Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Back from Bible School

It's been about three weeks since I've written to the blog, but it's been a busy three weeks. No, losing Buttons hasn't driven me over the edge, though my son is still trying to figure out when Buttons is coming home to us. Sigh.

The biggest thing to happen since early July is the new version of iTunes, which allows users to subscribe to podcasts. I've been aware of podcasting for quite some time, but haven't actually followed any because it didn't seem worth the trouble. With the new iTunes, you can subscribe to a podcast and automatically get the latest one. You can also keep your podcasts synchronized with your iPod, which was a real lifesaver for me during last week's vacation. My current subscriptions are the Marty Roberts show, produced in Bethel, Israel, and the podcast from the von Mises institute. The former is an awesome news program, focusing on current events in Israel. The latter is a motley collection of lectures on Austrian economics--a version of classical economics that I strongly favor. Austrians tend to be libertarians, so there's a mix of libertarian commentary as well.

Naturally, I've started my own podcast. Lest you think I'm (only) jumping on the bandwagon, I should say that I've been planning to do it for some time--it's just the lure of publication on ITMS that finally clinched my resolve. So far the "Len Budney Show" is partly audio blog, partly comment on events in Israel, but I don't intend to be strictly an audio blog. Current events and issues will be a big part of it, but comment on various Bible topics as well. What's tricky is that I'm still learning how to do the podcast thing; I was never a college DJ. Filling the air and keeping to defined time segments takes a bit of practice. Another challenge is balancing the content, because I don't plan on making a podcast with only Bible believers as the target audience. My idea is to keep things relevant, understandable, and at least a little interesting to non-believers. That's a tricky order, so I'm feeling my way along there. So far three shows are "in the can".

Last week I attended the New England Christadelphian Bible School, in its new location at the Ascutney Mountain Ski Resort near Ascutney Vermont. It was an awesome week--the classes were great, the food was good, and the scenery was beautiful. From a technical standpoint it was a visit to the middle ages, because there was no cell coverage, no Internet, no nothing. That was tough. I did use my laptop extensively, but a laptop without Internet is basically lobotomized. I used it mostly to edit photos of the Bible School, and to take notes on the classes.

I couldn't check my email or download the latest podcasts, since there was no Internet. Luckily I had a full collection of old podcasts to listen to. Every morning at 6:00 I took a three-mile walk through the resort, and the fully-loaded iPod kept me company. Schweet!

Right now I'm on the bus back to work. After eleven days away, I'm looking forward to getting back into it! There's a daunting pile of stuff to get through my first day back, judging by the emails (the deluge of emails) I got on returning home. It should be a great week. I like having a nice full (but not overful!) pipeline.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Goodbye, Buttons

My cocker spaniel Buttons has a whiny sort of bark, which I admit is annoying. I spent three hours building her a kennel yesterday, because my wife is at Bible school with our five-year-old for the week. Since I catch the bus to work at 7:30 in the morning, and get home about 6:30 in the evening, the dog was going to have to stay outside. Eleven hours inside was a recipe for damaged carpets.

Buttons's first introduction to the kennel came last night. I put her inside and, to see what she would do. The officer was very nice, and said that they had received four phone calls complaining that the dog had barked continuously. I explained the situation, and asked if I'd get in trouble if I tried her again in the kennel to see if she settled down a bit. He replied that the worst that could happen was that the neighbors would complain again, and we'd have another conversation. Nice man.

So Sunday morning about 9:00, before church, I put Buttons back into her kennel. She didn't make a peep at that time, nor for the next fifteen minutes or so that I observed her from behind the kitchen curtain. I left for church. Afterward, my dad and I drove a block away in his car, and watched her for a bit. She was laying quietly in her kennel, not making a sound. We drove on to lunch.

Perhaps a half hour after returning home, the police car arrived. I went out on the front step and hollered, "Howdy!" He said "Hello," in that authoritative voice that cops like to use. I said, "Come on inside!" He replied, "I'm actually busy, and have no time for you. But," he added in an angry yet commanding tone, "your noisy dog problems are over! We have a statute in this town! Here's your copy of the statute and your citation!" He handed me a copy of the statute, and drove off.

Inside, I told my dad that there was no answer but to return her to the pound. In a touching show of heart, he offered to do the evil deed for me. I agreed to stay home and tear down the kennel, in hopes of returning it to Home Depot. He put a leash on her and led her off.

It's nighttime now, and the house is very quiet. Buttons's crate is still in my son's room, pillow inside and door ajar. Her leash is still hanging on the coat hook by the door. I dread my son's return from Bible school, to hear what happened to her. The house is very quiet, and I'm very alone.