(By popular demand) Emma

Christmas loot

Here are some of the gifts that were exchanged in our family last week:Sara gave me Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns, a DVD about one of my favorite bands, They Might Be Giants. She also gave me a "Jesus is my Homeboy" t-shirt, two sweaters and a game. My parents gave me Lord of the Rings Risk. Sara's parents, ever practical, gave me a car safety kit that includes jumper cables, tire inflator, first aid kit, flashlight, etc.Sara got a Saeco Via Veneto Espresso Machine, coffee, syrups, cups, etc., and a couple of DVDs. Emma got DVDs, stuffed animals, a toy farm, Blue's Clues stickers, a They Might Be Giants Book, and so much more that I can't even remember it all.So if you want to sip fancy coffee drinks, watch a geeky DVD, play LOtR Risk, and watch Emma swim around in all of her new toys, come on over to our house.

Holiday Snow Globe

Holiday SnowglobeClick to see a fun flash animation. Thanks to Brendoman.com for posting this link.

Tech Tip of the Day: Windows Update

It's important to install the security updates that Microsoft makes available at windowsupdate.microsoft.com/. This can keep you from being the victim of a hacker. Check this site often and install all Critical Updates. However, you're also given the option of installing Driver Updates. Since I was up to date on all critical updates, I thought I would download and install some updated drivers. Big mistake. One of the drivers was for my video card and the next time I rebooted the computer, my video card no longer worked. I spent a few minutes this morning with Gateway's tech support getting the driver changed back to the one I had before. Thanks, Microsoft, for providing an update that actually makes my computer stop working.So remember, get the critical updates, but pass on other updates from Microsoft unless you're sure you need them.

Did Michael Jackson join the Nation of Islam?

This article says he did, this one is not so sure. The Nation of Islam is famous for its high conversion rate among incarcerated Black men, so I guess this makes sense. . . .

RotK

Oh, by the way. I saw the Return of the King on Wednesday at 12:01 am. It's not too shabby.

I can't work this compruter! Dagnabit!

So I've installed Mandrake Linux on my old computer (233 MHz PII, 64 MB RAM, 6 G Hard Drive). I feel like I'm learning how to use a computer all over again. It's taking me forever to do simple things, like set the clock, change the speed of the mouse, open programs, etc. The more coplicated tasks, like installing software and setting up a dial-up connection are kicking my butt. But I'm enjoying the challenge. Hopefully someday soon I'l get connected andl make my first post from the Linux computer, but don't hold your breath.

Lord of the Rings: Movie, book, homily

This Tuesday

Sara and I are planning on going to see the Return of the King this Tuesday night at midnight. I think my brother will go, too. If anyone else is interested, give us a call. I've heard that this film is the best of the three. That's what Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood say, at least. My friend Brendan has seen the movie already, you can read about it here.

The Book

Right before each of the first two movies came out I reread the book. Since I'm looking forward to the movie so much, I had decided not to read the book, just so I wouldn't sit there and compare it to the book and be bothered by changes that the writers made. But then I got sick. I was sitting around feeling bored and I didn't have a book to read so I started reading the Return of the King. I didn't even intend to finish it, but I got hooked. This is such a good book. I'm almost finished with it now and I've been close to tears several times. If the movie adaptation is half as good as people say it is and half as good as the book, then we'll be in for a real treat.

Homily

Last weekend we had a retreat to plan church services for the next six months. During the brainstorming stage I mentioned that we could probably have a sermon that uses the Lord of the Rings to illustrate some biblical teachings. We all talked it over for a while and I guess people thought it would work, so I'll be preaching a three week series using the three books/films. I know Tolkien didn't write these stories as an allegory, but I think they'll work great for teaching concepts like the peril of temptation and addiction and the sacrifice that Jesus made to save the world. I'd love to have some more ideas, so if you know of any passages or scenes that I could use, pass them along. The series will start on February 8.Nai haryuvalyë melwa rë!

worst web site ever

My ISP, National Network Services has one of the worst web pages I've ever seen: www.gabs.net. Here's why I think it's terrible.Exhibit A: In the top left they've included their logo. It's totally pixelated and ugly. It takes about 20 seconds to get it at the right size or to use Photoshop to make a better logo.Exhibit B: In the top right there's a jumbled mess of animated icons, some of which are links and some of which are just there to make the page more ugly.Exhibit C: One of the icons in the top left links to the download page for Microsoft Internet Explorer, a crappy browser.Exhibit D: Another of the icons in the top right links to McAfee anti-virus software. This will cost people money ($99). Why not link to AVG Free?Exhibit E: Next there's a warning about the Blaster Worm. It does give decent instructions for installing the update that fixes the problem, but this problem is old. Most people dealt with this about 3 months ago.Exhibit F: The email addresses at the bottom of the page don't work. I tried emailing them to deal with something a few weeks ago and email sent to each of the three addresses was returned. Exhibit G: The phone numbers work, but what you get is an answering service, more often than not. Exhibit H: Look closely at the fine print. The second to last line says "Copyright 1997 CompanyLongName." When this site was designed (probably using something like MS FrontPage) the template said "CompanyLongName" and you're supposed to replace that with the actual name of the company. This is careless site design.All of this adds up to give me a real lack of confidence in my ISP. And I've been getting disconnected more and more recently. Aaaand, this is, I think, the most expensive ISP with a local number in Adrian. The real question is, why am I not switching right now? Any recommendations?

Apple iTunes

I've been looking for a good music player for my computer and I think I've found one. I tried MusicMatch with it's pay-per-download service, but it ran slow on my computer and the library feature didn't work very well. Apple finally released the windows version of iTunes, so I tried that. It's great. It's fast. It's pretty. It's free. It's very useful and powerful. It offers fast cd burning (something MusicMatch makes you pay for.) When you copy one of your cds to your computer it automatically tags it and organizes it. This is also something that MM makes you pay to get. You also have the option of buying tracks for $0.99 each. This is a highly recommended download. Just click on the link above to get it.

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