December 30, 2006

Urbana pt 2

Today I felt a major breakthrough, in terms of figuring out what God wanted me to do. The pieces finally started to come together, through the people I met, through scriptures, and through what I felt was God's speaking to me.

There was a speaker who said that to confirm a calling you need 3 things: Confirmation from scriptures, confirmation from the Spirit, and confirmation from friends/family. I felt that all those came together for me yesterday, through prayer, readings, and through people I interacted with.

The schedule finally allowed us for some free time and that allowed me to go into the Global Connexxions area to visit all of the mission agency booths and theological seminary booths. As I wandered through the 350+ booths, I realized something rather disheartening and yet exciting. I spoke to many mission agencies. There were tons of them, covering the globe from Asia to Africa to Europe to North and South America. Urban ministries, tribal, unreached people groups, bible translations, business as missions. There was even an army booth, and aviation ministries, engineering, english teaching, radio, even internet ministries. Out of the 200+ agencies I walked past or spoke with, there was only 1, yes ONE Native North American missions agency. Talk about a forgotten people.

I spent a good 20 minutes talking to that one agency, and accidentally conveyed the idea that we were looking for an agency to send us, which certainly isn't the case. What I was really trying to do was find some ideas as to how they handled longer-term solutions for the reserves, but instead they thought I was volunteering our team for their ministry. Talk about a big misunderstanding, but I figure that as they send me more information, I can just use that information and share it with our church.

I kind of felt that because this was my second Urbana, I wouldn't get caught up in all of the emotions and grandeur of worship. I don't think you know what it means to worship in unity until you've attended a worship session in a size as large as the Urbana venue. The sheer magnitude of it is awe-inspiring. Picture the Air Canada Centre full of 20,000 happy, jubilant Raptor fans cheering for the Raptors as they just won an NBA Championship, or similarly, a Leafs game of the same -- actually we Leaf fans have suffered enough, let's just stick with the Leafs victory and just imagine how crazy the fans were. That's kind of what it was like today in worship at Urbana, only instead of Leafs we were cheering for God, and instead of 20,000, it was 22,250.

I was noticing that it felt like all the delegates had let go of their inhibitions and were fully worshipping God with not just their voices but their arms and body language. It's like people finally let go of their inhibitions, casting all there crowns upon Him. It's an amazing thing, when everyone does it all at once.


I've been finding increasingly that Urbana's seminars are no better than Perspectives. That's not to say they're a waste of time, but the fact is, I haven't learned anything in a seminar/workshop here at Urbana that Perspectives didn't already cover.

However, the speakers during the plenary sessions have been excellent.

I started attending the "Open for Business" sessions, which is what I was registered for, but was previously completely ignoring because, well, I'm not a business person. But they have sort of recognized that people like myself, (ie: technology) also fall into the same category. Today they talked about innovative ways to help those less fortunate, and ways to minister to these countries through innovation and entrepreneurship. I thought it was pretty cool.

During this time and through constant prayer (seems like I've been doing a lot of that lately), I've actually leant the opposite direction and am now almost 80% sure that I will go to Longlac next year and not China. It's just that over the past day, God has been speaking to me about several things:

- the issue of urban development
- stuff about sustainable development
- developing long-term relationships and partnership
- First Nations people
- "keep on going" -- at one point one of the speakers asked us to stand up and say this to one another

I actually saw Richard Twiss, the speaker at Ishskwaday, lining up for seats and I felt this excitement, and then another guy spoke who was half First Nations' blood. And I guess in general, I started to think about how, everyone is focusing their attention towards reaching Muslims and Hindu's, and people suffering from AIDS. There's so many people out there that need God, but I kind of feel like the First Nations people are being left out.

Also the whole entrepreneurship thing has gotten me all excited. I think it would be pretty cool to come up with an idea and then share it with others, and then together, work on it and market it, and then either use the money we raise to help others, or invent something that would help others. I always had that kind of a dream back when I was in school.

So..for those reading, please continue to pray about my decision. Although I am now leaning towards Longlac, yesterday I was leaning towards China, so who knows right?

December 28, 2006

St. Louis

I'm in St. Louis for Urbana. St. Louis is supposed to be the most violent city in North America. You wouldn't guess it if you walked around the downtown area though.. this city is dead. It seems far too underpopulated to be a violent city. Anyway..

I've been praying that God will speak to me about which missions opportunity to take -- whether it be 2 more weeks in Longlac, or 4 weeks in China teaching english.

The two choices can be broken down into the following thoughts:

(a) 2 weeks in Longlac
- continued growth in my missions journey
- continuing what we started at Ginoogaming #77
- continuing to build friendships we forged over the past 2 years
- getting a chance to share the gospel directly to the people
- saving 2 weeks of vacation for visiting family at Christmas time

(b) 4 weeks in China
- taking a big step into my "missions career"
- first chance at ministering to Muslims, something I'm pretty excited about
- teaching english is not my forte.. and I'm somewhat reluctant to use it as an avenue to minister to people. But I realize it's a way to put your foot in the door. Still, on this note Longlac is better because we get to actually share the gospel without getting arrested. Speaking of which..
- first exposure to a country where the gospel isn't allowed
- possible start to a longer-term commitment

So that's kinda where it stands. I've been praying about this for weeks now, ever since I was invited by one of the pastors at our church to be one of 6 to go on the China trip. It's been a struggle, I know that God would be proud of me for either one, but I feel like this is a turning point and I can either start devoting everything towards the First Nations People, or I can direct my attention towards the Muslims in asia. I feel that both are good.. however I feel that the First Nations reserve thing is something that is popular and more suited for "new missionaries", kind of like a stepping stone.

Today after a plenary session sermon by Brenda Salter McNeil, I'm leaning more towards going to China. She spoke about Genesis 11 and 12, about how Abram and Terah settled in Haran even though they had intended on going to Canaan. She challenged us that we should not settle, that we should go exactly where God intends us to go, and when God opens doors we need to just go and stop making excuses.

The one thing I guess I should mention was that there was originally a major hitch for me to go to China, because it was originally a 5-week trip. I didn't have enough vacation days to go, and I was going to have to beg my boss for time off in addition to using all my remaining vacation days (including carry over). But then God answered that prayer by having the trip changed to 4 weeks.

I felt like God finally (after being silent now for quite some time) was letting me know that I don't need to be afraid of unknowns (like teaching, which is something I'm not all that comfortable with), and to just go for it.

December 25, 2006

Christmas Eve

Went to Christmas Eve service at South Hills Church. My parents church is really great.. I know I've said this before but it is really, really great. Everything from the church decorations, to the welcomers, to the worship time, prayer time, sermon.. it's all good. The whole thing is great.

Pastor Bret spoke about how Christmas is a Man's Story, about how church can often feel really feminine, but about how the story of Christmas is about a strategic strike by God in the war against Satan, and how Jesus was basically the killing blow, the nuke, etc.

The worship time was fantastic.. I don't think I've ever enjoyed singing Christmas carols/hymns this much. The worship leader Tim changed up a few of the regular songs into his own music and they sounded great. He's got a great singing voice and guitar playing is great as well, and he has great charisma for leading. I wish I could have half the ability he has.

Don't know if I mentioned this before, but my parents moved to a new house, we're in a bungalow now. Today after church we went to the old out house to clean out the pool... just something you have to do every week to get all the fallen leaves and dirt that falls in. They've been trying to sell that house for a few months now.. it's been difficult because the housing market crashed recently.

This evening we went to my parents' friends house for dinner.

These people are pretty wealthy.. I felt a little bit uncomfortable there, everything just seemed too nice. But the people there are really great people, very nice, all very strong Christians (or so I hear, from my mom). I kind of marvelled at the difference in lifestyle that I have compared to these people, all they talked about was gyms and working out, and then about their pets, and then about work. I guess that's pretty normal.. I dunno, I just felt like I had absolutely nothing in common with them.

Plus everyone knew eachother from childhood, so me and my brother were complete outsiders. It.. was just weird I guess.. and awkward.

Once every 30 minutes or so they, as my brother would put it, threw us a bone and let us say a few words in their conversations.. so in the 3-4 hours that we were there, I probably said 5-6 sentences worth.

I bought a laptop yesterday. It's a Toshiba Satellite. I like it a lot. With the whole wifi thing being big these days, this is really convenient for me. I can use it anywhere and be connected. It's really great.

I started working on my Perspectives project today. Turns out the whole thing only needs to be 5 pages long. That's not too bad at all. I've already completed Section A (it goes to E). The unreached people group I've selected are the Ojibwey First Nations people.

December 23, 2006

Shopping and Carl's Jr

For most of the shirts I bought yesterday, the following happened.

It would say at the top of the shelf "50% off lowest marked price", and then you look at the tag and $59.99 has been crossed out and someone had written $49.99, and then there are two more stickers on it, one saying $39.99, and the other saying $29.99.

I mean even if you didn't need that article of clothing, how could one resist?

So anyway, two hundred smackers later..

Yesterday we went for Carl's Jr, a fast food burger joint. OH MY GOODNESS.. these burgers were better than In-N-Out, I kid you not. Mind you they also costed twice as much.. but check this out. I had a Philly Cheese Steak burger, which is a big char-broiled beef patty topped with -- you guessed it -- philly cheese steak. The cheese was amazing, so much of it and perfectly melted. My dad ordered a double philly cheese steak, that's a regular philly cheese steak sandwich with 2 beef patties (He shared it with my mom). My brother got a guacamole bacon burger, with a "The Six Dollar Burger" patty. Oh my.. this one was so good too.. I had a bite of it, it was so great. Guacamole, huge beef patty, with bacon, cheese (this thing was like half a cm thick, real cheese not that processed crap from McD's). And then some chipotle bbq sauce below the patty. It really was something else.

And you wonder how Americans get so fat..

The fries were so-so. The medium drinks we had were like super-sized drinks from McD's, they were so big.. I could not even finish.

Carl's Jr. Give it a try when you get a chance. You won't be disappointed.

December 22, 2006


My dad has a new "word", last year he kept saying "doldrum". "What a doldrum", is what he'd say. This year the word is "dork". He has called me "dork" at least 20 times in the past 2-3 days. I dunno, I kinda liked "doldrum" better. Dork is so akt.. it's not me.

Yup, I'm back in Vegas again.

So far it's been pretty good, it's been great to see the family again, hanging out, joking and laughing. Yesterday we played TransAmerica all evening, it was pretty fun. I bought the game just before flying here so it's brand new.. it's a good clean board game without a whole lot of thinking required.

It's so not warm here. First of all my parents like to keep the temperature fairly cool, around 18C. So I'm always bundled up. Secondly there's a cold spell here so it's kinda cold. Not the most comfortable weather.. still wearing the same jackets I was wearing in Toronto.

We went to Fry's yesterday and checked out the laptops. I've determined that I cannot buy a good laptop here while spending little, and since I don't want to spend a lot, I'm gonna end up with a semi-beater of a laptop. I'm going for bare minimum for Vista.. 2gb ram and well.. that's it. 6 lbs.. it's decent. Costco is probably the best way to go. I spent about 2-3 hours researching on the web when I finally got access, using my dad's laptop.

Yesterday we had lunch at In-N-Out. I had a double-double (2x2 for those of you who remember my In-N-Out post a few months ago). I got the fries "well done" which means extra crispy, and the burger was "animal style". It was so good. So, so good. I made a video of the entire thing, and took a lot of pictures. I got pictures of the cups and fries box with the bible verses on them.

That's so cool.. the drink had John 3:16 written underneath, the fries box had Nahum 1:7, and the burger wrapper had Revelation 3:20.

Today we're heading out to Primm. Outlet mall galore!

December 19, 2006


I like hugs. I like them a lot.

December 18, 2006

3 more days

3 Days..

Three days before I make my annual trip down to the US to visit my parents. Mixed feelings this year, while I'm excited to go, I kind of feel like I'm missing out here. I think Christmas time (and New Years') is a time you spend with your friends and family, but I only get the family part. I haven't spent a Christmas in Toronto in what will be 4 years now, and having spent Easters and Thanksgivings here, I feel like I'm gonna miss out festivities, and friends. Granted most people spend these times with their families, and leaving me out in the cold. But not everyone..

That being said I'm excited to see my parents and their new home, as well as fill up my stomach with yummy foods. Oh yea, and I'm excited about Urbana, and the fact that I will see my friends again there.. which is a real bonus.

Yesterday my friend Ken got baptised. I love Baptism Sundays, getting a chance to listen to peoples' testimonies and encouragements, and their spiritual growth. It's just very exciting to me, and one of the happiest days that I look forward to every few months. I'm glad I was dragged into singing for worship, I think I actually smiled up there, even though I hate smiling "for show".. I was actually happy for real.

It's especially exciting to me when I see younger people get baptised. Young people have so much more potential I think, than we "stuck in a career" people, or "I have a wife/husband and kids" people do. There's just so many more opportunities and venues they can reach. I thought it was pretty funny when one of the girls did a "Shout-out to my mommy", and other person said "God's got my back". That was classic..

Had a nice surprise waiting for me yesterday as my brother had come home in the afternoon and we spent the evening playing Wii, eating together and catching up. I haven't seen him since Thanksgiving, so it was pretty nice to catch up, talk about school, church/fellowship and women. (The latter is a new one.. we never really talked about that stuff before. I will remain silent on this subject.. you know, the whole big brother to little brother confidentiality thingy.)

My brother switched to Comp Sci this year and has really been enjoying it and that's really exciting since I haven't seen him all that excited about anything for awhile now. Even better is he's made a few Christian friends this year and hangs out with them. I feel this'll be great for his growth.. I've always considered it a huge blessing to have accountable friends to hang out with. And he's been going to church and CCF which is also great news.

We had great fun playing Wii.. it's the first time I've played Wii with anyone so it was definitely a new experience. We played Red Steel first, which was great fun. I think the multiplayer levels are a bit too big to find eachother, but it's still pretty good. The sword thing is the best.. reminds me a lot of Halo except you're not completely dominating like you would be with the Energy Sword. Then we played Monkey Ball, which is a game I had barely touched because it's not really a single player game. We noticed that a few of the (50) mini-games really sucked and were so bad they were unplayable.

After that we watched Survivor, the finale. Yul won! Finally an asian person wins it. That was awesome.. close vote too, narrowly edged out Ozzie 5-4 in the final vote. Becky got nothing, but then again Becky DID nothing, it took her 1.5 hours to start a fire.. WITH MATCHES! Me and my brother were laughing so hard because Becky and Sundra took so long to start a fire. They had tied at Tribal Council and the tie-breaker was to start a fire with flint, to burn a rope above the fire.

I have never managed to start fire with flint, but I also never spent 39 days on a remote island with virtually all the time in the world to practice doing it. They both started out setting up the wood, but I believe they were holding their flints too high. By the time any spark hit the tinder it was already too cold to light. The Jury started growing restless, and Ozzie and Yul were falling asleep. Finally at the 30 minute mark, Jeff (the host) told them to stop, and gave them matches. I thought that was really funny.. You spend nearly 6 weeks on a remote island can can't start a fire with matches? LOL

December 15, 2006


Someone asked me why I haven't posted in so long, so here goes..

December 07, 2006

What's in a name?

I've been contemplating a name change for the blog. It's been "in the blink of an eye" for about 2 and a half years. If I can recall it was "mr. loquacious" before that, and then before that, it was just called "ebrian's blog". I've been blogging now for 6-7 years, and I think this site/concept has evolved from year to year and has been many different things for me over that time. A place to vent, voice my concerns, rant, preach, and of course, a place for me to make a complete idiot of myself over a girl.

I was thinking that perhaps 2007 could be a mark of it moving into yet another direction. Currently, I'm leaning towards naming it after my voxtropolis site (labelled as "spiritual walk" over yonder right-hand menu), moving my posts either to that site, or moving back here (which would probably be a whole lot easier since there's only about 5 posts over there. That site is called "Check Your Pulse".
Off and on this has been a theme for me over the past few months, and something I'd like to get into more over the next year. Of me gauging what gets me excited, my struggles, and kind of this I do for You and You do for me report -- things that really get my heart thumpin'.

"In The Blink Of An Eye" came from a song by Mercy Me, and focused on the little things in life and how life is too short to waste. "Check Your Pulse" comes from John Mayer's song "Great Indoors", full applicable lyrics here:

Check your pulse
It's proof that you're not
Listening to
The call your life's
Been issuing you

It's a similar theme but delves a little deeper into life's calling. Anyway, I love these words because it's a reminder for me to live my life to the utmost fullest to glorify Him.

Boney M

I hitched a ride with the young'uns, a.k.a. Allan, Fiona and Mils on the way to lunch on Sunday. Al and Fi were asking me about this band called "Boney M" and a song called "Mary's Boy Child". I knew the song, but not the band. This morning I went on youtube to check them out. Turns out (as I'm sure many of you know), they're a really old band, circa 1970s. That surprised me a bit considering it was the young'uns who were telling me about them.

You know what, it just occurred to me now that maybe they brought it up to me because they actually think I'm so old that I'd remember them. *sigh*

Boney M actually isn't too bad. I remember some of these songs like "Born To Be Alive" and "Rasputin".

December 05, 2006

It's real simple

"For every action there is a reaction."

Action: The New Jersey Nets managed to score just 75 points against the Dallas Mavericks.
Reaction: The Toronto Raptors are tied for 1st place in the Atlantic Division.


Read 'em and weep all you bandwagon jumping Raptor fans out there. The Raptors are the real deal!

Go Raptors Go!

December 04, 2006


Here's a funny little quip Bigjon told me a couple days ago. Now if you know BJ then you are also aware of his many "bad" jokes, but I thought this one was pretty good:

"Why does learning by osmosis not work? Because the concentration of the book doesn't change!"



So I went to the final wedding of the year, Mike and Serena tied the knot on Saturday. I don't really know Mike all that well except that everyone says he's a very helpful and generous person.

I always wonder what people would say about me, at a wedding or funeral. I could imagine people stammering and stuttering to come up with something positive to say about me:

"Oh Brian.. Brian Brian Brian.. he is/was so.. umm.. yea.. and he was always.. umm.. right.. soo.. how bout the weather these days, huh?"

I've known Serena longer.

Aside: I find it funny when I go to weddings, and you line up, and wait. Finally you get to the front of the line, and someone asks you "Bride or groom?". I mean does it really matter that much? Why do you have to sit on a certain side, do you really spend that much time talking to the persons you sit beside?

"Hi.. so, how do you know the groom?"
"The groom? Um.. well I don't really.. I'm friends with the bride."
"What? Are you serious?? SECURITY! THIS MAN IS ON THE WRONG SIDE!"

So anyway, I know Serena through Lon. Serena even came to a camping trip with my old church Milliken, along with Lon and Yvonne, and Jason. Which was really fun in those days because here we had the core of my Ottawa friends and my Toronto friends. I think I met Serena when she came to Ottawa to visit. I also remember going over to Lon's place in Hamilton for dinner, after Lon kept raving about how great Karen's cooking was, but instead I was treated with an ENTIRE meal of LIVER cooked by Serena, all because they thought they weren't getting enough iron. I mean COME ON.. what are the odds that you go to try Karen's cooking and you get an entire meal of liver.

Anyway, I remember that being the best liver I've ever had, so I guess that means Mike's in good hands if he ever needs iron.

The red wine at the reception was yummy. It reminded me of the Maria Christina I bought last year to cook with and also drink with cheese. I remember drinking almost an entire bottle of this hodge-podge wine while watching Sideways. Anyway, I had several. I had 2 before the meal on an empty stomach, which was great because it made the rest of the evening pretty fun. Not that alcohol makes everything fun.. but well, let's face it -- it does.

Weddings are always great, and it's always amazing to see two people connect in such a way that they would decide to devote the rest of their lives to eachother.


Btw, a big congratulations to my good friends Lon and Yvonne for the birth of their baby girl.

November 28, 2006


What is meaningless, and what isn't?

This past Friday for small group, we did a Bible study on Ecclesiastes 11.

Personally, I think the best way to describe meaninglessness is to look at the opposite of meaninglessness. That is, when I die and Judgment comes, which parts of my life does God keep in the "Good bin", and what parts does He toss by the wayside?

Delving deeper into this topic of death and judging our life, I believe there would be 3 "bins" total.

1) Things I did to advance His kingdom.
2) Things I did bad.
3) Everything else -- this is the "Meaningless Bin".

You might be wondering where is the "Things I did that were good" bin -- I believe this is a given as Christians that we do good things. We all know that doing good works won't get us to heaven, so why the bins? While I agree, good works aren't the ticket into heaven, I do think we'll be rewarded for our good deeds. If anything I would argue that the rewards are pretty clear even before we die, but I do think that God will reward us even more after we die. Anyway, the point is I don't think we should be rewarded for regular good things, it should be automatic.

If you want the real fire and brimstone answer, one might say God only looks at what you did wrong, and even "Things I did to advance His kingdom" fall into the "duty as Christians" bin.

So, when I die I would imagine God taking out a list of everything I did from the time of birth until my death, and categorizing each thing into one of these categories or bins.

I've been told/criticized that I often the view the world in black and white. I think the reason for that is that in my opinion, God looks at everything in black and white, and I prefer to do it this way so that I can at least attempt to see things from His perspective and thus, attempt to live the right way. (How's that for a run-on sentence?) And by "attempt" I do mean that I fail a lot. But I guess that's the point isn't it -- if I saw all grey, I'd never fail.

For instance, should Christians get baptised -- my answer is, of course. Why? Because God tells us to. It's that simple, right? Should we tithe? Of course -- why? Because God tells us to.

Yes, I am going somewhere with this. This leads into an interesting discussion we had, about what in our lives was meaningless. I shot up my hand and said my work is meaningless, which started a very interesting debate about whether or not work was meaningless. After all, if God provided us with jobs, how could they be meaningless?

I guess that depends on how you see yourself in the big picture -- God's picture. Let's say you're a computer programmer for Microsoft -- maybe you think God gave you that job so that you could make really good programs so that people could run Windows and not have headaches from all the bugs. Or, you could have a broader view -- God gave you this job so that you could bring your co-workers to Him. Or even broader, God gave you this job so that you could earn enough money to live a comfortable life and then spend every other waking hour serving Him. Maybe God didn't give you that job at all, it was Satan all along and that explains why often your work interferes with the ministries you're involved with, or simply doesn't give you any time to serve God at all.

I'm sorry but if you're a programmer for Microsoft, my opinion is that what you do at work is meaningless. What I do at work is also meaningless. I think at some point during our conversation on Friday night, Stan (SG leader) felt bad that I thought my job was meaningless and tried to find some hope for me, by saying that because I work for the government, my work affects the public and the people of Toronto. While I appreciated the gesture and assurance, I don't need that kind of silly justification about my job. I can fully accept that it's meaningless. It's not a big deal for me.

Another one I've heard is "if I don't do my job, then the company will be in bigtrouble". Unless your company is SIM, World Vision, or your local church, or you're working in medicine or teaching, -- I'd shuffle that one into the meaningless bin too.

So why did God give me this job in the first place? I believe my purpose there is to build meaningful relationships, show and pass on Christ's love, and answer questions if needed. I'm in contact with literally hundreds of different people.. I support an application that is, thankfully, full of bugs so I get to talk to a lot of different people. Sometimes things just happen to come up and I find myself talking about my faith, about God, about the bible. Just the other day a muslim friend of mine called me to get a report working and then while we were waiting for the page to load, he starts asking me about the bible.

For me, that's when my job becomes meaningful.

I started writing this post a few days ago, kept putting it off.. I'm still not finished but I think I should just publish so people can discuss.

What in your life do you find meaningless, and why do you suppose God put this meaningless thing in your life?

November 27, 2006

NCAAB Rankings #1

I've decided that it would be a little fun to rank my top 25 teams in NCAA basketball. This early in the season it's almost impossible to predict where teams will be 3 months from now, so I suppose it's more of a challenge to get the right rankings. When I started this I didn't look at any of the AP or ESPN rankings, going purely on my own data and list of NBA Prospects. Based on the number of potential NBA players on each college team, I've put together the following rankings. After I completed my list, I went to Yahoo! Sports to check their actual rankings, which I've posted in parenthesis:

1. Florida (1)
2. UNC (2)
3. Arizona (15)
4. Ohio State (4)
5. Kansas (10)
6. UCLA (5)
7. UConn (18)
8. Duke (9)
9. Georgia Tech (19)
10. Washington (16)
11. Georgetown (14)
12. Texas (26)
13. Marquette (13)
14. Gonzaga (27)
15. Pittsburgh (3)
16. USC (unranked)
17. Texas A&M (11)
18. Alabama (8)
19. California (unranked)
20. East Washington (unranked)
21. Colorado (unranked)
22. Florida State (34)
23. Rice (unranked)
24. Boston College (23)
25. Virginia Tech (40)

I wasn't quite right but it's not a perfect science either. I'm pretty close, at least the top 15 were actually ranked teams whereas beyond that, there are several teams that I picked that no one else even knows about. To be honest I didn't even know there was a team called "Rice" until today, but they have a player who's projected to be taken in the late first round in next year's NBA Entry draft.

I'm surprised at how low Arizona is ranked, way down at #15 by Associated Press. They have 4 players who could be drafted into the NBA this year. Though I agree that perhaps Kansas deserves to be higher than 'Zona because Kansas has almost an entire roster of future NBA players, though many are not ready this year. I guess it all depends, for all I know they could all declare this year, throwing my rankings in for a loop. So I suspect as we get closer to March, my rankings will change due to players stepping up and showing scouts they are better than most people thought.

But all in all, not bad for a 'first-crack' at it. And.. I realize this goes over the heads of most reading this, but I had to get it down as many of you know, I am pretty obsessed with this kind of stuff. I think my dream job is to be sitting at a desk analyzing sports statistics all day long.

November 25, 2006

Review: Chris Tomlin's "See The Morning"

Chris Tomlin is a great worship leader who is also a great song writer and a budding guitarist. I've always been a big fan of his work because his songs are easy to play and therefore great for worship leading. On his CD's you will always find he's singing it at capo 4-5 because he likes to sing high, but if you tone it back down, his songs are great for (normal) people.

I picked up the special edition of this album because it had a few extra tracks -- 3 "unplugged" tracks, and 2 completely new songs. I must say that getting the SE of the album was worth it because the final song "Over Me" has become one of my favorites.

This bit may come as a surprise and you may be thinking: "What, eBrian being critical? Against Chris Tomlin? No way!".

I'm slowly finding that, to me, Chris Tomlin (and this totally just my opinion) is starting to sell out or is in danger of doing so. What does it mean to sell out in a Christian context.. of course I'm not saying he's gone secular. I mean this in the kindest possible way because I'm a huge HUGE Tomlin fan, but if you look at his track record of late, it seems like a whole lot of self-promotion going on. Again I could completely wrong about this and maybe my views are way off and incorrect, but to me a worship leader is about writing songs for people to use to worship with. When an artist starts putting out "Greatest Hits" albums, " Concert", or "The Early Years" albums, then it's no longer new songs popping out, it's re-packaging old songs into different profit-inducing self promotional material. Granted I'm sure the proceeds go to very charitable if not God-driven ministries. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, back to the album itself. The album itself is good. There are definitely a few songs that can be used for worship -- "Made To Worship", "Everlasting God" (one of my favorites), "Glorious", "Rejoice", "How Can I Keep From Singing". I really like the last one, it's based off an old hymn and basically redone, and it sounds great. Also one of my favorites is "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)", he basically does Amazing Grace but added a tag to it that makes it sound a little more contemporary and actually really fun to sing.

Overall, I would say this album is missing the kind of "Oomph" that the last album had. I remember listening to "Arriving" for the first time and being completely blown away with the lyrics of "Indescribable", and just playing it over and over and ignoring the rest of album for weeks, and then getting blown away for each song going forward. "Arriving" stayed in my car's CD player for at least 5-6 months before I got tired of it. Whereas "See The Morning" lasted about 2 weeks, and then I went into a rock phase and bought Guns N Roses.

In that sense "See The Morning" certainly has some great songs, there aren't any of those songs that you hear and go "Wow.. what a song. He is so right.." and prompt you to do some self-reflection or break out in prayer and thanksgiving. Perhaps another way to look at it, is that I didn't even bother to post any songs or lyrics up from the album.

So, a breakdown (I'm going to start using a scale for these).

Creativity (5/10) - Most of the songs sound very close to the previous stuff that we've heard from Tomlin.
Worshipability (8/10) - Songs are easy to play and can be used for worship on Sundays or fellowship. Not very many "fun" songs for jamming.
Value (8/10) - Although I did get more songs for the Special Edition, I also paid $27.
Longevity (6/10) - Perhaps because the songs all sound the same, there's nothing particular memorable about this album. When I started writing this review, I was listening to the album, but halfway through I got tired of it and switched to another band altogether. (Which also means another review is coming soon.)
Intangibles (10/10) - This is a fake category for me to boost an album's ratings. Haha.. but seriously this is about the packaging. I'm a big proponent of buying CDs and not mp3s. The album cover is nice, lyrics are neatly printed out. Also the special edition gives a 20 minute video of Tomlin, talking about his inspirations for many of the songs on the CD.

Overall: 38/50

November 23, 2006

Review: Wii Sports (Wii, duh)

Wii Sports comes with the Wii Console as a throw-in. And as a throw-in, I believe this game is very much underrated. Wii Sports is comprised of 5 different games that are said to introduce gamers to the world of Wii, that is, using and getting used to the wiimote and nunchuk through various sports that are quite intuitive to the controls.

There are 5 sports included with the Wii Sports -- Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, Boxing and Golf. What's interesting is that everyone who purchased a Wii in North America got Wii Sports -- but everyone else who bought a Wii around the world got a game called "Wii Play", which actually contains 10 different mini-games. The mini-games are: Table Tennis, Laser Hockey, Fishing, Find Mii (variant of Where's Waldo), Pose Mii (not sure what this is), Shooting (Duck Hunt?), Pool, Charge! (apparently some kind of bull-riding game), and Tanks. Although some of these sound pretty stupid, it seems a little unfair that we don't get this package. The latest rumors are that eventually, we will get this game as a throw-in to a new controller, possibly in the new year.

I'm going to go through each sport and give each its pros and cons before wrapping up the game as a whole.

Oh, before I get into it -- What is a "Mii"? A "Mii" is a basic profile on the Wii console. Wii allows you to create profiles, which can be attached to your wiimote so that you can use your wiimote and profile on other Wii consoles. You can customize your Mii's appearance with an editor built into the Wii. It's a fun concept and I even made a Mii that looked somewhat like me, but all in all, it's pretty silly.

Wii Golf

The golf game is decent. You hold the wiimote like it were the shaft of a golf club, and hold A to swing. It measures how far back you swung from, your follow throw, and how quickly you swung. If you swing wildly, you'll shank the ball and it'll spin out of control and likely miss where you were aiming. I found this to be pretty tricky, because I would have just wailed it and now I have to control my swing. After a few holes (with scores of +8, +9 on par 4s), I settled down and managed to get a few pars and bogey's.

Wii Boxing

This particular one is not great. You require the nunchuk to act as your left (or right, depending on what-handed your Mii is) and basically you punch it. Overhead punches are jabs while low ones are body shots. I've managed to get a few uppercuts but they're almost always blocked. If you hold your hands up, you'll block punches to your face, and low for blocking body shots. If you hold the wiimotes to your waist and lean your body, it will detect that an your Mii will lean back and away. This is great for avoiding punches. The biggest problem with this game is that the sensor is unable to process quick flurries of punches. You need to punch by reach far forward, and then retract back to your body before you punch again. If you don't do this your Mii's arm reaches out for a punch and then stays out there. The Wii isn't very good at sensing that you reached back for a new punch. I find this to be the case for any action based on reaching forward to backward.

Wii Tennis

This is the best game in my opinion from Wii Sports. You hold the wiimote like the handle of a tennis racket and just play tennis. I haven't fully mastered it yet, I know that there is a way to get a very fast serve in, but I've only gotten it once or twice. Swinging fast or slow does seem to make a difference, and timing is a big thing, if you hit early, it will take a bigger angle, later, big angle the other way. Wii Tennis is doubles' only, so you can choose to control one player, or two. You can even control all 4, but I think you'd get tired pretty quickly. Wii Tennis moves the players around for you so all you need to do is swing. Often this is a lifesaver because if you are controlling two characters, if the front guy misses, you still have a chance with the guy in the back. I'm totally loving this game as I've found it provides a pretty good workout for the arms.

Wii Baseball

Wii Baseball is okay. There isn't a whole lot of control, you are either swinging (swinging low or high makes no difference) or pitching (throwing motion is standard, you can't actually control your pitch). By holding different buttons while pitching, you'll get different types of pitches like a fastball, curveball, sinker. For swinging as far as I can tell no amount of buttons will help you. I strike out a lot. A LOT. I've hit 3 homers out of playing about 10 times. You also don't run around the bases or do any of the fielding, it's all done for you. A single just means if you hit the ball and none of the infielders caught it. Even if it's a grounder to third base, it's an automatic out. If you hit it into the outfield and no one catches it, it's a double by default. I have heard of people getting triples.. I have never seen this yet. Other than that, it's pretty straight forward. What I do like about this game is that you can swat the bat around and imitate stances. For instance, Gary Sheffield and how he kind of shakes the bat a lot while he's waiting for a pitch. But it adds nothing to the swing so it's just for aesthetics.

Wii Bowling

Wii Bowling is second to Tennis. It's a whole lot of fun. You hold down B and go for the bowl, and when you release B, you release the ball. I have seen stories of someone letting go of the entire wiimote and have it hurtling into a television. I've seen screenshots of CRACKS in peoples' televisions because of this. This scares me A LOT. However, if you look past that, it's a whole lot of fun. You can put a lot of spin in the ball or none at all, depending on the orientation of the wiimote during your bowling motion. It's not completely realistic though, as I bowled a 186 on my first try. In real life the best I ever bowled was a 149, and I usually average around 60.

So, each of the games has it's moments and in particular, Tennis and Bowling. I would rank them in the following order:

1. Tennis
2. Bowling
3. Golf
4. Baseball
5. Boxing

Moreover into the game features is a training mode where there are mini-games for each of the sports and 3 different types of challenges that help you to hone your skills in each sport. My favorite one is a target practice with Tennis, where you are basically hitting the ball against a wall as practice. This is incredible for working out, and you really get a good feel for timing your hits and switching from front-hand to back-hand when needed.

On top of the training mode is an interesting tool that put you through 3-4 of the mini-games and measures your "fitness age". The first time I ran this thing, I scored 49 years old. Ouch. I did this a second time a few days later and scored 31. Now that's more like it..

The sounds are pretty mundane, nothing special but then again, how special should it be, you're just hitting a ball in most cases. Graphics are nothing special either, they're completely cartoonish-driven, the golf scenery is nothing to brag about. What I do like is that the wiimote emits sounds so when you hit a ball, you hear it get hit. This is and will be a great feature for likely any game for the Wii. Feedback sound is just a really great idea and other consoles should have thought of this too.

Overall I really enjoy this game, a lot more than I thought I would. If you'll recall I bought Call of Duty 3 because I wasn't sure Wii Sports would hold me over very long. But I often find myself popping that disc back in to try to beat those darn computers at Tennis.

Sound: 8/10
Controls: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Value: 10/10 (after all, it came free!)
Fun Factor: 10/10

Overall score: 45/50.

I haven't even played this game with other people yet, and I'm betting it will be even more fun, considering it was designed for multiplayer. I can hardly wait to have people over and watching the looks on their faces of smiles, determination and ultimately, frustration while playing this.

I think I might have them sign a waiver in case a wiimote goes flying towards my TV, someone must pay!!

November 21, 2006

Review: Call of Duty 3 (Wii)

I bought Call of Duty 3 (CoD) on a whim. Standing behind the cash register at Electronic Boutique Games (EB) I pondered about when I would be receiving my Future Shop (FS) games in the mail. It was a Sunday so I knew it would be at least a couple days. Could Wii Sports hold me over for 2 whole days? I had heard Wii Sports has no depth at all. And having seen a cool video of a person playing Call of Duty 3, I decided this was the game to get, so I slapped down an extra $65 on top of my console, controllers, etc.

This being an impulse purchase, I was immediately cast into doubt when the guy beside me at the other cash registered pointed out to me that CoD doesn't have multiplayer. But with me being silly and basically too giddy to think rationally, I ignored him, signed the receipt and walked out of the store proudly, beaming from ear to ear.

Initially, I found the controls to be pretty awkward. While playing First Person Shooters (FPS) with XBox and GameCube, I had grown accustomed to sitting down, laying back and just playing FPS with my hands in my lap with the controller. But with the added remote controller aspect of the Wii, I now had to have one hand holding the remote and pointing it at the screen at all times. Little movements of my hand from side to side would make my guy turn left and right, while the nunchuk controlled movement forward, backward, and strafing. The biggest difference is that on a conventional console, you can only shoot at whatever is in the middle of your screen. Now, you can aim anywhere on the screen and then to make the guy turn, you need to point just outside of the guys' field of vision. So think of it as a rectangle "shooting area" within the screen, and when you pointed outside the screen, the player would turn.

So initially I had a helluva a time, even just getting through the tutorial. Another problem with the controls I found was that the grenade buttons (Left and Right on the directional pad) was too far up from where my thumb was resting, which was at the A button. Furthermore, to need to reach down again below the A button to the "-" key in order to commandeer vehicles or stationary guns a little troublesome. My hands were just too small or maybe my thumb was too short. In the tutorial I had to throw a grenade into a window, and I had a really tough time pointing above the window without making him just look into the sky, and then reach way up over to the grenade button. It really makes shooting and throwing a grenade at the same time quite difficult -- though I suppose it's a little more realistic.

I'm not going to make too much fuss over the graphics. The Wii's graphics are equivalent to XBox/PS2 graphics. I find this game a little darker than it could be. I'm also sure this game would look better on 480p, but unfortunately the component cables don't come out until December.

Eventually I did get used to the controls and started to kick some Nazi butt.

Other aspects of the game include: Setting up explosives, paddling a boat, driving a tank, driving a jeep, operating turrets, wrestling enemy soldiers. I had the most trouble wrestling. Basically there are times when a german will get the jump on you and you find yourself face to face with him and he's trying to use the rifle to choke you to death. A little window pops up to show you how to manipulate the controller to fight the guy off, and the subsequently knock him in the face with the butt of your gun. It sounds easy but it is NOT.

The most fun I had outside of plain running and gunning, was the driving. It's a whole lot of fun. You hold the nunchuk at 9 o'clock and the Wiimote at 3 o'clock, and you just start driving as if your hands were on a wheel. This is absolutely great fun! The Wiimotes vibrate and give off sounds and I had a great time driving this one jeep through a tank area, whenever one fired upon us, you'd feel a strong rumble from the wiimote. It was absolutely great and gives me great insights as to how great a racing game will be. Possibly a Mario Kart or something of that sort.

If there's one thing I would have to complain about Call of Duty 3, it's the value. With no multiplayer capabilities, this game has limited replayability. Once you finish all the campaigns, there's nothing left except to try it on a harder level. This creates havoc because you're spending $65 on something that might last a month tops, but more likely, 2-3 weeks. If you were a kid and had more time to play, I could see someone finishing in less than 2 weeks, which really limits the value of this game.

One other thing that bothered me was how far back they put you when you die. You could spend 20 minutes getting through a mission and if you die right before you complete, you're sent all the way back from where you started 20 minutes ago. That's a big pain -- though if I recall correctly, the Call of Duty series has always been this way.

So in summary: Call of Duty 3 is very fun. Lack of multiplayer gives it low value and low replayability. Adjustment is needed to get used to the controls. Sounds are great, though a little repetitive -- when your mate yells out "Outta here!" for billionth time, I am thinking "shut up!". Cutscenes are great, good conversation and voice acting. Graphics are average. I think they could have done better, though I really have nothing to compare it to at this point.

Sound: 7/10
Controls: 8/10
Graphics: 7/10
Value: 6/10
Fun Factor: 10/10

Overall score: 38/50.

If you like FPS games, you will like this game, regardless of it's longterm value. That I am quite sure of. I love FPS, but I'm also looking for longterm value.

Note: I called EB to see how much I could get for this game if I traded it back. It was a measely $22 -- for a 2 day old game!! I then found a person on RedFlagDeals to trade with. I'll be trading CoD for Super Monkey Ball tomorrow evening.

November 20, 2006

Urbana: Power trip

I got my Wii today, after service.

The sermon was actually pretty good.. or had some great potential. I always find that the premise of sermons at TCCC are really good but then they fail to close it out. I think that's what I find most unsatisfying about the church, it's the sermons. The topic was "Unanswered Prayer". Pastor Kinson started it out by sharing a story in his childhood of praying for someone who was sick but they ended up dying anyway, and as child, being challenged with this idea that maybe there was no point in praying because it didn't make a difference.

To me that alluded to a very challenging message and something that really hits the core of being a Christian and the struggles and challenges that we face. But then he watered it down and just went into these 4 points about unanswered prayer, about how it protects us, strengthens us, deepens us, etc.

Anyway, about Urbana. I feel like these people are on a power trip. Since it's no longer on a campus this year and just random hotels, I want the comfort of living with friends. Urbana is different this year in that there are several different tracks to choose from and each track is quite different. All the friends I'm going to Urbana with are going on the "Open for Business" track. This is for business people, like finance, business administration, entrepreneurs. It's totally not me. But in order for me to be able to live with them, I need to enroll in the same track.

So I did. As soon as I got registered in the room, I changed my track to what I wanted, which is "Slum Communities in the Developing World".

Then, they moved all "Open for Business" people to another hotel, making everyone re-do the housing. So we did it all over again, I switched back to the Business track and got re-invited into the hotel. Then I went to register for "Slum" again, and it said the track was full! What the heck, so I picked the "AIDS" one instead.

Couple days ago I go back in and notice that they're letting people sign up for Slum but it's a waiting list. Since that's what I wanted to do, I switched to that one.

It kicked me out of the hotel room that I had been reserved for, saying this is a Business hotel and no one else is allowed to stay there. What the heck..

So I registered back in the Business track, got reinvited into the room, and send a complaint letter to the Urbana people.

What gives? I paid $450 to go to Urbana, spent another $300 on flight, and further I'll have to pay for my own lunches, and housing. And they won't even let me choose who I get to live with or what seminars I get to attend? What's the point? Certain individuals have a particular conviction to attend certain plenary sessions or seminars, and instead they decide to force everyone to go a certain way. It just doesn't make sense.

Urbana 2006 is completely chaotic. I hope they will get their act together, I am slowly losing interest.

November 18, 2006


I watched "The Upside Of Anger" this morning. I missed the first 15 minutes, so when they found the body, I had no CLUE what was going on. I thought I had changed the channel by accident. But otherwise I thought it was a pretty good movie. While I was watching this movie, for the longest time I had her name on the tip of my tongue, and then at about the 45 minute mark, I finally blurted out "JOAN ALLEN! YES!!". I gave myself a solid Tiger-Woods-pumping-fist and congratulated myself for finally remembering her name.

--I've noticed that lately I've been really bad with naming stars I see on television or in the theatre. I think this is a good thing though, because it shows that I stopped caring about completely useless things like this. This happened again later on in the afternoon while watching "Wedding Crashers" for, what I believe to be the 11th time. What.. it's entertaining! Anyway, it wasn't until the beach scene where they were playing the slapping game that I raised my arms up for a touchdown and blurted out "RACHEL MCADAMS! SCORE!!". My apologies to those who take pride in memorizing movie star names.

Ina lended me "10 Things I Hate About You" and "Serendipity". I'll comment on the latter first. I liked this movie. I don't think there has been a John Cusack movie that I didn't like. I'll give the movie a solid 8/10, which is really good considering it's a romantic comedy. Excuse me for saying this, but Kate Beckinsale is hot. (And no, I didn't have to look up that name.)

Onto "10 Things". I actually watched this a week ago. This movie reminded me a lot of Swingers, in that many people talk about the movie, many actors got their start in the movie, and it was just one big disappointment and waste of time. Jon told me it was based on the Taming Of The Shrew. While that may be the case, I have no idea what that is nor do I care. But I can tell you is that all teenage romantic comedies have the same approximate plot, so at least this one is original considering that it's fairly 'older'. So aside from the originality, this one was a stinker. Whatever the case may be -- I give it a rating of *yawn* out of 10.

--Sometimes movies that are 'ahead of their time' lose their effectiveness when they've been done over and over and all you can really say is "but that's the movie that started them all!".

Now for a BIG apology.

I watched a movie called "Flight of the Phoenix" on TMN OnDemand. Mind you I've been cleaning my place all day and wasn't really paying attention to the movie. But I read the synopsis and caught the words "plane crash" and "survive in desert" and that got me all excited since I love those types of 'survive in the wilderness' movies. All I can tell you about this movie was that it crap. It was so bad I can't even rate it out of 10. To show the magnitude of it's crapiness I'll have to move to a scale of 1 to a billion. I give it a 0/1000000000.

--I swear I'm always surprised to find my "guess bathroom" so dirty. I never use this bathroom because I have one in my own room. You would think that guests would have the decency to try and maintain the cleanliness of it. You would be wrong. What the heck are people doing in there? I dunno about you but when I'm at someone else's house I try my best to be as clean as possible in their bathroom.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that. Wii-rival is tomorrow!

November 11, 2006

I miss my mom

It was my mom's birthday a few days ago, and I sent her a great big happy birthday email..

I know -- I could have done better. I could have easily taken a few minutes out of my busy schedule to give her a call, even despite our time difference, it would have been worth it for her.

As I sit here behind my computer and keyboard, in my pajamas, eating a microwaved meal for the 3rd time this week, 3rd only because I skipped dinner twice, I am in total awe of what an amazing woman my mom is and how much I miss having her around.. or being around her.

In the past I would have said that my dad is the ultimate father/husband. He does it all, he's the total package. I've had friends telling me that my dad was "Super Dad", and they barely know him or barely scratched the surface. But I'm here to talk about my mom today.

Yesterday for Small Group, we studied Proverbs 31:10-31, which is the Prologue of Proverbs, and talks about "a Wife of Noble Character". Our SG leader took translations of each passage and asked us whether the statement was true for the person we were thinking about. (I've quoted The Message so that it can apply more to modern terms):

A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
This is definitely true, my mom is worth more than diamonds -- in fact all the wealth in the world doesn't measure up to how much I value my mom.

Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
No doubt about that. Dad trusts her with many things, except maybe to not scratch the car (haha).

Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
That's certainly true as well. Sure they have occasional spats, every couple does.. But in the end they love eachother immensely and their love overflows into our family dynamics and even far beyond that.

She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
That's definitely true, Mom has patched many, many of my pants, ripped jackets and shirts. She once made a laundry bag for each students graduating from highschool. She helped me sew together my grade 6 tear-away pants that to this day, I believe I deserved an A on, not to mention some kind of patent, I could've been rich, no thanks to you Ms. Paul! Mom taught me how to sew too and I'm pretty good at it now.. Mom help me fix all the mistakes I made after I tried to sew a stuffed doggy for a girl I had a crush on. I wonder if she still has it.. And mom even made macromay flower hangers for a few of our potted plants. So yea, mom can definitely sew/knit.

She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
Whenever Mom goes on a trip somewhere, she buys us something. She got me a shot glass from The Orleans hotel in Las Vegas, a Niagara-On-The-Lake sweater for when she went there on a business trip.

She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
I don't think there are too many mom's out there who hasn't gotten up early to prepare a meal for her family. This one's too easy.

She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
Mom definitely has done her share of lawn care and gardening. Our front lawn had been decimated by cinch bugs once, and mom went out, pulled out all the weeds and grass, and literally re-seeded the entire patch of dead grass on her own. It was pretty amazing, if you go and take a look at the house now, that's the most healthy patch of grass on the entire lawn, if not in the entire neighbourhood. Every year I remember we'd always be the first house on the street with beautiful crocuses (which of course always bloomed pre-maturely and died from frostbite because of a 'fake' spring). We always had tulips too, and all kinds of other plants. Mom took me out to the back to meet Mr. French, our old neighbours in Unionville, and let me spend time with Mr. French to learn about wildflowers. How else would a 6-year old be able to tell the difference between Lady Slippers and Lady-in-the-Pulpit?

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
Mom is always the first person awake. Even now, when we go visit, she's always the first awake, to go feed the dog, or prepare our breakfast. I'm an early riser and she even beats me to it. Maybe I get it from her? Come to think of it I don't think Mom ever 'sleeps in'. She's alawys the first (except for Christmas mornings when I'd get up pretty much when everyone went to bed).

She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
Mom spent many late nights (as most accountants tend to do), fixing other peoples' mistakes. I remember how relieved I was when mom finished her CMA so that she wouldn't be coming home late anymore. Mom definitely put in her time to provide for our family.

She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
There's a centerpiece and a couple of fake potted plants in my condo that Mom made. She's very skilled.. if you ever came to our home in Vegas, you'd see all the paintings and drawings she's made. People come over and see them and think we bought them. That's definitely Mom's handiwork right there, making our home a warmer place, full of artwork. Since my parents moved to Vegas, Mom's been a full-time housewife.

She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
Mom has always been one of the most compassionate persons I've known. She's always the first to start crying when she sees something sad or sees someone suffering. And she's always the first to go help someone when they're in need. She really goes out of her way to help others.

She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
This kind of goes back to the sewing thing, but Mom always had us ready for winter. All the winter clothes would be out and ready, she would always make sure we were bundled up warmly. I remember we could never lose our mitts or gloves because Mom tied a string through the back and sleeves so that they'd just hang off and never get lost. In retrospect I should have done that with my gloves.. I just lost a pair last winter.

She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
This was probably the only one I couldn't say was true. Mom's always dressed very humbly, never too fancy or flashy. I think some of the clothes she wears could be older than I am. But I think this might be the one point in King Lemuel's writings that is out of place. Mom conserves her own personal spending for the benefit of everyone else. Less new clothes for her means new clothes for the rest of us, and it's that generosity that really shines through.

Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
Even this is true. Dad works for the government so that covers the "city fathers" part. And he's sent me newspaper articles about him and the work he's been doing there. No doubt you have to be well respected to get your picture in the news!

She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
I'm not sure if Mom has ever sold any of the clothes she made.. though we could've made a killing on those tearaways! (Yes, I'll never let that one go). Mom made me and my brother's Hallowe'en costumes. Darryl was the cutest pumpkin on the block, and wow we got so much candy when we took him out in that costume!

Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
Mom does worry about us a lot sometimes, maybe a bit too much. Mom is rarely worried about anything to do with herself. It's always us, or my dad, or my grandparents that she really gets worried about. The whole clothing thing -- again I don't see that as a big positive anyway.

When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
Mom is pretty soft-spoken, although I know that she has opened up a lot in Vegas with her women's bible study group, all those ladies seem to know so much about me and Darryl. Anyone who's known my mom knows she's a very kind woman. Even when mom's nagging me, there is always quite a bit of truth in what she's saying, even if I'll deny it. (I will *always* deny this!)

She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Darryl and I used to say that Mom was against us having fun. Whenever we were having fun, Mom would come and burst our bubbles, and get us to do some work around the house. Vacuuming, washing dishes, mopping, these things always came up whenever we weren't being productive. So this one's definitely bang on!

Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
I think this one goes without saying.. we definitely love and have the utmost respect for Mom and what she has accomplished in her life.

"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
I don't mean to make comparisons, and let's not go down the "my mom's better than your mom!" road, but out of anyone I know personally, Mom surpasses them all.

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Mom is always stressing us (me and Darryl, and even to Dad to some extent) to read His word, giving us books of wisdom to read, and urging us to be more active in our faith, to be Christ-like, to be ambassadors of God. She is always telling us to behave, and be nice to old people, to be generous and humble, honest and trustworthy, patient and faithful.

Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!
I had to look that one up. A festoon is like a garland. After reading this scripture, and going through this lesson of noble characteristics, I can say without hesitation that my Mom is a noble character!

Happy Birthday Mom! I miss you!!

November 06, 2006

The Prestige

I'm not going to pretend -- I have not seen as movies this year as I would have liked. There's at least a half dozen movies out there that I thought to myself "Ooh.. that looks good" but never got around to seeing them. After last year's batch of politically themed films (and hence, movies that were boring as hell), I have been a lot more gun shy when it comes to spending my hard-earned dough on big-screen entertainment.

So I haven't seen very many movies, but I should say that I'm glad I went to see The Prestige. This was one I did want to see, it being a Christian Bale movie, and also a Christopher Nolan movie. And Scarlett Johansson, did I mention Scarlett Johansson?

I'm a big fan of Christian Bale, I like his intensity and the way he manifests himself into characters that he plays. The guy lost over 80 pounds just to play his role in The Machinist, and then following that, gained all that mass back as muscle so that he could play Batman. If that's not dedication to your craft, then I don't know what is.

Hugh Jackman I'm not as big a fan of, but he was decent in this movie. I think with Jackman, I always find that he's tries too hard to keep his pretty-boy image intact, I always feel as if he's going to say his line and then wink to the camera and give his "Hey ladies.. I'm being a badass because I know you think I'm hot" look. He's also got this famous 'scowl', the "Whoa.. how did he do that amazing magic trick?" look, or the "Hundreds of mutants and yet I'm always the one that has to save the day?" look, or the "How many more of these things to have to kill?" look (from Van Helsing). He's yet to show me he can actually act.

Michael Caine was playing his 'loyal friend that doesn't really get mixed up with the conflict of the story' role much like he did opposite Bale in Batman Begins as Alfred the butler. And to Scarlett Johansson -- if you are reading this -- we know you can play a promiscuous woman. Show us something else! Or don't take acting seriously and just be the "eye candy" of every film you make.. that's also fine with me.

But really aside from the average acting, it really was a great movie. Complete with several twists and a shocking (actually, disturbing) end. I can't say any more about the plot without giving it away.

I recommend this movie to anyone and give it a stellar 8.7/10.

November 03, 2006


The topic of burgers came up today at work, and immediately I brought up my favorite burger place, In-N-Out burgers. Actually the conversation started when one guy had interest in buying Tim Horton's stock, and then we got talking about various franchising which finally led to the discussion of burgers.

One guy told me about Fatburger, which is a place I guess I will have to try out when I go this Christmas.

But the thing about In-N-Out burgers is that they're made fresh -- never frozen, and you can pretty much order it any way you like. They have a secret menu where you can order certain things and they'll bring out a burger according to the code name.

One popular burger is the # x #. So say you order a 3x4. That's 3 patties and 4 slices of cheese. 4x4 is 4 patties and 4 slices of cheese. Check out this guy, who had a 100x100 (if you just ate, don't click.. it's kinda gross in a very funny way).

Another one is the "flying dutchman", which is one I will likely try this winter. It's two patties, two slices of cheese. No lettuce, no tomatoes, no buns, no anything. Just meat and cheese.

The one I already knew about is "Animal style" which basically means they give you sauteed onions instead of fresh uncooked onions. What I didn't know is that you can also get animal style fries, they top your fries off with secret sauce, cheese and sauteed onions.

Secret sauce is just Thousand Island dressing, btw.

One other one I wanted to try is the "Protein Burger", this is just a regular burger but they wrap it in lettuce instead of buns. So no bread at all, just patties and cheese wrapped in a lettuce, kinda like that Peking Duck thing.

Here's a PDFof all their secret stuff, and a site. Check them out.. they have pictures.

October 31, 2006

"Earth" uses iPod

Just for fun, a few months ago I ran an experiment (it was really more something for me to do on the subway besides sleep), where I would count the number of people listening to portable devices, and out of those, count the number of them using an iPod.

I took about 30-35 different samples, and ended up with an average of 7 out of 9. 7 out of every 9 "mp3 listeners" were using iPods. That's pretty incredible.

The picture above is a satellite image take in Alberta, near Medicine Hat. Pretty freaky isn't it? The URL is HERE.

October 29, 2006

October 26, 2006

2006-2007 NBA Predictions

Champions: Dallas Mavericks
NBA Finals: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Dallas Mavericks
Most Valuable Player: Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Runner Up: Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowtizki, Tim Duncan
Playoffs MVP: Dirk Nowitzki
Runner Up: Lebron James, Josh Howard
Rookie of the Year: Brandon Roy, Portland Trailblazers
Runner Up: Renaldo Balkman, Rajon Rondo, Andrea Bargnani
Sixth Man Award: Fred Jones, Toronto Raptors
Runner Up: (no idea)
Most Improved Player: Gerald Green, Boston Celtics
Runner Up: Kris Humphries, Francisco Elson, Darko Milicic
Coach of the Year: Scott Skiles, Chicago Bulls
Runner Up: Pat Riley, Jeff Van Gundy, Greg Popovich
Scoring Champ: Lebron James

Playoff Seeds
Eastern Conference:
1. Miami Heat
2. Chicago Bulls
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
4. Detroit Pistons
5. Indiana Pacers
6. New Jersey Nets
7. Washington Wizards
8. Toronto Raptors, 42-40

Western Conference:
1. San Antonio Spurs
2. Dallas Mavericks
3. Houston Rockets
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Sacramento Kings
6. LA Clippers
7. LA Lakers
8. Denver Nuggets

Other predictions:

1. Sam Mitchell will not be fired.
2. Renaldo Balkman will be good, but Isiah Thomas will be fired.
3. Steve Nash will not be the best point guard in the league.

October 24, 2006

Best Show

As some of you know, I watch a lot of television. But those who don't.. well many of you think I play video games all day long. I stopped playing. I now devote 40% of that video gaming time to television (the other 60% goes towards my Perspectives homework).

So, back to the issue of television. I've caught just about every new show this season and have been able to decide within an episode or two (or three or four) whether or not the show is worth watching, or rather, whether or not it deserves my undying week-in-and-week-out loyalty.

Some shows have already been cancelled, and in all cases, I whole-heartedly agreed with the networks' decision. Mind you there are still a few survivors (shows like Justice, Vanished, Studio 60, 30 Rock, The Nine, Brothers and Sisters, Men in Trees, Rumors), but it's only a matter of time. 30 Rock surprised me the most in its suckitude. Tina Fey is a wonderful writer, but she sucks as an actor. Her character is the most boring out of the entire show. Very disappointing. The latter 3 I have never seen before. I hate Calista Flockhart and Anne Heche so those were no-brainers (not that I really want to waste my time watching prime-time soap opera's anyway).

Out of the shows I do like:
- Prison Break (not new)
- Heroes
- House (not new)
- CSI (not new)
- Jericho
- LOST (not new)
- Standoff

Which of these would I classify as the best show? Well first of all, I only watch Prison Break, Heroes, Jericho and LOST. Standoff is a cop show, no continuation therefore no reason to tune in every night. Same for CSI and even though House is not a cop show, it is still different week-to-week and unless you really care about the recovery of his leg, there is no real edge to watching every single episode.

You may notice that Smallville is not on this list. The reason is that I've decided to put this show on hiatus and watch it with my brother in the winter/summer, whenever we're both free. Thursdays are a no-no for me since I have class, and well, I just hope Malice is able to hold off, if anything, to save himself time to study.

This leaves 4 shows, all of which are continuous.

LOST is on the brink of annoyance. With the writers not knowing where they are headed, I feel like I'm being cheated out of an hour each week because nothing has really happened. They ended last season in a cliffhanger that, 3 week later still has not been resolved. Keeping viewers in the dark is one thing, but I have the distinct feeling that the reasons they weren't resolved was because the writers are hoping we forgot about the details because they couldn't think of a good way to resolve them. Still, the mystery keeps me coming back, even though I know that the writers are just messing with us. LOST's ratings have taken a significant hit this season, they are well below their averages from last year. Hopefully that will encourage the producers and writers that they should have an episode where SOMETHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

JERICHO is a show about a small town that apparently may contain a handful of the few remaining americans alive after what appears to have been a nuclear attack on the US. What keeps me watching? I want to find out who did this to them. And in kind of a 'survivor' kind of theme, I want to see how they can make it, when they run out of fuel, electricity.. resources. There is heart to this show, and compassion, and also desperation and fear. I guess this show basically has a soul and it's very interesting and compelling to watch.

PRISON BREAK. The twists, the turns, the escape. Here is another show that keeps me coming back just because of the whodunit? aspect of the storyline. You want to see the government plot exposed, and you want to see the characters escape from the grasps of these bad guys (the FBI). Yea I kind of just spoiled it for you but what did you expect.

Which leaves finally the best show on television today -- HEROES.

HEROES is in my opinion, without a doubt, the best show on television. It has everything that I could ask for. First there's the superhero aspect of it. People trying to save the world but they are not from another planet. They're real people like you and me. Then there's the mutant/special abilities aspect to it. People discovering new things that couldn't do before, and testing them out. There's an evil villain.. you don't know what he wants or is trying to accomplish but boy he looks pretty mean and nasty. The show is well written and acted, and things ACTUALLY HAPPEN. There's a guy who can fly. Yes. Fly.

You know I've got nothing against the other shows, surely I would like Prison Break a lot if Michael Schofield could fly, but if he could, there wouldn't be much of an escape there. He'd be in Panama now and the story would be over.

October 21, 2006

Big Meat

If only Google would fix their uploading of pictures for Beta Blogger, I would be able to show you the roast lamb I made for Thanksgiving.

I've discovered that I like to cook big meats. First I did the chicken last Thanksgiving, and then I've done several beef briskets, and then a roast lamb and now..

I bought a rack of ribs today and will try to make "fall off the bone" ribs, likely tomorrow, but more likely sometime during the week, which really means next Saturday if I'm lucky.

I really like cooking meat. I think it's because I really like meat.

October 18, 2006

The Nintendo Wii

I am, by all means, a Nintendo fanboy. I lined up on Monday morning at 7:15am (just as the sun speak out above the horizon) in front of my local EB Games store in the hopes of getting a pre-order for the new console by Nintendo, the Wii. 7:15am is nothing as the people in the front of the line had been there at 9pm the night before, and I'd count myself lucky because only 2 more people behind me got a Wii pre-order that day, everyone else went home empty handed.

Here is a great article about the Wii that surely should inspire your imagination.

October 16, 2006


I've been racking my brains for the last couple of days. You see, our church finally decided to have us (Longlac team) share as part of a sunday school session. Each of us have around 5 minutes to say something. If you'll recall, I went to Longlac 3 months ago. Three months.

It's been tough for me to try to remember events of that trip that were particularly meaningful to me. Because it's just been so long. I've been asking around what people would be most interested in hearing. One guy told me, that most people just share about the funny stories. But, that doesn't really do much, the point of sharing is to let people know what God has been doing, and how to motivate people to go on missions. One other guy told me to tell the funny stories. So..

I kind of want to share about my spiritual walk, and where the Spirit's been leading me after the trip. About me taking Perspectives, planned trip to Urbana, me wanting to go to China, things like that -- but that doesn't really talk about the trip, it's just about me. And were there any significant events during the trip that made me want to take missions more seriously? I don't know.. I think it was a more gradual thing. I almost didn't take Perspectives because I wanted more time for myself, but in the end enrolled and now I have no time for myself, but am loving the course..

So what should I share about?

October 12, 2006

For What It's Worth

There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there telling me I got to beware

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn, nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds, getting so much resistance from behind

What a field-day for the heat, a thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs, mostly say, hooray for our side

Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

Before, we fought wars to defend something, there was innocence and people didn't know why we were fighting. People were afraid. You can see it right here in the lyrics by Buffalo Springfield. Hence all the "give peace a chance" and hippy culture. Great songs were written to inspire our people, to encourage awareness and for us to stand up and fight for what was right.

Why isn't there stuff like this anymore? Are we not hunting down Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan? Trying to uphold peace in Iraq?

The world has changed. Today we fight, but no longer is it between right and wrong. It's for politics, for money, revenge. There's no longer a driving force for the war, it's completely politically driven, leaving the general people powerless to make a stand. There's nothing we can do but sit back and wait for it to pass. Gone are the days of rally's, protests, burning effigies. The young people of today have no passion, they're aware but disconnected from the rest of the world.

Look at what John Mayer says about it:

Me and all my friends we're all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and there's no way we ever could
Now we see everything that's going wrong with the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don't have the means to rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting, waiting on the world to change

It's hard to beat the system when we're standing at a distance

Now if we had the power to bring our neighbors home from war
They would have never missed a Christmas no more ribbons on their door
And when you trust your television what you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh they can bend it all they want

It's not that we don't care, we just know that the fight ain't fair
One day our generation is gonna rule the population

One day..

October 06, 2006

Rock and Roll

When I was young, like really young because in truth I am pretty young right now. Anyway, as I was saying, when I was young, as in back in the day, I had friends that were really into rock and rock, and being the naive, good boy christian, I scoffed at that stuff.

That stuff was beneath me. I mean, you have to remember I was a good kid, a model son, the kind that all the parents at church would sigh when they looked at me, wishing their kid had turned out like me. I think for that reason a lot of kids must have resented me, probably often getting the ol' "Why can't you be like Brian" speech. In retrospect, that might explain why I was excluded whenever all the kids were off doing some mischievious deed and I was left alone to do my own thing.

I guess that also explains why when I watch the people on Rockstar do covers on these songs, they all sound new to me, even though they are, in fact, classics.

Now when I look back on those days, I realize that I missed out on a whole lot of good rock and roll. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Cream, (okay, maybe that was before my time, but) the point is -- I missed out on all this great music while I was busy being a good boy and making my parents proud. And now, going back on that, it is really pure gold that I missed out on, musically these songs sound fantastic, and lyrically, they are meaningful and poetic. At least, unlike the crap you hear these days.

October 04, 2006


So here is what happened. In the blogger settings you can choose to publish via ftp to an external non-blogspot website. This is exactly what I did, switching to I did this to experiment.

What happened next will explain why you haven't seen any posts here for the past few weeks. I went to blogger and tried to switch it back to Only when I did this, it told me that "ebrian" was not available.

At first I thought someone had stolen it, but as you know this site has remained here the entire time. I then went through the Google help groups and finally found out that this is a bug that they were working on. Any time you switch your subdomain out to ftp, when you go back it is locked and unreachable. The purpose for this was to prevent spammers from snatching up existing subdomains and posting spam everywhere.

So finally I'm back here again.

September 22, 2006

New blog

I've moved to

The funny thing of course is that you can only read this message if you go to, which of course is impossible since, well, you're probably sitting in front of the computer staring at and wondering why he hasn't updated in ages.

Hah. Well, not much I can do.


Continuum is the latest album belonging to John Mayer. This is a fantastic CD, just completely and totally awesome. It's just great, it really is.

You'd have to be pretty crazy not to buy this CD. It's really just that good. If you buy this CD, you will be tremendously satisfied with your purchase. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is "REFUND" and 10 is "It's so good, I'm gonna buy THREE so I can listen to it at home and in the car and at work!", I give this album a 42.

September 21, 2006

The Verdict is in..

There's a number of new shows out there that I've checked out over the past couple weeks. Here's a brief overview/review of the shows.. they are in no particular order.

1. Justice

Justice is about a law firm that takes on high profile cases. The kink in the show is that they deal with the media and at the end they show what really happened (whether or not the person was indeed guilty or not). This show is all flash and no substance. It's pure crap. Ron Rifkin should have perhaps waited for a better role before jumping on this straight after Alias. He's too brash and arrogant (I know, he's supposed to be -- but it's just not believable) and frankly, I find him a little annoying, as in Wanda Sykes annoying. Yes, I went there. This show may last because stupid Americans really like their lawyer/cop shows. But in my opinion, it should be cancelled.. I'd give it a 2 out of 10. It shows at 9pm, which I believe will end up competing with LOST when that returns in October? Yea, this show is gonna die if that's the case.. but I think it would have died anyway, because it blows.

2. Standoff

Standoff is a show about hostage situations, and a pair negotiators who are really good at their job and happen to be having a romantic relationship with eachother. The guy is played by the Office Space guy, and he's actually okay, and the girl, I don't know where I've seen her from but she and him get together well and they have a pretty good chemistry going. I suppose you can credit the writing. Whatever the case may be, I find this show interesting and on a scale of 1 to 10, I give it solid 7. I'm not sure if this show is flashy or compelling enough that it will keep going. Standoff is on at 9pm Tuesdays, which gives it a decent chance because everyone watches House at 8pm.

3. Jericho

Jericho is a show about a town that survives a nuclear attack on US soil. I've only seen one episode of this show but I was pretty riveted throughout the hour. One of the mains, Jake, is played by someone I've seen before but I have no idea where. I think one of those old teenage angst actors. Anyway, so far Atlanta and Denver have been completely wiped out. It's an interesting show and at first glance I would give it a 9 out of 10, however if you think about it -- how far can they go with this show. Once the town uses their ham radio or whatever the heck they use to communicate with other nearby towns, then what? Either they go Adam & Eve cuz they're the last ones left, or there are other towns.. I just don't see where they could go with this. If it was terrorists, how can a tiny town defend themselves? This show is on at 8pm on Wednesdays.

4. Kidnapped

Kidnapped is a show about a high-profile man's son who is kidnapped. They've got that Delindo Roy or something, the black dude from Gone in 60 Seconds. And also, Bubba from Forrest Gump is in this too. Looks like the bad guy is that runt from The Green Mile, the bad guard named Percy? He plays a great villain. This show was also good, I'm pleasantly surprised by what TV has to offer on Wednesday's. I'm assuming LOST returns to Wednesdays which puts up somewhat of a bidding war for ebrian's attention. Plus Grey's Anatomy is also on Wednesdays (I don't watch Anatomy, but I'm very aware of it's popularity.) I would also give Kidnapped a 9 of 10. I just hope it ends like 24 does, a conclusion at the end of the season and not some stupid conspiracy show that drags on for several years.

5. Vanished

This is another high-profile kidnapping, this time the wife of a senator. I think this show will bomb, because it's crap. There's just nothing there for me to want to continue watching, even though I've seen 2 episodes and have learned about the characters and their feelings. There's too many conspiracies going on and too many characters to keep track of. I would give it a 5/10. This show is gonna go heads up against NBC's new show "Heroes" which is apparently about people who have superpowers. Vanished got a head start (3-4 episodes before Heroes premiere's next week), but I think it's gonna shrivel up and die.

6. Smith

Smith is about regular family people who get together occasionally to commit heists and other illegal activities. It has some extreme star power with Virginia Madsen, Ray Liotta and Amy Smart. I dunno about you guys but I find this show kind of disappointing. I don't like Ray Liotta as Bobby Smith. He's just not believable as a family man, nor a criminal. It's like he should have never signed on the show. Another thing is Virginia.. there's something about her, ever since Sideways I've had sort of had a crush on her. It's not like she's particular attractive, but when I think about her monologue about wine, there's just that bit of passion about her that I think is really cool. Anyway, as for the show it's just not that good. I have no idea what the show's purpose is. My assumption is that they're never actually going to get caught and the entire show is about each person's relationship with their "day job" acquaintances. 6.5/10.

7. Shark

In case you're wondering, I have no intention of watching this because I can't stand the sight of his face nor the sound of his voice. Of course I'm talking about James Woods. Plus I've had it up to here with lawyer shows. What's the point of lawyer shows? If you really think about it, it's quite possibly the most boring premise that any show could have. Okay, they're real people just like you and me -- we get it. Cases. Law. Judge. Jury. Guilty. Not guilty. Enough!

8. Studio 60 on Sunset Strip

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooring. I think it's about a show similar to SNL that rehires ex-writers because they really suck and decide to go in a new direction. Amanda Peete and Matthew Perry are in it, and also one of dudes from Kings of Comedy. Judd Hirsch was on too but I think it was just a cameo. I like Matt though, for once he's not Chandler. I'm getting tired as it's 1am, but because I had coffee for the first time in a year, I'm totally wired. 6/10. This one could go the distance as they've got some writers from West Wing doing this, meaning it's actually quite well written. It's very different. I wonder if they'll show sketches from the pseudo-SNL, or will it just be about relationships between actors who are playing actors who are playing actors. That's new.

Reality shows!

1. Survivor

Survivor is about.. if I have to explain to you what Survivor is, you shouldn't be reading this post. This year they've pitted races against eachother. 4 teams of 5: the whites, the blacks, the asians and the hispanics. The Asians curiously have no chinese people -- a vietnamese, two koreans and two filipino's. If you're wondering why there are no chinese people, it's simple. Chinese people are too good to be on the show. If they had a chinese person on the show, they may as well just give them the $1M and the show would end. :)

Seriously though.. last week when they announced that there was going to be puzzles in the immunity challenge, how many people honestly thought the Asians *wouldn't* win? C'mon now. Give me a puzzle or math problem, I will solve it. Give me something heavy to lift, that's another story.

2. Amazing Race

No thanks. It's on Sundays. Football is on Sundays.

One day if they remove all the equalizer rounds from Amazing Race, I might tune in again. What I mean is, a team has a huge lead, like 12 hour lead. So, the next place that they arrive, conveniently they need to take a ferry that doesn't leave for another 16 hours. Hmm.. do you think everyone is gonna catch up? What they need is a non-stop race, none of these "let's let everyone catch up even though they screwed up badly and honestly should have been eliminated 8 weeks ago" rounds.

Also, it's getting a bit too repetitive.

"I think it's left."
"No, you're stupid, turn right."
"No, you're a fat cow, turn left!"
"I hate you. [turns left]"
[several hours later]
"I think you were right.."
"I'm always right. I want a divorce."
"[starts crying] Why do you have to be so mean? You're not a very supportive person. When I met you in the online dating system, you seemed so nice!"
"Just shutup and go back."
"I hate you."
"Finally, we agree on something."
[show ends, couple is eliminated]

"I'm so glad we went on this trip. We learned so much about eachother and we're stronger now than we ever were. Thank you LavaLife, thank you Amazing Race!"

New category.. comedies!

1. 'Til Death

This one stars Brad Garrett from Everybody Love's Raymond. He and his wife have been married many years and a newlywed moves in next door and Brad teaches the new guy the ins and outs of marriage. It's a pretty entertaining show. Thursdays are really, for me, a dead zone since I have my Perspectives class on Thursdays.. but I think this show will do well. I give it an 8.5/10. It's gonna make it.

That's all for now!