08/24/12 8:06PM

For those wondering what I've been up to, click here!

Hadassah Ruth Saltz

Hadassah Ruth Saltz was born Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 9.11am. She weighed 7 pounds and 5 ounces and 21" long.

Kathryn was in active labor for nearly 27 hours, the roughest part was the 8+ hours of transition labor. She pushed for 3 hours, a much longer time than normal thanks to Hadassah's en utero gymnastics causing her umbilical cord to be wrapped around her neck, and then around her arm, and then back around her neck! However, she was never in fetal distress and her heartbeat remained perfect throughout the entire experience.

She's got my skin tone, spills of dark brown hair, and super dark eyes--we can't tell at this point whether they're blue or brown.

Overall, she's been marvelous. Though I must admit to some sleep deprivation on her account.

Will update more substantially later, but I just wanted to give a quick update for those of you who don't have/use facebook.
  • engelishgentleman
    by engelishgentleman at 05/08/12 8:25AM
  • apbooklover04
    I was wondering what caused the super long transition and pushing! Glad everything turned out okay. we're so happy for you guys; parenthood is amazing :).
    by apbooklover04 at 05/08/12 4:52PM
  • spellgage
    Just be thankful it wasn't back labor!
    by spellgage at 05/09/12 7:46AM
  • engelishgentleman
    What lexicon would I need to help me with the LXX? I'd love to get around to reading it someday... For now, I may seek a translation of the DSS. I bet the library would have a copy...
    by engelishgentleman at 08/11/12 10:31PM
  • thepoeticmadman
    You can get a copy of Liddel Scott to help you--and 1-2 Samuel is very easy to read. I translated the LXX (with help of robo-BDAG) along with the MT when I went through. I'll see if I have some PDF copies and email them to you.
    by thepoeticmadman at 08/11/12 11:13PM
  • thepoeticmadman
    You can find a few electronic copies for free at the bottom of the wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Greek%E2%80%93English_Lexicon
    by thepoeticmadman at 08/11/12 11:16PM

04/03/12 10:41PM

Why is it that when you're the most tired that you can't sleep? Blech. Well, to quote Paul, "At least when I suffer by not sleeping it is to your benefit because you get a pleonast update out of it." (I'm pretty sure that's an exact quote.)

Life has been pretty hectic and very stressful lately, and I think God has been using it to re-emphasize to me that I should put him and his kingdom first and he will take care of me. He periodically has to remind me of this because I'm pretty thick headed.

God has always been wonderful to Kathryn and myself. He is blessing us with a beautiful baby girl next month and she is thus far growing healthy and strong. I can feel her feet and her arms and her kicks and her punches even through Kathryn's ever-growing belly and I love it when she punches me to tell me to move over whenever Kathryn snuggles too close to me at night and she gets crowded. He is taking care of her and Kathryn, but sometimes it's tough to focus on that because of all of the stuff that gets in the way.

One of my human strengths is my ability to plan ahead. I've always planned ahead since I was a child: I knew what I wanted to do and how I planned to do it. Although my plans changed frequently, I always had one. One of the most stressful things to happen to me is to not know enough about what is happening in my future to be able to make a plan. So, this period of waiting to know for certain where I'll be in August has pretty much been agony. But of course, it's not enough for me to recognize that it doesn't really make sense to make a plan, so instead I make one for every possible scenario. "Well, if I end up here, I'll do this and this and this.... but, if that doesn't work out, then I could do that and this and that other thing, but if I end up over here, then I have x and y and z option...." So, instead of focusing on the fact that God has taken care of Kathryn and myself so far, it's much easier for me to focus on the fact that I really need to find out what is going on with me job, or my shoulder injury, or where I'm going to go to school, or how I'm going to pay for it, or where we're going to live when we get there, or what are we going to do with our cars, or... The list goes on.

But I tell you: do not worry about what you will eat or what you will wear or where you will live. These are the things that the godless preoccupy themselves with. Instead, focus on me and my kingdom and I will provide the rest.
Lord, help me trust you enough to do that.
  • engelishgentleman
    I sympathize with the distaste for uncertainty, but I'm glad you're finding an opportunity to grow!
    by engelishgentleman at 04/04/12 8:43AM
  • rundrummerrun
    "Just do your best... it's the only way to keep that last bit of sanity--maybe I don't have to be good, but I can try to be at least a little better than I've been so far." It's amazing to me how whatever stage we're at, there's still some lack that God allows so we have to constantly lean on Him. Often times that lack is right where it hurts the most, so no matter how good everything else is, we squirm at this perfectly-placed void. I often forget to be thankful for such. "I thank You more that all our joy is touched with pain, that shadows fall on brightest hours, that thorns remain--so that earth's bliss may be our guide and not our chain."
    by rundrummerrun at 04/04/12 3:31PM

Reading List

Perhaps the least important (if second most enjoyable) thing that has been happening recently is I've taken it back into my hands to read more. I have always loved reading, but lately I'd not really had/made the time to read as much as I'd like to. Work has been very busy, school applications ruled my life for a time, and then there's the little detail of having a very pregnant wife. All of these things, combined, have syphoned a lot of my spare time away. That said, the past month or so has been fantastically productive. Caleb, Alex, Josh, and myself began the Batcave Book Club and have been submitting books that we all read and discuss. These, combined with my own choices for pleasure reading, can be found summarized below.

The Silmarillion: J.R.R. Tolkien's least-known and best-written work. Tolkien teaches the rest of what what it means to build a world, a culture, a history, and a saga. As you learn from him, the rest of the LOTR series begins to come into focus. I enjoyed the LOTR books, but after reading the Silmarillion, I felt as though I grew closer to the people and places of these much-loved tales. I found a new respect for Gandalf (someone who I always wanted to like, but never could as much as I felt I should). I understood the Balrog and their fatal meeting. That said, the Silmarillion is probably not for everyone--though it should be--it's tough for your average reader and sometimes reads more like history or philosophy than fiction, but for those that persevere a great treasure awaits. A game changer, I give it 7/10.

Ender's Game (Re-Read): Orson Scott Card writes one of the more interesting child-soldier tales and--to this day--one of the coolest pieces of sci-fi technology with the Battle Room. Ender's Game tells the story of a Third child in a world where family's are only allowed one. Ender (and his two siblings, the vivacious Valentine and the brilliant and monstrous Peter) are all so brilliant that their family was allowed unprecedented rights. But all of this comes with a price, as Ender is soon offered/drafted into a Space Station filled with other geniuses in an attempt to save the world from an alien species. The way they train is through a war game played out in a zero-gravity chamber, teaching tactics, originality, and anti-functional fixedness. It also teaches viciousness and a bent for the pragmatic. The ending might not surprise you, but the very end will likely shock you. Ender's Game will likely be a sci-fi staple for a long time (even if Speaker for the Dead is more powerful). A thought provoking trip into the question of pragmatism and ethics, I give it a 7/10.

The Lost Gate: Orson Scott Card wrote what has been the only disappointment I've ever read from the normally solid OSC. The idea is intriguing: all the 'gods' of worlds past are actually magicians from other worlds. As the magician travels back and forth through the "gates" between worlds, their power increases tenfold, a hundredfold, a thousandfold. However, one of the 'gods,' Loki the Trickster was a Gate Magician who shut all of the gates between the worlds and left the gods stranded where they were forever. So, the gods began to weaken and become nothing more than average (at best) workers of poor magic. The Greek gods became traders, the Norse moved to America, etc. all hiding from humans and becoming weak--pledged to kill any gate magician while secretly hoping to create one of their own, bringing them to a new world and granting them the power to dominate the other "Families." The main character is, of course, a Gate Mage attempting to learn his powers while running from those trying to kill him and forced to the human world where he tries to learn about life and power. The magic system is interesting--you gain power by serving the interests of your magic--but it's a YA novel. That's a problem. OSC shouldn't write YA fiction, he has to dumb it down too much. It cripples his writing and renders the power of his story impotent. Disappointing read (though it would have been better, probably, if I hadn't just read other things which were so much better), I give it a 3/10.

Pathfinder: OSC delivers on this one. By the way, can you tell I'm on an OSC kick? This is YA fiction as it was meant to be written--that is to say, it's not YA fiction. This is far more interesting. The story is about a ship that leaves earth to collonize a new world by going through a Space Rift--but the unexpected happens. When going through the rift, the pilot's ability causes the ship to duplicated itself 19 times and jump backwards in time by >11,000 years. They arrive at the new planet mellenia before they left. The story centers around characters evolving in a different strain, developing different powers and abilities. One of the characters can move back in time, another can see the paths of all those who went before. Each struggles to learn his place in the world after the death of a father causes the son to venture forth to a new city. As you go through the narrative following the young people, you also get glimpses of the Ship's pilot and what really happened all that time ago and--as those eleven thousand years draw to a close--begin to wonder what happens with Earth send another ship to Garden. Time travel is a focus of this book, and OSC stick it to typical time-travelling theories as OSC allows causality to rule his universe and physics hold sway as you learn more and more about how changes affect your life and the lives of those around you. A solid read, I'd give it 6/10.

The Hunger Games (trillogy, including Catching Fire and Mocking Jay): Susanne Collins provided a nice surprise with this one. Though the constant tense changes and sometimes-poor writing bother me (think: Eragon), after you get into the first one just slightly you just don't care anymore. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic society where people are forced to live in shambles in the wake of nuclear war whereas the seat of the gov't, District One, lives in luxury. To keep the other districts in subservience, every year they chose one boy and one girl from the ages of 12-18 to participate in a large-scale gladiatorial match to the death--there can only be one survivor. In fantastic tribute to Rome (the world is even called "Panem," after the latin panem et circum (sic spell?) "bread and circuses), the story follows the two tributes from District 11 as they try to survive the games with their humanity intact. The stories are gripping and the characters have your attention from the beginning. I have read very few stories more... urgent than the Hunger Games. I bought the first one on Friday night, and finished it. I bought the second one on saturday; and finished it. I got the third one on sunday... and finished it. The second one was by far the best, and the chaos of the end of the third took away from the previously-excellently executed tension present in the first two books. These are very compelling stories about the cost of taking a life and the cost of living. I give the series as a whole an 8/10, but Catching Fire (the middle book) gets 9/10 and Mocking Jay only gets 6/10.

Old Man's War: John Perry provides an interesting read. Much like Cowboys and Aliens, there were a thousand tropes present and accounted for with few surprises. However, the tropes were so well carried out that I didn't really mind. In other words, the mindlessness wasn't mindless. The galactic power recuits geriatric with the promise of eternal youth and a new body (well, until you get blown up by a thousand alien races). This reads like Starship Troopers + Warhammer 40k + Enders' Game. While I could have left out the profanity and would have preferred a little more attention spent on creating fewer--but more complex--alien races (lets face it, the Consu are the only ones worth remembering at all), I found it a very enjoyable read and felt it did well as I could ask from a first book. I give it a very enjoyable (if un-original) 6/10. NB: there was some content in this book I cannot endorse so be warned.

The Ghost Brigades: John Perry follows up Old Man's War with a look at the other (more compelling) soldier class of the Ghost Brigades. It was... different, definitely not what I expected. As cool as it is to have the main character named after you--I found it somewhat lacking. The Ghost Brigades are an elite, special forces squad of barely-human (think Warhammer 40k's Grey Knights) child-warriors who go through the universe fighting the fights too tough for even the genetically altered normal troops all the while the main character, Jared, tried to learn the reason of his birth and why he was implanted with the consciousness of a traitor to the human race. While the innocence of the just-born child placed in the body of an elite warrior Jared was intriguing, I found myself missing the wry, sarcastic wit John Perry. And though I appreciated getting to have a more in-depth look at three alien races, I wasn't invested in them except for the doctor. A shoot-em-up 5/10 (with the same warning as the previous book).

The Alloy of Law: Brandon Sanderson continues his Mistborn universe a few hundred years in the future. In this Wild West-Meets-Steampunk society, you follow the sheriff Waxillium Ladrian as he moves from the outlandish wilderness to the industrial-London-esque city to inherit the land and house of his uncle. The magic system is centered around metal -- certain people have the ability to "burn" a certain metal to create a certain result. Steel users can push metals; Iron users can pull metals; etc. Each base and alloy providing opposite results. At the same time, a different system arrives from a different ancestry, but instead of burning metals they can store physical traits within them: those with steel can make store weight (making themselves lighter for a long period of time, or using it to make yourself heavier); and those with the power of gold can even store health , making themselves sick in order to make themselves well. The story follows Waxillum as he tries to forget about the death of his fiance by burying himself in his new life--but he can't because people with power are being stolen and he is still a lawman. Alloy of Law is easily the most interesting thing I've read recently. Brandon Sanderson is an excellent writer and his systems work very well. The fact that this has contnuity with the Mistborn Trillogy while still representing an entirely different saga is a thing of beauty. This tale of responsibility, life change, and consequences gets a well-deserved 9/10.

Next up? BABY NEWS!
  • spellgage
    Somewhere you're missing a /b.
    by spellgage at 03/02/12 10:09PM
  • thepoeticmadman
    Good catch.
    by thepoeticmadman at 03/02/12 10:12PM
  • engelishgentleman
    At some point I think I really need to check out Sanderson. Maybe I'll put him on my list of 75 million things to read this summer...
    by engelishgentleman at 03/03/12 12:03AM
  • figpicker
    All fantasy or SF. Sort of narrow.
    by figpicker at 03/03/12 7:37PM
  • figpicker
    But not as narrow as someone who only reads Koontz
    by figpicker at 03/03/12 7:37PM
  • thepoeticmadman
    I just ran out of time. I also read the first two Jack Reecher books, but the second one was decidedly less enjoyable than the first. I've also read a few theological books as well, but again, ran out of time (aka, Kathryn was wondering when I'd stop this and go to bed).
    by thepoeticmadman at 03/03/12 8:37PM
  • figpicker
    If she is wondering, you cannot imagine the level of wonder I have at the foolishness of your still being up!
    by figpicker at 03/05/12 8:25PM

12/10/11 11:41AM

Four years ago Kathryn and I got married (for the first time). Four years later, I'd still be honored to marry her. That is about the best way I can think of to describe a relationship that otherwise defies words. I love you, babe, and I'm glad that we're having a baby.
  • ominie
    Baby Hadassah!
    by ominie at 12/20/11 9:49AM