Monday, August 02, 2010

Man-venture 2010

For those unaware, I embarked on an epic man adventure (or "man-venture") a few weeks ago. Five days in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, 51.6 miles. It's difficult to sum up a trip like that, but I'll say it was incredibly difficult, with bits of fun, stunning natural beauty, and hugely rewarding in a lot of different ways. I went with a great group of guys, and while I don't know that I'd do this exact one again, I'd be up for another adventure with that crew in the future.

The pictures here show the good stuff, which is what I'll remember in the end. Right now I still recall the crippling blisters (which are still healing), baking sun, sixteen miles in a day, and switchback at Rattlesnake creek.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Madness comes early for some

This is a video of my son filling out his NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket on 3/17, just about three months before his third birthday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lenovo IdeaCentre K220 Not Recognizing Flash Cards (Vista x64)

This post is way out of blog character for me, but I'm writing it in hopes it saves someone out there a few hours of frustration.

My family and I are preparing this evening for our Christmas vacation, which begins tomorrow morning with a plane ride. Naturally, there are not a few things to be done before we leave, and one of them is unloading the pictures currently existing on the camera memory cards to make way for the vast collection we'll be gathering in the next days. So, given that we had a fair amount to do this evening, naturally my computer decided to stop detecting the cards when they were inserted, essentially rendering the task of transferring the existing pictures impossible. Lovely. But have no fear, a reboot will surely fix it...or not. Poking around in the BIOS, device manager, drive manager...nothing. The machine simply had no awareness of those flash interfaces existing. So, this could only be one thing, a dreaded driver issue.

So now I'm slogging through the forums on Lenovo's site looking for poor, hapless people who have experienced this issue before. There seem to have been a few, but no easy remedy. It was also here that I discovered Lenovo's support is still far behind Dell. If only Dell hadn't given my mom of all people the runaround when her monitor failed less than a year after buying a Dell on my recommendation because "they'll answer any questions you have, no problem". This after selling her a really awful printer as part of the package...a printer so bad that I can only get it to work after inserting paper at a carefully measured, precise angle, then wiggling it a little, and then at just the right moment, leaning very close to the printer and whispering threats through clenched teeth. But Dell wouldn't help her get the printer working right, and then they had to send her three monitors (and I had to get involved to make that happen) before the third one finally worked for more than a few days. After all of this, an email to Michael Dell, and a phone call with someone I can only assume is in the "response management" division at Dell, I asked that they send a new printer to sooth some of the frustration we'd had with their company. They responded that they couldn't do that. I of course pointed out that they most certainly could, and that the more accurate word to use in this case would be "wouldn't" instead of "couldn't".

So now I own a Lenovo. It's a nice machine, and affordable. But after my experience tonight, grace be with you if you have a problem with it late at night and don't want to just fire an email into the ether, or get into an extended phone wait game, because what you'll be left with is the forum.

After reading a lot of posts (many commenting on the lack of easily accessible information on the site), I happened upon this one. It seemed a very outside shot, but I followed the link and downloaded the latest driver for Vista x64. After contemplating the question of "how bad could installing this be", and "when was the last time I checked my backups", I installed it. Peace on earth and goodwill to the folks at Ricoh, it worked. My wife just finished cleaning off the memory cards, and I made this post.

If anyone happens to find this helpful, well Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Thank God for pie

Saying prayers with my son before he went to sleep two days ago, we were thanking God for our house and our food and our drinks. I was about to move on in the prayer, when he says, "...and pie...and cake." I just nodded at him and said, "Amen."

Monday, May 11, 2009


I've already acquired a shotgun.

"Daddy, why do people die?"

The title isn't an awfully corny lead into a predictable lecture that ends with "But, Jesus can save you". That's true, but the question that is the title of this post was an actual question from my friend's six year old son. I find it very profound. My friend is an intelligent, thoughtful man, and so he struggled with how to answer this question honestly. He decided to answer his boy by telling him it was a big question, and that he didn't know for sure, but everyone had to find their own answer eventually. As my friend finished telling me about this conversation he said, "So, I'm glad I didn't take the opportunity to brainwash my son."

There are some very real, tangible dangers to post-modern philosophies, not the least of which is the eventual necessity to use might to determine "right", but my friend's comments point to another danger, and that is the loss of generational wisdom. That is, if all conclusions and all opinions are equally valid, it's unecessary to teach our children anything other than that simple principle. As they will eventually form their own opinions and come to their own conclusions, and those will by definition be as valid as that of their parents, teaching becomes not only unecessary, but since it is purposefully influencing thoughts and conclusions, it is actually looked on as brainwashing.

Now, if I asked my friend I'm sure he'd tell me that he teaches his son not to play in traffic, how to properly handle a knife, what he can eat and what he cannot eat, etc. He quite naturally does these things, and rightfully so in order that his son's physical health be maintained. This is necessary because there are rules that govern our physical well being, there is a design to our physical being that reacts well to some things and does not react well to others. Most post-modern thinkers do not disagree with this, but they draw a philosophical line between the physical and the metaphysical. They say there are rules and order to the physical (a post-modern would not suggest that scientific theory is invalid), but that there are no such rules or order in the metaphysical world. Francis Schaefer refers to this dividing line as the "line of despair". There is not, in my opinion any logical reason for this line, and it therefore follows easily that that about us that is not physical (I would call it spiritual) is also benefitted by some thoughts and actions, and damaged by others. We should therefore be at least as careful and intentional in teaching our children about spiritual health as we are about physical health, and to do this is no more to brainwash them than teaching them not to crawl into the oven.

Right now I'm not sure how I'd answer this question for my son, but I'm very grateful for the eternal wisdom of the Bible and the thoughts it offers on difficult questions such as this, and even more grateful for a God who has promised that love covers a multitude of sins...and those would be my sins it's covering.

As a side note, if you happen to be reading this and find yourself wondering firstly how you got here, it was probably not intentional, but let's go with it and answer your next question which might be around where to find some instruction on what is and is not good for the human soul. I would recommend Jesus, and more specifically the book of Matthew, chapters 6 and 7. These teachings are generally referred to as the Sermon on the Mount.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

But don't go anywhere else

Vaccines are a tremendously controversial subject right now, and since this is merely a blog by an admitted lay person in the area of medicine, I'm not really going to jump into it too much. I just have an interesting story to share that involves vaccines. I will however mention that I believe much of the heated debate on this topic has to do with the majority of the medical community simply refusing to engage in the conversation. The impression I get is that they feel they have spoken and they don't want to talk about it anymore. Never mind that an ever increasing number of people are refusing vaccines, that we're seeing huge spikes in childhood diseases coming under the umbrella of autism, auto-immune disorders, and allergies with no good explanation as to why, that the number of suggested vaccinations has gone from somewhere around four (polio and mmr) to somewhere around sixteen in the last 15 or so years, that there are some very questionable connections between those people who are recommending the vaccines and those people who are making the vaccines, and that above all parents are asking for some real answers. Still, what we get in response is a one size fits all immunization schedule, the strong suggestion that every single person get every single vaccination at the scheduled time, and no viable studies on long term effects of this practice.

As I said though, I'm not going to add my two cents to this debate because many who know far more than I are already speaking on both sides. I appreciate that, especially from those in the medical community (such as my doctor) who are willing to have the conversation and who are willing to allow parents to choose not to immunize or to follow a modified immunization schedule without writing them off as crazies who are unfit to parent. In fact, if a parent isn't questioning loading their child from birth with viruses and foreign substances (such as aluminum, formaldehyde, and various animal products) before doing so, that should cause some concern.

My sister and I were having this conversation the other day, as we both have children who would be getting vaccinations via the standard schedule, and so it's more than just an academic topic of discussion for us. She was telling me that she had gone into her doctor to have her youngest daughter receive a second round of vaccinations and she was asking the nurse some questions about a particular vaccine. The nurse was answering the question and then said, "If you have any more questions just go to don't go anywhere else." I was shocked, but not particularly surprised that she would say this. It really just belies the medical community's stance on the vaccination debate, in that in their minds there is no debate, but only wild, ignorant ravings from those who present information counter to theirs. However, regardless of the quality of the argument against, when someone who is supposed to be a trusted advisor is saying that an agency of the U.S. government is the sole bearer of truth on a subject, that should lead to some serious questioning of that person's role as an advisor, and if the medical community as a whole is suggesting such a thing with regard to vaccinations, we should all be very alarmed, and become very educated on the subject.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Currently, there are no laws

I don't watch the local news. Yes, I do care about what's happening in my community, and yes I do have a feed on my home page for local newspaper articles, but I don't watch the evening news. Sometimes though I accidentally catch some of it, and after my initial feelings of bewilderment pass, I'm reminded of exactly why I very intentionally avoid it.

Recently there was an accident here in the area involving a texting motorist and a police car on the shoulder of an interstate. Clearly a potentially very serious situation that thankfully didn't involve much more than what I imagine was a good scare for everyone. Last night, as my TV flips to the most recent channel I was watching after I'd deleted my recording of a syndicated Scrubs episode, I happen to catch the end of this story on the evening news. "Okay, that's probably a legit news story", I tell myself, "Nothing there to warrant me being annoyed enough to write a blog post regarding my annoyance, that no one will ever read." Then, to what I guess should have been my anticipated bewilderment, they follow the story up with a series of video pieces in which they asked random residents how they "felt" about texting while driving.

There are just so many things wrong with this. The idea is wrong, the use of resources is wrong, the content is wrong, the delivery is wrong. This isn't a debatable subject. No sane person thinks texting while in control of a two thousand pound missile made of glass and steel is a good idea. But, if it were a debatable subject, don't stick a camera in the face of random people on the street and ask them a question for which they have no time to prepare an answer. Even with time and no camera the average person probably isn't going to have anything meaningful to say on the majority of topics, so there's almost zero chance of getting something worthwhile in this manner. If however the local news is going to choose to ask a question that has only one sane answer, and then to do that via ambush on the good people of the community, it would be ever so nice if they would save this activity for their interns and use their resources to air some meaningful content.

In the article linked above it mentions that there is currently no law against texting while driving. I won't get started on the implications of needing to create such a law, but should we decide to do that, I think we should also include one to protect citizens from "Pulse of the People"-type segments by local news teams.