Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Message : Forensics

Well, I've been working on a couple fun little projects, and some not so fun stuff recently. This makes me look forward to my upcoming Spring Break trip. We're heading to Egypt, visiting Cairo, Alexandria, and Mt. Sinai over about a 10 day period. It should be a lot of fun, and I'm excited.

I just finished Alastair Reynolds' most recent book, House of Suns. It was good, not his best, but still good. I enjoyed it, would heartily recommend it to anyone who likes Grand Scale Space Opera, or harder SF. It felt a little rushed towards the end, but had a lot of classic Reynolds in it. He writes some of the best relativistic deep space chase scenes I have ever read.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Planning to keep it this way

I want to go Home.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chairs and minds



I hate it when I feel like I have to confront situations that I don't want to confront. I hate it when I feel like I can't actually do anything of significance in a certain area. I hate it when I have to grow sometimes.

I love it when I get to see something that needs to be changed. I love it when I can help people. I love it when I get direction and clarity.

There are times when people, unintentionally really push my buttons. Like today, I was in a meeting, and told that some of the things I brought up were because of inexperience. Perhaps it is just because I'm insecure, but that always hacks me off. I know I'm inexperienced and I don't know everything, and your telling me that I'm inexperienced and that's it does nothing. Inexperience does not mean invalidity of ideas, and inexperience is not improved upon just by being told that I'm inexperienced. Sigh.

I would like to vent more, but I can't. Out.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sail on


I wish I didn't have to deal with some of the things that I do while I'm here. I wish I didn't have to be as weak and as strong as I do.

How am I ever supposed to know what it is that I am supposed to do in all circumstances? I don't think I ever will. So I just ask for guidance and direction, and I trust that I will get them.

It's raining more. Hopefully, it doesn't just stop in a week or two, but it keeps raining through the rest of the spring. This land needs it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some may say

Another week in the books. It was short and kind of strange - we had a holiday on Saturday, and then parent teacher conferences on Wednesday. So it felt oddly abbreviated. In a week, we're heading to Egypt for Spring Break, and that should be fun.

I'm reading about four different books right now, some thilosophy, some SF, and some biographies. Keeping all the concepts and stories straight in my head is fun.

I'm really looking forward to watching some ball tonight or tomorrow, I need to check the schedule, but I think I'll get at least one game this week.

They put our basketball court back down, so we should soon see some games on Thursday mornings between staff.

Please remember D and her family. It's been a month. Please also think of something else that you committed to remember a while ago, and bring it Up.

I'd post anything else if I could think of it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Queen of Diamonds

It's raining here today. A nice light rain most of the day. It's so wonderful, for us and for the people of this dry and dusty land.

See how they shine.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Once and for all

I'm a fan of Neal Stephenson. I have been a fan of his since I read Snow Crash, long long ago, and have continued my enjoyment through Cryptonomicon, Diamond Age, and the Baroque Cycle. I got Anathem, his latest book for Christmas, and have finally just finished it. Once I started reading, and got past the first hundred and fifty pages or so, it was an undeniably good read. The start is slow - even for a Stephenson book - and getting past that took some time. But once I got into the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now, if you have read it (which I doubt that many of my readers have, and this 'review' is not really serving as a recommendation for it), you may wonder how I could enjoy it, as there is, well, a LOT of the philosophy and ideas in it that I don't agree with. But it's presented in a way that makes me think about what I know, and appreciate Who I know, even though the presentation is not really intended to do that. Plus, the story is an amazing Stephenson mix of cloister and computer. I can't say much more than without giving the whole thing away, but suffice to say, if you enjoyed Cryptonomicon, I'd get Anathem and just make the commitment to read through atleast half the book. This is definitely fiction, definitely is cleaner than Stephenson's previous books, and definitely not accessible fiction. If you can get around the invented world, the made up words, and the slow beginning, this definitely a book to read with an aware filter, but one that will reward the eager reader.

Oh, and there really is an ending in this book that's not a denouement.

I know this is far different from my usual post, but I've wanted to read this book since I first heard about it, and I was really excited to read it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We'll ride together

So, stuff.

I am trying to figure out everything and nothing all at once. The horse, he keeps running. It would seem that I need to slow down and hang my head. I find something in being here - the extraordinary life. Not that mine is such, but those around me have them. All for no reason that anyone could see if they were merely human. The whole town is here, but what could I explain about them, except they just Trust.

I'm taking D out tonight, and I'm wearing a suit. I played video games and watched TV with my buddy yesterday. I am getting excited for Egypt in about 10 days. I wish I could tell you about all the things that are and were and shall be.

Waiting rooms and silent watches.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Against the hundredweight

I am obsessed, apparently, with my socks.

Today, I was putting away most of my winter clothes (yes, it's gotten that warm, generally!) and that includes putting away my winter socks. I was once again astounded and disgusted with the amount of socks that I have. So I took the above picture. There are a lot of socks there, and that doesn't count the dirty or drying ones. It's as tall as a 1 liter nalgene bottle. I am disturbed by the amount of clothes I have here. I think I'm going to have to figure out how I can donate or give away some of these that I have now, because I don't need them all.

I have been listening to one of my housemate's Johnny Cash albums. Something weird is happening to me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

No one

As it gets warmer here, and I don't have to wear twelve layers of clothes, I like it.


For when I wander in the whirlwind, why do I marvel that I am tossed and thrown? Never should I fear the things that man can bring to bear against me. For I have no lasting city here, but I seek the one that is to come. Interposition of red has made me free forever from the death of this life, and though I am prone to wander, the courts above are where I am to go. I seek not a kingdom built by my own hands. I thirst for life, and I will receive it on some glad day.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Follow the Son

I know I live where I do when...

D and I go out to a cafe we really enjoy, run by a french couple. We get there about a half hour before closing time, after they'd sent most of their staff home, but they still served us. We had a nice time, then called the driver to come get us right before the owners came over and offered to give us a lift home. We said we'd called the driver, but we wanted to pay. The very nice french lady had forgotten that we hadn't paid! So we paid, then called the driver again because the cafe is close by and he should have been there. It turned out he was taking other people somewhere, so we asked the french couple if they could take us home. So we went out with the wife and their local staff girl who they were taking home. The husband went inside to lock up, and then when he came out, he... sort of bunny hopped or invisible horsey rode over to the car. His wife said to us, "Oh, you know, french people are crazy." Then, the local girl got in the back seat of the truck, then D got in. The french lady said to me, "Do you want to sit back here with your wife?" "Um, no, that's..." I didn't really know what to say, so I just went around and got up front. They had a CD player in their truck, and it was playing... country versions of Adoring songs... in English. The french couple started singing along.

About two minutes down the road, when it seemed the french gentleman was taking a circuitous route, I asked him if he knew where we lived. "No," he said with a smile.

D hadn't had the best of days, adjusting to being back, and this little trip was good for her. Our new topic conversation changer is, "So, the french couple thinks we're married."

It just goes to show you... the Man comes around.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Made it back with D to Kabul. Not all of her luggage got here, but we're hoping it gets forwarded tomorrow. We gave the science teacher's kids their presents - barbie dolls and hot wheels and play-doh and aliens and mac N cheese. They were excited. I'm glad that D made it back mostly OK - she's planning to stay awake until 10, and doing pretty good about it so far. Please Ask that her jet lag isn't very bad, and she gets adjusted quickly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crooked Crowns

Tomorrow, I fly to Dubai to pick D up. She leaves home in a few hours, please Remember her travel, and Ask that it goes smoothly.

Our science teacher and his family got a trampoline today. Tonight, they had a little bonfire and trampoline party. I had a great time jumping around with their kids. My other girlfriend, their little three year old, wanted me to lifter her up and help her jump. You know, even a relatively strong guy like me can only lift/jump a three year old for a while. But it was a nice, fun time. I can still almost, but not quite, land a flip on the trampoline.

Today, all the first graders wanted to shake my hand. I'm not sure how I suddenly got so popular. I've played catch with a friend here the past couple days. We both really wish we had enough space to bat, or a batting cage.

You can call me pathetic, but I really want to see D again. We've gotten to talk a good bit, but being with someone is different than just hearing a voice.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Take back that photograph

So, I haven't done a post like this in almost a month.

Today was a holiday, and I slept in and didn't get out of bed until about 11:00. People who know me well will know how uncharacteristic this is of me. It gave me a lot of time to think about a number of different things, some of which I am going to share with you, and some of which I am going to not share, and still more I am going to weave together with various things that happened today and various things I've read and music I've listened to to form some cacophonous tapestry.

Tonight in our weekly men's meeting, we talked about how to discern the Plan. And anyone who has had the pleasure, or displeasure as the case may be, of being around me while I'm trying to discern knows, this is something that I have often and probably will struggle with for a very long time. Part of this is that I don't like to do things until I'm sure that I can do them right. Another part of this is that I over-analyze things and often get myself into analysis paralysis. Still another part is that I sometimes lack the basic trust that discernment requires. This last one is a revelation that hits me repeatedly and starkly every time.

Has anyone ever noticed the uneven trust that we occasionally seem to be caught in? See, it's easy for me to Trust that things are going to be OK for me, just me. I have rarely, rarely worried about my safety here in this place, I have rarely worried that I am going to be taken care of day to day. However, it's far more difficult for me to Trust for others in my life. This last week has proved it to me again, and how I need to walk in Trust about D right now, and Trust that she is going to be Cared for far better than I can. It's hard for me to Trust when my family and friends go through difficult times, because I want to be able to fix it for them, I want them to be OK. And so this last week, when I'm faced with seeing the pain and struggle that someone I care about is undergoing, I want to be able to take it away. I want to be able to fix it. And I can't.

Instead, I saw this lesson for me in the last week. I can't fix these things. I can't be strong enough. So instead of me being the strength, I have to set myself aside so I can be filled with the Strength she needs. I have to help her, not by letting her rely on me, but by helping her rely on Someone who will never leave her. I have to lay my supposed need to help her aside, and take up That which can bear us through. This is a hard lesson to learn. It's a question of, how far do I trust?

It's a question I want to ask you. How far does your trust extend? What will you withhold? When the fires come, who are you? Who are you?


These last twelve, as I Read, I seek for answers. And I can't say that I find all that I want. But I find great comfort in a story that has long stayed with me.

Once, a man faces great trials. He is led to contend with four hundred who hold to falsehood, and sees them cast down and destroyed through truth. Immediately after this, he flees their patron, and is led to the wilderness, and then to a mountain cave. In that cave, he is asked a question, and then goes through an earthquake, a great wind, a fire. He finds no answers, indeed, it seems he finds no communication.

But then, a quiet voice. There he finds communication, he finds answers, he finds direction. I think the power that is displayed just before this communication is for the main purpose of getting his attention. It seems that often in the calamity, we find no reason, no help. It is after the storm that the word comes, and that we grow.


I wish I could express some of the things that have been in my heart of late. When I try, they just slip away, like a wisp of cloud caressing my fingers as it disappears. I... walk around in time, pondering, seeking resolution or an answer to what seem to me to be simple questions. Do you know how much information is generated generating information? With how many decisions we face every day, with how many big things seem to happen to us, it would seem impossible to keep track or know them all. People deal with things in different ways, and to make someone explain themselves fully would be impossible, for even those of us who claim to know ourselves well really don't. When was the last time you surprised yourself, or found yourself doing something you didn't understand? In my head, I am far more eloquent and sensible than I sound anywhere else, and I struggle to make myself think about the full repercussions of my actions. I find nothing to wander towards when I just want to wander.

I wish that I could see to the end of the path. The curvature of the earth only lets me see so far, it's simple physics and geometry, and in that there is a glorious release if I would only grasp it. I can only see so far, I'm only let to see so far.


D and her family still need you to lift them up. But also, I want you to think back to something that one of your close friends has gone through in the last year. Something that when it happened you help up, but you've not thought of lately. Probably, they still need this Remembered. Would you do that? It's easy to, when something occurs, to bring the immediate need forward, but then never return to that. Ask for what you need to Remember, and then hold it up.


We part of are the army of the far from perfect.
Following the footsteps of heroes never led to the safe and gray roads.


So I leave you with a question?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Early in the morning

So, part of my adjustment back to the 'Stan is, when crossing so many time zones, sleep. I have stayed up late (easy with the advent of 24/7 power), and then not wanted to get up. It's also, temperature wise, right where it is just chill in the morning, not ridiculously cold, and so there's not enough of a 'wake up' benefit from getting out of bed to get my alarm across the room, and then it's hard to get up because it's warmer enough under the covers... sigh.

It's been an OK first couple days back. Our local coffee shop/cafe closed on Friday, so the guys from my house went for one last hurrah. We're pretty sure we were the last customers, so that's historical. I quit dealing with people after a while yesterday, so last night I talked to D and then hid in my room most of the evening. It's nice to be able to do that when I want to.

I really need to work back into the swing of things, but I think it's going to take some doing. Our month coming up is really disjointed with some days off, end of quarter, and then spring break at the start of April. But hopefully I will make it back into normalcy. Or as close to it as I can manage.

I'm really thankful for a supportive community to live in and come back to.

Where the final phase of the moon wanes forever
and the newness of the portion loses its luster
still will I search and strive for the strength
my life needs to hold and endure for none other
holds the keys to death so fallen to redemption
open skies hold a blessing for the finest of us
who gain so much more than I shall ever know of

Friday, March 06, 2009

Circling shadows

I'm almost back to the 'Stan. My flight leaves Dubai soon, and then I will be home. It's been a long trip, but it will soon, soon be done. Then a week before I come back to pick D up. Please continue to Remember her and her folks - they covet your Thoughts.

I have had few problems on the trip, my flight from Dallas to London was not at all full, so I took off my shoes and socks and put my feet up on the seat and slept. That was good. I feel like I'll be able to get onto 'Stan time quick.

I've learned a lot that I never hope to have to again about grief and sorrow this trip, about joy and pain. We're not forgotten by the One who made sunshine and rain.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


These have been rough but good days. The service yesterday was a great celebration of D's brother's life. He was loved much and will be missed much. I know the service made some people uncomfortable, but that was fine. Last night and today, I just spent time with D. I don't know how else to help her, so I just do that, hold her when she needs it, talk when she needs it, drive out and get her chocolate chip cookie dough when she needs it... just be here.

I fly out tomorrow. I wish I could have stayed with her, but I couldn't. Oh well, we do what we must do.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Bright stars given

The funeral is today at 10. Please ask for D and her family, for His Love, Comfort and Grace to flow in and through them. I thank you for all your supplications - our travel here went so smoothly, we know He kept us in His protection during that time. And I am so thankful that He has let me be, for me, remarkably unaffected by jetlag, so I can be here fully for D. Praise be to the One who sustains us!

P.S. 107