In Defiance of Titles

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Archive for May 2006


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The strange thing about dusting is that it never looks all that necessary until after you’ve started. The other day Jamie and I discovered this when we decided to clean up a bit in our living room. When there’s a thin layer of dust all over everything in the room, you don’t notice it as much. But when you dust off even one shelf, table or picture frame, all the rest of the dust in the room becomes immediately apparent. It’s like transforming an entire room into an abandoned warehouse with a single spritz of Windex. Of course, it was kind of like an abandoned warehouse to begin with; it’s just that it was hard to see the problem.

There’s a somewhat frustrating spiritual object lesson here. Following Jesus often necessitates facing down failings and weaknesses in ourselves which we’ve always just sort of ignored. It’s not that frustrating at first, because most of us seem to get the opportunity to start small; a sin here, a weakness there, the rest unnoticed. But when one or two of our habitual sins get wiped up, the rest of our soul starts to look exponentially dirtier. Get all the petty theft out of the way and you start to see the covetousness; get all the murder out of the way and you start to see the anger; start trying to do scary things you were never even willing to try before, and suddenly the cowardice and faithlessness that were inconspicuously there all along become far more apparent. Just like with the dust, the problem isn’t usually that we’ve got more problems than we started with; it’s that it’s easier to see the problems we always had in light of what Jesus has cleaned up.

I suppose that’s another interesting paradox…you never really know what your problem is until someone else comes along and fixes part of it. I’m referring in particular to Jesus, since He’s the only one who can really deal with our problems; but other close friends can help a bit as well. Especially the ones that aren’t impressed by us.

Of course it’s easier to run away from that, but the problem is that if nobody ever gets at least close enough to you to show you your faults, you never really get to see who you actually are.

Written by jazzslider

May 18, 2006 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Religion

Tagged with , , ,

Bonus nerd points

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Fair warning…this is a computer nerd post. If you’re not a fan of computer nerd posts, you may want to turn back now while you still can.

I am not a Mac person. Just wanted to go on record there.

But also for the record, I’m not particularly fond of Microsoft. They’re rude, they refuse to submit to good standardization practices that would make web developers’ jobs far easier, and their software has always looked a bit clunky. Those of you who have endured my nerdier rants over the past year will probably remember having a conversation with me about Firefox, and how I hadn’t realized just how much better a web browser really could be until I tried it. I made that switch on a pretty-much permanent basis (and so should you!).

Today, meanwhile, I’m not even running Windows. I’m running this computer from its CD drive and RAM, on a “LiveCD” edition of Kubuntu Linux. Every single thing that’s in my computer’s memory right now is free of charge, and it all works extraordinarily well.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not converting just yet. But I’m curious. My web development experience has taught me a lot about the value and surprisingly high quality of free, open-source software, and I often wonder why it hasn’t taken off more successfully. I mean, very nearly everything that I regularly do on my ordinary Windows XP machine can be done just as simply on Linux, and on Linux you rarely have to pay for programs to do it with.

Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself. There’s a project online called TheOpenCD; it’s a downloadable CD image containing some carefully-selected open source software for Windows. There’s a full-featured office suite, an image manipulation program that rivals Photoshop…oh, heck, it’s not worth listing here. If you’re curious, click the link above and see for yourself.

If you do get a chance to check out some of this software, let me know what you think, especially in response to the following question: why, when software this good is available legally for free, are the big software giants still in business?

That said, I’m still not fully converted. There are at least two programs I use regularly on Windows for which I have not yet found good, free substitutes: Macromedia Flash and Adobe InDesign (maybe Illustrator too). If someone can find me good-quality open-source substitutes for those two programs, I may be repartitioning my hard drive soon.

Written by jazzslider

May 10, 2006 at 6:04 pm

Cat without a name…

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Well, we’ve up and gotten ourselves a pet. Don’t know what we’ll call her yet, but we know that she smells kind of bad. In all fairness, though, I think I’d probably smell kind of bad if I were locked in the bathroom all the time. I’d do it out of spite.

That said, I assure you that we will be letting her out of the bathroom soon enough; just got to make sure she knows the rules of the rest of the house really well before she gets to prowl around by herself.

Does anyone have any good suggestions on how to train a two-month-old kitten? So far I’m familiar with the “lightly-bap-her-face” technique, as well as the “spray-her-with-a-water-bottle-when-she’s-bad” technique, but I could always use some extra tips.

Written by jazzslider

May 5, 2006 at 7:18 pm

Posted in Personal

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