Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Beachstock Report

So, with 4 other disciples, we left on Thursday for Beachstock IV, a christian conference organized by the Hampton Roads Church of Christ.

So, on Thursday, I leave work at 12, meet a friend that I lost touch with, then did some final shopping. In the evening, we got the car from the rental company.
We had to worry about a few logistics issues and we left around 10 or so.
By Friday morning, it was my turn to drive, which I did for a little while. We ate our breakfast at a restaurant with a flag as tall as the building holding it. We arrived at First Landing State Park in the afternoon, after ~16hours of driving.
Interesting facts: have lots of spare cash for the tolls (soooooooooooooooooooooooo expensive). One of the tolling areas is a tunnel/bridge that is a nice feat of engineering. It crosses the bay in full, but two parts are tunnels, so that ships can go through. The drive is nice, as we had the full sun and the ocean wind/smell. We had strong rain at that point.
We set the tents, registered for the conference, then did our grocery shopping. We cooked ourselves a few burgers and then joined a song worship event. I was in and out of the group. As always, I'm not always comfortable in group worship (especially with songs that I don't know well), so I took turns worshipping on my own. The rain had stopped, but I could see the lightning at a distances, which I felt was God's fireworks for me.
We went back to our tents, and the sleep was quick to come. I was a bit cramped, because I wanted to avoid touching the tent, as it was raining back.
On Saturday, I woke up early and joined a prayer on the beach group. It was followed by the baptism of our new brother. That did start my day well. Then we had breakfast in our little group and arrived a little bit late for our classes. Men and women were split, and we guys had two messages. We were roasting in the outdoors auditorium under the harsh sun. Essentially, we are called to stop sitting on the fence, and to have real relationships (with God, in discipling, in the fellowship)...
We had lunch and I got a shot at the "Fast Fellowship" event, a variant of speed dating. It met some nice sisters, but 4 minutes is really tooooooooooooooooooooooo short for me. Not sure I'd do it again. Afterwards, I attended the Talent Show. One of the brothers of Montreal did his French rap that got the crowd going!
We had another message afterwards and I was smart enough to stay in the shade this time :) I can't say that I remember anything from the message, but I'll re-check my notes this week.
In the evening, we changed and went to the Luau party. I had a short date with a sister who committed to go see a movie later. It was nice breaking of the ice, and I'll be writing her. Afterwards, I hung out with a sister I met at the speed dating and she was telling me about her dream of evangelizing her native region in Albania, which was very inspiring to me (as a sidenote, I met many sisters who are dreaming to be missionary... I'm not the only one on this planet who is!).
On Sunday, I woke everybody up and rushed to prepare the breakfast for everyone else. We obviously arrived late for the message. This one, however, I remember better. We were challenged to take a year off our lives to offer ourselves to serve in whatever way God was choosing. The brother was from India and told us about the examples of many christians in India with the trials, the difficult choices and persecutions they face.
I then went to the beach, and I saw a brother and sister be baptized in Christ. I love seeing a baptism, because of two things 1) reminds me mine and 2) reminds me that they can happen (sometimes I loose sight of that after months of seeing no impact in my evangelism).
Afterwards, I had a quick lunch and then, at 2 PM, I joined a 5 km race group. I finished the race in 28 minutes! I was pretty happy about my performance, as I was hoping to do it within 30 minutes.
Then, I went to have a swim in the Atlantic ocean, took a shower, and attended the last of the Talent Show. We had some outstanding rap and dance that I remember the most. They also randomly picked contestants to do some crazy stuff, one of them having to do a peanut butter/jellybean sandwich with his feet! The whole thing was very funny for us in the crowd.
Once this was done, we packed the camp (that was a change in schedule) and deal with a few issues that emerged in our group. Everybody was tired, which didn't help. Once we more or less forgave each other we went to then end of the dance (about 30 minutes... they were ending too early). A sister lent me her glowsticks and I did my thing :D Mental note: buy glowsticks next time. My knees were seriously hurting after all that, suffice to say.
And then, I was time to go back to Canada.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Apologetics Online

I posted an apologetics document in French on my other blog (TheoThoughts).
It is a very good introduction (less than 50 pages), written by Ghislain Normand and Alexandre Picard.

Here is the link to the announcement.

Vouloir ou Pouvoir Croire

Je distribue ici un document d'apologétique chrétienne écrit pas Ghislain Normand et Alexandre Picard, des frères de Québec que j'aime énormément. J'ai pris certaines libertés avec le fichier original quant à l'apparence des choses, mais sans modification de contenu (ce qui, je le suppose, fait de moi un éditeur... mais certainement pas un auteur)

Vous pouvez le télécharger ici: Vouloir ou Pouvoir

Assumant que vous voulez le retravailler, la licence le permet, mais documentez-vous bien au préalable.
Dans ce cas, voici l'original au format Word.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Don't Mess With the Swiss

I saw a video of the Swiss Air Force and I remembered some things about their military that I saw when I was there.

First of all:

I need to figure out the legality aspect. Google Video invites people to just upload their home-made videos and it looks like anyone picks a song and some images and upload it... Something tells me that this must be a good spot for the RIAA to start suing.
Anyway, here are a few reasons why invading Switzerland is a bad idea
1) mandatory military service for men. It can be escaped, but a fair amount of people go for it anyway. This results in a large amount of civilians with assault rifles and military handguns in their homes (with a buddy, we did a conservative estimate that about 1 million people in the country did their service. Lets just assume half still are in service. That's about 500 000 assault rifles currently dispersed in the territory, not counting stockpiles in case of crisis) They train for 3 weeks every year and have mandatory test at a shooting range each year.
(The CIA estimates more than 1.7 million eligible males, but having about 1/3 opting out is not irrealistic). If you thought Fallujah was bad, just wait for the mountain fights in Appenzell :)
2) their jet fighter pilots are so good that they can land on highways and streets and refuel at gas stations... in joint exercises, other air forces refused to join in this exercise
3) they have underground forts all over the places. Just stay clear of the mountains
4) they can mobilize the rail system and deliver troops anywhere in their territory within a day
5) everyone they make business with will want to kill you (and that's a loooooooooooooooooot of people)
6) their greatest natural resources are essentially electric power and ski resorts. Its a knowledge and trading economy that doesn't use the euro. Result of a conquest: a lot of useless currency.
Now, I guess I need to write an article titled "Please Mess with the Canadians", but I don't think it is needed - the US government is already quite good at it. ;)

Friday, May 19, 2006

More Vivaldi Goodnes

There is a set of music videos of classical music on the Internet Archive that are pretty good.

They are called Classic Arts Showcase.

One of them I love dearly: Academy of St martin in the Fields 'Concerto No.2 in G Minor' (Summer). Vivaldi with birds in the background!
Really... take the time to listen to it!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Picture of me in Ottawa


Humorist Blenderizing the White House

That is a nice lunch break to have!

See on Google Video

FFVII Advent Children

I loooooooooooooooooved this movie. The fight scenes were beyond anything I've seen.

The storyline was good enough, even though I felt that there were a bit too much discontinuity and that they brought all the old characters just for good measure, instead of integrating them really in the story.

Anyway, here are some spoilers I found on Google Video. Legality warning: I'm not 100% sure that those are legal. I own the DVD myself, so I have fair use rights :P

Go Tifa!

Go Cloud!

The utlimate spoiler (you've been warned... you really have been)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I need a cat like that!

A cat that does massage... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sneezy time

So, I imported a cold from Ontario... yay

I did some work on Friday, but not high productivity. I did call my folks to wish them a happy birthday (dad) and a happy Mothers' day (mom)

On Saturday, I mostly rested. I watched 2 old kung fu movies with a few friends and was on the phone with a sister from the US. But that's pretty much it.

On Sunday, I went to church early for taking care of the babies and was quickly dismissed because I was sick. Afterwards, I ate out and we had a Bible study. I rested a bit home, then had 'family night' with my roomates where we essentially ate together and shared about our families.
Afterwards, I got to the bus station to fetch a friend coming back from the US and get her safely to her place. That had a few delays, especially since the person who was to welcome her there was not there as agreed upon. Yay for bad logistics.

On this Monday, I woke up super early and got to work late (yay for cold), but managed to get a little bit of work done. I met my supervisor who gave us a direction to work on with results for tomorrow.
I shared my faith with some brothers at lunch, and I purchased 'Advent Children' that I told you about... I'll have to wait a little bit before watching it, but that's OK with me ;)

Funny one..

Here's a link to the meeting of Bush with an impersonator before the press. Will bring you a smile for sure :)

On Google Video

Friday, May 12, 2006

Back from Ottawa

I guess this will be a recap of the conference I attended in Ottawa as well as other side activities I had.

Overall, it was a great experience. I really enjoyed and I'm confident that I had a positive impact there.

So, on Monday there are some presentations I attend. In the evening, I go to the banquet organized by the conference at the Museum of Civilizations, which was a 100$ banquet (included in the conference fees for me). I met an interesting woman from Calgary and chatted for most of the evening. I was happy to see she wasn't giving up on God despite some very bad experiences in churchianity.
On Tuesday, I attend some presentations in the morning, then spend my afternoon in a park reading something I had to read for work... might as well make it enjoyable! In the evening, I met a brother at the Rideau Centre and we evangelized an hour or so, then went to eat at Tucker's Marketplace. I invited the waitress to church and thought I was trying to pick her up! Oh well... I guess I'll see that kind of confusion happen more than once in my life.
On Wednesday, I packed all my stuff, got breakfast, saw some presentations in my track. In the afternoon, I chatted with a guy of the Orthodox church who's one of the most reasoned about his faith I had the chance to meet so far. In the end, it was my turn to present my paper. We had some flexibility in the time, and I took a few more minutes to introduce the topic than planned, and everything went smoothly. People were asking questions about what patterns could do for them, mostly.
In the evening, I had a quick date with a sister, then joined the brothers for midweek. They discussed about their reading of the book 'Wild at Heart' and then watched Hockey. I did little watching, I mostly discussed with a brother about how things were in Montreal.
On Thursday, I took my sweet time in the morning, went downtown and bought myself a pair of sandals (I just needed to make this purchase at that point) and then I waited for my old boss of long ago at a pub called Father and Sons, which I don't reccomend (2$ for a small very factory-like orange juice...). Him and I chatted and updated each other on our lives in the last 4 years or so. Afterwards I visited the Maison Laurier, which housed 2 Prime Ministers in the past. It was a nice visit, but I wouldn't put it high on your list of museums to go see in Ottawa if I were you.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Transition, Preparation, Determination

So, I am typing this blog entry while waiting for a presentation to start.
The topic isn't that interesting to me, but I'm giving it a shot :)

I'm trying to recap my week with the best and the worst for you, my dear readers :D

On Wednesday, we had a Bible talk back, after I stopped during the exams (I was just sharing my faith, not organizing Bible talks). At mid-week, I got to see again the presentation on evolutionary creationism. Its always good to have a refresher. I also exhorted the congregation to start reading again and share about their reading. We had a leader's meeting and I was encouraged to see studies emerging one more!
On Thursday, I had a lab meeting in the morning and my supervisor told me to come up with a better template for the presentation. I'm really becoming a part-time graphics designer! I did some fine-tuning of the presentation, but mostly focused on the template.
On Friday, I had a pretty normal day at work, for the part I was at work. I bought my bus ticket and got a few books at the National Library.
At 5 I went to a Bible study with a nice Chinese guy who was really open. He joined us as we went to pray on top of Mont Royal with the Campus group.
I also prepped my presentation and did a mock presentation in the lab. I have to be careful with time, but things should go well.
On Saturday, I woke up early to pack my luggage, have a D-time with a brother and a study with a nice Iranian guy. He didn't swallow too much the idea that Jesus was God. I had to leave in the middle of the study to catch my bus to Ottawa.
The bus trip went smoothly and I was welcomed in Ottawa by a sister and a brother, who took me to a BBQ organized by the pastor of the church here in Ottawa. I spent a bit of time with the singles at the BBQ, as the marrieds somehow split between men and women and weren't inspiring me very much (somehow talking a lot about fences...) I did an effort to break this "segregation" though ;)
In the evening, I spent time with a brother who was hosting me and we talked about our different challenges. Then, to bed I got!
On Sunday, I woke up early and kept on reading a book on the real history behind the Da Vinci code. Then I read my Bible aloud for a brother and we ended up being a few sharing about our struggles related to the passage we read. Then, it was a prayer walk before leaving to the church service.
The message was inspiring, talking about the parable of the Talents... highlighting how much a talent would be worth for us today (~1.2M$) and how our view of God affected our desire to take the risk to make our talents fruitful.
Afterwards, I took a few appointments to share my faith and so on, then went to a nice dinner in the Royal Thai restaurant. Expensive but good.
I then registered at the conference and checked in the hotel. I read a bit of the activities organized, relaxed, slept, read more, and finally attended a cocktail with a colleague. There, I met a nice guy who is well versed in both computing and theology as well. Something tells me that we will be talking much more during this conference.
My night was not really good, but it did give me the opportunity to finish reading my Da Vinci history book.
So, I end up underslept yet optimistic about my day to come today, Monday.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Inspiration, Inspiration

I had a great weekend, but not a great week beforehand.

Let me share...

So, we submit the documentation for final course project on Monday, and that was a marathon in itself.
Then, I learn that a paper I worked many hours on was rejected. Then I work a lot on that paper... you know that stuff.
I told you also about the inspiring message at the leaders' meeting and the morning of prayer.
For Saturday evening, I spend time with a sister for two concerts at McGill:
At first, we had the final Bachelor's concert of Alexandrine Brachaud who sang:
- Misera, dove son! ... Ah! non son io che parlo, K.369 (Mozart)
- L'invitation au voyage, Phidylé and La vie antérieure (Henri Duparc)
- Indian Summer - Blue (Jake Heggie)
- Benedetto sia' l giorno (Liszt)
- Tres Sonetos (Turnia)
The performance was good, even though less than announced. She had a powerful crescendo.
Once this was done, we rushed for a harpsichord concert by John Austin Clark, doing one of his Master's concerts. On the line-up we had:
- Passacaille en sol mineur (Couperin)
- Praeludium un Fuga in B moll, BWV 866 (J.S. Bach)
- Sonata K. 24, K. 25, K. 479 (Scarlatti)
- Französische Suite Nr. V in G, BWV 816 (J.S. Bach)
This guy was solid! He played tunes that were of super high tempo with ease. There is only one thing that I could hear a fault in (bourée of the Französische Suite) and that fault was arguable (I felt he didn't hammer one note strong enough). I gotta check to see if he has more concerts coming!
Now, on Sunday, we have a good message based on the cleansing of the Temple. Conclusion: we need to be men and women of prayer, and to be known for our zeal for God.
Afterwards, I decide to fill in for a guy to do the collection counting. But before we do that, we are being treated to a nice picnic in the park, under a very nice sun. So nice indeed that I'm afraid that this day will alone contribute to a skin cancer in a few years. ;)
So, we do the collection, spend some time with 2 couples of the church, then move to have a 'family night', which is centered around... Hockey.
And yes, the Canadiens lost. I don't care for sports normally, but I do when everyone is hyped about it (read: playoffs and olympics). Afterwards we settled the amounts owed for each roomate and are getting our collective finances back in order.
Now, on Monday, I'm under motivated... I had to redo my federal tax form to submit it online, because the phone option wouldn't allow me to. Anyway, once that was done, I got to work and kinda got my presentation started. I somehow couldn't figure what to talk about and how long for each, etc.
I get a phone call telling me that they have to cancel the volunteering that I normally do that night... so I go to a conference organized at UQAM. Pierre Maisonneuve (known SRC journalist), Bernard Landry (former PM of Québec) and Loco Locass (a politically engaged rap band). They spoke at some point of the return of ethics, of the need to dream, of hopelessness in the youth, etc. During question period, I could not refrain from asking them to comment on a growing spiritual need in the youth.
I'm proud I got THOSE guys to talk spirituality.
The only thing is that they don't get it... spirituality does not equal morality or ethics, and that's how they see it.
Nevertheless, this is, I hope, a small seed planted in their lives.