Thursday, September 30, 2004

If only this was legal is the U.S. I would gladly chip in to buy some for my local movie theater.

And you thought they only rotted your brain...

Who knew that all those hours I spent playing The Legend of Zelda were actually beneficial?

Last night, after reading the above article in our Language and Literacy class, our professor led us in a lively discussion comparing and contrasting video games and schools. It was one of the best group discussions we've had this semester. If only all my Wednesday night classes could be that interesting!

Though I'm not completely sold on the author's stance (he certainly evaded the whole "violence" issue, didn't he?), I think he makes some great points about encouraging interactive learning, where information is given "when you need it," in context, as opposed to dumping large amounts of useless facts on students without any narrative framework. One of the keys to the value of games seems to be the inclusion stories that are "bottom up" -- especially in the RPG's -- where, in a sense, the player is creating the story as they go. He also made good point about how video games challenge "the outer edge of players' growing competency," unlike many of America's schools (public or private).

I think our education system could also learn from the competitive gaming market: if a school isn't engaging kids, stretching their minds, encouraging creativity and independent thinking, then it shouldn't be allowed to operate. Privatize the schools and see what happens. (But that, of course, is another topic for another day.)

The best part of the whole evening was that the teacher gave us only one homework assignment: play a video game!

Imagine! Some people actually complained! I guess that's what one should expect, though, in a class composed mostly of girls. As for me, I definitely don't think I'll have to worry about procrastinating on this assignment! In fact, I should get started on that now...

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Andrew Peterson's website has received a facelift. Be sure to check it out. And while you are there, be sure to pre-order his fantastic Christmas musical, Behold the Lamb of God. It will not disappoint, I guarantee. And, while you're there, you might as well get your tickets to Andy's Christmas show on December 12 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nash-vegas. Trust me, it will be worth the drive, flight or camel ride.

Monday, September 27, 2004


My friend Tim has a knack for buying DVD's that I didn't even know existed. Example: Prior to two weeks ago, I didn't even remember that there was a short-lived (9 episodes total), live action version of "The Tick." I loved the cartoon version, and I think I vaguely remember hearing about the live action incarnation back when it came out (in 2001). But, to say it wasn't exactly a ratings success would be an understatement. Anyway, the entire series has been released on DVD, and I had the chance to watch a couple of episodes over the weekend.

Overall, it was kind of entertaining. The casting is decent. Patrick Warburton (Puddy, from Seinfeld) plays the big blue guy, and he's a pretty good match for the part. Granted, he should be a lot bigger, but the Tick's insanely idiotic dialogue flows fairly naturally from Warburton's mouth. Arthur, the timid accountant/moth/sidekick, is also well-cast. I'm not too keen on the new characters, Captain Liberty and Batmanuel, who are actually variations on the cartoon's characters (American Maid and Die Fledermaus). But, perhaps they will grow on me. They'd better hurry up, though, since they've only got 7 episodes left. The show also managed to maintain some of the bizarre humor I liked from the cartoon. Example: in the pilot, a group of neo-Commies unleash a vintage 1979 Soviet robotic assassin ("The Red Scare"), who is still programmed to kill President Carter.

Of course, the live action show relies on a fair share of innuendos and semi-objectionable material to get laughs -- which is to be expected, since it was on Fox. I never read the comic, but I hear that the live-action show was closer to it than the animated series was. Nevertheless, I thought the cartoon was a whole lot funnier than the live-action version, and a whole lot cleaner. But, I'm still planning to watch the remainder of the series.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

He'll be back

Not to make light of calamity, but this thing is like the Terminator ...

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Front, back, step, step, out, in, turn!

Our feet are sore, but the sacrifice was totally worth a fantastic night "dancing under the stars"! (That sounds like a sappy prom theme...)

Under a beautiful sky that showed no traces of Ivan the Terrible, we grooved to a Latin beat, led by one very talented instructor named Jackie-- a fellow resident in our apartment complex. She taught us to salsa and merengue in a little paved area beside the main pool. Thankfully, no one fell in!

The "Latin Dance Night" was one of the most enjoyable events we've hosted in recent memory, and I had a blast planning it. We hung colored Halloween and Christmas lights on the railings, ate taquitos and mini-quesadillas, put chips around the rim of a sombrero, and used our large Coleman lantern when it got too dark to see the food. (That lantern has come in mighty handy this week! Thanks to those who gave it to us for a wedding gift. Sadly, we haven't actually used it to go camping yet...) But I digress.

At least thirty people showed up, including some of Jackie's friends who feigned ignorance to make us novices feel better about stumbling over our own two feet. Everyone learned fairly quickly, though, and we all had such a great time that we're already planning another one for a Saturday night in November. (Indoors, of course.) I can't wait. Until then, I know we need LOTS of practice. Hence the title-- her instructions are still rattling around in my brain. Must hit the beat...

Friday, September 17, 2004

The Ontological Proof of Ninjas

When we talk about the ninja, we are talking about the sweetest being ever -- that is, we are talking about the being than which nothing sweeter can be conceived. So, when we conceive of the ninja in our mind, we conceive of the being than which nothing sweeter can be conceived. But consider this: Is it sweeter to exist only in the mind or to exist both in the mind and in reality -- outside the mind? Certainly, it is much sweeter to exist also in reality -- flipping out and wailing on guitars is much sweeter when someone is actually doing it. So when we conceive of the sweetest being ever, we are conceiving of the being that exists both in the mind and in reality. Since the ninja is that being than which nothing sweeter can be conceived and that being exists in the mind and in reality, the ninja exists in reality. Thus the ninja exists.

(Shamelessly stolen from Real Ultimate Power: The Official Ninja Book)

very rare

This is one of the few times where I'm actually glad to be at work. Once again, power is out all over metro Atlanta, but not at the office. We lost power at home yesterday morning, but it was restored by lunchtime. But, as Ivan rolled through in the late afternoon, we lost power again, and it remains out. There were a few flickers of hope -- and light -- at about 9 o'clock last night, but they were short lived. On the other hand, it was kind of cool to sit around listening to the wind and watching the storm. I'm sure my opinion would be different if we lived farther south. Fortunately, we've heard from most of our relatives living down near the FL panhandle, and they seem to be alright. Allison's parents got a lot of rain down in Geneva, AL, but it doesn't look like the rivers are going to overflow their banks.

I did get a fair amount of reading done by candle/electric lantern light. I hope to post some nuggets of wisdom soon.

Update: As of 1:15 PM, our power is back on. Woot! I just hope all the traffic lights are back up on my homeward route. Apparently, no one in this town understands what you're supposed to do when the lights are out.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

O, to have a tongue that brings healing...

I was looking through some old issues of Credenda/Agenda tonight and found this wise instruction by Nancy Wilson. I need to be reminded of the power of my words daily, both as a blessing and a curse.

A second area of carelessness is the tongue. Careless women do not take heed to what they share, what they repeat, what they criticize. Scripture is as clear on the subject of the tongue as it is on modesty. It is no mystery what the Bible requires. Gossip, slander, complaining, nagging, anger, lying are all out. Period.

Careless women talk too much on the phone, or share too much on email. They don't speak the truth; they fudge a little here, a little there. They speak to and about their husbands inappropriately. They talk when they should be keeping quiet. A careful woman does not share things about family, husband, parents, or children that should be kept confidential. She does not openly criticize or disrespect her husband or parents. A careful woman exercises caution in what she says. The tongue is a dangerous instrument for destruction or a powerful tool for good. Wise women use their tongues cautiously. They weigh their words before they utter them.

Obviously, to be careful women we need much grace: grace for forgiveness, grace to keep His commands. We must take heed to our ways. We must give thought to our ways. We must pay attention to our behavior. Are we careless in our dress? If so, it's time to purge the wardrobe of revealing clothing. Are we careless with our tongues? Then it is time to repent. God expects us to be earnestly seeking to please Him, by the grace He gives us.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The plot thickens

I'm sure some of you enquiring minds have been anxiously waiting to hear what happened to that proto-sinkhole I mentioned a little while back. Within the last hour, no less than eleven large vehicles (city utility trucks, I think) have arrived on the street across from my office building. Additionally, they have blocked off the road in the impacted area. Yay for my tax dollars at work. However, there are still a few issues at hand. Such as,

1. Is it really such a good idea to roll multiple large vehicles directly over already softened ground?
2. How am I going to get my car out of the parking lot, since the entrance is within the roadblocked portion of road?
3. How much work do they hope to get finished before the remnant of Ivan comes blasting through on Thursday/Friday?

Stay tuned, true believers.

Updated: Just got an e-mail about the "Street clousure." The City plans to "clouse" the street for a week for emergency repairs. So, the question is, how long will it really take? And, how long would it have taken if they had come to fix it 4 weeks ago (when it was first reported)?

And there was much rejoicing!

Skimming over the latest Arch Music Group Newsletter with information about Ginny Owen's new tour with Randall Goodgame opening, I noticed this juicy tidbit:

"Goodgame is slated to launch his next independent project, War and Peace, releasing this Oct."

Yay! Finally! And I noticed there are two Georgia dates on the tour, though I don't think we'll be able to make either one. Still, the prospect of a new album by one of the best songwriters in the business (who just happens to be a friend and fellow BSC alumni) just made my day and I wanted to share my exuberance.

With all this great music coming out in the next few months...I may just need to start babysitting or something to get some extra cash.

Monday, September 13, 2004

And the laughter goes on...

So, last night I finally got a chance to read Right Behind. Wow.

Nathan Wilson's hilarious asides about the "laws" of writing bad Christian fiction almost had me in tears. If you ever want to appropriately mock evangelicalism, take a line from the upturned table series. It's gotten me thinking about much of the silliness that takes place in our churches and in the public sphere and how to best satirize it...

When Gaines was re-reading these last week, he mentioned the zaniness to some church friends and they borrowed this along with Supergeddon. They have yet to return the latter, so I have to wait a few days before I can read the sequel, but man, I know it'll be worth the suspense! It was a delightful break from reading educational theory textbooks and a marked contrast to the 18th century novels I'm immersed in for a seminar class.

Thank goodness for counterculturally subversive reading material!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Praxis II

So, for the past few weeks, I've been slowly losing sleep and geting stressed over taking two Praxis II Subject tests this morning-- English Language, Literature, and Composition: Content Knowledge and English Language, Literature, and Composition: Essays-- all in order to become a certified English teacher in Georgia.

Well, after all my nightmares and days of preparation and last minute cramming (which even though it shouldn't have helped, in fact, it did!), I didn't think the tests were that bad. I never want to take them again, though! As an added bonus, Holden Caufield popped up in a question on each test, which was quite timely considering I began re-reading Catcher in the Rye last week.

I'm so relieved it's over. And I had some great conversations with my MARTA-riding friend on the way back this afternoon. Now it's time to enjoy good company and good food while watching GT vs. Clemson. Yay! What a great Saturday today has been!

Friday, September 10, 2004

New look for the N.T. Wright Page.

(Note: Same great content.)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

choices, choices

We received our latest reward certificate from our Amazon Visa yesterday, and now comes the agonizing task of redeeming it. Well, the actual act of redeeming it is pretty easy. The hard part is culling two very extensive wishlists down to 2 or 3 choices.

My WOTD for today was "bricolage," which may be a sign that I should get Leithart's Against Christianity. I haven't yet been able to locate either my Urim or Thummim to validate this, though. Allison seems to be leaning towards a Nancy Wilson book. Perhaps we should just see if Canon Press has a credit card reward program?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

MARTA messages

Riding the train back from class this evening, I looked out the window and noticed two different vandals had shared their "barbaric yawps" on public property. They were humorous enough I thought I'd post them.

This cryptic scrawl was written in Sharpie on a billboard in one of the stations along my route:
Leviticus 11:7, 11:8
No poison pig (swine)!
Beware heart disease, liver disease,
cancer and STROKE!

I found this second message highly ironic.
It was written large spraypainted letters on the side of an apartment building's brick wall:



Rolling into this weekend, we were concerned about the impact that Frances would have on Allison's parents, who live in Geneva, Alabama, just north of the Florida panhandle. Although not directly in the storm path, this area was a prime candidate for heavy rains and flooding. As Monday came, they were concerned about us, since the changing storm path promised to leave them wet but not flooded, whereas Georgia appeared to be in for some severe weather.

The rain started sometime in the wee hours of the morning and hasn't really stopped. The intensity has decreased temporarily, but the forecast shows heavier bands of storms moving through later today. As of 8 AM, some 250,000+ people in the metro Atlanta area are without power (including our neighborhood). Good times. But, despite the nasty weather and power outages, we are counting our blessings, having seen images of the carnage wrought by both Frances, and Charley before her.

On a positive note, we got to see Tech beat up on Samford on Saturday, and from some GREAT SEATS (thanks to some insider connections). The Jackets were looking good, but we really need to iron some stuff out before facing Clemson (pronounced "Climp-sun") this weekend.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Guilty pleasures

I probably shouldn't enjoy so much, but this list of rules is pretty dang funny.
Tim Gallant's thoughts on how to "Make the Most of Worship."

Many are simple and familiar, but well worth the reminder. And this is just the first installment!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Marva Dawn relates an anecdote about playing her recorder in a worship service. Afterwards, a parishioner approached and flatly confronted her:

"I didn't like that song."

"So," Dawn replied. "We weren't worshipping yooooouuuu."

Dawn's lecture "Worship, Money and War" is pretty insightful and challenging, weaving together commonalities in the worship wars, the Western quest for "security," and the ethical implications of the war in Iraq. I've enjoyed her books, so hearing her speak is a treat. Regent Radio is playing her lecture series "Cyberspace Stress, Sabbath and Serenity" this week, and I am looking forward to it. I hope to hear more convicting gems, such as

"How many of the worship problems in churches are because I don't love my neighbor enough to sing songs that I don't like for their benefit?"

Gather them two by two

Remember, that would-be sinkhole? Well, there has been pretty steady (and heavy, at times) rain falling all day. Water is now gushing up from a few access plates/manholes and the intersection is pretty well flooded. I may need a canoe to get to my car.

As it turns out, a guy in the office reported the pre-sinkhole to the city's "Pothole Posse" (yes, that's the real name) over 2 weeks ago. There was zero response. Now they have a great big problem on their hands.