Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Construction Cam

One of the heavily-travelled intersections near our house is closed now due to construction. Heavily-travelled is a relative term. I’m sure some people in larger cities would scoff at the numbers of cars going through there, but locally it was known as a bad intersection.

Anyway, the roads around it are closed far enough from the intersection such that you can’t get close enough to see what’s going on. And the county work commission website shows only the start date and projected end date, with sporadic updates.

But…

What they’ve done on this project is setup a web cam.

That helps a ton. In this day and age of round-the-clock news feeds and instant status updates, having that web cam will quell the impatience of the masses.

Plus it’s fun to watch.

Note to anyone in charge of a public works project, especially those affecting people’s commutes: setup a web cam.

You shall prepare the roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the Lord your God will give you as a possession, so that any manslayer may flee there.

Deuteronomy 19:3

Summer Book Thingy, 2016

Yes, I know it’s 2017. But I never wrote about the book I read during our vacation last year, so here it is:

The Collapse of Parenting by Dr. Leonard Sax

I’ve written some about his other books before. If you’ve read and enjoyed those books, then you’ll enjoy this book too. Maybe enjoy is not the right word – appreciate maybe. Because the picture he paints is bleak. It’s a book of warning – kids aren’t doing a good job of growing into adults because the adults are not doing a good job of parenting them.

Here are three main thoughts I had while reading this book:

  • Your child can have a variety of friends. He can lose friends, he can make friends. But he has only one set of parents. If you are trying to be his friend, then he has lost his parent. If you’re not being his parent, then who is? Kids don’t need friends; kids do need parents. Be a parent. Tell him no. Make him work. Let him play outside. Do things with him.
  • I am slightly concerned about my kids. This book makes you think about all the things that could go wrong. But I’m more concerned about my country. The younger generation is in trouble. Of course, every generation says that. And of course, it’s different this time.
  • This book should be read along with Lord of the Flies. Considering the themes of that book with the topics of this book will help you understand why I am concerned about the course of the USA.

And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

Judges 2:10

How Kids Learn

There are an increasing variety of things these days that are not appropriate for kids. For the purpose of this blog post, I’ll focus on movies, but it could apply to other things, such as any TV show being made now or a number of books or songs.

I have heard some people justify taking their kids to things they shouldn’t, or producers justifying inappropriate content in what should be an innocent show, by saying that it will just go over the kids’ heads.

In other words, they won’t understand it, so it won’t hurt them.

How do you think kids learn things?

If you do that enough – take kids to things that go over their heads – eventually they will catch on. The basic concept of education is something like this: 1. present new material, 2. explain it to the students, 3. see how well they understand it.

By having things go over their heads, you are not keeping them out of harm’s way; you are introducing them to the new material. You are starting the education process. So you think it’s okay because you’re skipping part 2? That just leaves them to form their own conclusions about why the adults are laughing.

Kids are kids for only a short time. Don’t make them grow up faster than they need to, just so you can have your entertainment. What will matter more for eternity: that you were amused for a few minutes or that you let a child be pointed in the wrong direction morally?

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.

Mark 9:42

Survey Ratings

I forget the reason, but I was asked to fill out a survey and I obliged. These days, there’s no lack of opportunity to complete a survey – I’m declining at least once a day, it seems.

After a few questions, I was tired of thinking so much of each topic. Each answer had 10 levels. I forget the wording, but it was something like “Extremely Disagree” to “Extremely Agree”.

That’s too many options.

Surveys don’t need 10 gradations. Does anyone have feelings that nuanced? 3 should suffice, 5 at most. I personally don’t think about most items that much, especially the categories these people were asking. Good/Fair/Poor should be the options.

It’s good that corporate America, maybe even the world, has agreed upon the 5-star rating system. It makes everyone’s life simpler since everyone uses the same process – you know what you’re doing and how everything compares. If I need to start a rating system though, it will have 6 stars – that way my things will look better than everyone else’s.

Grade inflation for product ratings.

And, of course, my surveys will go to 11.

So they divided the land between them to survey it; Ahab went one way by himself and Obadiah went another way by himself.

1 Kings 18:6

No Shirt, No Shoes

Finally, someone has closed the loophole:

image of sign saying shirt shoes and bottoms required

I have always thought it odd that stores required shirts and shoes but not pants. I’m glad at least one store out there does.

Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!

Job 38:3

Decent Proposal

I bought a used lawn mower (Hustler Mini Z zero-turn) when we moved into our new house almost two years ago. Hadn’t talked to the seller since then.

Until just recently.

He called me, out of the blue, and asked if I still had the mower. He regretted selling it and wanted to buy it back. And he was willing to pay what I originally paid.

I wasn’t really that attached to the lawn mower, and this guy did seem to be. There was some suspicion that he knew something I didn’t. Maybe it was a collector’s item and he could sell it for double. Should I keep it and prevent him from profiting? Or should I keep it and deny him the joy of using the lawn mower he wants.

I didn’t have a good reason not to sell it, other than a vague suspicion. So I sold it back to him.

My justification was along the lines of this: if he had approached me two years ago with the proposal that I could borrow a zero-turn mower for almost two years at no cost to me, would I have accepted that offer? Sure would have.

It does feel a little different than that offer, but the basic concept is the same.

My wife’s reaction was “But now you’ll have to go buy another mower.”
My response: “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

So I got a used Worldlawn Viper ZTR. Sounds fancier than it is. It’s slower than the Mini Z was, but it has a wider mowing deck, so the mowing time should even out.

The tires don’t have a good grip (i.e. they slip on the wet grass rather than moving the mower) so I’ll get some new tires with better traction. My plan is to not only get a different tread, but also get a bigger size so the top speed will increase.

What appliances/tools/machines do you have that you wouldn’t sell back for the same price you originally paid?

If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold.

Leviticus 25:25

Review of Beauty and the Beast

The wife and I went to see the reincarnation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

It was okay.

The main story was still good. The movie was successful in that it conveyed the story. I laughed, I cried, etc.

But it was annoying in some aspects. I had known about the changes to LeFou, and I’m not going to discuss that aspect much – only to say that it was more of a distraction that anything else. I’ll liken deciding to watch this movie to what I heard a number of people say about voting for Trump. They did it in spite of his issues, not because of it, because it’s better than the alternative. Except in this case there were many alternatives and none of them was Hillary, so maybe the analogy breaks down there.

I had 3 main complaints about how the movie was inconsistent. Not necessarily inconsistent with the original movie, but rather inconsistent with itself.

  • Claims of Live Action : The big selling point of this movie is that it was a live-action version of the animated classic. Come see the movie you love, but with people doing the acting – it’s not animated! They might not have said those words directly, but that was the feeling that was portrayed.

    Except…

    The Beast was computer-animated, Lumiere and Cogworth were computer-animated, Mrs. Potts and Chip were computer animated, as were the wardrobe lady and the piano guy and the footstool dog and so on.

    It’s hard to accept that a movie is live action when so many of its main characters are not.

    And I didn’t like the CGI, especially with Lumiere. And the Be Our Guest song. And the Beast’s gait. You get the idea – it was distracting.

  • Setting and Accents : Was this set in England or France or America? The story says it’s in France, and part of it takes place in Paris. There are some French phrases thrown in for good measure. But only Lumiere attempts to have a French accent. Belle has a decidedly British accent, and the other main characters sound American. Of course, the best choice would be to have everyone with a French accent. But it wouldn’t have bothered me if everyone had a British accent, or American accent. If the movie is consistent, I wouldn’t notice it. But when the acecnts are all over the place, it is a distraction.
  • Progressive and Oppresive Villagers : I think I understand the director’s/producer’s intention behind casting people of different races, but again it was inconsistent with the story and was more of a distraction. It was inconsistent because those villagers must have been very progressive not only to allow different races to have prominent roles but also to accept mixed-race marriages. (Although the races were only combinations of blacks and whites – didn’t see many Asians in there.) Since the setting is 18th-century France, it was anachronistic. But let’s give the director the benefit of the doubt and assume he was just trying to promote racial harmony and was using this movie as the vehicle to do so. But then we see these same villagers oppress Belle because she dares to teach a girl to read.

    In the original movie, the “provincial” villagers seemed rather indifferent – they thought Belle was odd but didn’t think much of it, and certainly didn’t teach her a lesson for going against the village’s unwritten rules. But this new adaptation of the movie makes the villagers both more progressive and less progressive. Why couldn’t the director have the villagers be supportive of girls’ education? If this movie was to be the means by which equality and tolerance are promoted, why only with the subject of race and not with gender? Again, inconsistent.

One more thing that bothered me was the choice of fuzzy camera focus during pans. Things went extra fuzzy/blurry when the camera was moving. I assume this was the director’s choice, as I haven’t noticed it in other movies I’ve seen. I disagree with that choice, since it happened a few times and each time it took my mind out of the story because my mind was trying to figure out what went wrong with my eyes. Again, a distraction.

The movie wasn’t bad, overall. It just had a number of things wrong with it. See it if you want. But if you want your kids to see a good movie, just show them the original animated version.

Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

Daniel 4:33