Our Fancy-Pants Pine Tree Hunt

I realized only a few days ago that it has been NINE YEARS since we last cut our own tree for Christmas. That record was finally broken today when my sister, her boyfriend, and I went up Rist Canyon and visited the Christmas Tree Ranch.

This is a few miles up from the old Davis Ranch, which was caught in the High Park fire in 2012, but is basically the same format: drive in, get directions from the down-to-earth farmer that owns the place, park where he tells you, hike up into his property through the snow, meet a trio of fuzzy huskies, pick a glittery, snow-laden fir tree, saw it down six inches to the ground, then drag it back to your pickup truck to drive out while paying at the property gate. Yes, we drove my new/used truck that I bought in September!

I think the fact that it triggered my sister’s nostalgia button combined with the obsession of the mid-20th-century post-war Christmas music and the presence of her super-cool boyfriend, Andy Rudy, made this trip amazing.

Plus we stopped on the way down to pick up my Mom and take her home to help set up and decorate. Awesome times.

That is to say, we had gone to my house first and simply set mine up in a similar stand, but left it alone. A bunch of my newer tropical plants had been waterlogged, so I was dealing with musty smells as soon as I moved their pots. But later on, after I came home from church, I stopped by a Walmart and picked up two 100-light strings of LEDs. You know those $6 boxes you can get? Well, being FAIRLY excited to finally get mine decorated too, at least minimally, I went home, turned on some music and proceeded to break out those packages.

Let me just say – LED Christmas lights are the worst. “Warm White” constitutes a putrid yellow that is just as sterile and boring as anything. Plus a PWM or something to handle the 110VAC causes this flicker, especially in the clear glass mini-bulbs that makes that feeling of throwing up even worse.

Plus my tree stand, though similar to the one I used as a kid, and the one my sister got, is the most flimsy thing I’ve ever dealt with. The bolts twisted in the stand, and once tightened into the trunk of the tree, would actually twist out of place, tearing through the bark, and letting the tree topple anyway.

Depressed and kinda sad, I shut everything down and decided I needed to not worry about it right away.

Then Monday, I stopped by a Walmart again, this time picking up 300-light strings of incandescents. One package of white, one package of multicolored. As soon as I got home, I was feeling much more hopeful, though the tree was still wanting to topple and twist. However, as soon as I put that first white string in the outlet, I was FINALLY into it. THAT was the ambiance I was looking for.

An hour later, after a bit of re-stringing due to unbalanced white vs. multicolored sections, I finally decided to call it good!

Right now, the tree still wants to topple, but the top end rests against my internal gable and is pretty stable that way.

And despite not playing music WHILE stringing this giant plant, I did turn on my old go-to afterward while playing a game, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Everything, and marathoned the full collection of converted tapes and ripped CDs of 30+ years. More than makes up for Saturday night’s debacle.

Foundation, Part II (The Encyclopedists)

“Foundation” by Isaac Asimov, excerpt collated by psikeyhackr at sffworld.com

Said Yate Fulham: “And just how do you arrive at that remarkable conclusion, Mr. Mayor?”
“In a rather simple way. It merely required the use of that much-neglected commodity – common sense. You see, there is a branch of human knowledge known as symbolic logic, which can be used to prune away all sorts of clogging deadwood that clutters up human language.”
“What about it?” said Fulham.
“I applied it. Among other things, I applied it to this document here. I didn’t really need to for myself because I knew what it was all about, but I think I can explain it more easily to five physical scientists by symbols rather than by words.”
Hardin removed a few sheets of paper from the pad under his arm and spread them out. “I didn’t do this myself, by the way,” he said. “Muller Holk of the Division of Logic has his name signed to the analyses, as you can see.”
Pirenne leaned over the table to get a better view and Hardin continued:
“The message from Anacreon was a simple problem, naturally, for the men who wrote it were men of action rather than men of words. It boils down easily and straightforwardly to the unqualified statement, when in symbols is what you see, and which in words, roughly translated, is, ‘You give us what we want in a week, or we take it by force.'”
There was silence as the five members of the Board ran down the line of symbols, and then Pirenne sat down and coughed uneasily.
Hardin said, “No loophole, is there, Dr. Pirenne?”
“Doesn’t seem to be.”
“All right.” Hardin replaced the sheets. “Before you now you see a copy of the treaty between the Empire and Anacreon – a treaty, incidentally, which is signed on the Emperor’s behalf by the same Lord Dorwin who was here last week – and with it a symbolic analysis.”
The treaty ran through five pages of fine print and the analysis was scrawled out in just under half a page.
“As you see, gentlemen, something like ninety percent of the treaty boiled right out of the analysis as being meaningless, and what we end up with can be described in the following interesting manner:
“Obligations of Anacreon to the Empire: None!
“Powers of the Empire over Anacreon: None!”
Again the five followed the reasoning anxiously, checking carefully back to the treaty, and when they were finished, Pirenne said in a worried fashion, “That seems to be correct.”
“You admit, then, that the treaty is nothing but a declaration of total independence on the part of Anacreon and a recognition of that status by the Empire?”
“It seems so.”
“And do you suppose that Anacreon doesn’t realize that, and is not anxious to emphasize the position of independence – so that it would naturally tend to resent any appearance of threats from the Empire? Particularly when it is evident that the Empire is powerless to fulfill any such threats, or it would never have allowed independence.”
“But then,” interposed Sutt, “how would Mayor Hardin account for Lord Dorwin’s assurances of Empire support? They seemed –” He shrugged. “Well, they seemed satisfactory.”
Hardin threw himself back in the chair. “You know, that’s the most interesting part of the whole business. I’ll admit I had thought his Lordship a most consummate donkey when I first met him – but it turned out that he was actually an accomplished diplomat and a most clever man. I took the liberty of recording all his statements.”
There was a flurry, and Pirenne opened his mouth in horror.
“What of it?” demanded Hardin. “I realize it was a gross breach of hospitality and a thing no so-called gentleman would do. Also, that if his lordship had caught on, things might have been unpleasant; but he didn’t, and I have the record, and that’s that. I took that record, had it copied
out and sent that to Holk for analysis, also.”
Lundin Crast said, “And where is the analysis?”
“That,” replied Hardin, “is the interesting thing. The analysis was the most difficult of the three by all odds. When Holk, after two days of steady work, succeeded in eliminating meaningless statements, vague gibberish, useless qualifications – in short, all the goo and dribble – he found he had nothing left. Everything canceled out.”
“Lord Dorwin, gentlemen, in five days of discussion didn’t say one damned thing, and said it so you never noticed. There are the assurances you had from your precious Empire.”
Hardin might have placed an actively working stench bomb on the table and created no more confusion than existed after his last statement.


I’ve only had my domain switched from my Blogger to the new WordPress site for a mere two hours and already I have to moderate a spam comment.

Didn’t take them long.

That’s a lot of code I’ve “example’d”

Not to say it isn’t useful. I certainly hope it is.

Oh and it’s that time of year where I switch out blogger templates. Maybe this time I’ll make it more straightforward and automated. Maybe.

Which reminds me: this is the first year that my MUSH will be auto-deploying its Christmas theme. Pretty excited for that!

Anyway, that’s all for now.


So a few weeks ago, I was doing cameras at church. Or maybe it was during the 6:33, our Tuesday men’s group. In either case, the subject was brought up in the sermon that after Jesus’ crucifiction, Peter had denied Jesus three times, and all that, he basically got really depressed, dropped his calling and went back to fishing.

The verse that really got me in this sermon though, was Mark 16:7 – “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'”

Continue reading “Petra”

Merry Christmas

So day after Thanksgiving is when you break out Christmas stuff, right? Well in keeping with my little thing (I won’t call it a tradition), last year, I’ve changed up my blogger template to a Christmast theme. except this year I have a ton more knowledge of CSS, and so I’ve been able to pull off some pretty funky effects. And besides that I created a new background image (the star), so it isn’t so boring now.

I will STILL not break and use cute pastel backgrounds and things, because that’s lame. Nor will I upgrade to the new Rails-style templates that they have in the blogger template builder. I’m sticking with the old Minimal Black style by Douglas Bowman, and changing up the css colors and background images. So enjoy! I’ve got backups of my old style, so that’ll be coming back in about a month and a half. 😉


Two new MAJOR developments in my life of social networking and/or online accounts.

1) I discovered a Christian guy named Steve McGranahan who calls himself “The world’s strongest redneck.” He’s got all his videos and beliefs up at http://www.stevemcgranahan.com.

2) Also, even more recently (by a couple hours) I registered with Wikipedia as an editor. I don’t think I’ll do much there, but I like to try to keep modern stuff updated properly, since I had a good excuse today which didn’t pan out after all. Simple profile page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Depwl9992

That’s all for now!

Shepherd vs. Shepherd

The flock: we can either have a shepherd who tends his flock and keeps them happy, well fed, healthy and safe. But a shepherd can also train his flock with strength. Life isn’t going to be all safety and rest. It will have hardship as well. We, as a flock can also be trained in strength, defense and even combat. At least this is what I could see as a potential goal of the body of Christ. A pastor could baby his flock along, exerting all the fruits of the spirit, but skirting problems that arrise to avoid conflict, or he could train that group of people to take the bad situations head-on and grow strong from them. Just a thought…

Why do we believe what we believe?

So I just had a thought brought up by someone. I won’t get into details why, but pretty much it’s a questioning of my beliefs about stuff. Stuff like, “why is playing with ‘supposed’ demonic things dangerous?” and “why do I believe that following Jesus the best way for the non-eternal portion of our lives as well as for the ONLY way for the eternal?”

Truly, I have no intention of recanting ANY of my beliefs on these things EVER, but my answer to those questions is really only a very weak “because it’s what I’ve always believed.” There is no valid why, really. And I really want there to be.

Thoughts? Not that I won’t stop believing this way, but in all sincerity, why should I keep on believing this way?

Continue reading “Why do we believe what we believe?”