Anniversary double feature

Last night Sara and I ate at Bo Lings, then took in a double feature, Shrek 2 and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I thought Shrek 2 was pretty funny, better than the first one. We probably wouldn't have bothered with the 12:01 showing of Harry Potter if we weren't already planning on going out last night. But it was awesome. I've read the first four books and the third one is my favorite. This was a good adaptation, too. There were only a handful of details from the book that may have made the story a little easier to follow had they been left in. Rowling is such a good story teller. We thoroughly enjoyed this flick.

Simpsons and math

If you love the Simpsons and you love math, then you might think this website is cool: SimpsonsMath.com

It basically details all of the mathmatical content and jokes in all relevant episodes. Including one of my favorite Simpson's jokes from the Bart the Genius episode:

Teacher: So y = r cubed over 3. And if you determine the rate of change in this curve correctly, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
[The class laughs except for Bart who appears confused.]
Teacher: Don't you get it, Bart? Derivative dy = 3 r squared dr over 3, or r squared dr, or r dr r.

Har-dee-har-har. Good times. Tim, if you don't like this link, then no one will.

5 Best Things About Being Married

Today is our fourth anniversary, and in light of that fact, I decided to forgo the usual cynicism in favor of a salute to marriage. Obviously, there are things I could say about marriage that would fit the 'angry, rant-filled girl' bill, but, for today, you're getting this.

1. No more dating. This doesn't mean a cessation of any and all dates, of course husbands and wives are allowed the occasional night out. What I mean is the end of the nervous, nose-and-teeth-checking, who's going to pay, is a kiss the right/wrong thing at this juncture, will he/won't he [call, remember our date, show up in an acceptable car or choice of clothing] mental list.

2. I'm understood. Finally. Even though Danny considers me the 'queen of the non sequitur', he rarely asks the dreaded question: "What on earth are you talking about?" He doesn't care that I have to reference every song I hear with its:
   a. original artist
   b. significance in my life
   c. lead singer's side-project(s);
in fact, I'd like to think that he actually enjoys my banter. (At least he's good at pretending.)

3. A new, better me. As cliché as this sounds, being married is hard work. And even if I only succeed at listening, giving the benefit of the doubt and being nice 50% of the time, it's a great improvement. (Seriously, for those of you who remember what I was like before Danny, you know what I am talking about. Now please forget it.)

4. An increased interest in all things geek. I have always been a nerd at heart, but never at anything that was useful. Now I have mastered the fine art of TiVo, am somewhat proficient at blogging and am reading Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig (and actually enjoying it) all in the past few months. I have Danny to thank for that.

5. An end to low self-esteem (at least in the looks department). I know that Danny is interested in me as a person, and not just in how I look, but he always makes me feel like I am pretty anyway (except, of course when I am covered in child-vomit--then we revert to survival mode and communicate in a series of grunts). He never makes those 'fat-jokes' many husbands are want to make and he is, in general, a very supportive person.

Happy Anniversary, Danny. I love you and look forward to adding to this list many times over.

Free Culture and Creative Commons

I finally choose a Creative Commons licence for this blog. You can see it at the bottom left of the page (look for the two Cs). If you want to see a fun introduction to what CC is, then try watching these two flash movies. They explain it pretty well.

RSS + Bloglines

RSS: What it is, why you need it

Perhaps need is putting it a little strongly, but RSS can add some power to your web browsing. RSS stands for 'rich site summary' or 'really simple syndication.' It's a way to read what's on a web site without actually going to it. An example may help: Let's say you have a handful of weblogs you like to read every day. You load each page by typing the url or clicking a bookmark, but sometimes the blog has been updated and sometimes it looks the same as it has for the last 2 weeks. If a blog has an RSS feed, then you can subscribe to it with your RSS reader and with one glance you can see what sites have been updated. With a few clicks you can read all of the new content. So now that you're not clicking through several sites every day (or every 2 hours) you can add more subscriptions and read them all very quickly and efficiently. I have 79. RSS can save you lots of time and help you read more content than you would have been able to. Now you just need a good RSS reader . . .

Bloglines: The best reader I've tried

Since I learned about RSS I've been trying to find a good reader. I've tried FeedDemon, SharpReader, NewzCrawler, NewsMonster RSSOwl, Pears, FeedReader, Abilon, Akregator, AmphetaDesk, PocketReader and NewsIsFree.com. I finally found one that I like: Bloglines.com. I've already posted about this twice now on Brendoman.com. Brendan has switched to it, too. Basically, Bloglines is a free web service. You sign up, add a few feeds and then you can read your subscriptions from any web browser. It keeps track of what you have and haven't read, so you can quickly see which content is new to you. It's easy to add and manage you subscriptions. It's even easier if you're using Firefox and you download the Mozilla Toolkit. There are all kinds of little features I could talk about, but you'll just have to take my word for it and give it a try. If you must see what it's like before signing up, you can take a look at my subscriptions, which I've made public. It won't remember what you've read, but you'll get the basic idea, and you might find some feeds you want to subscribe to. RSS + Bloglines + Firefox can make you a power surfer, so what are you waiting for?

Married to Reality

The room is ripe with excitement. Fifty to one hundred adolescent girls arrive at a Christ in Youth seminar on marriage to hear barely post-adolescent women discuss a topic near and dear to each girl's heart: the promise of marriage. And the seminar leaders do not disappoint—familiar sappy drivel is spoon-fed to this willing audience, who wants, hopes, and must believe that marriage is the answer to their teen angst. As the older women discuss the amazing intimacy, the wonderful attentiveness, the sheer joy to be found in future husbands, one dissenting opinion emerges: that of the already married.
You see, these instructors were not highly qualified marital counselors. In fact, they themselves had never been married at all. They had not known the sheer joy of a husband who has to work late, or of one who simply will not work. They had never felt the amazing intimacy between two people who are mentally and physically exhausted after caring for their newborn. In short, they sold these optimistic girls a glossy picture of an often lackluster institution. It was time for the already married to step in and explain that marriage is not all eye-gazing and hand-holding. It's not that easy. It requires work. And many marriages will fail. (In fact, false expectations like these help put the divorce rate in perspective).
Unfortunately, this situation is not the exception. When it comes to marriage, Christians are often so concerned that young men and women will not take the plunge that they purposely omit survival instructions for drowning. I have to admit, the proverbial knight in shining armor is rather appealing. But it is not reality. So is it time to relegate marriage to its spot in history and evolve to a different type of relationship? According to some, the answer is yes.
Cultural icon Oprah Winfrey was heard last month touting her opinion that marriage has served its purpose over time, but has become outdated. She said she believes that it is nearly impossible to state what one will want twenty or thirty years down the road, a feat which the wedding vows "till death do us part" require.
Kerry Howley of Georgetown University agrees. "Weddings encourage people to make wild, irresponsible claims about who they will be in 10, 20, 30 years," Howley said at thehoya.com.
How can Christians argue with this sentiment? The answer is two-fold. First, we must consider marriage as a discipline which forms us into Christ's image and then promote this idea to young Christians. Without doubt, the continual practice of prayer, fasting, tithing and Bible reading is important for the Christian. As author Henri J.M. Nouwen wrote, "A spiritual life without discipline is impossible." But what if we considered marriage to be a spiritual discipline? Hosts of disciplined acts are required for this complex exchange between humans to work, including self-sacrifice, unity, conflict resolution and self-control.
Not convinced? Read Ephesians 5:22-33, and note the balancing act husbands and wives are asked to perform: "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…The wife must respect her husband." No wonder the vow reads, "'till death do us part." It would take more than a lifetime to get it right.
Ridding the church of its overly optimistic stance on marriage will take more than a fair number of married women speakers at teen seminars, however. As Wade Horn, President George W. Bush's marriage and family policy point man suggests, "We need to debunk the mystical view of marriage. There's this idea, believed by some and reinforced by television and movies, that a good marriage is magic. The more [realistic] good marriages young people see, the more a good marriage becomes the norm, not the exception" (Jim Killem, 'Promoting Marriage' in Marriage Partnership).
A good marriage involves misunderstanding, conflict and anger, as well as blind love and optimism. Young adults about to be wed should be exposed to the occasional spat as well as its imminent resolution. They need to understand that 'forgive and forget' is not only an essential part of a happy marriage, but is also one of the most difficult. By no means should we use scare tactics to move couples away from the decision to marry. These burdensome topics should be equally discussed with the benefits of a loving relationship between a husband and wife. But our overarching desire should be that, through marriage, couples become more like Christ.
Second, we must consider the image of marriage itself in a greater construct—its place in the rest of the world. How do our marriages measure up to those outside the church? Why are we failing, as a group, to raise the standard? According to David Neff of Christianity Today, "By practicing what we believe, Christian marriages can transform our society" ('A Marriage Revolution'). Here is his five-pronged approach to mainstream influence (paraphrased):
1. Admit that the current church's marriage record is no better than that of the world. "Divorce statistics inside the church are indistinguishable from those outside," Neff states.
2. Repent for allowing our culture's penchant for individualism to taint our understanding of marriage as a whole. Likewise, we need to:
3. Restore the community context of marriage, counseling other couples through difficult situations and providing positive reinforcement for a willingness to 'stick it out'.
4. Recover the sense of human limitation inherent in marriage and family life, re-establishing a focus on God's power.
5. Continue to help people learn the practical skills associated with all the challenges of married life.
Explaining the harsh realities of marriage may take more time and patience than selling a fairy-tale existence to hopelessly-in-love couples, but, in doing so, we improve their chance of success. And though more talk of marriage as an antiquated institution may surface, most of us are not ready to give up. As Wade Horn explains, "If there are groups out there that want to tell the American people that marriage is a horrible institution that needs to be deconstructed, they can do that. I just don't think that message resonates with most Americans around the kitchen table."

Drive a nice car, get free music

Test drive a Lexus, get 60 free songs from Sony Connect. Fill out the form online, print off a voucher and take it to the Lexus dealership. I wouldn't mention to the Lexus salesman that you're too cheap to pay $0.99 for an mp3.

via techbargains

Geek test

I took the geek test and got 31.2% - Total geek. Who can beat that?

via Metafilter

101 things you can do in Mozilla

Hopefully you're not using MS Internet Explorer anymore. If this didn't convince you to switch to Firefox or Mozilla, then perhaps this will:

101 Things you can do with Mozilla that you can't do with IE

via linkfilter.net

They Might be in Missouri

My favorite band, They Might Be Giants, will be playing the Blue Note in Columbia on July 13. Email me if you want to go, too. I'm excited because I've never seen a proper TMBG show. I did see them live during my freshman year of college, but they weren't the headliners. They played at the very end of the night, after the Urge and they didn't get a very long set. It was funny to watch people leaving the stage area after the Urge finished and the geeks just started coming out of the shadows and up to the front. Big Wreck also played at that concert, and I thought they were pretty cool.

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