Last night I spent some time working in the yard. I had to finish up the Bible study I was preparing for tonight, and since I like to give my blog readers the inside scoop, I'll let you know what I'm doing for it.

I was asked to teach on Acts 5-8, so I've turned it into Act 5 through Act 8 of "The Acts of the Apostles" screenplay. For the most part, I stuck to The Message translation of the Bible, but I had to fill in some stuff that wouldn't be clear otherwise in a play.

I'll post the script after the study for those of you who can't make it, either because you have to work, or becuase you don't live in Montana.
Well, ed won the game on Justin's blog, but in a shocking twist, just ten minutes ago, there was a winner to a game I posted a couple of months ago.

Congratulations, bigskymoosedrool! And as if the fame and prestige of having your very own write up on isn't enough, I'll send you your very own tangible prize, i.e. something not electronic. Just email me your address, p.o. box, random drop off point, or place to hide a magnet and I'll get it to you!

I think it's safe to announce the location now. Sorry to you second place hopefuls. You'll just have to get in on the next game. Bigskymoosdrool wrote in, "I used to walk up to Freddy's Feed and Read from our
University area house all the time!" Well BSMD, I don't know if you are still in the area, but the ol' Feed and Read has changed hands a few times since then. It was Quarter Moon Books, and now it is Bobcat Books or something like that.

Good work!
Well, I went on down to the local Barnes & Noble for the Harry Potter book release. Shannon is a big fan. I hope she isn't too disappointed if the book ends with the "one, big, happy, Weasley family" scenario. This is where Ginny and Harry fall for each other and Ron and Hermione end up together.

I actually haven't read any of the books, but I have seen all the movies. I really like to see everyone dressed up in costumes and all the excitement. They were doing face painting, lightning bolt tattoos, and pictures with a Harry double - all for free. I joined in the fun and took a pair of free HP glasses, and got a photo taken.

Dumbledore and the gang, were generous enough to grant me an audioblog interview. Enjoy.

this is an audio post - click to play
In preparation for super sci-fi fantasy Friday...

this is an audio post - click to play
PDC'05 - Developer PoweredYesterday I sent an email to my boss telling him that we should send someone to the Professional Developer's Conference in Los Angeles if we could. To my surprise, he told me that same day to sign up for it now because the price goes up after the 15th. So I'm going to L.A. in September for a gathering of nerds. This is really exciting. I get to see all the upcoming Microsoft technologies and developer tools, meet and learn from some of the top programmers in the world, and get early releases of some really cool software.

Now, I'm working on optimizing my trip to see the most in L.A. while I'm there. The work day at the conference gets over around 5:00 every day, so I'm hoping to make some trips to cool places by public transportation. On the list of possibilities: Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, and the Russian part of town.
Yes Rocky, I think this photo is blog-worthy.

Every Wednesday during the summer, there are free concerts in Bonner Park at 8 p.m. Bonner park is in Missoula, not Bonner, although I think the people in the park out-numbered the small town of population 200.

Jamey, lafalda, P, and I arrived between 5:30 and 6:30 to play some Russian Scrabble before the concert. While we were sitting there, a woman who obviously loves Missoula as much as I do, asked us if we knew who was playing tonight and when it started. She said she was looking at a poster for a little while before she figured out it was from last year. I told her it started at eight, but none of knew who was playing. She said with the work situation in Missoula her family's always broke so they gotta take advantage of the free shows in town.

Russian Scrabble ran into and through the concert, and I think P was pretty tired because he came in last and I ended up winning thanks to the plural of love and prepositional of cathedral (Любви и соборе for those Russian readers). We also grilled up some deer burgers.

Jason and Janice from the office stopped by for a burger too, which was really cool. Jason said, "you have some really nice friends", and I told him, "yeah, I like them too." He also said, "It was nice to see Shannon too, she's really nice," and I told him, "yeah, I think so too." Janice actually played in the concert, so it was a nice to be able to thank her with a deer burger.

It was a beautiful night, with a temperature in the high seventies and a light breeze. As the concert ended, we resorted to leg wrestling, arm wrestling, swinging, spinning, cartwheels, and more. I think every time I start doing cartwheels and round offs, we have a conversation like this:

Someone: Hey do a front-flip!

Me: Have I done one of those before on the grass?

Someone: Yeah, I think so.

Me: Okay.

Then I take off running, start the flip, and land flat on my back. Then I say, "I didn't get quite enough rotation," and remember that this has happened before.
I was just introduced to this great game by Justin, whose blog and drawing portfolio you should check out if you're so inclined. It's soothing in an untying knots sort of way, but without the hassle of not being able to pull apart the string. I cleared level 8 before I decided I just needed to post it and get on with work.
Hey, I just added a fun new feature to the ever-evolving cuchillo blog: Search! Yes, I'm afraid that I'm just not popular enough for Google to provide decent site searches, but I found a great little tool called Pico.

So if you take a peek over to the right you'll see the little 'ol search box and button. Looking for those posts that I started about Mexico and never finished? Just search for it. Wondering if I ever wrote a limerick? Try it. What about a Russian lesson? You never know what you might find back in those tomes of writing.
I had a fun-filled weekend. My friend Nate, from Ohio, who I know from Alabama, was still visiting. Saturday, we stopped by the Farmer's Market briefly before meeting up with Chris to go pump up the rafts. It was really busy there, and we only had about ten minutes, so I quickly bought some cucumbers and got to practice my Russian with the man selling them. Then, I picked up a little bag of fresh huckleberries.

Judging from the gas stations and gift shops, if you weren't from Montana, you might think that huckleberries were to Montana what potatoes are to Idaho, or pineapples to Hawaii. This is not really the case. Huckleberries have proved to be difficult to domesticate, because they require more acidic soil than most areas. Actually our top commodities are:

  1. Cattle and calves

  2. Wheat

  3. Barley

  4. Hay

  5. Sugar beets

but enough about all that.

We met up with Chris, and pumped up the rafts, and then the eighteen of us headed down the river. It was a cloudy day, and quite a bit cooler than the rest of the week. It seems the weather cooled down just for the weekend, because it is really nice again today, like it was Friday. It was still a great float. The headwind made the trip a bit longer than predicted, but these trips always last longer than predicted. I was surprised to get sunburned, because it was really overcast. I noticed looking back at the pictures that Scott was a bit sun burnt too.

After the raft trip, Nate and I picked up Shannon and headed up to Blue Bay on Flathead Lake. Flathead Lake is the largest, natural, freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Even though it has a dam on it now, it had this title before the dam. It was great hanging out with my parents, and the weather even cleared up enough Sunday to go for a boat ride. We looked at the mansions along the shoreline, a popular boating pastime for my family, and then we went to M&S Meats - just about a yearly tradition. Shannon and I picked up some Polish sausages, German sausages, and bacon which I would later use to start the weiner roasting revolution.

On our way back I did a little water skiing in the 65 degree water. It felt a bit cooler than that, but I'm not complaining. It's not everyday you get to go for a ski. When I got back in the boat, Shannon handed me my lukewarm coffee from M&S Meats to help me warm up. For some reason she didn't want a hug.

That night, we roasted some German sausages. I cooked mine on the fire a bit, and then wrapped it in bacon for the rest of the roasting. I think it would have been really good had I not over-cooked it. Everyone says it doesn't look appetizing, and P says it looks like a dead squirrel. Revolutions don't always catch on I suppose.

I almost omitted a certainly interesting tidbit about the fire. We had really green wood, but we found out that it helped to give the fire oxygen. Then to improve upon our discovery, my dad fetched the cordless air pump, normally used for blowing up mattresses. It was like pouring gasoline on the fire! We've been thinking about marketing metal ones for use on campfires.

Silas Richard Rekow, welcome to the world. May God bless you and make you a blessing to everyone who meets you.

Enjoy every moment, from the bliss of being a toddler, to the satisfaction of old age near the end of a beautiful life. May you change people for the better, and may God's hand always rest on you.

Silas was born yesterday, July 7th at 8:14 PM, weighing 7 pounds, 15 ounces to the proud parents of J.J. and Anna. He is a miracle.
I just read an interesting article that I found on slashdot about wireless internet access. Wireless has become so popular now, you can just about find it anywhere, and many places offer it for free as an incentive to hang out and buy their coffee. This guy in Florida though was arrested for using it outside someone's house, and charged with a third degree felony for unauthorized access to a computer network.

The ethics and social consequences of new technology are very interesting to me, and while there has been a lot written on the subject, normal people don't think about it much. I turned on a wireless laptop at my house the other day, and I can pick up five wireless networks, including mine. Three require passwords, and two don't. Would it be wrong to use one of those that is not password-protected? They are not password protected for one of two likely reasons: the owners don't know how to do it or they don't care if other people use it. I think it would be wrong to use it and disrupt their service by downloading large files, but what about just a little browsing or blog reading? An arguement against using it is that it is like stealing cable, but this is a bit different.

Another topic of ethical debate is the duplication of copy written material, like downloading music. No one would say that using iTunes is wrong, you are paying for the music, but what about downloading music that others have. I think this is like stealing. What about copying a friend's CD that is no longer published? What about making a backup copy for yourself? That's allowed by fair use, but can you loan out the backup or original?

Another issue I ran into recently was copying DVDs. Yes, I think it's wrong to download movies or copy DVDs that you rent. Who wouldn't? Are you allowed to make a backup copy? DVDs you buy are encrypted, and you have to decrypt them to play them on your computer. Is it okay to break the encryption to make a backup copy? What about removing the region code so you can play Slovak movies on your US player? Normally you can't, for the sole reason that Hollywood doesn't want you to.

As technology gets better, these questions will only get more difficult and hopefully more prevelent. Record companies are now successfully lobbying to pass all kinds of laws to try and gain control over their works like they used to have. The trouble is that many of these laws are making legitimate copying and use illegal.
Happy Fourth of July! I know it's a little late, but how else am I going to post a picture of fireworks?

Shannon and I met with the expecting J.J. and Anna for dinner at Cracker Barrel. It was nice to have some good 'ol American cooking on Independance Day, even if it did take an hour to get our food. Then, like ed and the others, we watched the mall fireworks. J.J. and Anna were kind of hoping the fireworks would scare the baby out, but they didn't.

As of yesterday, I was proud of myself for not spending a cent on fireworks this year, but then Nate had to go and ask me if I had any sparklers. Nate is a great friend who just flew in from Ohio yesterday. I know him from back in Alabama, where he did all the sound for our band, No Longer Blind. Those were good times, but that's another story.

After he arrived we (Shannon, Nate, and I) happened to drive by the Pink Grizzly and noticed that they were still open and selling fireworks, so I abruptly pulled the truck off the road, and we hopped out. I picked up a brick of sparklers and two bricks of ground bloom flowers. It was a great deal on the GBFs, only $3 for a brick of 72. Scott, we need to get these at our fireworks stand next year.

After coming home and lighting off 18 GBFs with a blow torch, Nate and I played Time Splitter on the XBox until 12:30 when I remembered, like I do late every Tuesday night, that I need to meet J.J. at six a.m. in the morning.

Surprisingly, I don't feel too tired right now, but it may kick in later today. I have a feeling that there will be some more XBox tonight, and maybe a hike to the M. Probably not in that order though.

This is a good week for Nate to come, since we (Chi Alpha) are going to have a Bible study/bonfire on Thursday, and then go rafting down the Blackfoot on Saturday. Also, my parents will be up at the lake with the boat this weekend, so we'll be heading up there after rafting on Thursday. If you didn't already know, "the lake" refers to Flathead Lake, the largest natural, freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Specifically, Blue Bay.

Can you think of anything else that an out-of-towner shouldn't miss during a short stay in Missoula? We have fish tacos on the agenda.
What I like about grocery stores now-a-days is that on most products they tell you how much it costs "per each." You know, you can look at a two liter bottle of pop and see that it costs $.02 per ounce, then you can look at the canned pop and see that it costs $.04 per ounce. Well then you know that it's a better deal to get the two liter.

It didn't always used to be this way, as you may remember, and in fact you may still find yourself doing some mental math. Like what if the two liter says it costs $.75 per liter and the pop is $.04 per ounce? Ah yes, metric conversion. Don't forget 34 ounces per liter. Yeah, I had to look it up too.

The nice thing about all this is that it makes it easier to spot "Value Pack Ripoff." That's what I'm calling it when the value pack is actually more expensive per each than the smaller size. I don't doubt many an unsuspecting shopper has been ripped off by this. Makes you wonder about shopping at Costco, eh?

I was at an unnamed grocery store the other day shopping for some cotton swabs, and comparing prices like a good shopper, when I found the perfect example of this phenomenon. For both q-tips and Johnson and Johnson, value pack was a worse deal than the regular smaller pack. Granted your got a "free" package of band-aids with a dispenser in the q-tip value pack, but it isn't really free now is it?

I'm not here to bash the cotton swab companies; I see this all over the place. I just want you to beware. So, beware of the value pack ripoff!

Still had to do some mental math on the q-tips, but it's not too hard to divide by 100.