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Jason Silver

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Thoughts and Reflections on Scripture


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Thursday, December 22nd, 2005


Have you ever felt overwhelmed with how great God is? Have you ever considered the many blessings in your life and just had to sit down and catch your breath for a minute? If you answered no to both of the questions, than what about the pleasures of life? What about the smell of apple pie, or the smile on a child's face? What about the excitement of driving really fast, or the peace in walking really slow?

In every moment of life we can raise our eyes to heaven and give God the credit. Nothing is outside of His notice, everything comes from His love.

We don't deserve all this blessing, we didn't earn all this stuff... not the workin', nor the dreamin', just His grace has been enough. He gives me more than we could ask for, and He gives us less than we deserve. We owe it all to Jesus, who I choose to serve.

All the Lyrics

Click to Listen

Tags:music song_bios
Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Love My Neighbour

Love My Neighbour
One afternoon I wrote this to use as a song for our church, then drove over to Tom Bigas' studio (when it was still in his basement) and recorded it. We didn't even know what we were doing until we started playing-- he was on the kit and I was on the bass, just sort of making it up as we went... later he added a backup vocal part and brought me the CD.

Click to Listen


Tags:music song_bios
Saturday, December 17th, 2005

Up in the Tree Fort

Up in the Tree Fort
This song is on the CD "Moving On" which I released in 1999. I entitled it "Up in The Tree Fort" because I wrote it with John Lyons- a friend with whom I built and played in tree forts when we were young.

Back when I was a kid, I loved to build them. I think it started when I was four and five years old, when my dad build a tree house for sister Stacy and I to play in.

But we moved away from that house, and of course, the tree house, too.

When I was a little older, ny grandpa Earl Abrams gave me access to as much lumber as I needed. Out behind his 'shop' I built a two-story treehouse empire.

I started by finding the perfect spot: a grove of ten trees growing in a circle, right beside a rocky cliff. I attached joists to the outside of the trees, a little above the level of the cliff, then put down floor boards. A little higher up I added a railing, and even further up, another circle of joists and another floor.

I built a drawbridge that connected the top of the cliff to the first floor of the fort. The bridge could be raised and lowered (albeit, I wasn't quite strong enough to do this easily).

A couple of years later my dad gave me permission to build a treehouse in our backyard-- if I first submitted plans to him. This fort had a trap door in the bottom and a peaked roof to protect me from the elements. It turned out pretty good, but a little too small for two to fit comfortably, so I didn't play in it much. Later I built a platform above it, but it was so high up in the air that I was a little scared to play up there also.

Click to Listen


Tags:music song_bios
Saturday, December 17th, 2005

Request for Google Bomb

I know I don't have a lot of faithful readers to my blog... in the words of a good friend last night, my blog is a little boring. :-)

So if you are one of my faithful readers, would you please do me a favour? I would so appreciate an entry in your blog to www.jasonsilver.com to generate more interest in my music.

Maybe you could make a post which says something like, "My friend Jason Silver has been making some of his songs available as free mp3s to download here. He's looking for feedback, so go listen and tell him what you think."


Friday, December 16th, 2005

Needing Yesterday

Needing Yesterday

May 1, 2004: I wrote a new song last week and just recorded it quickly... I thought you might be interested in downloading it or streaming it.

Take a listen, then comment on what you think about the song. Yes, it's a little depressing, but I like it. It reminds me of Lionel Richie's new one, or Phil Collin's "Can't Keep Lovin' You."

Don't pay attention to the bad notes and stuff, I just did this quick and dirty.


December 14, 2005 - Update: This link was bad, so I'm reposting this article. I still need to rerecord this one and clean it up a bit.

Tags:music song_bios
Monday, December 12th, 2005

Liturgy, Protestants, and Celtic Christianity

My life has shot off on a tangent of late. I don't really know what's going on.

I've mentioned before that it bothers me the way the protestant side of Christianity is so predisposed to splintering. This is partly because of the increased importance placed upon the scripture by Protestants. Sects often seem to highlight the importance of some specific part of scripture, and decide to break from their parent group as a result. This could be a product of our inherent disdain for tradition, as well as our use of the Sola Scriptura (only by scripture) edict: one of the basic tenets of Protestantism which claims scripture as the sole source of our beliefs.

While I find it fascinating and troublesome that Catholics would venerate some people above others because of their display of faith or because of their martyrdom, it also bothers me that well over 1500 years of tradition were abandoned a couple hundred years ago in favour of a new approach to Christianity. And few have looked back. This seems unreasonable. It's typically modernistic to abandon truth because it appears to be not "historically correct."

But some traditions are so hard to reconcile with scripture at all! For example, I still find myself struggling to accept the veneration of saints and the associated "pray for us," or to call Jesus' mother Mary, the Queen of Heaven.

I find contemporary protestant worship services troublesome too. I've had some good conversation over at Church Alienation, where contributors are concerned by the growing trend found in churches today: more and more adherants are coming to church in search of entertainment. I've experienced it myself: often people comment to me that "today's worship was terrific," or "I really enjoyed the service today." I'm not exempt either: I have often caught myself lamenting over the details of the service: whether a song was a success or not, whether the message was too long, too boring, just right-- whatever.

So our church services are packed-- is that really what we want? The attitudes we face should reveal to us that we're coming to church to have our own needs met, rather than coming to worship our Creator, or to enjoy fellowship with other believers.

But I'm so torn! As I weekly put together contemporary ways to communicate the Gospel and to encourage one another, I see life change in our body! People come in off the street and express a desire to accept Jesus as the Saviour they so need, they decide to be baptised, they begin to grow in faith! Long-timers begin connecting their lives to the needy! Whatever we're doing, right or not, God seems to be using it! In fact, the churches I've been part of in the past have often seen dozens of new believers every year! Are pragmatics enough? How important is the mode of our worship to God? Does He care what form it takes?

I was interested by Glenn Teal's mention of Celtic Christianity. He uses a Celtic book of prayer as part of his daily devotional. Though I have an Irish past, though I love Celtic music and art, (and play the penny whistle whenever I can) I was unclear about what makes Celtic Christianity unique. I started with Wikipedia, and found a lot of interesting, though obviously slanted information. Other articles have balanced out the views.

Some people feel that this elusive Celtic Christianity is the closest to the original form of our faith. They believe this because of a long and unsupported legend that Joseph of Arimethea himself brought Christiantiy to the Britons, along with the Holy Grail. This would make the Celts evangelised before the Romans were. Interesting, eh?

I also didn't realise that Paul's letter to the Galations is likely written to Celtic Christians! The Galatians, otherwise know as the "Gauls" may have been a celtic group living in the north.

All of this reading of traditional Christianity and accompanying liturgy has created a hunger within me for a formal expression of worship. What a tangent? What's going on?

All I can say is to stay tuned... who knows how this will turn out!


Saturday, December 10th, 2005

Since My Saviour Came

Since My Saviour Came
This song was written with the same philosophy of "Loving Like You Do," that a congregational song should be repetitive enough to be easy to learn and sing the first time through, and that the music which underlies the melody is where the interest lies-- so that it sounds like it's more complicated than it is.

So what would happen if you had an eight measure chord pattern, but a melody line which covered 11 measures? Every three measures the chord pattern would lay under the melody at a different spot.

Normally this would make for a very unpleasing experience as chords and melody disonantly disagree. But not with this song. I tried to make the melody universal enough to work over almost any chord it came across. :)

Please take a listen to it and tell me what you think. And I would so appreciate a link from your blog to www.jasonsilver.com to generate more interest in my music. Would you do that for me? Just make a post which says something like, "Jason Silver has been writing some songs and has made his mp3s available for free download here."


Click to Listen


Tags:music song_bios
Friday, December 9th, 2005

That's Why

That's Why
That's Why is another one of the songs written in the basement of the Wriston's. In fact, it may be the first written that year. It was a particularly difficult song to write.

You see, there are two types of experiences for me when writing: songs that write themselves-- lyrics almost falling onto the page, and songs which sweat the living-daylights out of me. Usually the sweat inducing kind are bad and the 'look ma, no hands!' kind are good. I don't know why that is, but people usually like the easy songs.

Do you know how hard it is to write a song so that every single line rhymes with every other line, and still makes sense? And it doesn't sound as cheesy as you'd think.

I initially recorded this at Doug Bowker(?)'s (Randy's brother?) studio in Saskatoon. He was the first guy I knew of back in 1991 to have a digital recording studio on his PC. I think I used a Korg M1 Workstation for the main instruments, with blues harp and geetar leading the way.

But that recording is long gone so I rerecorded it this fall for the Philpott CD.

This song is important to me because it really describes the inner turmoil deep inside me. I love this verse:

When I'm deep inside of me, looking evil in its eye
I believe I need something to help me just get by
But all I'm really longing for is just what You supply
If only I believed it, I'd fly!

Here's the whole song:
That's Why

Far below the surface you can hear my soul cry
The scream of a child who believes he's gonna die
I thought I knew the answer, I just lived a lie
You're here, You're the answer, that's why

I tried to build a fortress, walls of granite to the sky
A castle meant to save me, just a place for me to hide
But feelings of rejection I could not deny
You were waiting, You're the Answer, that's why.

That's why I live life undefended,
That's why my castle lies in ruins.
Because to hide, I must unveil.
I give it all right up to You.

When I'm deep inside of me, looking evil in its eye
I believe I need something to help me just get by
But all I'm really longing for is just what You supply
If only I believed it, I'd fly!

I fear that I am mortal, I'll die
But you're here, you're the answer, so why?
Still I fear that I am mortal, I'll die
So I protect me, incorrectly, that's why!

Click to Listen


Tags:music song_bios
Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

Loving Like You Do

Loving Like You Do
I wrote Loving Like You Do a couple of years ago now-- I think it's probably the first real 'singable' worship chorus I've written. The secret lies in the extremely simple melody line which takes on different senses as the chord progressions change beneath it...a neat trick if you ask me!

This has become a favourite at Philpott, though I think we're probably tiring of it a little bit right now.

It was on the last worship CD (2004) but I had Doug Dolbear singing it. He did a great job! But I wanted to put it on my site, so I decided around midnight last night to record the song with me singing, then I uploaded it this morning.

Click to Listen


Loving Like You Do

Lord You reached out to me when I was all alone
I was feeling so lonely
You came into my heart and made my dreams come true
I want to play a part in loving like You do

For the least of these you did it unto Me
They're the words You cry at the end of time!
What You did for me I will do for You
As You give me strength,
As You give me strength
In loving like you do

Tags:music song_bios
Sunday, December 4th, 2005

There's the Door

There's The Door
I uploaded another old song today-- after trying my hand at mastering it. I'm pretty satisfied with the results, except when we recorded it we used a buzzy old microphone from the 50's "for effect." So you can hear some of my louder notes distort and buzz some... oh well!

The plan was always to add stand-up bass and brushed snare to this song, but we never got around to it, and it sounds pretty good as a piano/vocal thing.

I wrote "There's The Door" back when I lived in Saskatoon. I went out with a girl named "Monelle" for a while, and when we broke up I was a little bitter...

But hey! I'm happy now, 'cause it made me write a great song!

Check it out and tell me what you think. Just click this to listen: Click to Listen


Tags:music song_bios
Saturday, December 3rd, 2005

Star Trek the Original Series Lives On!

Wow! I can't believe it! Kirk, Bones, Spock, and the rest of the crew are back-- you've got to see this to believe it!

Back in the late 1960's, Star Trek's "5 Year Mission" was cancelled after only three seasons. But that's all about to change!!

This is so exciting!!!


Tags:hobbies favourite_shows Star_Trek
Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Hear MP3s to Download

I've been putting together some new stuff for www.JasonSilver.com for when the transfer is complete. In the process I've located a new mp3 player to demo my songs. And since it works with XML playlists which include image files for each song, I've designed a picture to go with every mp3 file.

Check it out here, and tell me what you think.




Monday, November 28th, 2005

The Left Hates Sex?

Not sure what I think about this article, but the woman makes some good points...

Why The Left Hates Sex


Monday, November 28th, 2005

Transfer Started

I've begun the big job of moving personal files to jasonsilver.com and business stuff to crookedbush.com.

What do you think so far? Like it?


Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Thou Dost Protest Too Much

I was reading a couple of interesting blogs this morning and it helped to focus some background ideas that have been faintly shimmering somewhere in my mind.

The comments were typical responses to something called 'emergent' in evangelical circles. Contributors were musing about the latest evolution of the church. They all made some great points, but that's not really what I want to draw your attention to.

One person mentioned that he had tried to walk away from the emergent movement, and was just unable to. Something sparked for me. I too have tried walking away from caring about this emergent thing-- a church for post-moderns, a church for today's culture.

But not because I don't believe in being culturally relevant. Not because I don't value communication. It has more to do with history than present, actually. Our church has rockin' drums and guitars. We use video clips, drama, we engage people as best as we can. I'm not advocating leaving that behind.

This is why: I think the protestant church would do well to focus more on unity, and less on splintering. I'm convinced that through cooperation and sharing we can make a greater impact in the community for Jesus than through our attempts to be "relevant."

I want us to stop being protesters. I think God wants us to stop protesting. But I don't think it's possible anytime soon. So sad.

I've noticed that the past seems to hav a trickle down effect that we're mostly oblivious to. For example, Americans settled the wild west with guns and power... and one might argue that their culture is still permeated with taking the law into one's own hands-- good or bad. Canadians were given free land from a mostly benevolent but controlling government, and even today look to officials to take care of them. Canadians don't value liberty, we value good government. Somehow we're still all surfs on the land of lords.

Like our ancient protestant forefathers who paved the way for us, maybe we take too many opportunities to soapbox. If there is any characteristic I think we should try to leave in our past, it's the nature of protesting. What if we valued tradition and the experience of those before us just a little bit more?

But maybe we're so devisive at our core that this could never happen. We were borne in separation. Are we destined to relive it forever?


Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

2005 Worship CD Completed

Today is a great day.

For at least three weeks I've been slaving away in my recording studio pumping out tracks for our church's annual CD. This year there are eleven songs, and I must say they sound amazing. Like last year, I invited a number of our worship leaders to submit a song they've written, to come into my studio, and record some music.

So why is today great? Because I finished everything and dropped off the mixdowns at FonicFactory for mastering. I took some coffee over at nine this morning and we went through track by track. The guys there were really impressed with the mixes and the sound I got (actually, Jeremy Siemens and I did it together), so that was a real encouragement to me. They made a few suggestion for each track... more compression on vocals here, drop off the high end EQ there, lower the keyboards 1 db at this point, boost the bass 1 db at that point. Very subtle little things. I went home and spent a couple of hours remixing and then dropped the CD off. I'm excited. I can't wait to get that delivery of CDs, to unwrap the shrink wrap, to see the vivid colour of the packaging, to smell the scent of 'new'. Then the music itself filling the room in robust frequency. I am so excited!

I'll upload the tunes when the mastering is done so you can hear it yourself.


Tags:music recording
Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Along the Mountainside

Natural PainLast night I left work early to chase down some of my feelings. Armed with a camera and a bottle of water, I headed to the rail-trail: once a train track and now converted to a hiking path.

It was really great to get away from the city; in the city. I stopped frequently when some interesting tree or rock caught my attention.Lay Down With Me

I really love photography. I wish I was as good as some of the people who post to Flickr. There's something about


still life which grabs at my heart.

Take a look at my pictures on Flickr.com, and let me know what you think.



Tags:hobbies photography
Sunday, November 6th, 2005

IPAQ - 6500 Series

This is really exciting, to me, anway... my dear friend Gary has given me an Ipaq, albeit with a broken screen, and I hope to replace the screen. I'm scouri Ebay for a used unit that doesn't work, so I can swap out the LCD.
A nice ending to a little bit lousy week.

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Mercy Gate CD

The Philpott CD is coming along nicely. Let's see, 11 tracks recorded so far, with maybe 3 more... looks like 14 songs altogether, and a lot of work left to do. I feel like maybe 5 are done completely, with very little tweaking left to do. Two are almost finished. Yuck, that means 8 songs to go. And I've only got one week if I give a week to mastering and two weeks for duplication. AGGHH!

Here's the rundown, not in final order:

  1. The Slightest View - Scott Orr - Done, not my studio
  2. Name? - Rob Foster - Done, not my studio
  3. Secret Track - Shawn Cowan - Done? not my studio
  4. Lead Me On - David Heska - Done
  5. Compelled - Ian Perry - Done
  6. That's Why - Jason Silver - Almost Done
  7. Mercy Gate - Jason Silver - Almost Done
  8. Why Do I - Jason Silver - Halfway
  9. Lord of Me - Shermeen Chan - Underway
  10. You Are Holy O Lord - Shermeen Chan - Underway
  11. Show Me a Sign - Jay Forderer - Underway (lots to do)
  12. In His Steps - Joanne Silver - Not started
  13. Maybe two more songs, yet to be announced because they're so cool


Tags:music recording
Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

Recording and So On

I just thought I'd post a note for any of my friends living in the area that happen to read this-- I'm in need of a stereo amplifier-- a home stereo or a powered mixer, to use in the mixdown of the new CD. This is so I can listen to it through a variety of speakers. My old stereo amp isn't working anymore.

If you have one you no longer need, or would be willing to part with for a month or two, that would be great!


Tags:music recording


Sunday, October 30th, 2005

These Are The People in Your Neighbourhood

We're doing 40 Days of Mercy in our church, and this is the video we used today. My wife Joanne is singing, and I recorded the song in my studio... the shots are great, aren't they? (click it)


Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

Anne Rice Turns to Christ

Heard news today... Author of the famous vampire books, Anne Rice, has decided to write about Jesus life in three books.

"I was ready to do violence to my career," Rice added. But the author, who returned to the Catholic Church after leaving as a teenager, needed a more inspirational subject. "I mean, I was in despair," Rice said.



Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

Coffee House Coming, Recording Underway

Friday night I'm playing at a coffee house at a church near Mohawk college. I've been practicing all week, and am quite excited at the opportunity.

I've also written and recorded some music lately, getting ready for the new church CD. I'm also playing with the idea of producing my own CD-- something simple that I can sell at the coffee house.

Come hear me sing!


Tags:music gigs
Saturday, October 15th, 2005


I've been so busy this week!! I haven't taken the time to write about a great movie I saw last Sunday.

It's called Serenity, and it's a type of conclusion to a television series-- though it would have little trouble standing on its own. The series was called Firefly, of which I wrote earlier.

If you're even mildly interested in movies with action, guns, explosions, big mean bad guys, hand-to-hand combat, cool visuals, and sit-on-the-edge suspense, you'll want to drop a few bucks down for this one.

Great move. See the trailer (click menu, video).


Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Away to Saubo Falls

You like to fish? You like to catch stuff?

Actually, when I go fishing I'm a little scared I will catch something. Yeah, then I've got to be all brave around the guys, and grab that fish, and yank that hook out of his mouth. No gros! allowed here. People watchin'.

So John across the street and his outspoken friend Darko took me fishing. I, in turn, took the weekend off at church. (Which was a little crazy). Then Friday afternoon we loaded Darko's truck with our poles and tackle and food and drink.

It was a good time. Good partly because we didn't catch nuthin'. Though they wouldn't agree, I'm sure. The point was to pull some salmon out of the river at the falls... there were lots of fishermen there, anglers they like to be called, I guess. And they all left empty-handed, shoulders sagging, head drooping-- all angled.

'Cept me, of course, for reasons explained above.

The first day, Saturday morning, the guys coaxed me out of bed at 3:00 a.m. My goodness, how the stars shine at three, when there's no city to out-swell them. I wasn't shining quite so bright... but the stars almost made it worthwhile getting up early.

In the pitch black one could barely make out the shoreline. I sat in my folding chair, with my pole stretched out over the water. I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep. It was freezing! This is craziness.

At 9:30 a.m. we packed it in and grabbed breakfast at a little greasy restaurant. Then back to the cottage for a game of Risk and a three hour nap. Then back out to fish.

Standing on the shore does limit your ability to conquer the lake. I think I need a boat next time.

But still, I had a blast. There's something cool about getting away from it all for a while, the sound of frogs and geese, the crisp air. Leaves were already changing in Saubo. It was beautiful.

Can't wait for next year.


Tags:hobbies fishing


Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Christian Catholicism

Monday night was the first in a line of meetings I'll be part of at the Catholic church down the street. My neighbour, John invited me to attend a weekly class with him to learn more about the Church. I'm quite looking forward to the experience.

I was a little nervous Monday night, as I didn't know anyone there, and I wasn't certain what the priest would think of a protestant minister taking the course. But we had some lively discussiosn, and I really like the guy.

I'm not really going to change anybody's minds on any issue. But I want to hear directly from the pastor of this parish how important are certain theologies, like their "prayers" to Mary (which he tellls me aren't really prayers). I'm also interested to find our more about transubstantiation (Catholics believe the wafer and wine actually become Jesus' blood and flesh, not just symbolize them as we protestants think).

The classes run until Easter, so I'll let you know how things turn out.


Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

Canada Has Highest Business Taxes Second Only to China

From here, thanks to here.

Canada taxes business investment more heavily than any other competing nation except China—and taxes on Canadians’ personal investment income can reach 80%, according to a study released yesterday.

The findings underscore the need for a dramatic overhaul of the tax system to cope with growing competition from Asia and an ageing population, the C.D. Howe Institute said.

“Given the competitive and demographic challenges facing Canada, tax reform is increasingly urgent,” Jack Mintz, president of the institute, said in the report. “In the coming years, Canada should not simply react to changes in tax policy abroad, but should take the initiative and adopt policies that would unleash the Canadian tiger.”

The institute said federal and provincial governments should develop a five-year plan to lower taxes, broaden the tax base and shift taxes from investment and savings toward consumption.

Canada’s marginal effective tax on business capital—combining such things as depreciation deductions together with capital and corporate tax rates—averaged 39% in 2005, the second-highest among 36 industrial and leading developing countries. [...]

**sniffle**  So that's why I'm broke.

Tags:politics canadian
Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Blog Modified

I modified the readme and the download zip file for the Blog script today, to make it easier to install. It's available now from Intelliscript.net


Tags:webdesign perl_scripts blog
Sunday, September 11th, 2005

BlindDate Script

No, not another dating script. Not too interested in that, though I'd probably make a lot of money from it. :-)

BlindDate is a script for transfering files from one server to another server, via FTP, while maintaining file dates.

For people who use Blosxom, the thought if moving blogs to a new server is quite daunting. This is because all the blogs are dated based on when the text file which they originate from was last changed. So moving to a new server gives these files a date of 'now,' whenever you copied them. Suddenly you have no archives... all your blogs were written today! Not good.

Some FTP servers can deal with this, maintaining the file dates as each file is uploaded. Others cannot. For those who use a web host with limited servers, my little program comes to the rescue.

How did I make this work? First, I wrote a spider program which traverses all of the files in the old server, and notes their dates. It saves all these file names, directories, and the date to a file. We upload this file to the new server. Then the spider goes to work on the new server, applying all of these date changes to each file.

Pretty cool, eh?

I decided to give it away for free, and it can be found at www.intelliscript.net.


Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
Thursday, September 8th, 2005

Self Aware, Self Healing Computers

Scientists are trying to recreate the technological scene from the movie series, Terminator. Don't believe me? Read this.


Sunday, September 4th, 2005


This site uses the Google API to report on the various areas affected by Huricane Katrina. Very interesting.


Saturday, September 3rd, 2005


Seth and GraceI've been resisting Flickr for months-- no, years! now. But I finally broke down and signed up for an account.  Check out my pictures!


Friday, September 2nd, 2005

HomePage2 in Test Area

HomePage2  is a nifty little script which you can throw on your webserver to allow friends and families to make their own page.

Or you can use it to create special announcements pages for products, people, whatever.

Everytime you add a new page, a link to that page is automatically inserted in the home page. You can upload one picture for every page, and it all fits into your template nicely.

Tonight I finally added a demo of HomePage2 in Intelliscript's 'Test Area'

Check it out, add a page!


Tags:webdesign perl_scripts


Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Painful Purposes

Kristine made a great entry on her blog today, go read it.

God always works stuff out for good. We've just gotta hold on, and believe he's good.


Friday, August 26th, 2005

Social Insanity

Rant time.

We all know the definition of social insanity: doing things the same way over and over again and expecting different results...

...so Joanne and I must be socially insane. We tried out Canadian Healthcare again this evening. Our baby, Grace has been screaming sick for two days and we thought this evening it might be prudent to check her out at emergency... we knew it was mostly likely an ear infection (she's our third child and you get to know these sorts of things). We'd quickly get a prescription for antibiotics to clear up the infection.


What were we thinking? Joanne waited for hours, forced to stand, holding Grace. I waited outside in the van with Seth sleeping in the back seat. Finally we gave up and went home. Almost two hours of waiting room, with lots of other people screaming in pain in front of us in line. Couldn't they just give us that little flashlight-in-ear dohicky, so we could look in, and say, "yep, it's an ear infection!"

I'm telling you, I think the medical profession is a complete farce in this country (apologies to the twenty or so doctor friends I have!) I would have gladly slapped down $50 bucks to not have to wait for hours!! Imagine what would happen if all the money that is lining politicians pockets was taken out of taxes, and we just started paying the doctors directly!!

And every time we experiment with the hospitals it's the same thing. It's been like this since we came here! (Pining) "Oh, to go back to New Jersey, where it cost an arm and a leg, but the wait was short!" At least there we were customers, worth keeping!

There's not much worth keeping in Canada's Healthcare.



Tags:politics canadian
Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

Changing the City

This article about Tim Keller's activity in NYC was in Rick Warren's weekly toolbox. Thought you might find it of interest if you haven't already seen it.

Reach a city, ‘change the world,’ NYC pastor exhorts

by Tim Yarbrough

ATLANTA (BP) -- Urban churches should have as their goal building a great city, not a great church, said Tim Keller, senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, one of New York City's largest Protestant congregations.

"The great city churches don't have as their goal a great church in the city; rather, the goal of their ministry is a great city," Keller said. "They don't want to use the city as a means to build up a great church, rather, as a means to create a great city."

Keller said churches focused on using their denomination and resources to reach the city for God's glory will "change the world."

Speaking at the Summer State Leadership Meeting July 24-27 in Atlanta sponsored by the North American Mission Board's evangelism and church planting groups, Keller shared what he sees as three critical steps to reaching the continent with the Gospel. Keller's text was Acts 8:5-8.

First, churches simply must go to the world-class cities of our time; secondly, Keller said Christians must preach Christ in the cities; and thirdly, the work of the church must be done to return joy to the city.

Until Southern Baptists have as many churches in cities like New York as they have in southern states, there's simply not enough churches to reach the city, Keller said.

"There's 8 million people in New York City. I'm pretty sure there's about 8 million people in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina all together. Until you get it there, you're not reaching the city," he said. "And if anything, you probably need to have a few more there because the way society goes, the way the movies go, the way the arts go, the way the politics go, the way things go."

While the American church generally wants to stay away from the cities, Keller pointed to the work of the first missionaries in the Book of Acts as doing just the opposite.

Philip went to the great cities of his time to reach the people with the Gospel, Keller said, because the cities were personally, culturally, and globally strategic.

"What you see throughout the Book of Acts, all the missionaries always choose the biggest cities of the region to go to," he said.

"Generally speaking, people in the cities are open to new ideas," he noted. "Today, people in the cities are more open to new ideas like the Gospel."

Keller gave several illustrations why cities are culturally crucial: "If you want to win the legal profession, you've got to go to the city. That's where the law schools are, that's where the law journals are put out ... The city is the place for the art ... [T]hat's where the scholarship is done, that's where the culture is formed."

Quoting Acts 8:8 about joy returning to the city following Philip's preaching in Samaria, Keller asked: "What would happen if New York City were really changed by the Gospel?"

He said there would be healing of racial divisions; poverty would be cut in half; it would be a city where people would talk in public about Christianity without being vilified.

Christians should "seek the peace of the city," Keller said, by meeting people's physical needs as illustrated in Jeremiah 29. When we meet people's physical needs and demonstrate our love for them, they'll listen to what we have to say.

Jesus Christ was crucified in disgrace outside the gate of the city but desperately wants to reclaim the city for his Kingdom, Keller said.

"Jesus Christ lost the city that was, so that you and I can become citizens by grace of the city that is to come, to be salt and light of the city that is."


Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

Living In His Steps

I got a really neat email from my mom today:

Hello Son,
Just wanted to tell you about something neat that happened last night...actually I will tell you only one of a half dozen neat things that happened in the space of a couple hours.  I went back to Echo  Lk. camp with Susan Powley and two other women you haven't met yet, to visit Robbie;  she had gone back for the week and these women were excited to see her after her 3 month absence. As we opened the car door we were met with really loud rockin' type teeni-bopper type music, and we all smiled thinking we might not really find the atmosphere conducive to talking with Robbie.  However we went inside and greeted her as she stood at the back of the sanctuary, and then after a few minutes of almost deafening noise we slipped out, leaving our blessing behind...(don't want you to get the impression we were in any way put off by the music, it's just that we are getting old and we wanted to speak for at least a moment or two with Robbie before the speaker started).  Anyway, we had our little chat, they hugged Robbie and we returned to the sanctuary to hear the speaker.  It was excellent. But here's my reason for writing to YOU.  The speaker sat down and a young man stood to the podium and said in a very soft manner that he felt the Lord was leading him to sing 'In His Steps',  and I was so excited and pleased.  He mentioned that words wouldn't be necesssary since 'you all know it', and they did.  I must say, I think you might consider recording that, because it is anointed, and I could feel the Holy Spirit as we sang.  Anyway, just wanted to share that with you for your encouragement.  You have made an impact on a lot of kids ( and adults no doubt) with your music.  Blessings on you, and may God give you more and more!
Isn't that cool?

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005

Intelliscript's New Look

Since launching Intelliscript.net a number of years ago, I've never redesigned the skin. So I decided to give it an overhaul, and am quite happy with it! Check it out, and let me know what you think: www.intelliscript.net


Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005

Gamecube Hell

Lucas dropped his gamecube yesterday and it ceased to live. So today I spent some time (5 hours, actually), trying to disassemble and repair it. What a job! I had to melt a BIC pen down to make the special screwdriver needed to open the unit. Then I spent an hour trying to recallibrate the laser with no luck.

Finally I found out that the problem was with the platform and assembly which holds the mini DVD. Part of it had broken and so the DVD wasn't sitting level in the unit, it was sort of lopsided. So I took that all apart and superglued it back together.

But now the motor isn't working at all, which spins the DVD-- so once again I'm left with a non-functioning device. Man! I was so close... it was working for about 3 minutes when the motor conked out. What a pain.

I can get a new motor for about $14.95 USD. What's that, $30 Canadian? Plus shipping, duty, and border fees! Ugh. Anyone know how to repair an electric motor?


Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

GPS without a GPS

Amazing! Now that I don't have a GPS unit anymore, this is especially interesting: anyone can use navigation software now without a GPS unit! All you need is a WiFi card.



Tags:hobbies geocaching
Friday, August 5th, 2005

U2 On Tour

This is a great article about U2. It's so well written. I love reading stuff like this, full of imagery and subtle metaphor. You'll like it too!




Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

Firefly Movie - Serenity

Austin turned me on to a shiny new show called "Firefly." It was on Fox in 2002, but didn't get a good time-slot and so died before the season completed.

What a shame.

This is a terrific series. Though it's in the oft-ridiculed sci-fi genre, everyone seems to love it. Perhaps it the more character driven way the story and conflict play out. Or perhaps the "Wagon Train to the Stars" setting, so different than the many favoured incarnations of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Babylon 5, keeps stories fresh and fun? Or maybe it's because there are no aliens? That's right, no rubber heads in this tv show!

In fact, Firefly is so good that we don't want the meager 13 episodes to end! Joanne and I have been rationing the DVDs carefully.

"Should we watch one tonight, honey?"
"I don't know... how many are left?"
"Only two," I say.
"Nah, let's wait a little longer."

What we're waiting for is the new feature film, to be released September 30th. The movie is called "Serenity," named for the "Firefly class" spaceship. Pre-screening tickets have been selling out online within five minutes, with no advertising!

That's a big difference between most movies lately, and if that's an indication of how good this movie is, you're not going to want to miss it!


Tags:hobbies favourite_shows Firefly
Friday, July 22nd, 2005

Thought I'd Lost It

Whew! That was close.

I was getting panicky yesterday when I couldn't find the lyrics to a new song I'd written. It's for our Forty Days of Mercy in the fall.

I had just saved them in an unusual spot!


Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Scotty Has Beamed Up

More sad Star Trek news. Scotty (Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott) died yesterday at age 85. He was born in Vancouver, and raised in Sarnia.

We'll miss you Scotty!


Tags:hobbies favourite_shows Star_Trek
Friday, July 15th, 2005

Dell Axim X50V

Because of the trouble I've had with my Dell Axim X5 pocket pc lately, I'm thinking about replacing it. I've got my eye on the newest Dell Axim, X50V, which is an amazing unit.

It's a 624MHz PDA, with built-in WiFi and built-in Bluetooth! It runs Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003, 2nd Edition and includes Media Player 10. The screen is a brilliant 3.7" color VGA display with 640x480 resolution and has an integrated Intel 2700G multimedia accelerator with 16MB video memory!! It comes with 64MB SDRAM and 128MB Intel StrataFlash ROM.

One of the things I love about this PPC is that it includes CompactFlash Type II! So many pocket pc's seem to ditch compact flash in favour of SD. Not this Axim. It manages to include Secure Digital, SDIO Now, and MMC card slots all in one device! This is important to me because my GPS, hard-wire network card, and modem are all CF. Not to mention the three or four flash memory cards I've got.

I also love that it has VGA-out support so I can connect it to a projector and show PowerPoint presentations. Not that I ever would use this, but you never know! ;) Demonstrating ServiceBuilder to a client might be a lot simpler using the pocket pc.

So I'm haunting Ebay lately. Looks like I should be able to get it with a few extras for about $350 USD. Maybe less, but then there's shipping too.

Speaking of Ebay, a guy tried to scam me last night. Word to the wise: never, ever, ever pay for an auction with Western Union. There's a strong chance you'll never get your purchase if you do.

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Horn Man

This maestro is too good to not be shared. Imagine a suit made entirely of bike horns-- with each one a different not of the scale. By tilting his head and bending his knees, he can play Vivaldi, Beethoven, and more!

Thanks Glen,



Friday, July 8th, 2005

Batman Returns

Yesterday afternoon, Lucas and I crossed over to Jackson Square Mall and watched Batman Begins in an empty theatre. Watching a movie in an empty theatre is cool, though I think I like the energy from a big crowd better.

What a flic! This has to be one of the best films of the summer. I think it was one of the most entertaining action movies I've seen. Very satisfying. I love it that we're back to the real batman, and away from the silly portrayal we've seen with the last few films.

I hope they can keep this cast for subsequent films.




Monday, June 27th, 2005

Steel Town Bull Dog Boys

Here are the boys of steel-town doing skate board tricks this spring. I finally got around to editing this video for my lads and the neighbour tykes too! :-)



Tags:hobbies video
Thursday, June 23rd, 2005


I was hit by a car today.  Typing with one hand. Bike is okay, can't say the same for my shoulder. Doing about 20 Km at the time, so not too fast. Pray my shoulder will cooperate with my guitar, especially for Sunday.


Tags:hobbies biking
Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

The Bandwagon- Personality Types

So I'll get on this band wagon, thanks Brian. Here's my personality type according to the Ennegram site. (The first time I took it, I was even on many of the rows and the main one wasn't me at all-- I had to take it again and change some answers-- which is stupid).

Type 3 - The AchieverTHE ACHIEVER
Enneagram Type Three

The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type:
Adaptable, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious

Basic Fear: Of being worthless
Basic Desire: To feel valuable and worthwhile

Healthy: Self-assured, energetic, and competent with high self-esteem: they believe in themselves and their own value. Adaptable, desirable, charming, and gracious. / Ambitious to improve themselves, to be "the best they can be" — often become outstanding, a human ideal, embodying widely admired cultural qualities. Highly effective: others are motivated to be like them in some positive way. At Their Best: Self-accepting, inner-directed, and authentic, everything they seem to be. Modest and charitable, self-deprecatory humor and a fullness of heart emerge. Gentle and benevolent.

Average: Highly concerned with their performance, doing their job well, constantly driving self to achieve goals as if self-worth depends on it. Terrified of failure. Compare self with others in search for status and success. Become careerists, social climbers, invested in exclusivity and being the "best." / Become image-conscious, highly concerned with how they are perceived. Begin to package themselves according to the expectations of others and what they need to do to be successful. Pragmatic and efficient, but also premeditated, losing touch with their own feelings beneath a smooth facade. Problems with intimacy, credibility, and "phoniness" emerge. / Want to impress others with their superiority: constantly promoting themselves, making themselves sound better than they really are. Narcissistic, with grandiose, inflated notions about themselves and their talents. Exhibitionistic and seductive, as if saying "Look at me!" Arrogance and contempt for others is a defense against feeling jealous of others and their success.

Unhealthy: Fearing failure and humiliation, they can be exploitative and opportunistic, covetous of the success of others, and willing to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the illusion of their superiority. / Devious and deceptive so that their mistakes and wrongdoings will not be exposed. Untrustworthy, maliciously betraying or sabotaging people to triumph over them. Delusionally jealous of others / Become vindictive, attempting to ruin others' happiness. Relentless, obsessive about destroying whatever reminds them of their own shortcomings and failures. Psychopathic, murder. Generally corresponds to the Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Key Motivations: Want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others.

Examples: Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Pauley, Michael Landon, Tony Robbins, Tom Cruise, Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone, Madonna, Shirley MacLaine, Sting, Paul McCartney, Dick Clark, Whitney Houston, Ted Danson, Micheal Jordan, Shania Twain, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarznegger, Billy Dee Williams, Kathy Lee Gifford, Truman Capote, and O.J. Simpson.

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

Reading List 2005

These are the books I read in 2005.

Finished this year:

  • Tim Keller: Ministries of Mercy- The Call of the Jericho Road (I really enjoyed, and was changed by this book. It's a little slow going though)
  • John Steinbeck: Tortilla Flat (Timeless, a little slow)
  • Franky Schaeffer: Addicted to Mediocrity (Pretty good)
  • The Entire Bible (Doing this was amazing! I learned an awful lot)
  • Arthur C. Clarke: Rama II (Loved it. This is an excellent read. Rating: 9/10)
  • Robert Lewis: The Church of Irresistable Influence (Really Good. Highly recommend.)
  • Gary Nelson: He Who Has Ears to Hear - The Galcom Story(This contains many amazing stories regarding the spreading of the Gospel to unreached people via radio stations and fixed tune radios. It was inspiring, yet a slow read. I found myself skipping paragraphs. Rating: 4/10)
  • Orson Scott Card: Ender's Game (Maybe the BEST book I've EVER read. Really. I'm in love with Ender's Game. Finished it May 8. Rating: 10/10).
  • Colin Dexter: The Wench is Dead - an Inspector Morse Mystery (Excellent- recommend Rating: 8/10)
  • Donald Miller: Blue Like Jazz (I really loved this book. I started it last night at Lucas' baseball practice, and finished it this morning (May 11). Easy read, and definitely worth it. Amy, you'll love it. Rating: 9/10)
  • Steve Sjogren: Seeing Beyond Church Walls - Action Plans for Touching Your Community (Each chapter a different writer-- makes for an awkward experience. Rating: 2/10)
  • Life of Pi (Part 1 is a little slow starting, Part 2 is a page-turner. Just skip part 3. Rating: 8/10)
  • Adams: The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (This is actually kind of funny, not your typical sci-fi genre... but the plot is weak, and it seems to end in the middle. 7/10)

Some of these are ebooks, which I have for Microsoft Reader. Ask me.


Tags:books list
Monday, June 20th, 2005

Album Picture Gallery

I spent a lot of time today refurbishing an old Perl script which hasn't seen much attention in years. This picture gallery perl script displays photos on your server and lets a web visitor navigate through them.

It's called "AlbumAdvanced" and you can click here to see it in action.

WARNING: Doing so will also expose you to my beautiful children. Jealousy may ensue.

I took out a bunch of useless features and streamlined it to make it smarter and easier to use. I'm not done... I plan to add an RSS feed to it, as well as an automatic 'picture of the day' feature. I'm also going to make it easier to login, upload new photos, and manage the administration features... but that's for next time. :-S


Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
Saturday, June 18th, 2005

What I Believe

You scored as Neo orthodox. You are neo-orthodox. You reject the human-centredness and scepticism of liberal theology, but neither do you go to the other extreme and make the Bible the central issue for faith. You believe that Christ is God's most important revelation to humanity, and the Trinity is hugely important in your theology. The Bible is also important because it points us to the revelation of Christ. You are influenced by Karl Barth and P T Forsyth.

Neo orthodox


Reformed Evangelical


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan






Roman Catholic




Modern Liberal


Classical Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

Cultural Creative

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com
Thanks to Glenn Teal for this quiz. Very interesting questions.
Saturday, June 11th, 2005

Building Community

This is a great list I saw at Soapbox, and I so agree. This has been working for Joanne and I. Try it!

  • Turn off your TV
  • Know your neighbors
  • Look up when you are walking
  • Greet people
  • Sit on your stoop
  • Plant flowers
  • Use your library
  • Play together
  • Buy from local merchants
  • Share what you have
  • Help a lost dog
  • Take children to the park
  • Garden together
  • Support neighborhood schools
  • Fix it even if you didn't break it
  • Have pot lucks
  • Honor elders
  • Pick up litter
  • Read stories aloud
  • Dance in the street
  • Talk to the mail carrier
  • Listen to the birds
  • Put up a swing
  • Help carry something heavy
  • Barter for your goods
  • Start a tradition
  • Ask a question-hire young people for odd jobs
  • Organize a block party
  • Bake extra and share
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Open your shades-sing together
  • Share your skills-take back the night
  • Turn up the music-turn down the music
  • Listen before you react to anger
  • Mediate a conflict
  • Seek to understand
  • Learn from new and uncomfortable angles
  • Know that no one is silent though many are not heard.
  • Work to change this.

  • Tags:faith community
    Thursday, June 9th, 2005

    E-Referendum on Marriage

    This is interesting-- not sure how it can make a difference, but I thought I'd get the word out on it.

    The National Marriage Referendum


    Tags:politics marriage
    Wednesday, June 8th, 2005

    New Political Position

    I've just read something that fits so well with my political position:

    The ideology of the Left believes big government and social reform will solve social ills, while the Right believes big business and economic growth will do it. The Left expects a citizen to be held legally accountable for the use of his wealth, but totally autonomous in other areas, such as sexual morality. The right expects a citizen to be held legally accountable in areas of personal morality, but totally autonomous in the use of wealth. The North American "idol"--radical individualism--lies beneath both idealogies. A Christian sees either "solution" as fundamentally humanistic and simplistic.

    The causes of our worsening social problems are far more complex than either the secularists of the Right or Left understand. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with powers and principalities! We have seen there is great social injustice-- racial prejudice, greed, avarice-- by those with the greatest wealth in the country (and sadly, within the evangelical church itself). At the same time, there is a general breadown of order-- of the family and the morals of the nation. There is more premarital sex (and thus there are more unwed mothers), more divorce, child neglect and abuse, more crime. Neither a simple redistribution of wealth nor simple economic growth and prosperity can mend broken familes; nor can they turn low-skilled mothers into engineers or technicians.

    Only the ministry of the church of Jesus Christ, and the millions of "mini-churches" (Christian  homes) through the country can attack the roots of social problems. Only the church can minister to the whole person. Only the gospel understands that sin has ruined us both inidividually and socially. We cannot be viewed inidividualistically (as the capitalists do) or collectivistically (as the Communists do) but as related to God. Only Christians, armed with the Word and Spirit, planning and working to spread the kingdom and righteousness of Christ, can transform a nation as well as a neighborhood as well as a broken heart. That is what the rest of this book is about.

    We're doing this book, Ministries of Mercy, for our next church effort, which we've entitled "Forty Days of Mercy."

    I'm excited to see us reach out to the poor as a church-- to make a difference (which by the way, turns out to be more for our own health and spiritual neediness than for the health and physical neediness of the poor!)


    Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

    New Version Released

    Today I've released a new version of ServiceBuilder which includes many new features and fixes, especially with regards to improving user-friendliness.

    One of the new features is an interactive video wizard which walks through the essentials of using ServiceBuilder in 12 easy steps.

    Visit www.servicebuilder.net/download.shtml to obtain the new version.

    If you store your data file at the root of your hard drive (eg: C:sb_data.mdb) then be sure to back it up, as this installation will replace your data file. You should move your data file to a network drive, and relink it to the front-end.




    Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

    Light Cycle

    What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Light Cycle.I am a Light Cycle.

    I drive fast, I turn fast, I do everything fast. I even breakfast. I tend to confuse people with my sudden changes of heart. Sometimes I even confuse myself, which tends to cause problems.
    What Video Game Character Are You?

    Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

    The Wayward Heart

    Thanks to Christie for the link (now obsolete): 

    You Are The Wayward Heart
    "Feel Better."

    You are best described as 'Emotional Support'. Anytime an emotional issue comes up or something stresses people out, you are there to help them feel better about it. Whether you are the prankster of the bunch, the funny one, the wild one, or just the shoulder to cry on - your traits favor what it takes to keep people going. You like large groups of people and have many friends. When something hits home for you, however, you have a hard time with it. You also have difficulty paying attention or focusing on one thing. Above all, though, if people are happy, you are happy.

    Monday, May 30th, 2005

    Painful Postcards

    About this: http://postsecret.blogspot.com/ (go there with a box of tissues)

    "I decided to tell my five closest friends about your site one night, and I asked if they wanted to each write down our biggest secret, put it in a hat, and then we could anonymously read them all. After much hesitation, nervousness, and fear of regret, we all did it. It was scary how much we hid from the people we were supposed to be able to tell everything to, but it was even scarier how similar what we hid was. By the end of the night, we each personally announced which secret was ours, for the first time ever we talked about our secrets openly. We decided it was better than any therapist session, any guidance counselor, and any medication...It was raw human self finally being released. By early morning, after many tears and much self disclosure, there were no regrets. Thank you for this opportunity, for myself, for my friends, and for everyone else."

    I want to do that.


    Monday, May 30th, 2005

    Calendar Script Finally a Calendar

    It was kind of lame to call my TabCal script a calendar. It wasn't that big of a deal before, really. It would automatically retrieve your Outlook Calendar Tab Export from your personal PC, and then display it on your web site in table view. You could search it, or it would show the appointments for the current day. Kinda cool, but fairly run-of-the-mill.

    But now it's awesome-- a full-fledged calendar! It shows all of the month's appointments on one page, and still lets you search, or to display today's appointments.

    Go check it out: http://www.getchurch.org/cgi-bin/read_tabcal.pl


    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
    Monday, May 30th, 2005

    Search Engine

    I wrote a cool search engine script this weekend for the www.getchurch.org site. It searches all of the various databases and web pages on my church's site in one fell swoop. You can choose to only search the calendar, if you wish, or to search all datasources simultaneously. I also learned how to write for a new module, which isn't a big deal to a real programmer, but to a hack like me, feels good. Go try it out:



    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
    Wednesday, May 25th, 2005

    France Frees Fileswappers

    A judge in France released a number of imprisoned fileswappers, suspending their sentences:

    "We are in the process of creating a cultural rupture between a younger generation that uses the technologies that companies and societies have made available, such as the iPod, file download software, peer-to-peer networks, etc.," Judge Dominique Barella told Wired News...

    "It is similar to the sociological consequences of the Prohibition period in the U.S. (during the 1920s). Certain laws can have unexpected consequences on society."

    Instead, criminal proceedings should be geared more toward prosecuting large-scale counterfeiting rings instead of going after "a young person who fills up his or her iPod."...

    ...France isn't alone in creating legal headaches for the entertainment industry's copyright enforcement efforts. A Canadian appeals court last week upheld a decision from a lower court finding that internet service providers in the country are not required to divulge the identity of accused fileswappers.

    I've been saying for years that copyright law needs to be redefined, even though I produce unique material which I wish to profit from. I'm curious to see how this will evolve. The conviction and punishment of "grandmas" and "junior high students" because they're downloading music has always seemed inappropriate to me. How will other countries and judges respond to France?



    Friday, May 20th, 2005

    So Sad

    As I've mentioned many times, I'm the truest trekker you'll likely find. I've collected lots of Star Trek merchandise, have all the shows taped, have seen every episode multiple times, yada, yada.

    Though many don't love Enterprise, I'm so sad that it's ending. I still think it was the most creative, original, exciting, well written Star Trek series since the original series.

    Austin sent me this great article which summarizes many of my feelings on the subject of Enterprise.


    Tags:hobbies favourite_shows Star_Trek
    Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

    Super Water Kills Bugs Dead

    This is so cool!

    A California company has figured out how to use two simple materials -- water and salt -- to create a solution that wipes out single-celled organisms, and which appears to speed healing of burns, wounds and diabetic ulcers.

    The solution looks, smells and tastes like water, but carries an ion imbalance that makes short work of bacteria, viruses and even hard-to-kill spores.

    Developed by Oculus Innovative Sciences in Petaluma, the super-oxygenated water is claimed to be as effective a disinfectant as chlorine bleach, but is harmless to people, animals and plants. If accidentally ingested by a child, the likely impact is a bad case of clean teeth.

    Oculus said the solution, called Microcyn, may prove effective in the fight against superbugs, crossover viruses like bird flu and Ebola, and bioterrorism threats such as anthrax.

    The company has just been granted approval in the United States to test the solution in the treatment of wounds, and already has government approval in Europe, Canada and Mexico for diverse uses, from disinfectant to wound irrigation.

    Doctors conducting trials in Mexico and India are recounting stories at international conferences of their surprise at another feature of the solution: It speeds the healing of severe burns and diabetic ulcers.

    According to Hoji Alimi, founder and president of Oculus, the ion-hungry water creates an osmotic potential that ruptures the cell walls of single-celled organisms, and out leaks the cell's cytoplasm. Because multicellular organisms -- people, animals, plants -- are tightly bound, the water is prevented from surrounding the cells, and there is no negative impact.

    While super-oxygenated water is nothing new -- Microcyn has its roots in efforts to decontaminate nuclear reactors' cooling pipes, according to Alimi -- it is typically effective for only a few hours after it is formulated. To keep it handy, hospitals and labs must invest in extremely expensive machines costing $100,000 or more.

    Oculus has developed a new formula with a shelf life of at least a year, which opens up an array of potential applications.

    And unlike prior formulations of super-oxygenated water, Microcyn is pH-neutral, so it won't damage healthy tissue. This has prompted successful experiments in the treatment of challenging wounds like diabetic ulcers.

    Physicians in Mexico using Microcyn observed rapid healing of burns and ulcers that the body could not repair for a decade or more because of infections, said Dr. Andres Gutierrez, head of the cell-therapy unit at the National Institute of Rehabilitation in Mexico City and an adviser to Oculus.

    "Mexico was early to obtain the technology and give regulatory approval," he said. "Doctors using the product noticed the horrific smell of diabetic wounds was gone." The smell came from bacteria.

    Dr. Amar Pal Singh Suri of the Diabetic Foot Care Clinic in Delhi, India, began experimenting with Microcyn after learning of it last fall in Germany. Trying it on a severe necrotic wound of a patient whose only remaining option was amputation, Suri said he was surprised to see rapid improvement and the growth of healthy skin tissue.

    "I shifted my other patients onto Microcyn treatment and we are now treating more than 50, with very good results," said Suri.

    India leads the world in diabetes, with 37 million people affected. "Every year, diabetics in my country suffer a million foot or lower-leg amputations," said Suri. Personal tragedy aside, "saving a foot is a fourth the cost of amputation and an artificial limb," he said.

    Chronic wound care is a multibillion-dollar market worldwide. The solution will be available to U.S. physicians in June, said Alimi. Trials are being organized for preoperative disinfectant, dental applications and burn and diabetic treatments, he said.

    The company is keen to explore other applications, like tools to combat bioterrorism and user-friendly antiseptics and disinfectants to battle superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics and vaccines.

    Alimi says he's giving serious thought to a misting device that could sterilize the air of hospital wards in the grip of epidemics. The solution also might be used as a hospital hand wash -- a user-friendly, non-caustic disinfectant would benefit patients if it enabled medical workers to wash their hands more often, he said.

    Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

    Bruce Trail Adventure

    Seth was in a grumpy mood this morning, so I helped him focus on something else by promising him a Geocache adventure. So after his morning nap (and our Star Trek marathon), Joanne and I packed up the kids and headed out. We parked at the Battlefield Park in Stony Creek, then walked in basically a straight line (even through some back yards-- whups!) until we came to the treasure.

    Seth took a farm truck, and we left a rubber Tony Hawk figure along with a "Smokey the Bear Travel Bug."

    Going home was better than the trip in. We chose instead to follow the Bruce Trail. What a beautiful day! We had a perfect time.


    Tags:hobbies geocaching
    Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

    Catching Up

    Yesterday and this morning, Joanne and I have been catching up on missed Enterprise episodes. I'm telling you, this is the best Star Trek series of all.

    The cool thing here is that I ran a cable from my computer in the basement to the TV and surround sound in the living room upstairs. Then I initiated a remote control session from Joanne's PC in the living room to my PC downstairs. With this system, we were able to initiate episodes, watch them on our television, and pause using the remote control session as needed. This is so cool.

    These Enterprise episodes are so intense. I love them! I really can't believe why it hasn't caught on. . I think maybe reality TV has been distracting people from good television.


    Tags:hobbies favourite_shows Star_Trek
    Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

    Monkey Brains

    This is so very cool:

    Scientists have shown in multiple studies that monkeys can manipulate robotic devices with their thoughts. Turns out the thoughts run deep.

    A new study finds a monkey's brain structure adapts to treat a robotic arm as if it was a natural appendage.

    How cool is that? And it turns out they can move a computer's cursor around a screen by thinking it too!

    Eventually, they were taught to move the cursor without using the joystick, instead just thinking about the task.

    Here's the link.

    Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

    The Wench is Dead

    I finished an Inspector Morse mystery this morning, called "The Wench is Dead." I love murder mysteries, and this was no exception.

    I have to say I guessed the right suspect and scenario within the first few chapters, but nonetheless a great read.




    Monday, April 25th, 2005

    King Arthur

    Joanne and I watched the movie King Arthur yesterday after church (and Brenda's birthday party). What a great flic!

    The writer approached this story in a different way. If myths of history are generally based on fact, what real story could the myth of King Arthur arisen from?

    He crafted a tale of a Roman "Artorius" who led knights from Sarmatia. Their job: to maintain the peace in England as Woads, Saxons, and other dissenting groups battled for power. He was motivated by his unwavering faith in Christ and an idealistic view of Rome as a place of freedom for all men.

    It was fabulous. There was a lot of blood, but I was rivetted to the screen. This is a movie I must watch again. (And there were a lot of scenes I can imagine us using in church someday).


    Thursday, April 21st, 2005

    Long Distance Relationships

    We all know they never work-- but not so for this couple:

    Julia Steinmetz and Michael Mandiberg live on opposite sides of the United States, but are in constant contact -- courtesy of their unlimited cell-phone plan.

    The couple spends hours "together" each day, talking, messaging and, yes, even sleeping on the phone.

    Makes me want to get a cell phone so I can stay connected with Joanne 24 hours a day. :-)


    Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

    The Church of Irrestistable Influence

    I've just finished this grand book, and I must say I am challenged!

    Here's the point: so many churches are all about building people, giving them skills, helping them discover their gifts, growing them up-- but they never stop to think "why?"

    Why are we doing this? Is the point just that I'll be more mature? Or is there a greater cause here? Is there something greater than myself that's at stake?

    The author makes a great point, backed up with real-life stories and many examples from the Bible, that the point of all this is to serve the poor, the hungry, the destitute, the prisoners... they're the ones Jesus was speaking of when he said, "Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done for me."

    This book comes at a perfect time as Philpott Church starts to look outside itself, at the community we find ourselves in. Perhaps it is no accident that we are dead center in an area of poverty, of new immigration; of need.

    Get this book and read it. It will help you to think bigger than your own needs, and remember the point of this adventure: to glorify our God by giving him hands and feet to do his work on the earth. He doesn't need us-- come on-- He's God! But we will find ourselves changed as we participate with him in doing his work.


    Friday, April 15th, 2005

    Rama 2

    Rama 2 was so much better than Rendezvous With Rama. RWR was more of an idea than a novel. Though I enjoyed it, it didn't really take me anywhere.

    Not so, with Rama 2. This was well thought-out, and carefully crafted. It delved into areas of spirituality. There were Christian characters and other spiritual types who find themselves stranded on a second visitation from an alien craft. They discover the purpose of the Rama ship while simulateously realsing their own inner purposes. Very entertaining.

    I heartily recommend Rama 2. All Sci-fi buffs should read it.


    Thursday, April 14th, 2005

    Philpott Radio Station

    Philpott has added a radio station for broadcasting messages and music in real-time. Right now it's mostly my music, with a few other artists thrown in... if you've got a recording of some music and want it played on the radio station, send it to me.

    Philpott Radio Station


    Thursday, April 14th, 2005

    MPs, MPs, Emptys...

    Apparently taken from the Ottawa Citizen, and likely unreliable:

    Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 300 employees and has the following statistics:

    • 30 have been accused of spousal abuse.
    • 9 have been arrested for fraud.
    • 4 have been accused of writing bad cheques.
    • 95 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses.
    • 4 have done time for assault, 55 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit.
    • 12 have been arrested on drug related charges.
    • 4 have been arrested for shoplifting. 16 are currently defendants in lawsuits.
    • 62 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year. 

    Can you guess which organization this is? 

    It is the 301 MP's in the Canadian Parliament.  The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws designed to keep the rest of us in line.

    Which one did you vote for? 

    Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

    Men Hate Church

    Very interesting site about what's wrong with church, and why men hate going.

    Hat tip to ChurchMarketingSucks.com


    Saturday, April 9th, 2005

    NEW Files Marked That Way

    I added a coolio new feature to the Intelliscript.net database, called FileCABINET. Now it checks to see if the downloadable file dates are within 30 days old. If they are it puts a pretty little 'new' icon next to them.

    I love automation. 6 years ago I would have had to do that with HTML, and try to remember to delete the new icon after it wasn't new anymore. How easy is letting computers do all the hard work for you!!?!!


    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
    Saturday, April 9th, 2005

    I'll Be Buff - - maybe someday

    Wow. I'm feeling pretty happy with myself. I've rode my bike to work everyday for the last three days.

    It's not that I'm on some fitness kick, like Christie, and want to compete in races or something like that.

    It's not because I want to lose weight-- though that's necessary and it's a good enough reason right there.

    It's only because gas is so freakin' expensive. I figure I can ride my bike. Anyway, it's good for the environment, right? And my legs. (Though I did make an observation riding home the other night that my belly hangs over my belt while I ride and doesn't seem to be benefiting from any arobic effects.)

    I do love being outside. Fresh Wind slips down in my lungs and stretches his arms out. I feel larger inside than outside. I actually have a clearer head, I think, though that may just be Fresh Wind whistling through my brain cavity.

    So it's 20 kilometers a day, ten each way. And it's downhill all the way to the church and so I can make it in 25 minutes if I hustle. It's uphill all the way back and I'm still somehow chiseling out 22 minutes for that jaunt. Or I enter some kind of time vortex. Haven't figured that one out. How can it take so much less time to come back?

    Maybe it's the psychological, I'm Going Home! effect. Or maybe it's not really down hill to get here-- maybe that's the optical illusion.


    Update: Still going strong-- six days now! That's a total of 120 Km! Whuh. Actually, 110, 'cause Joanne gave me a lift downtown one day. I biked back.

    Tags:hobbies biking


    Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

    Robots and Million Dollar Baby

    I haven't seen either of these movies yet (Robots/Million Dollar Baby)... but this is an absolutely TERRIFIC review of them side-by-side.

    I choose to be a child.


    Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

    Stem Cells in Hair

    From here:

    Much of the controversy surrounding research on stem cells hinges on the source of the cells--particularly whether they come from embryonic sources or adult ones. Now research published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides new insight into the abilities of stem cells taken from hair follicles. The results indicate that these adult stem cells can develop into neurons.

    I'll resist making a connection between neurons and bald people. ;-)


    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

    Nights 'Round the Table

    I discovered a folder on my computer with a bunch of old RealAudio files in it. I compiled them back in 1998 after Holly Krueger and I did a concert in New Jersey. She and I performed two hours, soley with songs that I had written. This one in particular caught my eye. It's such a cool song! I love how the lyrics are all double-meaning.

    Here's the audio file (she sang some of the lyrics wrong, so ignore that).

    Nights 'Round the Table
    by Jason Silver

    I long O Love, just to dance through the night.
    You take the lead and I'll move in Your light.
    See, I await the return of the King.
    Soon You'll return and I'll be here to sing:

    Chorus 1
    Welcome to You my Lord
    So glad to meet You now.
    Your majesty is too much for my eyes!
    So before You I bow!

    Hark! Now the Son has begun to arise
    I see his smile looking back through my eyes.
    Where flees the night and what beckons the day?
    Naught but a hope in each word that You say.

    Chorus 2
    Simply, You are my Lord!
    Find me on bended knee.
    In your high courts, safe within your strong walls
    This is where I shall be!

    'Tis but a fortnight before You return
    Look, I am waiting, behold how I yearn!
    On your white horse you will ride o'er the earth
    Coming for those who have found second birth.

    Nights 'round the table
    I hold to the sword.
    Breastplate and shield,
    Shoes of faith, little more.
    Dragon will flee when he sees the King's son.
    Rage on! O battle, for vict'ry's been won

    Chorus 2
    We are your servants Lord.
    And we shall ever be!
    You've made mere peasants now heirs to your throne!
    Tell me! How can this be?

    (c) 1998 Jason Silver. All Rights Reserved. Used by
    Permission. International Copyright secured.

    Tags:music song_bios
    Monday, March 21st, 2005


    Joanne and I had a night 'out' Friday, thanks to a generous friend who bought us a couple of movie passes. We decided to see "Constantine," which seems fitting in retrospect: the passes were gifts for excorcising about six different demonic viruses from three of her computers.

    Hmmm. Constantine. What a movie. I loved it.

    It wasn't because this movie had any kind of accurate portrayal of theological truths. It came close lots of times, but fell short.

    Examples it came close:

    Constantine is trying to earn his way into heaven, and the angel Gabriel explains to him that salvation comes through faith, not knowledge. (Ironic, considering Keanu Reaves is a Gnostic). One can hear echoes of Jesus' message in these, Gabriel's words. For example, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (NIV) (Link is to The Message version)

    I was sad to see little children attend this movie. The pictures of demons and excorcisms were much too scary for kids. The lad I noticed had eyes like saucers as he walked out of the theatre. Stupid dad.

    On the other hand, hell was portrayed in a really scary way. If you ever thought going to hell seems more fun than going to heaven, you'll reconsider once you see this.

    I decided to collect some of the theological mistakes, and contemporary myths which I found listed on various sites (linked to above).

    • Hell is a fiery version of LA
    • Hell is a place where demons torture damned souls
    • God and Satan are two equal opposing forces
    • Self-sacrifice will redeem a soul from a "mortal" sin -- actually, Christ's sacrifice covers all sins if we will accept his forgiveness.
    • Constantine is looking for and earns redemption, although the conditions of his search are not of Christianity, nor does he earn redemption through Christ
    • Demons can be harmed with physical objects like holy water and blessed medals, or 12 guage shotguns that use "special" blessed metal bullets filled with holy water.
    • Angels are jealous of "mankind" and free-will.
    • Gabriel tells Constantine that he will surely go to hell for what he has done
    • Angels can be made mortal
    • The writers tried to throw in aspects of every known religion in some manner
      • the "balance between good and evil" (Karma – Buddhism/Hinduism)
      • concern about facing east (Islam)
      • importance of holy water and crucifixes (Catholicism)
      • universal properties of water (Nature - New Age)
    • Mythical items were included like dragon's breath and the electric chair from Sing-Sing-- perhaps the movie is trying to discredit itself-- if those items seem ludicrous and make-believe, then angels and demons must be as well. 
    • The power and especially intelligence of supernatural beings is underestimated, if not trivialized.
    • Constantine approaches the demons with shameful arrogance and even calls them names and curses at them, all of which we are warned against in Jude 1:9.
    • The Bible teaches us that supernatural beings are extremely powerful and intelligent—especially Satan, who was also the most beautiful angel—and it's dangerous to flaunt ourselves to them
    • God is not only absent, but distant throughout all that happens.
    • Constantine explains how God made a wager with Satan for the souls of all mankind, and then sat back to watch what would happen. This leaves a rather disdainful and cruel impression of God, instead of the God of the Bible who is intimately involved in everything that takes place and with whom we can have a relationship

    These are mildly fascinating comparisons, but in no way devalued the entertainment value for me. There is enough truth here to have a good conversation with someone who is interested in Christianity, and if you're moderately confident in your faith these won't get in your way. If you're easily troubled by half-truths and misrepresentation, then you might want to avoid this film.



    Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

    Live Longer- Go to Church

    OK, statistics can be made to say anything, but a new study shows that those who didn't attend church had a 52% risk of death, while those who did go to church had a 17% risk of death.


    Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

    One Church's Response

    This is an interesting approach one church took to the homosexual marriage conversation.

    Thanks to Lane Fusileir for the link.


    Tags:politics marriage
    Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

    RSS Gas Prices

    Last night while Joanne and I watched a couple of episodes of Law & Order, I threw this program together (between commercials).

    It's an RSS feed which posts the cheapest gas prices in Hamilton. If you live in Ancaster, sorry-- I didn't include the gas stations there, nor in the little towns around Hamilton. I just included Hamilton East, West, North and South.

    Here's the RSS link:


    Here's the HTML link:


    Let me know if you like it, or if you want any features added.


    Update: Added a text view if you want it.


    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
    Monday, March 14th, 2005

    Church and State Together At Last?

    We've all touted the glorious separation of church and state as if its realization makes our governments stronger and our churches purer. I wonder.

    Some good conversation regarding Salman Rushdie going on over at the oXyGEN blog. I'd love to hear some perspectives on this that don't use our freedom of democracy as their saving grace.


    Update: Read Austin Fusilier's blog entry today. Great comments.

    Tags:politics relgion
    Friday, March 11th, 2005

    SEX: More on Change the Rules

    This is so well said:

    As it always does, temptation began with the challenging of God's Word. How often has the argument been made that if something doesn't harm anyone else it shouldn't be unlawful? The serpent suggested much the same to our first parents. The fruit he urged them to sample, he said, would harm no one. Indeed, it appealed to them on every level of their being: biologically it was "good for food," aesthetically it was "a delight to the eyes," and intellectually it was "desired to make one wise." We can almost hear the couple asking themselves, "How can anything so beautiful be wrong?" The tempter promised that disregarding the explicit commandment of God would entail none of the penalties the Lord had warned them of. No, eating the forbidden fruit, he said, would actually cause them to see themselves in a new way. They would become like God himself. They would know good and evil.

    Significantly, God himself acknowledged that the couple had, indeed, come to see themselves in a new way when he asked, "Who told you that you were naked?" God says in effect, "See, they have become like us, knowing good and evil." But the life-and-death issue that frames the whole of the biblical witness, the question that remains before us to this day, is: who was right, the Lord or the tempter? God said, "In the day you eat of it you shall die." The serpent said, "God's a liar; in the day you eat of it you won't die, you'll discover what it really means to live: life lived to the hilt, biologically, aesthetically and intellectually."

    Who was right? If we understand "life" to be measured in biological, aesthetic, intellectual terms, the serpent was certainly correct. They ate and they didn't die! Not for years. They had children, grandchildren, great grandchildren....

    However, when we begin to understand the way the Scriptures use the terms "life" and "death" we also begin to see the extent of the devastation that ensues from disobedience. Jesus himself said, "And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3).

    Tags:politics marriage
    Friday, March 11th, 2005

    We Must Be Careful How We Speak Now


    As a result, there are no more references to "wives," "husbands," "widows" or "widowers," in Ontario's statutes. Bill 171 was nothing if not comprehensive—not only the Marriage Act was amended, but 69 other statutes, including the Fuel Tax Act and the Tobacco Tax Act. The way that Ontarians have always spoken about marriage and family life is now verboten in Ontario law. The idea that homosexual marriage is just adding another form of marriage to the books, while leaving everything else the same has now been exposed for the impossibility it is. If marriage must be re-invented because it is heteronormative, then it follows that the way we speak about marriage must also be re-invented. It won't be long before the local school board bans permission forms that use heteronormative language like "mother" and "father."


    Tags:politics marriage This_is_not_My_Canad
    Friday, March 11th, 2005

    This is not My Canada

    Good blog on the subject of Canada.

    This is Not My Canada


    Tags:politics marriage
    Friday, March 11th, 2005

    SEX: Should We Change The Rules?

    While looking for better Bible software for my Pocket PC (than OliveTree's), I found this excellent article on marriage and Christianity, called 'SEX: Should We Change the Rules?'.

    I realise now, that I misunderstood comments made by Amy and Christy from an earlier post:

    In a way, wouldn't legalizing homosexual marriage make them more stable and less likely to have so many partners?


    I think my issue is here less 'should they or shouldn't they marry', and more about the fact that Christians seem eager to distinguish this perception of sin from other sins.

    I apologize for hurriedly reading those comments. You're both right. It remains to be seen how marriage could effect stability (though this hasn't been demonstrated in Europe) and we must be careful to not over-emphasize one sin from another.

    I fully understand our desire to love the sinner, while hating the sin... but sometimes we risk over-stepping that boundary-- instead loving the sinner, and accepting the sin. I'm not exactly sure how to walk this fine-line, but I realise it's difficult. I'm also very concerned about the effect that this type of sin could have on our culture. Future generations depend upon us to maintain societal foundations.

    Brian posted yesterday:

    It's important to remember that, in our society, a government is not for the Christians, by the Christians. It is not for the homosexuals, by the homosexuals... It is FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE. 

    I realise he's not saying this: (but it is similar to the oft-made argument) "we live in a non-Christian world, so we shouldn't push our Christian perspectives on them." I think that logic is faulty. I believe we must find a way to communicate God's truth with urgency.


    If we truly believe in it, we'll fight for truth because we love our country, we love our neighbours, and we love those who are engaged in homosexual behaviour. We want to help them, to protect them, and yes, to save them from God's impending wrath.

    Check out this passage from 2nd Corinthians, 10:4-6:

    The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. (The Message) (Read the New American Standard Bible version)

    It seems to me that we need to keep trying to convince the world of the truth of God. But it sure is a dilemna when we don't even speak the same moral and cultural languages. But we must try.


    Tags:politics marriage
    Friday, March 11th, 2005

    Auto Scoring Scrabble Games

    My Perl script, Crossword, which is a Scrabble-style game you can play with family via email, has been updated.

    Now it automatically calculates points on each move!


    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts crossword
    Thursday, March 10th, 2005

    MORE, please.

    Want more in in life?

    Don't despair, Check out this video from Despair.com.


    Saturday, March 5th, 2005

    Keeping A Clear Head

    We Christians live in a strange culture. Our peers have been trying to slowly erode the legitimacy of our position for 30 years. It's so difficult to have these conversations, now when it has become inappropriate, for example, to call homosexual acts a sin. Suddenly I'm a bigot. Having sex has suddenly become a human right. It is not a right, as Stephen Harper attested in his recent speech in the house of commons.

    So many words we use, like 'homosexuality,' seem to be a new invention. It's conotation suggests that when a person performs homosexual acts, he himself is a different type of person than the rest of us. He has a different persuasion, they say. Erosion.

    As Christians, we are to be light and salt in our world. Jesus said, if we lose our saltiness, we will be thrown out amd trampled by our culture. He also said, that when one lights a lamp, they don't try to hide the light, but place it on a table so everyone can benefit from it. He said we should live our lives in the same way.

    As I've pointed out more than once, God established union between man and woman. Marriage therefore, is not a sociological creation. Rather, society is the product of marriage. We have evidence for this:

    As marriages have been disintegrating around us over the past 30 years, so has society! Prisons have filled up with angry boys, most of whom come from broken homes. We may have advanced technologically, but we are not living in a better society today.  There is more violence, more disillusionment, more depression, more cocooning. I believe this to be largely because of the weakness of the family unit.

    Some have said, within the comments on my blog, that allowing gays to marry is a pro-marriage movement. This will be good for society, right? Children born in homosexual homes will now have the added benefit of a stable home.

    I think there are more arguments against that position that for it. But who knows? I guess we'll likely find out in 30 years, when those children have grown and we can study it. Probably this marriage ammendment will happen. That discourages me, for so many reasons.

    But do we want to risk our children's future 30 years from now? If the past breakdown of heterosexual marriages have caused this messed up world we live in today, what's next?

    I want Lucas and Seth and Grace to grow up in a safer society. This is a giant sociological experiment, and no one really knows if it will work. What will happen to our future, our Canada?


    Tags:politics marriage
    Saturday, March 5th, 2005

    Marriage Referendum

    How to steal a democracy in broad daylight

    If you enjoy movies about smooth, artistic master criminals, you should catch the debate in Parliament these days over same-sex marriage.

    The Liberals are pulling off one of their periodic brilliant heists of Canadian rights and freedoms.

    They are claiming that gay marriage is an established legal right, and that anyone who disagrees (which is most Canadians, according to the polls) is "against the Charter."

    Question: If the right of homosexuals to marry is already established, why is there a government Bill before Parliament to establish it?

    Because, says the government, lower courts have legalized gay marriage in only seven provinces, and the Bill will make it legal in all ten.

    But if rights are something judges decide, not MPs, surely there should be a test case before the Supreme Court, not a Bill before Parliament. What has the Supreme Court said about gay marriage?

    Well, believe it or not, in its last actual ruling ten years ago, the Supreme Court held that "Marriage. . . is by nature heterosexual."

    And for good measure, Parliament voted by a huge majority in 1999 for a resolution saying they would keep it that way.

    In fact, the Liberal cabinet (including Anne McLellan and Paul Martin) promised to opt out of anything the courts might say to the contrary--"to take all necessary steps within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada to preserve this [traditional] definition of marriage."

    Well, okay, but now the seven lower courts completely ignored and contradicted Parliament and the Supreme Court by saying homosexual marriage is a Charter right. What did the Supreme Court say to correct the lower courts?

    Nothing, because the federal government decided not to appeal those cases.

    Why on earth not?

    Good question.

    Why didn't Parliament exercise its own Charter right to opt out the seven lower court decisions, as MPs promised to do in 1999?

    Another good question. Instead, the government drafted a Bill to legalize same-sex marriage, and asked the Supreme Court for permission to pass it -- an unheard-of request.

    And what did the court say?

    The Supreme Court said Parliament could pass the Bill if it wants, but it refused to answer whether the traditional restriction to man and woman is "against the Charter."

    So why does Justice Minister Irwin Cotler keep saying it is?

    Because that's how he chooses to see it. He wants all social controversies removed from Parliament and passed to the judges. He told the Western Standard (Feb. 28 edition) "I am opposed to invoking the notwithstanding clause on principle [i.e. Parliament's Charter right to overrule the courts]." So he's flouting the Charter while claiming to defend it.

    And Martin keeps saying and doing the same.

    By taking this tack, they're trying to cut out all the MPs we elect to Parliament, and transfer ultimate authority to the judges they themselves appoint to the superior courts.

    In most countries this sort of coup d'etat has to be done with guns. Here all it takes is a slogan--"Defend the Charter!"--even while you pervert and wreck it.

    Like a brilliant heist in a movie, it's hard not to admire how clever they are. Except that it just happens to be our democracy they're stealing.

    - Link Byfield

    Link Byfield is chairman of the Edmonton-based Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy, and an Alberta senator-elect.

    Tags:politics marriage
    Friday, March 4th, 2005

    Mac and PC Conversations

    What is it about Mac users that make them so anti-PC? Austin, you're a Mac user, are you anti-PC? Why?

    I've come to a point where I don't really want to argue with Mac users anymore. I figure the easiest way to do that is concede, "Yes, Macs have some cool features. They look cool. They're fast and stylish. I don't want one, but yeah, maybe they're better than PC in some ways."

    That's akin to Canadians (jealously) demonising their Southern cousins. Canada is pretty cool, it's not the US; okay, we're done talking about it.

    Throw me a bone, people. :) Stop trying to irk me with anti PC quips. Mac's are cool, Microsoft is a giant, profit-oriented company. Okay, we're done. Pass me a PC, please.



    Friday, March 4th, 2005

    Homosexuality Statistcs

    This is AMAZING reading. If you're the type of person swayed by statistics, and you can't make up your mind regarding homosexuals marrying each other, then you should look at this document.

    In this paper, physicians speak out about the negative consequences of homosexual behaviours, and warn about the potential effect marriage legislation could have on our society.

    Here are some examples (the source includes reference study and dates, which I've removed to make for simpler reading):

    According to Statistics Canada , 1.3% of men and 0.7% of women considered themselves to be homosexual

    A study of homosexual men shows that more than 75% of homosexual men admitted to having sex with more than 100 different males in their lifetime: approximately 15% claimed to have had 100-249 sex partners, 17% claimed 250-499, 15% claimed 500-999 and 28% claimed more than 1,000 lifetime sexual partners.

    Over 70% of all AIDS diagnoses in Canada in adults over the age of 15 up to June 2004 were in homosexual men (13,019 out of 19,238). 60% of all positive HIV tests are found in homosexual men. This contrasts with just over 15% of all positive HIV tests which are due to heterosexual contact.

    In a New Zealand study, data were gathered on a range of psychiatric disorders among gay, lesbian, and bisexual young people. At the age of 21, homosexuals/bisexuals were at fourfold increased risks of major depression and conduct disorder, fivefold increased risk of nicotine dependence, twofold increased risk of other substance misuse or addiction and six times more likely to have attempted suicide.

    In a Vancouver study, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, it is estimated that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday.

    The number of homosexuals in essentially all surveys is less than 3%. ... However, the percentage of homosexuals among pedophiles is 25%. ... Therefore, the prevalence of pedophilia among homosexuals is about 10-25 times higher than one would expect if the proportion of pedophiles were evenly distributed within the (hetero- and homosexual) populations.

    However, the main concern remains the inherent instability of same-sex marriages. In the above mentionted Dutch survey, the average length of a ‘committed’ homosexual partnership was only 1.5 years. In the mentioned survey of nearly 8,000 gays, 71% of relationships did not last 8 years. Furthermore, violence among homosexual partnerships is two to three times as common as in heterosexual relationships. Such an environment does not provide the stability required for raising children. Former homosexual Stephen Bennett who is married to his wife and has two children states: ‘Granting homosexuals the right to marry or adopt children is deliberately creating dysfunctional families.’

    At the root of many of the problems we see in children and young adults - such as emotional and behavioral difficulties, poor school performance, substance misuse, precocious teenage sexuality including teenage pregnancy and juvenile delinquency - is the dramatic increase in family breakup and ‘relationship turnover’ of parents, adversely affecting their children

    This whole document is interesting, and is really worth completely reading. It will take 10 minutes. Read it, then go to http://www.1clicklobbyist.ca/ and make a difference!


    Tags:politics marriage
    Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005

    RSS Bible in a Year - The Message

    As most of my readers will know, I have been using BlogLines.com to manage a lot of my information-- church prayer requests, announcements, Lane's messages, searches, comics, Hamilton weather, news, as well as friends blogs that I read.
    Well I quickly threw together a new RSS feed today-- it will help you read the Bible in a year (the Message version).
    Add it to your subscriptions if you want it.
    If you want other versions, let me know and I'll add that capability. Or if it would be better to have more than a link to the reading, let me know and I'll put the actual scripture chapters in the feed.
    There is an existing feed here, that is in the ESV version:
    Hope this is helpful to someone!

    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts


    Saturday, February 26th, 2005

    Bono Lead the World Bank?

    U2's Bono Should Head World Bank, Paper Urges

    "Don't be fooled by the wraparound sunglasses and the excess hipness," the Los Angeles Times said. "Bono is deeply versed in the issues afflicting the least-developed nations of the world."


    ...Andres Martinez said the suggestion of Bono to head the World Bank was entirely serious, although he said the newspaper was also making an effort to "take chances" and be "less predictable" on its opinion page in recent months.

    Bono, the rock star and celebrity, Martinez said, might be able to shame the rich nations into meeting their devlopment aid goals, he told Reuters.



    Friday, February 25th, 2005

    Cancelled Enterprise

    Well, Enterprise is probably my favourite incarnation of Star Trek so far.

    As a child I faithfully watched most of the Kirk Episodes, with the exception of maybe the original pilot-- which most people haven't seen (and I have on tape).

    In college, and for the next seven years I watched all of the Next Generation shows, then after moving to New Jersey and getting my first VCR, began taping them. I have all of Next Generation on tape, as well as most of Deep Space Nine, all of Voyager... I have almost all of the Original Series... I even have all of the movies on tape! I have numerous computer programs, books, indices, encyclepedias, Christmas decorations, gadgets, nose-pieces, Bjorn earings, you name it. I have a few Star Trek board games. I have Star Trek pencils, journals, figures, and more! I have a Star Trek mouse, shaped like a phasar pistol (unopened, never used). I have a beeping communicator pin. I have dozens of TV Guides, like new, which contain cover stories of Star Trek episodes. I have hundreds of Star Trek comics, in mint. The list really goes on and on.

    I also have all of the Enterprise episodes (but in DivX form), on my computer.

    So I think I'm qualified more than most people to judge Star Trek. I think I'm probably as much a fan as anyone else. For this reason, it really blows me away when people say they don't like Enterprise. In my opinion, it's probably the best Star Trek ever. The stories are the most belieable, the characters are three dimensional, and the actors, fantastic.

    I love Enterprise, and yes, I want to marry it.

    I wish I could join all of these fans in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, London, and Tel Aviv who are protesting the cancellation. This reminds me of what happened in 1967 when Star Trek was cancelled after two seasons. A husband and wife team rallied enough support that they brought it back for one more season (albeit, the worst season of Star Trek ever!)

    The United Paramount Network canceled the show earlier this month at the end of its fourth season, which is set to conclude in May. If canceled, television would be left without a Star Trek show for the first time in nearly 20 years.

    The campaign to save the show is headed by Trekkie Tim Brazeal. Brazeal, 42, is galvanizing thousands of fans worldwide to collect $32 million to pay for the cost of a fifth season of Star Trek: Enterprise.

    I'm not sure how I'm going to get by without Star Trek in my life. ;-) Somebody beam me up!


    Tags:hobbies favourite_shows Star_Trek
    Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

    Handing Out Cash

    How's this for a sermon illustration??

    Loud gasps were heard in the 125-member Newsong Church in Grove, Okla. when Pastor Steve Dyer handed out $14,000 in cash. Adults received $100 bills and children $50 bills, and the congregation has seven weeks to invest the money before returning it to the church to support missionary work (though the church isn't keeping track of who received money).

    [from ChurchMarketingSucks.com]


    Tags:church_work good_ideas
    Friday, February 18th, 2005

    Robots Walk Like Humans

    Cool! Robots have just seen a new evolution in walking.

    Robot TodlerWhereas all robots to date have required individual motors to move every joint in the hip, knee, ankle, foot, arms, and waste, now robots walk more like humans. They lean forward, and let gravity carry them. They place their foot in front to stop a fall, and perambulate along, learning from experience.

    In fact, these robots can walk on all kinds of uneven surfaces, because they learn from their mistakes. They learn to make corrections, to not over correct, to walk carefully when it's slippery, to lift their foot higher in uneven terrain, much like a toddler learns to walk!

    Is this cool or what?

    This new experimental robot is in fact, aptly named "Toddler." I want one.


    Friday, February 18th, 2005

    Big Brother Is Watching

    What kind of Trudeaupia do we live in? Perhaps we're not far from being a lberl (read communist), regime where none shall question the government?

    Patfield, a Grade 8 student at John Dryden Public School in Whitby, Ont., was touring the Governor General's official residence with about 60 students on Tuesday when he spotted Clarkson and asked: "Is that the woman that spends the money on the Queen when she comes?"


    ...the 15-year-old high school student whose question about government spending resulted in his class's tour being cut short... Following the Ottawa incident, Patfield was told he was to receive a three-day suspension. The school reversed that decision Thursday.

    Imagine being suspended for asking hard questions of our political leaders? At least there was some back-pedalling:

    [Adrienne] Clarkson defended the boy's - and anybody's - right to ask questions about how government money is spent.

    "Of course in my opinion there is no inappropriate question, only inappropriate answers," said the one-time journalist known for getting her questions answered.

    "(The question) shows, at least, an interest in what's happening in the office of the Governor General and I thought questions like that should be answered."

    I thought this was well said:

    Parenting expert and author Barbara Coloroso said the incident is an example of "zero tolerance being zero thinking."

    What a sad comment on reality. Fortunately, the suspension was lifted, and everyone has apologized.

    Beware of asking questions.


    Tags:politics canadian
    Thursday, February 17th, 2005

    Jesus and Cool

    Interesting take on making Jesus seem "cool:"

    I think the church has bought into this idea that if we make Jesus look cool we win. But what these fellows are trying to do is make themselves look cool, not Jesus. They're looking at a culture that rejects the idea of Jesus, they say "But I want to be a Christian and I also want to be cool so I'll try to make Jesus cool." That's about you, not Jesus. [reference]

    Sometimes I think the 'post-modern' approach to sharing Christianity is more about being cool than letting the cross be offensive. I'm guilty of using that approach. I mean, come on... who really wants to be a nerd?

    From the 'Church Marketing Sucks' web site.


    Thursday, February 17th, 2005

    If Only We Would Follow

    The United States passed a new law regarding broadcasting indecent images and language. I wish Canada would do the same. Things are getting more and more explicit on Canadian television!

    Not everyone is happy, but I like the idea of being able to watch television with my nine-year-old, and two-year-old, without fearing they'll be exposed to something they shouldn't be yet seeing.

    It seems our culture's voracious appetite for extreme images isn't going to wane anytime soon. Whether it's dead bodies, multilation, or sexual activity, it's not making us a better, gentler, people. It's fascinating to me how the US sometimes appears to be moving back toward morals and decency, while the rest of the world swings even further away.

    In the end, I wonder who will be left standing?


    Tags:politics american
    Monday, February 14th, 2005

    It Was Great! and It's Over!


    I have to say this may have been the best Valentine's show ever. And to think we almost cancelled.

    You see, most of what could go wrong, did go wrong. In the beginning, tickets weren't selling, arrangements weren't working, people were un-volunteering, we couldn't find enough help-- yet in the end, it came together better than I could ever have expected. Thanks to all who made this event such a success.

    One of the most amazing things for me was how good the vocalists were this year. ESPECIALLY with Amy Forderer's incredible dance moves and choreography, we were a hip looking crue. Thanks Amy!!

    Peter, the bad cop, was a great help too. He rallied the troops, and helped keep order in chaos.

    I could go on and on and on about all the people and what they did: Lights, Video, Sound, Makeup, Costumes, Decorators, Food Servers, Food Prep, Ticket Sales, Stage Design & Setup, Purchasers, Band, Advertising-- Wow. Lots of people. THANKS!

    The point of this party is to start conversations with people. We hope people ask questions like, "Why is a church doing this?" "What do we believe?" "Who are we?" "Why?" and more. 

    I've heard conversations are already happenning. Awesome. God is at work.


    Tags:church_work valentines
    Friday, February 11th, 2005

    From Stephen Harper

    February 2005

    Dear Fellow Canadian:

    Everybody has to draw the line somewhere.  My line is drawn firmly under traditional marriage.

    Despite what Paul Martin would like you to believe, the same-sex marriage debate is not over.  On December 9th last year the Supreme Court clearly said that Parliament has the final say on the definition of marriage. 

    First and foremost, the Supreme Court ruling is a victory for democracy.  It is a victory for you, the voter, and it is a victory for the Conservative Party of Canada.  Throughout the long debate on this issue, we have always said that the definition of marriage must be decided by elected MPs.

    We in the Conservative Party respect the supremacy of Parliament.  Do Paul Martin and the Liberals?  Since this issue first surfaced, the Liberals have done everything they can to keep the definition of marriage from coming to a vote in Parliament.

    When it finally does come to a vote, and it will soon, I have committed my party to a free vote.  Paul Martin has refused to show leadership and make the same commitment to his party and the people of Canada.  He is forcing his cabinet ministers to vote for same-sex marriage regardless of their personal views, or the views of their constituents.

    Please read on to find out more about my position on this issue.  The Conservative Party has developed a compromise solution, one that I feel is proactive, moderate and represents the broad consensus of ordinary Canadians. 

    Thank you for writing and for your interest in helping me and the Conservative Party defend traditional marriage.


    Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
    Leader of the Opposition
    Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada


    Tags:politics marriage
    Friday, February 11th, 2005

    2005 Dress Rehearsal Was Great

    Well, this year's Valentines, celebrating the 1980's is going to be great. The dress rehearsals went more-or-less smoothly. The jokes were sorta funny, and we only made a few mistakes. Tomorrow night should be better, and Saturday night will be great.

    Tickets are almost sold out Saturday night, and there are three open tables Friday night. I hope they all sell!

    Thanks to everyone who is working so hard on this!


    Tags:church_work valentines
    Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

    Contacting My Member of Parliament

    Well I did something scary yesterday. I called my member of parliament.

    It wasn't actually too bad. The first thing I said was, "I'm a little nervous-- I've never called my MP before." The clerk on the phone was very helpful and polite.

    I started by asking what Tony Valeri's position on same-sex marriage was. I was told he supports the redefinition of marriage.

    That sounds euphemistic to me.

    Then, with voice shaking, I said, "I do not support the redefinition of marriage. I don't think the government has a place redefining an institution that has been around longer than it has. I hope that Mr. Valeri will represent my position."

    The clerk sounded suprised, which was disappointing. They must really think they're representing the people. He asked for my phone number and address, and said he would let Mr. Valeri know. That was it.

    I hope everyone calls their politician. It's actually really easy. DO IT! It's not too late people, to have this democratic process actually work.

    This isn't an issue of justice. Homosexuals already have equal rights. I suspect this is really a matter of self-esteem.

    Just click here. It's easy. It will send an email, and find your MP's phone number automatically.



    Well, am I ever cheesed. I just got a call from Tony Valeri's office, and they tried to change my mind! I used Austin's advice, and said, "I feel that the government doesn't have a place in changing an institution that is older than it is. The government should stay out of the bedroom."

    The representative then tried to tell me that I was wrong in my belief. I said, "Are you trying to convince me?!?" He said that he was not. He was obviously misjudging his intentions. He continued by trying to enter into a debate with me.

    I said, "Look. The way I see your job, is to represent the views of those who elected you. I don't want to discuss it with you, I want you to take my view, and the views of your electorate, and represent the majority as best you can."

    He agreed with me then, and we drew the conversation to a close. But I couldn't help feeling ticked that he tried to change my mind-- he whose job is to reflect my mind! It felt like there was some sort of agenda going on behind the scenes. I'd like to think that the agenda was simply, "Save votes, save votes!"

    I hope it's nothing more sinister than that-- though one could argue that it's sinister enough on its own.


    Tags:politics marriage
    Saturday, February 5th, 2005

    Pipe and Pouch

    I subscribe to the Project Gutenberg RDF feed, so I can see all the new books that are coming out in ebook form, and mark the ones I want to download and read (I have 41 books on that list already!).

    I love that all the Beatrix Potter books are out (my dad read these to me as a child, and I even have some of the ancient books!). I will read them to Seth soon too. (Lucas had his trip-down-memory-lane-punishment already).

    But tonight I found a new book, called Pipe and Pouch. It's a collection of poetry about smoking a pipe! Not for kiddy bedtime reading, but it makes me wish I could puff a pipe. Oh well, much too cold for that anyway. 

    This poem is good.


    Friday, February 4th, 2005

    FTP Upload Idea

    Here's an idea: what if I wrote a script which created a virtual FTP site out of those annoying HTTP upload sites.

    You know what I mean? Like, the PhotoBucket site, which lets you choose 20 pictures, one at a time, to upload to their site through a browser. What if it was possible to actually FTP to that HTTP page?

    Hmm. That would take some Perl magic.


    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
    Friday, February 4th, 2005

    Science or Not?

    I found a fascinating article today from the Wall Street Journal. Apparently a scientist, editor of a scientific journal, has lost credibility for presenting a paper-- subjected to peer review-- which counters Darwinism.

    "It may or may not be, but surely the matter [of Intelligent Design (ID)] can be debated on scientific grounds, responded to with argument instead of invective and stigma. Note the circularity: Critics of ID have long argued that the theory was unscientific because it had not been put forward in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Now that it has, they argue that it shouldn't have been because it's unscientific. They banish certain ideas from certain venues as if by holy writ, and brand heretics too..."

    This is somewhat suprising to me. I thought scientists were more, um, scientific.


    Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

    Confirm Contact Information

    I'm adding a new feature to ServiceBuilder for our church-- it's almost done. It will help us keep our contact information up-to-date.

    Here's what it does: it sends out a message to a group from your database (you decide who) asking them to confirm their contact information. They can click a link, then choose 'Accept' or 'Correct.'

    As soon as they view the record, this action is stored in a separate table so we know who actually got the email and bothered checking. Then if they accept the contact information, or correct it, this information is stored in the people table, as well as in the separate table, mentioned above.

    This way we can easily ask all attendees, for example, to check their contact information before we print a new church directory. They can also choose to unsubscribe!

    The script has a built in password system to ensure someone doesn't change your information without your permission. Pretty cool.


    Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

    Another RSS Feed

    Go to Philpott Church?

    Put this RSS feed in your bloglines account to keep on top of announcements. Talk about painless, eh? Eventually I'll add a category so you just see announcements for, say, seniors, or youth, or men's community, etc.



    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts


    Sunday, January 30th, 2005

    Chord Transposer Script

    I wrote a new program this morning/this evening that transposes guitar chords automatically. You paste in a chart, then choose the half-steps to transpose by. Choose whether you prefer "sharps" or "flats" or "easy" to name chords, and press the button. Voila! The song is automatically transposed and ready for you to use.

    The logic for transposing a song is suprisingly complicated. I had to go through the chart a line at a time, looking for lines that had only chords and chord symbols. My assumption: every chord will start with a captital letter between A and G, or a slash (for bass notation). Or a bracket ( to indicate a special chord-- or other special characters I use in transcriptions (|,[:,:], etc).

    When I find a line with only chord symbols, I convert all the chords to numbers, one through twelve. Then I do the transposition math on them, before converting them back to letters (sharps or flats-- depending on your preference).

    Maybe sounds easy in English, but try telling a computer to do it. ;)

    The reason for this script is to integrate it into ServiceBuilder. Then worship leaders can change the keys for the songs if they wish, and we don't have to change what's in the database. The next step is to rewrite the program in Visual Basic. Fun fun fun!


    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
    Friday, January 28th, 2005

    Add Worship - Web Version Update

    The web version of ServiceBuilder has seen an update today. Now volunteer worship leaders can add worship songs to a service from the comfort of their living rooms.

    They login, search the database for songs they want, then click the add button. When finished adding, they can set the order, or remove songs. They can also see when songs were last used, the key they are in, and more. To save to the database, they just enter a special password, and click a button.

    This feature is long overdue, and was added partly because Craig from the Meeting House churches requested it. The next feature he has requested which I'm working on is the ability to transpose chord charts automatically.


    Thursday, January 27th, 2005

    Spiffy New Counter

    I wrote a new script last night, called CounterMail.

    Not all web hosts allow server side includes, and many do not provide statistical information about your visitors. You'd like to know who is visiting your page, what route they're taking through your site, what browser they are using, and what time they were there? Maybe you want to know the sites which are linking to you and which links are generating the most traffic.

    Now this is all possible, even with limited CGI access. If you can run basic Perl scripts, and have access to SendMail on this server, CounterMail can retrieve the information from your visitors, and email it to you. You get to choose when the email comes; every visit, after 10 visits, 50 visits, or any number of visits-- it doesn't matter.

    Want to show a counter on your page? This script can be called using SSI, to show a simple count of unique visitors. A visitor won't be counted twice, even if the counter is placed on all your pages.

    Call it with an img tag, and add the string /blank.gif to the end of the script to display a one pixel gif. Or, call it with a Server Side Include to show the visitor count.

    This is a brand new script, so try it out and let me know what you think. I decided to try using it on ServiceBuilder.net. Cool!


    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
    Wednesday, January 26th, 2005

    FileCABINET with RSS Feed and Froogle Feed

    I added two new features to FileCABINET lastnight and this morning.

    FileCABINET is the database script which shows the various programs I have for sale at Intelliscript.net. It allows users to search the database, purchase and make payments with an integrated shopping cart; it generates XML PAD files for software download sites, and lots more.

    The two added features are RSS Sydnication and an automated Froogle feed.

    RSS (Really Simple Sydnication) allows you to license your content to other sites. It also allows people to subscribe to your content if they want to keep tabs on what's going on without visiting your site everyday. They can add the 'feed' to their newsreader, and this reader will automatically show you when there is new content to view.

    FileCABINET lets each script have its own feed (in case someone is interested in subscribing to late-breaking information on any particular script. It also generates a summary RSS feed covering all of the scripts.

    Froogle is Google's integrated shopping search engine. Google asks you to monthly upload a text file containing certain information about your products for sale. Now FileCABINET will generate this file automatically so it's always an up-to-date reflection of correct prices and information about the scripts.

    FileCABINET has only sold one copy-- not exactly stellar compared to a script like Auto FollowUp or Crossword (a Scrabble-style game). But it's becoming one of the most time-saving and efficient programs I've written.


    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts FileCABINET
    Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

    Meeting House 2

    I finally got together with Craig from the meeting house yesterday to show he and his team ServiceBuilder. It was a very positive experience. They are still interested in using ServiceBuilder to connect their seven satelite churches. In fact, I may be adding some new features for them to make it even more useful.

    One of those features is to give volunteer worship leaders the ability to login to SB on the web, choose songs for a worship package and send their selection directly to the overseeing worship pastor with one simple click. They will be able to filter out recently used songs, just like you can with the main version of SB.

    Another change -- which will take more effort-- is to allow services to occur at exactly the same time in different locations. Presently, services must occur at different times.


    Monday, January 24th, 2005

    Delta Force

    I've been playing DeltaForce 1 with Lucas and his friends Tommy & Johnny lately over our LAN. Lotsa fun! :-)

    Whether we're going at it in a death match, or cooperating on one of the 90 built in missions, the simplicity of this old game doesn't tire me out. It's great too, that it runs on old, tired computers-- being that it's an old, retired game.

    Are any of my friends out there gamers? Up for an evening of bloodshed? The game is dirt cheap (especially for my friends). Let me know if you're interested.


    Tags:hobbies games
    Sunday, January 23rd, 2005

    Video Tutorials

    ServiceBuilder is a huge, massive, giant, even gargantuan program. It does everything a music director would ever want to do.  (Clever; let's work ourselves out of a job, right folks? Ed.)

    Because it's so big, it can be a little overwhelming too. I decided recently to start recording little 2 or 3 minute videos -- screenshots that talk, to walk users through the various tasks of ServiceBuilder.

    I've got three done so far-- and will add more as I get time. Here's the link.


    Sunday, January 23rd, 2005

    Crossword Calculates Points

    Well, you're not going to believe this, but Crossword, my Scrabble-style Perl script, now calculates points automatically on every play!

    I'd love to take the credit, but alas, it wasn't me. A fellow user and programmer-- and I guess Scrabble lover-- did the real work, and integrated the points subroutines! Pretty impressive.

    So it's not online yet, but will be soon, when I get my act together! Stay tuned.


    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts crossword
    Friday, January 14th, 2005

    Thanks to the AGC

    I approached the Associated Gospel Church administration a couple weeks ago about ServiceBuilder. I thought they might be interested in seeing a demo, and possibly recommending it to their congregations.

    Today they sent the letter out, and I was very pleased with their endorsement. Check it out!


    Monday, January 10th, 2005

    Refugee Money from Government

    My dad sent me this. Can anyone out there confirm this is true? If it is, then something seems wrong here.

    From the hard copy of the Toronto Star, April 18 2004.

    It is interesting that the federal government provides a single refugee with a monthly allowance of $1,890.00 and each can also get an additional $580.00 in social assistance for a total of $2,470.00.
    This compares very well to a single pensioner who after contributing to the growth and development of Canada for 40 to 50 years can only receive a monthly maximum of $1,012.00 in old age pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement.
    Maybe our pensioners should apply as refugees!
    Lets send this to all Canadians, so we can all be pissed off and maybe we can get the refugees cut back to $1,012.00 and the pensioners up to $2,470 00 and enjoy some of the money we were forced to submit to the Government over the last 40 or 50 years.

    Who knows how to fact check something like this? This is almost $30,000 a year per refugee. If someone is escaping persecution and possible death, then I don't have a problem with welcoming them, and helping them to get on their feet here-- but it seems like a whopping amount of cash to me, especially if there's no requirement to work. The way I see it, if the government is going to pay you, you should be mopping floors somewhere, or licking envelopes, washing dishes, filling potholes...


    UPDATE: I'm glad someone checked into this and found it to be false. Thanks for the fact-checking! The blogosphere is at work! 

    Tags:politics canadian
    Saturday, January 8th, 2005


    Thanks to a new user of the petition script, www.PayPalSucks.com, I've put some energy and development into it. If you're using this script, you might want to download the update.


    (p.s. I use PayPal, and think it's great, so don't send me hate email)

    Tags:webdesign perl_scripts
    Tuesday, January 4th, 2005

    New Cache in Neuonlage

    Lucas and I placed our second GeoCache today at 52.456895 N, 106.464333 W, in the heart of Neuonlage.


    Tags:hobbies geocaching our_caches
    Saturday, January 1st, 2005

    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.