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!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When a guitarist gets an instrument

I've thought for months, maybe years, that I should probably consider getting an electrified acoustic guitar. I've played guitar for some time, yet always an acoustic, and when I play for church it's always been on that same acoustic, with a little passive pickup fitted into the soundhole.

That's changing.

I finally went out and bought an acoustic-electric from one of the local pawn shops (the reputable one). The shopkeepers told me they'd just put out a lovely Washburn acoustic-electric that day (here's specifics about the model), and when I played around with it, I realized it would be a good bet for what I was looking for. Good acoustic sound that still sounded acoustic when plugged in (at least, more than some acoustic-electrics).

Sometimes I wonder how to tell the difference between simple serendipity and genuine Providence. Is there one? This was one of those times I wondered if God hadn't inspired me to look for an acoustic-electric at just that time, in just that shop. Because it was even better than I had originally thought of seeking. The sound is just right. It had an extra touch of decoration, subtle, to make it more elegant in a way I didn't even know guitars were made. It even came with exactly the kind of case I wanted -- a hard-sided case with shoulder straps. I could ride my bike with my guitar on my back. I've heard from a fairly reputable source that the guitars at this particular pawn shop hardly ever have cases.

(It was the same way when I bought my house. I had thought and thought, then all of a sudden went and checked a house out, and it was perfect. I'm a case study in the exceptions to the rule about not buying the first one you look at.)

On top of all that, I can't find this model of guitar even online for less than twice what I paid for it. And that's not counting what a case would have cost.

I won't be getting rid of my first guitar. No siree. It was a gift from my grandmother on my mom's side, who died my freshman year of college. It was my great-aunt's before it was my grandma's. There's some sentimental value in it.

I've picked a couple of new songs to practice playing and singing: "Wild Montana Skies" and "Darcy Farrow," both by John Denver (links go to YouTube videos). I'm highly pleased with how this new guitar handles finger-picking (the technique I chose for my rendition of "Darcy Farrow") but I'm looking forward to trying out the built-in pickup when I next play guitar for the church worship band -- Jan. 26, I think.

An electrified guitar is a whole new world for me. I'm just now learning what to do with a preamp and how to use it to make the guitar sound acoustic even when it's plugged into the PA system. And I'll have to bring an extra 9-volt battery with me like I bring picks, since the built-in tuner and preamp runs on that size battery.

So many things to learn. Such a pretty instrument to learn on.