Happy Resurrection Day – What it means to be a new man in Christ

Lately I’ve been thinking about the wisdom of writing about things that annoy me.  (And believe me, there are a LOT of things that annoy me.)  Generally, it is very easy to encourage provocation and controversy by blogging, because so many of us live to get offended and outraged over every little thing in life.  Sometimes that’s good, because it can stir up a call to action or cause people to reconsider positions and beliefs they once thought were correct.

But at some point, it starts to turn into a grind.  The same talking points get rehashed over and over and over again, and rather than moving onward and upward, there’s a growing sense that we’re all just spinning our wheels here.

Lately I’ve been reading the following verses:  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8

It’s very hard to reconcile that with my proclivity to be easily angered by something I’ve read on the news, or on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and think, “OMG, WHAT A STUPID, STUPID IDIOT, I MUST IMMEDIATELY BLOG ON THIS AND EXPRESS MY SUPREME RIGHTEOUS OUTRAGE AT THIS STUPID, STUPID IDIOT FOR BEING SO STUPENDOUSLY STUPID IN HIS/HER STUPIDITY!”

And indeed, the last few times I was tempted to blog were precisely for those reasons.  If I never showed any restraint, my blog would just be this neverending stream of negativity on why the world sucks methane filled balls of epic fail.  And yes, it may even be true more often than not, but eventually I have to ask myself: why cry over spilt milk?  It is what it is, and ranting endlessly on a blog isn’t going to change anything.

There are times when I do need to vent, and I can see the wisdom in expressing an opinion on a topic, if for nothing else than just to get it out of my system.  But once that laundry’s been aired, is there any sense in rehashing the same old things yet again?  If this was all I ever did, when am I ever going to have time to think on those things that are good, pure, and lovely?

Granted, there are a lot more bad things in this life than there are good, but that’s all the more reason why we should make the extra effort to focus on the good.  I’d like to see my blog become a source of personal development, where I chronicle the things I’ve learned and experienced to help me become a better man, shedding the old man (and the bitterness therein) and putting on the new man, one who learned to let go of the bad, and holds fast that which is good.

Using baked cheese to make breadless grilled cheese sandwiches

This being National Grilled Cheese Month, I felt it incumbent on me to participate by contributing my own flair of cheesy madness to the celebration.  Being a low carber though, (Down with wheat!) I needed to concoct a method to grill something either gluten-free or without the bread.  Thank God for the internet, where the dudes at Dude Foods paved the way for me to experience the full, eternal wonders of grilled cheese.

Though I am but a mere apprentice, and not the master of heart stopping eats, I couldn’t think of a better time than Easter weekend to experiment and consume 1,500+ calories of glorious, glorious CHEESE.  Here are the necessary ingredients (which oddly enough, includes cheese):

Juusto and Brun-uusto Baked Cheeses

The solution to the breadless cheese sammich is to acquire baked cheeses called juustoleipä, or roughly translated, “Finnish Squeak Toys made from Cheese.”  I got these for reasonable prices at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, including an Italian flavored block so I could make the $20 minimum purchase amount.  Amazon had similar prices but the shipping was insane, easily $25-$30 for a $5 block of cheese.  Yeah, no.  Definitely better off getting it straight from the source.  There’s also another brand called Carr Valley Cheese, but the prices were higher, so I’ll save that for another time.  Occasionally Whole Foods might offer these baked cheeses as well, so if you’re an avid fan of organic goodies, that’s another place worth checking out for some cheesy fun.

Brun-uusto Cheese and American Cheese Slices
I’m thinking 10 slices of American cheese should do it.

While setting a stick free pan on medium heat, I carefully sliced the Brun-uusto here in half, placed a few slices of American cheese in between, and slapped it all on the pan,  where it sautéed in butter for just a couple of minutes on each side.  (I would have taken some pictures here, but I was too busy using the fire extinguisher.)

I also reserved a small block of the Bru-uusto and cut that up in chunks for a side snack.  You can use a toothpick and dip them in coffee (yes, really, coffee!)  Excellente.

Baked Cheese, Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Couldn’t help taking a bite first.

The entire cooking experiment didn’t take more than five minutes.  It works as a leftover too, as you can re-heat it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds and the baked cheese will still hold its form.  WINNING!

I’ll save the Juustos for another day, maybe try a combination of provolone, swiss and asiago and see how that comes out.

Delinking the internet and relinking the brain

This is a topic that’s been on my mind for a while:

Claire Handscombe has a commitment problem online. Like a lot of Web surfers, she clicks on links posted on social networks, reads a few sentences, looks for exciting words, and then grows restless, scampering off to the next page she probably won’t commit to. But it’s not just online anymore.

To cognitive neuroscientists, Handscombe’s experience is the subject of great fascination and growing alarm. Humans, they warn, seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia. (Source Link)

One of the reasons why I sometimes find it difficult to write is the neverending need to hunt down relevant links and add them to my post for reference, but that always seems to disrupt my thought process, and I notice I have the same issue with reading too.  I check out a news item on Feedly, start reading the article and as soon as I see a link, my brain goes, “OOOOH SHINY LINK!” *CLICKS*

Before you know it, I have 500 tabs open in my browser generated from links I’ve clicked on, and nope, I never did finish reading the original article.

I suspect I’m not the only one either, and it’s made me wonder whether I should try a little experiment on this blog by writing posts without ANY links in them.  Will more people be able to read my content distraction free?  Or more importantly, will my own blogging start to improve as I resist the urge to add links and just focus on writing?  I suspect it would.

Psych going off the air? You know that’s right.

Psych could quite possibly be the best show I’ve ever watched.  After a quiet start waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2006, I was hooked after initially watching a few episodes out of sheer boredom.  I saw so much of myself in both Shawn and Gus that I couldn’t stop watching, and before I knew it it, I had become a rabid fan.  Everything about the show was awesome.  The crazy and rapid fire one-liners, the constant (and often obscure) references to 80s’ pop culture, Shawn’s endless nicknames for Gus, and last, but certainly not least, the hilarious and even pithy interactions between the two.  They had given me some much needed laughs during some hard times, and though the show lost a lot of steam over the last two seasons, I’ll always fondly remember it as the show that never failed to lift my spirits even on a rainy day.

If you’ve never seen Psych, this might clue you in to its awesomeness, lifted from one of my favorite episodes:

Alas, as much as it’s sad to see the show go off the air, it seems to have lost something towards the end.  For the die-harders, I don’t think there may be any clearer example of this than watching the episode, Cloudy… with a Chance of Murder and comparing it to the remake of the same episode that was released earlier this year.  The former underscored everything I loved about Psych, while the latter revealed just about everything that went wrong with it the last few seasons.  Honestly, had they not changed the formula so much I suspect it could have made it ten years easy.  Maybe.

But alas, it’s time for them to go.  Thank you Shawn, Gus, Jules and Lassie for the great memories and the laughs.

Flip the Jackal Switch
“Flip the jackal switch, one more time…”