Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Ladylike

No, it isn't very ladylike of her, but Nacho says she isn't here to impress you.

This is a good opportunity to point out a unique identifying mark about Nacho. She looks like most other tabby cats except that she has one albino foot. The back right one is light fur and pink skin, where all the others are black. If I'm looking at a neighborhood cat, trying to discern if it is her or not, the foot is the easiest part to identify.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rubik's Cube, Tetris, and the Image of God

I just read an article on which contains an interview with the creator of Bejeweled, a very addicting internet game. As an expert on creating simple games that people can't get enough of, they had him comment on several other simple games that have drawn people by the millions to put in literally billions of hours playing them.

In this interview, they walk through the different games, explaining what they are, and then he comments on what makes us drawn to them. Some of what he said really caught my attention as a theologian.

About the Rubik's cube:
A clear example of a game in which the pleasure is in creating order. You randomize it, it becomes a big mess, and then you have to bring it to an organized state.

About Where's Waldo:
For thousands of years, we've derived satisfaction from searching and uncovering...

About Tetris:
Fitting pieces together feeds the same pleasure center of the brain that gets off on packing a suitcase really well or squeezing all your groceries into a single bag.
Think back to the Biblical creation narratives, then think about the creation of Man in the image of God. If you don't go any farther than the creation story as all you know about God, what does it mean to be made in God's image?

God is an organizer of disaster. God is an architect. God is a planner. God derives great joy from seeing everything in its right place, and works tirelessly until it is so. God has hidden beauty in the design of nature that it is our pleasure to discover. These ideas seem to be the understanding that the other Biblical writers took as the meaning of the creation account.

In Job 38:6-11, God describes his putting the sea in its place, instructing the waves exactly how far they are allowed to go onto the shore. Isaiah speaks of God measuring and balancing all aspects of creation.

I think we could argue that the image of God includes much more than a mere desire for order, but is this not a significant portion of what it means for God to make us in his own image? Where there was chaos, God molded it into a beautiful creation. God is the one who proclaims good news for the poor and suffering, and who releases the slaves from captivity. Christ came to seek and to save the lost.

What is it about these games that absolutely sucks us into them? Could it be that in putting the Rubik's cube in order, we reflect God's image in a desire for order? In loving the hunt to find Waldo, are we reflecting an inner tendency to want to find what is lost?

I can't prove it, but it is interesting to ponder.

And for those of you programmers looking for a million-dollar idea, why not consider other attributes of God's personality for game ideas, to see if people are similarly drawn to them?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Spy Cat

Carolina and I recently finished painting in our bonus room. The room itself is green, and we wanted to make the walls of the stairs going up a yellow color. We were working on getting some things back in place at the bottom of the stairs when suddenly a voltage detector tool of mine, which I had left on the rail upstairs, came falling from above our heads. We looked up, and saw that we were being spied on.

Nacho enjoys fumbling through all the plastic, bags, and tools used for working on our house.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: It's also na-cho fingernail file!

While I was watching Sarah Palin's RNC speech--for the third time--lying on my bed with Nacho beside me, Carolina tossed her nail file onto the bed. We thought Nacho was sleeping, but she immediately pounced on it. This soon turned into a game which continued until Carolina no longer thought she wanted to use this nail file, as it is presently covered with kitty slobber and teeth marks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I've Got Rhythm (Final Version)

Though I hope to continue to improve at this song, this is me playing the whole thing. You may remember some previous posts where I've documented my progress learning this song. I think you'll be able to see some definite improvements.

This is the most difficult piece I've ever learned. It makes it more difficult that it's not a rock song where distortion and effects can cover your blunders. This one is completely clean, played here on my Fender Telecaster. Hope you enjoy it. I don't have time to play as much as I used to, but I think I've been able to continue playing pretty well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Use Your Allusion: "With Bated Breath"

Several months ago, Matt suggested that I explain the phrase "with bated breath" in one of my allusion posts. My apologies to Matt for not noticing his request sooner (I do take requests).

This is probably less of an allusion, and more of an expression. But my goal for this series of posts is to help us all expand our minds a bit, and for this purpose, it will work.

According to this guy, "With bated breath" was first used by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice when Shylock says to Antonio,
“Shall I bend low and, in a bondman’s key, / With bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness, / Say this ...”.
Unfortunately, this phrase is commonly misspelled as "with baited breath." This is likely because of our cessation of using the word "bated." Bated, which is a form of "abated" after it has undergone aphesis, means "reduced, lessened, or lowered in force."

To say you wait with "bated breath" means you almost stop breathing because of a strong emotion, such as shock, fear, or awe.

Geoffrey Taylor has cleverly seized the common misspelling of this phrase and written a humorous poem called The Cruel Clever Cat.

Sally, having swallowed cheese,
Directs down holes the scented breeze,
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Mirror, Mirror

We got rid of a mirror that had been on the wall in the living room. Nacho cat was using her skills of stealth to keep an eye on us from inside the bedroom, using the mirror. Pretty sneaky!

Friday, October 03, 2008

What's that ticking sound?

If you haven't seen this Harry Potter puppet sketch, and you have an appreciation for rhythm, it's really classic.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Noble Cause: Mi Esperanza

If you're looking for a convenient way to help impoverished people in third world countries, I want encourage you to take a look at Mi Esperanza (My Hope). I first became acquainted with this project when I was in Honduras, where it is based.

This is spear headed by Lori Connell, who is a wonderful Christian woman. They work with women in Honduras, teaching them trades, so that they can have a way to support themselves, and hopefully even prosper. They've done everything from tortilla making, to sewing, to peanut roasting. On the website, you can purchase items of clothing and jewelry that these women make. If you're looking for a meaningful gift for someone this year, this might be something to consider.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: This One's In The Bag

I recently discovered some pictures of Nacho that were on Carolina's old camera from around Christmas that I had forgotten to retrieve from the memory card. I am thinking that if I ever have a secret to unveil, I may send one of these with a message about "letting the cat out of the bag."