10.29.2011

Occupy Wall Street: Better Methods

Cold weather is coming. On the left coast, our forecast is a La Nina winter: frigid and wet. Despite the insistence of OWS organizers, it won't surprise me to see the number of occupiers dwindle of the the next month.

I've never understood the value of protests - at least not in it's modern incarnation. The practice has lost it's swagger since the days of the civil rights movement. Sure it gives you attention, but your voice could easily be drowned out by those who disagree with you. As for long term impact, the results of the OWS protests remain to be seen. But if recent history proves anything, I'm not anticipating much.

Protesting can be a thrill, but if you really want to change the way corporate America functions, there are better options than standing on public property holding up poignant signs.

1. Get your money out of the major banks. Close your accounts with banks that got bailouts. Move your funds to regional banks or local credit unions.

2. Shop local and/or buy used. Buy as much as you can from local retailers. Support community farmer's markets. Avoid fast food. Patronize thrift stores. If there is something that you can't find locally, buy it used or second-hand. (ps, you can still find name-brand items through local merchants or second hand retail - it just takes a little more effort.)

3. Find an alternative commute. Use public transportation. Carpool. Walk. Ride a bike. Invent a teleporter. OK, I was just joking about that last one. Kidding aside, find ways to use less gas and limit wear and tear on your own vehicle.

4. Support local artists. Watching open mic night at a coffee shop is far more affordable than catching a movie at the nearest cinema. You might not be able to go see a play on Broadway, but you can see a show at a local playhouse. Visit your local galleries, find ways to see a local band play live, hire local photographers instead of going to a chain portrait studio. This does more than provide us alternate entertainment options, it increases opportunities for our kids. Studies have shown that students involved in the arts perform better academically, they develop creative problem solving skills, and are more likely to become leaders in their community. We can give our kids tools to make this a better world.

5. Give. Be generous. Give your time, your money, your resources. Donate to charities and food banks. Volunteer your time at homeless shelters, retirement home, or youth centers. Cook a meal for someone who needs it. Help your neighbors. The possibilities are bountiful. The free gift of your time and energy, your funds and goods is the polar opposite of greed. It's illogical from the viewpoint of how capitalism works, but generosity can be the catalyst for something bigger than you could ever imagine.

So do that. If you really want to occupy Wall Street, do the above. Not only will you be cutting into Wall Street's pocket books - but you'll be making a positive impact in your own community and improving your own physical, emotional, and financial health.

10.25.2011

Inertia vs. Initiative

In his book Understanding Physics Isaac Asimov said "This tendency for motion (or for rest) to maintain itself steadily unless made to do otherwise by some interfering force can be viewed as a kind of 'laziness,' a kind of unwillingness to make a change. And indeed, [Newton's] first law of motion is referred to as the principle of inertia, from a Latin word meaning 'idleness' or 'laziness.'"

This view of inertia is, to a large extent, defining of human nature. To do nothing, or at minimum, to do what has always been done. Is it possible to undertake significant accomplishments while doing little more than maintaining status quo? Dave Anderson, a writer and motivational speaker, suggests that you can only achieve your personal best when you do something different, out of the ordinary that challenges the norm.

As Christians, we should always strive to do our personal best. There should be a desire inside us to accomplish great things. God wants us to change the world.

But somewhere we have failed that mission. We wake up and begin our routine; juggling work, home, school, church, family and friends. We are compelled to work because we need the paycheck, we spend time with friends so they don't hate us, we feel obligated to go to church because that is what good Christians do. But if we go through life as if it is a to-do list, we have failed to see the big picture. Much like Peter, we end up sinking when we could be walking on water.

Our faith requires initiative. Wiktionary.org defines initiative as a first move, a fresh approach, the ability to act first or on one's one. Without this first move, this action, our faith is dead. We must step outside of the usual to truly accomplish what God wants to do in and through our lives.

Hebrews 11 gives us great examples of what can happen when we make changes to our routines and allow God to do extraordinary things. We build boats. We leave our homes, not necessarily knowing our destination. We leave a legacy. We worship God, bless and inspire others. We conquer and are spared. We see more than just the here and now.

God has great things planned for us but we still need to do our part. Life is supposed to be an uphill battle. It is through this difficulty that we are able to attain our greatest accomplishments, prove our faith is genuine, and ultimately how we give honor to God.

It is much easier to stand still. To do nothing. Coasting is uncomplicated because it is all downhill. The cost of not taking the initiative and breaking the standards is a great loss. We deny our savior and friend. We run away. We fall prey to our own selfish and sinful desires.

The first law of motion states Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight ahead, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by forces impressed. Are you compelled to change?

We must put action to our faith and not be lazy. At the risk of losing comfort and complacency, do something different. Let God enact something amazing with your life.



(Originally posted on What's Inside on 8/17/06)

10.24.2011

Valley of Dry Bones

This short film dramatizes one of my favorite scriptures. Regardless of your religious beliefs, this clip is visually stunning. You will want to watch it in full screen (the four arrows to the right of the HD logo).

Dry Bones from danDifelice on Vimeo.



The rest of the passage (not included in the video) is a message of hope: "They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them ... I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'" (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

10.23.2011

Multnomah Falls

I meant to post this on Friday, but lets just say it was a crazy weekend. Ending to this blog was the last thing on my mind. That being said, here are the five best pictures I took during a break at Multnomah Falls last weekend.







I can't wait to go back with the kids as see their eyes fill up with wonder.

10.17.2011

Meet Bob

Be sure to watch until after the credits.

BOB from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.

10.13.2011

Testing, this is only a test

This is a test of the blogging from my iPhone system.

I will be taking a few weekend road trips over the next several months and I wanted to test my ability to compose and post blog entries from my phone. The first trip starts tomorrow; I'm off to Portland and my phone will be my only connection to the interwebs until Sunday night.

By all appearances, this test was successful. I take no responsibility for any autocorrect failures.

Keep an eye on my twitter feed (@niccasey) as I will be tweeting until my battery dies or we lose cell reception.

10.10.2011

Dracula in Under 2 Minutes

I just finished reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. To celebrate, I present you with this, the simplest retelling ever.

10.08.2011

Why I love being a dad

Christian: Chocolate and milk go together. When you mix milk with chocolate, you get chocolate milk.

Me: Actually, Christian, bananas and peanut butter make chocolate milk.

Christian: Huh?

Me: That's how you make chocolate milk, you mix bananas and peanut butter together.

(He pauses for a few moments and studies my expression to see if there's any hint of deception)

Christian: Are you joking?

(I just smile)

Christian: You ARE joking!

10.07.2011

What I've learned from Ke$ha's music

My brother-in-law believes that you should never take an artist with symbols in their name seriously. I think he’s on to something. All I’ve ever learned from listening to Ke$ha is that she has a stuttering problem.

Don’t believe me? Consider the following evidence – lyrics as sung (autotuned?) by Ke$ha:


1. We R Who we R
“Tonight we’re going har har-har ha-ha-hard
Just like the world is our our-our our-our-ours
We’re tearin’ it apart part-part pa-pa-part
We’re dancing like we’re dum dum-dum dum-dum-dumb
Our bodies go num num-num num-num-numb
We’ll be forever youn youn-youn youn-youn-young

2. Blah Blah Blah
Stah stop tah talking that
Blah blah blah…
Not in the back of my
Car-ar-ar

3. Tik Tok
“I'm talkin pedicure on our toes toes
Tryin on all our clothes clothes
Boys blowin' up our phones phones

4. Crazy Beautiful Life
“I’m in love all ri-i-i-ight

5. Blow
“This place about to blow-oh-oh oh oh oh
Go, go, go, go insane, go insane
Throw some glitter, make it rain on 'em
Let me see them hands, let me, let me see them hands”


Please, America… stop giving money to these hacks. Only you can prevent poor artistry.

10.03.2011

Revenge of the Nerds

Boss (to coworker): It's just the nature of the job we do. We're not like a bunch of frat boys or anything. (pause) Well, maybe.

Me: If we are we're Lambda Lambda Lambda.

Boss (smiles): Heh...