2014-04-22

Tech Support

Every once in a while, the Tech Support team at the office I work in will send out an announcement.

"Server Such-and-So, providing these CompanyProcess sites, will be laid-down-for-a-nap/moved-to-a-new-host/unavailable during the hours of 10:00 PM to 02:00 AM this Sunday."

That kind of work cannot be done during normal business hours, but still needs to be done. I pity the IT guy who got tasked with those jobs over the weekend.

Then I learned about people who have to do similar things on a radio tower, in the dead of night, because workers can't get too close to the transmitter when it is on at full strength.

That's a hard task. Especially when Murphy's Law overshadows the "quick job" with lots of unpleasant surprises.

I guess every business has tasks that are hard to do, but often relegated to the line-workers at odd hours. Some businesses generate more trouble than others in that category, though.

2014-04-21

First Ride

Over the weekend, I put in my first motorcycle ride of spring.

I've been doing repairs and maintenance on the machine. Replacement components for battery cables, a new oil filter, some silicon for the oil-drain-plug...each of these required purchase and installation. At least one spent several days coming in the mail.

(One of the downsides of owning a mid-1980s motorcycle. Parts like oil filters can be hard to find.)

When all was said and done, and I had an weekend morning free, I rolled the machine out of the garage.

Then I grabbed a can of starter-spray.

This stuff, basically diethyl ether with a little oil, ignites more easily than gasoline. This property makes it useful for helping to start an engine that is reluctant to start. Especially if the engine is reluctant to start due to cold weather, but will run fine once ignition is achieved.

It turned out that I needed the starter-spray. After a couple of attempts of starter-spray-plus-cranking, the engine started.

After a test-run around the block, and a first-fuel-fill of the season, I think I am ready to put the motorcycle into normal usage again. Though I may want to check out some sort of heater to use on the engine block. In my experience, I've needed starter fluid whenever the outside air was too cold. I've heard that warming the engine block before attempting to start can fix this...

2014-04-20

Passover, part 3

It was morning, on the first day of the week.

Two women went to finish the work of embalming the remains of Jesus. Work that had been left unfinished in the hurried evening before Sabbath.

But they found something they didn't expect. They found the tomb empty.

It was a surprise ending that discomfited almost everyone. The soldiers didn't know how to explain what had happened. The Temple leaders tried to blame the disappearance on theft of the body. The Governor had to figure out whether anyone had to be punished.

Jesus' followers were a mix of confused and overjoyed. At least one doubted the word of the others. After a short time, doubt disappeared.  They told stories of angelic announcements, and an empty tomb. They spoke of encounters with a resurrected Jesus, still bearing the wounds of crucifixion.

Somehow, Jesus could enter locked rooms without using the door. Yet He also shared food with his followers.

And Jesus promised a new manifestation of God's presence in their lives, while giving them a commission to preach about Him to all the world.

The central message was that Jesus had opened a new door of relationship between God and man. And that death itself was not a final end.

2014-04-19

Passover, part 2

In part 1, I discussed one Passover night, two millenia ago.

Jesus had taken the Passover meal with his close friends, then went to pray in a garden near the City.

While he was there, praying, Jesus was arrested by men from the Temple guard.

The trial before the Temple leaders took much of the night. Then, they delivered Jesus over to the local Roman governor. Who promptly held a different trial, but one that came to the same conclusion: a death sentence.

The day before Sabbath came, and the punishment of Jesus at the hands of the soldiers began.

Whipping and beating were followed by the path up the hill. He was forced to carry a heavy cross, but tiredness, blood loss, and shock cause him to fall down.

Two others were sentenced to die that day.

The cruelly efficient soldiers began the work of execution. A description of each man's crime was fastened to the top of their cross. Holes were dug to place the crosses in. The soldiers then stripped the condemned men naked, laid each victim on a cross, and drove large spikes through their wrists and feet. They erected the crosses and dropped the vertical shaft into the holes in the ground.

The condemned were expected to die of blood loss and asphyxiation; the posture of the crucified made each breath a painful struggle.

The stories that were told by witnesses conclude that Jesus died suddenly, after crying out with a loud voice.

Close to sunset, the bodies were brought down from the crosses after the soldiers double-checked that the condemned were actually dead. The body of Jesus was hastily interred in a borrowed tomb.

The next day was a day of rest.

The religious leaders thought they had ended Jesus' actions and influences. His followers and family met in secret, wondering what would happen next.

2014-04-18

Passover

Last night was the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

The remembrance of an ancient tale takes the form of a feast. In the stories that are remembered, the original eaters of that feast were supposed to eat hurriedly and be dressed as if ready for travel. They were also supposed to mark the doors of the houses with blood, so that the messenger of death would not find their family.

A millennium and a half after that story, yet still ages ago, a rabbi celebrated Passover with his 12 closest followers.

Several unique things happened at that Passover. All the stories about that evening tell of a new ceremony with bread and wine. At least one of his followers left the meal before that ceremony began. One story mentions a strange sequence in which the rabbi washed the feet of the other men at the table.

Later that night, while praying in a garden outside the City of Jerusalem, the rabbi was arrested by soldiers of the Temple guard. The man who had left the Passover table before the meal was done had brought the soldiers.

The background for this arrest, and the animosity between the Temple leadership and this rabbi, were rooted in many things.

The rabbi, whose name is often rendered as Jesus, had strong differences with the Temple authorities. He also generated large crowds wherever he went. He didn't call himself "rabbi", he called himself "the Son of man."

There were stories of miracles; outrageous claims about Jesus and His relationship to the God of their ancient religion. There were also the many references to the Kingdom of Heaven in the teachings. (The people had been under foreign, Imperial power for a century or two. But there were memories of priests who had been kings and the leaders of armies. Those priests had driven out a different Imperial power. Doubtless there were rumors about Jesus and his intentions with respect to the Roman Imperium.)

Most troublesome were the parables and teachings that seemed to insist that the Temple leadership were bad stewards of the ancient faith, and would be uprooted and replaced by their God.

So, the man was arrested. The religious leaders of the Temple apparently desired to have Him executed. They hoped it would be the end of Jesus' influence.

But first, they had to convince the entire Religious Council that execution should happen. Then they had to convince the Roman authority that Jesus was a danger to their power.

It was a long night.

2014-04-16

Spring un-Sprung

Not only was there snowfall yesterday, there was a noticeable accumulation.

Noticeable enough to shatter a century-old record.

The list of winter records set this year for Metro Detroit is located here. It's a pretty impressive list.

This morning, the weather outside is colder than yesterday morn. Though it is also much sunnier, oddly. Up until yesterday, I'd been under the impression that the garden could be planted early this year.

I guess I'll wait until the beginning of May to plant the garden.

2014-04-14

Speak of the Devil...

Just as I was thinking that Spring had arrived for good, I saw the news.

Possible snow. (And windstorms over the last night which damaged many electrical-power lines; further damage may happen in tonight's storm.)

The motorcycle will stay away for a few more days.