A Twist of Citrus

A Twist of Citrus is the main blog of lemon-lime.org. You'll find musings, interesting news of the day, photo galleries, trip logs, technical and site updates and more...

I know many of the people who are friends with me on Facebook are conservative and disagree with me theologically over issues such as marriage equality and whether or not the federal government should be involved in health care.

I am willing to agree to disagree over many, many issues that are close to my heart, but I am not willing to agree to disagree over the issue of marriage equality. In MD, there is a proposition up for vote which would allow gay men and women to publicly declare in the civil sphere what they already live out in their daily lives.

I know the word "marriage" is difficult to for many Christians to separate from the religious institution, but the truth is that in America, we don't require people to marry in a religious institution. We already maintain a defacto separation between civil marriage and religious marriage. This is why it is legal for folks who of two different religions or no religion at all are able to marry.

Saying that, there are many denominations within Christianity who have come to a biblically-based position, guided by the holy spirit, which does affirm same-gender marriage. Perhaps it is easy to write them off as "not real Christians", but I would implore you to stop for a moment and consider that this may be a position of pride. An issue of "I'm right because am too prideful to admit I could be mistaken."

I am not saying you are definitely mistaken. By all means, to say this with certainty would make me guilty of the same mistake I ask for you to consider of yourself. We can know Truth. Theologically, you can take comfort that you are right and I am wrong. But you cannot, in this great country of ours, force those beliefs on me. You cannot tell me that your religious views should shape the civil sphere. In the civil sphere we ask everyone to base their consideration of the law on the principle of ecumenical-ism. That everyone's ideas and values carry equal weight. This leaves us with a burden of proof we would not normally subject to in our personal lives.

Laws must be based on principles which are not rooted in religious dogma, but on the science, logic and real-life evidence that drive those religious rules. We understand, for example, that in the old testament, that religious purity rules regarding the consumption of food were a major leap forward in terms of hygiene and would have helped maintain the health of the tribes of Israel. Nowadays, we Christians disregard these rules, as Jesus is, himself, the fulfillment of The Law, and we do not need to worry as much about the hygiene of the food we eat. [Matthew 5:17] Imagine, if you will, if we did not require this. Would you be okay with being subject to Sharia Law as a Christian because the majority of people in the country happened to be Muslim? This is not ecumenical.

The Bible also says it is OK to make this separation in the civil sphere. This is why, as Christians, we are expected to follow the laws of the country we live in, so long as they do not interfere with our own relationship with God. [Matthew 22:21]

Please don't limit the civil rights of gays and lesbians because of your personal religious beliefs. Many gays and lesbians have been in committed relationships which have already lasted longer than the majority of heterosexual marriages. I think it would greatly benefit society to recognize those commitments and the commitment of these couples to raising their children. We should protect these relationships legally, and the only way to do that effectively under the current system of Civil Marriage is to grant full civil marriage equality to same sex couples.

Your comments and questions are welcome. I love all of you even through our disagreements on these important issues. I will not love anyone less because they vote against Proposition 6, but I will say that your failure to support it will damage our relationship and my respect for you. It is because I love you that I will not tolerate what I believe to be a very damaging position against gays and lesbian's civil equality and liberty.

I welcome any questions or comments about this.

#religion #politics #marriageequality #proposition6 #Maryland

General: Corretta Scott King

2012-10-25 04:10:17 UTC by

Every so often I get really down because of things going in on my family. Being a Gay Christian is a pretty massive struggle in this broken world of ours. I don't think my Mom will ever really understand that these two things are completely compatible, and that God is fine with my relationships with other Men. I believe he affirms my relationships because they follow the Biblical model for healthy relationships. I don't sleep around. I want to get married one day.

MD is getting ready to have a general vote on my civil rights. The right for me to get married in MD one day if I move back to the state where I grew up and where my family still lives. I don't think my Mom will be voting in favor of the law. I don't think any of my family still in MD will. That's a bitter pill to swallow. I believe they are hiding their ignorance and prejudice behind Jesus, and that makes my heart very heavy with sorrow.

My spirits were lifted, however, when I came across this collection of quotes from the late Dr. King's wife, Corretta Scott King:

"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice... But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere' ... I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people."
-March 31, 1998

"Like Martin, I don't believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others", she would tell black civil rights leaders angered by gays and lesbians comparing their struggle to their own. She would quote her husband and say, "I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible."
-June 23, 1994

"Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages."
March 24, 2004

"We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say "common struggle" because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination."
November 9, 2000

"We have to launch a campaign against homophobia in the black community."
June 8, 2001

"Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group."
April 1, 1998

General: In Singapore

2012-09-22 00:09:08 UTC by

Well well well. This must be the nicest airport I've ever been to. They have a butterfly garden, free foot massages. Free internet. Free tv. Free places to charge your mobile. The only thing they dont have is free Wifi which a bit silly because they even have free ethernet based internet if you have the proper cables and a laptop. I'm traveling light so I don't have one.

But they do have little internet stations right up at your gate, and that's what I'm on now. I just thought I'd poke my head in and say "I'm alive" and that things are going really swimmingly. I've just completed a 2-week trip that included stops in Singapore, Holland and France, and it was quite a whirlwind of a trip!

More later, I have so many photos and so many stories from the trip I'd like to share. Until then, I have another 8 hours of flight time left before I can slink into my bed, curl up, and die from the exhaustion. This was not exactly a relaxing trip. But it was good!

My roommate back in the states showed this to me and asked me if Australians really sound like this...I didn't know how to answer him.

This is one of those time when I'm so excited about the internet and music platforms like Soundcloud, Grooveshark and even Youtube. I've been working on a setlist of some of my favorite electronica artists that haven't gone very mainstream yet, and I actually came across a new remix for Gotye's Somebody I Used to Know that absolutely knocked my pants off.

TheFatRat isn't big even in electronica circles, but he's been generating some music blog buzz and you'll find many of his remixes on electronica collections on YouTube. The music is intoxicating and eminently danceable. As for his "sound", expect thick, vibrato-laced base lines with lots of chirping, chops and imported sounds from the funk/jazz scene.

In some interviews, he's described his music as what ADHD sounds like, but I think that is a distinction more suitable for GirlTalk, than TheFatRat. Yes, the music is constantly shifting and there are more sounds sprinkled throughout his music than confetti across times square at the new year, but it all has a very deliberate feeling to it. As someone who been classically trained on the piano for about 18 years, it's hard to miss the structure TheFatRat imbues in his music. It's not enough to say that because there's a lot of staccato and quick chord progressions that his music is ADHD. Heck, Chopin and other romantic era composers practically built their careers on using music to reach into their audiences minds and keep them thoroughly occupied. People like listening to music with drama in it.

Oh, and he seems to have a penchant for taking sappy hipster music and turning it into something ridiculously accessible to people who don't own a fixie. I dig.

Yesterday was the Qualification Round of Google Code Jam.

I am happy to report that, not only did I blow through the required 20 points to advance, but I ranked 750 / 18365 code jammers with a score above zero. (Nearly a full 20,000 competed in total.)

The first three problems were interesting and I really enjoyed coding up the solutions for them. The final problem (Hall of Mirrors) was much more "mathy" than any of the others, and although I'm pretty good at these sorts of problems, I didn't feel up to spending the effort and headache of solving the problem in order to code it up. I already had a potential of 60 points, so why overdo it before it really counts? Plus I had to head into the city to go to the gym and do a huge load of shopping for the cookout we're having today, and by the time I got back I was feeling pretty bushed.

It was fun to dust off Java for this though, and I look forward to using it more for the next round! PHP is a mess of a language compared to the structured fascism of Java. But damn if I don't just love them both.

The next round will start at Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 01:00 UTC. I am competing under the pseudonym 'illiteratus' if you want to watch me compete!

Image: The Unweaver: Second Edit

2012-04-13 13:04:35 UTC by

I had another crack at the image I was working on last night.

  • The tree and the crack in the setting sun are now more normalized to the same angles I've used throughout the design.
  • I changed the title font to Cuprum and the subtitle font is Abel. These are both open fonts available from Google Web Fonts.

  • Probably the most obvious change is I've added a logo above the main title which carries the same motif as the sun and the tree above. This logo, as you may have guessed, is inspired by the Eye of Horus.

I'm always open to suggestions. In case you're wondering why I've suddenly started tacking "The Unweaver" on top of the Scenes from a Future Memory title...well that's too bad. I'm not ready to explain myself just yet.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Images from this post:

Image: The Unweaver

2012-04-12 11:04:23 UTC by

I was playing around tonight in flash and I came up with this little poster / book cover. It's nice to be creative sometimes. Can you tell which chapter this is from in Scenes from a Future Memory?

Images from this post:

This lady is kind of my hero.

(via laughing squid)

Video: Let There Be Drama!

2012-04-12 04:04:45 UTC by

I know I'm basically giving free advertising to TNT for this post, but since not that many people really read this blog anyway I had to share the total awesomeness.

Video: Caine's Arcade

2012-04-11 00:04:30 UTC by

I've been seing rumblings about this video called "Caine's Arcade" all day but I only just got a chance to sit down and have a look. What a super cute idea for a short film. They absolutely made this kids day, and I think it's so important to validate kids creativity. Even though we might think, "It's just a stupid cardboard box," this kid has created a universe in his head that he wants to share with us. What a gift. Good on ya, kid.

Caine's Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

Video: Don't Text and Walk

2012-04-10 23:04:55 UTC by

I've been saying for ages that texting while you walk is not only supremely annoying for all the poor saps stuck behind you, it's really pretty risky out in the wild. And this time, when I say out in the wild...I mean the wild.

Video: Elephant Plays with Phone

2012-03-29 00:03:39 UTC by

What beautiful and intelligent creatures. I can't believe anyone would think it morally acceptable to hunt such magnificent animals for sport. These are no deer, that's for darn sure.

General: Welcome!

2012-03-26 09:03:01 UTC by

If you are reading this post, it means that you are connected to my brand spanking new cloud server sitting on Rackspace. Goodbye and good riddance, GoDaddy! I've seen the light and I'm keeping my eyes to the heavens from now on.

Image: Miss Frizzle Is My Hero

2012-03-21 14:03:21 UTC by

This fanart drawing of Miss Frizzle is so full of awesome I don't even know what to do with myself.

Go to the original site if you want the wallpaper sized version. :)

General: Eufloria

2012-03-20 16:03:47 UTC by

For the last week or so I've been making my way through the game Eufloria on my iPad. I tend to think of Eufloria as a sort of two sided tower defense game, wherein you are both building your defenses while invading your enemy. There are two types of towers, called trees in this game, one which produces "Spores", the basic fighting unit in the game, and one which produces explosive pods that heat seek enemy spores. The goal is to colonize all the asteroids in a given area by defeating the enemy spores and infecting the soil of their asteroid with your own spores until you take control. There are some extras on top of this basic idea, but that should be enough to give you a good idea.

It's a fun game. You're allowed to play at whatever pace makes you comfortable. If things start to feel too slow, the creators of the game have given you the ability to toggle between three speed settings.

I had a really fun time working my way through the story mode during my commutes to and from work. The graphics are very well designed, and the levels were challenging, varied and required various strategies to win.

If you have a chance, I recommend giving it a try.

Well, I said I would do it on NoDaddy, and I'm following through even though GoDaddy did cave under the pressure and renounce it's support of PIPA and SOPA. I'm leaving GoDaddy for good.

The fact of the matter is that as soon as I signed up with them I learned of all sorts of troubling information about the founder of GoDaddy, Bob Parsons, that left me feeling very uncomfortable. As much as I do love that he is from my hometown of Baltimore, shooting elephants isn't exactly the kind of thing I want to endorse, let alone fund. Elephants are incredibly intelligent creatures with their very own, complex, culture. Adults have the ability to transmit knowledge to their children. I'd rather he was a seal clubber than an elephant shooter.

Still though, it was the whole SOPA/PIPA fiasco that put me over the edge. Any company that primarily operates on the web has the responsibility to advocate for an open and free (as in freedom, not beer) internet. I know that sometimes such advocacy might not help your bottom line, but that's the price you pay. We as customers have the right to choose our service providers, and I choose a company that doesn't shoot elephants and doesn't support the government lockdown of the internet in America.

It's pretty late here, and I need to get to bed, but I've migrated all my domains over to enom, and I'm currently setting up a cloud server over at Rackspace to take over for hosting duties. I'll have total control with my server at Rackspace, and it should only cost me a few more dollars a month. I'm kind of wishing I had done this sooner, to be honest.

Video: Temporal Distortion

2012-02-26 18:02:14 UTC by

There's something so riveting about watching timelapse videos of the stars rotating through the sky. This video includes some incredible shots of the Milky Way as well as some really vivid aurorae—something I have to see before I die. The whole sequence is set to a great musical score...it's really a testament to the beauty of the universe we live in. Watch it now!

Temporal Distortion from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

General: Show Me The Data!

2012-02-05 03:02:55 UTC by

This article really makes me wonder why doctors and hospitals haven't been all over digital archiving of their records. Keeping paper copies of all patient files is expensive and I have heard dozens of stories of friend's and family member's records being misplaced or lost. It's unacceptable in this age.

I know it's not quite as simple as running your records through a scanner and shoving them on a hard drive. There are questions of patient data security, backups and the possibility of malicious tampering— but all these issues exist with paper files, albeit as physical risks instead of digital risks. The time has come. I see absolutely no reason why there shouldn't be a way of providing patients with their records in an open standard file format that can be used by anything from a patient's iPhone to their PC or a specialized machine used to track a diabetic's glucose levels. Where are you ISA?

General: Sheep Hurricane

2012-02-01 17:02:20 UTC by

This is just too rich not to post. Poor sheep don't know they're stuck in an infinite loop!

Obvious humor factors aside, this horse race model is actually a really great way to visualize the GOP primary candidates' relative standings over time. Nice, Slate. Nice.

General: Going Dark for SOPA

2012-01-17 18:01:28 UTC by

In solidarity with sites like Wikipedia, Reddit and the Cheezburger Network, I have decided I'm going to take down my entire site from Midnight on Jan 18th until Midnight on the 19th.

If you aren't familiar with the issue, SOPA and PIPA are very scary pieces of legislation. Everyone is familiar with China's great firewall, and the lack of freedom on their internet, and these two acts would go a long way in creating a walled garden in the US. Don't allow big media companies to strip the Internet of its free and open nature. This doesn't only affect the US. This effects everyone. I know I'm a small site, and people probably wont even notice that I've gone down for the day, but I think we can all do our small part to voice concern for what could be a very troubling future for US tech innovation.

Well, I inadvertently pushed some code changes I made months ago live today. I had actually forgotten I had redone the layouts for the blog and Scenes from a Future Memory, so that was a fun little surprise. The logo is going to look a little weird for a while until I have a chance to redo it again as a transparent PNG. I seem to have lost the original image, which is a bit of a tragedy, because I really like the look of the current logo.

As of now, the code running this site is about a year old, believe it or not. I imported the first blog post to my database on New Years day last year. It's been quite the year since then!

At the time, I was only a few months into my first job here in Australia, and feeling pretty lonely and homesick. Now, I am just starting a new job and last weekend I hosted a birthday party and was surrounded by friends I whose company I really enjoy. Jamie, Miguel and I had a great New Years Eve party as well, and overall I'm just really pleased with where my life is. I've been home to visit my family twice, and I'll be going to visit again in May when I go home to watch Jamie receive his diploma for his Masters.

I just finished my first week at a new job last Friday...I'm really loving it. The people are really friendly, and the "Cave" where they stick all the developers is anything but: It has wall to wall views of Bondi and the Harbor on two of the walls, a brand new shower room and it's attached to a truly massive kitchen with free food like apples and Nutella. I'm currently waste deep learning all about CakePHP and MongoDB for the project I'm assigned to, and I've already made some serious progress upgrading the project from Cake 1.3 to 2.0, so it's good to already have something to show for the last two weeks.

I'm really loving CakePHP so far. In fact, since I've been kind of avoiding updates to my site because of how much work it is to fix things, I'm thinking about scrapping all the current code the site runs on in favor of starting over with CakePHP and reworking it from the ground up. Obviously the database will stay, so all the content will still be here, and I won't let any of the links or anything change so most of the biggest changes will probably be pretty transparent to everyone.

It's been a great year, here's to a great 2012!

Video: Goldfish Salvation

2012-01-10 16:01:14 UTC by

What an incredible illusion. I'd love to try this technique some time. I understand working with resin can be extremely difficult if not very rewarding. Just look at these incredible works by Riusuke Fukahori.

Hah. What an amusing and instructive post by Business Week showing how easily charts, graphs and statistics can lead us to believe there are connections between data that may seem significant, but really are not.

In other words (say it together, children): "Correlation does not imply causation."


There is a very special place in my heart for Calvin and Hobbes.

Check out this hilarious lawn decoration for the Christmas season.

Don't hate me when you get the song stuck in your head for the next week. I was aware of a lot of these little tidbits of history about the famous Mahna Mahna sketch on the Muppet Show, but Slate has up the first article I've seen that connects everything together as a comprehensive history of the sketch, from its inception as a softcore porn soundtrack (!!) all the way to its reference on the UK version of The Office.

This is hilarious. Just stick it in the f*cking oven.

Also, as Julia child said: "SAVE THE LIVER!"

I am always very saddened to hear about high art forms like Kimono making are dying out because nobody in the younger generation is willing to put in the effort and patience to learn from the masters. These sorts of things are always on the precipice of extinction and it only takes one or two generation for the skills and knowledge to completely disappear, never to be seen again.

Slate put up a great article today talking about the psychology of less-than-lethal force when you're in the position of law enforcement officers. It's not that they are particularly evil for using things like tasers and pepper spray, it's that they are human. And humans are lazy.

The part that really jumps out to me, is that the data backs up the psychology. Introducing less than lethal force options actually correlates directly with a rise in in the rate of violent encounters during an arrest.

Not to mention the fact that people can and do die from being pepper sprayed or tasered. Less-than-lethal is a bit of a misnomer.

I just hope they don't come out with shellfish spray or I'm totally screwed.