Friday, May 26, 2006

I Knew It

It's official. I'm an evil genius.

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Plan

For those of you who haven't heard, my offer on the land was accepted!

Okay, so here's the plan I'm considering for my house:

The pictured house is still in construction, being built by the builder that I want to work with. This particular house has a daylight basement, which you can only see from the back, and I won't have, but from this side it looks the same.

The house I want to build is 2500 square-foot, 4-bedroom, 2.5 bath, 3-car garage.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

BSF Photos

Here's some photos from the last BSF meeting of the year. We had a "pie social" afterwards.

Also, there are some shots from a few of us who went swing dancing a while ago at a church in Renton.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

I flew into Boston over the weekend to see my little sister graduate from Olin College in Needham, Mass. with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Yay Sarah! There are more pictures here. From left to right: me, my grandma, Sarah, Josh, Anna, and my dad. We took the T into Boston and strolled through a park. That's my mom on the right. Dad and Josh Navigating the T. At the college, we met up with Sarah's friend Joy and her sisters ...and her cousin, who was a bit shy at first. She's really good at cartwheels. Then we went out to eat at a restaurant called "Legal Seafood" My father has officially lost the moral high ground to tell anyone not to play with their food. He'll be a fun grandpa in October, though. If you can bear to see more, there's a video. WooHoo! It's over: now on to... more school! Yay! When each graduate walked, they said their name, and then read a short personal quote. Sarah's was: "I never thought I would learn so much math, but then leave it for the law." There's a video among the pictures linked above. I'd say he looks proud of her. In case you can't tell them apart, Sarah is on the right: with the cap and gown. Yeah, I know it's tough. In the middle is Nick. Nick is a really great guy. His quote was, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." I love that verse.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Harry Potter

This is one of those comments to someone else's blog that got out of hand, and so I decided to post it here too. For context, please see the original post at The IBEX Scribe's blog. I also want to stress that I completely respect the opinions of others who have looked at the same things and come to different conclusions. My sister talked me into reading the first Harry Potter book, and I was instantly hooked. What was it that hooked me? Was it some giddy excitement and curiosity about witchcraft? No. [In fact, the Harry Potter books don't ever come close to discussion or description (much less glorification) of real witchcraft. There are no seances, no offering of one's self to spirits, no spirit guides or familiars, no psychotropic drugs or gnostic "secret knowledge" that one attains to. It's just candyland fantasy magic: no different from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mary Poppins, and Peter Pan. I think it's the word "witch" that gets it into so much trouble, but "wizardess" doesn't roll off the tongue so well.]0 The Harry Potter books are not about witchcraft or magic at all. Those are merely the backdrop. They allow the author to engage in creativity constructing the universe of the books, but ultimately that universe is made of the same moral fiber as our own. Magic is not the point, it is means to an end. The point of the books is that in this fantastical world, these kids are thrown into surprisingly recognizable moral dilemmas and forced to make decisions. The kind of decisions that, on a smaller scale, we are all forced to make each day. Love vs. power; who are my friends and how do I treat them? How do I treat people who don't matter to my social group? What do I want to do with my life? What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? The Harry Potter books, amid all the broomsticks, potions, wands, and snogging, are about righteousness, and it is righteousness that is upheld through the force of Professor Dumbledore's character, and the lessons that Harry is in the process of learning. That process, just like in real life, is a messy one. Neat, tidy moral lessons are not for children: they are for cowards. Why do you think the book of Judges exists? No, they are not for children who cannot distinguish fantasy from reality. This distinction is not strictly one of age, but of temperament and maturity. Yes, that's right: children have unique personalities.1 One thing that makes the books appealing is that they treat children as people, not things. When I was little, I always considered myself a rational being. I did not like being talked down to. I did not like it when books portrayed children in one dimension. I was not a paper doll: I was a person, and I was alive, and it was refreshing to find a world in which my little life, or one like it, was taken seriously. Harry Potter provides an opportunity for children to realize that their decisions, even though they are "just a kid" are no less important than the ones made by everyone else. It matters to God: it should matter.
0 This paragraph was not in the original comment 1 I added the words "and maturity" to this paragraph.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Land ho!

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it. ~Psalm 127:1
Ever since my dad came to visit me in April, I've been considering buying some land and building a house on it. Not with my own two hands, mind you: they have contractors and building companies for that sort of thing. Oh, sure, I can do a little plumbing, and cut wood and swing a hammer with the best of them, but that would take a lot of time and effort, and who wants that? I'd rather have God do it all for me, isn't that what that verse means? Seriously, though, I might get involved in some of the construction or finish work to save a few bucks here and there, but I'm not going to count on being able to do it all, especially on this first one. See, the plan is to sell the house after a couple of years, tax free, and put the money into another house: lather, rinse, repeat. The picture below is of a piece of property that I am seriously considering making an offer on within the next few days. Please pray that I will have wisdom and diligence in making the offer (or not), in investigating the land for potential problems, in selecting a builder and house plans, and in talking to lenders. I've asked the Lord to make it plain to me whether he wants me to build here: that he would give me peace about it. And he will. Lately I've been noticing in my life and in Scripture, just how in-control of everything God really is. Tonight in our mid-week Bible study we were in Mark 13, and right in the middle of telling his disciples about all the things that are going to happen during the tribulation, Jesus says "But take heed, behold I have told you everything in advance." (Mark 13:23) It's as if he were saying, don't worry when you see the world in chaos and its powers being turned upside-down and backwards, because I am your protector and I am in total control: in fact, this is my plan, the plan I have had since before the beginning of time. I'm doing it on purpose, and nothing surprises me.
"If Your presence dose not go with us, do not lead us up from here." ~Exodus 33:15

Friday, May 05, 2006

Vashon Island

Bob and Alice invited me to their house on Vashon Island to dinner tonight, along with Laura & Bonnie, and Heather & Mary Alice. I took a few snapshots while I was there (and in transit).

I missed the ferry by about five minutes on the way because I had left my ticket at home, and I thought I would have time to go and grab it. After I had landed on the other side, I took some shots of an old decaying dock.

There's a shot of a cool stegosaurus made of old tools, a cabin that Bob's brother built by hand, Bob & Alice's house on the beach, a thousand [sand] dollars (live ones!) Their neighbors have the coolest "private park." Everything is so lush and green, and there's a tree with lots of character.

Anyway, enjoy the photos. I'll try to post something more personal at some point.