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Showing posts from 2012

Holiday Lights

Starbucks has broken out the red coffee cups, so we're officially in the holiday season.  Don't like it? Feel free to stay in your house with the heat turned up, playing your "summer jams" playlist for a few more weeks.  But let's face it: the nights are getting longer, the days are getting colder, and we're entering that special season of the year once again.

No matter how you celebrate them, the holidays are different from the rest of the year.  People are more open, more willing to see the good in others, more receptive to the idea that miracles can happen.  Now, as we approach the darkest months of the year, we look for light.  Of course, for this very reason, the holidays are anything but "the most wonderful time of the year" for some, especially those who have lost loved ones or who find themselves in dire straits.  For the widower going through the first (or tenth) Christmas without his beloved wife, for the single mom who can't afford pr…

Act

On Friday, I talked about the power of choice.  You can choose the light or the dark, and you change the world with each choice you make.  I said that, in a world where one person can traumatize an entire region with his actions, it's up to the rest of us to choose the light.

Of course, choice is meaningless if it isn't accompanied by action.  You can choose to believe all kinds of things, crazy or sane, positive or destructive, but they have no weight until you act on them.  I, and others like me, need to respond to this horrible event, not just feel bad about it. We need to spread a little light, a little joy, and drown out the darkness that one man brought into all of our lives.

So, after much thought and bouncing my ideas off of some trusted friends, here's my idea: I want to give people a night at the movies. Not just a few people, but whole theaters full of people. I want to go to theaters in the Denver area (and especially the area around Aurora) and say to everyone…

Choose

In the aftermath of last night's mass shooting at the midnight showing of Batman here in Colorado, everyone is already trying to understand what happened and, more importantly, whom to blame.  Did the movie make him do it?  Is it Hollywood's fault for constructing bullet-ridden fantasies and foisting them on the public every summer?  Is it the NRA's fault for making sure he had access to the weapons he used?  Is it the government's fault for not enforcing gun control policies or not banning the sale of assault weapons?  Is it the media's fault for covering these sorts of terrible events 24/7 and drawing crazies to the spotlight like moths to a flame? 

Let's be very clear here.  One person is at fault: the shooter.

No one made him do this, he wasn't tricked into committing a heinous outrage against humanity.  He chose to attack a group of strangers, he methodically planned that attack, and he carried it out.  At any point, he could have turned back and not d…

Heil Valley Ranch Kicked My Butt, Repeatedly

Here are my first impressions of mountain biking at Heil Valley Ranch, after three years of saying, "I should really give that a try."

I need a better suspension.

Heil Valley Ranch should be renamed, "The Boulder Rock Garden," because that's the only thing you'll find on the trails.  Big rocks, small rocks, loose rocks, pointy rocks.  You know the terrain is bad when you choose to ride in the deep sand because it offers a more pleasant experience.  After the first 45 minutes on this trail that would make Sisyphus weep, I longed to see a tree root, tree trunk, snake, charging bull elk, anything soft to run into.

Riding a hardtail bike on these trails is the physical equivalent of hiring an army of gnomes to kick you in the urethra at the rate of one kick per second for an hour.  And that's on the way up.  On the way down, the gnome army marches across your taint double-time.  I have decided that the "Wapiti Trail,"despite its quaint Native Amer…

20 Years, Really? Really, 20 Years

The final graduation ceremony, whether from high school, college, or graduate school, is an inflection point in each of our lives.  With it, we cross the frontier from the sheltered world of parents and professors into the great unknown of career, family, and complete responsibility for ourselves.

That inflection point came for me 20 years -- half a lifetime -- ago when I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.  Now, as my classmates gather in Philadelphia for our 20th reunion and I lie on my back suffering from a stomach virus, it seems like a good time to reflect.
20 years?  Has it really been that long?  It feels like only a moment.  No, wait, it feels like an eternity.  I guess it depends upon how closely you look.  I don't feel twice as old as I was when I graduated college.  Maybe a few years older, definitely a few years wiser, but 20?  Come on, it can't be….
1992: Graduation.  Before I even graduate, I'm working at the one job in the world that lies at the in…

Hollywood.bomb, Chapter 9

Trying to get back to that mythical "one chapter a week" average that I promised at the beginning.  Speaking of beginnings, if you want to start reading there, use this page to get there.


Chapter 9
"I’ll email my code to you this weekend," Frank said to Stu as they both prepared to leave for the day.  "You can look it over and integrate it with your pieces before Monday.  Once my part’s done, yours shouldn’t take long at all."

As a rule, ADD strictly forbade weekend and evening work, except in case of project emergencies.  Their motto was, "Anthony works enough extra hours for all of us."  For the sake of everyone’s sanity, however, every project team was given the leeway to determine what constituted an emergency.  After two days, Frank and Stu had made some good progress on the prototype and would clearly be done in time to meet the requirements of the bakeoff.  Frank knew that he wouldn’t be able to relax until it was completely done, though, …

Hollywood.bomb, Chapter 10

Chapter 10

It was a surly bunch that gathered at Logan International Airport at 5:00 Monday morning, and Stephen was far from the happiest of the lot. As he shuffled through the sliding glass doors into the terminal, he saw Mark waving cheerfully to him from across the terminal, with David and Stu beside him. Stephen wavered for a moment’s muddled deliberation. Choices: Mark (far too happy for the hour); Dunkin’ Donuts (chocolate donut or glazed stick. I wish they hadn’t done away with the crullers); Starbucks (coffee with a kick like a donkey, scone).

Deciding he needed the jolt more than a donut or company at that moment, he waved back at Mark to show that he had seen him before turning away to join the line of coffee junkies jonesing for their morning fix. Looking ahead in the line, he saw Kelvin and Frank, deep in animated debate, or at least what passed for animated at this time of the morning. Frank was gesticulating halfheartedly and trying to work up a good head of stea…

“Just as the Founders Intended”

There’s a lot of talk on the news these days about “returning America to its roots as a Christian country, just as the founding fathers intended.” There’s even a whole “historical reclamation” movement that has set out to prove that the framers of the Constitution fully intended for the government of the United States to be ruled by not only Christian values, but Christian morals and practices as well.  This is a fundamentally flawed argument from both a practical and historical viewpoint, as anyone who looks at the whole story can see.  That would be fine if this were an academic argument, since a plenitude of hot air can be wasted in the halls of academia before anyone else even knows what they’re talking about in many cases.  Unfortunately, these ideas and beliefs are at the heart of this year’s Presidential election, so we not only won’t be able to escape them for the next 9 months, but they may fundamentally affect our lives for the next four years.

As a Christian and an intelle…

Hollywood.Bomb, Chapter 8

It's been a while since I posted the last chapter, but here it is.  Enjoy.  As always, you can go here for the full chapter list.


Chapter 8
Stephen returned home in the small hours to find his mother-in-law in the kitchen warming milk in a saucepan.  Without a pause in her stirring, she greeted him with a cheerful kiss on the cheek.  Stephen checked his watch to be sure that he had reset it to Eastern Standard Time before asking her why she was up.

"The baby’s hungry, dear," she whispered, "so Jenny is upstairs feeding her now."

"How much is she eating?" Stephen asked in alarm, looking at the saucepan.  Knowing that the help would be leaving soon, he envisioned himself warming milk by the gallon in the dead of night, while upstairs a monstrous child roared for its midnight snack.

"About as much as Jenny can produce, I suppose.  They’re very much in synch."  She saw Stephen eyeing the hot milk and added, "Oh, this isn’t for Sarah.  It’s f…