rickandviv.net http://www.rickandviv.net Rick and Vivian Reynolds' website Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:34:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Q*Bert review http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/11/18/qbert-review/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/11/18/qbert-review/#comments Mon, 19 Nov 2012 04:06:20 +0000 rick http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=1525 I wrote up a quick Q*Bert review. Yet another of my “review INTV games on an arcade cabinet” entries.

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Popeye review http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/25/popeye-review/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/25/popeye-review/#comments Sat, 25 Aug 2012 17:43:16 +0000 rick http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=1502 I’ve really started getting back into my Intellivision game reviews. This time I’ve reviewed Popeye.

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Rare Zork posters, er, posted http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/17/rare-zork-posters-er-posted/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/17/rare-zork-posters-er-posted/#comments Sat, 18 Aug 2012 01:15:53 +0000 rick http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=1447 As I detail a bit on my small, Infocom page, high quality scans of the two Zork posters from the Zork Users Group have been posted at the Infocom Documentation Project. These two posters are very rare and I’ve been wanting to have them for years now. I’m proud to say that I had a hand in bringing these scans to the internet for all to enjoy.

You can see the high-res scans at the above website: click XYZZY and then Grab Goodies. But I’m also putting lower res copies here just for the fun of seeing them.

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Space Patrol review http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/12/space-patrol-review/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/12/space-patrol-review/#comments Sun, 12 Aug 2012 23:15:22 +0000 rick http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=1420 And I’ve started another game review. This time, Space Patrol, which is seriously overdue. It’s an awesome game with a lot of content, and I’m only half-way through so far. Here’s a link to the page if you’re the type of person who would like to read that.

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Space Armada reviewed http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/11/space-armada-reviewed/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/11/space-armada-reviewed/#comments Sat, 11 Aug 2012 22:50:49 +0000 rick http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=1377 For anyone who cares about my Intellivision pages, I finally did another review of an Intellivision game on an arcade cabinet. This time, Space Armada. I really played this game a ton as a kid. Playing it again on the cab for a review was really fun.

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Intellivision collecting http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/07/intellivision-collecting/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2012/08/07/intellivision-collecting/#comments Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:17:18 +0000 rick http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=1329 I put up a page detailing the current state of my Intellivision collection if you’re interested in that sort of thing…

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Some (more) thoughts on fasting http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2011/09/23/some-more-thoughts-on-fasting/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2011/09/23/some-more-thoughts-on-fasting/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2011 11:41:05 +0000 rick http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=1223

I recently finished a 40-day fast. A good friend of mine asked me if I would jot down some of my thoughts on fasting, so I guess this post is that. I did write an article on fasting some years ago. I gave it a reread and I more or less still have the same ideas. Maybe they’re a bit more defined now.

I should start out by noting that I don’t claim to be much of a fasting expert. This 40-day fast was only the second or third “long fast” I’ve ever done. In June of 2005 I fasted for 28 days while pursuing God specifically about the question of whether or not Vivian and I should have kids. God definitely answered those prayers, although I didn’t feel a specific leading during the fast itself. And without jumping too much to the chase, that’s at least one lesson longer fasting has taught me: it isn’t any kind of “magical spiritual formula.”

At least 2 sides

There are at least 2 different categories of things to consider when talking about fasting. The “practical” side of things (like what Christian fasting really is, what do you do, etc.) and the Spiritual side. I’ll break up my thoughts via those two categories, just to give this article a bit of structure. Otherwise, it will probably just degenerate into a list of more or less unrelated stuff.

Spiritual considerations

In terms of the Christian and spiritual side of fasting, I can’t really recommend John Piper’s book A Hunger for God too highly. It really discusses Christian fasting from just about all angles. Most of what I understand as truly Christian attitudes about fasting is well developed by Piper in that book. I honestly can’t add too much to that.

Piper tackles many ideas, starting with the question “Is fasting even Christian, really? I mean the cross has paid our debt to God, why would we need to do anything semi-heroic like fasting to get God’s attention?” Indeed, if our motives for fasting are about manipulating God to our wills, we’re not thinking about it in a Christian manner.

One sentiment that Piper returns to again and again in the book is the fasting Christian’s cry to God, “This much I need You, oh God!” I think that sums up decently the main thrust behind fasting as a Christian.

A self-imposed trial

One aspect of fasting that I don’t recall Piper hitting on too hard is that it really comes down to a type of self-imposed Spiritual trial. One of the ramifications of that is you end up facing the same kinds of difficulties that you face in any kind of trial. Specifically, sins that you struggle with when not fasting will likely be magnified when you fast. For me that meant me being shorter with my wife and kids, preferring self over others, etc.

When I’m fasting, I try hard to let the hunger pains be a recurring reminder that I need God desperately. I want the physical lack I’m feeling to translate to a deeper understanding of my spiritual lack. When I neglect the means of grace that God has given to me (prayer, worship, and the scriptures being primary) my inner man is spiritually starving. I want the hunger pains during fasting to remind me to go to God. And indeed, hunger strikes many, many times in a given day. If each of those realizations of my need is turned into a small appointment with God in prayer, I can only benefit.

Spiritual danger

There are real temptations that are directly a result of fasting, too. A maybe-obvious one is the temptation to pridefulness about what you’re doing. I pretty much had to fight that one daily. The feeling of “Wow, I’m really doing this!” is pretty ever-present. I tried to turn that thought around with a prayer of “God, I know that this is really meaningless without your blessing on it – please help me!”

Another temptation that I found myself battling nearly every day was to revel in the weight I was losing. I have need to drop a few pounds, and in fact I’ve been told by a doctor to do that. I’ve made a lot of progress in that area before the fast, but over the course of the fast, I dropped 33 lbs. As the weight was coming off, I couldn’t help but get excited about the progress. And that isn’t a problem in itself. The problem was that I found myself being preoccupied with the weight loss. I couldn’t wait to get on the scale in the morning, I would think about it many times during the day, I would plan ahead “if this rate of weight loss continues, I’ll be at X lbs by this weekend!”, etc., etc. I was glorying in what should be at best a nice side-effect of an activity that is supposed to be all about spiritual progress.

Two views of need

Another aspect of physical fasting that points us towards spiritual realizations is that we don’t really need food the way our body tells us that we do. Don’t get me wrong, we do need to eat. I’m not advocating for some kind of “super spirituality” that would teach that the physical can be transcended just by meditation. But I can do without food for a day. And while I’m doing without food, my body will essentially be screaming at me that it is going to die without it. That’s just not true. What is true is that without God, I would be dead. I do not exist autonomously without God’s provision for me. To badly paraphrase R. C. Sproul, without me, God exists just fine; without God, I would not exist at all!

To argue in almost the opposite direction, it is also true that I do have very real needs. Fasting can serve as another reminder that I am not autonomous. When I deceive myself into thinking that I can be self-sufficient, fasting reminds me that I am anything but that.

When you understand these elements of what fasting really is, the number of days that you fast and the type of fasting that you do (water only, juices, etc.) isn’t overly important. I would note that in my experience long fasting (which I would call fasting for over a week) definitely feels different and seems to produce different effects in me than shorter periods of fasting.

More fasting?

I think I want to fast more often than I do. In the future, I think I’ll try to revisit fasting a few times a year. Not all fasts have to be 40 days in length (obviously) and not all fasts have to have the same elements.

It seems to me that fasting is an almost neglected practice in the western church. And that’s a bit of a shame, because it seems to be a natural way to fight the problem of affluence that we face. We in the west rarely have to struggle with hunger (or other kinds of lack). We tend to see God as just always giving to us, always blessing us, and we can then struggle anytime real trial comes our way.

Practical considerations

Let me clue you in about a little secret of fasting. It really isn’t as difficult as it seems. The major hunger is over by day 4 or 5. After that, your body settles into a sort of malaise. You’re still hungry every day, but day 20 isn’t 20 times as hard as day 1. Not nearly.

In my earlier article I mentioned about the different types of fasting (water, juice, etc.) and the correlation between what you allow for yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish. For this fast, I really didn’t restrict my fluid intake. I allowed myself milk, coffee, tea, water, colas, fruit smoothies. I even had a few milkshakes when things were particularly tough – more so at the beginning of the fast than at the end. Some people would see that as “cheating” on the fast. But given the choice between having a milkshake and getting strength to continue fasting vs. stopping the fast, I chose the former. Believe me, a milkshake is no substitute for a sandwich when you haven’t eaten solid food for 30 days.

That said, there is definitely value in being more restrictive. You get more of an empty longing in your body that can be used to drive you to a deeper realization of your need for God. I just don’t think I had it in me to go 40 days with stronger restrictions in place. I look forward to fasting again sometime for a shorter amount of time while placing more limits on myself to experience that kind of fast.

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Looking for the cross in all the wrong places http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2010/10/04/looking-for-the-cross-in-all-the-wrong-places/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2010/10/04/looking-for-the-cross-in-all-the-wrong-places/#comments Tue, 05 Oct 2010 03:30:12 +0000 rick http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=1013 One of my “pet peeves” as a Christian who tries hard to know his Bible and Theology is what I like to call “Magical Christianity”. What I mean by that term is an extension of what has been termed “magical thinking” into the areas of Theology and Christian worldview.

Magical thinking as defined by wikipedia isn’t 100% on target for what I’m referring to, but it’s decently close. One aspect of Magical Christianity is the tendency to see crosses in non-religious settings and somehow infer that God is at work in that symbolism. It’s kind of the protestant version of a Catholic who sees an image of Mary in a concrete water stain.

A good example is the World Trade Center Cross. A cross shaped section of beam wreckage was found among the World Trade Center wreckage. Some (apparently) see this as some kind of sign from God. Exactly what kind of sign? That is apparently very fungible. It seems that God’s sign can mean almost anything the viewer wants it to mean.

The problem with finding crosses in structures like this is that a cross is a very normal geometric shape when it comes to girders. In this case, a cross is just two pieces of girder at a 90 degree angle from one another. What are the odds of finding girder pieces at 90 degree angles in the wreckage of a fallen building? Actually, pretty good. And all you need after that to have the classic “cross shape” is to have the proportions of the four “arms” of the cross shape correct. With as much metal as came down between the two towers of the World Trade Center, I’d be amazed if someone didn’t find a cross somewhere. In fact, there are pictures that show lots of crosses in the wreckage if you’re the type to look for them.

There’s a real problem in cases like the World Trade Center. There’s a temptation to mix “God-stuff” in with “pro-America stuff” in Western Christianity. So people that already believe that God likes Americans more than other people on this planet will jump at any Christian symbology that they see.

Cross in the flagA similar sentiment is sent around in a chain-email about the “cross in the flag”. Doesn’t that picture show that God does indeed love America more than other countries because He caused the cross to be seen through the flag?

Not really. Light behind a fabric will of necessity tend to follow seams as it leaks through. You can see that the horizontal “cross bar” of the image is right in line with one of the stripes on the flag. Also, had this shot been taken at a different time of day when the sun was lower in the sky the cross would have looked upside down in the blue star field. Oh no! God must hate America because He put an upside down cross on our flag! No, American evangelicals who see this kind of symbology would probably argue that the cross was upside down because of God’s outrage that we were attacked.

laminin moleculeAnother variety of this tendency is the laminin images all over Christian blogs and sent around in chain-emails. The argument goes that God created us in such a way that this binding protein molecule that is all throughout our bodies is actually a small cross. Louie Giglio has a video that many Christians pass around that is actually very good until it goes off the rails on this point.

Louie says that we can believe in and trust God to “hold us together” because He put His “signature” on us in our very makeup. See! God even MADE US OUT OF CROSSES! He treats this as the big finish of his talk on how great God is.

My immediate thought was “what if God had made things in such a way that laminin wasn’t cross shaped?” Could we still trust Him? How about inferring that Islam is the one, true religion because God put the sign of the crescent right in our fingernails? This argument about laminin really falls apart if you apply it to other things.

The point I’m trying to make is that NONE of this stuff actually has anything to do with what we as Christians should be getting excited about: the gospel. We shouldn’t need anything extravagant or “miraculous” to make our jaws drop and cause us to say “How great is our God!” And when we run to this not-so-amazing stuff as “proof” that Christianity is valid, it really only ends up making us look foolish.

No, we need to stop running to cross imagery (hey, I think I see a cross in the burn marks on my toast!) and start understanding what the cross of the Bible is actually about. God reached down into history to save a rebellious, sinful people. We can have peace with God because of what Christ achieved on the actual cross in Jerusalem!

That’s worth getting excited about!

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My Own Toy Story http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2010/09/02/my-own-toy-story/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2010/09/02/my-own-toy-story/#comments Thu, 02 Sep 2010 15:35:41 +0000 Viv http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=986 Over the past few months, my sister and I have been furiously cleaning and purging mom’s house to get it ready to sell. Not only that, Nancy stayed with mom for more than a week to help get her packed up to move. What’s left in the house now is nothing short of a miracle. The house has gone from 41+ years of stuff down to boxes and suitcases, down to practically empty. Mom has parted with many things, sold a bunch of things at her own moving sale, and given away many more.

During the process, there were times of reflection. I have to say that one of the most thrilling things for me was finding some old toys. There were toys from my nephews and niece that mom was more than happy to pass along to my boys. But…there was one thing stashed away from my childhood, my old Barbie Townhouse.

I couldn’t believe we found it while cleaning out one of the storage areas under the basement steps. Believe it or not, most of the furniture and accessories were in tact. I did a little cleaning of them when I brought it all back home. Sadly none of the barbies themselves were part of what was uncovered, but enough of the stuff I used when playing with them was. It was great to be able to show it all to my older son, who upon looking at it, exclaimed, “I really like your old toys mom!”

Lovely orange dining set

Barbie's pink bed, pillow, chair and throw rug

Orange patio set with Avon perfume/lemonade decanter, tray and cups

I have fond memories of playing with all of that stuff, perhaps even imagining what my own home would be like one day. Arranging and rearranging furniture, making pretend food to serve, and putting outfits together. The one thing I don’t recall is filling up that barbie house with little babies or children, doing their laundry, cleaning, or reading to them. Although I don’t regret any of the time I spent playing for hours, I’m so glad that my little “Barbie townhouse” is filled with real boys, real toys and plenty of love.

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Food Allergies http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2010/03/23/food-allergies/ http://www.rickandviv.net/index.php/2010/03/23/food-allergies/#comments Tue, 23 Mar 2010 21:12:03 +0000 Viv http://www.rickandviv.net/?p=974 It’s been so long since I’ve posted, I almost feel like ignoring that fact and just jumping in and doing this post.  So that’s what I’m going to do.

We’ve been trying to figure out what to do with sweet little Camren around here.  He had a reaction to a milk based formula when he was about 4 months old.  It was hard to know what to make of that since he has mostly been breast-fed from birth.  He rarely had any reason to take a bottle of formula.  So when I began to introduce cereal to him, I used a soy based formula to mix with it.  He didn’t seem to have any issues with that.  But when he was about 11 months old, he had a pretty serious reaction to a tiny bit of scrambled eggs.

After meeting with the pediatrician, we were sent for a blood test and to an allergist.  The results showed numbers for eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and wheat.  I was baffled since he had been eating soy and wheat without any issues.  After meeting with the allergist, our plan is to strictly avoid eggs, milk and nuts.  This has prompted me to read labels on everything.  I was never too concerned about ingredients before all of this.  I hate to admit that in the short time since getting the information about his food allergies, I haven’t exactly risen to the challenge.  Perhaps I’ve been disappointed or just plain angry about it.  But I now see that this is not going to be so bad.  I will learn all about substitutions and new recipes to try for Camren.  I will teach Quin what he can and cannot share with his brother.  I will continue to love the little guy and keep him well fed.  Of course this brings a few new challenges but I am praying that he will one day outgrow the reactions he’s had.  In the meantime, I am reminding myself that there are far worse things to deal with – food allergies are pretty low on the scale of difficulties.  I am grateful that God has given me a beautiful, sweet boy to care for and feed, and a big brother to help out.

I’ll be trying some baking in the next week with an egg replacement product.  I’ll post recipes here once I am confident of sharing them.

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