Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bible podcasts

There are several podcasts that read through the Bible. If you don't know, a podcast is like a radio show except on the internet, and every time an episode comes out, your computer automatically loads it, so that you can listen to it whenever you want. On your ipod, or on your computer, you decide. In this case, there are people reading through the Bible. Here are some I know about:

The Daily Audio Bible
This is produced by Brian Hardin, a music producer in Nashville, who reads through the Bible in a year. The Old Testament and the New Testament are divided into 365 sections, and he reads the Old Testament section, the New Testament section, a psalm, and a section from Proverbs.

This is the most professionally-produced one I know. Because it's the whole Bible in one year, each podcast is about 15 to 30 minutes. He switches translations every week so you get to be familiar with many translations.

This one is probably the most fun, for several reasons. It has an amateurish feel, though the sound is clear. The reading quality is irregular since different people take turns reading. This one doesn't have a goal of reading through the Bible in a year, so they take a smaller chunk each time. Each episode is roughly 3 to 7 minutes long. They don't go strictly consecutively through the Bible; instead, they take a book seemingly chosen at random, and read through it.

The translation they use is the CEV (Contemporary English Version), which is pretty easy to listen to and understand for even those who don't have much experience with Christian phraseology. Each episode ends with a suggestion on what to "think about", what to "pray about" and what to "do". They're sometimes insightful, and sometimes just funny.

The Bible Podcast
This is somewhat in between the previous two. It's intermediate in professionalism, length of episodes (4 to 8 minutes each episode), it uses the New English translation which is fairly easy to understand but is a bit more standard than the CEV is, it does the same thing as the Podbible in jumping around to different books, but for each book, reading several consecutively.

They also shut down last year for several months. I don't know why. But they're back up again.

In case you don't know, you use podcasts with iTunes or some other program (generically called a "podcatcher") to regularly download these episodes when they come out, and iTunes or whatever podcatcher you use will alert you when the new episode is ready. At each of these sites there is a button you can click on to have your podcatcher subscribe to the service.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Back to the USA

I'm back. Flew in today. My parents picked me up and we had a New Years/welcome back lunch with my sister. That was fun. Now I'm unpacking and trying to figure out where I put things before I left.

Now I have a fast internet connection (well, DSL which is fast compared to what was going on in Hong Kong) so I'm going to upload the other pictures from Chiang Mai, Thailand:

First, a food bazaar that has great food, available on street stands. Looks sketchy but perfectly fine. One odd thing I noticed, though, is that there were absolutely no insects. Then when I got back to my hotel I saw someone spraying something. A connection?

Dogs are everywhere. They are cared for in temples (a part of Buddhist compassion, perhaps) and come and go as they please.

Here's a dog that was waiting for someone in particular. Tuk-tuks drove by and he didn't chase them. When a woman and a child went past he bounded over to them, then realized he made a mistake and went back to his spot.

Travel agents everywhere selling tours to the outlying areas. Ride an elephant, see some villagers, that sort of thing. This tour agency was run out of a beauty salon near my hotel.

Another temple picture. I included it to point out the Thailand flags and the king's flags. This is actually common. There might be some association between Buddhism and the monarchy going on here.

On a street outside a temple, where lots of Western tourists walk, there are small little pillars that clearly go with the temple. But people have been using them as trash cans.

Here is a typical spirit house, traditionally placed outside every home, and the residents set out flowers and food for the spirits. Often arranged with miniatures like a doll house. What makes this interesting is that this is outside a small police box. Police boxes get them too, I guess.

There's a building dedicated to promoting Chiang Mai exports. They have a store where you can wander through and see the goods.

Starbucks is three stories high.

Riding elephants. I did this. It was okay, but you ride in a basket so you don't really interact with the animal.

You do get to hand the elephant food, though.

but you don't need to ride to do that.
They had an elephant show. Elephants playing soccer, lifting hats off trainers, etc.

The elephant show featured elephants painting.

After that you can buy the paintings. Don't know what the artist's cut is.