Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Typing this under Linux, with wireless

So, it looks like I did not have to scratch my head to have the latest and brightest version of wpa supplicant installed in order to have my wireless working.

I did download it, managed to compile it...

But then the new kernel version was out. I tried it with the old wpa supplicant, and it was working.

Do you want to do it too?
Very easy
sudo apt-get install wpasupplicant
sudo gedit /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf and put in your settings (some reading required to figure out what to put there)
For me, since my laptop has has ipw2200 card:
sudo wpa_supplicant -ieth0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -Dipw
Afterwards, I unplugged my ethernet card, then ran
sudo network-admin and set eth0 as my default gateway.
Finally, since I could only ping up to my router,
sudo dhclient
And everything was working fine afterwards.
I now just need to put that in the computer initilization scripts so that it happens automatically at each bootup :D
The good news is that I'll be doing most of my work from Linux now (assuming all works right), ,instead of Windows. My geek side is happy triumphant now!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Beautiful in academic dress

The company providing the graduation picture, Chappell, has a neat web service.

I took the liberty to picking my small-sized picture until I order the big ones from them, scan them and so on :)
I guess I can call this pre-emptive fair use of copyrighted materials...

Here's your good-looking man in an academic dress!
Tell me which one you think is best (assuming you can actually squint your eyes enough for that) :)

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thanksgivings for blessings

So... my semester is over.

We finished the project on Monday, wrapped up the documentation today, and I'm slowly tearing through quite a few things on my todo list that were on hold...

Since I promised God I'd give him all the glory on the project, henceforth I do so now: thanks for the Almighty that allowed this project to work enough so that we had something to show!

Our project was very disfunctional as of Monday, the day of the demo. Many prayers went for miracles, and the closest thing we had was a de-facto extension. We presented at 8:30 PM. We barely had the time to enable the SSL connection of the LDAP server. One test was done, and the prof comes in and asks for the demo to start. It could have gone wrong, but things were OK. He seemed satisfied by all that.
My supervisor signed my passport application. I did it on the Internet with their new epass system. Once I got to the passport office, I had expedited treatment. While some folks at ~1h30 minutes to wait, I was in front of the employee within a minute of being given my queue number.
They have some quirks to iron out... the web application says that many information is optional, but it turns out that they are all required, and I had to get them from memory... lets just hope I did not mix up stuff! Overall, I was surprised by the efficiency of the process. My old passport is pierced as invalid now, and the new one should be mailed by Jan 9th, and I did not ask for a rushed treatment!
I made my decision regarding the OIQ membership: I will remain part of the student branch, to avoid the yearly fees for the time being. I got some advising by a staff member there. The credit card application is dealt with, I just need to wait... so I don't need to move forward with a 90$ a year gold card.
My supervisor had encouraging words for me. He gave some advice to be careful not to get too religious... I replied that I had a conviction that what I invested in God, God was giving it back to me, allowing me to be successful. He said that this was something very wise. Apparently they have a something close to that in the Coran. I do recall a proverb saying something of the effect of not being too wicked, nor too righteous... Full commitment to God does not mean living as a hermit in a monastery :) It means far more to live a radical lifestyle, to be a beacon of light IN the world, FOR the world, BECAUSE of God's grace thanks to Christ, and to win some to Him.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Pouches under the eyes the size of a sand bag...

So, in very short...

1) I got my B. Eng. degree last monday, with Distinction, and with co-op. Very proud. The party to celebrate wasn't great

2) The last final went good, I feel.

3) I was able to wrap up the report for our OS project for something that looked clean

4) The project due tomorrow is not going anywhere. snif. I'm struggling with that OpenLDAP server thing. It seems that no matter what I do, it refuses to work. I can't even test my Java code :(

5) Got myself the new Second study Bible this Saturday. Yummy! I've compare with the NASB Study Bible from Zondervan and found it to be more neutral. The Zondervan one acknowledges its failure on the "salvation by faith alone" doctrine in the footnotes of Romans 6:3 or Acts 2... basically saying that:
the conversion, back then, had faith+repentance+baptism all bundled together... which is why the apostles sound like you are saved at baptism. Of course, this is not the way we do it anymore, and we know we are saved by faith.
In short, they recognize that the "conversion" they are talking about diverges significantly from the apostles'. Basically "we are wrong in our practice, but we got a good enough excuse to keep on doing it"... lovely!

Saturday, December 3, 2005

2 final exams are done

2 done, one to go.

Monday, it was Cryptography, and Thursday it was Operating Systems Security.

The Crypto exam had a few math questions, a few theory questions, and a creative question (mediated RSA). I still don't know how to inverse a matrix un modular arithmetic.
The OS exam had one math question, and the rest were of theoritical nature. There were 2 questions I was not sure to do or know I didn't do that well.

Thanks to God who gave me the wisdom and peace to go through two exams in a week! Those who know me know that the "peace" part is the most significant one.

Mozilla Firefox 1.5 is out!

It is out, baby...

It is hot and rocking, an order of magnitude better than its predecessor... oh yeah!
Too bad that the Bible toolbar doesn't work anymore on 1.5

For those less geeky, Firefox is a web browser that is simply better and safer than Internet Explorer. Its open source too, so its a good ethical choice. I suggest you try it. The tab browsing will, alone, restore your sanity.

Go get it now

Saturday, November 26, 2005

VLC 0.8.4 is out!

Oooooooooh yeah baby!

The most polyvalent media player out there just got better! It reads DVD, pretty much all video formats, and pretty much all music formats. I think only RealMedia is out of its reach (yet). It acts as a streaming server, etc.

You know you want it.

VLC Media Player

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Book Review: The Screwtape Letters

Title: The Screwtape Letters
Author: C.S. Lewis
Publisher: Various, latest is HarperSanFrancisco
ISBN: 0060652934

Rating: very good

Summary: very insightful at the work of Satan in the life of someone. The most interesting is that it is done from the perspective of Satan, with a major demon coaching a minor demon on his first mission. The reader can read through it as bedside reading, or can analyse the arguments, and will thus satisfy pretty much all readers. Obviously, C.S. Lewis pushes his theology and understanding in a very informal way. As such, I would use that as a starting point for thinking about sin in our lives and not as a reference to quote.

Book Review: Victory of Surrender (2nd edition)

Title: The Victory of Surrender (2nd edition)
Author: Gordon Ferguson
Publisher: DPI
ISBN: 1577821858

Review: go out of your way to read this!

Short summary: Ferguson talks about God's omnipotence and our need to submit to Him fully. One chapter deals very intelligently (and convincingly) about the problem of evil. A study guide helps the reader with the practical side of things.

This book talks about the necessity for a Christian to submit fully to God. It is presented in a very Paulinian manner: the first parts deal with the theology, and then practical analysis (notably with finding God's will, conflicts, family and evangelism).
The thesis brought forward by Gordon Ferguson is strongly explained, and the Biblical references are there to make sure that the whole assembly sits on solid foundations. The picture drawn is black-and-white, and quotes such as "A Bible teacher of mine once said that anxiety is practical atheism" (p.42) leave no room for doubt over the importance of the topic of surrender.
He warns the reader that for every surrender will come challenges of surrender, where our decision will be solidly put to trial. He warns us of the risks of being lead by our emotions, and the need to rely on Bible study, prayer and wise advice far more than what our closed set of logic says.
In the third section, we learn about God's nature. The problem of evil is treated, and the reader can realize the need to fully trust God in their lives for all matters, that is he willing, capable and good-intended for us.
I have ran out of time to write the rest of this review, but I think this should be a good enough starting point. Enjoy :)

Wash me with hissop, and I shall be white as snow

We all know that snippet of Psalm 51.

It is very coherent with what is going on as a) the snow is staying on the ground now... winter has officially started! (yay!!!) and b) I spent time with a brother for reconciliation.
We know each other better now. I still need to fight off and pray about my tendency to resent at a emotional level.

Still, I'm feeling better.


As a sidenote, the Operating Systems Security presentation went well. Things were not perfect, but it went well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hmmm... molto radio!

I found a comprehensive database of public radio. There is a lot more that support Vorbis format than I thought...

Go see the Public Radio Fan now!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Adaptations...

So, we have a new brother in the household... he is going through very particuliar personal circumstances. Ihad many opportunities to servie him in very many ways.

We did our group demo in Cryptography also, and I got to work hard on my research which opened on interesting directions.

Graduation is confimed... it will be on Dec. 5th! I can't wait to get that piece of paper that will make it all official.

So, I'll have to stop living for the next 3 weeks until the rush goes on.
This week, it is the Operating Systems presentation. Last week's presentations did not impress me, nor did they teach me a lot. It was mostly VPNs and buffer overflows... not that I didn't write on these things when I was undergrad. I'm eager to make that presentation and hand in that report. We're talking about real actual research here :)
Speaking of research, I had a good idea this week. My supervisor liked it and asked me to get a first draft going. I was able to reuse a lot of material from another paper project (that's useful to have a very comprehensive "previous work" section).
There's an interesting thing that unfolded this week. I was doing some research and saw that a major standardization body was doing some work close to my work area. My surpervisor being connected as he is, he managed to get us involved in that standarization work... On one hand, I'm excited about the opportunity (how good will that look on a resumé!), on the other hand I'm a bit afraid... international politics, long stays in hotels potentially far from any church, some non-negligible distraction from my courses, the mission field, the ministry and so on.
Basically, reasons for prayer.
What about the rest of the week? There is not much to tell... mostly work and studies.
I got a tooth extracted and had two fillings this week too.
The Cryptography presentation did go too well, but the prof was still satisfied.
On other news, I had good time at the CCF meeting. The teaching was OK, even though the Bible wasn't opened enough at my liking. I'm annoying like that.... I demand one Biblical reference after another. I had the chance to talk with a Swiss girl, who believes in baptism as well. That was interesting in itself.
There was a good birthday party on Thursday for a sister. I saw the end of a popular movie which popularized the t-shirt "vote for pedro". I didn't have the chance to speak with her for a while, it was some kind of catchup.
On Saturday, I spent time with brothers, then we cleaned the house, then we did the communal grocery for the household. Afterwards, we ate a little bit, then I got to the Singles' hanging out time. It was a concert at McGill's Redpath Hall by the McGill Chamber Music Ensembles.
First, it was Haydn, String Quartet in C major, Op. 76, No. 3 "Kaiser", interpreted by Nora Pellerin, Nathalie Duchesne, Yuri Sinto-Girouard and Geniève Lessard-Lapierre.
Then came Martinu, Trio in C major for piano, flute and violin, Op. 291 "th Madrigal Sonata", with Tomoko Inui, Miriam Hartropp and Pieter Viljoen.
Finally, we had Brahms, Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in A minor, Op. 114, interpreted by Shauna mcDonald, David Eggert and Michelle Nam.
I personally loved Haydn's piece the most... I loved the small canons that built up very much.
Martinu's work was more cacophonic to my ear. I did not enjoy it very much.
Brahms work I enjoyed well too, even though I did not really hear those little plays between the instruments, not was it as "gentle" as the Baroque style I like so much.
Afterwards, I was with a brother and a sister and went to Mont Royal to have a view at the city from there. We prayed for the mission field in front of us. They went to my place, and I served them some food and tea.
On Sunday, we had a very convicting preach on Romans 12, 13. I got to talk to a few to work on the friendships that gone cold because of unresolved issues. Something I should have done much earlier... I'm glad its done. Still, there are 2 that I need to take care of as well.
I ate out with brothers and sisters, then slept a little (I'm still undersleeping because of stress). We fixed some food and so on. The new roomate proposed a DVD, The Apostle, which is so overfull of false doctrine that it hurt. Then there was the broken southern US accent made it hard to follow... Yet, this guy was indeed an example of zeal for Christ.
I gave a phone call to a sister and asked for the women's perspective on friendships. I am working on a teaching on this topic. Its been generally remarked that the church here has a few problems with loving one another. She told me good news: there was a baptism in Toronto this Sunday! Amen.
This week has been full of blessings in many ways, with many adaptations, challenges, and so on. Can't say God is not at work.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Toronto Weekend

So, I decided to be a bit crazy by going to Toronto, for a set of lectures from Douglas Jacoby sponsored by the Toronto Church of Christ.
Crazy because I have a project demo this Monday...

Friday, 5PM, my train was leaving to Toronto. It was the first time I travelled by train in North America (after using this mode of transportation abusively while in Europe).
This option was more expensive than the bus, but the fact that it took that one 4h15 to reach destination, compared to the ~7h that the buses took, was a major motivator.
The train did remind me a little bit of the Swiss trains for the airplane-like seat arrangement. It had a lot bigger storage space for luggage, was only on one floor, and was definitely a LOT noisier than a Swiss InterCity (but not as bad as a very old clunky Regio). It was weird to hear the whistle all the time. It was so frequently that it did feel like "all the time". Good thing I could put music on :)
Arriving, I got to the rendezvous metro station and waited for my hospitable brother at Starbuck, because Tim Hortons did not have power plugs for me to connect my laptop (my battery is pretty low), I got to Starbucks.
After he picked me up, we chatted a bit, petted his cat, then got to bed.
Saturday, we ate breakfast together, prayed in the car together, and went to Convocation Hall to attend the lecture from Douglas Jacoby on reasons to believe. I was with a few brothers and sisters to lunch in Chinatown, and got the following classes on archeological evidence and world religions.
Overall, my expectations were very high, and they were not met. The format where we could ask questions was good, but not what exactly I was hoping for.
I went to study and worked on my OS project afterwards, then got to spend the evening with 2 sisters, and loved it very much. We ate at a Hong Kong restaurant (both sisters are from Hong Kong) and I got to try out Ox Tongue... it was very yummy. I'd eat it anytime. We spent 3 hours together, and it was cool to know their dreams, their conversion stories, what they think of their native land, etc.
I definitely want to keep in touch with them.
On Sunday, we got to Convocation Hall again for the worship service. Douglas Jacoby was teaching about evolution, dynosaurs, the big bang, etc.
I did not realize the importance of the Big Bang from a theological perspective, because it means that the scientists recognize that there was a start to the universe... a nothing that lead to something!
In general, he stressed the importance to dissociating the why from the how... evolution does not necessarily mean that God does not exist... its a matter of mechanism to let creation happen. Same thing for the Big Bang. In fact, the fine tuning required for a working universe (with margins of errors of the magnitude of 10^-20) hints towards God.
A brother took good care of me after service and escorted me back to the train station. I cancelled my ticket and returned with brothers from Montreal after a little bit of wait.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Double-ration of blessings

This week was interesting...

The planning to Toronto was flipped upside down when the brothers who were supposed to drive with me pulled out altogether.
Then, there were a few last minuteness regarding the accomodation... my planning side was not happy.

But all fell in place anyway.


I spent a good chunk of time studying a standard draft document. It presents both opportunities and risks for my research, so it is important that I take more time to understand the standard itself, but also the standard body and the working group's direction.
Maybe there is a way to join their effort, which would be a very interesting experience for me.
I'm leaving my classmates to work on the crypto project this weekend. I had to put aside my "code hero" personality for something that was truly important for me: Douglas Jacoby, which would fall close to a role model for me. When I knew he'd be teaching in Toronto, I just jumped at the opportunity. There was only one problem though... our crypto project to hand in on Monday.
I put things in place so that we could make a lot of progress this week, and even coached one team member to work on his not-yet-functional code.
I struggled with impatience (a form of anger, when you think about it), because not all team members were set up for the code-a-thon we set on Wednesday. It was a few hours this week that were focused on helping others do by themselves what I felt I could do for them (you know my pride). In that sense, it was a victory in servantship. Lets hope it translates in a good grade :)
The Bible talk on wednesday was of size... 11!
In August, at the the return of Portland, I began praying for my Bible talk to reach size 10, and to have studies starting afterwards each and every time.
The first part of the prayer was accomplished very quickly, when you think about it.
So, I am "forced" to pray for something more specific: 10 guests :D
One can have worst problems.
Speaking of which, guess what? Money grows from trees!
Or so it feels. I received a letter from my university telling me that I was selected for a Graduate Scholarship. That did boost my morale!
I do confess that, on the spot, I began thinking of how to fiscally optimize it, of how much I'd put in my RRSP, what electronics I'd give myself...
I woke up at some point from my covetous dream and started thanking God for this unexpected blessing. I still need to decide how to split this, but there is definitely a part that goes for the church, another that will go for an organization caring for the poorer abroad (I'm thinking Médecins sans frontières, HOPE Worldwide and Oxfam), another that will pay for this Toronto trip, and another that goes to the RRSP. The rest will likely go for gifts for family, friends and/or self :) I do have more urgent matters anyway.
What's the line-up after my Toronto trip?
Monday, Nov. 14th: Demonstration of our Crypto project
Monday, Nov. 21st: Submission of our report for our Crypto project
Monday, Nov. 28th: final (unconfirmed yet) for Crypto
Thursday Nov. 24th: Presentation of our OS project and report submission
Thursday Dec. 1st: Final exam for OS
Tuesday Dec. 6th: Final exam for Network Security
Wednesday Dec. 7th: Demonstration and report submission for Network Security
So, yeah, you'll have to bear me as a stressed productivity beast for a little while. The good news is that I'll have reverted back to humanity before Christmas!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

A must read about computer bugs

Wired has a nice article about the 10 worst bugs ever, and a nice illustration of a buffer overflow.

Even though it is technically incorrect at some level, it is still helpful for understanding.



Monday, November 7, 2005

King Treatment by My Parents

Spent the weekend in Québec City with my folks and the church there.

I'm definitely a spoiled single child!

On my arrival on saturday, after a long painful Allo Stop trip (with guys in the car talking about sex nonstop), we did some shopping for winter boots, a new backpack (mine was nearly kaput) and some electric stuff.
We ate a great supper together (my dad did a great job with the steaks) and watched the movie Les Boys II together. Vulgar hockey movie, very stupid, but very funny.
On Sunday, we went to the service together. Afterwards, I ate with a brother, then spent time with another. This took all my afternoon, and was a great opportunity to catch up on their lives, request advice, and give advice when needed. In the evening, I ate at the Quebec Inn with my folks (great, beautiful buffet), then took an Allo Stop ride back home. One guy in the car wanted to know a lot about God, so I spent nearly one hour with him after the ride showing Bible passages and so on.
What else happened in my week?
Lots and lots of work. Deadlines are appearing soon with the projects. My supervisor wants to have a draft of a paper done real quick too. One of my projects is quite bigger than I was expecting, so its a lot of grunt work, trying to match a bunch of problems to a lot of solutions.
On Friday, I was mentally drained, and did not feel like using my brain too much after work, so I watched The Bourne Supremacy. That was good relaxation. Not a great movie, but entertaining nevertheless.
I spent a great time on wednesday night with two brothers, after meeting for the booktable planning.
I had a guest speaker at the Bible talk on Wednesday, so that was easy for me.
There was a big cloud on the board though... on Wednesday, a meeting with our supervisor turned sour. We had issues to deal with him, collectively, and it turned bad the way I was expecting it to be. No more details here.
My supervisor and I still have a friendship, but this could have squashed it.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Pictures of China Garden

Here are those that made the cut. Not edited yet.

As a friendly reminder, those were taken in the Botanical Gardens of Montreal, and mostly in the China Garden, for the Chinese lanterns exhibit they have every year.

The theme of this year was the birds. Those pictures were shot using a low-grade tripod with my digital camera on ISO 50 settings.

Surprisingly, the exposure times were still very small, in the other of the second or so. Still, I had more than one blurry image, especially when I did not have the time to set my tripod correcty.
Some will need cropping to be really presentable, and maybe a rotation or two, but I'm overall satisfied.
Its a real challenge to be taking pictures of glowing things in the dark, and I often shot 3 of the same scence, with different overexposure settings, and had to make difficult decisions on which to keep. A has more visible details, but the lanterns are too white and kind of break it, B is a bit too dark and blends too much in the background, C is (well, you get the point).

I'm happy I finally took the time to do this that I wanted to do.













Monday, October 31, 2005

More sleepless nights

Worked hard, studied for my crypto midterm, tried to fix a computer to no avail.

Had a cool time at a devotional on Friday and a halloween party on Saturday. I can't wait for the other folks to send me their pictures :)

I did realize this Sunday that I allowed myself to slip into a kind-of-bad spiritual shape. A big problem is that I let my bad sleep (2 weeks straight now) drag everything down.

I've been prideful like I have not been in months, at the very least. Some anger started popping up too...


So, because repentance is essential, I got to ask a lot of help from one of my discipling partners.
I took the decision that every time I'd play that one computer game, or even go on that website, that'd be 20$ out of my pocket into his. We'll spend more time together and really build a strategy.
I've gotten back to healthier Bible reading and prayer practices. And I decided not the eat after 7 like it suggests in that book on sleeping I got.
But, anyway, lets talk about the other nice things that happened.
On Friday, we had a Campus ministry devotional with a lot of people showing up. There was a message on excellence and there was some Risk being played too :)
On Saturday, besides studying for my Crypto exam, I went to a Bible study, and I was at the Halloween party at my place. I was dressed as a samurai. Those who know my martial arts background know that I didn't need to rent that stuff... I did study a little bit in the middle of the party (in my room with earplugs), but I did dance and so on. I had fun and our guests did too. There was some games that kept everyone laughing and so on.
On Sunday, I got to the service and then went to recharge my batteries. Once that was done, I helped a couple move in their new place. I love serving like that. Moving can be fun :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Graduation, one step closer than ever from happening

I got a letter from the Faculty with the details of the graduation. The official confirmation will be given in mid-November.
For the time being, I'll assume that I'll be attending it.

Its gonna be on Dec. 5th, at 3PM. I am afraid, however, of having an exam that day, in my Crypto class.
I don't want to miss out on this great moment, yet I don't want to endanger my grades either.
No choice but to leave that in God's hands, since this is beyond me in so very many ways...

OpenOffice 2.0 is out!

My favorite office suite is better than ever, and finally an official release.

Its been some time I was using the betas and release candidates, with the not-so-occasional crashes and all.

But this is not fully installed, with the dictionaries I need.

I deeply encourage you to use it, especially if you don't have Microsoft Office on your machine. If you already have it, give it a try anyway. They support the OpenDocument format, which is one of the real few standards for file formats, and it has real future.

Go now!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More classical music ripoff?

I listened today to Jupiter, from The Planets, written by Holst and found it to ressemble quite a bit to music in Chrono Trigger (I think the faire theme). I'm far from sure about the legality of both sites.

I was shocked to be hearing the Lyrics of One Winged Angel (Final Fantasy VII) in many songs of Carmina Burana... it looks like that more great game music than I though was inspired by classical works.

I don't know if I should call it a ripoff, or if the composers acknowledged the practice... maybe the gamers could help me on that one?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Not a good week, but with good things nevertheless

I had 2 midterms. The biggest thing is that I wasn't sleeping well at last. Its now been 7 days in a row I sleep a few hours every night. This is killing me.

I never got drunk, but I do drink a beer every now and then with the roomates, and more this week than before. I read that alcool could upset sleep cycles. Combined with the stress inherent to exams, we have a bad mix. So, I'm cutting it off for the time being.

The exams went well, or so I feel. God is good to me. Prayer before an exam truly grants me peace.


I did a silly, escapist, thing, which was to install Battle for Wesnoth, which is a great open source game. A bit like Warcraft III, but turn-based. The timing was bad, and I so wasted many of God's granted hours through this.
On the + side, I got to sign my contract (finally!) and should earn money soon. I can't wait for a stabler form of revenue.
I saw the movie Unleashed (aka Danny the Dog), which was a great mixture of kung fu action and character design. The evolution was well-played. I loved it.
On Saturday night, I had a Bible study which went well, and I'm really glad it is so. I then rushed to go to the Botanical Gardens, more specifically, to the China Garden, to see the Chinese Lantern Festival feature they had there. I went through 2 sets of batteries with my digital camera. hehehehe. Pictures will come later.
On Sunday, we had a sermon on Romans 6 (still continuing that series) and our evangelist addressed the importance to keep friends outside of the church and the small group organization. I then went out to eat with some brothers and sisters, got home for a nap, then went to a huge Loblaws to do grocery shopping for the household with my roomates. Kilos of rices and couscous for little!
After eating, we went to a pool place to play a bit. We walked back praying together, under the light rain, and then I was right away in bed. Badly (and barely) slept for the whole night. We had a godo time for sure.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

How to know when you printed a file...

This looks like this one will be justified by "a test mode that we forgot to disable"...

http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/docucolor/

This means that anyone printing a ramson letter or so on will provide a lot of unintentional information to the cops...
It would've been nice if at least someone bothered to inform us.

A good rule of thumb in ethics is that if you are not ready to tell people you are gonna do it, you shouldn't do it...
At least, that's my take on it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hardcore weekend

Friday, Men's Forum, with Chris Broom (Syracuse church) preaching.
Saturday, study and study and study
Sunday, we had a powerful service, and tons of fellowship

The rest of my week was all about bursary applications and studying for midterms.

So, I managed to submit everything I due time for ny NSERC and FQR bursary applications. We'll see what happens.
That I get them or don't get them means little to me. I guess its a right start, but I should pray and build the faith that God will bless me with them.
Afterwards, on Friday, I joined the Men's Forum, organized by the church. The sharings were real, and the message powerful. Because sisters will be reading this, I'll pass on what was really said.
I was encouraged to fight in the battle all the more, relying on God's Spirit. Also, afterwards, I went at a brother's place and spent time with him. He needed encouragement (and I did too, actually) and it was a real good brotherly time. I slept at his place, as it was well after midnight.
On Saturday, I went to jog with a sister, then got home, had a D-time with the Campus Leader, and then went to have one other D-time with a bunch of brothers. Most did not show up, so it was real personal. Afterwards, I went to study at the library. The other students did not show up :( So I studied alone, lacking motivation (I HATE OS security, honestly).
On Sunday, I served at the book table all by myself (the other sister being gone to visit her folks), and I talked about "The Guilty Soul's Guide to Grace". You can read the review in my other blog, TheoThoughts. The message on Romans 5 was powerful, especially with the introduction, when our evangelist started saying "you feel that XYZ, the Bible says ABC" (fill in the blanks) with one example after another. The basic point: stop being emotional, and build faith that God has saved us and justified us out of His love for us. We had a good sharing, a short message before the collect, and, to crown it all, our evangelist taking some time to explain the recent changes in the Church, which was something that was well-needed, as not everyone was really understanding what was going on. Myself, I was about to give him a phone call about that, so it was timely.
Afterwards, I did my grocery shopping, went to a sister's housewarming party. She is a very courageous sister who, despite the pain of arthritis, leads a Bible Talk in her place, and stays faithful despite the fact that she can't even attend a service. And she loves classical music, and she lived in Switzerland for a few years. Awesome!
We had the leader's meeting, and we got a few versions on the study of the Word. We are to master all the basic principles, and I'm eager to answer that call, especially to memorize the Scripture referred to in each. That's my personnal objective for the time being :)
We went home and I discussed with my roomate. It had been a while I did not talk in deep of stuff going on, so I was glad of that. After doing some cleaning, I called a sister in Portland, then went to a poetry writing time at a sister's place. It was on women's safety, as part of the month of women. I wrote two pieces, one on the need for women in computer security, and one on the continous rapes that occured in Darfur. That's only one article. I saw a documentary on CBC, and I felt sick. In some villages, every single female raped at multiple times, every time a new gang moved in town (supposedly "liberating" the village...). I'll send them for the contest and eventually put them online.
For the In-Depth feature at CBC, click here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hitting a good bump

I had a great conversation with a brother yesterday, after the midweek. I was feeling drained, unstimulated, etc.

We talked about very many things (and focusedly, none the less) and it helped me sort through quite a bit of stuff. All that stuff is private enough, so I'm leaving you in the dark :P

Anyway, prayers for fulfillment in my relationship with God, and surrender, are greatly appreciated.

Ubuntu is Out

Ubuntu Linux is the hottest Linux distribution these days, and the newest version is now out.

I'm downloading it using BitTorrent, because I'm a good Internet citizen :)

So, this week's "me time" will be centered around installing this on my laptop and listening to some good music.
The sad news is that there is still no built-in WPA support for my wireless, which means I'll have to beat my laptop into submission to get it working. *sighs* Linux is still an imperfect world.

I'm not gonna complain too much, cuz I'm not investing _any_ time to get those features working... and, besides, computer issues should not rob God's-given gift of joy in my life (and I'm good at letting those pointless things effectively robbing it).

I'll tell you about my experience when I'm done with it :)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Firefox sweetness

I stumbled on the Firemonger Project, which created a "distribution" of Firefox and Thunderbird (+ plugins and utilities). They have a fairly good mix. You should give a shot to quite a few of those extensions and tools.

I just tried FireTune and I love it already! The load time is really lowered, and the option to replace the connection failure alert box with a page is really sweet. Anyway :D

Thanksgiving weekend

I had a cool weekend. My parents came to town (with them, a lot of my stuff), and I got to spend quite some time with them and with the church, which was awesome.

My parents arrived on saturday PM. We went to get my glasses from the store, and set on the walls some frames, my sword set, a new bookshelf, etc.

In the evening, we had a good meal together (Italian sausages, salad, potatoes, wine) and we talked quite a bit. Afterwards, we had a walk together, and I showed them a lot of the buildings of the Jewish community in my neighbourhood. We were wondering who was this "Ben Weider" dude for which a lot of buildings were named after.
Wikipedia had an answer.

On Sunday, we went to the service together. This was a special service, in the campus group. We read quite a few chapters of Mark, then had 3 sharings for the communion. I told a bit about the spiritual meaning of the communion, and then we had a few songs, and a big meal together! There was sooooooooo much more people than expected. The place was packed and quite a few were standing or sitting on the floor. Things were not moving as smoothly though, because of the large amount of people (especially when noone knows the songs...)

Overall, it was wonderful.

I spent more time with my parents, explaining them my convictions a bit. They then left back home. Afterwards, I joined back some brothers and I played my first game of Axis and Allies. We then had a thanksgiving supper with the roomates and the brothers who hosted us during the "moving crisis".

Some sisters invited us to join them afterwards, which we did. We talked about what things we were grateful for.
In my case: my academic success, my trip in Europe, the relationships with the brothers and the spiritual growth and about my prayer answered for my research.
Afterwards, we had some talk about appearances, social standards, etc. It was pretty cool to make the sisters discover that, indeed, there is some effort we do to look good for them, and to know more what effort the sisters do to look good for us. Bridge-building indeed.

I went home earlier than everyone else to rest. This morning, I was blessed to lead a study with a guy. Now, I have to go back to Studying, but I am happy to be blogging about this.
I couldn't have lived something like that 3 years ago. Amen.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Kossins, kossins, kossins

"Kossin" is Québécois slang to mean "things" and, for me, it means "annoying things you gotta do and that will steal a lot of your time".

So, still feeling sick, I went to see the Health Clinic at the university. I was looked by nurse, who told me I should be having my annual... which I did the same afternoon. The doctor told me to go get blood and urine tests, but had to go back to do that, because that closes a 3PM. (As a sidenote, I don't seem to be having anything really bad, so it will be acetaminophen to help with the lack of energy)
Then, I had an apointment scheduled with my dentist. Turns out I have a few caries to be taken care of... next month.
My glasses arrived at the store, didn't yet have the time to go get them.
Wasted a huge lot of time to go get my Accès Montréal card. Wasted a bit of time to go get my fair trade tea.
BUT, there's been some cool stuff that happened.
I managed to make some progress in my research. Still, we'll have to figure out better methods, because it is taking forever.
We had a first design meeting for my cryptography project. This will be cool.
I FINALLY made the first motions to start studying my midterms. I'll have to really focus on that now.
A sister gave me two SUPBERB tea infusers. One for home, one for the office. This is so awesome!
Another is about to send me a shipping of fair traded tea. (Side note: feel free to send me Irish Breakfast tea... not English, IRISH, that's the stuff). This is really really really cool.
I listened with my roomate to some more Baroque musique, and had two D-times that went wonderfully.
Moreover, I managed to have quite a few phone calls with brothers and sisters of other cities. This is something I wish I could do more.
My reading of Victory of Surrender is putting me at a ponit where I want to act. Your prayers are always welcome.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

The Reasons Christ Came... and Us

[Edit: improved the formatting]
Could you list your goals, your purpose in life? Keep it to yourself, be very honest.

Let us see for a moment why Jesus came on earth... and what this means for us.
1) Why Jesus Came on Earth
Reason #1: Accomplish God's will
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (Jn 6:38)
-> Jesus wanted to do God's will in everything. The Law was pervasive to every aspect of our lives, and Jesus was to fulfill it.(Extra reading: Jn 5:43)
Reason #2: Salvation of All

But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:13)

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. (John 12:47)
-> Jesus was interested in the people who are sinners and acknowledge it, to bring them to salvation.
[...]the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)
(extra reading: Luke 9:50-56)
Reason #3: Service + New Life for Believers
-> Jesus was here to serve. He washed feet, he took care of the poor and needy, he healed and served to make people's lives better in a way that was beyond his salvation mandate.
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. (John 12:46)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
(extra reading: John 1, 16:7)
-> Jesus came to bring people out of spiritual darkness. The light he gives us allows us to have a fulfilling life.
Reason #4: Persecution Because of His Teachings
I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! (Luke 12:49)
(see Mt 10:34)
-> Jesus knew that persecutions would come with the Church... and he was eager for it! Eager to see his teachings put in practice!
Reason #5: Teach us the Truth
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.
Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (John 18:37)
(see also Mark 1:38)
-> Bringing the truth to as much as possible was one of his objectives.

2) What it Means for Us: Renewal
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Co 3:16-18)
(Further reading Eph 4:11-13, Ro 8:28-29, Gal 3:19)
-> God's will for us is to become more like Christ.
-> There are many facets to this, but let's focus on this one
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (Jn 3:5-6)
-> We can do so only if we are born again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
-> If we are born again by baptism, we are a new creation. How new? How does God want to use that to shape us?
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, (Romans 6:17)
(Further reading, Romans 2:29)
-> Our hearts are changed so that we want to be obedient.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is.his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
-> Matrix example
-> Renewing of the mind.
-> We are able to think more like God

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise. (Ps 51:12-17)
-> God loves our submitted hearts, and our human broken spirits
-> Willing spirit after forgiveness
-> Transformation and Grace creates the desire to share our faith, to praise God.
3) Conclusion
  • God wants to change us so that we act, feel, think more like Jesus.
  • How much are we thinking like him?
  • Recap: Do God's will, Salvation of all, Service, New/better life to others, Persecution, Truth
  • Share about how we are on this

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Week with grey glasses

I have issues with my perspective.

Compared to the average Sahelian, I should just shut up and praise God 24/7.

Sadly, I do not tend to compare myself with the average Sahelian...
At least, I'll make every effort to talk about my week without crying anybody a river, and derive the positive side of things.

First of all, my cold persited and got draining. I slept in 2 mornings because I was too tired. And a few times, I did not sleep in and was braindead. Forget about productivity. The good side of that is that I did some practical "taking care of myself", in a way.
My team projects did not start too well... We have barely more than a month left, and I feel we are lagging behind, and that some are just not involved. The good side of it is that I am learning more when the others are not doing things for me.
The midweek was +-. We are reading "The Master Plan of Evangelism" as a group. I'm a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing, because we are, in a sense, teaching from something else than the Word. Doesn't mean its false, but still.
I got a list of the "counting of the cost" for Bible Talk leaders that got me crazy for a moment. Good thing I talked a bit with another brother, or I'd have gotten on a rampage.
On Thursday, the class was rough for our prof. He asked for our feedback, and the folks were none too nice with him. On one hand, what was felt by everyone was expressed. On the other hand, it did hurt _me_ to hear that, and I can assume it was worst for the prof than for me. Afterwards, I went to the debate I talked about in a separate entry.
On Friday, I went to a sister to get me new glasses. We found something good that was a little bit over budget, but nothing dramatic. It will lighten my look a little bit. Those should be ready by next week. We have a good relationship, but I did manage to say a comment she resented. We talked about it and got things sorted, but I was surprised by the whole thing. To me, it was a solved matter for months...
I guess there is much learning for me (hardly a new discovery)
Saturday, I had a d-time with some brothers, went to the lab to work a bit, and ended up wasting a few hours playing a silly game. Still, I got some work done. I got to the grocery store and bought some stuff I don't eat often to offer me a special meal, and a sister called for some technical help. Turns out she had nothing to do, so I joined her. We ate together, I tried to fix her DSL (to no avail), and we called in a few more brothers to watch National Treasure. Highly predictable on many levels. But did me well.
On Sunday, I gave myself some more time to pray, and arrived late at the leader's meeting. We shared good news (mine is that my Bible talk is having regulars now... highly unexpected but cool) and the short message was about the need to have loving leadership instead of insecure leadership. Being more loving is a challenge and a prayer request for me. After service, we went to eat to a restaurant in the east end, and a sister offered the meal to thank me for being encouraging to her. I personally would've used the word "evil", since I'm a tough personal trainer... when I am in action, I'm intense... getting into action is more challenging.
I got mail from a brother and it wasn't very positive. I need to pray and take the time to write him truly encouraging words, because he's going trough a lot.
I then treated myself to some more Baroque music and a siesta (I was sleep deprived). I slept more than I thought I would... lets just say I'll have to listen to the CD again.
With the roomates, we began the documentary "The World According to Bush", from the CBC's "The Passionate Eye". Badly titled, but very informative. We ate irish stew, wonderfully cooked by one of them.
Doing a recap like that shows that a lot of good stuff actually hapenned. In general I was under stress, sick and tired. I had the "how dare you ask more of me" kind of attitude. Falls in those generic "its obvious but I don't know why" kind of days.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Debate between Rabbi Shmuley and Dr. Michael Brown

After class, I rushed to go attend this debate. I wanted to have an answer to my questions about messianic prophecies... how could a Jew, who knows the Scriptures more than I do, can manage not to believe that the prophecies were accomplished in Jesus.

I did not have much of an answer to my question, even though I enjoyed the debate.

To learn more about Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
To learn more about Dr. Michael Brown.

My opinion is that Brown won. Not because I am a Christian and that he is one too, but because I did debating and I am able to see when an argument is left standing.
Brown's approach was very sound intellectually and focused on the accomplishment of the prophecies. The basic claim is that if Jesus is not the Jew's Messiah, he's nobody's messiah. And if he's not, we can throw the Torah out of the window.
Shmuley had a far more emotive approach, straightly quoting from Brown's books, and emphasizing about antisemitism a HUGE lot. It almost drowns, in my mind, the rest of his points. His interest was clear: to bring back Jews who converted to Christ. The rest of the audience did not matter to him, or so I felt.
I was surprised by a lot of stuff, and learnt a lot too. From his perspective, that I'll assume to be mainstream judaism, the Messiah must insitute world peace. If that doesn't happen, there is no Messiah. All the rest of the prophecies revolve around that. Also, the next life doesn't matter. This life matters, and we are to serve God the best we can. Also, that Paul was not a Jew, but merely a Roman agent, that was working to destroy judaism. Jesus was an orthodox Jew that the Pharisees tried to save from Pilate, and he was fighting against that tyranny. Also, that the history of Christianity proved, especially what relates to horrible abuses committed agains Jews, that Christianity was bogus.
A lot of his arguments were not backed up with real solid claims, so I found hard to believe them. Saying that Paul coming from Benjamin is too unlikely, so it shows he's lying. Also, since he quoted the Septuagin, it showed that he did not know Hebrew.
I felt a lot of his claims were well-refuted by Brown, and that he did not really touch on the messianic prophecies brought forward by Brown.
The discussion about genealogies was interesting. It was interesting to find out that about 80% of the average Jew in the 21st century could claim Davidic ancestry, and that not all of the genealogical tables were destroyed by the Assyrians, unlike I previously thought.
There was a major futility at the end of the debate about something in the Proverbs (ch 30)
18 "There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a maiden.
20 "This is the way of an adulteress:
She eats and wipes her mouth
and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.'
Is verse 20 linked to 19? This debate was essentially trying to demonstrate that the other was not a good scholar and couldn't interpret Scripture. It broke the flow of the debate and it was at the end. I could've lived without it.
Noteworthy fact, some dude apparently blew a fuse, forcing himself to be listening, telling how much this was a mockery, and that he felt the pain of the rabbi. That's when we learnt that a lot of the Jewish community did a lot of pressure to have the event cancelled, and that many were boycotting it altogether. No wonder the room was full of christians...
I really don't understand this mindset. I just don't. No matter how much I want to intellectually recognize the cultural and social pain that Jews lived through centuries of abuses, I simply am not able to get it. I know of many Québécois who just don't want to let go of the last 2 referendums, and I don't understand them either. I haven't found a better link in my society to help me understand (even though I wish I did).
My consuming questions were not addressed, and I got more now. I left the place my heart pounding strongly, under high adrenalin, knowing that I would do something like that (the debating part) one day. Still, I don't understand. I guess I'll have to just grab a rabbi some day and beg him to explain to me. Why is the Messianic evidence so hard to believe? Why the paranoia? Why do you see conversion as cultural anhilination?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Traditions

Traditions are necessary to put beacons in human life. They are part of culture and national identity. Every country has its national holiday after all. But what if tradition looses its meaning?

Matthiew 15:1-2
As a matter of context: The jewish law set standards in personal purity, especially based on what you touch. If you touched blood or a corpse, you had to clean up, etc.
Very orthodox people washed their hands systematically because of their desire to have always "pure" hands. People imitated them, and generation after generation, this became an unwritten law.
Question: was the basic principle good? Can you name a good and not-so-good tradition.
[Sharing: Mothers' day, a given truck of beer at the Poly]
Matthiew 15:3-14
These guys are the most religious of their time... how come that Jesus, who's talking about God 24/7 say that they are hypocrites?
What makes them blind?
Matthiew 15:10-20
Have you ever felt in you anything that is in verse 19? [Exemple personnel]
A lot of reproach has been done to religion... but what is the core problem: God or humans?
Conclusion
Taking the whole passage, what do you personally conclude?
Any religious life lived with bad motives or simply following tradition is bad in Jesus' perspective. What is this provoking in you?
[Après, partage: première communion pour faire plaisir à la grand-mère. Je l.ai fait sans savoir ce que je faisais, surtout pour avoir la paix.]
[Interesting fact: According to the 2001 survey, 43% in Canada are catholic, nearly 75% claims to be Christian]

Les Traditions

Les traditions sont nécessaires pour fixer un point de repère. Elles sont des éléments importants de la culture et de l'identité nationale... on n'a qu'à penser à l'importance de la St Jean Baptiste pour les Québécois.
Que se passe-t-il si la tradition perd sa signification?

Matthieu 15:1-2
Explication du contexte: la loi de Moise ordonnait des standards de pureté personnelle, particulièrement face à ce qu'on touche, comme le sang ou un cadavre. C'est pourquoi il fallait se laver, pour se purifier de ce qu'on touche.
Des gens très orthodoxes, de peur d'avoir touché des choses qu'il ne fallait pas, se lavaient les mains systématiquement.
Le problème, c'est que le principe est devenu tradition, puis une "loi".
Question: à votre avis, le principe de base de la tradition est-il bon?
Question: Nommez une tradition bonne, comme une moins bonne?
[Partage: St Jean Baptiste (bonne), camion de bière à la poly (moins bonne)]
Matthieu 15:3-14
Les scribes et les pharisiens sont les gens les plus religieux de l'époque... pourquoi Jésus les traite d'hypocrites?
Pourquoi les pharisiens sont "aveugles"?
Matthieu 15:10-20
Avez-vous déjà ressenti ce qui est décrit au verset 19? [Exemple personnel]
On reproche à la religion beaucoup de chose, par exemple les croisades. Le problème vient d'où: de Dieu ou des hommes?
Conclusion
Si vous prenez le passage en entier, que concluez-vous?
Une tradition pratiquée qui dérive de Dieu, quand le coeur n'y est pas, ou avec de mauvaises intensions... est-ce bon, selon Jésus? Avez-vous déjà ressenti ça?
[Après, partage: première communion pour faire plaisir à la grand-mère. Je l.ai fait sans savoir ce que je faisais, surtout pour avoir la paix.]
Que pensez-vous d.une vie religieuse qui ne fait que suivre la tradition « parce que » ? Comment qualifieriez-vous votre spiritualité?
[Fait intéresant: selon le rescencement de 2001, au Canada, 43% de la population canadienne est catholique, et près de 75% de la population se disent chrétiens]

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

News update of me

Ok ok ok... I did not talk of myself recently.

I have been having a cold for a week and its draining me very much. I'm alive, with all my parts. Amen!
I jogged a few times with a sister, which was cool, but we need to make it happening more often!

My Bible talk is becoming "popular", since I have regulars coming... that's kind of unexpected. I hope this doesn't mean that I'm preaching itchy-ears material, but the Word.

We finalized project proposals for 2 classes, and we have to get started. I started in one, for cryptography, by gathering some good plaintext for us. The Gutenberg Project was happy to oblige.

My reading of Victory of Surrender is chalenging. I feel like a mega-control-freak, which I probably really am. Surrender is and will be a struggle for me for a long time, I fear.

Readers, please pray for the church here, for the Campus ministry, for my surrender, for fruits of the Spirit, and that God uses me conversions. Oh, and studies too ;)

Briliant!

I love this idea:

A small, versatile, and very cheap laptop, done with cutting edge technologies, to help education in the developping world.

Sounds impossible? Think again.

I hope they'll license the technology for commercial use in our countries as well. This would totally bring technology to everybody's home, make ebooks a reality, etc. Maybe there is a hope of me taking e-course notes one day... :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Other Recent Discoveries

Here is some reading I'll eventually be doing:
Tortures et tourments des martyrs chrétiens talks about persecutions that were imposed on our brothers and sisters of the first century. This will be a very interesting reading... the kind that challenges.
Being a disciple of Christ in this society has a "persecution factor" that goes as far as social exclusion, to a certain extent. This is something else, and should fire up some zeal in me for sure!

It looks there is some good content in the Canadian Libraries of the Internet Archive... check it out.

Here is something that sounds like a good rendering of the Dance of the Maids. Please keep in mind that I'm no expert.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Classical Jackpot

The MIT actually has music talent.
And its available on the net, in Vorbis format, under Creative Commons.
Can things get better?

Something tells me I'll rediscover the virtues of web crawling applications tonight. :D

Monday, September 19, 2005

Leadership Weekend

On Friday, we had our first Campus devotional. We had a sermon on discipling, a "survey" about our dreams, and we saw The Messenger, starring Mila Jovovitch as Joan of Arc. I did read the trial notes before, and I'll just say that she was a great example of faith, and a great example of ignorance of God's ways...

On Saturday morning, we left for Brockville, Ontario, for a leadership conference with the Syracuse church. The messages were very challenging and stirred up quite a bit of emotion. This helped me get much closer to a brother of Montreal. We had a supper at the Swiss Chalet, that has nothing swiss there... We had a games' night and I had a great time with the brothers and sisters.

On Sunday, we left for Ottawa and had the celebration dinner of the Church's 10th anniversary. There was a BBQ afterwards, but did not enjoy it fully, as we had to be back in MTL for the service, since there was someone that was supposed to go with me. The communion message was right on target, which I always like, and the teaching on the parables of the kingdom were reaching a need in me and in the congregation.
Still, I got a preaching overload with all that...

I was happy to go to bed that night, the tiredness, the emotions and the sheer amount of stuff roaming in my head got to me ;)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Petite Routine

This week has been suprisingly "normal"... isn't that exceptional? ;)

I was able to have a good productivity boost at work and did some progress I should've made a month ago... but progress nevertheless. I did receive critics from my boss about my mismanaging of the team meeting organization, which I really botched. That's the researcher's curse: you get stuck in your research and forget about the "little details" like booking a room and so on...

Got an eye exam and my sight has deteriorated. I am considering laser surgery, but will probably opt against it because that my sight has not stabilized yet. Advice on making my eyes more beautiful are welcomed!

Had quite a few administrative worries to take care of, but its mostly done.

One class got moved to the 8:30-11:00 PM slot, which is evil. I nearly fell asleep on that one. I did look like a whiner talking about it...
but but but... its my sleeeeeeeeeeep we're talking about here! :(

The crypto class was neat, because we were in the action, trying to improve old ciphers and breaking them. In Network Security, we saw some vulnerabilities in old network protocols (mostly for key exchange). In OS, we learnt about an ACM and some security policies. There is a formal part to it that I disconnected from. The book says the exact same thing, so its not helping :'( I'll figure it out.

Tonight will be our first Campus Devotionall. I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Barrage Fire

Woah, Satan has been working on my case real hard this week.

There are some good news though.
We met a guy who finally came to our Bible talk, and he's really fired up about the whole thing. I gotta invite him for a study.
I spent time with the guys in my Bible talk, and I felt that our relationships are deepening. I do confess that I need to be more involved in their lives.
I spent time with a brother who gave me advice on time management, objectives, etc. It was real good. He saw my study Bible and showed me that it was a corrupted version for the Baptist church. In short, don't buy the Scoffield version in French (and maybe also in English). Needless to say, I bought a pocket-sized Bible in French (version de la colombe) for now, and I'll look at different options for a good study Bible. The good news is that I can pick in either English or French ;)
I took the time to, finally, listen to Israel in Egypt, composed by Händel, recorded by Virgin Classics. I enjoyed it. There were only a few pieces that reached me though. Most of it was at the end of the second part and in the third part. It was a great idea to transpose the Scriptures of Moses' song into this format, and the "I will sing unto the LORD" parts at the beggining and the end were very strong.
Now, on the gory stuff, in very short. There has been some sin that was exposed, mainly in my behaviour and my leadership.There has been also the tensions in church leadership who are being more and more public that did have an impact on my overall state. I went to a few very emotional phases where I was bitter at brothers and everything. I took the time, this morning, to leave those emotions to God in prayer, to pray for all the brothers and sisters who, in some way, brought this to light, and I got to a point of thankfulness for having things exposed in the way they were. I am sure God considered it the best manner to disciple me. Prayer is really a powerful medicine! There is some stuff to be dealth with, but the storm is behind me.
Now, I'm more or less serene about all that stuff. No matter what happens, what infighting, what namecalling, I am just going to focus on doing my service to God, and pray about the situation. Like a friend said, Jesus is gonna take care of his girlfriend ;) (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to read Revelations and Ephesians.)

Friday, September 9, 2005

Juicy guide on securing Windows

While scratching contents from the Internet, I found the following:
Windows XP Security Guide

Microsoft has far more resources on security that one might think... surprising even!

*grumbles*

Tired physically and emotionally. Had tough talks with a brother, and that exposed a lot of sin and bad attitudes, especially in my human relationships. My lack of skill and wisdom is very apparent.

That has just been a LOT to handle in a very little time. I sometimes wonder if anybody sees how brittle I am. I always thought it was obvious after spending a little bit of time with me.

Anyway, I can't let go of all that stuff right now. No matter how much I pray about it, it doesn't help. I'll use my old reflexes: dig into work. That'll move my head elsewhere for the time being. Not a good option, but I lack a better one.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Worrying

Bible Talk notes on Matthew 6:26-34

Worrying

So... anybody has assignments and papers to hand in? Anybody has finals coming?

Is anybody stressing about that? Personally, I'm a perfectionist, and I tend to stress a lot about my schoolwork.
And there are a lot of stress and worries we live: will we graduate on time? What about my career? Can I afford that cool iPod? And the list goes on and on...

Today, I want to share with you something that has changed my life, worrywise.

I'll just start by putting some context here: this passage is part of what is called the sermon on the mount, where Jesus is talking to its disciples about what a life of faith should look like.

Matthew 6:25
What kind of fundamental worries does Jesus talk about here?
Does anybody remember the pyramid of needs we learnt in high school?
Self-fulfillment: Education, contribution to the world
Esteem: need for respect of self and others
Love: need of socialization, belonging and recognition
Safety: physical and emotional feeling of protection
Physiological: eating, sleeping, hygiene
From this basic model, there is one thing to keep in mind: if the physiological needs are not met, the rest will not necessarly stand. Doing a final without sleeping, without eating will be a lot harder.
Jesus was saying what psychologists rediscovered many centuries later: there is more than physiological needs, but still acknowledges that they are important.
verses 26-27
Jesus is reminding us of birds, and how God feeds them.
And then, he talks about how much stressing won't help us live longer. What are the effects of stress in your life?
[WebMD has a page about chronic stress. It talks about depression, cardiovascular problems, asthma, memory loss, etc. In short, stress is more likely to shorten your lifespan than to extend it. Jesus knew, well before doctors realized it, how dangerous stress was.]
verses 28-31
As an historical reference, King Solomon was the richest king in Israel's history, and was one of the richest rulers of the middle east in his time. This is what Jesus is refering to when he mentions Solomon.
What would be, in your words, the comparison between Solomon and the lillies?
[God made the flowers more beautiful than anything we can build for ourselves, and they are so little overall. God is demonstrating by that how well He can take care of us ]
verses 32-34
Jesus is basically saying to trust God that He is gonna take care about everything. Did something like that ever happened to you?
[Sharing about getting the internship at MobiLuck]
What are the two solutions that Jesus is proposing about dealing with worry?
[Seek God's kingdom and take it a day at a time]
Concretely, what does it mean to seek God's kingdom?
Finally, how can we practically take it a day at a time?
Conclusion
I hope that you will leave this talk feeling that the Bible has deep knowledge about our human nature, and has practical advice on how to live our lives better.
I also hope that you will be curious to find out more about it, not only to know more about it, but to also live it practically.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Amazed...

In order to obtain the companion contents of a book (Writing Secure Code), I need to go to the website. So far so good.

BUT! The file to download is an .exe
Double-clicking it opens the Windows Installer. Pretty Fancy. Contents must be great...
No. Content is a set of folders with files in them. Nothing else.

I personally use zip files to distribute those. They are standard, multi-platform, lightweight, etc.
All the reverse of what Microsoft forces me to use.

I'm amazed at this... I don't know if its sheer disconnect from reality, stupidity, or evil, but that looks like someone is begging the government for an antitrust lawsuit.

Not-that-great week

This is the one week I have between my vacation and the starting of classes. I was hoping to fully recharge myself before the start of classes, but it didn't happen. Bad sleep mostly.

I spent most of my week researching stuff on the Internet in order to know who's who in my field, the conferences, journals, etc. Not very stimulating, but far better than reading theoritical/mathematical papers.
On Wednesday, we had a Bible Talk. I felt drawn by the Spirit (or so it seems) and ended up inviting... my ex! The fact she tried to ignore me and stuff did not make me feel very good. I was upside down.
There has been some fluctuation in the leadership of various churches and I became very afraid of a split. I am surrendering this to God (even though not 100%... I'm no good at that), as I am not a leader, and thus don't have to be involved. I did get involved in some emails with brothers, but things are back in order.
A sister talked about me about her spiritual state, how she started to attend another church, etc. It was not good at making me feel better.
Good stuff did happen. I went to take a coffee after the Women's Bible Talk on Friday, and we spent time together as a small group. We saw a movie afterwards, Shi mian mai fu (LE SECRET DES POIGNARDS VOLANTS), directed by Zhang Yimou, a good Chinese movie. It had a few adult scenes in it, sadly. Imagine the scene: I'm close to a sister who's an open feminist, and there's one of those scenes happening... I turn to her and ask "could you please tell me about the history of feminism..." We did a few more jokes on that topic, but it did allow me to turn my attention to better things than the screen! The scenes are beautiful. The director really gave us beautiful painting-like images.The storytelling starts very linearly, then twists and intertwines like crazy near the end, but never leaving you confused. If you like good kung fu action and beautiful scenery, this is a must
On Saturday, I did some progress on settling in my room. It looks better now. I took the bus to go to Quebec City to go to a 25th wedding anniversary for an uncle.
On Sunday, got to church and served in the kid's class, then spent the afternoon with a friend who had a lot of questions about the whole idea of a church. In the evening, I spent a little bit of time with my parents and saw Amen, a great movie about the Holocaust and the Vatican's silence on the issue. It was good two see two "christians", a Protestant SS officier forced to serve on Cyclon. B gas production, and a Catholic Jesuit priest trying to get the world to move and stop the killings in the concentration camps. It is a well-rendered true story.
On Monday, I spent time with the church in the afternoon for a BBQ. We played volleyball too and it was a good end-of-summer celebration. I got back to with a couple of the Church here.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Guilty Soul's Guide to Grace

The Guilty Soul's Guide to Grace
Sam Laing
Discipleship Publications International
2005
ISBN: 1-57782-196-3

Short review: I really reccomend.

This book from Sam Laing is about Grace, for the Grace-challenged. He targets people like him who live more under judgment and guilt (often self-imposed) than in blissful acceptance for forgiveness. To quote the author, "This is a book by the guiltiest of Guilty Souls, a man whose instinct has been, and is, to feel guilty and out of sorts with God" (p. 10).
The work is divided in 3 sections: understanding, accepting and living in grace. The author's style combines a lot of personal experience (and associated generalizations) and a solid foundation of Scriptures to bring his teaching forward.
In "Understanding Grace", we are presented by a description of the greatness, and gratuity of God's Grace for us. We are challenged to find out with whom we are confusing God, that Jesus was the incarnation of Grace, and that Jesus did not change God's mind about us, that we have always been His delight.
"(...) We think if we don't properly berate and beat ourselves into submission, we will end up abandoning God and becoming spoiled, selfish egoists. We think our pride is such a lurking beast within us that to give ourselves any sort of affirmation would let it out of the cage, and expose us as the spiritual werewolves we really are.
God doesn't have such a low estimate of us. He believes that the best way to make us loving is to love us first. (...)" (p. 24)
In "Accepting Grace", we are reminded about issues of trust in God, about tuning our over-zealous consciences to the standard of the Bible, about commitment, repentance, baptism. Ultimately, grace is a gift often unopened, and we have to learn to open it!
"This is my story of praying through prayers in the Bible. You need to live out your own story and make your own claim on grace. I urge you to do so. Go to God and claim his grace. Praise him and thank him to the limit you are capable, even if it seems awkward and artificial at first. This is where you must decide to love God with your mind and think the thoughts he wants you to think, no matter what you feel." (p. 111)
In "Living in grace", we learn to deal with matters of discipline, adversity, pride, worry, regret, fear, security, etc. This section gets very practical on the consequences of Grace, as in how it shapes us to be more Christlike.
"The grace of God softens our hearts. It reasons with our minds. It empowers our will. It heals our emotions. It leaves us not merely forgiving, but triumphant. Not merely free, but empowered- empowered to live again, to live again, to be happy again.
My two cents:
I am struggling with Grace, a lot. Reading this book helped me with some of the theoretical aspects, especially that I had issues with God's judgmental and expectant sides of His personality. It is hard for me to fully understand that I'm fully forgiven, loved freely, and yet see results expected of me. I could not realize, however, that i could not accept that God loved me, somehow. I felt like the dirty sinner he "fixes" with Jesus' blood, someone who's naturally evil. I got to pray over psalm 103, as the author recommended, and I begged God to help me understand His love. I can tell you that He answered my prayer, and that this belief is more than intellectual. I am still struggling, but I made a huge step forward.
I was so joyful after this that I started calling friends to share my "discovery"!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Cool things I've fell on researching stuff

As I am building a big reference of useful blogs, websites, publications, etc. in my field, I have to sort through a LOT of stuff that is not directly related. Some can be very useful though.

Sidenote: I'm actually happy with the strike at the CBC for very selfish reasons: CBC Radio 2 has non-stop classical music, except for the news at every hour. I like non-stop classical music. Non-stop classical music is good! :D
The only thing is that you have no clue of what just played... :(

If you want to learn about phishing , here is a no-brainer video.
Now, about why it is a BAD thing to run as an admin in Windows
And if you actually are a limited user but need to be admin for a while.
Funny is also the Devil's Infosec Dictionnary.

Stupid Canoe

I saw a contest to win an MP3 player.
To register I need to open a Canoe Passport account.
To do so, I need to give all my personal information without SSL/TLS protection.

If you are tempted to register, please don't! If someone can't figure out how to turn SSL on their web server, I doubt that they have a clue how to defend themselves against cross-site scripting and other attacks like that.
Besides, I don't wanna risk packet sniffing of my personal information.

The form is here:
http://passeport.canoe.com/cgi-bin/inscription.cgi

I wrote to support about it. We'll see their reaction. I hope we'll see repentance.

And yes, I believe that not caring about the security of senstitive data is stupidity. There is noone in the web development world who hasn't heard of it, all techies are aware of it, and all IT managers should be at this point too. So, I can't see ignorance here, only stupidity.

I'm so graduating!

I checked my grades yesterday, and I passed my last class.

I got my graduate student ID done that very morning, and I got a welcome email from the dean :)

I'm very happy with this. I'm just waiting for the letter of invitation to the Convocation Ceremony.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Portland Vacation

Very short summary of my time in Portland

Monday: chilled out with Campus, played Frisbee and Ultimate Frisbee. Wen to a Chemical Recovery meeting and got real close with two brothers there. I am thinking of adapting some of the contents for Montreal, but for something else than tobacco, alcool and drugs. Won't say more on this blog.
Tuesday: more chilling out with Campus, had a "cooking date" and cooked for the Bible Talk, attended the Bible talk. A lot of the folks on Campus don't know how to cook and eat at Subways or fast food places all the time (shocking!).
Wednesday: Some "me time" with lots of reading. Met a sister for a date, then attended men's midweek. The midweek was about sharing what we got from the Conference, mostly.
Thursday: Had a walk around Bearverton, read some of the Coran in a little park (part of a commitment to a muslim friend, long story. But worry not, I am very much christian still ). Had a meal with a the brother hosting me. He showed me his portfolio, and he cooked me sourthern-style food. It was fried livers and gizers (not sure of the spelling) with "sweet tea". I liked it very much, even though I would not eat that very day, because of my waistline.
Friday: Went to Powell's City of Books, a HUGE store, with both used and new books. I bought for about 30$ (USD) and they were ALL a steal! I enjoyed being in the rare book section, with the classical music and some very old stuff. After coming back, I spent more time with a sister and got to know her better. Afterwards, went to a prayer walk with two brothers, got a few email addresses, and I was in the transit to get to the airport!
I arrived at NewArk at 5:30ish AM and saw the sun rising. Ate an horrible breakfast at Miami Subs (or something like that). Don't EVER eat there. I took the plane to Burlingto and spent time with a couple of the church there, talking about what is going on in our respective churches, about computer hardware, etc. It was a fun time.
I took the bus back to Montreal and talked for most of the way with a very nice and knowledgeable Chinese woman. She had lots of questions about Christianity, and was comparing my answers a lot from what she learnt from a Catholic friend.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Bible Jubilee was ... woah

In short: great teaching, great surprises. A brother was apointed evangelist (and wasn't told in advance), and I stopped counting the number of baptisms that happened. A missionary team was presented too. It was so great.

There were a few preaches, and I attended two lessons. The first was about full-time ministry, and the other was about building efficient Bible talks.

I also had lots of fun

A brother is very kind and took me in. Its at the outskirts of town, but its a comfy bed!
But let us go chronological
Thursday, 10PM, we leave for the bus station. Take the bus of 11:30. The border crossing goes smoothly. We arrive in Burlington 2:15ish, I don't remember.
We then proceed to walk 4 miles east towards the airport. We take a stop at at gas station to get some breverages, then to fetch bagels. We arrive at the airport past 3 AM. We sleep a bit, and at 4:30, its time to check in our luggage. The departure is at 5:30. The airplane was tiny, and one of the travellers (a tall fellow) did have to stretch his neck to fit in :(
We arrive at Cincinnati, and have one hour before the next flight, so take some time to have a "good" breakfast, even though its all fast-foodish places. We take our 9:10 flight to Portland and arrive about 11:00ish local time (14:00 EST). We take the MAX (light rail) and arrive easily at the convention center. We meet the sisters welcoming us and, since there was nothing better to do, we help moving books for the book table, then cutting name tags.
We then head out to a popular mexican restaurant called Chipotle. The burrito I ordered was actually HEAVY. Not jut for the stomach, but for the arms as well. Must've been a few pounds... not as light as I'm used to for my food!
We then go for a Syracuse-Montreal meeting and spend time with the people of the church there. Toronto and Ottawa meet us.
In the evening, the jubilee began. We had a funny video of Kip and Helena McKean evangelizing the moon, and on the first mission to spread the Gospel to Mars. We had a good laugh. Kip's preaching afterwards on the problems the church went through in the last few years left us with a sense of solving. It was behind us, there has been repentance, let us move forward again.
A brother took me in to sleep at his place, and thus we went to his home, and I was straight to bed.
Saturday morning did not leave us much room to build frienship, because we did not wake up much in advance, really. So we got at the conference center quick.
We had an introduction of the new website for the churches: upsidedown21. We also had a report from HOPE. Afterwards, we had a preach titled "Love Your Enemy", which talked a lot about forgiveness.
Then, I attended a presentation "Is the full-time ministry for me?", which left me with more resolution, but also more questions to ask myself, and more prayers. Basically, if this is not really for you, don't force yourself to keep doing it, because you can end up burnt out and bitter... woah!
My initial course of action remains: I do my Master first. That leaves me 2 years to figure it out. In general, however, I am making it my dream and asking God to make it happen if that is His will for me, or to make it plain clear if it is not. I am in no hurry to have an answer anyway ;)
Another lesson was about Bible Talks. I left with a few good ideas, and a conviction that I was not leading mine in a spiritual way at all. This was THE big thing for me in this conference.
I hung out with some Campus folks during lunch time, and spent time with some sisters during the afternoon break. We were supposed to go to the falls, but that didn't happen. We had a good time though.
During the evening, we had one more preach ("Faith But No Deeds"... you can guess the content!), followed by the band. They had real good music, and it was lots of fun for everyone.
On Sunday, we had the service early. We had a "missions report", which should be titled "news from the congregations present here". The preaching was about the relationship with God, with different aspects to it, and a major challenge to be living it as a husband-wife (in LOVE!) relationship.
After exchanging a few emails, I went on a group date with folks from the Eugene church and ate at a mexican restaurant. I had a good time, and the folks with us were great.
In the afternoon, we had a double date with some Campus sisters and they brought us to the Rose Garden and the waterfront (the big park next to the river). The Rose Garden is very pretty. They do weddings there every now and then, and its no wonder why! I don't love flowers as badly as my mom does, but I do appreciate their beauty, especially as a "photographer". I do love the sense of peace that nature gives me.
So, that's a quick summary of the conference for me. The fellowship was lots of fun, and the spiritual example was stimulating!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Working on my laptop

So, I decided I would finally reinstall Windows on my laptop. It was due, both technically and contractually.

The first step was to resize my Windows Partition, because I'm planning to gradually start using Linux a lot more than in the past, especially since I don't have to work with windows-only tools anymore.
I used Knoppix 3.8 to do so, with qtparted, but there were an error... grrr. After a reboot and some thinking, I tried using ntfsresize, and it only worked partly (it moved the data on the disk, but did not proceed to resize because I was resizing down too much). So I rebooted under Ubuntu, downloaded the latest qtparted and then suceeded where Knoppix failed. Yay!
I've just reclaimed 4.5 Gb that will be used as file storage between Linux and Windows.
I then took the ordeal of reinstalling Windows from Dell's CD. Obviously, the drivers were aside, so I had to waste a lot of time to set the drivers, download the new ones, etc.
I then went on a securing phase (beyond the firewall and antivirus): removed the administrator password, disabling the LM hash, disabling sharing, removing NetBIOS, etc.
Here are some useful links to secure your Windows XP:
http://www.markusjansson.net/exp.html
http://www.its.caltech.edu/its/security/users/hardenxp.pdf
I still have to reinstall Ubuntu now. I doubt I'll do that before coming back from vacation.
Edit:
I wanted to do a ghost image of this Windows partition in case that anything crashed... it was so long to configure that I better do a good job at backing it up :D So, using Knoppix 3.8, I launched a partimage job before leaving for work. It will make a raw copy, like Norton Ghost, and save it on my Linux partition. Afterwards, I'll have to use same Knoppix CD to re-configure LILO or Grub to be able to boot from Linux once more, burn the file, etc. That's geek fun!
Maybe I'll have the time tonight.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

First shot at servantship

So, I started today my new assignment at the book table.
It was an easy start, but I saw how badly there were things that needed some process optimization. Its too natural for me not to do it.

What of the rest of my week?
Even though I did work, there is not much to say about it.
My studying went good. I forgot everything about circuit's step response, and managed to climb out of that hole I was in. I'm feeling midly confident about my exam tomorrow (monday) morning.
On Friday, I reserved myself a special meal, buying some food (including dessert) just for the occasion. I spent it... watching a bit of Jesus of Nazareth, which I bought earlier that day. I was soooooooo looking forward to this! I wanted to purchase this for a few months, and I finally received my paycheck!
That's how I love myself :$
On Saturday, we had a review class all morning that did last too long. What happened is that the booking office made a mistake, so security asked us to leave the classroom, and then sent us somewhere else to finish the lecture... but there was an exam happening there. So they sent us to another room, which was free.
My B. Eng. started with logistic issues, and it looks like it will be finishing the same way. Isn't Concordia wonderful?
I had a d-time with some brothers, then got back to studying, and did so for most afternoon and a bit of the evening.
Then I got to a brother's birthday party at a too-expensive-for-my-taste buffet. I had OK conversation, stuffed myself too much, and left feeling cheated by the bill. Then, to worsen things, someone calls me by mistake on my cellphone. When I call back, he starts insulting me, calls again, etc.
God granted me a victory of surrender with this.
As for this sunday, we had a leaders' meeting at 9, then I got to the booktable to receive my training, and we had the service. The message was inspiring, and I want to do some reading trying to see how this is how Jesus is thinking. I advised a brother afterwards, then got home.
The landlady came and we discussed about some nonimportant matters. I looked at China pictures from one of the Bible students, etc. My afternoon dissolved in meaninglessness, until I got myself a nap. Now I'm typing this, and I'm resolved in giving myself a good special time with God right after.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My place is looking much better

Since there was a mid-week service coming, I put some studying aside and got some household things done

So is the story of my Tuesday evening:
I went to Canadian Tire and Future Shop. I got myself a new bike tire (mine was really at its limit), a bike pump, a light fixture, a few energy-efficient lightbulbs (27W equivalent to 100W, yay!), a 3-2 electric plug adapter and a wireless card for my roomate.
I set the 3-2 adapter at a sister's place, so she can now work on her computer. That made her happy :D
Afterwards, I put the fixture in place, but had to redo it twice (the first time was the metal plate upside down, the second time was because I used the wrong screws to attach the metal plate... grrr), which gave me a good shoulder ache.
Then, it was the time to set the wireless card for my roomate. Linksys' control program is just REALLY BAD, and the one on the CD is badly outdated. In short, it froze all the time, did not have WPA on, etc. Linksys did not help at all, because the drivers and instructions were for versions 1.0,2.0,3.0 and 4.0 of the product. Version 1.2 (our case) was just not mentionned. I had to take a chance and assume it was the same thing as 1.0 (I could have messed up the system doing that... but I also know how to remedy it, so it was a calculated risk).
I had to update the driver and disable the Linksys program from starting up, so that the Windows XP manager can take over. Once we had that in place, things were working more or less fine.
On Wednesday morning, a brother decided he wanted to serve me! I was not about to say no to that! He thus took care of the bike's tire, set a few frames on the wall for me, and even sorted and folded my laundry. That's a lot of love!
I was really glad of his help, and glad to have a decent place to show the people of my house church.
Don't worry, my friends, you'll see pictures of my room once I put in place the postcards of my different travels, encouragement cards, etc.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Planning that dissolves by the circumstances

So, I was planning a salsa night on Friday. I was planning good studying on Saturday. I was planning on doing a deep Bible study on Sunday, and put some decorations in my room.

Looks like God had other plans...

So, everybody cancels out on Friday, and I adapt by doing a movie night with a sister and her roomate. We saw A House of Sand and Fog, which is a lovely piece. We are talking about a movie built around character development and storytelling. I felt the characters having true psychology.
I had a talk also with a friend about the nomination of the new Governor General, which is haitian-born and couldn't figure out the big deal about it. I just see the Governor General as the Medal-Giver of the Government of Canada and Law-Stamping Official of Canada and don't care much about what she does and doesn't do. I don't see what else but tradition keeps this job going and what role this office should do for Canada. End of political commentary.
On Saturday, I helped my roomate shop for a wireless card online, coordinated with the Campus leader, then got for a discipling time with some brothers. I then studied some bit, but was feeling out of energy, and slept a bit. Leaving the building to go to the library (a more fitting place than where I was), I meet an old friend of mine and we take a cofee together. I invited him to church, and the fact that I'm not given a big "NO" is a great encouragement to me.
I met with a brother who lead a Bible talk recently and gave him some feedback, and then answered a few questions about the Old Testament. Summarizing the whole OT is not a fun thing to do, trust me!
We went to a goodbye party afterwards. A sister is leaving for South Africa to support Hope programs for AIDS patients there. She is encouraging and stimulating.
As of Sunday,
going at the service, I spent time with one sister who's partly responsible for the book table and she asked me if I wanted to serve at the book table, review books, etc. I accepted. I am blessed with a personality that can relate to the more scientific as well as to the more emotional. My interests cover a lot of stuff, including self-growth, ancient and ecclesial history, science, etc. I'll have fun advising my brothers and sisters :D
We had an evangelist from the US coming to teach us. He gave us great news from his church, where the zeal has come back. It was good news indeed. He exhorted us to never give up on God, never give up on one another and never give us on dreaming.
Afterwards, with lots of brotherly communion, we went to a restaurant, then to the Old Port.
Back home near 4, a roomate and I set the living room. Finally! It really looks like a home now.
My roomate told me "We are going to play at 'think fast'". He told me to pick a parable in Luke, prepare for one minute, and deliver a 15-minute teaching from it. After about 5 minutes, he told me to stop, and said "you proved that you have enough Bible knowledge to make a Bible talk without freaking out planning it." (or something close). I can't help but being a perfectionist, especially for something like a moment of teaching.
Yes, I am too perfectionist. But I do want to write down good Bible talk and share it with my brothers and sisters, especially of the missionary team in Québec City. Basically, this is one piece of perfectionism I don't want to let go.
In a sense, maybe I'm not surrendering fully to God, but I don't feel I'd be respectful to the Word and to my ministry by leading a Bible talk unprepared. The last time I was underprepared resulted in having no guests, so I feel that God will only bless my ministry if I am prepared.
Afterwards, a brother from Ottawa came over and we spent time together in the evening as well. He told us about the state of the Turkish churches too, that was really cool.,
And now, I am typing my blog, before going to indulge in my perfectionism :)