November 30, 2005

No gifts please

Please do not give me any Christmas gifts. I have been thinking about this lately and I think that, unless you have a real legitimate reason for giving me something then I would prefer you didn't. If you really want to give me something, send the money to charity and don't tell me about it.

What would constitute a legitimate reason:

  • if i saved your life -- it was probably an accident, but i will take an xbox
  • if you owe me money -- i'll take cash..w/ interest
  • if you are secretly in love with me -- i like flowers
  • saw something that reminded you of me -- best gifts ever

  • Please do not give me a gift if:

  • you feel like being nice
  • you gave everyone else something and didn't want to leave me out
  • i did something nice to you and you wanted to repay it
  • you hate me and want me to die. no pipe bombs please!
  • i gave you something and you feel the need to return the favor
  • you forgot my birthday and thought it was time to make up for it
  • feel sorry for me

  • I am not joking -- no exceptions.


    I want to see the movie called "Rent", based on a broadway show from New York. I have heard many good (and bad) things about this film. What I do know is that more than half a dozen of my guildies have said it's an absolutely amazing movie.

    However I also know that it glorifies homosexuality.

    November 28, 2005

    Losing heat

    My living room is at least 4-5 degrees lower than my bedroom, because it has huge windows and it is my belief that I am losing heat because of this.

    The thermostat is in living room so that messes up my heating/cooling. I set it at 24 at first, but then my bedroom became like a furnace (I think my computer can single-handedly heat my entire bedroom). So then I set it at 22, making my bedroom warm enough that I can walk around in shorts and t-shirt. The problem is that when I set it at 22, the furnace rarely turns off because the living room can barely reach 22.

    So the short story of it is that when I watch tv in the living room, I'm curled up on my couch bundled up under a comforter. When I'm in my room, I'm lying in bed with a t-shirt and shorts. It's summer in my bedroom and winter in my living room.

    Weather stripping and caulking is probably the answer. I'm going to look into this perhaps tomorrow at Lansing and see what I can do about this. If I can even cut down on half the heat loss it'll probably save me a few hundred dollars on heating.

    November 25, 2005


    Immediately after my interview, even before I got the job I had lunch with a co-worker and he asked me how long I could see myself working at my position. I told him 5 years max.

    Ever since I got my full-time job I have been devising a plan for myself, for my future. In my mind I have never really pictured myself as a "lifer" at the City of Toronto. It's not the work, or the pay, or even the position I'm in -- but rather the sense that I can do something more useful in serving my Lord. That somehow, somewhere, God has made available for me, a place place that needs me more than where I am today.

    I think, that when you think about that for yourself and for where you are RIGHT NOW, that you may need help convincing yourself that where you are is where God wants you to be. Because sometimes it just seems a little too easy, or too convenient.

    Like you got this big promotion, and you think -- well there's no way I could have got this without God's hand in it, and therefore it MUST be where God wants me to be. Or maybe things in your life both professionally and personally seem to be falling into place exactly how you thought they'd be, and you've decided that this you've been praying for something in your personal life to happen, and finally it has and you decide that it must be God's will.

    What I've learned over the years is that there is absolutely nothing convenient about being a Christian.

    Or I could be wrong, maybe you are fully convinced that where you are right now is exactly where you were ought to be, that you have fulfilled your complete potential that God has given you and that God expects nothing more from you. Personally for me, I'm not convinced.

    I remember when I was a teen, and I was sitting around at home doing absolutely nothing, my mom would out of the blue ask me: What is your plan today? I used to hate it when she would ask me that because I never plan anything until the last minute.

    Slowly but surely I have been putting together my "plans". Some of them are wild ideas while others are "safer". But the gist of the whole thing is that I'll quit my job in 5 years -- 5 years from the time I got it, which is about October 2010. From that I plan to sell everything that I own and move to the East.

    I will share more as I figure it out.

    November 24, 2005


    I've found that lately, I have been really emotional. That is, "open the flood gates" emotional. And the strange thing is that it has been during happy and joyful times.

    For instance, it started on Sunday when the Raptors won. I was so happy that my eyes welled up with tears. It was a great day, we broke our 9 game winning streak and really pulled through. It was like a great weight had been lifted and it really made me so happy.

    Next time I had some tears was at the concert on Tuesday night. It was when Chris Tomlin was singing How Great Is Our God, it made me tear up just a bit. He was playing his guitar all by himself. It was just him singing and playing with the rest of us. Like a jamming session starring Chris Tomlin. That was really great.

    Finally last night the flood gates of joy came pouring through when in LOST couples were reunited after some thought they were gone for good. When Bernard was reunited with his wife Rose and Jin and Sun were reunited, I bawled my eyes out.

    I think the reason it hit me was because I truly do miss my parents more than I thought I did. Living up here in the wintery north pretty much all by myself, with occasional visits from my brother. Over the past 3 years I've gotten used to living on my own but I guess it didn't really hit me how much I missed my family until I saw these fictional characters reuniting after the thought that they had been lost for good.

    November 23, 2005

    Passion Toronto

    Andrew, Elaine and I were able to go and volunteer at the Passion Toronto concert. We skipped the thousands of people lining up at the main doors, and proceeded into a side entrance. It was a cold night -- I really pity all the students who waited out there in the cold -- however I'm sure it was worth the wait and the cold.

    The entire night was geared towards campus ministry and outreach. They called it a concert for students and it really was. Louie Giglio spoke intermittently between each of the worship leaders (Charlie Hall, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder) who took turns praising God with a few of their hits. Between sessions we would pray in triplets for the campus movement, for students to open their hearts, and for the Spirit to do His wonderous works.

    Andrew and I both agreed that Tomlin got the best reception. He was sandwiched between Hall and Crowder.

    Giglio used pictures from the Hubble Telescope to illustrate how small and insignificant we were, and how amazing and wonderful our Lord is. He bombarded us with images of various galaxies literally billions of miles away. They were breathtaking, each image glorifying the awesome power of God. Here is my favorite one, known has the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51):

    After all the pictures he brought things into perspective by showing a picture of Christ on the cross, taken from the movie Passion of the Christ. It was a stark image that quieted down the entire arena of 5000+. There he hung battered and slashed up, the Christ who died for us, the almighty creator of this vast universe that he had just shown us.

    Then he brought up this image that basically blew me away, it took everything he had shown us to a single point. It's probably just a coincidence but after the image of Christ hanging on the cross, and then bringing out this picture we all kind of gasped in wonder. Here is an image of the very centre, the nucleus of the Whirlpool Galaxy:

    You placed the stars in the sky
    And You know them by name
    You are amazing God
    All powerful
    Awestruck we fall to our knees
    As we humbly proclaim
    You are amazing God

    November 18, 2005


    New best line ever:

    Supernice: [da ge ni shi ji du tu ma]?
    Translation: Big bro, are you a Christian?


    S: [wo ye shi]

    (awesome, that makes me so happy)

    S: [shi a wo de ming zi jio jiao ma dou]

    (not sure what that means, maybe his name is biblical)

    S: [ye su de men tu zhi yi]

    (Jesus' something something..)

    S: [wo hen gan dao qing xing a]

    (I am very... argh I wish I knew what this meant!)

    S: [wo de jia ren quan dou shi ji du tu]

    (My whole family are all Christians)

    Well, that's just a summary of our conversation today. I am totally happy about this.. it's just amazing how and where God is working. It almost makes me want to quit my job so I can chat with this kid all day long. Anyway, I'm going to work.

    S: wo ren shi da ge zhen de hen gao xing. zhe jiu shi shang zhu an pai de a

    November 17, 2005


    In the World of Warcraft, there are members of the community that are called "Chinese Farmers". It's a totally racist term that even I have been guilty of using. Basically (not all of them) there are a bunch of people, from China, who spend all day long fight a particular enemy over and over for their loot, and then they sell it on the Auction House for gold. They get paid for how much gold they make in the game, and then at the end of the day, they send that money to their employer for real money.

    So these Farmers are notorious for setting (and sometimes inflating) the market prices of items in the game. And thus hated by everyone because of it.

    I've tried to communicate with some of the farmer with my limited chinese vocab and have had some pretty interesting conversations. They always ask where I live, of course I tell them [jia na da]. They ask me how I'm able to speak chinese, always impressed by what I can say -- even though in my opinion, I'm rather ashamed of my inability to speak fluently in my native tongue.

    It's always interesting the one question every single one has asked me -- have gone back to visit? [ni you mei you huei guo le ma?] I always tell them about my China trip. And when I tell them all the places I've been, they're always surprised. I guess people in China don't have often have the luxury of travelling. They're limited to where they are.

    Another thing I find interesting is that they're all playing for profit, not for entertainment. Even when "having fun", the sole purpose is to make a living, not to entertain themselves. Perhaps the money they make allows them to entertain themselves, but I really don't know.

    I think they work by shifts, at least some of them do. I met this one guy "Badday", talked to him for about 15 minutes and then he logged off. Immediately after, another guy whispered me, Badday's friend, "Supernice", and I chatted with him for nearly an hour. They probably take turns playing or something.

    Best line ever:

    [wo ke yi jiao ni da ge ma?]

    November 16, 2005

    Final Three Prediction

    I should have posted this 3 months ago, but I believe the final four teams will be (in no particular order):


    I'm not exactly sure if this is even possible for bracketology, but these 4 teams represent the most number of future NBA players that the entire NCAA have to offer.

    UConn will be the eventual winner. It's unbelievable to me, that a team like them who lost Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor just two years ago, and Charlie Villanueva last year, is still so talented.

    They have Rudy Gay, arguably the best player in college and with Josh Boone, this 1-2 combination of big men (who will both be lottery picks) will destroy anyone in their path. Then there's also potential 2nd rounders Denham Brown, Hilton Armstrong, Marcus Williams. In my opinion, because UConn boasts the most future talent, they are by default the team to beat this year.

    The next will be a battle between Texas and Duke.

    Texas has two players who could go in the top 5 in Daniel Gibson and LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge could have been a top 10 pick if he'd come straight out of highschool two years ago.

    Duke had a good team last year and will be even better this year since no one left. Okay, they lost Daniel Ewing but Reddick is still here. Duke also boasts their own set of twin towers in Sheldon Williams and Josh McRoberts.

    Those 3 are obvious. As for the 4th, I give me about a week :)

    November 14, 2005

    "Wow..It's pretty big"

    This thought has passed my mind about 200 times over the past 2 days as I gaze up at my new TV. After about 3-4 weeks worth of scouring the internet for reviews, comments and comparisons, I finally decided on which television to buy. It was only a matter of time before there was a sale and then I'd get it.

    I didn't wait for the sale though, instead opting to haggle with the salesman, who then "convinced" me to buy a whole bunch of other useless items. In the end I managed to get $150 off the price of the television at the cost of buying $500 worth of additional goodies, all of which I plan to return. This is something I figured out to be fool-proof, providing that the store has a good return policy, which Future Shop does have.

    So anyway, the TV. You'd have to see it to believe it but this thing is just massive to me. I had a 27" Sanyo television for the past 3 years. About 6 months ago, it started making this really high-pitched sound. Banging the top right side of it would stop this sound for 15 minutes, but eventually there was nothing I could do to stop that annoying screech.

    This, coupled with my recent "promotion", convinced me to reward myself by burning a large hole in my bank account. And so, I bought a 46" DLP. And a speaker system. And a receiver.

    This was not an impulse buy, but because of the cost of it, it felt like it.

    So as my brother and I sat there, watching Mr. Incredible and his family kick the crap out of a bunch of baddies in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, and who were big enough to be a real people standing in my living room, I thought to myself -- was it all worth it?

    And the answer, of course, is a resounding *YES*.

    November 11, 2005

    k-love in Canada

    Well, the finally responded to my email in requesting the signal in Canada. Pretty much the answer I expected. But check it out at the bottom, a Director was CC'd. I only CC stuff to my director when it's something very important!

    Anyway, here it is below.

    Dear Brian,

    Thank you for your e-mail to K-LOVE Radio. I am glad you took the time
    to write.

    Because we have received a high volume of e-mail recently, we have
    fallen behind. We are working hard to catch up as quickly as possible. I
    hope you will forgive me for not answering you sooner.

    I really appreciate your enthusiasm for K-LOVE's ministry and your
    desire to hear our programming in Toronto. Currently, we do not have any
    specific plans to expand into Canada.

    K-LOVE has not yet pursued broadcasting outside of the United States.
    The requirements for radio licenses from country to country have
    presented a significant hindrance to expansion. Our Signal Expansion
    Department continues to look at a variety of options for international
    expansion. Your prayers would be most appreciated.

    Canada's governing body for radio stations, the Canadian
    Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), requires that
    all radio stations must ensure that 35% of their popular musical
    selections are Canadian each week. This restriction precludes us from
    airing our current format in Canada.

    I hope you find that this information has been helpful and that you are
    able to stay connected to the K-LOVE family by listening on-line at May God bless you.

    In His Service,

    Ken Turner
    Correspondence Assistant to Signal Expansion

    cc: Sam Wallington, Director of Engineering

    November 10, 2005

    Wedding song

    Okay, this is the song that I think I'd use (barring approval) for my wedding slideshow. Or maybe a song for while we're signing the papers. I only know a handful of guys besides myself who can sing like this though. And I don't intend on performing at my own wedding. Therefore, slideshow is probably the way to go. :Þ

    This Day by Jadon Lavik

    Lyrics to be posted later.

    November 09, 2005

    XBOX 360

    To buy or not to buy, that is the question.

    On the one hand, it's a really cool thing. I mean it's *really* cool. It is the only system out there that is HD-Compatible. It's backwards compatible with all the old games so you don't have to buy only 360 games, but original XBOX games too. ie: You don't *have* to spend $100 per game.

    But the system is nearly $700 after taxes. That seems like a whole lot of money. I mean it's only entertainment. And a 20 gig HD but even then it doesn't seem like a lot. I have an 80gig drive on my computer and it's almost completely full already.

    There's internet play, and the ability to connect your phone to the TV with headset, so that you can basically play games and watch tv while talking on the phone. 2 wireless controllers. And did I mention that it's HD compatible?

    Things like that make me think about buying it but then, $700 makes me turn away.

    Another thing that makes me think against getting it is World of Warcraft. I'm already paying $15/month for it, so it doesn't make sense to buy a console system when most of my gaming time is devoted to WoW. And of course there's also that matter of growing up, but really, that is so overrated.

    November 04, 2005


    So I logged into friendster today for the first time in about a year. They've got all kinds of new features but none of them are worth crazy amount of ads and pop-ups. Needless to say I won't be going back there ever again.

    Ben, Sam and I went over to the Miko Toys warehouse up in Richmond Hill to buy toys. The purpose for this trek is to buy toys to fill up shoeboxes for kids, for the Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan's Purse. I urged my small group this year not to buy toys from the dollar store and try to picture the children as our own. "Would you buy your child's Christmas present from the dollar store?" is what I asked/challenged them.

    Anyway, we went to this warehouse place and the toys were so cheap. Stuff that you normally see for $20 were selling for $3. So the 3 of us loaded up on toys.

    There was one toy I wanted to get for myself, a griller. It had a picture of food actually being cooked on the thing, just for 20 bucks! Also there was a remote contol jet that could fly 400 MPH (scaled). That's insane!!

    After the toy store we went to Rex Saigon over at East Beaver Creek and Highway 7. The Thai food was decent, but not the best I've had. I had Pad Thai for the first time in my life -- they were willing to make it without egg. Wow.. that stuff tastes soooo good, no wonder everyone gets it. Apparently in Thailand, Pad Thai is like street food, it's equivalent to getting a hotdog from a street vendor in North America.

    That gave me this picture of the people in Thailand who go to these expensive "western" restaurants to eat hotdogs and sausages. Hahahahaha..

    November 03, 2005

    Washington 99, Toronto 96

    It's funny, after I found that funeral song on Lavik's CD, I also found a song that would be nice for a wedding.

    Anyway, last night I went to the Raptor's season opener. The Raptors are an exciting team to watch this year, and we led for most of the night until near the end when a few questionable calls deflated the team's push and we turned into lame ducks by the end of it. Well, that and some players choking really badly.

    I went to the game with Adam, a university friend of mine who I hadn't seen in about a year. I was hoping to catch up on things with him, see how he was doing, that sort of thing. But the game was so exciting from beginning to end that we didn't really get a chance to talk until the subway ride home.

    At the game, he and I were hollering at every call, every bad play, every great play. It was tons of fun! The fan sitting to the right of me somehow knew every single play as if he'd seen the game before. Or maybe he was a coach or something, he knew every play for both teams and would predict exactly what was going to happen right before it actually happened. The biggest difference between the Wizards and the Raptors was that the Wizards were properly executing the plays, and the Raptors, he'd predict misses and miscues, and our team would follow suit.

    At half time we went over to the bar and ordered a couple of beers. I got carded. C'MON.. Do I really look under 19? You gotta be kidding me.. Anyway the bartender looked over my ID and said "Oh.. wow.", and then gave some flabbergasted excuse about my short hair. I wasn't sure if she was just shocked or impressed, or neither. At any rate it threw her off and she had to ask us for our orders again. The funny thing is she's been the bartender there for as long as I can remember -- that's 3-4 years now, and there has been times when she didn't card me.

    One thing I noticed about the game was that the fans were loud through most of the game. Whether we were down by 6 points or up by 8, it was always loud. Also, we had some celebrities in our midst. Besides yours truly, Roy Halladay made it to the game and brought his buddy AJ Burnitz. The announcer made it a special point that AJ is one of the top free agent pitchers so we cheered our loudest to show our appreciation in hopes that he'd sign with us sometime in the offseason. Also in attendance, the lovely Lara Flynn Boyle (I bet she doesn't get carded!).