Sunday, July 30, 2006

One More Salvo

Okay I'm getting addicted to this camera, and I promise this is the last time before I actually start writing stuff again. There's a lot to write about, I guess... I really need to get to it.

I finally got to see a play on Market Square yesterday evening. They were playing 'The Taming Of The Shrew'. I actually ran into a few folks from YAMs, and got to talk with David Kendall and Doug for a bit. David Kendall says he checked out my blog a few days back, and he provided a link to here. Here's returning the favor, David! It's a thoughtful blog, with a lot of thoughtful thoughts. Go get thoughted out!

I left the play early because Brent and Marci wanted to hang out and eat. They'd just gotten back in from Nashville to visit Brent's politically-inclined friend, Doug, and his wife, Robin. Doug's not really a politician, he just wants to make policies for them to consider. Good policies. Community-minded policies. Policies that will Save The World. This picture shows Brent and Marci's shining countenances after spending a weekend with him.

The next day, I brought my camera to church, and took this picture of Kevin, Yong Hun, and Tzeng Hao. That was almost too much testorone for one camera to handle...

... so I took this picture next. That Kevin's wife, Lydia, speaking to a Chinese lady whose name I don't know. Yeah, I need to mingle more.

Kevin's leading worship during the class, and I'm taking a picture.

"One of these things is not like the others..."

At lunch, after church, Lydia takes a swig from a little bottle labelled "Drink Me" at the Japanese restaurant we went to, and grows to TWICE Kevin's size. Holy Cow!

One more shot of Brent and Marci at the same restaurant, this time with the camera color set to Sepia mode. It looks like I took a picture of them 50 years ago (Yay).

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Second Post Of The Day In What Seems Like Forever

Well I tried to watch Shakespeare On The Square today in downtown Knoxville, but apparently they cancel whenever the place gets wet. They were scheduled to start at 7pm, by which time the raindrops had ceased, but I guess they didn't want to deal with a soggy backstage. It was not a total loss... I brought my camera along and made like a tourist. Here's another three-hundred-and-sixty degree panorama, this time of Knoxville's Whirl-Famous Market Square.

I'm feeling generous tonight. More so considering this is actually the second post of the day. Here's a shot of the inside of the World Grotto. It's a really cool joint on Market Square, with some really sharp and trippy eastern-themed decor. All that's missing is the opium smoke. I need to drop in again with company someday.

My Desk, The Office, Cherie at Lunch

I'm still not quite over my new toy.

This is what I stare at 8 hours a day. I still got perfect 20-20 vision. Go figure.

Travis and Gretchen in my office. Travis is trying to get answers from me and I'm backed up against the wall, with a Coolpix as my only defense.

It's a little blurry, but I swear that's my ex-Netlearning colleague, Cherie Brown, across the table from me and Travis at lunch this afternoon.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Hangout Spot, My Car, And My Room (Again)

A little more Coolpix action today. I didn't try very hard to make the pictures look good. So.

Like a beacon in the night.

She used to be Lydia's. Now she's mine. Love that paint job.

There it is again.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

360 Degrees Of Shakey Photography

I just bought a Nikon Coolpix digital camera today, and one of the first things I did was create a panoramic image of my room in Quicktime Format, for your panning viewing pleasure. Here it is. Just click and drag to the left or right within the viewing screen to pan the image, and it'll almost be like you're standing in my room! It's not the best panorama ever, because I couldn't keep my hand perfectly steady as I rotated the camera, but it's ok for a first time.

Oh yeah and I changed the blog template. Change is good. Keeps you guessin'.

Monday, July 24, 2006

So Just Call Me Chief

"In one way Man was to be haughtier than he had ever been before; in another way he was to be humbler than he had ever been before. In so far as I am Man I am the chief of creatures. In so far as I am a man I am the chief of sinners. All humility that had meant pessimism, that had meant man taking a vague or mean view of his whole destiny -- all that was to go. We were to hear no more the wail of Ecclesiastes that humanity had no pre-eminence over the brute, or the awful cry of Homer that man was only the saddest of all the beasts of the field. Man was a statue of God walking about the garden. Man had pre-eminence over all the brutes; man was only sad because he was not a beast, but a broken god. The Greek had spoken of men creeping on the earth, as if clinging to it. Now Man was to tread on the earth as if to subdue it. Christianity thus held a thought of the dignity of man that could only be expressed in crowns rayed like the sun and fans of peacock plumage. Yet at the same time it could hold a thought about the abject smallness of man that could only be expressed in fasting and fantastic submission, in the gray ashes of St. Dominic and the white snows of St. Bernard. When one came to think of one's self, there was vista and void enough for any amount of bleak abnegation and bitter truth. There the realistic gentleman could let himself go -- as long as he let himself go at himself. There was an open playground for the happy pessimist. Let him say anything against himself short of blaspheming the original aim of his being; let him call himself a fool and even a damned fool (though that is Calvinistic); but he must not say that fools are not worth saving. He must not say that a man, qua man, can be valueless. Here, again in short, Christianity got over the difficulty of combining furious opposites, by keeping them both, and keeping them both furious. The Church was positive on both points. One can hardly think too little of one's self. One can hardly think too much of one's soul. "

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hellbound Thieves, Homemade Pasta, And My Demands Of Matt Forsythe

Phew! What a week it's been, and it's not even Friday yet. My car got broken into sometime between Tuesday night and yesterday morning, and I'm now stereo-less, which means I have to sing to myself in the car, or think very deep thoughts. I'm mad that I didn't get to hear NPR on the way to work for the past couple of days, and it WAS a sweet stereo. They also took the MP3 CDs I burned, which annoyed me even more since they aren't even going to like what I put on them, and they won't sell for anything. Geez.

The break-in happened in my apartment complex's parking lot, and they got into my neighbor's car too. She was the one who found the windows smashed in on Wednesday morning. We got to hang around and chat while the crime lab lady dusted for prints, and later on she went to the junkyard to get a new window for her car and mine, too, since they had it as well. I was glad I didn't have to go myself. She even had a friend at her office whose husband offered to put the windows in for cheap. Earlier this evening we watched him do it. Frankly, I think I'll take it to the shop next time and pay a little more... the door's not quite the same way as before he took it apart (and it's not just the replaced window). The lock sits a little lower now, and there's a little gap between the rubber gasket and the door that might let a little water in... not into the car, but into the door. I'm going to have to find something to seal it just so it doesn't let water in.

At least I got to know some neighbors (Jane, the other car owner, and her man, Chris). That's always good.

On a brighter note, I bought a pasta maker and used it for the first time today. I decided I wanted one after learning how to use one at Brent's place last week. I dropped in last Monday and he was making fresh pasta that night. I saw how it worked and decided I wanted one, simple as that. On Saturday he made fresh pasta again for dinner with a bunch of folks, including his mom, who was in town to visit. Cliff was there to show me a couple more tricks with the pasta machine, so by the end of the evening I was pretty darn knowledgeable.

Tonight my first batch of pasta turned out really well. I used buckwheat flour (which I bought from the food co-op on Broadway, for what seemed like a pretty cheap price to me), and it came out just the way I wanted it to. My own homemade buckwheat noodles! I made lots more than I could eat in one sitting, so there's plenty of leftovers. I'll probably give some to Jane and Chris tomorrow. Make a little lemonade out of the lemon I was handed yesterday. That sort of thing.

Matt and Gretchen were in town this past weekend, and I met them at Barley's on Monday for dinner with them and the Terrys and the Copens. I know Doug and Terry pretty well, the Copens not so much. I spent most of the time catching up with Doug and Mary, since it had been longer since I talked to them. I told them about the pasta machine I was getting, and we brainstormed a few pasta ideas. Mary came up with chocolate-flavored pasta. Me and Doug thought it was an awful idea at first, but then we realized that if it was sweetened, chilled, and served with canned fruit, it might make a good dessert. That's my next project after tonight's buckwheat noodles.

We also talked about investing in the stock market, which I'd been thinking about. Mary thought I should try mutual funds, since they're safer. I told her I'm young and reckless, and I either wanted to lose a lot of money or gain a lot of money, or have a lot of fun and stress watching my money do nothing. My optimism was dampened, though, when I found out the next day I needed at least 2k to trade on the stock market using Ameritrade. I was thinking 1k was an acceptable amount of expendable cash. I might do a little more research on other trading websites this weekend.

Matt and Getchen were doing great, I think. Matt's going to start a blog soon. Matt! If you're reading this, where's your blog?!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fireworks, A Lack of Ducks, The Rules Of Chess

Last Saturday I went with Roy, Kevin, and Lydia Zinn, and Chung Hao (who's not a Zinn but then again neither am I) to go see the hugest annual event in Alcoa, the pre-Fourth fireworks, which were done three days early because assumedly they didn't want to have to compete with the show Knoxville puts on. It was put on at the Alcoa City duck pond, which got me pretty excited because I thought we were going to see ducks. To my dissapointment, we wound up sitting a little too far from the pond to see ducks, and Kevin and Lydia thought they might've ferried the ducks elsewhere so they didn't get traumatized by the fireworks. I guess the idea of preserving collective duck sanity appeased me, so I settled for not seeing ducks at the duck pond. It was a fireworks show anyway.

While we sat and ate ice-cream waiting for the show to start, we started talking and eventually the conversation came round to how fast some people decide to get married. Rachel and Wisam had known each other for two months, and then he proposed to her. We compared that courtship to a drag race. Sometimes you just know where you need to go, and there's no sense taking corners, you just go in a straight line as fast as you can. Then Kevin said Roy had proposed pretty quickly too. I'd been subject to a few comments about my singleness of late, so I thought I'd ask Roy what the correct method of courtship was. He, being a pastor, surely wouldn't give me bad, worldly advice. You know, the sort you get from magazines.

He said "Well, first, you make a move. Then you wait for her to make a move. Then you respond with a move, and then she makes another move."

I blinked a couple times. "So it's like chess?"

"Yes, it's like chess. Then eventually, after a lot of moves, you ask her to marry you, and that's checkmate."

"Huh, ok."

"Yes, basically you're asking a girl if she'd like to play chess."

I thought about that for a bit, then I asked "Well, what happens if you make three moves in a row?"

He shook his head. "No you're not allowed to. Then you lose. However, while you're waiting for her to make a move, you can remind her that you made a move."

"Isn't that in itself considered a move?"

"No, it's just a reminder."

I thought about it a bit more, and then decided I was neither good at chess or courtship. Maybe someday she'll just fall in my lap when I'm not paying attention. I kicked back, finished my ice-cream, watched the fireworks, and looked around me from time to time at all the chessplayers, young and old, sitting on folding chairs, lying on the grass, gazing up at the sparkling, smoky sky.