Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jess is home! & College Memories #1

She made it ladies and gents. She's home safe and sound, trying to figure out if we can buy a house (I'm sure that will develop into more later; once she puts her mind to something...)

While she was gone, I was looking through some old pictures and video from college, and decided to start putting up funny/random pictures of my time at The Master's College.

This first one is from my first Chorale Tour in 2003. We toured the Bible belt states, singing in various churches in Tennessee, Georgia, and whatever other states are around there...

Needless to say, we spent many hours on buses, and we had to find ways to entertain ourselves.

Here are my friends Peter, and Julanne, trying to remember the words to one of their favorite Bon Jovi songs:

video

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordle

Wordle creates an artistic representation of text from a given source (in this case, my blog). It takes text from the front page of the blog and makes them different sizes based on how many times they occur in the text...

Trust me, it looks cooler than it sounds.

Click on the little image for a bigger view


Her Flight Comes In At 9:10

Woohoo! Now if I could just get the house clean...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jess Comes Home Tomorrow!!

She's been gone since the 15th! I can't wait!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Planet Earth: Duckling Brigade

Well, I've watched the entire Planet Earth series, and needless to say, I'm inspired by the beauty of God's creation. His creation is so incredibly diverse, and full of craftsmanship, that one must truly work hard to find sense in a completely naturalist/evolutionist worldview.

This is one of my favorite scenes in the whole series. It's found in the "Seasonal Forests" episode, and it's, well, awesome.

Go ducklings, GO!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bachelor Life

So this summer, it was my wife's turn to "sacrifice" for the sake of her friendship with her best friend of many years, and fly to Hawaii for two weeks.

Brittney moved there two years ago, and they have since alternated visiting each other each summer. This was a big deal for Jess, as since 2005, she had developed an acute fear of flying. She was on a flight home from Germany that year, when the plane took a momentary dive in mid-flight. Everything turned out fine, and at the time she wasn't scared, but since then, the possibility of dying in a plane crash has become on of her greatest fears.

She spent the last couple months trying to research and prepare herself. There are websites out there devoted to helping people overcome their fear of flying, and they talk about how safe the planes are, and the amount of precaution and training undergone by all personnel involved.

She also got a prescription for a medication from her doctor that would help her to be less anxious, which she said worked like a charm. She had been doubtful about this, as when we were on our honeymoon, she had taken a Valium from a fellow passenger, but it didn't work. She had already been all worked up though, and so the key this time was that she took it before the flight.

So she comes back the 30th of the month, and I've been trying to entertain myself, finding that I have forgotten what bachelor life is like. I've taken a good number of naps (something she normally doesn't let me do too often), read a lot, and hung out with friends. I've also watched my share of educational programs on Discovery, History, Learning, and Science channels.

I've lacked the motivation to blog, since I've found that living with her makes my life interesting, or at least causes me to perceive it in a more excited way. Her passion for life has become a part of me, and when she's gone, I miss her so much. I will be so happy to have her home in a few days, but in the meantime, got any good suggestions of "things-to-do" for me??

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Planet Earth: My First Trip To Sea World!

So for the Fourth of July, we went down to San Deigo to visit the Sea World Adventure Park. I had never been to Sea World, and have had a hard time envisioning what would make it so great (as many people said it was; Jess even said it's her favorite theme park!). I basically was imagining a really big aquarium with lots of different fish and sorts of little ocean creatures; which is cool, but not like "Theme Park" cool.

But everyone kept telling me how awesome it was, and that it was much more than "looking at fish all day" (my negative mantra towards the place). We drove down with our San Gabriel friends, and boy was I surprised. The park is uber cool. We saw the Beluga whales, and polar bears, and walruses, and penguins (one of my favorites!), and turtles, and sea stars, and bat rays, and dolphins, and of course, Shamu (which I discovered, is just a stage name given to all the orcas at Sea World, as the real Shamu passed away in 1971).

Of course, there is a continually raging controversy about orcas in captivity, and there is now some compelling results from studies that have been going on since the 70's (capturing orcas really caught on in the 60's). I realize that do not have all the vital facts and power to somehow put an end to orcas in captivity (studies show that it does without a doubt, contrary to what marine parks declare, significantly shorten their lives), so I am resigned to be thankful for the experience I had with the whale (Corky, to be precise), while regretting its situation.

They also had a "Pets Rule" show where they had all the "regular" pets doing really awesome performances. Dogs, ducks, pigs, and yes, even cats, exhibited their peculiar skills and irresistible charm. It was also cool because most of the "pets" in the show were rescued from shelters, (it definitely raised my expectations for our little Maggie).

So shelters aside, the big question remains: is it wrong for us to capture these animals from the wild for our pleasure/benefit? Sea World presents them in such a way so as to celebrate them, and develop respect and affection for them, but is confining them to a 36-ft deep tank the right way to do this? Are the relationships that trainers develop with them, and the affection they are shown, and the provision and care they receive in captivity a fair trade off for life in the wild? It seems like a pretty obvious atrocity to me, but because it's so socially popular, I'm inclined to see it's "acceptability" more readily. Am I a prime example of being culturally conditioned?

Here is an article written in the Seattle Times in 1994, that is really enlightening and not overwhelmingly biased. A little dated, but highly informative and interesting.

Here are some pictures from our trip. (Click on them to see bigger versions)

left - Beluga whale swimming upside down and, I swear, smiling)

right - The dogs in Pet's Rule take a bow

left - The penguins!

right - Huge poodle walking across the stage on his hind legs

left - One of the amazing trained cats

right - Shamu (Corky) leaps majestically from the water

left - Shamu is a captive, but she is loved

right - Me and my honey

left - Josh was talked into getting his face painted as a panda

right - Clyde and Seamore's Risky Rescue

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Todd Bentley

Forgive me for being a little skeptical...