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April 26, 2008

Pascha or Easter

On twitter, I'm tracking both "Easter" and "Pascha", and this morning I tweeted that I'm seeing more people refer to "Easter" than "Pascha". Someone pointed out that in her parish, the cradle Orthodox said Easter, and adult converts said Pascha, and that got me thinking...

First, maybe a little theology lesson. What the Orthodox call the Dormition of the Theotokos, Roman Catholics (and others?) call Assumption. The difference is that they believe that she was lifted up to Heaven (Assumed to Heaven) while still alive, but Orthodox believe that she died (Dormition). It is an important distinction, theologically. They believe the heresy of original sin, which required the immaculate conception (of Mary), which kept her from dying. So, in their theology, sh e couldn't die, and must have been brought to Heaven while still alive. Orthodox don't believe in original sin. We know that Christ inherited the entirety of our fallen nature. After all, if Mary couldn't have died, and He got His human nature from her, what does that say about the Passion and Resurrection?

The upshot is that there is a big difference between "Assumption" and "Dormition".

Anyway, many years ago, back in California, I saw an Orthodox church named for the "Assumption of the Theotokos", which struck me as odd. Someone explained that when the Russians came to America, they looked at the Roman Catholic names for feasts, and assumed they were the English translation of the names for the feasts (in other words, they thought that if you looked up the Russian word for "Dormition" in a Russian to English dictionary, you would find "Assumption" -- a false assumption if you ask me :).

Now, as for Pascha and Easter. Most languages on earth have, as their word for the feast celebrating our Saviour's Resurrection, some variation of the word "Passover". I could be wrong, but I think only English and German (and possibly some other German-derived languages) have "Easter" as the name of the feast. The word "Easter" comes from a Germanic pagan celebration (that, not coincidentally, includes a pagan deity that takes the form of an egg-laying rabbit).

The fact is, what we celebrate as Orthodox is the Passover. Not the same as the Jewish Passover, but there are parallels. The Jewish Passover was a prefiguring of our Passover. My priest even makes a point to call it Passover (using that as an English translation of Pascha). I'm trying to remember the parallels between ours and the Jewish Passover. I think some are that, when we have the Blood of the Lamb (Christ) on our lips (the door to our soul), that death will pass over us. There are also parallels of the week. The Passover seder was Friday night, so Christ died at the same time as (and mystically was) the sacrificial lamb.

The other reason why I like "Pascha" over "Easter" is it provides a separation of the feasts. Whereas the secular will celebrate Easter with anthropomorphic rabbits and the like, we celebrate Pascha with the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life!

Posted by mlv at 01:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2008

Computer woes (updated again IV)

This is a followup to this post

Trying to decide what to do about my computers. I have a little money courtesy* of Uncle Sam (*money from the gov't is typically in the form of "we steal money from you and may give some of it back. But I digress), but priorities above computing, so I do want to be somewhat careful.

First, here's what I have now:

1: A 1.3GHz, 512MB SDRAM PC running Linux, acting as my server, working great.

2: A 2.4GHz, 256MB DDR PC running ubuntu, to be my regular desktop Linux PC

3, A (unknown sped), 512 MB DRR2 RAM dead PC with a WinXP Pro hard drive.

Now, some caveats. #3 is dead. Power Supply is fine, probably something with the mobo or CPU
(or maybe RAM, but I doubt it). #2 got somewhat fried when I managed to (almost) put it's RAM in backwards. Boots and runs fine, but for some reason (1) the onboard audio doesn't work anymore, and (2) when I try to use a PS/2 keyboard via KVM, it's either unreliable or doesn't even work.

Okay, now what do I need? First, a server, handling email, spam filtering, and other sundries. Next, a ubuntu PC to use as my general PC, and probably a windows PC for occasional use.

Now, I've got half a mind to just swap #1 and #2. Reason: the server doesn't need much in the way of RAM (256MB would be ample), but does have some CPU needs. Downsides: 1, I'm not too confident in #2's mobo. I mean, granted, I can work around the keyboard issues, and I don't need the sound. But this machine really has to work at 100% reliability. And a semi-fried PC doesn't fill me with confidence. 2, while getting enough ram in the ubuntu machine is paramount, I'm not thrilled about it's speed being cut in half.

The other thought to think about is, do I want a mac? If I did, it would probably be a Mac Mini with dual mac/windows boot. On the other hand, there's little, and getting less and less, I need with Windows. So, if I did this, the mini (sudden thought -- I need a monitor anyway, why not just get an iMac?).

More to think (and sleep) about.

UPDATE: I'm seriously considering the Mac Mini, but it is somewhat pricy...

UPDATE II: tried plugging Win XP hard drive into ubuntu machine. Boots more-or-less okay (keyboard works for a while, mouse doesn't). Was able to attempt to log in w/o mouse, but it complained that an administrator was needed to re-authorize it with Microsoft. Given that it's an OEM version, I suspect that given that the mobo/cpu's presumed dead, it's dead too. :( Q for all my readers*: what's the actual part that windows uses to decide if it's been moved? I'd guess it's the CPU, but I don't know.

Also, I'm tracking some good deals on Mac minis on eBay. Looks like I'll buy it there.

UPDATE III: Bought a Mac Mini on eBay. Can't wait to get it. Now need to think about what else I need.

UPDATE IV: Time to think about what I have (or will have), and what I need. I've got a Mac Mini w. 2 GB RAM, and the bootcamp dual-booting software. But I don't have a legit (non-OEM) version of Windows. Q: Do I need windows? Most (non-web) that I use windows for these days is for things like iTunes. And if I'm not mistaken, iTunes has been ported to MacOS. The other issue is the tivo support, and I know that there is a version of tivo for the mac. According to tivo's website, I need to buy Roxio or Toast 8. There's a chance I won't.

There may be some sundry applications on Windows that I'll miss. I can't think of what they are, and I suspect that whatever they are, there'll be some MacOS analog. There may also be some Linux apps that I may want to be able to use. I have the debian server, and the ubuntu machine, although I may try to make those the best of both worlds (not sure what that means yet).

So, what other sundry hardware will I need? I'm getting a monitor with the mac. I have a PS2 keyboard and a presumably functional KVM switch. Problem: I don't have a USB keyboard (well, precisely, I'm typing on a USB keyboard, but it's needed elsewhere. Besides, it's a microsoft keyboard, and I suspect they don't have mac drivers for it). There exists a PS/2 to USB adapter (saw one at MicroCenter). I could use that with the KVM that'll give me the ability to use the PS/2 keyboard. Or I could I suppose just use the USB keyboard, but that'll mean one more keyboard lying around, and I need some way to control the KVM (I'm assuming I'm going to keep the kubuntu around just for old time's sake). Other option is to buy a USB KVM along with the USB keyboard, but I have a glut of PS/2's downstairs, so this seems the best solution. Mouse would be a bit tricky, except that I may be able to use a USB to PS2 mouse adapter for the (USB) mouse I like.

So that's it, I guess. Looks like I have all I need, if I just get a PS/2 to USB adapter. I may need to rethink hard drives. Internally, the mini only has 80GB, but there are plenty of external options (I have an external IDE case I can use with any one hard drive I have). But maybe investing in a nice big external drive might be simpler. I wonder if bootcamp can boot off a USB drive?

UPDATE V: Didn't think to look carefully. The Mac I bought is a Core Duo, not a Core 2 Duo. Apparently that means 32bit, not 64bit.


Posted by mlv at 11:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 05, 2008

NNS live blog

I'm watching the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Texas and thought, what the heck. Let me try my first attempt at a live blog. I'm watching it on TIVO, so I've time-shifted. My computer says it's 3:56 PM (EDT), and my Tivo says we're 24 minutes into the race (lap 8 right now).

Start with, what's with this $15k bonus for throwing your helmet?? So does that mean NASCAR won't penalize drivers for throwing helmets? Is this a change in the rules, or is the bonus designed to offset penalties by NASCAR. Crazy. Absolutely crazy.

Also, don't get me started about that first caution in lap 2. Someone threw a T-SHIRT onto the TRACK?? Yikes...

Now lap 17, Harvick's still in the lead.

4:10:58 PM (44 minutes on Tivo): Had to restart Firefox to get this cool add-on that gives me the time-stamp. Not much changed yet, getting ready for green flag pits.

4:18:53 PM (53 min on Tivo): Ouch! Kevin Harvick just lost an axle. That'll ruin your whole day...

4:20:22 PM Got to admit. Tivo live blogging is rather silly. Unless you're actually in my living room right now, these times are absolutely meaningless (well, the XX minutes on Tivo time might mean something).

Posted by mlv at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack