Our son, David, is at the age where nightmares are common, and often wakes us up when he’s had a bad dream.

Sometimes as adults we forget how troubling a bad dream can be, as our nightmares (for most of us anyway) are very infrequent.

It has been a very stressful week. Work was busy, and worst of all, our station wagon died, leaving us with a 6-person family and a 5-passenger car. Last night I had a horrible dream, for which I am holding my co-worker Doug “JavaDoug” Ross partially responsible:

I dreamed that, despite the fact that our SMC router's firewall prevents detection of machines behind it, and protection via Norton Antivirus (I do not recommend any other product), our two computers were infected by a trojan that allowed someone from outside to remote control the machines.

No matter what I tried, the remote-operator would write taunts to the screen, install and launch games one after another (Duke Nukem was one, for some reason), and prevent me from using the machines.

What was really scary is that in the dream I hit the button which disconnects the cable modem from the outside world, to eliminate the attacker’s access and start cleaning the damage, but the malicious remote operation didn’t stop!

Rust in Piece

It appears that the last straw has been added to the problems with our still-beloved 1994 Buick Century station wagon.

Although the car is now 11 years old, we were hoping to get another year or two out of it. Instead, the past two repairs have included one big electrical system problem ($300+), a leaky oil seal ($650+), and a blown head gasket ($1,000+).

Today the car was hesitating, so Nichelle took it in to a mechanic. He found the transmission fluid was 2 quarts down, and that there was rust on the transmission fluid dipstick. This appears to be caused by contamination between the transmission cooling system and the engine cooling system. Eventually, this kind of corrosion wipes out the transmission, but he thought it could last up to a year, if we watch the fluid levels. It would cost about $2,000 to actually fix the problem. He added the transmission fluid, and gave the car a test drive.

Nichelle started up the street, and within sight of the mechanic's place, the car died completely. A police officer pushed it with his car into a McDonald’s parking lot.

At any rate, it looks like we’ll need to get a new[er] car, which we need to see if we can actualy afford. This eliminates, at least temporarily, our ability to go anywhere together. Thankfully, lots of people from church live near us, and will help out.

Time to start praying about this latest issue, and the obvious anxiety it brings!

How Accurate Is Our Perspective on the War in Iraq?

Commentator Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down, says American troops returning from Iraq are surprised to find such a pessimistic view of the war in the media.

Listen to his commentary at this National Public Radio archive site.

Interestingly, Mark Bowden is actually against the war, given the failure to find weapons of mass destruction.

I still find it interesting that we have forgotten that Bill Clinton believed Iraq had WMDs, that he failed to transfer information on current terrorist threats to the Bush administration, went soft on terror, crippled the military, and even failed to eliminate Osama Bin Laden when given the opportunity.

All You Need Is Jesus (So I Need the Light Saber)

[david]David, who turned 5 the day we moved in January, re-discovered my light saber keychain, that came as a promo with Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. He has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get me to give it to him for a couple of weeks. The other day he found an angle that he was sure would work.

“Dad, when you’re saved, all you need is Jesus, right?” I looked at his face, and noticed that he had an odd-but-very-cute, somewhat droll smile that I’ve seen before, usually when he thinks he’s figured out a way to get more allowance money.

As he’d been pestering me for several days about the keychain, and I was in its general vicinity, it only took me a few seconds to see where he was going with this. “So,” I said, “you are saying that I only need Jesus, and I don’t need the light saber, so I should give it to you!” His smile broadened, as he was obviously pleased that I saw things his way. “Unfortunately, even though I don’t need the light saber, I still want the light saber, so you can’t have it.” (Plus he has broken it twice.)

Maybe I’ll get him one for Christmas. Of course, he’s already asking for Christmas gifts early (wanting me to order them online immediately), specifically two Lego Spider-Man sets.