Dec 30 2007

Missions Project

Jamie Barrows

Rock PileToday I set up a website for my missions project. The whole thing kind of went on hold over the last month. What with Christmas and everything, I just didn’t have a lot of time to work on it. But now I’m getting back to it.

Things are going rather well on the Installer. So I thought it was time to set up a website to host the project files and various pieces of data that this project entails. It’s mostly a shell at the moment, but I’ll be adding to it in the next few weeks. So stay tuned to the new project website for updates.

Check it out: www.MissionDisk.com

Dec 25 2007

Merry Christmas

Jamie Barrows
Christmas Drumb

Dec 21 2007

Personal Faith in politics

Jamie Barrows
White vs Black

The other day I got an invitation on Facebook from a friend. The invitation was to join an online poll.

The poll was put out by ABC News and the question was “What role should the personal faith of a President play in his/her decision-making?

The choices in the poll were as follows.

  • Not sure
  • It should not play any role
  • It should play a balanced role with other considerations
  • It should play a strong role

I didn’t join the poll, but it did get me thinking about the question. And that made me realize that the entire poll was wrong. No matter what you believe about God, religion, or life, there is no right answer to the question asked. It’s a trick question.

Your personal faith is your world view. It is how you believe the world works, and what you believe your place in it is. It is what you use to decide right from wrong, and it is what you use as a measurement and guideline for everything you do. You can’t divorce it from your decisions. So how can you even question how strong a role it should play?

The majority of the participants in the poll voted that “It should not play any role.” Most of them posted comments to go with their vote that expressed sentiments stating the President should do what is best for the country. Or that he/she should attempt to be fair to all religions. But aren’t those both aspects of personal faith?

How does the President decide what is best for the country? What does he/she use as a guideline to know what is best? The President uses his/her belief about how the world works. And what he/she believes is right or wrong. There isn’t any other way to decide what is “best” than to use what he/she believes about the world.

And as for fairness towards all religions, isn’t that also an aspect of personal faith? A belief in personal responsibility and the freedom of religion is the only thing that can ensure “fairness” towards religions that are not your own. That belief comes from your world view. Which is entirely based on your personal faith. This applies even if your “personal faith” is Atheism.

Your personal faith is what you believe about how the world works. And whether you believe in Atheism, Humanism, Christianity, Islam, or any other belief system, it will and must affect every decision you make. It isn’t possible to divorce it from your decision making process. Because it is part of how you think!

I know some people will say that Atheism should not be included as a “personal faith.” The objection being that atheism is a belief in nothing, or is an absence of belief. And they may be right, but it is still a decision about how the world works. And it still affects all decisions and aspects of a person’s life. So I think in the context of the question in the poll, it fits right in.

Dec 14 2007


Jamie Barrows

Phantom MaskWe all wear them. We all hate them.
We try to look like we aren’t.
We say things we don’t mean.
We do things we don’t like.
All to maintain an image of ourselves that isn’t really us.
An image of ourselves that we don’t even like!

I hate masks and fakeness in people. And yet no matter how much I hate it in others, I find myself wearing masks all the time. I hate it in others and I’m one of the worst offenders.

Dec 7 2007


Jamie Barrows
Cross Walk

Sometimes when you have spent all day working on something and you haven’t managed to get anywhere, it’s time to give up. Not permanently, after all you still want to get it done. But temporarily. Just to catch your breath and come back fresh.

Yesterday, I spent all day working on a project. And for most of the day, I was stuck on a small section of the code. At most 20 lines of code. But I couldn’t find what was wrong with it. No matter what I tried it wouldn’t work. I went over and over the same little section of code. But no matter how many times I looked at it, it still looked right to me.

Bunny with head against wallSo I decided that the problem must be data related. I re-worked and went over every step of code leading up to the function that didn’t work. Followed the data through the entire chain. I even rewrote some of it to make it a little more efficient and to ensure that I wasn’t corrupting the data. Nothing. The same function still didn’t work. At about 5:15, I decided to give up for the day. I had spent all day working, but I really hadn’t accomplished much of anything.

I headed home for a much needed break and some dinner. I can tell you I was really frustrated and extraordinarily tired from beating my head against this issue all day. But as I was driving home, a possible solution occurred to me. I dismissed it as too simple, but still kept it in the back of my mind. Slept on it, and when I got up this morning, it still seemed like a good idea. It was only a small change, and it was in the function I had originally thought it was in. So I tried it. And it worked!

I had spent all day yesterday working on this issue and had gotten nowhere. But when I finally gave up and went home for the day, the answer came to me. All I needed was to take a break. Sometimes when you feel like you are getting nowhere, it’s just time to take a break.