Monday, January 29, 2007

Meaning to Mind My Mouth More (part 2 = delivery)

I know most people are like this, but I cringe whenever I hear my voice replayed to me (over the answering machine or whatever). This is mainly because of my excessive mumbling. I'm pretty sure that I am able to speak clearly, especially when I'm making a business call as an aggravated customer, but I think my mouth is just prone toward laziness most of the time.

In addition to that, my mumbling is exacerbated by my haste to speak. So since I'm talking quickly and my mouth is barely opening or changing shape to enhance the pronunciation, it's a wonder people can even understand me! If a person I'm talking to is actually paying attention to me speak, I have to wonder if it's because they are actually interested in what I'm saying, or because they have to concentrate so hard just to understand the words.

So in addition to being cautious with my vocal content (as stated here), I would really like to make a greater effort to to speak clearly and pronounce my words properly. And if any of you notice me being lazy mouthed, then feel free to give me a slap in it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Unabashedly Interested in the Unidentified

Stories about crazy things streaking across the sky like this one are pretty easily explainable and therefore usually don't elicit much excitement from me.

But stories such as the one in the link below, on the other hand, definitely garner my full attention. I gotta say, that's pretty freakin' fascinating!

Then there are the movies that are "based on a true story" like Communion (1989 - with Christopher Walken), The Mothman Prophesies (2002 - with Richard Gere), or Fire in the Sky (1993). I watched Communion when I was an older teen, at home, at night, by myself, and yes it freaked me out pretty good. The Mothman Prophesies was pretty freaky and scary too. I haven't seen Fire in the Sky yet, so the jury is still out on that one.

I don't have any problem with grasping the concept that there is or at least could possibly be other life forms besides us here on Earth. It's a darned big cosmos out there, with more planets, stars, and galaxies than we can count. So why is it so hard to believe there is another arrangement similar to ours where circumstances are good for life to be sustained?

It seems like there are many Christians though that have a big problem with the idea of life besides our own planet's. But I don't understand why that would be. The Bible doesn't say that we are the only creatures that God created, just that He created us. Why couldn't he have created another intergalactic species as well? Sure, we're special and made in God's image, but couldn't he make some other creatures that aren't?

Now I'm going to go to a whole nutha level and present the possibility that if there are other intelligent life forms besides humans, then could it be possible that they too could be made in God's image, spiritually speaking? This is all hypothetical of course. But God wasn't a physical person until he took on the form of us humans as Jesus Christ. But that was for our sake, not His, right? So since God isn't constrained to a physical form (unless he wants to present himself that way), then why not have other, different looking species that could be made in His image? It's just an odd thought to ponder, and maybe I'm wrong, but what do you think readers?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


When I was 15, my dad bought me a brand new Suzuki Quadsport ATV (that's me on it in the picture on the left). I had a great time riding it with my friends, who had various other off-road vehicles of their own. When I turned 16 and got my driver's license though, I wanted something to drive on the streets with. I had what I thought was a great idea. Why not make a street legal four wheeler (ATV)?

The benefits would be:
  • It would be more stable than a motorcycle (wont' slip out from underneath you in turns).
  • It would provide some protection (from the wheels and axles) in the case of a side impact, so your leg wouldn't get crushed.
  • It would have much greater stopping ability, since it would have 3-4 disc brakes (my ATV had one rear disk, in the middle of the solid rear axle), and stopping traction from four wide tires, instead of just two skinny ones.
  • It would have similar gas mileage to a motorcycle and the similar open air feeling (as close as you can get to flying without leaving the ground) as well.
The problem I ran into is that any vehicle that has more than three wheels must comply with all of the legal requirements of an automobile, including bumpers, windshields, seat belts, etc. I even spoke with my local politician about getting the laws changed, but of course he wasn't very sympathetic to my cause.

Well, in the last several years I have seen some concept vehicles of street ATVs such as this one, about the Peugeot Quirk. But then this morning I read this article about the Polaris Revolver concept, which was recently shown at the Detroit International Auto Show. The article mentions the following (below the picture):

<--Polaris Revolver

Many of the ATVs currently sold in Europe are homologated for on-road use as “quadricycles”. Virtually all of today’s rider active, street-legal, homologated quadricycles are off-road vehicles that have been adapted for on-road use.

Peugeot Quirk-->

So it's perfectly normal for people in Europe to be living my little street-legal ATV dream!

So, will it ever be legal here in the states? Well, I certainly won't be holding my breath waiting. But maybe if the companies that make the machines can lobby a bit. Maybe if enough people show interest. Polaris was showing off the Revolver in Detroit, after all. Perhaps I'll write a letter (or email) to Polaris and ask them if there is any hope for it's production and sale here in the U.S.. Maybe some day...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Meaning to Mind My Mouth More (part 1 = content)

Below is the new year's resolution I was originally going to write about (on 1/4/07), before decided to list my somewhat overly lofty (unless over my lifetime perhaps) goals here.

Well, it's that time of year. I know this week is chronologically the same as last week, and the one before that too. But damnit, I like the idea of psychologically separating one year from the next. I like reflecting on last year and noting the things that I am looking forward to in the coming year. And yes, I like making resolutions too!

I am somewhat introspective and goal oriented on a normal everyday basis though (as is evident in all too much of this boring blog site), so I really don't have too many things to add to my list that I haven't already resolved to do or am attempting to be.

I did manage to think of one thing though, and it's a lofty goal to achieve, for me at least. It is to be more disciplined in using my mind before my mouth. When I mentioned my resolution to one of my co-workers (who is also one of my prayer buddies), he asked "So you suffer from constipation of the mind and diarrhea of the mouth?" Yes, I'd have to say that sums it up pretty nicely.

I'm not saying that I'm going to turn into a sissy and refrain from telling it like it is, or to shy away from a conflict just to avoid the verbal confrontation. I'm just saying that I would like to make a much more concerted effort to think more before I speak.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Withering Away

My dad battled crime as a cop. He chased after and fought against bad guys (I understand he was quite a brawler too). He negotiated with hostage takers (was the lead hostage negotiator) and responded to gruesome accident scenes. He walked around in a uniform and carried a gun. He wasn't very tall (5'9 maybe?), but he looked pretty intimidating just the same (see picture on right).

Me? I solve problems, design circuits, compile code, and write documents. So I sit in a chair, all day long. Hand on a mouse, fingers on the keyboard, and eyes fixed on the monitor. I'm an Engineer, and while I'm proud of that fact and I usually enjoy my job, it certainly doesn't require much in the way of activity.

While most people struggled with gaining weight over the holidays, surprisingly I actually lost weight. The only explanation that I could think of is that I wasn't sitting in a chair all damned day. I was playing with and taking care of the kids, fixing things around the house, running errands, going for walks, etc.

Now that I'm back at work again, I find my energy level quickly dropping. I need to stay active somehow, not only so that I don't turn into a soft, wimpy, chronically tired slob, but also because when I feel that way I find it's harder for me to stay focused on my work and be as productive.

Staying active is easier said than done though, because when do I fit it in? I have to put in my 9 hour days for work (9/80 work schedule), get home to eat dinner, spend a few moments with the kids, help get Lucas to bed, then help give Emily a bath before she goes to bed (she can't hold herself up yet, so I hold her head while Amanda soaps her up). So I'm basically continuously busy from 6am to 9pm. After that, maybe I'll pay bills, work on my blog or web page, help with the dinner dishes, then get to sleep as close to 11pm as I can (although I often stay up later).

So what suffers in all of this? The same thing that suffers for most parents I think, which is taking care of myself and/or doing things that I enjoy. Unfortunately, the only solution I can come up with at this point is to hit the gym at work to do some basic exercises for 15 minutes. This consists of 1 or 2 sets of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, something for quads and something for calves. Maybe I can throw some stretching in for good measure once in a while. Sure, it's better than nothing, but until I figure out something better I'll continue to sit here and slowly melt.

Monday, January 08, 2007

This Year, I Resolve To...

  1. Read the Bible again, this time memorizing the whole thing.
  2. Also read all of Wayne Gruden's Systematic Theology.
  3. Spend at least 1/2 hour every day in prayer and reflection.
  1. Spend 3-5 evenings of quality time per week with my wife.
  2. Be the world's most romantic, considerate, and appreciative hunk of a husband.
  3. Spend every moment of my kids' waking hours playing with them, nurturing them and helping them learn and grow both as responsible members of society and as precious individuals.
  4. Earn the title of "best friend" from all of the men that I interact with on a somewhat regular basis.
Career and Financial:
  1. Complete my next task at work in less than 1/2 the scheduled time, become a manager of a large project, and save the company millions of dollars through my innovative engineering and management.
  2. Create a new invention that I will patent and make millions of dollars for myself with, then start my own company that will go public and later get bought out by Google for millions more.
  3. Pay off all of my debts, including my student loan and both houses (why worry about selling the old house now, when I can just decide what to do with it once it's paid off).
  4. Once all of my debt is paid off, work the stock market until my portfolio multiplies by at least 10-fold.
  1. Read at least 3-5 novels.
  2. Upgrade my car so it runs sub-11 second quarter miles and reaches over 1 Gs in the corners.
  3. Once the car is upgraded sufficiently, become the world drifting champion.
  4. Complete all of my home project ideas, including completing the rec room with a pool and air hockey table, home theater set up. Then a lighted dance floor, smoke machine, disco ball, laser and strobe lights to turn it into a club for all of my friends to hang out and dance in (once their kids are asleep of course).
  1. Reduce my body fat to about 5%, like it was back when I was on the wrestling team in high school.
  2. Once I'm in good enough shape then train for, fight in, and win at least one UFC event, probably in either the 170 lb (if I slim down a bit) or 185 lb (if I add a few additional pounds of muscle) weight division.
  1. Read at least 3 books for work.
  2. Learn Italian (because it's my heritage), Spanish (because I live in California), and Russian (because I have never met a Russian that I didn't like, there is a high density of them here in Sacramento, and because the undisputed best Mixed Martial Arts fighter in the world - Fedor Emelianenko - is a Russian).
  3. Once all that is done, enroll in school and complete my MBA, just for kicks.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Answer to The Riddle

The answer to the riddle is reading the Bible, with the intention of completing it in one year, but having actually taken two to do it.

Yes, I can hear you groaning now because you never would have guessed that as the answer. Thanks to all who tried and commented though.

The picture to the right is the sheet of paper that outlines the verses to read for each day. I also used it as a bookmark the whole time, so it's a little on the tattered side. You can see though that all of them are checked off. PROOF!

Now if I can only remember more of what I read these last two years.

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Riddle For My Readers

What was supposed to be one (for me anyway),
but has turned into two
It's not something you have,
but is something you do.

It's an ongoing task
to last your whole life.
Everyone should do it
including/especially your wife.

I wouldn't call it fun,
but it's not quite a chore.
It's something I enjoy,
but still sometimes a bore.
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