December 30, 2010

New Bikes

Thanks to Christmas cash and craigslist, we are back in the bicycling game (after a minor setback of a bike thief).

December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

I am nowhere near grateful enough for all my friends and family.  Thank you all for the compassion, sacrifices, laughter, wisdom, and joy that you have brought into my life this past year.  I hope everyone has a great Christmas.
And some lyrics from Sufjan’s ‘Sister Winter’:
Oh my friends I've
Begun to worry right
Where I should be grateful
I should be satisfied

Oh my heart I
Would clap and dance in place
With my friends I have so
Much pleasure to embrace

Now my heart is
Returned to sister winter
Now my heart is
As cold as ice

All my friends, I've
Returned to sister winter
All my friends, I
Apologise, apologise

And my friends, I've
Returned to wish you all the best
And my friends, I've
Returned to wish you a happy Christmas

December 20, 2010

‘Light in January’ by David Harman

David Harman is an up and coming Dallas painter whom Laura met at college and I met through my work (he wisely decided to go into painting instead of architecture).  His paintings so far explore themes of light’s interaction with the world around us.  He has an amazing studio over in Deep Ellum. 

You can see his work here:

We recently bought a painting from him that seems made especially for our living room:

December 17, 2010

IF - Mail

Mailmen and Trusty Steeds

December 11, 2010

IF - Phenomenon

A phenomenon is an observable occurrence while a noumenon "refers to an object of human inquiry, understanding or cognition."  Where exactly does the transfer between the material and immaterial occur?

December 9, 2010

Jeff Bridges Deals Out Western and Virtual Retribution

This Christmas there are two movies starring Jeff Bridges coming out that have caught my attention. 

The first being ‘True Grit’.  A Coen brothers adaptation of the 1968 novel by Charles Portis (which was made into a film starring John Wayne in 1969).  The Coen’s are apparently referencing the novel a lot more than the previous film.  In any case they have assembled a stellar cast and I’m excited to see them venture into the tradition western genre after ‘No Country for Old Men’.

Technically we have reached the point where we can just about visualize anything in movies.  One of the ways to move forward is to add stylistic depth into what we visualize.  ‘Tron Legacy’ looks to do just that.  The original was pushed the limits on computer visuals in movies and I am excited that this sequel looks to do the same – albeit in a more subtle and artistic way.  And you can’t beat Lightcycles.

December 8, 2010

Elk Hunt

This last weekend I traveled to the Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico to Elk hunt with my dad.  It was a great trip – we couldn’t have asked for better weather and we were successful in killing a cow elk on our first morning out.    Some pics from my trip:
(Note: some pictures towards the end involve the skinning of a dead elk.  Fair warning.)
The rolling grassland before we hit the mountains.

Starting to get up into the mountains.

A picture taken by Mom of her bootprint in the snow.

Our campsite before we started setting up.

The completed campsite.

What I figured we would be sleeping in.

What we actually slept in.  My father is getting a bit fancy in his old age.  Not that I'm complaining - they were nice digs for camping.

The inside of the tent. 

The Elk cow Dad shot.  Note that she fell about a mile and a half away from where we could get the truck to.  Lucky for us it was uphill from the truck.

Dad filling out his tag.

The start of the skinning process.  We ended up packing out the hide as well as the meat.  Dad hopes to have it stretched and tanned.

On one of our three trip back to the Elk to recover the meat.

Me with a hindquarter strapped to my back.

Dad with his hindquater headed to the truck.

Mom got to carry the head (we needed it to give the lymph nodes and brain stem to the game warden - so they can check the populations for health and disease)

And one of our ice chests full of backstrap - we'll have a loaded freezer for awhile.

November 30, 2010

Doubt and Peace

Laura and I officially joined our church, St. Thomas the Doubter, this past Sunday and I realized that I hadn’t mentioned it yet on my blog.  The name of the church in and of itself seems to entice a variety of conversations – as well it should as it is a good synecdoche of who we are.  We have already been slightly ridiculed for the name – saying that it is like naming your church ‘David the Adulterer’.  The sentiment expressed: ‘why would you want to highlight the shortcomings of your namesake?’ 

First, I don’t see doubt as Thomas’ shortcoming.  Skepticism can take the form of full blown rebellion but it can also express the natural internal conflict that comes when presented with two opposing but real worldviews.  Christianity is full of claims that do not immediately and readily square up with what we observe about reality.  Trusting these claims without asking for a bigger context is at best na├»ve and at worst deliberate ignorance. 

The biggest context that Christ offers is that He is in the process of bringing peace to the world through His resurrection.  This peace goes squarely against the history and tendency of violence that can seem so prevalent.  This violence is not an illusion and doubt in its purest form is recognition of this competing reality with Christ’s ultimate restoration.  As such the mission I am charged with is to recognize and promote the peace of Christ amidst the violence of the world.

Second, we are particularly interested as a church in those in our community who doubt.  Doubting might have been Thomas’s weakness but it is a weakness shared by a great many in our society.  It is also a weakness that Jesus dealt compassionately with.    

Here is a link to the list of doubts and Christ’s responses to the doubts put together by our pastor:

Some pics of one of our services (we meet at the Plano Children's Theater - got to love their purple curtain):

November 29, 2010

Tis the Season for Microbiology

So this year we really tried hard to geek out with the Christmas tree decorations (not that we haven’t done this before).  We went with a 'microscopic universe' theme complete with DNA garland (made from pipe cleaners), micro-organism ornaments (made with the laser cutter), and a lithium atom tree topper.  We also threw in some glass globe ornaments filled with the biodiversity of our backyard.  Some pics:

The tree in its full glory.

A neuron cell.

A plant stem section.

Some pampas grass.

Microscopic wood grain.

Beware the bacteriophage!

A cross section of an animal cell.

Even the tree skirt resembled phyto plankton
The tree topper was a Lithium atom (because of its star like appearance and Trinitarian theme)

The micro-organisms ornaments

The first round of backyard terrariums.

The second round of backyard terrariums.

The first round of petri dish ornaments.

The second round of petri dish ornaments.