Sunday, January 28, 2007


God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

So if you agree with Voltaire and you are not afraid to laugh check out the following videos on

Mr. Deity Episode 1
Mr. Deity Episode 2
Mr. Deity Episode 3
Mr. Deity Episode 4

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Every winter I grow my beard in along my cheeks. I typically keep my beard in a short goatee. But, something about the winter makes me feel like growing out the rest. My cheeks are turning just a little bit grey. I’ve always felt like I looked rather young so in a way I glad that I’m finally looking my age.
The is one small side effect that comes from my expanded facial hair. Many people who knew my father think that I look a lot like him with the full beard. I see the resemblance but I also feel like I look a little more like my mother’s side of the family. Frequently I will attend church in another Ward for some kind of family event. A few member will walk up to me and tell me how much they think I look like my dad. I do my best to just accept their compliments in the spirit that they intended it. But, something inside me wonders exactly what they are seeing. Is it just the beard? Is it just the physical resemblence?
As I stated when I first started this blog, my father loved learning and was constantly seeking to improve himself. He taught my to learn to love this quest for truth. I that way I feel I am continuing with much of the work that my father had started. Rog taught me to love the works of Thoureau, Gandhi, Martin Luther
King and the Dalai Lama.
But one are that I believe I am falling far short of the example set by my father is in my ability to put these teaching into practice. His ability to love his fellow man will always be a benchmark for me to reach. His ability to forgive and seek forgiveness is something that I still have yet to master.
So while I know that people mean it as a compliment when they point out the similarities, I tend to take their word a little too personally. I tend to see the ways that I have fallen short of earning the praise that they are giving me.
I will continue to work to improve myself in these ways so that eventually these comparisons to my father will not be taken so bittersweetly.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I Don't Like Confrontations

Not that I ever needed any excuse, but the New Year always inspires me to be even more introspective than normal. I’m always looking for ways that I can change and improve areas in my life. One area that I have identified as needing serious attention is how I deal with confrontations. Those who know me might find this hard to believe, but I have a deep fear of confrontations. Given how I have responded in the past I wouldn’t be surprised if most people think that I like confrontations.

Typically my fear causes me to avoid voicing my opinion on a subject at first. I tend to be very reserved and internalize the situation. Then as the situation grows I find that my point of view is not being represented and I get a little upset. By the time I finally choose to say anything the anger in my voice is obvious. From that point on I feel like I’m just labeled as a nutcase and my opinions still aren’t given any weight.

I feel like I come across like Jeff Goldbloom’s character in “Jurassic Park”. There was one scene when they were sitting at a dinner table and he was explaining his point. His voice got louder and he got progressively more emotional and short. In only a few seconds he went from a calm discussion to pounding his fist on the table. Even though he was technically right on the money, because of his attitude those he was attempting to influence gave his position no serious consideration at all. I don’t know what causes this reaction in me but I don’t like it. I wish that I could open up earlier before I have much emotional investment on the issue.

Last week my neighbor’s dog, a pit-bull mix, was off his leash and staring at me through our bay window. I became so angry inside that I couldn’t even bring myself to go over an talk to the neighbors about it because I know that my voice would have been quaking and I’d have likely damaged any relationship that I could have with them. Victoria had to go talk to them for me. She’s much better than I am about keeping her emotions in check and still being forceful enough to be taken seriously.

My dilemma is this; how do I assertively maintain my position without taking it too far and alienating the others in the discussion? I’m very good at playing the devil’s advocate and understanding the other position. When I do that I typically end up being just walked all over. On the other hand I can stand my ground like some kind of lunatic and then not have my voice be considered at all. Either way is counterproductive. How can I compromise these two?

To me this isn’t just the trivial attempt to become more likeable. I have a few serious issues that I would like to discuss with some loved ones. However, since I am afraid of how I will respond I avoid these conversations all together. Even though a resolution to these issues will most likely strengthen my relationships with them, the more likely outcome is that my inability to behave properly will damage the relationship even further. Either that or I will end up completely caving in on my position in order to end the conversation without offending anybody any more than I already had. The result is that I just remain silent and talk about anything but the more important issues. My own fear of how I will respond has resulted in me having a lot of very superficial relationships but very few really good friends.

Now you can put your violins away. I’m not looking for a pity party here. I just am trying to find some practical ways to change this trait for the better. I’m also just putting this out for all to see so people will be patient with me and know that this is something that I have recognized and I am working to correct.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quote of the Day

A coworker started posting a "quote of the day" outside his cube a few months ago. Lately he's been not updating his quotes as often as I'd like. So I took the liberty of filling in for him when he gets slack. Here is the quote that I posted for him today:

Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense.

Carl Sagan
US astronomer & popularizer of astronomy (1934 - 1996)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Boat Rock Clean-up

A Saturday well spent.
First thing this morning I drove four of my more dedicated Boy Scouts to work on a service project. There is a cute little park on the other side of town that has been purchased by small group of local rock climbers. For decades the area has been used by climbers but unfortunately it has also been used as a dumping area. The Southeastern Climbing Coalition organized the clean-up and we just showed up to provide the labor.
All of the guys expressing intrest in coming back later to give their hand at rock climbing.
At the end of the day I was very proud of my dedicated few. We made a major impact on removing some of the trash from the park.
Here are a few photos from the day.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Lost in Thought

My wife found this quote and thought I'd enjoy it.

The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
Paul Fix

I doubt that she thought I was guilty of this offense. Far too often I feel like I am lost in reality.
The world I explore in thought is easier to navigate and full of less contradictions than reality. I am always more comfortable there than I am in reality. My goal is to take what I have learned in thought and try to make it reality. It's very difficult, but so far I have found that most of the time these attempts pay off.