Archive for the 'random thoughts' Category

Published by Brian Slezak on 14 Jul 2009

"Those Days"

So everyone has heard about those days, as in “It is one of ‘those days.'” For me, one of those days is when I walk up to a urinal and have to take a detour into the stall to take off my shoes and pants because ….


Yes, my underwear is on backwards. <sighs and shakes head>

Published by Brian Slezak on 13 May 2009

Lucid Dreams

I have regular occurences of lucid (concious) dreams every month or two, but lately they have been happening more often, very possibly due to my lack of sleep having a newborn in the house. Referring to the wikipedia link above, I most often have dream initiated lucid dreams (DILD), but am able to force mnemonic initiated lucid dreams (MILD) as well. My lucid dreams are typically pretty brief, and I am sometimes able to manipulate the environment. Last night I had the longest lucid dream that I’ve ever experienced. Typically when I shift into the lucid moment I know I don’t have much time until I wake up so I try to manipulate the dreamscape for fun. This usually results in the lucid moment degrading rapidly. Last night’s was actually of the MILD variety, because I realized my lucid dreams are occurring more frequently, and I decided that the next time it happens I’m not going to fight it but roll with it.

Dude! That was the first time I was able to successfully stay with the lucid dream and make it last. (Here is where you can start psychoanalyzing me.) I was the current age I am now, at what I remember being my middle school helping out. I was helping set up lunch tables and stuff. There were also other random things going on like a retail store where me and a friend from my past were buying gifts for his daughter. I had multiple timelines in my life happening at the same time, because I was at my current age but my friend and his daughter were both younger than they are now. I remember being looking around and being able to focus within the dream just like you can focus your eyes when you’re awake. I remember this person needed to run downstairs to get something and was going to be right back. I stood in the bustling hallway leaning my shoulder against the wall with a tilt of my body and just watched everything, marveling at how very real everything felt, but at the same time my sense of touch and physicality was dulled.

I remember a great deal of the dream, and I remember letting the lucidity of the moment go. It was all pretty cool, and I think I may try to gain more control over things next time since I seem to be having these more often.

Published by Brian Slezak on 28 Apr 2009

Meet My New Friend

EdgarI thought I might introduce you to my new friend. I’ve named him Edgar. Edgar came into my life today after succumbing to the lack of sleep from having Paul in the house.

I was fighting it, but finally just gave in. I hope Edgar and I don’t become too close, or I’ll have to drop him like a bad habit.

No, Seriously.

Published by Brian Slezak on 30 Mar 2009

Daily Irony

Browsing through one of my image folders while waiting for a database to synchronize, I came across this picture:

5 Star Support FAIL(How often does it feel like this?)

I don’t remember taking this screen shot, but I still find it humorous.

Published by Brian Slezak on 28 Mar 2009

Here comes the spring snow

It is snowing in Overland Park, KS, in huge beautiful flakes. It just started minutes from me posting this, so I thought I’d throw up a couple pictures.

Published by Brian Slezak on 25 Mar 2009

The Brave One

Pania went to bed early the other evening, and my mind was still awake even as tired as I seemed . While she slept I scrolled through the HBO on demand movies, finally coming to The Brave One. My memory sparked as I remembered wanting to see it after watching the trailer because I enjoy Jodie Foster in most of her movies. Impressed yet again with The Brave One, I was moved to write my off-the-cuff reaction. Spoilers follow – you’ve been warned.

I loved the way this film unraveled! The storyline revealed itself like a comic book, Batman for instance, but based itself more in reality than the fantastic. No caped crusader in this film; instead a petite woman, Erica, who is transformed by brutal violence into her darker self. After her fiance is beaten to death, and herself nearly so, she is reborn not into the light but into the dark. The same face in the mirror stares back at her as did before; she has not been physically altered, but a completely different person lives behind the same eyes.

The movie takes you through her downfall as she consciously and deliberately lets evil into her heart after defending herself in a convenience store robbery. She becomes a vigilante, consumed by the thrill of doing what she feels is good and right by eliminating evil from her city. The same evil that changed her forever, and killed her fiance. Her clothing through the film changes with her from white to gray and finally to black. We struggle with her as she knows what she is doing is wrong – it is killing; it is illegal. She swings from knowing she is right, to justifying her actions, to almost turning herself into authorities, and back again. At one point in the movie she gives away the crucifix necklace that was once her fiances, and she has been wearing throughout the movie, to a woman whose life she saved a few nights back. (She obviously does not truly understand what this symbol represents.) This done right in front of police officer and right after Erica asked the woman who she saw the night, and the woman replies no one.

I felt the movie struck a lot deeper than its surface appearance. The viewer has a connection to Erica, because in our hearts we want her to exact her revenge. She knows it’s wrong and so do we. What happened to her is horrible, and we want her attackers to be punished for what they did. Erica takes us down a the road where we choose dark. The movie made me feel that the dark is not just out there waiting for you to choose to step into it. The dark wants you. It is not waiting, but wanting. The dark wants us, because we want it. It is so natural in us even when we consciously know better. Choosing the light is so much harder. This was not a story of struggling with forgiveness.

Sadly, in true moral depravity that only Hollywood can produce, Erica not only exacts her revenge, she is justified by the police officer who is on to her throughout the movie and even instructed how to perform her crescendo of violence “legally.” The movie ends with Erica running away from the bloodbath that the officer has covered up, only to later stroll through the same dark tunnel where the story began – toward the light at the end of the tunnel. A better ending would be her walking into an ever darkening tunnel.

Aside from the ending (sigh) the movie is very well done, and is a present comic book story that is, scarily, easy to relate to. The lesson is how easy it is to relate to Erica’s dark desires, how easily they consumed her, and how quickly she fell away into the darkness. There is no light at the end of that tunnel folks. Revenge is not ours. If you found it easy to relate to Erica, you are not alone, but that does not make it just.

Published by Brian Slezak on 01 Aug 2008

Online Giving and Payment Gateways

I was excited to have been a part of the trip to Edmond, OK to visit the LifeChurch campus there. See team posts here, here, and here. One of the numerous things that crossed my mind, somewhat unrelated to why we were there, was the challenge of online giving. Using any gateway processor out there will cost you 3-5%, or more. It made me wonder if it were possible to create a non-profit infrastructure that provided payment processing at a much lower cost. If a group of interested Christian businesspersons had enough wealth and desire to solve that problem, could it be solved, or is what we have as good as it gets?

I can’t imagine the amount of money that would saved and returned to churches by lowering the barrier to online giving and eliminating the concern about throwing away that money. I understand the fear of churches allowing someone to give to the church via credit card, and I don’t encourage anyone to use that to their own destruction, but I think a reasonable and sound method of electronic giving would be a blessing to many.

Published by Brian Slezak on 26 Jul 2008

Domain Name Change

Welcome to the new domain for the office curmudgeon, which is a slightly better named. 🙂 This was a huge pain to accomplish, taking me about 6 hours of work, but it is completed exactly how I wanted.

If you are linking to this site, please update your links to when you can. The links will continue to work indefinitely, simply redirecting to the new domain.

Thanks all.

Published by Brian Slezak on 04 Apr 2008

You Can Not Stop Nerds

Ok, I had to do it. Our fearless leader Clif is at MinistryTECH in Oklahoma City as I type this blog post. My cohort in this was Ian, who is there with Clif. Ian was able to set up a webcam in short order and stream Clif to U-Stream:

To the upper right is a shot from my camera phone. This is a projected image on a wall in our training room back in Leawood, KS. Clif is larger than life!

So to sum up – yeah I posted on Clif’s presentation in Oklahoma City before he was even finished, watching from Leawood, KS. 🙂

Given even simple technology – you can’t stop nerds from getting creative and participating, even if we don’t get to be there in person.

Published by Brian Slezak on 20 Feb 2008

Lunar Eclipse Sponsored Links

Ok, a quick follow-up to my last post. Not only was it ridiculous to find the previous one, but I came back and refreshed the search and there are even more companies that found the genius in this strategy. (See image below.)

Great! Now, the first sponsored link looks quite reasonable. There technically is a Mitsubishi Eclipse vehicle. But the link provided takes you to a 2008 Lancer, and “eclipse” is found nowhere on the page. Bad, bad, bad.

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