Living Outside The Box Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man

12Dec/163

The Nine Laws: Part One

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

I recently reviewed Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws, and while I tried to encompass as much about the book as I could, there's just no way I could cram everything I wanted to say about it into a single blog post. I promised my devoted readers that I would delve into each of the Nine Laws individually, and so, we've come to Week One: The First Law.

The First Law is Survival

Simply put: if you're dead, you can't do much of anything. Therefore the First Rule of the Dark World is "you have to survive."

Is this in opposition to the Christian faith? Hardly. At the very core of Godly beliefs is the sanctity of life. We are created in the image of God, and so our very existence is a proclamation to the veracity and tenaciousness of life as we know it.

"But Sensei," I can hear you saying, "doesn't it also say in the Holy Word that those who lose their lives will gain it? And those who are first shall be last? Wasn't Jesus a pacifist?"

The Scripture says:

"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 16:25 (also in Luke 9:24 and Mark 8:35, emphasis mine)

Jesus very clearly says that anyone giving up their life for His sake will find it. And by "find it" Jesus didn't mean suddenly not being dead anymore. No, He means giving up your physical life for Jesus' sake means securing eternal reward. But the inverse isn't so clear: does Jesus mean if we try to save our own physical lives, we'll lose our eternal ones?

2Dec/165

Book Review: The Nine Laws

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Once in a while, you run across something that's so magnificently and bluntly honest that you just have to stop and look at it again, as if to say "what?"

Reading Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws is like that. It's not something you can skim in an afternoon while delicately sipping on a latte. It's both eloquently written, and brutally realistic. But at the core, is it something worth reading, or is it just poetic drivel and fluff?

Each section begins with a story directly from Throne's life, and embodies some facet of the Nine Laws. They are powerfully moving stories in their own right, but as examples of the way the Dark World works, they're more than that. The Laws are defined, and then the last section explains each one. The reader is given thought exercises to get them to understand where they are in relation to the Dark World, and then take action based on that realization.

I decided, in light of wanting to be honest, to dig into the philosophy of the book itself and see if it held water when juxtaposed with a Christian's worldview. I will warn you: this wasn't easy, or simple. It is a complex philosophy, and even a single misstep could transform the entire thing into a conflagration of failure. If all the Nine Laws rely on each other, and even one of them is false, then the whole tower comes toppling down. I am still working through it, but needless to say, there's a lot of truth there.

I can't even begin to delve into the meaning of the whole book in a mere thousand words, so there's a good possibility this will take more than one post. But I would rather do the book justice than stamp a gold seal on it and lead someone astray. My readers deserve it, and I'm sure Mr. Throne wouldn't have it any other way.

So, without further ado, here are the Nine Laws:

17Nov/160

Freelance Computer Business

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Is your laptop broken, worn out, or just not not working like it should? I can fix it! Computer has a virus? Need an upgrade? No problem.

Don't throw those computers away! I've been repairing and rebuilding computers since before Windows 95 existed.

Do you want to build a computer for a special purpose? Home entertainment system, gaming,  home or small business servers, or something else? I can help! I'm also experienced in building virus-proof Linux-powered computers, and can train users in using software as well.

I've done contract computer work for the U.S. Military, Ochsner Hospital, John Deere, and lots of other businesses. And I can use all that experience to help you!

Contact Me

Feedback or freelancing inquiries welcome!

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31Oct/160

Fixing The ’65 Rambler

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Took my day off to fix the fuel line leak on the Rambler Marlin. I also discovered it's leaking brake fluid from the right front caliper, but that's for another day. Here's the before and after:

img_20161031_102046.jpg

That's a mini tubing cutter

Ready To Go!

Ready To Go!

It of course needs to have the tailpipe wrapped in heat-resistant header wrap. That was part of the problem in the first place: the heat helped the floor rot out right above it rather quickly, and the rusty floor wore through the hard line. The fuel line being so close to the tailpipe also caused it to leave me stranded on at least one occasion, from boiling the gasoline right in the fuel line! But at least it's driveable again.

25Oct/161

Three Things Every Believer Must Do

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? What does it mean, what does it require? I spent some time this weekend contemplating on what I needed to do, at the very least, to say I'm actively living out my faith.

What are the basic tenets of Christian Faith? What is non-negotiable? Your mind may be swimming with ideas of charity, piety, prayers, who knows.

The first place we should be looking for an example of living out the Christian Faith is Christ Himself.

I've narrowed down the most crucial responsibilities of the Believer to these three things:

  1. Prayer
  2. Scripture
  3. Worship

Now, we're supposed to act out our faith in deeds as well, but for building the foundation of our faith, these three are it. The "Building Blocks," as it were.

16Oct/161

New Job: Freelancer

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

In a few weeks, I'll be unemployed, and I will finally get the chance to go back to being self-employed. This is a big risk for me, of course, because there's always the possibility that I'll just not find enough work, and will have to go back working for a big company to pay the bills.

do not want to go back to work for someone else. This means I'm going to have to do my best to scrape up work on my own, for various things.

What kind of "Living Outside The Box" guy would I be if I didn't though, right?

I'm offering my services as a freelancer in several areas:

  • Book/general copy editing (Have edited/formatted my own book, and a few for others)
  • Article writing (I write here, and several other blogs on a regular basis)
  • Music lessons (I majored in theory, instrumental performance, etc. in college)
  • Background music for Youtube videos and podcasts (Have several satisfied customers already)
  • Computer tech work (20 years experience, and HP certified)

Plus I'm going to work on finishing more novels and music projects for my own income. I may even branch out into other areas as time permits. I'm flexible, and in about 3 weeks, I'll be able to start adding jobs to my schedule.

If you're interested in my work, let me know! Drop me an email here or use my new contact form.

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14Oct/164

Does God Want Us To Be Strong?

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

There are tons of websites, books, and shows about self-improvement. It's a billion-dollar business. Everywhere you look, there's ads for someone offering to help you become a better person.

Is this what God really wants of us?

We know that God can use the weak things of the world to defeat the strong. We know he uses the simple things to confound the world's wisdom. So where is there room for us to want to become stronger, wiser, and better?

I know it sounds preposterous at first. "Why would God not want us to become stronger?" But there are people who, by their actions, believe exactly that. They have become so weak, that they fear any kind of strength.

David, the second King of Israel, was a strong, fighting man. And yet, we see how God used not David's strength, but his devotion, to defeat his enemies. Does that mean it was wrong for him to be a strong fighter? Certainly not! It is who God intended David to be. David's strength was useful in all areas of his life, not just the battlefield. And in the end, he still had to fight battles.

One of the interesting things about training to become stronger is that you have to come to grips with how weak you currently are. You can't focus on eliminating weakness unless you can spot it. This applies to mental and spiritual weakness as well! And everyone- everyone- has weakness.

Is Weakness Bad?

10Oct/160

Rise And Fall Of Social Media Giants

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

In the last few weeks, there's been quite a bit of news going on with the Presidential campaign (which I won't talk about) and how the media covers it. Specifically, there's been a LOT of people complaining that social media platforms are censoring honest criticism, and mostly on one side.

This of course is a problem if you live in the United States, where we (supposedly) have protection of free speech under the First Amendment. If you post something that someone doesn't like- you could be censored, suspended, or in extreme cases, have your account terminated or even be personally attacked, without actually violating the site's TOS.

With the recent craziness going on at Facebook and Twitter, defenders of free speech have been getting banned from the social media platforms, and are looking for alternatives (and they're out there). The most recent I'd heard of is Gab.ai, which isn't even in full production yet, but is already garnering a huge influx of users migrating from Twitter and Facebook because of its staunch "no-censorship" policy. Users are welcome to filter anything they don't want to see for themselves, but they won't be able to get other users censored for saying something they don't like (illegal activity is still addressed, of course).

But from the looks of it, the Social Media giants are slowly showing cracks at the seams. Twitter's stock is declining steadily after a failed attempt to sell the company, and Facebook's insistence on becoming "all things to all people" is bordering on anti-trust territory.

You could almost say... they're ready to croak.

Nevertheless, I am overjoyed there's someone stepping up to fight for free speech. And with Gab.ai's user count exploding, I can't be the only one!

9Sep/160

Hard Decisions

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

One of the most difficult things I've had to do is choose between two good things.

Sounds like a good problem to have, right? "Do I take the Ferrari, or the Lambo?"

But I really need to explain.

I can't become a full-time published writer if I'm fiddling with music stuff, or building things, or even restoring my old car. Could I even carve out more than an hour a day to write? Is that even possible?

I am stretched to my limit as it is, really. I can't do anything without it cutting into something else on my calendar. I'm double-booking myself in hopes that one of the engagements falls through. I'm on borrowed time.

Time management schemes only work to a certain extent, especially when there's things to deal with like unreliable vehicles, conflicting work schedules, unplanned emergencies, drama, and a full-time job. There just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done in a timely manner, no matter how much I shuffle things around.

I feel like my days have been short-sheeted. I keep trying to pull the covers to one side, and it uncovers me somewhere else.
So how do I get rid of some of these projects and responsibilities? Guess what? It takes free time- which I am already short on. Something has to give.

I could leave my projects sit, untouched, for months and not be worried about it. But that's not an option, because the stuff piles up and clutters the house, making it difficult for everybody to get things done. Not to mention it clutters my thought process! But it takes more time and energy to cleanse them from view.

I don't have solutions yet. I just know where I need to go, and hopefully will be able to document how I get there.

Onward, and upward!

6Sep/160

Snowball Time

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

It's snowball time- in more ways than one.

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been ridiculously busy. After seriously considering my schedule, and piles of unfinished projects, I've decided to to a "Project Purge." And like Dave Ramsey teaches when trying to crush overwhelming obstacles, I'm going to use the "snowball method" to make it happen.

This means I'm going to look at my entire list of projects, and do two things:

  1. Determine if I really need to do it at all
  2. Prioritize the smallest projects first, to knock them out

This will let me systematically minimize what I'm doing. There are some projects that will either take a very long time (home remodeling) or last indefinitely (restoring the Rambler). But other things I can "finish" and take them off my plate.

I've also decided to quit caffeine again. No, I'm not going to enjoy it. But my face started breaking out again, and I'm not getting enough sleep. So "rest" will be one of those projects I'm working on.

Bike riding will have to be scaled back some, as will working on music equipment, building/collecting things, and so on. I need to get rid of piles of things I'm never going to finish. Do I really need a pile of guitar effect pedals, when I can do everything I need with just one? Do I need to keep R/C car parts "just in case" I get around to using them? Probably not.

I still have buckets of computer parts and networking stuff, which I'll never use again... those need to go to a good home. 15-year-old computer CD's? Gone. Stuff I bought to do with my kids, who never showed interest? Don't need it.

The next few months are going to be hard, because those are all things I want to have time to do. But ultimately, I don't need to do them all, and holding on to that "stuff" associated with them is clutter in the house, and in my mind.