Friday, December 30, 2011

Transformers Feature: Vector Prime

New Year's is upon us, so why not do a feature on the Transformers version of "Father Time" himself? Of course, I'm referring to Vector Prime. Vector Prime is a member of "the Thirteen." In theory, these are the 13 original Transformers as created by Primus, and each of these Transformers was given a special power to help defend the universe. In Vector Prime's case, that power is mastery over the space-time continuum.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Transformers Feature: Shattered Glass Goldbug

At BotCon 2008, the "Shattered Glass" universe was introduced. Although there is still a bit of a divide within the fandom as to the merits of the alternate universe concept, I think it's fair to say by now that the franchise has given Fun Publications a venue for creating stories and toys that are unique to their properties (that is, the official Transformers club and the BotCon convention), and that sell quite well. In fact, the toys from the 2008 convention set go for such high prices these days (and I've needed the money badly enough) that I have to confess that I have already sold all of my 2008 official Shattered Glass toys except for Goldbug.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Shopping for Baby Clothes

Lest I give anyone the wrong impression, I should hasten to say that my wife is NOT expecting.

Oddly enough, I'm not talking about shopping for any of my young nieces and nephews, either (although my youngest nephew, at a few months old, might nonetheless have been benefited from this adventure when I get to meet him in a few days, had it not worked out as I hoped). Rather, I was shopping for a Muppet.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Reflectionary: Scripture for Worship on Christmas Eve

The Revised Common Lectionary isn't just a guide to Scripture passages for Sunday worship. It also has suggested scriptures for other important days on the church calendar. Sometimes these special days are called "festivals." Christmas Eve is one such "festival" celebrated with a special worship gathering by many Presbyterian churches. As such, I thought it might be helpful to use this Friday's slot (the last on which I'll be featuring "Reflectionary" posts for the foreseeable future) to discuss the scripture passages for Christmas Eve worship. These passages are the same every year, as opposed to following the three-year cycle of most Revised Common Lectionary readings. As usual, all links are to the CEB via, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at

Long-time and especially dedicated readers among you may recognize most of the text here as being identical to the podcast version I've linked to in the past (although there I'm still using the now-defunct TNIV). If you are such a person, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continuing support. And to everyone, a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

As Much Story As We Need

Guido Reni 003One of the elements of the "Godly Play" curriculum is to ask the children, after having told the story for the morning, if there are any parts of the story that they could leave out, and still have all the story that they need. When I first heard this phrase, my evangelical impulse was to say "of course not!" After all, the Biblical texts were given to us, as they are, for a reason, right? If God didn't want some element to be there, it wouldn't be there, right?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflections on Art and Charles Dickens

Marley's Ghost-John Leech, 1843Shortly before Fuller Seminary closes up for Christmas vacation each December, the staff are treated to an annual Christmas party. This year, while waiting for the munchies to be served, I had the privilege of speaking with Fuller President Richard Mouw for a bit. Among other things, he asked about what books I've been reading, and I was able to tell him that I've been working through the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Perhaps somewhat ironically, although I've seen and heard numerous versions of this story over the years on television, at the movies, and on radio, I've never actually read through the original before, and thanks to the easy access to Public Domain works provided by the Nook, this has seemed a good time to do so.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dealing with Rejection

Circle-Thumb-DownThank you very much for taking the time to fill out an application...

...Unfortunately, your name was not among those who will be nominated...

I hope that you can imagine how difficult it was... to have so MANY good folks to choose from—you among them—and not be able to select them all!
Perhaps the words above seem familiar to you. I imagine most adults have gotten rejection letters of some kind or another at some time in their lives. However well-intentioned and even honest the words may attempt to be, the result is still inevitably bad news, and no one wants to have to read one of these things.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Reflectionary: Scripture for Worship on December 18th, 2011

Here are the passages for December 18, 2011, the 4th Sunday in Advent (Year B). All links are to the CEB via, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at

As I have been doing all through Advent, I'd like to invite readers to consider how the themes of Advent are advanced by reading these passages this week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Photo Contest Entry: Attack of the G2 Decepticons

The latest contest run by the folks at the Hasbro Transformers Collectors' Club asked members to depict "ANY of the Fun Publications produced Transformers toy(s) and showcase them in some sort of battle or adventure. ACTION is the key word!" As with another recent contest, I chose to use Action Master Thundercracker. After working so hard to get this toy made, I figure I should make the most of it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Offbeat Transformers Collectibles: Fruit Flavored Snacks

This little oddity is something I found during a recent trip to the so-called 99 Cents Only Store.  Of course, I may have to rethink my title, since this is obviously no more collectible than the Valentine's Candy was, but ah, well....

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Reflectionary: Scripture for Worship on December 11th, 2011

Here are the passages for December 11, 2011, the 3rd Sunday in Advent (Year B). All links are to the CEB via, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Parables Aren't Like This

Many of Jesus' parables follow a familiar pattern: "The kingdom of heaven is like..." and he goes on to give some illustration from the world of their day that might help his audience to understand heaven just a little better. It seems to me that these illustrations are always in the affirmative. That is to say, Jesus always says "the kingdom of heaven is like such and such," rather than ever saying "the kingdom of heaven is not like such and such."

Monday, December 05, 2011

Pasadena's Version of a Snow Day

This past Thursday morning, when I woke up, I checked my alarm clock as I always do to see what time it was.

I couldn't, because the power was out.

Although blackouts are by no means common, I've lived through enough of them that I didn't let it bother me too much. I checked my watch to see that it was indeed time to get up, and so attempted to start my day. Since our bathroom has no windows, I could only do even the most basic of necessities by lighting a candle for minimal illumination. Not able to do much else, I decided to go ahead and drive to work early.

I went outside, and saw the first examples of the damage done by the previous night's winds. We'd been told that they'd be pretty severe. "Hurricane force," in fact. So seeing that the pots and plants immediately outside most of my neighbors' apartments had been knocked about, and that the pool was filled with leaves and similar debris, was hardly a surprise, although seeing that the "School Crossing" sign across the street had been blown completely horizontal was rather unusual.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Reflectionary: Scripture for Worship on December 4th, 2011

Here are the passages for December 4, 2011, the 2nd Sunday in Advent (Year B). All links are to the CEB via, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at

One big question for all the passages below: How are the themes of Advent (and ask yourself "What are the themes of Advent?" if that helps) advanced by reading these passages this week?


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