Saturday, June 18, 2005

Nature Gone Wrong

Actual call at my work the other day: lady called to say she thought she might need animal control, but she wasn't sure. Seems two dogs were mating in the side yard of her house. Not usually a problems, dogs do that. The problem is, the male was a large dog, about 50 lbs, and the female was very small... a chihuahua.

That wasn't in itself the problem. Seems, as they are mating, as dogs do, nature somehow went a bit awry. The male was having a very hard time disengaging himself from the little female, and was running around in the front yard and on the street.... dragging the little female with him.

I was dumbfounded and befuddled. I've never, ever heard of this before, but, to the howls and yelps of a couple of dogs in the background, the kind lady assured me this was not a prank phone call.

I immediately called the animal control office and advised the dispatcher there of the situation. She was, as I was, dumbfounded and befuddled. She'd never heard of this happening either! She had to put me on hold a moment and ask her supervisor exactly what would animal control do? Well, she took the callers name and phone number and assured me she'd call her.

Just goes to show you, if you wait long enough, the entire world will pass by your doorstep.

On an unrelated note, I really have a hard time with judgemental Christians.

I am a Christian, a born-again believer in Jesus who believes he is saved by grace, through faith, and not of anything I have done so that I can't boast about it. Having said that, I know that I am judgmental about many things in life, but I try not to judge the depth or strength or validity of what one believes when it comes to faith. That doesn't mean I won't gladly discuss my views, debate the issues around religion and faith, and talk about whatever I feel passionate about, because it is my fervent belief that my faith has to be able to stand up to being kicked around by folks who have different viewpoints. This is all natural, normal, and healthy. But I try hard to refrain from judging how strong one's faith IN their faith is, or, in the case of fellow Christians, of judging how good of a Christian they are.

I signed up long ago, right after my x-wife and I broke up, on a Christian dating site. I've been inactive on that site for over a year, but every once in a while, I get a "someone is interested in you!" e-mail, so I go and look. Usually I find an e-mail from a cute 22-year-old Russian girl who sent the same e-mail to about 10,000 other guys, wanting to marry an American and come to the US. Whatever.

This time it was from a lady who was, I think, trying to be helpful but just really missed the mark in my book. I post it in its entirety here, unedited, with all the spelling errors intact:

"Many people have suffered as a result of broken marriages. Divorce is like a death yet the other family members are still alive. Ond of the parent will suffer the loss of a relationship with the children. The children will also suffer from the loss of a relationship with the not custodial parent. The parents will always b connected because of the children. God's ways are the best and if we disobey people suffer. Work it out Don't be so selfisn centered."

Ok, she starts with the "marriage good, divorce bad, children of divorce will suffer" thing, which I think most of us will agree with in principal. My first thought was "ya think?" Anyone who's ever contemplated divorce has already thought about all these things, and gotten advice from myriads of sources. Thank you very much.

God's way are best - agreed, in my book. If we disobey, people suffer - again, as a Christian, in my book I am generally agreed. When people break the Ten Commandments, usually someone gets hurt.

"Work it out, don't be so self centered"?

Ok... here's where I just have a huge problem with the judgementalness of so many Christians. How does anyone know what my frame of mind has been while I've been going through my separation and divorce? How does anyone know if I've been selfish, or gallantly selfless while trying to save my children from a monstrous situation that would have deteriorated into chaos if God had not given me the spine to finally end it with my x-wife?

So many Christians automatically take the "you can never divorce, God will always find a way, it is ALWAYS God's will that the family stay together" stand, that is so very wrong, in my book. No one knows what God's will is for any one person, except themselves and God. NO ONE. Not even my closest fellow brother and sister in Christ knows what's in my heart, and how my relationship is with my God, just as I haven't the faintest clue what the true state of their relationship with God is.

Jesus' command was simple - Love God first in your life with all you have, and love your neighbor as yourself.

No judging. No nagging. No second guessing. Be kind. Have compassion. Put yourself in their place.

Just love one another.

It's not that hard a concept, but one I fear so many of my fellow Christians have a hard time with. It's not an easy thing for me to hold to, and I don't always do so well as I'd like, but I'm sure trying my best, and I wish more Christians would do the same.

The New Face of Indy Racing?

I may have to take up watching Indy Racing. 23-year-old Danica Patrick is the youngest woman ever to race the Indy 500, and placed 4th in this years race, after darn near winning! If Indy racing ever needed a spokesperson to boost their profile (which certainly couldn't hurt), they couldn't ask for a hotter.... egh.. uhm... better example than Danica.

Friday, June 17, 2005

I've Been Blogged!

Seems someone on the far east coast stumbled upon my comments regarding the 49er's video a few weeks ago. He linked my comments on that to his post in a pretty high-traffic blog called SlantPoint. His post and comments are here.

I was wondering why my site-meter suddenly shot up by about 50 hits in one day a while back. Coolio, though!

Gonna take my two younger girls to see Star Wars ROTS tonight. I'm pretty stoked, to tell ya the truth. I'll let ya know my thoughts on it later.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

StormWatch 2005

It rained today in Sacramento. A little bit. I think we got 0.15 inches or something like that. With the media coverage you'd think a polar ice cap had melted and flowed through the Sacramento Valley.

The local news (KCRA Channel 3, the big dog in Sacramento) opened their news coverage with footage of rain drops falling into a puddle of water on the side of the road. News coverage went on with two (count 'em, TWO!) live broadcasts related to the "weather". #1 -river front businesses were impacted by the "cold" weather, and lack of customers. The "impact" is felt community wide. #2 - fans at the River Cats game got wet, and drank hot chocolate instead of beer. I know 4 days of rain in June is a record of some kind, but folks........ it's just rain.

And a very little bit of rain at that.

I went shopping and loaded groceries into my car... in the rain!
I drove... in the rain!
I took the dog out... in the rain!
No news people interviewed me! I was slogging and carrying on!


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

7.0 Earthquake Near Humboldt! I Was Just There!

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center bulletin.
Real Time Earthquake Map - US Geological Survey
LA Times

Apparently the earthquake was centered well off shore, a bit north of Eureka, more west of Crescent City. My dad talked to my brother Jack, who said the earthquake rolled him off his couch he was laying on, but nothing more. Jack did have to report for work though, since he works for the CHP dispatch center up there, just in case. No major damage reported around town, no deaths, no tsunami (although a warning was issued and quickly rescinded). Several neighborhoods in low-lying areas of Crescent City were evacuated for a time, but those folks are all back in their homes tonight.

I find it humorous that, as of 11:25pm PDST, not a single local Eureka media outlet has their website updated with any local information. Nothing. Nada.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Humboldt County Re-Visited

Started out last Tuesday by going to Sacramento County Family Court with my friend Lisa over a guardianship issue she was having with her 16-year old stepdaughter. I thought it was going to be a long, drawn-out occasion, knowing how court can go, but it was real quick. Done and out in about 30 minutes. Soon after, I was on my way to Humboldt County.

I left Sacramento about 10:30am. I wasn't planning on hard driving, so I figured I'd make it up to Eureka by about 5pm. 6-1/2 hours for 340 miles of driving is pretty good in my book. My brother says 4-1/2 is all it should take, but that's driving a bit fast for my blood. My little Ford Focus can go 90mph, it's just not a good idea to drive in that fast for long. Besides, I like to stop here and there, grab a cup of coffee, hit a roadside stand, look around... whatever. I'm on VACATION!

The drive was lovely, as usual. Northbound Highway 101 in California is so pretty, after you get out of the San Francisco Bay area. Rolling hills, little towns, farms and fields all the way up to Humboldt County, where it begins getting into the redwoods. At that point, the character of the trip changes to mountainous, evergreen covered hills with rivers and streams winding through just about every canyon you see. Most days the mountain tops are covered with low-lying clouds and fog, masking the trees and mountain tops from the rest of the sunny day.

I rolled into McKinleyville, about 15 miles north of Eureka, and got to my brother's place at about 5:10pm, just about when I thought I would. He bar-b-qued up some steaks, and I visited with him and his wife and kids for the evening before I went down to the Motel 6 to get some sleep. What with them having a new baby, I didn't want to be in the way by sleeping at the house, although my brother did offer.

Next day Jack and I took a drive north up Highway 101 to look for a place called Fern Canyon, where Steven Speilberg filmed some scenes for Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World. In that less than memorable movie, there's a scene where dozens of tiny little predators are chasing a guy down this stream, strewn with trees and logs, and the guy gets eaten after he leaps a log to try to hide. That was filmed in Fern Canyon. And I can see why.

Here you see vertical 30-50 foot walls, covered with ferns and several inches of thick moss, with huge trees that have fallen down inside. These photos are taken in order, walking deeper into the canyon. The trees on the left are a actually a long ways apart. In the middle photo, my brother is standing next to the base of the far tree from the first photo, and you can get a feeling of the scale. The photo on the right is past those fallen trees, looking back. It difficult to get a sense of the scale in photographs, but trust me, it was very impressive.

On the way out of the park, we could see several deer and elk in the fields, but as we rounded a corner of the dirt road, we saw several elk and deer right in front of us! One poor guy was missing 1/2 his rack of antlers, but all of them still had their antler fuzz.

Next day Jack took me to the "South Jetty" in Eureka, where we went fishing. I'd never fished in the ocean before, and for the most part, the fishing we did was remarkable similar to fishing anywhere else, except that the ocean swells and currents were hard to get used to. There is so much movement that it's hard to tell when you're getting a bite. Jack did manage to land a red-tail perch.

Thursday I packed up and headed home, but decided to make a quick run down the Avenue of the Giants. If you are ever up that way, it's well worth the time to take the drive and see the incredible Redwoods. Again, the scale and scope is hard to do justice with photos, but you can judge for yourself.

All in all, I had a grand time. I really have fallen for far northern California. I can myself visiting here often.