July 24, 2008


Pastor Ian preached about Consequences this past Sunday. It made me think about a lot of the choices I've made in the past. One of things that's been on my mind, obviously, is blogging. But moreover I've been thinking a lot about how much the world has changed, how close we are together and how easily we can reach eachother.

Whether that's a good thing or not can be left up to you to decide.

But about blogging. Of course I've always known that this blog is readily available to anyone with internet access, except perhaps those with restricted access in various countries. But it never really became so apparent to me as it did a couple weeks ago. It's just the realization that ANYONE could be reading this.

I never really thought twice that what I said here could affect other people. The consequences of sharing my experiences a year ago could have huge repercussions. It's one big web of dissension.

Perhaps the word itself "blog" is somewhat deceiving. Originating from "web log", it is a log that is found on the web. It's accessible to the general public. But when you think of logs, or journals, or perhaps diaries, the word "public" does not enter your mind. To view a log usually takes some work. You might need to retrieve a log, say from a storage device. A journal might require you to search under someone's mattress or pillow. Finding a diary might not be good enough, a lot of them have locks and require a key to open --- and heaven forbid if you did open it up --- reading someone's diary is widely considered an invasion of privacy. But a blog.. a blog is read by everyone.

(In fact, the moment you press "Publish" it is pretty much etched in stone. Even if you retract it, it's already too late because people have those pesky RSS feeders that retrieve it the instant you publish.)

Pretty crazy. Kinda makes you want to think twice the next time you post, eh?

July 22, 2008

Perfect pitch

I only know a few people with perfect pitch. Many people say they have perfect pitch but then they prove otherwise by their singing. I don't know if that means they don't have perfect pitch, but I do know they didn't sing in perfect pitch. Or could it be that I'm so way off myself, that perfection sounds off? I'm not so sure.

For whatever reason, I've been listening to a lot of Carpenters lately. Two weeks ago I was listening to a whole lot of rap music at work, then I saw Hellboy II, and found myself listening to Barry Manilow. Then for some reason I started looking up Carpenters, and now I can't get enough of it. Karen Carpenter had such a great voice, it's soft and gentle, yet assertive. And she's got perfect pitch for sure, there's no doubt about it. She sounded pretty damn good in her day, makes me sad that she died so young.


Day 3

Level 1: 5
Level 2: 4
Level 3: 4
Level 4: 3
Level 5: max (at least 5)

So I went ahead with the program last night, just after dinner. Everything went fine, this morning I'm not sore at all, I'm not sure what to think of that. Anyhow, I managed 12 on level 5, just barely bettering my previous record of 11 in a row.

Although the program suggests 3 days per week, I kind of want just keep going on this every other day thing that I've been doing so far.

July 21, 2008

The best movie ever made?

On Saturday I went down to Mel Lastman Square to check out the CCSA mid-season mixer. There were a few bands playing, a couple of them comprised of kids from our church so I just wanted to see how good they were. I called my brother and we met up there, listened to the bands play and then we got bored and decided to go home.

As I headed back into Empress Walk I wondered aloud if the theater was showing The Dark Knight, because sometimes it doesn't show the big blockbuster films.

We went up the escalator and lo and behold there it was, and it was starting 15 minutes! So in we went.

Amazingly the theatres were all full, they had been showing the film all day and even ours was full. Rule of thumb: If Empress Walk theaters are full, then it MUST be a good movie.

I don't know if I would call it the best movie of all time, although some people believe it to be truth. It was pretty damn good, though flawed in that I felt like it could have ended a whole lot sooner, but I understand they wanted to do Dent some justice.

But easily the best Batman film ever. By a mile.

Anyway, go watch it. 15 million others already have.


Day 2 of the push up plan was as follows (I did this on Saturday):

Level 1: 4 push ups
Level 2: 3 push ups
Level 3: 2 push ups
Level 4: 2 push ups
Level 5: max (at least 4)

90 seconds break between each level. I managed to get 11 at level 5, once again smashing my old record of 9 in a row. I guess I was overly optimistic to expect a linear improvement, going from 4 to 9 to 11. Am I peaking? I hope not. I was feeling pretty sore after Day 1, whereas today (for Day 3) I'm not feeling any soreness at all. Could I hit 15 today, or 12?

July 17, 2008

Week 1, Day 1

In the hundred push ups plan, day 1 of week 1 has 5 levels:

Level 1: 2 push ups
Level 2: 2 push ups
Level 3: 2 push ups
Level 4: 2 push ups
Level 5: max (at least 5)

You're supposed to give yourself 1 minute between each level of break time. I seemed to do relatively well, on Level 5 I managed 9 push ups in a row, smashing my old record of 4 in a row. The instructions say to give at least 1 day between workout days, I guess it gives your muscles a chance to tear and heal. Anyhow, I plan to do the next day on Saturday. I hope you will keep my accountable.
There's the kid who performs at Market Square (that's the "square" in front of Metro Hall) once in awhile on Thursdays for "Indulge". They have food for sale and a farmer's market and live music. Anyway this kid is named Jordan John. He's a drummer but he can sing and I saw him play the electric guitar once. He's amazing..

He's living proof of how hard it must be to break into the music industry. The fact that he's not considered one of the more talented Canadian kids out there is amazing to me, unless he's simply just not interested in fame. Seeing him today playing drums and singing at the same time was really cool. I think what impresses me is that he plays the drums so effortlessly.

He'll be back next week and I'm definitely looking forward to it.


I found this site, http://www.hundredpushups.com yesterday through my newsfeed on Lifehacker yesterday. It's a 6-week training program that promises that by investing 3 days a week for a total of 30 minutes per week, you will be able to (or be well on your way to) do 100 push ups in one go.

The beauty of course with push ups is there's no equipment required, and you don't have to go anywhere to do it. That pretty much fits well with my lifestyle.

The site should was down for most of yesterday (they call this phenomenon lifehacker'd, but when it came back on I downloaded and printed out the PDF complete plan.

There is an initial test before you get started. This helps to determine the level of difficulty that you are about to embark on. The training itself has 3 levels, based on where you ranked on the initial test.

Rank 1: 0-5 push ups
Rank 2: 6-14 push ups
Rank 3: 15-29 push ups
Rank 4: 30-49 push ups
Rank 5: 50-99 push ups
Rank 6: 100-150 push ups
Rank 7: 150 & above

It's also broken down by age. Less than 40, between 40 and 55, and above 55. The above scale is for anyone under 40. I guess if you're at rank 5 or higher, you don't really need this training thing at all. I fell into Rank 1, managing just 4 push ups in one go. I haven't worked out seriously since 2000 back in Ottawa, so although getting 4 seemed low, I think it sounds just about right. My arms are much smaller than those days, and I'm also about 15 pounds heavier.

They said that most people fall between Ranks 2 and 3 and not to be discouraged by your rank, because the training will put everyone on an even playing field. They also say it's important you don't cheat or cut corners because it'll just mean you will fail when you go through the training. Push ups are all about the right form, if you don't have the right form you could just be wasting your time, not to mention endangering yourself to injuries.

I plan to start the program tonight.

July 08, 2008


My hands have been literally shaking and my heart has been pounding as I typed this up. I really do feel awful about this. It's not the first time I've gotten in trouble for blogging, but for something that's so close to my heart, it's pretty devastating in my opinion.

I'd like to apologize and respond to a recent comment made to a post I wrote about a year ago, regarding one of the journey entries about my trip to Longlac in 2007.

What had happened was I had posted my thoughts and feelings about something that had happened on one of the evenings and those comments offended some people. Well .... given that it's readily and available on the internet, I likely offended more than just a few people.

I'd like to apologize. What was said was not only insensitive, but it gave the perception that I was "better" than the people I was describing, and that could not be further from the truth.

First of all I just wanted to say that these things that I post here are solely of my opinion only -- I don't represent other people and therefore if anyone is still angry, that anger should only be directed at me. I say a lot of dumb things.. it happens.

My post regarding my experiences in Longlac -- particularly the one about the incident at the church. In that post I described some kids as "demon-possessed". I didn't mean to imply that the children were actually demon-possessed, it was more that I was scared, and my post was a reactionary "in the heat of the moment" description of the events that took place.

I want to apologize for hurting anyone's feelings and for conveying a negative message.

I also wanted everyone to know that I've taken down all of my Longlac sharing blogs to ensure that no one else will read them and get the wrong idea about the people of Longlac, and both reserves.

One of the #1 questions I get about Longlac is why I keep going back every year. If I like kids, why not just work the inner-city Toronto kids? If I like missions, why not travel overseas? Why go back to Longlac each year?

The thing about Longlac, the honest truth.. is that I love the kids there. Maybe it sounds a little selfish but I love spending time with the kids, playing games and just talking to them. It's such a joy to be amongst them and I feel blessed for being part of their lives, and I hope that some day they feel the same way about me. The best thing of all is going back each year and recognizing faces.. and I get such a thrill when some of them remember me.

With these recent events coming into light, it pains me even more that I'm not going this year. It was a difficult enough decision to begin with, and now it pains me that I miss out on the opportunity to apologize in person and to show how much these people mean to me.

Again just to reiterate, I'm truly sorry for the things I said. I know that this response probably isn't enough to heal hurt feelings, I only hope that in time, you will forgive me.

July 04, 2008

White bred

Here is a self-portrait.

Let me tell you a story, it's not something I'm particularly proud of, call it a moment of weakness.. but it is what it is.

This never would have happened if my co-worker hadn't ditched me. We were supposed to go to Burger King for the fish burger deal, but at lunch time I poked my head out of my cubicle to find that he had already left. So I went down to BK myself, but halfway there I had a craving for Bourbon St Grill.

Bourbon St Grill is a food court restaurant that has huge portions, relatively cheap and huge portions. Did I mention huge portions? I ordered the same thing I always get, the blackened fish with green beans on steamed rice. The fish is to die for, and the beans.. I've tried to make them but I can't figure it out. Somehow it's soggy the way I like them, but also crunchy the way I like them. And juicy. They're perfect. Their rice leaves much to be desired though, it's sort of this hard, non-sticky kind.

I stood in line and ordered, and then to my delight I found I had perfect amount of change to pay $21.54 so I could get $15 back in bills. Love it when that happens.. anyway I grabbed a handful of sauce packets, plastic cutlery and headed back to the office.

So anyway I was sitting there eating my lunch when I noticed I'd picked up some a packet of soy sauce amongst the packets I usually get (plum sauce, hot sauce). And that is when it happened.

With all the hard chewy rice, I wondered how this would taste with some soy sauce.. Right away my conscience spoke up ---

"Thinking about putting soy sauce in your rice?! What are you, a WHITE boy?"

I shook my head at the thought and continued eating. But the rice was really hard.

"Don't you DARE! BRIAN -- Stop this at once! Don't even think about it!!"

But I couldn't help it. In my mind I was already reaching towards the little packet. I was finding the rice hard to swallow, nearly choking on it. If I put some soy sauce, it might be easier to eat, I thought. Plus it would add some flavor.. The thought crept back into my head while I tried to resist the temptation to commit the unfathomable.

Finally, I stopped eating. I put down my chopsticks and looked around to make sure no one was looking. When the coast was clear, I tore into the soy sauce. I splashed it around in the rice, cackling with an evil but sinister super villainous laugh. It was like one of those homicidal pyromaniacs who splash gasoline all over their victims in the movies, before they light them on fire. All the while being extremely cautious as to not attract any attention, of course. Then I stirred furiously and, in a matter of seconds, my white rice was now brownish. I had done it.

I had mixed soy sauce into my rice, and somewhere, in the great beyond or perhaps underground, an old chinese man rolled over in his grave.

July 03, 2008

The lap of luxury

I saw this Dinner in the Sky thing on Breakfast Television this morning. It looks fun and all, but COME ON people.. is this really necessary? Do we have so much money that we need to blow it on something like this? I mean really??

Can you think of a better way to say F*** YOU to all the starving kids in the world, than this? Not only do we have more food than you, we are EATING it up in the SKY. Are we so bored that we need to be entertained this way? Yup, we're so well-off and spoiled that we're paying the big bucks, so we can be lifted into the sky and eat up there, hang out feet off the ledge -- cuz hey, we're rich and you're not!