Hey! This is the old a broken mold. Newer stuff is at abrokenmold.net.
That being said, feel free to rummage through the archives over here. Also feel free to leave comments; we're still keeping an eye on this.

I just finished the book last night - it's a G.K. Chesterton and somewhat reminiscent of his Father Brown stuff. It's a detective novel, but not a very conventional one. The detective in question is one Basil Grant, a retired judge and unsocial but not antisocial type, who is followed about by his brother Rupert, an ever suspicious amateur detective himself, and the narrator of the book, Swinburne.

As described on the back, there are six chapters, but not a crime in any of them, unless of course, you could consider some of the actions involved in investigation criminal. That is, of course, where the Club of Queer Trades comes in, that mysterious bureau of entirely new occupations. And they really are queer, in that old British sense of the word. I confess that some of them had me until the very end (and they certainly have Rupert and Swinburne to the end every time).

Basil seems insane to his friends, but I found myself rather trusting him even if his ideas seemed absurd. So, to wrap this bit of the post up, it's not too long of a read (my edition is 126 pages) and is worth a read for each chapter, and especially for reading through and discovering the ending (if you don't guess it before, that is).

Dev Update

Now then, the report on the new a broken mold. I'm happy to say that the development, which consists of bending WordPress and CSS to my will, seems to me to be almost over. While I'm here, let me give Firebug a plug; it's a web development add-on for Firefox, and boy is it ever cool. It has JavaScript and DOM tools, which I don't use, but the HTML and CSS tools are handy. The killer feature: you can edit code and see the results in real time (I'm not sure how that works with JavaScript). If you've ever done CSS work, you can probably imagine how handy that is.

I'm also happy to say that I contacted NearlyFreeSpeech.NET last night and was elated to learn that I could pay through the parents' plastic (with me giving them equal cash, of course) since I don't have a checking account yet.

So I'm hoping to get it up within the next half a month, and I suppose a month at the latest.

Time for homework now -- catch you later.

I confess, like Aaron Weiss did, that I want to get famous.

However, I don't want to get too famous. Because that either leads to a bunch of good comments, flame wars, or spammy comments.

I think I would prefer to have a smaller, but still present, audience. I do like to do this kind of informal writing, and I would think it nice if I had a small audience with which to discuss it.

In the blog world, however, you usually get famous for one of two reasons: either you did something that made you really famous, or you provide good fresh content regularly. I hope to do the latter. And I figure the best way to do that, since I'm not that astute of a writer, is to assemble a team of writers, which is, incidentally, what we want to do. Funny how that works, huh?

Anyway, enough down that road. More shall come later on the subject.

For what seems to be to have been a couple weeks, I've been working on getting WordPress all customized to my liking. Right now that mostly means struggling with the theme. PHP and CSS. I hope I can get it sorted out within, say, the next week and a half. Anyway, probably sometime before the end of the year, we're going to be online with our very own website (thanks Google, it's been nice knowing you). I'm still leaning towards abrokenmold.net. I think that's going to be www.abrokenmold.net, even though I like the no WWW look, because it can present some issues. Even if I'm not dealing with those issues at the moment, I do want to be prepared for the future. One might also notice that there is a website at brokenmold.net and that having such a similar domain name is a poor idea. Maybe so, but we already have the name and I want to stick with it. Plus we have a jump in that brokenmold.net seems to be abandoned.

So, anyway, a somewhat quick dump of some thoughts.

Although the final release isn't scheduled until tomorrow at 9am, a sharp-eyed blog contributor sent us a link to what is almost certainly the final version of Matthew's rhetoric essay, probably leaked by inside sources.

Joking aside, this is the rhetoric essay I've been working on, the first of many rhetoric papers to come. I chose to tackle the subject of Christians drinking underage because they don't believe the government should be able to restrict that liberty. Well maybe it shouldn't, but if it *does*, do we have biblical grounds to disobey our civil authorities on that point? I argue not.


This isn't actually all that much of a post, but I did want to refer you to some reading.

So anyway, this thing is mostly about female modesty, but it is mentioned that guys should be modest too. I believe that. It is a somewhat different affair, but worth remembering.

Anyway, here's the thing. Pastor Tollefson preached on Proverbs 7 a couple of weeks ago and I think that reminded me of seeing this mentioned on Covenant Eyes' blog and going to check it out. It's The Rebelution's Modesty Survey.

The Modesty Survey is an anonymous discussion between Christian guys and girls who care about modesty. Hundreds of Christian girls submitted their questions and over 1,600 Christian guys (of all ages) submitted 150,000+ answers—including over 25,000 text responses.


I think sometimes it bugs me when people give these general, Sunday school, perfect summary answers to spiritual questions. Yeah, those are good, and sometimes they are helpful. But sometimes specifics are a lot more helpful and maybe more personable. I like the Modesty Survey because it some of both. Some good general answers about Christian modesty and some very specific questions. I have to admit it was somewhat disturbing how specific some of the questions are and what they might make you think about. But, as Christians, keep your mind out of the gutter.

I think it's a good read / browse-through for guys and girls, I think. It might give some insights to the female side and let guys see what a sampling of other guys think about all this stuff, maybe learn that they might be thinking about the issue wrongly, or see other perspectives on it, or get some good clarification on it, or what you will.

Anyway, I found it interesting. As a technical aside, the questions and answers are loaded up with AJAX, so it's not so easy just to hit up a bunch of links in new tabs for later reading (plus there's often a read more responses link).

P.S. Not to be immodest myself, but…

This is our 100th post.

They weren't all big, intellectual, meaty posts; some were actually a bit trivial. But hey… two people, 100 blog posts, 1 year and 17 days. Not that bad, is it?


…hopefully sometime in the soonish future, there will be a post up about us seeking some new bloggers. Also hopefully in the next few months, I can get a sweet WordPress setup all made and get a proper domain for a broken mold… either abrokenmold.com or abrokenmold.net, I would think. I'm just not digging .org for the name. I'm thinking we can get hosted with the awesome NearlyFreeSpeech.NET. It should be rather affordable with the low traffic I'm expecting (at least at first… if it ever picks up, I'll probably be able to afford some decent fixed price hosting by then).

Two common maxims are: "Familiarity breeds contempt," and "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

While there is latent truth to be found in these statements, one might conceive of a scenario where proximity to an object brings one under some some degree of influence of that object, causing one to take a more favorable view of said object. In this case, distance from the object in question and the resulting objectivity could in fact engender contempt. In this way, the proverbial dynamic may be shown to not always hold true.

Just by way of sharing one of my more interesting trains of thought...

I got a business doing websites
When my friends need some code, who do they call?
I do HTML for ‘em all
Even made a homepage for my dog

-Weird Al Yankovic, "White and Nerdy"

Wednesday was a kind of milestone, or climax, or finish, for a project of mine. And that project was Matt Barley's website.

It started as a idea in Matt's head at some time or another, and he eventually conveyed to me at the New Year's 2008-2009 party at the RimRock Inn that he had been procrastinating on the project for some time and didn't get it done in 2008 and so wanted to get it done this year. I said I could help him, and so, on January 9, the domain name was registered, and a web page converted from a Word document made on Matt's MacBook was thrown up, slightly hand edited.

The first thing I did after that was to recode the page cleanly, with the help of KompoZer. Matt wanted a menu on the side, so it went table based. Yep. I just said that. It wasn't the best of designs, and later on I changed that to a menu positioned left with CSS. Praise God for CSS. Eventually it went back to plain HTML structure with a text menu below the header. Also, somewhere along the line, Matthew of abm fame gave a couple design suggestions and some code for one of them.

And then there was the photo galleries. First I did them with Web Album Generator and tried to embed them in a page, and then tried a page per album, using in iframe. That was a pain, and eventually I gave up and put them on separate pages and edited the CSS in each album folder to make those pages appear look like the rest of the site. And then Matt didn't like so many pictures on a certain album, or something like that. So, we ended up switching to Picasa Web Albums and linking to Matt's public page from his website. That worked out pretty well, since Matt can now manage the pictures all himself, which is great for both of us.

Eventually, I wanted to set up some sort of solution so Matt could edit the site on his own. I thought of a content management system first, and looked up one I recalled seeing linked from BugMeNot called CushyCMS. So I went and checked it out. It turned out to be, as one reviewer put it, more like a remote content editor. You put the proper class on div elements you wanted editable by Cushy and give it an FTP account to work with, and that's how it works. As another reviewer said, most of the time he'd probably forget to download the version from the site if he wanted to edit with something else (e.g., by hand with a text editor). So, that idea ended up being quashed before I even tested it.

I checked out three systems after that, really: Joomla, WordPress, and CMS Made Simple. XAMPP running on Windows on my laptop was my testbed of choice. Joomla was easy enough to set up, but seemed kind of complicated. WordPress looked like it might work well for blogging, but that's not what I was gunning for (although abm may be gunning for it in the future). CMS Made Simple ended up being it. The template/stylesheet system was easy enough to understand, and the use of the Smarty template system seemed nice. Not that I had heard of it before, but inserting Smarty tags seems to me a good way to insert special content into pages.

The first day of development gladdened the heart, because it seemed like it would work out great, and there was a pretty sweet little Picasa Web Albums module I found. There were some frustrations after that. A lot of aggravation dealing with CSS. In fact, that's been a thing all through the development of the website. Eventually things got ironed out and the site was finally ready for launch. The launch however, was terrible. I tried several times to upload and correctly configure the site for being on the server, and made a clean version of the site a couple times while at it. This process was highly frustrating, the least of reasons not being that I still have dial-up! Anyway, I finally got it nailed down and done correctly.

After after putting it in a test directory and then getting the go ahead from Matt, it went root, and now sits there beautifully. It's not much, but I have to admit I'm rather proud of it and am thinking that I may even redo our church website with CMSms if given stewardship of it. So, go check it out.

So I just thought I'd put fingers to keyboard, so to type, since I had a couple thoughts...

(Yes, that was a not-so-subtle parody of Nat's post here.)

-Part 1

Well, over the course of our vacation/trip, we've been staying at the houses of various friends and relatives (similar to Linux distro-hopping, I daresay) and one of the features that varies between locations is the reading selection. At one of my uncles and aunts' house, they had a number of Frank Peretti books; I've read several of his: The Oath, Hangman's Curse and Nightmare Academy, some from the Cooper series, and also Piercing the Darkness. However, I had not read Monster or House, a book he co-authored with Ted Dekker, nor had I read This Present Darkness, to which Piercing the Darkness is a sequel. They had all three of these books, and I read all three last weekend.

This, I imagine, puts me in a somewhat qualified position to review and comment on Peretti's literary offerings, and that is what I intend to do.

Peretti's books might be generally described as supernatural thrillers; he gives angels, demons, and spiritual warfare a very real place in everyday life. In addition, he provides insight on modernity and culture from a biblical perspective; his plots depict the consequences of fallen human nature in a gripping and lively fashion. His simple and unrefined dialogues and almost over-the-top vivid descriptions combine to create an urgent, driving story.

In Monster, for example, the story begins with a handful of people taking a weekend retreat into the wilderness, but an ongoing thread of perplexing hints and puzzle pieces races through the building tension to form an entire web of intrigue that involves Sasquatches, hair-raising hunts and gruesome deaths, and the ruthless advance of Atheistic science. House deals with a deadly game of manipulation and greed, fueled by fear and Satanism, and ultimately exposes our bondage to Sin in our own hearts, and liberation through Christ and sacrifice.

"Light came into the darkness, but the darkness did not understand it."

This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness vividly depict the struggle of the Remnant against the onslaught of Humanistic (and ultimately Satanistic) agendas, power struggles for the education system, government, and even entire towns. But beyond this superficial picture, the awesome conflict between angels and demons, good against evil, is beautifully portrayed. These books are a powerful testament to the efficacy of prayer, with the prayers of the saints providing "prayer cover" for angels to carry out maneuvers, and strength to meet demons in battle. Finally, the assurance that shouts so gloriously from the pages is that God IS ultimately in control, and "light will always pierce the darkness." Shades of C.S. Lewis's deeper magic. I get goosebumps.

So, as the angels say, "For the saints of God and for the Lamb!"

-Part 2-

Now, a bit on mewithoutYou (mentioned of course in many previous posts), arguably my favorite band. To be perfectly honest, my estimation of mwY may have been somewhat lowered by what I've recently learned. Then again, maybe I've just *altered* my preconceptions, while still holding their work in the same esteem. I think that really is the key word-- preconceptions. Not to flood this post with C.S. Lewis references or anything, but I think there is something to be said for his (if somewhat Universalist) account in The Last Battle of the dialogue between Aslan and Emeth (a Calormene), where Aslan explains that, while Emeth thought he had been worshipping Tash, he had in fact been serving Aslan, "For I and he [Tash] are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him." Okay, so it isn't just Lewis's idea either... maybe that's what Paul was getting at in the Areopagus, eh?

The point I'm trying to pose for consideration is the possibility that, despite maybe not holding the correct understanding/belief of Scripture, it is still possible to worship and obey the one true God. That does seem to be validated by Paul's speech. Of course, you don't yet know what I'm referring to, do you? Sorry...

*deep breath*

Well, being on vacation and all, I was able to take some time to do a bit more research on mwY, the band philosophy and background, etc. And I came across a few things that I found a bit unsettling. First there's the fact that their lyrics and philosophy are influenced by Sufi Islam teachings (Aaron was raised in a Sufi household before he converted to Christianity; his father converted from Judaism and his mother from Episcopalian). Then again, it isn't as if such beliefs are *necessarily* in contradiction with a Christian aesthetic. However, it does indicate to me that they aren't on the page I thought they were, at least not nominally, and sometimes nominally can be important. More on that later. Next, I found a couple of interviews with lead vocalist Aaron Weiss found here and here. From the first interview, we find this excerpt:

It’s not like I’m offended if someone says we’re a Christian band. I just don’t think it’s true. I don’t think we live up to that calling, so I’d be reluctant to go saying that, and God knows the truth. Our hearts are very far from Jesus.
Now that concerns me somewhat. However, if you take that in perspective with their lyrics, what do you end up with? They certainly don't seem "far from Jesus" in the many references to Jesus in their songs and the story that they tell. Eh. Hmm.

From the second interview:
I'm trying to understand the Bible, and um, but I definitely don't put it on the same pedestal that I used to. You know, where I'd say, "this is the word of God that I'm holding in my hand and this is infallible and perfect, and there's no contradictions and is scientifically accurate," and all the rest...
And then he goes on to point out reasons he now regards it as more of collection of holy Jewish stories and poems. In this list he cites various "inconsistencies," and how he just wasn't convinced by efforts to sustain their validity. I'm glad, however, to see that he goes on to say, "There's just some things that I pray to God to guide me in the right way and to guide me to the truth in the best way." He's evaluating things that the Bible says by what is written on his conscience, and I hope God will grow him that way.

So, to conclude, I want to express a few final thoughts about the worship/worldview issue. Looking at Romans 1, we seem to find another indicator of God's natural revelation and the potential to worship Him with the knowledge given. Is one absolutely required to have received the gospel to be included in God's kingdom? I hope not... what about those far-flung tribes who have lived for centuries "without excuse"? Then again, I do think it's important to claim the name of Christ if you've received the gospel. I don't know how that all works out... I realize this is sort of a whole different topic, but it is one that pertains directly to the subject at hand, so I'm trying just to briefly set up a framework. C.S. Lewis (last reference, I promise), in Pilgrim's Regress, outlines such a model, where he describes the heathens as being given a "picture" of "Sweet Desire" by God, and in striving towards that, they were living by His law. The Christians in Puritania, however, have the law without the picture. At any rate, I think it does make sense.

However it may be, I love the poetry and passion of mewithoutYou and believe their theme is in worship to God, and I certainly pray for them and hope to see them in Heaven. Can't wait to listen to It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright when I get home in a week or so.

Bonus material: check out http://improveverywhere.com. Hilarious stuff, but language disclaimer.