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Archive for April, 2008

The Root Canal Experience

This morning I got a root canal. I slipped and banged one of my front teeth on an icy driveway about 16 years ago; as the result of some endodontical phenomena the tooth has been getting darker and recently had darkened enough for me to feel compelled to get it checked out. I saw a dentist last week and he referred me to a specialist. I learned a little bit about what was to be done before going in for the procedure but was largely ignorant about the process.

After the specialist confirmed that I did indeed need a root canal, he stuck a bite guard in my mouth and told me that often the hardest part about the procedure is keeping the mouth open wide for an extended period of time. He said the procedure was similar to a filling and many patients fall asleep in the middle of it. I haven’t had a filling in about 15 years and the guy who did it my family nicknamed Dr Hurt, so although my dentist today didn’t know it, comparing the impending procedure to a filling was pretty terrifying…and at no time in the past when receiving a filling was I ever close to nodding off. Dr Hurt earned his reputation. He once told me to raise my arm when the pain was getting unbearable and then after I raised my arm the first time proceeded to tell me to put my arm down, that I needed to be willing to bear a little pain. That said, I like to think I’m pretty tough so I played it cool.

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Timothy Keller: The Reason for God

I finished reading Timothy Keller’s book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism over a month ago but have put off posting my thoughts on it because I did not think I could articulate them in a coherent post. (this disjointed post confirms my worry).

A day after I finished the book on a flight home from Chicago I coincidentally listened to an NPR Fresh Air podcast which analyzed the arguably dichotomous relationship between science and religion. Within this framework evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion Richard Dawkins presented an argument for atheism while geneticist-physicist Francis Collins, leader of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and evangelical Christian, presented a scientist’s case for God. Listening to the brilliant scientists talk about God and Christianity in particular gave me the opportunity to reconsider, or reexamine what I had just read. It was serendipitous timing for sure.

While reading Keller’s book I often thought about a powerful scene from ER that I strongly identify with that beautifully illustrates a reason for the Christian God. The pervasive relativistic, post-modern ideals of modern western culture can be so convenient. As the video clip illustrates, the ideals are impractical in real-life situations: we need more. In fact it was only after a friend posted the video on facebook that I was moved to write this post.

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Dropbox – a fast, easy online storage solution

dropbox logo

This morning I received an email from Dropbox that invited me to download and install its python-based desktop client for online storage. The client creates virtual folders that automatically sync to an Amazon S3-backed storage ‘facility’, what TechCrunch author Mark Hendrickson esoterically calls ‘the cloud’. It was his blog post last month that motivated me to register with Dropbox. In my first day using the app there are two things that I find really cool: (1) it is wicked fast and (2) the ability to upload a file to a public space and then right-click the file to get a public link is a simple way to share files with multiple machines or friends. In fact, the Dropbox image in the header of this post is hosted in a public Dropbox folder which can also be accessed here in a photo gallery format (Dropbox provided the three stock photos). It sure beats emailing files or uploading everything to my ahelms.com server.

Worst passport photo ever

Yesterday as part of preparation for a summer trip to Guatemala I made three copies of the front page of my passport. While making the copies I realized that as bad as I remember my passport photo to be, the actual photo is worse. I had it taken the week I was getting married, nearly five years ago, at a small studio near the courthouse in Annapolis where I got my marriage license that same day. I was harried and distracted so when the “photographer” gave me my photo and said, “Nobody likes their passport photo”, I simply glanced at it, shrugged and moved on. Little did I know that just a couple of years later the same photograph, now immortalized by an attachment to a US passport, would be passed around for the enjoyment of a bus full of Contiki travelers and unanimously declared the worst passport photo ever.