Thursday, December 14, 2006
I went to Dupont for work today. Unfortunately the timing for this trip was bad, since the air shuttle home was cancelled due to a heavy wind/rainstorm. So I had to carpool back from Dupont with some coworkers; we had to wait forever for a rental car, then I-5 was closed for about an hour due to a downed tree. I wound up getting home 4+ hours later than I otherwise would have. I'm reallllly tired.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Also last night I shaved off my beard, except for a little bit under my lower lip that I kept for an experiment -- it looks dorky though, so it and the mustache will probably go soon.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.
I went to the vigil Mass last night at my parish. Fr. Steve gave one of the best homilies on the IC that I've ever heard (must write a note!).
On the other hand, the folk group did the music. The closing was "Hail Holy Queen" sounding like it was supposed to be the "Sister Act" arrangement. I was resolved that if people started rhythmically clapping I would find something to throw... fortunately they did not. Gaaah!
Monday, December 04, 2006
Moment from tonight's concert -- thinking "phew, I'm tired. How many pages to go? Dang, only on page 111!" (of 124). And our conductor forgetting to bring us in on the Gloria Patri :-).
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving. Mine's been pretty nice so far. Sang for 9 a.m. Mass, came home and relaxed, then enjoyed an amazingly amazing dinner. Marie really outdid herself -- the ham she made was to die for! Really, just amazing.
Anyway, I have a lot to be thankful for. Deo Gratias!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Check out the Slashdot discussion for some insight too.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I know that for some his legacy will be the mistakes that he made in the handling of abusive priests. I honestly believe that he did the best he could and that he intended no harm. He apologized for the mistakes he'd made, and I believed he was sincere. At any rate, he's gone to meet the only one truly qualified to judge him.
Rest in peace, Bishop Manuel.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
My company is in the midst of the annual United Way campaign, and I'm faced with a conundrum. The Intel Foundation matches gifts given through the campaign, but the match doesn't go to the agency you choose, but to UW's Community Fund.
I'm concerned that organizations that I can't support (like Planned Parenthood, for example) may receive funding through the Community Fund, and that therefore if I participate I may be indirectly aiding an organization that is diametrically opposed to my beliefs. If that's the case I'd be better off just giving as I do now and skipping UW altogether.
I'm going to do some digging to see what's in the UW Community Fund.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Unfortunately my voice was not at its best since I've been so sick. I did okay, though. The amusing point for the morning is that I was busily singing the opening song, and as Fr. Pat processed past me, he reached over and turned my microphone on! I hadn't realized it was off and needed to be turned on. If I had not been otherwise occupied I would have laughed and laughed.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
It appears Archbishop Milingo has gone into schism by ordaining 4 married men as bishops. The Baltimore Sun reports also.
Thanks to Peter Edwards for the links. Check out his commentary. Apparently all concerned are excommunicated, but the consecrations are valid. *sigh*
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
I went to Arizona for about 9 days, where I visited with friends and family and got to go to lots of my favorite places. It was a really nice vacation and it was good to be back. Sunday 9/10 I got to sing with the Schola again; we did the Palestrina "Assumpta Est Maria" and "Sicut Cervus". It was glorious. I also got to see my oldest goddaughter play her very first soccer game! Issie did a great job, which isn't surprising since her parents are coaches and her older siblings all play. Still, she did really well -- much better than the other 4 year olds! I was impressed.
After I got back I had a fun time digging out at work. They still haven't told us specifically who they are letting go and what programs they are canceling or curtailing. It's been stressful.
I decided to join the choir at my parish (St. Cecilia); I talked to the choir director yesterday after Mass. Rehearsals are Wednesdays 7-9.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Situation: Country with big army is victim of dastardly terrorist attack. Country decides to take out the terrorists by attacking them and the country that hosts them.
If "Country" above is "United States" world cheers and supports you when terrorists = "Al Quaeda" and host country = "Afghanistan."
However, if "Country" is "Israel", terrorists is "Hezbollah" and host country is "Lebanon", world is horrified and country is pressured to end the fighting etc.
It seems pretty hypocritical. If we have the right to defend ourselves in that situation, so does Israel. I'm not a big fan of Israel in general, I think they've often gone way overboard and have treated the Palestinians pretty shabbily. That doesn't mean they don't have the right to defend their country against terrorists who rocket their country from a neighhboring country that can't or won't stop the terrorists.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
Wednesday was my 4-week anniversary of going to Pilates class. So far, so good. It's still kicking my butt, but things are improving and best of all I don't have a major problem (so far!) with either motivation or making time for it, so that's good. I think it's a good balance for my skating and should help me feel better in many ways.
Marie and I have gotten really into watching "So You Think You Can Dance" on Fox; but, with last week's dismissal of Allison and this week's loss of Ivan, I'm seriously bummed. I wanted each of them to win and I really enjoyed watching them dance together. *sigh*
Friday, July 28, 2006
- Ralph Vaughan Williams, "In Windsor Forest" (skipped one movement)
- A Brahms selection
- Haydn, "Mass in Time of War" (up through the Credo, I think)
- Ralph Vaughan Williams, "Dona Nobis Pacem"
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
God works in interesting ways. One of them was that (just as last week) I attended the Summer Sing that the Portland Symphonic Choir has been sponsoring. Believe it or not, it wasn't until I got there that I realized that we would be singing the Mozart Requiem on this special day for me. I had to smile at the way God's plan works out sometimes. As it turned out, the Requiem was beautiful and really helped me be more at peace with Greg's loss.
Monday, July 17, 2006
What about abortion?
I identify with the victims of suffering, and no one is more speechless, more voiceless, more silent, than the unborn child. To me, it's like defending the blind. If I see someone attacking a blind person, I will beat him with a stick. This is my attitude to attacks on an unborn child too.
Maybe if we in the US were so committed we wouldn't have abortion in our society.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Saturday night we went bowling with a bunch of friends and I had a lifetime best (I think) game of 119. I had two games where I actually managed to bowl back-to-back strikes! What a good feeling! Of course Marie bowled a 158 :-).
Thursday, July 13, 2006
July is a troublesome month for me. It's the month of my sister's birthday, and my stepmother's birthday, my Dad's birthday, and my brother Gary's birthday. It's also the month my mother died, and the month my brother Greg died. It's a difficult month.
Today's the 22nd anniversary of my mother's death. I miss you Mom, and I love you.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
On the way back I snagged a picture of Mt. Rainier from my camera phone:
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The removal of Robert Smith is thus an early-warning sign. Unless things change in ways now quite unforeseeable, it will not be very long before the principle of traditional Western morality that homosexual conduct is immoral will be contrary to the public policy of the United States. As this new public policy takes hold, it will filter through the law and society just as other anti-discrimination norms have. Adherence to the new policy will be a de facto requirement for holding public office, and, as private entities adopt the policy as they have other anti-discrimination norms, people adhering to the traditional moral view will become unfit to serve as directors of public corporations, as officers of professional associations, as union officials, and as university professors. Organizations that do not ascribe to the policy may lose government licenses necessary to carry on their business, become ineligible to receive grants and subsidies, and be disqualified from bidding on government and other contracts. Catholic Charities in Boston recently had to cease arranging adoptions because Massachusetts required that it not discriminate against same-sex married couples in placing children. Organizations not ascribing to the new policy may even lose tax-free status under the Internal Revenue Code to which they would otherwise be entitled. This happened to Bob Jones University because of its racist policies; there is no reason why, a few years hence, the same thing could not happen to Notre Dame because of what will be called its homophobic policies.Thanks once again to Mark Shea for the link.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Sunday was Father's Day. We took Marie's Dad and her friend Rob (both dads) out to dinner to celebrate. I had a chance to call my own Dad and talk to him a bit and wish him the sentiments of the day. It was good to talk to him -- he was having brunch with my brother Gary.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Sunday, June 11, 2006
The hard thing, though, was that I had to transfer all my phone entries to the new phone manually, deleting them as I went so I can donate the phone. In doing so I came across my brother Greg's entry... having to delete it brought it all back to me. It's not even been a year since his death, and I miss him more than words can say.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Some other worthwhile podcasts I've come across:
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Our hero, needing somebody to trust, does the same dumb thing that every fleeing innocent has done since Robert Donat in “The Thirty-nine Steps.” He and Sophie visit a cheery old duffer in the countryside and spill every possible bean. In this case, the duffer is Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen), who lectures them on the Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea, in 325 A.D. We get a flashback to the council in question, and I must say that, though I have recited the Nicene Creed throughout my adult life, I never realized that it was originally formulated in the middle of a Beastie Boys concert.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Is The Da Vinci Code anti-Catholic? Well, if it isn’t, then we must simply conclude that no such thing as anti-Catholicism exists, or at least that no anti-Catholic movie has ever been made. I can think of religiously themed films more profoundly oppressive to Catholic sensibilities (e.g., The Last Temptation of Christ), and more searing indictments of corruption and abuse within the Church (e.g., The Magdalene Sisters). But The Da Vinci Code may be the most systematic and sustained cinematic debunking on the institutions of Catholic Christianity and the Catholic Church that I’ve ever seen. That it is risible and dim-witted doesn’t make it less disgusting.I also heard Steve interviewed and he is, as usual, right on. I love this anecdote (the 2nd young man is Mark Shea's son, apparently):
Catholic writer Mark Shea tells an anecdote about a college bull session among students at Central Washington University over The Da Vinci Code. “Even if it’s just fiction,” a student opined, “it’s still interesting to think about.”
To which another student replied: “Your mother’s a whore.” And then, to the first student’s stunned incredulity, he added, “And even if that’s just fiction, it’s still interesting to think about.”
Friday, May 19, 2006
Thanks to Catholic Light for the links.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
The second page, especially, addresses a number of interesting questions. Check out this quote:
The US is in a strange place right now; in many ways conservatives and conservatism are ascendant, but the Left still controls the courts, which is why (for example) Planned Parenthood gets so excited about the Supreme Court -- they know they aren't likely to win in 50 state legislatures and the US Congress.
Sexual harassment law as an instrument for suppressing religious speech? A few days after I interviewed Stern, an Alliance Defense Fund press release dropped into my mail box: "OSU Librarian Slapped with 'Sexual Harassment' Charge for Recommending Conservative Books for Freshmen." One of the books the Ohio State librarian (a pacifist Quaker who drives a horse and buggy to work) recommended was It Takes a Family by Senator Rick Santorum. Three professors alleged that the mere appearance of such a book on a freshman reading list made them feel "unsafe." The faculty voted to pursue the sexual harassment allegation, and the process quickly resulted in the charge being dropped.
In the end the investigation of the librarian was more of a nuisance--you might call it harassment--than anything else. But the imbalance in terms of free speech remains clear: People who favor gay rights face no penalty for speaking their views, but can inflict a risk of litigation, investigation, and formal and informal career penalties on others whose views they dislike. Meanwhile, people who think gay marriage is wrong cannot know for sure where the line is now or where it will be redrawn in the near future. "Soft" coercion produces no martyrs to disturb anyone's conscience, yet it is highly effective in chilling the speech of ordinary people.
It's hard to know how it will all come out. Roe v. Wade is a precedent -- but so was Plessy v. Ferguson, and Dred Scott. Why is it in 1986 SCOTUS could rule that the state could outlaw sodomy, but in 2003 reverse itself? The culture wars show no sign of abating any time soon.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Unfortunately here in Portland 5/5 doesn't seem to be a big deal, at least, no one has said anything to me all day... quite different from Tucson!
I don't know where this week went to... yesterday was Marie's birthday so I gave her flowers, a DVD of "Rent", some earrings, and took her shopping for a pair of pants. Tonight we are supposed to go out for sushi (her favorite meal, she's not had any in quite some time) and then maybe a movie.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Saturday Marie had a booth at the Medievel Faire at Pacific University. PU is in Forest Grove, a little town about 20 miles east of Beaverton. Forest Grove is a really charming little town, and PU is one of those stereotypical small liberal arts schools. It really looks like a dreamy place.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
I just got home from the Easter Vigil at my new parish, St. Cecilia's. It was a glorious celebration -- 2.5 hours long, 11 baptisms, 23 confirmations... the music was wonderful.
It was the first time since... 1993? that I was "just" a member of the congregation. It felt strange, and made me very homesick for SSPP. To hear the Litany of Saints and not be the one singing it... to not have a role to play, and to not be surrounded by the people I'd come to know so well at SSPP... it made me very sad. Perhaps, though, it's good for me to be humbled in this way, and to remind myself what it's really all about.
Friday, April 14, 2006
It was a beautiful Mass. The church was jam-packed; the music was beautiful; it was good to be there. After Mass the Eucharist was removed to the altar of repose, across the street in the parish center. I stayed for a few minutes to contemplate my life and thank God for the many ways He's blessed me, and to ask for His help and guidance.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Monday, April 10, 2006
Thursday, April 06, 2006
- An interesting article on the Ph.D. glut. A lot of what North says is definitely true in my experience. I have a number of friends who went through grad school; most of them were frightfully smart but maybe 50% are actually in tenure-track positions at universities. An acquaintance got her Ph.D. in astronomy and is now in aerospace; another took 12 (!) years to get his Ph.D. in physics and is now working at Raytheon. The list goes on...
- From Slashdot, a cool discussion about this article on Intel's new Core architecture. I work at Intel but I don't work on this stuff and I don't have any inside info (couldn't share it if I did, anyway). I just find it fascinating how much CPU architecture has advanced. I took an architecture class in 1984 or whenever, and a year's worth of parallel processing architecture in 1994ish. This stuff is just... out there. Sheesh.
- Also from Slashdot, more discussion on Apple's boot loader that lets you load and run Windows on Intel Macs. There are a lot of interesting ramifications of this... will Apple sell more hardware from people who want cool, stylish, well-built Apple hardware to run Windows? Will people make use of this cool technology to use virtualization to run Windows AND Mac OS at the same time?
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Here's the text once again of then-Cardinal Ratzinger's homily.
Happy April Fools Day!
On Thursday we Intel-ites were greeted with a wonderful early April Fools joke on the company intranet -- A match made (only) in cyberspace. I have to admit it took me about 3 minutes into the video before I figured it out. It was good! I really like that even a big company like Intel can have fun in this way.
Friday, March 31, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
I, like many at St. Blog's, prayed and supported Terri's fight. Nevertheless, despite the prayers of so many, she died. It's easy to be discouraged at such a horrific outcome, and to wonder whether God is listening, whether God heard our prayers or not. After all, so many worked so hard, and her family and friends suffered so much, seemingly to no avail.
I became convinced, though, that it wasn't for nothing. Terri's suffering and that of her family and friends will make a difference, I think. The extraordinary (and truly unprecedented) lengths that so many went to to try to save her life would not have happened were it not for prayer. The public visibility and the questions and discussion that were sparked will, I'm convinced, be used by God for His means in the long run. It's up to us who remain to be faithful, to continue to pray and to work.
I was in a bookstore on Tuesday night and saw, on the same table, the Schindler's book about Terri and Michael Schiavo's book. What a strange juxtaposition! Fr. Frank Pavone has written a very moving open letter to Michael Schiavo. May God have mercy on Michael Schiavo; I pray that he will repent of his actions.
Monday, March 27, 2006
Thanks to Slashdot for the link (see the Slashdot discussion as the geeks rip this guy a new one).
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
- vocalizing. I don't know what my top end was but I bottomed out at an E-flat which is better than I expected.
- audition piece. They had asked for something that I could sing a capella, which took out most of the pieces I would ordinarily sing for an audition. I wound up singing the chant Gloria. It went well. After I sang about halfway through it, he stopped me and asked me to make some changes -- flipping my "r", adding some dynamics, etc. All very simple. I think he wanted to see how well I could make changes (how flexible I am) and whether I could institute things like that on the fly.
- tonal memory. The usual "sing this 3-note pattern back to me." I did okay, I guess.
- sightsinging. A relatively simple piece, just a page or so of an easy song. No complicated rhythms and it was in C. Still I did just okay.
After the rehearsal I handed my music back and asked him when I would hear from him. He reiterated that they were full up for the next (final) concert of the year but that I'd hear from him (which is what I expected him to say). So clearly it was not a case of I'm so wonderful he's going to put me in right now because he has to have me :-). It was fine though. I really enjoyed my experience and hopefully I'll get to sing with them in the fall.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
The particular manifestation I'm referring to is the continuing effort by some "Catholic" politicians to identify themselves as Catholic but then proudly proclaim their support for abortion. 55 Catholic politicians signed the "Statement of Principles" which will presumably assist St. Peter in sorting out their destiny when he meets them... the US Bishops responded with yet another "Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life" that will be ignored by almost everyone. It's sad.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I am not Irish at all, but like many Catholics in America I've been blessed with a number of good Irish priests in my life... so.. Fr. Charlie, Fr. Cyprian, Fr. Todd, and all the ones I can't remember -- thanks for leaving your beloved homeland to minister here in America. May St. Patrick win special graces for you on this day!
The Archbishop of Portland, and the Bishop of Tucson, have both dispensed their flocks from abstinence today in honor of St. Patrick and the contributions of Irish-Americans to the Faith in America.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I'm a bit nervous though -- I've not done much singing at all since Christmas and I'm worried I'll biff my sightsinging, not to mention finding some music to sing amidst the boxes!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I've decided that the simplest way to identify where I'm "from" is to say that my birthplace is San Francisco, but my hometown is Tucson.
I am a pro-life Democrat (PLD). This position is often incomprehensible to others, be they of the Left or the Right. My conservative friends, many of them Catholic, can't comprehend how I can be a member of a party that practically makes a sacrament of abortion. My liberal friends (mostly not Catholic) can't understand how I can agree with them on so much but be so firmly against abortion.
Abortion strikes at the heart of America, and makes us reflect on eternal questions: who is a human being? Who has rights and who doesn't? When is a person a person?
Horton the Elephant said, "a person's a person, no matter how small." That simple wisdom escapes many in our society today, who are so firmly convinced that an unplanned pregnancy means the death of a woman (I have actually heard this opinion espoused) that they refuse to even consider that the object of their attention is a person, albeit a very small one.
The Democratic party that I grew attached to as a young child was made of people like John F. Kennedy (who died when I was 10 weeks old) and Hubert Humphrey -- people who fought for the rights of others, especially the weak and the most vulnerable. Somewhere in the 70s, though, the Party abandoned the unborn -- the most weak and vulnerable imaginable. In Isaiah 49:, God says, "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." When I first heard those words I thought they were hyperbole. Then I learned what abortion was, what it really was, and discoverd that mothers (and fathers!) can indeed be without tenderness for the child of their wombs.
A friend responds to the criticism, "Don't like abortion? Don't have one!" with the statement, "Don't like slavery? Don't own slaves!". This is very apt, because it identifies a core issue for many pro-lifers -- the refusal to see the humanity of the unborn. On the other hand, others have argued (persuasively, I think) that many fail to see the humanity of the unborn not due to hardness of heart but due to the issues raised in this article, Abortion: A Failure to Communicate. This article identifies the very issue I mention above, that some women see an unplanned pregnancy as the equivalent of death.
I never understood how NARAL, Planned Parenthood, et al. can be so concerned about the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned by SCOTUS. Then I realized it's because they don't really believe their own rhetoric. If they really believed that the American people wanted abortion, they would not care about the Supreme Court because legislators everywhere would bow to the will of the people and make it legal by an exercise of the legislative function. The fact is that while Americans are very ambivalent about abortion, they certainly don't support it being as widely available as it is now.
Abortion as an issue has never gone away because no consensus was ever reached on the subject. It was legislated by the court, not by the legislature or the people.
Friday, March 10, 2006
I am the Very Model of a Modern Vicar-GeneralI'm sending it to Fr. Van.
from the Penzance Codex of St. Gilbertus of Sullivan
translated by Matthew of the Holy Whapping and Lauren of Cnytr
I am the very model of a modern vicar-general,
I've information liturgical, ecclesial and clerical,
I quote the Popes of Latium and councils ecumenical,
From Chalcedon to Vatican, with subjects esoterical.
I'm very well aquainted too in matters sacramentical,
I know the sin occasions both the distant and proximical:
About the Nicene Credo, I'm teeming with a lot of views:
With many complex facts about the substance Homoousios!
Chorus of Seminarians: With many complex facts about the substance Homoousios,
With many complex facts about the substance Homoousios,
With many complex facts about the substance Homoousi-ousios!
I've very good recessional, antiphonical canticles,
I know the secret names of all the Jesuit conventicles,
In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical,
I am the very model of a modern vicar-general!
Chorus of Seminarians: In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical
He is the very model of a modern vicar-general!
I know salvation history, King David's and the Sampson locks,
I answer hard sed contras, and own a pair of scarlet socks.
Respondeo dicendum every Vatican concilius,
All liturgics I can celebrate in Romanist basilicas.
I can tell undoubted Augustines from Bossuets and Zwinglians,
I know a Sarum Epiklesis and excommunicate the Arians,
Then I can hum the Sanctus if I've heard the mode ex nihilo,
And sing in tono recto Pax Domini cum spiritu tuo!
Chorus of Seminarians: And sing in tono recto Pax Domini cum spiritu tuo,
And sing in tono recto Pax Domini cum spiritu tuo,
And sing in tono recto Pax Domini cum spiritu tuo!
Then I can write encyclicals in a monastical scriptorium,
And pontificate the meaning of St. Paddy's grand loriculum,
In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical
I am the very model of a modern vicar-general!
Chorus of Seminarians: In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical,
He is the very model of a modern vicar-general!
In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical
He is the very model of a modern vicar-general!
**For those whose Latin is lacking, I believe this is "kiss me, I'm Catholic."
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Monday, March 06, 2006
Apparently South Dakota has now banned abortion in most cases. This will be an interesting test in many respects. Unfortunately I'm not convinced that even the current Supreme Court will uphold this law. We'll see.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
My apologies for the gap in posting. There have been a lot of things I'd like to comment on but not really enough time. I wanted to comment on Pope Benedict's new encyclical, and some world events that I can't even recall now, alas.
I've been in Portland a little over a month now. Whee!
From Karl Keating's newsletter today (if you don't subscribe, you should!):
UPS AND DOWNS IN MEMBERSHIP
If you were a member of the Disciples of Christ Church, you would not find the latest statistics consoling.
In the last forty years your denomination lost 57 percent of its membership (more than 1 million people), doing even worse than the Presbyterian Church in the USA, which lost 44 percent (1.8 million) and the Episcopal Church, which lost 35 percent (1.3 million). In fact, all of the mainline Protestant churches have seen a precipitous decline in membership.
That decline has been offset by big increases for more conservative denominations. The Assemblies of God gained 2.2 million members, for a 377 percent increase, and the Southern Baptist Convention gained 5.7 million for a 53 percent increase.
The biggest gainer of all in terms of head count has been the Catholic Church, up by 21 million members for a growth of 45 percent.
That's got to be one of the most under-reported stories there is.
To subscribe to Karl Keating's E-Letter, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
So now that I've been here a while... some impressions of Portland:
- It's definitely wet! For the first two weeks we were here it rained pretty much every day for at least a while. This week has been somewhat dry and the sun has come out, which has been really nice.
- It's cool. Not really that cold. It's only been below freezing a couple of times, but it never really warms up either. It's like Tucson on a cold winter day, it's just that it's that way all the time.
- It's green. For some reason I expected that in winter it wouldn't be green, but for whatever reason, there's green grass all over the place.
- Beaverton, in particular, is a strange mix of rural and suburban life all together. It's pretty obvious which parts of the town were built when, and the mix is rather jarring in places.
On the negative side is mostly that I get tired of the cold and the wet. Intel is great; the people are really nice and the work is interesting.
Friday, January 27, 2006
When the Challenger exploded I had just started my first job post-college, working for the Navy. One of the people in the building had a radio on and heard the news and so we all heard. It was very sad. It's still sad. For a long time I had a picture of the Challenger crew (I think I sold it or gave it away at the yard sale) -- their faces so full of hope and promise. Rest in peace, Challenger!
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
New Home, New Job
I'm alive :-). After a hectic (but well-attended!) Load-the-Truck party on Sunday 1/15, we got the house all cleaned up and ready to go on Monday 1/16. Tuesday morning we hit the road in the 24' truck towing a car carrier with Marie's truck on it and Marie drove my car. We drove up to Chandler and had lunch with my Dad and stepmom and brother, then continued our journey to Las Vegas. After a slight misstep taking the Hoover Dam bypass we arrived in Vegas around 8 p.m. We dropped off Marie's truck and put my car on the carrier.
Wednesday morning we left Vegas and spent a very looooong day on the road, taking I-15 down to the 58 highway, then taking 223 over to I-5 and up I-5 all the way to just north of Sacramento. The drive on 58 was bizarre, a bit -- I'd never been that way. There's a whole lot of nothing up there and it's a little eerie. 223 is a little 2-lane road that takes you over the mountain and down into the central valley of California. It was a neat little drive. I-5 is... I-5. Long. Straight. Dull, but efficient.
Thursday we drove up to Portland (Beaverton, actually) on I-5 the whole day. It was a long drive through the mountains. Driving the truck was an adventure -- on some of the steep mountain grades we were laboring up the hills at 30 mph. Yech. Later it was driving in the dark and the rain with nasty glare from oncoming vehicles, and lots of hills. We got in around 9 or so and found a place to stay.
Friday we got up and went to look at apartments. I had seen a condo on craigslist that looked good, and after meeting with the landlady and seeing it I knew it was just right. It's 3 br, 1.5 bath, about 1000 sq. ft, and it comes with a washer/dryer and a 1-car garage. Perfect! And the price is right. The landlady (Josephine) is a really nice lady too, and let me move in the same day in spite of my out-of-state checks.
Over the weekend we got all the stuff out of the truck (many thanks to Marie's friends, especially Rob!) and either into the house or the garage (we put a lot of boxes in the garage for now).
Monday was my first day at my new job. It's been a lot to learn but I'm really loving it so far at least. The people are really super. After work I come home and unpack and go shopping. The weather over the weekend was cool and rainy but the sun came out Monday afternoon and yesterday was just beautiful. So far things are going great!
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Almost Out The Door
I'm in the final stages of the move. Been busy throwing out and packing up ... or is it packing out and throwing up? :-)
Marie's mom came out yesterday to help us pack -- what a Godsend! Today I had lunch with a bunch of former co-workers from NewMonics, Artisoft and STC. It was really great to see them. Tonight is a party with a bunch of friends, and then happy hour tomorrow with my newly ex-coworkers and friends. Saturday is dinner with my brother and sister, family friend Chris, Marie and her Mom. Sunday I pick up the truck in the a.m., then we have our load-the-truck party at 1 p.m. Monday the maid service comes to help clean, and we do our move-out inspection. Tuesday morning we hop in the truck and leave!
My home Internet access is going away tomorrow and tomorrow is my last day at work, so I probably won't be updating here for a couple of weeks or so. If you need me call my cell.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Monday, January 09, 2006
Tonight was my last meeting of the Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC). I've been chair since Jan. 2005. Tonight's meeting was a tour of the Sun Tran facility. Some fascinating facts... Sun Tran has 189 buses; 92% of Sun Tran buses are alternate-fueled (CNG or biodiesel); 59% of Sun Tran operating funds come from the City's general fund. Farebox revenues only cover %19 of costs. And, best of all, Sun Tran was voted "America's Best" public transit system in 2005 by the APTA!
I was really impressed by the tour, and by what Sun Tran has been able to accomplish. They are really doing a lot (ridership continues to increase with no increase in service) with a little.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Yesterday I held my first-ever yard sale. Marie and I worked like dogs to get everything ready (Marie worked SO hard, I can't describe). It was a big success as we managed to get rid of all sorts of stuff, including all the "big" items I was concerned about. There's still a fair amount of stuff left so we've put a "free" sign out -- but it doesn't look like any of it has gone :-(. We'll have to figure out how to get the stuff to Goodwill etc. this afternoon or tomorrow.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Before class I was invited to dinner at the rectory, and had a chance to say goodbye to a number of priests that I've worked with -- Fr. Pat, Fr. Al, Fr. Van, and of course our pastor Fr. John. I was struck as always by the generous spirit these men have, and also pleased at the camaraderie they share. Good friends are especially important for diocesan priests, I think. I will miss them all a lot, but Tucson is lucky to have them.
We also had a brief RCIA team meeting to discuss who will do what in my absence. The team was very profuse in their praise and gratitude to me, and said some very kind words. I will miss them a lot too -- they are a great bunch.
I've been teaching RCIA for over 10 years now. I think I'll be grateful for the rest, but I sure will miss it too. It's been a wonderful, wonderful experience.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Happy New Year! Happy Feast of Mary, Mother of God!
Hope you all have a wonderful 2006, and a wonderful feast day of Our Lady.
I've made some resolutions for this year:
- Get off to a great start in my new job
- Be a good boyfriend to Marie
- Work on cutting my debt down significantly
- Get my Sk8rBase program to a 1.0 state
- And a host of skating-based resolutions on my skating blog