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2010 Jul 11 (Sun)

singalong junk
I just watched Jerry Maguire for the second time this week just as a way to unwind. The second time through I realized I had to figure out the tracks that were used. The first one was by Bruce Springsteen (his iconic voice gave it away), but the second was an instrumental. It is, quite simply, my favorite melody. Yay for left-handers! :-)

[all posts in /music/]  [permanent link]

2010 Feb 20 (Sat)

OpenOffice and corrupt file
Tonight I was continuing work on my BTSA documents and I panicked for a few minutes because when I tried to open one of my files and OpenOffice gave me an error:

The file 'file.odt' is corrupt and therefore cannot be opened. Should repair the file?
Naturally, I did want OO to repair the file, but that failed as well:
The file 'file.odt' could not be repaired and therefore cannot be opened.
So I google'd quickly to see if others had the same problem and found this page among others which goes through one way to solve it. But that seemed like quite a bit of work for just getting the text and no formatting. The BTSA documents are specially formatted, so it would really suck to have to replicate all the formatting again. On a hope, I thought I'd try AbiWord, and voila!, it worked. I tried to export a copy so that OO could open it, but OO croaked again. Anyway, I'll just be using AbiWord from now on, since I don't really use OpenOffice for anything else, really. Thank you, AbiWord developers! :-D

[all posts in /tech/]  [permanent link]

2010 Feb 05 (Fri)


First semester is done for this year and I'm frustrated. I really do love the place where I work. The students are great, the faculty is great, and I love to teach. So why am I frustrated? Well, it's not the people that are the problem, but the ideas swirling about in the ether on campus. What has made me frustrated is the lack of common educational philosophy held by the members of the faculty and what effect that has on the students. I'm not claiming to have the One True Methodology or anything like that; I'm a third-year teacher and know I have much to learn. So what do I know?

Well, I do know that the lack of a common philosophy will only create differences of opinion: Different assumptions produce different products. "What is the purpose of schooling?" is what the tenets of various philosophies answer. I honestly believe that is at the crux of any decision a teacher makes in a classroom. As a public teacher, I also need to ask myself what is the purpose of public schooling specifically. Is the purpose of schooling dependent on something as trivial as who provides it?

At a collaboration meeting that I initiated today among my colleagues who are teaching the same subject as I am this year, I wanted to really start the ball rolling with not only saying we have something in common (i.e., the best for our students), but show distinctly to ourselves and to everyone that as professionals we can distinguish between the good and the bad of schooling. One manifestation of this would have been deciding on common assessments, common homework, or simply a common lesson. Sadly, I don't think we came to a common understanding on anything because we have differing philosophies upon which we base our practice.

Where does that leave us? If there is such a thing as good and bad schooling, what measures do we use to qualify our methodologies as either one or the other? How do we measure two practices as both good, but one better than the other? Why do we consider certain practices good? I'm continuously thinking about these questions with the faith that reasoning and discussion will produce the truth of the matter.

[all posts in /education/]  [permanent link]

2009 Nov 07 (Sat)

Christ the Eternal Tao Seminar

Location:St. Barnabas Antiochian Orthodox Church, Costa Mesa, CA

Date: Nov. 6-7, 2009

Part One: The Orthodox Christian Worldview

  1. The Creation and Pre-fall State of Man
    1. Man's spiritual state before the fall
      1. Incorruptible and without decay
    2. Conditional Immortality
      1. If they (Adam and Eve) did not sin
      2. No necessity for being corrupt or incorrupt
    3. The state of man's body before the fall
      1. Free from illness, disease, sex, pain, cold, heat, sleep
    4. The state of man's mind before the fall
      1. Grace to prophesy
      2. Memory was simple and one-pointed
      3. Not susceptible to imagination
        1. Imagination is lower part of soul & irrational
          1. Dogs and other animals dream
    5. What might have been
      1. Deified by nature, not by grace
    6. Man's calling to deify the cosmos
      1. Cosmos made for man
      2. Man made to be one with God
      3. Man is link between pure material world and spiritual world, and is to bring all creation into union with God
  2. The Fall of Man and Its Consequences
    1. The corruption of human nature
      1. All made sinners by Adam's nature
      2. Passions entered in (we don't share guilt of Adam's sin), we inherited the corrupted nature
    2. The loss of grace: spiritual death
      1. Stripped of grace - death of his soul that day (Gen. 2:17)
      2. Bodily, he continued to live - result of separation of soul & body
      3. Soul does not disintegrate after separation from God but is made ugly
      4. Image of God is indestructible - no complete depravity
    3. Physical suffering, death, and decay
      1. Pain and fatigue experienced with separation of soul and body
      2. Body susceptible to corruption
    4. The change in man's soul after death
      1. Body became grosser/denser flesh
      2. Man refashioned by God to handle these new needs (St. John Chrysostom)
    5. The condition of man's soul after death
    6. Why God allowed the entrace of death and suffering
      1. Set a limit to man's sin with death, so evil may not be immortal
      2. God inflicts punishment out of mercy
      3. Man succumbed to pride of being like God
      4. Reason for God allowing death
        1. Quell man's pride
        2. Restrain man's sensual desires
    7. Death opens way for refashioning of man by God-Man Jesus Christ
  3. Redemption and Deification
    1. "Trampling down death by death"
      1. By means of Jesus Christ's death, redemption is accomplished
      2. Spiritual and physical death redeemed by Jesus Christ's physical death (not spiritual)
      3. Ancient analogy
        1. Fish is death/hell, which swallows every person after Adam, since sin is proper food of death
        2. Fish takes bait, which is Christ's flesh, but the hook is the divinity of Christ
        3. Since death/hell cannot hold God, death/hell is destroyed/blown up
        4. All the holy released
      4. Why could/did He conquer death?
        1. Sinless
        2. God
    2. The commonality of human nature as it relates to redemption
      1. Human nature is one. Unity of human nature
      2. Universal human nature contracted sickness of Adam, and also liberated by Christ
        1. Redemption of soul with incarnation
        2. Redemption of body (while body still in tomb) with resurrection
        3. Resurrection in future
    3. Spiritual resurrection
      1. Baptism (not chronological)
        1. Died and buried with Christ, so body of sin destroyed
        2. Spiritual resurrection, grace of the Holy Spirit is able to live in use since we are fit vessels
      2. Unified to Christ through holy communion
      3. Reopens way to deification, partakers of Divine Nature, as Man existed before Fall
  • Q & A
    • I.C.1.a. How would procreation happen then?
      1. Procreation in some other way
      2. Man's physical body changed (See II.D.2)
    • I.D.3.b. I always considered imagination to be a God-given faculty which allows us to emulate our creator, i.e., to be creative ourselves. Is it not?
      1. Creativeness and imaginativeness are not the same. Man has other creative faculties
    • What is a saint?
      • Saint is one who restored in themselves the original likeness of God
      • Saint simply means "holy one"
    • Man's free will and God's will
      • St. John Cassian - writings on synergy of free will and God's will

Part Two: The Path to Union with God

  1. Cultivating the Seed of Divine Energy
    1. No longer grace working from outside in, but inside out
    2. Nous (Greek term)
      1. Highest faculty of soul
      2. Grown through participation of sacraments
    3. Brings ultimate personal union with God
    4. Submit to Divine Energy by humility
  2. Foundations of the Path to Union with God
    1. The sacramental life of the church
    2. A life according to the commandments of Christ
      1. Existential statements of Who He is
    3. A life of accountability (to others)
      1. Stop being spiritual while looking in a mirror
      2. Cut off our will before others
    4. Being willing to give up resentments and behaviors which separate us from God
      1. Forgive - oblivious to wrongs, don't hold anything against anybody
      2. Stop immoral behaviors as described by the Church
  3. An Introduction to Prayer
    1. Four types of prayer
      1. Liturgical (prayer in church)
        1. Breath of the Church
        2. Work of the people, allows to be accountable
        3. Saved in community, not in isolation
      2. Private prayers read from a prayer book
        1. Learn right posture toward God
      3. Prayer in your own words
        1. Actually use right posture as learned in III.A.{1,2} to approach God
        2. Don't need elaborate speeches - speak simply and frequently
        3. Pray before all encounters
      4. The Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
        1. Based on blind man and pharisee prayers in Scriptures
        2. Flexible because of brevity
        3. "Pray without ceasing"
    2. The content of prayer (all types)
      1. Yearning, longing
        1. Cry out to God w/heart (not simply voice)
        2. Longing uniquely for Him
    3. Prayer for others
      1. With contrition and pain of soul
    4. Thanksgiving
    5. Confessing lapses, repenting
      1. Confess as soon as we become aware
      2. Each day
      3. Stop thinking about it and bring it before God
  4. Watchfulness
    1. Introduction to watchfulness
      1. Against sinful thoughts and all thoughts which distract us from prayer
    2. Watchfulness and prayer
      1. Many parables
      2. Pray while watching
      3. Prayer is pure when arising beyond thoughts and images
      4. Without attention there is no prayer
      5. One cannot stand with the other
    3. Making our eye single
      1. Focus
    4. Going within
      1. Tear away from outward distractions
      2. Cut off thoughts to cut off everything
      3. Don't argue w/thoughts
    5. Wrong struggle and right struggle
      1. Initially, don't study a lot, just watch
      2. Thoughts disintegrate when not dwelt upon
      3. Creating images only distract us further
      4. Don't be agitated w/appearance of thoughts
      5. Be observant, just let them arise & disappear
    6. Our thoughts are not who we are
      1. Great mistake to consider our thoughts as ourselves
      2. Continual thoughts are onerous & murderous
    7. Thoughts and evil spirits
      1. Spirits can only enter when soul is darkened
    8. Stages in the development of sinful passions
      1. Provocation
      2. Conjunction
      3. Joining w/will
      4. Pre-occupation w/it
      5. Captive to urge
    9. Facing ourselves
      1. Realization slowly
      2. Tears of compunction of heart
      3. To know oneself is the goal of the practice of the virtues
    10. Distrusting thoughts
      1. Thoughts: self-assuring, logic, & criticism
      2. No logical mind
      3. Culminate good thoughts, but then go even beyond that
      4. We don't allow others to finish what they're saying
      5. Thoughts are not natural
    11. Judgmental thoughts
      1. Can lead to depression, despair, & sickness
      2. Do not judge anyone: keep simple
        1. Don't judge the person (or ourselves) but the action
        2. Reaction isn't always appropriate
    12. Prayer in times of temptation; the power of direct appeal
      1. In heart or w/words
  5. The Jesus Prayer
    1. Introduction to the Jesus Prayer
      1. Not merely in speakers, but reaching heart
      2. We merge w/God
      3. Origins w/what Christ said, "If you ask anything in my name..."
      4. Prayer is the unceasing noetic faculty of the Holy Spirit
    2. Be aware of Whome you are addressing
      1. Be concentrated on the words & _Who_ we are talking to
      2. Be conscious of the One we're addressing
      3. Not reduced to technical exercise
      4. Turn to Lord in your mind
      5. Address & sense the Lord
    3. Love and yearning
      1. Don't force
        1. Say it slowly, gently, humbly, affectionately, w/o compulsion
        2. Longing, with longing
    4. Watchfulness and the Jesus Prayer
      1. Short, one-pointed prayer
      2. Learn to cut off thoughts
    5. No images
      1. Become idols
      2. Don't make words the idol
        1. Essential part is walking w/God
      3. Union w/God should not be brought down to visuals
      4. Not supposed to pray to icons
    6. Levels of the Jesus Prayer
      1. Verbal - said with lips
      2. No longer lips, but mental
      3. Prayer is in heart
      4. Prayer continues in heart, self-propelling
      5. Delights mind w/divine light
  6. Praying in the Heart
    1. What is the heart?
      1. Mind (or Nous)
        1. Control of emotions
      2. Thinking is guided by heart & more intuitive rather than intellect
    2. Awareness in the heart
      1. Center of spiritual awareness
      2. Mind we can only know we are praying, w/o consciousness
      3. Heart is real knowing/awareness
      4. Be aware of prayer, as if you felt it
    3. The union of the mind and the heart
      1. Separation is from Fall
      2. Through aid of breathing, mind & heart can be aided to unite
        1. Misapplication can be very bad
        2. Danger of psychotechics
      3. Not acquired through thought
      4. Don't try to measure progress
    4. Spiritual fruits of the Jesus Prayer
      1. Contrition
      2. Soreness
      3. Special grace to overcome distracting thoughts
      4. Filled w/love for all creation
      5. Filled w/joy & exaltation
  7. Union with God
    1. Deification in the broad sense and in the strict sense
      1. Deified when baptized & chrismated, but just seed
        1. It needs to grow
        2. Broad sense
      2. When purified of sinful passions
        1. Strict sense
        2. Experience of uncreated light
    2. Accounts of deification
      1. Sophrony
      2. Symeon the New Theologian
    3. Toward the Eschaton
      1. The progress of eternity
        1. Continual
      2. Physical resurrection and the restoration to incorruption
        1. Experience in life of Church
        2. All fruits of Jesus Christ's death & resurrection will be revealed
        3. We'll be changed, with creation
      3. The permanent deification of the whole man--body and soul--and of the entire cosmos
        1. Body will not only be incorruptible, but spiritual
        2. Cosmos will also become spiritual
  8. Conclusion
    1. We can begin deification now
    2. Holy ones beckon us to follow them
    3. Laziness & stubbornness keep us from them
    4. Accept the invitation

[all posts in /theology/]  [permanent link]

2008 Nov 02 (Sun)

Nice ad...but where's the connection?

This evening, before commuting back to OC, I decided to eat at In-N-Out for dinner. Getting back on the 5 North from Balboa Ave., I noticed a billboard that had, "Spend 15 minutes reading with your child today" (or something very close to that). It had a nice picture of an adult reading with a child (both were smiling, of course). At first I thought it was an ad by a government or a non-profit organization, but I was surprised to see that the very bottom of the billboard had Shea Homes, and a motto about how much they care.

Anyway, it struck me as really odd that they would use such a simple statement (which is a nice statement to make) that has no connection to their supposed business of building and/or selling homes. Are the advertisers hoping people just look at the meaning of the sentence and hope that passers-by will associate "Shea Homes" with something that is good (i.e., the meaning of the sentence on the billboard)?

I'm not an advertiser, but I did take a very informative and delightful class on pragmatics called "The Language of Politics and Advertising" (taught by Farrell Ackerman) where we discussed how viewers (and hearers) usually take the implication of a statement as the statement itself. Most of the time the implication of a statement is subtle, and seems to fit in well with what is being advertised (e.g., the "i'm lovin' it" motto by McDonald's), but in the current case it doesn't seem to be so. How did the advertising agency ever persuade the company to buy it? The agency must save the good persuasion techniques to persuade the company it's selling the ad to.

[all posts in /ling/]  [permanent link]

2008 Jan 07 (Mon)

Using Git over EncFS and SSHFS
It was a little bit troublesome for me to get Git working on SSHFS mostly. I was getting errors from git such as "Failed to write" whenever I tried to push to the remote repository. Fortunately, after a bit of googling I found this e-mail, which reminded me I should read the man pages more often. Anyway, this is the sequence of commands I ended up with:
sshfs -o idmap=user -o uid=`id -u` -o gid=`id -g` -o workaround=rename REMOTE_USER@REMOTE_HOST:REMOTE_PATH LOCAL_PATH_RAW
git clone --bare --no-hardlinks ~/repo.git repo.git

[all posts in /tech/]  [permanent link]

2007 Nov 06 (Tue)

Recovering /tmp file

Okay, so I did something very stupid and saved a file under /tmp, switched off my computer, and then booted it back up later to look for the file. (I blame lack of sleep.) Anyway, it was a simple text file that I didn't really want to write up again, so I decided to try to recover it. Since the file was on my laptop, and since Macs have a cool Firewire Target disk mode, I connected to my laptop from my Mini, and grepped the partition (it wasn't a really large file, but I hate having to retype something): grep -a -B100 -A100 'sentence that i remembered' /dev/partition > file.out While that ran, I just did my usual: read blogs, e-mail, and articles, and contacted some friends on the phone, etc. I came back every once in a while to see if file.out had any size. After about the fifth time checking, it grew to a whopping 40k! ;-) I then proceeded to use vim to extract the text I really needed, and I was done! Woo-hoo! This is something I can tell my students about who were asking what good the command line was. 'Course, they could retort and said I should have just saved my file somewhere else, but I think that's beside the point: the file was already lost, and I was trying to recover it. I'll see what they say Friday. :-)

[all posts in /tech/]  [permanent link]

2007 Sep 07 (Fri)
So one of my friends from UCSD, Stephen Lehtonen, is now in New York with his lovely wife Ariel, who also went to UCSD. He has started a podcast show to help people change the world for good. He is offering podcast interviews to anyone who wants to discuss a local issue they have, and he will then work with you to create steps to solve the issue. The only limits are your "resources, assets, and volition". Even though he is located in New York, you don't have to be in New York for him to help you. Just submit your idea on his website, and he will get in touch with you for an interview.

[all posts in /]  [permanent link]

2007 Aug 25 (Sat)

The Major System

The author describes the Major System, which works by associating letter (sounds) with a certain number, and is useful for remembering sequences of numbers. The author mentions that the number/letter associations are arbitrary (although he does give reasons for the associations he lists), but the choice of letters is not: they are all consonants. Specifically, the letters that are associated with a specific number all share a certain articulatory (phonetic) features.

This makes sense, because you would probably get confused if you associated B and F with a certain number, and then P and V with a different number. (The list of associations in this hack have B and P associated with 9, and F and V associated with 8.) Why is that? Well, P and B share the "bilabial" feature, i.e., both are produced primarily by using both the both ("bi") lip("labial"). Likewise, F and V share the "labiodental" feature, which means they are both produced by using a combination of the lips ("labio") and teeth ("dental"). By associating sounds that are articulatorily similar, it helps guard against mapping the wrong letter (and hence the wrong number) when trying to "sound out" whatever you're trying to memorize.

[all posts in /mind/performance/]  [permanent link]

Savants and TMS

TMS, which stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, is explained as a procedure that can be used along with EEG and fMRI. What TMS essentially does is short-circuit parts of the brain, so that those parts are no longer functioning for set duration (usually on the scale of minutes). At the end of the hack, there was a reference to an article that mentions the connection between TMS and savants, showing that shutting off parts of the brain can make the subject experience savantism. Autistic savants are autistic, yet are peculiar in that they exhibit extreme talent in memory, artistic ability, etc.

[all posts in /mind/hacks/]  [permanent link]