Monday, September 29, 2008


I have been hearing many people expressing their concern over the economy lately. Since the bailout bill didn't pass and the markets plunged through the floor, rumors are abounding about another Great Depression looming, and some people have even decided to withdraw some of their money from the bank.

I can certainly understand people's concern about the current state of affairs, however - WTF IS THAT GOING TO ACCOMPLISH!? ISN'T THAT THE VERY SAME ACTION AND ATTITUDE THAT HELPED TO CAUSE THE GREAT DEPRESSION IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Maybe things are going to get worse, and maybe we are headed for another depression. But first of all we got through a similar slump (at least in the technology industry) in 2001-2003. Secondly - God is in control. I know that bad things still happen to Christians too, but let's look at the worst case scenario.
  1. Let's say that we struggle financially and have a hard time paying our bills (which isn't too far from the truth).
  2. We attempt to rent out the bonus room of our house to get extra income (we already rent out one of our bedrooms).
  3. We can try to sell as much junk as we can think of that we don't really need.
  4. Let's say that I lose my job.
  5. Then what if we lose our house through foreclosure.
  6. We would maybe have to declare bankruptcy.
  7. We may have to then liquidate all of our savings and retirement accounts.
  8. We would either move into an apartment, get a joint place with another family that is struggling, or beg our immediate family to let us move in with them - perhaps my mom or Amanda' parents would have mercy on us and let us live with them for a while.
Even if all of that were to occur - we still have each other, we still have our education, we still have our faith, and hopefully we'll still have our health (unless we can't eat of course). Because none of these things depend on the economy or anything material.

Sure, life would suck for a while. But we would make the best of it and we would get through it. And if we don't get through it then we'll go to heaven when we die anyway.

The biggest problem I have with the kneejerk reaction of doomsday predictors is this - withdrawing your money from the bank, selling your stocks, and spreading your fears to others (however justifiable they may seem to be) only serves to hurt the economy further. And besides that, THERE. IS. NO. BENEFIT. TO. IT.

Sure stocks and funds are lower than they've been in a long time. But you won't actually lose any money on them unless you sell them, and they will eventually go back up - almost guaranteed. And if your portfolio is diversified then in the long run you'll be fine, even if it takes a little while. Just hang on tight and ride it out. If anything, we should all put some more money in the market now that the prices are so low.

If there really are things that you can do to help yourself (such as tightening your financial belt, reducing your own debt, increasing your income, or stabilizing your job situation further), then by all means that seems wise and prudent.

Otherwise calm down, take a deep breath, say a prayer, take whatever action you can (besides actions that will exacerbate the situation), and just keep on truckin'.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Emily is 2!

As of today, Emily is now 2 years old!

And yes, that's a spider cake in front of her - an itsy bitsy spider cake, to be more specific. Special thanks to our friend Monica for making it at Emily's request.

As you can see below, we had a bounce house too! Special thanks to Jim (who owns two of them and rents them out) for being generous enough to lend us one.

Her party today was a lot of fun, and for some reason less stressful for me than usual, despite having approximately 30 people over.

Don't get me wrong, I really like social events, but between trying to get the house ready (hang balloons and streamers, mow the lawn, etc) and helping Amanda prepare for it, it's a lot of work and stress leading up to the very last minute when people arrive. Then during the party we're both trying to run the show (help with any events, get the food, take pictures/video, etc) while talking to people, and also trying to watch the kids too.

Anyway, it was easier than usual today, great to see and catch up with everyone (we haven't seen the Whites in a long time), and more importantly I think Emily really enjoyed it.

I need to give one more special thanks to my Aunt Rosary for making Emily the awesome Dora blanket (in the picture below). She absolutely loved it!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Home for the Holidays (previously)

I originally started writing this post on 12/22/07, but never finished it. Yesterday I found it in my Drafts list and decided to finally post it.

My family and I traveled to Florida for the Christmas holidays to spend it with my family. Here are some highlights:
  • While the trip to Florida was long and painful (6am - 9pm), the kids were real troopers and handled it wonderfully. Certainly an answer to prayers.
  • My mom's back porch, how I do miss it. Even though the woods that used to be behind her backyard have become a subdivision a few years ago, it's still an incredibly quiet and relaxing place to sit and read, pray, think, or write this blog. I can now hear church bells in the distance! At first they just chimed, but now are ringing out several hymns (then sings my soul, my savior God to thee. How great thou art. How great thou art.). Awesome!
  • I have never had, nor I suspect will ever have again a closer, more loved, and more respected group of friends then our MY-ABS group. Even after being gone for 3 1/2 years, hanging out with these Christian brothers and sisters for the evening was a glimpse of heaven to me.
  • Being with my family was awesome. Watching my kids bonding so well with their cousins made it even more so.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

T-Shirt with Tap to Talk About

Last week I wore a new t-shirt for the first time. The front of the shirt (as seen below) says "Jesus Didn't Tap". I bought the shirt after noticing a UFC fighter wearing the logo before his fight. I thought it was fun and relevant, and thought provoking too, so I found their web site and bought one for myself.

The first response that I received about it was from a lady at my church (on a Wednesday night when I help out with the middle school kids) who asked me if it was about dancing (yes, tap dancing). I told her "no, it's about this" and proceeded to choke her out until she instinctively tapped my arm. "See, doesn't it make more sense now?" I said. She nodded as her breath returned through spastic gasps.

The second response I received was from a Starbucks employee who asked me what it meant. Since she didn't jump to foolish conclusions and since there was also that darned counter between us, I decided to try to explain it verbally this time. "It's from martial arts. You tap when you give up. So Jesus didn't give up."

A clumsy explanation, but it will do I guess. After I left, I wondered if I should/could have used that somehow as a transition to a deeper conversation about Christianity, but I have no idea how to make that work. I'll have to give it more consideration for the next time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Date Night Under the Moonlight

I came up with a pretty decent idea for a date last Friday night, since our friend Brian was nice enough to babysit for us.

Since it was almost a full moon, I made plans to have a moonlight picnic. We grabbed some wine, picked up some dessert and milk from the supermarket, and headed to an open field adjacent to a park that I had scoped out.

Unfortunately, while we were enjoying our Tiramisu the sprinklers turned on and started running through their cycles around the field. While we didn't get wet from them, after about 3-4 cycles rotating around us we decided not to push our luck and to cut our picnic shorter than we would have otherwise.

Instead, we finished the evening by relocating to some nearby playground equipment to drink some wine, talk, and hang out (among other things).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Hilarious pictures:

The weirdest, creepiest story that I have ever heard/read:

In the preview for the new Fast and Furious 4, the car that is highlighted is a Buick Grand National (although they give it a V8 sound, instead of the correct V6 Turbo). I can't help but miss my old GN while watching it. Although my 300ZX is fun to drive (it certainly handles better), the raw acceleration and aesthetic attitude of my GN was top notch.

Back in the day - 15 years ago perhaps?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Musical Musing

The song of the day (since it's 9/11) is Courtesy of the Red, White And Blue by Toby Keith. Makes me want to up and join the armed forces, or at least have more appreciation for and pride in our country.

The current nostalgic song I'm grooving to is Principal's Office by Young M.C. With its catchy music and great lyrics, it represents the old school rap that actually tells a story, instead of the artist just bragging about himself (I have lots of money. You know you want me. Blah, blah, blah).

The song of the week/month is Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath. The melody isn't quite as catchy as I'm Not Who I Was (also by him), but it's still really good music and the words are maybe better.

I really like hard songs that have a soft spot in the middle. Great examples of this are:
  • Red - Breathe Into Me
  • Chad Kroeger - Hero
  • Foo Fighters - The Pretender
They get the blood pumping and testosterone boosting, then give you a moment to catch your breath, right before kicking it up again.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Which Will Come First - A New Beginning or The End?

Well, in case everyone who reads this blog (all 2 or 3 of you) doesn't already know from reading my wife's blog - Amanda and I are now preparing for baby blessing number 3 - our third child! We just found out this weekend and haven't been to the doctor yet, but we estimate the due date to be sometime in late May.

We were hoping for a third eventually, but we weren't actually trying yet, per se. We just weren't taking precautions for the last month or so - and I guess that's all that it takes. We're both excited though and while we didn't find out the gender ahead of time with the last two, we're thinking we will probably find out this time - just to be able to experience it both ways (I love the surprise at the end though).

So that is the new beginning I was referring to in the title. The end I am referring to is the activation this Wednesday of a new particle super-collider, mentioned below. Many scientists such as these are saying that "there is a real possibility of creating destructive theoretical anomalies such as miniature black holes, strangelets and deSitter space transitions. These events have the potential to fundamentally alter matter and destroy our planet."

As a Christian though, I am confident that God is in complete control of our planetary doom. And if the world does come to an end, then I am confident in where I am going after my bodily demise - so no worries there either. If you read the purposes of the experiment below though, you will see that it certainly contains ideas that horror movie plots are made of. And you liberals were all worried about Global Warming!

Extracted from an EE Times article:

The world's most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will attempt to form its first particle beam on Wednesday, Sept. 10th.

Many experiments will be performed by the LHC that plumb the mysteries of the universe by recreating the conditions of the Big Bang--producing subatomic particles that have not been seen since the beginning of time itself. Mysteries that the LHC will hopefully resolve include the origin of matter and mass, the existence of extra dimensions, and the whereabouts of dark matter and dark energy, which are estimated to compose 96 percent of the universe, but which are invisible to physics today. The LHC will also attempt to create microscopic black holes--an experiment that doomsayers predict will swallow the Earth, but which scientists at CERN say are created naturally all the time when cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, but which can now be studied by detectors in the LHC.

A live webcast of the event can be viewed at 4 a.m. Eastern Time Sept. 10, at:

Reconnecting - Part 2

On one of my previous blog posts, I received a comment from an old friend that I haven't spoken with since my 10 year high school reunion, which was just over 9 years ago (yes, I am really that old).

It was both weird and great to hear from him, especially since I had been thinking about him periodically lately, but had no idea where he was or how to reach him. I even tried Googling him, but with no luck.

In the process of catching up with him again via email, he mentioned a web site that exists for the purposes of reacquainting our high school class. It's not Classmates, but one that was set up by an individual in our class. Because of that site, I have had at least brief correspondences with probably 7-10 people from high school.

Catching up has been fun and full of flashbacks. I just hope that I can make it to the 20 year reunion next year, especially with a new baby on the way.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rats - Failed Again!

For those that don't know - every two years, when the registration is due for renewal on a car, California requires us to take it in to a smog center to ensure that it passes the CA pollution requirements.

My 300ZX failed it the last time (about two years ago), but it ended up being due to a malfunctioning fuel injector.

I recently took it into a smog center to see if it would pass this time. Unfortunately, it failed again. However, I do have numerous things I can do in an attempt to remedy it, including:
  • Change the oil.
  • Change the spark plugs.
  • Change the PCV valves (extremely difficult to get to on this car).
  • Change the oxygen sensors ($150 for the both of them).
  • Check the EGR sensor, clean it if necessary.
  • Run fuel injector cleaner through the engine.
  • Run Guaranteed to Pass through the engine.
  • Finally, take it to the smog place when they are dead slow, so they can check it immediately after driving it there. This will allow the catalytic converter to be nice and hot. This is a big one, because the hotter the cat gets, the more pollutants that it eliminates.
I have one free retest at the smog center that I failed at the first time. After that I have to take it to a CA certified repair shop for them to try to fix what it needs in order to pass smog.

I'm a fan of clean air and having some guidelines for reducing exhaust gas pollution, but unfortunately it's a big pain in the rump too. At the very least though, it's a good incentive to eliminate unknown problems and get my car running in tip-top shape.
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