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"Where is everyone?"

My friends page on livejournal used to teem with entries from scores of friends. I now have two who post anything like regularly.

I, too, am guilty of abandoning that place. Zuckerberg's Machine has taken over, and that's where I usually find myself. Funny, how going there is like opening the refrigerator at two in the morning: you already know what's there, you don't really want anything, and in the end you don't take any satisfaction from what you find.

Think I'll give it one more look, though. Just in case.
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Those of us who become teachers: we do not choose, but are chosen. When we are young, The Great Spirit of the Universe whispers into our ear, or our heart, or our Selfness, and says to us, "You, have I Chosen to Teach My Children." Our families warn us that the hours will be long, the pay minimal, and the tasks thankless. We hear none of it, for we have been Called. There are some who are swayed by these words which lead them away from God's Will. They go forth and lead a good life, always feeling a tingling at the base of the skull, an echo of The Voice which says to them, "You, have I Chosen to Teach My Children." Many of these later stand up and say, "I was to be a Teacher, and I have forsaken the direction of my Heavenly Leader, and I must needs put things aright." These are the ones who put down the tools of one trade, and turn to with an inspired vengeance. They become the Teachers they were Called to be.

We who are called, we feel in Balance with the Universe when we are Teaching the Children of the Infinite, regardless the physical age. When we hear a need, we cannot but step toward to Teach, Instruct, Guide, and allow the Divine to work through us so that the individuals may move forward. We do not shy away from this duty, although we make mistakes, we stumble, we fail, but always we believe that we are leading the Children toward Truth, regardless of what the truth looks like. If the Divine created all, then all is of the Divine, and the words we use to explain cannot help but to be of the Divine.

If we leave Teaching, we seek it out in another form, for there is no other thing that The Supreme has called for us. You will see us in all places, guiding, helping, leading, and teaching. It isn't what we chose. We were Chosen. God Guide us as we move into the Space of the Divine, to Teach.
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Your results:
You are Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
Wash (Ship Pilot)
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
River (Stowaway)
Inara Serra (Companion)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
A Reaver (Cannibal)
Dependable and trustworthy.
You love your significant other and
you are a tough cookie when in a conflict.

Click here to take the "Which Serenity character are you?" quiz...

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I first heard about the BioLite Campstove from my usual gang of idiots on a forum I frequent. My wife affectionately refers to the people there as "Lou's Internet Boyfriends." I read up on the stove, watched a ton of videos of people unpacking and burning theirs, and decided that if there's one thing I can't stand, it's not having a gadget that works like this one.

The premise of the stove is that it uses a Thermal-Electric Generator to create electricity, which powers a small fan. The fan forces more air into the burn chamber of the stove, which makes the wood burn much more efficiently than it would otherwise. At certain point, enough heat and electricity is being generated that one is able to plug in a USB device and charge it. note: if you want a full charge, go plug it in at the house. this is a minimal amount of electricity and works in a pinch.

Here's how it went down:
Read more... )
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Portrait of an ENFP - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving
(Extraverted Intuition with Introverted Feeling)
The Inspirer

As an ENFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system.

Read more... )

Here's me.

Sep. 19th, 2012 12:46 pm
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ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 8.1% of total population.
Take Free Jung Personality Test
Personality Test by SimilarMinds.com
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Here are the top ten quotes from Thomas Jefferson on religious freedom:

1. “Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that … of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.”– Thomas Jefferson, Reply to Baptist Address, 1807

2. “The rights [to religious freedom] are of the natural rights of mankind, and … if any act shall be … passed to repeal [an act granting those rights] or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.” – Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779. Papers, 2:546

3. “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82

4. ”Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desirable? No more than of face and stature.”– Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

5. “ Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.“ – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82

6. ”I know it will give great offense to the clergy, but the advocate of religious freedom is to expect neither peace nor forgiveness from them.“– Thomas Jefferson, to Levi Lincoln, 1802. ME 10:305

7. “I am really mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, a fact like this [that a bookseller is prosecuted for selling books advocating what was then presumed by the statusuo to be pseudoscience] can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offence against religion; that a question about the sale of a book can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion? and are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule for what we are to read, and what we must believe? It is an insult to our citizens to question whether they are rational beings or not, and blasphemy against religion to suppose it cannot stand the test of truth and reason. If M de Becourt’s book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But, for God’s sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we choose….”– Thomas Jefferson, letter to N G Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller (1814), after being prosecuted for selling de Becourt’s book, Sur la Création du Monde, un Systême d’Organisation Primitive, which Jefferson himself had purchased (check Positive Atheism’s Historical library for a copy of the entire letter).

8. “I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, 1799 (see Positive Atheism’s Historical section)

9. “I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.”– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Dowse, April 19, 1803

10. “Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” -- Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Baptists (1808) ME 16:320. This is his second kown use of the term “wall of separation,” here quoting his own use in the Danbury Baptist letter. This wording of the original was several times upheld by the Supreme Court as an accurate description of the Establishment Clause: Reynolds (98 US at 164, 1879); Everson (330 US at 59, 1947); McCollum (333 US at 232, 1948)

Michael is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire, who co-wrote an award-nominated comedy, produces a chapter of Laughing Liberally, wrote for NY Times Laugh Lines, guest-blogged for Joe Biden, and writes a column for MSNBC.com affiliated Cagle Media. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, Youtube, and like NJ Laughing Liberally Lab. Seriously, follow him or he’ll send you a photo of Rush Limbaugh bending over in a thong.

Here is the link to the original article.
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I'm reading A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille. This passage, on page 128, attributed to Alexander Tytler, really hit me:

"...the world's greatest civilizations...have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage."

I've been taking a close look at where my values lie over the last several months. I find that I'm further along this continuum than I'd like to be, and I'm working to create changes in my beliefs and actions to reflect that I want to be someone else. One of my favorite songs, by the band Sister Hazel, says "if you want to be somebody else, change your mind." That's what I'm doing.

What about you? Where do you fall? Are you so far gone in apathy that you don't care anymore? Would you like to live in a different reality than the one in which you find yourself? What can you do? I, me, I'm reading new information, such as this above-mentioned book. As a former career educator, it challenges several beliefs that I've held for half my life, and it stings when I recognize truth. You know how we all have a built-in crap detector? It works with truth, as well, and hearing truth is life-changing. When you hear it, you have to either go back to what you were doing and have that truth whispering "you know a better way" in the back of your head all the time, or you have to move into a new phase and act on that truth. It isn't comfortable, at all. It is, however, exhilarating, invigorating, stimulating, and exciting. Not to mention maddening. If you're like me, you want to be the new thing all at once. This simply isn't reality; it takes time for transformation. I'm learning, though, that transformation can be sped up by working toward it rather than waiting for it. I'm moving forward, and I invite you to walk with me.
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When I first started blogging, about nine years ago, people updated regularly. With the increasing popularity of Zuckerberg's Machine, they just don't. I realize that I have been remiss in my own postings, and rarely check my online communities outside of the Giant Blue Conglomeration.
Just wondering, I suppose.

It's been quite a year. I think I'll get a full up-to-date entry put together after the middle of next month. At the moment, things are still settling out. Let's just say that I never dreamed I'd make a career change.
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In Indianapolis, that means only one place: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I'm amazed at what can be written off as a "corporate vehicle" time and time again. I'm going to go ahead and cut here, since this will be image-heavy.
Read more... )
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It's been a while since I've taken a moment to put down thoughts here.

I'm working in air conditioning for the first time in my professional career. If you've never tried to squeeze education into young minds which are contained in over-heated young bodies, you really can't possibly understand the jubilation with which I have greeted the past month. You know what, though? Kids are complaining of being cold, now.

My class this year is very challenging. I'm working on improving myself in several areas in order to meet the challenge positively. The administration has been very supportive of me, and I'm learning a good bit from them. Other teachers (ESL, SPED, Title 1) come in from time to time, and I can see potential for my room to be an amazing place for getting a good education. (Potential, you'll remember, is a big word that means "hasn't done squat yet").

I've been sleeping much better, lately, and I'm pretty sure that this has a lot to do with my lack of posting. I'm pretty much ok with that, though. It's been a years of firsts. This summer was the first time I've been able to take my daughters on vacation. I was talking about that earlier; what an amazing experience that was for me and (I hope) them. I also recognize Leah for being instrumental for so many of the good things going on in my life right now.

Tonight's joke comes courtesy of Mike Smith:

Three guys were sitting around on lunch break, and the discussion wandered to the topic of what each would like people to say when standing over his casket at his funeral.

Bob said, "I'd like people to look down at my body and say something about what a dedicated father and husband I was, and how I took such good care of my mom there at the end."

Larry said, "I think I'd like people to look down at my body and mention what a good Christian man I was, how the church was so important to me and that I worked hard to improve the lives of others through charity and mission work."

Edgar mused for a moment, and then said, "I think what I'd really like people to say is 'OH MY GOD, I THINK HE'S MOVING!!'"
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They're so...organic, I guess. Conversations, I mean. They sort of start when you aren't looking, and then, all of a sudden, you're in the middle of A Conversation.

Ours started out as a mere seedling of talking; a minor exchange of a small packet of information. Leah mentioned something about being "strategic" in the way she does things. I related a story about a man I worked with fifteen years ago, who had gotten in some sort of legal issue, and had been represented by his wife (who was an attorney). In the story, he'd been amazed and a little frightened of the creature that had been his wife as it carved the opposition into little whimpering bits of perjury and falsehood. He'd said something like, "I had NO IDEA that she was THAT good of a lawyer."

So, Leah had described her bit of strategicness (a term which is now a word, because I have so said), and I was really impressed, and said that it would be a terrifying thing to be on her bad side, because her ability to manipulate the puppet strings behind the scenes and to ask pointed questions to which she already knows the answers in order to milk more information out of someone is nothing short of the stuff of really intense lawyerin' movies.

She didn't like that word, manipulative. She said, "I prefer to think of myself as a strategic planner." I opined that this was a matter of semantics. "Assertive Woman" and "Pushy Broad" are different only in which side of the argument you're losing. She said, "what are you trying to say?"

This isn't a time to panic. As I have made a life out of explaining what I actually meant compared to what came out of my mouth, I really wasn't worried. We were still bantering. Sort of. I quickly stated that I was only giving her thanks and praise, and then, made a lateral skip to a bit I'd heard a comedienne deliver on The Bob and Tom Show. In the bit, she talked about how different terms for women seem to be in the form of adjective noun. Got your real estate license? You're a smart cookie. Drink fancy cocktails from a long-stemmed glass? You're a classy lady. Put on a mini-skirt and heels for a night on the town and you're a hot mamma. Turn an ugly guy down at the bar and you're a dyke bitch.

Thank god I married a strategic planner.
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As I walked through the grocery recently, my eye was drawn to a bag which said it contained "gourmet specialty potato medley". There were yellow-skinned potatoes, pink-skinned potatoes, and purple-skinned potatoes. I was intrigued. So, I purchased, and after a few days of looking at them whenever I walked through the kitchen, I decided that oven-roasted would be a nice way to present these so that all the colors would be appreciated.


So, I diced 'em up. Half around the equator, then flat side down and quarter, making eight round-bottomed pyramids from each potato. I quartered and sliced an onion, and sliced up several cloves of garlic, which I added to the pan. I poured extra-virgin olive oil over them, sprinkled with rosemary and sage, ground some pepper and a little big of coarse sea salt, and put them in a cold oven. I set the oven for 400F, and when it chimed that it had reached that temperature, I reduced heat to 325F, so as not to scorch the extra-virgin olive oil.

The result was beautiful.


While the potatoes were in the oven, I made some sauce for the chicken breasts I was going to put on the grill.

1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup soy sauce
1T brown sugar
1T unfiltered apple cider vinegar
a good squirt of ReaLemon
a good squirt of ReaLime

This is modified from a recipe I found in a magazine in the teachers lounge at Skiles Test Elementary, where I did my student teaching.


Chicken goes on the grill with high indirect heat (450F) for 6 minutes, turns, gets painted with sauce. Heat goes to low indirect (325F to 350F), and turns more sauce every four minutes for a total of about 24 minutes.


In my opinion, broccoli should be cooked al dente, just to the point that it's still a bit crunchy. Leah and Nathan like it smooshy, but since I'm cooking, I try for something in-between. It usually ends up closer to what I like, though. Turned out looking nice, though!


That's just steamed for a few minutes. Too much longer, and nutrients start to leach out. You're losing money, that way! You PAID for those nutrients!!


Plated up, with the good paper towels.
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Have you ever watched one of those shows on Discovery Channel where they're observing primates in the wild? There's a voice-over with a pretentious British or Australian accent, saying something like "Pasha moves closer to Geet-Geet, and starts grooming her fur, looking for irritating dust mites which can be irritating, like tiny dust mites that irritate..." You've seen them, I know.

Have you ever noticed, though, how nice it is to have someone scratch your back? Give you a back rub? Massage your feet? Wash your hair? I mean, you can help someone carry garbage out, and they'll really appreciate it, but nothing like the gratitude and enjoyment they'll get from you scratching their back. You've been there, I know. "Hey, c'mere, scratch my back...no, to the right...higher...AHHHhhh! Oh my GAWD that feels good! MMMM!" It's non-sexual touching but it just feels so good! And we crave it. And you can't just scratch one little spot, either; the rest of the back starts to get jealous and you'll end up scratching your nails down to the cuticle before they'll let you stop.

Leah's back itches. A lot. You'll notice that I have no fingernails, as well.

How is it, then, that we live in this supersonic age, and still crave physical contact? Maybe we aren't so far removed from the savannahs and forests as we think. We're surrounded by devices that are like what I used to call "something from the year 2000!" back about twenty-five years ago. Even in 2011, calling a device "like something from the year 2000!" just makes it sound as if it were from a fantastically distant future, to me. I have this iPhone that could change diapers if I gave it opposable thumbs. I can access any information in the world from the palm of my hand. It's way, WAY better than a Tri-Corder from The Original Series. In 1966, Gene Roddenberry had no idea that stuff like this would ever come about; it was still more than a quarter-century until that "year 2000" benchmark. Even with that, we still rub feet together in the sand at the beach. We still snuggle close on the couch, hold hands in the park, brush arms in the movie theater. Contact with each other still trumps technological wonders.

Have you ever washed your wife's hair, in the shower? If you haven't, all I can say is that it is an act of love and attention that is physical contact, grooming, and intimacy all wrapped up in a timeless moment of caring. To have someone relax their head into your hand while you massage their scalp is nothing short of amazing. There's always time for racy stuff later; the shampooing is a connection with our dusty distant ancestors, and a connection with a spouse, and a connection with the infinite in some way, I think.

If I may quote Forrest Gump, "And that's all I have to say about that!"
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I mentioned Our Best Bites, a food blog, recently. It's well-written, funny, has fantastic pictures, and the two bloggers actually respond to emails personally. I get a daily recipe email from them. Every day, I open the email, say something like oooo...gotta make THAT soon...and then archive the file. Today (ok, yesterday), I decided that this cycle had to stop. I'd earmarked a recipe from a few weeks ago as "must make", and showed it to Leah. I made her read the whole thing, and she ooohed and aaahed and laughed and then looked at me with those all-encompassing eyes and said, "Lou, you have GOT to make these". So, I did.

First, the photo essay and directions are much better on the site, so here's the link to Mississippi Mud Brownies. Also, I wasn't very organized in my thinking or I'd have done a much better job with my own photos. Anyway, let's join the show already in progress:

I keep forgetting to cut these photo-intensive posts )
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Seriously. Our Best Bites sends me an email every day with a recipe that is amazing, along with really fun commentary by the bloggers. They're giving away stuff this week to thank their fans. You click on the picture of the item, write why you should win it, and then sit back and hope. Here are my entries:

To win a season DVD of one of several shows:
I cannot tell you how many times we watch Modern Family and just cringe and then laugh and then re-watch a scene. Amazing writing on that show!

Friday Night Lights is our special “date night at home” show. I’ll make a tasty dinner that my wife and I will eat on the floor. OMG, the episode where they put Julie in the car to drive away to college about killed us. My oldest daughter will be fifteen in January; where does the time go?

To win a digital bathroom scale:
I had a minor heart catheter procedure back in late December, and thought I should take a few weeks off from the gym to avoid having my femoral artery burst open while attempting to lift some incredibly massive and impressive amount of weight. So, last week, my wife told me to put on my workout clothes, that my “few weeks” were over and it was time to get back to the gym. I’ve had two weeks of disgustingly petite little aerobic instructors kicking my 41-year-old backside all over the studio. I don’t love our bathroom scale (mostly because it’s a lying piece of…well, it’s a big liar), but I bet if we had a sexy little red number like that I’d be sneaking in there after every meal just to check out the numbers.

To win a $100 gift card to Target
Are you kidding me? This store is like The Holy City for my wife and kids and I. Need a birthday gift? target. Need something for living room decor? Target. Video game? Fishing equipment? Teacher supplies? Stuff for my classroom? Target Target Target Target. I swear, they have a running timeline of my waistline over the years from the security camera feeds. When I started going there, I fit inside the dot of the logo. Now? Lucky if I can squeeze into the largest ring. You know what I’d get with $100 to spend at Target? Stuff to cook with. Which is part of why I’m dealing with that largest ring.

To win a brushed-stainless Cuisinart ice cream maker
Ach, such brushed stainless beauty! I only just this Sunday came home from Costco with a Cuisinart/Keurig coffee maker for my darling bride! Can you imagine the timeless beauty of my kitchen with two such matching works of art sitting side-by-side, gleaming smugly while I work in my prep area with the garlic? Chocolate chip cookies served with fresh ice cream and a steaming mug of coffee? Are you kidding me? Sadly, I have no ice cream maker, and so my beautiful wife must suffer through cookies and coffee served with Haagen-Daaz ice cream. It simply isn’t good enough for her.

To win a 6-quart KitchenAid mixer
I…need a moment to compose myself. You see, when I was a little boy, my mother used to make desserts with a KitchenAid mixer. I have fond memories of licking beaters covered with chocolate butter-cream frosting or batter for her (oh my GAWD) lemon bars. Sadly, my own children must lick French Silk Pie filling from the beaters of a hand-held mixer built back when I was a small child, myself. Certainly, they grin in delight and ask how much more refrigeration is needed, but I can tell. I can tell that there is a certain, yes, I’ll say it, embarrassment, that comes from knowing that they aren’t licking French Silk Pie filling from the beaters of a real KitchenAid stand-alone mixer. The dancing sparkles of delight in their eyes, the giggles of young teenage girls enjoying their favorite dessert made by a proud father, these things are tinged with just a bit of sadness. Please, for the children, for the French Silk Pies and the chocolate butter-cream frostings, search your hearts and select me as the winner of this true work of culinary art.


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