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Unteachable Thu, Jun 30, 2005
I think there are some people who are absolutely unteachable.  They usually happen to be older.  But what's weird is that they act like they're willing to learn.  Now I'm not talking about learning engineering (something complex) or musical taste (something specific and opinion-driven).  I'm talking about Bible stuff here, but I think it can apply to other stuff as well.  For example, there's a lady in my Bible study at work.  Sometimes she asks questions:  some are well thought-out, and some are completely off-topic.  But that's not the issue.  She asks these questions and then doesn't even really listen to the answer.  I can actually see the moment in time when she stops listening.  It's like her switch was turned off.  So then she interrupts the answer and doesn't listen to what's being said.  And in the end, she repeats the question or reaffirms her feelings about the answer that she already had in her head.  My problem is this:  why does she waste the time to ask the question when she has no interest in the answer?  My answer:  she's unteachable.  It's not that she can't learn anything new.  It's that she doesn't want to.  She's turned that part of her brain off.  "No longer accepting any new information." #psychology

I'll pray for you (2) Thu, Jun 30, 2005
I've been noticing this sneaky little insult coming up among Christians.  When they see someone doing something sinful, they say, "I'll pray for you."  But it usually comes out with a tone that implies that prayer is the only thing that could possibly help the person, since they're otherwise totally helpless.  The Christian answer to this is that yes, of course prayer is the only thing that can help people; people are otherwise helpless on their own.  But that's not what I'm talking about.  This statement usually comes after they see something terrible that's out of their control and they say it sort of as an insult.  Or maybe they don't mean it that way.  But that's definitely how the receiver takes it.  I saw it at a Bible study once.  A guy was saying how he didn't really feel the need to go to church, and another person spouted out, "I'll pray for you."  That guy never came to the Bible study again.  And I saw it at the Billy Graham crusade as I was walking past the protesters holding signs that spoke out against Billy.  A guy in the crowd yelled out "I'll pray for you" as he walked by.  But he didn't mean it in a nice way.  He meant, "You're obviously wrong even though you don't realize it, so I'll pray that God will open your eyes to your error."  I'm sure the guy holding the sign wasn't too happy that somebody would be praying for him. #religion

Ruth's Chris Wed, Jun 29, 2005
I went to Ruth's Chris Steak House last night with Wendy and spent over $100 on the meal alone, not including tip.  I asked the waitress to sell me on either the Ribeye or the T-Bone, which she did.  I had the Ribeye, which was described as, "Well-marbled for peak flavor, deliciously juicy."  The waitress said it would be fattier, so I figured that sounded good.  It turns out that I wasn't too impressed.  Wendy got a Petite Filet and she said it was great.  And thus continues my experience at expensive restaurants.  I haven't been to many, but pretty much all my experiences have been the same:  ok food at an exorbitant price.  I'm more satisfied when I go to places like Outback or even Macaroni Grill.  And I can afford the food at these places.  Thankfully I didn't spend much of my own money at this place; I used a gift card from Citibank.  But still, it's the idea. #food

Ping pong Tue, Jun 28, 2005
Several days each week during lunchtime, a ping pong table is set up in one of the rooms at work and some people play.  Guess what people.  Asians.  I can't make this stuff up. #sports

Blinker Tue, Jun 28, 2005
"Hey you, turn off your stupid blinker!"  How many times have you screamed that while driving behind somebody with a blinker problem?  I'll never understand how this happens.  Well, actually it happened to me once.  I had my blinker on and made a turn.  About 27 feet later, I realized that my blinker was still on, so I turned it off.  The reason I realized it is because I looked down at my speedmeter, something I do quite regularly.  And it's not just the speedometer that I look at.  I look at the gas gauge to see when I need to fill up next.  I look at the tachometer (RPM-o-meter) to see how much I'm pushing my engine.  I look at my odometer to see how far I've gone since the last time I reset it.  My point is that I look at my dashboard display quite often.  The opposite of this seems to be the malady that plagues many [dumb] people.  I've driven behind people who have their blinker on for miles, for hours at a time.  What does this tell me?  They're completely unobservant when it comes to their car's performance and vital statistics.  Their car could be engulfed in flames and they wouldn't realize it.  Don't they hear that ticking or see that light blinking?  Apparently not.  So here's my solution:  all car companies should start making a device that turns off a car's blinker after a certain amount of time, say 60 seconds.  Sure, this might cause you a problem if you're waiting for more than 60 seconds at a traffic light, but who cares.  But to fix that, the device should only work when the car is moving.  Bingo!  Solution!  And since cars these days are nothing but a computer and a gas tank, I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to add a line of code that says if (car_is_moving) AND (blinker_time = 60), then (turn_blinker_off).  And for those "legacy" cars, there should be an addon device that does just this.  And it turns out that one exists:  BlinkerOffThis page talks about this idea too. #travel

Weather XML Tue, Jun 28, 2005
Weather.com (no I will not link to you) provides a free service (amazing) for getting an XML version of a weather forecast.  They say you have to sign up and get a license key, but you really don't have to do that.  Here's how to use it:


Replace ZIPCODE with, obviously, your 5-digit zipcode (you can also use a city code, something like USNJ0232) and replace FUNCTION with any of the following:  dayd, dayf, cc, hbhf

For example:
Hopatcong, NJ (07843)
10 day forecast - http://xoap.weather.com/weather/local/07843?dayd=10
10 day detailed forecast - http://xoap.weather.com/weather/local/07843?dayf=10
Current conditions - http://xoap.weather.com/weather/local/07843?cc=*
24 hour hourly forecast - http://xoap.weather.com/weather/local/07843?hbhf=24

The reason why I'm mentioning this and the reason why it's so great is that you can avoid the ad-filled universe that you encounter when you go to weather.com, and you can just get the information you want.  All that needs to be done is to make a XSL file to display the XML, and this is what I'm currently working on. #technology

Choose your battles Mon, Jun 27, 2005
I went to the Billy Graham crusade in Queens this weekend.  People came from all over the country to see this guy speak.  He's a legend.  People gave him a standing ovation when he came out.  I didn't.  I don't think he wanted a standing ovation.  It puts too much emphasis on him and not enough on God.  As we were walking into the venue, there were a bunch of protesters handing out propaganda and spouting out lies.  But some of them were truths.  One group was called A True Church.  They had signs that said stuff like "Graham leads to hell" and "Jesus caused 9-11-01" and "God kills people".  I listened to some of the things they had to say, and they based everything they said and believed on the Bible.  It was Biblical, but without any of the positive stuff.  Just the negatives.  What about God's love for us (Romans 5:8) and God's care in creating us (Psalm 139:13)?  What about God's forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and mercy (Ephesians 4:7)?  It's one thing to be a hardliner, but it's another thing to fight against people who are on your side.  My point:  choose your battles.  Jesus said, "...whoever is not against us is for us." (Mark 9:40).  Wouldn't it be a little more worthwhile to fight against corrupt church leadership and abortion?  Or how about the rights of Christians in the eyes of the US government?  Ravi Zacharias put it nicely:  "If a spiritual idea is eastern, it is granted critical immunity; if western, it is thoroughly criticized." (Jesus Among Other Gods, p. vii).  There are bigger and more important battles out there than interpretation of the Bible. #religion

Forward Mon, Jun 27, 2005
Hey everybody, listen up.  This serves as an announcement.  You know those cutesy little things you forward me all the time?  They're all lies!  Please never forward me anything!!!  Please check Snopes before you forward anything!  Don't ask me to sign some petition that'll be sent to President Bush (link).  That doesn't happen.  Rat urine found on soda cans has never killed a person (link).  You will not receive a prize from Bill Gates for forwarding an email (link).  Forwarding an email will not help raise money for cancer victims (link).  That satellite photo that shows the NYC blackout of August 2003?  It's a hoax (link).  Forwarding an email won't and can't cause a video clip or really funny thing to popup on your screen (link).  I fell for it back in 1999.  Never again! #technology

Same old Fri, Jun 24, 2005
I just went to Quizno's, one of the best sandwich places on earth, and instead of getting my usual Spicey Monterey Club, they conned me into a Black Angus Steak Sandwich.  They offered it and showed me the picture.  They got me.  I always order off the picture menu.  So I ate it, but it wasn't that good.  Actually, it was kind of bad.  I was very unimpressed.  So once again, I've reaffirmed my already strong opinion:  I don't like to try new things.  Most times I try new things, I'm sadly disappointed.  Why do I have to try new things?  Why can't I just stay with my usual status quo?  I like my status quo.  If I was unhappy with my status quo, maybe I'd branch out.  But I like my Spicey Monterey Club, my vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, my hot dogs and hamburgers and other American food.  Screw you for thinking less of me when I don't try new things.  I'm better off this way:  I'm disappointed less often. #food

Army Thu, Jun 23, 2005
Sometimes, when I think back to how I got to where I am right now at work, I wonder if I could've made some different choices.  When I interviewed for my current job, I interviewed for 5 different positions in 5 different organizations.  I remember my second choice (I think), which had something to do with management.  I remember that my interviewer persuaded me because he said it would be a good career move and I could move up quickly.  I'm glad I didn't go with that.  Management is retarded.  A few of the other positions had something to do with manufacturing and quality, which I really didn't want to get in to.  So I chose optics because I had some [some is an exaggeration] experience from my work at Thorlabs.  But when I think about it, I'm glad I am where I am.  I would say I support the war, but I'm not too fond of killing.  The organization I work for designs optics, which make guns more accurate.  This makes it so that a gun will hit its target, and it won't hit anything else.  This cuts down on accidental casualties and stuff like that.  Plus, we design optics that protect our soldiers from eye damage, thus reducing our own army's casualties.  In a way, this is me trying to justify working for the army.  But in another way, it's the truth.  Yes I work for the army, that big killing and fighting machine.  But I work to try to make things more accurate and safe.  Eh? #politics

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