Friday, July 28, 2006

MiniDisc Mania

The MZ-M10

I’ve had more than one person ask me about my choice of MP3 player. Many people don’t even know about MiniDisc, and many of those who have heard of the format assume that it went the way of Betamax and DIVX (no, not the new one, the old one). Actually, I didn’t know until I started considering a MiniDisc player, but the format still has quite a strong following among musicians who find its features and capabilities suitable to recording concerts and practice sessions.

My introduction to the MiniDisc came sometime around 1994. I saw the Sony MZ-1 at the Incredible Universe at Gwinnett Place Mall (there’s another blast from the recent past for you technophiles). If you don’t remember, Incredible Universe was like Best Buy on crack and anabolic steroids. It was owned by Tandy (of Radio Shack fame, which ain’t doin’ so well itself these days) and was huge-most of them were over 100,000 square feet of electronic bliss. For readers in the area, the location I frequented (when my mom would take me) was where the Dave and Busters is at now over at Gwinnett Place-except Incredible Universe took up the whole building. D & B has only about half of that space leased out now, if that gives you any idea of the scale.

Well, now I’m fellin’ all nostalgic. Have you ever had the feeling when you see something at the store and, even though you can’t use it, you think “Man, I should buy this anyway”? That’s how I felt when I saw the pre-recorded MiniDiscs at Turtles and BestBuy and Circuit City around that time. When you can find them on eBay, they will cost you about fifteen dollars plus shipping-not a bad return on a piece of electronics that cost between nine and fifteen dollars fourteen years ago!

Anyway, the picture above is my model. It’s a “Hi-MD” recorder/player, which means that it accepts a 1GB Hi-MD disc instead of the original 160MB disc. It has a mic input, so I can record analog audio. With USB and digital (“TOSLINK”) interfaces, it also has the ability to record digital audio. It also works really well as a USB data drive. When I got the player (a little over a year ago) 1 GB flash drives were way expensive, and you couldn’t even think about expanding the size of the memory.

I don’t know about anybody else, but I would love to have an “80’s/90’s” room in my house full of technology from that period-a MD deck, a DCC deck and a portable player, a Videodisc player, and of course the game systems from that period. You may think it’s dorky, but that’s just fine with me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Tale of Two Athenses…or Athenss…or Athenai, maybe?...

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.
-Acts 17:16

Most anyone who reads this (well, I don’t guess you read it very often because I don’t write very often, huh?) probably knows about my Graceville days. It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since I graduated. A good number of my friends went straight into seminary following graduation, and many of them went to Southern (or, as we called it, New-Geneva-on-the-Ohio). As the U-Hauls all started heading north, I began wondering: “Why don’t I have a desire to go to seminary?”

Well, after serving in a church for 3 ½ years (and attending one for almost a year) I am finally resuming my formal education-in the school that I grew up wanting to attend, and later thought I never would.

About a year ago, I went to the website of the University of Georgia just to see what they offered in the way of Master’s Degrees. Somewhat surprised, I discovered that they offered a MA in Religion. To make a long story mercifully short, I began reconsidering UGA about six months ago, and was accepted to the program in June. The last six months have been full of planning, writing, emailing, etc.-hence, the scarcity of posts. In my daily Bible reading, I came to the verse above as I began to reconsider attending UGA. If you’ve never been to Athens, Georgia before, I can tell you that you don’t have to drive very far down Baxter Avenue or Broad Street before you begin to start feeling a little bit of what Paul felt as he walked the streets of that cosmopolitan city.

I am excited about our move to Athens, even if we have to both find jobs in the next three weeks. I see the move there as being an opportunity to witness and minister (the two are inseparable) in a city that is very much interested in “talking about and listening to the latest ideas” (Acts 17:21). Already, some ministry opportunities have presented themselves on the horizon, and only our Sovereign Father knows what will occur over the next year or so. Reading through the passage in Acts, we see that Paul engaged “his” Athenians in three arenas: the synagogue, the marketplace, and the Areopagus. Pray for us as we develop relationships in “our” Athens-in the congregation that God will lead us to, the jobs that He will provide for us, and in the University. Pray for us that we will be faithful with the opportunities that our Father has blessed us with and-above all else-that we will glorify Him.