Friday, July 25, 2008

Trouble with Scrabble on Facebook?

Interesting news article for those of us who use the Scrabulous application in Facebook:
    T-R-O-U-B-L-E could loom for a Scrabble knockoff that has become one of the most popular activities on Facebook.

    Hasbro Inc., the company that owns the word game's North American rights, sued the creators of the Scrabulous program on Thursday, less than two weeks after the release of an authorized version of Scrabble for Facebook.

    Hasbro said in its lawsuit that Scrabulous violates its copyright and trademarks. Separately, Hasbro asked Facebook to block the game.

    In the year since Facebook began letting outside developers write Web programs that Facebook members can plug into their personal profile pages, Scrabulous has attracted some half-million daily users, despite efforts by Scrabble's owners to end it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Seattle: Day 4

So, today was my last full day here in Seattle. Spent a lot of time again in downtown Seattle, wandering the general area between the Seattle Center (home to the Space Needle) and Pike Place Market.

So, I'm really afraid of heights but I decided to go to the top of the Space Needle, anyway. It's pricey; $16 for an adult. Still, it offers awesome views of downtown Seattle, the Puget Sound, and all the surrounding cities. In this particular pic, you can see a sea plane flying through downtown.

I'm not sure why, but I struggle to smile for this kind of "MySpace" self pic. I'm still trying to peg the "emotion" on my face. It's probably, "Wow, it's a lot sunnier here today than it was yesterday, which means it's warmer and I chose jeans instead of shorts, and it's also really bright, which is going to leave me with some sun on my face and is making my eyes a little tired, too." Yea. You know that emotion. Don't deny it.

These two photos are from the Olympic Sculpture Park (I think that's the right name), near the waterfront. The most interesting sculptures are the large cones. I felt like I was going to get ticketed for walking into the Cone Zone. Oh, I also rode the monorail through downtown today. Nothing to do with cones or sculptures. But I just thought of it. And these entries are more freeflow than organized.

It scares me to think that at some point, there was an "Unsanitary Public Market" somewhere in the Pike Place neighborhood.

Yep, this photo very clearly made an impact on me. I think it's even funnier than the "Turkey Crossing" signs near my house. Maybe.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Seattle: Day 3

Today was the first day that I finally got into the "real" city of Seattle. I don't have a rental car, so all of my travels are either by foot or by public transit. So far, the bus system has been easy to use, and my decision to find a hotel near a transit center ended up being one of the best decisions I've made for this trip.

I'd never been to Seattle before, so today's itinerary centered around a few "important" places downtown: the waterfront, Pioneer Square District, Pike Place Market, and of course, the original Starbucks.

I was amazed that the public market was much smaller than I had imagined. Perhaps I was thinking of something on the scale of Pier 39 or Ghirardelli Square in SF, or even Cannery Row in Monterey. It wasn't as big as any of those. But it was still an interest site to visit. Managed to not buy anything, either.

Saw some fish-throwing, but the camera on my phone is too slow to catch the action. Had to settle for a pic showing all the non-customer tourists gathered around the shop awaiting a flying fish.

Yeah, seriously, this is the original Starbucks. It isn't very big or impressive, but it feels almost like a shrine with the number of customers filling the store. But I did wait in line, and ordered my venti green tea lemonade with 5 splendas in place of the sweetener. I may not drink coffee, but I'm capable of my own Starbucks addictions.

The store has the semi-original logo on its wall. This is, of course, the "re-introduced" logo that has generated recent controversy because it shows the mermaid's breasts.

My bus route back to my hotel took me past Boeing Field and the Museum of Flight. This is the (apparently rebuilt) building where Boeing got its start. Unfortunately, my bus route also took me along a LOT more city streets than the route I took downtown. So I spent almost 2 hours on the ride to the hotel. Praise God for the iPod!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Seattle: Day 2

Last night, I decided Tuesday would be my "chill" day. So I slept in this morning (only until 10AM, which isn't very late, I guess), and then just relaxed around the hotel for awhile. I caught an afternoon showing of The Dark Knight, along with maybe two dozen other people in a huge theater. Pretty funny.

The movie was great. It has the same dark feel as Batman Begins, but with a lot more action. I'm not sure if I like it more, less, or the same as Batman Begins. Regardless, it was worth seeing. Probably even worth a second view.

This evening's been quiet. Just doing some reading. Couple phone calls. Some texting. Not much else. Weather has been nice and overcast today. The high maybe hit 70.

Wednesday morning I'll head into the city, spend some time in downtown Seattle. Should be fun.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Seattle: Day 1

Got here to Seattle. Technically I'm outside the city in the suburbs because that's the only place I could find a hotel. Downtown seems completely booked. But I'm near a transit center with good access to the city, and I'm near plenty of shopping -- which is also good because I didn't want to pay $400+ for car rental this week. Yea, crazy trip!

This pic is from the flight here. I'm pretty certain these are the Three Sisters mountains in Oregon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Back in town. And then gone again.

I got back last night from a quick trip down to Orange County, to see the guys at Simply Youth Ministry. I've been doing freelance editing work for them for about 3 years now, and we got together to talk about some upcoming projects.

Trip highlights, you ask? How about these...
  • Finally eating a meal at the great, glorified Wahoo's Fish Taco place
  • Seeing the new student ministry building at Saddleback, The Refinery, and having oh-so-short chats with Doug Fields and Josh Griffin
  • Spending a day in nice OC weather
  • Renting a car and remembering how much I really like driving my *own* car
  • Hearing Andy Brazelton offer lame excuses on why he was skipping his 10-year high school reunion
  • Admiring Nadim Najm's ability to keep a close eye on so many websites every day

Next week I'm in Seattle, for "pure" vacation time. Should be fun.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Smoky skies and hot days.

Life is borderline miserable in this part of California right now. I know it's not as bad as the folks who had flooding in the Midwest last month, and right here in Sacramento we don't actually have wildfires threatening our homes. But our sky is filled with the smoke from fires in the region, and our temperatures are passing 100 again today.

I'm sitting in my office at the church, and when I look outside, there's a dull orange tint to everything. Visibility is limited. It smells like a small valley filled with campers. And if I spend too much time outdoors, my eyes start to sting. All in all, just not a lot of fun to be outside.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Obama finds support in GOP

Interesting article today about conservatives supporting Obama, from the San Francisco Chronicle, on
    The "Obamacans" that Sen. Barack Obama used to joke about - Republican apostates who whispered their support for his candidacy - have morphed into a new phenomenon, or syndrome, as detractors like to call it: the Obamacons.

    These are conservatives who have publicly endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee, dissidents from the brain trust of think tanks, ex-officials and policy magazines that have fueled the Republican Party since the 1960s. Scratch the surface of this elite, and one finds a profound dismay that is far more damaging to the GOP than the usual 10 percent of registered Republicans expected to switch sides during a presidential election.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Crazy day for worship teams.

Today's been a wild day. It started when our drummer didn't arrive for service; apparently he got injured but I didn't get the word until 10:40AM. Our main backup wasn't available, but another drummer came through in the pinch to help us out. That was a hue relief! We had a few rough moments during the morning service, but we made it through.

I was exhausted this afternoon, and found myself just sitting around the house vegging. Had some phone calls to return. Missed one from a local number that wasn't in my cell; I'll come back to it in a moment. Anyway, I took a call from a friend who said he needed a vocalist for his youth group's worship team tonight. At first, I wanted to say no because I was tired.

But then I realized. Someone came through to pinch-hit for me and our worship team this morning. It's only appropriate and right that I say yes to these friends. Actually, I kinda looked at it as a way to say "thanks" to God for meeting my need in the morning.

So, things went really well with this youth group tonight. It was great to see some good friends, catch up on things, and spend time together worshiping God. Definitely the right choice.

Well, back to that local call I didn't answer. Turns out it was a friend calling on a different line. He wanted to see if I was up for a game of racquetball. I probably would have said yes, if I had taken the call. But then I wouldn't have been available to help the other worship team tonight.

Funny how that all worked out, eh?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Political musings.

I'm fascinated by this year's presidential for many reasons. One of the biggest fascinations is watching a relatively liberal Democrat vie for the votes of evangelical Christians and a relatively conservative Republican largely ignore (or weakly attempt) to connect with those same voters.

I don't know who I'll vote for this November. It won't be Bob Barr, and it won't be Ralph Nader. Not that I oppose the concept of third parties; I voted for Ross Perot in 1992, the first time I could vote for president. But both Barr and Nader just don't cut it.

Anyway, I've been closely following online articles about Obama and McCain and issues of faith. Here are a couple of interesting articles I found today relating to Obama and faith:

Obama focuses on faith; McCain slams earmarks in crime speech

Obama works to mobilize 'Christian left'