Boo yeah. Welcome home to me. Hope you had a happy Easter, because you ain't getting another one for about 364 days.

Arright, so since last broadcast (not the last post, but the one before it, thanks to my incredibly inferior posting skills - no, wait, I blame it on the backwards internet they have up there in Canadia...)...

Thursday was riding as planned and then a very nice steak din-din. And cigars. And Jackass. Friday was packing, then we grabbed another rental (Eddie Bauer edition Ford Explorer - about as nice as these crappy American vehicles come) and loaded our gear up. Spent a few hours on the slopes, even got in a few tracked-out 5-day-old pow turns, then headed back to Vancouver. Briefed the Kuz on the finer points of bear hunting, or at least what I remember of them from the years past - haven't been since I was a teen, I don't think. Stopped at the A&W in Squamish, which was definitely one of the high points of the trip for me. So happy.

Dinner was at a nice joint called Earl's in Vancouver, where we had the best service I've seen in years. Just incredible. The guy even tried to help us get a new business idea rolling, after (unintentionally) giving us the new idea. If I'm ever back in Vancouver, I'll stop at Earl's for a bite. Stayed at one of Kuz's buddy's place and headed for the airport in the morning.

Met an interesting dude in the line at the ticket counter who was headed to NYC with his wife and kid - he's a promoter for fashion designers and movie companies. Interesting stuff. They insisted on taking us out to dinner tonight, which turned out to be nice.

Today was church, then ushering the second service, then off to the abode of one of the kids in our youth ministry. She has perhaps the most youth-worker-encouraging parents I've ever met, and they are old friends with the pastor of a Redeemer church plant in Harlem, who was also there with his family, who (with his wife) is also one of the most youth-worker-encouraging people I've ever met. So that was cool. Then to Stell's to grade practice tests (I'm a good grader), then off to dinner with the family from the airport. Stell, Kuz, Plo, Vivian, the Vancouver family, and I. Vietnamese. Subway, PATH, cab, home. Unpack. Some. IM. Get ready for tomorrow. Realize I can't sleep. Have a Jonny Black to celebrate my relatively successful observation of Lent. I'm going to take a few more weeks off to make up for the slip-ups here and there...hey, I was on vacation, ok?

More reports on my works-based faith to come. And more pictures. And I'm going to try to do a brief description of my Whistler co-cohorts to kind of flesh out some of my friends for you, sometime soon. And I'll have info on my new job, which I have to report to, out in central Jersey, in about 7 hours. Hopefully I can get some sleep before that.

Oh yeah, the above is from the highway between Whistler and Vancouver. One of the best drives anywhere on the planet. I love BC.


(This post was supposed to be put out on Monday night - I think, but apparently I left it in draft status. So, chronologically it should precede the last post, if that makes any sense.)

We are live from Canadia. God is apparently good here as well. Very good.

We arrived to stormy weather. Rain, lots of it. Which meant above 800 meters, there was snow. Lots of it. This weekend Whistler got the best single snowstorm they've seen in 2 seasons. Monday morning it began to taper off, right about the time I clicked in. By 10am I was in line at their peak lift, waiting for it to open.

I've skied powder this deep and delicious before. But something about BC powder made it unique. I think it tastes different. I had a few good runs of fresh tracks off the peaks before it began to look tracked out. I sneaked in a couple extras by hitting some couliers that were a little sketchy up top, but held big payouts for those willing to commit. But perhaps the nicest thing was to be back on a serious hill, one with finer sportsmen than myself on the attack. While we were watching tough guy after tough guy drop the 20-30 foot ridge near the bottom of the peak, some maniac threw the most insane dinner-roll cliff drop I've ever seen from a tree-lined ridge about 150 feet above the same landing zone we were hitting. He was moving like a rocket, and under-rotated, landing him on his shoulder, roughly. Thanks to the deep, he came out alive. And you don't need to land a flight like that to get the respect.

The one bad thing I've experienced in showing up just in time to get the freshies is that you don't get a day or two to warm up to the mountain. There's two downsides here - your body is neither acclimated nor toughened up from a few days of beating, and you don't know the lay of the land so well. I had to ski a little more pensively than usual, even in the deep, as I sometimes had no way of knowing what kind of drop or rock outcropping may lay behind the next ridge. And as of this evening, my right leg is noticeably more sore than it should be this early in a 5 day stretch.

I think I'll survive with a couple days of cruising before I take it big in the end. Not as big as usual, but bigger all the same - find the stuff I like and really go for it.

Traveling wasn't the greatest (I prefer it alone) but I knew all day yesterday that one thing would cure it, and it did. Once I get on the white stuff, everything is right. Waiting around to teach friends snowboarding (when I'm on skis), taking an unexpected digger, rude French people who either don't understand or don't care about basic line etiquette, spending the evening sitting in the car while people shop for gear, none of it matters. Heaven on earth hosted you all day, and awaits you again tomorrow. You have no worries.

That's the update from here - we've cooked some incredible meals - tomorrow we're going to head back to Vancouver for dinner and pick up a friend arriving late, Wednesday is BBQ'ing on the grill, and Thursday we're getting a nice meal out. Basically its ski all day, eat in the eve, and follow it up with some Playstation or perhaps an early bedtime. Or some stretching and a hot tub soak.

Guess where I'm going.


One thing about these weeks off - they go fast. Whew boy but they have been fun.

Tuesday was cruising with the Kuz man, finding some left-over pow stashes and getting some great turns in. I tried dropping a few rock faces and tweaked my wrist when I ate it on one landing, but nothing major. That evening Kuz, Plo, AP, Jo and I all had a nice dinner on the waterfront in Vancouver, then waited around for our friend Stel's flight to show up, which was ridiculously delayed. Kuz and I stayed up to drive back to Whistler, and we got in at about quarter after 4. No matter, we're on vacation. I ate, popped in the ear plugs, and slept late in the morning. Joined the crew on the hill for some lazy afternoon turns, got a little crazy on the backside of the Whistler mountain and dislocated my thumb. Popping that sucker back in almost made me writhe off the lift chair. Note to self for next time - repair hand on the ground. Its my left thumb, which I don't really use for typing anyway, so I'll get by. I tore what little is left of the anterior ligament in the thumb, again. I've torn it on both hands numerous times, and seeing as ligaments don't grow back, I lose more of my opposable thumb power every time. I guess you could say I become more and more primate with each incident.

So the left hand is basically useless for the rest of the trip. I couldn't even pick up a glass of water with it if I tried. I'll look pretty dumb not carrying a pole in that hand for the rest of the time on the slopes, but I've done it before, and likely will again. This will probably limit the amount of terrain park I'm willing and able to stomp, so I probably won't see much more injury this trip.

Tonight was burgers on the grill, courtesy of yours truly, who cooked the dickens out of them on the advice of one in our party who insisted that the Mad Cow restrictions in Canadia are much less strict than in the states. Then, straight to the moon-lit slopes for sledding races. I took second place with Sproule in the two-man bobsled, and ended the evening of daring competition with a victory in the single-man skeleton (read: head first sledding), beating the fastest time by a full two seconds.

Tomorrow, after a long day of riding (I plan to get first chair), we're all out for a nice dinner in town, then back here to watch Jackass the movie, smoke Monte Christos, and have some Crown and a soak in the tub. In no particular order.

Eh, we're back to day-to-day events posts. What can I say, I'm on vacation. Brain is turned off.

I'd like to write about the exhilarations I find on skis - the quiet stillness of the air as I fly off the side of a banking slope, adjust position for the new slope, and plummet back towards a soft white terrain with gravitational speed. The cold, loud rush of a million snowflakes to the face and lungs as you fly through chest deep, dry snow, in long, arcing turns that you wish would never come to an end. The heavy breathing and fogging goggles and runny nose and huge grin as you stand exhausted at the bottom of a massive bowl, all alone, knowing you just showed mother nature the power of man. I wish I could convey the sheer joy that overpowers you in the moments like that.

But I can't. So instead I'll watch Howard the Duck and sleep like a rock. Pictures (not enough) are being taken, I hope to begin posting soon upon my return this weekend.


I'm off for Whistler. If there is no blogging until next weekend, its either because they don't have the internet in Canada (I have sneaking suspicions), or because I'm having too much fun on vacation. Or I ended up in the hospital. Which is entirely possible, although I'm going to try harder than usual to avoid it this time.

Have a good Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter.


That was a week? What happened? Whoa. Spent today visiting my Winslow Homers at the Met. They have more than 2 but there's only 2 that matter to me. Call me simple but they're my 2 favorite things in that building.

No Thursday linkology again, for like the forevereth week in a row. But a day late is pretty good, considering. Here we go.

They're procreating. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Either Google or Apple is going to rule the world in 10 years. The battle will be epic.

If you haven't been heeding my advice to NEVER USE INTERNET EXPLORER AGAIN EVER, here is a cool analysis of how Firefox works. Not that you should need this to convince you.

Weddings now have web-pages. There's probably good wedding blogs out there at this point too. But I'm not exactly looking for that stuff when I go surfing. Anyway this one is my good friend Brec who rocks and will have a rocking wedding, at which, I plan to rock.

SoCity has cool clothes, I want one of their tees.

So far this is the best online version of a personal calendar that I've been able to find. It sucks, but it gets the job done. And you can access it from anywhere you have internet access. Perfect (almost) for people like me who loathe carrying a PDA around.

Jek Porkins has a fan site. When Google or Apple rules us all, the men behind the curtain will be Star Wars fans. These are the kinds of things I stay up at night worrying about. You should be, too.

Everything Bart ever wrote on the chalkboard in the opening sequences.

Triumph the insult comic dog does the weather for Hawaii. I might actually try to watch the news if this kind of stuff was ever on regularly. Language warning.

Cool CGI short of the week is Delivery. They're out of bandwidth there, apparently, check it out here (click on the QBN Cinema link in the upper left corner).

And one last thing - this Google-will-rule-us-all-business...I'm not the only crazy prognosticator claiming that the end is extremely freakin' nigh. I've seen my future, and it is EPIC. Check the smooth transition from fact to fiction. The date will be the only thing that gives it away.

The truly scary thing is that I found the EPIC in the course of composing this post. My line in the first link paragraph above - "The battle will be epic" - I wrote that before I even found this last link. It is a sign.

I am now going to Target to stock up on batteries and canned food and water purification tablets. And iPods.


Its a sure sign that God is grinning on you when you pull into the center of the universe (aka Hoboken, NJ) at 1 in the morning and find an empty parking space directly in front of your place. No, wait. You don't understand. Finding a parking space, and I mean any parking space whatsoever, in Hoboken, late at night, is like...finding something that's really hard to find. Or something. Anyway, with that qualification stated, its literally mind-blowing, the parking space I found. I'm convinced that either a) I did something very good, or b) I did something very bad. That's the grace based faith talking.

Did the taxes via Taxact, which tries to sell you a deluxe version about every 0.255 seconds. You don't actually need the deluxe version, but you can get a free e-file, worth $7.95. Also, the deluxe version costs $12.95. Someone in some conference room a while back thought that $5.00 would be a nice round figure by which to rip off an uninformed public. In 10 years, everyone will e-file, and there will be no fee, and no commercial services selling the same crappy form-filling-out program every year with a new digit on the end. And you won't have to pay to download jack.

Did some work at the church offices, primarily writing up the new "youth leader profile." Its interesting to be on the development end of new policy. Almost feels like I'm getting sucked back into the politics that I'm forever hiding from in corporate America. I did my time in the political arena, served as summer internships during college. Speaker of the assembly, State Secretary's office, even the Gov's digs...you name it. I'd make just the finest young legislative analyst, mark my words. But that will never happen.

Saw Hitch. Will need to Netflix it later, as there's more than a little Quality Dating Truth laid out in it - the 90/10 rule, for instance. More on that at another time.


This week hasn't gone at all according to plan, but that's not entirely a bad thing.

Monday was a great long run that re-murdered the left foot and pretty much eliminated the possibility of running for the rest of the week. Although I'm thinking of giving it another go tomorrow, if it looks ok. Also there was cleaning and the official beginnings of the new website design. As I kick the HTML brush-upping into high gear, you can expect to see me practicing some of it here, but be ye warned - my goal is to make this site obsolete by year-end. It has begun.

Tuesday I decided to rollerblade since I couldn't run. Some comp work at the church offices, then off to visit the very invalid J-lo. Today I took her to see Julius Caesar, which was incredible. I hope they keep it to the limited engagement that they originally claimed, because otherwise I'll have to go see it again. I absolutely swear that the man on the right in the picture above is Denzel, and I might add that he did in fact spit on me at one point. I kind of had to duck my head somewhat into the path of the spittle, but the seats were good enough to afford me that luxury.

Thursday is off to a splendid start. I won't be sleeping as I made the horrible mistake of yet again allowing even *more* sugar into my diet, this time in the form of some kind of chocolate mousse death cake thing from Whole Foods. I must put an end to this. I want to do my taxes but I don't really feel like doing them at night, for some reason. So I'll do them a little later this morning. Then I'll go to the Met and finally get around to my reading.

I'm hating these bland what-i-did-with-my-life-today updates more than you are, believe me, but I'm still in that overcast abyss. A ship in the fog. I think I might be manic.


¶ Lent.

Welcome deare feast of Lent: who loves not thee,
He loves not Temperance, or Authoritie,
But is compos'd of passion.
The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church sayes, now:
Give to thy Mother, what thou wouldst allow
To ev'ry Corporation.

The humble soul compos'd of love and fear
Begins at home, and layes the burden there,
When doctrines disagree.
He sayes, in things which use hath justly got,
I am a scandall to the Church, and not
The Church is so to me.

True Christians should be glad of an occasion
To use their temperance, seeking no evasion,
When good is seasonable;
Unlesse Authoritie, which should increase
The obligation in us, make it lesse,
And Power it self disable.

Besides the cleannesse of sweet abstinence,
Quick thoughts and motions at a small expense,
A face not fearing light:
Whereas in fulnesse there are sluttish fumes,
Sowre exhalations, and dishonest rheumes,
Revenging the delight.

Then those same pendant profits, which the spring
And Easter intimate, enlarge the thing,
And goodnesse of the deed.
Neither ought other mens abuse of Lent
Spoil the good use; lest by that argument
We forfeit all our Creed.

It 's true, we cannot reach Christ's fortieth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Savior's purity;
Yet are bid, Be holy ev'n as he.
In both let 's do our best.

Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone,
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
That travelleth by-ways:
Perhaps my God, though he be far before,
May turn, and take me by the hand, and more
May strengthen my decays.

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast
As may our faults control:
That ev'ry man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlor; banqueting the poor,
And among those his soul.

-- George Herbert

Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works.
If you see a poor man, take pity on him.
If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him.
Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies.
Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.
Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.
Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful.
Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip.
Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.
For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers?
May HE who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us.

-- John Chrysostom

I gave up alcohol for Lent. I've been observing Lent for a number of years now, and as a practice, I like it. It has helped me to, at least on a yearly basis, practice fasting in one sense or another. And while I would speak with a plank in my own eye - it seems to me that fasting is a spiritual discipline that is all but nonexistent in the church today. At the very least, its spoken of rarely, a topic not often addressed. I only hope that it is practiced more prevalently than I am herein assuming.

That said, I've been taken to task recently on the idea of Lent itself, and as my good friend pointed out, it is by no means a biblical practice. Its a Roman Catholic one, in origin - the term itself comes from the ancient Saxon word for "spring" or "springtime" (Lenten-tide). A period of days generally observed as the 40 preceding Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday (Lent proper excludes the Sundays), this church tradition has survived through the centuries, in one form or another. And yet its just that - a tradition. It is not a mandated practice, such as tithing, or baptism, or communion/eucharist, etc..

My friend's main issue has been with the finite time-frame of Lent as a church- proscribed tradition. He feels that if something is important enough to forgo for 40 days (such as alcohol, or chocolate, or what have you), a person should be giving it up for longer than that (perhaps altogether). My main response to this is that there are many things that are, in proper doses, good things, but can still be sacrificed as a matter of fasting. And that is, essentially, what Lent is - a pre-determined period of fasting. Scripture by no means implies that God expects a complete abstinence from such things as meat or wine (as abstained from by men in the Bible), however even Christ at the very least assumed that we would practice fasting at least sometimes ("When you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance...").

Lent as a practice within the Reformed church has seen a recent rise in popularity, which is somewhat ironic - the early church first began to relax its long-standing practice during the original Reformation. I don't, however, think the newfound romance with the practice is at all a bad thing, especially if it serves to help us re-ignite the discipline of fasting within the church.

Its important for all Christians to spend certain times in careful retrospect - to remember to ask "Is it well with my soul?" Fasting, whether in the season of Lent, or otherwise, serves to take an object of focus in our lives and free us from the time, money, thought, and other forms of dedication that we would normally assign to the object. We are then free to, by grace, take such newly-unhinged dedications and place them at the foot of the throne.

3"Why have we fasted,' they say, "and You have not seen?
Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?'
"In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure,
And exploit all your laborers.
4Indeed you fast for strife and debate,
And to strike with the fist of wickedness.
You will not fast as you do this day,
To make your voice heard on high.
5Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the LORD?
6"Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
8Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, "Here I am.'
"If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
11The LORD will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

-- Isaiah 58:3-12


The well overdue linktasticity.

Well Spent, business week's personal finance blog. Some good articles.

Next week I hope to see all of El Guapo's gold, kept here in Manhattan.

NYC Photoblog of the week.

Not sure how exactly The Way We See It works, but it sounds like a cool idear. I shot some stuff at PA this week and just submitted my 3 (hopefully) best.

, for all of your noninformaiton.

Spike Jones commercial for the new Adidas smart shoe.

About 10 mins of base jumping footage. A night jump in Manhattan at the end. I want to do this in the worst way. Some of my buddies from Tahoe jumped Mandalay Bay in Vegas a few years back, I wasn't there but the pix were sick.

I usually don't bother posting funny ebay links because the links will become defunct soon after the auction is over. But I'm guessing you can RSS this site (or you should be able to soon, if you can't now), and just check on cool auctions for yourself.

Every Calvin and Hobbes ever, or so it seems.

Forget about the last Star Wars, here's a trailer for a movie that should be half-decent.

Here's your Google goodness of the week. Soon it will rule us all.

The picture above was not one of my submissions. Today was church then ice skating with the kids.

Then back to Jersey with a few of the leaders for tennis and dinner.

Paul got in an accident a few blocks from my place just after dropping me off, so I drove him home and then stopped at Whole Foods to stock up on cheese and blood oranges and protein shakes and avocados and whatnot.

I like the drive along the waterfront. This one's from the boardwalk in Hoboken, but the drive down from Edgewater is what I'm really talking about.


Pow. Like that. Snuck up on me out of nowhere. Weird timing, too.

Malaise. Like a grey rainy day attitude. Lackadaisical, melancholy, languid. Its been following me since mid-week, and I blame it for my lack of posting. And anything else that dissatisfies you.

Thursday I worked too hard all day at a job that didn't really matter anymore. I trained my replacement last week and spent the end of the week really getting stuff in line for her. She seemed like a nice girl, and its going to be difficult enough for her as it is. She'll likely be on her own within a month anyway. After work, off to Local West with the co-workers to celebrate my departure. Got a surprisingly respectable crowd. Then off for burgers with the APs. Traffic at the Holland Tunnel. Home late. I've got some new writing venues going so that's where I spent the wee hours on Friday morning.

Breakfast at a Cuban joint with Rick and George, which meant way too much discussion of physics and medical practice for that early in the morning. We sent Rick off for Ohio, and in 2 weeks he reports for duty. When I got to the office, it was quiet - the whole company was over in FIT's auditorium for the bi-annual meeting. They got back around lunchtime. Boss was busy with a seminar on another floor, so I was pretty much alone all day to wrap up emails and voicemails and whatnot. Then I left. That felt damn good.

Watched a movie until M called and asked me to watch the little guy while they went for groceries. When they got back, C and I spent the evening peeling and slicing the carrots while we watched Behind Enemy Lines, which has a decent storyline, but is really made fantastic by deft camera work and edgy scene editing. Then back here. More writing elsewhere.

Woke up, bummed around then headed into the city to grab a few things. Saw Sonja on my way back out, talked about her recent navigation, which I am very jealous of. She'll be out a lot more this summer, I hope to do the same. Maybe even do a trip in the fall. Tonight was a leaders appreciation dinner at C&M's for the youth leaders. Incredible food, fitting expectations. Good fellowship, but my torpor followed me still, so I was limited.

I don't know what it is, or why. I think I'm going to need this week off, that's for sure. I never put the list together like I had been planning, but its still in my head - the basics I want to do every day and the bigger goals I want to get knocked over before the week is out. Maybe I'll get them hammered out tomorrow. I think I'll do some drawing. I almost started last night - took some work out and looked at it, but didn't start. A few things I'd like to finish and some new ideas I'd like to start. Maybe I'll even finally get some of it scanned.

Thursday linkery will likely be a Sunday occurrence this week. I should be good from here on out, though - I have a feeling I'll find the time to bang out some posts, listless or no. Snapped a few shots in PA today, so I'll sort thru them, to get things started. Lots of camera ahead. Then live from Canada, the following week. If they have the internet there.


There's a dilemma I'm reaching with this blog, that being whether or not to post for the sake of consistency, or to post only when I have enough fodder to construct something worth reading. Lately I've found that I've got little or nothing to hammer out...

You can probably guess by this point what kind of night tonight is. (Hint: its just like last night)

I think I need to find more time to write during the day. In the past I've enjoyed writing at night, but I've made some pretty significant changes lately and my body clock is struggling to catch up. For one, I'm sleeping a bit more, thanks to the cold (weather, not health condition). I'm putting a lot into my days lately too - not pacing myself energy-wise as I have in the past, and I find that by late evening / early morning, while I'm not quite ready to hit the sack, I'm also in no state to string together coherent thoughts. At least not through the keyboard.

One of my goals for the upcoming weeks off is to actually move the sleep pattern forward at least an hour or two. I need to figure out how to fall asleep consistently in the PM, but I'm skeptical as to whether or not I can actually make it happen. Its worth a shot, though - hopefully this will give me some extra early morning time, which I've been bad about securing lately.

The goals list for the week off will be assembled by end of day on Friday. These last two days at work look to be just as packed as the last two weeks have been, but I never expected otherwise. Things have been moving along rather smoothly, considering. I suppose I never formally mentioned it here, but I suppose its safe to at least start mentioning it: I resigned the Friday before last, which makes this Friday the last day that I ever have to set foot in this hideous building ever again. If there's one thing some cursory dabbling in architecture has taught me, its an acute ability to see and not appreciate the worst malfeasences conducted in the name of infrastructure.

What follows is two weeks off. The first will be spent here in town, running, cleaning, reading, museuming / touring, new-food-hunting, beginning design on the new site, and putting the camera to good use. There's probably going to be a few other things, which I'll mention later should I think of it (I'm thinking about heading to FL for a couple rounds of golf, but I kind of doubt it). Also, I'm going to have a nice cigar.

The second will be my life-long-awaited trip to Whistler. Its a lot later in the season than I would have hoped for on my first trip, but they got some fresh as early as last week (the picture above was from 4 days ago, when it was still deep enough for post-holing). Base is holding at a reasonable 53" and it looks like they could get hit twice more before I show up. Hopefully temps stay low enough. I won't be packing skins or shovel, as I don't expect anything worth hiking for, but I may end up going tele for a couple days just to see the newly opened manual-access bowls. I have a feeling I'll spend a majority of my time working on my pipe skills, however. But I'll be there, and that's what counts.


I put a few good ideas for decent posts together this weekend and still haven't found the time to actually put the posts themselves together. So they sit and wait. I was hoping to get one on Lent's recent popularity among non-Roman-Catholics banged out in time for this week's Christian Carnival, but its going to have to wait for next week. There's your teaser. I just don't have the energy in me to write it in any half-decent way in the next hour, so it gets to wait a week or so.

I've actually got a number of things I'm working on, most of which I plan to complete or at least make significant progress on during my week of rest. Its all personal stuff, so I don't really consider it work, by nature. Taxes (I kinda like doing them, yes, I know...), a few books, some articles/book ideas I'm writing/working on, the HTML, some puter and hard-files organization, just getting things in general into their proper places before I begin focusing on the new job. I need to write about that, too.

And the fierce wind outside desperately wants in tonight. I like that. I love the wind and the cold. I leave one of the windows slightly cracked, so I feel like I'm helping the wind to accomplish its ardent pursuit of chilling me. Just a little. Also, did I mention I don't really mind doing my taxes? Sheesh, I need to get some food and turn a movie on.

The camera hasn't been out at all lately, and I need to remedy that. My upcoming time off should be a start (expect more picture posting), I intend to get started no later than the weekend. If I had been carrying my good camera a couple weeks ago when I met the fellow above, I would have snapped a decent shot of just him, which would have been great. Since all I had was the crappy phone cam, I decided to crap up the shot even further by throwing myself in it, just to be extra touristy. This guy was just standing on 34th street trying to get his message out there. I got the picture and quickly moved away before he could attempt to eat me for lunch.


Ever get so much good information input in such a short period of time that you just have to stop and review and take a few notes? That's me, lately. Lots of data input.

The guide material for the lessons that I lead on Sundays for our Sr. High youth group, especially in this recent series on healthy friendships, has been great. I'm going to have to condense and/or skip a lesson or 3 over the next couple of months in order to make my way through all 7 checkpoints before the end of the school year, and I'm bummed - because lately they all seem so rich. We've been studying the model of healthy friendships as laid out in the picture of the Lord's table:

Coming to the altar - the physical representation of repentance and honesty with others - being reconciled to them in a spirit of humility (the beginning of healthy friendship)

Passing the peace - whether the passing of the actual elements to your neighbor at the table, or the welcoming of the fellow congregant (eg. "peace be with you") - blessing your neighbors with hospitality and love

The cup and the bread - the representation of the hope of God that we can bring to our friends because of Christ's death and resurrection (encouraging one another in hope)

Going forth - Understanding the Lord's Prayer as the picture of the new life that we help each other move towards (dreaming together)

That's a brief compendium on all that we're studying under the general topic of becoming friends of influence.

Which is what the Max Q book we've been reading is all about - developing students of influence. There's just one problem with the way I've read this book - its so well written, biblically based, and full of application for real life, that I've found myself reading it more with a mind-set of what I can learn from it than of what I want glean and then communicate to our students. So I guess I'll need to read it again, from a different point of view.

The series my pastor is currently doing on Hebrews is proving to be a wonderful lead-up to Easter, although I have to admit I haven't really jived with the season as I would have liked to - thanks to various factors that I'll blame instead of actually taking personal responsibility. This past Sunday was particularly encouraging.

We've been looking at Hebrews in its context of a letter written to a struggling urban people, a piece, basically, of intense pastoral counseling to a fledgling church. This Sunday was an excerpt from chapter 7, focusing on Christ as our interceding Advocate - demanding the justice of His payment for our sin before a just God. To the degree that we understand Christ's complete advocacy for our justice, it:

a) gives us a whole new identity
b) completely abolishes our guilt
c) erodes our depth of discouragement/disappointment
d) suffuses our lives with playfulness
e) provides a foundation for tremendous courage

"Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them."

And Sunday night was another great Open Forum, this time some excerpts from La Bohème. The opera, as I understand it, is Puccini's loose critique of the Bohemian movement, as written about in Scenes de la Vie de Boheme. The talk and Q&A following the performance was directed at defining the Bohemian movement / response to the rise of the bourgeoisie in the Industrial age, addressing Puccini's take on it, and ascertaining what we can learn about life from his less-than-obvious style. As usual, the gospel message was tied on at the end, rather like the string you would expect on a brown paper package (assuming its one of your favorite things).

Tonight was the monthly ministry leaders' meeting at church, called MCM. The topic of late there has been Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, tonight an encouraging message on renouncing the rights of a leader in the interest of promoting the gospel to as many as possible (eg. Paul's resignations in 1 Cor. 9). And I learned something interesting as I listened to one of my fellow leaders as she prayed this evening, which I hope to write about soon. Among other things.

Add in a few quality conversations with a few wise friends, some of my other current reads, a few doses of NPR, a couple movies, and a great farewell-party for my friend Rick, and you have my weekend. Rick's a good man, and returns to serve our country with a good deal of prayer following him.

I put my HTML studies on hold because I've reached the point at which I think I need to begin writing/designing before studying anymore, so as work winds down this week, I hope to find time to begin the writing/designing, and then begin studying again. More about work itself as the week progresses, I suppose. I'll have an interesting recap of the last couple months at some point. Or not.


Jean Valjean advanced, carefully avoiding the furniture. At the far end of the room he could hear the even, quiet breathing of the sleeping bishop.

He was almost completely dressed in bed, because of the cold Basse-Alpes nights. His head was tilted back on the pillow in the unstudied attitude of sleep. His face was lit up with a vague expression of a contentment, hope, and happiness. It was almost a radiance, a luminous transparency, for this heaven was within him: it was his conscience.

Jean Valjean stood in the shadow, erect, motionless, terrified. He had never seen anything like it. The moral world has no spectacle more powerful than this: a troubled, restless conscience on the verge of committing a crime, contemplating the sleep of a just man.

--Victor Hugo, Les Miserables


Its another one of those Fridays. The brain's too tired for getting anything worthwhile done, but there's no way its shutting down anytime soon. A couple hours of Netflix, some of which I'm wondering how they found their way to my queue in the first place.

I was going to get a head start on the weekend this evening, but thankfully my good friend Brian called. He's working for a new corporate jet firm now and had just landed a client here in town and had a few hours to kill. Brian was my partner in crime for the infamous PGH to NYC move of '02. In 24 hours, he and I loaded a van full of my junk, found our way to Hoboken (in the dark, no less), unloaded all my junk, and got that van back to PGH. It was a feat of bacheloric proportions (Brian contributing vicariously, as he had been married for a while at that point). He managed most of the drive back while I caught some sleep in the back of the van and nursed my flesh wounds. I remember having them, but don't remember exactly what they were from (it was the middle of summer so likely the half-pipe). There was a good deal of discussion on predestination as well. That was a good, long day.

So anyway tonight he drove over from the airport after getting some refresher directions and we caught up for a few hours. Its always good to hear the news on all the folks from the old church / community. I don't get back there as often as I should like, and I hope to change that in the near future - I miss my friends there. Brian and I are thinking about doing a sprint-tri together this summer, which would be a good warm-up for a real one in the next couple years. I think we could both do it. Not in Iron Man qualifying time, surely, but we could do it, all the same. Anyhow we talked for a bit, called his wife Jess to say "hi" - she was in Laguna Beach, and I tried remembering some good restaurants to send her to - and then he took off for the airport again.

I've flown a few times - in fact, Brian was my training pilot when I successfully pulled off my first touch-n-go landing, which was fun - and I can see why he enjoys it, but I don't think I'd dig it full-time. I think I could do a helicopter, maybe, but not jets. At least not jets without cannons.

Tomorrow will need to be a productive Saturday. The worst kind.


Links in no particular order tonight. I just had Arthur's with the guys so I'm in no shape to do anything but sit and veg.

Famous people blinking

Seriously messed up site about a poor little bunny

Cool bumper sticker

Interesting knife block

Improv Everywhere is a veritable smorgasbord of reasons to love NY. I plan to be a part of No Pants 2006, if I can swing it.

Yale students with too much time on their hands.

Baby Got Bible. I'm pretty sure this isn't blasphemy, but it still feels wrong. Somehow the whole song is legitimately clean, though.

Jet Blue's 5th Anniversary celebration ends tomorrow. If you're a Jet Blue member, go here to see if you're an instant winner of today's prize, a sweet entertainment center. Tomorrow's grand prize is 5 years of free flights for one person and 1 year of free flights for five others. I already won a free flight a couple weeks ago.

I think I linked to Where's George, long, long ago. I finally got my first hit this past week. He only made it to Wilkes Barre, PA. Rather unimpressive.

Google link of the week. Fo schizzle.

Not Google link of the week.

Well, the Gates went up, hung out, saw some snow, and came down, and I managed not to say much about them at all. Everyone else said plenty, I figured. I thought they were cool, in a saffrony kind of way. Here's a few of my favorite gates links.

Crate and Barrel's new destination.

A great post on at least some of the problems with Ipod. He didn't even get into the whole "withholding of market-ready technology for maximum current-product sales" ethics issue, but he did touch on the primary problem with Ipod/Apple - you don't have control of your own music.

WineRaveNYC: "promises to be the most exciting, entertaining 2-day wine and spirits tasting event ever held in the New York area." Mmmkay.

NY Mappy links (most courtesy of MUG this week):


Cool, but looks suspiciously like Google technology.

I want the unfolded one for Christmas. Write it down.

Pretty extensive map database.

Cool Site Design and Fun Toy of the Week Awards both go to Transparent New York.

Finally found James and Beth's wedding present. Don't click, Jimbo, its a surprise.

Cool New Blog of the Week award goes to English Cut. The down-low on Savile Row.

And if premium tailored clothing isn't your thing, then entertain yourself with Tetris 1-D. Betcha can't beat my score.

(click the picture up top for a cool NYC photoblog)


I have a "condition" in my right ear called hyperacusis. I've only ever had it in my right ear, my left ear remains, as far as I can tell, normal (although my view of what "normal" may mean in regards to hearing is probably, well, not). In my years of deduction, I've reached the conclusion that hyperacusis is basically a fancy term that audiologists have, after years of study, developed to describe, in great technicality, "over-hearing" (from the Greek roots huper - for "over," and akousis - for "hearing"). Hard to follow, I know.

It means that my ear hears too well, essentially. But not in the bionic hearing way. Click on the first link and read about it if you haven't already. The short explanation is that most loud sounds simply over-load the auditory nerve, and I experience the ear's equivalent to pain. If you stub your toe, you get the screaming sensation from the nerves in the toe. With the ear, though, you actually hear it. I know, it sounds weird. The closest example I could provide sound-wise is a television turned to a static channel, turned to max volume (think back to before you had cable, if you can remember that far) - that's what I hear instead of the actual loud sound I should be hearing.

I can't go to the movies, much less a concert, or ride the subway, or lead worship, or basically do anything that incorporates more than the tamest decibels of acoustic sound, without experiencing some level of effect. At times, when the nerve has been more agitated, or even when I am simply low on energy, it can be even more sensitive - just eating corn chips or taking a shower can be too loud.

I'm not much for complaining, so I'd like to think that I don't mention it that often, but sometimes I do have to make certain stupid life adjustments, particularly when I can't readily get my hands on an ear plug. Sit to the far right side of the person(s) I'm with at the movies, hold one hand over my ear, etc.. Even holding my mouth wide open sometimes help - stretching out your jaw, basically in the yawning posture - temporarily strains muscles in your ears that temporarily block the nerve from proper hearing. The Nazi's used to tell concentration camp prisoners to open their mouths when the bombs began to drop on the nearby towns. Prisoners that couldn't hear were not easily ordered around, I suppose. I first learned about this tactic in Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place, I think.

In my particular case, the three most likely causes (in no particular order) are a) sudden nerve shock - caused possibly by a head injury or a loud sound (or series of loud sounds), b) nerve damage - likely caused by illness as an infant, or c) a condition wherein (basically) a blood vessel in the ear developed directly against the nerve, causing nerve agitation.

Causes 1 and 2 can be treated through drug therapy, basically concentrated muscle relaxers - the kind of stuff that is used to treat certain epileptic seizures. I was on Klonopin, one of the simpler forms of such drugs, for a while, and I didn't like it. It worked, inasmuch as it lessened or eliminated the condition, but it made me ridiculously sleepy and I didn't like drug dependency in the first place. I felt like an addict as it was, constantly being quizzed by the doctor about whether or not I felt as though I "needed" it. So if drugs aren't your thing, you're pretty much resolved to limiting the amount of sound that reaches the ear - ear plugs.

Cause 3 can be helped through drug therapy, but the most effective treatment is a relatively new procedure called Microvascular Decompression. For a while, after college, I considered this option pretty seriously - my audiologist would have conducted the surgery under the direction of one of the pioneers of the technique, Dr. Peter Janetta, but decided not to pursue it, on the advice of a few established audiologists and my grandfather, a retired, but still licensed, neurosurgeon. The problem with this condition is that they basically can't conclude whether or not it is actually the cause of the effects you experience until they have commenced the surgery - opened your head up to take a look. All of the various potential side effects that come with most types of brain surgery must then be considered - losing some of my hearing, all of my hearing, facial muscle control on one side, both sides, other types of brain damage, meningitis, death, etc...

So I stuck with ear plugs. I've been using the foam ear plugs from Wal-Mart / the drug store since I was a kid. I should have bought stock in these things. I even have a special way I like to cut them in half, at a slight angle, for easy insertion/removal and minimal visibility. I invested a few times in the expensive, custom-designed decibel-inhibitors (read: reverse hearing aid) - the kinds professional musicians often wear for performances and such. I lost them about as fast as I lost the cheap foam ones, so I quickly quit that.

Today my very good friend James sent me this link, about Ear Love (slight poor taste warning). I ordered a pair and look forward to using them. Should be less painful to lose than the expensive custom designed devices I've had to order through audiologists to date.

And now you know more about my right ear than you do about, well, the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.


I've been doing little or no thinking about subjects fitting for the blog, and that, combined with the Black Death I seem to have come down with this weekend have killed most of my normal writing energy (blog or otherwise). I have reasons to believe they should come storming back this month. First priority will be finding my health again - the sinister forces of sickness seem to have left a substantial brigade in my sinuses, while shifting the majority of their forces to my chest.

Sunday I slept as long as I could, still up in time for church but I chilled instead and returned to massive hydration mode. Headed in for evening service, where I met up with Dawn, then dessert (tea for me) with a friend of hers at Cafe Lallo - one of those NY places that is actually really nice when its not being overrun by the tourists there to see a scene from a movie.

Monday I had to show my face in the office to prove I was sick, go to the meeting announcing Federated's acquisition, and get a few necessities taken care of - took off for home as the brunt of the snowstorm. Got a call on the way home from the VP of Kenneth Cole's men's tailored division - wanted me to consider a position as account exec for the entire northeast division. Ironic timing. But logical.

Got bored being home so early so I headed back into the city, discovered the unique accessibility of the 7 train from Port Authority, and hit a cool bar/lounge on the ES for another Christianity Uncorked. Does religion lead to holy war? Basically, yes. Had a couple of Sprites at the bar and when I got home I was famished, as I hadn't eaten much all weekend to that point. A big box of cold lo mein, and a guzzle of Nyquil. I found my secret recipe. I shall have to remember it.

Woke up at almost noon today, figured I should call in and make sure they knew I wasn't coming. Read / surfed the afternoon away then headed in to meet up with Older Sister for a bit. Back here for Tuesday accountability and that brings me to here.

Where I still have pretty much nothing to say. But a good deal on the mind.

Happy March.