Pocketmod Runner

Kevin, you genius. Thanks for changing my life with the introduction of this pocketmod thing. I've been doing push-ups, sit-ups, practicing guitar, drinking water, keeping my closet tidy, keeping better track of my spending, video editing, learning more Spanish vocab and verbs all because of this sweet disposable PDA. Unfortunately, some of the editing components are not available for Mac. But, now that I'm a time-managing fanatic, I was able to develop my own .pdf template in a program called Pages. If you want my template, I'll email it to you. It has the 8 page image placeholders and the bottom four even flip upside down automatically. Pretty Rockin'. Amber wasn't a believer at first. But yesterday, she asked me to print off another pocketmod for her and she even wants to help design some of her own pages. Her favorite page is the conversion table for Quetzal to CAN$. She's even telling her friends about it. Someone get a towel, cause this thing is on fire!

Because of it, I have begun running again. I have run 4 times 20-35 min each time. Each time has been in a different direction and between 6 and 7 AM. Walter has joined me for the last three runs. He's my neighbour.

This is him playing Joseph on Christmas Eve in a Christmas Drama put on by Impact Ministries. Here, he is lamenting the fact that Mary is pregnant - and not by him.

This is just like my old journals

One of my life goals is to keep a daily journal for 5 years. I have attempted this goal at least 10 times. Inevitably I get 2 days behind and spend half an hour trying to recollect those 2 days. This exhausts some cortex in my head so that by the time I get at my journal again, I'm 7 days behind... and before I know it I'm bothering Amber with questions like: What did we do that monday after we saw that movie with so-and-so in it?

So, it's been a couple weeks now since I've blogged and much has passed undocumented.

Oh well.

We had a 2 day holiday to Honduras. By spending two nights there we were able to renew our visitor's visas upon entry to Guatemala for another 90 days. This was our first trip with our new 2001 Kia Rio. In total - gas, restaurants, hotel, entry to the Copán Ruins, and more - our trip cost us CAN$250. It would have cost us almost $200 to renew our visas in the Capital, so essentially it was a $50 excursion.

For US$30, "Am I Clear" Jorge guided us at the ruins for 2 hours. It was time to break out the Nikon F65 for real pictures, no more digital nonesense. The most striking memory of the ruins is how intact the idols/carvings/alters are. Much easier to visualize people offering sacrifices and such to these carvings of stone than at Tikal. They have a ball court there where games were played, the winners got to get sacrificed - gladiator deal - talk about "whoops, I scored on myself again!" eh?

(scary huh?) (ok, I took a few digitals)

Christmas was a blast. Gifts Food Drama Phonecalls Fireworks. Amber got me a very thoughtful gift - a lamp, so I can read at night. The lamp has a square shade on which she afixed the four photos shown here.

Currently, I'm working on the new Impact Ministries website. This CSS business is getting a little clearer.


These past 7 days

[Ervin and Estuardo carrying blankets]

Friday: I was in San Lucas Tolimán delivering aid to the victims of Hurricane Stan, walking down this pictured street, speaking to Amber on the phone when behold! I had to jump to the left because I was about to step into a fountain of urine proudly spouting from a 2 year old boy. Immediately after exclaiming to Amber what had happened, an orange dropped from a tree and hit the ground, just brushing my nose. I thought driving while talking on a cell phone was dangerous! Mercy!

Saturday: Got a call from Amber early in the morning who got a call from Saison (my sister) that our beloved car of 5 1/2 years had sold. wESTERn pontiac BUiCK (Ester Buck) in Edmonton sold us the car and it took us 180,000 kms. I hope she serves Neil, her new owner, well.

Saturday: After receiving the phone call, we loaded a boat at 7 am with 100 lb sacks of corn, metal laminant, rice, sugar, salt, and other staples. Then we got onto the boat and travelled to the other side of Lake Atitlan. No one told me we were doing this. I thought we were just going to see the lake at dawn and then eat breakfast (which we ate at 10:30). Lake Atitlan is bordered by three volcanoes and many mountains. It's tremendously beautiful. I rode on the roof of the boat with Eric, Jairo, Jorge, Willy, Erin, Fernando, and Rolando.

Saturday: We landed in Santa Catarina Palopó. We unloaded the boat and carried the supplies on our backs through a steep alley for about 350 metres. Exhausting.

Saturday: Our destination was a pink church tucked into the fray of houses too close together to allow streets. The landslide in this community involved huge boulders which broke loose and careened through the town destroying eight homes and a church. The family living in the first house in the path of the boulders was killed. The panic ensuing after and the shouts allowed everyone else below to evacuate their homes before they were destroyed. This pink church had three pebbles on the front step.

Saturday: My baby sister, Salomé turned 26 today. We thought we'd send her a photo of Blaise wishing her a Feliz Cumpleaños. Blaise is at the age where anything that is brought within an arm's length is lunged for and planted into his mouth.

Sunday: Yesterday, Rita got some photos developed for me in Coban. I had photos developed at the same place a few weeks previous at the price of Q62 + Q20 for doubles. The price the gave Rita for the same deal was Q99 total. That's a difference of Q17. So, this morning I visited the shop and presented the discrepency, expecting a refund of Q17. Instead I got to watch a worker hammer numbers into her calculator for five minutes and then exclaim that one of them cost Q17 more than the other. I agreed. She then said that the price had changed. The customer IS always wrong.

Tuesday: On Sunday evening, we received an invitation at our door. The invitation was for a company party being thrown by the owners of Carneceria Esmerelda (meat shop). The owners are our friends from church - Ervin and Estuardo. The party commenced at 10 am today and took place at a park in Santa Cruz (up the road from Tactic). It included live music, a sermonette by Les, very fun games led by Walter (Estuardo's brother), and then a delectable meal of meat. The families present were those of the workers and each of these families was then given a gift bag of food stuffs for our enjoyment.

Wednesday: I popped by Juan Luis' dental clinic to take some file photos for the ministry. He and his wife have been serving with Impact Ministries for as long as we have. I watched this boy of 11 or 12 scamper into the chair, lay down and open his mouth to receive the big needle. He didn't squirm or make a sound. Five minutes later, when the freezing had taken place, Juan unfolded a napkin and placed it on the boy's chest and pulled a tooth and lay it on the napkin. The boy bit one of those white sponge cylinder and grabbed another napkin. Juan told him to come back on Monday. The boy nodded and mumbled "Adios" as best as he could and took off with his friend, who also had gauze in his mouth.

Thursday: Amber and I bought a new car. It was a tough decision as we have enjoyed not having a car and weren't sure if we really needed one. The good thing is that we pay as we use it: no insurance, just fuel and repairs as needed. I saw the add on an email we got from Inter Missions. "Robby in Antigua has a car for sale." So I emailed him and got details. With the sale of our car we could afford this one and it's 4 years newer and is in great shape. Behold the 2001 Kia Rio - 4-dr, cd, manual transmission, fan. I got dropped off in Guatemala City with Eric and Jairo and completed the paperwork and handed over a check. Then Eric drove us around the city to take care of some errands they had. I took the wheel at Metro Norte (northern gateway to the capital) and drove the 3 hours (165 km) to Tactic. It felt good to drive a peppy car that could pass all the big trucks and buses in the mountain passes.


Une Manque d'Electricité

We've been experiencing major power outages here in Tactic. The normal 1/8 of a second outages that switches my computer off and then laughs at me has been replaced with 8 hour outage assaults.

Coincidentally, electrical circuitry in my brain seem to be in disrepair. I have been having an unusually difficult time speaking French, replacing French words with Spanish ones.


Lady in the Water

I'm so stoked!

We are not of this world.

(is "stoked" outdated? if it is, great! it's time for a comeback - like fab! weirded out! groovy! and perhaps the most tubular of them all: gnarly!)

Torn by sympathies

So... forget it, here are the articles I've been reading regarding President Chavez in Venezuela, US foreign policy, Christian public reaction to Chavez, Chavez reaction to Pat Robertson, and reaction by non-Christians to Chavez kicking a mission agency out of Venezuela:

some hi$tory of oil in Venezuela

some ignorance towards Venezuela and Pres. Chavez

some brutal reaction to US Imperialism

some further ignorance regarding Christianity

some further information on New Tribes Mission

My reaction to all this is that because of the way Christ's name has been misrepresented and used politically in history to "control the masses" and to generate income, the backlash is grizzly and terrible and justifiable! Why do Castro and Chavez and Tito express such animosity towards Christianity? Because they see the dichotomy in what is preached and what is done - Tito for example was imprisoned and tortured by "God appointed" royalists. Cuba was under seige by colonial powers that were in bed with state churches. Venezuela has been used by the United States, a breeding ground for religious fanaticism, for its oil riches for nearly a century.

Generalization: Christians despise socialism because socialism despises Chistianity. So, what if I'm both? How do I relate to those Christians who don't know their right hand from their left as far as people carrying the banner of Christ politically, economically, philosophically and socially? How do I relate to those who in response to Christian actions - hate my beliefs?

Should become a double agent?


My Skin Hurts

[Apparently Canadians talk about the weather more than any other nationality]

I shiver. This is Guatemala, not a lake in north Ontario in late November. Yet, I shiver.

Poor little Blaise has a cold, so his nose whistles when he sleeps. His voice reveals he has a cold too. The past two nights Amber has brought the little blanket kicker into bed with us to make sure he stays warm and can't kick his blankets off. His cold little fists waving about.

I'm quite certain it got down to 0 degrees Celcius last night. I could see frost on the grass in the shadows this morning and on a shirt that fell of the clothesline. I could see my breath in the shower.

Amber and I ate breakfast on the roof in the bright morning sun to try and warm up. She read to me from I John 5. I ate my pineapple banana rice and drank my cacao cafe. There was a cow nuzzling her calf in the meadow. Two large trees behind the field each held a very large white bird - something out of a very overdone 32-color painting of heaven.

I posted more of the family. I like this montage of 7 generations. I just wish we all had Blaise's expression.


Melocotón & Cacao

Amber purchased this "melocotón" for 8 Quetzales. A melocotón is a peach. This is clearly not a peach.

I purchased these cacao beans for 6 Quetzales. This is what chocolate comes from. The process: roast, peel, grind. Very delish.

Ah! the smell of alcohol

Les had to remind me to write this in my blog.

Two weeks ago, enroute to the capital (a three hour drive), our vans were pulled over by some roadside policemen. Usually there are about three places on this journey where cops do registration and license checks of selected vehicles. It is interesting to note that Erick, one of our compañeros from Guatemala gets pulled over when driving the Toyota van about 80% of the time whereas Les, a Canadian who usually drives the Kia van, gets pulled over about 20% of the time.

On this occasion I was riding with Erick. We were carrying a van full of medical supplies that had been donated to our ministry. These were being dropped off at a needy hospital in Guatemala City before picking up a team of 19 Canadians from Ft Saint John, BC. It was a wonderful experience to see the excitement and gratitude in the faces of the doctor and nurses we met as we delivered these supplies (gloves, syringes, and the like) a couple hours later. What a privilege to deliver the gifts of others. Three policemen attended to our vehicle. One stood away from the vehicle with his semi-automatic rifle. One checked Erick's license and the van's registration (vehicles are not required to be insured here, though it is a good idea). The third came to my window and inquired about my passport.

The one checking Erick's info became quickly interested in the supplies in the back. Erick said he knew they were donations made for a hospital, but not what they were (which is true) and that if the police wanted to know what they were they could search every box. He said this with a smile of course. This policeman made a five minute cursory inspection of the old boxes. He was trying to easily find a way of "fining" us. He was unsuccessful.

The policeman at my window, after inspecting and approving of my passport photo, began to inquire at close range to my face about the supplies in the back - a sort of cross-reference as Erick was occupied outside the van with another cop. I have enough trouble understanding and speaking Spanish as it is, but when the man you're talking to is slurring his speech and smelling of homebrew... I had trouble not laughing at him, so I just vainly flipped through my pocket dictionary trying to interpret what he was saying, though for the most part I could already understand. He let it go after getting mildly frustrated with his and my inability to communicate, mostly his I am certain.

I believe I have learned a valuable lesson: Feigning ignorance is a great tool when being interrogated by an intoxicated policeman.


Talkin about HOT spaghetti


I spent all morning working on the new Impact Ministries website. The shortterm team that is here now is travelling to Fray Bartolome de las Casas and I got left behind. This is good as I can work on the website and the child sponsorship database while they're gone. When Amber mentioned to me that lunch was ready I nodded mechanically as I always do when I'm wrapped up in my cyberworld only to realize 90 minutes later that I was hungry and that lunch was in the fridge.

I reheated the spaghetti and the sauce in a saucepan and added some chilis. Oh, sweet volcanic chilis. Now I'm wiping my dripping nose and licking my lips - the parts of my lips without drippings. Now I'm fired up.


Day of the Dead

On November 1, the Catholic world celebrates the Day of the Dead. This follows All Hallows Eve (Hallowe'en) and precedes All Saints' Day. Here in Guatemala, devout believers meet in cemetaries to spend time with dead relatives by bringing food to share with the hungry dead. The food is usually eaten by roaming dogs, or by those who bring it.

I visited the local cemetaries to observe the festivities. The rich cemetary had lots of kiosks set up at the entrance selling treats and french fries to visitors. I abstained. Many families surrounded the tombs and colorful concrete beds with beers, pop, bags of flower petals and long grass clippings, and of course french fries. They decorated the graves with the grass and petals.

I wandered accross the road to the poor cemetary where most graves are unmarked and have no cement coverings. Mercedez was with me to make sure I didn't do anything ignorant and to explain some of the behaviours. We met three young boys who were lighting votives on dirt mounds under plastic sheets and behind makeshift windguards. One of the graves was of an older sister.

Last night (Nov 2) there were apparently really big parties at the cemetery. I was planning on going to see them, but Eric didn't come so I didn't feel like standing in the mud and rain to film shadows.

Let me know some of your thoughts on this practice. I'd like to discuss.



Daniel and Flor (meaning flower) were married Saturday night with a couple hundred people as witnesses. People are married in a civil ceremony as well as a religious one. According to Les and Rita who conducted the religious ceremony we attended, the two of them were very nervous.

I was asked by Erick, Daniel's father, to take the pictures. I had to remind them to smile, they were so serious. They both looked really good though. After the ceremony which included a supper and some musical entertainment (marimbas and flute with piano accompaniment), both Daniel and Flor stayed by until 11pm to clean up the church, load chairs, move benches and load gifts into their vehicle. I thought they would have better things to do.

On a very different note, I was shaken by a story of three girls beheaded on their way to a Christian school in Indonesia. Pray for their families and for Christians in Indonesia.

The power went out just as I was about to blog last night. My unlimited power supply did not work.

A couple days ago a man came by selling big baskets for $8. We bought one for laundry from him. A couple hours later, we bought oranges from a man who was carrying a huge (I mean massive) bag of oranges - selling them at about 50 oranges for $1. We bought 25 and I juiced them by hand immediately. A bit zingy, but for 50 cents, it was pretty good.

I finally broke down and bought Lux, a risk style computer game, online. They have Canada Risk and Montreal Risk and dozens of others like WWII, Vietnam, Europe, etc... Dean has it too, so we'll be able to play online together. I haven't told him yet. Unfortunately, I can't play Settlers of Catan online anymore, something about my connection.

Walter was just over for his English lesson and after studying directions on a Guatemalan map, we decided to plan a canoe trip from Tactic to Livingstone for November 2006. I envision taking a bunch of the young men from the church as a retreat. I sure my friend John Fraser would be proud.

Last night, Rita preached on the fact that Christianity should not be a religion. Religions are human methods of pleasing and appeasing God or gods. Christianity is a relationship where both parties willingly give. She shared the message with a lot of clarity. It is a message people need to hear everywhere - Canada and Guatemala.

Blue Steel

Blue Steel. I think it works. I think it really works.


Happy Birthday Les!

He turns 50 today.

Rita threw a surprise party for him last night. As I was riding back with him (Johnny and Erick were in the other van), we were told to try and delay him in Guatemala City after dropping off the team at the airport. I had to make some purchases in the capital, so that was all I could muster. I knew he had work to do and he was tired (we got up at 3:30 am) so I didn't really want to delay him too much. His party was at 4:30 and we left the capital at 10 am. Just 38 km out of the capital, traffic stopped. We travelled 15 kms over the next 2 1/2 hours because of a transport truck that tipped onto the highway. So, we arrived just in time for the party. Johnny figures God caused the delay. I'm not so sure, but it did work out quite well. Les and I discussed many ideas on the road.

Many people came to the outdoor party (it was a bit cold and windy) and spoke kind words to him. I shared a few words, and although having started my short speech in English, I ended up speaking the whole thing in Spanish.

New Brunswick men came and went

I have 15 new friends in New Brunswick.

They came to do some work on the school in Chicoy. This work ended up being diging out the final holes for the foundation to the second building (for the bathrooms) and then building the rock and mortar foundation for the future concrete block 2-story structure. The foundation is about a metre deep into the ground with some corners another metre deep - the earthquakes here can be quite devastating, so the builders take extra precaution). I pitched in for 3 days and worked alongside them with a shovel and pick and buckets of mortar. I chose not to use gloves to toughen up my girly teacher hands. It worked - lots of cuts, blisters, and calouses. Nice.

So, as an Acadian, I had some preconcieved notions as to what this band of loyalist descendents would be like. I was dead wrong. They had very tender hearts and God spoke them quite strongly through the kids at Chicoy. I think they are all going to sponsor at least one child and then get others from their area to sponsor too.

I visited quite a few villages with them: Pombatch, San Antonio, Chicoy, and a place really far up a mountain where a church is pastored by a 74 year old man who just recently received a bed to sleep on from Impact Ministries. We ended the trip with a day in Antigua where the guys tried out their bargaining skills at the market (they are very nice guys, and they paid for it). We also had a very wonderful sharing time the night before they flew home yesterday. Some very touching words from all of them. I will miss them.


there and back again in 23 hrs

2:50 AM is our rendez-vous time outside my house. I meet up with Walter my neighbour, Oscar (a fellow teacher) and Eddie, Heber, and Johnny (students at Beerseba) in the light rain. Les picks us up in his Kia van and we hook up with Estuardo and Erwin and their big cattle truck. Eric misses the departure despite our best efforts to wake him.

Our first destination is a church compound in Guatemala City, three hours away. There is very little traffic, but that makes us an easy target for the police. We are asked to pull over three times in as many hours because of our suspicious behaviour - traveling at night with a big truck full of cargo. We had loaded the truck earlier this evening with pasta, sugar, soap, clothing, five barrels of dehydrated soup from the Okanogan Gleaners, salt, and corn flour. The suspicion is that we are transporting wood, a felony without proper licensing in Guatemala from what I am told. We are let off without any problems each time.

The sun rises as we enter the city limits of the capital. We wind through the perimeter highway to Zone 11. Ministers are waiting for us at the Tierra Prometida Ministerios with the rice, water, beans, blankets, sugar, and vitamin enhanced porridge which was purchased on our behalf with money donated by Guatemalans and Canadians who responded to this need. We load the truck and head to Pollo Campero for breakfast. Our truck is full

My primary duty on this expedition is to document with video and photo. As I pull out my little Canon DV Camcorder to record the awesome view of both fuego and agua volcanoes (fire and water), I realize that I left it on and have consequently killed the battery. Hmmm.

The vistas on our journey from the capital to Lake Atitlan fill our tired senses. Fields of sugar cane and a plant they use to dye food red line the busy road. Les and I spend our entire time in the van chatting about Acadian history, Mennonite history, the vision of Impact Ministries and other topics, less noble.

We drive south, then west, then north through the coastal plains to bypass the mountains. The sun shines bright. It is much warmer here than in Tactic. I'm thankful for the air conditioner and a little cold.

We meet Jorge at our junction to the north road that will take us to San Lucas de Tolimán on the shore of Lake Atitlan. He speaks like a Canadian and a Guatemalan. He's lived in B.C. and Calgary for several years. His father leads the Tierra Prometida Ministerios that we are collaborating with. Our caravan winds through the villages, some cleaning up from flooding, others visibly untouched by Hurricane Stan. This road has just opened on Thursday. Today is Saturday. We drive over a makeshift bridge and see to our right how our road has been washed out about two metres deep and six metres wide. Huge boulders line parts of the road where they have been moved to clear the way. These same boulders rolled through villages from way up high. The devastation here is astonishing. It has been 10 days since the hurricane loosened the earth in the mountains and the people have been busy cleaning up. People scrub the outside of their houses one metre high where mud stains the walls. People shovel mud out of their homes onto the already massive piles of muck still stinking.

We reach our second checkpoint in San Lucas at noon. Many people from the ministry have been busy here. They have separated many goods into family bags to ease the distribution process.

Jorge has the same Canon camera as me, so he charges my battery quickly and I'm back in the game.

Many hands move the supplies from our truck to the middle of a meeting hall. We eat and load three pickup trucks with enough staples for the three hundred eighteen people living in the Nazarene Church in Santiago Atitlán. The rest of these supplies will stay at this centre to be delivered tomorrow to 3 other hospices.

The drive to the church allows us to see further devastation and the beauty of the volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlan. Jorge shares local legends over the walkie-talkie as we marvel at the sites. It is three in the afternoon when we arrive at the refuge. There are children everywhere and many many women in the Spanish imposed traditional dress of the Tzutujil people group.

Our men unload the pickups in a passing line and pile the supplies at the front of the church. The leaders, including Les, share with the refugees who we are and why we are here. Prepared soup and tortillas are served to the hungry. I visit with a man with a big smile named Jose Mesia-Chavez. He lost his home, clothes, and food at 3:00 AM ten days ago. He is smiling because none of his family were killed. A landslide woke them up and they were able to escape through their door and flee to safety as their house was toppled over and buried along with all he had to provide his family with.

I snap photos of people eating and being served. Then they begin to call family names. The boys from our church stand ready with a blanket, bag of soup, bag of rice, bag of soaps, and two bags of various food staples (beans, corn flour, salt, sugar, water, Gatorade to fight dehydration, oil, instant noodles, enriched porridge and more). The people stand in waiting ensuring that they do not miss their name. Those whose names are missed have their items set aside on the platform.

I film as Les interviews an older man who has lost his wife. The widower has known God for 45 years. He has also lost his house and all he owns.

A woman is interviewed who has lost a finger and has huge lacerations on her other fingers on her right hand. She was reaching for her father when she received the cuts.

Another woman lost her 3-month old baby and her house when the river swept them away. I have a 3-month old baby. This same mother has a 6-year old son who is recovering now from a massive headwound.

Les and I managed to keep ourselves together to finish the interviews. It was hard to see these stonefaced women, who suffer unimaginably, answer questions.

We then retraced our path with stops in San Lucas and Guatemala City to pick up the truck and to eat. I had a headache when we got to the capital. I don't know if it was from the heat, the lack of water, hunger, emotional distress, lack of sleep, or the intense diesel fumes. It just hurt. I was silent for about an hour approaching the capital. Les bought me 1000 mg of acetaminophen at a pharmacy next to the Pollo Camero. They cost Q1.10 (about 17 cents). They really hit the spot.

Les and I share heart stories all the way home as five guys sleep behind us. The truck weaves frighteningly along the road ahead of us as we cross numerous mountain ridges.

We arrive at 1:30 AM and I check my email and head to bed in my house where my wife and baby boy are sleeping.


Off to bring relief

What a priviledge to carry the gifts from our church here in Tactic and gifts from Canadian Donors to the refugees of the mudslides southwest of us. According to some reports there are as many as 200,000 homes destroyed or damaged. Mixed reports say that 652 people are confirmed dead with the number rising possibly to 1000 from the initial hurricane damage and the town of Panabaj was completely buried, pop. 1400. So, to me, this reads as over 2000 dead in Guatemala alone. We're leaving at 3 am tomorrow morning to bring the food and supplies and already the reports on this catastrophe which doubled the death toll in New Orleans/Mississippi have left the newswires. I guess there's nothing left to say - people know what needs to be known.

We're going to El Salvador in a couple weeks to bring relief supplies to a hurricane, volcano and earthquake stricken country. It will be the first mission trip from our little Mayan town. I post updates as to what we're doing right here.

Incidentally, if you would like to donate to our particular relief fund, you can go through Impact Ministries.

3 months, 3 weeks, 3 hours

Blaise turned 3 months yesterday. He's a big boy now. He's slept 5 nights straight through in a row now. Very very precious.

Amber and I have been in Guatemala 3 weeks today. It feels like much longer as it feels very familiar already and Canada feels quite distant despite the ability to chat with almost everyone. Today the students at Beerseba graduate, five different classes do. I put together an 11 minute tribute to the students who attributed their success to God, parents, sponsors, and teachers. I wonder if many of these students would have learned to read if the school had not existed.

I left a little gadget attached to my iPod last night that serves as a mic and a mini speaker. The iPod had an alarm set for 3:50 am which we used 3 weeks ago to wake up in Calgary to load the car and drive to the airport to stand in line for 1 1/2 hours. Anyway, it went off with "Chunari, Chunari... " blaring. Man, from a deep sleep, that's such a weird feeling when you're not expecting it. I bolted out of bed thinking someone was at the door or my phone was ringing. Well, I didn't sleep too well after that because at about the same hour, and I've heard this before in the middle of the night, the sound of 50 swine being slowly butchered one by one with dogs barking rang steadily for about 1 1/2 hours. It turns out as the vehicle approached the house at about 5:30, that it was just a truck running with loose fan belts and a really loud diesel engine. Then I got up with my son and I just finished changing him after his first feed in 9 hours. I don't think he thought it was a knife coming down on hogs when he heard the sound.


Mud Slides and many dead

"Our Guatemala is in pain." A man in our town square this morning was speaking into a microphone.

Tactic, where we live, there are no effects of Hurricane Stan, but it is so much easier to empathize with the people affected by the mud slides when you recognize the faces as those of your neighbours. Almost 2000 are feared dead. That's nearly double the death toll of Katrina which held CNN hostage for 2 weeks. Thousands more are homeless, many of whom are taking refuge in churches and Christian schools. Our church is giving money and support that we will personally bring down to help known existing ministries in the Lake Atitlan area. I may have the opportunity to go with Les to do this on Tuesday. We have to wait until roads and bridges are returned to usable condition. We're bringing rice and dried soup and blankets and money. We will bring whatever money is donated to Impact Ministries for these victims, you can call and make a donation Monday (business hours Pacific Time Zone).

public confession

A man stood before his church this evening. He opened his heart and let his guilt be exposed before his parents, his siblings, his girlfriend, his friends and some strangers. His girlfriend is pregnant and his sin is exposed. The reaction of the church was complete grace. The church leaders surrounded him with hugs and prayers of forgiveness. His family embraced him with complete acceptance. His confession allowed for this. The blood of Christ allowed for this. He didn't keep his sin hidden. Their child will be well regarded in this church community. The child's parents will be well looked after and they won't be looked down upon because he made himself vulnerable.

What would have happened in my church back home. No mention. Maybe a visit from some concerned people. I don't think a confession would have happened, let alone publicly. It would be winked at. There's no healing in this. There's no community in this. People would have been gracious, but I think the hidden sin's effect would stick. Public confession, at least in a small community, carries with it the healing power. The larger the group, the greater the healing, the vaporization of shame. It was literally one of the most beautiful moments I have experienced in church.


We're Cool

Just so everybody knows, we were not, nor shall we be in the path of Hurricane Stan. But thanks for your concern. School was cancelled nationwide for two days though. Gave me a chance to go up to Fray Bartolome, about a 3.5 hour drive from Tactic. Limestone mountains, green ridges, and palm trees dotted the way there. Les, Rita, and Vicky interviewed some teachers there.

I've been teaching guitar pretty steadily to a few students. Discovered that guitar strings are less than half the cost they are in Canada. These kids are really tenacious, they'll be playing C#M7 in no time.

Hey Carl, would this be considered as desecrating a basketball?


If I could do anything I wanted to today...

I would not change a single thing.

I meant to post this yesterday. I got up and made some coffee for me and a guest. Edited some old footage to help clear my hard drive. Played with my son. Brought my PowerBook to an internet cafe as Impact Ministries interent connection was down and downloaded 4 days of emails. Walked through town to pick up a video cassette, 2 mousetraps (ratoneras), yogurt, and cheese.Had a meeting with Les, Rita, Amber, and Michelle. Gave Walter an English lesson. Helped Amber make supper. Attended the youth meeting at the school with a couple dozen youth and teachers from the school where each person shared either a song or an instrumental or a verse and word from God. It was really, really good. Some real soul. Then I came home and Skyped with Mom and sent a few emails out, now that we're back online.

Today, it's raining gently. I taught the Cuarto Primera class English and I have another couple classes later this morning. Blaise has slept 2 whole nights straight this week. He's a little man and he loves it when I blow into his face. He takes a quick breath and then smiles wide and sometimes laughs.

We attended Vicki's birthday party on Monday night. It was a surprise. When she entered, Hector and Hector David lit firecrackers, lots of them. The feast consisted of baked potatoes, beans, tortillas, salsa, bbq chicken, bbq steak, bbq sausage, and cake with delicious pineapple melon juice to drink. It was a good time. Though I understand a lot, it's still too difficult to engage in group discussions, so I stick to one on one conversations where I can stumble through sentences under more grace.


Avocados - 25 cents each

... and they're green and ripe! Ripe when they're green!!!

I'm learning Spanish pretty well. I figure by Christmas time I'll be quite fluent. This immersion thing is as good as theory declares it to be. I have an English protogé, my neighbour/friend/coworker Walter. We're having lots of fun laughing about the b-v interchangeability and -ed extensions. My English students at school have taught me a lot too. When playing hangman, they put spaces for what they say is an English word (it's English class, so I've placed natural restrictions on the game - no Spanish words) and it ends up being a local town name Paranaagulisijuaquorira or something like that. My marker dude was hung. I've also been commissioned to produce the graduation video - lots of fun to participate in here.

I've set up my office, my temporary office I should say as I will have to clear out when a short term team comes here to stay for a week at a time. It's great! I've got a closet for all my mini DV tapes, books, discs, RCA cables, tools, games, and frisbee. My desk is a slightly warped 6' X 3' table and on it... iMac, PowerBook, iPod, speakers, 3 external HD, miniDV camera, cell phone, and digital camera. Pretty sweet. It's almost like Carl's spread!

[note to zaakistan.como fans: new pictures posted. Got connected to ftp with the help of Dave in Calgary, our network administrator by proxy]


Birthday Blessings

I just returned home in the rain (fortunately I live next door) from a youth meeting. This week celebrated the September birthdays of some kids in the group. After eating pizza and visiting with people jamming in a corner and after a 30 minute time of open worship and prayer and after a story about El Spiritus Sanctus, girls gathered around their girl friends who had birthdays this month and likewise for the boys. They prayed for eachother without being shy about their devotion to their friends. It was really beautiful.

Elsewhere in our exhilarating lives... I've taught some elementary classes and one of the teachers named Walter (he also leads the youth group) English and I've taught a couple guitar lessons... in Spanish. Brutally funny. I have 17 guitar students divided in 3 groups. We've also moved to the back room of our house, with the help of Rolando, so that we aren't so close to the main road where big trucks barrel down early in the morning and in the afternoon. Mind you, as I write this at 9pm, there is a group of about 12 youth beside the back of our apartment enjoying a lively discussion which I know is keeping Amber awake (I think Amber needs sleep callouses so that she will be able to sleep through explosions and floodlights, this way I'll be able to read in bed before The End comes). We have closets in this room too which is fab.

Amber and I were treated to lunch by Rita, Les and Vicky. It's so good to know that we'll be spending so much time with these people of vision, rather than just a quick visit.

God's presence sure is great.

[note to those zaakistan.com fans: I'm having severe difficulties connecting to my website via ftp, so I'll post pictures and such when this devastating issue is resolved. Hang in there! Life without regular updates will prevail, I think.]



Bought a Nokia 1108 phone today in Coban. Bought two, same color for Amber and I. Paid Visa and was able to call Alberta directly from Guatemala immediately - no wait, no hassle, no contract.

Bought tree ripened bananas for 1 Quetzal (approx CAN$0.15). Bought six, same color for Amber and I. Paid cash and was able to walk home immediately with them within 3 minutes - no gas, no crosswalks, no rip-off.


Praise God we're here and we're so glad that we are!

Well zaakistan.com visitors, after months and months of planning and prayer and excitement and stress here and there and a lot of packing and a trip to Calgary and 2 flights and a great rest in the capital and a 3 hour drive from Guatemala City: we're here in our new home with an internet connection and beds (lots of them!) and a roof over our heads to keep us dry (lots of rain). We've here for about 90 minutes already. We're thankful and jubilant right now.

I've got our 5 large luggage pieces and 2 smaller ones to unpack, so I'll tell the detailed story of our journey in the future, perhaps, if there's nothing else exciting happening in the next couple days, so stay posted. Send us an email if you want.

Blaise has started to laugh in the past 24 hours. Very cute laugh and he's so big. He's in his swinging bed right now and he seems much lower than Tuesday night when he last slept in it.


5 weeks, now 3

Oh man. This has been a whirlwind summer. I haven't had time to think of the next 3 weeks.

So we had a great time in Montreal. Groovy place! I miss it even now. Tennis is the rain. Food that I've never heard of before. Quick friends. Gosh.

And then to Acadie. Grande-Memere could make Blaise smile so easily. Pepere turned 55. We visited a vinyard and Cap d'Or and Kevin and Pam and Peter and Shari and Jeff and Marta and Jean-Pierre and Sherry. Such a rich life there. And stars. Canoed a bit too.

We fly to Guatemala on the 23rd of Sept. I have to check online to see if my flight is still good as a bunch of flights are being cancelled due to this supposed fuel shortage. But, man, too many logistics to think of to really think of what life will be like there.

Is anyone else out there listening to Arcade Fire?

Now we're trying to pack in as much visiting with friends and family as possible and figure out which 280 lbs of our possessions we will bring to our new home. Check out www.zaakistan.com/guatemala/support.html for more details about our move.

Amber's funny today. Especially funny I should say.


Vacation Midpoint

Exhale. Inhale.

Amber is in Montreal with my baby boy. I'll be joining them and visiting my good friends on Thursday. Until them, I'm holding up in Red Deer at mom's.

On July 25 we moved out of Spruce Grove and into my mom's house in Red Deer where we'll be storing our stuff during our stay in Guatemala. Then on the 27th, we shot up to Smithers to visit Amber's relatives and we were treated to some delectables and great company and the Kispiox Music Festival. Aunties Emily and Jessica, Grandma, Greatgrandma and Greatgrandpa and a host of great aunts and uncles fell in love with Blaise. After a week we drove to Squamish to see Aunt Salome and the gang at her house. I climbed the Chief with Sal and Ron and Ride. We spent a day in North Vancouver with Amber's relatives and had a piece of a 51 lb salmon Uncle Sam caught in the Queen Charlottes. Good stuff. We motored through the Washington desert to Moscow Idaho to visit Remy and Bethany and their 2 kids and the Joneses. Some sweet garden veggies - oooh the zucchini. Amber and I used our won stay at the Lizard Creek Lodge in Fernie (see my early April blog) where we ??? SLEPT!! and the luxury - 2 bathrooms, 3 beds, dishwasher, fireplace. Blaise took 2 baths.

I'm well rested now. Ready to go again. Mom was pretty pleased to see Blaise again though.


sleep, oh precious sleep

Blaise was born yesterday and I'm so, so joyful. But I can not rest. every gurgle and whimper wakes me. I've slept about 3 1/2 hours since Amber went into labour - or 5 1/2 hours since 9 am Tuesday - now 5 am Thursday.

Our goals for today: change our sheets and

I forgot the other goal. I am driving grandma Judy to the airport now. buy.

Wow, everyone was totally right about being tired for the rest of my life. It sort of hurts.

Blaise is gorgeous though. Wow, no cry will upset me, just gets me to find the source of his discomfort. I love fatherhood. Wow, and Amber is amazing. This is such a rush.


July 10 - due date.

Amber to Zaak: Maybe if you read to my tummy, he'll want to come out and see the pictures.

Amber imitating Zaak: Amber's holding my baby hostage.

Amber singing: I need you baby.

Amber lamenting: I'm tired of being pregnant.


Single Friends

Last night, Amber and I were photographed by Justin. This guy is awesome. Why he isn't beating women away with a stick? Photographer. Musician. Chef. Graphic Artist. Racquetballer. Eastern Canadian. Valedictorian. Generous.

This is one shot he took last night.

So many great guys: Alan, Kurt, Brian, Kris, Ty, Kevin, Mati, Shane, Karel, Gary, Landon, etc...

Cupid. I could be cupid if I weren't so hairy. We have diapers, but they are pretty small (newborn to 6 months).

So many fabulous ladies too.

I sang a Caedmon's Call song at a awareness concert for eating disorders back in 2002.

Table for Two:

Danny and Ispent another late night over pancakes
Talkin' 'bout soccer and how every man's just the same.
We made speculation on the who's and the when's of our futures
And how everyone's lonely but still we just couldn't complain.

And how we just hate being alone.
Could I have missed my only chance,
And now I'm just wasting my time
By lookin' around

But ya know I know better, I'm not gonna worry 'bout nothin'.
Cause if the birds and the flowers survive, then I'll make it okay.
If given a chance and a rock see which one breaks a window.
See which one keeps me up all night and into the day.

Because I'm so scared of being alone
That I forgot what house i live in.
But it's not my job to wait by the phone
For her to call.

Well this day's been crazy but everything's happened on schedule,
from the rain and the cold to the drink that I spilled on my shirt.
'Cause You knew how You'd save me before I fell dead in the garden,
And You knew this day long before You made me out of dirt.

And You know the plans that You have for me
And You can't plan the end and not plan the means
And so I suppose I just need some peace,
Just to get me to sleep

I got stuck in a DVD vortex

Went to town-killer tonight to see if there were any good headphones there, there weren't. But Wal-Mart has this three foot deep bin full of $7.88 DVDs. Of course, when you're as addicted as I am to owning all good films on DVD, you must see every title. I realized and pondered my own addictive behaviour as I pawed through Police Academy 5 - Operation Miami and Presumed Innocent DVDs. Of course I did see every title except for about 10 in a corner just to satisfy myself, to prove to myself for the time being that I was able to stop at anytime. I didn't look up to see if anyone was watching me.


I got the strap from my principal

I told my grade 11 math students I would write a blog post for them tonight.

Tonight they were awarded for their accomplishments in academia, athleticism, and encouragement. Many many well deserving kids. I congratulated many parents on their children's accomplishments. Though, the entire notion of recognition alongside others who are not awarded... tough call. I think of kids who are strong in areas of their life that aren't categories for awards. Yet there are some kids that do stand out - who are stepping out in their gifting - pretty cool to see these characters and what they can accomplish. Last Thursday, Nik showed the films the grade 9-12 students produced. I was thoroughly impressed at the level of skill and intuition that these students have. In some ways, their skills dwarf mine and then I get discouraged and set aside my own projects. Alas! Whatever. I'll continue film editing and producing till I die, even if my films don't receive recognition.

Tonight I got recognized for leaving - I got a brand new maple leaf guitar strap - which I need, I've been using my mandolin strap on my acoustic the past 7 years. Keith, my principal presented it to me. Great stuff. Ken, one of the fathers, prayed for me, that I would be blessed with clarity in hearing God in the coming years while we will be in Guatemala.

-- I promised to post their names as well (in alphabetical order to avoid the notion of favoritism): Aimee Angele, Andrew, Brittney, Danielle, Diana, Jennifer, Krista, and Shara-Rae.

(incidentally - the spell checker for blogger doesn't recognize the word "blog")


The Man & The Dude Dichotomy

Nik called me The Man on Saturday night. I'd rather be The Dude. Alan calls me dude. Not really anyone else. Nik rationalizes that I am The Man because I am a teacher, an authority figure. I'll be a father soon and that makes me The Man too. But I feel more like The Dude. I don't buy into The Educational System but... well, I have to do something and I love the exuberance of youth and I love learning and sharing the experience. Lebowski - he's The Dude, but I don't buy into everything he stands for either, well, maybe I do, have to watch the movie again.

Been reading J-J Rousseau's "Emile." Nice stuff. He figures babies should be bathed in warm water, but slowly weaned off of it and ultimately bathed in cold water to build their strength and tolerance. Lots of good stuff though. I'm stirred by his statements of father as the teacher of the child and as soon as we shirk that responsibility and attempt to pass it to someone else, we mislead the child and lead him down a path of darkness. No one else can teach the child. I'm honestly glad to have been taught by my father. He took a real interest in teaching me about society, history, geography, sports, music, politics, and spirituality. He's a good Man. I want to be a good Man too, with hints of Dude.


Love, White Balls, and Queen Elizabeth II

Ah! People in love.

We spent a good portion of Saturday with our newly engaged friends Sabrina and Trent. Sabrina's sister Myra was married in a tiny ceremony back in October and her reception was held on Sunday. The sisters were nice and emotional during the toast. I recall my sister's wedding - I had a good cry then (nothing against Dean, just lots of emotion). And then there's the baby coming of our little one. I can hardly go a few minutes without stifling squeals of anticipation. We asked our friends Sarah and Tim how they were able to tear their eyes away from their baby after it was born. They said it's still a struggle 8 months later.

Jason is a golfer. So the morning of his wedding reception, he amassed his family and friends to play 18 holes. The only golf I had ever played was miniature golf and one hole my senior year of high school in P.E. I was partnered up with Trent and Clive, both experienced, and both patient. Par for the course is 72. I managed 75 over par. I have a much deeper respect for golfers and currently I hold no aspirations to become one - though it was a lot of fun - I just don't think I have enough cash to shell out for broken windows and lost golf balls.

I saw Ralph
I saw the Premier
I saw the Queen in her royal rain gear.

Cold. Rainy. Cut short. She didn't say anything. The warm mini doughnuts were great. The presentations were cool. Almost passed out at the park-n-ride bus lot with all the diesel fumes.


Distant Thunder

7-10 band is coming together nicely. Our spring concert is May 26. Our primary cut is a piece called Distant Thunder of the Sacred Forest. Lots of rhythms, in fact I had to pull 2 wind musicians to play percussion. It sounded great today.

We had our summer tires put on today. It's been raining 2 days now. I think it's about 70% safe to proclaim that winter is over here.


The Great CD Sale of 2005

I was 15 when I bought my first CD. I was attending school in Halifax and on one of our Thursday night mall excursions I bought the "Crossroads" Soundtrack - a blues album by Ry Cooder.

I was 16 when I bought my first CD Player. By this time I had joined Columbia House for the first time and purchased about 20 CDs. I bought a 5 CD carousel CD player component with the high hopes of buying the amp and speakers and VCR in coming years and having my own entertainment system. I listened to my fledgeling collection with headphones in the dormroom lounge on that big machine as I wasn't permitted to listen to music in my restricted dorm room.

I was caught once. Having missed supper because of guitar lessons one Wednesday evening, I decided to boil some water on the iron in the common bathrom to make some noodles. Since it was taking so long, I thought I should use the time wisely and listent to music while waiting for bubbles to appear. I fetched my friends discman and with earbuds in place continued to warm the water. Suddenly, at about 50 degrees, Mike Philips, our dorm dad, burst into the bathroom looking for one of the guys. He was shocked - and very dismayed - that I was using the iron in such a dangeresque fashion that he didn't consciously notice that I was listening to music illegally. After yielding the pot of warm water and unplugging the iron. I slipped into Mark and Jeff's room, my heart racing. I shared my harrowing tale with the guys - all of them relieved that I hadn't blown the cover of underground music listening, especially the owner of the discman. Suddenly, again, Mike came into Mark and Jeff's room with a private question for me. Once he cooled down about the iron, the image of the earbuds in my ears flashed in his mind and he wanted to confirm that it was true. I apologized over some warmed up left-overs. The discman was confiscated.

I joined Columbia House 6 more times under variations of my own name or household members. And BMG Music Club 4 times. And CDHQ 2 times. Their catalogs ceased to be very appealing, so I resorted to music store bargain bins. Once money wasn't a real issue (after university), I was able to buy an album when I felt like it, irregardless of the price - unless it was full price of course. As of late, I have purchased a lot of my music online from Amazon or Chapters. The Giant Flea Market on 111th Ave is another of my music haunts.

Music defines eras.

Best of Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen: first broken heart
Achtung Baby - U2: grade 11, awakening my own tastes in music
Automatic for the People - R.E.M.: doing math homework my senior year of highschool
Picture Perfect Morning - Edie Brickell: summer touring BC with Papa and Salomé
You Must Ask the Heart - Jonathan Richman: sitting in my little cabin on Carlos, MH
Jesus Freak - DC Talk: first summer working at Foothills Camp
Amplified Heart - Everything but the Girl: falling in love with Amber
Clandestino: Esperando La Ultima Ola... - Manu Chao: bop bop bopping at CUC and Edmonton
We Were Born in a Flame - Sam Roberts: driving in Montreal
Birds of My Neighborhood - Innocence Mission: reflecting in Spruce Grove

A favorite passtime on weekends or lazy cold winter evenings was ordering the CDs into different categorical sets in the CD shelving: by artist, by year, by sleeve color, by distributor, by genre, by country of origin, by date of acquisition... hours.

One early morning when I was praying in the Marshall Islands, away from all my possessions (except one mix tape I made for a friend before leaving and never sent), I asked God if there was anything I held closer to my heart than Him. My CD collection came immediately to mind. After stuggling with sadness and confusion, I gave my collection to God. He has blessed it greatly since that time.

I have digitized all of my albums and so, before leaving Canada with 773 hours of mp3's and AAC files backed up on DVD-R and hard drive, I am ready to part with these dear historical documents. These labours of love. These heart pacers. These questions and answers. My CDs, all of them, are up for sale. If sales go well, Amber and I will have another $3000 for our move to Guatemala in September of this year.

View the MENU of 490 albums and email me with your preferences.

keep groovin


Smoke, Country Music, and #506

Amber and I vacationed the last three days of spring break in the Rocky Mountains. We started our trek in Jasper, taking in the bitter winds and brown scenery along with the royal peaks. We checked out some of the sights and then continued south along highway 93 with poor driving conditions. There was snow. And there was ice. But best of all, there were mountains, mountains it felt like no one else had ever seen. Awe, they rocked. I got to take lots of photos with my NIKON camera.

We rounded out our vacation by visiting Lake Louise and Banff and then hiking out to Siffleur Falls. We spent both of our nights at The Crossing (full commendation) at Saskatchewan River Crossing. They had a great deal for the weekend and a draw for a 3-night stay at Lizard Creek Lodge in Fernie, BC - apparently a 4 1/2 diamond superduper place. So, Saturday night they have this draw, but they have other little draws before it - for T-shirts and the like - and they make these draws every 30 minutes. Amber refused to go to the Tavern because of the smoke and her responsibility as the carrier of the future's most brilliant and gorgeous child, so I get to hang around by myself. They announced the winner of the joke telling contest - a joke I will never repeat, I have a better one, too bad I didn't know about the contest, I would have won for sure - and then I wait. Well, there wasn't much to do. My room number was #506 and I just basically sat there wondering if my number was even on one of the BINGO balls they were drawing from. The atmosphere music sharply changed after 4 classic songs ("Mr. Jones" and the like) to heavy country music - to which I am not at all familiar, nor of which am I partial. It did not cease. Of course there was smoke too. And no hockey on the TV - it wasn't even on. I watched the bartender tend. I watched the drinkers drink. I watched the pool players shoot. I sat and watched. The second draw and the third and fourth were not #506. I was resigned to the fact that I would be there until midnight. But then a funny thing happened - the man doing the drawing announced that the final draw would take place in about 20 minutes. Well, it was only 10:20 pm, so my evening was already looking up.

The minutes ticked away, or rather they smeared away. The music dimmed to match the lighting and the draw guy stepped forward. I was sitting back in the corner by now, watching a man get beaten badly by a woman at pool. A guy at the bar from Grande Prairie did a drum roll on the counter and the ball was chosen - #506. I was perhaps visibly shaken, but probably not. I meandered to the front to the applause of strangers, clutching my keys and grinning euphorically. I presented my #506 room key and accepted the winning handshake.

Moments later, I burst into our room to see Amber comfortably watching an episode of Law and Order. I presented her with the news and events surrounding the news. Amber was pleased, and surprised. I was relieved and very anxious to use the bathroom.


As Years Roll By

Hey, I'm 29 now. I had a weird lumpy thing in my throat beginning the night of my party and it stuck in there for 2 more days. It's gone now. Amber got a bunch of friends over here for the party, in total about 20 guests. Lots of games and a terrific playlist of music and foodstuffs. I had a great time.

Amber is LARGE (26 weeks). The little one rearranges the furniture often and we often sit and feel it for lengthy periods instead of reading or TV or talking. It's already taking control of the home.

Amber and I got our income tax return and paid the balance on every form of debt we have, the primary one being my student loan. So, at the moment, we are completely debt free. I almost feel like going into debt again to celebrate!


Squirming About

Junior has been moving alot the past week. With my hand, I can feel it boxing and kicking tons. We watched it this afternoon. It was yawning and wiggling around a lot, so we saw lots of angles. Apparently it's a handsome devil, my teeth and Amber's hairline. The due date has been bumped up to June 30.


The Worst High School Play in the World

Way up high. I remember the feeling when "The Wiz" ended and family and friends surrounded us on stage and everyone was laughing and taking pictures. It was the same tonight. The kids did a bang up job. Kudos to Nic (director) and that sexy pregnant prop mistress. I played guitar during intermission posing as a metalhead troubador; Greensleeves intermingled with Iron Man and Stairway.



It's beginning. I'm tackling the monstrosity of producing a documentary. The bike trip is too important not to edit well and share with others. My goal is to submit it to a film festival this fall. I have completed 5 of 9 interviews so far and I've captured all of the video footage from the trip itself. I'm logging the interviews now - Zaak, Saison and Landon are done so far. I still have to get interviews from Amber, Will, Jessica, and Eric.

Yet to tackle - title, music, theme, animation, EDITING, exporting, submissions

Biggest worry - the resolution of the footage is 740 X 460. My computer monitor is 1024 X 768. So, I'm not expecting this to look good, I do hope the film will be interesting enough to overcome the grossness of the look.


I'm 17 today

I was baptised 17 years ago today by Pastor Laverne Schlehuber at the College Heights Church at CUC, AB. Coincidentally, I discovered my baptismal certificate today. I didn't even know I had one. It was tucked into one of my mom's photo albums that I've borrowed to scan some old photos.

I find that I know less about Christianity now than I did when I was 11. The more I learn of the modern church and about the behaviour of Christians, I recognize the huge dichotomy between Jesus Christ and the people (in general) who call themselves disciples. Though, I look back on the last 17 years and I discover that my freedom has grown, my walk with Jesus has come to some startling intersections and that God has put some true Christians in my path to urge me on in faith.