Fri, 31 Dec 2004

Dec 31, 2004, 23:42 [home/ServiceBuilder]
Two More Churches Excited

Well, I demo’d ServiceBuilder to two more churches today. Lakeview Church in Saskatoon (Darren Friesen) took a look at it, as did Grace Mennonite church in Neuonlage Saskatchewan. They were both quite enthusiastic.

One difficulty for Grace was that they don’t have a ‘always on’ high speed connection to the Internet so the database connection features for volunteers cannot be fully utilitized.

Darren had lots of good things to say— he noted how much ServiceBuilder could help with communication. So many churches have trouble with communicating. Information dispersal is so crucial, and without ServiceBuilder, so important. I noted that ServiceBuilder was more than just a worship program, it was a new way to do ministry. He agreed in a sense, but said that it was much more than a worship program— it’s a whole-church organisational program.

I’m feeling very encouraged and excited. The more people who see ServiceBuilder, the more enthusiasm I’m getting. I truly want to be able to bless churches, and I don’t want anything— especially money, and a church’s ability to afford SB— to get in the way of that.

~Jason



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Mon, 20 Dec 2004

Dec 20, 2004, 22:16 [home/books]
Rendezvous with Rama

Austin Fusilier and Ray Laqua introduced me to Arthur C. Clarke books, and I started with this Rama story. Terrific.

Here’s the premise: some distant world sent a spinning drum on a crash course with out sun. It was comissioned thousands of years before earth had humans crawling around on it.

When they could get close to it, human astronauts landed on, then climbed into this gigantic drum to find an entire world inside. Continents, islands, cities, even a marvelous sea was inside this drum, held to the outside walls by the steady gravity-creating spin along it’s axis. The world was apparently dead and frozen as a result of the icy temperature of space. But once in our solar system, it began to thaw. This thawing caused life to start crawling to the surface from tunnels deep below the surface.

Humans had only a few weeks to explore, before this world, which they named ‘Rama,’ would crash into the sun. Before this final collision, however, Rama adjusted course, and careened out of the solar system as suddenly as it arrived.

If you like Sci-Fi, you’ll love this.

~Jason



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Dec 20, 2004, 22:06 [home/books/list]
Reading List 2004

OK, here are the books I’ve read in 2004:

  • Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights (amazing beginning, gets really boring)
  • Rick Warren: The Purpose Driven Life (twice through, love it.)
  • I Robot (excellent)
  • Robert Ludlum: The Bourne Identity (excellent- must read)
  • Robert Ludlum: The Bourne Supremecy (just okay)
  • Erwin Raphael McManus: Seizing Your Devine Moment (pretty good.)
  • Jules Verne: A Journey to the Center of the Earth (terrible)
  • John Steinbeck: Grapes of Wrath (pretty good)
  • Arthur C. Clarke: Randezvous with Rama (really interesting)
  • Jack London: Call of the Wild (Terrific)
  • John Piper: When I Don’t Desire God (Amazing!)
  • Bilquis Sheikh: I Dared to Call Him Father (Remarkably entertaining)

See here for lists from each year, if you’re curious. happy

~Jason



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Dec 20, 2004, 17:25 [home/ServiceBuilder]
Big Disappointment Today

I went to meet with the Meeting House today, but unfortunately (for him, more than for me,) the fellow I was to meet with was in a car accident and severely broke his arm. I pray this doesn’t hurt his playing. Every musician is afraid of that!

It was hard not to be selfishly disappointed that our meeting didn’t happen, but I’m sure we’ll reschedule. I feel pretty silly feeling bad about that when he’s hurt himself so badly.

~Jason



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Sat, 18 Dec 2004

Dec 18, 2004, 10:30 [home/ServiceBuilder]
The AGC

Philpott church, the church at which I am employed, belongs to an association of churches called the AGC. I believe it stands for “Associated Gospel Churches.”

On Wednesday I had the good pleasure to visit the AGC head office to demonstrate ServiceBuilder. They hooked my laptop up to their video projector, and I walked them through the various processes of my software. I felt a little nervous, first of all, because I didn’t want to be taking unreasonable advantage of the relationship my church had with them to market something for personal profit. The other reason I was nervous was because I really believe in ServiceBuilder’s core benefits, and I wanted to give it a fair demonstration.

They were quite enthusiastic. They made a couple of good suggestions too, so that it could be even more beneficial to churches and other organizations, (like the AGC). One of these suggestions has already been deployed.

They offered to write a cover letter to show to the churches which belong to the AGC, heartily recommending ServiceBuilder as a way of planning services, staying organized, scheduling people and making the most of a volunteer force, as well as contacting various groups within the congregation. They observed that it could be used even for children’s ministry to plan kid’s programs!

I’m so excited! Apparently they will give it some face-time on their web site, and offer it to their pastor’s within the “pastor’s pack,” which goes out monthly.

I couldn’t have asked for more. I hope it continues to flourish, and that more churches will benefit, and grow as a result.

~Jason



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Mon, 13 Dec 2004

Dec 13, 2004, 22:07 [home/ServiceBuilder]
Brand Spankin’ New

That’s right, the ServiceBuilder web site has had a complete overhaul! It’s pretty exciting, lots of new stuff… lots of good information, step-by-step instructions, even a message board!

So if you can spare a couple of minutes, go post a message on the new message board! I’d love to get some traffic going through there! Let me know your thoughts about the new site!

Thanks,
~Jason



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Thu, 09 Dec 2004

Dec 09, 2004, 16:57 [home/ServiceBuilder]
Schedule to Outlook

When I do the schedule for the team, I try to schedule about four months in advance.

This has some negative outcomes, specifically that peopel don’t always know what they’re doing in four months.

So I added a new export feature to the web schedule. When users go to view their schedule online, they can click a link to import these items into their calendar software. (Outlook specifically, though the tab-separated-values text file will probably import into most calendar programs).

Hopefully I have less problems with people forgetting when they’re scheduled.

~Jason



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Tue, 07 Dec 2004

Dec 07, 2004, 18:43 [home/music/song_bios]
Hope Has Taken Me

Hope Has Taken Me


I wrote a new song today— It’s only the first draft, but here are the lyrics. You can hear my recording of it by going here. It’s not bad for a first draft. I’d be interested to know what you think.

Thanks!
~Jason

It’s a mystery to me
That deep within my heart
There is something more I need
To fill the yearning part

Nothing satisfies
I’ve tried to set it free
And trying is the word for it,
The trial of the century

Time has ceased to move
And we’re in that moment now
I fill my chest with deep breaths,
With thanks, and wonder how?

My shoulders drop, relieved,
And seconds become years
No pain, that life has
disappeared

Chorus:
Not someday, nor yesterday,
Not waiting, not waiting,
No wishing, or wanting,
Hope has taken me
I’m here now, we’re together,
You’ve brought me to this moment
Most satisfied; hope has taken me.

You’ve laid the brush aside,
The canvas needs no more,
This world is a masterpiece,
Of pain, of joy, or peace and war,

Now you take my hand,
You help me see it through,
I worship the ground you walk on,
I love you!
[chorus]



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Sat, 04 Dec 2004

Dec 04, 2004, 08:50 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
Frustration Abounds

I wasn’t thinking clearly last night, when, at 11:00 p.m. I asked Lucas to wake me at 6:00.

I said we’d go GeoCaching together— which would normally be fine, even at 6. But when Seth started wimpering in his sleep at 3, came into bed with us, and then starting talking at 5, I knew I was in trouble. Then at six I realised the sun doesn’t come up until 7. The boys played computer games while I tried to catch a few more z’s.

Eventually the three of us piled into my car to head for the Bock-Bock cache, which we hadn’t found a few days ago. On our way up Mount Albion road, a police road-block signalled to us that we weren’t going to find that cache that day. We finally got a signal lock with the GPS and turned around, heading for Stoney Creek Battlefield Park.

But we couldn’t seem to keep a lock. My i.Trek CF GPS is garbage. The last one was wonderful, but this one can never aquire a signal from the satelites. I’m so frustrated.

We drove around for a while, then gave up. An hour in the car, with nothing to show for it but two disappointed little boys, and a severely annoyed grown-up.

~Jason



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Thu, 02 Dec 2004

Dec 02, 2004, 21:37 [home/ServiceBuilder]
Start Up Tips

I added a great new feature to ServiceBuilder today: a ‘start up tips’ window, like you see in other popular programs.

You can optionally have a tips window pop up every time you start ServiceBuilder, and this window explains to the user how to take advantage of various functions. Each tip can also have a ‘show me’ button, which takes the user to the part of the program in question.

ServiceBuilder is finally starting to become easy to use. I never really thought about the user-friendly aspect of SB before, but now that it’s underway, I’m really excited.

~Jason



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Wed, 01 Dec 2004

Dec 01, 2004, 21:32 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
Geocache Un-Adventure

Tuesday night after piano lessons, Lucas and I took a detour to one of the many Hamilton GeoCache sites. This one was up Mount Albion road, in a high spot where we could see the cars on the Linc. It was getting dark, so we gave up before we found it, but we’ll be back!

~Jason



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Mon, 29 Nov 2004

Nov 29, 2004, 18:11 [home/ServiceBuilder]
New Version Almost Finished

The newest version of ServiceBuilder is almost finished. It’s packed with at least a hundred new features to make music directors even happier! I expect to be done with the last couple of details this week.

I am demo-ing it with a local church this Wednesday afternoon. I’m excited to see what their response will be. Excited, and scared at the same time. happy Pray everything goes smoothly.

 ~Jason



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Tue, 23 Nov 2004

Nov 23, 2004, 16:08 [home/ServiceBuilder]
ServiceBuilder Work

As I may have mentioned before, reading the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren reinforced for me the importance that I be about what God has made me to do, not flailing against my own perceptions of success or failure.

God has made me a musician, I believe he has given me a gift to touch people with music, and to be a church music director.

For this reason, I’ve decided to really focus a lot more time on blessing other churches out there with ServiceBuilder. I’ve started contacting some people about it, trying to get referrals, etc.

Austin Fusilier has agreed to help me with spreading the word too.

Today I’ve spent some time enhancing the program— adding the ability for it to use the Windows Registry to save settings, including church name and registration number, as well as smoothing over a few little bugs that were hanging on.

It’s good to be re-energized with new focus. I trust this will honour God, and be meaningful for music directors and worship leaders everywhere.

~Jason



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Tue, 16 Nov 2004

Nov 16, 2004, 13:58 [home/computers]
My Own Server House

I’d love to set up a little server house in the basement here… only thing is, the fan whirring would make recording in the adjoining rec-studio a little noisy.

But seriously, I’d love to have a machine set up as a server, where I could host a few sites, maybe some of mine, maybe some friend’s sites, and a machine or two to run a SpamBayes mail filter server, an intranet server for hosting all of our multimedia files: music, movies, photos— that kind of thing.

Imagine how cool that would be? From any computer in the house a person could connect to the server, watch a movie, listen to a song, scroll through some photo albums. I love the idea!

Anyone wanna help?

~Jason



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Mon, 15 Nov 2004

Nov 15, 2004, 23:59 [home/music]
Music Site Changes

I’ve made some changes to www.JasonSilver.com, which I think are worth checking out. You can also hear the mastered versions of the songs I’ve sung on the new album. They are compressed a LOT though, so some really warble. I noticed that especially on the background vocals of ‘Faithful One.’ Still sounds good though.

As always, comments from all you lurkers out there would be nice. 1909 page views this week means lots of people are coming and reading my blogs… but hardly ever any comments!! (Come on people! winking )

~Jason



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Nov 15, 2004, 23:30 [home/music/recording]
Mastering Done, Duplication Underway

Today I checked out the final mastered version of the album. Sounded pretty good. One song was a little weird, which is too bad, because it’s my favourite song on the CD: Hope Has Taken Me. I mixed my voice too far back, so the voice sounds totally in a drum. Some chorus was added to Shermeen’s final mix, which wasn’t exactly what I was going for, but we were on a tight time line. sad It still sounds really good.

The guys at FonicFactory are so talented and generous. They were forced to do a two week project in twenty hours, without much sleep! And for very little money. Thanks guys! The album sounds way better because of their efforts.

So Tom and I grabbed a bite to eat at a little Greek hamburger joint downtown, then high-tailed it to Brantford where we dropped off the CDs for duplication. Lots of paperwork, but it was fun. Met some people who knew me through other people, and I guess Philpott is getting a reputation. Cool.

Can’t wait for this to be all finished, and to stop worrying about it. Like Lane said a few weeks ago, “If anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing with mediocrity.”

~Jason



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Thu, 11 Nov 2004

Nov 11, 2004, 12:25 [home/computers]
Installation Notes

My friend Ray recently had to reinstall Windows XP on a new hard drive and encountered some problems. This is how he got around it.

I want to remember how to do this, should I ever have need to, so I’m pasting the information in here.

I have just gone through the process of trying to upgrade my home PC to use a larger disk drive.  It appears that the Windows XP operating system detects when you have changed your hard disk and will not allow you load windows.  After several hours of research and attempts I have discovered a path that works:

    1. Connect your new drive (in my case 80GBbyte) as a slave drive and format the disk using a basic partition.  Do not use a logical or dynamic partition.
    2. Run a program called sysprep with the “reseal” option.  This tells windows xp to reathenticate your software when you reload windows.
    3. Run Norton Ghost (or another disk image program) to image your existing drive to the larger drive.  Don’t forget to set the “make drive active” option.  Otherwise, you cannot boot from your new disk drive.
    4. Shutdown your computer and disconnect your old drive and connect your larger drive to the primary cable.
    5. Restart your computer
    6. You should then be presented with the windows initial authentication screen and you will have to reenter your authentication code. 
    7. You should then be able to logon to windows. 
    8. You will also need to reactivate your Microsoft Office software. 

The sysprep program is found in the deploy.cab file on the source windows xp cd in the tools directory.  This program is what prepares the disk image for deployment to other machines.  Without using this Windows XP will detect that you have changed your hardware and will not let you load windows from your new drive.

Thanks Ray!
~Jason



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Sat, 30 Oct 2004

Oct 30, 2004, 18:15 [home/books]
The Call of the Wild

I finished Call of the Wild this evening. This was a fantastic, short little story. It’s the story of a dog, named Buck as he discovers the world of man, wild, and his deep savage desires.

It felt a little bit like a young boy’s story, especially at the beginning. But it was entrancing. I couldn’t put it down.

Good read.

~Jason



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Thu, 21 Oct 2004

Oct 21, 2004, 15:05 [home/politics/american]
Bush, the modern Churchill. Kerry, not.

This is a really good comparison of President G.W. Bush and Sir Winston Churchill.

Comparing U.S. President George Bush with Winston Churchill may seem a stretch. Yet there’s a parallel — not with Churchill of the war years, when he was the “free” world’s most admired leader, but with Churchill of the 1930s when he stood alone, warning about the rise of Nazism.

Then, pacifism was rampant in Britain and Europe. Hitler’s aggression was rationalized by wishful thinking. Peace at any price.

Except for Churchill. He began warning that the Nazis must be stopped when they occupied the Rhineland in 1936. He urged an alliance of Britain, France and the Soviet Union to stop Hitler’s expansion. He was called a warmonger, an enemy of peace, reviled in print and in speeches. Few stood with him.

History has proven Churchill right.

With the U.S. election entering the home stretch, Bush is under the same sort of attacks for his war on terrorism and Iraq that Churchill endured before WWII.

Good comments on this page too.

~Jason



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Mon, 18 Oct 2004

Oct 18, 2004, 17:42 [home/books]
The Bourne Supremecy

The ‘Born Supremecy’ would be a great title for a series on Jesus’ birth.

I just finished this second book in the Bourne series, and really enjoyed it— though I can’t say it was as good as the first. The first was such a mystery— no one really knew who Bourne was— The reader discovered evidence along with the main characters, making for a real page turner. In this story, there was no real mystery. It was just adventure, and that’s not as compelling for me.

So it got just a bit monotonous especially the later chapters. The epilogue was horrible… I hardly read it. It was one of those, “All the characters lived happily ever after” bits.

So now I’ve started Call of the Wild, and I’m actually a third done already. Quick little book. After that, some Sci-Fi that Austin lended  me.

~Jason



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Fri, 15 Oct 2004

Oct 15, 2004, 08:02 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts]
Update

UPDATE:
The IP address that was used by Intelliscript.net was owned by well known spammers. My web host was no longer interested in paying for that range. The cobalt server where my site was hosted was old and ready to go, and they had tried to communicate with the users on that server of its imminent death. I just didn’t get the message in time, and so lost everything. sad Good news is that I’m getting another free server out of it, and it’s been a great lesson for me.

The IP address range where this Cobalt was situated on: 66.164. was rented for about 3 years from Peter Schroebel US Company SMSOnline, we notified this Company allready in may and june 2004 we don’t want to use this 66.164 range anymore because it is listed into many anti spam organisations, because Mr. Peter Schroebel is a wel known first clas spammer!!

This is the reason why our company stop with the ip range 66.164.xx from SMS online take a close look at this:

http://www.spamhaus.org/sbl/sbl.lasso?query=SBL11339 and you wil see what the problem is with Mr. Schroebel and SMS Online, this is the main reason we stop with this Company.

This have nothing todo that the server where you was hosted on is down, this is a totaly different thing.

ANOTHER UPDATE:
The server that had been lost was located by the web host, and they were able to retrieve everything and give me access to the files via FTP! So Thank God! I’m downloading and uploading right now! Yippee!

~Jason



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Thu, 14 Oct 2004

Oct 14, 2004, 22:59 [home/curiosities]
Google Desktop Search

Google Desktop Search Beta is out. I wonder if it will search network drives? This might be really useful at the office!

~Jason



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Oct 14, 2004, 12:20 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts]
Lost Almost Everything

I’m an idiot. You’d think someone like me would learn to make BACKUPS! It’s an example of ‘taking my own advice.’

So I’ve lost thousands of records in my database: customers, their purchases, the scripts they’re interested in, their EMAIL ADDRESSES! Ugh. It’s like starting over. I’ve lost everyone interested in ServiceBuilder too.

So I moved Intelliscript.net to InternetBusinessFollowup.com’s server. It’s finished, except for the big job of troubleshooting and reinstalling all the scripts on my site. That’s one big headache of having a server-side-intensive site. Includes need to be changed, rules for the servers differ, so I had to rename all .pl files to .cgi if they were located outside of the CGI bin (Which is a good idea anyway, and I should always do this!).

So it’s another example of me wondering, “WHY AM I DOING THIS AGAIN?” Money just doesn’t seem like a good enough reason. It’s 12:30 here and I haven’t even got to my real job yet! UGH.

~Jason



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Wed, 13 Oct 2004

Oct 13, 2004, 17:44 [home/politics/canadian]
This Strikes Me As Ironic

Is this a positive result of the American War on Terror? And if Canadians oppose this war, should we be celebrating the recent election in Afghanistan? This seems slightly ironic to me.

“This election represents an important milestone in the country’s democratic transition and an impressive achievement of the Afghan people. Canadians are proud to have contributed to this process from the outset, and we are committed to continuing our work with the government and the people of Afghanistan to build a democratic, stable and peaceful country.”

~Jason



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Oct 13, 2004, 16:10 [home/politics]
Political Compass

Jason's Political Compass - Click to ViewVery interesting quiz— though seemd like biased questions to me. Find out where you are on the Political Compass!

It takes about 10 minutes to go through the questions, and sometimes they’re kind of obtuse— it takes a moment to find out what they’re really asking. They ask about your feelings on disciplining children, homosexuality, corporate domination, etc.

Try it out, then comment or trackback where you came out! happy

~Jason



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Tue, 12 Oct 2004

Oct 12, 2004, 16:25 [home/politics]
Election in Afghanistan

I received this email today from a Canadian working in Afghanistan.

I would like to give a quick update and a quick thank-you. First Thank-You to everyone who has been praying for safety in Kabul. Especially the last week or so, there were some expectations of Taliban disrupting the elections with violent attacks against ISAF military personnel, or the polling sites.  God has watched over us, and we are safe.  Praise the Lord.

Also, an encouraging piece of news:  One of the media representatives, who was around to several polling sites on election day, reported to us (part of the military community) that the women turned out in huge numbers.  Many of them told him, through an interpreter, that they have not been out of the house, virtually, in years; but, they came because this is so important for their country.  They are so thankful for the countries who have sent troops, and for the troops themselves, for the presence which has allowed enough stability for them to take this big step.  (This Media guy is a documentarian, so you won’t read him in the paper.)  You will have heard about all the voting irregularities.  Well, the common person’s perspective, I understand, is that it was a historic day.

God be with you
Yours in Christ
Tracy Moore
Chaplain
5159

Not what we hear on TV.

~Jason



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Oct 12, 2004, 11:57 [home/curiosities]
Real Live Preacher

Austin pointed me to this great site… Real Live Preacher.

~Jason



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Sat, 02 Oct 2004

Oct 02, 2004, 12:53 [home/politics/canadian]
The Funding Government

It’s fascinating to me— I’m trying to grasp the ‘why’ behind our political climate. I want to understand why we have a tax temperature, fever high, yet no one wants to take a Tylenol. My realisation is no brainwave— it’s because we’re a socialist country. But do we really want to be? Are Canadians really okay with this?

In a country this large, made up of tiny communities splattered far from each other, I understand the reasoning. They can’t afford to look after themselves, so we’ll spread the cost out over the whole population.

But doesn’t it seem like this is all our government really does? Look at the Government of Canada headlines lately— I’ve clipped out maybe five or six that weren’t about spending money:

Wed, Sep 22 2004 7:48 AM
Government of Canada Invests Over $8 million in B.C. Communities Affected by Softwood Dispute
…This funding will lead to over $26 million in new investments for B.C. communities…

Tue, Sep 28 2004 1:33 AM
$2.8 Million Federal, Provincial Support for Seafood Industry

Tue, Sep 28 2004 2:48 AM
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA CONTRIBUTES $462,709 TO SUPPORT EXPORT ASSISTANCE FOR EASTERN MONTREAL SMEs

Tue, Sep 28 2004 11:03 AM
Canada and Saskatchewan Invest in Eco-Friendly Oil Recovery

Wed, Sep 29 2004 1:23 AM
Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan Invest $356,610 in the Future of Advanced Technology

Wed, Sep 29 2004 6:41 AM
Nunavut Signs Agri-Food Agreement with Canada
…The five-year agreement provides Nunavut up to $180,000 annually for programs and services which increase the profitability of the commercial caribou and musk-ox harvests.

Wed, Sep 29 2004 9:57 AM
Government of Canada Helps the Visual Arts Centre Upgrade its Facilities ($143,705)

Wed, Sep 29 2004 10:42 AM
Government of Canada Supports La Bande à Bonn’eau’s Efforts to Preserve Lanoraie Peatbogs ($40,600)

Thu, Sep 30 2004 12:22 AM
CAIS PROGRAM NOW AVAILABLE TO YUKON FARMERS
Yukon farmers are now eligible to participate in the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program.

Thu, Sep 30 2004 3:19 AM
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA IS PARTNER IN TRANSAL 2005
…Honourable Jacques Saada, Minister… responsible for the Francophonie, today announced a $100,000 non-repayable contribution

Thu, Sep 30 2004 4:30 AM
Funding for Northern Training Projects
New training and job opportunities are opening up for northerners with funding under the Canada-Saskatchewan Northern Development Agreement (NDA).

Thu, Sep 30 2004 10:11 AM
Government of Canada supports ($280,145) the Native Alliance of Quebec

Thu, Sep 30 2004 10:14 AM
Government of Canada Supports the Quebec Federation of Home and School Associations’ New Publication ($19,500)

Thu, Sep 30 2004 10:16 AM
French-Language Theatrical Trilogy to be Presented in Newfoundland and Labrador ($21,120)

Thu, Sep 30 2004 10:20 AM
Government of Canada supports Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre in Windsor ($100,000)

Thu, Sep 30 2004 10:23 AM
Minister Frulla announces funding for D.F. Cook Recital Hall ($121,042)

Fri, Oct 1 2004 1:50 AM
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA INVESTS $479,594 IN SIX STRUCTURING PROJECTS IN MRC D’ASBESTOS

Sat, Oct 2 2004 10:24 AM
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA GRANTS $580,000 TO THE FIRM OPTIMA

These stories are unashamed. The government is proud of it’s spending. Are we? I mean, are we all fine with our money being thrown around? I thought governments were for governing, not funding myriad causes… Please note that this is just a few days worth of spending… I wonder if this amount is spent consistently, throughout the year?!

Tax the blood out of people, then fund everything you can. It seems like our government has learned how to buy votes. Is there any hope for change?

~Jason



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Fri, 01 Oct 2004

Oct 01, 2004, 16:29 [home/politics/american]
Who REALLY Won The Debate

Hey, a recent Gallup pole is quite revealing:

…Gallup’s respondents said that Kerry “did the better job in the debate” by a decisive 53% to 37% margin. But if you look at the internal numbers, they give Kerry very little comfort. The only area where people actually say Kerry did better was in “expressing himself more clearly,” by 60% to 32%. The candidates were tied in having a good understanding of the issues. By 49% to 46%, respondents said Bush “agrees with them on the issues they care about.” By 50% to 45%, Bush was more believable; by 48% to 41%, Bush was more likable; and by a whopping 54% to 37%, Bush demonstrated he was “tough enough for the job.

Equally important, the Gallup poll indicates that watching the debate had almost no effect on respondents’ assessment of who can best handle the situation in Iraq (Bush, by 54% to 43% post-debate) or who would be the better commander in chief (Bush, by 54% to 44% post-debate).

So unless the media succeed in spinning the “Kerry won” story so that it takes on a life of its own, it looks like the debate advanced Kerry’s cause little, if at all. [Powerline] (emphasis mine)

This is fascinating to me.

~Jason



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Thu, 30 Sep 2004

Sep 30, 2004, 15:57 [home/curiosities]
Gas Prices Are So Low Right Now

Well, ok, maybe not…

But I can’t believe this site!! I’d been thinking last week how important a site like this would be, and how easy to get traffic to it!!

It keeps track of the lowest gas prices in Hamilton, so you don’t have to drive around in a daze. I’m using this site DEFINITELY!

~Jason



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Sep 30, 2004, 15:51 [home/curiosities]
Nasa Software

This is a cool-looking program… World Wind. if I wasn’t so busy, I might take a look at this free software myself:

In a nutshell, it allows you to zoom from any satellite altitude into any place on earth using various images captured from LandSat and STRM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) elevation data. It’s pretty impressive and definitely worth the 231MB download (although, it requires some pretty beefy processing and video power). [thanks to furrygoat]

~Jason



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Sep 30, 2004, 15:47 [home/curiosities]
Mt. St. Helens Awakes

Have you heard about this?

Over night, seismic activity at Mount St. Helens has accelerated significantly, which increases our level of concern that current unrest could culminate in an eruption. We are increasing the alert level to the second of three levels, which is similar to Color Code Orange of the alert system used by the Alaska Volcano Observatory and analogous to the National Weather Service’s hazardwatch [USGS]

Kinda scary for people living around the area!

~Jason



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Sep 30, 2004, 15:42 [home/curiosities]
Moron Mouth

I found stumbled onto this site called MoronMouth. It’s so funny! It’s filled with transcripts of people calling their bank and screaming at them about stupid stuff.

Feeling down? This will make you smile!

Thanks to Rev. Joyleaf.

~Jason



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Wed, 29 Sep 2004

Sep 29, 2004, 14:54 [home/politics/canadian]
Healthcare Again

He’s spending our money to keep us from spending our money

~Jason



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Sep 29, 2004, 14:47 [home/faith]
World Vision - The Gospel Experiment

This is compelling.

~Jason



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Sep 29, 2004, 14:43 [home/politics/american]
CBS Through Its Troubles for Premiere Week

Looks like it might blow over for Danny boy. Link.

During a week that CBS was fined $550,000 for Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl flash and its news division had to apologize for shoddy reporting, at least the prime-time ratings gave its executives something to smile about.

~Jason



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Sep 29, 2004, 14:36 [home/politics/american]
Glad to See Them Go

This is too funny.

On Aug. 4, Bush and Kerry had campaign stops three blocks apart in Davenport, Iowa. The entire police force of 157 officers was on duty for the two events in this Mississippi River town. Total cost: $23,000 - nearly the annual salary of a rookie officer.

While the police were protecting the presidential candidates … three banks in town were robbed. … Suspects in the other two robberies have not yet been caught.

“We were glad to see them show up,” police chief Michael Bladel says of Bush and Kerry. “We were double-glad to see them go.”

~Jason



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Sep 29, 2004, 14:31 [home/hobbies]
New Fastest, Tallest Roller Coaster

I love roller-coasters.

I have ridden the current world record holder twice (“Top Thrill Dragster” at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio). It was the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the world (120 mph in 4 seconds to a height of 420 feet).  I took the ride twice in a row, with a girl I liked named Monica, back in 1989. The waiting line was well over an hour both times.

Now a new ride is coming to New Jersey’s Six Flags which accellerates to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds and rises 456 feet off the ground! It might be time for me to go back and visit friends in New Jersey— taking a little side trip to visit my friend the thrill ride.

I took Lucas to Canada’s Wonderland last Saturday for a day of coasting. It was his birthday present this year. We went on just about every roller-coaster there— except the ones with waiting lines of more than an hour. Top Gun, Wilde Beast, Mine Buster, Skyrider, The Bat, Dragon Fire, Thunder Run, and White Water Canyon. Next time we’ll wait in line to ride Tomb Raider, The Fly, and Vortex.

~Jason



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Sep 29, 2004, 09:36 [home/curiosities]
Great 404 Error Pages

Thanks to Jordan for this link.

Great 404 Error Pages

~Jason



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Tue, 28 Sep 2004

Sep 28, 2004, 10:13 [home/politics/canadian]
The Charter of Rights and Free Medicare

I like to read Colby Cosh’s articles. They are honest, straight-forward assessments of our political system. I found this reference to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms quite interesting:

It’s a funny thing: We Canadians have a Constitution that was patriated and radically updated within living memory, but it seems sometimes not to be a living thing. Not in the way, I mean, that the U.S. Constitution is. The American republic’s founding debates and basic law never fade from view for long in the bustle of current affairs; the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments endlessly dissected and cited there, and the Fourteenth shows up, throwing wild haymakers, in every debate from affirmative action to the 2000 presidential election.

We certainly talk about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms a lot, or our politicians do. But we don’t have a political culture in which new laws are instinctively tested against the ambitions and intentions of our constitutional framers — either the ones of 1982, who are rarely consulted or even considered in the capacity of founders, or the ones of 1867, whose ruling passions and federalist specifications are largely forgotten.

It’s the latter group that is most relevant to a consideration of contemporary health policy. The problem is that none of them, for a second, would have considered the possibility that the state would one day be responsible for providing comprehensive, universal health care to the citizenry. If you could shake John A. Macdonald awake and explain medicare to him, he would wonder how and when the damned filthy Prussians had managed to take over the Dominion. And the same is true, I would warrant, of everyone else who had a hand in the events of 1867. They were Victorian gentlemen; they had no idea that the political “centre” would one day be located far to the left of their era’s jelly-spined European socialists. [emphasis mine]

It’s interesting, isn’t it? The U.S. seems so concerned with protecting the founding father’s original intent for the country, while we seem to blythly ignore our founder’s wishes.

Speaking of medicare, the ‘brain-drain’ we often refer to is all the more interesting in light of this tidbit of history:

When [medicare] was broadened, the Douglas government had to fight the doctors, who were foursquare against the socialization of their labour and went out on a hair-raising strike. Douglas won.

~Jason



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Fri, 24 Sep 2004

Sep 24, 2004, 21:17 [home/computers]
Google and China and Censorship

Google has had a phrase in their mission/purpose statement; “don’t be evil.” One of their latest moves raises eyebrows for many:

Google Inc.’s recently launched news service in China doesn’t display results from Web sites blocked by that country’s authorities, raising prickly questions for an online search engine that has famously promised to “do no evil.”

Interesting, isn’t it? I wonder how bloggers will react to this?

~Jason



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Sep 24, 2004, 21:11 [home/computers]
Computers Powered by Spinach!

MIT Works to Power Computers With Spinach
Fri Sep 24, 3:23 PM ET  Add Technology - AP to My Yahoo! 
By MARK PRATT, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON - “Eat your spinach,” Mom used to say. “It will make your muscles grow, power your laptop and recharge your cell phone… ” OK. So nobody’s Mom said those last two things. But researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (news - web sites) say they have used spinach to harness a plant’s ability to convert sunlight into energy for the first time, creating a device that may one day power laptops, mobile phones and more.

I want one of those! Imagine, your battery gets low, so you go out to the garden and pull some weeds!

Neat!

~Jason



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Thu, 23 Sep 2004

Sep 23, 2004, 23:19 [home/faith/worship]
One Nation Under God

The United States passed legislation Thursday that would prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on whether the words “under God” should be stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance.

~Jason 



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Sep 23, 2004, 09:10 [home/politics/canadian]
Rewriting History to Suit Our Needs

Interesting— I’ve also felt like the Canadian history we’ve been learning in school doesn’t match up with reality. Thanks to Trudeaupia for this link.

Far from being a young nation-state, we are in fact one of the older ones — certainly one that has had representative institutions and the rule of law for much longer than some of the most storied nations on this planet. When we pretend that Canada is a new nation, that we are still coming to discover who we are and what we can do — I feel that we are closing our eyes to what we have been, for good or for ill. And that sort of misperception cannot be sustained.

When people speak of how peace-loving Canadians have always been, I think of the burning of the Parliament Buildings in Montreal in 1849 by an anglo-Montrealer mob — which probably was what prevented the city from being the capital after Confederation. I think of the desperate battles of the First World War, when Canadians won victories on the battlefields that Britons and Frenchmen could not, when our best general, Arthur Currie, was knighted on the battlefield by King George V and later took possession of Kaiser Wilhelm’s suite in the Palais Schaumburg (in Bonn). I think of the battles in Northern France in the Second World War, when Canadians ended up in a grudge match with the Panzer SS division that contained the Hitler Youth, when neither side would take prisoners (they started it — they murdered fifty Canadian POWs on D-Day), and the Germans labelled our troops “the British SS”.

There’s more, go read it.

~Jason



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Tue, 21 Sep 2004

Sep 21, 2004, 14:23 [home/faith/worship]
Stretching the G-o-d out.

Lane Fusilier referred me to a good article on worship which comes at an appropriate time. Here are three points worth highlighting:

(1) Worship “from the Story” means we can’t settle to endlessly name and sing of the glorious attributes of God.
Worship can’t be about magnifying our conception of perfection, ripped as it were from a few favorite proof texts. Instead we must get our hands dirty in the ambiguous, storied soil of the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. The big question I bring to worship is, “How are we remembering God here?” Without the texture of the story’s context, we unwittingly import an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God into the narcissistic machinations of our own stories.

(2) Worship “to the Trinity” means we begin with a richer understanding of sovereignty.
Our three person-ed God dwells in community. At the heart of the cosmos is not my relationship with God, but the Father’s relationship with the Son. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are baptized in the Triune name. It’s how Paul says things like, “I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me” and “You have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Though we enter as individuals, worship is about community. And it’s not our community “down here” worshipping God’s community “up there.” In Christ, by the power of the outpoured Holy Spirit, we are ushered into the dwelling place of God the Father Almighty. We do not generate worship in and of ourselves. Jesus Christ makes an offering through us to the Father for the sake of the World.

(3) Worship “for the World” means simply we are not our own.
Herein lies the most subtle temptation of all: To run headlong into the world, making worship an instrumental means to mission. Authentic worship is the end, leading us to a place of being “in Christ” for the World.

If the church’s last five years could be summed up in an idea, I think it would be something like, “the time the church started to really understand worship.” Yet, reading this article reminds me that we’re blissfully arrogant and ignorant of what God really deserves in our worship. Somehow, we always seem to make it about us.

Comments?

~Jason



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Sep 21, 2004, 11:18 [home/politics/american]
This is Like Alias

New evidence shows a Chinese spy has been influencing the Kerry campaign— reminds me of Alias, which I cannot wait for! But I’ll be waiting until January! sad

~Jason



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Mon, 20 Sep 2004

Sep 20, 2004, 00:27 [home/music/song_bios]
Purpose of Our Life

Play this MP3: Stream at http://www.jasonsilver.com/blog/
Love My Neighbour

Wrote another new song, and this one I used a new plugin on— a vocal tuner. Believe me folks, I need it. I’m brutal. winking I put it on real subtle setting, so it just makes the worst notes better. Also used it on the harmonies which tightened things up lots!

Tell me what you think.

~Jason



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Sat, 18 Sep 2004

Sep 18, 2004, 22:24 [home/politics/american]
War Not As Bad as We Are Told

Apparently we’re not hearing everything. This major in the Marine Corps who is currently stationed in Iraq, says things are going much better there than the media is leading us to believe.

Long before the battles people were looking for their lost loved ones who had been taken to “court” and never seen again. Now Najafians can and do walk their streets in safety. Commerce has returned and the city is being rebuilt. Iraqi security forces and US troops are welcomed and smiled upon. That city was liberated again. It was not like Fallujah – the bad guys lost and are in hiding or dead.

Yeah, like I’m suprised we’re not getting the whole story.

You may not have even heard about the city of Samarra. Two weeks ago, that Sunni Triangle city was a “No-go” area for US troops. But guess what? The locals got sick of living in fear from the insurgents and foreign fighters that were there and let them know they weren’t welcome. They stopped hosting them in their houses and the mayor of the town brokered a deal with the US commander to return Iraqi government sovereignty to the city without a fight. The people saw what was on the horizon and decided they didn’t want their city looking like Fallujah in April or Najaf in August.

Why do we have to funnel the news we see on TV through a bias filter? I’m tired of it, and I’m not going to take it anymore!

It’s terrible to see our national morale, and support for what we’re doing here, jeopardized by sensationalized stories hyped by media giants whose #1 priority is advertising income followed closely by their political agenda; getting the story straight falls much further down on their priority scale, as Dan Rather and CBS News have so aptly demonstrated in the last week.

~Jason



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Sep 18, 2004, 22:14 [home/politics/guns]
Support Bruce Montague

Apparently the Police recently invaded Bruce Montague’s home looking for guns. This could happen to any of us. Welcome to the new Facism.

But after years of members of the Canadian Unregistered Firearm Owners Association publicly demanding to be arrested so that they can challenge the law the police sent six officers to take down Bruce Montague in public and locked his family out his home for three days to do a search.
I have to echo Jason Hayes on this. Shame on each and every one of you who had anything to do with this disgraceful exercise. You are an embarassment to the policing profession. You could have politely taken up the challenge at any public demonstration they held and accepted the evidence being offered.

~Jason



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Sep 18, 2004, 13:00 [home/webdesign]
Forty Days

Our church, Philpott, is doing the 40 Days of Purpose together. I’m not sure if I already mentioned it, but the entire church including the kids, youth, college age, seniors, etc., work through The Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren at the same time, reading one chapter a day, then meeting together to discuss what we’re learning.

As a place for attendees to connect, I have built an additional web site, called FortyDays.info. It has a community blog with an RSS feed so go on over and leave a message to get things going, and be sure to add the feed to your RSS reader or your BlogLines account.

~Jason



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Sep 18, 2004, 12:53 [home/webdesign]
Dilts Piston

Finally went live on one of the projects I’ve been working on: Dilt’s Piston.

My friend Jay Forderer works at Dilt’s and referred the job to me. Things went well, though there was some difficulty in communication, and the guys didn’t really know exactly what they were looking for— or maybe I wasn’t good at explaining the process.

In the end, it all worked out, I learned some valuable lessons, and I think the site looks pretty good too.

~Jason



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Wed, 15 Sep 2004

Sep 15, 2004, 22:20 [home/politics/american]
Rather - I Guess I Should Say Something

You’ve probably read about Dan Rather’s lying and deception— that is, if you read any political blogs. If you don’t, you probably don’t care. It’s enough to know that CBS broadcasted a false story about President Bush using supporting evidence that was obviously manufactured to support their bias.

Turns out this is nothing new for CBS and Dan Rather. He’s been at this for some time:

Burkett has tracked Rather’s claims for years. In “Stolen Valor,” Burkett investigated a CBS TV documentary, “The Wall Within,” hosted by Rather.

The thrust of Rather’s report was that hordes of Vietnam veterans were dysfunctional, mentally disturbed or harbored guilt because their superiors had forced them to kill Vietnamese civilians.

Burkett did his own investigation and found that this was all hype. And while he was at it, he looked up Rather’s own military history. So determined was he that the story be put in perspective that Burkett ended up collaborating with ABC on a “counter documentary” on that network’s “20/20.”

This attempt to set the record straight won “20/20” a Cine Award, a significant honor within the industry.

“We attacked Rather’s documentary as being a bogus piece of work,” Burkett recalled to NewsMax.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

~Jason



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Sep 15, 2004, 11:35 [home/faith]
The Question of God

Apparently PBS is showing a film called, “The Question of God.” I hope to watch this myself! Chuck Colson saw it, and is encouraging people to give it a go.

It’s hard to imagine two institutions less associated with a classical Christian worldview than Harvard  University and the Public Broadcasting System. That’s why it comes as a pleasant surprise that, starting September 15, the two will come together to give Christianity a chance to make its case against the secular alternative.

The two-part series, airing September 15 and 22, is called “The Question of God.” It’s based on the book by my good friend Dr. Armand Nicholi, a professor at Harvard Medical School and editor of the Harvard Guide to Psychiatry.

 

I have always been confident that when the Christian worldview is presented fairly, an open-minded person will see that it does answer life’s most important questions better than any alternative. Any alternative, in fact, is irrational.

So, please, I encourage you: Watch “The Question of God” on PBS and get your friends and neighbors to do the same thing. And then start a discussion. Then you should write or e-mail PBS and thank them for putting the program on. There’s a good chance they will rerun a special like this, and the more people who see it the better.



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Tue, 14 Sep 2004

Sep 14, 2004, 13:12 [home/curiosities]
Funny Video

A little light humour needed today:

News Report from Iraq, a journalist interviews the resisting Irakians, film and video.

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Fri, 10 Sep 2004

Sep 10, 2004, 18:12 [home/church_work]
The Big Box

We are always talking about building a new church building— the one we’re in is in disrepair, it’s pretty ugly (it looks more like a fortress, or a bank than a church), and these thoughts are stimulating.

~Jason



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Thu, 09 Sep 2004

Sep 09, 2004, 15:27 [home/faith]
What is Emergent?

You may have heard of people talking about the effects of Postmodernism on Christianity, often referring to these developments as the emerging church. I was visiting Pernell Goodyear’s blog today, and found a reference (again to Jordan Cooper) which I just had to duplicate here.

From what I understand, Wikipedia is a web place where ideas are defined. Their take on the definition of the emerging church is quite fascinating.

The Emerging Church is a label that has been used to refer to a particular subset of Christians who are rethinking Christianity against the backdrop of Postmodernism. In order to explain fully what it is, it is necessary to look at what it is moving away from.

During recent centuries, Christianity was influenced significantly by Modernism in the sense that it sought to take the individual narratives of the Bible and drill down towards a set of underlying truths, or meta-narrative, that underpinned them all. This scientific reductionism of underlying truths was then packaged up into a Christian worldview that members of the Church were expected to adopt. These worldviews often contained a lot of cultural baggage as well as theological stances. While disagreements regarding these worldviews were common, this generally resulted in the creation of other denominations with their own distinct Christian worldviews rather than a questioning of the general worldview concept.

By contrast, Postmodernism has been characterised by the deconstruction of coherent worldviews that are based on a particular version of underlying truth. The reasons for this are beyond the scope of this article, however, it is clear that Christianity has also been influenced by this. Individual Christians who chose to reject the particular Christian worldview that they have previously held are now more likely to subsequently question the very idea of having a Christian worldview at all rather than create an alternative one. This has led to a process whereby the individual will deconstruct each area of their Christian worldview and analyse it piece by piece. While every individual Christian experiences his or her own unique journey through this deconstruction process. One observed phenomenon is that many Christians subsequently start to reconstruct their Christianity thus finding a faith that, while basically Christian, is very unique to them. One definition of the Emerging Church is that it is the collective noun for individuals who are emerging from this process of deconstruction and reconstruction of Christianity.

While there is no co-ordinated organization behind the emerging church globally, and no guarantee that the Emerging Church will mature into a coherent movement at all, the term is becoming increasingly common currency among both leaders of Emerging Church groups and Emerging Church thinkers. Many of these leaders and thinkers have written books, articles and/or blogs on the subject.

So far, Emerging Church groups have typically contained some or all of the following elements:

  • Highly creative approaches to worship and spiritual reflection. This can involve everything from the use of contemporary music and films through to liturgy or other more ancient customs.
  • A minimalist and decentralised organisational structure. 
  • A flexible approach to theology whereby individual differences
    in belief and morality are accepted within reason.
  • A more holistic approach to the role of the church in society. This can mean anything from greater emphasis on fellowship in the structure of the group to a higher degree of emphasis on social action, community building or Christian outreach.
  • A desire to reanalyze the Bible against the context into which it was written, in search of a reconstructed theology that is free from Modernist baggage.

The Emerging Church movement is closely related to the House Church movement in that both of them are challenging traditional notions of how the Church should be organized. Not all House Churches are as influenced by Postmodern philosophy as the Emerging Church, but many Emerging Churches are also House Churches.

Though I don’t think this is 100% accurately a reflection of “Emergent”, it’s pretty darn good.

~Jason



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Tue, 07 Sep 2004

Sep 07, 2004, 20:16 [home/movies]
Cold Mountain Not Hot

Saw Cold Mountain Sunday, and wasn’t so impressed.

Cold Mountain seems an apt title. Young man meets a girl, falls in love, goes to war, gets hurt, can’t get back to her, finally goes AWOL, nearly dies in returning, saves her from bad guys, then dies in a gun duel.

Some of the premises were less than convincing. I think the cinematography was pretty good, but it was hard to notice while sleeping.

Basically a Romance Novel on speed… guys, don’t be fooled by the scary commercials and hints at war. A few explosions and disappointing gun fights make this movie out to be one big disappointment.

~Jason



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Mon, 06 Sep 2004

Sep 06, 2004, 22:12 [home/politics]
Americans Vs. Canadians

I made a couple of comments on what appeared to be an anti-American post today, and the wrath of blogdom came down on me. Here’s what I said:

Feeling a little racial?

The problem here is that they don’t know where places are, not that they pretended to, as you attest— unless you’re reporting your stories inaccurately.

I think it’s a good idea to can anti-Americanism, and call it what it is: RACISM.

Apparently I misunderstood. As I tried to explain to my torturers, I’m wary of Canadians who are quick to snobbery against their ‘dumb’ big brother south of the border.

You’ve probably heard it, “They’re arrogant, they’re loud, they’re American. Yuck.” It rubs me the wrong way when we look down on other people.

Apparently I misread— this gentle person was simply referring to four dumb Americans she came across, not the whole country. I’m sorry for stirring things up and misunderstanding. Truly.

Meanwhile, Mark Steyn makes an interesting comment on the snobbery of Bush hatred.

“Bush-despising” is no doubt very comforting to McCrum’s beleaguered literati but in the end it’s little more than snobbery - fine for cocktail condescension but utterly inadequate for an election campaign. You can’t beat something with nothing, and Kerry is about as spectacular a nothing as you could devise - a thin-skinned whiny vanity candidate who persists in deluding himself that Bush’s advantage is all down to “smears” and “lies” and “mean” “attacks”. It’s not.

Interesting course of events, don’t you think?

~Jason



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Sat, 04 Sep 2004

Sep 04, 2004, 22:37 [home/curiosities]
How to Talk Like a Pirate

Ahoy! it’s not new, but worth mentionin’ t’ Internet newbies. Check out t’ site on how to talk like a pirate. This be here because Luke’s birthday party in September will be pirate themed, and today we made t’ invitations. I remember aft in like, 1997, a web site that would convert any other web site into pirate speak. That was cool. I wonder what happened t’ that?

Here’s a similar idea.

~Jason



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Sep 04, 2004, 22:31 [home/curiosities]
RSS Weather Feed

Wow, for people using BlogLines, subscribe to this cool RSS Weather feed, and have the weather at your fingertips anytime! What a great idea! I might have to integrate this into a scrolling applet or something, and put it on www.getChurch.org.

~Jason



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Mon, 30 Aug 2004

Aug 30, 2004, 21:49 [home/webdesign]
Free Web Host

Wow!

I found a completely free web host today, and their package is amazing! I should transfer all my sites there!!! I cannot believe it.

UPDATE: a few restrictions do apply. For example, no media files such as mp3 or avi are allowed, and there is a restriction to the largest size a file can be. No compressed or executable files are allowed either. sad So I’ll have to keep looking.

But for the average person looking for free server space, this is truly amazing!

~Jason



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Thu, 26 Aug 2004

Aug 26, 2004, 00:11 [home/webdesign/RemoteComputer]
New Design Completed!

Well, I’ve finally completed RemoteComputer.net! I’m really excited about the application, the install program, the new icons, the new web site, the HTML help file compiled using the Windows compiler! I’m learning all this cool new stuff!

This is a smart looking product that I’m proud of!! Now I hope it sells! happy

Take a look and let me know if you have any questions/problems/stuff, so I can tweak and improve! How does it look in different browsers?

~Jason



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Mon, 23 Aug 2004

Aug 23, 2004, 12:41 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
Found Mount Albion Falls Cache

Well, I’m exhausted.

We live a kilometer or two from the area so it was well known to us… we parked, walked down into the falls, and then I turned on the GPS. It showed me the waypoint as being .4 klics from where we were.

I had little 2 year old Seth with me, so I was often concerned he was going to slip and bash his head in. It might have been smarter to leave him at home for this one.

We found our way to .04 klics from the cache quickly and easily. A bit of “jumping stones to cross the creek,” but water was unusually low, so it wasn’t a problem.

But then as I got closer, tree cover was dense— accuracy was dubious, and my GPS was pointing me up a steep path. I scurried up ahead of the boys trying to get a sense of the cache’s location by triangulating.

To make a too long story shorter, we made the mistake of scaling this cliff, when we should have stayed on the lower trail longer. At many points I had to throw Seth over my shoulder fireman-style, just to get up the steep trail!

When I realised my mistake, the boys didn’t want to climb back down. So I went after the cache myself, finding it easily.

I broke the rules slightly, and took two items to make it up to the little guys. I left a Volkswagen Beetle toy car, and took a fish keychain and a flashlight key chain. Signed the log too.

~Jason



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Fri, 20 Aug 2004

Aug 20, 2004, 16:21 [home/politics]
Religion’s Place

Thanks to Todd  Hoare for this link from the oXyGen blog:

“We may be neighbours and seem similar in our values and way of life, but in attitudes toward religion, Canada and the United States are worlds apart. And the gap is widening.

“In broad strokes, Canada is vastly more secular than the U.S. Canadians like religion and politics to keep a comfortable distance and if there are alignments, Canadians line up with Europeans rather than Americans in their views on faith in the public square.”

And this one:

“The United States and Canada are increasingly drifting apart in levels of religious commitment,” said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew forum.

Most of Africa, many countries in Asia — except Japan — the struggling countries of Latin America all report towering numbers when asked if religion is important. In Indonesia, 95 per cent say yes. In Senegal 97 per cent agree, in Pakistan, 91 per cent and in the United States, 59 per cent.

Canada at 30 per cent is similar to Great Britain and Italy. France and the Czech Republic are lowest at 11 per cent.

It’s a bit of a pet-project to me; the differences between the U.S. and Canada. I’ve lived in Jersey for 5 years, and so have a different perspective than many other Canadians, happy to disdain their older brother to the south. These statistics outlining our different values of religion were disheartening to me.

It seems so raucously arrogant to think the rest of the world is wrong. Other than a few self-absorbed European countries, 95% of the world’s population sees a desperate importance to have faith in a God, to embrace religion, to be spiritual.

~Jason



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Fri, 13 Aug 2004

Aug 13, 2004, 16:26 [home/books]
The Bourne Identity

Just finished reading the Bourne Identity last night. Wow, great book! And they still don’t have Carlos!

After reading all those 19th and 18th century novels, I’m happy to read a page turner again. It’s amazing how badly written those old books are. Or maybe my post modern mind just wants action, I don’t know. We call them classics, but we should rename them something more telling, like drastics— or tragics, something that would warn people— read this at your own risk! Do not operate machinery while reading… that kind of thing.

Amazing, my pick for Last Comic Standing, my favourite from the start, WON last night! He’s the best hands down. So cool, so dismissing, disarming, like a little boy. I love his sense of humour.

Started reading the Bourne Supremecy last night as well. Gotta finish this one before the movie leaves theatres!! happy LOL

~Jason



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Tue, 10 Aug 2004

Aug 10, 2004, 07:43 [home/webdesign/RemoteComputer]
RemoteComputer.net

OK, www.remotecomputer.net still doesn’t have much there, but I’m making some progress in my rebuild/hack of QuickIP. Don’t worry, I have permission from the author to resell this program to English users. I’m trying to replace the bad English, poor spelling, and Chinese characters left behind in images. The problem is, decompiling and reverse engineering RCDATA images is easy, but putting new images into RCDATA is hard. I guess I should buy Delphi, and learn how to program Windows apps with it. The good thing about all this is I’m learning a lot about Programming. happy

I also realised yesterday that I hadn’t put a couple of web sites I’m designing into my section on sites I’ve designed: www.crookedbush.com/websites/. That’s been fixed now.

~Jason



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Sat, 31 Jul 2004

Jul 31, 2004, 23:03 [home/books]
I Robot

I just finished reading ‘I Robot’ on my pocket pc. It’s a collection of short stories on which the new movie with the same title is based. I really enjoyed it. It is one of the landmark writings which have spawned hundreds, maybe thousands of sci-fi stories since. I could see traces of many different movies, Star Trek episodes, and more.

I’m reading The Bourne Identity again right now.

~Jason



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Thu, 29 Jul 2004

Jul 29, 2004, 11:35 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
Found Two More in Hamilton!

It Got Me!Lucas and I found two more caches in Hamilton! We located the Toolman’s Cache, and the Wasteland Cache. Besides picking up a few treasures in the cache, we located a tick, firmly planted on my leg. Oh yeah!

~Jason



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Wed, 28 Jul 2004

Jul 28, 2004, 11:01 [home/hobbies/geocaching/our_caches]
Placed our First Cache

Lucas and I placed our first cache yesterday! And we found three!! YIPPEE!!

~Jason



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Sat, 24 Jul 2004

Jul 24, 2004, 23:11 [home/movies]
Spiderman in LEGO Form

Check out this cool LEGO animation of a Spiderman movie!

~Jason



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Jul 24, 2004, 20:30 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
38 is Great

Lucas and I stopped on highway 38 right after the 401 ramp on the way to Kingston to find a cache before our trip home. Everything seemed perfect! The coordinates led us right to an obvious spot, the stuff in the clue was visible at the point as well.

But no cache.

Lucas is ready to give up on Geocaching. The only thing keeping him going now is that I am trying to be enthusiastic. But it’s not fun searching through dirt and brush, getting leg scratches from thorn-trees and Junipers, and nothing to show for it. We better have a success soon or I’m finished with GeoCaching!

~Jason



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Thu, 22 Jul 2004

Jul 22, 2004, 19:46 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
Geocaching Still Not Working For Me…

 sad A friend and I went in search of this cache, but despite searching for 30 minutes, could not find it.  (Nppbeqvat gb zl havg, vg jnf ng gur gbc bs gur uvyy, n srj srrg sebz gur cngu ba gur evtug fvqr). I’m beginning to suspect that something is wrong with my GPS. I wish someone could confirm that this cache is still there so I know if my system works. I am able to use it to follow roads and get from town to town— but maybe it’s not accurate enough for use as a geocaching tool. That would really be disappointing. I use a Pocket PC with a flash GPS and map software.

The trip in to the spot was really fun, but exhausting— all the climbing up and down hills. The deer flies and mosquitos were relentless! When we finally gave up the search we jumped in the lake right there for a swim to wash off the apparently tasty sweat we’d earned. It’s about 1.3 Klics in, so almost 3 kilometers of walking up and down hills.

We had a great time. The view was amazing, the rain was refreshing, the swim was exhilerating. Though disappointed, we are not disheartened. When we get back home to Hamilton, Ontario, we’ll try to find an easier cache to whet our confidence.

~Jason



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Thu, 15 Jul 2004

Jul 15, 2004, 07:43 [home/politics/american]
Another Gay Flash Movie

Thanks to Tom who sent this to me!

~Jason



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Tue, 13 Jul 2004

Jul 13, 2004, 11:41 [home/politics]
This is so funny!

Check this out!

This is so funny, you really have to see it. Thanks Austin,

~Jason



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Wed, 07 Jul 2004

Jul 07, 2004, 14:57 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
Cool GPS Site

Check out this cool site!



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Mon, 28 Jun 2004

Jun 28, 2004, 23:44 [home/politics]
Back to Politics

Well, here I am back at commenting on politics. Probably will be the last time.

I’m so disgusted by politics. I guess I must be thick: I keep thinking that at some point people will come around to my side, suddenly see things my way, suddenly ‘have a brain’ (as if I’m the only one who can think, I know). But that’s not going to happen, so who am I kidding?

I just want to give some new people a chance to do this right. A different approach. A different outlook, different agenda, different set of priorities. So what that Canada has always been Liberal. Yeah, we’ve had a few shots at Conservative governments here and there, mostly Red Tories, not real true conservatives. It just doesn’t seem like Canada will ever be anything but a second-rate nation morally or economically. The people living here are true liberals; they’re lefties. They really believe that homosexual marriage can be good for society; really think that aborting babies is a good thing; think our money belongs to the government; that we deserve bad health care, and don’t deserve privacy and independance: they really want the government to be too involved in all of our lives. I guess they’re satisfied with an economical situation where our dollar isn’t as strong as it should be, where the government is about being big, and powerful, and domineering. This all sounds sarcastic, but that’s only because I don’t know how to reconcile all this.

Left. Right. They’re associated with modern or old fashioned. Maybe people don’t stop to think about if that’s really true, or if being more modern is being better?

But what’s the point in ranting on to you? The election is over, and just like four years ago, I feel disillusioned, disappointed, disconnected. My opinnion is not represented in parliament, but maybe it’s not common among Canadians either, so perhaps the system works.

I guess I’m just a fish out of water.

~Jason



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Wed, 09 Jun 2004

Jun 09, 2004, 23:13 [home/webdesign/RemoteComputer]
QuickIP Site

Well I finally decided to get a domain name for the quick ip site. They’re getting so cheap! I think it cost $12 for 2 years!! Something like that— amazing.

So instead of getting www.quickip.com which will mean NOTHING to NOBODY, I got www.remotecomputer.net. This describes much more accurately what QuickIP does, and I can focus on those two keywords in my page content.

So the next step is to design a better site than I have there already, and maybe get a new server for it. That’s a bit more expensive, but makes a big difference. Then maybe I can convince the creator of QuickIP to package me a special version with an ‘American’ name of RemoteComputer. Then we’re off to the races with 100% commission. Basically, I get to keep all the money I make from selling this. Why have I been so slow getting this going??!?

~Jason



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Fri, 04 Jun 2004

Jun 04, 2004, 19:46 [home/webdesign]
Changing this Site

I think I’ll change this site to be a web design site again. I can throw web sites together so quickly, it’s something I like, yet I don’t advertise it very well. I’ll still keep my blogs, but in a subdomain or something.

~Jason



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Wed, 02 Jun 2004

Jun 02, 2004, 08:57 [home/hobbies/favourite_shows/Star_Trek]
Kazaa and Star Trek

A couple of weeks ago Joanne, Lucas, Seth, and I sat in front of the television, enthusiastic to see the Season Finale of our favourite sci-fi show, Star Trek Enterprise. All year we’ve been caught up in the development of a complex and compelling story-line, and were anxious to see the conclusion.

For those of you who don’t care about Star Trek, let me give you a background. In 1967 the first Star Trek series failed miserably in the ratings, and after two years was about to be cancelled. Crazy fans blitzed NBC with mail like never-before-seen, and so the show squeaked through one final year. But ratings were still bad. CANCELLED.

It wasn’t until Star Trek was sydnicated that it became really popular. Millions of people tuned in to watch Star Trek reruns, and a phenomenon was born. I think I read somewhere that Star Trek was the first sydnicated show. Not sure about that.

Since then we’ve seen a number of movies; (the first movie was supposed to be a new television series called, Star Trek 2 with the original cast— changed to a movie at the last minute because of the popularity of Star Wars). There’s been Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and now, Star Trek: Enterprise. I’ve faithfully watched all of these shows— in fact I have almost all of them on VHS. about 80 tapes containing 6 episodes each— even the commercials are edited out!

So we sat down to watch the third season finale the other night. So excited, we could taste it. We scanned through all the channels, checked the guide, scanned again, but we COULDN’T FIND IT!! Where was our beloved Star Trek: Enterprise?

We concluded that the show was moved to next week, and gave up. Then the next morning on CH news, Matt Hayes is going on and on about the amazing Star Trek Enterprise episode he watched last night. He said the Finale was a cliff-hanger. We stared blankly at the screen… incredulous. How could this be? We had checked and rechecked, and no Enterprise. Yet he watched it!?!

So I got on Kazaa, and downloaded the Season Finale. This set about a chain of events so that now I’m downloading the whole season! The quality is much better than the days of video taping, plus I can burn it to a DVD if I want, or edit it as I see fit!

We just about missed it— that would have been awful. Thank GOODNESS for Kazaa.

~Jason



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Sat, 29 May 2004

May 29, 2004, 12:45 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
In Bed with my Pocket PC

I’m in my bed and the coordinates are N 43° 13’ 50.004 & W 079°48’ 28.540 at an altitude of 72.94 metres. Isn’t that a useful bit of information?

~Jason



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Wed, 26 May 2004

May 26, 2004, 22:10 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
Geocaching.com Perl Script

I wrote a Perl script last night/tonight which solves a problem many Geocaching.com users might be facing.

When you sign up for an account at www.geocaching.com, you have access to thousands of Geocaches hidden all over the world. But unless you pay for an elite subscription, you can’t download the special gpx files needed by so many of the software programs out there. All the information is on the free site, but the special gpx files with this information stored in a special format are not available.

Until now, that is.

I wrote a neat script which grabs whatever caches you want from the free section of www.geocaching.com, and converts this information into a gpx formatted file instantly.

Anyone can use it. All you need to know are the waypoints for each cache. Put them in the URL like this:
http://www.crookedbush.com/cgi-bin/geocache.pl?WP=GCGRPH|GC5473|GCGDQQ|GCJ62Y|GCGY8X|GCJ81R|GCJDGW

Notice how they’re separated by the veritcal pipe (|) symbol? Then view the source of the page and save it to your pocket pc, or other GPX reading device.

I’m still messing with the formatting, trying to get it to display right in the software I’m using. I’m excited that it’s so easy now to get the GPX files you need any time, FOR FREE.

~Jason



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Tue, 25 May 2004

May 25, 2004, 08:52 [home/webdesign]
Site Skin for NotationMachine.com

I spent some time last night and redesigned the look for NotationMachine.com. I’m pretty happy with it. It looks happier and more vibrant. Perhaps this will bring sales streaming in like the old days?

~Jason



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Fri, 21 May 2004

May 21, 2004, 00:45 [home/webdesign]
ShrimpUSA Started

I designed the look and began uploading files to the new project I have called ShrimpUSA. It’s on hold while we wait for DNS to update— usually takes a coupla days. Stay posted.

Oh, the really neat thing is I’ve got a few jobs through www.getafreelancer.com lately. Every one of them has been a fellow believer, and the last one was another music pastor! It’s so much nicer working with fellow believers (when they’re not cheap!). It’s like a big family.

Jason



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May 21, 2004, 00:42 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts/FileCABINET]
Shopping Cart Integration

Well, I’ve made a huge advance and learned a lot about processing cookies tonight. And about headers for XML, and so much more. Headers are such finicky things. You’ve got to send them at the right time and with the right information or everything gets mucked up. I was never too concerned about it before, but now that my scripts send XML to the browser, or cookies, they all need to handle headers just a little differently.

It wouldn’t be such a big deal if I did what lots of other programmers do: multiple files to run a program. But I like everything consolidated into one file, so I have to use lots of brain-cells to figure out how the server will know what it’s supposed to do.

I’ve spent a few hours and fixed up FileCABINET so that it has an integrated shopping cart. It’s cookie based, much better than what was there before. People won’t lose things from their cart like was happening before. Maybe more sales will result. Here’s hoping.

I also have changed the text links to image links— but not sure I really like that yet. It does increase download times for the page.

I used IE’s _search window (a special pane that opens on the left side of the window). I’m curious to know how various browsers handle this. Austin, that’s a challenge for you: try to fill up a cart at Intelliscript.net and tell me what happens.

I’ve been SO BUSY with work lately. It’s good, and it’s bad (for my back).

Night night.

Jason



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Mon, 17 May 2004

May 17, 2004, 21:00 [home/hobbies/geocaching]
First Geocache Adventure

Today we began the adventure of Geocaching.

Lucas, Seth, Shin and myself piled into the car, armed with information on the geocache locations and my brand new GPS unit. How exciting! Lucas sat in the front seat with the pocket pc and kept an eye on the coordinates. He was letting me know if we were going in the right direction to find the cache.

We were all enthusiastic. Even Seth, strapped up in the back seat was visibly excited. We were on a mission; I think he could sense the growing suspense.

Lucas indicated we were close, so I pulled into the nearest parking lot. We got out and began our search.

We covered a LOT of ground. We went down the path, up the path, across a plain, through a swamp, all in vain. It was suprisingly difficult to make sense of these coordinates. We’d get so close, and yet one of the numbers were off. We didn’t despair yet though: we knew there would be a learning curve.

It was quite funny: we took turns holding the unit, blindly following the moving numbers, with the other three right behind. Suddenly the leader would veer, and so would the followers, instantly adjusting course. We were getting nowhere. And all the time Seth’s patient little pitter-patter behind us— bringing up the rear.

Finally we got so close. But we were standing in the middle of the parking lot. This couldn’t be right. We looked up, down, left, right— hopeless.

“Let’s try the next one,” I said. I had brought a few geocache locations along, just in case we had trouble. We all agreed, and jumped in the car again.

When we got out at the new spot I couldn’t believe our luck. “It’s right here, exactly!” I said. We had stopped at exactly the right spot.

But no cache. We kicked around in the grass, but nothing. Again, the GeoCache had let us down. I looked at the notes again.

“Something’s wrong,” I sighed. “It says we should be walking down by the falls, which is like way over there!.” I looked down again and read the notes.

You can park at Albion Falls (Co-ordinates are North 43 Deg 11.996 West 079 Deg 49.274.

I suddenly realised what was wrong. I had copied the locations of the parking lots! No WONDER there’s no GeoCache here!

Next time I won’t make that mistake. We’ll have to try again another time.

Jason



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Wed, 12 May 2004

May 12, 2004, 23:55 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts/FileCABINET]
More FileCABINET Development

Still doing TONS of programming. I added a random feature to FileCABINET so that a ‘Today’s Highlight’ can be automatically generated, randomly choosing a script from the database.

Last night I finally figured out the code to sort this multidimensional array on any column! Ugh, that was months in coming. What it means is that I added a new field to the database called sort (different than order) which displays the scripts in the order of your choice. This is nice if you want to put one script at the top of the list for a few days.

Next is to develop the cookie based shopping cart instead of the query string cart I currently use.

Then I’m focusing on integrating the FAQ Engine script into FileCABINET so that Frequently Asked Questions can be generated online by users instead of through the current mail-me-using-a-webform method. Then I can order, respond to, delete, ignore etc these questions as I like.

Gotta love programming. That reminds me, Law & Order programming is almost complete and looks like it’s going to be AWESOME.

~Jason



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Thu, 06 May 2004

May 06, 2004, 23:56 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts/FileCABINET]
Automatic PAD Files

I discovered something pretty cool today— when submitting software it’s much faster if you have a PAD file created with all your data in it. You simply point another site to your PAD file, and all the form fields get automatically filled in: name of program, name of programmer, company address, file size, description, keywords, etc. The list goes on and on. Not having to type this stuff in on every site makes a huge difference!

I created a couple of PAD files (for NotationMachine and ServiceBuilder) using a Windows program, and it worked like a charm. It got me thinking too… what if I made the FileCABINET software I wrote automatically generate PAD files!

It meant I had to learn a little more XML, but I was up for the challenge, and it paid off! Now every file in my downloads on Intelliscript.net has it’s own PAD file, and it’s created automatically every time the XML is called for. You simply add the script’s ID number to the URL followed by .xml and FileCABINET does the rest.

For example, FileCABINET’s unique ID is 23, so

http://www.intelliscript.net/FileCABINET.pl/23.xml

I’m starting to feel a little cocky! winking

~Jason



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May 06, 2004, 23:49 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts]
Outlook Calendar Script

This is long overdue.

I Finally had a brainwave last night about how to sync our Outlook church calendar with the getChurch.org web site. It’s easy! Simply export the data in tab format, and save it to the anonymous folder on our server.

My script does the next. Once a day, when it’s first called that day, it FTP’s the church network, grabs the file and saves it to the getChurch.org server. Then it calculates todays date, and parses the tab text file, searching for the date. It displays a search box and all records containing todays date in seconds.

Easy to implement, easy to use, and easy to search. I love it. Now I’m going to think about how I can write a macro for our Secretary that automatically exports the church calendar every evening. With that done, it’s a no maintenance solution.

Check it out!

~Jason



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Wed, 05 May 2004

May 05, 2004, 01:18 [home/movies]
Shaft

Saw a really cool, though really violent movie tonight: Shaft. It was like watching a 70’s police drama. I loved the horns, cry-baby guitar, disco bass, wow. This was amazing.

Snooping around www.imdb.com I realised that there is a whole series of movies called Shaft. Looks like a trip to the video store is in order.

~Jason



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May 05, 2004, 00:59 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts/autofollowup]
JavaScript Emails

I finally finished implementing the JavaScript WYSIWYG email draft section in Auto FollowUp. I think I’ve tracked all the bugs down, so I’ll make it available on Intelliscript.net soon.

This feels like such a big deal. This has been on my task list for over a year!

Can you tell I’m really excited? Lots of cool programming breakthroughs lately! laughing

~Jason



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Tue, 04 May 2004

May 04, 2004, 20:51 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts]
JavaScript HTML Editor

My content editor which I use on client web sites so they can edit their own pages has just been improved! Now when I set up sites for people, they can login and use a simple and familiar WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface for making pages. This includes uploading files, inserting them into pages, bold, underline, etc., font face and colour, justification, bullets, lines, and more.

I’ve been looking for a great JavaScript HTML editor that is EASY to deploy. Most of them try to charge you lots of money, but this one is completely free, and works wonderfully.

I’ve started by implementing it into my EditContent script in use on www.odca.org, www.internationalwomenshealth.org, www.getchurch.org, www.saddlecorrections.com, www.brucerepei.com, among others. I hope to add it to http://www.InternetBusinessFollowup.com’s AFU script as well so that emails can be drafted in HTML from the browser.

Mind you, it’s only supported on IE 5.5 and above, but I can deal with that since 90% of people fit into that group, and I can always instruct my users to update their browsers.

This is an important and exciting discovery. HOW COOL! Expect much more elegant posts from me now!

~Jason



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May 04, 2004, 08:33 [home/curiosities]
Blog Lines Is Great

If you haven’t tried it yet, I suggest you sign up for a free account at BlogLines. Austin first turned me on to it. It’s great.

Here’s how it works. I log in to Bloglines and all the blogs I like to read are listed there. (I can add new ones as I want to). If the site has new information, the title is in bold, followed by a number which indicates how many new posts have been made since I last read it.

Why is this so great? Well time is always ‘of the essence.’ Instead of having to visit Ian Perry’s or Joanne’s blog site every day to find nothing’s changed, (suprise), I view it all on one page.

Another nice thing is that if you visit their site in a pocket pc, it displays a special pocket pc formated page that loads really fast.

Finally, they give you a snipped of code to paste in your site which generates a blog roll!

The only negative thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes it doesn’t pick up the new post immediately, but takes a few hours to register it.

Try it out, it’s free, and you’ll love it.

~Jason

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May 04, 2004, 00:38 [home/pocket_pc]
What To Do With a Pocket PC

I am always interested when people describe what they use their computers for— the software they use, the purposes they serve. I thought it might be fun to outline some of my pocket PC uses, and perhaps make some of the software available here for people who can’t find it on the ‘net anymore.

BibleReader - This is a no-brainer. I like to carry a couple of translations around for comparison, specifically Todays English Version, and The Message. I used to carry the Greek around too, but gave up on that.

Calendar - I put all my appointments in here, with fifteen minute reminders. My PPC beeps at me when I forget, and 15 minutes is just enough time to get most places…

Contacts - Emails, phone numbers, directions to homes, and stuff like that.

Notes - Odd scriblings that don’t fit elsewhere. Lyrics to songs I write, journal entries, ideas, doodles…

Tasks - This is the most important part of my organizing. When there’s something I’ve got to do, I put it in here. I check this list multiple times of day to be sure I can’t procrastinate on an item any longer.

GPS - This is ‘yet to come’, as I’ve just bought a GPS over the Internet and it hasn’t arrived yet. I hope to do GeoCacheing with it; going on hikes with the family to discover hidden treasure.

Handstory - Handstory is a simple little text viewer, and nothing spectacular in itself— except for the desktop extension. When browsing, I can highlight text, right click, and then choose ‘copy to pocket pc.’ Instantly the text is downloaded to my PPC and ready to go. Or, I can select text and copy it, then click on the Handstory tray icon near my clock to do the same thing. Neat eh?

Notepad - I use notepad to Journal in my own language.

Passman - This is where I keep all my passwords for the various sites, software, etc. that I use. One place to keep em means I don’t lose them… I HOPE!

PocketStreets - This is funny. Pay attenion now, this is complex. Microsoft used to give away this software for free, version 1.0 or something. It was the MAPS you had to pay for, and so it wasn’t much use on it’s own. Well, recently they reversed it. Now the maps are free, and you have to pay for the software. Only the new free maps don’t work on the old free software… unless! Unless you happen to have a slick little conversion program which changes ONE BIT in the maps to make it readable on the PPC. So I have free maps and free software. The only thing is, I want the functionality in the new program, so I’ll likely buy it eventually.

Reader - I only read Ebooks, which really annoys just about everybody I run into who like to read. They like books. They say they like the smell of them, the texture, the experience. I like the fact that I have half-a-dozen books at my fingertips at any given time. Currently Wuthering Heights, Dracula, and The Importance of Being Ernest are in my to read list.

CedeFTP and FTPView - These two programs are both on my PPC because I can’t decide which one I like better. They’re both FTP clients for connecting to the church or my home networks over the Internet.

FTP Server - This is for turning my little PPC into a server so I can grab files off of it when it’s on the Internet. I never use it, so this is more of a novelty item.

Inbox - My mail application for sending an checking Internet mail, or syncing up with office mail through the cradle.

Internet Explorer - Guess?

Messenger - This is a chat application which I hardly ever use because I hate being… excuse me?… interrupted.

PocketFeed - Lets me grab RSS news feeds from friends blogs etc., and read them from the pocket pc. I have to be online to sync up.

RSS Viewer - Lets me grab RSS news feeds through ActiveSync, and read them at my convenience.

TCP/IP Address - A little app so I know what my IP address is.

Mobile Painting - Omm, for painting. Amazing program and you can do just about anything apparently. I’m not so good yet, but I like the program kinda.

Pictures - I can view a slideshow of all my sweeties, zoom in, crop, rotate, read my digital camera, etc. with this cool little program. It came with the Dell Axim X5.

Playlist Editor - For editing playlists.

Pocket MVP - I love this. I sometimes don’t get to watch a rented DVD with the family, so I’ll rip it, and send it to the pocket PC as a DIVX, then watch it bit by bit 10 minutes at a time over the next month!

Windows Media - MP3s, AVIs, and WMAs.

Pocket Excel - I keep track of mileage for work using a spreadsheet, then sync up and print it.

Pocket Word - Don’t use it a lot, but handwriting recognition in this program is killer.

PocketMoney - Don’t use it, got it free when I bought my folding keyboard.

SprintDB Pro - This is INCREDIBLE. This is easily the best piece of pocket PC software I’ve even owned. It’s basically a little pocket Access database with it’s own kind of programming basic. I am still learning but it seems there is no limit to what you can do with this program.

ActiveSync - Just lets you sync up with your desktop computer.

AvantGo - For grabbing web pages while you’re in the cradle, so you can read them anywhere.

dotPocket - I like this program, but it’s just expired and I haven’t bought it yet. dotPocket lets you change the width and height dimensions of your pocket pc, then control it from your desktop. Basically, your pocket PC becomes your desktop, so that your mouse and keyboard interact with it. It’s great.

ezyUnZIP - For zipping and unzipping files. Great if I download something while surfing with the pocket pc, and want to view or install it.

PHM Registry Editor - For hacking your registry. Don’t use it much.

Reminders - The 2003 Pocket PC doesn’t keep beeping if you don’t respond right away. I guess it’s trying to save batteries, but I like to be able to have it repeat the alarm until I hear it, so this program restores that feature.

vxUtilities - Network stuff like ping, finger, etc.

Rotating Playlist - When I sync up in the cradle, my 128 MB SD Ram card fills up with new mp3s from my music collection. I’ve always got new tunes to listen to!



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Mon, 03 May 2004

May 03, 2004, 16:35 [home/music/recording]
Personalities

I just finished my second recording session with Joe Finnocio. He’s an amaazing arranger— does a great job with big band stuff.

We recorded last week and this week for his son’s upcoming wedding. He’s very particular and perfectionistic— (though he says he’s getting better!! happy ) It can be a challenge when I think something sounds just great, and the other person says, “hmmm,” but we managed through it and really ended up with a terrific end product.

What I was so suprised about was how good the Peavey DPM3 SE sounds were. We used the Korg Trinity for strings, electric piano, percussion, and pads, and used the Peavey for brass, sax, and the bass too. I’m amazed at how good it came across.

Anyway, a long day, but I made 60 bucks, so not a total right-off.

Thanks Joe, if you ever read this, for asking me to do this project. I’m learning something, and enjoying myself. (Despite appearances.)

~Jason

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Sat, 01 May 2004

May 01, 2004, 00:08 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts]
ATOM to RSS

I’ve been wishing that my friends Amy, Austin, Brian, Al, etc., had an RSS feed so I could read their blogs anytime from my PPC in the format of my choice. RSS is great.

Problem is, Blogger makes you pay for RSS feeds, and instead gives everyone ATOM feed for free. Yuck.

But while snooping around about this tonight at 12:07 a.m. Saturday morning, I stumbled upon this site, which describes how any Blogger user can make the modifications themselves easily.

So Austin, take a look at this and see if you can implement it. I’d love to have your site on my PPC.

~Jason

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Fri, 30 Apr 2004

Apr 30, 2004, 09:48 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts]
News Feed Changes

I added the cache feature to my news feed, so now you can set how often you want the script to check for new versions of the RSS feed. I’ll start selling this script on Intelliscript.net soon now.

~Jason

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Thu, 29 Apr 2004

Apr 29, 2004, 20:39 [home/curiosities]
GetAFreeLancer.com

I found a neat site yesterday, called GetAFreelancer.com. I signed up as a freelancer, and now receive numerous emails throughout the day asking me to bid on stuff I know how to do, like Perl, HTML, graphics, etc.

This is cool because one of that hardest things to do is to connect employers and employees together, and sites I’ve seen in the past have been bad at this. These jobs get lots of bids, and it can be really competitive. I am just hoping that if I’m good enough and get a few initial jobs and positive ratings that more will come in.

I’ve bid on a dozen or so in the last day, but only had one hit of interest. I’m waiting to see what comes of it, and I’ll be sure to let you know.

If you know anything about anything, you might want to consider signing up and get a bit of extra work on the site.

~Jason

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Apr 29, 2004, 17:19 [home/ServiceBuilder]
PowerPoint Almost Done

UPDATE

The instant PowerPoint feature is complete: click a button and all the slides are exported instantly to PowerPoint.

Thanks to Austin Fusilier who came to the church office yesterday and did data entry ‘til he was blue in the face. He also helped me troubleshoot the code here and there which was great. So did Mike Garden. Hey, everyone’s a programmer!! happy

This is fun.

~Jason

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Tue, 27 Apr 2004

Apr 27, 2004, 23:26 [home/ServiceBuilder]
PowerPoint Automatically!

I’m excited, because I just found a way to export from ServiceBuilder directly to PowerPoint! When I’m done, users can build a sevice, adding worship songs etc., and then click a ‘PowerPoint’ button to instantly create a presentation based on the songs!

Neat eh!

More later I hope

~Jason

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Apr 27, 2004, 14:05 [home/church_work]
New Synth- YEAH!

Lane has been reminding me that the church budget people approved a new synth purchase— so I don’t have to carry my keyboard back and forth every weekend. He’s been encouraging me to go buy one, and I just haven’t got off my butt.

Until now.

Today I went to Long and McQuade (Lakeshore Music) in Burlington and picked out a great Triton Extreme keyboard. This thing rocks! I’m going to have people lining up to play this puppy! Wow!

No doubt about it. This is the TRITON with attitude. The aggressive new TRITON Extreme is bursting at the seams with more of everything that has made the TRITON family the workstation of choice for tens of thousands of performers, producers and musicians the world over. Tricked out with vacuum tube processing, USB audio CD burning and data sharing, CompactFlash data storage, digital I/O and stuffed with sounds, it’s everything TRITON – taken to the Extreme.
And I bought a USB Midi connector finally, so I can get back in the music recording lifestyle.

But I can’t forget to get sleep at night. Oh for another two hours of afterwork time…

confused

~Jason

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Fri, 23 Apr 2004

Apr 23, 2004, 12:57 [home/politics]
Where is The Boundary?

Politics is such a weird thing for me.

On one hand, I feel pretty passionate about politics, and freedom— I’m never at a loss for opinion.

On the other hand, I feel a tension. Politics will never bring peace to the world. In fact, it’s a great way to guarantee conflict. Since when do people agree on politics?

I get emails across my desk all the time to take action on Bill C-250, or Marriage Ammendments, or rights of students in schools— lots of stuff. And they all call me to action; pick up the phone; if you don’t who will; stuff like that.

And I feel guilty about not doing it. I rationalize that this isn’t the real issue, that you can’t legislate morality, that taking a hard opinion on things just makes me look narrow-minded.

I don’t really like that response, but for now it’s slightly more comfortable than my lack of response.

~Jason

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Thu, 15 Apr 2004

Apr 15, 2004, 21:32 [home/ServiceBuilder]
ServiceBuilder Database

It would be so cool if I could export PowerPoint slides from ServiceBuilder automatically. I spent some time Googling for a way to do this but came up flat.

As it is now, it’s fairly easy to copy the contents of the ‘song book’ export from ServiceBuilder into PowerPoint, and then set up the slides one slide at a time using the clipboard. That’s what we’ve been doing thus far, but one would think that Microsoft would build this feature into fraternal applications.

I even tried analyzing the clipboard contents to see what special characters might indicate slide breaks. Dead end there.

It would be nicer if it was all automatic; the verses could be divided every four lines, for example.

Speaking of ServiceBuilder, I tried lowering the price: my pastor, Lane, suggested that more churches could afford it if it was well under $100. So I gave it a shot and sent out an informational newsletter, but only sold two copies.

I’m not giving up on the idea of a lower price, but I’m curious why more people weren’t interested— at least to send me a note saying so.

Oh well, I do believe that sales are directly proportional to traffic. In other words, the more people that see the ad, that visit the site, the more copies sold.

So I’ve got to get some more traffic.

~Jason

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Sat, 27 Mar 2004

Mar 27, 2004, 15:49 [home/curiosities]
So Tired of SPAM- Spambayes to the Rescue!

I finally gave in today and decided to snoop around for plugins for Outlook/Outlook Express which would handle spam for me.

I’ve been using Outlook Express Inbox Assistant to handle spam fairly successfully for the last five years or so, but it’s just getting harder all the time.

With probably 500 messages a day, 460 which are spam, I need more efficiency!

You’re gonna love what I found! It’s a free, open source (I think) software program called Spambayes.

It’s not really easy to set up if you use Outlook Express, as you need to feel comfortable forwarding ports and mail servers through Spambayes. Outlook is a cynch though. But if you can patiently work your way through it, I think you’ll be pleasantly suprised!

What it does is analyze everything about the email— all the content including body and headers, and establishes a probability based on past email you’ve received. It decides the likelyhood of your email being spam, or (the opposite,) ham. You can even show it folders of saved emails to teach it the about the type of email you like.

In the beginning you need to patiently direct it— teaching it right from wrong, and it learns based on what email you want to get.

Neat eh?

So if this doesn’t help me deal with spam, then nothing will. After it’s taught nicely, I’ll disable the bizzilion filters and conditions Outlook Express is using to sort my mail.

Spambaye to the Rescue! Goodbye spam,

~Jason

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Wed, 24 Mar 2004

Mar 24, 2004, 21:44 [home/church_work]
Charted Three Irish Songs Today

Today I charted Danny Boy, Irish Eyes are Smiling, and Take You Home Kathleen. On Friday the seniors at the church are having “Irish Day” and I’ve been asked to play the piano for these songs, play my penny whistles, and tell about my journey to Ireland a few years ago.

I’m actually quite looking forward to it; I love to tell the funny stories about our trip around the coast of southern Ireland. I’ll have to censor parts of it I think.

~Jason

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Mar 24, 2004, 07:31 [home/movies]
Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos)

The problem with watching late night movies on television is that I’m laying down, I’m sleepy, I start thinking I can close my eyes during commercials, and ultimately MISS the ending.

This much was true last night as well. I drifted off just before the interesting parts of Abre Los Ojos, the original “Vanilla Sky” story.

Which is really too bad, because from the spoilers and reviews I read this morning, this movie is much better than Hollywood’s Vanilla Sky.

Apparently it includes one crucial scene which Vanilla Sky chose to leave out. This scene turns out to be the distinguishing feature between the films.

I guess I’m going to have to rent it. happy

~Jason

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Mon, 22 Mar 2004

Mar 22, 2004, 23:43 [home/movies]
Monkeying Around

I just rewatched Twelve Monkeys, with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. I’d seen it about ten years ago I guess— and loved it all over again.

The whole notion of time travel is fascinating. If you go back and make a change, that change could lead to you not being able to go back and make a change… is that bizarre of what?

Of course, this is a paradox and so that leaves three options to deal with time travel: either no one can ever go back, or no one can ever make a change if they do. Most time travel movies seem to play with the last idea: going back happened in the past already, so travelling in time is inescapable; to not do so would cause a paradox.

I love this stuff.

After the movie was over I was curious about the last scene, so I jumped on the Internet to do some reading. I seemed to stumble on a lot of negative reviews— why is that? This movie is fun! It’s twisted and weird and makes you think. I love this stuff.

So if you still haven’t seen this film, rent it. But wait! My telling you that may have caused a new paradox!

winking

~Jason

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Fri, 19 Mar 2004

Mar 19, 2004, 22:21 [home/church_work/web_site]
Blosxom Finally Working!

It took three months to get it to work, but finally the Blosxom dilemna has been solved!

The Inside newsletter at getChurch.org uses Blosxom to display articles. I’m excited about getting the bugs out, including RSS feeds etc.

~Jason


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Tue, 16 Mar 2004

Mar 16, 2004, 15:22 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts/up_and_coming]
MP3 Database Script

I’ve written a MP3 database script much like the service that used to be available to artists at MP3.com. It manages streaming, downloading, song history, and hopefully soon I’ll add features like automatic purchasing via PayPal.com, a ‘play all songs on this album’ feature, radio station options, and more.

I haven’t actually packaged this script for sale yet, as it’s been used only on JasonSilver.com for my own personal recordings. I’d be interested in hearing feedback from potential users of this script as I consider adding it to the list at Intelliscript.net.

~Jason

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Sun, 14 Mar 2004

Mar 14, 2004, 21:01 [home/books]
Wuthering Heights

I decided to pull out another old classic, and found Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights dusty, and hiding in a file folder on my pocket pc.

I’ve breezed through four chapters of elegant Victorian and am smitten.

~Jason

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Thu, 11 Mar 2004

Mar 11, 2004, 09:43 [home/politics]
Freedom To Do What

[UPDATE] Another karate chop to freedoms in Canada.

The Hamilton Board of Education here in Ontario, Canada has recommended that Christian groups can meet— but only if they agree to have other faiths represented for alternate perspectives. Leaders and speakers from other religions must come and address the students in these faith groups, to gain his or her perspective.

Faith-based or religious clubs will be permitted during the school day under the following conditions:
- They must not be indoctrinational
- They must not give primacy to any particular religious faith
- They must be open and accessible to all on an equal basis
- They must be monitored by a teacher advisor
When questioned about why Muslim students are not required to do this for their Friday afternoon prayer times, they answered that prayer was different.

Christians are also allowed to meet for prayer without having other faiths present, and they may meditate, raise their hands and sing songs during this time as well.

There you have it: state mandated and directed instructions for how we may worship.

It’s just one more blow against freedoms in Canada. We get closer and closer to a policed dictatorial state.

~Jason
I decided to write to the elected official in my ward to express my concern. If you live in Hamilton, and care about this issue, then I encourage you to write your trustee too.

I’m a cynic, though and if you’re Canadian, you probably are too. What good will it do? Here’s a snip of conversation with my trustee from this school ward:
——- Original Message ——-
Hello Mr. Marston,

I’ve been quite suprised and concerned over the proposed limits placed on students who wish to discuss faith-based-issues with their peers in schools.

I wanted to take a moment to send you an email to express this concern, and to urge you to represent me, a parent within your ward.

Please stand up against these proposed restrictions against faith clubs. Whatever a child’s faith, I don’t believe the state should infringe upon the charter of our rights and freedoms. It’s just wrong.

Thank you for your time, Jason Silver
——- Original Message ——-
Hi Jason:

I have to say that I agree with the recommendations from the Faith Groups received in their advice to the Board and I support the position put forward at our last meeting by Superintendent Chuck Reid.

Thank you for expressing your concerns to me.

Sincerely, Wayne Marston
——- Original Message ——-
I’m sorry, I thought this was about what the public wanted, not what you wanted.

My mistake.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my email.

Yours, Jason
——- Original Message ——-
Hi Jason:

I respect your opinion, but yours is not the only email I have recieved on this matter. As with most who hold public office we do give consideration to all points of view, but I do not make decisions based on those opinions alone.

I have done my best to make my decisions relative to this important matter based on the legal advice received from the Board Lawyers, the Staff at the Board and the opinions given us by the Ministry of Education.

Sincerely, Wayne Marston
So is it worth it? ONLY IF THE TRUSTEES GET MANY MORE EMAILS FROM CONCERNED INDIVIDUALS.

Please, if you care for freedoms in Canada, take the time to send an email. The list of trustees is right here.

~Jason

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Wed, 10 Mar 2004

Mar 10, 2004, 21:40 [home/politics]
Well Said

We get the government we deserve, and that doesn’t say much about us.

So we have about fifty seats in Quebec that are largely a tribal vote, and we have easterners open to the highest bid. And if a party refuses to be held hostage to those games they get criticized for not being a national party. So the result is we get a corrupt party centred in Quebec doling out the booty from the public treasury in response to public demand. And large numbers of people in Ontario are obviously content to avert their eyes from it all, as it’s all done for fine patriotic reasons. There is no democratic deficit; we’re getting exactly the government we deserve.
Well said, Trudeaupia.

~Jason

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Tue, 09 Mar 2004

Mar 09, 2004, 23:05 [home/hobbies/photography]
Family History

When I visited Kingston this last Christmas, Joanne and I took a little trip around the back, back country to the north. I wanted to capture on film some of the mystery which is my family past.

In this collection is the tiny church near where my grandpa and niece are buried, the one-room school-house my dad attended as a child, my grand parents home before he died, their early home where my mom was a child, and more. Some of the shots are quite nice.

~Jason

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Mar 09, 2004, 22:20 [home/books]
Journey to The Center of Boredom

OK, this was one of the worst books I’ve ever read. There was barely a moment of enjoyment, hardly a time when I didn’t need to engage Suspension of Disbelief.

Journey to the Center of the Earth was so unbelievable— so incredulous— I found it very difficult to enjoy.

The basic idea is that a professor and his nephew hire an Icelander to be their guide through a passage in a volcano in Iceland. This passage takes them miles below the earth’s crust where they find a subterranean ocean. They sail for days on the ocean— observing sea monsters and extinct dinosaurs— on a makeshift raft crafted from giant underground mushroom-trees. A storm forces them back to their starting shore in minutes, where they discover a doorway they had overlooked before— which is blocked by a giant boulder. They blast a hole in this passage with gunpowder, inadvertently causing a volcanic eruption which spits them up to Italy on the earth’s surface.

That’s it.

The characters are shallow and unbelievable. Everything’s so overly scientific and completely unbelievable. a I heartily recommend you do not read this book.

~Jason

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Mar 09, 2004, 08:16 [home/politics]
Sheila Copps

My wife is a political science major from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. She’s smart, as I’ve mentioned before.

And she’s been saying (for as long as I’ve known her) that Sheila-baby is a loser that shouldn’t be in office. (paraphrase)

Every time an election comes up we shake our heads in disbelief as she gets voted in again. We have always chalked it up to conservative Canadians preferring the idiot we know rather than some new idiot we don’t know.

So I’m quite happy it’s all over, mostly because my wife knows about this kinda stuff and she’s happy.

I like how Brian put it:

Sheila is to politics as Martha is to stock trading. She has ridden other’s coattails for decades (first daddy Vic’s, then John Munro’s, then Chretien’s) and she’s finally being exposed as a fraud. There was no way she would go quietly into the sunset along with Chretien. Kudos to Paul Martin for revealing the empress has no clothes (THERE’S an image I don’t need). To Tony Valeri, I offer one piece of advice: Stay above the fray.
This has been said before, but oh well: does the Liberal party really think that this is attractive? In-fighting and scandal makes them look somewhat less than road-worthy.

It’s a good thing the Canadian public has a short memory. I think politicians depend on that. By the time the next election rolls around, will we have forgotten all about this? There will likely be some enticing candy on the proverbial table which will cause voter salivation.

O Lord, please don’t let it be so. I’d love to see someone else have a real shot at governing this country.

~Jason


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Mon, 08 Mar 2004

Mar 08, 2004, 20:55 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts/autofollowup]
New Version of AFU Available

I’ve just completed adding some requested features and fixing a couple of bugs in Auto FollowUp, including the Admin script.

Some changes: 1. Allows you to hide the list names from subscribers if you wish to (done from Global Variables)

2. Validates the list name in case user types it wrong or doesn’t include it in the URL.

3. Setup includes an environment variables section for novices who don’t know their server well

4. Minor changes in set up page explanations.

5. Leap year bug fixed (will only work for a hundred years or so though— sorry) I haven’t been able to duplicate this bug, so if it’s still not working, please let me know.
6. Fixed a OneTimer issue with no sender name or to name included with the email address.

7. Renamed the temporary lists for OneTimers from temp_listname to onetimer_listname.

8. Modified the one timer to send tomorrow by default. This can be changed after email is drafted. It gives you a chance to double check your copy etc., before the script begins sending.

9. If plugins do not exist, the link to the mailing list script is replaced with a link to the plugins on Intelliscript.net— not a bug, but some people thought it was. It’s much more elegant this way anyway.

If there are other issues I need to know about, please tell me.

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Mar 08, 2004, 07:56 [home/curiosities]
Web Pastor Opening

The church of England is starting a new virtual church:

The Church of England began running ads Friday for an online vicar to take care of worshippers at its first internet parish.

The Internet started in 1993, it’s 11 years later and the Church of England is only now considering this a place to connect with seeking people?
“We would be failing in our mission if we didn’t provide a spiritual community for people who relate with each other primarily through the internet.”

Interesting, but there are millions of church sites on the Internet already— I wonder why they think this is necessary?

The cool thing to me is that they recognize that a full time staff person is necessary to connect with people and actually ‘pastor’ them. They’re not looking for a webmaster— it appears they want someone to pray with, care for, and disciple users via the Internet.

Hat tip to my mom for pointing out this story.

~Jason


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Sun, 07 Mar 2004

Mar 07, 2004, 22:25 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts]
News Feed Works

Cool! I’ve made use of my news feed on Intelliscript.net!

Instead of starting a new blog on Intelliscript.net to manage news regarding my scripts there, I wrote a script to read and parse my XML news feed (RSS) and place it on the home page. It’s always an exact copy of what’s on my CrookedBush.com blogs under scripts!

Grabbing the feed and parsing it for display on Intelliscript is a little slower than I like, so I may modify it to update to a text file once a day or something like that. But the basic idea is working well.

Once I get getChurch.org’s blog of our newsletter Inside up and running, I plan on creating a news feed for that as well so the top 4 or 5 headlines can be put on any site using simple JavaScript. We have the technology!.

If only we had the technology to get the script running. The dear-friends at Blacksun.ca hosting are (how can I say this nicely?) not as skilled as I would like. disappointed

The script is reading the .cgi/.pl extension as a Blosxom flavour, which is very strange. They want me to use a different script— ain’t gonna happen. I’ll move to a new server first.

I may have to hack flavours out of Blosxom, which is no great loss as I already wrote a Blosxom plugin to use my script SiteSkinner.

~Jason

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Mar 07, 2004, 15:28 [home/webdesign]
RSS Could Be More Useful

I was visiting this blog, the maker of my pocket pc RSS reader and found this interesting post, from this site:

When i first started using RSS, i was ecstatic. Rather than relying on going to each person’s page, i could just throw them all in one place and go through them. I’m a bit more disillusioned now. I got all excited and started adding every blog that had an interesting thread. Almost humorously, i started breaking after about 150 regularly updated blogs. Worse: i miss half of the interesting posts that i want to read because i’m too overwhelmed. This made me sit back and think about what kind of an RSS feed i want.

I too have been annoyed with the limitations on my RSS feeds. I hope someone improves on this. I especially like the idea he had of being able to limit Google searches to blog sites.

~Jason


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Sat, 06 Mar 2004

Mar 06, 2004, 21:29 [home/movies/narnia]
I Think I’m Going to Be Sick

Apparently Disney is jumping on the bandwagon again, with plans to film a Narnia series in the style of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Does anyone else think this is a bad idea?

I’m thinking of all the Disney animations which perverted the original story. Afterall, the movie Alladin wasn’t really the story of Alladin. The same is true for, Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella, Snow White, Pinocchio, Tarzan, to name a few off the top of my head. Disney’s got really good at adapting good stories; to “Disnifying,” if you will.

What if they do the same to Lewis’ work? Often suspected of holding an anti-Christian agenda, why are they even considering it? The Tales of Narnia are even more blatant spiritually-speaking than Lord of the Rings!

Suprise, suprise, it’s all about money. From here

Narnia could give a massive boost to Disney, which is gripped by board struggles, poorly performing stock price and a hostile takeover bid by cable firm Comcast. ‘It’s a very, very ambitious production and one we believe could be very important to the studio,’ said Disney studios chairman Dick Cook.

Their initial budget is slated at 100 million. They’re filming it in— guess where— New Zealand.

I can’t wait to see what happens. Maybe all the fuss over Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion” has made Christian movies more appealing… or maybe we’ll see some major Disnifying.

~Jason


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Mar 06, 2004, 17:14 [home/movies/passion]
See The Passion

I stumbled onto a cool site today, called www.SeeThePassion.com. It’s one of the most extensive, best researched and extensive sites on The Passion movie I’ve seen.

Here’s a quote:

Indeed, in the savagery of the attacks on Gibson what is coming out of the closet is a visceral hatred of Christianity.

Consider: Art critics have instructed us to appreciate that the “Piss Christ,” a figurine of Jesus on the Cross in a jar or urine, was art; that a portrait of the Madonna with elephant dung smeared on it and female genitalia surrounding the face is artistic freedom of expression that must be respected.

We were told “The Last Temptation of Christ,” that portrayed Jesus as a lustful wimp pining over Mary Magdalene, was a beautiful film. Yet the same critics tell us “The Passion” is an insult to decency that should never have been made.
Read the whole article.

~Jason

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Mar 06, 2004, 12:30 [home/politics]
And This is Worth It?

I’m really starting to like this guy. He sees things the way I do, but is way more eloquent and convincing than I am in describing the shortcomes of our system.

Will the government really coerce a doctor into doing his time in the boondocks for seven years away from his family? And when there’s no replacement for him when the time is up will they dream up some new excuse to keep him there? It sounds almost inhumane in practice. People aren’t pawns to be moved around chessboard to suit the government’s political needs. I’m sick of people claiming socialized medicine has a monopoly on compassion. This is not compassion for the doctors, nor is having seniors with dilapidated hips spending 18 months of agony on a waiting list compassionate. There’s a reason these regions don’t have permanent shortages of veterinarians or opticians. The invisible hand of the market sees that these needs are met. It’s time we introduced market reforms into delivery of medical services too.

Really, what is the fear here? The main worry I hear from Canadians about reforming health care is that poor people won’t be able to get medical services when they need them. Reforming the system doesn’t mean we have to lock out the financially destitute. The system is not working the way it’s set up now.

Maybe some don’t like the idea of paying for a doctor. I would challenge them to consider how many times they’ve actually been to a doctor or emergency room in the last year. With a $10 doctor’s office visit co-pay and a $50 emergency room co-pay, I might actually spend $100 a year personally. As a family, that might amount to $800 a year. Maximum. I’m being generous here.

My taxes are way higher than that.

In any case, payment makes you powerful.
…when the government supplies you with “free” health care, you are not a powerful customer who must be satisfied. They are doing you a favour, and you owe the state gratitude and servility in return for this awesome generosity. They can give you the worst service in the world, but because it’s free, you are totally disempowered. One of the most important lessons I have learned from my contact with the Canadian medicare system is that Payment Makes You Powerful. And its absence makes you risible if not invisible.

Most people with average benefits at work could elect to pay into health insurance. Together this is a huge savings over our sky-high taxes. And what are taxes giving us anyway?

From this site, The Top Ten Things People Believe About Canadian Health Care, But Shouldn’t
…the federal government put something like $20-billion into medicare just before the last federal election several years ago…everybody wants to know what we got for that money. The queues have lengthened, not shortened, the shortage of diagnostic equipment has got worse, people are less able to find a family physician than they were five years ago. In fact, we have had a lot of experience in Canada with new injections of cash into the system, supposedly to “buy change”. Normally what happens is that the powerful organised interests within the system (docs, nurses, support staff, etc, etc.), organise to capture a share of that money. Costs rise, but productivity does not and services are no better or more timely. The Canadian medicare system is a black hole into which we can pour seemingly infinite amounts of money.

That aside, the real plus is that market demands will improve service. Imagine being treated like a paying customer! Imagine getting respect, being allowed self-dignity!

If only we Canadians were less passive; less afraid of change; more willing to speak our minds and think through these realities.

~Jason

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Fri, 05 Mar 2004

Mar 05, 2004, 09:20 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts/autofollowup]
Bug Found In AFU

I found out yesterday that there’s a leap year bug in Auto FollowUp.

If you send out daily messages with AFU, then it will break in leap years. I’ll be uploading a fix to this script to Intelliscript.net.

My own version of the ‘millenial bug!’ haha,

If you want a temporary fix for the script, go to the subroutine calculate_elapsed_days, around line 193 (this sub is in both run.pl and auto_followup.pl). Make adjustments by one day for each of the twelve months, and change the year value to 366.

This fix will stop working in January of 2005, so you’ll need to get the updated script when it comes out.

~Jason

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Thu, 04 Mar 2004

Mar 04, 2004, 18:13 [home/webdesign]
Movie Database Script

One of the very first Perl scripts I wrote (right after I wrote Scrabble I think) was a movie database program for putting up personal movie reviews. I wrote it for my friend Kevin Friesen, who never used it.

And I never sold it, or used it either. But I’ve been thinking a bit about it lately.

When Joanne and I took off for a few days to visit each other **grin** we watched about four movies in between sleeping, eating, shopping, … and stuff. I thought about my desire to write about the movies I’ve watched lately, and what I would say about these films.

So I dusted off this script.

But then I got thinking— these films are probably already described— complete with pictures, on the Internet Movie Database site. Wouldn’t it be cool, I thought, if I could use a fetch script to grab this data server side, and let me write my own review and rate each movie on my site.

So I set out on a journey to imdb.com.

But then I realised they have that service already built into the site! You can add films to ‘my movies’ and rate them, and even review them!

So if I write a script, it might just be a way to share this info with my visitors without having them leave CrookedBush.com. Maybe that script would sell. This doesn’t seem to be possible right now with imdb.com.

Anyone like that idea, or think it might be useful on their site?

~Jason

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Sun, 29 Feb 2004

Feb 29, 2004, 13:55 [home/politics]
Special Day Today

Apparently, today is a special day! No, I’m not talking about the once-every-four-years leap year day, but an anniversary of Pierre Trudeau’s retirement from politics. Thanks to Trudeaupia
~Jason

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Sat, 28 Feb 2004

Feb 28, 2004, 14:53 [home/curiosities]
Check Out These Awesome Cars

I just came upon a site thanks to Frederique with really cool cars.

This car has a built in boat motor, which automatically drops down from the rear bumper, along with side fins, to allow it to skim along on top of the water!

This one looks like it has a built in motorcycle and jet ski which can be lifted off the back with a built in crane!

I gotta get me one of those! winking

~Jason

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Feb 28, 2004, 14:10 [home/politics]
Health Care Smealth Care

I can’t say it any better than this:

Stephen Harper calls Belinda’s comments on allowing “two-tier” medicare a “rookie mistake”. Even Andrew Coyne seems to step in line with the conventional wisdom that thou shalt not question the Canada Health Act.

On that point I think I’ll stick my neck out and say they’re all wrong and Belinda’s right. I think Canadians know perfectly well our current system is not sustainable and are prepared to listen to someone who will stop lying to them. Reforms are needed that may involve co-payments for services as are done in right wing extremist countries like France. Alberta is about to experiment with such reforms soon, and I’d note that Quebec and British Columbia just ignore the private care being offered in their provinces. The public system isn’t delivering so no one is about to shut down anything that resembles a health care service.

~Jason

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Sun, 22 Feb 2004

Feb 22, 2004, 17:02 [home/curiosities]
Make Yourself into a Southpark Character
Here’s a funny site: make yourself into a Southpark Character. What do you think? This look like me?

Compare it to this picture.
Make yourself into a Southpark Character.
~Jason

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Fri, 20 Feb 2004

Feb 20, 2004, 21:42 [home/webdesign]
Test happy

I’m writing a Blosxom plugin to read smiley code and turn them into images automatically. At this point I’m making my own images, but I think I’ll find better ones on the net and use them. Here’s what I have so far. happy confused sad suprised disappointed winking frustrated tired tongue

~Jason

To download this plugin for use on your own site, go here.


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Feb 20, 2004, 10:02 [home/politics]
Warming Up My Globe

I was just watching David Suzuki whine because the media didn’t cover his environmental petiion in 1993 as “newsworthy”.

You remember David, he was the host for the famous science show, The Nature of Things. He popularized science for everyone in the seventies. I loved that show when I was a kid. I loved David: any man that could make science so simple; that could bring great ideas within reach of a small boy; well this kind of person was great!

Now I’m starting to wonder: is this guy really a scientist, or a sensationalist? His conclusions seem to be so oversimplified; his anti-American comments— that disgusts me; he over-generalizes; is this what scientists do?

“We are each other,” he said to Buddhist monks, “because we breathe the same air… We are air.”

Huh? Now he’s religious? He mentioned Jesus Christ more than once; Joan of Ark was also on his list. This is starting to sound more like a political speech.

Now, I grant you, he’s famous because of his ability to connect un-scientific people with scientific ideas. Maybe he needs to be sensational in his statements so we’ll listen? Maybe he needs to over-simplify solutions so we dummies can understand? Maybe over-generalizaton is the quickest path between two ideas. But is that science? sad

I don’t think so. Apparently global warming is not as sure a thing as some would have us think.

However, for a number of years now, temperature measurements have been made via balloons and, in an even more thorough and comprehensive fashion, via satellites. The records established by those means show no or at worst only almost imperceptible global warming. Of course, those records are unbiased by human error and undistorted by the fact that temperature readings taken in urban areas are affected by the heat-island effects of the cities in which many are taken and that taint the results of global averaging of global temperature records.

Don’t mishear me: I’m all for living responsibly in our environment. It’s evil to pour oil on the ocean, to waste unrenewable resources; I think recycling is basically a good thing, and I participate. But I won’t be influenced by fear-tactics that are unsupported scientifically. Since most of our pollution (that allegedly causes global warming) comes from industry, the solution is to close down big factories. That’s not likely to happen. I think these people are more anti-development than pro-environment.

David, go back to your science show, leave politics alone. God knows, nobody trusts politicians. Or maybe we’re naive ignoramuses.

~Jason

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Feb 20, 2004, 01:31 [home/webdesign]
Pinging Weblogs.com

I am justing adding a feature to automatically ping weblogs.com every time my site is updated.

Neat.

~Jason

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Wed, 18 Feb 2004

Feb 18, 2004, 17:15 [home/politics]
the GAG law - I’m Gonna Gag.

All I can say is wow. It’s illegal for citizens to spend money on political advertising during an election. It seems the government wants to gag citizens from free speech. What are they afraid of?
Read this.

Apparently February 10th was to be the date for a supreme court ruling on this for Alberta. Anyone know anything about this?

~Jason

p.s. Here’s another article.


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Feb 18, 2004, 16:33 [home/politics]
Are We Dictator Primed?

I have just read a profound summary of an article on the demise of Venezuela from wealthy oil nation (petrostate trying to evenly distribute the wealth) to broken dictatorship. Reading it felt too much like reading a history of Canada’s late days.

This needs to be a wake-up call for us as a society. We must stop thinking of the government as an eternal fountain of hand-outs. Since the early days of free land offered to would-be settlers, Canada has set the tone for gimme-gimme-ness among it’s inhabitants.

It’s probably too late, but change can start with just one person… Will that be you? (Look for the article entitled: Kanada’s Krony Kleptocracy)

~Jason

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Tue, 17 Feb 2004

Feb 17, 2004, 22:26 [home/music]
New Feature to MP3 Database

Today I purchased the WimpyPlayer for JasonSilver.com so people can stream mp3 files of songs I’ve written without downloading the song or owning mp3 software… streaming! Ya!

Check it out! ~Jason

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Feb 17, 2004, 13:30 [home/movies/passion]
Actor Who Played Jesus Comments

I read an interesting quote from Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion.’

Caviezel, who spent days in freezing temperatures, nearly naked and covered in makeup “wounds” that made his skin raw, says he could not have endured what he did without God.

“What you saw on screen is my living, breathing faith,” says Caviezel. “I needed all the grace could spare. I was sick with a virus, I dislocated my shoulder carrying the cross, I was struck by lightning while hanging on it. I had nowhere else to go but the arms of God.”

Read the whole article here.

~Jason

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Mon, 16 Feb 2004

Feb 16, 2004, 23:51 [home/movies/passion]
Mel Gibson’s Interview

I watched Dianne Sawyer’s interview with Mel Gibson re: The Passion of the Christ tonight. I was really impressed with Mel’s on-track description of our faith. Overall, an excellent interview in which Dianne asked mostly good questions.

That’s not to say I didn’t laugh out-loud at some of the clip edits… obviously meant to attract sensational attention, but that’s the press for ya.

“When asked who killed Jesus, Gibson said, “The big answer is, we all did. I’ll be the first in the culpability stakes here.”

Is that awesome or what?

All I can say is BRAVO Mel. I hope and pray that this film creates a new curiousity among people to read about Jesus, and to seek for themselves.

Regarding the anti-semetic accusations, I thought this was an interesting article, actually written by a Rabbi, Daniel Lapin.

Many individual Jews have shared with me their embarrassment that groups, ostensibly representing them, attack Passion but are silent about depraved entertainment that encourages killing cops and brutalizing women. Citing artistic freedom, Jewish groups helped protect sacrilegious exhibits such as the anti-Christian feces extravaganza presented by the Brooklyn Museum four years ago. One can hardly blame Christians for assuming that Jews feel artistic freedom is important only when exercised by those hostile toward Christianity. However, this is not how all Jews feel.

Go see this movie. I saw it, and was really impacted— I still am.

~Jason

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Feb 16, 2004, 13:53 [home/politics/politically_correct]
Scholarship for Whites Only

Wow, this is quite the stunt… not sure what I think about it, but I’m sure curious to hear what you think! Is this fair?
New scholarship created for whites only
~Jason


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Feb 16, 2004, 13:46 [home/curiosities]
Beautiful and Strange Art

I just found some stunning photos of an old prison: check it out. This guy is a master photographer! I love his style.

~Jason

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Sun, 15 Feb 2004

Feb 15, 2004, 00:08 [home/church_work/valentines]
It’s Over!

Amazing, this evening’s Valentine’s Party was the best ever. We even had the audience spontaneously erupt into a congo line! Probably 60-75 percent of the crowd were visitors to our church, affirming it as a great way to connect with our community. Looks like the ’80s next year, and we’re getting started right away!

~Jason

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Sat, 14 Feb 2004

Feb 14, 2004, 12:13 [home/politics]
So I Offended You

So I hurt your feelings— poor baby gonna go cry to momma? Can’t take a little teasing?
Canada continues to sink to a new low. When you can’t laugh at yourself; when it becomes evil to poke a friendly joke (a joke that is, frankly, quite funny), then you’ve got a serious problem. Conan O’Brien’s Montreal sketch will be removed from future airing; we dare not offend twice in a row!

Political correctness, in my opinion, is an evil monster which threatens our freedom of speech and expression.

~Jason

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Feb 14, 2004, 10:13 [home/politics]
PC - Politically Correct, or Pain in the Can

It really annoys me when we start tinkering with historical documents still in use today, purging them of “offensive” language. From here:

It is somewhat more disturbing, however, when it becomes a matter of “correcting” historical artefacts: historical documents or pieces of literature that now give offence, notwithstanding the different cultural contexts in which they were originally written. (One interesting recent example, of course, is the bible itself, which in a contemporary version has been carefully purged of its sexist cast.) In such cases, the emotional comfort and so-called “self-esteem” of a group is seen to take precedence over historical authenticity.
What’s behind all this? Postmodernistic attitudes about relatism in regards to truth. This quote from the same site does a good job at illustrating the logical (if you can call it logic!) steps we have taken as a culture to get here:
In the minds of the critics, then, political correctness reflected a process by which the historical norms and assumptions of the academy, and its ways of doing things, were dismissed as relativistic and built on sand. The notion of hiring and promoting staff, and grading students, on the basis of objective, competitive merit was dismissed as a kind of self-serving delusion which simply protected the interests and values of a dominant group. But if universally agreed-upon criteria and standards were no longer possible, how then were decisions about such things as performance to be made? The positivistic or rationalistic process of the old order was seen to be tragically flawed; but no other generally agreed-upon alternative could be found. So the process of decision-making - in hiring, in admissions, in curriculum design, and so on - would have to move to a different category altogether: from what was argued at least to be a scholarly or intellectual process, to a blatantly political process, wherein the various “stake-holders” would bargain on the basis of group interest for different kinds of hiring practice, student evaluation, and the like. From the traditionalist perspective, this sort of forced contract and lack of mutual trust effectively meant the end of what the uni-versity was all about. Without a generally agreed-upon intellectual or scholarly process for deciding what should be studied, or without shared cultural understanding of what the enterprise was all about, the institution seemed to dissolve into a holding company of separate tribes. Post-modern theory had become contemporary practice.

This is an excellent essay on the positive and negative aspects of political correctness: the real need to not be cruel with words, and the ramification of pushing this too far.

~Jason

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Thu, 12 Feb 2004

Feb 12, 2004, 10:57 [home/curiosities]
Spot the Fake Smile

Here’s an interesting site I found yesterday: Spot the Fake Smile. I did pretty good at spotting the fake ones, but I also called a lot of them fake that were actually real smiles! My score? 13 out of 20. How did you do? Leave a comment and tell me your score. happy

~Jason

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Wed, 11 Feb 2004

Feb 11, 2004, 16:41 [home/church_work/valentines]
It’s Finally Arrived

Tonight is the first full dress rehearsal for our 2004 Hamilton’s Best Valentine’s Party, and I’m getting more excited every second! In an hour and a half the team begins to arrive, donning costumes and buzzing with anticipation. We’ll snap through our stuff in two hours and be ready for our first of three performances tomorrow night.

It’s been a great year preparation-wise. Every time we do this more people get involved, and I need to worry about this less! I like that. winking

This year I’m singing Imagine, Your Song, Heart Break Hotel, Love, and That’s Amore. It’s a sold-out room for both of the full performances, and about a third sold for the dress-rehearsal tomorrow night. Other songs include Africa, Dancing Queen, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, If I Had a $1000000, Chapel of Love, Short People, Mr. Sandman, Another Day in Paradise, Shower the People, The Living Years, and more!

Hope you got a ticket!!

~Jason

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Tue, 10 Feb 2004

Feb 10, 2004, 01:37 [home/webdesign]
New Plugin

I learned how to write Blosxom plugins tonight— not that I’m really confident with it yet, but I wrote a siteskinner plugin which calls the header and footer scripts and implements them into Blosxom… so that makes my use of flavours OBSOLETE! This is a big deal to me, because I hated having to make flavours and site templates work together. Now it’s all one thing! CooL!

I’ve also confirmed that trackbacks do in fact work and have been pinged and have pinged myself, so I’m pumped about that… now if I just had something to say to somebody! haha!

It’s 1:30 a.m. and though I had a nice two hour nap today I shouldn’t push it, cause I’ve been SO sick lately and need to hit the hay.

Nite nite! ~Jason

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Sat, 07 Feb 2004

Feb 07, 2004, 07:48 [home/movies]
The Yearling

Watching The Yearling tonight with my family I was struck by a simple and sad truth… we’re probably never going back to the way it was— and that’s a sad thing.

What am I referring to? It’s going to sound patronistic, but I’m not apologizing. I wish we could go back to a culture when movies are made with men we want to aspire to emulate; not because they’re sexy, sneaky, sarcastic or sensitive, but because of their demonstration of benevolence, bravery, and brawn— without apology or embarrasment.

The father in this film tenderly and masculinely supports a bitter wife and wisely directs his growing boy through ‘coming of age.’ There is nothing in this film which is correct politically, and I can imagine men walking out of the theatres in 1946 with their shoulders back and their heads held high. There was no male feminization then— being a man was cool. We could be assertive, aggressive and affirmative without worrying that someone would “report us” for not being sensitive.

I’m not bitter— I’m going to be what I am and I don’t care what anybody says… as long as that’s okay with my wife…

**wink**

~Jason

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Feb 07, 2004, 00:05 [home/webdesign]
Trackback Anyone?

OK, I think I’ve successfully implemented trackbacks on my site, but I need someone to ping me… anyone else out there reading my blog who has trackbacks and can ping me?

Thanks! ~Jason

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Fri, 06 Feb 2004

Feb 06, 2004, 16:46 [home/books]
Last of the Mohicans

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Last of the Mohicans isn’t exactly correct ‘politically;’ the bad guys are mostly French or Indian, the good guys are white and English… there’s a polar boundary of absolutism which modernistically permeates the story… but I really enjoyed it!

Just because you’ve seen the movie, don’t assume you know what the book is about. The main star in the movie (Daniel Day Lewis) is just a supporting character in the book— in fact, the movie turns the book’s hero, a young headstrong Englishman engaged to be married, into a pompous crook— and gives his woman away to the scout!

I can’t really blame the movie for the changes it made: if it hadn’t done a bit of plot masacre, Indians and French people would be more than a little indignant.

But I do miss one of the main characters taken out of the story. His name was David, and he was a church musician skilled in the arts of hymnody. His oblivious dismissal of reality and child-like faith in the mesmerizing powers of music saved him from death more than a few times; and always ironically.

The book is about the Mohicans— a nearly obliterated, gentile tribe of native American people, more than it is a love story. I guess Hollywood has learned that love sells… so they do that.

This is one of the better novels I’ve read lately, and since seeing the movie only a few months after reading it I am tempted to revisit the book. I’d rather have the book plot as the last thing in my mind than the botched movie script. If you loved the movie, read the book. It will really enhance the story for you!

~Jason


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Thu, 05 Feb 2004

Feb 05, 2004, 21:01 [home/webdesign]
Another New Skin

I’m tired of the look of my site; it’s been like this for a long time now! For a while I flirted with the golf skin, but didn’t like it very much either… though this skin and that one are both a big improvement over this old skin. So now I’m messing around with Flash, and trying to design a skin that looks great and is functional too. You can get an idea of what it will look like by clicking here, though it’s not flash just fancy HTML.

Please leave a comment or suggestion after you check it out to tell me what you think.

~Jason

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Wed, 04 Feb 2004

Feb 04, 2004, 21:32 [home/hobbies/model_trains]
Kingston and Pembroke Railway

Here are some links of interest for my future railway:



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Tue, 03 Feb 2004

Feb 03, 2004, 22:34 [home/books]
Modernism Alive and Well

…at least it was 100 years ago!

True to it’s cultural timezone, A Journey to the Center of the Earth has started off as so many modernistic novels do: with claims of superhuman ability on it’s heros. Also, like other contemporary material, some new discovery of science is made, usually absolutely ridiculous; beyond serious consideration to our post modern attitudes and experiences. Typically, the lead character is eccentric, disorganized, and brilliant.

In Journey, a cyphered message directs two adventurous scientists to take a trip through a volcano doorway into a new world below the earth’s crust.

I’ll post again as I wade through this book.

~Jason

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Feb 03, 2004, 17:43 [home/music/recording]
Recording Fury

I’m really excited that I’m finally back to recording music! It was a while of down-time, to be sure, but now I’m back at it. I think a CD will be out soon!

Last night I recorded my new song, “Since My Saviour Came” and I’m quite happy with it. I think another take on the lead and backup vocals would be good— preferably someone else on backups. I sound cheesy singing with myself. And I need to get better at mastering so that everything is just more vibrant and excited. The plugins are just so darn expensive!

I’ll try to upload a copy of the song soon so you can check it out… (the long story here is that I’m looking for a nice application (Flash or Java or something) to play mp3’s/oggs/etc over the Internet even if the user doesn’t have the codec. I found a great Java program that will do this, but the music must reside on the server (Java security issues) and I don’t have enough server space to deal with this problem. I found a few Flash ones too, but some require PHP which I avoid like the plague. I don’t know why, but PHP is akin to Macs to me… computers for dummies (no offense Austin, if you’re reading this! You’re not a dummy…. right?).)

So watch for that song soon.
~Jason

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Sun, 01 Feb 2004

Feb 01, 2004, 23:23 [home/webdesign]
New Features to my Blog

I’ve added a number of new features to my blogs lately. I’m interested to hear what you think about it.

First of all, I was tired of test posts from people who are thinking about buying my Blog script so I locked down the ability to post. But I still like to get feedback, so I inserted the Blosxom plugin called ‘Pollxn.’

I also added a few buttons instead of text links for commands I need like ‘move,’ ‘delete,’ ‘redate,’ etc.

So I hope you take a minute to respond to my site!

Thanks, Jason

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Fri, 30 Jan 2004

Jan 30, 2004, 22:15 [home/hobbies/canoeing]
The Canoe Museum?!?

I just saw an interesting news story on Newsworld. Apparently there’s a museum in Peterborough called The Canadian Canoe Museum!

Since I was a little boy I’ve loved canoes and canoeing! My dad started me young with canoe trips into lost swamps and forgotten rivers. (In fact, I still remember the day he bought our first canoe!) I loved exploration trips! Down old roads no-one remembered anymore to drop a canoe in the river; multi-day overnight trips with trail mix, sleeping bag, tent, jack-knife, and all the other essential tools of camping. These are some of my fondest memories.

So when I heard the museum was in Peterborough, I sat up! Joanne and I are visiting near Peterborough on our tenth anniversary! Maybe we could make it a day-trip to wander through the aisles and reminisce a memory or two?

But there’s bad news. Apparently the Mad Cow scare “mooed” away tourists, and last October the board of directors regrettfully closed things up. How sad! I would have loved to poke around corners and see the beautiful, hand-crafted exhibits— many of which have been built by aboriginal peoples!

So I guess we’ll have to save that for our next trip to Peterborough. Maybe everyone will have forgotten about Cows (and chicken-flus) by then and we can enjoy a great cultural icon.

~Jason

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Thu, 29 Jan 2004

Jan 29, 2004, 11:12 [home/books/grapes_of_wrath]
Finally Finished

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I finished Grapes of Wrath about three days ago… what a strange book.

I’ve heard so much about this work that I thought there was something really amazing here. I’d heard it was Steinbeck’s best.

My final opinion after finishing it is that it’s not— not by far. East of Eden is way better, as is The Pastures of Heaven. This is more like his worst.

It’s not that he doesn’t have lots to say… he makes important comments about who we are as a human race, the reality of the bottom line, how insane we are to waste excess food while millions starve. The very essence of captilism is under critique, and he does this very well.

But he doesn’t go anywhere with it! I prefer stories that take us from start to finish. This one ends with the main characters in the same predicament they were at the start. In fact, if anything, they’re worse off.

This isn’t a pleasure read, this is more of a duty read. We should know what happened in the U.S. during this time period, and we should think about our personal perspectives wth regard to the poor.

So I recommend this book with slight warning. You’ll probably not enjoy it, but you won’t regret reading it either. If you can handle the lack of resolution, maybe you’ll really like it!

~Jason

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Mon, 26 Jan 2004

Jan 26, 2004, 22:09 [home/movies]
Bruce Almighty

I’d heard a lot of good things about Bruce Almighty, but I was really blown away by how profoundly the writers/directors/producers handled the subject matter.

This movie unabashedly faces everyone’s issues: why do these crappy things happen in my life? Why is God never around when I really need him? How come my prayers aren’t answered? Why am I here? Why is happiness so elusive?

This is a film which deserves viewing and commendation. Way to go!

~Jason

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Jan 26, 2004, 17:33 [home/movies]
Equilibrium - What a Movie

I just saw a terrific movie!

Enter the world of Equilibrium where there is no war, emotions are suppressed, and artistic expression forbidden. The guardians of order are an elite fighting force of Grammaton Clerics who specialize in the martial arts system and code of the Gun Kata. There is nothing they cannot do to enforce the ideals of their society but what would happen if a first class cleric suddenly began to feel?
At first glance this sounds like a typical sci-fi B-movie plot; but hold your gaze— this movie is far from typical. Unlike most futuristic sci-fi flics, this is a wary scan into a likely future.

Emotions illegal? How could that be possible? How could it even be enforced?

I’m sure our ancestors would balk at their future; our current reality. How could we have come this far?

Maybe this is how: a little line given by the narrator at one point in the film gives us insight into how a society could come to a point of outlawing art, music, poetry, love, friendship, caring— FEELING. My friend Austin brought it to my attention— if he had not, I might have overlooked it. The narrator attributes it to the development of ‘hate crime.’ (What the film’s director had to say about that line.)

It makes me think about hate crame— why are we punished for hating? Do we not have a right to feel?

In British Columbia, a pastor can be arrested for reading certain portions of the Bible to his congregation. Here is a very interesting link with more information on hate crimes.

Equlibrium is amazing because it dares to connect the dots. And it describes the worst-case scenario for taking our current attitudes to their logical conclusion.

But it’s amazing for lots of other reasons too! Great special effects, though apparently they spent only $20 million on their budget. If you like to think, and enjoy challenging status quo, then this movie is for you.

If you want light entertainment and wired kung fu, look away. You probably liked Matrix 2 and 3.

~Jason

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Thu, 22 Jan 2004

Jan 22, 2004, 19:40 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts/crossword]
Scrabble Deal

Sorry for all the confusion.

I was hoping that more people would make donations over the last year to help support the site but it hasn’t happened. I’ve only had one 5 dollar donation.

I’ve decided to charge $20 per year for a group to play. So you can give your password to all your friend who play and have a game on my site. After a year, the charge will renew.

I figured if four people pay 5 bucks to play for a year they’re getting a deal. If they’re all PayPal users, it’s easy.

Additionally, subscribing gives you one free month, so it’s really a bargain.

Sorry that the code isn’t all in place. I have been busy lately. I’ll try to get it all working right away.


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Sat, 17 Jan 2004

Jan 17, 2004, 12:05 [home/movies/passion]
Passion Revisited

After watching the movie, we streamed out of the auditorium, and into the foyer. The pre-screening of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” was held in a large church. It was for church pastors and leadership, so there were all kinds of people milling around, recognizing each other, networking.

It was weird. I heard little snippets of conversation:

“Ya, let’s go grab a bite at McDonalds.” “Where’d you get that hat?” “He’s over at 1st Baptist now.” “She did what in her youth group?” “They have never wanted to try that again!”

…and so on.

People were stopping each other, noticing each other, crowding around the way we humans so often do when we’re at church; connecting and veneering.

I was a little thrown. We had just seen a brutal — BRUTAL — depiction of Christ’s last days on earth. The crucificion scene was not the worst of it. The whippings, the blood, the gore… it was disgusting. Looking around the foyer, it was as if these people had forgotten all about it seconds after the film was complete.

We Christians remember the cross and use words like victorious, saviour, lamb of God… these are clean words. These are inspiring and beautiful words. These were clean, inspiring, even beautiful people. But what of the gore? What of the disgusting? Did we forget already?

We pre-planned to meet with other staff from our church at a food court nearby. As I walked up to them, the obvious question was asked. “What did you think?!” I enthused.

Scowls. “Ask a specific question.” “That’s too general.” They were obviously troubled about the movie. One person almost fainted from the blood. Another person thought they could never recommend it to their non-Christian friends.

I was really shaken— as I write this now, I realise it’s taken me four days to even process it. I just thought everyone would feel as positive about the movie as I did.

Positive? About wanton violence and glorious gore?

We’ve done this story up like a birthday cake with chocolate icing. The whole point of Jesus’ life was to die for our sins and to suffer on our behalf— in our stead! But the suffer part is forgotten and we remember only plastic crosses and Easter lilies. Of course it’s gruesome! It was one of the most cruel ways to murder another human being, and we all swung the hammer— so to speak. I think we MUST look without blinking, and we must know. We need to be aware of what was done— even if we don’t believe.

Who knows, maybe that’s about to all change for you? If Jesus did that, then why wouldn’t I believe?

~Jason

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Thu, 15 Jan 2004

Jan 15, 2004, 12:09 [home/books/grapes_of_wrath]
Grapes of Wrath IS Postmodern

Grapes of Wrath is particularly interesting in light of my quest to understand modernistic thinking. (My idea is that I’ll better recognize post-modernism when I’ve truly defined modernism).

It’s SO not like these dusty old books I’ve been reading. They are basically about man dominating his world. But then again, it is like that. **grin**

It’s about the machine of modern efficiency forsaking the caring, human dimension; about a people passed over by mechanization and struggling to survive in that reality; about the soulessness of the bottom line, the pitiful sacrifices “business men” must make to earn a buck.

So it’s in stark contrast to all these other novels, which say, “machines are AMAZING.” It’s post modern, I guess! Neat.

~Jason


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Wed, 14 Jan 2004

Jan 14, 2004, 17:33 [home/movies/passion]
The Passion

I just saw Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. What a movie! I’m still shaking, my eyes are still sore from crying… crying for two hours!

I defintely recommend this film. It comes out February 26th (I think), so plan on going. It will change how you look at Jesus, and how you think about life. After I’ve processed it more, I’ll write more. I haven’t quite recovered yet.

~Jason

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Jan 14, 2004, 06:42 [home]
How to make links

Hi Jason,

I wanted to leave a post on Joanne’s blog and included a link. I wanted to do a ‘fancy’ link, so like you make them on your blog. I thought I’d use html for that, but that obivously mixed up something else so now it looks dreadful, pls check Joanne’s blog for that.

Can your tell me what code I need to use to include a link in a post here that looks nice ie. had no http://www…. etc stuff but just a clickable link in orange as you make them?

I saw you and your son on the webcam happy only my connection is too slow. Fun to see you two though!
Hi Frederique,
Just typical HTML should work, that’s how I do it. I’ll take a look at Joanne’s blog to see what went wrong.
~Jason


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Tue, 13 Jan 2004

Jan 13, 2004, 18:54 [home]
New Web Cam
Well, I just installed my new webcam that my pal John Harvey bought me! Cool! Check it out here.
~Jason
If it’s just a black picture, then the camera is on, and the light is off.

~Jason

I added a JavaScript routine to make the image refresh quickly without the whole page loading… check it out now!

~Jason


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Mon, 12 Jan 2004

Jan 12, 2004, 15:56 [home/books/list]
Reading List 2003

Here’s the list of books that I’ve read in 2003:

  • John Steinbeck: East of Eden
  • John Steinbeck:The Pastures of Heaven
  • James Fenimore Cooper: The Last of the Mohecans
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Unfinished Tales
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Tom Bombadil
  • Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleep Hollow
  • Tom Clancy: Red Storm Rising
  • Michael Adams: Fire and Ice
  • Bruce A. Ware: God’s Lesser Glory

~Jason



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Sat, 10 Jan 2004

Jan 10, 2004, 21:53 [home/books/grapes_of_wrath]
This is living up to it’s Reputation!

Wow. I’m really enjoying this book! It reminds me of “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” the movie modernisation of the book, Ulysses— set in the American South.

It’s definitely a page turner, and the characters are unlikely sources of wisdom! This is worth reading— if you haven’t already.

More Later,

~Jason

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Jan 10, 2004, 14:12 [home/webdesign]
Helping To Develop a New Site

My brother-in-law’s brother has a web site: Divine Design Clothing, and I’m going to be trying to help him develop a sales strategy.

What do you think? Cool site, eh?

~Jason

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Fri, 09 Jan 2004

Jan 09, 2004, 13:19 [home/books]
Amazing Chruch Web Site

I was looking for the email of the author of a book I’m about to start reading, called Seizing Your Devine Moment. His name is Erwin Raphael McManus.

In the process of this search I found the web site for the church he works for. I was really impacted by the video on this page.

Be warned: the video takes some time to download, even on a business DSL connection— which is what I’m using here at work. But it’s so worth the wait.

It’s a media rich video clip, in which he compares our inward drive and quest to really accomplish something in life with Superman— who was a hero not because of all he did, but what he did not do.

This is worth a viewing, I strongly urge you to check out his site.

~Jason

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Wed, 07 Jan 2004

Jan 07, 2004, 12:50 [home/books]
Moby Dick

Rating: Three Stars

I was surprised at how interesting Moby Dick was— especially at the beginning. Don’t get me wrong— this book is ENDLESS. It goes on and on and on, until I thought I was going to die before I finished it. Like usual, I read it on my pocket pc, so there was no sense of accomplishment like a real book that 1. gets more and more dog-eared; and 2. has fewer and fewer pages left to read. It was an eternity.

But I really did enjoy it. It had the typical modern theme of consumption and control. The characters were determined to control the whales, and never was remorse expressed for slaying such immense creatures. There were some particularly sad elements to this effect.

But that is by no means the point of the story. The main anti-character has lost his leg, and with it his mind: he’s now obsessed on seeking revenge on the white whale which stole it. It seems impossible as time and again, they nearly lose their lives in the pursuit.

Typical of these old books, there was a lot of explanation about what was going on— and I found myself doubting the plausibility for much of it. I think one of the things I like about these old stories is the window back in time. The writer expresses what seems like him to be science. A simple example: they referred to the whale as a fish. Now we know their science in that particular instance was wrong. There were many other examples like this.

It helps me keep a realistic perspective on what we think is science now-a-days too. In 50 or 100 years, things we take for granted as true will sound silly. This is post-modernism, folks.

So, I recommend it. You gotta take some time to wade through this, but it’s worth the read.

~Jason


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Jan 07, 2004, 12:28 [home/books/grapes_of_wrath]
Grapes of Wrath

I finally have started to read Steinbeck’s master piece, The Grapes of Wrath. After Pastures of Heaven, East of Eden, Of Mice & Men, The Pearl, and The Pony, I’ve got pretty high expectations. I’ve just completed chapter one, and so far I’m NOT disappointed! I love this writer! ~Jason


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Tue, 06 Jan 2004

Jan 06, 2004, 18:14 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts]
New Ticket Booking Script

I wrote a new database driven script today. It uses MS Access as a backend and connects to Perl through the DBI module.

You set up events using Access, then tickets available for each event. Then remote admistrators can mark tickets as purchased using a web browser and a password.

We’re using it for our “Hamilton’s Best Valentines Party” Event which we hold annually.

~Jason

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Jan 06, 2004, 11:57 [home/webdesign]
Joanne’s Blog Site

I set up a site for my wife, Joanne. She hasn’t done anything with it yet, hasn’t even posted a blog to her blog site! Can you believe it?

So this is an invitation to you to go to her blog section, here, and leave her a message.

Let’s see if we can get the ball rolling over there!

~Jason

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Mon, 05 Jan 2004

Jan 05, 2004, 22:39 [home/curiosities]
Space Ship One

I don’t know if you’ve heard of the X Prize: a 10 million dollar prize to the first company who can make a passenger bearing, reusable space ship by the end of 2004.

Well, they’ve got a year left! I wonder how things are going?

I stumbled onto this site today, where Scaled Composities White Knight is being developed. This is pretty cool stuff!

Here’s another one.

~Jason

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Jan 05, 2004, 17:03 [home/books]
The Books I Read

I realised recently that I’ve completely overlooked blogging about the books I’m reading. This is fairly fascinating to me, and really deserves some web space. I hope you agree.

I’ve been on a type of quest I guess, to read books I deem to be classic. One person’s classic is usually another person’s bore— I’ve found this to be true already. But maybe some of my like-minded readers will find interest here.

Why read these old books? Well, Moby Dick, for example, seems to be an iconoclast we cannot ignore. Everyone’s read Dracula, right? What about Peter Pan, Tom Sawyer, Tarzan, or the many Jules Vern books?

I’ve found that actually, most people have not read these books— the movies are much more accessable and digestable.

So why bother? Well many of these books were written at the height of what we now refer to as the modern age. The industrial revolution was well underway, and the advance of modernity was inevitable.

I seek to understand the time I live in now by comparing it to the time we just passed through. As post modern jargon replaces modern vernacular, I want to know WHY, and to be able to logically trace back trends and attitudes that have made we p.m.’s (post moderns) what we are today.

Watch here for my book journeys. Hey, these old books are all free now— in the public domain! You can download them from most ebook sites for a dollar or two— (if not free!), or I can send them to you if you ask.

There’s no excuse for not being informed in a time when information is so accessable.

It’s an invitation! Come explore with me. winking

~Jason

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Jan 05, 2004, 13:26 [home/church_work/valentines]
2004 Looks Awesome

This year Valentines is going to be better than ever!

Our ensemble is getting closer to being an orchestra. If this continues we could pull off big band next year and do the forties!

We’ve got two trumpets, a trombone, an alto and tenor sax, a clarinet, a flute, two violins, a viola, and cello. We’ve got a pianist (me), drums, bass, electric/acoustic guitar, and two keyboardists!

Amazing!

The songs this year are good too: Toto’s Africa, for example. We’re also doing stuff as diverse as the Barenaked Ladies to the Village People. What fun!

~Jason

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Jan 05, 2004, 13:11 [home/music]
New Sound Card

HURRAY!

One of the gifts Joanne got me this year was a new sound card for my PC! Was I ever bummed when I realised that my sparkling new HP computer didn’t have any way to connect to MIDI!! That was a big downer.

But once this card is installed I can resume recording, and now from a powerhouse of a computer!! I’ll keep you posted about new mp3s I make as I make them.

~Jason

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Sun, 04 Jan 2004

Jan 04, 2004, 23:26 [home/hobbies/model_trains]
Train Game Looks DIFFICULT

Well, I started reading the directions for my new 18XX game, and it is really challenging. The direction book is a thick magazine! Between buying private companies or pubic companies or trading stocks in these companies; managing the rise and fall of the stocks; the purchase of railroad track and engines; running trains between cities; making money from successful trips; the advance of technology as new engines come available; this is on intense game!

I spoke to some train lovers at church today. They’re interested in giving this game a shot with me. One thing I’m curious about is writing a cgi script Of the 18XX game. It would be cool to be able to plug different scenarios into the script and have train fans all over the world participate in games.

This might be already available through Railroad Tycoon; if there are any 18XX players out there, let me know what you think. ~Jason


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Jan 04, 2004, 23:25 [home/curiosities]
Frankensteining

I saw something weird on CSI Miami tonight: Frankensteining. I’ve never heard of it before, but apparently it’s the name for the urge druggies get to build weird non-functioning contraptions when they’re high. I’ll have to Google that when I’m online next. ~Jason


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Sat, 03 Jan 2004

Jan 03, 2004, 01:48 [home/webdesign/perl_scripts]
popBlog

I’ve been working on a script to post blogs by email, and this blog as well as the previous one were both posted this way.

Cool eh?

So now I’m working out the bugs— expect to see some weird stuff until it’s done!!

~Jason


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Jan 03, 2004, 00:39 [home/hobbies/model_trains]
New Game

Joanne bought me a new board game for Christmas called 18XX. I’m really looking forward to playing it. I believe this one is 1856, and it’s set in Southern Ontario. The idea is to build a railroad empire while other people build them too. You buy companies, trade stocks, and try to dominate the board.

Neat eh? I’ll post more info once I’ve actually tried the game. Apparently it takes hours to play the first time.

~Jason


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Fri, 02 Jan 2004

Jan 02, 2004, 07:29 [home/movies]
Amazing Day

We really had an amazing New Years!

New Years Eve, Joanne, Shin, Luke and myself stayed up late to watch Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring. We finished before midnight and then watched the New York Times Square ball drop. The next morning we were up early to watch the Two Towers, after which Joanne and I went to the theater to see Return of the King.

What a movie! It was really fabulous. I wished I hadn’t read the bash-blog the other day, because it really spoiled it for me. I was watching it with a more critical aire than I would have if I hadn’t seen it. I couldn’t seem to help myself!

But, nevertheless it was so good. I can’t wait to see it again. ~Jason

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