Sunday, December 16, 2007

Merry Xmas!!

Ok ok all you Christians, settle down about my post title. I'm a Christian too and just discovered (once again) that I'm ignorant. So I thought I'd post some of the info I found about the spelling or abbreviation of "X-mas" and why it is actually a good substitution to use.

. . . around Christmas each year there are always those who loudly decry the use of the abbreviation "Xmas" as some kind of blasphemy against Christ and Christianity. This concern has been elevated recently with the public debates about manger scenes and the substitution of "holiday" for Christmas in stores and government venues. Among religious folks, the objection to Xmas is usually along the line that people have taken Christ out of Christmas and replaced him with an unknown (since the Greek letter chi, [C,c] which looks like the English letter x, is the symbol for an unknown quantity in mathematics). (link)

The abbreviation of Xmas for Christmas is not irreligious. The first letter of the word Christ in Greek is chi, which is identical to our X. Xmas was originally an ecclesiastical abbreviation that was used in tables and charts. In the early days of printing, when font sizes were limited and type was set by hand, abbreviations and ditto marks were used liberally. Xmas came into general use from the church! (link)


Friday, December 14, 2007

How Many Kings Radio Response

I noticed that many people are finding my blog by searching "How Many Kings Downhere" or something to that effect. In case you don't know, How Many Kings is a song that we (downhere) recorded and is on the Bethlehem Skyline album. According to our record label it is doing pretty well at radio right now which is very exciting. Here are a couple of very nice quotes from some radio folks who are playing it.

"How Many Kings – by far the most requested, emailed and called about song we’ve played this year."
- Mike Prendergast / KLTY

"How Many Kings" by Downhere is destined to become a Christmas Classic, it's that GOOD!"
- Jim Epperlein / XM 32 The Message

Wow! Thank you Mike and Jim for such kind words and to any of you who have been calling and emailing about the song!

-To hear the song you could head on over to our myspace page.
- For lyrics click Here.

Buy Bethlehem Skyline:
Through Our Web Site
on iTunes
at (Physical copy)



Thursday, December 13, 2007

Feist Gets Four Grammy Nominations!

I just found out that Leslie Feist picked up four Grammy nominations this year! I just saw her in concert last week and it was a great show! Read the review here.

Here's what she was nominated for:

Best Female Pop Vocal for "1234"
Best New Artist
Best Pop Vocal Album for The Reminder
Best Short Form Music video for "1234"

It's always great to see some good Canadian talent get noticed!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mike Huckabee for President

I'm not often into politics much but it's been really interesting to see how Mike Huckabee has seemed to pick up steam so quickly in the U.S. presidential race. The first time I heard of Mike Huckabee was back around 2000 when he was shown on a comedy special in Canada called Talking To Americans. The host, Rick Mercer, traveled to Arkansas as part of the show and talked to Governor Mike Huckabee. He obviously posed questions well enough to get Huckabee to say what he wanted him to say as he would do with every other American he talked to. And this is what made the show so funny. So Huckabee made a fool of himself and that was the first time I heard his name. Since then, and since I started running, I heard how he was a runner and was able to lose quite a bit of weight running. He's even run several marathons! So that's impressive and made me take notice of him again.

In the last couple of weeks two blogs that I often check have both posted about their support of Huckabee. One blogger, Randy Alcorn, is a writer and a pastor and lives in Colorado. I've read his books Safely Home and Lord Foulgrin's Letters and I posted about them a while back. The other, Dean Karnazes, is a runner and the Ultramarathon Man. He works towards beating childhood obesity, he's all about being fit and eating healthy and he lives in California. He's been a running inspiration to me and reading his book before a race is always helpful.

These guys come from very different places yet both of them support Huckabee. I'm not able to vote and that's fine because I'm a proud Canadian but if I were to vote in the U.S. Mike Huckabee would have my vote at this point. It'll be interesting to see how it all goes down.

To see what Alcorn and Karnazes had to say about Huckabee click on their names above.

Below is the clip from Talking To Americans as well as a great commercial Huckabee did with Chuck Norris. It made me laugh anyway.



Thursday, December 06, 2007


Ahhhhhh, there she is. A thing of beauty. Behold her humility. She just sits there quietly, unassuming, as if nothing is even happening, yet nothing could be further from the truth. She is however just starting to take a break due to the cold weather. It gets a little more difficult for her to work when it's so chilly outside and the insides of her aren't able to reach the 40-62 degrees C (105F-145F) she so desires. Normally when we throw in what to us is waste, she takes it and gets to work right away. Now that the weather has turned and she's kind of small her work will have to wait till the Spring and our waste will just have to pile up until she's full which she almost is.

Ok, ok, sorry. I couldn't help myself. It is just a compost container but something about it is so cool to me. I mean you just throw in some food scraps (the right ones of course) stir it a few times a week and in a matter of weeks it's all turned into some very fine dirt that can feed your garden or lawn or whatever. You're reducing your waste and producing something that can be used later and can save you a little dough. All for minimal work.

The area I live in is great for encouraging composting. I was just checking my region's web site and it looks like I could drive to 3 different places and pick up a FREE compost container like the one above. Nice! Here's some info about composting taken directly from that same web site.

Composting is one of the ways we all can contribute to reducing the need for landfills and preserving our environment. By composting our own household garbage, we can turn kitchen and yard waste into a dark, nutrient-rich earthy-smelling material which can be given back to the earth as an environmentally friendly soil conditioner.

By returning organic matter back to the soil, our plants will grow healthier and we can change this "waste" into a valuable resource for future generations. Make composting a part of your waste reduction routine!

What can you compost? One-third of your household garbage can be composted!
* vegetable cuttings
* fruit peels
* cores and rinds
* coffee grounds
* egg shells
* tea bags
* plant cuttings
* grass trimmings
* leafy vines
Things you should not compost include
- Meats, fish and bones
- Fatty foods (cheese, bustter, oils)
- Animal Feces
- Diseased or insect infected plants
- Weeds with mature seeds

For a great little brochure/pamphlet/information thingy, download the pdf in this link. It's full of lots of information about composting.

OK, that's it for now. I'll have to do another post on the old compost when Spring rolls around and she's able to start working again. Maybe some pictures of the lovely dirt she produces will be in order.



Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Feist Concert Review

Being a full time touring musician makes going to see a live show a little different for me I think. I'm always at concerts, thing is they are usually ones I'm playing in! So to get to sit back and remember what it's like to be an audience member is great.

We had seats in the center of the front row of the mezzanine at Center in the Square in Kitchener ON. They were great seats considering I just picked them up the morning of the show. The show started with another Canadian act called Great Lake Swimmers. The vocalist had a sort of Sufjan-esque quality to his sound and the music could even be considered in the same genre as Sufjan, very organic, musical, real. Their bass player played an upright bass and they used a pump organ at one point. I really appreciated how their use of real instruments and how everything I heard was being produced from stage. A great opening for Feist.

The thing I really loved about Feist's performance is how simple and organic it all seemed. As you can see from the picture the stage only has instruments on it. There are no props and hardly anything noticeable in the way of lights. Then on the screen behind them there was not one piece of pre-recorded video. And only once in the show I was at was there video of anyone on stage. Even then it was just a simple shot of the kick drum pedal. The only other thing projected on the screen was a sort of shadow puppet type of thing that was all being created live. It's hard to explain and it was also hard to figure out how it was all happening which made it even more cool and unique. Here's a video clip of one of her songs with the shadows going on in the background.

Leslie Feist's vocals were spot on all night. And her guitar playing was great! When she spoke she was funny and endearing. She made sure we knew she was home grown here in Canada and that always wins over an audience. Her band members were great musicians. I'm not sure how many instruments I saw them all play but 4 guys covered everything from upright piano to flugel horn to saxophone to vibes to flute and even some pretty convincing sounding background vocals that often achieved a sound similar to the album. There was a sense of camaraderie between everyone on stage and when Feist brought out Great Lake Swimmers at the end it seemed like they were all a happy family.

All in all it was a great show. If you are considering going, go! Live is best and this performance was all live. Hopefully next time I see Feist it's not in an arena although I wouldn't be surprised with how well she is doing. Here is one of Apple's latest ipod ads that features a Feist song and video. I've gotta say that it makes me proud to see all this great music coming out of Canada and it reminds me that I need to get out and see live shows more often!



Monday, December 03, 2007

Post Wide Eyed and Mystified Tour Report

Not so long ago we (downhere) finished our Wide-Eyed and Mystified Tour with Jason Gray and Lanae Hale. Jason Gray just did a post on his blog where he gives a pretty good description of the Downhere team and how we operate. I found it interesting to get someone else's perspective on how we do everything and thought maybe someone else would too. Plus, Jason is an awesome guy and a very talented musician and performer so while you're at his site why not put on one of his songs to listen to while you read his post?



Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Proud Daddy Moment

My 3 year old son Jonah has his own drum kit and today we decided to try and fix the tuning of the floor tom. So Daddy went to work on it with the drum key, trying to get the weird rattle out of it and give it some tone. As much tone as you can get from a cheap kids drum kit anyway. I finally got it to a place where I thought it was sounding pretty good when Jonah said, not sounding too impressed, "It sounds like my other tom now!"
Sherri and I looked at each other and I asked him to go and play the other tom. He walked over and hit it and what do you know, it was exactly the same pitch! And it's not like he had been just playing it or anything. Somehow I had tuned the floor tom to the same note as the 2nd rack tom. Anyway, it seems like he's got a pretty good ear. We're guessing he's got his Uncle Mark's ear.
So yes, I'm a proud Daddy once again!



Global Warming

Well happy December from Southern Ontario Canada! We woke up to somewhere around 15cm of snow today. It felt like more than that though. I got stuck twice trying to get out of the driveway for church this morning. Then since we live on a hill I couldn't go up and ended up backing down the entire hill to get to a flat spot so I could start driving to church. As you can see Jonah and I had some outside time in the snow which was good seeing as he threw up last night while grandma was baby sitting. He's not 100% but we figured since the snow was here and he wanted to go out so bad it was worth it.

Environment Canada is also predicting that this will be our coldest winter in 15 years! Link. No problem with me. It just means we should be able to have our outdoor rink a little longer this year and that we should have more snow! Woo hoo. Maybe we can get into cross country skiing this year?



Friday, November 30, 2007

How Many Kings

(Updated December 3rd - added link to lyrics) Tomorrow is December and radio stations are already playing Christmas music. And one of the songs they happen to be playing right now is one of our songs called How Many Kings. We are getting some great responses about it already and I'm glad so many people are enjoying hearing it on their radio station. We recorded that song last year as part of the Bethlehem Skyline compilation that our record label Centricity Records released this year! So if you would like to own that song yourself (which we would love for you to do, buying albums keeps bands alive) then below are a couple of links to where you can find it. And if you just want to hear the song . . . I thought I'd be kind and post it right here in my blog. Yeah, Merry Christmas!! If you would like to hear more though head on over to our web site or myspace page.

Lyrics Here.

Buy Bethlehem Skyline:
Through Our Web Site
on iTunes
at (Physical copy)


Thursday, November 29, 2007

World Vision One Life Tour & World AIDS Day

Most of you reading this blog know of my passion for and involvement with World Vision. If you live anywhere near where I do in Southern Ontario there is an experience you need to be a part of. World Vision has put together an interactive African village that gives us the chance to step into the shoes of a real person living in Africa and see the struggles that they have to deal with. I had a chance to participate in it when they had it set up in Nashville and it was powerful. I know how it made me feel (sad, angry, frustrated) but it is real life and it’s something we all need to be aware of. So as Christmas approaches and if you have the chance, check out the World Vision One Life Tour while it’s in Kitchener Ontario December 1st - 9th and learn more about what your sponsor child may be growing up with or how you could help a child. For more info here’s their web site. Check out this link to see what people are saying about it after they have completed it.

While I’m on the topic of World Vision you should know that World AIDS Day is coming up on December 1st and World Vision has some great ways for us to be involved. Check out their site to learn more about what’s going on and how to be a part of it.

The video below will give you a glimpse into what the event looks like. Enjoy!



Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rockstar Runners is born!

If you’ve been reading my blog for more than a couple of days you surely know that I enjoy running. And when you enjoy something, you want to share that joy with others which is why I always end up writing about it.

Since I started running four and a half years ago there have been so many people who have been curious about the whole thing. They would ask questions like; why did you start running? Or, how is it even possible to run for an hour? Or, how can I start?

Then there have been people I’ve talked with about running and have encouraged to get started. Often times I hear back from them and they are telling me about a 10K or half marathon or full marathon they have just completed and I am blown away. Not blown away that they did it but that they credit me with any part of the months of work it took them to do something like that.

So all that said, Jeremy and I thought it would be a great idea to create a community of people who can encourage each other, share training ideas and work together to better each other and those around them. Plus we can meet each other at different races all over the globe.

The result is Rockstar Runners and we are excited to see what impact this club can have on so many lives. I’ll be posting there regularly now too, mostly about running obviously so if you are interested in running or light jogging or just getting into shape, c’mon over and send your friends too. I’d love to see you there!



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why I Avoid Hydrogenated Oil and Trans Fats

How about a quick blog on trans fats and hydrogenated oils? You'll love it, trust me.

First, what is hydrogenated oil?

When fat or oil is subjected to hydrogenation, the molecular structure of the fat is actually changed. The changed molecules cause the oil to harden, which makes it easier to handle and increases its shelf life. It also has a high melting temperature and an appealing creamy texture. For these reasons, food manufacturers like working with the hydrogenated oils. (link)

And how about Trans Fat?
Trans fat is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat which is altered by partial hydrogenation. This process of partial hydrogenation forces the oils which are naturally liquid at room temperature to become solid, therefore modifying the fat so it is more similar to saturated fat. (link)

Now how about a little blurb on what our bodies do with these hydrogenated oils?
Since hydrogenated oils don’t occur in nature, our bodies don’t know how to deal with them effectively. They act as poisons to crucial cellular reactions and they wind up in cell membranes and other places they shouldn’t be. (link)
There is also evidence to suggest that trans fatty acids may bioaccumulate in the body, because the digestive system has difficulty figuring out what to do with them. As a result, a diet high in trans fats will result in weight gain.
Consumption of hydrogenated oil has been linked with diabetes, coronary disease, and obesity in a wide number of scientific studies. (link)
In short, trans fats are poisons, just like arsenic or cyanide. They interfere with the metabolic processes of life by taking the place of a natural substance that performs a critical function. And that is the definition of a poison. Your body has no defense against them, because they never even existed in our two billion years of evolution -- so we've never had the need or the opportunity to evolve a defense against them. (link)

So, obviously these oils are not natural for us. Some places have even gone as far as banning them! In Denmark it's illegal for foods to contain more than 2% trans fat. Compare that to the 30% some margarines contain in the U.S.. It's almost been one year since New York City has banned all trans fats in restaurants. Washington State is considering a state wide ban. Calgary and Toronto are pushing for bans and there is a push for Canada to consider a ban similar to Denmark.

How about this quote?
"Consuming partially hydrogenated oils is like inhaling cigarette smoke. They will kill you -- slowly, over time, but as surely as you breathe. And in the meantime, they will make you fat!" (link)
So what foods have trans fats or hydrogenated oils? Any of the pictures in this post are there because they are of foods you should avoid. Do some research. Edumacate yourself, decide what you should do then do it!



Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why Are We Always Longing For Something More?

Why are we always longing for something more? I think C.S. Lewis puts it well here.

"We talk about a universal experience as with surprise. Why is that? We look at somebody and say, my how you've grown or we say, my how time flies. That would be as strange as a fish complaining about how wet the water is.

Unless of course it was meant to live on dry land."

To go along with that one, from 2 Corinthians 5
"1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."


Monday, October 29, 2007

16 billion pixel image of Da Vinci's The Last Supper

For all you artists out there. This article stood out to me because of my "Blog-Father" and artist Randy Elrod.

"You won't need to go to Italy any more to get a close-up view of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece The Last Supper: you can now get an intimate look at it through a 16-billion-pixel image that has been posted on the internet."
For full article click here.

And if you just want to check it out yourself click on the image below. Pretty cool!!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Funny Commercial

Here's a commercial I saw the other day while watching the hockey game. I'm not sure if it's because I don't watch much TV, but commercials seem funnier to me lately. Below is a prime example. It's a commercial for a Canadian Sub shop. Enjoy!


Monday, October 22, 2007

Detroit Marathon Photos and Live Audio Commentary

Thanks to everyone for all of your kind words. And special thanks to my cousin Sue and her husband Nick and family for hosting me for the Detroit Marathon.

If you saw my last post which my lovely wife put up for me you would have seen my time. I am really happy with how I did. I didn't really go into this race with high hopes. I hoped I would finish it somewhere around my last time and if I could beat it, it would be a bonus.

Anyway, as promised, below are some pictures that I took WHILE running. I also had an audio voice recorder with me during the run. So if you want to get a feel of a marathon without actually running one you can listen through my experience (condensed down to 30 minutes) and get the idea. Feel free to skip through if you want. I did my best to try and convey some of the interesting things I saw, how I was feeling and stuff about a marathon you wouldn't know if you've never run one or been to one. Like trying to stop yourself from crying when sitting down just beyond the finish line about to talk to your wife on the phone. Some of the pictures below correspond to the commentary so you can flip back to here to see the pics I'm talking about if you want. It was a pretty cool race! We started in Detroit and ran over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada then through the Detroit Windsor Tunnel back into Detroit. Supposedly the only underwater mile that's part of a race in the world. We eventually ran onto an island where the Detroit Indy races take place. We also ran past Tiger Stadium and Joe Louis Arena home of the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings respectively. There was lots to see.

I hope you enjoy it. I had a great time!!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Detroit Marathon Results

Glenn asked me (his wife) to post the results of today's marathon for him. Also, he had a voice recorder and camera with him on this run, so stay tuned for that in the next day or two!

His results step by step are:
7.4 Miles - 0:57:10
Half-marathon - 1:43:06
17.4 Miles - 2:14:24
Marathaon - 3:31:37 (chip time) 3:32:29 (gun time)

Glenn ranked 48th in his age/sex category (of 317) and 464th overall (of 3819).

Congrats on running your best ever marathon, babe!



Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pre Detroit Marathon Report

So Sunday will be my 4th marathon. I'm looking forward to it. I'm running the Detroit Free Press Marathon. This marathon runs over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and then back through the Detroit Windsor Tunnel back to the U.S. Here's a link to my first post about it with more info.

Below is a graph of my weekly totals for running since the beginning of May, or just after my last marathon. I think I maxed around the right time. Hopefully it wasn't too early.

My goal for this marathon is to just feel strong throughout the whole thing. I want to finish in decent time but mostly I don't want to feel crummy for the last 5 or 6 miles. My plan was to run 30 miles two weeks ago but it just didn't happen. When I'm on the road it's hard to squeeze in a 4-5 hour run. At least I ran 26.2 in warm humid weather then set up our gear for a show then played a concert. So maybe that equals almost 30 miles.

For time, I don't think I'll be cutting another 40 minutes off my previous race time but I would love to beat my Nashville time of 3:40. 3:30 would be amazing but I might be pushing it to do that. No promises here. I always train with walking breaks but in order to gain some time and speed I think I'll eliminate most of them for the race. My rule will be, if I need a break I can walk for 1 minute only and any break has to be separated by at least 9 minutes of running. I need rules like that while I run or else everything just gets loose and I fall apart mentally.

I'll be running with a camera and maybe even a voice recorder so I can document the whole thing in a fun way. Hopefully it'll help give you a feel for what a marathon is like.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Apple Crisp Recipe

On the weekend Sherri and I decided we would do a family outing to a nearby apple farm. We went to Myers Apple Farm in Copetown Ontario. It was a beautiful morning and we arrived early enough that we didn't have to deal with it being too busy.

I'm always looking for MacIntosh apples so when we got there I asked but they were past their season. So we went out and started looking at the other apple trees. I eventually found the Mac rows and decided it would be worth while to scavenge them. Sure enough we were able to get more than we needed from what was left over in the trees.

We've already had apple pie once and last night I decided it was time for an apple crisp. I also decided to improvise a recipe since I wanted to make the apple crisp with Red River Cereal in it. (I think this cereal can only be found in Canada. Sorry.) So here's my made up recipe. I think it was quite fantastic if I do say so myself! Crispy, a little cake-y and also apple-y. Yummy!

Red River Apple Crisp

1/2 cup Red River Cereal
3/4 cup boiling water

1 cup Oats
1&1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp all spice

4-8 apples cut into thin slices (enough to almost fill 2 litre corning ware dish)

Add boiling water to Red River Cereal and soak for 20-30 minutes. Drain off excess water. Add oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda butter and cinnamon. Stir together well. Should look like a sort of paste.

Pre heat oven to 350

Slice apples and place in bowl. Add brown sugar flour and all spice. Mix thoroughly. Place apple mixture into 2 litre corning ware dish or something equivalent. Spread topping onto apples covering all of them. Add a little cinnamon and wheat germ on the top to garnish.

Place in oven for 1 hour. Enjoy!!


Friday, October 12, 2007

3 and a Half Year Old Drummer

Recently my wife Sherri posted a little video of our son playing drums on her facebook page and it has been quite popular so I thought I'd record a new video this morning and post it here and on youtube so even more people can watch it.

You'll notice a little tower of lego right in front of me in the video. Jonah set that up to be his "tom/crash cymbal mic".

You'll also notice his cool glasses. It took some convincing to get him to wear those. Basically I told him that Erin (a downhere wife and one of Jonah's favorite people) would be watching this video. That did it. He put them on happily!

He's even starting to get the kick drum happening in time! Can you tell I'm a proud Daddy?!



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Inbox Zero

So I'm on a new kick now thanks to my record label; keeping my email inbox at zero. Not letting any of them slip by me without some action taking place is the new goal. And having an inbox that says zero instead of 5,692 is the reward. Plus people get responses to their emails sent to me!!

Anyway, check out this video. It's gives a really great practical way to get your e-life in order.


Difficult Run

I did a great run a few days ago in Thousand Oaks California. It was a 15 miler but a 15 miler that was all on a trail and had many many many hills. It was a tough run but very fun. I thought I'd play with the GPS information a little bit to show you a little more bout the run. First here's the elevation from that run. This will give you a good idea of the hills.

This next image is a picture from Google Earth. I took the info from my Garmin Forerunner and with some help from GPS Visualizer I was able to overlay the run on a 3D map. It looks great. I was able to fly over the whole run!! Here's a shot from just the first 3 or 4 miles. This definitely gives you a better idea of what the hills looked like.


Lee Strobel - The Case For The Real Jesus

We (downhere) just got back from a 4 day trip to California where we played 4 nights in a row. We played Elk Grove, Thousand Oaks, Exeter and Irvine. The last night, in Irvine, was for an event with Lee Strobel and his new book The Case for the Real Jesus. If you don't know our music well then you may not know we have a song called The Real Jesus which Lee quoted right at the beginning of chapter 1.

I'm about half way through the book and so far it is great. Lee basically takes the reader through 6 different challenges of who Jesus is and talks to experts to get to the truth behind those challenges. The six challenges are:

Challenge #1
"Scholars are uncovering a radically different jesus in ancient documents just as credible as the four gospels."

Challenge #2
"The Bible's portrait of Jesus can't be trusted because the church tampered with the text."

Challenge #3
"New explanations have refuted Jesus' resurrection."

Challenge #4
"Christianity's beliefs about Jesus were copied from pagan religions."

Challenge #5
"Jesus was an imposter who failed to fulfill the messianic prophesies."

Challenge #6
People should be free to pick and choose what to believe about Jesus."

So if you've ever wondered about any of those topics pick up this book. Lee does a great job of taking some of what the experts said and making it more understandable for joes like us.

Also at his website he has a ton of videos where lots of great questions are discussed. When I went there today to check it out the most viewed video was this one.

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? Three Cannot Be One

What a great resource!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Some Verses

Part of why I created this blog is to keep a log of what I read and some of my thoughts about different books. Lately I've been trying to read a chapter from the New Testament every day. Then I focus on a verse or two that stand out and write about them in my journal. Today's stand out verses were these.
From 1 Corinthians 12:

22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
I've always liked thinking about the church as the body of Christ but these verses brought a new angle to it for me. The angle of the weak and least important being the most necessary. It forced me to ask, what do the weak and seemingly unimportant members of the body look like? And am I treating them as the most necessary?

Here are some other verses that have been standing out to me lately. It's interesting which ones God chooses for me to focus on. I got the verses from and most of them are in the New Living Translation.

1 Cor. 10
11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

1 Cor. 6
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

1 Cor. 4
4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

1 Cor. 2
7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God[c]—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.

Gal. 6
2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Gal. 4
31 So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.

James 5
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

James 3
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. (NIV)


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Canadian Dollar worth over 99 cents US!!

While we all slept last night the Canadian Dollar continued its climb towards parity with the US dollar. Quite unbelievable considering where the Canadian Dollar was while I was living in Tennessee. My wife and I moved to Tennessee back in Spring of 2001. Here's a graph that shows what's happened since then!

What does this mean for us Canadians? Well for this one, since I get paid in US dollars this basically means I keep getting a pay cut! Other Canadians who export to the US (which there are a lot of) are losing money. Back when the Loonie (we call our dollar a loonie because there is a picture of a loon on it, see pic below) was quite low in 2002 you could sell something in the US for $100US and make almost $160CDN on it. Today however, that same person would only get $102CDN. Pretty rough! It also means all of us Canadians will be vacationing and generally spending more money in the US for a while since it will be so much cheaper for us!

Check out these articles to learn more.


Monday, September 17, 2007

ipod - Lost Albums?

I don't think this is an iTunes glitch because Apple doesn't make mistakes right? But if anyone else has had this problem it would be worth reading this to fix it.

There have been a few albums that I have in iTunes that are often quite difficult to find when looking on my ipod. For instance, an album I have by Oscar Peterson called Oscar Peterson Trio + 1 Clark Terry. (Great album by the way!) I would search under Oscar Peterson on my ipod and never find it yet I knew the album was there because a search in itunes would find it. If I searched by album I would find it by the album title but it wouldn't show up under Artist! The same thing happened for The Wallflowers. I have two of their albums and I couldn't find either one when I searched for The Wallflowers. The Wallflowers would never show up under artists. I can never remember the album names so I would never be able to find them.

Today I discovered the problem. I think it has to do with when I am importing the CD. The CDDB database that iTunes gets all the track names from brings in other information too. The key piece of information here is that sometimes it considers an album to be a compilation. When that option is checked, it doesn't list the artist under artist on the ipod. Or at least that's what seems to happen. After I changed it, everything worked like a charm so here's what you do.

Go into your home directory and find your iTunes folder. Under "C" find compilations. Go through that folder and look for albums that you know are not actually compilations. When you find one (like I did with Oscar Peterson) then go into iTunes and find that same album. Select it so that that album shows up in the bottom window. Highlight the entire album, right click or apple-i to 'get info' and you'll get a window like this.

In the bottom left corner you'll see an option that says "Compilation". That will say "Yes" as mine does in the image above. Change that to "No", click OK and that will fix it all up. Now your albums will be where you expect to find them.

Now I have a bunch of "new" albums to listen to.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cleaning the bladder.

Back in June, for my birthday, I received the backpack pictured here. It's made by The North Face and is called Dogfish. The reason I got it was because I needed something to help carry my hydration and food needs on long runs. It's been working great!

If you are unfamiliar with "Hydration Packs" they come with a water bladder inside that looks like this.

Before my first use I figured I should clean out the thing but couldn't find any instructions anywhere. So of course I Googled it but still nothing. So after owning it for a few months I figured I should post a blog on how to clean it out for future hydration pack owners. It's not like it's rocket science but I searched and didn't find anything and we can't have that happening on the good old world wide web now can we?

So the biggest issue is really drying it out after it's been cleaned. I haven't noticed any taste issues by using normal dish detergent when washing so that's what I would suggest doing. Hot water and soap. If you've just got water in it in the first place it shouldn't be a big deal but if you don't get it dry, that's when things can get gross. Things will grow and then yuck! So the best thing to do after cleaning is to just stuff a towel in it and move it around until it's dry. Brilliant eh? As for the straw, I'm open to suggestions. But I think it dries out pretty good if you just hang it in such a way that in can drip.

There you go new hydration pack owners. You are welcome and enjoy your new pack!!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good 3-Year-Old Ear

Just a quick story about coming home from this last trip.

Yesterday, Sherri, Jonah and I arrived home after a wonderful two weeks in central Washington state. To see some great pictures see my previous post and Sherri's blog. While we were there, the band spent some time recording and Jonah got to play the drums in the studio. Quite exciting for a 3-year-old. I even recorded him using the top notch recording gear they have there. Anyway, when we got home Jonah went straight to his drum kit to play some beats. He hit his snare drum a few times then stopped. He hit it again. This time he sort of looked around, confused.
"Daddy, this snare drum doesn't sound too good" he says.
You see, Jonah had been playing a pretty nice drum kit at the studio. Pretty expensive too, especially the snare drum. The snare drum he played before he got home is worth about three of his drum kits so . . . yeah . . . your snare doesn't sound too good buddy. Sorry. But at least he's got the ear to know the difference already!!


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Detroit Marathon Training Update

I blogged last week about my 18 mile run. This week my long run was 22 miles and once again it was gorgeous. Even prettier than last time. So pretty that I had to get out with a camera this morning and get some pictures. Below is a screen shot of my elevation graph from my GPS. I didn't realize during my run how much of a hill I climbed, so when I saw this graph I was quite surprised. I discovered I climbed a total of 2,781 feet and descended a total of 3,334 feet!!

The picture below is taken from the highest point on that graph looking back at the road I ran up. I tried something a little different on this run. I thought I would bring a peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich to eat during my run, you know, instead of the usual not so tasty energy snacks. So imagine me running up that hill with half a P.B. and J sandwich in my hand. I guess it worked out. My energy stayed consistent and I felt great all day after the run.

The following two pictures are the view that you have when you reach the top. I think I will have to plan on doing this run again next year!!

And for those of you that run, here are the stats from the run.

Distance - 22 Miles
Elapsed Time - 3:17:36 (I started at 6AM, early for me!!)
Average Pace - 8:58 (Decent for having that hill in the middle of the run)
Calories - 3908

Next week will be a bit of a break, only 16 miles! Ha ha.



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