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09 May 2006 @ 08:05 pm
Grabbing some tests from various blogs.

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09 May 2006 @ 06:26 pm
I hope I can post more frequently than once a month.

This is just going to be a rough dump of events and ideas.

Moving our furniture back was a bit painful. We had to leave a bunch of stuff behind that we could not afford to move or store. Luckily we found some people who needed some furniture. I would estimate our loss at around $15,000 if we replaced everything we left. However, our new place is much smaller and we will not be getting that much new furniture. In fact, in order to even get room for furniture in our new place I will need to pare my books down by at least another 60% or more. At the height of my library of books and video discs, I had about 3500 volumes and 2000 DVDs. In the moves between Redmond to Marysville to Hailey, I lost about 1200 lbs of books or 2000 volumes. The individual who liberated the vast majority of our DVD collection from Maryville while we were transitioning to Hailey took about 1500 DVDs. However, the remaining 1500 books or so is still too many. This is especially true if we are going to be apartment dwellers. It has been hard but I've been able to get about 200 books vetted out so far and the plan is to get it down to a more reasonable 700 books or so. We will keep our reference works (the 2nd edition OED is too costly to replace), technical works, and hard-bound works that we adore, as well as my collectible comics and sci-fi paperbacks.

The new place is very nice. However, the last month has been very difficult in its own way, perhaps even harder than doing the move itself. We are in a new town with no close friends or family, we don't know the city, our nest is empty, and the emotional roller-coaster that has been our life in the last six months, heck, the last four years, seems to have sapped much of Kathy and mine's enthusiasm. Now is when I need my faith the most. It is my unshakable faith in the existence of a benevolent God whose plan I cannot hope to understand but who cares for me personally that gives me the strength to keep on. Kathy is now examining in more detail the beliefs we held while being part of the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement and she is struggling to not feel the fool. Once away from the emotional rush and ever-present meeting or service, the god of Pentecostalism seems so small and inadequate. He is like an old pagan or spirit of animism who must be courted to be controlled. A god who fears technological progress and school boards and can be no more creative than to use hurricanes to punish people is a minor war god at best. In many ways Pentecostalism is not a return to the Book of Acts but to goddess worship since the Holy Spirit is the main object of their worship and summoning prayers/rituals. Pentecostalism is really an Old Testament-based religion (most teachings are from the books of the prophets – Malachi is a favorite for the required tithing segment) as can be seem by how Messianic Jews and Pentecostal/Charismatic persons switch easily between congregations or even belong to two congregations, one of each flavor. The Hebrew term Shekhinah is feminine. Here is another article that references this connection. Perhaps Pentecostalism should be broken off as another large chunk of Christianity in addition to Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Protestantism, and Coptic. More similarities exist and perhaps I will write more.
The new mega-churches and the sad evangelicals are in the same boat in regards to being poor stewards of love and truth and have become strongholds from which to build worldly power and enslave the people. Personally I think the Southern Baptist tradition is so intimately tied to white supremacy that is cannot be saved. A case of institutional racism has I have never seen before in study or personal experience. Even more sinister than Nazism because Baptist theology slithers and hides what it is from the world and even from it self. In psychiatric terms, I think you can safely diagnosis Southern Baptist-ism as psychotic with a fair degree of clinical accuracy.

I, myself, am beginning to call myself a freelance monotheist or bad Buddhist/Taoist since I have a strong belief in the divinity of Christ. However, it so *not* like what American Protestant's view of Christ is like.

I just recently re-read "The Da Vinci Code" and my opinions haven't changed. Ripped off ideas, bad conspiracy theory, bad writing, poor character development, and a book only stupid people could say, "Made me think." Ugh. I wasn't particular academic or religious in high school but these ideas were old in the early 80s. This is a book that should be in the same bin as Amazing Tales, graphic novels of Batman, and stories of Indiana Jones. It is a bad thriller but a page turner. A good vacation book or maybe a Young Readers collection.

Current books: "A History of God"

Current Location: Emeryville, CA
Current Mood: lethargiclethargic
06 April 2006 @ 01:34 pm
At last we are ready to go get all our "stuff" (much of it, anyway) in Hailey and move into our new apartment in Emeryville. Colin is with her vet being boarded for the 3-days it will take us to get back. At this moment, Kathy is moving us out of the Extended StayAmerica and into the apartment. We have no bed so we will spend one last night at the hotel. Then, tomorrow morning bright and early, we will take are car back to the apartment, park it in the garage, and catch the shuttle-to-the-train-to-the-airport-shuttle-to-the-airport. We had a bit of a scare early this week when the Delta pilots voted to strike. However, it appears that the earliest a strike might occur would be the 15th of April.

Temporary living has been very stressful. I am so excited to be finally able to call some place "home" again. Since we started getting ready to move to a new rental in Hailey back in late November, we have been unsettled, so to speak.


Reading: "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" & "Chaucer and the Jews"
Current Mood: excitedexcited
26 March 2006 @ 08:24 pm
We have found our new apartment in Emeryville. It is a very cool location near everything but off the beaten path. Cost of renting in the Bay Area is very high but this place has everything we want: swimming pool, keyed access, gated garage, workout room, accepts dogs, and very nicely appointed. I will be able to grab a free ride on the Emery-go-round shuttle from our apartment complex to the McArthur station so we'll only need our car for weekend excursions to the beach or wine country.

Speaking of going to the beach and the wine country, we have taken a couple of trips on our weekends. Last weekend we took off to Pacifica and then drove down the coast on highway 1 to Santa Cruz and then returned via San Jose. The views along that drive were amazing. We had a nice breakfast in Montara. This weekend we went up to Santa Rosa to visit Uncle Ralph. If all goes well he will be moving back to Santa Rosa. While visiting Sonoma county we again went over to highway 1 near Bodega Bay and caught the sunset over the Pacific. I just love the ocean. When we get settled in to our new place after April 10th we will plan a weekend trip to the Sonoma coast. There looks like some good places to body surf and fly kites.

Today we spent time exploring Berkeley. These are definitely our kind of people: odd dressers, tolerant of different creeds and ideas, liberal, intellectual. The plurality and tolerance here is so very cool.

I hope to write a post soon about my thought about our current fear-mongering culture. After much study, personal interviews, and reflection I think most of our physical ills and social problems are tied to how effective fear-based propaganda and advertising drive people to information overload. Cell phones, email, and other technological advances are very helpful and I use them, I think we need to train ourselves to only plug in, so to speak, when it is healthy.

We will return to get the rest of our stuff on April 7th and drive it down ourselves. By April 10th we will be completely moved to Emeryville and finally out of our one-room Extended StayAmerica room. I am very happy to have this temporary solution but I will be some much happier to have an actual place to call home again.

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Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
09 March 2006 @ 04:32 pm
We are no longer in Hailey.

The Lord has been good and I received an offer to go to work for one of Marketron's competitors in the Bay Area. Kathy, Colin, and I are all living in Emeryville at a Extended StayAmerica for the moment. We have located a nice apartment complex that is in Emeryville that we take possession of on April 7th. Until then most of our stuff is in storage.

So far, we are really jazzed about the move. In almost everyway this is a better situation for us: better job, better pay, closer to schools, and the great collection of museums, restaurants, and shopping that is the San Francisco Bay Area.

Taking the BART and walking about 0.7 miles to work each way has been a blast. I just started my new job on Monday. The people are fantastic and the software development practices are among the best I have ever seen. The energy and enthusiasm is just great. Quite a change from what I left behind.

Our move out of the valley was a bit dramatic at the end. In essence we had three places out of which to move: our "old" rental, our "new" rental, and finally our hotel room with a month's worth of clothes, important papers, etc. Our "old" rental's landlord gave us quite a problem and is planning on keeping our $1700 deposit. He even made threats to pursue legal action against us. While we did end up having to leave a bunch of trash and old furniture in his house, I think we did the best we could with just the two us and a very limited amount of money post-layoff. Kathy and I have never had a landlord keep our security deposit. And believe me when I say we have been in a lot of rentals both apartments and houses. Thankfully our "new" Hailey rental landlords we wonderful.

Needless to say I've been a bit busy to keep my LJ updated. Now that things are settling down a bit I will try to keep a more current record in this location.

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Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: Your Song - Elton John
10 February 2006 @ 07:13 am
Things have been very...interesting around here lately. At the end of January, I was laid off when Marketron did some restructuring. This happened to us right in the middle of a move and, of course, after the holiday season when most people, us included, go into a little more debt than usual. Luckily our new landlords have been really great about this.

The bad news is there are no other jobs for my skill set in Sun Valley. As a result we will be moving out of the valley by the end of the month. Where exactly we will go has yet to be determined. If I have a job offer somewhere (anywhere, really) we will move there directly. If I can't find an FTE or contract position then we will stay briefly with my folks in Seattle. One thing I have learned is that having a town no one has heard of on your resume makes things a little more difficult in locating work. Hailey is one of those towns.

Ramesh's contract was also terminated but, as a contractor, he got two weeks notice and today is his last day. He is heading to New York next.

Paxton has moved out as well.

With just Kathy, Collin, and me, we have decided to pare down even further on our stuff. The habits of carrying around a whole household for a family of four with two boys are hard to break. We realize that we just need enough stuff for a 1- or 2-bedroom apartment. If I get another contracting gig where I might be with a company for only six months, we need to be agile. We do have some large, nice artwork we don't want to haul around everywhere. Those items and maybe a few book boxes will go into storage.

In all of this confusion, uncertainty, and activity the Lord continues to be our rock and our shepherd. I will not deny that anxiety and some anger has surfaced during this time but they have been temporary flashes. All in all, we have been able to keep our eyes on the goodness of God and our place with Him in eternity. As a result, the cares of this life are kept at bay. In His teachings, Jesus explained that two things would make the Word of God of no effect in our lives. By this phrase, Jesus is talking about how knowing the Word of God gives you peace and patience. Those two things are the traditions of men (religious teachings "around" the Word of God) and the cares of life (bills, etc). Our choice to look for the good blessings from God that exist in our current life circumstances makes all the difference. Trials are sent not to break us down but to build us up. However, God sends trials that will break us if we try to stand on our own strength and understanding. However, when we stand on His goodness and love, we will overcome. I don't know why this has happened or what will happen next. One thing I do *know* is that God will take us to the next place He has in mind for us and I am happy to go.

Current Mood: contemplativereflective
Current Music: Morning quiet
11 January 2006 @ 07:55 am
Now that we have taken possession of our new house, we have moved out (kinda) from the old house. Basically, we moved our bed, entertainment system, miscellaneous clothes & linens, and some kitchen stuff to the new place. Thus we are living out of the new house but everyday we move over a few more things and put them up as we go. Since we have the rest of the month to move this daily moving will keep us from moving everything over and then having to unbox it. The new place is smaller than the old and we just have numerous items we don't want to keep. As we get all of our personal and sentimental stuff out, we will start selling/giving away the items we don't want. At the end of the month, we will rent a U-Haul and move the last big furniture pieces like our guest bed, dresser, grandfather clock, etc.

Ramesh and Paxton are still living out of the house. Now that we have left, they don't seem inclined to clean anymore. It has become an "every-man-for-himself" situation. Paxton is hoping to get an apartment soon and Ramesh has place lined up for after the 15th.

Paxton has left Blockbuster and is now working as a personal assistant for about $5 more per hour. He now also has regular hours so we should be able to setup a GURPS game now on a week night.
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Current Music: morning silence
03 January 2006 @ 10:02 am
Actually, I've only had normal holiday time off this season which means I've pretty much worked every business day except yesterday.

Work is going along well. I have a new position focused on Quality Assurance. Marketron has tried automated test solutions before and they have not been very successful. One of the reasons is that we did not have a full software engineer doing the evaluations and planning. Now I am that engineer.

We are getting ready for the move into our new place. The house is offically ours today. The snow has made it a bit more challenging to think about moving in phases. If the ground stays clear we plan on moving over our bed, clothes, computers, and TV ASAP and start living out of the new house.

In an interesting turn of events, our current place has lost the use of the electric range. This is a newer range. We helped the landlord pick it out within the last year. However, around 5 PM on January 1st, the oven and stove top elements stopped heating just after the corn beef & cabbage was done but before the black-eyed peas had cooked. With Uncle Ralph still in town, we've had to switch to dining out and microwave food.

I have a number of people to call today: DirecTV to move our satellite dish, Cox to setup HSI, the Gas & Electric companies, Sears appliance repair, and our current landlord.

Kathy has been fighting off some kind of bug recently. Because of her sniffles, she will have to skip going to Blaine Manor this week.

Current Mood: awakeawake
26 December 2005 @ 02:03 pm
Here are some pictures of our new house taken today. Today it is overcast and rainy so the images are a little dark.

Click on images to see a larger picture.

This is the house from the front:

Standing on the back deck looking east at the back of the house:

Looking from our back deck outside our bedroom at our neighbors and their dogs:

We are very excited about moving in January.

Oh, my boss sent me home early today. What a nice gift.

Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: CNN
26 December 2005 @ 11:00 am
This Christmas was very relaxing and it came at a good time. Our lives have been very busy what with us moving from Northridge to a new rental house on Myrtle, having my uncle Ralph visit, getting our Caddy fixed, etc. What we needed was a nice low-key celebration of the wondrous birth of our Savior. That is what we got. Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, Christmas Eve, was basically a day to chill and watch football. We started the day with a gigantic breakfast and just snacked the rest of the day. No planned meals - just folks watching TV, visiting, napping, and snacking.

Christmas Day was nice as well. It started with a nice breakfast and everyone getting up around 7 AM to open gifts. After the gifts were opened, most everyone went back to sleep. Kathy got the turkey in the oven by around 10 AM and crashed. Paxton and I stayed up a bit playing video games and watching part of Revenge of the Sith. Then we also took a nap. Kathy and I got up around 11:30 AM to finish preparing the Christmas dinner. We had a beautiful bird (Kathy is such a good cook!), garlic mashed potatoes, greenbean casserole, New Orleans-style sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, and for dessert a rich chocolate cake with vanilla or peach ice cream. In the evening, we had a nice visit with Daniella and her mother at her house.

When Ralph comes to visit, we love to educate him on movies. In addition to seeing King Kong in the theater (I loved it!), we have introduced him to the Coen brothers with The Big Lebowski, anime with Princess Mononoke, computer animation The Incredibles, and Ralph loved the book Dune so we showed him David Lynch's wonderful adaptation as well. Ralph is something of a classicist so we have previously enjoyed Troy and we were glad to expand his film knowledge to include the Coen brothers as his only exposure to their work came from O Brother Where Art Thou?.

I'll post more later...

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: quiet office