in love?

I wonder this because in the cursory reading I've done about those with my personality type (which I'm fairly certain is conveyed by the Myers-Briggs letters INTP) I've seen that people with these characteristics tend not to do relationships easily (or well). Friendships are hard enough, but romantic relationships tax us such that sometimes we wonder whether they're worth bothering about at all (as one website notes).

I firmly believe I have never been "in love" and I sometimes doubt if I'm even capable of that kind of love... and it's rather disheartening. Because at the same time, I feel (not think, feel) that a committed romantic relationship constitutes an emotional dimension I am completely ignorant of. And if I ever do fall in love, it'll be completely new territory... I'm slightly afraid of how I might react.

Now back to your regularly scheduled commentary on links and small-town living. Carry on. :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Compendium of Links #51

I quite literally spent more than two hours early this week cataloging my library. I've recorded 170 of the ones I own, with probably another 100 to go in another room. I'm pretty near the estimate of 300 that I had guessed I owned.

And if you're curious, you can check out my shelf of owned books on GoodReads.

Relevant Magazine addresses why it's so hard to make friends after college.

Proof that the average American is obsessed with money. Or, the top 10 best and worst places to live measured by chances of upward mobility.

Probably the best essay I've read about leadership in quite some time. If you only read one link out of today's list, read this one, "Solitude and Leadership," delivered to West Point freshmen (or, plebes, as they call them). A very short quote from it: "...[W]hat I saw around me were great kids who had been trained to be world-class hoop jumpers. Any goal you set them, they could achieve. Any test you gave them, they could pass with flying colors. They were, as one of them put it herself, 'excellent sheep.'" However... "...[T]rue leadership means being able to think for yourself and act on your convictions."

The 5 stupidest habits you develop growing up poor -- surprisingly enough, a really good first-person-style account on It's got some fantastic insight into the thought processes of those who know nothing but poverty. And that's apparently a lot of people in the U.S.

A hugely sarcastic list of 8 pieces of Christian dating advice keeping people single. I feel like those who've been single longer than comfortable will appreciate this. Warning: Maniacal laughter may ensue.

And for your entertainment today, my favorite video about kittens!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Compendium of Links #50

This... has been a busy week. Good, but busy. You already know about the guitar. What you don't know, also, is that my siblings were over to visit last weekend and I lost about half my sleep every night because I decided instead to spend time hanging out with them and with my cousins. I managed to make it through this week, though, despite the sleep deprivation!

But, in honor of this blog's 50th Compendium, I present the first collection of 2014, which is neither more nor less eclectic than all the Compendia before... and every bit as nerdy.

The electricity-generating bicycle desk that would power the world - You know, I could get into using this. Really, I could. I stand up at my desk half the time already. And fidget.

LOL My Thesis - Masters' and doctoral theses distilled into one or two basic, often snarky sentences. Like Truth is, Nurse Practitioners are a band aid solution to Canada’s broken health care system.

Have American parents got it all backwards? - An argument in favor of letting kids do dangerous things because, well, how else are they supposed to learn how to tackle dangerous things safely? And other commentary on American vs. Asian child-rearing.

Steve's Lutheranism FAQ - One Lutheran writes out a pretty thorough explanation of certain characteristics of Lutheran theology and church management, which I find helpful in distinguishing Lutheranism from, say, Calvinism.

Instagram may be allowing us to forget - From ReadWriteWeb...
" fact, we’ve always had bad memories. In the past, we relied on our significant others, family members and friends to help us with recall. Turns out, Google, Facebook and Instagram aren’t making you stupid, they are acting as a supplement for your real-life memory banks."

How y'all, youse and you guys talk - Take the quiz and see what your words say about your origins! From the New York Times, a pretty cool combination of data, mapping and linguistics.

What does "intentional" mean in dating? - A Gospel Coalition writer takes a Mars Hill pastor to task when the pastor recommended some prescriptive rules for guys and dating. Good observations.

Three things you don't know about your children and sex - Important for parents and those who mentor children to read and understand. The three things are that Google is the new sex ed, if your kid was ever molested you probably don't know it, and your kid isn't the exception.

15 questions your hairstylist should be asking you - I really need to get around to finding a good hairdresser, and this seems like pretty solid advice for doing so. (And I think Leslie Mann and I have the same hair... proof is in the pictures.)

And for your video pleasure, check out a Scottish guy with a thick accent reading a poem written by Robert Service!