General Spiritual

Candace Has A Blog Too

For those that might be interested, my wife Candace recently started a blog too. It can be found at She writes updates on our nearly formed baby and just beams her overall goodness.

Speaking of the baby, it would be impossible to describe how excited I’m getting. We have about seven more weeks and it seems like forever. I’ve always thought that the bond between a father and a son is second only to the relationship of a husband and a wife. That male bond has always held a very, very special place in my heart.

Forty years ago, Boyd K. Packer informed:

A boy is not born to know that his father loves him. He must be told and shown and shown and told a thousand times or more. A father must be wise and patient, but most of all he must be consistent, and his expectations must be reasonable.

I can’t wait!

General Stukism

Have Favorites But Don’t Be Picky

I think it is important to determine your favorites. Find things that you really enjoy. Partially because I think it will help you know yourself better. But also because it helps you build relationships with others. It’s always fun to know what others enjoy and it gives friends and family a reason to think about you.

For instance, anytime James Taylor is on the radio or the Rebels win a big game or Apple Computer comes out with a new product, I can guarantee that I’ll get a call from someone to talk about it. That’s fun. Likewise, I have certain people pop in my head any time I see Willie Nelson or peanut butter or Hot Fries or Oompas or chocolate covered cherries or big trucks or Dirt Cake. It’s fun to have random things bring up good memories of someone you care about. It gives you a reason to reach out to them.

However, the danger of favorites is that you might be too picky and afraid to try new things. Be careful with that because you might just like the next thing more and it will become your new favorite. You might just like balut more than Oreos. (I didn’t.)

I guess I’m just surprised how often people haven’t determined their favorites.


Why Does God Let Good People Suffer?

Each Sunday, I go thru old General Conference talks and BYU Devotional Speeches and print off copies of the talks I’d like to read. Then, I let those talks direct my personal study each morning during the week.

When I find a talk that I really enjoy, I also like to get an audio copy of it so I can hear the emotion in the voice. This morning was one of those talks.

In 1955, Spencer W. Kimball (who was then a member of the Quorom of the Twelve Apostles gave a talk titled “Tragedy or Destiny?” It was directed toward those who wonder why “God would allow bad things to happen to good people.” In it, he offers comfort to those who may be suffering and also gentle rebukes to those who may be bitter over sickness or untimely death. He speaks of the “big picture.” From the talk:

If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective.

He goes on to talk about how if a person had all power and authority to have their prayers answered without respect to the will of the Lord, than imagine all that would have failed. Would you not have saved Abinadi from the flames or Joseph Smith from the bullet? In doing so, you would have robbed them of the martyr’s reward. Or the ultimate example is whether you could have stayed your hand when Christ was suffering in the garden and on the cross. By “saving” him there, it would have meant certain death for all mankind.

It boils down to one thing. The greatest gift from God is our free agency. This allows us to choose between good or evil. Unfortunately, this means that the poor choices of some can hurt and affect the righteous hearts of others. But I know that even in those times of suffering or pain, God is very aware of you and very much in control.

It’s amazing to me that this talk was given in 1955 but is still so applicable to many of the thoughts and events of today. You can get this talk as a free download here.


Remote Say

In college, my roommate and I would use our Macs to play a prank on friends. We would tell these people that “Macs could can hold a conversation just like a normal person.” Once they believed this fib, we would use one Mac to log into the other Mac via SSH. Then we would use the “say” command to make the Mac “talk” with the person. (You can read more on how to do that here.)

It is very fun to see what people choose to ask computers. It’s equally fun to see reactions to the Mac response.

We decided to create Remote Say so everyone could play along.


How To Use:
If you have two Macs on the same network, all you have to do is start up Remote Say on each computer. Using Bonjour, this application will find all the other Macs on the network running Remote Say. Use the drop down list to choose the machine you want to speak thru and you’re all set. Just type the words and hit return. The other Mac will speak.

Things you need to know:
-This is a beta app. (Yes, I know it’s brave throwing it in the brightest freeware spotlight on the web.) It’s been tested on both Intel machines and PPC machines and has worked well, but you may see different results. There are certainly more features planned, but we want to let the fun begin. Please send in any comments, suggestions, or bug reports.
– The receiving machine requires a little pause between sentences sometimes. I don’t know why yet.
– The mac will use the default voice on your machine. You can change the System Voice in System Preferences -> Speech.
– It’s just a simple app, but it’s really quite fun.

Things to be added in future versions:
– The ability to add an ip address so it can be used with macs on different networks.
– Use the up arrow to cycle thru previous sentences
– Receive a message to inform whether the the sentence was spoken or not.
– Use microphone on receiver end to hear the other half of the conversation.


Remote Say 1.0

Remote Say has gone open source. You can dive in here.

A special thanks to Jan for putting this app together with me. Thanks to Dale for the great icon.


The Real Estate Roller Coaster

I don’t usually post videos here, but this one was really interesting to me. It is a virtual rollercoaster made to ride the graph showing pricing of houses(adjusted for inflation.)

Be sure to watch the blue line at the bottom for the corresponding years.

Getting to the end of the ride makes it a bit scary to get a house right now.


Planet Earth Is Just Amazing

Candace and I really enjoyed watching the first few episodes of Planet Earth on The Discovery Channel last week. They are billing it as “an 11 part mini-series event” and it is incredible.

The fourth and fifth parts are airing tonight. If you have a large HD television, you’ll be amazed at the video. You’ll certainly be reminded at how beautiful the earth can be.