Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sneak Peak at the Rose Parade Floats!

Only but an hour ago my friend and I were enjoying the garlic knots of Mama's Brick Oven Pizza when a strange sight we beheld on the unassuming streets of Fair Oaks, South Pasadena...
In the dark outside the pizzeria, it seemed that the regular pace of flashing headlights and break lights had ceased; instead, something large, looming and a little bit frilly was eeking past our restaurants front doors.
"Are those floats?" our friend Peggy said. Her soon-to-be-husband, Josh, had just been explaining that he would be walking tomorrow, New Year's Day, with the FTD float. "I think it is," said Wendy, rather nonplussed (I think this was her way of staving off hunger... we'd been waiting in a very busy Mama's for our pizza for a while). For a few seconds no one said anything - it simply was not possible! There were no crowds to greet them... no cheering onlookers to block our view... and no sunlight to confirm our bewilderment.
"Should we go outside?" asked Peggy, she stood immediately and than sat back down looking waiting for a fellow diner to give her a cue, "YES!" I cried and we all hoped out of our seats with more energy than we knew our weakening, pizza-lacking frames had left in them.
We bounded out the doors and stopped short, realizing the curb was only two feet from Mama's entry way. This is so surreal! I thought to myself, we simply couldn't have fought the throngs on Colorado for better seats! How serendipitous!
"I'm twittering this!" I told Wendy, "Dang it, you beat me. Should I get my camera?" We all nodded grasping for our own camera phones to commemorate in pixel mediocrity the moment.
For moment, we looked through time portal at coming year; we saw a glimpse of what the street-sleeping celebrants on Colorado would wake to the very first morning of 2009. It sneaked through South Pasadena while the rest of sister cities threw tortillas and shaving cream at the cars daring to travel the floats' future route. But only 3 hours before the crowds would erupt in chaos to bring in the New Year, we saw future!

I did my best with my little LG phone, but here is a sneak peak at some of the floats in the Tournament of Roses:

Tournament of Roses sneaks down Fair Oaks from Danica Northend on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Light Show in Witchita!

This is a completely unedited and not-previously-viewed video from the backseat of our Honda Pilot. There were eight sarcastic Northends in that car, viewing this awesome light show with the music playing over the radio. Apparently many houses around the country do this with Vixen or similar programs, and then often ask for donations to their favorite charities. I believe this is part of the Tacky Light Tour.
We spent the evening with a Google map of the places in Wichita that had these! I highly recommend making a local family trip of this.
(Here is a "How To" on the Christmas light show set up)

Christmas Light Show through the radio! from Danica Northend on Vimeo.

About the Tacky Light Tour:
Tacky lights date all the way back to 1882 and can be attributed to Edward H. Johnson, the forefather of tacky lights and an associate of Thomas Edison. On December 22 of that year Johnson placed a Christmas tree that was hand-wired with 80 walnut-sized lights in the living room of his Fifth Avenue home in New York City (pictured right). He was vice-president of Edison Electric Light Company (now known as Con Edison electric utility) and commissioned employees to patriotically wire the tree with red, white and blue lights.

His idea blazed across the United States like a flame held to the bark of a dry evergreen wrapped with strung popcorn. This ultimately led to the invention of weatherproof Christmas lights in the 1960s. Competitively tacky families across the country soon moved their indoor Christmas lights outdoors, and originally outlined their homes. The notion of outdoor Christmas lights and displays sparked a frenzy of lights that blink, twinkle, chase, resemble icycles and shape into various figures.

More recent advances in technology and environmental awareness has pushed companies to produce more efficient products including LED Christmas lights. Boasting longer lifetimes and virtually indestructable construction, LED Christmas lights are the new craze. Even though LEDs are a bit more expensive, a 90% savings in energy has made LED Christmas lights the future of the Tacky Light Tour.

All in all people have always strived for creativity whether that be artistically tasteful or not. Over the past 45 years we've seen the adaptation of flickering lights, lifesized lawn props, animated scenery and even low-powered radio stations. It can only be assumed that with every technological advancement, those advancements will be used by many to warm the hearts and minds of Christmas lovers throughout the world.

Some more extravagant Christmas lights!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Matt & I went to Disneyland to celebrate my birthday.
I always want to go to Innovations and Matt never wants to.
This time, I insisted (birthday card!) and it was so worth it!
We got to see ASIMO! And I got to be super freaked out by the super-human like qualities of this innovative and long-awaited walking, talking, stair-treading robot.
(PS did you know that "robot" wasn't even coined until 1920?)

Below are bits of video from the fifteen minute demonstration of ASIMO at Disney's Innoventions.
It ends with my reaction immediately following the demonstration- which is mostly just wonder and bewilderment. There was just something terribly daunting about the little 4'3", 120 lb humanoid robot... it was just so... graceful! Such human qualities in the fluidity of its movements. I couldn't help but imagine it silently creeping up my stairs in the middle of the night to inform me that I left the front door unlocked and all of its friends were coming in.

ASIMO stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility. It took the developers of ASIMO over 20 yrs to get robotic walking right. It's something we, as upright beings, really take for granted. I remember when I was in 3rd grade I watched a video on how humans develop; and while a shot played of a toddler being walked down a beach with a parent holding each hand, the narrator said,
"Mankind is on the brink of collapse with each well-balanced step we take,"
and then proceeded to explain the delicate process of the human ability to walk.
The clips in the ASIMO Disney show exemplified the incredible difficulty of mechanically mimicking this. Original biped robots tended to weigh a lot and for a long time could only walk in straight line. Even that did not bode well as any slight disruption or misstep would send the heavy legs & torso careening over. As robotics progressed, walking features improved, but they still seemed to serve little purpose for the help or advancement of humankind.
But ASIMO is capable of moving in curves, walking forward and backwards, side-stepping, and even running; it is specifically designed as a helper with fully functioning five-digit hands and motion sensor cameras capable of maintaining "eye contact" when addressed and commanded.

(I can't help but chuckle at the expression on my face... it's of genuine shocked and rather wide-eyed)
Check out the video below:

ASIMO @ Disneyland from Danica Northend on Vimeo.

This other video, however, gives me hope that we are still superior.
I suppose we won't need John Connor for a long while yet!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This past Saturday and things.

So, I enjoyed a little premature birthday present opening tonight.
Matt got me the coolest Indiana Jones/Mummy/Steam Punk boots ever. Okay, they're not as crazy sounding as I just made them out to be, but I still think they say "Danica's out for an adventure/some minor heroine-ing!"
I used to envy Meghan's a bit, but now I have my own pretty rad version! The only thing is.... apparently they're made of emu. Is that cool? Or weird? They look cool, that's for sure!

So I promised a vlog for Saturday and it took me a while to get all the pieces together - but here they are:

Item #1 - "Pre-Christmas Party Vlog"
So, I'm a little shy because it is my first Vlog and I dunno why I decided to do it rather early in the morning. As a result, I am blinking quite a bit because I suddenly realized how puffy my eyes were...

Item #2 - "Danica's Party"
This was the video recorded my Wendy at the party. Awesome. We have sealed our friendship with physical interaction. I will say that Skype-ing is pretty dang close tho.

Item #3 - "Matt & Danica's Reception Entrance"
So... this is how deep the nerd-dom runs. Yes, it's in our blood. Apparently, the night before the wedding my mom and two uncles stayed up pretty late making this incredible presentation for Matt and I to enter the reception hall to. Needless to say, Matt married into the right family.

Pre-Christmas Party Vlog from Danica Northend on Vimeo.

Danica's Party from Wendy Bee on Vimeo.

(If this doesn't work, you'll have to click here... sorry!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

My previous embed didn't work. So I decided to show a video of Wendy when she was very small.
(not really wendy)

(Don't worry, a party follow-up with a VLOG will be posted soon!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow in SoCal?

No way!

Raise you're hand if you've lived at sea level your whole life.

Just in case you fall into this category:

Definitions of snow on the Web:

  • precipitation falling from clouds in the form of ice crystals
  • a layer of snowflakes (white crystals of frozen water) covering the ground
  • English writer of novels about moral dilemmas in academe (1905-1980)
  • fall as snow; "It was snowing all night"
  • coke: street names for cocaine
  • bamboozle: conceal one's true motives from especially by elaborately feigning good intentions so as to gain an end; "He bamboozled his professors into thinking that he knew the subject well"

And here is the article I'm referring to:

Brrr! Arctic Blast Headed for SoCal


December 10, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- A rare 50 year Arctic blast is on it's way to Southern California according to weather forecasters.

Experts predict the cold weather pattern, which could extend from Alaska to San Diego, will arrive this weekend and send temperatures plummeting.

Freeze warnings are already in effect for the desert areas of Southern California, including the Antelope Valley. Meteorologist Kevin Martin predicts a 50 year event.

While Martin is usually conservative on these events, the pattern highly favors it.

"We are in a pre-1950 type pattern, "said Martin. "We know we are due for a winter storm sometime this year.

The type we may be dealing with will be ranked up there with the known years before 1950, which set record low daytime temperatures into the forecast region.

With this, may come low elevation snow."

Forecaster Cameron Venable is seeing very cold temperatures in the Los Angeles areas as well.

Torrance is not usually known for winter weather, thus making this an interesting event for Venable to track.

"Temperatures in Siberia, Russia will be -81 degrees this week, "said Martin. "With those type of temperatures the arctic air mass has to spill somewhere.

Our answer of the exact track will become more clear this week.

All residents in the mountain communities should prepare this week for very cold, winter weather, with snow."

Indications are a second, colder storm could hit near the 18th-22nd time-frame.

The details on that will have to be sorted out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All wrong.

Ok... perhaps this is a little bit exploitative... and I don't mean to perpetuate any chauvinism...

but someone was just plain SLOPPY when putting this list together. Not only does it not follow any kind of hot-o-meter criteria (Seven of Nine is #48?! Yea right. And Scully does not outrank Jordan Two=Delta (Scarlett Johannson) OR Aeon Flux (Charize Theron?! Come on people)...)

Man. That. I. It's just. Ugh.

Not only was tribute not paid to the hottness of these characters - any kind of homage to these sci-fi stories/films/TV shows was utterly ignored.

PS!!! I don't care if "50" is a nice round number, cartoons don't count! And I'm even a fan of Cowboy Bee Bop! Oi....

Now, to satisfy the feminist in me before moving on, I will say that the value of these women as people or even actresses was (obviously) not a contributing factor to the aforementioned list or mine. And I certainly hope not to perpetuate any societal value on womankind by producing a list of characters concerning their aesthetic appeal.

The following is my own top 10 list of women in sci-fi & science fiction broadcast and film in more organized, respectful, and thoughtful arrangement than the list from UGO:
Frakkin' gamers.
At least three of the four female Cylons made it in. WHAT THE HECK! Flippin' Rekha Sharma is gorgeous!

Character: Liz Parker from Roswell
Actress: Shiri Appleby
Why: Come on! She's adorable! I totally wanted to BE here when this show was out. Maybe because she was living out a science fiction fantasy life in the city next to Area 51 with a super cute quiet-type alien boy, maybe because she was a waitress at the Crash Down cafe and I was clairvoyantly aware of my future attendance at APU (next to Glendora where most of Roswell was filmed). Either way, she's really pretty. And she didn't make stupid UGO's list.
Character: Echo from Dollhouse
Actress: Eliza Dushku
Why: Sorry, Eliza. You are obviously hot and I know nothing about you. So I am not going to write very much except for how very excited that I am for Dollhouse, the new Joss Whedon sci-fi show. I hope it doesn't suck. I hope they do not exploit your hotness too much. But it's sci-fi... not "science fiction" so... they will. But you'll get to carry and gun and kick people, just like in the old Buffy days. Except with a gun.

Character: Altaira from The Forbidden Planet
Actress: Anne Francis
Why: Anne Francis has to be one of the original Sci-fi hotties. But if Harlan Ellison had his way I'd be forced to have TWO lists, one for Sci-fi babes and the other for Science Fiction babes. Anne Francis would fall into the latter by virtue of her role as the only female in one of the most incredible movies made. Her beauty certainly warrents the attention she gets from a stranded group of intergalactic soldiers - but she also manages to convey a very attractive spunk in this particular role. If you Google images of her now, I think you'd have to agree that 50 years later she's still as elegant and beguiling.

Character: Rachel from Blade Runner
Actress: Sean Young
Why: This was not the only science fiction film Sean Young starred in, she also played Chani in Dune... but she has to wear this nose-piece breathing apparatus like the other desert people which is far less attractive than futuristic-noir, skin-job, cyborg Rachel, whom she plays in Blade Runner. It might be her edgy-ness in this film that really secures her place in my top 10 - I'd put money on her hotness stemming from the gross kissing scene with Harrison Ford. Apparently they hated each other, but the chemistry came across brilliantly in their performances. Aside from the smoking, up-dos, and incredible costumes she gets to wear in this film, Sean Young was just a hottie. Period. Care to contest? I think not.
Character: Andrea from Star Trek episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
Actress: Sherry Jackson
Why: Man, I was totally distracted by this particular hottie throughout the entirety of the episode. William Shatner even gets tied to an android-maker without clothes on and I still couldn't stop thinking about how pretty this lady was! Perhaps because she's the token red-head of my list. While there were some intentional elements in the show to bring out her obviously nice figure, I think she is sort of accidentally exeplifies sci-fi hottie-ness. Her character was kind of adorable, kind of stupid, and very pretty - did I mention she's also a robot? Just what ever ner dreams of.

Character: Amidala from Star Wars: Episode I
Actress: Natalie Portman
Why: So now I am beginning to get a little embarrassed of the sci-fi chicks I am posting... perhaps because Queen Amidala is my exclusive reason for ever watching Episode I a second or third time. And Natalie Portman is another beautiful girl! And not because she gets her shirt ripped off and we get to see those hard abs she probably spent weeks developing for 15 seconds of screen time and fan favors on every Pepsi can for 6 years. Whatever. She's still a great actress and she wore those costumes like a pro. And managed to look elegant and unburdened for the duration of the movie! She's also, like 5' 1" and I'm kinda biased to that. Natalie Portman is also one of those very blessed people to be photogenic from any freakin' angle.
Character: Leeloo from The Fifth Element
Actress: Milla Jovovich
Why: Okay... I'm not a fan of the skin-tight, skin-colored, leotard she wears through this whole film, but I suppose it definitely goes toward some kind of generally recognized hot-factor... but that's not why she's my number 3! Frankly, anyone who can pull off orange hair as well as Milla Jovovich deserves mad recognition. Not only that, but she mumbles in a totally fictional language so well that you are immediately endeared to her! Impressive. And you know you were feeling awful about your humanity when she accidentally discovered war. Not that that has to do with hottness - but if she can tugged at your heartstrings, she probably got you sufficiently riled up enough to have a crush on her, too.

Character: Emma Murdoch in Dark City
Actress: Jennifer Connelly
Why: Okay... I'm detecting a trend in tastes... like noir very much?
This is another fantastic movie with a fantastic cast and a fantastic performance by Jennifer Connelly. Did you want to be her in Labyrinth? Yes. (Boys, did you not want to be David Bowie in Labyrinth? Oh... no? What if you go to kiss Jennifer Conelly?) I actually think that Jennifer Conelly is the most beautiful woman on the planet - I really do. She did not make the number one sci-fi hotty on my list for two reason: 1) her character in this movie is definitely hot... but doesn't really get to interact or be effected by much of the science going on around her, she's really a backdrop for her pseudo-husband, John Murdoch; 2) eyebrows. This is the aesthete coming out in me... I think Jennifer Connelly is beautiful, including her eyebrows! But the first shot of her is this incredibly overblown, tight close-up and frankly, the DP managed to draw attention to them in a most unflatteringly fashion.
I feel bad for saying that... forgive me Jennifer Conelly!
Character: Inara from Firefly
Actress: Morena Baccarin
Why: This is definitely where it starts getting tough. These top four are pretty pretty ladies and Morena Baccarin is by the most underrated of them all (kind like the TV show of her sci-fi debut). When I think "pretty lady," she's who comes to mind. I don't think she has quite the same posture as the other top 4, but that's what I like about her. She strikes me as someone who wears make-up because it's fun, not because she has to. I saw a picture of her in a cowboy hat and that seemed to ring truest. She's an absolute knock-out, and she knows it, but maybe she just doesn't care all that much. She's sweet. And down-to-earth in the way she carries herself. Spunk. I seem to like spunk, and Marena Baccarin seems both sweet and spunky!
Character: Niobe in Matrix Reloaded
Actress: Jada Pinkett Smith
Why: Oh man! If this isn't another one of the most beautiful women ever! I just think Jada Pinket Smith is stunning! They could have done a lot more with her character in the Matrix. But, then again, they could have done a lot more with the Matrix. Either way, both her egos in that movie are pretty bad-ass. I'm not sure there's any way to make Jada Pinkett Smitth look bad. Well.. actually, one time she had this hair-do in the 80s... but who cares.
In any event, the characters she tends to play have so much poise and grace and I think this is because the actress behind them does naturally, anyway. Will Smith is a lucky man.
(PS, in an earlier version of this post, I confused her and Zoe Saldana (playing Uhura in the new Star Trek) who is also another gorgeous woman... if I had realized my mistake, I think I would've had to make room for her as well.)
Character: Jadzia Dax in Deep Space Nine
Actress: Terry Farrell
Why: Perhaps I like Terry Farrell because she never quite oozes sexuality like the other sci-fi babes so often do. In fact, not really any of my choices do. But Terry Farrell always looks like she's about to outwit you, not matter how skimpy her costume for some stupid off-world Star Trek photo shoot requires. And in all her candids, she's always got her tongue out - like a little kid ready surprise someone. On top of all that, she is another one who has no bad angles! And beautiful bright blue eyes and sharp features - the Trill spots just put her over the edge, too, right? She did not get a proper rank in the UGO top-5o. Not by a long shot.

Seven of Nine is not in this list because... let's face it. She got a lotta name dropping earlier in this blog and is definitely the culmination/epitome of Star Trek hottness anyway:

Something similar, only this guy just did "Fifteen Fabulous Fictional Females" and includes some comic characters, TV characters, and, of course, some sci-fi hotties.

If you glean anything from this blog entry, take with you the film titles. These are awesome awesome awesome films that you won't regret watching.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Bash!!

Dancing Elves invite you to a Christmas Bash at the Sheean/Northends:
For the record: we will all be performing these dances at the party.
As a bribe: Matt and I will DEFINITELY perform these dances at the party.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Come come come!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Friday, December 5, 2008

Praise the Lord

My heart has been full the last few days, probably due to this particularly academic chapter of faith regarding hospitality comes to a close with graduation.

My prayers and my heart have been particularly focused on prayers for the oppressed. I thought I had begun such meditations with general prayers for the generally suffering; but I realize that my idea of the oppressed was limited by specific images that did not include myself, my neighbors, my friends, my family.
We are all sufferers and we are all in need of the provision and liberation only Christ can offer!
“From the beginning to the end, the people of the Bible are people of hope. All of them saw the star of promise in the long night of this world, and glimpsed the first streaks of daybreak colours heralding God’s new day.”

I found a the most beautiful hymn and sought after a prayer to accompany it. Unbeknownst to me until this very hour was a traditional pattern of prayer for from Luther's Small Catechism. Today we are encouraged to pray:

Friday: For the preaching of the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and for the spread of His knowledge throughout the whole world; for the persecuted and oppressed; for the sick and dying.
(more prayers)

God yu tekkem laef blong mi from
A Melanesian arrangement of the hymn "Take my life."
(Read more about the history and use of this piece in the film "The Thin Red Line.")

Psalm 146

Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.

I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.

When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,

the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the LORD, who remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,

the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Twilight...Of my Career?"

This is a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Joe:

Twilight...Of my Career?

The blog world is atwitter - or perhaps aFacebook (get it? it's an interweb social networking joke!) as the apparently anxiously awaited premiere of Twilight. I haven't seen this many people excited about a movie since...well...Sex and the City earlier this year.

Now I know nothing about the books or the movie (knowing nothing seems to be a theme of mine this week), but just for fun I decided to print out a list of quotes and sprinkle them throughout my conversations today.

Here's what I've been able to work in so far:

"Your skin is pale white...and ice cold." - To a co-worker as we rode the elevator this morning

“There was no image violent enough to encapsulate the force of what happened to me in that moment” - To someone who asked how my evening was.

“Hating her, hating how she made me feel – it helped a little.” - To my assistant when she asked how my meeting with our COO went.

“You are a magnet for trouble. If there is anything dangerous within a ten-mile radius, it will invariably find you.” - Included in a draft of a written warning that I sent to a manager for review

“So, is the new one afraid of us yet?” - Asked of a manager about an employee we hired a few months ago.

"If I could dream at all it would be about you. And I'm not ashamed of it." - To Phil - one of our Managing Directors - as I walked into a meeting.

“I'll be back so soon you won't have time to miss me. Look after my heart - I've left it with you.” - To Phil as I left to get a cup of coffee before the meeting began.

“Here’s the thing… I've already gone crazy once. I know what my limits are.” - In response to a question about why we chose to take action A instead of action B to resolve an issue.

"I think she's having hysterics. Maybe you should slap her.” - To a Manager who asked for advice on dealing with a difficult employee

“If you ever repeat what I'm saying right now I'll cheerfully beat you to death” - To the same manager as we discussed some confidential information

“You are the most dangerous creature I've ever met” - To my boss as she explained a recent department reorganization

“I'm really glad Edward didn't kill you. Everything's so much more fun when you're around.” - To an employee that just returned from disability leave.

Anyway, what I've found most interesting about this exercise thus far is that people aren't looking at me any more quizzically than usual.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Trees for Trees" Press Release

Feel free to take and copy any elements!

Contact: Danica Northend
Tel. 626-395-7641
Cell: 925-200-7429

A Green Non-Profit Organization Says, Take Home a Tenanbaum AND Plant a Forest!

This year Eden Reforestation Projects (ERP), a 501(c)3, challenges Holiday patrons to match the cost of their Christmas tree with a donation to replant forests in Africa in a pioneer program they call “Trees for Trees.”

“The average cost of one chopped-down white pine or douglas fir Christmas tree could be $40, $60, even $100 depending on the size,” says an ERP representative, “If someone were to dedicate that same amount of money to planting trees, they could plant four-hundred, six-hundred, or even one thousand trees! Whole forests can be plants at a marginal cost.”

Eden Reforestation Projects has been active since 2004 and has maintained a cost per seedling at 10¢. Every $10 given to ERP plants 100 (one-hundred) trees. ERP nurseries are established with these funds in areas of Africa suffering from desertification and climate change due to deforestation.

Rachel Oliver of CNN recently reported on the relationship between poverty and climate change saying, “it's the world's poorest who are often put forward as the ones who are likely to feel the affects of climate change the most and are likely to be able to deal with them the least.”

ERP president Steve Fitch's recent research and experience strengthen the overlooked correlation between environmental damage and poverty, “Locals shared with me about how their crops were diminishing... I was taken to the Udo escarpment and I saw where a deluge had gouged the earth and had killed local villagers. This, I learned, was common and directly related to deforestation.”

This Holiday season, ERP is asking fellow activists and the eco-sensitive to consider the green impact the cost of their Christmas Tree could have on the deforested and desertified countries of Africa. “Trees for Trees” provides an opportunity for Christmas Tree shoppers to lighten their carbon footprint and participate in a new Holiday tradition that, as ERP says, “Heals lands AND lives.”

Donations can be made and more information found on their website,, including a series of short educational film clips.


For more information or to schedule an interview with an ERP representative, please contact Danica Northend at 626-395-7641 or mail Danica at

Here's another nifty visual.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Maybe I'm biased, but I think she's the thing for the Internet since search engines:

From "Things to do and not do when you're emotional."

I just HAD to make a Post-it to remind myself later. It's going on the cover of my senior thesis notebook. Below is the typed blog translation:
To do:
- Have cookies
- Take a hot shower
- Go to sleep
- Blog

Not to do:
- Online shop
- Smoke
- "Emotional dial/email/text/IM" someone (like an irrational crush or ex-boyfriend)
- Run away
- Delete all your friends

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Wendy you are so cool.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christian Pacifism

I will be adding to this post. I don't know what to make of this, it does not seem to justify a pacifism, but it does provide perspective of an impossible hope... but still, how dangerous the line between the means and the ends. I only say confidently, I do no know the answer.
I will be adding to this post over the weekend:

Christian pacifism rests not on a naïve belief that if we would only lay down our arms, the other side would do the same. It does not deny that sin has distorted the world; it does not presume that the enemy will be moved by our gestures of peace. It does not suppose that we can always reach a peaceful solution through diplomatic channels. It doesn't deny that in the face of genocide peaceful diplomacy may only provide time for the aggressors to carry out their evil plan. Christians do not become pacifists because they believe it will "work" better. In fact, it will likely make the world more violent, because in some instances it is only the threat of violence that holds violence in check.
The only reason for a Christian to be a pacifist is that one truly believes that God has made peace with the world in Christ and that God
is making peace in the world through our faithful nonviolence. Only if God is actively guiding the world to its harmonious end can Christians risk imitating the nonviolence of Jesus. The point of renouncing violence, then, is not as a strategy for peace but as a witness to the world of the peace that is coming.
One of the books recommended by my professor and Melanie deals with the spiritual and pragmatic responsibilities of Christians in their social settings, particularly those of privilege. There is, of course, a lot of justification for violence across all classes; and it seems to follow that when pacifistic, or at least the nonviolent, argument ensues in scholastic (and by nature privileged) circles, it often comes from a young group of idealistic, educated men and women who never have, and probably never will, face a situation where violence seems a reasonable or even urgent as a course of action. We are just simply too well insulated to engage.
I want to be careful that I am finding my answers to the question of Christian action in the Word - NOT (exclusively) in extra Biblical sources, NOT in my limited & privileged experiences, and certainly NOT in pragmatism - however, these books examining Christian hospitality (the topic of my thesis) expound on the themes of violence across the OT & NT by virtue of addressing human and societal interaction and, in context to Scripture, provide an picture of the relationship between God to humanity and humanity to humanity.
What killed was not irreligion, but religion itself; not lawlessness, but precisely the Law; not anarchy, but the upholders of order. It was not the bestial but those considered best who crucified the one in whom divine Wisdom was visibly incarnate. And because he was not only innocent, but the very embodiment of true religion, true law, and true order, this victim exposed their sacrificial violence for what it was: not the defense of society, but an attack against God... His arraignment, trial, crucifixion, and death also stripped the scapegoating mechanism of its sacred aura and exposed it for what it was: legalized murder...
...The God whom Jesus reveals refrains from all forms of reprisal. God does not endorse holy wars or just wars. God does not sanction religions of violence. Only by being driven out by violence could God signal to humanity that the divine is nonviolent and is opposed to the kingdom of violence. As twentieth-century mystic Simone Weil put it, the false God changes suffering into violence, the true God changes violence into suffering. To be the true God's offspring requires the unconditional renunciation of violence. The reign of God means the elimination of every form of violence between individuals and nations. This is a realm and a possibility of which those imprisoned by their trust in violence cannot even conceive.
From "Breaking the Spiral of Violence" in The Powers That Be
This, like the previous quote is just some food for thought. The following chapter in book addresses some more solid answers.

Matt & I have often had a hypothetical discussion that begins like this, "What would you do if a person with a gun was trying to kick in the door of your neighbor's house?" The premise tries to set up the person being questioned to face the dilemma of resorting to violence to save their neighbor. It creates and equation that assumes that violent action against one saves another and asks, is this worth it? What does a Christian say to this? Are we having to choose which person is more deserving of life? Could we go so far as to even question the eternal state of the perpetrator with a gun and desire to extend the invitation to Christ to them? Is that still important in this very moment? Is it even our place to interfere? Does the potential victim have a specific place in the Kingdom that calls us to action? Do these Christian "obligations" (although they are not, they are choices) conflict?
The agony I allow myself to feel over this situation I can only hope might prepare to act in wisdom should I ever face it. But the only rest that I can find in any answer is that of martyrdom - but should that fail to stop the oppressor from pursuing his or her victim then I choose action NOW, in prayer and in light of and in spite of whatever outcome I could hypothetically foresee. Matt and I have resolved to call on God in such cases, call for intervention now and for the future. We call this "the third option" and it is the topic of Wink's next chapter.

Good Words

I have two awesome blogs waiting in the wings, but they have yet to be completed or adequately refined. So for now, some good words shared by Ashley from My Utmost for His Highest:


"By whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Galatians 6:14

If I brood on the Cross of Christ, I do not become a subjective pietist, interested in my own whiteness; I become dominantly concentrated on Jesus Christ's interests. Our Lord was not a recluse nor an ascetic, He did not cut Himself off from society, but He was inwardly disconnected all the time. He was not aloof, but He lived in an other world. He was so much in the ordinary world that the religious people of His day called Him a glutton and a wine-bibber. Our Lord never allowed anything to interfere with His consecration of spiritual energy.

The counterfeit of consecration is the conscious cutting off of things with the idea of storing spiritual power for use later on, but that is a hopeless mistake. The Spirit of God has spoiled the sin of a great many, yet there is no emancipation, no fullness in their lives. The kind of religious life we see abroad to-day is entirely different from the robust holiness of the life of Jesus Christ. "I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil." We are to be in the world but not of it; to be disconnected fundamentally, not externally.

We must never allow anything to interfere with the consecration of our spiritual energy. Consecration is our part, sanctification is God's part; and we have deliberately to determine to be interested only in that in which God is interested. The way to solve perplexing problems is to ask - Is this the kind of thing in which Jesus Christ is interested, or the kind of thing in which the spirit that is the antipodes of Jesus is interested?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Ugh... I've spent unnecessary hours in front of code, make-shifting HTML widgets and making aesthetic adjustments to my blog... why does Wordpress have to be so annoying? I can see the potential, but the lack of raw material, forced interface, and the obnoxious $15 a year for the ability to edit your CSS code is really getting frustrating!
And exciting... I see the future of my blog as operating soley under, but that future is after a senior sem class and sifficient tinkering with Wordpress.

Ugh... I'm so sad! I LOVE this blog layout! With some minor adjustments and sphere-shaped aquarium it would be PERFECT. I don't want to pick out a generic old given template... go take a look and tell me what you think of these.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Rocketeer

And we thought this was cool:

It gets so much better!

Wow. It's not the nerd or geek in me whose heart flutters watching this video, but the same spirit of awe with which my young parents and grandparents probably watched space-flight unravel.
Granted this is probably a slightly smaller "step for mankind" than landing on the moon, but it is a terribly over looked accomplishment!
"This man isn't just falling in style" Micah noticed while we watched, mouths gaping- in seconds, he rises above the plane from whence he dove, climbing to heights above the Swiss Alps!
This is no ordinary fantasy Rocketeer...

Some people go fishing on their day off. Yves Rossy likes to jump out of a small plane with a pair of jet-powered wings on his back and loop the loop above the Swiss Alps.

The self-built contraption took the former fighter pilot five years to build and perfect - and yesterday he gave it its maiden flight.

Stepping out of an aircraft at 7,500ft, Rossy unfolded the 10ft rigid wings strapped to his back as he plummeted earthwards.

Scroll down for more...


To infinity and beyond: Yves Rossy soars through the skies

Enlarge the image
Yves Rossy

Dangerman: Yves Rossy had a pair of 8ft wings and a jet-pack strapped to his back for the daring flight over the Alps

Passing from freefall into a gentle glide, he triggered the four jet turbines and accelerated to 190mph above the mountaintops.

Steering with his body, Rossy dived, turned and soared again, flying what appeared to be effortless loops from one side of the Rhone valley to the other.

At times he climbed 2,600ft before diving again, leaving a trail of special-effects smoke in his wake.

Scroll down for more...

Yves Rossy

Goodbye: The former pilot was launched from a plane at 8,000ft

After one last wave to the watching crowd, Rossy dipped his wings as he prepared for the piece de resistance, a manoeuvre he hadn't tried before...He flipped onto his back and levelled out again, executing a perfect 360-degree roll that even a bird would find impossible.

"It's like a second skin," Rossy said later after landing on the shores of Lake Geneva.

"If I turn to the left, I fly left. If I nudge to the right, I go right."

With his first big test under his belt, Rossy, 48, is ready for bigger challenges: he plans to cross the English Channel later this year, before attempting to fly through the Grand Canyon.

To do this, he will have to fit more powerful jets to allow for greater manoeuvring.

The four Germanbuilt model aircraft engines he currently uses provide 200lb of thrust each, enough to enable the 110lb foldable carbon wings, and Rossy in his 120lb flying suit, to climb at 200ft a minute.

"Physically, it's absolutely no stress," Rossy said.

Scroll down to watch Rossy in action...

Yves Rossy

Super speeds: The dare-devil reached speeds of 160mph

Scenery: Yves Rossy said he had no time to enjoy the view or scenery

"It's like being on a motorbike. But I have to focus on relaxing, because if I show any tension, I start to swing around."

Should things go wrong there's always a yellow handle to jettison the wings and unfold a back-up parachute.

"I've had plenty of "whoops" moments," he said.

Rossy says his form of human flight will, for now, remain the preserve of very few.

The cost and effort involved are simply too high for it to be produced commercially, he says.

So far, Rossy and his sponsors have poured more than £123,000 and countless hours into building the device.

Scroll down for more...

Rossy attempts to land with his parachute after the demo flight

But, he believes similar jet-powered wings will one day be more widely available to experienced parachutists.

That is, if they don't mind missing out on the breathtaking panorama unfolding above the Swiss Alps.

"I am concentrating so hard, I don't really enjoy the view," Rossy said.

What was it that Buzz Lightyear said Toy Story?

Are you still using fossil fuels, or have you discovered crystallic fusion?

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I know I told a lot of people about this already... but if you haven't seen the Fosse redux watch this.
At LEAST the first 45 sec of both.
It's been a week and I'm still in awe.

The original choreographed to "Mexican Breakfast" (by Johnny Mandel?):

The redux played against "Walk It Out" (by Unk):

I mean, correct me if I am wrong, but am I looking at popping in the 60s here?
As Dave (my boss and husband of a Rockette), this just goes to show how ahead of his time Fosse was.
And I'm sorry! Only YouTube videos of the above were available. Vimeo is still catching up...)

From the choreographer's website
Born Robert Louis Fosse in Chicago on June 23, 1927, Bob Fosse was the son of a vaudevillian. He himself began performing in vaudeville as a child and by his early teens was on stage in a variety of burlesque shows. He began studying dance at a small neighborhood institution but soon moved on to the Frederick Weaver Ballet School, an academy where he was the only male enrolled.


As an artist, Fosse was known for his thoroughly modern style, a signature one could never mistake for anyone else's. Snapping fingers are omnipresent, so are rakishly tilted bowler hats. Both hip and shoulder rolls appear frequently, as do backward exits. Swiveling hips and strutting predominate, as do white-gloved, single-handed gestures. Fosse himself often called the en masse amalgamation of these moves the "amoeba", and that word as much as any describes his particular style, one at once fluid and angular.

Here is one more video with choreography by JaQuel Knight & Frank Gatson (one of them, I've read is actually the dancer who begins on the right) for Beyonce's "Single Ladies" with very similar dancing. In fact, it would seem some of it is straight ripped off the Mexican Breakfast choreography - but again, Fosse is credited with introducing much of the modern pop/hip-hop style.
Her song was also put to Fosse on YouTube, but "Walk It Out" is far better, for more eerily appropriate match.
[Just a little disclaimer: Beyonce is uh... really shakin' it, in heels and unitard. I'd say my blog is PG, but you might not consider this video to be! ;-)]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Matt doesn't read my blog

So I'm gonna post his potential Christmas present right here because I found it and I think it's both funny and perfect. And I know he won't read this. But I know you'll think it's funny!
(Don't tip him off, though, just to prove me wrong)

If you have yet to become a fan of Dr.Horrible, please enjoy the videos from hulu or here.

If you have yest to become a fan of Matt Sheean, please go here and then go here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Faith, Hope, and the Credit Crisis

As Matt and I enter the second year of our marriage in debt, I find myself freaking out often.
I was angry at myself for being unwise with our finances, but that's just it - I was unwise because I'm inexperienced, but thank God I now know what debt really is!
Mind you, I mean not to thank God for making unwise decisions, but I do thank God that we have not suffered much more than frustration and a submission to simpler life. And a simple life is not uncomfortable by any means. I was raised in life of privilege and I never had to worry about debt; however, I was also told to never ever get myself in debt, so being in this position had a lot of shame wrapped up in it.

This is a very simple article that spoke right to our position. I am writing this paper on hospitality and social action and so much of the Kingdom work we are called to do cannot happen without relinquishing fear. As I studied I found that so very much of the history of God's relationship with humankind throughout the New and Old Testaments is about provision... so much! Miracles are a very important form of God's provision! But more on that later. For now, a some good words from a pastor:

Paul Krugman, professor of economics at Princeton University and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics, offered a prescient assessment of the nation’s economic condition earlier this year. He noted that the U.S. economy is suffering from a “crisis of faith.” He meant by this a growing lack of trust in our economic institutions and the securities that have backed much of our debt.

At the center of this crisis is the use of, and problems surrounding, the extension of credit. It is worth noting that “credit” is a word that is a part of the language of faith. It comes from the Latin credere—to believe or to trust. The present active form of this word—credo, “I believe”—opens the Apostle’s Creed. In the case of credit, belief or trust is placed in the borrower and her or his willingness and ability to repay. Our current economic crisis is in part about misplaced trust or faith between debtors and lenders.

Neither the $700 billion bailout package, nor a Federal Reserve interest rate cut, nor presidential calls for calm seem to adequately speak to the underlying issues that precipitated this crisis of faith. This is a moment when the Bible and people of faith have both the timely word that can calm fears and the most accurate assessment of what fundamentally led to the current economic debacle.

The word of hope is found in the words spoken to people in adversity throughout the Bible. There are the words of the prophets spoken to the Israelites living in exile after losing everything. To them God spoke profound words of promise: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you” (Isaiah 41:10). The psalmists, too, during periods of adversity wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psalm 46:1-2).

Jesus seems to speak directly to our situation in the Sermon on the Mount when he says to first-century peasants, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink …. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25, 33).

And how timeless are those words written to Timothy—instructions for what he was to be preaching to the people of Ephesus: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God” (1 Timothy 6:17).

THE CREDIT CRISIS points to the inadequacy of any ultimate credo whose object is anything but God. God is our refuge and strength. And God’s sustaining power is not tied to the Dow.

It is crucial that we invite people to put their hope in God, and offer them the assurance that comes from faith in God. The Bible’s Chron­­­­­­ic­ler wrote Israel and Ju­dah’s history, both to offer hope for a future for the people whose nation had been destroyed and to point out Judah’s sins so that it might repent. In the same way the Christian must not only offer hope, but also an accurate assessment of the ultimate causes for this present crisis, issuing a call to repentance.

The underlying causes of the current economic crisis are not financial, but spiritual. At least five of the seven deadly sins came into play: gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, and ultimately pride all came before the fall. These led to absurd economic practices that bordered on the criminal. It was not simply the CEOs and Wall Street types who danced to this tune. It was every one of us whose 401(k)s prospered by their efforts. And ultimately none of this would be possible without all who abandoned wisdom and prudence and borrowed beyond their capacity to buy houses, cars, and whatever their hearts desired without the ability to repay.

As we face the consequences of the current economic downturn, and as we reflect upon the spiritual causes that led to the fall, we find comfort and truth in the words of Jesus: “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). Thank God for that! And may the truth of these words guide us to a different future.

Adam Hamilton, senior pastor at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, is the author of Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White. A version of this commentary appeared on

The source of this article can be found on the Sojourner's website.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What does this even mean?

I saw this diagram and I thought it was interesting.

The article was on hardwood flooring and its benefit to the environment... but I have no idea what this picture was supposed to represent.

The argument was that hardwood flooring is actually good for the environment - this is because old trees fall and rot and release carbon in the air. OH NO!! OUR OWN PLANET HAS TURNED ITSELF AGAINST US! I thought nature was GREEN!!!!!

So... what do you think this diagram means?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shut up! You were ALL Trekkie's when Next Generation was airing!

I don't care how nerdy you think Star Trek is. This trailer is still worth wetting your pants over. Thank you JJ Abrams for gracing us geeks with your movie Midas touch!!
But if you made Kirk out to be a vigilante Wolverine in space, I will kill you.
Ah... science fiction fan-dom can be so unforgiving.

Click here to see the trailer in its full glory!

But after watching this trailer for the nth time this morning I have to vocalize a few of my minor critisms. Forgive me if I yield to the vernacular at the expense of lucid argument - this happens when you write on passions of nerdiness... especially nostalgic ones!

I say again, I hope this is the same Captain Kirk I know and love and, as I per the tweet to Thinkgeek contest, the main character of moral metaphors Dad raised his daughters on... I am concerned that they might inappropriately play up some kind of "bad boy" Kirk. But he's an honorable guy! If self-centered and over confident - I'm not a fan of the implied peeping-tom scene.
And come on!! The ONLY solo shot of Uhura is when she's taking her shirt off?! Way to be Star-Trek-progressive. She's the only chick on the crew and that's the screen time she gets in the trailer? What-eeeever. Lame.
But on the more positive side - who is excited about Spock? And Scotty for that matter!
I really shoudl get back to work and stop re-watching the trailer... so I'll just bullet point my final enthusiasms:
  • The Planet Vulcan
  • NCC1701in its construction stages
  • Excessive ship-to-ship combat + explosions
This is gonna be good.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quotes and Sources from my paper

These are just some quotes I will be using through out my paper. Some food for thought on economics and hospitality for you. =D

THE CREDIT CRISIS points to the inadequacy of any ultimate credo whose object is anything but God. God is our refuge and strength. And God’s sustaining power is not tied to the Dow. - Adam Hamilton, Article from Sojourners "Faith, Hope & the Credit Crisis"

He black power base, political base, is not based on activism, is not supported by commerce, not supported by other Black millionaires, we don’t have that many Black millionaires. So what we have is this dynamic where this Black powerbase is based on the White powerbase. So when you have someone, like Jeff who comes along, who is not tight to the political structure, not tied to the dynasties, that kind of creates a problem for the Black political power base. Because they’re like, “uh oh, I like this guy, this guy is speaking to my issues, he’s exciting my people, but he’s not my bread and butter.” And it’s a shame, but that really is the dynamic that the Black powerbase is really dealing with. We didn't get our own so we have to depend on this other, artificial, but yet real base. - Sylvester Brown, from "Can Mr. Smith Still Get to Washington?"
“Capitalism is wrong because even if it succeeds in delivering the goods, it nevertheless works against Good, corrupting (and perpetuating the corruption of) human sociality in competitive and confliction modalities.” -Daniel Bell

"Justification of ungodly behavior comes from the sanctification of cultural wisdom." - Matt
“… I think the statistics about happiness and satisfaction indicate that, deeper down, we know we’ve been over liberated. There are communitarians and social conservatives and progressives for whose “community” has become a magic word, a mystic goal. But it is our economic lines, even more than our moral choices, that play the crucial role in wrecking or rebuilding our communities. We need to once again depend on those around us for something real. If we o, then the bonds that make for human satisfaction, as opposed to endless growth, will begin to reemerge.” McKibbon, Deep Economy
Concern with getting uor needs met keeps us bound to ourselves – our deceptions, our distortions, and our autonomy. - Newman, Untamed Hospitality
(I did not pick the best quote from this book, but it's one I thought that was good offhand.. I highly recommend read)
“It is the task of economic policy to grow the economy as rapidly, sustainable, and inclusive as possible.” Bill Clinton
"[When] money means grace – it means one has grace; it is an indication of one’s graced state. And [when] grace means money – it means one has money; the grace one has, one’s religious standing, is an indication of one’s economic status.” Kathryn Tanner, Economy of Grace
“You can’t ignore people when God is looking out their eyes at you.” Homan & Pratt, Radical Hospitality
"Sometimes intellectual conversations boil down to the capacity to quote the right authority at the right time." - Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out
“From the beginning to the end, the people of the Bible are people of hope. All of them saw the star of promise in the long night of this world, and glimpsed the first streaks of daybreak colours heralding God’s new day.” - Moltmonn, Jesus Christ for Today's World
"How often is your guest room occupied by a stranger? Isn’t it usually prepared for grandmother or aunt Sue or your college roommate? …
Who knows what rich experiences the next guest at your door may have to share with you. Think how your life has been broadened and enriched by the personalities of your friends. …" - Ahleen Heynen, "Given to Hospitality" published in The Banner
“Everything about me is recessive” – my dad to my grandmother

Tee hee

A bit of humor from

By the way, fellow Pasadenians, did you know that there is a great little farmer's market on Tuesday (ALL DAY Tuesday) at the park at Villa Parke? Here!

View Larger Map

We found it by accident one morning when taking our one year anniversary present Wilson basketball out for some court time at 7:30am! It was complete with a range of florists with exotic collections, several beat up pick-ups delivering vegetables and other organic goodies, and a guy playing classical guitar!

Awesome. You can see US there, too, on Tuesday mornings on the court.

New blog template again.

I don't like this one. It will probably change again in he next few days.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

America Recycles Day!

Please feel free to use any of the text or images below to post on your own blog and spread the word!
Check out the article I wrote and awesome images I designed!!


November 15th, 2008!

Click the flag to read more from the home site!

America Recycles Day Is Coming and ERP Needs Your Change!

November 15th of 2008 the National Recycling Coalition is encouraging us to participate and educate ourselves and our community on recycling!

(Did you know what in 2006, enough plastic bottles were thrown in the trash to pay for the repaving of California highways six-times over?!)

Eden Reforestation Projects also has an idea of how we can make the most of the change coming from recycling! And we’re not just talking about changing the planet, but the change you can get from your local recycling center for bottles and cans!
For most of us, a few dozen recycled sodas only add up to a couple bucks. But in the nurseries of Eden Reforestation Projects, $2 = 20 trees that are planted! $10 = 100 trees! And these aren’t trees just anywhere; the seedlings in the nursery go to the most environmentally injured areas of Ethiopia, Madagascar, Sudan, and Kenya.

As fellow Earthlings in charge of our planet, we’d like to encourage you to practice recycling! Set plastics aside for that special blue bin, consider recycled auto parts, start a compost pile, and, most of all:
Start collecting those precious nickels and dimes from your soda cans and bottles! We need your change!

Use your recycling to plant trees and save lives!

Click here to donate to ERP!

You're welcome to use these images on your own blog!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...