A little less wise

Thursday morning I had the delightful experience of having 4 wisdom teeth removed. It’s the first real dental work I’ve ever had to have done, so I wasn’t really looking forward to it. But they needed to be removed, so I dutifully reported to the oral surgeon’s office at 8 AM, prepared for a weekend of pain and pills.

It’s actually been a lot better than I feared it would be. Thursday was still pretty much a loss, but I wasn’t in a lot of pain. Friday I felt pretty good. I probably could’ve gone to work on Friday, but I’d already prepared everybody for my being gone, so why mess things up for them? πŸ™‚ It’s now Saturday morning, and my mouth is still pretty swollen, but I keep popping the ibuprofen, and other than that the pain is mostly gone. I’ll have to be careful what I eat for the next several days, but I can live with that.

The only thing I really needed to get done this weekend was mow the lawn, and so I’ve been figuring that by today I’d be ready to get out and mow. Well of course last night it had to rain, and it’s been threatening rain all morning, so I don’t think I’m going to get it done. Maybe tomorrow. I guess I could go outside and help Becky with her flowers…

This is probably the most boring random journal-type blog entry I’ve written in some time, but I guess it’s been slow enough that I don’t have much to post about. Either that or I’m just slow enough that I can’t think of anything… πŸ™‚

Cakeboy? Who the heck is Cakeboy?

In a comment sometime back, Amber asked about the whole House of Cakeboy title. While I may rename this blog at some time in the future, it’s still worth telling a bit of the cakeboy story by way of explanation.

It all goes back to a choir tour back in college. I was the primary accompianist for the LeTourneau Singers, who toured during spring and fall breaks with about 18 members, including accompianists and sound guys. We toured to Colorado during spring break during my freshman year, and, as it usually did, my birthday (March 14th) fell during the tour. We were out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant that night for my birthday, and after eating, they brought out a cake that somebody had bought, and sang Happy Birthday, and everything. It really was sweet of them.

Anyhow, after several pieces of cake had been cut and I had started eating mine, one of the girls (one of the semi-obnoxious ones) grabbed a bunch of the frosting from the cake plate, snuck up behind me, and proceeded to smear the frosting all over my face, in my hair, the whole nine yards. I was a mess, and none to happy about it, either. But I maintained my good humor, and cleaned up as well as a handful of napkins would allow. She then proceeded to call me “cake boy” the whole rest of the evening… which grew into the whole rest of the tour. Several other group members picked it up and it became my de facto nickname for the rest of the tour. When we went skiing later in the week, I had a tag to mark my skis, and marked it “cake boy”. I still have it laying around the house somewhere… a memory of good times. But that skiing trip is a whole different story.

After Singers (which I quit after my sophomore year), cakeboy started to fade into the oblivion of long-forgotten days. Some years later, I began interacting on an internet forum hosted by and for fans of the band Caedmon’s Call. I wanted a cool nickname, not just something boring like my computer login name. So I thought for a few minutes… let’s see… what could I use for a unique nickname? And then I remembered that ski tag. So, Cakeboy it was. Little did I know the fun that I was in for.

You see, on this particular message board, when they refer to sex, they don’t typically say “sex” – their pseudonym for sex is “cake”. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize this yet at the time I chose the nickname. You can imagine the jokes that came up. Actually, you don’t have to imagine – read the “Cakeboy joins the throng” thread and see for yourself. Finally one member took pity on me and let me in on the joke, but after a bit of thought I decided I could laugh at myself just fine, and so I kept the nickname. It’s been a perpetual joke ever since, but I’m OK with that.

So that brings us to the House of Cakeboy. It seemed the reasonable name for my blog when I got it started. I suppose sooner or later I’ll change it to something that won’t make people go “‘House of Cakeboy’? What the heck?” But for now, it’s a fun story to tell. Hope you enjoyed it.

Time to start studying

I have set upon a new endeavor at work: I am applying to become a DER. A brief explanation is in order, since probably none of my readers are familiar with the avionics industry and how equipment is approved to go on airplanes.

In the USA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has to approve every piece of equipment that goes on an airplane. The idea is that they can ensure that all aircraft are, by design, safe and airworthy. For software that runs on equipment in the aircraft, that software must be developed with rigorous standards and procedures, and then verified with equal rigor. (The relative rigor of the standards depends also on how critical the equipment is – less critical equipment needs less rigorous procedure and test.) Just for my company (one of the top two or three avionics suppliers in the world), and just in my department (flight displays), we probably request certification for half a dozen software releases every year.

The FAA realizes that they don’t have enough people to review every package in detail, nor do they have the time to stay current on all the new technologies and designs and processes. So, they choose to appoint engineers within the avionics companies as “designated engineering representatives” (DERs), and they give those engineers the authority to review and sign off on software releases on behalf of the FAA.

So, I’m applying to become a software DER. There are only about a dozen of them in our company (out of 10,000+ employees), and half of those dozen reach retirement age in the next 5 years. So, the need is great. I’m kind of at the bottom end of the experience required; counting my college training, I have 10 years of software experience – a minimum of 8 are required. I submitted my application packet yesterday. I will be going to a national DER conference in Norfolk, VA at the end of July, which should provide me with some valueable training. Then I will be studying the federal regulations like mad in preparation for a 30 minute panel examination by the FAA, likely to be scheduled for the end of September.

It will be a good move to become a DER; first of all, it’ll provide some variety in my work since I’ll be doing the DER stuff about 20% of the time, and my usual job the other 80%. It’ll give me visibility to other projects and other types of equipment that I might not learn about otherwise. It’ll make me just a little bit more indispensable, I suppose… and indispensable is a good thing to be.

I imagine I will post about my learning experiences here from time to time, so stay tuned.

Back to nerdiness

Now that the infamous projector is back on track, I’ve been able to devote myself to other nerdiness. Yesterday I set up a bulletin board (gotta love phpBB) for the Conversation Cafe that my pastor runs at his coffee shop. I don’t know that it’ll get a lot of traffic, but it will be a good place for the college kids that participate in the Cafe discussions to continue them online. I know next to nothing about administrating a bb, so I’ll be doing some quick learning over the next few days/weeks. At least I have a well-run board I can look to for an example. πŸ™‚

I should have my geek status revoked

As I noted in my post to Mr. Murphy a week or so ago, I’ve been having problems with the new projector at church. I talked to the tech support guy today and we walked through stuff for 15 minutes, and he couldn’t figure anything out either. He left me with two other things to try, and if neither of them worked, then we’d send the thing back for warranty repair.

I tried the first, which was to send a composite video signal through. It worked just fine. So then I tried the second, which entailed getting the projector down from its stand and taking it into the office to hook it up directly to a desktop PC. Still no dice. At this point I’m pretty frustrated, and just sitting there thinking about what else it could be. I idly started playing with the rotary input control on the top of the projector, and all of a sudden – voila! It’s working! What could it have been?

The whole time I have been pushing the VIDEO button on the remote control, trying to cycle through composite video, S-video, and BNC. What I hadn’t been doing is pushing the RGB button right next to it. Arrrgh. As soon as I push that button, it switches to the RGB source, and everything works fine.

I should have my geek status revoked for a week or two for this one.

[Note to tech support: even if the guy on the other end sounds smart, don’t assume that he is. Remember that there’s a RGB button on the remote, and ask specifically if he’s using it. Even smart-sounding guys can overlook obvious stuff when it’s a new piece of equipment.]

new horizons in wife appreciation

Becky went to a women’s retreat this weekend. She left Friday afternoon and didn’t get back until Saturday night. It was my first real extended time of getting to “kid wrangle”, as Steve puts it. (Of course, he’s got three kids, so my one probably doesn’t really count…) I have gained an entirely new appreciation for the things my wife deals with on a daily basis.

I had 28-or-so hours that Becky was gone, and had one real task I needed to complete: the back yard needed mowed. That was just about all I got done while she was gone. Well, not quite all. I did get over to church to finish debugging the problems with the projector… and didn’t get anywhere. I’ll talk through it with tech support today. And I did spend a couple hours while she was napping Saturday afternoon watching the Cubs game. So I could have gotten a couple other things done. But still.

There’s this whole issue of how much stuff there is to remember with a kid; you have to remember to take the diaper bag everywhere, and to remember to refill it when it’s empty. And remembering to check (and change) her diaper often enough that she’s comfortable and not overflowing… And remembering to take the opportunity to change her diaper at the “family room” on the one end of the mall before walking all the way to the other end. And remembering to use the facilities before you leave home since it’s a real pain to try to park a stroller in the restroom next to you when you’re out… And remembering that mealtimes aren’t nearly so flexible for Laura as they are for me… 7, noon, and 5 are pretty well set in stone. And on… and on… I assume you’re getting the idea.

Laura and I had a good time while Becky was gone; we spent a lot of time together, and that’s good. I don’t get to spend as much time with her as I’d like to. But I’ll tell you this – we were both sure glad to see her get home. πŸ™‚

[a nod to Prof. Peter Schickele for a title I could play off of…]

boredom

This has definitely been one of those boring weeks, especially as far as work is concerned. As I wrote about before, I have been assigned to be the team lead for a new project. It’s not a particularly big or long project as our projects go, probably me and one other software person for 12 months. It’s becoming less scary as I get into it further; I’m understanding exactly what needs done, and I know I can handle it… I’ve done most all of it before.

The bad part this week is the boredom; we’re in a planning phase where our plan isn’t due until the end of this month. My project lead was on vacation all of this week and will be all of next week, too. I need her input to finish planning. So what do I get in the mean time? I have a bunch of half-finished spreadsheets that need her input and approval before I can finish them. I’ve had most of those done since the early part of this week. So I’m sitting here now posting on my blog, inflicting my boredom on you readers who are probably now bored reading this.

I hate having nothing to do. If I have tasks to work on, I’m a happy camper, the day goes fast, I’m ultra-productive, things are good. When I don’t have stuff to do, I go crazy. Time drags. Listening to music doesn’t seem to help. I can’t exactly sit here and read a book… although maybe there are some technical journals or FAA publications or something that I can read. Yeah, that’d be exciting. πŸ™‚

I don’t even know if I feel better after having complained here about my boredom… but it least I spent 5 minutes doing it… less than three hours until the workday is over….

The process of the Christian life…

Was reading today and found this wonderful quote from Martin Luther describing the process of the Christian life. It challenges and encourages me…

This life, therefore,
is not righteousness but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it.
The process is not yet finished, but it is going on.
This is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.

What’s in a name?

We’re holding some church leadership strategy meetings this summer, and one of the big topics is the proposal that we change the name of our church. It’s a big step – we’ve been Noelridge Baptist Church for almost 50 years. But the times, they are a-changin’. The denomination with which we’re loosely affiliated (Conservative Baptist Int’l, ‘CBI’) has mulled over a name change for the last year or so and settled on WorldVenture. The rationale for the name change is that when you poll the population at large and ask for church-name-type words with bad connotations, right at the top of the list are both “conservative” and “baptist”. Two strikes against you before you even get started. We have discussed it for a while and decided that Baptist has got to go. But what will we change it to?

Our leadership group at these meetings is comprised of eight of us: our four elders (two of whom are the staff pastors), two elder apprentices (of which I am one), the chair of the deacons (my friend Steve), and the chair of the deaconesses (my wife). (Did I mention we’re a little bit involved in our church? πŸ™‚ ) Anyhow, our group is pretty well split on naming philosophies right now. Our senior pastor (by far the dynamic leader of the group) is in favor of something more seeker-friendly, and is a big fan of something perhaps in Latin that will pique the interest of seekers. (Think of Imago Dei in Portland, for an example.) I think that both of us apprentices and probably the elder chair would go for that.

But then there’s the other side. Steve and John (the youth pastor) and Becky are all on the opposite side, thinking that a “foriegn-sounding” name will just turn people off; that they’ll go “huh? what’s that? can’t even pronounce it!” and that’ll be it. John (I love ya’, bro) likes to play the stupid card: “well you guys may be rocket scientists, but I’m just a simple guy and I wouldn’t even know how to spell it if you told it to me…” It drives me nuts sometimes. He’s not that simple. πŸ™‚ Anyway, their vote would be for something simpler, like “Peace Church” or “Potter’s Clay Community”. Sure, the names are simpler, but to me they don’t inspire the awe or interest that some other type of name would.

So there’s our dilemma. We will be making a change, but to what? Do you, the reader, have any ideas? Here’s the list of everything that was proposed yesterday at our meeting.

Peace Church
Peace Community
All Souls Church
All Souls Community Church
Last Baptist Church
Community of Faith
Glory of God Community
Image of God Community
Potter’s Clay Community
Last Chance Church
Last Stop Church
Noelridge Church
Gratia Dei Church
Charis Deo Church
Pax Dei Community
Imago Christi Community

Do any of them strike you as good or bad? I’ll take all of the input I can get.

What’s in a name?

We’re holding some church leadership strategy meetings this summer, and one of the big topics is the proposal that we change the name of our church. It’s a big step – we’ve been Noelridge Baptist Church for almost 50 years. But the times, they are a-changin’. The denomination with which we’re loosely affiliated (Conservative Baptist Int’l, ‘CBI’) has mulled over a name change for the last year or so and settled on WorldVenture. The rationale for the name change is that when you poll the population at large and ask for church-name-type words with bad connotations, right at the top of the list are both “conservative” and “baptist”. Two strikes against you before you even get started. We have discussed it for a while and decided that Baptist has got to go. But what will we change it to?

Our leadership group at these meetings is comprised of eight of us: our four elders (two of whom are the staff pastors), two elder apprentices (of which I am one), the chair of the deacons (my friend Steve), and the chair of the deaconesses (my wife). (Did I mention we’re a little bit involved in our church? πŸ™‚ ) Anyhow, our group is pretty well split on naming philosophies right now. Our senior pastor (by far the dynamic leader of the group) is in favor of something more seeker-friendly, and is a big fan of something perhaps in Latin that will pique the interest of seekers. (Think of Imago Dei in Portland, for an example.) I think that both of us apprentices and probably the elder chair would go for that.

But then there’s the other side. Steve and John (the youth pastor) and Becky are all on the opposite side, thinking that a “foriegn-sounding” name will just turn people off; that they’ll go “huh? what’s that? can’t even pronounce it!” and that’ll be it. John (I love ya’, bro) likes to play the stupid card: “well you guys may be rocket scientists, but I’m just a simple guy and I wouldn’t even know how to spell it if you told it to me…” It drives me nuts sometimes. He’s not that simple. πŸ™‚ Anyway, their vote would be for something simpler, like “Peace Church” or “Potter’s Clay Community”. Sure, the names are simpler, but to me they don’t inspire the awe or interest that some other type of name would.

So there’s our dilemma. We will be making a change, but to what? Do you, the reader, have any ideas? Here’s the list of everything that was proposed yesterday at our meeting.

Peace Church
Peace Community
All Souls Church
All Souls Community Church
Last Baptist Church
Community of Faith
Glory of God Community
Image of God Community
Potter’s Clay Community
Last Chance Church
Last Stop Church
Noelridge Church
Gratia Dei Church
Charis Deo Church
Pax Dei Community
Imago Christi Community

Do any of them strike you as good or bad? I’ll take all of the input I can get.