Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LEGO creations

First of all, remember to not call the plastic building blocks "LEGOs", because of the following:

That being said, I don't usually build thing with LEGO bricks anymore (I've kind of outgrown it, you know), but during the years I did, I think there were only two relatively sophisticated creations I made (from a couple of years back, or something like that; perhaps even last year) that looked OK.
Here they are:

Update: The ship with two large engines has a swivel cannon on the top of its vertical "wing", but it was missing at the time of the photo.  I may take a new photo of it sometime.

-Max out




Saturday, August 28, 2010

Babysitting

This afternoon at 4 pm I went to babysit two kids who live up the street.
For some of the time in the beginning, when they were supposed to be resting and after, when they were outside, I was able to just sit and watch part of Gladiator on my Zune (watching movies on "the brick" isn't the best, but it's better than nothing), but soon I was busy.  If Cooper is reading this, he must be laughing at the fact that I finally decided to watch his favorite movie.  For a while I just watched them outside when they played with the neighbor four-year-old, but what I think I did for a longer time than anything else was taking the brothers outside on their bikes.  They have identical, tiny bicycles with training wheels attached, but they haven't quite mastered the art of applying the brakes, which I tried to teach them. *sigh*
At times, they wanted me to hold onto them or their bikes, such as when going steeply up or downhill.
Unfortunately, one of them would sometimes say, "Hold onto me!" and then "Let go of me" immediately after, and so on.      

After dinner they tried to handwash the dishes even though they had to jump up and lean over the sink to be able to reach.  It took me quite a while and one broken glass later to get them out of the kitchen and out of the way so I could wash the dishes.  
Amazingly, their mom says she hadn't taught them to wash the dishes, so it seems they were just trying to "help mommy."
The siblings were cranky during part of the afternoon and evening, but such is to be expected with tired four-year-olds, right?

Well, no houses burned down, I didn't have a nervous breakdown, and nobody was reported injured or missing, so everything is OK.

-Max out

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hm...what's happening?

I'm trying to think of something to write about...
My dad should be home in a few weeks.
My book's first chapter is progressing very slowly.
I've been taking photos with my dad's spotting scope tripod recently, and have been experimenting with photo editing using Picasa and Photoshop.
I'll write more when I think of something to say. 


-Max out

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Unpleasantness

This morning I got my right upper and lower wisdom teeth removed.  
I just had a local anesthetic (shots), which was fairly painful.  The actual extraction didn't hurt all that much (not as much as the shots, anyway), but right now the numbness has finally worn off and my gum is starting to hurt.
Well, I'm off to eat lunch now.


Update - 10:43 pm:
Thankfully, my mouth is not bothering me now; it was feeling less-than-pleasant earlier.
Eating sushi for lunch was not working well, so I had to have tapioca and chocolate pudding even though I would have preferred something on the salty side.  
Happily, I was able to eat chicken and garlic bread for dinner.


-Max out 

Monday, August 23, 2010

My life right now and a tag

Well, I don't have a lot to write about right now...not much has been happening recently.
Let me see: 
I was supposed to get my wisdom teeth removed this morning, but the appointment was rescheduled for Wednesday and my dad should be getting back next month.
Since I don't have a lot else to talk about at the moment, here's a tag from Mirriam that I'll finish when I have time.  I'm off to bed now.


1. If you could live inside one book, what would it be?
Hm, one book...in which I'd live as myself, just like how I am now?
This will take some thinking.

2. If you had to marry a fictional character, who would he/she be?
I'd say "I haven't read the book yet," but that's probably not entirely true.  I'll have to ponder the question some more.
3. What  fictional character are you most like?
I'm not sure yet; I'll have to ask someone who knows me well (and knows a lot of fictional characters) to make a guess at this.
4. Coffee or tea?
Depends on the kind of coffee or tea, of course!
5. Little Black Dress or Ball Gown? (for guys – Tuxedo or full suit of armor?)
Tuxedo, naturally; mobility is much more important than a false feeling of invulnerability.
In fact, you can also wear armor ("bulletproof" armor, anyway), as well as multiple weapons under a tux.
6. What is your favorite Book of the Bible?
Proverbs, maybe, but I'm not sure.
7. If you could only shop at one store for the rest of your life, what would it be (this is NOT for food purposes!)
Amazon.com, haha!  
Does this question say anything about online stores not counting? 
8. Desert or rainforest?
To live in, to get rescued from, or what? I need specifics!
Deserts are often very hot in the day and have snakes, scorpions and other dangerous creatures, but rainforests are horribly humid, have their share of creepy-crawlies and perhaps murderous natives, but it would probably be easier to get water (not sure about clean water, though), in a rainforest. 
9. Fantasy or Sci-fi?
Hm...can't you kind of have a cross between those two, like the Final Fantasy series?
yet again, I need specifics; however, I might choose Sci-fi since fantasy-land might not have things like toilets, showers, etc.  
Something just occurred to me:
In a fantasy world, I might not have glasses or contacts, so unless I was somehow given normal vision, I'd be at a disadvantage.
10. Would you rather live in a Steampunk world or a futuristic world?
Kind of hard to say without seeing either of them side by side.
If the Steampunk world was like some of the ages in the Myst games, that would be pretty cool.  Technically, the future could be a step backwards in technology, so "futuristic" could be actually "yesterday-istic." 
Hm, If I lived in a steampunk world I might get weird goggles or something like that instead of glasses, but there might be cool sunglasses that would be able to zoom in, give readouts on whatever is being sighted on, etc.  So the futuristic world would be better if that was so.
Maybe there would even be advanced eye surgery that would fix my eyes.

Even if I was in the habit of passing along tags (which I'm not), I'd certainly make these questions less vague in case the one answering them is anything like me.

-Max out

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moonwriting

Since I'd figured out that with a slow shutter speed you can make interesting beam designs with street lights and other light sources, I decided to experiment with the moon, and here's what I got:










Ta-da!  


Close-up:

 -Max out

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guess what this is? [updated]

I'm going to be trying to post at least one photo in a post around once a day or every couple of days on my new Wordpress blog: http://fightforthelight.wordpress.com
That's where I'llbe putting some of my photos I think are better than average, so you can see the "highlights" of my photography.


The following two photos are of the same object.  Any guesses as to what it is?
[update] The answer is below.





Sleeping beauty  :-)  
Please come give her a kiss and wake her out of her sleep.  ;-)








-Maxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx OUT!

Dualism

First, some random thoughts.
1) PhonomaniaThe compulsion to make noise (!).


2) In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, if Sabretooth has healing powers and can get shot and not even be bothered, why does Wolverine always act as if he gets shot, he'll die, and go and "rescue" him?


3) If you know me fairly well, you may know that I like one-liners and um, two-, three-, and four-liners?
Anyway, lines like, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return", "Rest in pieces", "Prepare to meet your maker", and things like that could possibly be used to great effect in battle...or might just make you seem odd, but it seems to work in movies, such as "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return" in The Book of Eli.
I know, I know, they're movies, and movies get lots of things wrong, but sometimes they can get things right.
However, although "I am (or "will be") more powerful than you can possibly imagine" sounds like is has somewhat of the same effect as the other lines, think about it for a second: "More powerful than you can possibly imagine."  Considering I can imagine just about anything
Although I often like to try to be grammatically correct, sometimes I think "incorrect English" sounds better.  For instance, is it just me, or does "Try to catch (or "stop") me" sound better than "Try and catch (or "stop") me"?  Maybe it's just me.  But even though that applies to grammatical structure, it's more of the exception than the rule, and it does not apply to punctuation.  The writer/punctuation stickler Lynne Truss, author of the book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, goes around trying to fix incorrect punctuation by inserting commas and apostrophes into words, etc.  I'm kind of like that; bad punctuation irks me, but so do a lot of other incorrect things, such as these:
1) The term, "helpmeet".  As I've said before, the words in the Bible are "help meet for him", or "a help fit for him."  Somehow those two words got stuck together to create a word that's not in the Bible...at least it's better than helpmate.  


2) Pretending to have something you don't, be something you aren't, etc.
By this, I just mean things like "ricers" (slow cars with body kits and loud exhausts) as opposed to sleepers (cars that don't look fast but actually are), etc.  Be genuine; be yourself.  If you want to look like you don't have something that you do, as is the case with "sleepers", that's fine, but don't do the opposite; you might just make yourself look foolish. 


For people to call the "nave" in a church or chapel an "aisle" doesn't bother me too much, since most people don't know the walkway's "real name and common usage has 
I  rebel against common usage errors!      

Hm, maybe I should write a whole post on things that annoy me.  ;-) 




OK, to the main point of this post.
This post deals with dualism (in theology), which if you haven't heard of, is a system of thought that holds that you are separated into two parts, body and mind, which are "secular" and "sacred."     


One dictionary defines dualism as this:
In philosophy and theologyany system that explains phenomena by two opposing principles. Many philosophers hold to a dualism of mind and matter, or mind and body. For many theologians, the two principles are those of good and evil.


The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition 
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. 
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 
This line of thinking, known as gnosticism, is at least as old as the time of the Paul and other apostles in the New Testament.
In fact, I believe Paul addressed it in one of his epistles:


1Timothy 6:20 
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: {science: Gr. knowledge} 
(KJV)

The gnostics held that the body was evil and the soul/mind were good, so if you could have the "secret knowledge", you could be part of their "exclusive spiritual group" or whatever it was they claimed to be.
Gnosticism is still alive, albeit in slightly different forms and known by different names.  However, the core belief it introduced that has pervaded evangelical Christian culture is "the soul is good, but the body is evil.
This belief shows itself in various ways, including the following:

1) "Let's just give out the gospel and get as many people into our church as much as possible; we don't need to worry about discipling them or things like that."  While I'm sure you won't find many (if any) churches that will say the second part of that statement, their actions often show that that's what they believe.  After all, if only the spiritual is good and the body and all that his to do with this earth is evil, then there's no point in developing other than the "spiritual."
It seems part of this has to do with whether you hold to a premillenial or postmillenial eschatology, but that's a discussion I'm not going to get into right now.  


2) There has been a compartmentalization of Christian beliefs into a "sacred" section, while the "secular" part remains separate.  This means that Christian thought does not influence the "non-sacred" parts of their (those who have been influenced by dualistic thinking) lives, resulting in at least two problems: in many areas, they are no different than non-Christians, and in others, they try to be "completely Christian" but don't do it correctly and it comes at the cost of quality, etc.    

In case what I've said doesn't seem to be particularly clear, I recommend that you read the books, Understanding the Times, by David A. Noebel, and Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey, for a much more comprehensive and interesting take.  Well actually, even if what I've said is crystal clear
The former compares and contrasts the Christian, secular humanist, Marxist/Leninist (communist/socialist), and cosmic humanist (New Age) worldviews and shows the weaknesses and inconsistencies with the non-Christian worldviews.  This book is good for a variety of things, including simply learning about worldviews if you haven't studied much about them, and being able to defend your beliefs and argue confidently with those who have opposing worldviews (I believe most intellectuals - and most people, period - in America espouse the secular humanist or Marxist/Leninist worldviews).  Although Understanding the Times does not discuss the secular/sacred split, I think you should read it because if you're going to learn about how to have a consistent Christian worldview, it helps to learn about what a worldview is exactly and how you can counter other worldviews.  
Once you've learned about worldviews, read Total Truth about how to have a complete Christian worldview; as I've said, it's important for your faith to be a part of your entire life and not just one part.

-Max out

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lights + slow shutter speed + shaky camera = ?














Sky/star photos can look pretty cool, but I don't have the proper equipment to do it just yet.
Anyway, here are some photos of other stuff.  Hopefully some day my photos may be "professional-quality", but right now I'm just getting started.  


















-Max out


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rachel's Tears

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a nearby thrift store and searched the bookshelves for a good book.
I found one that appeared interesting: Rachel's Tears, by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott.
The book describes both the physical and spiritual life (although mainly the latter) of Rachel Scott, one of the martyrs at Columbine High in 1999.  
Interestingly, she knew she was going to die, as evidenced by various things in her journals, such as her saying she thought she would die young and that 1999 was her last year.  Also, she had drawn a picture of herself crying the same number of tears as the number of students who were killed in the attack.  
It seems Rachel was very spiritually mature, especially for her age, but she was not a saint, as I'm sure she'd adamantly attest to if she was here today; she had her faults and failures, as well all do. 
   
However, the important thing to remember when looking at her life is that in some ways, Rachel was just a normal girl, but she let the light of Christ shine to those around her, making in difference in her world.


I highly recommend this book; it's a very moving story to me, and even if the Columbine High attack doesn't
affect you like it does me, you may be encouraged by Rachel's example. 
I may write more about my thoughts on the book when I finish it.


-Max out





Impressive lens and old cat photos

Here's something that might give you an incredulous laugh.
While looking at assorted Canon lenses, I found an incredible super telephoto lens:
1) Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens
Now discontinued, this lens costs as much as a small house (if you can find one for sale, that is) - the one in the following photos is worth $120,000 - and as for how big it is, you attach the camera body to the lens, not vice versa.
It's the largest and probably rarest automatic focus lens in the world, and is used for a variety of application that require long distance shots. 






  
Here's a photo:
Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens Review
Hm, that doesn't really show just how huge this thing is.  How about these:




Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens Above City
Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens Mounted on EOS 1Ds Mark III
Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens Mounted on EOS 1Ds Mark III
For comparison, here's the 1200mm with the EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS USM Lens


Here's the review:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-1200mm-f-5.6-L-USM-Lens-Review.aspx


I believe the most expensive Canon lens currently in production is the EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS USM Lens, the smaller lens shown in the photo above.  At the bottom of the linked page, you can see the entire lineup (at least the ones there were in 2008 - there might be more now); very impressive.  Before I knew about cameras, I thought the gray, super telephoto lenses looked like toys or something, but I've found that they're the "L" lenses, Canon's best and most expensive.




On another topic, here are some old photos of two of my cats, probably taken with the now-broken camcorder.
In case you were wondering, I don't have the kitten eating the slice of bread anymore.

I now have this photo on icanhascheezburger.com, here:
http://cheezburger.com/View/3849743872  
You may have noticed the captioned LOLcat is at the bottom of my blog.
Now it's your turn; go ahead and give it a good caption. 


Me, messing with the birdies?  Of course not!


Attack of the alien cats with eyebeams!
I probably should crop this one...


More of the photos (including edited ones) can be seen here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/richter.max/




-Max out

Monday, August 9, 2010

Photos with my new lens













I find this photo rather amusing

Here are some photos also taken today, but with my 55-250mm telephoto lens.













-Max out

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Some More Photos

Here are some photos I took recently.  To see more, visit my Picasa page:























Something you don't want to be in front of 





-Max out