Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jasmine Rice

I love Jasmine rice! I think I've posted this before but although it is only slightly more expensive, it is worth it. Jasmine rice has a great taste unlike most long grain rice that doesn't really taste like anything.

Marcie was at Apples of Gold last night so I was left to fend for myself. I decided to make rice and black beans for dinner. The rice was perfect but the beans took around 45 minutes to cook. I always forget they take so long when they don't come from a can.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Java Resources

I've been working on this java program for the last couple of months. Honestly, I've only been working on it for about two weeks since things have slowed down enough to actually get working on it. Its basically a GUI that accepts text input, check boxes, and select menus and converts them into a script file to set up a program for my friend Doug.

The nice thing about Java is that you don't have to write much code to get a big result. If you want to add a button, you just say add button and there it is on the screen. I've found three websites that provide great examples on how to use portions of the java code.
  1. Sun's Java website about swing: HERE
  2. The Java Almanac from ExampleDepot: HERE
  3. Leepoint's descriptions and examples: HERE
They is a wealth of information on Java out there but I like these because they are concise. Leepoint in particular describes classes in a sentence or two and gives sample code for each. The other two provide great examples but I tend not to read their descriptions. Maybe there's some better sites out there. I just happen to like these.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

ArtSpark Part 3

ArtSpark was this past weekend downtown. Marcie said this year was much larger then last year by almost double. Local artist set up tables to sell their merchandise and some dance studio set up a dance floor for people to learn to salsa, cha-cha, and other social dances.

The main event as you have probably guessed by part 1 and part 2 of my posts as well as the picture in this post was the sidewalk chalk competition. People from all over registered and were given a square on the street to work with. Using sidewalk chalk, they created art on Friday night. Saturday, they should be done and a booth was set up to collect money in a jar. Viewers would put money in the jar they thought was best. The artist with the most money won. I don't know what the money went to but it doesn't matter. We just got to see a lot of pretty cool art.

ArtSpark Part 2

ArtSpark Part 1

Snuggies gone wild

Just when I thought these things couldn't get any more obnoxious, I saw this in Target. Now you can express your wilder side with your Snuggie.

Hmm... I think Tim needs one of these.

Coon At Work

Yep, work today has been seriously disrupted by our striped friend. He decided to hid himself under the door next to our loading dock... right outside my window. Every few minutes people stop and talk about what the raccoon's plan for leaving is. There was even some serious discussion about the little guy being stuck. You're thoughts. Is he stuck or just waiting for dark?

2009 Hedingham Fall Yard Sale

Ryan was telling me that his wife was really into yard sales. She would look at the newspaper and map out each one she would want to go to that day. You can find some really great deals and if you do it right, you can furnish your entire house for very cheap. It may take you several months but eventually you'll find every piece of matching furniture you need. On top of that, a lot of times you'll make unique sets that you wouldn't find at a furniture store. If you were thinking about getting into yard sales, check out Hedingham's fall yard sale October third. There will be selling at the pool, the athletic center, and random houses through out the development.

Fall Yard Sale
Saturday, October 3rd
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Rain Date of October 17th

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Revelations 19:11-16

We had an interesting sermon this past Sunday. We're going through the book of Revelations and as usual, Davey brings in some great points and imagery. Lets look at the passage he went over.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

He started out with the white horse that Jesus is riding on. There are faster modes of transportation and perhaps safer ones but none of that is necessary. There is just something about a horse galloping that just makes you stop and watch. Its majestic, more so then the fastest fighter jet or the most armor clad tank. Jesus is God and therefore he rides in victorious over each war he creates.

Next it talked about his fiery eye. If you've seen the Lord of the rings, you probably remember the piercing gaze of Sauron as a lidless eye that sees through to your very soul. Jesus' eye here is like that. The Gospel of John often says Jesus knew what was in man's heart and this is one way of describing it. He will look at "good people" and see if there is any sin in their heart. All have sinned therefore if you haven't believed Jesus is the only way to heaven, Jesus will immediately know.

On his head are many diadems refers to the practice in the Roman culture where kings would wear a headband like the karate kid. It would be embroidered with the kingdom's emblem and he would wear that as he rode into war. If he was defeated, his diadem would be removed from his head and would be worn by the victorious king as a symbol that he is in control of both his kingdom and the defeated kingdom. This indicates that Jesus has defeated every nation in the world. None are left that are not under his command.

He then talked about the clothes dipped in blood. This isn't just clothing dye. This is the blood of those who are not part of his kingdom. Picture the over the top Kill Bill scene where she fights the crazy 88s. By the end of the battle, she had blood all over her. That is what Jesus will look like at the end of the battle but there will be a few more then 88 dead.

Now the dead and raptured saints follow behind Jesus on their own white horses. This is a huge contrast from the Roman civilization where only the Caesar would ride a horse. His generals and army would walk. We will ride in as co-heirs to God's kingdom on earth. Also note that the robes are white here. They are not dipped in blood as they are only there to observe Jesus' victory.

Jesus' tongue is a two edged sword and with a mere spoken word, he can destroy nations or create the world. In the past, a warior would wear his sword on his thigh but not Jesus. His power comes from the fact that he is the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." He is God in flesh and nothing can oppose him with out his consent.

After this second coming and the end of the battle of armegedon, Jesus now rules with a rod of iron. This is much more powerful then the Iron Curtain from the USSR days. Jesus is omnipresent, omnipotent, omni... He is and always was in full control. Nothing happens that he has not allowed and he is not allowing sin for the next millennium.

We often think of the "turn the other cheek" Jesus but its interesting to hear this side of him. It brings a greater respect for me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ants On a Log

I love Ants on a log. Its such an easy food to prepare and tastes soooooo good! All you need is celery, raisins, and PB. I use Smucker's all natural peanut butter since it isn't processed and tastes more like real peanuts. I'm enjoying one right now... mmm mmm good!

Wolfpack Freshman Oath

Its that time again. Are you ready for some football?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wedding Cake

There are so many options to do here. We felt weird at first not serving cake to our guests but the desert crepes are pretty good so I figured it wouldn't be a big deal. We were lucky to have a friend who is super talented with cake decorations. By doing a smaller cake (wedding party only) and having Keri make it for us, we saved a ton of money. I felt like the result was just as good as the super large cakes that feed everyone. Plus, we had strawberry cake which in my opinion tastes much better then your normal wedding cake.

Another friend of ours has an interesting idea for her wedding. She is asking everyone to make pies for her wedding. What a good alternative to the traditional wedding cake!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

From the road

We're on our way to Mi for the extended weekend. Two and a half hours down, a little over twelve to go. Wahoo!

Maybe we'll stop at IKEA again on the way up. I still need a pot lid rack for our kitchen. You'll have to stop by at some point and check it out if we do.

Sent via my mobile.

State Pride!

Got to love the last invention mentioned here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wedding Honeymoon

My problem with Travel Agents:
I would not suggest using a travel agents. At one time, it was hard to find information about hotels and packages so they were your best option. Now, even the smallest hotels have web pages so contacting them or finding package deals is easy for the average Joe. Also, they don't always book on your timeline. We asked to fly out Sunday afternoon so we could hang out with out of town family who were down for the weekend. Our agent didn't listen but booked us a 5:30 am flight. That means we had to be at the airport at 3:30 am the day after our wedding. We were exhausted and arrived 3 hours before we could check in. We sat by the pool in normal clothes unable to enjoy our time yet.

How a travel agent works:
You do not pay them. They find out your interests and suggest their favorite hotel based on those suggestions. Since the hotel pays them commision for booking you through them, they will want to suggest the hotel that pays them the most. Travel is also something they get commission on. I don't know if they get more for pushing certain flights over others but I have to imagine that is the reason we had to take such an early flight.

How to book your own vacation:
Look on orbits, cheaptickets, kayak, and other places for the best airline ticket. Google the location you want to visit for the best reviews. Look at honeymoon magazines at grocery stores and bookstores to find which ones are featured. Finally, contact the hotel via email and let them know you want more information. Ask about specials and packages you saw on their website and ask if there are any unpublished deals going on.

Don't worry about travel. The thing about public transportation is that it is for the most part easy to use. Tourist locations thrive on tourist traffic so you don't need to book that in the US. If it wasn't for our search, we never would have found the second hotel with such a rich history. Something important to note is that some hotels will pay for travel from the airport to their hotel if you stay with them 3-4 days or more.

How to pay for things there:
Be prepared to spend more money. There will be thing you decide to do while you are there. If you choose to go on some tour or ride a dolphin, expect to spend about $100 per a person.

The nice thing about VISA or Mastercard is that it is accepted anywhere. Also, you can use your card at ATM's to get the local currency. There is typically no markup on the exchange rate therefore the only hit you take is the transaction fee.

Don't forget to contact your bank and let them know the exact time you will be out of the country. Tourist locations attract a lot of identity theft so they will know to put your card on hold if they spot any shady transactions. If you don't let them know, you also risk having your card put on hold while you are there leaving you with out an money source.

It is a good idea to get some local currency. Street vendors will not take plastic so cash is king. Banks offer true exchange rates with the smallest fees for the exchange. If you take too much, you can always exchange it back to USD once you get back. Don't forget foreign ATMs take US Visa cards. Also, some places like Mexico actually prefer US dollars so that is another option.

Cashiers check:
This is probably your safest option. It can't be duplicated like plastic but unlike cash, they will replace any check that is stolen from you. It is the same as cash so you can use this about anywhere. We didn't worry about this as we were pretty careful about where we hid our money. We kept it on us a lot or put it in books or our room safe. We were in a pretty safe area so that wasn't a big concern anyways but you may be different.

How to spend your time:
You will not have sex the whole time you are there. I don't think that would even be possible. Plan a few things to do aside from relax by the beach. We decided to add a little adventure to our vacation which ended up being a great idea. Marcie couldn't get enough R&R with me but I was getting a bit restless. I need to do something so the couple of days we spent at the Mayan ruins were perfect. I would suggest however you schedule adventure first so you are relaxed by the end of the vacation. You want to come back as relaxed as possible since you will likely come back to a messy house and a job that has work piling up. The crazy bus ride on the way back and all the walking didn't put us back in Raleigh as rejuvenated as we could have been.

Also, if you can, try to return with at least 1 full day of nothing to do but adjust to living with your new spouse. You've likely never had to share a bed before and that takes some getting used to.