"Three to beam up"

A macabre video cheaply exploiting women to sell coffee is not the only video I produced. In high school, as part of the requirements for my grade 11 French course, we had to produce a full story video. After much lobbying, I was able to persuade my friends to make a Star Trek episode. I don't remember what it was called - probably "The Maze".

I based the story on a short story I read in which an alien race captured a landing party and subjected them to various encounters in a maze-like environment. The trick was that the layout of the maze kept changing.

It was certainly the most ambitious project that had been undertaken. We constructed a bridge set. On our shoe string budget it was made of cardboard boxes, unfolded, glued together and painted. We cut out panels, covered them with wax paper and hung blinking lights behind them. We also added various space pictures and had a loop projector in one of the display screens playing the moon landing.

We also had costumes made up. One of my friends’ dad was a tailor and he made us a bunch of red and blue shirts along with one gold shirt for the captain.

We used music from Pink Floyd for the ambience.

My dad made me a model of the enterprise out of aluminum (my dad is a tool and die maker and did a very credible job on the model - the model is in Ottawa at the moment, so I can’t post a picture, but I may later).

The whole episode ran for more than half an hour - which certainly handily beat most which where in the 10-15 minute range. It was another project that received top accolades from peers and professors alike.

We did it as a serious episode. Thinking back, I think we probably should have had more fun and made it a parody.

I remember Chris, who was playing the role of Dr. McCoy, running up to a fallen crewman and declaring, "He's dead, Jim!" before kneeling down and proceeding to examine him.

We had one female crew member, Lt Palmer (played by Elizabeth Rogers in the original series episodes “The Doomsday Machine" and "The Way to Eden" and by Alison in our episode), the communications officer. Since the shirts were so long, she simply tied a belt around her waist and wore the bottom half as a short skirt (in keeping with the short skirts of the original series).

Again, it was an enjoyable experience. I wish I could do more. I do have a video camera and sometimes dream of doing something with the kids (aside from taping "important" events). On the other hand, there are tons of things I want to do. I need to learn to focus.

I later reused the plot of the story in a role playing session, where one of my friends remarked, "Hey! This is familiar."

[Note: In the province of Quebec, high school only goes to grade 11. After that we go to CEGEP, choosing either a two year pre-university program or a three year career program.]

Image taken from here.



There's a man who walks the streets of London late at night

(The Ripper, Jack The Ripper)

With a little black bag that's oh-so tight

(The Ripper, Jack The Ripper)

He's got a big black cloak hangin' down his back

(The Ripper, Jack The Ripper)

That's one big cat I just hate to fight

(The Ripper, Jack The Ripper)

Going back an eon or two, when I was still in high school - more specifically grade 10 (or secondaire IV as it is called in la belle province), part of the curriculum for French class involved producing a 30 second commercial for some product, which would be video taped. The products were assigned randomly to the students. I got Sanka brand coffee.

My production was quite far from removed anything that would be regarded as politically correct and certainly I would not be allowed to do what I had done.

I modified the product I was pitching to be Sanka brand decaffeinated coffee.

The scene: It is dark. There is the sound of panting and running footsteps. A scream is heard. Jack the Ripper steps out from the shadows and stabs his victim to death. Once finished, he turns to the camera and says, In my line of work, you need steady hands and nerves. That is why I drink Sanka brand decaffeinated coffee.

I had the Screaming Lord Sutch song Jack the Ripper as the background music. With the help of my mother, stitched up a victim from an old shirt and pants, which was stuffed with newspaper. Brought a real knife with at least an 8 inch steel blade on it to school.

Aside from all the alarm bells that would set off today, it was a fun thing to do. It was also voted as the most popular commercial by the senior grade.

Image nabbed from here.



The Donkey

Received this in an e-mail from my sister today.

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Image taken from here.



Of elderly men, automatic doors and 4 year olds

Yesterday, we enjoyed Saint Jean Baptiste Day celebrations in Montreal (officially called Fete Nationale in Quebec). Seeing that Jason was sniffly, we went to the drug store to b some antihistamines for him.

As we were approaching the door, an elderly gentleman was entering. He opened the right side door to allow himself in and then proceeded to slide through the gap.

Jason, like all eager kids, ran to press the automatic door opener (associated with the left door). This resulted in the door opening and knocking the man back. Seeing this and that the man had let go of the right side door, so it began closing on him, which would result in his back being struck by it pushing him towards to opening left side door. The vision of him being pinned between two doors two doors - one opening and the other closing made me rush forward to catch the door and open it completely. However, this did not stop the man from falling back and bumping into me - thus getting knocked a second time.

He muttered confusion as to what had happened.

I apologized for Jason activating the automatic door and precipitating the whole incident.



Stuffing children with eggs

I am always looking for more ways to get more eggs into my kids.

I consider eggs to be highly nutritious and good source of protein and nutrients for them.

When Jason was younger, he used to eat 4 yolks no problem - sometimes more - but he detests the white, so it always had to be removed.

I can mix them into a pancake - lot of egg, little flour. Or an omelette.

Today I made French Toast: beat some eggs (3), soak some dry bread (2 slices), and fry.

The only problem is that there is always left over liquid which I usually fry afterwards. Today I had another idea. As I laid the French Toast into the frying pan, I poured some of the left over batter over the top of the toast. Much to my surprise and delight, it soaked into the bread. I had been expecting a bit of an eggy crust - but, nope, it was fine.

My tip for today: You can always squeeze more batter into that French Toast after you have laid it on the griddle.

Jusging by what my kids ate, Jason got about 1 egg in him and Tania 1-1/2. Jason ate his with Honey made from bluberry blossoms and Tania had hers with cinnamon and sugar.

Image nabbed from here.



Seven with one blow!

Last week my work computer got infected with a few unwanted programs. These were all related to improving your search and stuff. What they mostly did was cause annoying popups or redirections.

How did this happen? While blog hopping on blogger using their "next blog" feature, I came across a blog that did these nasty things.

Most of the infections I was able to clean up using Spybot Search & Destroy and Hijaack This, but there was one I couldn't. I suppose I should have called IT, but their general solution is to reformat, notwithstanding I would be at least a day without the computer - and, as a programmer, not having a computer puts a serious crimp in my productivity.

I ran various antivirus and spyware programs, but they could not pick up the offending application. It was very well cloaked (the files did not show up on the hard disk, nor did the application show up in task manager).

I downloaded PsTools which allowed me to see the running applications. I then downloaded the Microsoft Server 2003 debug tools - which could not see the processes, but I could attach to them by using the Process ID (PID) obtained from PsList. This allowed me to track down where they were hiding on the hard drive.

Nothing I did under Windows was letting me kill these files. There were 3 instances of one and a single instance of another. If you tried to kill a process (which I did), they would come back. Obviously, they were monitoring each other and ensuring there were multiple copies running all the time - if one copy was killed, the others would relaunch it.

Eventually, I decided the only way I was going to be able to solve this was to boot a non-Windows OS - in this case Linux. The particular flavour I used was Damn Small Linux (DSL). At 50Mb it is a small download, easy to burn and quick to boot from the CD drive (fortunately, IT left me the option to boot from alternative sources - likely and oversight on their part, since they lock up general access to the computers with admin passwords. Normally, I would have simply booted into "Safe" mode and deleted the files, but I was locked out from doing that).

Now, I was lucky that my machine’s hard drive is FAT formatted instead of NTFS (while Linux can read NTFS, it cannot write to it - hence deleting files from an NTFS formatted drive would not be possible).

I suspect I may have been able to do it using just Hijack This, but when I initially tried, I was not aware of one file - which showed up nowhere (I only became aware of it because after removing the files I new were running, it showed up. Using Microsoft’s debug tools, I was able to determine its location). Hijack This has a feature which allows you to specify a file to delete on reboot - had I known of the file earlier, I would have targeted it for deletion.

The files I got rid of:

\documents and settings\all users\start menu\programs\startup\uutad.exe

The files in the system32 directory were the ones I was able to delete, but they would come back after reboot. I believe this occurred because uutad.exe would be launched on start up and recreate them.

Certainly, I have not observed them since I removed all those files.

Another possibly useful tool is Unlocker, which allows you to unlock a file that is in use, so you can delete it.

I tried seeing if I could submit the files someplace, but none of the antivirus / spyware companies seem to have a mailbox to permit dropping off suspected viruses.

After quarantining the files, I ran a number of free online scanners on them as well, but they claim that there is nothing wrong.

These files would cause periodic windows to popup for either "My Media Buyer" or "Direct Media".

Image nabbed from here.



From the Devil's Dictionary

One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.




As I left work yesterday evening (actually, shortly before I left), it started raining heavily - you know the sort, whether you walked or ran to the car, you were going to get soaked.

When I got outside, I simply listened to the thunder. It was fantastic. It wasn't the Crack! Boom! type, it was a continuous rolling thunder which swirled around you in all its audiophonic glory.

The lightening was also quite spectacular. There were plenty of beautiful jagged bolts coming down directly ahead of me as I drove home (no, not right in front of me, but far enough on the horizon that I didn't have to be dangerously looking for them instead of paying attention to the cars on the highway).

Of course, to top it all off, there was a rainbow. Actually, two. One very bright one and another dimmer one. They were full and complete arcs. Given the position of the sun, almost behind me, there were some pretty specatular optical effects with water spray from the cars around me, making it seem at times that the rainbow was actually in the car.

Image nabbed from here.

I did take some pictures of the rainbow, but I could not fit the whole thing in. I wish I had a wider angle camera.



The time of day

Given that I am finding it really difficult to coherently organize my thoughts and put a couple of words together in any meaningful way - I'll take the easy way out and do a simple blog thing (I was hoping for a single question one, but the 5 questions did not strain me too much).

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.
Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.
All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.
What Time Of Day Are You?




Today, Tania is going to a birthday party (in a little more than 1 hour's time).

However, yesterday we had the following conversation as I picked her up from school:

Tania: You know Walid?

Me: The boy who's party you are going to tomorrow?

Tania: Yes. Well, yesterday, he swallowed a cat's eye [a type of marble - Richard] and today he wasn't in school. I hope he didn't die because then the party will be cancelled.



Risky Singapore?

CBC Radio had a documentary on Singapore and its lack of risk taking yesterday (only just heard it this morning).

Since I know there are 1 or 2 Singaporean readers of this blog, I am curious to know how accurate the documentary is. I find that people often have mistaken impressions about other cultures and people.

You can hear it here.



Fly on the wall

In lieu of real content (and sneakily recycling part of an older blog entry) I am going domestic and present a snippet of some e-mail between Sofia (my significantly better other half) from 13-June-2006.

We always start by asking if the other one is at work.

Sofia: So, are you there yet??

Me: Where?

At the final destination of my life's journey?

Did you know that Ken Thompson died yesterday (or the day before)? He was 82. He was also Canada's richest man.

Sofia: Yes, I heard it on the radio this morning. So, how are you husbandito?

Me: Half my life is over and my wealth is nowhere near $1 Billion. sigh.

Sofia: Well, you still have the other half of your life to make it happen.

Me: > You mean the half of my life when my body and mind start slowing down, falling apart and begin acting as an impediment rather than something I can rely on?

Sofia: > Whether your body acts that well or not it is entirely up to you. If you take good care of your body, you can still rely on it.

Me: Sure, you can eek out a few extra days, but in the end ... there is an end and I am at a point in my life when I see the approach of my journey's end.

Here is something I had written down about 7 months ago:

Sometime over the past 2 or 3 years, I have shed any and all delusions of being immortal.

Intellectually I have known for a long time that some day I shall die. But, it was a far and distant destination beyond my power to observe.

Now I am mortal; a human whose existence inexorably grinds its way to his final breath and heartbeat. I raise my eyes and in the distance I see my journey's end - a barren and desolate land, windswept and cold. A lonely cairn testifying that I am no more. Freed from the burdens of sadness and loneliness, denied the joys of loving and cherishing.

Nevertheless, I expect there are at least another 30 or 40 years left in me, but ... it is still sad to recognize ones mortality.

I have passed from the Summer of my life into the Autumn. I expect it to be a long and glorious Autumn with bright and vibrant colours. A sunny Autumn with leaves burning with burnished brilliance. The next stop is Winter whence the days shall grow shorter and colder until nothing remains but cold and darkness.

"I am forty years old now, and you know forty years is a whole lifetime; you know it is extreme old age. To live longer than forty years is bad manners, is vulgar, immoral. Who does live beyond forty? Answer that, sincerely and honestly I will tell you who do: fools and worthless fellows." – Fyodor Dostoevsky, 'Notes from the Underground'

Sofia: Rich, you can choose to see a glass half full or half empty. It is true that you cannot stop the physical processing of aging but for the rest it is up to you. Although your writing is nice it is so dark and gloomy. Come on Rich, cheer up. We have two small children. All I want is to live for as long as I can and be strong for them. I just wish I had achieved more than what I have at this point of my life, but then again I have been away from professional life for many years. We make choices in life and we have to live by then.

Me: Don't worry, my mental and emotional state are quite good (except for that scare I got last night when I heard Tania and JJ call out for me) [while in that twilight realm of blurred reality which lies somewhere between consciousness and sleep, I experienced the voices of my children crying out to me for help – Richard] - even when I wrote that piece, my mood was good.

It is simply a reflection on the fact that there has been a transition (actually a number of them) in my perception of self. One of those is regarding my own mortality. Up until fairly recently, my mortality was not an issue. I felt I was going to live forever - or, at least, long enough.

Now I do not feel that way. So, the urge to achieve things is greater in me than it has been in the past. I simply cannot afford to wait until a "better time". I need to act now.

The glass is half empty. I have drunk half of it. I don't want to end up like the kids when we go to a restaurant, where they finish their drink before dinner and then wish they had some to go with their meal.

No one is going to pour out a little bit of their life for me.

Image liberated from here.



A great injustice

There are a number of injustices in this world. One of the greatest, I think, is that men can not bear children.

I would love to have been able to bear a child or two or ten. I envied Sofia when she was pregnant. Aside from looking absolutely gorgeous - the "glow" as it is described (it is like being in a constant state of ovulation - women are so much prettier when they are ovulating), I loved to touch her belly, to feel its form, its tightness, to delight in sensing the odd kick.

I wished I could feel the life growing inside me, moving in me, filling me.

Men miss out on the closeness that exists between a mother and child. We can never know what it is like to bear life, to feel its joy within us. To nurture and nourish the child at our breast.

Sure, we can hold our children, tenderly kiss and caress them, but there is a level of intimacy we can never know and for that I am jealous.

Every woman I have mentioned this to thinks I am crazy - all they ever seem to comment on is how painful delivery was, the discomfort in the late stages of pregnancy and how men could never stand the pain.

A number of my male friends agree with me - some only as far as nursing, but others think being pregnant would be nice.

Then of course, there are those with no sense of imagination and a narrowly formed world view who look aghast upon me as I dare threaten to turn the well established order upon its head.

I can say that I am sad that I could never be a mother - a carrier and nurturer of life, rather than just a depositor of seed.

Do you think the man who sells the seed to the farmer has the same connection to the fruit of the harvest as the farmer? Does he enjoy and appreciate the produce as much?

Image nabbed form here



Do you see what I see?

Several months back, Canadian Tire had a sale on multimeters. I bought 4 of them.

This week, they are having a sale on cordless screwdrivers. I bought one on Saturday. I am considering buying at least 3 more.

What possible excuse could a guy have for wanting to buy multiple tools of the same kind? (Aside for a pathetic attempt to compensate for his manhood?)

Because I did not see a multimeter. I saw panel meters - something you could build into a project and use it as an instant display (without having to go through the bother of wiring up a display yourself). Granted, the scaling may be off, but that is easily taken care of with some minor circuitry.

As well, when I held the cordless screwdriver in my hand (it is one of those pencil shaped ones, rather than gun shaped ones), I realized that this could be used as a reasonably high torque drive motor. And, to boot, it comes with its own battery - of course, I may have to disassemble it if I want to wire it up for continuous operation.

It now provides me with an easy way to power a rock tumbler I've been promising to build Tania for the past year or so. Previously, I did not have a suitable motor, nor mountings for the drum. So anything I put together would have been terribly kludgy and potentially dangerous. Now I have a high torque motor with a collet. Cool! Makes the whole drive mechanism a whole lot simpler.

Disclaimer, I have a long history of collecting stuff for potential future use. As of today, they usually end up collecting dust rather than actually being used. But … the future is made of dreams and I always have lots of them.



More men prefer marriage than women

Found an interesting article in USA today. It certainly does not seem to correspond with popular notions, but ... at least for me, it seems to raise hope there are perhaps more men like me than I thought.

Men are more likely than women to prefer marriage over lifelong singlehood and in many ways are as interested in serious family relationships as women, according to a study that provides the government's first comprehensive glimpse into the male psyche.

The survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention involved more than 12,000 men and women ages 15 to 44. It asked a variety of questions about sex, living together, marriage, divorce and parenting.

This the first time men have been included in the agency's study, which has been conducted periodically since 1973. The analysis, released Wednesday, focuses on their responses and offers some comparisons with women's attitudes.

For example, to the statement "It is better to get married than go through life single," 66% of men agreed, compared with 51% of women.

To the statement "It is more important for a man to spend a lot of time with his family than be successful at his career," 76% of men and 72% of women agreed.

"When asked about their attitudes about marriage and family and divorce, more men agree on the relationship of marriage," says Gladys Martinez, the study's lead author. "The majority agree it is better to get married, and few people agree that divorce is best."

Adds Michael Kimmel, sociologist at State University of New York-Stony Brook: "It's becoming a more sanguine picture of American masculinity." Other survey findings:

-- 55% of men and 46% of women intend to have a child.

-- Among fathers in their first marriage, 90% live with their kids, and they are involved with them, from feeding to bathing to helping with homework and taking them to activities.

Neil Chethik, author of VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework, and Commitment, says the new data seem to mirror research he conducted in 2003 in conjunction with the University of Kentucky. Of the 360 men studied, more than 90% of married men said they would marry the same woman if given a chance to do it over again.

"Everything I've seen that has started to look at men more carefully shows that men are committed or dedicated."

By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY

You can find the original article here (at least until they archive it, at any rate).



Wonderful air

It had rained last night and when I stepped walked out the door this morning, I breathed the rich ambrosia with its heavy sweetness and therapeutic essence which promises renewed life to those who drink from its cup.

The still air is cool, but not cold; moist but not damp - fresh and cleansing.

Of course, I also had a good start on the day, I was out the door by 06:00. For the curious, it was 13C (55F) this morning.

Noble be man,
Helpful and good!
For that alone
Sets hims apart
From every other creature
On earth.
- Goethe, "The Divine"

Image nabbed from here.



Of Pavlov's dogs and "doing it"

I am a procrastinator. It is hard for me to deny it. I procrastinate for many reasons, but they usually boil down to:

1) not in the mood
2) no sense of urgency
3) lack of information

no sense of urgency: filing taxes on time, making a reservation, etc are all things I fail miserably at. The simple reason is that I just don't see the point. My world is not suddenly going to end if I delay it. I need to work on recognizing that the world has its own timetable that does not always coincide with mine. It also has arbitrary rules that, quite frankly, I see no point in - they exist solely for the point of existing (in my mind) and hence have no relevance to me. Need to be less arrogant and more in tune with the world around me - which is not a trivial thing for me to do.

lack of information: this is simply another form of perfectionism, trying to make the perfect decision or doing a job perfectly, so I keep waiting until everything falls into place. It is pretty self defeating. I am getting better in some areas (writing documents comes to mind), where I just do it and then wait for feedback to correct whatever I did. This approach is summarized by a number of motivational speakers and writers as: “Ready! Fire! Aim!” You will advance faster if you adjust based on feedback rather than trying to get it right the first time.

not in the mood: what a killer this one is. I should exercise, but I am too tired. I should write something, but I am not inspired. I keep waiting for that epiphany and it never comes. Sometimes small spurts of energy course through the veins and I start something, but then run out of steam (actually part of the problem is also that I constantly flit from one thing to another – staying focussed for any extended period of time is quite hard – which is one reason I find work so tediously monotonous and unfulfilling).

The oft quoted solution is "Just do it."

In Dan Kennedy's book "No B.S. Business Success" he wrote that you can't wait until you are motivated, until you are in the mood. You just do it. As he said, if you are going to write, then write. Set aside some time for writing and write whether you want ot or not, whether you are inspired or not.

No doubt good advice, just how to feel motivated to apply it?

Last night I was reading an article in a writer’s journal (sorry, don't remember the name of the magazine - I bought 3 woodworking, 2 writing and 1 business magazine last night) and one article was on how not to sabotage your writing career. Most of the time these articles are pretty standard filled with the same advice and platitudes that boil down to "Just do it."

The author had an interesting insight on the "I'm not in the mood" excuse: every time we put off doing something (in this case writing) because we are not in the mood or inspired, then we are conditioning ourselves, like Pavlov did with his dogs, to doing nothing. Each time we put off doing something because we are not in the mood, we reinforce not doing anything because we are not in the mood.

An interesting insight that resonated with an old procrastinator like myself. The message is no different from what I have heard and read many times before, but the expression of it echoed within me.

I shall have to see if I can put that into practice … tomorrow :-)



Bannock, Pemmican and smoked Fish

Ever wanted to run away from home? I have.

The last time was in late 1999, first half of 2000. I was really, really unhappy with my work environment. We had gotten a new engineering manager - the only nice thing about him that I can say is that he was very focussed on the end result. During that period, I felt like running away for two years or so. Go someplace green and warm just chill out. Needless to say, I wanted to be alone.

The only other time I can recall wanting to run away was when I was a kid. Probably between the ages of 8 and 11 (or maybe 9 and 11 - definitely while still in elementary school). This had nothing to do with a miserable home life - I just wanted adventure.

I wanted to run away and live in the forest. I had romantic visions of living inside the hollow of the trunk of some majestic tree.
I dreamt of being stuck in my little oasis for days on end in the winter as the temperature dropped below -40C, with howling winds and blowing snow making any venture outside too risky.

I didn't just think about it, I planned and prepared as well. I read books on wilderness survival. I studied camping catalogs and selected supplies. I considered how many pounds of potatoes and flour I would need to bring - checked prices on 50lb bags of potatoes.

I envisioned catching and smoking fish. Trapping small animals like hares and drying the meat to make pemmican with berries I gathered. I would collect mushrooms. I would make bannock.

I couldn’t understand why none of my friends had any interest in running away from home. Surely, everyone thinks like me? Don't they?

In the end, I didn't run away – I worried about my parents and how they would worry and miss me. My dreams shifted to more mundane things like having a nuclear powered rocket ship like Tom Swift and a secret laboratory and development facility hidden in some remote location.

Images taken from here, here and here.




This past Sunday, my church was celebrating couples who have been married a multiple of 5 years. Feeling optimistic, Sofia and I put our names down as celebrating 10 years in this coming September.

There were 17 couples in total with anniversaries ranging form the lowly 10 years all the way up to 50 years. I was surprised to see two other mixed race couples (one were celebrating 30 years, the other 35 years) - since that seemed to be a more daring thing to do back then. In Quebec even marrying between English and French was pretty unusual – since the two cultures tend to remain separated.

We renewed our wedding vows before Tania’s rapt attention (Jason was busy stacking hymnals so he could sit higher in the pew).

Afterwards, we had a nice buffet lunch in the hall at the back of the church (this seems to be the only thing the kids were primary focussed on - constantly asking if the service was over so we could go eat).

Sofia was a bit stressed (having the kids around was a bit of a distraction) because, as usual, I was typically underdressed. I had slacks and a short sleeved shirt instead of dress pants, shirt, tie and jacket like everyone else. I did point out to Sofia that one fellow celebrating his 45th anniversary was no more dressed up than I was. Of course, that was irrelevant to her.

Appearance and substance is one major difference between Sofia and myself. She is very conscious of appearance, fashion, protocol, whereas, I, on the other hand, really couldn't care less. I was clean and neat and did not feel out of place. I was there to celebrate my marriage to Sofia, not show off my suit.

When we were preparing to marry, I proposed that we have a simple wedding - one where I could be dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, followed by a pot-luck afterwards. Needless to say, this did not fly.




When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

Acts 2:1-11

Brothers and sisters, live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

Gal 5:16-25

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

John 15:26-27, 16:12-15



Seeing is believing

If you are one of those who likes to peer into a mirror and see all your defects: crows feet, pores, sags, puffiness, pigmentation, etc (especially when compared to all those perfect people in magazines), perhaps your needs will be met with a little photo retouching.

You can see examples here, here, and here.

Undoubtedly you can find other examples. I just googled on photo retouching. Most hits were for Adobe Photoshop, but I am sure some creative searching can turn up many more examples.

For something a little more artsy, you can check over here.

Yeah, I am directing you away from this wonderful site. For some reason blogger still is refusing to accept image uploads from me.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?