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[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Finally a look at our snow

Just as it finally begins to melt...here's what some of it looked like. We actually ended up with more than this (I figure we got 2 more inches last night alone), but it's a pretty pic, taken after the first round of snow. All total we got hit three times, and now we are back to rain - at least it will be rain when more precip arrives. Indeed we have set a record this month: more rain that in any other month in recorded history.

I think the pic would make a nice Christmas card.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 4:45 PM [+]
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4 comments

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This has been a test, if this had been an actual emergency...

Sometimes I wonder if God is testing us. Subjecting us to weather extremes in order to baptize us into the fires of rural living right off the bat. First we have gotten enough rain to seemingly land a boat on Mt. Rainier, then wind and power outages (and as I've noted before power outages in rural regions are much more significant than in suburbia), and now snow, ice, and frigid temperatures.

As the temperature plummeted into the teens last night, we found ourselves ravenously burning through our firewood - thank God we don't normally see these temps, we'd never have enough firewood. We kept a faucet dripping for fear of frozen pipes and we were constantly trying to devise some additional way to keep the chickens warm.

And then, there was the issue of my beer. Did I mention my finished product? "Hop Head Heaven" certainly lives up to its name, were I to offer a simple review I would say "crisp, light, and exceptionally hoppy." I like it, but will see about adding some extra body to it next time. I am storing the 6 cases of 22oz bottles in an unused chest freezer on the back porch, and last night I began to worry if perhaps the might freeze and explode. I checked the interior temp and noted that it was running about 13 degrees warmer than the outside - hovering just above freezing. I added a few heat packets - perhaps pointlessly - but not wishing to bring the beer inside (cool,heat,cool is bad for beer), I hoped the small heat supply would perhaps keep the temperature high enough to prevent a 6.5% alcohol solution from freezing.

As of this morning, both the beer and the chickens were doing fine. No frozen pipes and the house remained reasonably warm despite the fire burning out after I added a few logs around 2:30am. At that time I paused to look out the large windows in our dark bedroom. The porch lights shed just enough light into the winter wonderland to see the snow blanketed ground and innumerable nearby trees. Further in the distance I could see the see the silhouettes of conifers reaching skyward and touching the feet of a very brightly shinning Orion who was guarding the south eastern darkness. It was a beautiful scene and I enjoyed it immensely before crawling back into the warmth of flannel sheets draping a log framed bed.

Things are a far cry from the summer-like weather in which we initially fell in love with this property. But, God will have to test us further to have us reconsider the losses of suburban life...the gains - like the Christmas card view outside last night - sustain us still.

Please, though Lord, do not consider this a request or invitation for more nasty weather. As I write, a new front is on its way which threatens to bring more snow and wind. Seattle could be in for another brutal commute home, and the rural side of life, while perhaps lacking the awful traffic, will worry about power, falling trees, and icy roads that will never, never, never see a plow or sand.

The Trooper has been locked in 4WD for three days now, and has performed like a...well, like a real Trooper. I am amazed at how she has managed her way through some pretty ugly looking roads without even a fishtail to speak of. She is decidedly not the same SUV I had in Bothell, no longer having a boat to pull she has readily adopted a new mission in life. Armed with a chainsaw, I reckon we will make it home tonight.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:20 AM [+]
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0 comments

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Darn Straight!

Rodney Atkins has a song called "Cleaning this gun (come on in boy)"

lol...no question where it's going. Love it.

The declaration of independence
Think I can tell you that first sentence
But then I'm lost
I can't begin to count the theories
I had pounded in my head that I forgot
I don't remember all that spanish
Or the gettysburg address
But there is one speech from high school
I'll never forgot

Come on in boy, sit on down
And tell me 'bout yourself
So you like my daughter, do you now
Yeah we think she's something else
She's her daddy's girl and her mama's world
She deserves respect, that's what she'll get, ain't it son
Now y'all run along and have some fun
I'll see you when you get back
Bet I'll be up all night
Still cleaning this gun

Well now that I'm a father
I'm scared to death one day my daughter's gonna find
That teenage boy I used to be
Who seems to have just one thing on his mind
She's growing up so fast it won't be long
'fore I'll have to put the fear of God
Into some kid at the door

Come on in boy, sit on down
And tell me 'bout yourself
So you like my daughter, do you now
Yeah we think she's something else
She's her daddy's girl and her mama's world
She deserves respect, that's what she'll get, ain't it son
Now y'all run along and have some fun
I'll see you when you get back
Bet I'll be up all night
Still cleaning this gun

It's all for show, ain't nobody gonna get hurt
It's just a daddy thing, hey believe me man, it works

Come on in boy, sit on down
And tell me 'bout yourself
So you like my daughter, do you now
Yeah we think she's something else
She's her daddy's girl and her mama's world
She deserves respect, that's what she'll get, ain't it son
Now y'all run along and have some fun
I'll see you when you get back
Bet I'll be up all night
Still cleaning this gun

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 2:50 PM [+]
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1 comments
Johnny Cash: God's Gonna Cut You Down

I'm a bit late in mentioning this, but I caught this video over the long weekend on CMT (YeeHaw!). While appreciating the tribute to Johnny Cash, one is forced to judgmentally (I said it, so spare me the flames) wonder how many of the rich and famous people appearing in the video really grasp the notion of getting cut down by God.



...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 2:01 PM [+]
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2 comments

Thanksgiving Weekend finally ends

My wife organized an "open House Weekend" in which many of our east sound dwelling friends were invited to join us at their leisure. Thus, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they showed up in varying packs, with Friday being the busiest.

It was wonderful to see many folks who we have not seen since we left St. Paul's. The chickens were a huge hit, especially amongst the kids. The gentlemen present on Friday opted for a road trip to Head's Up Brewery and Silver City Brewing in order to try some of Kitsap's better beers. Upon our return I was somewhat astonished to discover the tremendous entertainment value that could be had by splitting logs. Everyone got involved and by the time we were done the remains of the harvested alder were entirely split.

November has proven to be the wettest month we have ever seen in recorded Washington history. And the days leading up to last weekend promised more rain and wind. However, as is often the case, the weathermen showed themselves to have all the predictive ability of a crack addict making money working for the psychic friends network. The weather was for the most part dry until Saturday night, when it began to snow - a very wet slushy snow. But as I noted in the previous post, shortly after we left Church the weather shifted and the now began to fall in abundance - again proving that the meteorologists' tools in western Washington could just as well be limited to a window. We watched as the National Weather Service website change their alerts to match precisely what had already been happening outside our home.

By Monday morning, things were very ugly around my neck of the woods. Much of the slushy snow had frozen. In order to avoid a precarious downhill stop and turn from Widme to Totten, I headed north and Widme, but was abruptly halted by a fallen tree. The chainsaw was in the truck, but making a road through the tree would have been self-defeating in terms of making it time feasible for me to get to work. So I headed back south toward the hill I was hoping to avoid.

Luckily, a neighbor in a Honda was ahead of me and I stopped at the apex of the hill to watch his descent. Amazingly it went about as bad as I could have imagined. There was no stopping at the intersection, and the little car glided easily past it and into the ridge and ditch on the other side of Totten. This confirmed my inclination that I would be staying home for the day.

Despite the driver's valiant efforts, his little Honda was not going to get out of the ditch. He got out and marched carefully up the hill and I got out to meet him. He wondered if I might tow him out, and I tried not to laugh. "Do you have a 200 foot tow rope?" He looked at me quizzically. "Well, my 4x4 might get me up this hill, but it ain't gonna help me get down any better than you got down it. I suppose I could head down and bounce off your Honda and then pull you out."

AAA said the tow truck would arrive in 2hrs, so I gave the poor guy a ride home. Then I went home.

More snow came that afternoon and evening. Seattle commuting was apparently a horrible nightmare - and I was glad not to participate. I heard that some folks who'd been to the Hawks game were STILL trying to get home at 5am this morning. The "hill of doom" had been plowed and sanded; despite the colder weather and additional snow I have made of go of commuting this morning. It wasn't too bad. Totten road was scary in parts, but steady going seemed to be the solution. Portions of Highway 305 on Bainbridge Island seemed really bad - but that was the bus drivers responsibility.

The low in Seattle tonight is expected to be 18. The wood stove is working overtime and so I am happy to see a few non-dangerous trees on the property succumb to the weather.

Despite the "hardships" (and I use the term very lightly), the scenery is beautiful. Our little cedar, green metal roofed house at the end of Diamond Drive dresses well in snow.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:32 AM [+]
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0 comments

Monday, November 27, 2006

Whew

Well, hopefully y'all had a great Thanksgiving weekend...I have much to write, but no time to write now. Over a three day period we have had some 30+ souls wandering our home and property - and during most of their visits, God blessed us with a window of unusually decent weather - even a rare appearance of sun on saturday. Although making for a very busy weekend, it was great fun to share a bit of our new lives with old friends. Yes, most of them are older than me.
:)~

But God, having held back the November storms for us, released them on saturday night and so we awoke to some very wet and slushy snow Sunday morning. By the time church was over, it had become less slushy and was sticking abundantly. The next day had me blocked in by a fallen tree, watching a neighbor go ice skating with his car, and exploring the woods looking at some of the future firewood the snow has graciously begun to gather for me.

Thankfully, the power has remained on...so far. We are presently waiting for more snow. Pics and details to follow.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 12:59 PM [+]
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4 comments

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

350K

Click image for more info.

While only 1.5 acres, they appear to be quite flat and usable:






Hmmmm...

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:00 AM [+]
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5 comments

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"Where away?"

I asked after the report of a ship being seen.

"Two points off the larboard bow, sir," came the reply.

I busily scanned the rougher than usual waters of Elliot bay, "Man of War?"

"Aye, frigate sir," the dutifull young officer replied.

"French?" I asked. But before the reply could come I suddenly saw the tri-barred colors unfurl from the aft of the foreign ship and despite my astonishment at seeing a frog frigate in Puget Sound I acted quickly, shouting, "Beat to Quarters!"

The men around me sprung to action as I called out further orders, "We have the weather guage Mr. Pullings, let's not fail to use it. From here we'll rake her stern and then lay us alongside at pistol shot."

"Aye sir!" Mr. Pullings called and then relayed my orders before heading down to the car gun deck.

"Fire as they bear!"

Then suddenly, we were rudely interrupted, "Can I have your attention please...we are now arriving at our destination. Drivers please return to your vehicles and all passengers must disembark the vessel."

"Bloody hell...where's the grog, I could use some before boarding a dowtown Seattle bus."

What on earth was a French frigate doing in Elliot Bay?

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 11:49 AM [+]
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4 comments

Monday, November 20, 2006

Science dictates morality?

Check this article out.

Logic 101.

homosexuality is, in fact, determined at birth and is not to be condemned by God's followers.

Premise 1: Homosexuality is determined at birth.
Proof? Evidence, sure...but proof that no aspects of our sexuality are curbed and guided by environment and choice?

Premise 2: Anything determined at birth (What the author means here is that anything that is genetically determined) must be embraced as "normal" and, I suppose, "good."

We've covered this before haven't we? Are we to tell the those born with horrific deformities that this is a "good" thing? A "normal" thing? This dividing between normal and abnormal - that which is genetic is always normal and that which is learned is potentially abnormal - is flat out wrong and both Christian gay activists and Christian "homophobes" need to give up this line of thought.

But, I'm less interested in the overall specifics of this author's topic and more intrigued (i.e. frightened) by the presiding moral logic implied here.

Religion's only real commodity, after all, is its moral authority. Lose that, and we lose our credibility. Lose credibility, and we might as well close up shop.

It's happened to Christianity before, most famously when we dug in our heels over Galileo's challenge to the biblical view that the Earth, rather than the sun, was at the center of our solar system. You know the story. Galileo was persecuted for what turned out to be incontrovertibly true.


Stop for a minute while we are hinged upon the favorite whipping boy of the science vs. religion debate. The real failing here had nothing whatsoever to do with morality. The failing here is that the Church actually lost track of what its real commodity is, morality (as the author rightly suggests). The author's example in applying this to the issue of homosexuality is fundamentally flawed because what Galileo found said nothing about morality. Now watch closely:

This time, Christianity is in danger of squandering its moral authority by continuing its pattern of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the face of mounting scientific evidence that sexual orientation has little or nothing to do with choice.

Two significant problems here. Morality is not and indeed cannot and indeed had better not ever be a commodity of "mounting scientific evidence." Also, note the fundamental misunderstanding of morality - consider that we are already seeing evidence to suggest that people with rage issues have a genetic predisposition toward violence and indeed if there continues to be "mounting scientific evidence", will this pastor and others like him lead the crusade to stop the Old Testament condemnation of murderers? Or how about the quite natural desire for men to have as many procreating partners as possible? Try using that excuse. My genes made me do it honey.

Again, the fundamental misunderstanding of morality here is two-fold. One being that morality must always have to do with choice and the other is that humans are slaves to biological determinism. If either proposition is true, then our religion has done more than lose its credibility, it has become a waste of time.

The extent to which gays and lesbians have suffered at the hands of religion, I would think is largely due to the fact that many Christians throughout time have subscribed to the same understanding of morality and biology noted in this article. However, if to suffer means anything other than complete acceptance and "blessing as-is", then I am afraid the suffering will continue.

All of us, to different degrees are at war against our biology, our environment, and our will. In the end, it will not matter which of these three fought against us the most - but rather the extent to which we are becoming like the Second Adam - the New Man...the way we were supposed to be.

God between us and science dictating morality.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:11 AM [+]
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0 comments

This ain't no Bellevue SUV

My wife has, of late especially, given me grief for buying an SUV rather than a pickup. In my defense, I had no idea I'd have need to haul manure at the time I bought it - I just wanted/needed a 4x4 to pull my driftboat. And while I understand a pickup has the ability to haul a wider range of products, it doesn't mean my SUV has to suffer from the suburban "oh dear I got a spot of dirt on the upholstery" stereotype.

A wonderfully non-rainy day on Saturday gave us an opportunity to take care of some of good old fashioned outdoor work. First we uncovered the remaining pile of wood delivered a week or so ago and got it stacked in the woodshed - everyone helped and I'll admit to feeling a sense of security at actually seeing the woodshed being so much more full. And there was still yet more wood to retrieve.

A fair number of rounds from the tree felled the weekend before on the eastside of the property still needed to be collected, and so I locked the hubs and backed the Trooper over the water saturated ground to the scene. The kids, much interested in Daddy's truck being cruised around their bike riding trails came over to watch as I began throwing the logs inside.



As you can see, we filled it to capacity and even stacked some onto the roof. Wet bark, dirt, and moss absolutely filled my truck and the trip back to the woodshed had to include everyone of the kids crammed inside too - none of them being willing to miss the "off-road" adventure. Curiously, they all vanished when it came time to unload.

So with the truck backed up to the entrance of the woodshed, I turned on the radio to one of the local country stations and unloaded. Then, I decided to try and split a few of the rounds, and once I got started I couldn't stop. There is something profoundly satisfying about seeing a big section of tree trunk cleaved by the force of my actions. Thus, the wood slitting and stacking continued until eventually Sue came out and "forced" me to come in for some lunch.

After lunch I set to work clearing off the leaves and moss from the roof of the work shed - an arm breaking task. Sue and the kids began laying out the garden by collecting cardboard, chicken waste and leaves and spreading them over the targeted area.

By the time I had to quit and shower before the Reader's class, I was an astonishing mess. But one feels good about working so hard, utilizing and care taking two very fundamental and basic things: our bodies and our land. It is said that "Idle hands are the devil's play things" and I can see the truth in that little proverbial saying. Sloth does indeed lead - at least me - to engage certain gears that are better left unspun.

And so as bedtime approached, I was sore (I'm sure Sue was too) and the kids were wonderfully tuckered out. Not a single complaint about bed, and they were all fast asleep in record time. A very good day. Lord, please, send us more of such weather.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:50 AM [+]
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4 comments

Friday, November 17, 2006

No end to the lessons

One night just wasn't enough, apparently. Our power had returned around 2 or 3 am on thursday morning and it remained so until around 4:50 that (yesterday) afternoon.

Sue had taken the ferry accross to drop her Mom and Aunt Carol off at the train station and we decided that I would meet her at the Ferry terminal and sail back with them. Meanwhile, Sue had been incubating the bug that had infested the rest of the kids over the last few days and so shortly after we arrived on Bainbridge she was tossing her cookies into a Kitsap County Library bag.

Pulling into the driveway at Home had her then rushing into the house for more of such fun. As I made a run to check on something in the woodshed the kids cam running out to inform me that the power was out again. So the mad rush began again: collecting the chicks, getting a good fire going, collecting the lights, and trying to store some water.

I began to run the bathtub in the hopes of filling it enough to get a few toilet flushes worth of water. Only later did I learn from my sick wife that the tub plug leaks and so by that time there was little of it left. Lesson 1: fill buckets directly, not the tub.

Three out of four of the "moon lights" ("made in China" round lights that you press to get to turn on) which were a mere two days old had burned out bulbs - one of them came that way. Lesson 2: don't be overly thrifty when it comes to battery powered lighting products for use during power outages.

I actually fixed dinner on top of our woodstove: a pot of tasty vegetable soup. Surprisingly, the kids ate it all. Lesson 3: if the kids are being picky about their food, flip a breaker and tell them the power is out.

Needing flushing water - remember my wife is suffering form a stomach and intestinal ailment of somesort - I went out and grabbed a small hose and began to drain the water heater. I assumed this required me to release the pressure valve on the top. I would return to this slow running hose to refill a bucket three times last night.

By the time we went to bed, the power remained off. Sue's alarm woke me at some unknown time later, beckoning me to go downstairs and check the fire for the chicks. The fire was out and the hot coals that remained would not be sufficient to get a new log burning. I began to get things ready to start a new fire. Lesson 4: if the fire must be maintained, get up sooner.

As I was doing so, the power suddenly came back on. A glance at my cell phone showed it to be 1am. Water flowed back into the pipes and toilets filled. I was glad for it, but a few seconds later I heard an ominous water-spurting-all-over-the-place sort of noise. Yes, I'd left the pressure valve open on the water heater and it was spilling its contents all over the closet it resided in. I managaed to shut it off in as timely a manner as I could, such that the spillage was not too terribly bad. However, enough water was on the walls and floor that it certainly required cleanup and drying. The whole time I was cursing my idiocy and thanking God that by some miracle the power had returned while I happened to be up. Had I been asleep, the entire house might have flooded. Lesson 5: If indeed the valve needs to be released in order to drain, make sure to shut it after each draining. Lesson 6: When they tell you that the pressure release valve should vent to OUTSIDE the house, there is good reason for this. At my old house I personally ran the copper for this to be the case - project number 127 at the new house.

In two days on Kitsap, I have experienced more power outage time than I had in three years of living in Bothell. I'm told that I should not be surprised - indeed, I KNEW that this was part of the package deal...but what I failed to realize was how much I needed to learn. I reckon myself to be a humble man with regard to learning experiences and obviously I am willing to reveal my lessons to the entire blogosphere...perhaps that will assist me to be an apt pupil for the future lessons I will no doubt be receiving.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 1:00 PM [+]
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4 comments

Free DVD

Father Christopher clued us in to this cool freebie:

The Getty Museum is having the special exhibit of Iconography called "Holy Image, Hallowed Ground." In celebration of the opening of the exhibit they are offering a copy of a free 25min DVD about the Icons from Sinai. Sign up HERE.

I'm not terribly fond of our precious icons being perceived as museum pieces, because too often I think people viewing such exhibits may see these Holy Images as things of the past or at best things reserved for obscure and distant monasteries - perhaps not realizing that these "heavenly windows" exist and are used everyday by individual Orthodox Christians and by Orthodox communities just down the road.

None-the-less...many of us will never get a chance to go to Sinai.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:05 AM [+]
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4 comments

Change

There is a popular country song making the rounds right now by Montgomery Gentry that celebrates people changing - particularly in the evangelical christian sense. People who "hit their knees" and then when getting up a "brand new man" and leave "the old one right there." Now, while in the past I might have been tempted to take an opportunity to be critical of my old evangelical days where we would go through the seemingly never ending cycles of being "on fire", "back-slidden", and then "rededicated."

Rather, more and more I find myself considering the positives of those times, for which is better: a "rededicated" evangelical who walks away from his or her tearful altar call committed to making a real go of the Christian life this time, or the Orthodox Christian who walks away from his confession as undedicated as he was before he began? You see my point.

Take the fervor and dedication of those altar call moments and insert them into the discipline and guidance of Holy Confession and I think you will have for yourself a powerful weapon in your ongoing spiritual war. As much as we may disdain the terms (the newer the Orthodox Christian you are, the more disdain you will likely have for them) why should we not perceive ourselves as coming into confession "Back-slidden" and coming out "rededicated" and "on fire"?

"On fire" of course requires the wisdom of the Church for guidance so that we are not an explosion, but an efficient, well trimmed, and long burning vigil lamp.

The country song I mentioned before lauds change, offering the encouraging words that even in the worse of conditions, in the most horrific grip of biological determinism - some people still manage to change.

Here's to the strong; thanks to the brave.
Don't give up hope: some people change.
Against all odds, against the grain,
Love finds a way: some people change.


Have hope...but change, as the song suggests (listen up everyone) requires bravery and requires strength. God help us to have both, but always remembering that it is also going to require persistence, discipline, and pain. Precious few really walk away from an altar call as a completely changed man - rather as a man who has begun to journey down the road of change. So it should also be with our confession.

I pray that I am able to let Advent be such a road for me. My confession is a litany of things that MUST change in my life - I hope that this will be a time to put the breaks on some back-sliding, to rededicate my life to Christ and to His Church, and in the context of discipline and submission to truly be on fire.

As a side, Kenny Chesney did this same song, but I think Montgomery Gentry's version is better.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:57 AM [+]
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2 comments

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wind, Water, and Darkness

As if we have not seen enough crappy weather, another storm rolled through yesterday bring another exceptional amount of rain and some fairly strong winds. I'd stayed home from work because of an odd eye ailment - fearing pink eye or something I'd decided it would be best not to share that with my coworkers or - worse yet - with some of the immune compromised patients. It ended up being somewhat fortuitous that I did stay home.

Rade called around lunchtime to report that up at Port Hadlock they were seeing 60mph gusts, 3 foot white caps in the bay, and already a boat capsized and sunk. With little hope of power being restored to the school he expected he be home early. When I hung up, my first thought was about the Hood Canal bridge - a floating bridge between us and him that suffers frequently from closures whenever high winds present themselves. As it turned out, these closures would haunt Rade today.

Winds were not too bad at our place yet, but the rain had been coming in buckets since well before dawn. However, within an hour or so of Rade's call the winds REALLY picked up and I watched with some concern as the tall trees swayed in the wind - anchored weakly by greatly water saturated ground.

The power finally gave way at around 3pm. My wife set up the portable power source for the chickens and when that finally gave up we set up temporary housing for them around the woodstove and Killick was overjoyed to have them present for his viewing pleasure.

Within an hour it was getting pretty dark and the answer to our question about water was answered. Had we our own private well there would not have been a question, but being on a community well owned by a company we wondered if they might not have an emergency generator in the pump house for such situations (Community wells are more highly regulated by the county than private ones). I reckon we should have confirmed because within an hour the water flowed no more.

We had long talked about having to stockpile a supply of water, but we just never got around to it. And as it was growing darker, it was becoming apparent that our meager collection of flashlights was not going to be sufficient. So, my eye feeling better already, I was sent out with Kelsey to go forage for supplies.

On our way out, we noticed a tree resting upon the powerlines along our road. In Poulsbo the power was spotty, one store would be closed and the one just up the road would be fine. So we assembled a collection of lighting products and some water, grabbed some dinner, and headed back home through the pouring windblown rain.

Drinking water is not a problem, but cleaning water and toilet flushing water is something you quickly begin to miss. I gathered as much water as I could from various buckets in the yard and this allowed us a couple of much needed flushes. The ability to collect and store rainwater has suddenly become a worthy project to look into. It never occurred to me to pull water from the hot water tank, a blunder my rural coworker made known to me this morning.

As is often the case in our home, things were hectic and it was amplified all the more it seemed by the darkness. The unusual changes of our routine seemed to set some of the kids on an emotional edge while for others it was an exciting joy. We ate (Joe would throw it up) and then got out my guitar to sing songs while the younger kids mostly danced or wrestled - who could tell the difference? Pajamas were afterwards distributed and then some stories were read. Lighting products were then divied up according to need and the three younger ones were escorted off to bed. Astonishingly enough, they all were sound asleep in what seemed to me to be record time.

Kelsey and I experienced the "The Ride of the Rohirrim" and then she was sent away to bed. Sue, her Mom, Aunt Carol, and myself then sat quietly at the dining room table. Sue and I thumbed through the Cabelas Christmas catalog by candlelight with the romantic background music of the crackiling fire, the chicks peeping (with Killick standing watch), and the distant humm of a neighbor's generator. Yes, this is the beginning of the trials former suburbanites must endure in order to learn if they are truly up to rural living.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:53 AM [+]
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9 comments

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dog biology

Last night Killick let go with another one of his "fear me I am big" barks while outside - very similar to when the Wiccan Native American was howling at the moon. So I got up to let him in, thinking that a big maple leaf might have fallen and startled him.

But, as he came in and laid down he simply would not let go of his obsession that something was out there that needed a good barking at. So, I got up and let him back outside, going with him to see what was up.

Suddenly he starts barking like crazy and seeing Rade come suddenly out of the darkness he makes a barking leap backwards, both afraid and aggressive. Rade is quickly able to calm the pups fears by identifying himself and they both come inside seemingly back to normal.

Sue then noticed that Killick was paying an unusual amount of attention to his nether regions and shortly thereafter a decidedly rank aroma filled the room. I knew it smelled like expressed anal glands, but had no idea why they were so suddenly being expressed. A little online research during lunch today revealed this (note their use of the "nether regions" terminology as well):

Anal Glands or Anal Sacs are small glands on either side of your dog or cat’s anus at roughly the four o’clock and eight o’clock positions.

They contain a mucous that has a foul smell - the worse known to mankind and that could well be used for chemical warfare!

The purpose of the secretion produced by the sacs, at least in wild dogs, is to mark territory. Nowadays, some bold and dominant dogs will also mark their territory by rubbing their nether regions on vertical structures such as trees. The function is the same as when a male dog cocks its leg to urinate on a tree but the scent left by anal glands is far stronger.

The sacs are also emptied when the dog is scared or frightened. You may have noted that, when your dog has had a sudden scare, it develops an awful, pungent odour. This is usually because your dog has emptied its anal sacs over its rear end.


So, in essence, Rade scared the anal gland mucus out of my dog.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 11:09 AM [+]
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2 comments

Brief Movie Review

I confess to being a fan of the whole cgi movie genre. So, I was somewhat excited to see what Pixar had done with their newly released on DVD film "Cars."

What a steaming pile. I am surprised that the makers of the Michael J Fox film "Doc Hollywood" (which was immensely more enjoyable - how could I not enjoy the whole "Big city rich doctor falls in love with small rural town he initially held in disdain" plot?) didn't sue, because the plot of "Cars" is pretty much identical. Apparently Disney and Pixar funneled most of their money into production and very little into writing.

Wake up guys...the cgi and Pixar's reputation is not going to carry your little movie - at least not in my opinion. My kids were only mildly interested, which tells me a lot.

"Over the Hedge" was way better.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:22 AM [+]
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3 comments

Time Warp in the Morning

I'm used to feeling tired at 5 o'clock in the mornings, but this morning as the alarm went off I felt unusually desirous for more sleep. To make matters worse, the alarm clock was not tuned to my country music station, but was instead dialed to the very end of the FM dial and was picking up heavy static mixed with "alternative" music for people who cannot decide whether they like hard core rock n' roll or rap and thus have created a horrific monster that combines both. Maybe it wasn't mixed with static - who could tell?

I staggered through my bedroom and bathroom oriented morning routine and then professed my love to my half-sleeping wife before heading downstairs to get my shoes and coffee. Killick, as is his custom, followed me downstairs - looking, as he stretched and yawned in the kitchen, as tired as I felt. If any toasted cheese was to be served, I would have to make it.

Now, as if the music weren't bad enough, the automatic timer on the coffee had not gone off and so I had to start it brewing. It gurgled and trickled away as I prepared my lunch - last day for meat, I reminded myself. The reason why the coffee had not started was staring me right in the face, but I had not seen it yet.

With lunch ready, I wondered if I had time for a reading session in the bathroom. I looked to the microwave clock and found that it still had minutes remaining from a cooking assignment the night before. Down below, the oven read: 2:17am. Then I noticed the clock on the coffee maker and it announced 2:20am. Hmmmm, I thought to myself, the power must have gone out...but...ummm...only in the kitchen??

Odd...for neither clock was blinking and the microwave was still presenting its remaining cooking time. What the heck was going on? I grabbed my watch from atop the fridge and it confirmed to my horror that it was not 5 in the morning, but 2 in the morning. Thus, whoever had tuned my alarm clock radio to the obnoxious "end" of the dial, had also added three hours to the time.

I was simply too happy to get two and a half hours of more sleep to be angry about it. I just wish I'd discovered it before I was completely ready to head out the door. Such are the everyday adventures of my life.
At least I'd not made it all the way to the park n' ride.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:58 AM [+]
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Shieldmaiden of Poulsbo

Note the pinky finger...like a fine Edwardian young Lady taking tea. And threatening to shoot you in the toodles.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:06 AM [+]
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13 comments

Timber!

A busy weekend it 'twas. Besides having a houseful (and RV parked outside) of guests, we managed to get a great deal accomplished. Our guests included Sue's mom and Aunt Carol, my mom and her husband Willard, and my sister and her boyfriend Chris (and kids).

On Friday Rade and Jenny Davis helped me to replace the front two windows on the house. The old windows' seals had been compromised and were an awful sight, and one of them had a significant crack as well. I was surprised at how easy the job was and was thankful for the assistance - especially given the terrible weather: rain, wind, and cold. Also, that morning, we had two cords of wood delivered - hopefully to be the last time I buy wood.

Saturday had my sister and her boyfriend Chris showing up. Chris brought along a new-used chainsaw he'd gotten and seemed anxious to fire it up. We went down to the already felled tree on the northwest side of the property, but found that it was probably not going to be much use. So I showed him around the rest of the property and we found a tall Alder that appeared to be on its last legs (or roots). So Chris's saw roared to life and he laid it down exactly where we had decided would be the best place for it to fall.

What a tremendous crash it made - likely as loud as some of the gunfire from the weekend before. Chris then began cutting it into burnable sized rounds while Sue and I hauled the pieces off to the woodshed. We were not able to get them all...my back had had enough and I figured once Willard's RV was moved I could get the truck back there and get the rest in one shot. That tree will provide a significant amount of firewood for us next season. And, as a bonus, as it fell it completely took out a clump of young maples, which Sue will now use to make roosts for the ever growing chickens. When all is said and done, I have a pretty darn full woodshed.

Sue has pics and her side of the story HERE.

Sunday we headed off to church as usual. Afterwards St. Elizabeth had their annual meeting and somehow or another I was nominated and accepted to attend the Diocesan Meeting or Assembly to occur next February (I think) as a representative or delegate or something - I really need to get my facts straight! Anyway, I am fairly sure it will take place in San Francisco (but maybe not) and we are to elect a bishop to replace Tikhon who is retiring - this week I believe. I'm honored, even though I have no idea what I'll be doing. I reckon some OCAer in the blogging world will set my facts straight before I get a chance to talk to Fr. Christopher...also, if it is in San Francisco will I need my passport to get back into the United States?

Fr. Christopher mentioned something during the meeting that had actually occurred to me earlier that same day. While ideally one will always feel needed by a Parish, there is little doubt that the acuteness of that need is felt more in a smaller mission. This is especially true in a fiscal sense, but also true in other senses as well. Amidst a larger crowd one may not feel so compelled to step forward and help or perhaps one might not feel it so critical to make their tithe. But, in a smaller mission, you really do feel the needs...it draws you in and more swiftly gives you a certain sense of investment in the effort.

Anyway, to top the weekend off, Sunday night the girls starting puking. They had Sue up most of last night and so I hope to speed through work today as swiftly as possible in order to get home early. Hopefully, this little bug will not work its way through the whole family, but if I know our luck...the Technicolor yawning has only just begun.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:55 AM [+]
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Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Connection to the FBI

A very dear and old friend of mine is and was heavily involved in THIS case.

Extensive details of Awadallah's initial dealings with the FBI may be found HERE (PDF).

Unfortunately for me, my friend could not and (to his credit) would not talk to me about the case. The extent to which you know me, or have known me, will determine whether you can find the name of the agent I know in that PDF document.

:)

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 2:15 PM [+]
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Never knew how much those muddy waters meant to me...

Yesterday there was a brief respite in the rain during my trip home. The floods here have been bad and in seeing picks from our old hometown of Sultan it is certainly worse than I ever saw while living there - although I am pretty sure our old house did not see water.

Elliot Bay was a giant mud puddle. I'd never seen it so dirty, and what was really interesting was that while the ferry was running it motor to remain pressed against Coleman dock, the props were actually pushing the dirt at a different speed than the water and so it was actually creating a band of clarity around which you could see dirt swirling like fast moving storm clouds. It was really a cool effect.

The closer we got to Bainbridge Island, the clearer the water got and by the time we docked we had worked our way back into more familiarly colored waters: a rich and clear blue/grey/green. Kitsap, having much less land mass therefore has much less in the way of runoff that dirties the water.

But it occurred to me, as we sailed through the muck that I was seeing the remains and the cause of what was for many people a terrible tragedy the day before. Their misfortune now dumped into Puget Sound to eventually settle and vanish. Lord have mercy.

Lastly, remember to thank a veteran tomorrow.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:20 AM [+]
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hop Heaven

As the big man nicknamed "Bull" went through the recipes with me, the name of this appeared and it was - of course - a no brainer. I suggested we might even increase the amount of Chinook hops, but Bull said I'd better wait and just see for myself how the established recipe works out. The bitterness rating was not listed in IBU's, choosing rather simply to say "Out of sight."

Over 300 grams of three different hops and a dry hopped step to come later on. Let me pause and say: the smell of those hop pellets is a truly wonderful thing. Almost addictive and really spelled out to me the fact that hops do far more than bitter your beer, they actually add alot of other flavors that I have yearned for in a good IPA. I have described it before as a citrusy/flower-like taste which is precisely what one can smell from the hops. Really, I don't think there is any smell like it in the world and it really ought to be bottled and sold as perfume or air fresheners.

It was great to meet Photios and the "gang" of regulars who meet at "Heads Up." Quite a collection of colorful people, most of whom it seems make their livings in one way or another from the US Navy. Brewing beer, drinking beer, and talking about life on a "boomer" was most enjoyable. Not a word was spoken of North Korean dictators or jihadists, but I reckon hanging out with US Military personnel and making alcoholic beverages pretty much speaks for itself in that regard.

I bottle on or after the 21st.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 6:34 AM [+]
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Caught!

That's me, waving goodbye to Seattle.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 6:31 AM [+]
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

This evening...

...I am going down here, to brew beer with this guy.

Yes, on election night, Photios and I will be brewing together. Should make for some interesting conversation...let all Jihadists and crazed North Korean dictators be very afraid.

:)

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 1:16 PM [+]
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6 comments

The Chicken or the Egg

Given my "profession", bioethics is an important issue to me. Actually, it should be to all of us, since matter matters. Bioethics, really, encompasses most everything we do and even the more specific aspects of the term often apply to the general notion of ethics. For instance, adultery involves bioethics on two fronts: the macro and the micro. Clearly your body is involved on a macro scale and clearly your spouse, children, and your community is involved on a macro scale. But also on a micro scale we delve into the potential for disease and unwanted procreation.

Much of my take on bioethics has evolved since my own involvement in biological science, and if you read here regularly you have no doubt heard some of the stories including the one where I was a liberal Episcopalian who had grown to shrug his shoulders at abortion until in a pathology lab he held in his palm the shattered and brutalized remains of an aborted human being.

A story I have not related involves my college coursework in which we were growing up our own tissue culture. The source of that culture - curiously enough, given my present endeavors - was a chicken embryo.

The process began by obtaining a fertilized chicken egg. Then the egg is cracked open and the tiny little dot of tissue (the chicken embryo) is minced up and placed into the tissue culture container, and after a little while you get a monolayer of chicken cells growing on the bottom of the plastic container - all of which are very much like stem cells: very possibly multipotent and perhaps even omnipotent in terms of its future development. (The process is a bit more complex, but I will spare you the details).

The school, however, had limited equipment supplies and so we students had to be divided into small groups and each group had to take turns setting up their culture. Unfortunately, my group would be last.

I cannot recall how much time passed before we had our chance to crack our egg, but in order to have a successful experiment we had to keep the egg viable and thus it remained in the incubator...growing. By the time we did get around to cracking the egg we were horrified to find not a tiny or even a medium sized blob of tissue, but a living (which is not to say that the other group's blobs were not living) AND moving chicken. A head, tiny wings, feet and even some early fluff. We killed it, minced up part of it, and tried to grow up our cells.

Our experiment failed. But, the ugliness of it left an impression on me.

Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of a living human embryo in very much the same way (essentially) that we were wiping out these chicken embryos - albeit never at the stage of development that our group had to deal with. That being noted, it really must grieve proponents of this research to know that in an abortion you can legally rip to shreds an embryo that has all the appearances of a human being and is able to move and respond to pain, but you cannot legally do so with an embryo that is little more (and I use that phrase with fear and trembling) than a collection of cells for the purpose of harvesting it for growth and research.

It is a situation of political hypocrisy to ban one and not the other. However there is the additional moral issue of "tinkering" with human embryos when we look at stem cell research. When does human life begin? When is it sacred and when is it simply bio matter? But then again, matter matters, right?

I fear we are pushing ourselves into a realm where things are vastly beyond our ability to comprehend the full scope and ramifications of our actions. Morality and values are EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING. In our politics it is especially present and I wrestle with it most everyday.

Whether we ban abortion or force rich people to give their money to poor people, we are making very blatant moral decisions here - often based on our religious beliefs (which curiously is often cited by secularists as something horrific). It is however, quite inescapable.

As such, I am compelled by my conscience and my experience to err on the side of caution with regard to embryonic stem cell research. Our unproven quest for a cure might lead us down a very ugly road whose ending we cannot see in this life.

If indeed, matter matters, then be very careful.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 6:46 AM [+]
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2 comments

Escape

So felt this evening's commute home. The rain and wind pelted the city all day long, and from my freeway view in the lab I could see the collecting water and the waves being thrown as car after car tempted fate by passing through small lakes at exceptional speeds.

But by afternoon, the speeds were markedly reduced and the wind and rain were now easily outpacing the car and trucks as they crawled in both directions down I-5. Radio traffic announcers seemed to be reporting Armageddon as the list of congested and flooded roadways grew longer and longer.

Meanwhile, as the clock ticked, Monday Night Football threatened to utterly constipate downtown Seattle. I decided I'd better begin my escape before the bomb fully went off.

As my luck would have it, my bus was apparently a victim of unseen traffic and so realizing I was on the verge of missing the boat, I hopped the nearest bus that would get me downtown and hoped for the best as I watched my cell phone displaying the unstoppable time.

Downtown traffic was already bad. Hope faded. I decided to free myself from King County Transit early and I bolted down Seneca, meandering and criss-crossing my way in accordance with the pedestrian signage. I worked my way over to the passenger ramp near the federal building on Marion and then ran under the perilously endangered viaduct (so they say) and over Alaska Way to the Ferry Terminal.

I was encouraged to see cars still loading and so I picked up the pace as I entered the building. Then out the backdoors and down the ramp. No sooner had I stepped aboard the ship than the gate was shut and the engines revved - it was as if they had been waiting for me.

Despite the rain, I remained outside looking back at the towering city and the illumined stadium to the south. It was a pretty sight, I must admit, but I felt a profound sense of relief for having escaped it. In the details of the scene I could see the snarled traffic and I could hear the deafening noise, both of which I knew would soon escalate into full scale urban chaos. Escaped...I was tempted to continue standing in the rain and raising my hands into the air: The Seattle-shank Redemption.

I turned west and moved to the front of the boat, and now we are cruising along, rocking and rolling our way through the white caps of a stormy Puget Sound. I cannot see the city anymore.

Almost home.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 6:21 AM [+]
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Monday, November 06, 2006

Ochtoechos and Horologion and Menaion...oh MY!

So, even before I moved, I started attending a Reader's class at St. Elizabeth Mission. Apparently Bishop Benjamin and Father Christopher want their new readers to be educated in more than just...well...umm reading. In essence, those of us in the class - whether we will ever be formally ordained or not - will be able to put together any given service on any given day from the raw materials. It reminds me of my first few days in an upper level Immunology class.

I think the quizzes would make for an exciting game show, seeing who could be the fastest draw:

Ok...give me a Vespers for August 1st 2007!

Pages begin flipping furiously....is it Great Vespers? Will there be a vigil? or perhaps there will be a Vesperal Divine Liturgy? How many Kathisma? Which saints and Ranks? Stichera count? (Jeopardy theme playing)

One evening after the class, they asked me to read for Vespers. I thought: Hey no worries...what the heck, how much to readers do during Vespers anyway?

Weeeellll...this apparently showed me how sheltered we can be in our own particular parishes. For at St. Paul, I really do not recall the reader doing anything for Vespers....but at St. Elizabeth (and perhaps much of the OCA?) - as I found out - the Reader is quite busy during Vespers. I only screwed up in a few places though, and that was usually because the translations were quite different....O how I missed the "rocks being a refuge for rock badgers!"
:)

All fun aside, it is fascinating to see how everything connects together and why.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 12:32 PM [+]
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Delicious!

McDonald's is using my son in their new ad campaign for the all new realistic looking Chicken McNuggets:


I'll spare you the pictures after he took the first bite.

Picture credit goes to Dawn.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:01 AM [+]
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Wet

Take a look at these stats (from Seattle, right hand column is average):

Sunday 0.87 - 0.18
This Month 4.28 - 0.84
Since 10/1 5.83 - 4.03
Since 1/1 29.77 - 26.39

Note that in the 5 days this month so far, we have gotten the vast majority of the rain we normally get in all of November - 5.8"

As if this were not astonishing, by the end of today we will very likely have exceeded the average monthly total by a significant amount. They are predicting 2-6" of rain today. Combined with rising snow levels in the mountains, we are set up for some potentially serious flooding.

Prayers would be appropriate as many Washingtonians live near rivers.

Our house is thankfully not one of them, but our property does have a pretty sudden slope on the northwest side of the house and while it is unlikely, we know what can happen with overly water saturated slopes.

Even by Western Washington standards we have had enough.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:03 AM [+]
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Boom

The Fallin family joined us for a wet and windy weekend. Yes the weather remains ugly, but as of now (monday morning) as I bounce and rock my way across the Sound, we have not lost power. Anyway, the kids (all six) were cooped up almost as much as the chickens, but they managed better than I feared they wouldn't.

The Dads snuck out on Saturday morning and headed up to the Poulsbo Sportsman's Club. Despite the pouring rain, the old timers there were good sports (no pun intended) and set up the trap range for us. One of them named Al, volunteered to go and and be 1st shooter for us, Steve and I both suspected that he was doing so more to prevent us from killing ourselves than anything else.

Now Al was the precise opposite of an amateur: special trap shooting jacket, strange glasses, astonishingly expensive looking gun, a pad worn on his shoe to rest his gun barrel on, and a belt pouch for ammo. Steve and I certainly looked outclassed and indeed he cleaned our collective clocks. We shot two rounds and he shot better than 90% (in fact I only recall seeing him miss 2 out of 50 clays) while Steve and I maybe got around or slightly better than 50%.

It was too wet and too much fun to worry much about precise score...we'd both noted afterwards that we'd forgotten how much fun it is to pulverize flying clay saucers. I'm guessing that the lower testosterone levels in American men might also be attributable to a lack of participation in local Sportman's clubs too. One cannot help but feel exceptionally manly when you knock something out of the sky with a loud boomstick. I expect to spend more time there in the future.

Another example of rural living: Upon returning home, Steve offered to clean my gun for me and after doing so decided he needed to test fire the gun since he was not familiar with it and wanted to make sure he'd done everything right. So, in bare feet, he stepped outside my front door, walked perhaps three steps, and sent three loads of shot across my front yard and into the woods. Yep, it works.

Despite the weather's inhibitory effect, we had a great time.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:56 AM [+]
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Friday, November 03, 2006

Ferry Cam

Watch for me getting on here and heading home.

Pretty much will be a new image each time you refresh.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 2:44 PM [+]
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Howling at the moon

Halloween night brought not a single trick o' treater to our home. Fr. Christopher's son had a B-Day party and my kids were there for the majority of the evening. I, on the other hand, rushed over to Central Market after work in order to supply ourselves in case anyone did show.

Rural trick o' treating is tough. In the suburbs or city you needn't walk far at all in order to muster a pillow case full or high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and calories. But, in my neighborhood, where everyone has at least 2.5 acres you could walk all night long and only have enough to provide a days worth of calories for half the planet's inhabitants.

Anyway, despite bad traffic (by Kitsap standards), I still got home before my family, but it was quite dark thanks to the time change. I set about getting wood for the fire (another cold night before the rain came) and getting dinner ready. Susan and the kids arrived shortly thereafter (Actually Dawn kept Kelsey out ToTing with Father and his kids).

Something odd happened though as we were getting the kids ready for bed. Killick starting barking...barking with a deep somewhat threatening tone as if he were making his discontent known. Sue and I both recognized it as such so we called him in from the front door and Sue noted he came swinging round from the north side of the house - pretty much where the forest is.

I'd soon realize what had Killick so perturbed. I had to go outside to take some garbage out when I heard someone or something screaming way back in the woods. It sounded like a sort of "whooooooooooo...wha!" with the "wha" part being a distinctly higher pitch than the "whooo" part. Initially I thought it might be an animal, perhaps even a Sasquatch mating call, but as it was repeated over and over again - perhaps one cry ever 30seconds or so - it became more and more apparent that some person was hollering in the woods on Halloween night.

I went back inside and then out onto the back porch where I figured I could hear it better. Sure enough, somewhere out there in the 700 acre wood someone was doing something. Naturally, being Halloween you start to think Wiccans, but it sounded more like a Native American sort of whoop and so living within reservation land: perhaps a Wiccan Native American? (I don't think Native American's have any particular festival associated with the time of Halloween, do they?) Who could resist the image of a Native American journeying deep into the woods, seeking to reconnect with his ancestors? Hey, I'm part Cherokee...so off goes my clothes and I went barreling through the blackberry bushes in search of a greater consciousness. Whooping as I went.

Or maybe it was just some drunk redneck who got lost in the woods? No, not me.

Either way, he eventually shut up. Perhaps a rabid coon got him or one of the shotgun slugs I kept lobbing off into the woods like an artillery barrage finally hit their mark? Who knows, but either way, quiet was restored.

I have to admit, it was odd and a bit unnerving to hear such a racket coming out of the dark woods behind my house. I much prefer the distant sounds of Poulsbo High School's football games every other friday night. All part of this rural adventure.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 1:11 PM [+]
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3 comments

Under the Weather

I have been in more than one way the last few days. Yesterday it didn't just rain all day, it POURED all day. Not much change is expected today. I reckon if we don't spring any leaks in the house by the end of this system then we can forget ever worrying about it.

I suppose it was appropriate to be home sick sitting next to the wood stove in the midst of a fairly typical Washington November storm. On average, Seattle gets 5.8 inches of rain in November. In contrast, Poulsbo gets 8.3 inches. Yesterday Seattle reported 1.3 inches of rain, so if this statistic is consistent, then we likely got 1.9 inches. I would not doubt if it were actually more than that.

Anyway, it is wet and alas, the weekend continues to look wet. The wettest month for Poulsbo is December...hopefully some of the 8.9 inches will be snow.

BTW, stats may be found here.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:52 AM [+]
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0 comments

Homophobicphobia

While I'm not sure I can get very far with this loaded phrase, I figured I'd give it a go. A radio station, which shall remain unnamed in order to protect the innocent offered this brief story as their hook this morning.

A "prominent...anti-gay marriage...evangelical leader" has resigned after allegations surfaced that he had paid money for the exact type of activities he apparently stood opposed to. I'd never heard of the man.

But this sort of news, true or not, is exceptionally ripe. It also plays into the popular sterotype that the most adament of "homophobes" are actually in the closet themselves, thus feeding those who suffer from homophobicphobia.

Of course we might dare to ask: does the extent to which Haggard may or may not have been a hypocrite, have any effect whatsoever on this point, as expressed in this AP story: Haggard said that he believed marriage is a union between a man and woman rooted in centuries of tradition, and that research shows it's the best family unit for children.?

I have long been a critic of how the media loves to attack those who take stands on self-proclaimed moral high ground. We just LOVE to see hyprocrisy amongst people we are not fond of...whether it is Al Gore driving an SUV (which of course got very little coverage) or Jimmy Swaggart going to a Prostitute (which got a great deal of coverage). Of course Christian clergy are a HUGE target - especially in the eyes of the media, and perhaps even most people, depending on where you live I suppose.

I think it makes us feel better for our own hypocrisy and it somehow excuses us from having to address the message since we have wiped out the messenger. If we can show that we are all miserable sinners, then we rationalize that there is no need for us to try and stop being miserable sinners. And whenever someone begins to speak about miserable sin, all we need do is point out their miserable sin and then comfortably get back to our own miserable sin - confident that there is no such thing as miserable sin.

It's all rather miserable. Clearly, Haggard - if guilty - has proven that we should allow gay marriage. Y'all clear on that logic? Good.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 6:24 AM [+]
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2 comments



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