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Solar Study

Continuing my fascination with light, I captured these images of the sun from Point Loma in California.





Going Coastal (part 2)

These first two images were taken on a beautiful, hazy evening in Balboa Park. Of all my photography to date, that silhouette image is my absolute favorite.



I just love the dynamic quality of this water splashing against the rocks in La Jolla.

Going Coastal (part 1)

These two images, one of the pacific ocean at dusk and the other of the San Diego night skyline, were taken from Coronado Island in California.


Haunting the Highlands

I took these surreal photos on the first night of the Highland Games this year, during the calling of the clans.


Ex·cel·i·bate

i can't believe it's not a real word...

ex·cel·i·bate
adj.
1. really, really good at remaining single
2. abstaining from spreadsheet usage, especially by reason of a moral vow

usage examples:
the reason you're the most excelibate person i know is that women tend to go for guys who, you know, shower regularly.

i do my budget with pencil and paper because i'm excelibate.

Older and Wiser

i turned 27 this week. according to every restaurant comment card, church visitor form, and random questionnaire with age-range checkboxes, i'm now officially in my late twenties. no longer do i fit in at any function labeled "young adult." i can't possibly be an "old adult" though, so i guess that means i must be an "adolescent adult." with this new life stage comes a greater level of maturity that i think people are seeing in me, because they're alway saying, "that was a pretty adolescent thing to do." personal growth sure is fulfilling when other people notice.

Targeting the Verile Market

lately i've noticed an inordinate amount of commercials on television related to erectile dysfuction. it seems to me that the corporate pharmecutical conspirators behind this massive effort to Viagrafy the male American population have remained oblivious to a very lucrative market on the other side of the proverbial coin. what about all of those young, single men whose all-too-healthy erectile function doesn't jive with their well-intentioned desire to remain sexually pure before their wedding night?

that's where i come in with a brilliant idea for a new product called AbstiMints. AbstiMints contain chemical and hormonal ingredients that physiologically eliminate a man's ability to participate in carnal knowledge. And they go one step further, giving him such bad breath that no self-respecting woman would even consider giving him a kiss, let alone giving him her whole body. you might be thinking, "if that's true, then AbstiMints must taste pretty bad," but in fact, they're uniquely designed to taste great, while still causing halitosis. AbstiMints simply have every angle covered to ensure prenuptual celibacy for any man.

this idea can't miss. i'm going to make millions.

Good All The Time

since i love rootbeer and vintage things, this faded advertisement was an image that i couldn't pass up.

How Can I Tell...

when you're as wise as i am, people often ask you the really hard questions like, "where does the universe end?" and, "what is the meaning of life?"

no one has ever actually asked me either of those, but another doozy that i get a lot is, "how can i tell whether i'm right-handed or left-handed?"

well, here's the easiest way that i've been able to come up with: the next time you're in a public bathroom where there is a soap dispenser on each side of the sink, see which dispenser you go for. if it's the one to the right of the sink, then you're right-handed. if it's the one to the left of the sink, then you're left-handed. if it's neither, then you disgust me.

Paper Clip vs. Staple

who would win in a fight?

i bet you're thinking it's staple. i mean, the staple is specifically designed to be sharp enough to pierce through a stack of paper. paper clip, on the other hand, just hugs the paper like a scared little girl squeezing her daddy's leg.

here's what you're overlooking though: with a little bit of bending, paper clip has also been known to pick locks. that kind of nefarious activity must have landed paper clip in the clink, where it would have spent years lifting weights and toughening up just to survive. after all of that, would a puny staple even have a chance against the hardened criminal that is paper clip? no way. paper clip wins (and ends up back in prison for assault).

BBQ Trivia

the other day, i learned something really interesting from a radio commercial for syphilis. according to the ad, st. louis consumes more barbeque sauce than any other city in the united states.

you may be asking yourself, "what does that have to do with syphilis?" unfortunately, i can't help you. i don't even know for sure what syphilis is, but apparently it's also very popular in st. louis. i'm not surprised, considering they advertise for it on the radio. they kept saying how easy it is to get, but i couldn't actually figure out where to get it from. as far as i can tell, your best bet is to check for syphilis at the grocery store next to the barbeque sauce.

Lumens (part 6)

yet another in the Lumens series. i have pretty much run out of things to say about them by now.

Ri·stu·pid

i can't believe it's not a real word...

ri·stu·pid
adj.
1. term used to describe something that is as ridiculous as it is stupid

usage example:
In an ironic turn, "ristupid" was voted the ristupidest fake word ever to be made up by anyone.

Renewal

with an unapologetic lack of profundity, i simply have to praise You for being a God who doesn't fix things, but instead, who revels in taking what is broken and making it into something entirely new.

Juice Box vs. Pop Can

who would win in a fight?

(this is the first in a new series where i decide who would win in a fight between an arbitrary pair of inanimate objects)

tough call. Juice Box has that straw to easily squirt fruit juice all over Pop Can. but if Pop Can shakes himself up, he can crack open and drench Juice box with a much stronger blast of foamy pop. plus, pop is acidic right? so pop would eat through cardboard way before juice would eat through metal. Pop Can wins.

Ethically Challenged

last week, the massive corporation that i work for held an assembly of thousands of employees to talk about ethics. from my seat, i had a direct view of the people doing sign language up front for the hearing-impaired. i have to say, there's something about sign language that is really fascinating and beautiful to me (especially during a monotonous ethics presentation), but that's not really where i'm going with this. during the program, someone on one of the videos used the phrase, "people aren't stupid, blind, deaf and dumb." i couldn't help but wonder if that was a little awkward for the interpreters to have to sign.

on a somewhat related note, what's the ethical standard for an able-bodied person using the wheelchair-accessible stalls in the bathroom at work? is that the equivalent of parking in a handicapped spot? that wasn't covered in our ethics training, but my conscience tells me it's a pretty low thing to do. then again, what if it's the only open stall within a 200 foot radius and you've got a potentially disabling bowel situation going on? do you qualify then?

that's a moral quandry i hope i'm never forced to solve.

Am·bi·dext·ros·it·y

i can't believe it's not a real word...

am·bi·dext·ros·it·y
n.
1. someone with an exceptional amount of multi-faceted skill
2. a creation requiring extraordinarily multi-faceted talent

usage examples:
gerald can fix every kind of car ever made - he's a mechanical ambidextrosity.

this ambidextrosity of a film came together through the collaboration of so many amazing artists.

NOTE: This should not be confused with ambidexterity (the quality of being ambidexterous), which is a real word, but has a significantly different meaning. I refuse to believe that ambidextrosity isn't a real word (even though I did make it up). According to a recent study, "ambidextrosity" makes way more sense than 87% of real words in the english language.

Walk the Line

i'm just going to get this out of the way right now: there's nothing i can possibly say about Johnny Cash here that hasn't already been said. the man's music is legendary and rightly so. it is simultaneously simple and completely distinct, raw and well-developed, accessible and challenging, understated and powerful. but you know all of that. his music has been fascinating people for 50 years.

the life of the man who created that music is equally as fascinating and Walk the Line explores a dramatic chunk of it. the movie has already won and continues to win all kinds of critical awards, so i'm sure i have as much original insight into it as i do into his music. however, that won't stop me from reflecting on the film a little.

although i came into the theater already knowing some of the key details of Cash's life, i still found myself engaged throughout. that's a testament to the much-lauded performances of Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. the events portrayed in the film begin in Cash's childhood, and span well into the heart of his musical career. but Cash's rise to musical fame is only the fabric onto which the prominent threads of his damaging addiction to drugs and his tumultuous love for June Carter are woven throughout most of the narrative and hemmed together at the climax of the film.

every biopic must choose which details of a complex human life to focus on and which to ignore. they can never cover all the complexities of the real story and in that sense, it is difficult for a biopic to be entirely satisfying. Walk the Line certainly followed this trend, in that it wasn't perfectly satisfying for me, but it did come close. it mostly made the right choices and focused on the details of Cash's life that gave genuine insight into his humanity without reducing him to a caricature (any more than he had been prior to this film, anyway). my biggest complaint, and it's a minor one, is that more development could have been devoted to Cash's relationship with his first wife as well as June Carter's relationship woes with her previous husbands. a little more fleshing out of those relationships could have added a slightly richer dimension to the overall story, i think, but even without that, the film stands strong.

the ultimate strength of the film for me is that the great performances, appropriate scripting choices and solid direction come together to honestly explore the theme of beautiful redemption in the midst of intense and horrible brokenness. it's a theme that is so true to Cash's life experience and reflects a faith that endured well beyond the details portrayed in the film.

Hy·poth·es·ism

i can't believe it's not a real word...

hy·poth·es·ism
n.
1. a much better and smarter-sounding way of saying hypothesis

usage example:
i don't yet have enough data to confirm my hypothesism.


for you etymologists out there, 'hypothesism' is the cooler, older brother who cast an impossible-to-live-up-to shadow over younger brother, 'hypothesis' who, in a fit of jealous rage, made a deal with the mafia to forever suppress 'hypthothesism' as a word. but now, older brother is back, baby boy! here's some sample dialogue to try out with your scientist friends:

YOU: "are you working on some experiments to validate your latest hypothesism?"

SCIENTIST FRIEND: "you mean hypothesis?"

YOU: "no, hypothesism."

SCIENTIST FRIEND: "hypothesism isn't a word. i think you mean hypothesis."

YOU: [smug chuckle] "yeah right. stick to science and leave the english to me, pal."

SCIENTIST FRIEND: "ok. but i'm pretty sure you're wrong."

YOU: [even more smug] "yeah well, you're entitled to your own hypothesism."

SCIENTIST FRIEND: "shut up."

YOU: "you are so sad."

Untitled

questions like "why?" and "how?" are always on the tip of my tongue,
and it seems that you never really answer them for me.
instead, you continually answer the question that you know i meant to ask,
the question my heart has always been asking...
"who?"
"who are you, God?"

Appreciate the Process

[DISCLAIMER: this dialogue is loosely inspired by actual conversation possibly overheard or participated in at my job. the names have been changed to protect the ridiculous.]

MANAGER JIM: [to the staff] "There is a process in place for changing the
process, but it's currently being changed."

LACKEY #165643: [raising hand] "I'm sorry, what was that?"

MANAGER JIM: "That should have been clear. The process change process
is being changed."