Monday, March 1, 2010

Testing Testing 1.2.3.

Let's see how amazingly this
new $3 app does for me. I purchased it from bed at 5:30 in the morning.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Ulysses,United States

Friday, December 18, 2009

Going Hunting At Daybreak

I'm laying here in bed, in the dark, thinking about adventure and what a new day brings. I'm thinking that adventure, in the most thrilling sense of the word, seems ever elusive to those leading what might be termed typical lives. We wake up and go to work each day, leaving before there's time to do much, and returning home too late to do much. Now I'm not complaining, rather I'm inviting any and all to participate in my wandering exploration of the idea of adventure. For, on the one hand, I don't feel unhappy at all. Quite to the contrary, I find myself quite animated and quite anxious for each new day. At the same time, when I come to write a post about adventure, I find myself without much physical material. So what exactly constitutes an adventure? Will I have one today? Did I have one yesterday? Is it only an adventure if it proves entertaining to an audience after the fact? Or is a satisfactory adventure qualified only by the new things we do in our lives each day? Is it an adventure to try to keep a running blog suturing my varying pursuits together? All I find myself with today are questions, and most likely tomorrow will be the same—I enjoy questions because it means I still have a puzzle to solve.
I want to know where the heart of adventure is truly to be found, and as day begins to break here in a snow covered upstate New York, I'm going hunting for it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Awesome Entertainment

May I just say that I feel I hold myself to a high level of quality when it comes to television, movies, etc. I think most who know me would say the same. So I hope my reputation speaks for the quality I find in the series Veggie Tales. I don't watch it a lot, but no one who watches it wastes any time. It is one of the only worthwhile things I know of on the television. So, to illustrate, here are two clips I really enjoy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Learning to Fix What's Broke

I've always been one with an insatiable appetite for information and ability. The more I can learn to do the better I feel. It's like with every new bit of information another part of the world opens up to you. This goes for everything from film, to math, to languages, to brake pads. I recently had my vehicle in for its New York state inspection. The only comment they had at the end was that the brake pads barely passed inspection. In fact they only gave me about a week of city driving or a month of highway driving before I'd start hitting the rotors. I kind of think they were crazy . . . but I'm no mechanic.
The reason I think that is because after much encouragement from my wife I replaced my own brake pads.
--Now as a side note, isn't it an amazing thing to have a spouse who loves you? I think that in a healthy marriage you always have so much more confidence in the abilities of your spouse than they have in you. I'm grateful for that because my wife has helped me accomplish so much more than I ever would have on my own. She is the confidence that moves upon me.--
So anyways, I fixed my own brake pads. I was pretty reticent the whole time. Like a kid with stage fright who is pushed onto stage, all the while trying to dig in his heels. I did it though. The final no turning back point was buying the brake pads. When you throw $70 at something, you'd better go through with it (as another side note, my Calculus teacher taught me that lesson when she told me I'd be better off not taking the AP Calculus test because I'd be throwing my money away . . . lesson learned).
So Saturday I came home with brake pads, a Ford Explorer Manual, and not enough time to get the job done. An hour later I'd changed my first set of brake pads with little incident and had also run out of time. The brakes, and my truck, would be forced to wait for another day to be finished. Luckily my in-laws have an extra vehicle they don't use and they are good enough to allow us to drive it around.
Well, bad luck brought in some pretty terrible weather. The next two days were cold, rain and wind. Three days later I had a window of clear weather and went out to finish the job. Forget it. My father in-law passed by 20 minutes after I'd started and I let him know that I was almost done. 30 minutes later I had to call him over for help.
For those who know, there are four caliper pins between your 2 front disc brakes. They should pull out easily by hand. There's no threads on them, they're just greased up pins that easily pull in and out--at least they should easily pull in and out. My 4th pin didn't budge. I laughed at the situation. Of course it wasn't the first or second pin on the first. Not even the first pin on the second side. No, it was the very last pin on the very last side and was the very last thing I needed to do to finish the job. I struggled for another little while with my father in-law. We finally had to work a pair of vice-grips onto the pin and slam on it with a big wrench. It took a lot and the whole vehicle shook, but that pin finally came out. It was too late though, so I secured the hanging caliper and put the wheel back on and headed inside, blasted caliper pin in hand.
You remember I said the other three pulled out easily by hand (if you blew hard enough you may have gotten those first three out), this one took more brute force than it takes to knock down a wall. The culprit of it all was some lame-o technician who had put this pin in with no grease. For the last 2 years at least it had been driving metal-on-metal. The entire thing was corroded and just a terrible mess. It was at this point that I was beginning to question my wisdom in deciding to change the brake pads myself. I was now going on day four without my truck and I was getting tired of waiting for weather and struggling over what should have been so simple.
The next night, somewhat in frustration but mainly in determination, I went out and for an hour and a half worked in the dark, in the rain, on the brakes. I had to sand down the pin first so that I could see the silver again. Then, per my father's instructions given me over the phone, I wrapped some sand paper around a pencil and filed out the inside of the pin hole. Then I greased the pin and held my breath. Another ten or fifteen minutes and it was all done. I can proudly say I drove my truck to and from work today with no problems . . . fingers crossed.
Now, to any who do a lot of work on their own car this may sound simplistic and ridiculous to you, but I challenge you to tackle something you have no experience in and tell me how it goes. I for one learned a lot from this and gained a lot of confidence I did not have before. A portion of the world opened up to me.
A few of the things I learned were:
1. You really can do more than you think yourself capable. If you don't believe me, find yourself a loving and encouraging companion. The ability to be self-sufficient is a great feeling. The more I can do the greater aid I can be to someone else. Now, don't misunderstand, but self-sufficient I don't mean the age-old "I am an island." I believe we all need one another, but we allow ourselves to be far too lazy than we should. And as a note, every island is really connected to the rest of the earth . . . there's no such thing as a floating land mass in my experience.
2. It's great to have a father. What a wonder it is to have someone I can look to for instruction. When we have parents we love and who love us we can skip so much in life, standing on their shoulders and our children on our shoulders. In such a way we continue to build each succeeding generation higher than the one that preceded it.
3. God works in our lives. I wanted to be so frustrated at the situation--the sticking caliper pin. It seemed so stupid. For a brief time I was angry at the situation. You know what though? As I looked at it, analyzed the situation, and thought about it, I realized I'd put the two pins back in the wrong spots on the first side. Had such a hard situation not occurred, and had it been easier to finish the second side, I would have taken off in my truck with the parts in the wrong place and who knows what that would have caused. It took such a difficult situation to get me to recognize and fix such a simple problem. Anyone can see what they will in the situation, but there is a higher power that will help us even in the simplest of tasks and situations if we are awake to it.
P.S. The brake pads were only about half-worn.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

From Among the Great Ones of Our Dispensation

Again I find myself reading a book in some of my spare time. Mainly I read it on my lunch hour at work and it's the second time I've studied its pages and I've never failed to be disappointed in how much I walk away with. The book is called Isaac Asimov on Numbers. It's a book about mathematics. Now to the singleminded and those whose blinders allow them interest only in one chosen field, a book about mathmatics may not seem too enticing, but I am one who revels in any new learning or knowledge. As a result I rejoice in a writer who can help me understand binary code in the course of a few pages, or make imaginary numbers less imaginary for me. In any case I'd recommend this book to anyone with a thirst for knowledge. My reason for posting this here, however, is more specific.
Now, I am not one to condone the behavior widespread in society today of trying to be better than someone else, but I am a fan of moments of pure intelligence flowing into an individual, espcially in the midst of an intellectual and idealogical debate. Such a story was to be found within the pages of this book and I just thought I'd post the debate here for any with interest to read. Bear in mind that this is about Isaac Asimov when he was a young student facing off against an already established professor:

When I was a mere slip of a lad and attended college, I had a friend with whom I ate lunch every day. His 11 a.m. class was in sociology, which I absolutely refused to take, and my 11 a.m. class was calculus, which he as steadfastly refused to take--so we had to separate at eleven and meet at twelve.
As it happened, his sociology professor was a scholar who did things in the grand manner, holding court after class was over. The more eager students gathered close and listened to him pontificate for an additional fifteen minutes, while they threw in an occasional log in the form of a question to feed the flame of the oracle.
Consequently, when my calculus lecture was over, I had to enter the sociology room and wait patiently for court to conclude.
Once I walked in when the professor was listing on the board his classification of mankind into the two groups of mystics and realists, and under mystics he had included the mathematicians along with the poets and theologians. One student wanted to know why.
"Mathematicians," said the professor, "are mystics because they believed in numbers that have no reality."
Now ordinarily, as a nonmember of the class, I sat in the corner and suffered in silent boredom, but now I rose convulsively, and said, "What numbers?"
The professor looked in my direction and said, "The square root of minus one. It has no existence. Mathematicians call it imaginary. But they believe it has some kind of existence in a mystical way."
"There's nothing mystical about it," I said, angrily. "The square root of minus one is just as real as any other number."
The professor smiled, feeling he had a live on on whom he could now proceed to display his superiority of intellect (I have since had classes of my own and I know exactly how he felt). He said, silkily, "We have a young mathematician here who wants to prove the reality of the square root of minus one. Come, young man, hand me the square root of minus one pieces of chalk!"
I reddened, "Well, now, wait--"
"That's all," he said, waving his hand. Mission, he imagined, accomplisshed, both neatly and sweetly.
But I raised my voice. "I'll do it. I'll do it. I'll hand you the square root of minus one pieces of chalk, if you hand me a one-half piece of chalk."
The professor smiled again, and said, "Very well," broke a fresh piece of chalk in half, and handed me one of the halves. "Now for your end of the bargain."
"Ah, but wait," I said, "you haven't fulfilled your end. This is one piece of chalk you've handed me, not a one-half piece." I held it up for the others to see. "Wouldn't you all say this was one piece of chalk? It certainly isn't two or three."
Now the professor wasn't smiling. "Hold it. One piece of chalk is a piece of regulation length. You have one that's half the regulation length."
I said, "Now you're springing an arbitrary definition on me. But even if I accept it, are you willing to maintain that this is a one-half piece of chalk and not a 0.48 piece or a 0.52 piece? And can you really consider yourself qualified to discuss the square root of minus one, when you're a little hazy on the meaning of one half?"
But by now the professor had lost his equanimity altogether and his final argument was unanswerable. He said, "Get the hell out of here!" I left (laughing) and thereafter waited for my friend in the corridor.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. From that little discourse I think it was evident that the development of Asimov's mind and interests was already beyond the norm and well on it's way to placing him to where he now rests among the great ones of our dispensation's thinkers. If you want any more from him or if you want a quick easy way to understand imaginary numbers or other mathematical concepts that are really neat, just pick up the book and away you go.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

True Love

I was moved to tears by this depiction of love. I feel overwhelmed at times by the world's misperception of love and our misplaced attention on the explosive emotions at the onset of each new relationship. The kind of love the world has interpreted the Beatles as meaning is not 'all you need.' Rather the kind of charity depicted in this film is 'all you need' and more. May each of us strive to have such compassion and patience to spouse, friend, family, acquaintance and stranger.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gordon B. Hinckley

I just finished reading a biography about the 97 year life of Gordon B. Hinckley, prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Few have lived as he lived. He seemed to be running about accomplishing good all his life and he was doing it right up until he died. He didn't seem to take much time to warm up, and there was no warm down. I should like to live such a life.
I recommend the biography to anyone, though it takes some intent to read through it's 600 pages. I think that anyone who starts to read it, however, will feel compelled to complete it. The writing is easy and the stories inspiring. I am especially fond of his life's emphasis on working hard to accomplish good and a continual reference to the fact that he never retired, but as he got older seemed to be doing more and more. He is probably one of the most well traveled men in the history of the world and at 80 and 90 was keeping up a travel schedule to visit the people of the world that wore down his younger travel mates.
In any case, I encourage all to take the chance to read about this man and his life. If the world had more men of the integrity and work ethic of Gordon B. Hinckley I am of the opinion that not only would there be no recession, but the earth would have in good measure fulfilled the purpose of it's creation and heaven not be too far distant.
The title of the book is "Forward with Faith" and it is by Sherrie L. Dew.