Thursday, September 20, 2007

Night Riding

It's getting darker earlier now. I heard that our regular Tuesday - Thursday shop ride will be phasing out this week due to dusk coming earlier and earlier. Shame that Joseph and I are just now getting tuned in. The alternate to it is laps at Texas Motor Speedway, ok for me but a hoof for Joseph. So today, due to a class that I had at 8 am at work, I had to get up at the butt crack of dawn and ride in the dark. I have a nice set of lights, a 10W halogen front light and a super blinky back light, but I still felt like I was taking my life in my hands when I pedaled off today. It wasn't that early, say 6:30 or so. Dawn was right around 7, so the last couple of miles I turned off my headlight. I think I'll be doing it again tomorrow and for the rest of the winter. I guess I better get used to it. There's also going to be a night ride starting at the shop sometime soon, maybe in a month or two. That's supposed to be a blast. Kinda slow compared to the regular ride and you need lights, but it's supposed to be the funnest ride out there. Maybe I can find a used set of lights for Joseph, maybe even Emily could keep up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

There's all kinds of good in this world

I read a story on CNN that shows me what evangelism could be, maybe what it should be. A little Iraqi boy was disfigured by some nasties last January who poured gasoline over him and lit him on fire. The father goes to the Iraqi Ministry of Health and the parliament to see what help he can find for his boy, but to no avail. He finds some reporters from CNN and 12,000 viewers donate to a special fund set up at the Children's Burn Foundation. He's here now in the states to get medical treatment, and as a bonus, he gets to see the beach in Malibu. While there, some folks from a local church are there on a Father-child beach trip. They see him, approach the interpreter, and ask if they can pray for him. The Iraqi family accepts and the church folks get down on their knees in the sand and surround the family, praying for healing and support. They even pray for forgiveness for the folks who injured this child. That's evangelism. We need to send folks over to Iraq to get on their knees in the sand and pray. I'm not a leftie or a fundie, and I think we're stuck in Iraq until they are ready to hold their own, but I think we need more missionaries there.
By the way, the CNN article identifies the church as Valley Peak, but it's almost certainly the Church at Rocky Peak. It's in the same town that the article mentions and there was a Father - child beach event there last Sunday.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mark Shea falls victim to the disease that he's diagnosing

So I check Mark Shea's blog daily. OK, several times a day. He's got great stuff and I appreciate his sense of humor. In fact, I get a bit bummed when he doesn't have the time to post. He reads a ton on the 'net and lots of folks email him stuff so his site is a great nexus. He posted a nice article from today that he wrote. On this article, I have a point of contention though. In order to point out how biased the media is about Pope Benedict XVI, he did a number of Google searches about him, like "Benedict XVI" rigid, and recorded the number of hits. So if lot's of folks think Pope B XVI is a rigid sort of guy, then there would be lots of hits. One problem, he did this for Google, so that's the entire Internet, not just what the LA Times or NY Post think of him. It's all the random left wing bloggers, all the whacked-out Fundies who think Jack Chick has a true vision, and all the random pages with lists of search terms hoping to catch traffic. All it would have taken would be to click the "News" link on the top of the Google search page to get an idea of how often that set of words was used by media types. Of course, the numbers given would have been much smaller, but a true indication of how prevalent those terms are used by the media, not the 'net. OK, I think I've beat the Internet <> Media drum. There's another issue that I have with this. He never gives those numbers any context by comparing them to searches that would be considered kind. So, no listing of how many hits "Benedict XVI" loving would show. In fact, that search gave more hits than the top one on his list. So going by the logic that he presents, there's more a feeling that the Pope is loving among the media than a feeling that he is rigid, more than he's "cracking down" on anything, in fact. Clicking on the "News" link here again gives a similar ratio of hits, although the numbers are much less impressive.
So what's the point? Isn't it OK for Mark to take a bit of license? I mean, I'm saying that the ratios don't change when we go from searching the whole 'net versus searching news articles, so he's not really twisting anything or presenting false info, right?
OK, technically, he's not lying or anything, but the gist of his article is about how unbelievably dumb the media is about religion. His reason? "
They huddle together in packs, quoting each other and loading up their computers with macros that spit out the required text without their having to fire a single neuron to write it." Uhm, Mark, isn't that what you kinda-sorta did here? You took some Google hit numbers out of context, and they were the wrong numbers, by the way, and then said that they proved something that they didn't prove. I agree totally with the rest of your article, but using the Google examples as support only weakens your point and shows you as guilty of the very same slovenly approach to information that you are accusing the media of taking.
I wrote him an email about it, don't know if he'll respond. Busy guy that Mark. I pray he's really, really busy, doing things that bring him mucho $$ and that the Providence of God is shown again in his life.

PS. I didn't know that this would get picked up by Technorati. My apologies if this seems a bit mean. I have the utmost regard for Mark. I even tipped him (too bad I'm a lousy tipper).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Moving Sucks

We moved last week. Saturday, August 25th, I was in the attic pulling down old Christmas and Easter decorations and had just come inside for a drink when someone called about Ivan's death the night before. It hit Kim hard. It still does. I don't think that other team member's death would have have hit the whole team that hard. Because Ivan was so distant from his father, he belonged to all of us in a sense. A half-dozen people helped Tom put Ivan's bike together, donating parts and labor. Ivan was the boy becoming a man before our eyes. So packing on Saturday seemed pointless. Sunday night there was a ride for Ivan, four laps around the local Jr. College. They passed a hat and raised about 2 grand. I only came to work on Tuesday of last week, spending the rest of the time trying to pack and trying to cope. Wednesday night there was the last weekly crit for our team. All of the proceeds went to Ivan's memory. Some folks donated extra prize money. Normally the A race will return say $50-$60, but folks donated $400, with another $200 for the B race. That got people's attention. So many riders came up and said, "Hey, instead of racing against each other for the prize money that we'll probably donate back, let's race together." Half of the racers wore TBi jerseys and did exactly that. Every prime, and almost every place was won by someone wearing the new jerseys. And you don't usually see that many TBi jerseys in the A race to begin with. Very nice.
Thursday really hurt. Andy Hollinger had asked me to prepare a short prayer, just in case Ivan's pastor was late, so I did. The pastor was there on time though. The kids were over at Grandma's so we were packing like crazy until an hour or so beforehand. Kim got there late with Joseph and Emily. The service was simple: Andy said a few words, Ivan's pastor said a few words and led us in prayer. Then Andy asked for folks to talk about their memories of Ivan. Andy finished by reading some letters that Tom and Bobbye had written about Ivan, and then Lauren Hollinger and Randy Wallis sang Amazing Grace and that was that. It really sank in after that for Joseph. Lots of tears. We took Emily back to Grandma's but Joseph came home with us. He needed to be with us.
So not enough time. Not enough time to move, not enough time to pull ourselves gradually away from our friends on Finian Lane, or the schools. Not enough time to fully grieve for Ivan who did not live long enough for us to know him as well as I wish we could have. I know that Ivan has all of time now. And I don't feel that he's missing out. He's in heaven, and all the earthly joys that we might think he's "missing," going to and finishing school, getting married, having kids, they are but shadows of the joy in the presence of God. They are but smoke, scattered by the wind in comparison to spending eternity with the Almighty. I just wish I had taken more time, been more direct with Ivan, and been further enriched by that.
One story that didn't make the paper: Ivan ran cross country. One girl came up after the service and spoke with Tom. She said that she had also ran CC, and that no one would run with her except Ivan when she was recovering from an injury. When she raced, Ivan would run along the sidelines, encouraging her with a small stuffed monkey that was the team mascot for the entire race. She gave that monkey to Tom. Ivan was that encourager to many. I told Joseph that he needed to be that encourager now.

We're IN!!

We officially closed on our new house on Friday, August 31st. For those of you keeping count, that means that we were one calendar month from putting a sign up on our old house to closing on our new house. All in all, it was probably too fast. We got a total of one offer for our house. We looked at a total of one house in that month. It was one that we had looked at online for a while. This still scares the crud out of me. OK, the house is just right. It's not a Hampton's Mansion, but it's huge compared to anything I've ever lived in. I'm intimidated by the price. Our mortgage payment roughly doubled. That means that all of the times I would buy "little things" that at Bicycles Inc. are going to be gone. Instead of just buying basically what I want when I want, I'm going to have to budget stuff. Yuck. Christmas will be a bit rougher this year. Hopefully stuff will even out next year. I think the annual bonus in March will go straight to the mortgage. No fun.
This house also has stairs. Good and bad. Stairs means that the A/C (two units) will be a bit more efficient because there's more cubic space to surface area. Stairs means an extra floor with extra room. Stairs means that the kids can be sent upstairs to their room and you can't hear them ranting. Stairs also means that little girls can fall down them. Stairs also means that big, fat Dads can twist their bad knee with impunity when moving stuff upstairs. Stairs.