Welcome Mariah

We're so happy that Mariah is living in Tactic and working for Impact Ministries with us. Mariah was in my youth group when I pastored in St. Albert and she toured with me, Amber, Dean and Saison for a week in Guatemala 4 years ago after a mission trip. She is going to work with the Peters' children and their schooling as well as hopefully assist me in some of the sponsorship work. You can read about her experience on her blog.


Mr. Underpants Nosecheese

Oh yes! That is my son sticking cheese up his nose. I witnessed moments later as he popped the cheese into his mouth, followed by a satisfying "Mmmmm!"

I just placed the heavy bundle of joy in his crib with his bottle after bathing and dressing him. I'm amazed that even now, 15.5 months after his birth, Blaise is able to demonstrate a new skill or expression or sound or level of understanding every single day. He'll get things we ask him for and bring them to us. He knows how to turn on the TV. He stacks stuff to stand on so that he can hit the keys on the keyboard and "help Papa." He releases one hand from the bottle to put it in a sleeve. He braces himself on me while I undress him standing up. He obeys when I tell him he shouldn't do something. How amazing he is!

This is my dirty underwear. He plucked it up and stuck his head through it all by himself. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!


Hey Nostradamus!

My trouble is that I'm ambitious. And I'm undisciplined.

I both love the idea of reading great books and I enjoy reading great books. Oh, the other problem is that I read very slowly. The Lord of the Rings = 18 months. Crime and Punishement = 9 months. The Count of Monte Cristo = 4 months. Get the picture? And that's fiction.

Non-Fiction! Mercy! Here are the books I'm currently reading and some of them I've been reading for more than 3 years now. I really enjoy them, but there isn't a driving plot or characters to seize or mystery to solve or multiple layers to dissect. In order of when I first started them (note that one of them is fiction):
  • Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara by Jorge G Castañeda
  • The Silmarillion by J R R Tolkien
  • An Autobiography by Mohandas K Gandhi
  • Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky
  • The Cross of Christ by John Stott
  • Story by Robert McKee

So this morning, instead of editing some home movies all day (I did it for 30 minutes and quit) and instead of curling up with one of these six treasures, I decided to read a whole book in one day. I picked Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland*. I had read his Life after God and loved it. I lay down at around 8 AM and finished it around 5:30 with small breaks in between to play with Blaise. I was blown away. What a charging book about spirituality! I had to get off the couch and go to the bedroom when I finished so I could weep a little in private at the ending (until a little man began tugging at my pants). What beauty! Blaise and I stared at the rain outside for 10 minutes. I let the book just soak in. I can't wait to get into another one of Coupland's books.

*Douglas Coupland is a Canadian author who lives in Vancouver. He coined the phrase "Generation X."


Comment Olympics Update

Back in June, I posted the frontrunners in the Zaakistan Blog Comment Olympics. Currently, the positions have changed very little...

running away with 92 comments
Sirdar (going strong)

with 41 comments
littledeb (gaining)

tied with 38 comments each
kevininspace (slipping, but recently married...) and RobtheRocket

Recently, I've discovered that gross or bigot blog posts generate the most comments. Nice. Thanks everyone for reading and commenting. I enjoy reading all of your blogs too.


Happy 50th to Mumma

Love you lots! Wish we could celebrate together. Check out the little video I made for her.

Here's to the 6th decade!

Yowsers! That Hurts!

This is what happens to my bald head far too often. The worst has come here in Guatemala where some families use old, rusty barbed wire for clotheslines. They stand at a height of 5'6", whereas I stand at a towering 5'10". Usually, wearing a cap helps cushion a blow, but not every time. Another bad deal is low hanging roofs made of sheet metal (also often old and rusty).

This time it was my own fault, I jumped out of the driver seat in the van and whacked my head really hard. I took my cap off and then rubbed the scraped skin off of the inside of the cap.


Open letter to Queen E

Dear Queen Elizabeth II of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,

It is with a heavy heart that I write your highness this morning. I fear that relations between us may become colder than they have been in the past. It seems as though thy subject, my wife, has damaged a piece of thine property. I paid for it. Someone else made it. But it is thine.

You see, thy loftiness, I live in Guatemala and I have to carry my passport with me everywhere. I keep in in my pocket with my wallet in case a police officer wants to check my legality in the country. A few nights ago, I forgot my passport in my pocket. I don't remember putting the pants in the laundry basket, in fact I suspect someone else of doing that. I wasn't too worried when my passport went missing. I knew it would turn up soon. The problem is that it turned up sopping wet in the washing machine (thou havest these in Buckingham Palace, though I'm certain thou hast never had to operate one).

My wife suggested I blow dry the passport, which I did. I'm glad for that advice, because the sun probably wouldn't have done the trick as quickly. I can carefully turn each page (all 24 of them) and only a couple of the visa stamps are faded, but it's in rough shape. I add that this passport expires in March '07, so I am planning to get a new one at Christmas time.

I am begging thou not to have me flogged nor put in the stockade nor to put me in the tower of London. I assure you it was unintentional.

Begging thy pardon,

Zaak C Robichaud
Canadian Subject


Cellular (s)

As I am loading luggage into the vans at the airport, something dislodges my cellphone and it's case from my belt. I notice once we arrive at the place where we spend the night that they are missing. I look for it in the vans. Les calls it so we can perhaps track it down as it rings, but nothing. It's too bad because I have about $30 of minutes on it.

So the next day, I have half an hour to buy a new cell phone and I do. It is a tough choice between the cheapest and the most expensive. The most expensive one ($273) has Bluetooth and can play MP3s and videos and take pictures... The cheap one ($35) has nothing - not even a cable to connect to the computer - just like my old phone. I research the expensive one, a Samsung, on an Apple website to see if it is compatible with the software I use so I can synchronize my address book and calendar wirelessly. It isn't on the list, but it might be compatible!! So I get the cheap one (which includes such games as Snake (high score 240), Yahtzee, and Rapid Roll). The purchase includes $15 of phone time and double value for the first phone card I add each of the next 5 months (not a bad deal at all!).

I find the lost phone the same day I buy the new phone. It is under all the luggage in one of the vans.

I've got a lot of talking to do now.

[I use a Nokia 1110 with a Tigo phone plan]


Spoken to me today at lunch by member of a short term mission team member from PEI, no context needed as there really wasn't a context:
And those Frenchies, I have no use for them. And the worst ones are the New Brunswick Frenchies. I've got no use for them at all.


a hair

I know I may risk losing readers, but most of you don't leave comments anyway... I know my faithful readers will stick with me.

This morning I discovered a belly hair on my own belly that measures 9.5 cm (3 3/4 inches). Isn't that incredible? As I was measuring it, it detached from it's home of 216 days. Have no fear! I've found a secret place where Amber won't be able to destroy this part of me. Isn't it strange how a stray hair can go unnoticed for so long? Like all of a sudden you see there's this 5 cm hair growing from your ear lobe and you're like "what the?" or shaving daily you miss this one hair just above the beard line and it grows to 2 cm. I've noticed that I'm one of those men who can grow hairs to incredible lengths on my eye brows - like the great horned owl.

Maybe I just don't spend much time in front of the mirror. What am I going to see that I haven't seen these past 30 years, right?

[sorry no photo]


k-os' new album

I bought k-os' third album Atlantis - Hymns for Disco last night on iTunes 7 and now I'm burning a hip-hop fever all by myself. Listen! I'm not at all into the mainstream porno hip-hop, the stuff that's currently strangling top 40 radio. But k-os has thoughtful lyrics and the music makes me sweat and he samples so many genres:
Reggae in Mirror in the Sky
Blues in The Rain
Rock in Valhalla (with Sam Roberts)
Gospel in Sunday Morning
Folk in Highway 7 and The Ballad of Noah
Ska in FlyPaper
Classic Rock in Born to Run and Equalizer
Rap in AquaCityBoy
Disco in Black Ice - Hymn for Disco

I'm really enjoying an old album by Bruce Cockburn called "In the Falling Dark" as well. Gorgeous music from the 70's.


Low Charge

Battery died in the car yesterday, lights were left on. Amber got some jumper cables and those didn't work - I think they were too thin, but I didn't know that this morning.

This morning, the mechanic, Oscar, made a house call on foot with his plastic grocery bag of wrenches. He checked the timing belt. He checked the fuses. He carried the battery to the gas station where they charged the battery in an hour. He carried the battery back and put it in. Car started and he checked the alternator which was good too. The battery is just not very good.

How much did it cost? Q30. That's about $4.75CDN.


Runners of the Homestarrunner

For all the Homestarrunner fans out there, I found interviews with the makers of the hit Flash Cartoon site on the Cold Hard Flash blog. Part 1 with Mike and Part 3 with Matt. They are a monument to independent productions.



I rode my bike home from the office in the dark tonight. I'm not used to doing that for a couple reasons - we just changed our clocks here in Guatemala, so it gets dark an hour earlier (when the actual sunset only varies 30 minutes all year long!) AND it's dangerous so I avoid it when I can. I have to ride down a highway for 1 km that is unlit and that has claimed the lives of many people in recent years. What is perhaps most perilous though is the roadkill that I can't see. There was a dead dog on the shoulder next to our driveway 2 nights ago. Then there are the toads, the big toads. On the street that they are redoing in front of the office, there are open, unmarked manholes (I've already dropped my front right car tire in one of those babies) to dodge in the dark. Plus it's raining, so visibility is distorted by the reflections of whatever light is coming at you. Just a tiny bit freaky.


Which one is he?

(click on it to see full size)

Sirdar posted his and I couldn't resist. You can do yours here. Other folks that I didn't include on this collage are Strom Thurmond, Aidan Quinn, and Adrian Smith. I thought Jude Law was a shoe-in!

Celebrity look alike #1, Celebrity look alike #2 without hair and Celebrity look alike #3 with hair.

Check out my wife's. She'll probably post it on her blog too.