Middle/High School Ultimate in San Diego?

Imma shout this question out to the internet: Does anybody know about the Ultimate scene among high and especially middle schools in San Diego county? Any coaches, parents of players, school administrators, etc.?

Ultimate is a small, superior, and too-little-known sport, that I think would be a great match for my kids’ small, superior, and too-little-known school. Just this year they have instituted a fledgling sports program, introducing cross country, basketball, and soccer. I wanted to try to get Ultimate in on the ground floor as well, but the school (understandably) doesn’t want to devote energy to a sport for which there is no local league to participate in. So to try to get a jump on possibilities for next year, I’d like to try to research what else is out there.

Right now the school’s highest grade is 7, next year it will be 8th; so for now I’m looking for other middle schools that have any kind of ultimate program or even club. In the longer term, I would want to connect with other high schools, but for now that doesn’t help me.

For what it’s worth, I bought Essential Ultimate (Baccarini/Booth), and I think it does a great job of laying out fundamental skills and teaching strategies for the pre-college level. (For coaching college, I think you’d probably be better off with the “other” book, Ultimate Techniques and Tactics (Pinarella)). I did have the opportunity last school year to teach ultimate to the 5th-6th graders for about 6 weeks, plus hold a couple after-school games at a park (but I didn’t pull anything together this year) and I think I have a good group of kids to form a team.

H&S: Images II

What can I say? It was an epic night. Unfortunately the recording is a little plagued with wind, but if you listen close, I think all but a few phrases can be heard clearly.

Here are the .mp3s:

Note also related H&S on Images, Communion, and Baptism.

Make space on your calendar also for Dr. Bombaro’s upcoming lecture on Sanctification at Reformation Lutheran in El Cajon: 846 S. Johnson, Sat Nov 3 at 7pm.

And of course, don’t forget our good friends at Hess Brewing. Watch their calendar for events at the tasting room in Miramar for now, but also keep an eye out for the grand opening of the new facility, currently under construction on Grim Ave in North Park!

Homemade Bread: Delicious, Quick, Easy, and Cheap

Over the years, I have typed in and emailed many recipes to friends, so I thought I’d paste them into the blog, since I got nothin else goin on up in heyah! When I was a kid, once in a blue moon Mom would pull out the bread cookbook, and make homemade, from-scratch, cinnamon bread. Now fresh homemade bread is always good, but this stuff was like crack (except apparently I survived the withdrawals). I was thinking I’d set aside a weekend, borrow the book, and give it a try myself, you know, give my family the same rare treat I got. Then one of the daily recommendation emails from Amazon caught my eye, with a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The user reviews were glowing. A little searching, and I found this article online where the fundamental recipe and all necessary techniques are just out there for the taking! (Talk about giving the milk for free!) I read it carefully, tried it out, and voila! As promised, Delicous, Easy, Quick and Cheap! Then I found a YouTube video, which showed me I was still working too hard (getting water to approximately 100 degrees, carefully adding yeast and flour little bits at a time in a desperate attempt to avoid clumping). And finally, I found the author’s website, which gave me even more tips and tricks (links below)! So I would recommend to print out the article, read it carefully (through the master recipe), and then give it a try. If you like it (and you want more recipes than plain white round bread) buy a book! In the meantime, here is the wisdom I have gleaned:

  • Ingredients
    • Buy yeast and flour at Costco (or Sam’s or whatever). I started with a three-packet strip of yeast for a couple bucks at the grocery store, and that made two batches (8 loaves). Then I bought a little glass bottle on sale for $7.something, and that lasted a few more batches. Then I checked at Costco, and a giant vacuum-packed brick of yeast (was it two pounds?) cost about 5 bucks. That’s enough for probably 100 batches, probably more. It will keep indefinitely in the freezer, and probably last a year or two.
    • Similarly for flour. I think it was 3-4 bucks for a 5lb bag of flour (2 batches=8 loaves). At Costco, it’s maybe 7-8 bucks for 25lb, and I think I saw $12.99 for 50lb. The thing is that flour has bug eggs in it, and will hatch bugs if you don’t use it quick enough. UNLESS you can freeze it for a couple days. We have plastic containers we can divide the big flour bag into, fit in the freezer (taking turns if necessary), and then it should be good to sit and wait indefinitely until we get around to baking and eating it.
    • The recipe calls for unbleached, all-purpose flour (or slightly less bread flour). Costco only sells bleached, but it hasn’t given us any trouble.
    • At the prices above, I have calculated that the ingredient cost comes out at under 20 cents per loaf.
  • Equipment
    • You need a pizza stone. The website warns against Pampered Chef pizza stones, they apparently break a lot.
    • They also say you need a pizza peel (wooden megaspatula) and cornmeal to slide the dough onto the preheated stone and scoop it back out, but we have found that we can use just flour to prevent sticking, and carefully place the dough onto the hot stone.
    • You also need a bucket with a lid (with holes). If the bucket and/or holes are too small such that the risen dough plugs the air holes, the yeast exhaust isn’t able to vent properly, and the bread  takes on a bitter, beery flavor. We started with a mixing bowl with a plate on top for a while, but it was pretty messy and crusty. So here’s what you do: you go to Ralph’s and buy a 5-qt bucket of ice cream (not Albertson’s or Vons, they only sell 4-qt). If you have any trouble disposing of the ice cream inside the bucket, contact me immediately! Poke (or for a neater look, drill) some holes in the plastic lid. I made five quarter-inch holes.
    • For measuring salt and yeast, I have a 2Tbsp metal coffee scoop. The recipe calls for only 1 1/2 Tbsp of each, so I carefully measured 1 1/2 Tbsp into the scoop, and marked the level with a sharpie for easy future reference.
  • There is considerable room for slop in the recipe.
    • Salt: I found my first try of the recipe to be a little salty. Salt can be reduced to taste, without concern for any other adjustments.
    • Yeast: can also be reduced, if you account for it properly with time. Read here.
    • Flour: as they recommend, I level the six cups of flour with the back of a knife. But the last 1/2 cup I simply eyeball.
    • Water: I just take whatever warm/hot water comes out of the faucet.
    • As the recipe indicates, the initial counter rise time is not important. 2-5 hours. Or even overnight.
  • Method:
    • First I measure the water into the bucket.
    • I used to measure the salt & yeast into a separate cup and then sprinkle it in to try to avoid clumping, but after watching the YouTube video, apparently you can just dump it in and not work too hard to break up the yeast clumps.
    • I still measure the 6 1/2 cups of flour into a separate bowl, so if I lose count I can start over. I pour in half the flour, whip it into a slop for about 30sec, and then pour in the rest, and mix until all the flour is wet.
    • Sometimes when I have trouble getting some pocket or corner of flour wet, I’ll expose the dry part, and slosh a little bit more water in. It’s ok.
    • The recipe is not kidding when it says that bread can be made right after the counter-rising, but it’s easier if the bread is refrigerated. Plan ahead so you have time to refrigerate the dough overnight before you need bread, so you can avoid a sticky, sloppy mess.
    • Don’t be afraid to liberally coat with flour in order to get a lump of dough which you can shape without sticking to your hands. To form a loaf, use your (flour-coated, serrated) bread knife to cut a quarter of a batch apart from the rest of the bucket, use the knife to pull/stretch the dough out (it won’t cut completely separate) and plop it into your flour container and flip it over.
  • Ideas
    • A couple teaspoons of rosemary mixed into the dough is real good. Maybe chop it a littler smaller than whole leaves, or whiz it quick in a spice grinder. Experiment with your favorite herbs or spices!
    • For our family (5 people), we can take the regular 4-loaf batch, and make 5 slightly smaller loaves, hollow them out, and Bam! Soup in bread bowls! (Bear Creek Broccoli&Cheese soup mix is great: just add water, or “soup” it up with extra broccoli and cheese!)
    • Sandwich loaves: prepare two batches of dough (you’ll need two buckets, or a really big bucket — that still fits in the fridge!), sit out for 2+ hours and refrigerate as usual, then divide the whole double-batch into three equal portions, stretch/shape as usual except allow them to elongate, put them in three PAM’d 9×4 bread pans, bag the pans or cover with something flat (an upside down half-sheet baking tray is perfect for 3 bread pans), let them rise for 90min or more (I will typically put the loaves in the bread pans before evening church around 5:30, let them sit at home until we get back around 7:30), slash the tops just before baking to control expansion, bake in a 450 oven with steam (but no stone needed) for 45 minutes, then turn loaves out of pans onto a rack to cool, slice, bag, and freeze.
  • Cost
    • King Arthur says a cup of flour is typically 4.25 oz. So a 50lb bag of flour has 188 cups, which makes about 31 batches (6c each).
    • 50lb of baker’s (bread) flour is about $15 (I think it’s $14 and change), so that’s under 48c per batch (batch=four round loaves or five bread bowls, or one-and-a-half sandwich loaves)
    • Yeast is even cheaper ($4 something for yeast that lasts through at least 100lb of flour?), and salt is even cheaper than that, and water is even cheaper than that. And gas or electricity for the oven doesn’t cost much either. So I’ll round less-than-48c-per-batch to 50c per batch.
    • So for us, 1 batch = 5 bread bowls = 10c each; or 2 batches = 3 sandwich loaves = 3 for $1.

H&S: Rapture

OK gents, a big crowd of 70 men showed up on Saturday night to hear about the Rapture. New pastor Ben Rochester, and our guest Peter J Vik (adjunct prof. Greek, Bible at SDCC) had a very stimulating discussion.

I apologize for the quality of the audio; I think the wind coming off the canyon was messing up the mics on my recorder. But I think if you listen close, you can still hear everything.

Three announcements:

Mark your calendar for Sat 8/25, the expected date of the next topic, Images in Christ in Worship. Watch the H&S homepage (or your email) for further details.

If you are looking for a Reformed church, be sure to visit Pilgrim Presbyterian, and receive God’s word from pastor Ben Rochester.

And if you are looking for BEER, be sure to visit the tasting room at Hess Brewing. In addition to regular tasting room hours, this Friday (15th) is FAC #13, with special musical guest, Blues master Robin Henkel.

H&S: T. David Gordon

A very special H&S has now come and gone. T. David Gordon was his typical incisive self, and gave a very thought-provoking overview of his book Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal. A little different format than usual, the main course kind of blended straight into the Q&A, so I left it as just a single .mp3:

  • Download (15mb) (previously corrupt, it should be better now, please drop a comment below if you have problems)

If you want to read some more, there’s a ton of great material on Dr. Gordon’s website, especially the articles on the Media Ecology and Theology tabs (note in particular the articles about Worship). Also, if you want to hear more on Gordon’s views on worship, I highly recommend this four-lecture series: Reformed Worship in the Electronic Age (and of course, you can’t go wrong with either of his popular books, Why Johnny Can’t Preach, and the sequel Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns!)

And some more audio from Dr. Gordon’s same trip. Thursday he lectured at WSCAL, Friday he lectured at the Cambridge School Parent Academy, Saturday he was with us, and Sunday he preached at Christ URC, Santee.

Here is my introduction:

If you were diagnosed with cancer, and a 25% chance of survival, what would you want to say to the world? Tonight’s speaker, T. David Gordon, was faced with just that question, and the result was the remarkable little book Why Johnny Can’t Preach: How the Media have Shaped the Messengers. With clarity and urgency, Gordon diagnoses the cancer that has reduced the landscape of contemporary homiletics to a wasteland, and even offers an effective cure, which if I can oversimplify, boils down to three elements: learn to read (to deeply engage texts of all kinds: sacred and secular), learn to write (to retrain the mind into the habit of composition), and preach Christ (resolve, like Paul, to know nothing but Christ and him crucified). Every preacher should read this book. Moreover, every Christian should read this book, to learn what preaching should be, and to encourage and pray for their pastors to attain to it. (Incidentally, you can’t imagine the pressure I am under, trying to compose a text to introduce a man who wrote a book lamenting the scarcity of the craft of composing text)

(Anyways), thanks to God’s smiling providence, Dr. Gordon survived, to turn his critical attention to the state of worship music in the church today, in the book about which he will speak tonight, Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal.

At this point, I could bore you with a litany of Dr. Gordon’s scholarly achievements, publications, and positions; but such biographical data is readily available online, and I would much rather allow more time for Dr. Gordon to speak, than waste anymore myself. So please join me in welcoming Dr. T. David Gordon.

How to Publish a Book in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1: Wait for Gutenberg to invent the printing press, which kicks off centuries of progress in printing technology, culminating in fast, cheap laser printers.

Step 2: Wait for Donald Knuth to write LaTeX and METAFONT, which allows digital typesetting to be beautiful.

Step 3: Wait for the internet to be invented, allowing easy transfer of information, and the establishment of internet print-on-demand services like lulu.com.

Step 4: Have a friend publish a fantastic book using Lulu, so you can see a little from the outside how it works, and ask for advice.

Step 5: Have another friend with a complete book all typed up, ready to be published (her father’s memoir).

Step 6: Dump the Word docs to plain text; write perl to insert LaTeX formatting codes for chapters, blockquotes, leading verse for each chapter, etc.

Step 7: Follow advice for creating a Lulu-ready PDF (page sizes, embedded fonts, etc.).

Step 8: Upload the PDF to Lulu — boom, now it’s for sale!

Step 9: Use latex2html to generate a HTML version of the book; use Calibre to convert HTML into both .mobi (Kindle) and .epub (all other) e-book formats.

Step 10: Create a WordPress blog to advertise the book and disseminate e-books.

H&S: Paedocommunion

All right, Hoagers & Stogers, the Paedocommunion debate is now in the can. I’ve got a lot of requests already for the audio, and I appreciate that there’s a lot of interest in this topic, and I also appreciate all the hard work our speakers Glen Gundert and Josh Brisby put into their presentations.

So here are the links to the audio:

Note that with our special afternoon time slot, we were feeling especially loose with the timing of each speakers’ sections; I hope you enjoy all the extra discussion that resulted! (And I apologize for all the chatter between segments; I had an audio editing failure, and decided to just post these as-is rather than spend time trying again)

Mark your calendars now for the next H&S; Sat Apr 14, we are very privileged to host prominent Reformed author T. David Gordon, who will be speaking to us about his book Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal. (Also, if you’re interested, you can hear him on Friday night Apr 13, at this venue.)

And as always, please help our gratitude to Hess Brewing for continuing to provide excellent beer. As I always say, you can’t spell H&S without Hess! (Or is it the other way around, I forget…) In addition to regular tasting room hours (watch hessbrewing.com and their Facebook page), the next F.A.C. is Feb 17.

Roy G. B’v visits Narnia

I know, things have been quiet around here lately. Nowadays, I mostly post at The Confessional Outhouse, but this little tidbit I thought was cool enough to share, and not really aligned with the mission of the ‘house:

Young kids are often taught about Roy G. Biv, a hypothetical gentleman who helps them remember the seven colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Even kindergartners tend to rebel at the mysterious ‘I’ in Mr. Biv’s name, however. What the hell is indigo? It has to be explained to them that indigo, halfway between blue and purple, is actually a very different, super-important color, trust us.

In fact, indigo is a bit of a fraud. The other six “colors of the rainbow” are the long-enshrined primary and secondary colors of art theory. Indigo only got shoehorned into the rainbow because Isaac Newton, who originally saw five colors in the spectrum, decided decades later when he wrote his landmark treatise Opticks that seven would be a more elegant number. He believed the seven colors should harmonize somehow with the seven classical “planets” in the night sky and the seven notes on the diatonic scale. So he added orange, along with indigo, an important dark blue dye since ancient times. In reality, most observers have a hard time seeing indigo as a separate band of the spectrum, and it’s not usually included in modern color theory.

If indigo is iffy, how many colors are there really? Well, the human eye can distinguish between about a million different hues, but a real rainbow displays its shades in one continuous spectrum, not the neat stripes of a Care Bears cartoon. In the Iliad, Homer refers to a one-tone purple rainbow, because the ancient Greeks didn’t have words for the full spectrum of color. Later classical and medieval thinkers agreed with Aristotle that the rainbow had three shades; in Islamic thought, there are four, corresponding to the four elements. So it’s largely a cultural call. Many Asian languages, even today, use the same word for “blue” or “green” — someone in China might describe the rainbow very differently from someone in Finland, or Papua New Guinea. Let’s just say there’s a wide spectrum of possibilities.

Although this is cool and neat by itself, what really caught my eye was that we owe our 7-color rainbow to Newton’s dependence on the medieval seven-planets as an organizing principle for other (all?) areas of life.

Have you ever asked yourself why there are seven Narnia books, and what holds them together, though they all seem so very different? It turns out that C.S. Lewis scholars have been trying to answer that question for over 50 years, and after many unconvincing attempts to systematize Narnia (plays of Shakespeare, days of the week, …), Anglican priest and Lewis specialist Michael Ward had an epiphany that Lewis was (just like Newton) using the seven medieval “planets” (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Sun, Moon) to organize his creative vision — and even subversively using the Narnia series to attempt to re-interject awareness of the seven medieval planetary ideals into the modern consciousness.

For more information, you could go read Ward’s book for lay readers, The Narnia Code, or his academic book (Warning! English professors only beyond this point!) Planet Narnia, or listen to him talk about it on Mars Hill Audio Journal #90, or hear the extended discussion from Mars Hill Audio: Conversations. Or you could just go poke around the man’s website.

And while you’re doing so, you can be listening to this cute song from my favorite band, even though it is now obsolete (maybe they’ll write a new song, like they did when this song had to be corrected).

What’s The Word?

Glad you asked! The Word is a fantastic biblical graphic-design project by this dude Jim LePage, who has apparently been channeling Donald Knuth for almost two years! Why did he do it?

In the past, I’ve tried an approach like, “starting today, I’m going to read my Bible for 20 minutes every day.” While I may stick with it for a week or a month (sometimes even longer), inevitably I stop because I have no self-discipline for that sort of thing. I knew I didn’t want to try that approach again so I tried to come up with a new strategy that would work for me.

I began by thinking of things that I really like and want to do. One thing that kept coming up was design. So I decided to try and combine my love of design with my desire to read the Bible more. The result is a series called Word.

Basically, Word is a series where I create original designs for each book of the Bible. Before each design, I spend time researching the book, finding out the themes, historical context, weirdest stories, etc. I also scan through parts of the book looking for a passage or story that could translate into a cool design. Each design isn’t meant to completely represent the book, rather it is merely based on a passage from the book.

There are too many great designs in the project to try to link to here, but to inspire you to hop on over and check them all out for yourself, I’ll choose a few of the most “three-sixteeny”, i.e. those that most highlight words. Enjoy!

Another good way to browse them all is in his online shop, from which you can order prints. (And then you can hop over to his tumblr, Gettin’ Biblical [HT Pooka], where he shares great Christian graphic design from all sorts of books and such.)

H&S: KJV

All right, another H&S in the bank. Gary Pavlovich acquitted himself admirably, demonstrating an extraordinary amount of research for a layman, and Mark Strauss was again gracious to give of his time for H&S.

A little H&S-related news:

  • Mark your calendars now for H&S: Paedocommunion, Jan 28 2012.
  • Also, take a moment to browse the nifty new calendar of upcoming events (or just check Facebook) for our good friends at Hess Brewing. San Diego Beer Week is coming up, and Hess is involved with a number of great events around town, not to mention regular happenings at the tasting room, like F.A.C., Tri Tip Thursdays, and regular tasting room hours.

And here are your .mp3s. The format is a little different this time, with introductory material from both speakers as well as myself, which I broke out into a separate .mp3.

Download:

For further reading, here are some recommended resources from Gary Pavlovich.

And here are some resources recommended by Mark Strauss.