Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Funniest Thing I Saw This Week

So I was working on ordering from the mega-site Oriental Trading and came across this comment that I had to copy and paste into a document for later retrieval. The comment was concerning the quality of a reindeer hoop throwing accessory and, well, here it is in all its glory.

This thing would still be total garbage even if it was free. I would have gotten more enjoyment watching my money flush down the toilet.

Beautiful. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually use the sight and their products are fun, but I can sympathize with this customers complain. Until another laugh-keep writing!

Job

I recently gave a message at my church from James 5:7-11. Job sticks out as one of those Biblical characters whose life should be studied and understood for the example it is. Here is an exert from my message when I got to verse 11.

Job was the richest man living in his day and had everything one could want in life. He had cattle, servants, many children and wealth. He was a good man, God even said so to Satan. Satan challenges God, saying it is only because of all those blessings Job remained a good man. He only seems to love God, if everything is taken away he would turn his back and hate God. God allows Satan to basically destroy Job’s life, even killing his children and ruining his health. Jobs’ wife tells him to curse God and die, to commit suicide. No one has been humbled lower than Job, but it didn’t stop there. Jobs’ three friends came by to comfort him, and turned instead to accuse him of hiding sin. You see it is the same old idea, only when you are doing something wrong God is supposed to punish you. They argued with him, asking what he had done, but Job continued to claim innocence. In all of these things Job stayed true to God. Eventually God Himself comes and talks to Job. He also rebukes Jobs’ friends. He then blesses Job with twice as much as before. Even giving him many more children. Some have said, jokingly, he must have also been blessed with another wife! The thing to remember with Job was he never was told why God allowed all of those terrible things to happen to him. He never saw the reason for his suffering, but he still believed and followed God. This is the point James wants us to realize I think. We may never know the reason for the trials we have in our lives, but God knows and we must be faithful to Him. Jesus is coming again, remember how important that is. Be patient brothers and sisters.

It was a blessing to have the chance to speak in our church with my wife translating the message into Japanese. Check out James Chapter 5 verses 7-11 and see if it encourages you. Patience is not an easy thing in our modern, high-paced, lifestyle.

 

GBAT and the Interesting idea of a Gamebook

Recently, while researching the idea of novel and plot formation, I stumbled on the genre of books called gamebooks. These were mainly popularized in the late 70’s through to the 90’s, at which time RPG style games slayed their paper fathers. In the research I came across a free program called G.B.A.T which is really interesting from a formatting and idea generating viewpoint. Here is a screenshot of the software. I am designing an animal based gamebook for my daughter and this is what it looks like in the flowchart to date. She gave me a list of animals she wanted in a story so I am working on it as a project. I will definitely be giving this format a second look in the future!GBAT Screenshot

Honeybees in February

I took the good weather and decided to hunt down some bees if they were out of their hives yet. My memory was seeing bees in November, two years ago, at a large park above Kanazawa City known as Nodayama Park. Armed with my camera my daughter and I found a group of camellia bushes that were planted to show off all different varieties. The temps hit somewhere around 18C and suddenly I heard them. There was as group of three to five of them working on a pinkish flowered bush. Later I snapped them working on a round white flower bush. It is February 12th, a great early date. My hunt for bees (and honey)  in 2016 has begun!

BeFunky Collagebees

Write Honey Write

Proverbs 16:24 ESV

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Honey?”

Some people call their loved ones by this name. Others ask it when they taste something sweet. The Bible puts it into action to describe good things.

Honey? You’re searching for honey?”

Bees actually. Honey comes later.”

I came within 400 meters of finding honey a year ago. My bee box had guided me in the direction of a nearby hive. Using a calculation I found on-line I estimated it to be within 400 meters of my house. This was not close enough to help me pinpoint where it might be. I live in a city and there are plenty of things within a 400 meter radius of my dwelling. What is a bee box you might be wondering?

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I designed my box after seeing different plans on the internet, adapting a $1 store wooden box into a two chamber, light trap as it is known by insect hunters. Light guides the bees from one compartment to another where I close the trap door and do the next step. It is a fascinating project for figuring out where hives might be.

Proverbs 24:13 ESV

My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.

Honey has many health benefits and I wanted to get some bees to reduce the cost of, and add some knowledge about, honey. Benefits to health include; cancer preventative, ulcer reducer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, increased athletic endurance/performance, reduces cough and throat irritation. So saith Google.

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Oddly, after my first few months of trying to do the bee box method winter came. Then the trouble followed where there were very few bees anywhere (part of the global bee decimation?) and I could not keep up the search. This spring I will try and find them again, I’ve got a couple good ideas, one of which included staking out bees that inhabit the City’s largest graveyard. I leave you with a tip from Proverbs again, this on moderation and honey.

Proverbs 25:16 ESV

If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.

Don’t worry, I promise to only eat enough.

It’s Noir Time

When I think of film noir and its influence on how I have come to look at movies from a different angle a couple movies stand out in my mind. These two Bogart and Bacall movies are great movies, even if The Big Sleep leaves more questions than answers in its plot line.

Dark Passage was a movie I stumbled onto while looking for a movie I wanted to find, and it quickly became perhaps my favorite movie, not least since the camera is pointed directly at Lauren Bacall most of the time. Well this had to do with my search for the Christmas mingled first person detective film The Lady in the Lake. I had seen a portion of this film, when the main character Phillip Marlowe escapes a frame up by crawling to a phone booth and calling for help. This is all shot from the first person perspective and haunted me until I was able to dig it up. On the way I found Dark Passage.

This movie also starts in the first person perspective of Vincent Parry (Bogart) who escapes San Quinton Prison. On the run he stumbles on Irene Jansen (Bacall) who saves him. Parry eventually leaves only to meet a taxi driver who helps him get plastic surgery from a secret doctor. The surgery scene is one of the scariest, most interesting, pieces of the film. After the operation the film switches to third person. With two people playing against him, especially Madge Rapf (Agnes Moorehead), all I have to say is there is a side ways happy ending. It’s setting, plot and depth of character is what stands out as the best of what film really can be. Even though this film uses a simple and effective filming perspective to add to the intrigue.

“I saw an alternate ending for The Big Sleep.”

“You did?” I was interested in what my friend and film expert Chris was about to say.

“Humphrey Bogart is laying in a hospital bed after getting hit in the head again.  Doctor comes up and says ‘It was close, but you’ll live.’”

It is one of the idiosyncrasies of this film that the main character gets knocked out enough to make a hockey player cringe. I like the Big Sleep for several reasons, not least because it makes every attempt to punch up the script possible with great effect. Bacall is mixed up, Bogart funny and angry, cool and bitter, and in love. There is song, danger and blood. Gambler Eddy Mars (John Ridgely) and his boys get their deserts, Carmen gets out of it safe, the law gets what they want and Marlowe gets the girl. With a plot punched up, and almost knocked out, it is the quintessence of confusion without being silly. After all people die, there is either extortion over drugs or nude photos or murder (or all three?) in a film set in 1946.

I will have to follow this up with a review of The Lady in the Lake, and a completely different film series-the three Sabata movies.

My advice, see these films, they’re great and you just might learn something, keep your eyes open.

INFLUENZA

“Somebody stop her she’s going insane!”

So says Peppermint Patty to Marcy.

“When are you going to face up to reality!”

Marcy is good with come backs.

I drank down the 6 year aged ginsing drink and wondered if it would kill me. I mean not that I thought it would, but the idea crossed my mind reading wikipedia and the explanation of the influenza.

“May cause cardiac arrest.”

OK, that might be a stretch. I mean the virus would cause the death not the energy drink itself, but hey I can dream-right? Or would worry be a better word?

Influenza is a funny thing. I have it right now and the doctor gave me a pile of medicine to take for a week. I had a fever, low grade as it was, when I stepped in the door of the clinic. The next day I haven’t had a fever at all. I don’t know exactly what I have. The test said I have influenza +A after they shoved the test swab to the back of my head!

So the doc was a bit worried about me having asthma, a condition I have never had in my entire life. Influenza can make asthma more pronounced, but I don’t think I have it. Never have. I think I know what it really is-I’m just out of shape.

“I admit, sometimes the world needs rain, but it doesn’t need baseball games.” So says Lucy.

I had to take five days of work off, and as a self employed teacher that is a problem. But my student come first.

“You’re a fanatic and your losing your mind!”

So says Linus.

Virus, get out. I am sick of you, making me take off work, making me take these pills, while not even making me sick. Influenza, take it or leave it.