Saturday, January 28, 2012


One of the downfalls of technology is that one sees just how boring one is. Just before and over winter break, my foursquare account was busy with check-ins and it actually seemed like I had a life. Since the new semester began my check-ins have been work and home and work and home and work and gas station and work and home. As busy as work has been, I cannot say that I mind the routine. The routine provides stability in my busyness. I know when I am going to cook, when I am going to pack my lunch, when I leave from work, when I am doing my regular household chores. Other than the occasional excitement while cooking, the rest of the routine is boring. Right now, as busy as everything else is. That's ok!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Baths in the Time of Drought

Since damaging the connective tissues between two ribs a month ago, I have found the healing process goes much more slowly as a mature man than it did when I was much younger. I followed the doctor’s directions and most of them worked well except for the high doses of ibuprofen.  The best thing I have done consistently, though is taking hot baths with Epsom salts.

Each time I take one of the hot baths, I feel guilty about it. We are currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in recorded history and a bath is not the most efficient use of water.

If this was Little House on the Prairie, a couple people could bathe in the tub after me, but alas I live alone and none of my friends have expressed any interest in using my Epsom salt lukewarm leftovers.

Maybe I should place an ad on Craigslist – Free in Austin: “Low guilt cleaning. Lukewarm bathwater. Only used once. Pre-soaped. Email for directions.”

Despite my best ecological intentions, I am afraid this may draw the wrong crowd, but it certainly sounds fun just to see what responses I get.

In the meantime, I am trying to carefully conserve water in everything else that I do while I do everything I can to recover and not need the baths anymore.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Reduced Risk

A few months ago I purchased a rice cooker and it substantially changed the way I prepare my foods for the week. I read the basic directions to the device and have used it weekly since the purchase. This morning, though, I noticed a label I had not previously paid any attention to.

Reduce the risk? You mean I may still get shocked by using it correctly? I want a rice cooker that is giving me no risk of electrical shock.  As an almost daily rice eater, I know that cooking rice involves a great deal of water!

We get such labels because of someone’s demonstrated stupidity followed by a lawsuit. Without the removable container, there is no way for the cooker to hold the water and rice. Or even function for that matter as it is pressure triggered.

After becoming a label reader in recent years, I continue to be amazed at the various warnings that come with seemingly innocuous products and what it says about our society. As an educator, I have a hard time believing we are truly that stupid, I think we are that greedy that we will do stupid things for money. We get such labels because of someone’s demonstrated stupidity followed by a lawsuit.

So the next time you make rice in a rice cooker, be sure to use the appropriate removable container. You have been warned so that lawsuit will not work again.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Bed and Breakfast Land

Earlier this week the remarkable happened: I (briefly) had more followers on Twitter than accounts I was following. Unfortunately most of them were spam accounts, but (briefly) I felt like a celebrity. After reviewing the list, I blocked and reported many of them for spam – I am consistent in that I block spam-tweets as fast as possible.

Most of the newfound popularity has come since I started using foursquare for check-ins and many of the businesses into which I have checked and nearby businesses have started following me since I began using the service. I guess that is good for the businesses to make a direct connection with their customers.

But now that winter break is over, they are going to find that “homebody” marks my most common status.

Which still gets me lots of hits.

I named my home “Roy’s Bed and Breakfast” for the many friends from out-of-town who stay with me. So every night when I check in at my house, it appears that I am frequenting a bed and breakfast, so I have become popular with B&B’s across the land on Twitter. I have never actually stayed at a B&B as I prefer room service when I travel.

Just as I was disturbed recently when my doctor’s office replied via Twitter to one of my tweets about being there, I am enjoying tracking how my online activity tracks across media and seeing the trends in both spam email and spam Twitter.

Does that make me a nerd? Geek? I never can keep them separate.

I think I may start giving places I frequently visit my own personal name to see just what kind of interactions I can stir up. It will also give me more mayorships on foursquare – but that would be cheating, wouldn’t it?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Black Like...Really?

Recently a friend mentioned that he named his car Michelle “because it looks like Michelle Obama.” While it is not uncommon for people to name possessions after well-known people, I have never heard someone name a car after a person because they look alike. I did not quite understand the reasoning and pressed the matter.  It turns out that the looking alike was limited to color – both are black.

The admission astonished me.

This person claims to be a progressive Christian.

No wonder the so many people do not see the difference between progressive Christianity and the more traditional Christianity. Ephesians chapter 4 provides many useful guidelines for conducting our life, but very important among them and what should be a defining verse for all Christians is verse 29: “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” I freely admit that I have limited use for political correctness and frequently write about extremes in the use of language. Nevertheless, I have no use for statements or actions that are inherently destructive or damaging, whether they were made in all seriousness or for the sake of humor.  

My friend may have intended the naming of his car as a joke, but I think he actually meant it in some misguided attempt at acceptance. Unfortunately, though such comments may be made with a true lack of malice, they carry the full weight of inconsideration and do as much damage as those that are made with harmful intent.  The same Ephesians passage cautions us about being responsive to guidance from the Holy Spirit in all that we do. While no person is perfect, thoughtful consideration will lead to understanding of what is and what is not acceptable speech or behavior.

Such can be the challenge with attempts at being clever, but we have no excuse to damage the witness we have to the world as people called apart.  The last few years have brought too many headlines of the church behaving badly with sex abuse scandals, social stances that represent antiquated (unchristian) thinking, and numerous financial scandals. Such headlines give legitimacy to questions about the relevance of the Church in society. The Church as an instrument of anger and pain in no way reflects the calling of the Church in the world.

Ephesians chapter four defends the purpose of the church and those in it. We must examine how well we uphold the principles behind the purpose of the church and live that our consistently. Unless the church begins to function and garner headlines as an instrument of peace and healing, entire generations will miss the blessing that comes from being in relationship with God.

As much as my friend’s comment personally offended me, it led to the time of reflection about my own comments and my role in the church and the Church’s role in society. I have made many changes regarding the information I take into my mind and the media to which I expose myself in the last months. The more selective I have become in those areas, the more deeply I have been able to reflect on my personal status. At some point the reflection should translate into action or it serves only to be an egotistical exercise in self-aggrandizement – much like the behavior of the Church in the last few decades. For every thing there is a season; now that the season of gestation is complete and the season of growth has begun.