Audio problems and bongo drums

30 09 2008

On Friday, we had an offsite meeting for the entire IT department.  I was tasked with setting up a video-conferencing link between the offsite location and our satellite office in California.  I spent all week exploring options and testing them out to make sure everything was in place.  All throughout, I was told not to worry about audio.  I was only responsible for making sure the video was there.

The morning of the meeting, I got there early and did some final testing.  Still, I was told that the audio would be taken care of and that I did not need to worry about that.

Well, when the meeting started, the video link was in place just fine.  We could hear our friends in California.  But, they were unable to hear us.

I, of course, was sitting right up in the front of the room with my laptop connected to the projector for the video feed.  Everyone kept looking at me like I had totally blown it.  Eventually, the California office just got up and left the meeting.

Those that know about the situation know that I had nothing to do with the problem.  The problem is, very few know about the situation and I am sure 99% of the IT department thinks I failed miserably.

So, I closed down the video feed so we weren’t looking at an empty room and.  All my work all week long was a complete waste.  Oh well, what are you gonna do?

So, the meeting continued.  And after an hour of completely meaningless pep talk, we moved into a surprise team building exercise.  We were all given a bongo drum and led in the fine art of the drum.  We all left feeling as though we had been united as one cohesive unit all marching to the same beat.  Oh please…gag me now, please.

The biggest question I had as I walked out of the meeting was when were they planning on telling me about the bongo drums?  Was I supposed to handle the video feed of a bunch of morons playing bongos to our friends in California too?  Well, as long as I don’t have to worry about the audio, I am sure it will be fine.





prayers of a 4 year old

29 09 2008

My 4 year old is starting to get quite creative with his bedtime prayers, which is awesome.  Here are a couple of nuggets from the last week or so:

  1. Thank you for our mouths so we can eat.
  2. Thank you for our shoes so that our feet don’t get burned on the sidewalk.

Everyday it becomes more and more obvious to me why Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me”!





Jury Duty on earth

24 09 2008

Yesterday I participated in my civic duty as a Collin County resident in the state of Texas.  I had to show up to the local court house and wait to see if my name got called for one of the 2 jury panels needed for the day.  It wasn’t.  They took the first panel of 25 right away.  Then we all sat there while one woman worked with 8 or 9 different people to either postpone their service or cancel it altogether due to some affliction or another (I didn’t really understand the ones that were allowed to leave without rescheduling because the summons I received in the mail clearly spelled out every acceptable reason to get out of jury duty – all they had to do was mark the appropriate box, send it in and then just not show up).  Anyway, she finally got around to calling the second panel of potential jurors and then let everyone else go home.

So, what did I do while I sat there waiting?  I read a few pages in the book “Jesus for President” by Shane Claiborn and Chris Haw.

Consider the irony of these words that I read as I sat in a courtroom waiting to see if I would be selected on a jury to decide the fate of an accused criminal:

Some might read the popular phrase, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and mistakenly think that Jesus

meant, “My kingdom is not in this world.”  But Jesus was speaking more about essence than location.  In other words, he was talking about the “real world.”

Jesus said this while on trial for insurrection.  His kingdom had finally collided with the kingdoms of Herod and Pilate, and they wanted answers.  Since Jesus’ birth, he had been at odds with the establishment.  They wanted him dead ever since the rumors about the other King of the Jews.  Because of this Jesus had, for the most part, stayed on the fringes of public life, insisting that the kingdom he preached and represented be undetectable to the powers.  But now he had paraded into the center of power, flipped over its tables, and hosted a public and critical teach-in, creating the conditions for his arrest.  Now under government control he is questioned:

Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?”  Pilate replied.  “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me.  What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.  But now my kingdom is from a different place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.  In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate…

From then on Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar.  Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out … “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews…

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

John 18:33-38; 19:12-15.

…His Kingdom is not of this world because it refuses power, pledges a different allegiance, and lives love. In a world where truth had become smothered and rulers don’t even know what it is anymore, Jesus embodies a truth that will set us free – even Pilate.

That’s the kingdom I want to be a part of.  Reading those words while sitting in a Collin County courthouse just drove home the point.





Josh Howard and racism

19 09 2008

I am a huge Dallas Mavericks fan.  But, I have about had it with Josh Howard.  I’ve known for a while now that he is completely brainless.  But, gee wizz Josh, can you please lock yourself in a gym somewhere?  Please?

For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about here is a list of Josh Howard stunts pulled in the last 5 months (really in 3 months if you consider this latest antic was pulled back in July and is just now coming to the attention of the public).

  1. April 25 – Josh decided that the day of Game 3 in the Mavs first round playoff series with New Orleans Hornets that it would be a perfect time to call up a local radio station and proclaim himself as an avid marijuana smoker.
  2. April 27 – During that same series, coach Avery Johnson found out that Josh was planning a birthday bash for himself on the same night as game 4 of the series.  In no uncertain terms, he specifically instructed everyone on the team to not attend any parties during the playoff run.  So, Josh responded by handing out flyers in the locker room and going forward with his party as planned.  In disgust, Avery cancelled practice the next day after several Mavs were out late at the party.  (Guess who got fired…Avery)
  3. July 31 – Josh got arrested for drag racing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  4. This week news got out that back in July Josh had disrespected the Star Spangled Banner during a charity event back in July.  On tape, Josh is heard saying “The Star Spangled Banner’s going on right now and I don’t celebrate that s***. I’m black.”  Here is the clip for your viewing pleasure (warning – the language may not be suitable for younger viewers…parental discretion is advised).

I think each of those events in and of themselves are forgivable.  Together they have taken Josh Howard from fan favorite to fan goat.  (That and the fact that he seems to have slowly and completely disappeared on the basketball court after signing his big $40 million dollar contract – but that’s for a different post).

So, I have been sitting back and absorbing all of these incidents and fairly quickly going from a Josh lover to a Josh hater along with all the other Mavs fans in these parts.  And, then I saw Mark Cuban’s latest post at his blog, and I was struck by something else altogether.  (Edit – Since this post, Mark has removed his original post and replaced it with this one).

There are a lot of racist people in this world.  How people can email Mark with some of this trash is completely beyond me.  Granted, not everyone in his compilation of “Josh advice” emails is racist, but a large percentage of them are.  I know what Josh said in regards to the Star Spangled Banner is appalling and a slap in the face to all the people who died to make it possible for him to earn his $10 million a year, but, come on, people.  I am not comfortable living in a world where there are so many people willing to call him a ni**** just because he said something stupid.

Good grief, people.  It’s not ok to think that way or say things like that.  It’s wrong.  Quit it…for God’s sakes…Stop.

So, to summarize, Josh, please seek help.  And, to you idiot racists out there, enough is enough…dig a hole and jump in.





Ray Boltz is gay

17 09 2008

Ray Boltz is a christian musician who I grew up listening to.  If you have ever heard the song “Thank You” or “Watch the Lamb” or “Shephard Boy” or “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb” then you know who I am talking about.  (I sing “Shephard Boy” to my kids all the time.)

Well, I just read this article that tells the story of Boltz coming out as a gay christian.

Wow.  Part of me is shocked.  Part of me isn’t at all surprised.

It seems like lately I have been finding many areas where christianity and homosexuality collide.  First, the leadership of my church denomination distributed a pamphlet to its pastors on the subject which I thought was very loving and accepting in its tone toward gay people.  Then, a few weeks later, the same leadership followed up to those same pastors with an email that I felt was much more dismissive and politically biased.  I found these two communications to be an intriguing dichotomy of almost opposing view-points.  On another occasion, I read about a gay couple who were asked to leave from a homeless meal program at a local church because they were gay.  This theme has come up in my conversations with people on an almost weekly basis.

And, now this about Ray Boltz.

Will the words in this song be heard differently now?  Should they?





Purple America

15 09 2008

OK, there are now less than 50 days until I will cast my ballot in this year’s presidential election.  This is the fourth time I have been eligible to vote in a such an election.  But, this is the first time I can honestly say that I am completely 100% undecided at this stage in the campaigns.

It seems like everyone has an opinion and is predisposed to one side or the other.  I even know some people who seem to be predisposed to not voting for either major party candidate (they always tell me this out of a emphatic and yet odd sense of patriotic duty).

For the first time, though, I don’t feel predisposed to either party…or to neither party for that matter.

In a weird way, I actually kind of like both candidates.  But, at the same time, I don’t trust either of them.  I really don’t want to vote for someone and then regret it in a few years.  I am certainly smart enough to know that neither one of them is telling me the whole truth about everything.  I would even venture to say that they are both probably lying through their teeth on certain subjects.

I am really looking forward to the debates.  I really hope that the contents of the debates gives me something to base my decision on.

It’s really weird in this divided political climate how really smart people can see things so completely differently…and so completely along party lines.

It almost seems like we are all watching a sporting event where everyone takes sides based on what team they are used to rooting for.  It’s like my brother and me.  He is a huge Spurs fan and I am a huge Mavs fan.  No matter how objective we try to be when our teams play each other, we always end up seeing two totally different games.

It’s the same with politics.  No matter what words are said or what actions are taken or what plans are promised or what running mate is selected, half the country sees it as good and half the country sees it as bad.





Annual company picnic

15 09 2008

Yesterday we went to mother-in-law’s company party.  This is the 4th year in a row that we have attended.  I really appreciate her company for doing a family friendly annual event such as this.

I could go into great detail about the event, but I think I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.  Click on the thumbnails to see the full size pics.