Saturday, May 12, 2012

And So BEGINS The Great Basement Den Renovation

The basement den is the final room to be remodeled in the home we've lived in for 10 years. Here's the before state, with that horrid, dirty neutral white walls and the detestable "rose" carpet that came with our home. Additional pics will be added as we progress, with the new "Monroe Bisque" (that's fancy-pants for "tan") paint to be finished tomorrow, of the new berber carpeting being installed next week, and of the new IKEA entertainment center arriving next weekend. Here we go...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Too Much Positive Reinforcement Produces Negative Results

So, I was just reading about a local church whose education director chooses to "honor" those Sunday school students who have perfect attendance for a given quarter at each of that church's Sunday services at the end of the quarter. Any student who has perfect attendance for any or all quarters is "honored" in June with a special "banana (wait for it...) sunday" celebration. When did Sunday school attendance become such a contest, so needlessly complicated with the unneeded emphasis on rewards? I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I think the "positive-reinforcement crowd" is getting as large and as annoying as the "politically correct" crowd. This Wall Street Journal article from two years ago is still pretty valid today with its discussion of the "trophy kids" entering the workforce.

Android Through the Years: One User's Perspective

From Cupcake To Ice Cream Sandwich: My Android Journey - AndroidPIT

Interesting look-back at one user's journey with every flavor of the Android mobile OS since the start...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Weggy's Is On The Way...And So Is The Traffic

Construction Begins on Wegmans Site -
Kingstowne, VA Patch

Will it be nice having a Wegman's nearby? Heck, yeah. Do I want it to be situated within a one mile radius of my home, on a narrow, two-way road that's routinely traffic-choked now with the extra personnel going to and coming from Fort Belvoir because of BRAC? Hell-to-the-NO, or at least not yet.

The lot excavation has indeed begun for the Weggy's at the Telegraph/Beulah intersection, and so, too, has the tree clearing on either side of Telegraph Road leading up to that intersection to (presumably) widen the road from two to four lanes. Don't get me wrong -- Wegman's is an awesome grocery store and it will be great to have one so conveniently located close by, but each store in the Washington, D.C. area draws tremendous crowds from each of the four points of the compass. The Woodbridge Wegman's, located about a 1/2 mile off of I-95 just a bit further south of our area and currently the closest store to us, causes traffic backups ONTO I-95 on a regular basis.

For once, could the designers and county and state officials NOT put the cart before the horse, and think about making the road improvements before new development starts?? The six-mile commute to my job at Fort Belvoir has grown from an average of 20 minutes one-way, to about 30-35 minutes because of too-late road improvements and an explosion of BRAC-related building on the Fort Belvoir reservation. With the Telegraph Road widening project over the next two years and Wegman's going up concurrently, I can see that one-way commute stretching to 45-50 minutes. One-way. To go SIX MILES to work.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Franconia District's Most Dangerous Intersections

Franconia District's Most Dangerous Intersections - Rose Hill, VA Patch

Yep, the intersections highlighted in this article are probably the worst in the area, but I think Kingstowne Boulevard / Kingstowne Village Parkway intersection also needs to be added to that list after the events of this past weekend...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

If You Value Your Life, WAIT for The Traffic Light To Turn At This Kingstowne Intersection

Police Release Name of Woman Killed in Crash - Kingstowne, VA Patch

I have often remarked to others riding with me in the car, when waiting to turn onto Kingstowne Village Parkway from Kingstowne Boulevard as depicted at the intersection pictured at left, that somebody was going to get killed one of these days trying to do so. If you're in the left turning lane, you are almost perfectly lined up with the left turning lane coming from the opposite direction on Kingstowne Boulebard, and (if you're attempting the turn) therefore unable to see cars that are continuing straight through the intersection until it's almost too late. And it was, unfortunately, too late for this poor woman this past weekend. Hit the link, see what's left of the car that was hit, and then vow NOT to take any future chances at this risky intersection.

Ah, Facebook, How Do I Hate Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

Out of all of the pages and sites out there on the internet dedicated to sliming, vilifying, or otherwise denigrating Bragbook, THIS is the page that reigns champion over them all. It is a must-read -- I'm still leaking tears from laughing so hard...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"...THY WILL Be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven."

I subscribe to a couple email-based prayer chains, one for a church that I used to attend a decade ago, another for one I currently attend. I am amazed at the sheer volume of prayer requests that some folks put forth some days, prompting me to ask myself, "am I not praying about every little trouble in my life enough?"

Even more interesting is the quality of the prayer requests -- more specifically, the mundanity and/or inanity of them. Now, please forgive me, I do not mean to sound like I am mocking, because there are folks on these lists who have legitimate prayer need and have nowhere else to go -- and I admittedly often sound like an idiot when I put my petitions to God into words. And God most certainly makes it clear in His Word that we are to bring all of our concerns, large and small, to Him -- to "pray without ceasing."

However, I'm left to wonder it in anyone's best interest (except perhaps the earthly church's) to pray for perfect weather and a good turnout for a church fundraiser? How about asking your fellow believers to pray that one of your scheduled appointments is kept at the appointed time, or to ask for "travel mercies" on your behalf? Or perhaps the worst, most self-serving prayer request I've ever seen -- a plea submitted to the prayer chain by a well-meaning woman asking for a difficult situation at work to "be decided in her favor." Seriously? Could we have some context so that we know exactly what we're praying for??

I'm a pretty simple guy when it comes to Scripture -- and I tend to take things pretty literally. I know Christ had a fair amount to say about praying in His Name (John 14:12-14, John 16:22-24), however, I nearly always go back to one basic playbook for direction when it comes to prayer -- the all-time best model for prayer there is, the Lord's Prayer. The one line that so many folks skip over, or recite by rote, is "Thy Will be done." But I want you to stop and think about the import of that phrase for a moment -- you are supplicating your wishes, wants and needs to those of God, and asking for yours to match up with His, both in this world and in the next. Or you should be. I should be. We all should be.

That line of the Lord's Prayer sticks out (and often burns) like a red-hot poker whenever I recite the entire passage, either to myself or in church -- it always has for some reason since I accepted Christ as my Savior in my early 20s. It is a critically important line that carries a strong and clear implication in my view -- God's will is paramount to ours, it must always take precedence, and His Will and ours do not always match up. That means that even though we pray for it to be sunny, we have to accept rain as God's will; similarly (and perhaps more difficult), when we pray for the quick and painless recovery of a loved one who is very sick or dying, and God takes that person from us, we are called to accept that as part of God's will, too. As difficult and painful as that, and so many other situations in life are.

God's will is a difficult subject that should be discussed at greather length than what I've only touched on briefly here, however, it's a topic that always pops into my head when I read 80% of the prayer requests from the electronic prayer chain emails. Think long and hard about that line of the Lord's Prayer the next time you're reciting it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012