August 31, 2007

Bumper to Bumper

Diving through Dallas traffic everyday gives one time to ponder. It occurred to me that there are truths embed within my afternoon commute beyond fluid dynamics and economic models. So here are my thoughts:

You will notice very quickly that traffic will bring out the worst in people. But it doesn’t stop there; traffic can also shed light on the fact that if you combine a bunch of depraved humans, the corruptness and stupidity is exponential in growth, accounting for seemingly random halts in movement. Oh and there is a term for our need to see destruction, its called “onlooker delays”.

It is very frustrating to my sense of justice when I am staying in the slower lane so that I will not have to merge later on and slow things down. But it all seems to be in vain because someone else just goes around me, merging in my place. Sacrificing for the greater good is hard enough without idiots subverting your efforts. A lesson that could be learned by the Michigan legislature.

Taking our time and not trying to rush through the annoying/difficult parts of life should be a Christian staple. Our entire lives seem pointless when compared to heaven but that doesn’t make them so. Every moment will come and go with or without our overdeveloped sense of urgency.

To balance the previous idea, traffic also presents a good place to learn how to assert yourself. You will get nowhere fast on the Interstate if you are constantly submitting yourself to others when you don’t need to. There is a time for courtesy and a time for speeding up in order to merge.

August 29, 2007

Thinking about Thinking

When I was a kid I used to associate colors with certain objects or ideas. For example, I always associated left with green and right with red. About a couple of months ago I found a name for this: Synesthesia. Apparently there are enough people in the world who do this that an entire branch cognitive science has sprung up to research it. Anyway, it’s a very broad term and usually fades as a person grows older (it has for me in any case) but it got me to thinking about how little we understand our own minds.

The mind is a marvel of human physiology; it contains memory, perception, emotion, personality, and control over the rest of the body. It is the link between the reality of ideas and the reality of the material flesh. It also continues to link Philosophy and Science (in the field of Psychology) despite modern man’s best attempts to separate everything. According to Descartes it is our relation both to our own existence and to the existence of God.

For a look at someone who is a living example of the potential that is contained within our heads, look over at Stephen Wiltshire’s site. Especially his drawings of Tokyo and Rome both completed all from memory after a short helicopter fly by over the city.

August 27, 2007

Junkyard Clocks

A junk yard in south Dallas sounds like the perfect location to take your wife shopping, right?

Beyond traditional judgment, I took Laura to a scrap metal yard Saturday morning so that we could find some cool pieces of metal to turn into clock faces. She had a good time taking pictures and I had a good time scrounging like a coon. Unfortunately it was a little too hot to properly enjoy leisurely browsing, but we emerged with some cool aluminum pieces and some beautiful pictures.

I haven’t put together the clocks yet but I laid them out how I wanted, with some nice redwood backing. Once we get them put together and hung up I will post more pictures:

(I also replied to all the comments from my last post)

August 24, 2007

Legacy of Sola Scriptura

Laura and I went to church with my family on Sunday at First Baptist in Kermit, TX. As a disclaimer: it was a good church full of friendly people who actually knew and loved one another, which made for some wonderful moments and a set of proud parents. Any of the following critical thoughts result from a broader look at the evangelical movement, and are not to be directed specifically at this pastor or his church.

The pastor preached on a passage from Mark (7:24-30) with a sermon directed at encouraging parents. It was a good message (give or take a couple of side tracks) but it had very little to do with the passage in Mark. Sure there was a mom who was petitioning to Jesus on behalf of her daughter, but the main point of the story revolved around her not being Jewish. If there was a side point it might have had to do with Jesus needing rest. His good sermon was supported with the wrong scripture.

We were wondering if this is eventual result of Sola Scriptura in a fallen world. Sola Scriptura when used properly says that the ultimate authority is Scripture. However, eventually it takes away any truth besides scripture so that when saying anything authoritative, you are required to find some measure of Bible (however out of context) that might back you up. With this comes the rejection of any truth but what is found in the Bible, and the formation of the Christian “bubble”.

The only way anything is kept alive in this world is through rebirth. It takes constant and repetitive diligence in finding out why things don’t work and fixing them. My call is not against Sola Scripture but the strengthening of it. Authority should come from the Bible but we should realize that it might come from other places as well. Said another way, scripture is our standard but truth is embedded within all the Lord has created.

Oh, and if anyone has an excellent interpretation for the Mark passage I would love to hear that as well.

August 22, 2007

Pig Badger

Laura and I returned from a much needed romp to Wink, TX and back. We saw lots of family, ate well, and had lots of good conversation.

+Having my entire new extended family together (my brother and I recently got hitched)
+Talking with Laura’s great aunt and uncle who live in Colorado City
+Rocket, my dad’s new pup (imagine, if you will, a dwarf pig badger)
+Laura starting Harry Potter 7 for me by reading it out loud in the car
+Some brilliant discussions ranging from politics to hierarchy to road trips
+Some spicy shrimp and sausage


August 17, 2007

Go West Young Man

Laura and I are traveling to West Texas this weekend to visit my brother who is also flying in (though, we are secretly going to see my mom’s new Corgi puppy). I leave everyone with an excerpt out of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden:

A child may ask, "What is the world's story about?" And a grown man or woman may wonder, "What way will the world go? How does it end and, while we're at it, what's the story about?"

I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one, that has frightened and inspired us, so that we live in a Pearl White serial of continuing thought and wonder. Humans are caught - in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too - in a net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and this despite any changes we may impose on river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well - or ill?...

...And in our time, when a man dies - if he has had wealth and influence and power and all the vestments that arouse envy, and after the living take stock of the dead man's property and his eminence and works and monuments - the question is still there: Was his life good or was it evil? - which is another way of putting Croesus's question. Envies are gone, and the measuring stick is: "Was he loved or was he hated? Is his death felt as a loss or does a kind of joy come from it?"…

…In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.

We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.

August 16, 2007


This is a watercolor that I just finished. I’ve been thinking about this story a lot lately, trying to wrap my mind around its inherent complexities and contradictions. Laura has an agnostic friend who cannot find the love and the justice of God in this story. It is also interesting that the Jewish community has a harder time dealing with this story then we do. Our advantage being we can see God’s higher purpose through the symbolism. But still there is the question of Abraham as an individual being commanded to murder for the sake of symbolism. I guess what I really want to know is how Abraham explained the situation to his son as he was tying him up and if this situation affected their relationship afterwards.

Sufjan Steven-Abraham
Off his album Seven Swans.

"Abraham, worth a righteous one

Take up on the wood

Put it on your son

Lake or lamb

There is none to harm

When the angel came

You had raised your arm

Abraham, put off on your son

Take instead the ram

Until Jesus comes"

August 13, 2007


Laura and I had a very relaxing weekend full of bookstores, Central market, and Fort Worth museums. Both the modern and the Kimbell have excellent exhibitions going on right now, so here are some descriptions:

The Mirror and the Mask: Portraiture in the Age of Picasso
Kimbell Art Museum

This is one of the best out of many excellent exhibitions that I have seen at the Kimbell that actually teaches me how art has developed from the classical to modern. It takes the subject of portraiture which is perfect for showing the changing attitudes in art. This is highly recommended to everyone I know, especially anyone who wants to get a better grasp on a piece of art history. Lots of Picasso (showing his wide range, not just cubism), van Gogh, Matisse, Cezanne, Modigliani, and a lot more.

Ron Mueck
Modern Art Museum at Fort Worth
This was an interesting exihibition as Mueck sculpts photo realistic people at extremely small or large scales. Pros: a modern artist who actually cares about craft and detail is hard to find, the scale difference really disorients you in a good way, and there is a film that shows his process (which I was definitely wondering about, I mean how do you go about making a baby as big as an SUV have pores on its nose). Cons: It is hard to put my finger on it, but most modern art takes a pessimistic view on life. This is not completely the case here but the subjects generally seem angry or frightened.

On a side note: There is defiantly clear warnings that it contains mature subject matter including nudity but there were a lot of children at this exhibition. Laura and I got on a conversation on whether or not we would bring our children to such an exhibition. It would probably depend on the age but at the very least we would go see it first and then decide on whether to bring them back. Anyway, as usual any thoughts are appreciated.

August 8, 2007


Anything to waste time at work.

4 jobs I have had:
-Gas Meter Mechanic (grunt work for my Grandpa and Dad)
-Landscape Caretaker (mowed the lawn for a rich lady in Odessa)
-Lifeguard (saving 3 out of 4 drowning kids ain't that bad)
-Construction Worker at a Girl Scout Camp

4 films I could watch over and over:
-O Brother Where Art Thou
-My Neighbor Totoro

4 Places I have lived:
-Comstock, TX
-Odessa, TX
-Arlington, TX
-Irving, TX

4 Favorite TV shows:
-Samurai Jack
-Cowboy Bebop

4 Places I would love to be:
-with Laura
-a very high place (top of a tree, cliff, building, airplane...)
-backpacking through Europe with close friends
-the Kimbell

4 of my heroes:
-Bill Waterson
-C.S. Lewis
-My Parents

4 Favorite Carlos Scarpa Buildings
-Brion Cemetery
-A church in Switzerland that I can never remember the name of
-Olivetti Showroom

4 Favorite Natural Places Where I have been:
-Big Bend (west Texas)
-Redwoods (northern California)
-Tivoli (central Italy)
-Cozumel (Yucatan peninsula)

4 Best Bookstores:
-Stout Architectural Books, San Francisco
-Recycled Books, Denton
-Green Apple Books, San Francisco
-Half Price, Various locations in Texas

4 Favorite All Time Comic Books:
-Earth X
-Ultimate Spider-man

4 Favorite Mollusks:
-Giant Squid

4 Favorite Dinosaurs:

4 Favorite Theological Discussion Topics
-Effects of the Fall
-Design (Intelligent or otherwise) and Aesthetics
-Role of the Church

August 7, 2007

We're Back

Just to let you know that we have returned home safely (we actually have been back since Saturday night). I felt fine the whole trip and we both had a great time exploring Northern California.

For those wanting wedding pictures, go to

I have also put up pictures of both the wedding and the honeymoon on facebook (hopefully we will get them up on Laura's photo site soon for you non facebook people). For now here is a small sampling of the honeymoon pictures:

Laura with our convertible along Highway 1

Me in front of Sea RanchView from the window


San Francisco

Architectural Book Store in San Francisco