Ed’s Blog: Life


I recently mentioned that I’ve been reading some of the most popular fantasy series. I didn’t make it through The Sword of Shannara trilogy, but I really enjoyed the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. The Earthsea Cycle was pretty good. The Kingkiller Chronicle was unique, but I didn’t enjoy as much as I was supposed to. I liked the The Way of Kings, also by Brandon Sanderson, but the books in that series are really long and I haven’t yet found the time to read the next one. Finally, I just read The Black Prism, by Brent Weeks, which I enjoyed, and I’m sure I’ll continue the series at some point, though I prefer Sanderson. Anyway, that concludes a whirlwind tour of my experience so far with fantasy novels.

books — May 17, 2019comments


As I was saying, I didn’t read many fantasy novels as a kid. I read through Harry Potter when I was a young parent, but through the eyes of my adolescence, knowing how much I would have loved it. I read the Inkheart series at some point, which was okay. I eventually read and liked the Hunger Games series, mostly because it was crazy popular and I knew my oldest daughter would love it. I really loved The Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson, which I highly recommend. I also started The Green Ember series, which I didn’t like as much, but still want to finish some time. I’ve bought and read many of the Tolkien works that have been published since his death, which I think are great, but require high levels of Tolkien fandom to really appreciate. More recently I’ve been reading some of the most highly acclaimed fantasy series, but this post is getting long, so I’ll talk about that later.

books — May 15, 2019comments


I’ve always been somewhat interested in the fantasy genre, but I actually didn’t read much as a kid, so I mostly enjoyed it in movies and video games. I did read some fantasy novels when I was young, particularly The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit. I finally got through The Lord of the Rings when I was a bit older (now my all-time favorite novel). I’ll talk about the books I’ve read since in a future post, but while we’re on the subject, when it comes to The Chronicles of Narnia, I’m on Team Publication Order. Isn’t everyone?

books — May 13, 2019comments


I know this isn’t exactly profound, but I do love the look of a freshly cut, vibrantly green lawn. Mowing once or twice a week can get to be a pain, not to mention watering and edging and trimming and fertilizing and weed-killing and moss-killing. But it’s all worth it. I think.

blog — May 10, 2019comments


Wow, I forgot how hard it is to prioritize blogging. Is this the beginning of the end? Too soon to tell.

blog — May 8, 2019comments


I won my first tennis match today since my college days. That’s assuming I actually ever won a tennis match in my Calvin College P.E. class, which I certainly don’t remember doing. But today’s match was definitely my first win against a 15-year-old girl. #winning

family — May 4, 2019comments


If you know me well, you won’t be surprised that Due is the most important app on my iPhone. The killer feature of Due is its nagging persistence. It doesn’t just ding/buzz at me once; it bugs me every minute until I acknowledge it. Because I’m liable to completely miss the first alert, or ignore the second, but eventually I will attend to it. And if I’ve set an alarm, I need to attend to it. Basically, if I need to remember to do something at a certain time, it goes in Due, and if I forget to put it in Due, I’ll probably forget to do it. I can reduce the nag to 5 minutes or even 60 minutes for less pressing reminders. My family is especially grateful for the “Leave work” alarm that goes off at 4:27 PM every weekday; otherwise, who knows when I’d remember to head home…

tech — April 27, 2019comments


I’ve been using Microsoft Windows since I first installed it from MS-DOS. Which is to say, I’m a PC. (I loved those ads, which aired 2006–2009.) I had a Mac in my office once upon a time, but I think it disintegrated from disuse. I can’t really say anything bad about Macs because, well, I hardly ever use one. Though the reversed mouse wheel direction is comically frustrating for Windows users that sit down at a Mac. And I still think menus are better at the top of the window, not the top of the screen. And laptops should have touch screens. Of course, Windows has its own share of annoyances. To each his own.

tech — April 25, 2019comments


I was glad to see that at least one of my ones of readers caught my reference to It’s All About the Pentiums by “Weird Al” Yankovic. The lyrics and video are a bit PG, but it went viral among computer nerds like myself back before going viral was a thing. It’s full of hilariously obsolete culture references, not the least of which is “I ain’t afraid of Y2K,” which, as it turned out, he had no need to be.

music — April 23, 2019comments


If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:19-20)

faith — April 21, 2019comments


I lost my glasses today while I was at my daughter’s tennis match. I had swapped them for my sunglasses and hung them on my shirt collar. A bit later, I felt for them and they were gone. My glasses are not cheap, and they are not optional anymore, at least for reading and coding. I backtracked, figured out why I must have bent over and dropped them, and found them resting comfortably in the grass. So today I am thankful for small mercies.

adventure — April 20, 2019comments


Of the many things said to Jesus as recorded in the Gospels, three are especially meaningful to me. The last was spoken to him on the first Good Friday:

  • “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24)
  • “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)
  • “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42-43)

faith — April 19, 2019comments


Are “life hacks” still a thing? Here’s mine: set out the vegetables before dinner is ready. Once dinner is on the table, it’s hard for the veggies to compete with carbs and fat. But before dinner, hunger is sufficient to make even healthy vegetables look enticing. Of course, if you put chips out before dinner as well, all bets are off.

family — April 18, 2019comments


I don’t own many printed books, but one thing I’ve kept around is The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. I don’t know how long it had been since the last time, but I just read through it again and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved reading newspaper comics growing up, and Calvin and Hobbes was easily my favorite. It’s been almost twenty-five years since Bill Watterson retired the strip, but his criticisms of modern society have only gotten more relevant. And, of course, it is hilarious.

books — April 16, 2019comments


It’s hard to predict what congregational music will resonate with a church, but we sang Behold Our God pretty enthusiastically today, especially at the chorus:

Behold our God seated on His throne
Come, let us adore Him
Behold our King! Nothing can compare
Come, let us adore Him!

hymns — April 14, 2019comments


In a rare intersection of code life and real life, I used my mad programming skills to solve an elementary school problem that my wife told me about (she’s a Kindergarten teacher). They want to rearrange the K–4 classes into 18 one-room schoolhouses where pairs of kids from each classroom leave for another classroom that has kids from every grade. It took me a bit longer than I’d hoped, but I wrote a little program that generates 18 pages with the names of the students that will come and go from each classroom. It was fun!

family — April 13, 2019comments


I’m not one for horror movies, but I took a chance on A Quiet Place, since I’d heard so many good things about it. I enjoyed it. Interesting, suspenseful, optimistic. A little unbelievable at times, but you get that. Didn’t linger on disturbing ideas or images. Recommended.

movies — April 12, 2019comments


Tonight Julie and I will start season 8 of Blue Bloods, a TV show about the close-knit family of a police commissioner of New York City, his cop sons, and his prosecutor daughter. We like to wind down in the evening with one episode of television (we are decidedly not “binge watchers”) but it isn’t always easy to find a show we both enjoy. I’m always impressed at how many story threads get started, how many cast members get screen time, and how neatly everything gets wrapped up within 40 minutes, with the family all together for Sunday dinner at some point.

tv — April 11, 2019comments


Workflowy is by far the website that I would miss the most if it was gone, both in my personal and my professional life. It is the perfect note-taking tool for my brain. I have always loved outlines and bullet lists, and Workflowy combines the two into an outstanding user interface for creating, editing, finding, marking as completed, and even sharing with others. Even if I didn’t need the features of Workflowy Pro, I’d pay for it anyway because it is the productivity tool I was always waiting for.

websites — April 10, 2019comments


I love hymns. Not primarily for the style of music – I can enjoy almost any style of music – but for the powerful spiritual messages they convey. Words set to music engage my mind and soul like nothing else. Today we sang When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, one of my favorite lenten hymns.

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. … Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

hymns — April 7, 2019comments


Every blog needs a first post, so here’s mine. My crazy idea is to blog one paragraph a day. Hopefully keeping it to a paragraph will make such a thing actually possible, but we shall see.

blog — April 6, 2019comments

About This Blog
This is where I blog about personal stuff. If you’re a software developer, you might rather read my coding blog. Or read both blogs at once!
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