Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bad news, Good news

Bad news -- gas is $4.09 a galleon. Ouch! I purchased gas and filled it to the limit of my debit card -- $85 -- and it still wasn't full. Had to do a second transaction to fill the tank.

Good news -- now that my tank is full, the value of my car has doubled! (at least as long as the tank if full...)

Morning Prayer

Wake my soul with all things living
thanks be giving to the Source of life and day
Sunlight comes and gone confusion,
night's illusion, like the starlight
fades away.

Cry for help, when griefs assail you,
good friends fail you, life seems hopeless, death appears.
One whose child knew deep affliction,
ever waits to dry your tears.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8, 9

In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge;
let me never be ashamed.
In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free;
incline your ear to me and save me.
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe;
you are my crag and my stronghold.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from of the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.
For you are my hope, O LORD God,
my confidence since I was young.
I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;
from my mother's womb you have been my strength;
my praise shall be always of you.
-- Psalm 71:1-7

Almighty God,
Your own Son had nowhere to lay his head:
Be with those who live alone today so that they may not be lonely in their solitude,
Help them live according to your example and follow in your steps,
May they find fulfillment in loving you and
May they find fulfillment in the love of their neighbors.

For those in the hospital today

Dearest Lord,
Be with us and be the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers:
Mercifully accept our prayers,
And give to those suffering the help of your power,
that their sickness may be turned into health,
and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sanctify those whom you have called to the study and practice of the arts of healing,
and to the prevention of disease and pain.
Strengthen them by your life-giving Spirit,
that by their ministries
the health of the community may be promoted
and your creation glorified; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I've very little time to blog

I'm still watching General Conference 2008 in Second Life. We have had many visitors -- I need to figure out how to do a guestbook. I have discovered that the simulation will only handle about 10 people with streaming video and about 15 with just audio. However, I've had probably about 50 people drop by of various sorts; those I know from Real Life, Second Life, the Methoblogsphere, the Conference, readers of this blog and people from my email address book. It's been good.

Highlights: what Gavin is calling Cell-phone-gate, all the discussion about the Central Conferences, not as much as I would anticipate about other things.

It has made me wonder if we are going to split -- not along the human sexuality issues as one would think, but the US of A conferences split from the International conferences. There are fundamental differences; the US is so individualistic -- other conferences, not so much. This really causes all sort of things to play out so differently.

More Later. I have to attend to Real Life for a while...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lol Bunny

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

TIM: There he is!
ARTHUR: Where?
TIM: There!
ARTHUR: What, behind the rabbit?
TIM: It is the rabbit.
ARTHUR: You silly sod!
TIM: What?
ARTHUR: You got us all worked up!
TIM: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit!
TIM: That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!

Funny, it doesn't look foul, cruel and bad-tempered.

To those interested and with a SL account

I have the stream (audio) from GC2008 going on in the Meetinghouse on Xenia in Second Life. Join me if you can. I'll be popping in and out all day.

Today was awesome!
Good to see so many people in SL.

The plenaries are over for the day and will pick up in the morning -- but most of us will be in worship. The group discussions will pick up online tomorrow afternoon.

I hope to see you there!

Remember to add me to your friend list if you need help.
Reverendmommy Rabeni.

Also, Thunderstorms in the area are making my ISP flakey so....

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thou Protestest Too Much, Rabbit John

John the Methodist, of Locusts and Honey, has been blogging quite a bit in the recent years about Zombies, in fact 86 postings on the Zombie threat. Last week, he told us that we are never really safe from Zombies.

However, I have had my doubts about John's motivation for some time. Why would he not have us guard our homes and blogs as diligently as possible? With this in mind, I have obtained photographic evidence from Gavin that John the Methodist, the Bunny-Lover, is indeed himself a Zombie.

It took quite a bit of detective work and special filters to un-mask his devilish disguise, but you can see for yourself the rotting flesh, grotesque veining and green pallor.

Beware of taking Zombie safety information from this man! Every blogger should watch their own back!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

3-D control of SL avatars

A Prayer of St. Patrick

A Prayer of St. Patrick

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
his baptism in the Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb;
his riding up he heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet "Well done" in judgement hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors' faith, apostles' word,
the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.
But we, in nature’s latest hour, O Lord, will cling to Thee!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Favorite Video Of All Time

Tom Jackson asked if my "Thinking about Sermonizin'" title was inspired by Cheryl Wheeler... well perhaps. I had forgotten about all those songs that I had heard. I found this gem on Youtube. Since the LH, the BIL, the BIL's GF and I (oh and the kids, too) are working and working and working on getting an Estate Sale organized, it's my new favorite video of all time. I may have to embed it in the sidebar tomorrow....

Easter 6A -- Acts 17

The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him--though indeed he is not far from each one of us.

Acts 17:24 - 27

I read this snippet of the text for this week and I can't help but think of "Waiting for Godot." A brief synopsis from Wikipedia:
The play follows two consecutive days in the lives of a pair of men who divert themselves while they wait expectantly (and, we find, endlessly) for someone named Godot. They claim Godot to be an acquaintance but in fact hardly know him, admitting they wouldn’t recognize him if they saw him. To occupy themselves they eat, sleep, talk, argue, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplate suicide--anything so as “to hold the terrible silence at bay”.

Here is the portion of the play that really held my interest:
VLADIMIR: Ah yes, the two thieves. Do you remember the story?
VLADIMIR: Shall I tell it to you?
VLADIMIR: It'll pass the time. (Pause.) Two thieves, crucified at the same time as our Saviour. One—
ESTRAGON: Our what?
VLADIMIR: Our Saviour. Two thieves. One is supposed to have been saved and the other . . . (he searches for the contrary of saved) . . . damned.
ESTRAGON: Saved from what?
ESTRAGON: I'm going.
He does not move.
VLADIMIR: And yet . . . (pause) . . . how is it –this is not boring you I hope– how is it that of the four Evangelists only one speaks of a thief being saved. The four of them were there –or thereabouts– and only one speaks of a thief being saved. (Pause.) Come on, Gogo, return the ball, can't you, once in a while?
ESTRAGON: (with exaggerated enthusiasm). I find this really most extraordinarily interesting.
VLADIMIR: One out of four. Of the other three, two don't mention any thieves at all and the third says that both of them abused him.
ESTRAGON: What's all this about? Abused who?
VLADIMIR: The Saviour.
VLADIMIR: Because he wouldn't save them.
ESTRAGON: From hell?
VLADIMIR: Imbecile! From death.
ESTRAGON: I thought you said hell.
VLADIMIR: From death, from death.
ESTRAGON: Well what of it?
VLADIMIR: Then the two of them must have been damned.
ESTRAGON: And why not?
VLADIMIR: But one of the four says that one of the two was saved.
ESTRAGON: Well? They don't agree and that's all there is to it.
VLADIMIR: But all four were there. And only one speaks of a thief being saved. Why believe him rather than the others?
ESTRAGON: Who believes him?
VLADIMIR: Everybody. It's the only version they know.
ESTRAGON: People are bloody ignorant apes.
Of course, I see Vladimir and Estragon as the two thieves. It's never really said that V and E are tramps, hobos, but it is definitely implied. They are searching for Godot (in the English that is quite interesting; but it does not appear in the original French.) They are not quite familiar with Godot and probably wouldn't recognize him if they saw him.

Still thinking.

Tuesday Bullets

  • I missed my SL Lectionary Group yesterday, because I went to a meeting instead. I think I'll sit with the scriptures this morning. I really did miss that time!
  • Sunday was my last Sunday at New Hope. I will be attending Grayson and helping out there until I get an appointment of some sort.
  • I'm still sorting books (probably will be for a while). I'm on Fiction D-E-F. There are days where I fling books merrily into the "sell, trade or donate" box. There are days where I stop, "hmmm. I don't remember this book." and then start to read. I need more the the former and less of the latter.
  • I made a very brief presentation about the Second Life Methodist build at my District Committee of Ordained Ministry. There were some very excited people. After General Conference, I am going to go to Conference office and see if I can make the build more "official."
  • I've also been in contact this week with a prof at George Fox University as well as Len Sweet: both are interested in the SL Council of Churches and Len is interested in an official Methodist presence as well. Scot and I will be announcing a "summit" to brainstorm with some of the church leaders in SL. So this is actually two projects: Aldersgate Island and the SL Council of Churches.
  • I am going to spend some time today pulling together some statistics for our conference statistician for Annual Conference. Oh how I love to do statistics!
  • I have found something for the Birdie to sit on for my "Singing Budgie" Theremin -- an old candlestick. The LH built the Colpitts oscillator; I may have to put way loads more inductance on the antenna. It's not going to be very sensitive the way it is.
  • Johnny Cat was bad this morning and voided his bladder in inappropriate places. So he doesn't get any cuteness on the blog for a while.
  • This Friday, I'm up for a belt test. I think it's the orange belt; the LH thinks it's the yellow with white stripe. I think I'm right (of course!) but none-the-less, It's Friday night. We have another of those very busy weekends coming up; belt test, Girl Scout activities on Saturday with more Estate stuff; Sunday is church and then both girls are part of the GS Bridging ceremony. I don't think we have a lot scheduled for May -- Thank goodness!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Installing Software Today

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

I prolly need to upgrade to Leopard while I'm at it. I can't remember why I haven't actually. Regular service will resume shortly.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Johnny Cat Takes Sunday After Church Nap

Morning Prayer

Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: Come let us adore him.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

You made me in your own image,
You redeemed me through your Son.
Look with compassion on all of us,
The whole human family;
Take away arrogance and hatred that infects our hearts;
Break down the walls that separate us;
Unite us and bind us together in bonds of love;
work through our struggle and confusion
So that your purpose on earth will be done.

Dearest Lord,
You cared for all who came to you
Each in their own season.
Rain your compassion down on all who suffer,
Those who are ill, even to the point of death,
Those who cannot find the strength for one more day,
Those who are overwhelmed with responsibilities,
Those who cannot imagine being free to take responsibility,
Those who through addiction have lost their health and freedom
Those who mourn.
Restore to us the assurance of your unfailing mercy;
Restore to us the knowledge of your grace,
Restore to us the comfort of your love,
Remove from us the fears that overwhelm us;
Strengthen us in the work of our own redemption,
Give to us patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Engineers and Ham Radio Operators

Bad thing -- not only does Dilbert have "the knack," my 14 year old (properly) said, "Daddy would point out that you can't make a ham radio out of the TV, a clock radio and the stereo." (BUT she knew it, too. Geek!!)

Then she started to sing, "I'm a Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech..." and asked me why I had to marry the LH and make little geek babies, because Geek is a semi-recessive gene and because of that, she and her sister are DO-O-O-OMED. Heh, the little geekling knows her Mendel...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thinking about Sermonizin'

Thinking about the 1 Peter 2 text. Here are the ponderings of my SL Lectionary group (it was a very small group, with only myself and Vinnie talking...) A little bit "stream of consciousness" but still good. Still thinking.

There are some great images in this lesson from 1 Peter: living stones, Christ as our cornerstone.
The lectionary leaves out verse 1 "Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander."
This is a great list.
Rid means "lay aside" and is usually connected to the Baptism passages and liturgies
We are to rid ourselves to things that deny life and take up the true spiritual milk that affirms life. If indeed we have tasted that which is good.
yes, we lay aside all the negatives from time to time... but they seem to be within reach a lot of the time It's part of the human condition. Easy to turn to.
This reminds me of the passage from James “Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.”
The word "rid" is the same in both James and Peter.
i keep coming back to this verse about how we often need to become like infants again... no matter how mature we become in the faith – Like Children: -- with the innocence of children -- reminding me of the "suffer the little children unto me."

It goes back to the verse in 1 Peter 1:3 where the author talks about new life.
Pure milk meaning the milk with out deceit/ slander/ etc mentioned in verse 1.
Spiritual milk -- the word is logikos which is related to the word "logos" meaning word/wisdom. I can see a comparison to John 1: in the beginning there was the Logos (the word)
Spiritual milk is also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 5:25 the taste of which causes you to grow into salvation.
:milk... it's so basic to human survival...especially in parts of the world where there is a shortage of clean, safe drinking water
The "Grows into" salvation = perfected in faith?
so it's new life and then growing into perfection. IF indeed you have "tasted" that the lord is good. I like that word tasted.
Tasted -- from Psalm 34 -- it seems that 1 Peter uses Psalm 34 as a structural element.
Many other referenced through out the book.
In addition, there was a story in the Christian Century last month about the image of "the nursing virgin Mary" and how it used to be widely accepted in the Medeival church...somewhere along the way, people gre less tolerant of the image of Mary nursing the baby Jesus, -- there is a squeamishness about that image; People don’t like nursing mothers in public, but it is as God intended.
So those three verses along are interesting. Maybe not enough to preach, but interesting.

The next portion of the pericope is the corner stone bit.
In Matthew 21:24 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'?
In the Greek, in both the Matthew text and in 1 Peter, the word could also be "keystone" meaning that without it, the whole thing falls apart, b/c the keystone is the on up top of a roman arch that holds it all together. So Jesus is the cornerstone; the keystone that keeps it all together. Then this stone calls us to "get stoned"... built into a living wall, so to speak and not throw stones (as in the Acts Text from the Lectionary this week.) Brings to mind that line from Pink Floyd's The Wall... just another brick in the wall...
Who wants to be walled in... it's kind of confining... and yet, belies our commitment to Christ... our willingness to let ourselves be built into something... some BODY
built into a spiritual house -- I'm wondering if that is Logikos, as well.
:House -- connotations to Household/ compare the John 14 text when he talks about "dwelling places" -- so that makes sense -- why the Stephen story and the John 14 text were selected.
1) house - household/family ...whoever believes in him will not be put to shame... Shame and honor are strongly implied in the household of God (household codes)
2) holy priesthood -- to offer spiritual sacrifices (third time word used) through Jesus
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Have we talked about the word "religion" lately? ...coming from the root "ligament"? how it binds us to a community... a Christ... while allowing freedom of movement?...I'm thinking aobut that as I imaging this living house of stones
bound with ligaments....rather than being smothered by each other (Hey, your elbow's in my ear!)... we're freed to do God's will... stronger as a whole body.. er, house of stones Spiritual Milk, spiritual "house" (family), spiritual sacrifices bound by ligaments of love.
:"Bind us together, lord, Bind us together With cords that cannot be broken. Bind us together, Lord, Bind us together, Bind us together with love. There is only one God, There is only one King; There is only one Body, That is why we sing” ...I was thinking "On Christ the solid rock I stand..." but that doesn't talk much about us being rocks...
BUT he is the cornerstone… allowing ourselves to be built into something more than we could realize alone
yeah, so what about that whole cornerstone language...
“Is that really the one stone upon which the whole arch finds support and is centered in?” verse 6 is from Isaiah 28:16 -- from the Septuagint. yeah -- I like Keystone better than "cornerstone" for that reason.

architecture matters – the word is head of the corner in verse 7
we had a tragic bridge collapse here in MN last summer -- gusset plates bent... bolts needing repair.. another bridge has been closed, slated for replacement this year (near St. Cloud)
I was also thinking about flexible buildings built to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes. Houses built flexible to withstand the storms of life. "When the storms of life are raging, stand by me." -- funny how the ancient ruins of some civilizations still stand today...
Isaiah 28:16 “therefore thus says the Lord God, See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: "One who trusts will not panic."

and whom ever believes will not be put to shame. shame and honor are 1st century household ideas. not the code we operate by nowadays. It’s more "eastern" of an idea. If we see Him as precious, we will not be put to harm BUT....:then there are those who stumble over this cornerstone... like us all, I might add....

psalm 118: 20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

Here is the gate from last week's text.

Isaiah 8:14-15: “He will become a sanctuary, a stone one strikes against; for both houses of Israel he will become a rock one stumbles over – a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken”.

how to trust in a shepherd with all the school shootings etc Verse 8 is troublesome.: (1-yr anniversary of Virginia tech) yeah -- and the shootings continue.: destined to fall...? makes you want to keep the kids at home. “destined to fall “-- hard for an Armenian -- unless all who disobey fall. It’s the disobedience that causes the failure.

Verse 9 is like the hinge -- the climax -- at least for me. Deuteronomy 7:6 says of the Israelites: “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession”.: called out of darkness... into his marvelous light... like a reformed Sith Lord... fulfilling his destiny as a true Jedi: (Episode VI): ;-)

Chosen race -- royal priesthood Exodus 19:6 but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites." Remember when Darth Vader turns out good in the end? : I love that part! I love that There’s hope for all who trip over that cornerstone!! Redemption.

Isaiah 43:21 “the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.” = God's own people. if we're redeemed... what then? praise = proclaiming the might acts. out of darness into light is John 1 (again) : order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you... Once were NOT my people; now you are -- once you didn't get mercy; now you have it. : Remember that verse (oh, where on earth is it?) that goes: "be ever ready to give a testimony to the hope that is within you" ...or something to that effect? : If we can't express our hope... then there's no point listening to what we have to say. period. : ...and I'm not just talking about Obama-like-goose bumps-hope…

In 1 Peter 3:15, "to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, …” so it's coming up in just another chapter...

there's a whole trust thing here, too allow oneself to be built into this living body as a stone... : it requires vulnerability... and transparency too....trusting in the Lord to make of us a house worthy of our proclamation...

As a pastor... I feel like I’m building a church... Using the building blocks you have been given. -- yet I know it's Christ who builds the church.. Ultimately and who is the real "owner" and architect. the good shepherd text... I preached on how we're all sheep... with a call to be shepherds, too! : and invite others to the flock
We don’t make the blocks, we don’t do a lot of the heavy lifting, we just slap a little mortar on on occasion.

Theremin Thought of the Day

Proximity fuzes for bombs in WWII were done with thyratron tube switches (or at least were done this way by the end of the war).

There is an oscillator in the circuit emitting RF and using the ground as it rushes up as a "plate" in a capacitor, it can trip the switch to explode. I wonder if thyratron tube switches could be use for Theremin design? (Or at least you could make the bomb "sing!")

Likewise, Thyratron tubes were replaced in Thyristors in the 1950's. It's a transistor that's a PNPN thingy. Sort of like putting two transistors end to end. I wonder if anyone has ever used a Thyristor in a Theremin?

Inquiring minds want to know....

Useless Measures

I was amused by the Cat and Engineer video b/c he measured the Cat's Aspect Ratio. What a useless measure. Anyone that knows anything knows that you have to measure SPECIFIC DENSITY. Specific Density is the most important measure to do. You can use it to understand lightness and, uhm, density. To do this you have to both weigh the cat and calculate it's volume by immersing the cat in a vat of water to see how much it displaces. This does become problematic as the cat does not LIKE to be immersed in water.

Someone has used "key words" to rank the Holiness Index of UMC's seminaries. I would claim that the SPECIFIC DENSITY of the writings of the faculty would be a better measure. I frequently did this with my textbooks, to see who had the heaviest course load. My heaviest course, by that measure was "Life in Biblical Israel" by King and Stager. It had a Density of 2.3 pounds per cubic foot, which was tremendously greater than say, the Chronicles of Narnia which topped out at 1.3 pounds per cubic foot.

Therefore, I say that we measure the "Holiness" and "Spirituality" by the Density of the books that are written by the faculty.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cats and Engineers

This is great. Hat tip to John the Methodist.

Tuesday Bullets

  • Blogging will be light this week; lots to do and little time to do it in.
  • I'm sorting books again. One day, this job will be finished. Right now, it seems endless. As I cull and sort, I'm putting the books on the correct shelf. I've got "Fiction A" done and working on "B" and "C" right now. About half of the books are going into the bin to be 1) sold on Amazon 2) sold at the Bookstore 3) labeled for give away in hospital waiting rooms. The books I take to the hospital seem to just evaporate into thin air.
  • I'm sorting and ironing around 75 old vintage aprons that the LH and I found at his grandfather's house. I don't know exactly what to do with them after I launder, iron and fold. It's either the estate sale or eBay. Maybe both...
  • I've noted this before and it's still true. You always make a bigger mess when you try to clean up a mess. I had the downstairs suitable for company not too long ago -- now it looks as if a tornado ripped through. It just goes in cycles, I suppose. Still working on stuff reduction.
  • Kids are in testing this week -- the CRCTs. They are antsy about it. Both worry about "passing." The mommy is not worried. They will be fine.
  • Girl Scouts are coming to an end for the Summer, but there are meetings now twice a week until Entropy's bridging ceremony two weeks from now. Lots of the Mommy-mobile driving kids around.
  • I'm up for an Orange Belt in Karate at the end of the month. I suppose I need to go to Karate more often (as the LH does) but the schedule is just too tight right now.
  • To help the schedule, we've postponed Cello lessons for a while. Just a break and then we will go back during the summer when school can't compete. Chaos also want viola lessons this summer. So each will get an hour of instruction once a week... Entropy with Violin and Piano, Chaos with Cello and Viola. I'm going to start practicing more often as well.
  • I want a Theremin. I went to Galaxy Music and 1) the clerk couldn't be bothered to wait on me and 2) they didn't have any. I didn't fit the profile of "musician" I suppose. Just a few minutes later I went into the GameStop and the clerk was very polite -- and I purchased a game and put two other on preorder. Customer service makes all the difference.
  • So, I'm looking for the Theremin cheap somewhere...
  • Theremin building is on hold for the moment, as is Theremin design. I've got to get other stuff out of the way this week...
  • And I am preaching this week on the 1 Peter 2 text. I need to spend time pondering it, as I've not used it before.
  • The SL church is coming along. I was kicked off a Christian organization this week because I don't fit their concept of "Christian." They have a hard time processing the fact that I will "hang" with a group they consider sinners and that I'm a woman who dares to lead a church. Wow. So What Would Jesus Do? Kick them out!! (of course) -- this is sarcasm, dear readers.
  • Johnny Cat was the best Christmas present anyone could ever get. I love my Johnny Cat.

Johnny Cat Ready for Nap

Monday, April 14, 2008

I got kicked off...

a virtual group on Second Life. I'm processing the theology right now. Basically, I believe that I was kicked off because of my association with "that" group of people. I'm not going to name who "that group" might be, or the group that ejected me, but I will say that division in the Body of Christ disturbs me; it is disheartening.

Easter 5A

1 Peter 2:2-10

2Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture: “See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,” 8and “A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

John 14:1-14

14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.

14:2 In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

14:4 And you know the way to the place where I am going."

14:5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?"

14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

14:7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

14:8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."

14:9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

14:12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

14:13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14:14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

I cannot count the number of times I have cried at this passage.

Johnny Cat in "I weight HOW much?"

Johnny Cat, Cat in Black, is a good 9 pounds now. He's doubled in size since we adopted him right after Christmas. He's still a growing boy. He naps in the antique baby scale on the kitchen counter. What a little goof.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Adventures in Theremin Design -- Videos

Teri of Clever Title Here (hey Teri!) suggested that I post these explaining what exactly a Theremin is -- so here they are:
This guy is from Lothar and the Hand People (that's a band...)

This lady (Clara Rockmore) was the first real virtuoso of the Theremin (other than Lev Theremin, himself.)

Excellent choice, Teri.

Here's a wonderfully fabulous website: Theremin World. Hours of information here.

I am not flush enough with cash at this point to purchase the Theremin in the first video -- it's about as much as a new computer... but the Moog Etherwave in kit form is quite affordable (or even built, for that matter.)

We are calculating frequencies today -- in a nice spreadsheet. (I have the overwhelming urge to yell out at random times, "What's the frequency, Kenneth?")

Tomorrow at 9:00 am, I will give a tour of SL in world, if anyone is interested. Email me or comment.

Gordon Carlton noted:
That's Jon Bernhardt of The Lothars, a band named after the band Lothar and The Hand People. Thank you, Gordon. I'm still a newbie with this stuff.
Gordon is a fabulous musician as evidenced on his website here.

Here's a Youtube of Gordon's work. I find it highly nuanced, complex and expressive:

Easter 4A -- Acts 2:42-47

Acts 2:42-47

42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

This passage has caused a great deal of thought for me. What exactly is church? Why does the church exists? I think one of the best answers to be found in this passage -- And what does church look like?

I want to belong to a church like this.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Adventures in Theremin Design - Colpitts, take 3

This is Colpitts version 3; I'm not sure what happened to Colpitts version 2. I understand most of this and have put in a little "component" to represent everything (excepte the Zener diode). I'm not really sure about what a couple of the capacitors really do. We are going to select some values for the components, put it on the Protoboard and then build the Variable Frequency Oscillator.

I purchased the "Junior Theremin Kit" from Apogeekits. It looks like a good weekend project for the family. I'll take pictures as we go along.

The owner of the guitars I was going to trade in for a Moog Theremin (the oldest daughter) objected. So I think I will have to scratch together some money to purchase it. Ah, well.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Adventures in Theremin Design - Colpitts

Cool Video!

Easter 4A

John 10:1-10

10“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Notes: This pericope is sandwiched between the "Man born blind" narrative and the hinge of the book of John -- the Lazarus narrative. It is the beginning of a chapter long teaching. The beginning of Chapter 8, Jesus is at the Mount of Olives, but the story of the man born blind he is "walking along". In verse 10:22, it's obvious that Jesus is in Jerusalem. Thus this teaching is probably set on the road somewhere between the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem. In chapter 9, Jesus had just finished talking to the Pharisee, telling them that even if they could see physically, spiritually they were blind. Some commentors do note that this passage in Chapter 10 is logically linked to the end of the narrative in Chapter 9.

In this passage, Jesus is using pastoral images -- sheep and gates and shepherds. Later in this passage, Jesus tells us that he is the shepherd. Most modern day Christians do not realize that this language is kingly language. Many of the cultures around this area have art that depicts their king or leader as a shepherd. (for instance, see the 1911 The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature entry for "Aegean Civilizations") Nonetheless, it can be understood that in this passage, Jesus is speaking of Leaders (or leader, himself) and followers (the sheep). According to Wikipedia:
Sheep have good hearing, and are sensitive to noise when being handled. Sheep have horizontal slit-shaped pupils, possessing excellent peripheral vision; with visual fields of approximately 270° to 320°, sheep can see behind themselves without turning their heads. However, sheep have poor depth perception; shadows and dips in the ground may cause sheep to balk. In general, sheep have a tendency to move out of the dark and into well-lit areas. Sheep also have an excellent sense of smell, and—like all species of their genus—have scent glands just in front of the eyes, and interdigitally on the feet. The purpose of these glands is uncertain, but those on the face may be used in breeding behaviors. The interdigital glands might also be used in reproduction,but alternative reasons, such as secretion of a waste product or a scent marker to help lost sheep find their flock, have also been proposed.

So sheep are not particularly bright, they have excellent peripheral vision, but no depth vision. They move naturally into the light and have an excellent sense of smell.

The juxaposition of this parable with the previous narrative make for an interesting reflection. Jesus is telling the Pharisees that they are "seeing" but "blind." Sheep "see" extraordinarily well -- but don't see with depth. They are so very easily spooked by motion in their vision; they cannot really determine the difference from friend or foe. We know this about ourselves, do we not? We have problems at times determining the difference between friends and thieves and bandits. What are we to do?

We are to listen for the voice of Jesus.
In our sickness we need a savior, in our wanderings
a guide, in our blindness someone to show us the light, in
our thirst the fountain of living water which quenches for
ever the thirst of those who drink from it. We dead people
need life, we sheep need a shepherd, we children need a teacher,
the whole world needs Jesus!
-- Clement of Alexandria from "The Teacher"

A prayer from Clement:
Pasture us children like sheep, Lord. Fill us with your own food, the food of righteousness. As our guide we pray you to lead us to your holy mountain, the Church on high, touching the heavens.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Adventures in Theremin Design

I'm thinking about frequencies; specifically what frequencies I need my Theremin to create. I had a real "duh" moment -- 440 Hz is the A below middle C. That's a good neighborhood, I would think. So a range of a couple of hundred Hz above and below should be good. For a better range, from 32 Hz to 4186 Hz...

So, I am going to find an internet tool that will allow me to calculate frequencies and add them so that the envelope of the sum is my frequency.

It's late. If that didn't make sense to you ... that's OK. It doesn't make that much sense to me right now, either.

Handy Dandy Electronics Calculators and Adventures in Theremin Design

For your reference, here are some Electronics calculators, just in case you don't want to do all that messy math-stuff.
LC Resonance Calculator
Air Core Inductor Calculator
Inductor Calculator
Toroid Calculator

In my adventures in Theremin Design, the LH and I went in the basement and began to plug random stuff into the Proto-board, just trying to get a nice sine wave from a fixed Colpitts oscillator. We didn't have too much luck; we had used the above calculators, figured out some values, but are having problems with the inductors. The coils we have pre-wound just were not "big" enough.

So I am winding a couple of coils this afternoon. We have a pair of these:
A-848032-2 MPP TOROID (this is a little donut of material called Molypermally. It's made of 79% nickel, 17% iron and 4% molybdenum alloy powder.)
The magnetic permeability of the material is 60 mu. The LH believes that 30 turns will give me 15 mH.

Yes, we calculated correctly. I wound some spare wire around the blue donut and we were good. But that was with a capacitor that is 1000 pF. However, the capacitance between a human hand and the Budgie antenna is not going to be very good -- so we decided to reduce the capacitance to 100 puff. That's going to take more like 60 turns. Soooo.... I'm winding. I am using some nice copper wire from a deflection yoke from an old TV set. Nothing like recycling.

Update #2:
They worked. It took 65 turns. One has a impedance of 112 mH and the other 116 mH. Yeah. Now I'm tired. I received a nice diagram from a reader -- I was going to play with transistors. But I didn't have the right ones. I may have to actually BUY something.

The project so far: two inductors.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Chicken Salad with Rice

I haven't posted any recipes recently. That doesn't mean that we aren't eating rice. In fact, we've finished a 25 pound bag of Jasmine Thai Rice already -- among other varieties.

For a really quick meal we've been putting either chicken salad or tuna salad into rice balls. The chicken salad tonight was like this:

1 cup grape halves
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup sweet vidalia onion diced
leftover Easter eggs, diced
Salt, pepper
Miracle Whip

The vidalia onion is so sweet that it adds a nice note against the grapes, it's crunchy like celery. Of course I didn't have any celery...

I think a traditionalist would have a problem with a mayo based filling for rice balls, but we like it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

April 4, 1968

April 4, 1968. I was in Miss Moe's 3rd grade classroom. She was a really good teacher; my favorite in elementary school. Beautiful brunette hair done in a classic 1960's "flip." The girls in my class wore cute little mini-skirts or dresses. I don't remember if it was an official or unofficial dress code, but girls did NOT wear pants. I wore little skirts with attached underpants for modesty. My older cousin was in High School by then; it would have been her first year there. I remember picking her up at the High School and seeing the girls in their A-line dresses and flats with their hair in the ubiquitous "flip" and the boys in their sherbet colored button down shirts.

It was a Thursday. I don't remember it particularly. We probably began the day the same way we always did -- with the pledge of allegiance and the Star-Spangled Banner. This is the post-Madelyn Murray O'Hair era; there was not prayer or even a moment of silence. And there were black people in my classes. I didn't know any other time or any other way. I remember in particular my friend Herman. We shared classes first through fourth grades and our dads were good friends. I didn't know a time when Herman and I would have been separated; when we would have been in different classes or different schools. I didn't know that there was a time where my dad and his dad would have not been friends.

LBJ had just announced that he would not be running for president in the upcoming election. He was a man run down by the strife in the country; strife about Vietnam -- strife swirling around race relations. His decision to not run was not one made lightly nor was it a "giving up." In fact, his decision rejuvenated him. He had decided to be bold; to do bold things during his remaining months. He had begun working on a speech about the Civil Rights Act.

1968 was an momentous year for me -- it started with the second and ended with last season of Star Trek. All my life I have loved Star Trek. But life in 1968 was not all about strange new worlds. There was violence in our world Americans were involved in Vietnam. Every night I would hear Huntley and Brinkley tell us how many young men had died that day in Vietnam. It was my "normal" -- I grew up listening to these reports of war. 1968 saw the Tet Offensive and the Battle of Saigon. Later in that year, my Grandfather would die -- on December 21. Christmas was never quite the same after that. On Christmas day, we heard the book of Genesis read from outer space, as Apollo 8 circled the moon.

But months earlier on April 4, at 8:01 am Eastern time, Apollo 6 was the rocket we were all watching. After the tragedy of Apollo 1, unmanned capsules were sent up -- two of them and Apollo 6 was the second. In an odd twist of fate, for several years I had my office within mere feet of the Apollo 6 capsule.

However, it was a trajectory of a different sort that caused world to skew on it's axis. Not a rocket, it was a small piece of metal fired from a 30 ought 6 deer hunting rifle that caused change in the world.

Ten hours after the Apollo 6 lifted off, at 6:01 pm, James Earl Ray (allegedly) shot Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. King was running behind schedule; he was originally to have left Memphis the day before, but his plane had been grounded for a while by a bomb threat. He had just shaved with Magic Shave Powder and was getting ready for the evening, talking about dinner and enjoying the companionship of his friends. The bullet entered his baby smooth, lightly scented right cheek, traveled down his spinal column and lodged in his shoulder. An act of violence, a violation of his life, King was a man of peace. This was a man of integrity; one who followed Jesus; one who subscribed to nonviolent acts of civil disobedience. His last words were something to the effect, "Ben make sure you play Take My Hand, Precious Lord in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty."

In the days that followed there were riots in over 125 American towns and cities. Primary to these were the riots in Washington, Baltimore, Louisville and Chicago. There were hundreds of of stores looted and burned. It is estimated that almost $400 million dollars were lost (in today's dollars) to the looting and burning. There was even a shootout between the Black Panthers and the Oakland police on April 6. I don't remember the violence and the riots. I do remember the national day of mourning and his funeral in Atlanta. LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act on April 11, 1968 without giving his Civil Rights speech that he had worked so hard on. The assassination of MLK took the wind out of his sails.

There are times I wonder what the world would be like if Martin Luther King Jr. had not been assassinated. I think about King's nonviolence -- his "turn the other cheek" attitude and I think of his freshly shaved cheek ravaged by an assassin's bullet. I think of his last speech:
Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
I think of Ralph David Abernathy holding his friend's head murmuring, "Martin, it's all right. Don't worry. This is Ralph. This is Ralph." I think of the song, "Take my hand, Precious Lord, Lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; Through the storm, through the night, Lead me on to the light." I think of a man who just wants to do God's will.

I think of a President who said that week, "I ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has taken Dr. King who lived by non-violence." I think of my Dad and his friend, who happened to be black. I think of a little white girl who didn't know of a world where little black boys couldn't eat with little white girls. I hope we have come far. We still have far to go. There are still storms; there are still fears in the night. As a people I do believe we will see the promised land. As a people of God, I do believe we can live in nonviolence together if we pray and ask to be led to the light. I do believe.

Theremin Diagram Take 5

This is getting big. Really big. I was going to add a section for an explanation of Inductors, Capacitors, Resistors, FETs and so forth. I suppose they will get their own document. I believe I am going to use a Clapp Fixed Oscillator and a series tuned Clapp Oscillator for the Variable Frequency Oscillator. Well, that's today's idea. And I added my next thing to build -- I labeled it a "Doo-Ma-Hickey."

Theremin Diagram Take 4

I've added another wave tracing to better illustrate what happens when you add two sine waves of differing frequencies. I've added a basic explanation of what an electronic oscillator is -- two preliminary diagrams of a fixed oscillator (I may break these down further) and a very preliminary diagram of a variable oscillator. This circuit I've selected gives a very beautiful sine wave; but it's also difficult to work with. I added the antenna to the wrong spot; that will have to be fixed. However I may have to go back to the Hartley oscillator.

And near the middle, I've started collecting "piece-y parts." A 100k resistor, a matching capacitor, an Op Amp and a pair of coils (inductors). These are for illustrative purposes ONLY and do not represent the actual piece-y parts that I will be using.

This diagram is evolving the way it is because I am trying to explain all this to a 11 and 14 year old by breaking it down to it's smallest components.... More later.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Theremin Diagram Take 3

I added a few things yesterday. I added an actual wave tracing of what the mixed signal will look like. I realized I needed a mixer (probably actually a discriminator and other stuffs) after I get the volume signal. I am going to explore oscillator options today...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Two Pictures for Today

The Theremin diagram expanded. I added some text to it -- and a few more pictures. Isn't it pretty? The LH and I are trying to decide how to build the oscillators and such. There are many ways -- from tubes to transistors to ICs.

Johnny and our midnight visitor, which we call "Midnight June." Yes, I can see why the LH thought Johnny was outside. Can you?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Preliminary Theremin Design

So, before I drop mega bucks on a Moog Theremin, I think we will build one. The youngest is intrigued by the idea -- it might be a good daddy/kid project that might actually morph into a Science Fair project.

I am (of course) concerned with design. Not only should it sound good, it should LOOK good. Or at least entertaining. I am taking Oloryn's suggestion at using a Budgie trophy (of which we have a dozen or more) for the pitch antenna, and rickety old end table for a stand, a film reel for a volume antenna and a wooden jewelry box for the circuit board. I get this:

You must admit, it is entertaining looking. I think we will have to solder/weld a longer antenna on the Budgie's head. We shall see. I'm designing the circuit board now to etch -- in Photoshop, of course. Goody! We get to play with acid! Or perhaps we should build on a breadboard first, get the design right and then etch a board....

Other thingys on my list (to find in the basement):
Capacitors, Resistors, Potentiometers, Semi-Conductors, Chokes, IC sockets, breadboard and whatnot. I think maybe I should build something that just squeaks alittle first. The idea of having the Budgie Trophies "sing" amuses me.

A simplified diagram of how a Theremin works:

Wesley Memorial UMC in SL

Gavin visited the church in SL yesterday -- at 3:00 am! (Actually, I guess that was EARLY today.) I (of course) wasn't there -- I was in bed, asleep. However, I'm glad he went. The build is pretty cool right now. I see all the little boo-boos -- like a panel in which I have the wrong texture, but all in all, it's shaping up nicely.

He didn't visit the meetinghouse out back, though. Here's some pictures. This is the exterior. The inital concept was to have it look rather like Epworth rectory (the original one that burned) but I drifted away from that a bit. When we have an entire island (Aldersgate Island, of course), I will build something more historically accurate.

These are two snapshots of the interior. The first shows the loft with what I consider the prayer area. It has a place to kneel for solitary prayer and a circle around a bowl of candles for group prayer. I want to add a box where a person could place prayer requests -- it just takes time!

This second interior area is viewable from the prayer loft -- and contains our big screen TV. We hope to get the stream from GC2008 viewable from here -- so that we can watch it in community (even if you can't leave home) and engage in dialog about the issues.

I am in-world once a week for sure -- Mondays noon Eastern or 9:00 SL time. I have been leading a Lectionary Bible Study for a couple of months at this time in the Koinonia space. We haven't done any official meetings at Wesley Memorial -- we are still working on the concept. I also plan this week to be at the Wednesday night service at Koinonia. If you want to see the build, drop me an email or comment here. I'd love to talk with you.

Notes: John the Methodist started me thinking about all this, btw, with a posting he did about communion. I had explored Second Life and decided it was too complicated, but after his posting, started looking at this seriously as an new expression of church. And secondly, I am limiting my time in-world. This too easily can become an addiction -- and I am deliberately limiting myself so that it does NOT. And interesting concept, as many of the people in world are struggling with various forms of addiction. More about that later.

staying up way late

the loving husband is fascinated by the idea of a theremin. we have found schematics and we have lots of the widgies and do-ma-hickies that we need in the basement. yeah, the widgies and do-ma-hickies have real names and numbers. and we have them. i feel a project coming on and it's one that will require a soldering iron. whoo hoo!

what to use for a case? (here's where i come in.) a baby-doll head? nah -- been done. vacuum tubes that glow and a lucite box? lots of extraneous l.e.d.s? getting interesting ... a knife box? i think i will scrounge for something. what shall the look be? sleek and mod or edwardian steam-punk antique? and think of what we can use for antennas! the bowling trophy -- a candlestick -- antique grillwork? this is going to be fun!