December 31, 2010

Ringing In The New Year Right. 2011 Here I Come.

I saw True Grit tonight and loved it, enjoyed 2 bean burritos from Taco Tree (the best), and now I'm putting my kids and myself to bed. Happy New Year all. 2011 will be the year to remember...at least as well as you remember 2001 or 1991. Actually, 1991 was when I started high school, if I did my math right. And 2001 is when I moved back to NorCal from a year of life lived in The OC. I was going to write some resolutions, but instead I'm going to watch a Dog the Bounty Hunter and go to sleep.


December 30, 2010

A Sort Of, "Apple Redemption" Story

I went to a different Apple Store today from my normal one, based originally on a co-worker's daughter being an Apple Genius employee.  After finally getting my appointment scheduled (see previous post), I arrived to find it was the Genius daughter's lunch hour.  Disappointed and feeling like I was going to have a similar experience to my last Roseville store visit, I proceeded with my appointment to find myself in the very capable hands of another Apple Genius.

Blah, blah, blah, my sob story, and some heavy research into a serial number issue by the Genius, the employee and manager decided to help me out with my issues.  Because they chose to listen to me and believe my story, they were able to confirm why I was frustrated and replace my phone.  Sure, it's still a 3G model, but I didn't pay a dime for the replacement.

Thanks Apple, for having some great employees in the Arden Mall Apple Store today.


Apple Store App Is Another Reason...

...I'm so sick of Apple. I just want to make a Genius reservation and this is what I get? Come on. And forget about trying to do it on Apple's website. That is one of the worst site to navigate on an iPhone.

Top Gear USA On The History Channel...and A Rant About Internet Video Availability

First, let me tell the History Channel people that they need to free up some of the video on their site.  I wanted to embed a video of an awesome, hilarious, and super entertaining scene from an episode, but they didn't allow the video to be embedded.  Why not have some of the scenes or episodes available for embedding?  I'd be free advertisement.  Check out a small portion of the episode here.

Anyway, the episode (#3) I just watched using my DVR so I could skip commercials, earning The History Channel $0.00, had a bootlegger challenge with the hosts.  The 3 hosts each had to buy a car for $1,000 (I think) and run moonshine through a set of challenges that were designed to mimic the challenges the original moonshiners faced.  This episode was really funny and amazing to watch.

I actually want to support the show.  I want the morons at the History Channel to realize they hurt themselves by not having web content of their shows.  Embedding and allowing a site like Hulu to stream episodes is a great way to continue to make money off of the show.  AND, web content makes me watch at least one commercial every break.  You can also set up embedded codes that first play a commercial before playing the clip.  This seems like a no brainer to me.

This is actually about to start a rant on how all the major networks keep pulling away from the Internet, streaming, embedding codes, and even the Google TV idea.  Why?  This doesn't seem like its a good business idea.  A site like Hulu forces the viewers to watch commercials.  Currently, I use a DVR to watch TV.  I never watch live TV because I refuse to watch commercials.  The Internet figured out a way to make me watch them again.  But, it's done in a bearable way.  The streaming sites make you watch one commercial at the beginning, which matches the other ads on the site.  Then for longer shows or videos, they add just one commercial per break.  It's short and sweet, and I do watch them.  Currently, the sites Funny or Die and Fail Blog are playing commercials for the Duramax Diesel engine and the Allison transmission that are in the Chevy Silverado.  SEE History Channel?  That's from embedded videos and streaming content.  See that major networks?  That sponsor got their money's worth.  If the Internet was utilized, advertisers would see the rewards from views.  This would drive the cost of Internet advertising up and the networks could charge more for this type of ad, MAKING THEM MORE MONEY.  Instead, every network thinks they can do it better than the next.  No one is seeing the benefit of using a site like Hulu to be the go to Internet place for video.  And don't get me started on Netflix.

Well, there's my spontaneous rant.  I really just wanted to tell my readers to watch Top Gear USA.  It's actually pretty good, even if the hosts are all really cheesy.  Night!

December 29, 2010

Just Because You Have A Sports Car Doesn't Mean You Know How To Drive It

Watch all these idiots trying to drive their expensive sports cars on a nice winding road.  I think the smog of Southern California is getting to these drivers.

Lesson 1: "high, low, high" doesn't mean use the other guys lane for "low" and the shoulder for "high".

The Body Is For The Lord

Well, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 is an awkward topic because sexual immorality is so prevalent in our society.  I'm sure it's similar to the time of the church of Corith.  Today we have gay rights, porn ruling the Internet, and everyone having sex with anyone at any time.  We've made sex just an okay thing that anyone can do with anyone else.  Sex is not saved for marriage anymore.  I've even heard people say you have to have sex with someone before you marry them to make sure you are "compatible".

"The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body."  Sex joins two people together. "The two will become one flesh."  This is a real thing too.  I hate how people today have sex with anyone and everyone, and pretend that it was "just sex".  There is a connection that sex creates.  The only thing that I can agree with is, the amount of sex people are having with others numbs the connection to each other that sex causes.  Think about why people need each other.  There is a feeling of completeness for a moment.  But this is a perversion of what the body is meant for.  The body is not meant for sexual immorality.  The body is meant for the Lord.  We are called the bride of Christ.  We are meant to have that connection with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  He is the head of the church and we are the body.

Just a last minute thought, if the body was made for the type of sex people are having today, do you think there would be so many sexually transmitted diseases?  If we were meant to have sex with anyone and everyone, there wouldn't be so many dangers from having sex in this manner.  There isn't a sexually transmitted disease caused by one man and one woman having sex with each other only.

We are here for a short time.  We have lusts of the flesh that lead us to sexual immorality, but for our time here we need to fight against those urges.  If we can focus on God, and not ourselves, we will be better equipped to fight the temptations of the flesh.  It's not easy, but it's required of us.  If we can place our focus on things above, not on things of this earth, we will succeed.  Colossians 3 talks about putting on the new self and verse 2 tells us, "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."  These instructions will help us put to death our sinful nature and live as those called to be children of God.



December 28, 2010

Remember, "Who Cares" Is the Slogan For Earthly Troubles

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 asks believers the question, "When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?" This talks to the problems Christians have with each other. I've seen my share of Christians having issues with each other. I've been involved in church splits, pastoral resignations, and more. Almost always, someone's opinion is chosen over another's, feelings are hurt, people retaliate, and sin occurs. Instead, we should deal with this as fellow believers. Now, I will say, this passage is talking more to the fact of legal wrongs being done, because they are taking things to the local law instead of the church, but I think the application of how to handle a wrong done against you, either actual or perceived, by another Christian should be handled in a manner that pleases God.

Verse 7 asks rather than sue, "Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?" We all wrong and defraud people. Suck it up for your short time here on earth. We have so much more coming ahead that we should be focused and excited for that. We will inherit the Kingdom of God. Sinners won't inherit heaven, unless they are "washed...sanctified...and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." Just like the old saying, "like water off a ducks back" we need to let go of the troubles of this world. Try to say, "Who cares." in trials and tough times, or when you don't agree with something that wrongs you here on earth. Who cares about getting cut-off on the freeway (I say with my hand raised). Who cares that the government and some of the banking industry giants messed up our finances and housing. Who cares that I'm over looked for this or that. Who cares that the music guy wears skinny jeans. Who cares that this person or that doesn't see things the way you do. Who cares. Work on loving others. Work on showing GRACE. Work on glorifying God forever and in all things that you do.

Praise be to God, who is patient and working all things for His glory. Praise Him for the grace that He gives us. Praise Him for the gift of Jesus, who paid the price we never could so we can be saved from these sins that rule our lives here. What a wonderful perfect plan. How great is God, that we can call Him Father, Savior, and Lord. And if he is these things to you, you are saved from death and eternal sorrow. I think for 2011, I will work to make Him Lord.


Blog Notes and Updates

Once again, it's been a while since I've updated my devotional blog. I've even had a vacation during my hiatus from blogging here. What's sad is this is really a record of how often I'm reading my Bible outside of the church setting. (Speaking of church, you should really listen to Lance's message from Christmas. It's amazing what he did with the Christmas story. I've heard the story at least 34 times, and this message really spoke to me and caused me to want to work harder this coming year at becoming a witness to those I work with.)

Another blog note before I get back to my study: I updated this blog to work better on a mobile device. Just go to www.jeremydburch.blogspot.com from a mobile device, and the site will recognize that you are on such a device and format the site accordingly. It loads a little faster and is easier to navigate. Also, I'm going to start tweeting when I update my blog. For those of you seeing this blog for the first time because of my tweets, I don't put a lot of time into the editing and formatting of the blog, so you may see lots of spelling and/or grammatical errors. Really this blog is for me to track what I've read as I go through books of the Bible. I try to work through a book in order, so I don't take things out of context, but feel free to comment or correct anything you don't agree with in my entries. Anything you can add will help sharpen me as I study God's word.

December 27, 2010

This Century's One-Man-Band

First, let me say I'm getting so jealous of all these musically talented people combining technology and music to make amazing videos like this one.

So, this is similar to laying down tracks on top of tracks, or recording one line then another and another and layering them to create the complete song.  I used to do this with two tape decks (that's the last time I understood technology enough to do something with layering my own voice like this).  The difference here is the professional quality of the sounds and the way the video is edited together to make the whole song come together.  Here's another song.

This seems a lot like Pomplamoose's music, but this is a one-man-band and it's a capella (no instruments).


December 25, 2010

New Mobile Version of Jimmy The Gun

From a mobile device, jimmythegun.com now has a new look. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Merry Christmas 2010

This was supposed to auto post at 12:01 today, but it didn't.  Oops.

December 18, 2010

Bad Parents and Bad Drivers Unite

I almost didn't post this video because it made me angry when I saw it.  I'm only posting it to show, like Autoblog said, "Bad parenting and bad driving know no bounds".  People like this should lose their license....and more imporantly, their kids.



My Test Drive Of The 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI

There was a point in my blogging when I thought I'd do more reporting on cars and my own opinions and impressions; including test drives, looking at statistics and specs, and being more honest about a vehicle then the sponsored car magazines and blogs.  Then I realized, I don't have time, money, or that much talent.  I have to hold down a real job, love on my family, and live a real life away from the computer.  Plus, if the manufacturers are giving you a vehicle to test drive, it's not a quick loop around the AutoMall.  When you have the vehicle for a few days, as part of your daily routine and job functions, you can really get into the handling and drive of the vehicle and write a really great (although sometimes wordy) review.

Well yesterday, after a Costco visit that went horribly wrong, where our Christmas Eve tri-tip was paid for but never made it home, I went to the AutoMall after retrieving a new set of tri-tips (I say "set" because it's Costco and you can't just buy one of anything).  I was originally going to check out the new 2011 Ford Explorer, as we are in the market for a bigger, more practical, family vehicle, but on my way around the AutoMall loop, I thought about the Gilt.com 2011 Volkswagen Jetta sale (a genius marketing idea by VW) and decided to stop at the VW dealer.  And, while my intention was to check out the Jetta, the salesman asked enough questions to realize if I was actually in the market to buy a VW, it'd be a fuel efficient commuter for myself.  He asked if I'd heard about TDI, Volkswagen's clean diesel engines. Of course I had, but I had never driven one.

The 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI
This was the Golf TDI on the lot for me.  This was the only 4-door TDI on the lot, in white, with a manual transmission, and well equipped.  It had a sunroof (I don't need), fog lamps (cool), and a rear spoiler (sweet).  It had the European style turn signals on the side mirrors and a cool feature where it gives the driver 3 blinks of the signal if a tap to the signal switch is made, rather than a full push into the on position.  It had Bluetooth that worked with my iPhone for calling, and more importantly it integrated with the iPod features.  That was great, an they still make a really great sounding stereo.  I could play music right through the car stereo, without wires or any additional configuration beyond syncing with Bluetooth.

The Drive
We took it for a spin.  Because I understand diesel is more about compression than lighting the fuel on fire, I expected it to be a little slower to respond.  Well...it was and wasn't.  The initial provision of fuel at take-off seemed to be an issue for me.  I stalled it twice in a row.  It seemed like I had to really stomp on the gas pedal to get enough diesel into the engine for take-off.  BUT, once I figured out the take-off (and I do drive a manual transmission every day so I know what I'm doing) the car got up and moved.  I loved the quickness of this car.  We were able to take it onto the freeway and I got up to speed with ease.  I did miss the instant "push you back into your seat" feeling my 1999 VW Golf 2.0 gasoline engine still provides, but I believe that's the diesel way.  I'm not saying it wasn't quick, there just wasn't the instant push.  I think it would still beat my '99 in any type of race.

The Numbers
I'm averaging between 25 and 28 MPG in my '99, which according to it's sticker is supposed to get 24 and 31 MPG.  This car boasts of 30 city and 42 highway.  That's great, but with an MSRP of $23,435 this car is over-priced. With the basic 4-door starting at $19,685 and an MPG of 23 city and 33 highway, the TDI 4-door bumps the vehicle up $3,750.  That's huge.  It would take over 9.5 years to make back that difference.  Not such a money saver when you figure that out.  Not to mention, my wife's Nissan Altima is a bigger car, handles great, has some added features over the base Golf, with similar MPG (23 and 32), and priced almost the same as the base 4-door.  If you are looking for a car that will fit the kids too, go Altima for the price.

The Verdict
Would I buy one if I had the money?  I think not.  For the price of $23,435, I'd look at a GTI or wait for the Type R that is coming.  Although the Diesel has been an interesting idea to me, the fuel savings does not afford the sticker increase.  It was a nice drive, but the instant push of a gasoline out weighs the fuel savings in the end.  Sure, my '99 is 11.5 years old, meaning I'd be into the money savings period now with the TDI, but the 9.5 years of less "get up and go" a TDI would provide would make me regret the decision.

One last thing about Volkswagen: I love them and their vehicles.  They look great, drive amazingly, get great mileage, and have some nice extras.  But they are all over-priced. I mean, they are consistently several thousand dollars over their class equals.  The 2011 Jetta is a trend towards fixing that pricing gap, but Volkswagen started as the people's car, affordable and simple.  I think they need to work harder towards returning to those roots.  Like I said, the 2011 Jetta is a start towards the pricing correction, but the rest of the brand needs to make similar moves.


December 12, 2010

"Crazy" on Guitar

All I can say about this guy's ability to play the guitar is, "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?"

Seriously, this is some of the best guitar playing I've ever heard.  I'm so impressed.  And what's with me and this song?  Honestly, I love this song.  I posted back in April 2007 a video of Nelly Furtado and Charlotte Church singing this song together that was awesome too.


December 9, 2010

Can I Save Enough by 2012 For This VW Golf R?

I've talked about my love for Volkwagen in the past, so this news is not really unexpected for me to post.  But today, Autoblog posted that VW is going to bring the Golf R to the USA in 2012.  With somewhere around 270hp (155 more than my 1999), this VW would be an amazing upgrade for me.
 The interior is awesome too.
And, just in case Volkswagen is listening, my 1999 Golf is still going strong and I love it.  If say, VW was thinking about a cool PR deal with a no name consumer, where they wanted to give away one of these beauties to a huge fan, I'm ready for a new car.  Here's my baby:
I'm now at over 191,000 miles and still going strong.  I get great gas mileage and have an awesome amount of power and handling.  This is an older car, but I still really love to drive it.

If you want more info on the 2012 VW Golf R, check our Autoblog and their gallery.


December 4, 2010

Star Wars: The Old Republic

MMO stands for Massively-Multiplayer Online Game. Games like World of Warcraft are very popular with nerds around the world.  I recently heard about Star Wars: The Old Republic.
This is an interesting and large game.  The website for the game has classes on all sorts of aspects of the game play.  It's a little overwhelming.  Here is a trailer on the game.

I've had an idea for a while about an MMO that was based on normal life.  It would allow people to play roles in the game that they may fantasize about in real life; things like stealing cars, being a cop and chasing bad guys, owning a club, becoming mayor, etc.

Check out more about the game at http://www.swtor.com


More About The Audi Quattro

More about the Audi Quattro Concept is coming out.  Here's a video with the 1980 Quattro.  This would be the 30th anniversary of the Quattro.

Also, Audi's PR chief let Car and Driver take it for a spin is Southern California. Read more here.

December 3, 2010

A Little Leaven Leavens The Whole Lump

1 Corinthians 5:6-13. "A little leaven leavens the whole lump." We are called to share Christ with the world, so we are going to be around sin and sinners. But when that sin is committed by someone who calls themselves a Christian, and they are unrepentant of that sin, Paul says not to associate with them. Leaven leavens the whole lump just like association with a believer who is unrepentant of sin will corrupt others, or appear to do so. The church at Corinth was proud of their acceptance of sinners. Paul tells them not to boast because it's not good. I think they were boastful in their acceptance of sin, instead of sinners. We are called to share God's grace with sinners so they might turn from their sin to God. Corinth understood God's grace incorrectly. Just because we are saved by grace, doesn't mean sin is okay. They were accepting of people's sin, and this was not at all what grace meant. We are still called to judge the actions of believers. There is still a responsibility to live holy lives as believers. Sin is still wrong.

Life seems to get harder and harder. Sin seems to be more and more tempting. I think the early church had the same problems, only they didn't have the whole Bible to study and be encouraged by. We all need fellow believers to come along side us and encourage us too. But, if those believers are living in sin, how can they be encouraging to us? We need to be blameless for the sake of our brothers, just as we need to find ourselves surrounded by believers who are blameless and who can guide us and help us.