The Swedish Chef

Remember the Swedish Chef on the Muppets? Someone has uploaded a bunch of videos of the Chef to Google.

Dell gone nuts

Tuesday morning I was working on a briefing on D. A. Carson's book "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church," an excellent evaluation of this doctrinally-deficient movement. Just after lunch, my Inspiron 5100 laptop got a blue screen of death. I attempted to reboot, but Windows couldn't find my hard drive. Even more telling, I was hearing unexpected clicking noises from my hard drive. This is always a really bad sign. I ran the built-in Dell diagnostics, and sure enough it said my hard drive was dead.

We know that it's never a matter of *if* your computer will fail, but *when.* Did I have a backup system? Yes! I use Second Copy to backup our files between our various computers. It's set to make an identical copy every two hours. Did it work? Yes! I only lost about 45 minutes of work, which I was able to reproduce. This $30 utility is worth every penny, especially if you have two computers in your house. Still, I'm thinking about buying a NAS, if I can find an inexpensive wireless one.

Then the fun began. A new hard drive was only $60 from Dell, which isn't too bad considering that this is an older computer. The site said that the drives usually ship in 3 to 5 weeks. That's longer than I would like, but it was acceptable since I have other computers that I can use. So I placed the order. Then we got the confirmation, which said the expected shipping date was 4 Dec 06! Yikes! That's not 3 to 5 weeks, that's 3 to 5 months! I googled around for a bit, but I couldn't find anyone else who sold the older hard drive that I needed, so I resigned myself to being without that laptop for a while. It wasn't that big of a deal, since I have a newer Inspiron 9300 laptop that Calvary gave me last year. I began installing all the software I need on it (stuff like Outlook and GAIM). This morning we got another email from Dell: the hard drive has already shipped. Sigh. How do they go from such extremes? I guess their ability to estimate has just gone nuts.

Photos: Beirut

We have recently returned from a trip to Beirut, leaving just before things got really "interesting." Look at our photos and read our journal.

Photo: 4th of July

Ann's father bought a nifty set of fireworks which we set off in his front yard on the 4th. The kids thoroughly loved the sparklers.

Home Again

We just in got from TX this afternoon. Thank you to Ann's Dad for dropping us off this morning and to fellow intern Tim Shaw for picking us up. We're glad to be back.

Photos: Fun in Ore City

We've had a fun and busy day today, including playing in the pool in Ann's parent's backyard and trying out the new playground built in town. Take a look at the photos on Flickr.

Photos: Border Collie

Ann's parents have a new dog, a border collie. She was an instant favorite with my daughter (surprise, surprise). She's also a lot of fun, deftly able to catch balls, frisbees, and other toys out of the air. I set Ann up with the camera and she was able to catch a new picture of Brandy catching a frisbee.


We got up at 4am on Saturday and began the long drive to TX. It took us just less than 17 hours, which included many pitstops, lunch, and dinner. That wasn't too bad, all things considered.

Several things made the trip go by fast:

1) We hooked our laptop up to the power convertor for a make-shift DVD player, which kept the kids busy for three hours. Tim, my fellow intern at Calvary, had the great idea of letting the kids use headphones to watch the movie. He loaned me an audio splitter, so Jacen and Emmy each got their own. This freed Ann and I to be able to talk up front.

2) Early in the week Ann downloaded "Robinson Crusoe" as an audio book on MP3. I burned it to 3 audio discs, and the kids listened to the first third of the book. That was another great idea that burned lots of time.

3) This was the first time I'd traveled to TX since the speed limits have been increased. Every state from NC to TX now allows 70 MPH on at least some parts of the interstate.

That strangest thing we saw was a couple of roadsigns in Birmingham: "Pollution levels high: please drive less." What? What do they expect people in Birmingham to do? "Gee, honey, the pollution's high, let's not go buy any groceries today."

Anyhow, we're glad to be in Texas for a few days visiting with Ann's family.