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Another Worship Song I Really Like

Its not quite a worship song proper, but I understand the intent of these guys, even though the lyrics only drop hints.

The pain will come with the morning sun
Will the night betray the day?
Blistered skin withered from within
Scratch to shed this shell away

Will you know my name
Or will I hang my head in shame?
Will someone take this tired skin
That I’ve been dying in

Will someone hold me to the light
And if I die tonight
Then take this broken man and wrap me tight within
This brand new skin

Watch me fly
Freedom like wings and I will use them
Freedom like wings and I will spread them wide

Watch me fly
Freedom, my wings
Freedom, my wings
And rise

One day my ashes will return to earthly slumber
Spread far and wide across the desert and the sea
Until then I will live each day in awe and wonder
Look forward to each sunrise

Believe Whatever You Want

One of the longest running gags in my mind staples of what I write here is that human reason is incapable of understanding a lot of what it’s purported to understand. This is exemplified best when we believe we’re being “reasonable” or “rational” concerning large, distant, complex events, involving lots of actors…basically anything seen or read in a news story. We cherry-pick, from filtered information, our bits of data and form our views based on that, but we fill in the many cracks of our reasoning with other things in order to conform to our most-identified-with tribe. We adopt beliefs about such remote events more to maintain social homogeneity than an endless, fairly trivial, “quest for truth.” Scott Adams has some interesting blog posts like this one that touch upon this kind of subject, although he doesn’t approach it from a spiritual perspective.

The two “hard” ways we interact with the material world—the senses and deductive logic—are best used in compartmentalized, localized, easily-identifiable chunks. Think of things like fixing a car or programming a piece of software. As the system with which are interacting with gets larger, we are more prone to error, or, when there are non-inanimate objects involved, like humans, we incorporate other methods of gathering information, like inductive logic, heuristics and pattern-recognition, memory, and sympathy. There comes a point, I don’t know where, where any conclusions we can come up with are really blind guesses, which is where our tribal mental firmware comes heavily into play. The wiser ones among us don’t hold strongly to such conclusions.

Forget about being able to “prove” conclusions to others; you first have to satisfy your own standards. You may be fulfilling a philosophical due diligence in a certain belief, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s your pure intelligence or reasoning skills that lead you to your beliefs—we can thank the last 500 years of Western philosophy for beating that idea into our heads. There’s plenty of other factors that have nothing do to with hard evidence.

I sense I’m going to be mentioning a lot of this idea in the near future, so this is just the beginning of something I’m going to get really obnoxious about.

Recipes: Beef Bone Stock and Paleo Lemon Bars

Apologies for the vulgar housekeeping—posting them on here is the safest and most accessible for me. These are two recpies I refer to often but going to the original sites puts my personal sanity in jeopardy. What is it with cooking blogs? their verbose backstories and floating ads? their endless loading times? The only provision of mercy is the link back to the original recipe. Click at your own risk.

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PALEO LEMON BARS

Crust ingredients:
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
Pinch of salt
1 cup coconut flour (sifted)

Lemon topping ingredients:
3 eggs
1/2 cup honey
2 tsps lemon zest (1 lemon)
2 tsps coconut flour (sifted)
1/2 cup squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, coat an 8×8 inch pan with coconut oil.

2. Using an electric hand mixer, beat together the honey, coconut oil and pinch of salt until creamy and well combined. Stir in the coconut flour until a dough forms.

3. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake until just lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes.

4. Lower oven to 325 degrees.

5. Once the crust has cooled, gently hand whisk together the eggs, honey and lemon zest in a large bowl. Do not overwhisk.

6. In a separate bowl, continually whisk the coconut flour into the lemon juice, 1 tsp at a time. Pour the lemon juice mixture into the egg mixture, whisking while you pour.

7. Pour the topping over top of the cooled crust and bake for 21-23 minutes.

8. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Cut into vague square shapes.

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Beef Bone Broth

Ingredients:

2 lbs (approx) of beef bones
2 chicken feet for extra gelatin (optional)
2 onions
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 bunch of parsley
2 cloves of garlic
Any other herbs/spices

Instructions:
1. Roast bones for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

2. Place the bones in a large stock pot, pour the water and vinegar on them. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water.

3. Except for the parsley and garlic, rough chop and add the vegetables, along with the salt, peppercorns, and other spices.

4. Bring the broth to a boil, then down to a simmer. Skim the impurities that float to the top in the first few hours of simmering, every 20 minutes or so.

5. Simmer for 2 days. During the last 30 minutes, add the garlic and parsley.

6. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before removing the solids and storage.

Eldership Announcement

Ed Hurst, the head pastor over at Kiln of the Soul online parish, offered eldership in his operation, and I accepted. I’ll link to Ed’s announcement when he makes it, just to let everyone know I’m not a complete liar. *ding* Your glasses are ready!

You’re not alone in thinking it odd that a church could exist in cyberspace, but it does, somehow. You can order groceries and assassinations off of the Internet, so operating a manner of spiritual gathering and teaching center is as possible and, in general, more ethically preferable than at least one of those two examples.

Ed has a good post on eldership here. I can’t say yet how things will change as far as this blog here goes, but if anything there’ll be more activity than usual. I don’t plan on leaving this operation behind, at least, so the sea of information out there has to deal with this one drop of pollution indefinitely.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Second Viewing Thoughts

See here for first viewing thoughts.

1. I was wrong about Director Orson Krennic as the Very Bad White Male Villain being the one to kill the Spunky Female protagonist’s, Jyn Erso’s, father, Galen Erson…and I’m kind of glad for that. That would’ve been too predictable. Instead, Galen was collateral damage during a Rebel bombing raid; so Galen’s death was directly the result of the group Jyn was (sorta) working for. I mean, sure, Krennic killed Jyn’s mom right in front of her, and he conscripted Galen back into the Empire’s service, so he’s at large responsible for Jyn’s revenge motive…but it’s really all on the Rebellion’s side since they wanted Galen gone in the first place.

2. I’ve taken a liking to Riz Ahmed’s Bodhi Rook as the desperate Vaguely Ethnically Diverse Defector from the Empire. After he gets past his paranoia, he’s a heads-down, get-the-job-done kind of guy.

3. Everyone dies. That didn’t change from the first viewing. It was marketed as a guerrilla war movie, which it was, but it’s still uncomfortable to experience that in a Star Wars setting. You might find a weird coping mechanism in thinking they all somehow deserve it one way or another, but those of us who aren’t suited for extreme cynicism and misanthropy might shrink away from that. Still, though…

A Worship Song I Don’t Hate

That is, I actually like it: music and lyrics. The original is here, but I like the version posted below a little bit better.

Note the lack of the word “I”; it’s only used once. Yes, I (heh) know…David used “I” plenty of times in the Psalms—what, is God’s word not good enough for me? David literally was handpicked by God. He gets to use “I”. Anyone reading this, however, is no such special snowflake. You’re with the rest of us normals.

You are the Lord
The famous One, famous One
Great is Your Name in all the earth
The heavens declare You’re glorious, glorious
Great is Your fame beyond the earth

And for all You’ve done and yet to do
With every breath I’m praising You
Desire of nations and every heart
You alone are God, You alone are God

The morning star is shining through
And every eye is watching You
Revealed by nature and miracles
You are beautiful, You are beautiful

Darksky.net Is My Jam

The past few months saw the software engineer side of me agonize over weather.com’s mortally offensive UX. Ads everywhere, demonic load times, and the weather you’re looking for is somewhere. Please, stop.

Farting around Google lead me to forecast.io, which recently became darksky.net. Loads quick, info that 80-90% of people are looking for is right at the top, no overstimulating visual garbage. And they never bug you to download their app. My only minor qualm is the weather map, just below the current conditions. Unless you’re using a browser’s scrollbar, when you scroll down the page you will automatically start sliding the map instead of continuing down the page. Most people don’t want to slide around the map that much, or at all. I would keep the map visible but overlay a subtle gray along with a message to indicate that it’s disabled. The user would have to tap it to enable sliding.

Enjoy my mobile screenshot:

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: More Big Stuff in the Sky

This doesn’t seem so bad. Looks great, at least. There’s barely any plot exposition in this, and what’s there has no connection to the first game. Too lazy to look up if the credited Japanese devs are working on this one. Aside from the title, the only similarity is the ending shot of weird stuff in the sky, the grassy knoll, and a red swordish weapon. Whether or not this new protag with the jodhpurs is a goody-two shoes androgyne like Shulk, is uncertain; I’m kind of hoping the two meet and the little kid tells him to grow a pair.

A Room Temperature, Gray, Lumpy Mush

Everything has to be something else. Actually, everyone has to be something you don’t expect. When everyone can be anything, nothing and no one becomes interesting. Novelty walks by and it’s a sore—tamp down on that bump of discoloration until it’s flat. It isn’t so bad that some men are smarter than most women, it’s also not so bad that some men are stupider than most women, because intelligence is value-neutral. You read that right, but read it again. Or, to reword it: high intelligence is preferable in some situations, in others, it’s not. A shipwrecked string theorist can’t do much if he doesn’t know how to hunt and create fire, and knowing the ins and outs of string theory aren’t going to help. All of it goes deeper than that but I don’t have the time right now. Have a penis? Chop that alien protuberance off and get co-dependent: get into the habit of being responsible for the happiness of everyone around you. Have a vagina? Cement over that disgusting wound and set your clenched jaw against complete strangers for the approval of a harridan gender studies professor. Reality can only be tolerable as a flat, inoffensive, unlined paper, upon which no one may strike a mark.

Links of Possible Relevance, Part 19

Stop Saying “Whilst”

“Stop Crying” subreddit – That link doesn’t go anywhere because the subreddit doesn’t exist. Someone needs to start it, though, kind of like the “I Am Very Smart” or “Le Wrong Generation” subreddits, to highlight all the people who comment on Facebook images or Youtube videos of overtly sentimental subject matter with tears in their eyes (“damn those onion-cutting ninjas!” etc.). It’s getting out of hand.

LOL – LOL

Red Deer man punches cougar at Tim Hortons to save dog – I thought cougars would be more into Bob Evans.

SpecFaith: The Need for Diversity in Christian Fiction – No. God, please no. God doesn’t need diversity in anything any more than He needs a peanut butter sandwich or a stovepipe replacement. Evangelical Christians are like conservative Republicans—they hop on cultural trends 5-10 years too late, when everyone else has moved on to the next progressive cause.

Oh No, a Shortage of Dead People – Some folks are too retarded to figure out the negative, unseen, unintended effects of their favorite public policies, but the moment the private sector does something, there’s a sudden burst of insight!

The world is getting more frighteningly stupid by the day. – Yes it is, Jill. It is.

Megadeth’s “Hangar 18” – Ending on a positive note! One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums…and it still holds up today, 25+ years later. This seems to be the remastered version, and thankfully they didn’t quiet down Dave Mustaine’s and Marty Friedman’s solo dueling. Hey, speaking of solos, as far as metal it doesn’t get any better than these solos. Keep in mind this was pre-Protools, make-everything-sounds-the-same era. You can feel them beating the crap out of those strings raw to get them to sound the way they want: lots of string scraping and accidental pinch harmonics. As one user commented: “Best solo battle ever, best solos ever, best solo tone ever.”