and away we go

Leaving in a few to go camping through Sunday. Hope you have a great weekend and all that wonderful stuff. Happy Memorial Day.


get it off! get it off!

This morning I took two fish oil vitamin pills at my wife's behest. Supposedly these pills contain things like Omega-3 Fatty Acids which help my cardiovascular system and all that good stuff. I don't get these acids from fish, because I hate the taste of fish. The pills smell like fish.

About a half hour ago I started to get a few of those little air-burps. You know the kind I'm taking about? Nothing major, just a bit of air coming up. Well they taste like fish. I've been trying to get rid of them, because they make me want to puke. I am currently trying to down an Henry Weinhard's Root Beer in order to get rid of this taste.

I think I'm going to find other ways to improve my cardiovascular health.


lion mutilates 42 midgets in cambodian ring fight

You think I'm joking, don't you? Apparently there's such a thing as the Cambodian Midget Fighting League (CMFL). Its leader took offense at a fan's proclamation that a lion could take them out, so he demanded the opportunity to show the true prowess of his fighting midgets. From the article...

An African Lion (Panthera Leo) was shipped to centrally located Kâmpóng Chhnãng especially for the event, which took place last Saturday, April 30, 2005 in the city’s coliseum.

The Cambodian Government allowed the fight to take place, under the condition that they receive a 50% commission on each ticket sold, and that no cameras would be allowed in the arena.

The fight was called in only 12 minutes, after which 28 fighters were declared dead, while the other 14 suffered severe injuries including broken bones and lost limbs, rendering them unable to fight back.

Sihamoni was quoted before the fight stating that he felt since his fighters out-numbered the lion 42 to 1, that they “… could out-wit and out-muscle [it].”

Unfortunately, he was wrong.


EDIT: This article is a fake.


classrooms and cleanliness

Today I am subbing in just about the messiest classroom I have ever been in. I might bring my camera tomorrow to take pictures...it's really something to behold. Papers are piled and scattered everywhere...books, boxes, and folders are spilling over the counters on either side of the room... It's just trashed. It's interesting how some people can get their work done in this sort of environment - I know I couldn't. I shouldn't judge the teacher though, and I don't mean to. All kinds of things could be contributing to the state of the classroom and the disorganization...I'm just making an observation.

Today and tomorrow I am subbing in this room, and we're watching Rebel Without A Cause. Last year when I subbed one day for this teacher, I did the exact same thing. Thankfully this is a pretty good movie. Even though it was made in 1955 the kids seem to be able to relate somewhat, because it's about a couple teenagers and their struggles with their parents and peers while they're trying to find their way and be loved/accepted/good etc. The parts the kids laugh most at is when the teenagers in the movie are being disrespectful and rude to authority figures. Imagine that.

One thing this movie seems to be pointing out is how important the father figure is. Three of the main characters have messed up relationships with their dads. One dad is a wimp and wants to be friends with his son, one dad is an absentee, and one dad withholds affection and love from his daughter because he can't come to grips with the fact that she's becoming a woman. In all cases, all the kids need is for their dads to step up and be men and act like fathers. A lot of the stuff going on in their lives would be different if they had good fathers.

I see this reflected in real life, as I work with and talk to kids. The power that a father has on his children cannot be overestimated. That's why I'm glad I have a good dad; not perfect of course, but as good a one as is humanly possible, I think. I'm sure he's had a lot to do with the fact that I am (or I think I am) pretty well-adjusted and doing alright in life. As I continue to minister and pastor and all that, I hope I can play a part in building stronger families, helping parents to realize just how big an influence they have on their kids whether they know it or not. Parents should know this, and take heed.


episode 3

So I went and saw it last night in Union City. The 12:01 showing. It was pretty funny...lots of Fremontonians there, saw a lot of people I know. That made it sort of fun. Ricky stood in line from about 4:30pm on, so I have to thank and salute him for saving our spots like that.

While we were sitting in the theater, there were two lightsaber fights up front. The first was by one dude dressed up in a Darth Vader costume vs. an Obi-Wan guy. The second, which was better by far, was between two high school students from Washington.

As for the movie itself...

I thought it was pretty good. A lot of very lame dialogue and weird wipes, but overall I thought it was a vast improvement on the first two (just about anything would have been) and it succeeded in giving more meaningful context for episodes 4-6.

Perhaps the funniest moment was Vader going "NOOOOOOOOOOooooo!" while shaking his fists. That was pretty stinkin lame.

Also a friend of mine brought up a good point, because it got annoying listening to Yoda's screwed up words. If he were that smart, wouldn't he pick up english at some point? I mean, geeze. Sometimes his sentences were virtually nonsensical.

But overall I really liked the movie, and want to re-watch the original trilogy, so I suppose it succeeded. I also want to pay more money to see it again, so I suppose it succeeded in that regard as well.


More Pictures of Anthony are up

Anthony Big Yawn
Originally uploaded by actionjax.

All my wife talks about these days is how cute our new nephew is. Here are some more pictures of him, and I think you'll be hard pressed to disagree with her assessment. He IS a cute baby.


octavio dotel sucks

Just so you know. Two days in a row, he has given up 2-run home runs in the bottom of the 9th and lost the game for the A's. This after the A's fought hard to keep it close. We need a real closer.

monkeys adapt robot arm as their own

You may have heard a while ago that some monkeys were able to control robotic arms with their brains. There's a really cool article I just read that goes into more detail. Here are some excerpts from it. Soon we will all be cyborgs:

"And basically we were able to show clearly that a large percentage of the neurons become more 'entrained' -- that is, their firing becomes more correlated to the operation of the robot arm than to the animal's own arm."

According to Nicolelis, the analysis revealed that, while the animals were still able to use their own arms, some brain cells formerly used for that control shifted to control of the robotic arm.

"Mikhail's analysis of the brain signals associated with use of the robotic and animals' actual arms revealed that the animal was simultaneously doing one thing with its own arm and something else with the robotic arm," he said. "So, our hypothesis is that the adaptation of brain structures allows the expansion of capability to use an artificial appendage with no loss of function, because the animal can flip back and forth between using the two. Depending on the goal, the animal could use its own arm or the robotic arm, and in some cases both.

"This finding supports our theory that the brain has extraordinary abilities to adapt to incorporate artificial tools, whether directly controlled by the brain or through the appendages" said Nicolelis. "Our brain representations of the body are adaptable enough to incorporate any tools that we create to interact with the environment. This may include a robot appendage, but it may also include using a computer keyboard or a tennis racket. In any such case, the properties of this tool become incorporated into our neuronal 'space'," he said. According to Nicolelis, such a theory of brain adaptability has been controversial.



My New Nephew

Anthony looking up
Originally uploaded by actionjax.

Here's a pic as promised of Anthony. He's pretty cute, as you can tell. You can go to my flickr page and see a couple more of him. His full name is Anthony Jace Ramirez-Cornelio. I lobbied extensively for "Jackson Rules Ramirez-Cornelio" but for some stupid reason they wouldn't do it.

i'm an uncle (again)

This morning at 7:15am my sister in law Anna gave birth to Anthony Jace, a healthy baby boy. Pictures to follow.


time travel party - this saturday, once and for all

An MIT student is throwing a Time Travel party this Saturday on campus. He's asking other students to put notes with the announcement on acid-free paper and whatnot, so time travelers in the future will find it and come. Neato idea.



throwing balls at children

I've been saying it for years - if you're going to throw something at a kid, throw it fast.



minus vince and ernie ball

As most of you know, my brother Dave is in a band called Minus Vince. He plays drums. They're trying to get into the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands and it would help them if you'd click this link and listen to their song. It's a new song off of their upcoming EP. It's pretty good, So you should go there and listen to it and give them a little bump - word is, the more listens they get the better chance they have of getting into the battle. So go do that.


far off healing studies

A while ago you probably heard of a study that said patients that were prayed for did better than patients who weren't. Some in the scientific and medical community are still talking about this sort of thing, as people strive to do scientific studies to prove that prayer works. Here's a quote from somebody who doesn't like the idea much:

"You can't use science to prove God," said John T. Chibnall, an associate professor of psychiatry at St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, who co-wrote a scathing rebuttal of studies on distant prayer published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2001. "We shouldn't waste the money of the government showing that Jesus is 'the man,' " Chibnall said in an interview. "Faith is faith. Science is science. Don't use science to strengthen or diminish belief in God."

The last statement there is the one I wanted to look at - "Faith is faith. Science is science. Don't use science to strengthen or diminish belief in God." That seems like a dumb idea to me. It also misunderstands the nature of what faith is. Faith isn't some blind adherence to something you wish were true (or at least it shouldn't be). I think that everything we believe we put faith in to one degree or another. I have faith that the chair I'm sitting on isn't going to pop out of existence, because the evidence and my observation points to that. I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow because I've seen it rise many times before. I have faith that France exists, even though I've never been there, because the evidence seems to point in that direction. I believe that everything we 'know' is some proposition we have placed faith in.

It would be foolish to separate faith and belief from evidence or "science," as the guy in the above quote suggests. Many people do just that - believing things that don't have any sort of eternal significance based on evidence and all that. But when it comes to issues of spirituality and God, so many people throw the use of their minds out the window and make stuff up. They say "science" and "faith" are irreconcilable enemies, and you shouldn't try to combine them.

In my opinion, faith in something that is clearly contradicted by proper inquiry is probably a foolish thing to do. And when it comes to something as important as eternity, I think everybody owes it to themselves to take an honest look at the evidence, rather than simply going along with their first inclination, whether that's atheism, agnosticism, or Christianity. We must use our minds to arrive at our decisions regarding God and eternity. It's odd to me that people would do otherwise...but they do, and claim that it's perfectly reasonable.

Now, I think that many in the scientific community make that statement as a way to not offend religious people, who they consider ignorant and deluded. There are also those who make it because they honestly believe it. I suppose I'm just saying that of all the things to make stuff up about or not really look into with some effort, your eternity is sort of dumb to leave up to wishful thinking.

Here's a link to the article about the prayer study.

Here's a link to something Greg Koukl has to say about faith and evidence.

The Seven Gummie Sins

The Seven Gummie Sins: Sloth
Originally uploaded by Wiedmaier.

Somebody has done up the seven deadly sins Gummy-style on Flickr. Check it out.


police central

Right now there's a helicopter circling my block and I hear there are lots of police around the neighborhood. Last time I was where a chopper was circling was when I stayed in Inglewood a few years ago. Wish there was a way to find out what's going on. I think it would be cool if the police department had a way for you to see what they're up to at the current time - like what the big commotion is when you see one, etc. I'm nosy, maybe. Guess I'll go to bed and see if I can find out what happened tomorrow.


hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

Friday night Janelle and I went to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with some new friends we've been hanging out with, Erik and Sarah. Erik was much more familiar with Hitchhiker lore than me, so he was able to point out some little things in the movie that were fan service for true devotees of the Hitchhiker's universe.

Overall the movie was better than I anticipated, since I'd heard some highly negative reviews from people who love Adams. It was pretty funny, and Janelle even dug it, which is pretty awesome because she usually doesn't like stuff like that. If you liked reading the book you'd probably like the movie.

I'm gathering more and more of the necessary materials to submit my application to Golden Gate Seminary. I am actually eager to start taking classes again. Looking at my transcripts in envelopes from Ohlone and Cal State Hayward reminds me that I took a bunch of classes in colleges for four years and got a degree. It seems like a long time ago since I did all that, like a blur. Time flies.