Thursday, December 29, 2005

Random Ramblings

Sitting in the kitchen again, this time on my own (or should I say my wife's) laptop. The new hard drive arrived on Tuesday afternoon and I spent that evening and most of yesterday installing it and getting Windows XP with all of the update patches and hardware drivers reinstalled.

I've been playing around with some software today and keep running into things that still need to be installed...I didn't realize there were so many different programs that I used without thinking about them. I do a lot of photo editing and work with sound files, so Paintshop Pro and Sonic Foundry were a couple of the first things I installed right after the full MS Office suite and Filezilla. But there are so many other little things that run in the background that you tend to forget about. Things like Adobe Reader and Flash plus a bunch of video codecs and assorted support goodies.

No earth shaking spiritual insights today. I suppose I could come up with some sort of allegory about the people who work behind the scenes and how we forget about them to parallel my experiences with software installation, but I'm too zoned out right now to make too many relevant comments on that.

I ran across a blog this morning by a fellow Christian who edits the weekly bulletin for a mega-church. He was complaining about some problems he ran into with the color copy machine they use. A lot of it was familiar to me, I suffer similar things on a smaller scale fairly often. I found myself a bit envious that they had a color copier...slap myself on the wrist...shame, shame, shame. He produces a little over 1000 bulletins a week, 5 times the number we use. Their church also has two separate services to accommodate the large number of members. An interesting blog.

I'm sitting here thinking about going downtown and picking up the new listings for job openings at the local hospital. Don't know how many of you have heard, but my job with the school will probably be terminated at the end of this school year according to the superintendent. I've been trying to keep an eye open for employment possibilities of a similar nature, so if any of you know of an employer looking for a good computer technician, steer them my way.

Well, that's it for this morning...I'll see if I can come up with something a little more inspiring for my next post.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Auld Lang Syne

I'm just sitting here at the kitchen table in the early morning hours, surfing the blogs on my borrowed laptop. I noticed a dab of lemon pudding on the wireless card, a leftover from last night's Christmas dinner with my wife's brother and sister. The rest of the family is still fast asleep. It's nice to be able to sleep in on a weekday, makes me feel a little bit guilty that a major portion of the local population is already on their way to work and I can take time to sit here and goof off. One of the many perks of working for a school district. You don't have to go to work when you get a bad snow, just about every major holiday off and long paid vacations at Christmas and over the summer. Unfortunately, getting up at the crack of dawn for so many years has programmed me and I rarely am able to sleep much past 7 a.m., so here I am blogging away until the rest of the family decides it's time to wake up.

Christmas is pretty much over, folks are now looking forward to the new year or looking back at the year we are about to finish off. One of the blogs I happened to pause and look at for a minute or two this morning asked the question "How do you want to be remembered?" and it's gotten me to thinking about that subject. I've been thinking about people I remember that have passed on, not just recently but throughout my life. What do I remember about them?

For example, my grandparents. All of them are now long gone, most of them passed away before I was 10 years old. I can remember my grandfather on Dad's side sitting in his big brown recliner chair in the front room. I can remember what his voice sounded like and that he always had a smile on his face. That's about it. Grandma was a good cook, her chicken sandwiches were always a holiday treat. She tended to whistle very softly when she was really busy.

My grandmother on Mom's side was a lot different. She led a hard life and seemed to be uncomfortable around children. I don't have many fond memories of visiting her or my two uncles who still lived with her. For some reason they never called me by my first name, they always addressed me by my middle name. I can remember sitting on her couch when Mom went to visit, Dad rarely came along. There was a big coal stove in the middle of the tiny parlor and I would patiently watch the fire flicker through the panes of glass in it's door while Mom chatted with her about who knows what. About the only time there wasn't a fire in that stove was in the hottest part of the summer. When I pestered Mom about leaving often enough she would make me go outside to play by myself. No cousins to play with like there were at my other grandmother's house, I couldn't wait to go home.

It got me to thinking, how will I be remembered? I know my immediate family will have a lot of memories about me, my kids and maybe grandkids...but how about everyone else? I guess a lot of folks will probably say "he knew a lot about computers" or "he wrote a good church bulletin." Most folks will remember what a big fellow I am...sort of hard to miss that. I've had a lot of time to make an impression on a lot of people I have met over the years. Hopefully most of them were good impressions. I would like to be remembered for more than my computer and writing skills, but I'll take what I can get.

One person I know won't forget me is my Savior. What a terrible thing it would be to finally meet him face to face and have him say "Depart, I never knew you."

Friday, December 23, 2005

Am I a chicken or a pig?

Christmas is just a couple of days away and my wife was busy last night doing her "crafty" stuff. For those of you that don't know her, she's a talented artist and enjoys making hand-painted items. One of the things she was working on last night was a picture frame she had purchased for her sister (shhhh...don't tell her). It has little roosters around the border and her sister collects chicken chatzkes (did I spell that right?) stuff with chickens on it. She wanted to make it special and so she asked me to get on the Internet and see if I could find any "chicken quotes" that she could use to create something caligraphic to put in the frame.

Most of the quotes I found were old "why did the chicken cross the road" jokes, and there were even a few porn sites that Google suggested when I searched for "chicken quotes"...what's with that, people get excited looking at plucked chickens?. Anyway, one of the quotes caught my attention. It's attributed to Martina Navratalova, the tennis player:

"The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed. "

That's a really funny quote to me, but if you think about it long enough you realize it's kind of significant as well. I got to thinking, "Am I a chicken, or am I a pig?" I guess a lot of the time, I'm just a chicken. Not in the frightened sense, but in the sense that I just get marginally involved with some things. I help out, I lend a hand, but I'm not really totally committed. I don't give it my all. I leave some dry crusts and move on. I suppose we all are like that with some things, with life as hectic as it is these days, there's not enough time to make a full committment to every little thing.

When it comes to spiritual things, I need to be more piggy. I think I am committed to what and who I believe in. I don't think that I just give it lip service, but sometimes I wonder if I'm as truly, deeply and totally committed as some of my brothers and sisters around me.

The things of the world sometimes intrude in my life when I try to be "churchy." I find myself distracted and pulled away to do inconsequential things when I should be praying or studying my Bible. Some of the things, like the fixing other people's computer problems, I look at as a part of my ministry...helping other people. I enjoy doing it, but is it really committment or is it just window dressing? I sometimes wonder, am I truly committed or am I just playing the game? Is it like that for you? I wonder.