Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Torture, and Accomplishing Automotive Impossibilities

I really appreciate and wholeheartedly agree with what Neal Boortz has to say about waterboarding, which is in the news again with the recent nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey for the position of attorney general:

I'm sorry but making someone think that they are drowning is not torture. And if it takes making a terrorist think he is drowning to save this country, then I don't see any reason why it should be stopped.

One more thing about torture ... just so there is no question of where I stand (as if it matters). If we know that there is a nuclear bomb in downtown Chicago set to go off in hours; and if we have somebody in our custody who can tell us where that bomb is, we can (you might not want to read this) drive bamboo shoots up under his fingernails, nails into his eyes, crush his knees, and then, for good measure, drive a glass rod up his bin Laden and break it into tiny pieces, and then cut off anything we don't' think this guy is ever going to need again in his entire miserable life just to get him to talk ... if that's what it takes. Let's stop this asinine moral exhibitionism on the issue of torture. If you wouldn't torture some worthless piece of human debris to save the live of someone you love .. .than step aside and let someone else do the job.


Also, here is a very interesting article about a man who is accomplishing feats in the automotive world that are supposedly impossible - combining high performance and high gas mileage, all while using biodiesel fuel. And here is the longer, more detailed article.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mine Is Probably Longer Than Yours

I'm talking about my list, and it's not one to be proud of either. It's a list of every one of the car accidents that I have been in, whether they were my own fault or not. So read it and weep (for me).
  • Rear ended someone in my 77' Camaro on Tuskawilla Rd in Winter Park. They attempted to make a U-turn right in front of me after swerving to the far right side of the lane. I was in a hurry and, thinking that they were turning right, was in the process of swerving around them on their left side.

  • Hit a Wal-Mart sign with my Camaro along 436 in Cassleberry. I was racing another car with my buddy Nathan, when I decided at the last minute to stick with the original purpose of the trip and tried unsuccessfully to negotiate the turn into the Wal-Mart parking lot. Amazingly, neither of us were hurt and I fixed the car from junk yard parts in a weekend.

  • Rear ended someone in downtown Orlando (on Garland Ave) in my Camaro. It was raining and I hydroplaned helplessly (no anti-lock brakes) into another car.

  • Was rear ended in my Camaro along Alafaya Trail in Oviedo while trying to turn into the church parking lot. The cop that showed up really liked the other guy's Toyota truck and decided to give us both tickets. My dad (also a cop, but for a different department) raised hell about it and got my ticket overturned.

  • Was hit in the right front corner of my Dodge Daytona, along 436 in Casselberry. Traffic was thick and I was trying to turn left and cross 436, coming from the other direction. I was negotiating my way slowly through the cars and across the lanes to the far right turn lane. When I finally reached the lane, a car was driving down it to surpass the traffic and clipped my front end.

  • T-boned on the right side of my Grand National, crossing Winter Park Dr in Casselberry. It was Valentines Day and I was exiting out of my subdivision. It was early morning and hazy out, a bit difficult to see. I looked both ways quickly and hastened across the intersection when SLAM! - I had somehow completely missed seeing the car on the right side. Maybe they didn't have their headlights on. Maybe I didn't look hard enough. Fortunately no one got hurt, but my car was very nearly totaled.

  • Right front corner of my GN, at the corner of Chapman Rd and 426 (Aloma) in Oviedo. I was originally planning on going straight, but decided instead to turn left onto Chapman Rd. I could have sworn the arrow was green, but it must have just been a regular green light (to go straight). I turned left right into the path of an oncoming Mustang. I think she hit the brakes and swerved toward Chapman also, because her left front corner hit my right front corner. Again, no one was hurt, but my car was nearly totaled.

  • Rear ended another car while in my dad's van, on Colonial Dr close to Alafaya Tr. Believe it or not, I had actually borrowed my dad's van while I waited for my GN to get fixed from the previous accident. I was on my way to my first day of work as an intern at Lockheed Martin. The light turned green and traffic started to move when I looked down to fiddle with the radio, then traffic stopped again. Not too serious, but still needed repairs and boy did it hurt to tell my dad that I wrecked his van after having just wrecked my own car. Not a good month, or six, or was it twelve...

  • Rear ended in my Bronco II on Colonial Dr. I was driving along Colonial Dr in front of Wal-Mart (near UCF), when another car hit me from behind. Not much damage done to my car, just compressed the rear bumper inward.
So there you have it. It's been many years since my last accident, but I think I've had more than enough of my share to last a lifetime already. And I didn't even mention the numerous close calls.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Giovanni Pays Us a Visit

I received a visit last week from a friend that I've known for about 15 years now. Giovanni Ucciferri is probably the most interesting person that I know of. He is an actor and a martial artist currently studying Jiu Jitsu under Rigan Machado, hoping eventually to fight in MMA.

He used to study opera intensely. He gave his first public performance at my wedding, and intended to make a career out of it. However, he eventually became disillusioned with the opera industry and I believe he injured his voice a few years back when yelling at an ex-wife.

He currently lives in Los Angeles (for about 5 years) and we don't see each other often, but when we do it's always easy to pick up right where we last left off. Pictured above are Giovanni, his girlfriend Sayuti, her dog Lulu, and of course my family. A picture from three years ago is on the left below, and on the right is from our early days.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Manly Metphor for "Works"

At last Friday morning's mens group meeting, I think God gave me (it just popped into my head) a metaphor to use as an example of why we serve Him by doing works as Christians. I really like it, so I figured I'd post it here too.

Ever since I was young, I remember my dad working on numerous projects around the house. Sometimes he would fix the cars, often he would be repairing or improving on our house. Whatever the project would be though, more often than not I wanted to help him. I don't remember ever being commanded or forced to assist, I just truly enjoyed watching my dad and being by his side.

But the real treat was getting to participate. Sometimes it was just running to the garage to get him a tool, or maybe I would hand it to him if it was just out of his reach. Other times he would let me actually use the tool(s) myself and get to contribute to the tasks relating to the job. In fact, my parents nicknamed me "Mikey do", because even before I could say complete sentences I would want to help him and/or do it myself. And when I was old enough and my dad finally let me use a dangerous power tool, it felt like I was taking a step toward transitioning to manhood.

I think helping God in His works is like that. It's not that we have to do it, or that our salvation depends on it. It's that we get to. It's a joy just being by His side and watching Him do His thing. But if He lets us do some of the work, if He hands us a tool and says "Now you try it" then it's an added bonus. And I imagine that performing a healing or a miracle of some sort would be similar to the joy of my dad letting me use one of his power tools.

Sure, it's "work", but it's great just to be there with Him, if for nothing else then to build our relationship further. And it's a genuine honor and privilege if He actually wants to use me to help Him in the project, whatever it may be.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Inspirational Skit

In case you haven't already seen it, check out this video of a skit performed to a song called 'Everything' by the Christian group LifeHouse: Be sure to make it full screen too (the button on the far right, below the video).

I thought it was really moving.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Weekend Recap

Recipe for a great weekend:
  • Friday family movie night, which included the movie Aladdin and pizza (although the pizza was average at best).
  • Very productive chore day on Saturday.
  • Nice, long midday nap on Saturday (better if on both days, but one day is still nice).
  • Saturday date night! We reserved our usual babysitter and went out to enjoy coffee at Starbucks, then bowling and the arcade at Strikes Family Entertainment Center.
  • Church on Sunday morning.
  • Headed to San Francisco for Fleet Week after church.
    • Stopped at Pluto's in Davis for lunch along the way.
    • Enjoyed watching the Blue Angels from Treasure Island. I love seeing Lucas' reaction of amazement to things like monster trucks and fighter jets.
    • Ate dinner and dessert in Ghiradelli Square.
Crossing "to-dos" off of the list, enjoying family time, and having quality time with my wife. Oh yeah, and to top it all off, I also got to take our roommate Matt's motorcycle out for a ride. It's a 2001 Honda CBR600 F4i - very fast and fun.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Inspirational Stories

I really love stories like this, real life ones of people having faith and of God responding to it. In this case, it's about making a movie called Most.


I recently finished reading a great fiction book. I decided to purchase it when another blogger (In the Midst of It) described it as one of the best books that she has ever read. Since she seems to be an extremely avid reader, I took her advice and gave it a shot. It was excellent indeed.

The story was unique and compelling, as were the characters. It had a strong underlying Christian theme, but I don't think that it was a "Christian" book. Or was it? The way the narrator described observing his father's relationship with God was really interesting and inspirational. I can only hope and pray that my children will see my Christian life with some semblance to it.

The book is Peace Like A River, by Leif Enger.
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