Saturday, June 16, 2001

What an interesting day.

Now that I’ve taken over the build of the online help system at work, I’ve been looking at ways to automate the build process. Over the course of the week, I’ve been designing a program that would do just that, but haven’t had the opportunity to write it. Since my boss wanted a daily build done by Monday morning, I decided to go to work this morning and write the build program, then perform the build.

I arrived at the office and was shocked to find that I was the only one there. This is the first time I’ve ever gone to Intersect and found it empty. Even on weekends, there’s usually somebody around. Either way, I wrote the program, and performed a build. This will save me a good hour every time I perform a build from now on.

I returned home and took care of e-mails, in preparation for a trip to my sister’s for her oldest daughter’s fifth birthday party. Mom walked into my room an hour before we had to leave and casually asked if I had a present.

Much to my chagrin, I didn’t. Not even a card. I’d completely forgotten.

It’s somewhat surprising to me, looking back on it, how angry I get at myself in situations like that. I feel so stupid when I forget important things like that. I don’t really know how to get any better at it, too. It would’ve helped if I’d had this party on my wall calendar, I suppose.

In any event, I decided to get the birthday girl a reasonably-sizablestack of McDonald’s gift certificates on the way there. I still needed a card, though, so I drove out to a local Hallmark store and got a cute little birthday card. I came home just in time to leave for my sister’s.

We were not looking forward to the party. My sister and her family are fine; it’s herin-laws that are a bit of a problem. They tend to withdraw into cliques, which makes social gatherings uncomfortable for us. Plus, my sister had costumes for us; Mom was going to be the Wicked Queen from Snow White, whereas I would be Captain Hook. We’d agreed to do this, but weren’t particularly enthusiastic about doing it.

Dad was feeling poorly, so he stayed home while Mom and I made the hour-and-a-half drive down to Julie’s. We got there, greeted everyone, went upstairs and changed, came back downstairs, and….

…I find this very odd…

We had the time of our lives. We acted up (Mom kept offering an apple to the kids), and ate ham and birthday cake, and helped out with the games. That last duty turned out to be problematic; some of the kids were frightened of us (even one of my nieces!). We ended up toning down several of the games, so that overall the kids had a great time.

After the party — and after I’d taken off my outfit — I had a long chat with Julie, where we talked about eBay (at 24, I’m beginning to feel old; those Fisher-Price block people I played with as a kid are collector’s items now), and how much she’s enjoying the new church she’s going to.

Unfortunately, Julie’s spent the past seven years at a frigid church, and I’m not talking about the air conditioning. She’s also struggling with the whole Bill Gothard “name it and claim it” theology (interesting critique here), which says that — to describe it briefly — since God already has victory over all things, when a Christian is faced with a problem s/he should simply identify the problem (name it), then acknowledge God’s victory (claim it). Then God will provide the victory.

To quote G. Richard Fisher, “The issue is far more complex than Gothard would have us believe.” First, God doesn’t have the victory in every conflict; he sure doesn’t “win” (which is a questionable concept to apply to real-life human interaction and conflict anyway, IMO) in every battle (military or otherwise) in the Bible. But more importantly, this theology offers no actual help, while claiming to be the only advice needed to solve problems. All it’s saying is that God will provide a solution, and evidently we should wait for it to fall in our laps. Which is clearly not Biblical; name one Biblical hero who did this.

So, Julie’s trying to see her way out of that. Not an easy task, needless to say. It helps that she’s now going to a very warm church nearby. I think I helped just by talking and offering a few encouraging words. In any event, at about 9:00 we headed home — mostly because the kids were still up, and we didn’t want to keep them up any longer — and returned home, happy.

What an interesting day.

Writing Thoughts


I finally got a rejection from Parents Magazine over my article “Anime Explained.” I don’t know of any other print magazines that would be interested in the article, but I think it would work for a newspaper supplement. I know of one that’s bundled with The Washington Times, so I think I’ll try submitting the article to them next.

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