Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Life on my own #43: Dishwashing

I kid you not: One of the best things about my house is its dishwasher.

That dishwasher means I don't have to submerge my hands in HOT water when it's 90 degrees outside. It means I can blissfully read, or write, or watch episodes of Merlin, while my dishes magically clean themselves. It's like the animals cleaning the house in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Except if I found any animals in my dishwasher, I would probably not start singing.

The only trouble comes when something goes wrong with my dishwasher. Then I have to put on my handyman cap and figure out how to fix it.

The other day I discovered a couple inches of water in the bottom of my dishwasher after I ran it. Thinking it would go away if I ran another cycle, I did. No dice.

It wouldn't even go away if I hit the "drain" button on the control panel. (Saying that makes me feel like I'm piloting a KitchenAid spaceship. Captain, the controls are not responding!)

A little Googling later, I decided to check the dishwasher's feed into the sink drain. Watching a little bit of water trickle out as yet another "drain" cycle operated, I decided to poke around in the hole some. Poking things solves everything, just like duct tape.

Lo and behold, there was gunk. And more gunk. The used toothbrush I had stored by the sink took off some of it, but I had to resort to a pen cap to scrap out the rest.

As I did so, the trickle became a spritz became a decent spray of water flowing out of the dishwasher and into the sink drain.

I was pretty proud of myself at that moment. And thankful that I didn't have to wash the sinkful of dishes myself -- it was way too hot outside. So I let the wondrous machine work its magic.

Did I mention how much I love my dishwasher?

Monday, July 15, 2013

A little different look

I got tired of the obviously Photoshopped book background. This is a less obviously Photoshopped background. And thus, I also changed a bunch of other stuff about the look. :D

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Life on my own #42: Junk mail

Ya know, before I moved out from my parents’, all I got were credit card offers in the mail.

Now that I’m on my own, I don’t get those much anymore (though they still come maybe once a month). Instead, I get offers to buy…

Checks. (Already have some, thanks.)

$50,000 worth of life insurance. (And I’m going to buy this based off of direct mail… why?)

Pizza. (No thanks.)

More pizza. (I’ve had pizza about once in the last six months. When are they going to get the idea?)

Dish TV and Internet. (Because I have such a history of buying, or watching, TV.)

Health and car insurance (Seriously? You’re using direct mail to market insurance?)

Wendy’s fast food. (There isn’t even a Wendy’s in town. I don’t remember the last time I ate at a Wendy’s… maybe my mid-teens?)

Subscriptions to The Economist and The New Yorker. (Pretty sure they got my address from The Atlantic. The dog- and cat-themed bookmarks from The New Yorker are pretty funny though.)

Stuff from Bed, Bath and Beyond. (OK, they probably got my address from the Post Office Change of Address filing.)

The fun part, though, was when I got mail addressed to “Current Resident” at my old apartment. You see, the previous occupant was an old woman. Say, 90 years old. She got a lot of mail for retiree cruises and clothing that looks like it came from the 50s.

Based on that… I can only imagine what good ol’ Big Brother thought I was doing with my mail. (You knew about that, right?)

Friday, July 12, 2013

What I read: Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

If you’re ever wondering what in the world Jesus was talking about in the Beatitudes… or you’re simply recovering from a failed senior capstone course in Christian ethics based on the Sermon on the Mount… pick up Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book of sermons expounding on that Sermon.

Reason #1: The introduction really does introduce the Sermon on the Mount – it gives a general overview of when it was given, by whom and for whom, and why it should be studied (“The Lord Jesus Christ died to enable us to live the Sermon on the Mount” and it leads to sanctification and blessing).

Reason #2: Lloyd-Jones is committed to the proper reverence for the Sermon on the Mount as part of the Word of God, not something that can be reduced to a formula or exists merely to be studied.

Reason #3: He can explain a multileveled, but clear, logical sequence to the Sermon. The. Entire. Sermon. This includes showing how the Beatitudes build upon each other and also reflect a sort of mirror-image quality, considering the first three and second three. It’s quite intriguing and would take too long to explain here (which, of course, is why there’s several chapters on it).

Reason #4: He lays out his “controlling principles” in expounding on the Sermon – treating it as a description of character, rather than a prescriptive set of rules; he points out that he intends to interpret every Scripture passage in such a way as not to contradict any other Scripture passage.

Reason #5: What he preached in the 1950s sounds like it could apply today:

“Much talk which appears to be, and is said to be, Christian, in its denunciation of certain things that are happening in the world, is, I believe, nothing but the expression of political prejudices.”

Or this, talking about “The meek… shall inherit the earth:”

“This particular description of the Christian causes real surprise because it is so completely and entirely opposed to everything which the natural man thinks…. The world thinks in terms of strength and power, of ability, self-assurance and aggressiveness…. The more you assert yourself and express yourself, the more you organize and manifest your powers and ability, the more likely you are to succeed and get on…. Once more, then, we are reminded at the very beginning that the Christian is altogether different from the world.”

This is one book I’m very glad to own, and will probably become a regular part of my devotional books – right up along with A. W. Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God” and “The Knowledge of the Holy” as well as C. S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” and a few others to which I return periodically.

Compendium of Links #44: Tech edition

I’m following the whole Edward Snowden saga as best as I can, and it’s highly intriguing. The government’s behaviors also remind me somewhat of an old Sinclair Lewis novel, It Can’t Happen Here, which tells a dystopian story of the U.S. falling ever so gently into fascist rule. I feel like I need to re-read it.

But anyway. Before my browser gets too full again, here is your weekly serving of interesting stuff, featuring one of my favorite subjects: Technology!

On Christians naively expecting the best web offerings from ministries they donate a pittance to (if anything at all): (via Challies)

In their mind, every Christian ministry is expected to have every possible resource (study tools, videos, books, audio, articles, apps, etc.) available on every possible platform. And they want it now! Not only do they want it now, that want quality, and they want it for free. A thank you is seldom heard when this is actually achieved, after all, it was online and therefore easy, inexpensive, and quick, right?

This is not evidence of Christians growing in grace, but growing under a delusion. As a Christian geek, an ‘insider’ if you will, I’d like to sound a corrective.

21 jokes only nerds will understand. “The programmer’s wife tells him: ‘Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.’ The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.”

Oh, technology is changing everything, you say? Specify, specify, specify. For me, the technology of a reel-lawnmower has changed the way I think about lawn care. Smile with tongue out

What the Internet looked like as a baby!

Scientific American has a lengthy piece on the quantifiable differences in comprehension and experience of reading on paper vs. on a screen. (I recommend reading it!) Its conclusion? “When it comes to intensively reading long pieces of plain text, paper and ink may still have the advantage. But text is not the only way to read.”

A U.S. agency baffled by technology decided to destroy computers to get rid of… viruses. And as my brother stated: These are the people in charge?!?

And for your random funny video of the day… Shoot Christians Say.

This video really blessed me. It’s so relevant.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Compendium of Links #43: Fourth of July edition

Welcome to this SPECIAL EDITION of the Compedium! I’m off to work today but I had a little time this morning to clean out some more tabs from my browser… and to cull links from my email, as I’ve started to do a bit more reading on my phone and haven’t figured out a feasible way to save links from there other than by emailing them to myself. (If you have suggestions, especially ones that involve Firefox, I’m all ears.)

Of course, none of these links actually have anything to do with Independence Day… but I don’t mind. I hope you don’t.

I don’t quite believe this: Indianapolis’s single guys are willing to spend some three times the national average on a first date – and a website claims that the sum amounts to $226. Like, what could you possibly do on a first date that costs that much?? (For this link, I have to thank… my single male living-in-Indy cousin.)

Anthony Bradley, a regular contributor (I think) to World Magazine, takes a short hop over to Journey through NYC Religions to plug his new book – about racism within Calvinism/Presbyterian strains of Christianity.

Many white evangelicals are resistant to the fact that racism remains in contexts driven by “the gospel.” However, because sin still exists, there is no reason to believe that racism will simply magically disappear or that we simply need to “get over it” and “move on.”

Mad Libs and peer pressure come together to form the culture’s subtle conformist push. “Too many times, I’ve heard people who are deliberating over a decision say: “I would do this, but I don’t want to be a bigot/idiot/prude/slut/goody-two-shoes.” In short, they don’t want to be a label.”

I need this Useless Box.

For your entertainment this week: My second-favorite parody of Twilight… and my favorite parody of Journey. (My first-favorite Twilight parody is the one Dave Barry is responsible for.)

Seriously, if YOU were 104 years old, wouldn’t you spend your life somewhere other than high school?