my wonderful daughter

I awoke this morning to the sound of Ani saying "dan, dan," her word for "down." as I lay in bed and listened to her for the next few minutes I realized that our previously tiny baby has turned into, quite before my eyes, a vocal little girl. She now has several words in her repertoire; up, down, mommy, daddy, please, (which includes the sign language of rubbing her chest with her little hand) hi, and bye. While these are all available to her, she definitely has times where we can't get her to say anything for love or money, but then other times she just chats up a storm. People have a lot of different perspectives about parenting, but I have a feeling that it depends more on us as parents than it does on the kids or the age of them. Of course, maybe that's what all young parents think, but I'm hoping.


it's skatin' time!

last night I helped my buddy, Jeff Schissler, start building some skate ramps for a youth event tonight at the church. There will be a 6' quarter-pipe, a 6' roll-in ramp, a small box with a ramp on one end and potentially another small quarter. And they're all gonna be in a warehouse bay adjacent to my office - available to me whenever I want it...awesome!! It could definitely be some serious injury in the making, but i dropped into the roll-in last night and, shockingly, didn't bite it. now i gotta get a hol dof a board...


lacking inspiration

Last night i found myself in the company of great people. we were just hanging out on my back porch talking about this and that. I left that group feeling very good as well as inspired to blog. Unfortunately, the draw of a film being what it is, I chose to watch Thumbsucker instead of blogging. Today came and went in a hurried way and I've found myself wanting to continue to add to this largely formless blob with a "g" and yet am lacking sufficient inspiration to make this interesting. So let's just remember that good friends are hard to find and should be cherished. Here are some photos of the fellas I was hanging out with. (Jen was in Spokane, Wa and Karianne had gone home by the time I pulled out the camera.)


the sea inside

i watched "the sea inside" last night. unfortunately i missed the begining, but in the last hour and a half i was both moved and disappointed. the film is about a man who becomes a quadrapilegic and is fighting for the right to end his own life. actually, he's fighting for his friends to be able to help him since he's quite unable, physically, to perform the task himself.

the film was moving. the dialogue was engrossing, the cinematography gripping and creative and the story kept me riveted despite the desire to check on the render progress of the video project that kept me from the begining of the film. the film had a soft look to it that was very pleasing and was, overall, very enjoyable.

the frustration came with the main character, ramon. (i wondered at one point if it was based on a true story because the main character's name sounded familiar and i wondered if i'd heard it in some news broadcast years ago.) on one hand his argument seems totally reasonable - the idea that a life confined to a bed is not really a life and that one should have the freedom to end one's own life if it is causing more pain than joy. the longer i watched and the more i learned of ramon, the more i saw him as a man who was imprisoned not by a bed but by his own unwillingness to move past whatever tragedy had stuck him there. his attitude toward the other characters in the story was generally self-centered and narcissistic. he was not interested in enjoying life, only in finding a way to end it. thus he spent 28 years fighting the law, confined to a bed, and obsessed with the idea of his own death.

at one point, a woman named rosa who had fallen in love with him was pleading with him to drop the idea of euthanasia because she claimed that he gave her the strength to live. his response? "don't put that kind of responsibility on me!" what a jackass!! that's what happens in life: responsibilities are placed on us. we can definitely choose whether to accept or reject, but to reject, especially a "responsibility" like that, can only result in a life that is more or less devoid of meaning and meaningful relationship. no wonder he wanted to die.

i won't tell you how it ends, but it's definitely worth a watch. i don't know if the director was trying to make a statement about euthanasia or not, but if he/she was it was not a bold one. the message was shrouded in story (shich i prefer to loud and clear) and could make a case either way.

check it out.


a short trip

tdaoy, Jen, Ani and I went t Spokane, WA to visit Jen's mom in the hospital. She was in high spirits, and we had a nice time haging out with her for a couple hours.

The drive there was only punctuated by one thing, a route decision. I started to take a route that would take us around Coeur d'Alene when Jen protested (she would say queried, but I'm telling the story.
"Are you sure you want to go this way?"
I thought this route would be a little quicker and I told her so, but not having a very strong opinion about the issue, i took the next turn back onto the highway and her prefered route.

As we sat in traffic that was backed up for at least 30 minutes waiting for an overturned trailer to be cleaned up, I couldn't help but realize that the route I'd intially chosen would have taken us around the whole mess. It's nice to know that the other way would've been faster.


more talk radio

i was listening to laura ingraham this morning and they were talking about the whole muslim issue that's hot right now. The thing is callers kept asking about interpretations of the Koran and whether there was any authority. The questions seemed a little foolish to me because the chances are good that at least a few of those callers were Christians. Aren't there all kinds of interpretations of the bible? Isn't that a huge issue in america that all the different denominations can't agree on anything? aren't there people who blow up abortion clinics because they believe it's what the bible suggests? so why are the same misinterpretations and confusions so hard to understand in a different religion? why can't we just accept that the majority of muslims are good people who love peace, with a few extremists who have chosen to carry out attorcities in the name of the koran?

i don't think the average american really want an answer. i think we ask questions like that because we believe that we're entitled to justice and that if we dig deep enough we'll find out that there's sometihng or soebody behind the curtain manipulating it all, and we can catch them and punish them and everybody'll be happy.

i don't think that's the case. i think people will always differ in opinion, especially when it comes to issues of religious and scriptural interpretation. there will always be moderates and extremists. americans have been conditioned to believe so highly in justice and individual rights that we forget that there is no promise of fairness or justice in this world. injustice is a part of life and always will be. we can and should work to address the injustice that we see, but when it comes to finding some meter or purpose to bad things that happen, i think we're chasing our invisible tail.


props to google video tech support

i opened a google video account quite a while ago, like over a year. I uploaded several videos, 14 to be exact, and everything was working great. During a long lapse of inactivity, let's a 3-6 months, the email account I'd signed up with became defunct and I forgot my password. I was unable to login or retreive my password. It's taken about 6 emails and 4 weeks to resolve the issue, but I'm finally back in.

Anywho, I checked my stats on the videos as far as views and downloads. Having never done so, I expected higher numbers than I initially found, which suggested that most popular one was only viewed 30 times. I was a little disappointed until I realized that was for yesterday. When I pulled up the all-time stats I found that the most popular video was viewed over 3000 times. That was exciting.

The questions is, should I charge for it now? My heart is telling me no, but hy greedy mind is saying maybe. Leave me a comment letting me know what you think.

Oh, and here's a link to the videos.


a good wednesday

today, i connected with a couple people about doing some video work together. i got another desk in my office that matches the one i already have, so that i can move the second computer that's been occupying precious real estate on the edge of my current desk. thei way when people come in to use the other computer, which happens several times per week, they won't have to sit on my lap while they do so.

the chc band rehearsed tonight for Sunday and we're playing a lot of fun and challenging music. rehearsal was fun because it all came together pretty well. we're playing like a stone by audioslave,peple who died by jim carroll, i will follow you into the dark by death cab for cutie, thank you by snactus real, and a few others that are slightly less notable, but fun nonetheless.

today was a good wednesday


time keeps on keeping on

I was sitting in the drivethrough at McDonald's today (I felt a little guilty about it because the food and business model is so unhealthy in my mind and is feeding what is looking more and more like an epidemic of malaise and obesity in our culture, but I was craving a cheeseburger) and was talking with a friend of mine about my relationship with Jen and how long we'd dated and how we met, etc. As I was talking, it hit me that we've been married over 2 years now, which is not that long in terms of life, but is a long time in terms of the way I see us and my life. It seems like we're still newly married, getting our life set up. But it's been over 2 years, we've got a baby who's turned into a toddler and is over a year old. More and more I'm starting to see myself, from the outside, as an adult. I still feel like the same kid with so much to learn and so much ahead of me, which in many ways is so true, but college students are no longer my contemporaries. I'm creeping up on thirty. I'm finding my perspectives much less on-the-edge than when I was younger, and at the same time, way more balanced and wise than 5 years ago. As I become more aware of my own mortality and increasing age, I'm not scared or regretful for the past. I'm excited about what lies ahead. I'm also much more interested now than ever before, in what I can learn from people of a certain age in my life. It used to be that the older people were, the more out-of-touch they seemed. Today I realized that the older someone is, the more I can learn from them and the more I respect them. Granted, people who have chosen to live their life in a way that doesn't enrich them only become more bitter with age,and there are definitely those who are old and bitter, but I'm finding that the majority were once the instigators that I want to be. The people who are in the twilight of their lives now were the movers and shakers of the generation before. How will I like it if I am marginalized and discarded when I reach a certain age? How will I feel if my lifetime of experience is glossed over by young people because we can't agree on fashion choices or musical styles? Will I understand because the young people obviously know better than me? Will I remember what it was like to feel like I had all the answers and offer grace and understanding to them? Will I tell them that they are being foolish in their passion because they don't know near as much as they think they do? Will my life of experience and hard-learned lessons be valued or discarded?

Today, will I recognize that I am not the first one to think what I think? Will I remember that others have tried to change the world before me with the same level of passion that I have? Will I value that change or will I only look forward to what's next? Will I choose to intentionally express appreciation and value for the lifetime of experience in those people of a certain age in my life? Will I learn from their hard-learned lessons or will I forge on, confident that I could never make such foolish mistakes? Will I recognize the foolishness of my mistakes in time to seek guidance before my day is done and others are in my seat?


family is awesome

This evening I, along with my Jen, Ani and my friend Matt went over to Jen's folks' house to get some cow manure from the farm (for our garden) and then hung out and stayed for dinner. Jen's sister Carmen and her family were all there. It is such a blast hanging out with that crew. Nothing special happens, but the neices and nephews are really fun, the adults of the family are fun too - lots of good conversation and just relaxing. There's something incredibly satisfying about just being. Even at home I don't feel the same sense of freedom because there's always something to be done or cleaned or a project I should get started on. When we're at others' places, there's just what's happenning right now. Sure there're things to be done, but none of it's a big deal, and even the big deal stuff is usually to help sombody out, not something that just needs doing. I prefer the former.
Anyway, it's great having family close by. I'm so thankful that Ani gets to have at least some grandparents nearby. I grew up with my grandparents far away and I find myself missing those relationships. Of course, ideally all the greandparents would live in this area (come on guys, the winters aren't that bad) but I think the benefit of even just one set is huge. Plus, she's got another set just over an hour away, which proves to be a daunting distance when it comes down to actually scheduling time to go there, but it's close enough that Ani gets to see them every couple weeks.


simple web design tips

I've been playing around with my website, futuremann.com, and have really been having a good time. Granted, I don't really know what I'm doing and everything I know I've learned through experience, but I have found a couple things that simplify the process. Remember, these are just some things I've picked up along the way. For "official" advice from people who are a lot better at this than I am, check out websitetips.com.

  1. Don't worry about making mistakes. There isn't anything that I've found yet that can't be undone. Just make sure you have a back-up saved of whatever you're changing, try something new, and if it doesn't work you can replace it with your saved version, no harm done. Plus you'll learn one of many ways not to do whatever it is you're trying to do.
  2. Link a lot. The most exciting websites are the ones that go somewhere. Stay away from dead ends on your site - make sure there's always somewhere for people to go. And if you're don't want to link away from your site because you don't want to lose your viewers so soon, set the link to "_blank" which will open the link in a new window, leaving your site on theri desktop.
  3. Don't be afraid to ask smarter people for help. People who enjoy what they do enjoy talking about what they do with someone who is genuinely interested, and web designers are no different. Find somebody who knows what they're doing and then spend some time with them asking them how they do what they do. Ask for their preferred method of this or that. Most of us have opinions of the "right" way to do things and enjoy sharing that with others.
  4. Fantastico is your friend. Check the control panel for your site or ask your webmaster whether Fantastico is available to you. It's a simple tool that allows you to install several popular scripts including blogs, calendars, discussion boards and e-commerce set-ups, without having the knowledge of everything that goes into creating the scripts. There may be other tools like it out there, but it's the only one I have any experience with and so far it's been a blast. I have come upon several questions during the install that I didn't know how to answer, but in the spirit of the first point, I chose an option and went with it. A couple uninstalls later and I had the desired effect.
  5. Have fun with it. Don't get bogged down on complications. When it stops being fun, it becomes frustrating. If you hit a wall, go onto something else. Struggling for content? Leave it blank. Remember, you're not designing the world's most popular website, yet.


One of the many things I love about the internet - Networking

I was reminded today of the beauty of networking. Not the kind of networking that costs lots of time and money to get set up and then only works half the time anyway because it can't renew the ip for whatever reason, but the kind of networking where the people I know connect with the people I know because I know you and you know me. That's some fun stuff. That's one of the many things I love about the internet - the networking. So here are some updates on people I know and maybeyou or somebody you know will be interested.

My friend Ryan Townsend has finally finished a record that will be available for sale online. Actually, his second, but the first was a collaboration and he doesn't actually own the rights and blah blah blah. The current one will be available from the website of his "band," the overdubs, in a couple weeks. The previous one is available here and is one of the best albums for focusing one's heart and thoughts on God, that I've heard in a while. (you might also call it worship music, but with the cultural pigeonholing of the word "worship" I try to steer clear of it in all but its grandest of uses.)

My friend Brian is indirectly responsible for this blog sonce he inspired me to keep it. His blog, Hale-Yeah is definitely worth a read, well, I guess if you don't know him personally it might be slightly less interesting, but nevertheless I enjoy it.

The guy who's been giving me some friendly advice about web traffic and how that all works is Ryan Sawyer and he runs a few sites, babyanimalz.com and funnyanimalz.com and while the sites themselves may not be right up my alley, he's helped me to see that finding something that people are interested in and then finding a way to get those people connected can be a very interesting, and sometimes even a little profitable, experience. I'm a huge fan of people being happy, so if I can find ways to help people enjoy themselves on a large scale, I'm all over it.

So there are a few options for connection. I hope you can find something that tickles you. If not, pass it on because you may know someone who's been dying to find a place to upload all those pictures they've taken of their pet dressed up in funny outfits.


Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham and other entertaining psychopaths

I've gotten into the usually-benign habit of listening to talk radio when I'm driving. The one I typically patronize is programmed with Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham and the like. While I rarely agree with their politics, the times when lightning does strike and their viewpoint makes the slightest bit of sense to me, it's typically delivered with such a one-eyed, dogmatic fervor that the grain of truth in the statement is drowned in an Amazonic river of bad attitude. Today found me listening as I commonly do, but I simply could not stomach more than the opening minutes of the show as my ears were greeted with a joyful tirade about how great the Pope is with his "honest and forthright" remarks.
Okay, politics aside.
We cannot afford to lose our compassion. Are we too paranoid, as a culture, of offending the slightest sensitivities of even the most overly-sensitive person? I think so. Is the answer to that lashing back in the faces of the offended screaming at them to get over it, rejoicing anytime they hurt, celebrating their downfall and ultimately really hoping that they all die (whether by our hand or not) and leave us be? NO! We cannot beat what we're up against by fighting their fight. You can't fight a bully by bullying him/her, because you lose yourself in that process. You become just a bigger bully. Now everyone's afraid of you instead of him. I don't claim to have the answer to our foreign policy dilemma. And, honestly, I do believe we should deal with terrorists forcefully and authoritatively, but not with the wrong attitude. We cannot allow ourselves to be sucked into a world where we are excited to hear of human suffering or death - even that of our enemies. We must learn to be forceful and strong, with an attitude that has compassion for their suffering and for their families. Much like a good parent, we must learn to act be strong and resolute and compassionate. These traits cannot be mutually exclusive. The result of that is for us to become sadistic bullies, waiting for someone who can bully better to come along and take us out.
If we, as a society, can learn to be compassionate and resolute, merciful and forceful, we can build a country (and resulting reputation) that will not provoke attack any more than a quiet student provokes a reprimand and will be respected for our boundaries and strength as much as our compassion and mercy.
So, right-wing radio personalities, please beware of your attitude. You feel strong and powerful and righteous because you are urging Americans to be the biggest bully on the block, which can only lead to a temporary reign ended by a brutal, unexpected stomping.

Friends are Awesome

Our friend Matt Thomason arrived last night to stay with us for a couple weeks. His wife, Holly, is flying out here at the beginning of October for her vacation, then she and Matt'll drive back to Georgia together. Ani's still getting used to the new friend.

My friend Brian mentioned a site in his blog, Hale-Yeah, called Agony & Angels that's worth a look. It looks pretty new still, but the concept is attractive. Jen and I would love to get a site up and running where we can host photos and video of our Arica trip, plus other stuff we've done and will do. I have futuremann.com, but I'm a crappy web designer, so I'm trying to figure that out. Drop me some help if you know about some easy-to-edit web templates, or have some dynamite advice. I'm struggling.


morning ritual

My favorite way to start a day is a shower with my daughter, Ani, who is now 14 months old. She gets so excited when I turn on the water and tries to climb over the edge of the tub in her jammies. She usually wants me to hold her for a while, but once I start to feel the pressure of time, I'll set her down, she'll whine for a minute, and then go on to playing with the toys that constantly litter the floor of our tub. Almost inevitably, she'll find a comfy position to huddle in, and hum to herself for 5 minutes or so while I get cleaned up. She just sits down on the floor, humming two or three notes over and over, and it sounds so sweet to me. I'll take that over any concert I've ever been to.


Hump Day

I spent yesterday at home, sick and sleeping. Today I feel a bit better but I'll still be bugging out soon as the energy level is falling quickly. I did have a joyous arrival at the office today. I was greeted by 2 packages: one from ICN containing a 500G hard drive (thanks Don) and the other from zzounds.com containing a Phonic Helix 18 Channel Firewire mixing board and a pair of Shure E3 headphones. The rest of the morning's been slightly anti-climactic as the Phonic board is not interfacing simply with the copy of Cubase LE that came with it. Drag! I'll get'er figured out though. In between installing and trying to work with those, I've been learning Under The Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers for Sunday morning. Cedar Hills is in the middle of a rock and roll series in which we listen to a popular song and then talk about what the bible has to say about its themes. Under the Bridge is the song for this week and is proving to be a bit more challenging than I expected, at least to play it well. I should have it by Sunday though.


two days later

I think I'm getting sick. I've been feeling really achy and lethargic with a bit of upset stomach. When I told my wife, she claimed that it was the result of my poor diet and excessive carbonated beverage consupmtion. I responded with a "what would you know" or something equally childish but as I've been processing the whole thing, I think she may be right. It all seems a little bit kooky to me, but it'd be easier to believe than deny, that all the chemicals and growth hormones and processed this and orange number that and acetates and phosphates and regurgitates can't be doing us much good. I mean, where did all this cancer come from anyway? I heard from a friend recently that the idea of a chemical imbalance as a cause for, say, depression, is a diagnosis that one won't find outside North America and that ADHD is in the same boat. My friend, my wife, and several other people I've spoken with recently claim that doctors have been trained not to cure, but to medicate. While this seems a bit cynical and conspiratory, I have to admit that if I stood to gain what the big pharmaceutical conglomerates stood to gain, I might over-prescribe a certain drug that will definitely treat the symptoms and do some good along the way, just until I get the boat paid off.

Anyway, I'm not sure I'm buying it all yet, but I'm going to make a concerted effort to eat raw fruits and veggies occassionally as well as cut back on the carbonated drinks; especially those with a lot of sugar.

If the cure for cancer was prevention, and the prescription for prevention required an all-organic diet including a high ratio of fruits and vegetables to meat, no sugar, and no processed foods of any kind, would it really be worth it to you? Would you really be willing to change your entire lifestyle if it was guaranteed to keep you cancer-free? Be honest...


elderly people shouldn't be left behind

I work for a church in Sandpoint, Idaho and my responsibilities include music production and general sound quality. In the process of working with an audio engineer to design and build some panels that will help to clean up the aural qualities of the room, I've become painfully aware of the fact that I am extremely guilty of marginalizing people of a certain age. It's not confined to elderly people and it's not entirely an age issue, however, the issue is largely split along age lines. I, along with my contemporaries, want to define our stylistic preferences along other-than-age lines in order to avoid creating division, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like some sort of fancy window dressing. The problem is that the preferences that we're fighting for have been chosen for a very specific purpose, which believe in very strongly and feel even a moral obligatin to fulfill.

Moreover, we have made a point to not bend toward the desires of older people because in the church arena, older people have a well-deserved reputation of steering a church in their desired direction, ultimately to the detriment of it. They se any means to get their way, the most persuasive of which usually ends up being their financial backing. Church leadership caves to the pressure, and within several years, everybody's wondering what happenned to all the young people, all the while missing the fact that the young people are the ones who they won out over.

That may be the most simplified, biased view of recent church history that's ever been documented in any form, but it does give you a sense of where I and my cohorts are coming from. Having said all that, we've been very wrong. First, regardless of the past, it is never a good choice to overcompensate in order to clarify the "truth." The end result is not health, but a drastic swing to the opposite. If the world had become anti-German after WW2, goodness would not have been served in any way. We'd simply be dealing with bigotry focused ona different group of people, equally unjust to the original wrongdoings. Second, We young people are bred for arrogance and idealism these days (as I think is the tradition) and therefore tend to discount what we disagree with, especially if we have spent a lot of time and energy formulating our perspectives. While this is par for the course when it comes to those of us under, let's say 40-ish, and is more drastic the younger one is, that doesn't make it right. We have a tendency to spit on the ideas of those who came before us, forgetting that it was their revolutionary ideas that got us where we are today, just as the next generation will have us to thank for where they are when they reach their prime.

So I'm sorry to all of you people who I have marginalized in one way or another. I pledge to do my best from now on to recognize your wisdom and experience as the asset that it is. I will do a better job at putting myself in your place and consider how I will feel in another 40 years when my ideas are dismissed because my motives are assumed to be crotchety and my status with society is labeled "out of touch."

I never thought these things of myself. I felt I was very open-minded and accepting. If your under 40, as you process this entry, do your best to honestly consider how you feel when you hear criticism from an elder that goes against what you believe to be right, or even just good clean fun, for example, when you're told, maybe even tactlessly, that the music's too loud.


enjoying a "classic"

as we wandered through Movie Gallery looking for smoe evening entertainment, a dvd halfway down the shelf of 99 centers caught my eye...Scanners. It seemed worth a watch since it's seeped it's way into our collective American unconcious, and yet I have not ever seen it.

We're now about 20 minutes in and I'm digging it, as much as one can while one is blogging simultaneously. I can already see why Cronenberg is acclaimed. This film is exciting visually, specifically the sets and the framing. Plus the story is shaping up nicely.

More tomorrow.