This week has been bananas (b-a-n-a-n-a-s), but I already made my disclaimers about that. All the same, I felt it my civic duty to provide you with the finest in linky goodness this Thursday. And I even have a theme: pairs. And so, live, from Canadia, the land of perpetually bad food...

CSS fun for those of us learning that stuff: zen garden and a list apart

More useful stuff for web design (figured we should start with a pair of pairs): dafont and morguefile.

How stuff works: how stuff works (duh) and mistupid.

Fun with time: industrious clock (may have linked to this one already but its still pretty cool) and timeline. Here's a bonus in case industrious clock is a repeat: time zone check is great for travelers and those working with folks around the world.

Some interesting writing and some other uses for the pen. Seems like all the cool people in consulting are excellent pen spinners (no comment), so I'm working on perfecting my 360 at the moment.

Google goodness comes in pairs this week too. There's already a blog out there based on Google maps (well there's probably 20 of them at least by now), and this Guess-the-Google game is a pretty cool idea. I missed like 2 out of 10 on the first try, I think I scored 270 something. Just try and beat that. Just try.

Find out how fast you're connected, or check out the entirety of the California coast line (kind of kicks Google map's butt, and no, I don't know how these work as a pair...maybe learning?)

Great lyrics tool, though I'm guessing you'll have trouble finding the lyrics for this even greater song with the tool. And the song has a tool. Or something. I'm pretty sure this guy is the reason terrorists hate us.

Bugmenot is a pretty cool idea (check out the FAQ) but I won't be using the site version b/c someone already wrote a firefox extension that does it automatically.

And we should always end with randomness, right? This blog had a little print-out ad posted on the bulletin board in the coffee room of the offices here in Toronto: "Truth, Justice, Minesweeper." I haven't had a chance to do more than a quick browse of it, but it looks like a funny idea. Also, I once beat the beginner level of minesweeper in something ridiculous like 5 or 6 seconds. I have a screen print somewhere, I'll post it when I find it. What better to pair with this than an important cause that we should all take very seriously?

I noticed that my last post contained no apostrophes where necessary for proper syntax, which, if you'll read back a little bit, you should be aware is not the clean typing style I usually adhere to. I blame it on Word, the evil MS program I used to write the post as there was no wireless connection at the hotel bar.

I'm considering spending another night at said bar and getting more of this work done, but I'm also considering driving into downtown Toronto just to check it out. I figure I should while I'm here, I can always study more next week I guess. I still haven't decided. One thing that's for sure - I've been here in the offices too long. Time for a swim.

I ain't no hollaback girl.
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around. -- Love Actually

So where’ve we been? Maybe “"where are we?”" is a better place to start.

Toronto. Hotel bar at the Airport Sheraton. Let’s just work in reverse succession. Spent the evening studying more of the purchasing system applications I’ve been sent here to ingest. I’m still behind on the pre-requisite work for the course, which should have been completed before I arrived. I figure on completing one more session tomorrow night and the last on Wednesday night. So that definitely means no Tuesday post for Christian Carnival. And it puts the Thursday linkery in serious peril for the second week running. Yes, I realize, I’ve been off the ball. Anyway, before studying was a swim in the hotel pool and before that…

This reverse thing isn’t going to work. I’m too tired and brain-overloaded to make it happen, at any rate. Problem is I’m not sure where to rewind to and begin anew at – I haven’t even looked at the blog lately so I’m not really sure when I last posted, or about what. So let’s go with middle of last week-ish. Ended up the week at home by finding out, late Friday afternoon, that I was headed to Toronto on Monday morning, and had to book travel arrangements and complete a solid 12 hours of pre-req work. Problem was, I found all this out at about the same time that we were supposed to be leaving with 11 high schoolers for our work weekend at the young life camp. So they all had to wait at the train station while I finished booking my travel, then I showed up with the other rental car and loaded up the remainder of the kids, and off we all caravanned.

The sudden stress of oncoming travel, coupled with the looming fact that I wasn’t going to get the pre-req work done, kind of overshadowed my weekend. But we worked hard, played a bit, worked hard again, and I even caught a nap in there at one point, which is a rare thing indeed for me. I think a guy just sleeps better after a long day of moving and hauling rock, splitting and stacking wood, and completing various tasks requiring serious tool dexterity.

Sunday came around and we got the kids back to the city, returned the cars, and I went straight home to study the afternoon/evening away. Next thing I knew it was midnight and packing and fretting and a much needed prayer. And joy of all joys, I actually slept like a baby for 3 sweet hours before grabbing a car to a plane to a car in a different country. Blew through customs like a cool breeze and found the Accenture offices to be just a hop and a skip (no jump included) from the airport – in fact just across the freeway from the runways, which they have a keen view of. So I was on time for class and continued my long stretch of “learning-at-every-waking-moment.” Which continued until I was ready to go bonkers around 6 this evening. I threw my stuff in the hotel and went to find some goggles, as I hadn’t packed mine. Returned for a swim and then straight back to the studying, until just now. What I need is a decent meal and a decent drink and a decent 5 hours sleep. I’m hoping to get at least 2 of those, considering that dinner is at the hotel bar. Its hard to screw up a decent drink. Usually.

One of my favorite marketing maxims has always been:

Price. Service. Quality. Pick two.

So very true.

And so we pass from the past into the present and begin to speculate, or re-speculate, or, whatever. Basically I’m here through Friday evening and its class-all-day, study-all-night, and I’m supposed to find time to keep looking for and applying for roles in the meantime, and submit my time and expense report, and balance my budget, and treat my freshly ailing hands, and blog, and feed the reindeer, and everything else in between now and then. When then comes, I’ll hop a plane to Dulles, where Grace and my sister will pick me up, or more likely, I’ll rent a car and go see them, briefly. Then I’ll stay the night with a family from Brec’s dad’s church, and go to her wedding on Saturday. I’ll leave early evening in hopes of getting back to the city by midnight, catching a few winks, and leading the high school lesson on Sunday.

Hopefully I won’t be slotted to fly somewhere far on Sunday night, and I can push the flight til Monday morning. Perhaps I’ll even be unstaffed another week. Who knows. I could use it, after this stretch.

The camera is still with Brec but hopefully I’ll return home with pics-a-plenty, from their moving weekend through their wedding weekend, and nothing in between. In the mean time, there are a few pics on the crap-cam, so perhaps I’ll find the time to get them up this week, as opposed to any real substantial blogging. Side note, the crap-cam’s better function, my phone, does not work in Canada. Does Sprint not exist in this country? Can’t you get Sprint bars on the moon by this point?

Well, there you have it. At least I haven’t been relying exclusively on personal-update posts for material lately, right? Give me some credit. Just a little?

Come on, have pity on me. In the course of this post, I’ve had the worst club sandwich known to man, with the worst Caesar salad ever made, and to cap it off, they screwed up a good drink. I am categorically convinced that my drink of choice is way too cool for the average bartender to comprehend. At least hotel bartenders. A jack and water, no ice. Usually they won’t give you the ice, because you specifically say “no ice.” But you still get them in separate glasses, with notably less jack than water. Its not like I said “a jack, and a water”. I said “a jack and water, no ice.” What is so hard to understand about this?

And I’m back, yet again, to the nature of my complaints about life. These are the things I have to take issue with. How blessed can one guy be? How unthankful?


I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"

So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

Ecclesiastes 3:18-22

Its been a tough year for my family. This Saturday we will likely put down our English Sheepdog of nearly 17 years. He's had a good long life, as dogs go. But as any dog owner knows, no good dog's life is nearly long enough.

Its been a tough year, because we will bury him next to our Doberman of nearly as many years as he - who we had put down just a couple months ago now. Her name was Harriet, she was horribly claustrophobic, very quiet, and fiercely defensive of her family. She even acted surrogate to my youngest brother at times - I remember how, as an infant, he would crawl over her, poking her eyes and pulling on her ears, and how she would quietly sit and let him do so. Until a strange face tried to come near them, at which point she would show her teeth as a warning to leave the child in her safe care.

Now, we are certainly blessed that this is the extent of death we've had to attend to in our family recently - please don't understand me as ignorant to the incomparable pain of those who have seen friends or relatives pass on.

But we have still loved our dogs. In one sense, we certainly aren't expected to love dogs as we are other people. On the other hand, we don't love a dog merely as we do a great piece of music, or a fine glass of wine. We live and learn and grow old with our dogs - we feel their heartbeat as they lie at our feet and we are pained to see them fall ill and die.

Death of any kind brings with it a very certain sense of the sadness and suffering that we will experience in this life. But the hope of glory turns the Christian wedding from a sad memorial into a joyous celebration – one of the life to come.

And this life is just that, a life – one to be spent in real, physical, living bodies. But so much more real than what we know now. For we have been promised more than to be spirited away to an ethereal heaven – we will inherit both a new heaven and a new earth. And as 1 Corinthians 15:54 says, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’” In other words, we will have more than the immaterial, but the imperishable – perfect bodies beyond which we can now imagine. Martin Luther understood this perhaps better than most – when asked what he would do if he knew Christ was returning tomorrow, he responded that he would plant a tree. He saw that God cares for this world and will one day renew it to perfection. Again from Corinthians, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." How could those preparations not include dogs?

Instead of planting a tree, I’d buy just one more puppy. I’m joyfully unawares of what dogs will be like in the new creation, but I know they’ll be there. Someday I’m going to throw tennis balls and Frisbees for eternity.

God made dogs from the same dust as us (before women, hence their status as our best friend), saved them on the same boat as Noah, prescribed the same Sabbath rest for them, knows and still cares for them (Sermon on the Mount), and will one day bring them (and all animals) into perfect harmony with us (Is. 11:6-9) – although dogs certainly have a head start on the rest of the animal kingdom when it comes to that harmony.

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.

Robert Louis Stevenson


(a love sonnet for Panera, based on Shakespeare's Sonnet 18. live blogged from Panera herself)

Shall I compare thee to a Starbucks or Qdoba?
Thou art less commercial and more relaxing to work in:
Rough winds do shake the wifi signals elsewhere,
And my unstaffed time hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is the monitor's screen dimm'd (if I try to sit outside);
And every 15 minutes or so I have another IM convo,
Leaving my latest Computer Based Training untrimm'd;
But thy eternal sandwichness shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that coffee thou purveyest;
Nor shall your jazzy music cease being played,
When in fairly short lines to order lunch thou growest:
So long as men can "work from home" or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this increases stock price for thee.
Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.... Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth's expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things--the beauty, the memory of our own past--are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. -- C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Friday was happy hour with some kids from the orientation class, then a horrible trip on the horrible NJ Transit down to Philly. Saturday I got to drive the 26 foot Uhaul around as we hauled and towed stuff. Just hauled, really, but we were speaking the lingo. Got the stuff moved, and I headed back here to wrap up the lesson and stay up to late. Today was a leaders meeting, church, high school group, and when I returned home the roommate was hosting a condo association meeting. Caught a quick nap and headed to evening service, then dinner at Ted & Jo's.

I have photos from the weekend but they're on the camera, which I certainly hope I left in Brec's car when Jack dropped me off at the train station, God bless him. So I'll probably try to borrow someone's camera for the work crew this weekend, and just get mine back from them at the wedding, if that's feasible. In the meantime you'll have to settle for this picture from the crap-cam, of the offering money from church, sitting next to Marcy's beer. I thought it made for a funny shot.


Well, the general theme of this linktricity is quite fitting with the evening I've had - stupid and hilarious. Arthur's with the guys for lots of meat and carbs and liters of beer (I'm back on the wagon with George so no liters for either of us). Ted, Andrew, Tony, Bennet, Jer, George, Joel, Darrin and I - Peter and my roomie couldn't make it. We get together about once a month, roughly, for Arthurs and lots of cruel joking. Hilarity always ensues. Then its tradition to head over to Johnny Rockets for milk shakes and more hilarity, with the added bonus of nickel jukeboxes and dancing waitresses. More hilarity. Then the long walk home, where you are so sickly full that you're trying to hold back on the laughing lest you get ill in the street.

Day in a nutshell (help, I'm stuck in this gigantic shell!) - met Tony, the pastor of the Hoboken church for a late breakfast and catching up. He seems to be doing well. Then Starbucks, where they actually want you to pay for wireless access, then into the city to meet up with one of the senior managers of the retail strategy group at Accenture - basically to glean some networking info. Back to the safety and comfort of Panera, where a few of the same wolves from yesterday were lounging. We'll be at the knowing-nod-of-recognition phase at this rate. Then came the evening festivities. Enough dilly-dallying, here be the links...

"In the American Revolution Vin Diesel swam over the Atlantic ocean to speak before Parliament. They refused to hear the gentle giant, so he fought the lot of them, then made off with the Queen. Their child was Winston Churchill." (refresh at your own risk for more interesting tid bits)

I want this shirt but its so wrong (and I might be a little afraid to wear it).

"...WHEREAS, any members of the House of Representatives or the Senate of the Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote 'Nay' on this concurrent resolution are 'FREAKIN' IDIOTS!' and run the risk of having the 'Worst Day of Their Lives!'" This resolution by the Idaho State Legislature looks to be legit. And totally SWEET!

"[1998 Sep 13] The New York Times web site is defaced by hackers who renamed the site HFG (Hacking For Girlies). The hackers express anger at the arrest and imprisonment of Kevin Mitnick who is the subject of the book 'Takedown' co-authored by a Times reporter. In early November two members of HFG told Forbes magazine that they initiated the attack because they were bored and couldn't agree on a video to watch." Remember a while back when I gave a short history of the internet? This one is a little more detailed.

Strong Bad's lyrical rampage.


I haven't laughed this hard in a while. Well, OK, I except for tonight, I haven't laughed this hard since the last time I was out with the guys. Anyway, I'm not sure if the victims are real or not, but it sure looks and sounds real. And all of them seem to know about the show. I need to find out where this show is on and how I can watch it, because I could watch this kind of stuff all day long. The site I originally found this on had a content warning for the hosting page, but I didn't see anything bad when I was there. Use your own discretion - I didn't bother poking around the hosting site based on the warning.

Did you see one of the most incredible shots ever made in golf at the 16th hole of the Masters this past weekend by Tiger Woods? I didn't. I walked out on the Masters and went to the evening service here in the 'boken. I'm not sure what kind of lesson God was trying to teach me by letting that happen. Anyway, I was googling for the video, and found that this dude has already turned it into the next possible Nike ad. Smart. (update: this guy's bandwidth is probably not going to handle the ridiculous amounts of traffic he's going to get. you can probably find the video elsewhere with a little googling, but since you're too lazy for that, try here - some guy mirrored the WMV file on an unmetered server). Notice the way the ball comes to what appears to be a complete stop. And then, ever so slowly, what rolls into view as the ball decides to drop into the cup? The Nike logo. I bet their marketing department was in uber-super-secret cahoots with NASA and the PGA and probably sold a soul or two to make a ball that would do that.

Don't do this at home (dot com, minus the apostrophe). I'm not going to spoil this by explaining it first, just check it out. Cool site design award of the week goes to the site that follows the video. They also link to Surfline from that site. Surfline has cool cams but you have to pay for everything now. Ever since I was a kid, I've had a habit of calling surflines to check the reports at places that I was wishing I was at. Surflines used to be free, and all you got was the quality local report ("Aloha surfers, the sun is out and the waves are..."). But then the rats figured they could make money off of it. So now I use Surf News Network. They're a little too advertisy but you still get the goods. You'll need the area code. Its 808.

This is what life would be like if you worked at McDonald's.

You know those little ads you have to sit through on some video sites to view the actual clip you want to see? You know the little statements about the ad they have to try to convince you to watch it? I just saw one of those, and the statement was "This will be over faster than your last relationship." I watched the ad. There is no link associated with this comment.

Its been a while since a decent Tetris link, this one should last us a few minutes, at least. I got around 4000 after a coupla tries. Yeah, I'm lame.

And your Google link of the week is the totally cool synthesis of Craigslist and Google Maps. Far out.

David Duchovny has a blog (link is to the first post, so you can figure out what its about). Who doesn't these days? I am so much cooler than him since I started mine like a whole 8 or 9 months before he did. Which makes blogs like Lileks and the sort take a godlike status next to my meager coolness. And then there's people like this gal, who I am skeptical as to whether they are even legit (as there certainly is some stuff out there that is bogus). She looks like she's been blogging since the mid-late 90's, when the internet was really just getting off the ground (I'm talking geocities and alta-vista heyday, people). She also appears to still be in school - maybe college or grad, but still...I found her through googling up one of my sister's old articles on Christians and drinking, which I think was originally on Razormouth a few years back, but Razormouth looks a lot different now than it used to. Anyway, side point. I'm just saying its either fishy, or really cool that she's been blogging that long. I wrote her a note a while back to try and get the story, but got no response. Maybe she'll notice my link, read this post, and give some sort of blistering response to my allegations.

Well, that's no way to end. You need to end a fabulously long list of linky goodness with something a little more exciting. An upper. Something to smile about. Got it...whatever you do, for the love of Pete, do not press the red button.

(I'm out tomorrow night for Philly, but I think I'm gonna head back on Saturday eve instead of staying both nights there. Helping Brec and hubby move into what will soon be "their" place. So this meaty post will have to last you until...whenever.)


Left the confines of the condo for the soothing sound of jazz mixed with kitchen noises and the drone of constant typing here at Panera. Found out that there's actually lots of people "working from home," just like me. I feel like I've discovered a new species, and I shall name it "aeris tela," under the genus homo laboris, of the hominidae family. They are most readily found congregating around their main sources of sustenance, namely coffee and free wifi. I came here for the second, I've been free from coffee for years. But they have good sandwiches here, so that's nice.

I look around and wonder which ones will soon be back on the train to office land, and which ones are lifers here. I know which group I fall in. I wouldn't mind being a lifer one day, if I can find a way. Therein lies the rub.

There's obviously different classifications within the species, sub-species if you will. There's the a few Mac-ers around, I suspect if I ever find my way here for good, I'll join their ranks. They look like the artsy, trendy folk. But I'll just have to suffer that fate, I guess. Then there's the group I currently fall into - the business Dells. We're in straight-up office mode, we've got stacks of important looking papers and our cell phones are out and we're here to Get Things Done. Right. There are some business IBMers - black, boxy looking things. We disdain them. And we fear our company may try to give us one if our Dell breaks. And then there's the students, identified by their hoodies, hung-over expressions, and often the stickers on their varying machines. We all had a sticker on our machine at one point, I suppose. Here's what I had plastered across the middle of mine.

I submitted the last post to a cool new mag, both in print and on the web - Relevant Magazine (read: the mag is in print and on the web, I only submitted the article to the web version...I think). I feel I could have gotten a lot more mileage out of it as an article, but in retrospect I'm thinking maybe I could turn it into a three part series. I'll wait to see if they ever use the first one, then if they do I can guilt them into doing the second two. I'm thinking I should go back and find some of my past theology postings and see if they can be built into decent articles for submission. Lately I've been using Christian Carnival's deadline (Tues @ midnight) as my volition to bang out some real thinking at least once a week (well, not every week, but I'm getting back on the horse). If I could get some kind of regular deadline with Relevant, even with no guarantee of print, maybe I would actually have the motivation to write-edit-re-write something worthy of reading. We shall see.

Speaking of Christian Carnival, I tried to check the post today, which can be found here, but only got this:

Funny. Guess that shows you something of Panera's corporate stance on religion. But I still must give them a shout-out for giving me connectivity all afternoon.

Had what I think is perhaps my 2nd or 3rd Firefox pop-up, ever, and it looked like this:

I'm definitely running the most recent version. I guess the guys at Mozilla (God bless them and make them even more fruitful, and give them the cattle on a thousand hills, and whatnot) are having trouble keeping up with the seeping black evil that creates popup and spam code. The evil that shall not be named. I don't think it has a name, but if it did, we certainly wouldn't name it.

There's a baby wailing out front. The sounds of the outside world, trying to get into our warm, safe little conclave. The mommies are out there, and they are pushing their strollers. We're all huddled near the back of the long cafe, with a few brave souls on the leather chairs in the mid-section, near the registers and pastries. There's a reason for that - the signal is stronger in the back - must be where they have their router. Like a foolish young pup - new to the pack, I thought I could boldly sit at the high tables in the very front - provide myself with some sunshine through the large windows. The weak signal quickly sent me snivelling back into the den with the rest of the pack. And with a tenure of a full 6 hours under my belt, I am ready to assume the new alpha male status of this pack.

Who do I have to challenge?

Speaking of Grey Wolves, did you know that they are believed to remain mated for life upon choosing their first? Interesting.

And just like that, its quiet again. F-mezzo sax and silverware clinging. Shot in the dark that its an F-mezzo, but I might be right. Speaking of F-mezzo, did you know that they F-mezzo was only made between 1928 and 1930? So I'd imagine they're hard to find. No idea why they don't make them anymore...guess that just wouldn't be authentic? Or perhaps there was a congressional prohibition. They were into that kind of thing back in those days.

I'll be back here tomorrow, and hopefully have an even more productive day than I did today, which wasn't half bad, before it turned into wolves and saxophones. I even did some networking.


Well before last fall's national elections, before the terms "red" and "blue states" saw their most recent heyday, Michael Wolff wrote this:

There is a fundamental schism in American cultural, political, and economic life. There’s the quicker-growing, economically vibrant…morally relativist, urban-oriented, culturally adventuresome, sexually polymorphous, and ethnically diverse nation… and there is the small town, nuclear-family, religiously-oriented, white-centric other America [with] …its diminishing cultural and economic force… [T]wo nations… – New York, Feb 26 2001, p. 19

Its interesting because its true. I know, because I've lived on both sides of the schism. I grew up on the small town, nuclear-family, religiously-oriented, etc. side of the fence. Since college, I feel I've been living smack in the middle of the quicker-growing, culturally adventuresome, etc. nation. For the purposes of clarity, I'll refer to the first nation Wolff mentioned - the quicker growing, more diverse, as the Metro nation. And the second as the Micro nation. Neither term should place any implications upon how I view them, I use both to refer to exactly what Wolff originally cited about each.

I should point out some important exceptions to my personal experience. On both sides. While I don't need to harp on the exceptions to the Micro nation I was reared in - for example the ethnic diversity present in California that I was exposed to, or the large-city feel where we lived - I would be remiss if I didn't note my exceptions to the Metro nation I now reside in. While I have lived in and among the morally relativist and sexually polymorphous, God's grace has guided me away from such persuasions. Yet, living in this vibrant Metro nation, one has no choice but to be acutely aware of their perpetual and very loud existence. On the other hand, different fingers: the economic vibrance, the urban orientation and cultural adventuresome nature of first nation - all things that I've very much enjoyed delving into.

With such qualifications in place, I offer a comparison. In the days of the earliest church, the mission field before the apostles was quite the same as the 2 nations we see now here in America. There was a fundamental schism in the world (and namely in Asia Minor and modern day Europe) that presented interesting quandaries to the furtherance of the gospel. Thankfully, God provided wise men to deal with such a breach, 2 cultures existing in limbo, appearing to move in opposite directions. It is interesting to note that, looking back, we can speculate as to how much movement is actually taking place, if we are indeed seeing the same in our nation today.

Cities like Rome, Corinth, Thessolanica, Athens, Ephesus, and Antioch. All were cities for the same reason that American cities are what they are today - or, more accurately, where they are: the rule of real estate. Location, location, location. Some were key ports for ocean-going vessels (like our own New York, San Francisco, Boston), others were situated at the cross-roads of major shipping and travel routes (our own St. Louis, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City). And still others were central to entire realms for purely political reasons (we have one of those in particular in America, too, and we built it on a swamp, for some reason).

And large cities, whether of the first century AD or of this century, by their very nature, present the characteristics of the Metro nation. In one way or another, they become the cultural melting pots, and what naturally emerges from the stew of mankind seems to be no different today than it was in the first century. The cities of old were economically vibrant, morally relativist, sexually polymorphous, ethnically diverse, and so on.

With such a comparison tendered, I pose a question. Will God yet again raise up wise men to face the schism head-on? Men ready to 'stand in the gap' before Him and deal with the 2 nations? And if so, what will they look like?

I believe they would look like Paul. Paul saw the ministry opportunities before him, and he didn't head to the Micro nation. Paul headed straight to the climes least likely to accept what he preached. His ministry was almost entirely aimed at the Metro nation. He realized that these cities, while diverse, and very often morally base, would be the first-adaptors, the launch-pad for the church to come. Paul knew that cultural change throughout the land would begin in the cultural centers, and acted accordingly.

He knew that as one man, he could see only so many small churches in the countryside, and that - while every soul in the fly-over land of old was just as valuable as the souls of the city - he would be most effective in the long run by focusing on the Metro nation. He sought to not remain culturally-centric, family-driven, or even religiously-oriented. And we should remember that such jumps were much larger for Paul in his day than they would be in ours - he lived in a time of brutal cultural opposition, a day when the family structure was the only norm - and in fact a very means of survival. Religions abounded then certainly as they do now, but the interesting thing about Christianity is that it continues to exist as more than a religion, just as it did in Paul's day.

Will God raise up men willing to run head-first into the arenas that would ultimately exile or even kill them? He did before. I believe He will continue to do so. I hope in my life to find such men and to learn a Metro nation approach to the furtherance of the Gospel from them - one that does not fear the Metro nation movement, but accepts it for what it is, sees where it is going, and simply acts accordingly to bring the relevance of the Gospel to bear upon it.


Hi there.

I know, its been a while.

Its funny, I seem to have lost my drive to write at about the same time that I found all this free time on my hands. Ever since mid-March when I left Macy's, getting anything decent posted has taken on quite a chorish nature. My goal is to change that this week.

Accenture started with a bang at the end of March, a week's orientation, and boom, welcome to fully-chargeable consultant status. So I spent last week sitting at home, getting paid, trying to find a job, with the company that is already paying me. Kind of weird. I'll be doing that this week too.

I figured as I'm supposed to be working on professional development as well, and they don't seem in a great hurry to send me off for some of the mainframe/database systems training I wouldn't mind getting, I'll go full bore at the web-design / code-writing bit. So lots of Frontpage for me, and its time resurrect the Photoshop skills. I really should get Dreamweaver, but I just can't see droppin 4 hunge on a program that I'm not sure is that much better than Frontpage. I'm afraid to do the 30 day trial and find myself needing it by the end.

And what better to use for my first project than the long-awaited, much-anticipated, oft-foretold personal website. Its coming. Little more than zygotic at this point. But its coming.

So, since I was here last, in a nutshell - Thursday was more job searching, and a totally unproductive trip to the mall with George, where I had the most disappointing Orange Julius ever served in the history of the universe. Friday was into the city to hang out with one of the guys from my youth min who's parents are going through a nasty divorce. I guess they all are, but its tough to see him going through this and not be able to offer more help than getting lunch and playing video games. Grace was in town for the weekend so a bunch of us had dinner over at Andrew and Jen's, then watched Napolean Dynamite. Saturday breakfast at Chickie's and some necessaries shopping. Then Al and Steve and a friend came down to the city to hang out with Grace and I. Random city walking and then Steve and I watched the other 3 eat sushi. Came home, worked on my lesson. Sunday was church, Sr. High, and home. Evening service then bouncing around town for a bit. And today was more working from home.

So that's what's up. Planned for this week: a return to fairly regular posting, a double portion of link-o-rama on Thursday to make up for last week's absence, and updates to the sidebar, if it kills me. Plus continued searching for the first staffing, and other various company work. An appointment with the orthopedic, if I get around to making it, meeting a few folk for lunches/dinners, and re-working the finances (401Ks, etc). Oh and cleaning up the 162 email accounts, which is a job and a half in itself. And I'm off to Philly for half the weekend to see Brec in an unmarried state one last time.

Haven't reviewed readership in a while, but last time I looked, we lost a couple regular readers, and gained a few new ones. Thanks to those who have thought this page worth a second look, and please feel free to leave a remark and let me know what would keep you coming back - I appreciate the feedback.


Sunny Tuesday afternoon at the corner booth of Johnny Rocket's, a less-than-stellar throwback burger joint - burgers are average at best, shakes are average, service is outstanding. They're all about creating the experience, which is nice, sometimes. In moderation. Was headed to one of the local bar/restaurant deals but none of them open until evening, it seems - then I ran into Amanda, who was on her way back from the grocery store (also working from home). So we came here because there was parking and we knew they'd be open.

Amanda's one of my friends from the Hoboken church - most of whom I see very little anymore. I suppose summer is around the corner, however, and that always seems to be the time I reconnect with the folk here in town, as there's no youth group to lead and my Sundays therefore tone down a fair bit. Ooh and summer means baseball as well, I can't wait to go to a game. Peter (another Hoboken buddy) got tickets last minute to the Yank's opener Sunday night, and that left Mike, Jason (the roomie), and I all on our own to find a place to watch the game. Watching with those two is fun because Mike really likes Boston and Jason really likes New York. Not the way Peter does, though. Watching with Mike and Peter can be life-threatening. I think both the teams suck, personally. You spend that much money on a team, they should win the series every year. My favorite thing to point out is that my A's consistently make it to the playoffs when their total team salary is less than the Yankee's pitching salaries alone. There's no good response to that.

Work...not getting a lot of positive vibe about finding the right client position starting out - seems like a lot of the positions that are currently listed as open are looking for people with a lot of system-specific experience (SAP, Siebel, Peoplesoft, Retek, Oracle, etc.) - something I would like to get (particularly SAP and Retek), but they're not really big on sending new hires straight into systems training. I get the impression that I'm supposed to begin picking these system skills up on the job before I actually go for some advance training on them, but at the same time I can't really apply for all these positions where I would be most likely to learn such things. What's more, it looks like I may be relegated (is that the word I'm looking for) to working local, and I actually want to travel - rack up the freq flyer miles and whatnot. Eh, its just my first project, I guess.

Chantilly Lace is on the radio. I like listening to oldies, every once in a while. In moderation.

Standard week, schedule wise - not counting the whole working from home gig. Tuesday night Men's Accountability, Wednesday night Home Fellowship Group, Thursday working on the website with Godfrey, Friday chill. I think I'm going to the zoo with the youth group on Saturday, and there may be something else going on but I can't think of what at the moment.

Oh and congrats to the boys of North Carolina for squeaking out a win in what should have been a blowout. How they let the Illini back in that game is beyond me.

I think I may post this on Wednesday, actually, if I can think up something worthy of blogging in time for Christian Carnival tonight. I need to keep submitting to them so that I've attained some kind of unspoken "regular" status by the time they get too popular to keep posting every single contribution in a single week. They're up around the 60s right now in terms of total submissions posted in a given week, as far as I can tell, which sounds like a lot of work. However, if I remain unstaffed for another week, it may be a good challenge to take on.

Time to head home and catch a run, then do some cleanup before the guys come over.

Well I obviously didn’t get around to posting this or anything else on Tuesday. Ah well, next week for some actual decent blogging, for a change. Perhaps. In the meantime you’re stuck with more of this endless drivel.

It’s the middle of another sunny afternoon and today’s eatery of choice is Qdoba, another contender in the latest phase of slightly-above-average over-Americanized Mexican grill fast food joints. I like the idea of a burrito the size of my head, and as such am a regular visitor at this fine establishment.

Ever notice how certain words get changed, perhaps forever but more likely for about 3-4 seasons, by reality TV? I submit: apprentice, survivor, contender. I don’t watch reality TV. I don’t watch any TV really, I watch movies. But reality TV just seems like such an amusing concept to me – in the first place, don’t people usually watch TV to escape reality, or at least view a reality they can’t access – nature shows and the like? And furthermore, doesn’t the actual “reality” in these shows seem a little contrived? Or a lot? Artificial boardrooms and boxing rings, I tell ye!

Still haven’t heard anything on a potential position, but I found one I liked recently in San Fran, so I need to run home and call my HR rep about that.

Being out during the day has been strange. Its made me realize that I’m still pretty young, but I’m getting older. The only people you see on the street are the cavalcades of new mommies, stroller jockeys every one of them, interspersed with the meandering elderly. More of the first in Hoboken’s case. Compared to either of these, I feel I’m at a pretty early stage in life still – maybe halfway into my second quarter, to speak in business terms. Which isn’t too bad. Not ready for kids or anything like that, yet. But I’m moving along, at the same time. The park in the middle of town - full of loud children - reminds me of that. I’m an adult now. I’m not sure how or when it happened, but here I am, all the same.

I want to go back to work where I’m safe from all these scary things that come out during the day.


Traveling in Mixed Groups
David Ellis - Pastor, Astoria Community Church, Astoria, NY

Once in the late 1980's, I traveled with a group of church workers from New York City to attend a Christian conference in Detroit. The route we followed, after crowding into an old Ford van, took us across the U.S. border into Canada, along a highway through southern Ontario, and back across the border into Michigan.

At the border crossing into Michigan we ran into a problem. The guard looked into our van and immediately sensed that something was wrong. When he asked for our passports, his suspicions were confirmed. In the van were two Dominicans, two Puerto Ricans, four white Americans and one Honduran. Some were men; some were women. Some were older; some were rather young. Our skin colors ranged from beautiful brown to milky white. With years of experience observing truck drivers and vacationing families, the border guard knew that something just wasn't right. Groups this diverse don't usually travel together. What was going on? The suspicious look on his face told us we were in for a long, humiliating inspection.

Then our driver mentioned, "We are going to Detroit to attend a church meeting." Instantly the guards expression changed, and he waved us on with a smile.

I have no idea whether or not that inspector was a Christian. But he seems to have been aware of something that Christians should never forget. Followers of Jesus are supposed to be traveling in mixed groups. It is to be expected. It is not unusual at all.

When Christ established his church, it was never his intention for everyone in it to look, think and sound the same. He sent us to "make disciples of all nations." He told us that if we "greet only [our] brothers," the gospel hasn't really changed our lives. His word informs us that in his kingdom, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for [we] are all one in Christ." It warns us not to design worship services that cater to the rich and educated yet make the poor feel left out. It promises us that one day we will stand around his throne "in a great multitude that no one [can] count from every nation, from all tribes and peoples an languages." (Matt. 28:19; Matt. 5:47; Gal 3:28; James 2:1-7; Rev. 7:9).

In the eyes of the world, if all the passengers in a van don't look the same, something may not be right. But in the eyes of the Lord, if all the worshipers in a pew do look the same, something is horribly wrong. It is to our Savior's glory for his church to include people of different generations, diverse ethnicities, distinct accents, wide-ranging socio-economic backgrounds and opposing political groups. Anything short of this fails to demonstrate the power of the gospel to transform human lives.

Of course traveling in a mixed group requires some sacrifice on our part. It means sharing the front seat with fellow passengers and taking our turn in the back. It means pulling over when someone else needs a rest stop, even though we would prefer to drive on. It means that we don't always get to choose what's playing on the radio. In other words, it requires us to put the interests of others ahead of our own. It requires us to love. But for those who know Jesus, loving is not a burden. For, as he has shown us, love is the glory of Christ.


And we're BACK...

A rainy Saturday morning. Why clean up and do some laundry when I could finally catch up on some much overdue blogging? Ok, real quick - George will be here in 45 mins and we're going to go catch a movie and then off to a bike shop in North Bergen somewhere. Hopefully a stop at Whole Foods for lunchy. Then its back here to write up tomorrow's Sr. High lesson and get all the cleaning done. Which probably means a few hours of SOF2.

Yesterday was April Fools (check out the Top 100 April Fools Hoaxes of all time). It was also ESPN.com's 10th birthday and Gmail's first birthday. I was suspicious of anything yesterday, but Google's birthday gift to us still seems to be legit - and the ticker continues to run on the MB of storage they're now offering each user. I think its somewhere in the low 2000 range now. If you haven't noticed, check out Gmail's login page (link above) and read up on it. They've also updated the beta version with some much-needed add-ons, namely text formatting in the message composition field.

So I guess this is kinda turning into an illegitimate Thursday links post, huh?

Site design of the week award goes to this architecture firm. Also, this is kinda weird, as far as advertising agencies go. Saw an interesting bill-board during the commute in NJ this week, so I checked out the site. They're trying to get you to cheat on your advertising agency, I guess.

Stationary is bad. I in no way endorse this product. I didn't even really look at it. But they have some funny ads. No, I'm far to lazy to find them and actually link to them.

Wordnews is interesting. I think I saw a picture montage thingy that may have worked along the same lines once. I may even have linked to it before. But I'm still far too lazy to look for that.

The Google link of the week is weird and scary. Be careful what you click on. Seriously.

Your high-brow astro-physics link of the week is, well, interesting. Its the 100th anniversary of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and what better time to call it into serious questioning. Read the whole thing, or click on one of the audio links to hear it broadcast. I almost thought this might not be legit, but then I double checked the parent website address. Looks real to me.

How to argue.

Cool ad of the week.

Also I introduced a friend to the Wasabi ad this week, which can be found, with its friends, here.

Lastly, try and get your brain around this one. (thanks to Brec's brother)

...OK so its 8:30 and I've got the lessons written. Actually I'm combining 2 into one. We're finishing up Healthy Friendships - looking at them in the context of "being a friend of influence" and using the metaphor of the Lord's Table:

Coming to the altar - repentance and honesty between friends
Passing the peace - welcoming everyone to the congregation in hospitality
The cup and the bread - the hope we share with each other in Christ's death and resurrection
Going forth - dreaming together to change the world for Christ

I need to go out into the night and forage for food. Particularly massive burritos. I like walking on rainy nights. I may try to stay awake for SNL. Probably not. We'll see.

Tomorrow is church, Sr. High group, then back to the 'boken. I'm going to try to catch the evening service here and see all the folk I've been missing. Then there's a Mexican-themed birthday party for a friend from the Hoboken church. I volunteered to be the pinata but I'm not sure what a pinata is or what that involves.

Monday begins week 2 of the Accenture experience. Training went well this past week. Kept me really busy - they throw a lot of assimilation material at you all day long for 5 days, and you go home to fill out forms on benefits, 401Ks, internal resumes, etc., not to mention searching for a good first posting to apply for. The training was in Florham Park, NJ, which was a nice area with no decent places to eat anywhere within a day's drive. A few of the guys in the program were also from the 'boken, so I commuted with them on occasion. So...yeah. Monday I am officially chargeable as a Consultant, which means I am "unstaffed" - workable but not on a project. Not somewhere I want to stay for long. I'll be working out of the house all week, which should be interesting. After that, the traveling begins, in all likelihood.

Still haven't gotten the Whistler pictures online yet. Sorry. Here's another one for you in the meantime - Kuz-man and Plo gettin off the lift. I like this one because you can see the snow falling.


Oh my poor, poor neglected little blog.

I blame work. And this week, although relatively light, is probably a good indicator of where things are going for me in the near future, for a good while to come. So, blogging may get lighter. For a long time. Or not. But maybe. We'll see.

Its been going splendidly, though - I'm really pleased with the new company - and thankful that God led me to the right option in the end. Days have been orientation out in Florham Park, NJ, and I've been squeezing in some good runs between the days in class and evenings on the puter. I think I've probably been on AIM more in the past 4 days than all the times before in my life, combined.

I am loving the wireless card in the new laptop, right now I'm sitting on the couch, connected to nothing, internetting away.

No links this Thursday, maybe I'll have them for tomorrow. Haven't had much time for surfing either...