Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Freedom is the meaning of Christmas

No matter what your opinion may be on our nation's involvement in the Middle East, I think that you will find this article very encouraging. I know I did, especially with my Dad spending Christmas over in Kuwait today.


Merry Christmas to all of you. I'm grateful for such great friends and family!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Home School Family !

If you come from a home educated background you probably will find this funny. 

Thanks to Brian and Kaitlin for sharing this.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Where have you been?"

I have obviously been neglecting my readers here, but I do have something to share that I think you will find very interesting.

My time away from this blog has been spent over the past two months creating, and now managing, a website and forum all designed with you in mind (this include my loyal blog stalkers;). 

As you know, I am interested in movies and filmmaking, and have recently decided to take a big step forward to go ahead with an idea that's been swimming around my head for a while.

The idea is to create a network of concerned young Christians who are also interested in Christian films, but who just don't have the experience, tools, or time to complete a film on their own. From this dilemma (which is actually great potential in disguise) springs Project DialTone by Germane Productions.

Me and and a guy named Brian, the guy I produced The Processes with while working in the Senate(read post below), are collaborating together again to produce a short Christian film which will be entered in the San Antonio Christian Film Festival next fall and we need your help to do that!

"But what can I do, I don't the difference between gaffers tape and video tape?!"

Well you see, gaffers are in charge of all the lighting in movies, and they use lots of tape to keep cords out of the way, and video tape, well...you get the idea. In any event, it really doesn't matter what you know about making movies. 

If you do have experience in a certain aspect of the movie making process then you definitely would be a great help, but this project was designed for the everyday Christian who would just like to get involved in any capacity.

You could help us organize our schedule,  find props, research rental lists or available shooting locations and much, much more. And the beauty of it is, you can do it all online! If you don't live nearby, it doesn't matter. There's plenty to do from a distance, and we have created an online forum to organize such things

"So whats the movie about?"

Well, it just so happens that you can see for yourself by going to GermaneProductions.com. Let me just say, however, that I'm positive you will find it intriguing. Brian has done a stellar job with the story and I'm sure it will leave you thinking about
 how you live your life as a Christian.

"What if I don't have much time?"

Well, the most important thing right now is for as many people to read the script as possible and then to tell us what you thought. We need your feedback! 

What was your initialresponse? Did you finish with unanswered questions? Do you have an idea to 
make the story better?

Your input on the script is our greatest need right now as we must have it nailed down by the New Year.

"So, how do I get involved?"

Go to the website, register, and head to the forum!Once you sign up you will also get access to exclusive content on the site that you should find, at the very least, interesting. 

Join the team today!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Life in the Middle East

Many friends and acquaintances have asked me about my Dad and what he does exactly over in Kuwait. Typically I tell them that he is a Warrant Officer in the Army and that he is heavily involved in Logistics, which he is, but I haven’t really known all of the specifics.

So, for the benefit of all those around (including me), I decided to send Pop a good ‘ol fashioned email and ask him first hand about his duties are overseas. 

I sent the email at around 11:30 PM my time, which is about 10:30 AM (11 hrs. ahead) his time,
 and by the time I woke up I was excited  to find that he had found time to answer my questions. 

So, for those who were curious, enjoy.

Please feel free to comment with any other questions you might have. I know dad would be happy to answer them.


What is your title?

My rank which goes with my title is Chief Warrant Officer five, and I hold the position as the Theater Ground Maintenance Technician for South West Asia (SWA). I am assigned to Third Army ARCENT (Army Central Command) which is headquarters is in Georgia. I am the forward element working for CFLCC (Coalistion Forces Land Component Command).

Who exactly do you interact with on a weekly average, and who do you report to?

My direct officer that I report to is Colonel Tunstall who is the Deputy G4. He is my rater on my Officer Evaluation Report. In turn Colonel Tunstall works for Brigadier General Hodge who is the Director of Operational Sustainment. General Hodge is my Senior Rater who endorses my performance and provides guidance on short term and long term goals which he has envisioned. This provides me with a focus of his expectations and how I can further make him successful.

Is Kuwait relatively safe?

It depends on which aspect we look at. As far as insurgency, roadside bombs, snipers, IEDs, and suicide bombers go the answer is definitely YES. Now, as far as safety on the roads the answer is a resilient NO.

There are posted speed limits, 120 KM being the average, but no one ever pays attention to speed limits, turn signals, or any other basic fundamental rules of the road. Here it is simply a matter of boldness and defensive driving.

I typically stay out of the main flow of traffic so that I am not apt to get involved in any mishap. The accidents that happen here seldom have survivors due to the rate of speed. If we see an accident in Washington, it is really not all that often. However, here it is a daily repetitive occurrence.

Do you ever get to leave the base?

Actually, I can leave whenever I need or want to. But based upon the previous question and answer, I really only leave the base when I need to travel for missions. I do not travel for the sake of seeing thousands of acres of sand, and one camel does look like the next.

What is your preferred mode of transportation inside and out side of the post?

I walk to and from work each day, to include the dining facility, etc…. However, when I need to walk more than a few blocks I resort to the Suburban.

As far as off post travel goes, naturally I take the Suburban. The last time I traveled to Iraq, I took the Suburban to the flight line then a Blackhawk to Camp Ali Alsaleen, then a twin prop C12 into Baghdad.  So dependent upon the purpose of the trip, transportation varies.

What type of food do you eat? Any perks here?

Well for breakfast I basically stick to oatmeal with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. On the side I will have a piece of fruit and a couple of strawberries. Lunch and Dinner primarily consist of a salad, prime rib, steak, shrimp, crab legs, lasagna, spaghetti, cold sandwiches’, tortellini, tacos, burritos, chicken, fried catfish, baked salmon, deep fried white fish, or any combination of the above on any given day.

To be perfectly honest, you can pretty much determine what you will be eating based upon what day of the week it is. The food is fairly tasteless and not really enjoyable, but that is probably due to the fact that I am not with my family.

The perks here are the Baskin Robbins located in the dining facility!!!!! But as for me and my stomach, this is not a perk!!!! I view it as Satan's temptation, and I must admit I am doing just fine in resisting.

What do you find most exciting about your duties?

I like the diversification of responsibilities and interaction that I have with all the fundamental aspects of how the Army functions. Whether it be transportation assets, communications electronics, missile command, Tank and Automotive Command, contracting, new equipment fielding (MRAP), maintenance, refurbishment, or working with item managers back in the States I find that there is never a dull moment and that my direct knowledge and leadership ensures that the right mixture of assets and planning is in place to ensure that the needs are being met across the battlefield.

What part of the day do you look forward to?

If there is a part of the day I look forward to it would be the morning, because I now know that I am one more day closer to going home to my family.

How does your work week function (hours of duty, time off, breaks)?

Do I need to remind you, I am a CW5!

(Editors bragging note: There are only about 60 Warrant Officer 5's in the whole army. 
They are roughly the equivalent of a Colonel, but typically specialize in a very specific field. Dad's field is Maintenance and Supply, or Logistics.)

All kidding aside, I typically work 7 days a week. I go to the office around 0800 and I leave at 1800. From there I grab a bite to eat and go to the gym. I try to stay as busy as I can so that I do not have to think about where I am, and that I am not with my family.

What are some things most Americans don't know about the Middle East?

That the quality of sand here is so poor, that they have to import sand in order to make quality cement!!!!

Do you ride camels to work?

No, but it would be interesting to say the least.

Where do you live and what are the conditions?

I live in a two story brick apartment complex. I have all the amenities that a western apartment has. There is a small kitchen with stove, microwave, refrigerator, toaster, and of course a coffee maker. Inside my room is a entertainment center, desk, dresser, closet, end table and bed. Additionally, there is central heat and air, telephone, and wireless Internet.

So, for a single man, I guess the living conditions would be great. However for a married man who longs to be with his family, there is nothing that can replace the loneliness of each passing day.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Filmaking Genious (Update: Video should work now)

I know I still owe you all an update about my father and what he does over in Kuwait, but I'm currently caught up in some other exciting film projects that will soon become public.

The first project coming soon is the result of mine and Brian's (if you don't know who his already you will soon) families getting together for an evening.

The second is a project that promises to be exciting, educational, and beneficial to those who have ever watched a movie and have had even the least bit of interest in making one but really can't do it all themselves.

In any event, to preface the post about my dad I thought that I would share with you all a film that my siblings and I made when our parents went on a lunch cruise in Seattle and we were left alone at our home on Fort Lewis trying to think of something creative to do. Being a military family, the theme to us was fairly obvious to us.

The film was shot on the decrepit family s-vhs analog camera and and then digitized a year later. This was our first film and we were proud of it in all of it's imperfect splendor (and we remain so to this day).

Please share how this feature film has momentarily changed your life.

Please note: I use the DIVX player because it allows the highest quality streaming experience (which is essential with this film short). Just install it once and you never have to do it again. It's safe and free.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The one and only keyword search phrase for the month...

"interesting humrous articles"

Thank you Google for somehow directing that lost, wandering user to my site. Even if I only get the ones that can't spell.

America the Pitiful


Many projects are going on behind the scenes in my little world right now, but soon a few will emerge. Namely, a new post is coming giving an update on what exactly my father does over in Kuwait, the embedding of my latest production (The Process) here in full semi-HD will take place, and a super secret project that every young person even slightly interested in christian films will undoubtedly be interested in will be revealed.


We now shift our focus onto the world around us and return to the sad economical reality which is our nation and ask ourselves once more, "Just when will the outsourcing stop?", and "How do we solve the problem related below?".

Report: Many U.S. Parents Outsourcing Child Care Overseas

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Summer in Review : The Process

Well, with summer pretty much over I find myself looking back into the past (i.e. sifting through my unorganized My Pictures bin) and calmly reflecting upon the events and adventures which took place over the summer months and I've decided to write a series of posts to make up for the things which I failed to jot down earlier.

As many of you know, right after I returned from my San Antonio internship with VF, I started working again in the Senate as a session aide to a Republican State Senator. The legislative session was 120 days long this year.

Many great things were learned and experienced in the office, but one particular project stands out, a project that had little to do with actual work and more to do about what my job is.

Confused? That's why we did this project.

You see, not many people know how difficult it is to get bills turned into law, and espesially, what the legislative staff go through in order to make things happen. So halfway through session my supervisor and I decided to use our lunch breaks to show what we do using my camera and his ideas.

The film, entitled The Process, is a behind-scenes-look of the legislative process, albeit with a humorous and slightly exaggerated paradoxical spin. It was also a no-budget, script-it-as-you-shoot-it, last minute scramble of a project, complete with bad audio and shot on a camera the size of a P&J sandwich. There, that ought to kill high expectations.

Our initial story took many twists and turns throughout the project with Brian at the creative helm. He came up with most of the story ideas while I, as the camera operator and guy in charge of all things technical, murmured softly in my proverbial corner about how impossible a certain shot he wanted might be, or how the how audio would sound even worse if we shot in a certain room.

Brian is mostly the star, being the advertised "real-life legislative staffer", with myself and this years college intern, Josh, playing our respective positions. For our additional cast we threatened, pleaded, blackmailed, and, in one case, scheduled a dinner with the office's former intern (making him drive down from Seattle), over the course of two months in order to fill some pretty fantastic roles.

Casting cost us a few friendships, but who needs friends who won't act in your movies? Think about that when you meet a new friend.

In conclusion, I have been working on getting a high quality online version available, but with it being 23 minutes long I've had to do some searching for a good host (I'm trying Stage6 and DIVX right now). So until I unveil the project online to everyone (a few friends and family have had forced exclusive viewings), a few mid-production photos will have to suffice.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Random Facts for the Day

Because I know that a majority of you drink lots of java I figured I share these interesting bits about coffee as shared by Uncle John’s Legendary Lost Bathroom Reader (Hey, it's more reputable than Wikipedia).


What is America’s favorite drug?
You guessed it - caffeine. We use more caffeine than all other drugs - legal or illegal - combined. Want to know what the stuff is doing to you? Here’s a quick overview.


If you start the day with a strong cup of coffee or tea, you’re not alone. Americans ingest the caffeine equivalent of 530 million cups of coffee every day. Caffeine is the world’s most popular mood-altering drug. It’s also one of the oldest: according to archaeologists, man has been brewing beverages from caffeine-based plants since the Stone Age.

Caffeine doesn’t keep you awake by supplying extra energy; rather it fools your body into thinking it isn’t tired.

When your brain is tired and wants to slow down, it releases a chemical called adenosine.
Adenosine travels to special cells called receptors, where it goes to work counteracting the chemicals that stimulate your brain.
Caffeine mimics adenosine; so it can "plug up" your receptors and prevent adenosine from getting through. Result: Your brain never gets the signal to slow down, and keeps building up stimulants.


After a while, your brain figures out what’s going on, and increases the number of receptor cells so it has enough for both caffeine and adenosine.

When that happens, caffeine can’t keep you awake anymore … unless you increase the amount you drink so it can "plug up" the new receptor cells as well.

This whole process only takes about a week. In that time, you essentially become a caffeine addict. Your brain is literally restructuring itself to run on caffeine; take the caffeine away and your brain has too many receptor cells to operate properly.

If you quit ingesting caffeine "cold turkey," your brain begins to reduce the number of receptors right away. But the process takes about two weeks, and during that time your body sends out mild "distress signals" in the form of headaches, lethargy, fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, and sometimes even stillness and flu-like symptoms. As a result, most doctors recommend cutting out caffeine gradually.


Good: Caffeine has been scientifically proven to temporarily increase alertness, comprehension, memory, reflexes, and even the rate of learning. It also helps increase clarity of thought.
Bad: Too much caffeine can cause hand tremors, loss of coordination or appetite, insomnia, and in extreme cases, trembling, nausea, heart palpitations, and diarrhea.

Widely varying the amount of caffeine you ingest can put a strain on your liver, pancreas, heart, and nervous system. And if you’re prone to ulcers, caffeine can make your situation worse.
If you manage to consume the equivalent of 70 - 100 cups of coffee in one sitting, you’ll experience convulsions, and may even die.


The average American drinks 210 milligrams of caffeine a day. That’s equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee, depending on how strong it is.

How you make your coffee has a lot to do with how much caffeine you get. Instant coffee contains 65 milligrams of caffeine per serving; coffee brewed in a percolator has 80 milligrams; and coffee made using the "drip method" has 155 milligrams.

Top four sources of caffeine in the American diet: coffee, soft drinks, tea, and chocolate, in that order. The average American gets 75% of their caffeine from coffee. Other sources include over-the-counter pain killers, appetite suppressants, cold remedies, and some prescription drugs.
What happens to the caffeine that’s removed from decaf coffee? Most of it is sold to soda companies and put into soft drinks. (Cola contains some caffeine naturally, but they like to add even more.)

Do you drink more caffeine than your kids do? If you correct for body weight, probably not. Pound for pound, kids often get as much caffeine from chocolate and soft drinks as their parents get from coffee, tea, and other sources.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pavarotti Protégé

After taking a break from my blogging for the past couple of weeks I feel somewhat obligated to break back into the habit by posting an article of genius and humor, though not obligated enough to actually do so just yet.

For now, I’d like to share some video clips which detail the storybook like journey of a humble cell phone salesman as he takes a stand to fulfill his life long dream. Granted, this whole thing is somewhat sentimental and contains opera, but I think you’ll find the story of Paul Potts interesting, and for you guys, not completely devoid of manliness.

Just watching the judges rolls their eyes when this everage Joe, in need of an orthhodontist appointment or two, announces what he plans on doing is worth the watch.

Start with this clip and then go down.



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

hillbilly holiday

Whilst driving through the hills the other day I came upon this sign and decided that it deserved an honorable mention, especially noting the way in which wedding is spelled. All the best to Big Ed & Joe Elle.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Who's side are you on?

In a world of frivolous lawsuits it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between real issues and petty claims.

In this article, a man having allergic reactions to dairy products requested a major fast food restaurant to hold the cheese, but they didn't. So when he ate the burger in a darkened room he went into convulsions.

Now he is suing for 10 million on behalf of "two counts of negligence, one count of intentional infliction of emotional distress and one count of punitive damages."

Who's responsible?


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bush sees new threat.

We all know that our President hasn't always made the best moves in policy, but ya know, you gotta love a guy who sticks to his guns no matter what.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Fear not. I have indeed survived the trip, in spite of what a few of you have obviously assumed. I must say, however, that the gracious outpouring of care from anonymous users is reassuring... I think.

In any event, here are a few photos from our 2 1/2 day hike. The first day was toughest. The previous week of torrential rain had converted all of our upward trails into streams and thus we were soaked from head to frozen toe by the time we set up camp at 2,500 feet. The next day we covered another 1,000 feet and then descended about 3,000. It's hard to imagine how steep 1,000 feet is, but suffice it to say that we had a to take a break about every 15 min. to catch our breath and drink, or find, water.

A few more details will follow once Benj, the real photographer, posts his album.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Off to conquer the world

It's currently 1:00 am on Monday morning and our family has just returned from a fantastic three day family camping event named Camp Dwight in Sisters, Oregon. More on that later.

We have just traveled the 5 hours back home and right now I am busily packing my junk into neat little backpack compartments. I like neat little compartments.

Christopher Berkompas, three of his brothers, my brother, and yours truly will be heading into the great unknown within the Olympic Mountains in about 4 hours. Please stay tuned to see if I survive.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What it takes to find me

Anyone who has a blogger account probably is using Google Analytics, and if not they are missing out on fantastic useless information.

I enjoy seeing where people live who happen upon my blog (hello you two from Kaiserslautern) and how they got here. However, I am sorry to report that my wit and genius are not what brings people here every time (this is more or less a confession to myself). In fact, I found a very interesting list which shows what Google search terms it takes to land an unsuspecting Internet searcher into my little world. Take a look.

1. chatbots morphing
2. "jonathan berkompas"
3. "corporal punishment" +"doug phillips"
4. ebay scam buy it now email
5. ebay scam want full name, ebay id, shipping address
6. numberedsteps.blogspot.com
7. ebay art fraud

I'm afraid after looking at this list that I am not well advertised by google. You can't even search for my name and get here, but if you search for morphing chatbots and Doug Phillips mixed with a little corporal punishment..tada! Thats Daniel! Go figure.

Take a look and tell me which ones are yours so I can start writing the content you are apparently looking for.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ebay Scam Exposed

Typically when you go to buy something off of ebay there is one main way that you determine is the seller is legit or not, check their feedback. However, I discovered that even this safeguard has its limits and that you need to dig even a little deeper.

A friend of mine found an amazing deal on a 3ccd HD video camera (for you non-video people this means really expensive) and it was brand new. However, he had some questions because this camera, typically priced at $9,000, was being sold for $1,600.

I checked the site out, saw fantastic feedback, and thought it might be an honest deal...until I read some of his unique payment terms. Basically it read like, "I have a right not to sell this item to the bidder if I have not been contacted first by email at this address."

Why email? Why first before bidding? Well, I thought I would take on the role of average Joe gullible Internet buyer and find out.


From: Djbittner04
To: martinboars@aol.com

im very interested in your camera. im okay dealing outside of ebay to if thats what you likw to do


Dino J.

(I figured this guy, like most scammers, will not have mastered the art of english grammer and composition).

Sir we will do the transaction trough eBay , butnot paypal because I can't use my account , it is upgrating. If you want to buy it now for $1600 let me know and I will tell you how to proceed next
reply me soon
From: Djbittner04

sure. i'm game dude. im veery interested. but why did you list paypal as accepted payment at the same time you posted that people should contact you first?

Because I wish to leave feedback for the buyer .
if you want to buy the canon right now reply me your eBay user id, full name and shipping address and I will contact eBay and they will tell you how to proceed next
reply me soon
From: Djbittner04

okay. sounds good. user ID : splintered_light Full name : Joquine Bittner

5439 Saint Charles Loop NE
Olympia, WA 98516

I look forwardard to hearing back from ebay for confirmation

NOTE: I used a fake first name above to see how he was going to use it, though I gave him my real user ID so he wouldn't get suspicious.

Have you received the payment invoice?
let me know please


From: Djbittner04

yep. Just got it. fur some reason it ended up in my A0l spam filter. don't you hate it when aol tries rto protect you from spammers? it's like, stop it stupid aol. anyway, what do I do now?

NOTE: I couldn't resist an inside joke.

Now you have to make the payment as they adviced you .
how you were adviced?
let me know when you can complete the payment so i can arrange the shipping
From: Djbittner04

well, i got two emails from ebay that adviced me. one was ebay info on how too wire transfer you many for the good deal on "my" soon camera, and the other was from ebay saying that you were probably a scam artist. which one did you send?


AfFter waiting three hours for reply it was obvious that he knew that I was pulling his chain. I sent him another note two hours later just to see if he would reply at this point.

From: Djbittner04

I just told you that i was adviced by emal from ebay. what next? I can complete the transaction tomorrow when I have more money in my account. will that work.


Yes it works



This entire email exchange took place in the course of about 1 1/2 hours, an attribute of the speed style prefered by these artists. As you can see, after I identified that I wasn't as interested as I seemed, he was still was open to the fact that I might still send him money. These guys don't give up!

5 things to watch out for for:

1. Don't trust good feedback alone. This guy somehow conned a good law abiding ebayer into giving up some essential account info, hacked in, and then proceeded to list about 10 rather expensive items (PlayStation 3, video camera, home theatre systems) both at rock bottom price, with each ending within a couple seconds of each other.

2. Check out the sellers other items for sale if you have suspicions. In my case, the fact that several other items were going to be sold at around the same time indicated an irregular technique for for the real seller. This method would allow the scammer to glean as much money as possible in very little time and then trash the account.

3. Beware of 1 day auctions. This again indicates someone wanting to do a lot of business really fast. This is a big thing to look for, but rather hard to spot. Look carefully for when the item was listed.

4. Never, never, NEVER complete transactions outside of ebay. This guy said that he needed to do it this way so that he could leave feedback for me (that doesn't even make sense), and cleverly sent me an email from "ebay" with my account info on it (see picture above).

5. Don't give out your real name. Ebay already knows your real name and they use this information in conjunction with your username when they send you something. To simulate this security feature, the scammer asked for both of my names, and then walla...they now appear in my really fake genuine ebay confirmation email! Genius!

Some other tips as:

If you get a suspicious email from any company wanting your banking or otherwise confidential info, ALWAYS make sure that the links they want you to click on will direct you to an https: site as opposed to non-secure http: site.

If you see suspicious items being listed on ebay, don't bid on them until you know (beyond a reasonable doubt) that it is safe. If you think it is a spoof listing, report the item to http://pages.ebay.com/help/contact_us/_base/index_5.html .

Don't ask me why I got started on this extended tangent, but I hope this info will come in handy in the days to come.

If you have an ebay tip of any type please share it here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Conservative Backlash In Full Color

In a World where liberalism dominates universities, Hollywood, and politics, it is refreshing to see a team pull together and make a statement against the mainstream media.

After witnessing Michael Moore's approach to issues in Fahrenheit 9/11, a young, small budget, conservative filmmaker by the name of Evan Maloney decided to use the same template and "reveal the ugly truths about academia that you won't see in their glossy admissions brochures."

As one would expect, Maloney is having trouble getting a major distributor, such as Miramax, Sony, or Paramount Pictures, to get his film into theatres nationwide. However, his topic is not a complete secret, and many young people want to see this. According to stats available at indoctrinate-u.com, over 21,000 people have requested local screenings as of 6/2/07.

"Our Education. Their Politics."

How True.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Weekend Off

There’s a beeping down the hallway. A woman sits in the seat across from me. I look up. She’s hunched over in discomfort. A baby cries from across the room. There’s an outlet next to my chair. I plug in my laptop and write.

Well, today is the day after I have finished my time in the Senate for this session and I really don’t have the time to write this post due to a Friday deadline for a small film project. But I figure that I should jot a few details of the day for my own sanity.

To start with, this morning found me driving back home from the logging town of Aberdeen some 50 miles from home. Some of my siblings and I had spent the night with some friends after a night of city orchestra practice and I needed to get back to Olympia for a political action committee meeting.

Now, granted I obviously am interested in politics, but racing to a PAC meeting the day after leaving the Senate is not the break I was expecting.

The meeting went well, I got a communist red t-shirt, complete with white star, that encourages people to register to vote in the name of revolution, and I ended up being commissioned as a legislative district coordinator for the PAC (Faithand reedomNetwork.us). Ok, so far.

Then noontime emits its unseen call of the hungry and leads mom and I to investigate a small ritzy French restaurant (located in a quant downtown Olympia house). Now, I warned my date that this place was probably not open, but it was decided (and I was not part of that particular committee) that we should investigate anyway.

We get to the door, see people inside, and walk right in. Right into a private wedding party.

I shut the door behind me, turn around, and find myself standing next to the bride, who had just stopped in the middle of some sort of address. All of the well dressed guests were staring right at me in grim silence.

Not knowing what to do I did the obvious. I smiled, made a few remarks, told the groom he was definitely unworthy, and took a sip of the champaign.

Actually, what I did was duck into the next room, nervously chatted with the chef (who doubles as the Senate chef during session), promised to come back, and then tripped over the many large gift bags that littered the doorway on my way out.

I should have made the speech.

Then we get to a restaurant for lunch. Peace at last. We are seated. Mom is dismayed that there is no seating with a view. I notice that I am squeezing lemon juice onto the table, obviously missing my water. “Excuse me sir, those people left their table over there by the window, could we move?” The waiter shrugged in the affirmative.

Thinking that we were leaving over the fact that mom’s side salad (an item not on the menu but demanded) was smaller than a regular salad, our waitress cries loudly, “What’s wrong? Are you leaving?” My upheld lunch menu disguises my identity as I pass by to our new table.

Then, an urgent call comes from HQ. Little sister is in need of a black shirt for the symphony concert tomorrow night. Thus, after we finish our lunch, we head to the place that has just a little bit of everything…Value Village.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my pride does not prevent me from going to a thrift shop every now and then or buying used goods, but some places ought never to frequented. And my visit reminded me why. All of the scary people!

I try to keep mom focused on the single task at hand as we pass a vastly overweight youth trying to keep a plastic Darth Vader strapped to his face. I glance at the Men’s section. Used suspenders, frayed paper binders, and 70 year old ties line the wall. An employee staggers past as he bellows to a co-worker that they ought to stamp their time card differently. He then staggers away.

Finally we return home. Only to find that one of my siblings had crashed his bike and torn the muscles in his shoulder, the very same shoulder with which he was scheduled to use while playing cello in the Aberdeen symphony.

So off he and I go to ER.

As the sun goes down and my laptop monitor goes up, I glance over at a couple entering the ER reception area. The wife staggers towards the desk as her husband looks around and actually saunters into the men’s restroom. “I’m in labor!” the woman bellows as she walks towards the wheel chair sitting in front of me. The shocked receptionist grabs for the PA microphone and soon the woman is carted away.

The husband then returns to the scene, confused as to where his previously easy to track wife had disappeared to. As his dragging feet softly faded down the hall I wonder how long I'd have to wait for the doctors to yank by brothers arm straight again.

There’s a beeping down the hallway. The woman sitting in front of me remains mostly motionless and hunched over. A tired baby cries once again from across the room. I glance at the outlet next to my chair and unplug my laptop. While leading Stephen, arm now in a sling, back to the truck I hope aloud that my day had run out of adventures.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Computer Talk

With the rise of technology, many people are starting to wonder if computers will ever get too smart for their own good.

I honestly don't think that a global robot take over is right around the corner, but I do wonder how far artificial intelligence has gotten.

Here's your chance to see a very interesting conversation between two chat bots, ALICE and Jabberwackey, who are trained to communicate in a chat room type setting.


The Race

Well, it’s good to see that my friends are definitely thinking about and watching the presidential race as it unfolds. The general apathy among many young Americans, and most Christians, is quite disturbing these days.

The youth culture would undoubtedly make a huge difference in public policy if it just started by turning down the iPod, picking up a paper, and paying attention to what’s going on.

Anyway, back to your comments:

Anonymous said...

Heh. I really really hope that Hilary gets smashed.

No arguments there. Can you imagine the amount of respect our nation would lose if it were run by a woman? Let alone another Clinton.

Daniel Berkompas said...

No one in particular, mostly because I don't approve of any of the candidates, Republican and certainly not Democrat. I won't waste time on Obama or Hillary, we wouldn't vote for them anyway (obviously). Both main R candidates are adulterers and Giuliani is pro-death, besides the fact that McCain is listed as the 6th most liberal Republican. Not good. Time to see what the Constitution party puts up.

I agree that McCain and Giuliani both have more than their share of severe family troubles and political baggage that make them none too desirable for true conservatives.

Bryce said...
Hi Daniel,I would support Rep. Ron Paul(www.ronpaul2008.com), and was happy to see that he is giving constitutionalists an option in the primaries.Bryce

Thanks for brining that up Bryce. The more I watch Ron Paul the more I like the guy.

Though his whining voice can be difficult to take in strong doses, this Doctor from Texas has a strong style that really gives conservatives a glimmer of hope. He sticks to his guns in debate, makes valid (and sometimes controversial) points about our foreign policy, is pro-life, is a strong gun rights activist, and just strikes me as someone with good old fashioned guts.

However, Rep. Paul needs much more publicity to really get near the celebrity status of Giuliani, McCain, and even Romney. His recent tiff with Giuliani has people abuzz, and he’s practically on every post under the user generated DIGG site under 2007 Election, but he seems to be getting shunned by the media.

Patrick said...
Well, I haven't thought much about it. I've heard most candidates were not all that good. I'll have to do some more researching I guess.This country is in God's hands!!!

Keep the nose to the grind stone the saying goes (You know why? Back in the day when millers ground corn between massive grindstones, the mill room would fill with explosive dust. If the miller keeps a good eye out for any sparks between the grindstones and work with the distance between them accordingly then the town won’t have to worry about picking up the mess when the he blows his operation to high heaven). There’s your history tidbit for the day.

Archangel_06 said...
Daniel,Long time no talk. personally it might come down to the lesser of two evils, Bill-ary, oops I meant Hillary, is just another way to get bill back into the big white building in D.C. As for Obomma, well, isn't aiding a terrorist against the law. who knows if that man can be trusted, same with Hillary. With the way this election year is going I might not even vote.

Well, I’m sure there will be a better alternative than then one of these two scary individuals, but who that will be, and how conservative he will be, is anyone’s guess right now.

Hannahlee said...
What about Fred Thompson? Has anyone heard anything good about him? I read something where he's compared to Ronald Reagan. We should could use another Reagan!

Ah, the talk of the town. This guy has been a personal favorite ever since I heard about him in January. Trouble is, he hasn’t announced any plans for candidacy yet, though that doesn’t necessarily stop him from jumping in soon.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows Giuliani at 25%, eight points more than Arizona Senator John McCain’s 17%, and Fred Thompson, who has not even entered the race, just a single point behind McCain at 16%.

He’s got the stardom. He’s got the money. And, he’s got the values.

"I am prolife."– Fred Thompson
"Roe v. Wade was bad law and bad medical science." – Fred Thompson

"I warned that there should be no place on Earth where terrorists can rest and train and practice their deadly skills. I meant it. I said that we would act with others, if possible, and alone if necessary to ensure that terrorists have no sanctuary anywhere."– Fred Thompson

Gay Rights
"We ought to be a tolerant nation. I think we ought to be tolerant people. But we shouldn't set up special categories for anybody. And I'm for the rights of everybody, including gays, but not any special rights. " – Fred Thompson

Civil Unions
"That ought to be left up to the states. I personally do not think that that is a good idea, but I believe in many of these cases where there's real dispute in the country, these things are not going to be ever resolved. People are going to have different ideas. That's why we have states. We ought to give great leeway to states and not have the federal government and not have the Supreme Court of the United States making social policy that's contrary to the traditions of this country and changing that overnight. And that's what's happened in a lot of these areas. " – Fred Thompson

Gay Marriage
"Marriage is between a man and a woman, and I don't believe judges ought to come along and change that. " – Fred Thompson

Gun Control
"I'm against gun control generally. You know, you check my record. You'll find I'm pretty consistent on that issue… The court basically said the Constitution means what it says, and I agree with that."– Fred Thompson

Anonymous said...
Well you couldn't just not vote. There is always a better candidate out there, and always a worse. So why not keep the worst ones out of office?

That’s right. Don’t throw your vote away. Do some research and vote for the best candidate out there.

Better yet, find a campaign you can be a part of. They could use every bit of help out there. Trust me, there’s something you can do.

thevaguequeen said...
I'll vote Republican, to keep Hilary out of the White house, but I'm not sure which candidates is the best at this point.

Time will sift a few things out. But after that hopefully there is a clear conservative runner that we can all push for.

Jkplayschess said...
no more blogging for you?

There. Happy now?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Who are you watching?

Assuming that you are a politically involved individual (which I really hope you are), what presidential candidate are you rooting for in the '08 election? I know it's pretty early in the race, but there are some interesting traits of note in regard to the top candidates. Any thoughts on the race so far?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Recent Floor Action

The past three months have already seen the legislature entertain hundreds of written mandates, regulations, State code, and other such legislation. Among these bills have been several highly unneeded and highly controversial bills.

With a Democratic Supermajority (over two-thirds in both the House and Senate) and a very liberal Governor, the whole legislative process seems like a joke. There is no balance, there is no fair play, and every committee is more or less a dictatorship.

It can be completely infuriating to stand by and watch as the majority does pretty much what they want.

At the beginning of session there was many a floor comment by Democratic leadership expressing the hope that everyone will get along. But as would come to find out, their definition of “getting along” pretty much meant that there would be less controversy if Republicans would just shut up, sit down, and ask no questions.

For example, the senate has just recently wrapped up a two week floor session to hear all Senate bills that had been passed out of Senate committees. During this time, strategy and scheduling are key and it just so happens that Democratic leadership sought to exhibit these measures in their efforts to approve a highly controversial sexual education bill.

This measure would eliminate all “abstinence only” programs from the public schools in our State and mandate a “medically accurate” curriculum. This not only strips the decision making authority on this issue away from each public school district, but also implements a curriculum that is controlled by the State (a very nasty loophole just waiting to be exploited by the sodomites).

The democratic leadership knew that this was going to be an issue of much controversy so they attempted to strong arm the issue by scheduling the bill right before the 5:30 dinner break. Republican leadership responded by requesting the issue be tabled until the following day or at least until after dinner, but their counterparts thought they had their opposition just where they wanted them.

But then the amendments started coming, and coming, and continued to come. And with each amendment came another floor speech by a pleading Senator.

Two hours of more amendments and floor speeches later, the Democrats didn’t feel like they had their opponents up against a wall anymore and the Lt. Governor started gripping at them about ruining his dinner break. Granted, everyone on the floor knew that the bill would pass, but the fight continued for another hour until the amendments ran out.

With the dinner break long since over, the legislature had to vote on the bill and move on through the night. And vote they did. But move on they did not.

Following the passage of the bill, every one of the Republican Senators walked off of the floor in protest, thus hindering further bill passage.

It is reassuring that on moral issues we typically have two consistent Democratic swing votes, thus upping our vote count from 18 to 20, but this still keeps us under two-thirds and without much teeth.

However, as the events of this night show, there are still a few good men and women who are willing to sink their gums into the super-beast of the majority in the fight against the ever increasing socialist form of government our State seems to be morphing into.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Legislative Session 2007

In the coming days I hope to post updates on the many events that transpire here in the Washington State Legislature.

As an aide to a Republican State Senator, I witness all manner of behind the scenes conversation, debate, argument, and the many other forms of politicking that you’ll never see on your states equivalent of C-SPAN.

As a pretext, I should share that the Republican party in Washington State fared none too better in the past elections than in the rest of the nation and thus we have seen some pretty startling legislation this year with Democratic supermajority in both the House and Senate. Granted, I'd be the first to tell you that the Republican Caucus isn’t the political salvation of conservatives everywhere, but I’ve witnessed firsthand the progression of the liberal agenda on the State level when Democrats are in power and frankly, it’s not a pretty sight. Now, I can’t speak in this regard when it comes to our Federal counter parts, as there seems to be a rather large blurry line between D’s and R’s, but it certainly hold true when we are talking about State legislatures.

Anyway, I think you all might be interested in hearing about some of the brazenly bold moves the folks on the other side have pulled off as well as hearing about some of the courageous stands that been made on behalf of traditional rights and values.

As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Our Adventure

Though I miss the wonderful time I was able to share with Jason, Tait, and Christopher during our internship, I am glad to be back with my family. I am also glad to return to the Washington State Senate for legislative session 2007 and resume my position as a legislative aide to a Senator from north-east Washington.

I hope to keep you all updated on some of the events that I encounter in the legislature as it has already been a very interesting session. However, I’d like to share a few photos from a little trip that I took with a very special person.

Right before I left for my fall internship at VF, I had made a promise to a very intelligent, blond haired, blue eyed girl that I would take on her on a locomotive journey for her birthday. Regrettably, when the time came to go on the trip she caught a cold of some sort and we had to postpone until I returned from San Antonio.

Roughly six months later, Josephine Alexandria and I finally made our way to the quaint little rail station of Lacy-Olympia for a day of adventure and life long memories.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Moving On

Based on the absence of my past consistently sporadic posts, one might assume that some sort of change has taken place in the past month, and indeed it has. After our end-of-the-year dinner, of which I have written about previously, we interns had about one week to pack up and peruse our routes of departure.

For Tait and I, the return home would be a permanent one, based on the fact that I had a previous job waiting for my return, and Tait has been itching to sell half of Alaska now that he is a licensed realtor. For Chris and Jason it was a different story. Both of them accepted offers to return to San Antonio after the winter break to resume work at Vf, though they would now return as staff.

My father flew to San Antonio during this time period and I had the privilege of introducing him to each member of the Forum team. What a blessing to show off my dad to everyone I had worked with, and of course the staff was very gracious as they gave him a report on my work and character. There is not a better feeling in the world than knowing you had worked hard and made your father proud.

After tossing my four months of living essentials (and non-essentials) into the back of the car, dad and I made our way to Washington with only four days before Christmas. You may recall the severe storms that shut down Denver airport around that time. Providentially, as we made our way home we seemed to be only on the edge of the storm. As we passed many emergency vehicles, wrecked cars and trucks in the ditch, and road closures all around, we were blessed to make our way home safely.

I would now like to tell you what I will be very busy with for the next 94 days or so, but since I have just completed my Subway meatball marinade sandwich (a meal choice that won’t happen again) and cup of water, I am now being beckoned back to the place where a great struggle takes place each year, starting the second Monday of the first month of January. Can you guess where that might be? Till next time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Our Film Project, Part 2

We first set out by thinking of the questions we would be asked when we returned home by members of our families and our church. The questions we anticipated included a definition of The Vision Forum Inc., the roles we played at VF, aspects of intern life, an explanation of some of the activities we participated in, and what exactly we learned at the conclusion of our internship.

From there we made a time line on our whiteboard and wrote out how much time we wanted to give to different sections. Jason sorted through music with a program called URGE, Chris edited the outlines we had all worked on for our interviews, Tait kept spitting off great ideas and worked on our story board (his initial efforts are displayed here), and I worked on our scheduling and planning while attempting to extract from the other guys as many ideas and insights as possible.

From the onset of our internship we exchanged ideas and worked on our interview outlines, but the real work started right before we left for the F&F Tour. As I started looking at the schedule and planning what needed to happen next, we all realized that even with five weeks before our deadline, time was moving faster than we were.

As our trip to Boston neared, we were able to complete some last minute planning and coordinate time to film our interview segment. Initially I assumed we could get our segment done in three hours, but considering lighting and camera set up, as well as mic checks and aesthetic concerns (“I think that book should go there.” “Well I think it should be out of the picture completely. ”), it turned out to be more like 7 hours (6:30 PM-12:30AM). After we finally left the office that night we wondered if there was any good material produced. After all, when you sit in a chair for over an hour, with bright lighting and a live camera rolling, all while trying to shape your thoughts on four months of various learning experiences and business training, not all thoughts come out as clear as you might have wished.

After doing the interviews we then hopped on a plane to assist in the F&F, a once in a lifetime event which we were able to experience in a very unique way. The entire time we were in Boston, Plymouth, Lexington, Salem, etc, I had my little HandyCam ready to capture the highlights of the trip. However, by time we returned home I realized that only some of the best of these clips had to fit in a very brief segment. Sorting out the 4+ hours of footage was a chore in itself, but what I did was give each guy a large segment of raw .avi footage, have them cut out all pointless or ill shot scenes, and then render this new, cleaner segment into another full .avi file and put in on my 250 GB external hard drive. This made my job much easier in finding a specific shot and put it into the film.

As time moved at a quicker pace than our progress, we soon found out that a lot of the interview footage had to be cut out because it was too long. This meant reshaping our story structure. After working all night two days before our premier, we realized that the story needed voice over’s to help it flow better. After borrowing some gear, we did the recording that needed to be done, but later found out that it was done in Mono instead of Stereo. This proved to be a major problem when we actually showed our presentation and discovered that whoever hooked up the DVD player to the sound board had only connected one channel, and guess which one was left unconnected.

Finally, the day before I needed to submit our completed project to our supervisor for his review, we made a final push to get the film done. We worked from 10:30 PM through 8:30 the next morning and then handed our finished production in at noon. Since I was doing the final edits towards the end of the project, none of the other guys had any idea what the completed product actually looked like when I put the DVD into the player at our company end-of-the-year dinner.

Thankfully, with the exception of the audio problem (a quite inconvenient issue that was resolved after first trying my backup, then narrowing the problem down to a few plugs and settings on the sound board), our project was brought to a satisfying conclusion. Though it was far from perfect, all four of us were happy to have the opportunity to work on this special film project together. We learned many things and will always remember this period of our internship.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Our Film Project Part 1

One of the final requirements we had before finishing our time at the Forum was that of producing an end-of-the-year film detailing in some way our experience as interns.

As we started looking into how we were going to approach our project, we heard that previous intern classes had made somewhat of a tradition in portraying a humorous look at the internship. These films have been highly successful and very entertaining, but upon some group consideration we decided to choose a semi-documentary styling instead of the comedy. This decision was not made because we thought that our approach would be better than those of the past, but we really wanted to capture the opportunity to sincerely express our gratitude while sharing some of things we learned and experienced.

After brainstorming on the the first steps to take we decided that different job descriptions needed to be issued. Christopher was in charge of the script and story, as well as raw footage review, Jason was to investigate prospective music selections and write the credits, Tait was in charge of storyboarding as well as inputting written verses or credits into the video editing program, and I was appointed as the leader of the project, as well as the camera man and editor.
After seeing how much work needed to be done, we all agreed that our10-15 minute film plan was a rather ambitious project with the time we had, but we decided to give it all we had. All the way up to the last hour of our deadline...