a realistic dose of cynicism

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Look what I got in the mail today…

three-tacks1

You know everyone needs ninja star thumbtacks.

Of course… what would plastic injection-molded fake ninja star thumbtacks be without an accompanying warning label?

single-tack1

Ah! There it is… hmm, you don’t like the webcam you just bought? Well, I can fix that:

tack-box

Much better.

What does it say about me?

“don’t mess with me.”

“unless you want me to… pin your papers to this corkboard here.”

Yeah, that’s right. Be afraid.

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And the winner is…

Yup, that’s right… ShamWOW trounced the runner-up, the George Foreman Grill, 55%-to-44% (margin of error: 5.4999999999999%).Your champion… the ShamWOW:

shamwow

Does anyone else think he looks like a fish? A barracuda? or a shark? Maybe even an Olympic diver, who uses the ShamWOW as a towel? ShamWOWel?

He’s gotta be some sort of aquatic… thing. Someone please agree with me, or I’m giving back my multiple doctorates in Oceanography.

Filed under: debunking infomythcials, ,

In case you wondered what to do with leftover aluminum foil:

hat_crop

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A detail-oriented God.

I think it’s easy for us, being mere human beings, to get caught up in the details and minor intricacies and tiny nuances of our lives. We’re not sure about what college we should go to, what we should study when we get there, whether to go to grad school or head straight for a job-hunt. We wonder about how best to spend every second of our lives, trying our best to meet and talk to everyone in an effort to prevent our treasured relationships from being thrown like chaff to the gust of neglect. We wonder who our future spouses will be, or even if God has one in store for us. We sometimes even wonder what’s going to happen in a situation in which we have no control, as if our actions would be altered by knowing the ultimate outcome.

Far too often, we get absorbed in the details of life; you can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s only natural. We like knowing how things will transpire. We thirst for truth, quenched only by revelation. Medically speaking… patients with undiagnosable illnesses with mysterious symptoms move from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, just wanting to know. Terminal patients want to know how much or how little excruciating pain they’re going to experience as they come to grasp their mortality. Even Dr. House, the diagnostician from that television show has an obsession with what his patients’ illnesses are. It’s a game to him; it gives him a reason to move on. They all just want to know the details.

Fortunately for all of us, we can take comfort and find solace that someone does know all the details. He knows all the trials and tribulations we will face, and all the hurt and pain and sorrow we will feel. He knows each and every single hurt we’ve ever felt and will ever feel, from infinity to infinity. He feels each and every possible infinitesimally small fraction of hurt.

He knows a good and perfect plan for you, a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future. Although you may not see it now, he’s got such an impossibly incredible and beautiful future planned for you.

So if he’s got your entire life, details not sparing, in his hands, and has an unbelievably good plan for you…

Our lives are challenging enough as they are. Why aren’t we just leaving the details to him?

Filed under: thoughts on christianity,

all the love in the world is right here!! among us!

and the problem is this           we were bought with a kiss

but the cheek still turned             even when it wasn’t hit

and i don’t know                                            what to do with a love like that

and i don’t know                                            how to be in love like that

when all the love in the world
is right here among us

hatred too
and so we must choose what our hands will do

where there is pain
let there be grace

where there is suffering
bring serenity

for those afraid
help them be brave

where there is misery
bring expectancy

surely we can change

surely we can change
something.

and the problem it seems
is with you and me

not the love who came
to repair everything

and i don’t know…    what to do with a love like that
and i don’t know…           how to be in love like that

when all the love in the world is right here! among us!
…hatred too. and so we must choose what our hands will do.

let us bring grace.     when there is pain:
bring serenity.                     when there is suffering:

let us be brave.             for those afraid:
let us bring them relief.                where there is misery:

surely we can change
surely we can change
oh surely we can change

something.

Filed under: thoughts on christianity, ,

On the meaning and origin of dreams.

This weekend has been traumatizing, to say the least. I’ve lost something that always made me so happy and fulfilled as a person, and sadly it’s something I’ll never have again. Yesterday was especially painful. I went to sleep last night lost, confused, and saddened, my heart in shambles, a pile of rubble, with my only consolation being that “God has a plan, a plan to prosper and not to harm, a plan to give me hope and a future.”

During the night, I dreamt so vividly and lucidly that the dream itself felt so real and tangible. Everything in my life as I knew it still existed. The people were the same, my family, friends, even my car had the same factory-installed dent on it. My eyes blinked and my ears turned red from the freezing winter. My skin was dry against the cold air, and the skin on my knuckles hurt because I haven’t used lotion in a few days. I even had the cold I’ve been suffering from for the last eight days.

The only difference was that it felt like two years had elapsed since yesterday. I was 23 and had moved on from it — this thing that had once occupied such a substantial void in my life, something I was so crushed with the loss of. I remembered that when it had first departed, it felt like part of me had withered away and since died, leaving a rotten, porous hole in my heart. I recalled the wounds being so much worse because the separation was imprecise and incomplete, leaving staggered, jagged edges of what once was — that still tugged and ripped away pieces of my identity far after it had left. It was as if a jellyfish or even a leech had been attached to me for years and had eventually become part of me. When it came time to separate, the main body had left me but the tentacles and proboscii still remained, much like a honeybee’s stinger remains lodged in your skin, still delivering its dose of venom even though the original creature is nowhere to be found.

These were wounds that only time could heal, and in this forged reality in my mind, plenty of time had elapsed. And I was given a chance to start over, and have this thing inhabit my life once again, becoming a part of me. And once again, I felt fulfilled, complete, and happy. I felt happy. I smiled and laughed in my dream, and I’m sure I did in my sleep.

Sleep?

Oh, right, because this world I’ve manufactured for myself isn’t real. It’s merely wishful thinking, isn’t it?

Maybe… I’ve heard in my high school psychology classes that having dreams can be simply the act of processing all the sensory input and internal feelings that you’ve had in the daytime hours prior.

My take on the dream? Perhaps dreams expose the inner yearnings of one’s heart, bringing to light the sadness and despair and despondency I’ve tried to shutter away into a dresser drawer or conceal with a coating of anger and feigned self-reliance. Maybe the heart’s just trying to fill itself back up when it’s got nothing but wishful thinking.

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On being a bold witness for the Lord.

As a Christian, it’s been exceedingly difficult for me to share my faith, and it’s becoming more difficult with the increasingly liberal and progressive paradigm of the days to come. This is especially true in Massachusetts of all places, home to many of the most selective and prestigious universities in the nation (MIT, Harvard, Wellesley, among others). Boston is widely regarded as a center for higher education and learning. The products of these secondary schools have often tossed aside the notion of a purposeful Creator who loves us and has a plan for us — in favor of atheism and agnosticism. Followers of this so-called God have often fallen to ridicule, being labeled as ‘ignorant’ and ‘foolish’ by their peers.

Personally, I’ve encountered much resistance when trying to overtly share my faith, being accused of hypocrisy and sheer blindness. I’ve heard countless times that a better, subtler way to do so, is to be a witness… or, how I like to think about it, to make others notice that there’s just something different about you; to imbue in them an interest in what that is, and how they can experience that, too.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16, ESV

By the Great Commission, we are called to make disciples of many nations, to “convert”. Add to that our social and intellectual climate, say, at work or at one of the aforementioned schools, and it is clear that we are called to be bold witnesses for the Lord. In the face of uncertainty and fear, no matter if the opposition is an uncontrollable external force or even the countenance of a scoffer, we are called to stand firm.

I’m a working professional in a treacherous industry where even companies that have long represented the pinnacle of technological ingenuity and profitability (like Intel, IBM, and HP) are seeing heads roll. Today, our group of 40 is now 38.

It began as soon as I walked in that morning; I passed my manager walking with another employee in the hall. All were certain of what was to happen. Later, I learned of the second employee who had his employment terminated. This second employee was of interest to me. I hadn’t talked to him much before; I just knew his name, his face, and the fact that he was a Christian.

Later, as he was packing his things, several other employees were in his office, expressing their condolences and trying to see what they could do to help. Someone said something to the extent of, “sorry about your job.”  His response?

“Don’t be sorry, it’s okay. He’s got bigger plans for me… plans that don’t put me here at Sun… it’s not about what I want — it’s about what He wants for me.”

He produces a poster that prominently displays a Bible verse, one of many in his office. He says, “This is my favorite verse, something I try to live by.” On the poster, it reads:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

That… is a truly bold witness. When some undeserved tragedy befalls you and you can do nothing but joyfully praise the Lord openly with such audacity, you’re touching hearts more powerfully than the most condemning fire-and-brimstone preacher.

Filed under: thoughts on christianity,

It’s down to the final four…

CNBC’s “As Seen On TV” bracket has filtered down to the final four.

ShamWOW against Girls Gone Wild (again, this is the dark horse in my opinion).

Bowflex vs. the George Foreman Grill.

Semifinal round of voting. Let your infomercial-loving voices be heard.

And remember, the ShamWOW is made in Germany.

Filed under: debunking infomythcials,

How did YOU take notes in school?

When I was in school eras and eons ago, I took notes. (Blasphemies!) There were many media to choose from on which to take notes in class. For example:

  • Binder and looseleaf pages
  • Bound notebooks (spiral or otherwise)
  • Laptop or tablet PC
  • not at all, because you’re just so incredibly talented.

I was a binder and looseleaf page kinda guy. For me, modularity reigned supreme. Now, what about you? Do tell in the comments. I’m curious.

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