There Is Water

At The Bottom Of The Ocean!

Computer Fixed?

I managed to install new capacitors in my trusty iMac's logic board (the Apple equivalent of a motherboard) this weekend. There were 28 of them in total. It took me around 15 hours or so. That's right. Most people are out doing stuff on the weekends. As for me...I stayed home, so I could bang my head against the wall while trying not to burn myself with a soldering iron. (I'm not a nerd.) This operation was much more complicated than I expected. After spending two hours pulling everything out of my computer (and I mean ev-er-y-thing), I was almost regretting my decision to make this repair. There were bits and pieces of my Mac all over the place. (Short recap here: About four or five months ago, my iMac went down for the count. Fortunately, I have an external backup. Unfortunately, all my music programs are on that computer, which means I haven't composed in a very long time. When the computer went down, I had just started a piece for wind ensemble, so that's been setting unfinished all this time. Anyway, repair bill was around $500-$600. Why? New Logic board. Why? One bad capacitor. That's right. I said one cheap little capacitor. Apparently, this is a common problem with the capacitors used in my computer, so I decided to replace all 28. The capacitors were about a buck each, so the penny pincher in me was incredibly excited.) After reinstalling everything and latching my computer back together, it was time for the big test. I plugged it in and pushed power (halfway expecting it to blowup), and my computer made that loud "BING!" sound that says, "Hey. Look at me! I'm starting up!" Yay! We'll see what happens. I did a lot of googling before and during this little procedure, but there were still quite a few things I had to wing. I'm going to keep a close eye on it. If all seems well, I'll post some tips here, just in case someone else out there is crazy enough to attempt brain surgery on their computer.

Tea, Crumpets, and Independence

My Independence Day began at the Oklahoma State Capital where I attended the Sooner Tea Party. I wasn't sure what to expect. I know tons of people that are disgusted with what's going on in this nation, yet none of them were planning to go to a Tea Party. I have to admit that my drive to the capital building was full of anxiety and wonder. Like I said, I know lots of people that should have gone but wouldn't. They all had their reasons: fear, too busy, didn't want to look like a 1960's hippy, etc. I kept thinking, "What if it just turns out to be me and a couple of crazy people walking up and down the steps of the capital building holding up those cliche protest signs?" There are very few things sillier than a three-person protest. Upon arriving I realized that I had no reason to be nervous. There were close to 5,000 patriotic Americans there. I didn't see any crazy people, which was nice. There were entire families, lots of American flags, and tons of friendly folks eager to talk about their passion for American freedom. I'm excited to see more and more people leaving their apathy behind. It's not too late to save this country. It's quite simple really. You just have to vote for the right people. If you have a representative that finds it necessary to misrepresent his/her constituency, it's time to put someone else in that office. If that person fails to do the job, vote him/her out next time around as well. Eventually, someone's going to get the hint. Overall, stop worrying about the economy. We're letting that distract us away from the real issue: Freedom. What good is an economy if you don't have freedom?! What good is money if you don't have freedom?! My grandparents tell me amazing stories of four-hour horse and carriage rides to "town." They talk about their first Model-T Ford and how the world has changed over the past 90 years. America: If we're not careful, we're going to be explaining what freedom was like to our grandchildren. We can do something about this. I don't want to live with the burden of knowing that my generation dropped the ball. After over 200 years, we were the ones that willingly gave up our hard-earned freedom.

Anyway, that was just the beginning of my 4th of July. I spent the rest of the day with my amazing family. As for the evening's entertainment ...well, it rained. ...and it rained...and it rained.

Finally, we had a break and a chance for the featured presentation. You see. My family has a thing for putting on our own fireworks show, and we recently added a new tradition. We call it the redneck firework. (Please do not attempt this. Please.) Anyway, I caught it on video this year, and here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Unfortunately, we had a sudden down pour before the grand finally. I suppose we'll have to wait until New Year's Eve for that one. I hope everyone had a great Independence Day!

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You're probably thinking this is the sad result of this women not taking the "new anti-aging miracle pill," Resveratrol.

Not so. Here's her before picture. Yep. She's just as shocked as you are.

Jim's My Homeboy!

Go get'm Jim! This guy makes me proud to be an Oklahoman!

Nativity in a Sleeper

As I was driving today, I had the great pleasure of seeing a unique nativity scene. Actually, it was pretty normal. Except, instead of using the traditional stable, this person used the sleeper off a yellow semi. I did see this today, and yes, it is the middle of June. It's not necessarily "normal" to have a nativity scene up year round, but personally, I see nothing wrong with it. We need to be reminded of Christ's birth year round. Now, would I have a nativity scene in my yard all year? Ehh...I need job. Does anyone out there need a band director?

A Chinese HUMMER?

The 4x4 behemoth that once descended from the original Humvee, the flagship of the American military, may be heading for China. First of all, just in case you've never noticed, Chinese automobiles are hard to find here in the states. This may have something to do with it.

As you can see, Chinese companies aren't too shabby at copying the designs of popular automobiles manufactered around the world.

The car in the first video may be an older year model. I'm not really sure. In the end, it doesn't matter. Chinese companies are still having problems meeting the crash test standards here in the states. I'm sure they're desperately hoping to break into the American car market at some point, and I have to admit I'm desperately hoping they never do. Quality is my main concern. It seems like everything is going the way of the Chinese. What happens if I don't want to buy cheap junk? There must have been a time when products from China saved consumers money, but I'm not so sure this is the case today. For instance, I bought a good ol' American-made leather belt a long time ago. (The brand was Levi's.) It had to be almost ten years ago. I wore that belt all the time for nine years or so and still received compliments on it. It held together and showed near no wear. (I wore that thing two to four times a week while in college. Once I started teaching, I wore it almost everyday.) Unfortunately, it disappeared around six months ago. Now how a belt disappears is a mystery to me, but it did. I began a search for a good leather belt, but I simply couldn't find one. Granted, it was around Christmas, but all I could find were those junk belts from China. You know the ones that say "Genuine Leather," yet fall apart as soon as you put them on. No joke. A couple of months after losing my favorite belt, I was heading off for a concert. I still wanted to replace my belt, so I stopped off hoping to remedy my belt deficiency. It was around February, so it seemed logical that stores would have recovered from the Christmas rush. I was wrong. They had the same junky belts that I had found months earlier. I thought, "What choice do I have?" So, I bought one. As onlookers gazed with wonder, I put my new belt on in the parking lot. "Wait. What is this? ...the belt I just bought (which is made of 'genuine leather') is cracking and falling apart?" Needless to say, as I was heading home the next day, I took that belt back. I would have taken it back right then, but I was in a bit of a rush. Finally, a couple of months ago, I found a good leather belt by Fossil. It was maybe five to ten dollars more than the junky belt I had bought months earlier. In essence, a junky belt that didn't last one day somehow managed to cost almost as much money as a real leather belt that seems to be holding up quite well. Of course, this is just one story about one product. Maybe this isn't the case with all products. But what if this is the case with all products we buy? Are we paying more for cheap junk? Or did the cheap junk force companies to lower prices on the well-built expensive stuff? Either way, I plead with you America, please stop buying cheap junk. You're only encouraging them. Someday we all may be buying cheap new jalopy cars. Above all, buy American-made products, and while I'm at it, stop voting for crazy people. It's just wrong.

The Link: Who are you really trying to convince?

After sleeping most of the afternoon/evening away trying to get rid of a borderline migraine, I awoke and proceeded to eat supper as the History Channel played in the background. Eventually, there was a commercial for something they called "the link." The commercial states that "this changes everything." In the ad, they lay claim to finding "the" missing link. My first thought was, "Who are these people trying to convince?" It comes across in a very "I told you so" kind of way. As someone that once believed in evolution, I have to say, I've grown tired of arguing this issue. Yet, here I am again. God made me a skeptic. I'm skeptical about everything. I believe nothing without analyzing it and tearing it to shreds. Absolutely everything must make logical sense to me. It's that simple.

I remember being a God-skeptic. I remember believing in evolution, but it didn't take long for me to start doubting science's beloved theory. I began to see problems. I read and I read and I read...and the more I read, the more problems I had. I wondered if I were crazy. How could a musician see issues with this theory, yet scientists go on believing as if nothing were wrong? The first victim of my skepticism was the age of the Earth. We grow up being told our planet is insanely old. Starting in kindergarten, teachers show us fossils and tell us it took a long time for these fossils to form. Well, the fossils are right there in front of our face, so the Earth must be old. Right? Well, it didn't make sense to me. I can remember being a child and having problems with fossils. They just didn't make sense. If my cat, Felix, dies in the back yard, and his body is left untouched, what happens? His carcass rots away. That means it's absolutely impossible for a fossil to take a long time to form, because if it takes too long, there will be nothing left to fossilize. This simple thought was the beginning of my slippery slope. It by no means disproves evolution, but it sure opened the door for a little doubt. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is, life is too complicated to have evolved from nothing. Scientists can't even create life in a lab. How am I suppose to believe it can just arise by chance? Atheists still baffle me. There are tons of websites and blogs dedicated to "disproving" the existence of God. Why? If you believe there is no God, then why waste your time and energy trying to disprove His existence? If there is no life after death...if this life is all you have, why waste it by arguing your worldview and being angry at everyone that disagrees with you? Who are you really trying to convince?