Vacation update

We're having a great time on our vacation so far. We're in Kirksville, MO, now. Brendan's graduation and party were fun, and we had a great time visiting our friends in Macon. Joe showed me some music he's been recording, I might post some clips, with his permission, later. His wife Amanda teaches graphic arts in Macon and she had the coolest G5 Mac I've ever seen. It had an enormous LCD monitor. I think they said it was 23 inches. I'll definitely post a picture of that soon. Kirksville has been great, too. This afternoon we went to a CCF service and saw some people we haven't seen for 2 years. In a few minutes we're going out with Kyle and Erika to a new restaurant in Kirksville. This is exciting. Kyle, a fellow Truman English major is interested in getting his own blog. (Brendan, if you're reading this, check your email and drop me a line tonight if you can.)

Rolling out

We're leaving on our vacation today. First stop: Brendan's graduation. Congratulations, Brendoman! I've got my dad's GPS receiver loaded with all the maps we'll need on our trip. I'm just about to wrap up all the work stuff I need to get done before leaving. We'll try and post some updates when we can.

Don't get Sasser'd

Sasser Worm Strikes

You've probably already heard about this worm on the news. It's a result of yet another security hole in Microsoft Windows, and it's hitting pretty close to home. A couple people I know have already had it, including my mom's company. Here are some things to do to protect yourself from Sasser and other security threats.

1. Run Windows Update often. You have to do this in Internet Explorer (it's one thing that Firefox can't do). Run this about once a week or set your computer up to do it automatically.

2. Never open attachments from people you don't know.

3. Get DSL and a modem/router with a hardware firewall. If you live in Adrian, MO, it's available now.

Numbers one and two are the most important, but it's also a good idea to install a personal software firewall and some Anti-virus software (which you must also keep updated). Excepting DSL, all of these tips are free.

Communion meditation

On Sunday I was responsible for a communion meditation at church. I decided to use a passage from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. The book was written in the 15th century and it's in the public domain now, so you can read the entire thing online. I made took one of the chapters about communion, trimmed it down, changed some wording and added a response part. Here it is.

Thomas à Kempis
The Imitation of Christ
Book four
The Second Chapter

TRUSTING in Your goodness and great mercy, O Lord, I come as one sick to the Healer, as one hungry and thirsty to the Fountain of life, as one in need to the King of heaven, a servant to his Lord, a creature to his Creator, a soul in desolation to my gentle Comforter.

Who am I that You should offer Yourself to me? How dares the sinner to appear in Your presence, and You, how do You condescend to come to the sinner? You know Your servant, and You know that he has nothing good in him that You should grant him this.

[With the congregation repeating each line]
I confess my unworthiness.
I acknowledge Your goodness.
I praise Your mercy.
I give thanks for Your immense love.

For it is because of Yourself that You do it, not for any merit of mine; so that Your goodness may be better known to me, that greater love may be aroused and more perfect humility born in me. Since, then, this pleases You and You have so willed it, Your graciousness pleases me also. Oh, that my sinfulness may not stand in the way!

O most sweet and merciful Jesus, what great reverence, thanks, and never-ending praise are due to You for our taking of Your sacred body, whose dignity no man can express!

But on what shall I think in this Communion, this approach to my Lord, Whom I can never reverence as I ought, and yet Whom I desire devoutly to receive? What thought better, more helpful to me than to humble myself entirely in Your presence and exalt Your infinite goodness above myself?
You invite me to Your banquet! You desire to give me heavenly food, the Bread of Angels to eat, none other than Yourself, the living Bread Who come down from heaven and gave life to the world.

Brother-in-law home from Iraq

We're in Clever, MO, visiting Sara's family. Her brother Lucas is on leave from the Navy. He just returned from Iraq. He brought home two chunks of the big bronze statue of Saddam. Yes, the one you saw on the news. I was holding them and a few things occurred to me: 1) This is a little piece of history, 2) It's really heavy, no wonder it took them so long to knock the statue over and 3) How many people starved so they could make this statue? Anyway, it's been great having Lucas home again. No matter what you think about the war, you just have to be proud of guys like this.

I'm writing this post on Sara's parents' new computer. It has a beautiful 17'' LCD. I'm taking their old computer home so I can throw it into my Linux mess. I might frankenstien it or just try for a dual-boot system. If nothing else I'll wipe the hard drive and stick it into my current Linbox. (If you're interested, here are the specs of the old one: 366 Mhz Celeron processor, 32 MB RAM, 4 G hard drive and a 14” CRT monitor.)

To Watch or Not to Watch...

Last night, I finally realized that this 2-hour-a-day Dawson's thing is getting ridiculous. So I decided to watch today's episodes and call it quits. (Don't congratulate me yet.) I looked up the episode guides for the rest of the season and realized that there are only 6 episodes left. That's only 3 days! What do you think I should do? Should I quit now and risk regretting not making it through 6 seasons, or should I watch the remaining episodes and risk being even more bored with the horrible plot lines than I already am?

Vacation update

Great news, the Tour de Midwest has added a stop: 1.5) We'll be staying one night in Macon, MO, with some other friends from Truman, Joe and Amanda. Joe was one of the first people I got to know at Truman, he led the small group where Sara and I met. He is also a rock star. We haven't stayed in touch very well, so it will be great to catch up.

Top 5 Top 5 Lists

If you thought I was the only one....

5. Top 5 Nestle and Ralston-Purina Combinations
This is an anomaly in an otherwise unfunny site. Two stock brokers trying to be funny: it won't take any insider tips for you to know how funny the rest of this site is. (Or isn't).
Don't check out The rest of the site

4. Ethan's Top 5 Stupidest Lines from The Rules
Okay, so this guy wrote a book I've never heard of about Urban Tribes (something I also know nothing about, considering I live in Adrian, MO). Some of his lists are on the dry side, but this one is hilarious.
Check out What this guy's book is all about, then tell me. I'm interested, but otherwise engaged (i.e. watching Dawson's Creek)

3. Top 5 Movie ***Holes
The premise for this list is great: What is the comedy equivalent for a drama's villain? The ***hole. As Badmouth explains, "a great comedy requires a great ***hole--not a true villain--but a person who is so instantly dislikable, that we don't mind when they are tormented the rest of the movie."
Don't check out The weird and somewhat disgusting thumbnails on the left side of the page

2. Top 5 Lists about the Top 5 lists in High Fidelity
Talk about meta-communication. (Little inside joke for all the COMM majors.) Anyway, this site urges you to "Send us your most grossly oversimplified ways of looking at the world, and we'll post them here." I wonder where I could find material like that.
Check out The list of the top 5 clips most likely to be seen on home video shows

1. Top 5 lists at Rockcritics.com
I've found another time-waster. Here, you can view lists and even submit your own. Hours of enjoyment had by all (or at least by all the cynical wannabe musicians with obscure taste in music and doubtful level of skill).
I especially enjoy the "Five Least Favourite Uses of Pop Music in Advertising" and "Five Records You're Proud to Own But (Secretly) Never Listen To"
Check out "Five Examples of Mangled Grammar or Factual Inaccuracies in Song Lyrics"
(Van Halen's Why Can't This Be Love? "Only time will tell if we can stand the test of time."

Whoa

Here's a fun and potentially useful little program. Neotrace Express lets you put in a domain name or ip address, and it will map the path that data takes from your computer to that address. For instance, I put in brendoman.com and the map shows my data going from Kansas city to Dallas to Anaheim to Baltimore to LA. I've often wondered what path data takes from a server to my computer, and this program can show you. There is a paid version, but Neotrace Express is freeware.

DSL on Linux

I'm posting this from my computer running Mandrake Linux. All I had to do was plug the network cable from the router into the back of the computer and it was online. It's so easy that I'm almost disappointed. I remember hooking this very same computer to the ethernet in Centennial Hall at Truman State. It was my sophomore year and they had installed the network over the summer. I went to Staples and bought a $30 network card and a $15 cable. I plugged in all the cables and . . . nothing. I spent the next 5 hours installing protocals and tweaking settings. Now it's so easy that it takes the fun out of it. Next project: install Firefox on this computer.

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