January 30, 2011

This Century's One-Man-Band 2

I can't get enough of these acapella one man bands.  I came across this guy tonight.

Gungor at Bridgeway Tonight at 7:00pm. COME!

Drop everything.  I want you to experience the most unique form of worship I've ever heard.  Come hear Gungor at 7:00pm tonight at Bridgeway Christian Church.  Call me if you want to meet me there: 916-572-4584.

A smaller ensemble of this group lead worship today at church, and I could not get enough.  I haven't sang that passionately for years.  I've missed singing to God the way I was able to this morning.

Tonight they are performing their full "Beautiful Things" concert and I'm going to be there.  It will be totally different from anything I've experienced, I'm sure.  I think it may be a little outside my comfort zone, but they brought me to tears this morning with the passion, depth, and beauty of their performance worship.  I know they were worshiping God.  I want to do that with them.

January 29, 2011

So Much To Say, No Time To Say It - Part 4

Most of the time, I do these on Twitter now, so if you follow me you'll see a lot of things there.  And, if you don't have a Twitter account but have Facebook, my tweets are forwarded to my Facebook.

First, the iPhone still needs Flash.  There are so many videos that I don't get to see because they are Flash.

Sony announced NGP (Next Generation Portable)

Motorola Officially Introduces the Atrix...might be my next phone.

Google introduces Cloud Print (I just set it up and it is so easy and awesome).

Dodge steals the LED style head-lights from Audi.
First Audi's design...COOL.
Second, Chrysler's design...actually pretty nice too, but COME ON.  Be original.
2011 Chrysler 300

Honda makes the minivan uglier...if that's even possible.  I think the line at the bottom of the windows looks bad with that weird jog at the back window.  It takes away from the flow of the car.
2011 honda odyssey

Here is a video of NBC's Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric try to explain the Internet and the "at" symbol in 1994.

There is more I've forgotten, but I'll hopefully remember and post later (I just laughed to myself because I've lost the time to blog in my life, thanks to kids, and life, and work).

January 24, 2011

Undivided Devotion To The Lord

1 Corintians 7:25-40 wraps this chapter with Paul advising not to marry. He says it is better to stay as you are because your focus can be on your relationship with God and not on the things of this world, or how to please your spouse. He says it's not a sin to be married, but it takes away focus and time that can be spent on God and out "interests are divided." Paul says these things over several verses, but to the point that we "may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."

Without getting into details, there are time that I argue with my wife and feel like the arguments are such a waste of time. Are we in anyway sharpening each other or helping build our relationship with God? No. But I also know that the passions of my flesh would not allow me to be like Paul without sin. And he does address that too. It is not a sin to marry. Paul says, "So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better."

God did give me my wife as a partner. Last night we talked about our church service and a challenge our pastor presented, a 40 day fast. The church is planning a prayer service 40 days from Tuesday. The challenge was to give something up for 40 days as a fast, and on every Wednesday to fast from food, until the prayer service. Our pastor said he felt like he wasn't prepared for the last prayer service and he wanted to be more prepared this time. The 40 day fast was suggested as a means of preparing our hearts to "be in the presence of God" at the prayer service. My wife talked to me about what she wanted to do for the fast, and I realized I didn't even take the thought of the fast serious. I thought about what I would want to do for it, but I didn't plan on actually participating.

The point of this section of scripture for me is: it is better to be focused on God than the things of this world. To do this it is better to be focused on God than have the distraction of a spouse. But more often a spouse protects you from the lusts of the flesh and can often times point you back to God. In the words of a past pastor, a wife can be a help mate. I believe my wife is often a help mate, even when she doesn't know or realize she's being one.

January 23, 2011

My 1999 VW Golf Is Officially On The Market...UPDATED

I posted an ad for the Golf on Craigslist (where I misspelled alternator, and can't seem to get back in to fix that).  I'm sad to report, the car once called Barney is going on the market.  I bought that car with 181 miles on it and it is now close to 192,000 miles.  If I was a mechanic and I had the room for it, I'd never get rid of it.  We had some good times.  Barney will be missed...as soon as he is sold.  Here's the Blue Book on it.

UPDATE: It sold on Saturday to a nice couple of guys from Fairfield CA for $1,600.

There Is A Reason California Has P.O.S.T.

There are multiple issues with this video, but a few are really easy to spot.  First, there's the failed PIT maneuver.  Then, if you watch closely you'll see the first two cops approach the vehicle in each other's line of fire. Another is, when the two officers pull both the driver and the passenger out at the same time they create two potential problems simultaneous.  Then a third officer arrives, but had to choose which side of the vehicle to help on.  Also, no one has cleared the vehicle yet to make sure there aren't more passengers, with possible weapons, still in the SUV.

There is a reason California has P.O.S.T. or Peace Officer Standards and Training.  California has agencies like the CHP and LAPD, and others with large agencies with extensive experienced that help write and create training programs that teach new officers how to avoid these and many other situations that put their lives in danger unnecessarily.  Just in one video from a North Carolina Highway Patrol felony vehicle stop, it is obvious to me, a former deputy with very limited experience, that these officers put their lives in more danger than was needed.

Found on The Auto Prophet and Jalopnik.

January 16, 2011

I Bought A Kia Sorento. WHAT!?!? I Think I'm Going To Love It.

I'm a big automobile guy.  I've written about Ford vehicles, GM vehicles, VW, Toyota, Honda, and others.  I've never, ever, ever talked about Kia (well...).  Then, I went and bought one today; a 2011 Kia Sorento.
First, yesterday my wife and I spent hours walking around the auto mall looking at used SUVs.  We couldn't find anything with under 50,000 miles or that didn't have dents, scratches, or weird smells. One Honda Pilot, we both agreed, was previously owned by a dog groomer...and the bathing part had to have happened inside the SUV (it smelled).  They were all over-priced for old used cars, and we couldn't agree on anything. We gave up after 3+ hours there.  I did take my wife to Volkswagen and we drove a 2011 Jetta.  I thought I could convince her that a commuter car for me would work just fine, and she could continue to drive the Nissan Altima.  Well, all I learned was the 2011 VW Jetta is not a great car.  It's nothing compared to my 1999 VW Golf.  We ended up going to dinner and coffee with friends.

And then, it happened.  One of our friends asked if we looked at Kia.  I half rolled my eyes, but told him I had noticed Kia's vehicles lately.  Back when the Golf took its previous "dump", about a year ago, I did notice the Kia Forte and thought about looking into it as a commuter for me.  They have a very non-tradition Korean(cheap) car look.
Fast-forward to today.  We decided to go to the Kia dealer to look at the Sorento, an SUV with 3rd-row seating.  We saw the base model 2011 Kia Sorento (well the LX, the base is a manual that no one ever has on their lots, according to the salesman).  Included as standard options were Bluetooth (which is an advanced version offering not just phone call technology, but streaming audio from our iPhones), power windows and doors locks, steering wheel controls for phone, stereo, and cruise control, auto-dimming rear view mirror, hill assist, traction control, curtain air bags, and more.  Plus, the only car on their lot that was base level had the "convenience package" which, among other things, included a back-up camera and sensors, heated seats, and fog lamps.
It's big and comfortable, powerful yet efficient.  The 3rd-row seating will be great for those times my wife and her sister want to go somewhere with all 4 kids (each have 2).  It will be useful for trips.  With a 4-cylinder engine that can get up out of its own way but still produce 21/29 mpg, it will be an affordable SUV to operate too.  In comparison, Toyota's Highlander is boasting at 20/25 mpg, Chevy's Traverse is at 17/24, while the Honda Pilot is only getting at 17/23.  And the all new Ford Explorer I've talked so much about, it only gets 17/25 mpg at its best (and that's a 25% more efficient system according to Ford).

Prices?  Well, lets compare the starting MSRP for each, according to their websites.  Just know, I didn't pay this amount for my Sorento today.  These are the "Starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price" on each:
Chevy Traverse: $29,224
Ford Explorer: $28,190
Honda Pilot: $28,045
Toyota Highlander: $27,540
And the Kia Sorento: $20,995, besting the best price of the rest by $6,545 to $8,229.

With all the Kia offers above and beyond the others and their standard options, I don't really get why the gap is so large.  And Kia continues to add more benefits to purchasing one of their vehicles. I compared the warranties of all of these vehicles, and none of them have anything like the 60,000 mile bumper to bumper and 100,000 mile power train that Kia offers.  They all offer something like 36,000 miles for bumper to bumper and 60,000 mile for power train.  NOT EVEN CLOSE!  Just about the time everyone else's warranties run out completely, Kia says they'll give another 40k miles of coverage for good measure.

So, the guy who said he'd never look at cheap Korean cars (me), is now thinking he made a pretty good deal buying a Kia.  Maybe its because I've been in Taekwando for a few months. Taekwando is the Korean martial art.  Whatever the reason, I'm pleased my wife will now be transporting herself and my boys in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's "2010 Top Safety Pick".

Sunday Is Not For Church

It has become almost a regular habit lately for my family to miss church. We haven't gone for some weeks now because of sick kids. First Caleb. Then Ryan. And now both. But is it really because of the kids?

I've talked for a while about my own spiritual life being in the dumps. My past involvement in church kept me accountable to being at church, living with a level of responsibility to my own witness, and a feeling of correctness and freedom to call myself a Christian. But the place I'm in now leads me to question whether I was fooling myself before or if I've just fallen into a depression over the depravity of man.

Selfishness, corruption, laziness, popularity, the "cool factor", modern, fun, easy, comfortable, friendly, politically correct; these are things that make me so mad about both our society and the church. Mankind is disgusting. Why God would want to die for us, I can not

Sent from my iPhone

January 15, 2011

The Recorder Makes The Titanic Theme Song As Awful As The Movie

Just like the movie Titanic, this Recorder version of the theme song is awful, but it cracks me up.  This "guy" owned his performance.

My mom actually teaches this "instrument" in elementary schools.  She is crazy!

Goodnight Moon...Good Morning Audi A8

Goodnight Moon is a book we read often to our boys.  I enjoy it, my wife memorized it, and my boys can't get enough of it.  Now Audi has taken this classic children's book and made a commercial with it.  The 2011 A8.  It is the new luxury.  If I were a millionaire...

January 13, 2011

Live As A Believer In Whatever Situation You Were Assigned

1 Corinthians 7:17-24 starts with a really straight forward command, "...each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them." Step 1 of being a Christian: live as a believer. What? Are you serious?

Now, this is not actually "Step 1", I'd say faith is, but how often are we actually living as though we are saved from our Sin by the God of the Universe? Salvation is from eternal death, pain, torture, and separation from God? Are we living like we understand the grace that has been given to us? We don't deserve to be forgiven of our sins, but God has given us Jesus as payment for our sins.

When we are saved, we aren't called to take ourselves out of the situation we are in. And we are not called to make drastic changes (like circumcision) to ourselves. Outward physical changes are not what living as a believer is about. Verses 19-20 "...Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them."

The last section of this passage talks about whether the believer is a slave or one who is free. For the slave, he is not to worry, unless he can earn his freedom. I'm not really sure about this section, or how to relate it to our society today, but I know that we are not to enslave ourselves to any thing or any one. We are the Lord's slave, because we were bought by His blood. When He paid for our sin with His life, He called us to serve Him. As believers we should live as such, by expressing the freedom from sin and its consequence (eternal separation and death) we have in Christ.

January 10, 2011

A Slippery Situation

This is crazy.  The driver in the car with the camera is pretty talented.

Commanded To Not Separate

1 Corinthians 7:10-16 talks about staying together in a marriage.  Today it seems like divorce is the answer to most people's marital problems.  If you don't get along, just divorce.  If you want to be with someone else, just divorce.  But as Christians, we are commanded not to separate from our spouse.  Even if that spouse is not a believer, we are told to stay with them as long as they will stay with us.

Divorce is wrong.  I know that there are situations and scenarios that we all try to put together to justify making that decision, but for the most part it's not God's will.  Too often, the problems in a marriage come from the selfishness of both parties.  Instead, thinking of the needs of the other person can solve most of the problems.  And as Christians, we are called to love others.  This includes our spouse.  When we feel like we aren't getting what we want out of our marriage, I think we need to look at what we are putting into it.  And even if we feel like we ARE doing all we can and it's still rough, I think that God will still bless us for our commitment.

Love your spouse today.  Remember the commitment of marriage and God's command to not separate.

January 3, 2011

Sex Is For Marriage...Marriage Is For Sex

1 Corinthians 7:1-9 continues on the topic of sex.  Some in the church think that Paul will agree with them about abstaining from sex, because Paul is not married.  But Paul tells them that not everyone has the self control and that this is a gift from God that he has. "But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another..."

I think that a lot of fights in marriage (right up there with the money ones) are based around sex.  If both spouses listened to this passage, I think that we could reduce the amount of adultery that is so prevalent in our country.  There are TV and radio shows that talk about cheating.  There are leaders of our country that are caught in it. It is a huge thing in our society.  I think it comes down to a misunderstanding of marriage and a major purpose for it.  Paul says he wishes we were all like him, able to remain single, but that marriage is important for those who do not have self control.  Marriage is important so that sexual desires can be fulfilled within that relationship.  When spouses withhold sex from each other, even if the withholder feels they have a legitimate reason, they do not understand that in marriage you give up your own body.  It becomes the spouse's.  The only time it is okay to abstain from sex in marriage is if you agree to have a time of prayer, like fasting from food to be focused more on God.

Marriage has more than sex of course, and there are lots of things that affect how we respond to each other.  Like I said in my three 2011 resolutions, I'm going to work to serve my wife.  We have to work together as a team in all aspects of the relationship.

January 2, 2011

Pepsi Next?

I don't know anything about this, except what I've read at BevReview.com  Basically, it looks like Pepsi's description is soda with less ingredients.  The can says 60 calories, which is 90 less than a normal can of Pepsi.  I'm not holding my breath, but I'm hopeful.

1989 Loma Preita Earthquake...CHP Record

I recently hear a story from my boss about a man she knew that was involved in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake that hit the Bay Area.  This is the quake that caused a section of the bay bridge to collapse, as well as a long section of the 880 freeway, known as the Cypress Structure Viaduct.

Today, I came across the following video and watched it.  At minute 16, Buck Helm is mentioned in this public record video created by the CHP.  It's pretty amazing to watch this video.

Don't Park In A Construction Zone

This is funny, and this is why you should never park in a construction zone.

Android Is The Better Platform Choice

You all know I like Google...a lot. I've done a blog on "If I Were CEO...Google", I've talked about the HTC Droid Incredible and Aria, and I'm a huge Gmail and other Google web-based services user, including Blogger (host of www.jimmythegun.com).  When it comes to cell phone platforms, Google's Android software is starting to grow into a mature, and very successful system.  I want to highlight some of Android's functions, and talk about why I feel it is the better cellphone platform choice.
I've really found that Google has done some incredible things with the Android platform, from seamless interaction with all the Google web-based service like Gmail, Picasa, Google Voice, Docs, Maps, and Navigation to useful tools and customizations.  Something I've talked a little about before but have recently been able to test out for myself is Voice Actions.  This super useful, very accurate, and so easy to use feature, available on the last couple versions of Android allows you to do thing with voice commands, anything from standard Google searches to sending texts, starting music, making call, and more.  I posted this video before, but take another look:

Another sweet feature of the phone is the customizable screens and app icon placement. Like the latest iPhone, you can have wallpapers behind the icons.  The difference with the Android phone is that wallpaper's abilities.  The Android phone allows for interactive wallpaper.  Some are animated or video clips that move. Some react to a tap. And some take a given picture and move the angle of view slightly as you swipe through to different pages on the phone.  Here are a couple I found on YouTube:

This next video shows off a few with a guy from PocketNow.com explaining.  This is on an older version of Android, but it's still really fun and cool.  He does mention the battery life issue with these interactive wallpapers, but if you're like me and you have to charge your phone every night anyway, because the newer software on the old iPhone 3G drains the battery in less than a day, it won't be a bother.

If you watched the last of the above videos, you can see how icon placement is very customizable.  You can place app icons anywhere you want on any of the pages on the phone. This allows for customization beyond what the iPhone offers.  There are quick dial icons that work similar to favorites.  There are search bars, clocks, social networking, and other widgets that can be placed right on any of the pages.  Many of the same apps found on the iPhone are also available in the Android Market. Plus, there are many free apps that allow for functions and content that cost money on the iPhone.

Another great feature of the Android phones is delivery of updates. Google designed "over the air" delivery of software updates, rather than the Apple method, which requires being hard wired to iTunes.

The problems most people have with the Android software is how the carriers and phone manufactures deliver the software. Some carriers limit the places you can download apps from. Some limit the abilities of the phone due to "network capacity". Manufacturers all deliver the software version they choose, based on how soon they can adapt their own software overlays to the Android version they choose. This causes what people call "fragmentation" to the Android phones. Some, like Sony, deliver brand new phones to market with 2 or 3 versions old software. Some, like HTC and Samsung don't deliver the latest version of Android when people want because they need time to test and re-write some of their own proprietary software additions. And sometimes the updates are held up by the carriers (Aria update is ready but AT&T is not allowing delivery).

I'm now thinking about how I can get myself a Nexus S (pictured above) and port it over to AT&T. The problem I have is the inability to switch carriers.  Someone else on my AT&T bill threw an iPhone 3G because of all its problems.  When this person replaced the broke 3G with an iPhone 4, it locked that person into AT&T for another 2 years; meaning the rest of us are stuck too.  And, while I don't blame this person for the destruction of an iPhone 3G, it would be nice if AT&T had a nice Android phone.  The Nexus S would be $199.99 on T-Mobile, but it would cost me $529.99 to move to AT&T.  Best Buy is currently the sole retailer able to sell this pure Google phone, but T-Mobile customers are the only ones getting a subsidized price.  I guess at this point I'm hoping a new Android phone is delivered by HTC or Google to the AT&T network. If there is not a pure Google phone available, I've found that HTC's sence software is an okay addition to the Android platform. But, until Apple announces the next iPhone, or one of these phones comes to AT&T, I guess I'll be stuck with my iPhone 3G. Wish me luck with sanity in 2011, as I deal with a phone made junk by the manufacturer of the device.