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Journal Entries for November 2004
November 2, 2004 - 11:00 PM
Three days to go! I leave for Grenada at about 12:30 AM Friday night (or Saturday morning, whichever way you look at it...) The world get smaller too... Today when I went in to Samaritan's Purse to drop off some more donations who do I see walking behind the reception counter but Carolyn Miller. (I'm not sure what her last name is now, she got married a year ago) so I called out and needless to say she was shocked to see me. It's been at least 4 years or more since I've even seen Carolyn, but she was one of the people I went to Grenada with Harvest Hills Alliance Church the first time. When I told her I was going down again, she promised she'd pray for me. She actually works at Samaritan's Purse. So that was really neat. But now the countdown is on. I haven't packed, today I went and got several shots... Both arms and a leg took injections. Honestly in both arms I couldn't feel a thing, but when she started getting deep into my leg a muscle started spazzing and some things that needle passed through were lined with nerves... (It hurt a little is what I am trying to imply.) But I did that and then went and picked up my passport at Harry Hays... Got a half decent mug shot this time. We're cleaning everything at work to prepare for a big tour tomorrow. It's kind of like the mad clean right before company arrives for supper...

November 5, 2004 - 1:52 PM
My Itinerary
Date Dep / Arr Details
Nov 06, 2004 00:27 / 06:13 Air Canada Flight 146, Airbus A320, Calgary -> Toronto
  08:30 / 14:40 Air Canada Flight 966, Boeing 767, Toronto -> Barbados
  17:10 / 18:05 Air Liat Flight 307, Dash 8 Turboprop, Barbados -> Grenada

Nov 14, 2004 12:05 / 13:00 Air Liat Flight 302, Dash 8 Turboprop, Grenada -> Barbados
  15:50 / 20:40 Air Canada Flight 967, Boeing 767, Barbados -> Toronto
Nov 15, 2004 22:15 / 00:33 Air Canada Flight 141, Airbus A320, Toronto -> Calgary

All times posted are local to each city. I believe there is a 3 hour time zone difference between Calgary and Grenada. I was planning on bringing down only a few disposable cameras but I was thinking about it a lot last night and I think I might just bring my A60 and buy a bigger memory card for it. I can keep it on me pretty much all the time and it's a fairly tough camera. You know me and my cameras, it's VERY hard to go anywhere without at least one of them...

November 5, 2004 - 12:57 AM
Less than 24 hours... By this time tomorrow I will be on a plane flying out of Calgary, headed for Grenada. Actually, I fly to Toronto first, stay there a few hours, then fly from Toronto to Barbados, wait there for another couple of hours and then hop a small (charter style) flight from Barbados to Grenada. My brother and I will be there for a week, doing various manual labour tasks, putting up tin roofs, clearing debris, and I suppose anything else that might help people out who have been affected by Hurricane Ivan.

I really don't know what to say about what to expect on this trip, we're the first team to go so in many senses we will be the guinnea pigs... I spent two weekS in Grenada back in 1997 when I went on a mission trip with Harvest Hills Alliance Church (In the photo album, take a look at My Life -> Grenada to see the pictures from that trip.) But this trip will be different in SO many ways. No doubt I will have many stories to tell when I get back. I was having lunch today with a good friend of mine, and was kind of joking around about dying when I am down there. She insisted I not talk about dying and really I was only joking and making light of the possibility. I had to sign a waiver to go on the trip that outlines all of the potential dangers, most of which include the possibility of serious injury and/or death. Tonight when I was over at my parents' house though, my brother had me sign a will he made out and I had to stiffle a nervous chuckle since it would seem that the thought of dying while on this trip had not only occured to me...

As we were leaving Boston Pizza, we were walking out between two vehicles, on one side there was parked a blue truck with a company logo and the letters D.C.M. on the side of it. I brought this to the attention of my friend and she was even more startled by the fact she had just walked by her dad's truck and here it was I who noticed... I used to be so scared to see that truck, but this time I was just about to venture back into the lounge to say hi to the owner of said vehicle. We had a good talk over quite possibly the best Fettuccini Alfredo I've ever had at ANY Boston Pizza, OH!! And guess what!?!?! This just MADE MY DAY! Boston Pizza is switching over to PEPSI!!! You should have seen my face when the waitress told me that! I must have looked like I was 4 years old and just opened my biggest present on Christmas morning! So that was awesome. That alone could have made my day right there, but we had a great time reminiscing as well, back to the good old days when she still lived on Elbow Drive. Having to park the van several blocks away, typing in openglopish on my brother's laptop, listening to R. Kelly - I Wish and never quite making it through the Little Mermaid... Even now I'm lying in bed smiling at those memories.

So tomorrow I've got to pick up my cell, the screen has finally been repaired... I've got to pack my stuff and teach Barb how to run some reports off one of the computers at work. I got most of my other prep work done tonight, but I have some more writing to do. After seeing my brother write out a will, I got thinking to myself, "What if I did die?" There are some things I would want certain people to know. With my family, I've tried to be very consciencious about telling them how much I love them on a regular basis, because really - nobody has tomorrow guarantee'd to them... But there are some other people I know I haven't been so forthcoming with my sentiment and disposition towards them, so if I have time tomorrow I'm going to write a few 'last words' to some friends and special people in my life, and I'll rig the web site to display them in a little more than a week unless I get back. There's a song I've been listening to quite often recently, Chris Tomlin - Unchanging. Especially the end part, it reminds me of Frizz wailing away on his guitar during Life Night. Hopefully sometime we can do this song. We need a regular bass player though, the bass is what gives this song it's feeling. I was driving home tonight down Deerfoot and had this song playing in the Dragon. It was a sweet sound that submerged my entire being in waves of air, pressing, beating against my body and moving me with their message and melody. Oh guys we have to do that song sometime!

I don't think I'll have any way to communicate from Grenada, but if anyone wants to check on the weather where I'm at, you can take a look at this page. I had to chuckle to myself as I was checking that page just now it shows the current temperature at 26 degrees Celcius, but look at the "Feels Like" temperature in the top-right corner of the "Current Conditions" section: It says it feels like 38!! That was one thing I remember from last time, I didn't stop sweating from the time I got off the plane until I got back on it! Please pray for me and my brother and the rest of our team throughout this week. It will be hot, it is VERY humid, and especially if we're putting up roofs we'll have no shelter from that sun. Anyhow, it's 2:11 now and I'm going to go talk to Jason for a bit before going to bed... Although it's pretty late I hope you understood what I am trying to say in this chunk of text, and I will talk to you soon.


UPDATE: 6:52 PM I have posted my itinery in the journal under November 2004 for anyone who wants to check the flights I'll be on. I am heading over to my parents' house from where I leave to go to Samaritan's Purse headquarters and from there to the Airport to begin my adventure. Pray for me!

November 15, 2004 - 9:24 AM
Grenada 2004

Well that will change your life... I'm back from my week in Grenada and what a powerful week it has been. From the devastation of countless houses to the hope of the people living there, driving along windy narrow roads with 14 people packed in the back of a small Toyota truck and wandering around unlit, unfamiliar streets late at night with no idea where you are or where you're trying to get to... I'VE GOT STORIES! And although I know that it is quite impossible for anyone who wasn't there to understand exactly the things I will try to explain, I did take 1,047 pictures to help the descriptive process for all of you visual learners out there... We accomplished a lot this week, our team functioned very smoothly together and was very productive. We had great weather the whole time we were down there, (I've even got a nice farmer's tan happening... Not bad for November) and like I said, I've got many stories to tell. It is good to be home though, back in the cool, dry weather... Sleeping on a BED with a real, live PILLOW! (Well not live I suppose...) Taking showers! There's something you take for granted! This week has definitely changed the way I look at a lot of things. On the way home I even got to meet someone I've known for over 8 years! We had a stop over at Pearson International Airport in Toronto and Julie came to see me there! I met her online a WAY back when I was still living at my parent's house, and now over 8 years later we've finally met "In Real Life!" So that was really cool as well. Anyhow, I should find some clean clothes to wear and go to work! Then once I've made sure nothing blew up in my absense, I've got to go get a little surgery done... Fix up a little mishap that happened in Grenada. I will be creating a whole separate web site to accomodate all the pictures, stories, journal entries, and communication between members of the trip but I'm sure some pictures will trickle through to this site. So much to do! So little time to do it!

November 19, 2004 - 8:44 AM
Snow And Ice, I Laugh At Thee!

Or rather, I should say that my WINTER TIRES and I laugh at thee! So far this winter, if I can even call it that, we've had next to NO snow, and it hasn't really even been all that cold! Now normally I would be rejoicing at these facts, but when I went to all the bother of making that middle heater for my van, I had hoped to have at least a FEW chances to actually use it... As it stands now, that thing gets the van SO hot it's unbearable so I almost never run it! But this morning when I got up and looked outside I was a little bit relieved to see that we had SOME snow last night.

Now I suppose some people who know me are probably scratching their heads and looking quite bewildered by the way I am seemingly looking forward to winter this year. Well, why not? It's not like you can stop it from coming, so why not at least TRY to enjoy it? That would seem to be the reasonable thing to do...

On a more serious topic, last night Rachel and I broke up. It's good to have your differences, but sometimes people can be TOO different to effectively have a working relationship. So I'm not sure what this means in terms of, for example, our Christmas parties, but I guess we'll figure it out.

Man, it's been almost a week since I got back from Grenada and I still don't think I've fully recovered from the jet lag... This morning I woke up and right now I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open as I type this! I'm thinking of going to work a bit later today or perhaps working from home. Horray for ssh and VNC! In almost all cases, I can work from pretty much anywhere that has a computer with internet access. Right now I'm learning how to program in C, creating an application to run under Linux that will interface with some proprietary hardware to count binary inputs from multiple sources and store that information in a database for statistical, information, and possibly even billing purposes. It's quite an interesting project! But C is quite an annoying language sometimes! I'm making my way through it, but you literally have to dumb down your thinking processes and take nothing for granted when you're programming because it won't do hardly anything for you as you might expect it to. Other languages, like PHP for example, make doing certain kinds of things RIDICULOUSLY easy! It's great, I love php. But in C you have to do a lot more manually. Which can be good, I mean you can gain a LOT of control over how the application runs but the potential to make mistakes can be equally powerful. I read an interesting quote on it the other day, it said something to the effect of: "The C language can allow you to do useful things with surgical precision, but it can, with that same surgical precision, cut your finger off." That's my near-paraphrase but I still thought it was a rather interesting idea. You definitely learn the hard way with it, fighting off uninitialized variables, buffer overflows, segmentation faults, and the like... But it is definitely an interesting experience. And then there is the whole GUI side of it too, since this program I am writing will be graphic in nature and will actually run on a touch screen panel'd computer. Right now I'm using GTK2, or the Gimp TookKit (version 2) to handle the creation and behaviour of all the widgets that I need to use. Maybe I'll grab a screenshot or two to demonstrate what I mean. Haha I'm such a geek! I bet half the people who visit my site would have stopped reading by now... And the other half? What's wrong with you!?!? But anyways, time to go do some other things... BUT HEY! On the geek note, I FINALLY bought a T3!!! I was pretty much fed up with my old m505 crashing all the time, and me being not able to save anything on it for fear of losing the work, so I was walking around the U of C the other day, passed by a little computer store in their basement and found they had the T3's on sale for $200 less than I had ever seen them anywhere else!!! Well. What was I to do? I tried to fight it but I just could not. I bought one and man is it ever the coolest thing I've ever seen! It plays mp3's, it plays movies (with sound) You can view pictures on it (although you can't take them without an adapter for it) It's got all the standard organizer-type stuff, Callendar, contact book, to-do lists, notepad, voice recorder, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint viewer / editor. It's got a bluetooth transciever for wireless internet and email, as well as the standard Palm Infrared port to transfer data that way to and from other palm users or to a computer with an IR port (like a laptop.) It's tiny, like really not much bigger than my m505 was but it slides out to reveal another inch of screen making it seem QUITE large. It just rocks, what can I say? And interestingly enough when I HotSync'd it to the computer, it automatically downloaded everything I had stored in my old organizer, so I didn't even lose a single birthday! So that was awesome. It is awesome. But anyways, I should get going. All this geekiness is getting me excited! hahaha

November 20, 2004 - 11:05 PM
I love pictures. I've been going through a whole bunch of old pictures, and wow does it bring back a lot of memories. I found the equivellant of an old roll of film - that is, a folder containing a whole whack of pictures from my old (OLD!) digital camera, that big bulky Kodak one. It actually belongs to Bo's dad, and after years of using it I eventually gave it back but not before giving it some good use! What was interesting too is that because I found the original dump of pictures, they're all in sequential order and dated too! (The dates are not 100% accurate, I think it is the date the pictures were downloaded to the computer, not the date / time they were actually taken. But it's still at most a week off...) Several of the images are familiar ones that made it into the photo album as it stands today in various places, but the vast majority of them have never been seen. Most of that vast majority of them are work-related, and as such are pictures of signs from all over southern Alberta, Petro Canada's, Safeways, TD Canada Trusts, etc. But there are numerous images from my personal life at that time interspersed in there as well, and like I said, they're all in order so it helps put everything in perspective in terms of it's order. Remember the flash fight? I had quite a good time reminiscing as I went through them all, and there are a few of them I might end up posting somewhere. Do you remember the time I had that dream where I was in a fight with some guy from camp who started attacking me, so I went to kick him but instead I (literally) kicked a post in my cupboard and knocked everything off the shelf?! Well it happened, and according to the dates on the picture it was sometime around January 14, 2002. So it was quite amusing to find that picture, especially since to this day I still have a bit of a bump from that dream... I had taken pictures of some of the things we did at work as well, and wow! I can't believe some of them!

The one of the left was the Petro Canada on Elbow Drive and Glenmore Trail which has since been torn down. I guess we didn't have an aerial truck available that day to work on the sign so we put a 12' ladder on top of a cube van and worked on the sign from there. The picture on the right is the TD Canada Trust on 17th and 36th Street SE and we had to hang up one of those new TD signs when the two banks merged. Because it was over the stairs we had no other way to access it so we built something of a split scaffold and put a ladder on top of it. Kind of funny to look back on now, but I wouldn't want to do that again!

I even found an old picture of a prototype I was working on of the van heater! This was really funny to find because although I distinctly remember testing out the heater core I was using in the picture, I had no idea it was such a long time ago! But the fact that it was taken with that old camera means it was quite some time ago... And time has proven that my memory is not the most reliable feature... Jaimee just called and wanted to know on what video game system the original Wonderboy was on. Rather a strange question but then again, that's my life for you! Strange!

For many years 211 has been my lucky number, but I never thought I would end up actually living there... The other night I was over at Becky's house to drop off some cheerups for her. I called to see how she was doing but when she answered she quickly asked if she could call me back. I thought she sounded rather upset, and since the last time I'd seen her, she had been to Montreal and back and I'd been to Grenada and back. I was on my way home later on that night and figured I'd buy her some cheerups and drop them by since it was practically on the way. Ironically, she ended up phoning me while I was en route to her house. I didn't say anything but just made my way to her place, parked and walked up to her front door. I was pretty sure she had seen me pull up and had been listening very intensely to my end of the call to see if she could hear anything that might say whether or not it was in fact me out front, but we kept on talking like neither of us knew anything until I interrupted the topic and said, "Well if you would be so kind as to come to your front door, I have a small present for you..." She laughed and exclaimed, "I thought that was you!" so I gave her the present and she invited me in. I really only meant to stay long enough to drop them off but ended up talking with her for several hours. So get this: Her mom is looking into the possibility of moving in with Stephen, (her mom's boyfriend) so Becky asked her mom what would be involved in her taking over the mortgage payments of the house once she (her mom) moved out. Her mom informed her that come next January, the house will be paid off and that if all works out with the move into Stephen's place, Becky can pretty much HAVE the house and just pay the utilities & property tax! How sweet a deal is that! So she was saying that she would like to get some renters in to help her pay the bills and to make some money for her as well. I began telling her about my own desire to move out of the cupboard and buy my own house, and before I finished she says to me, "Well you could move in with me..." At the time I really wasn't thinking about it, my goal was to buy a house, not to rent another place but the more I've been thinking about it since then, the more appealing the prospect is looking. I am right out of space here. I have NO room. I've lived in this little box room and slept in a cupboard for a month short of 6 years. If nothing else, by moving into Becky's house I would have WAY more space! Besides, once Jason and Luke move out of here in a month or so it's not going to be nearly as much fun.

So I was over at my parents' house today and began telling my mom about Becky's situation with the possible acquisition of the house and looking for good renters, and before I even got to the part about Becky asking me to move in my MOM says, "Well maybe you could move in there!" I says pardon?! She then goes on to ask all about the house, what it has, what I'd need, etc. I told her that if I rented out the basement, it's fully self-contained, has it's own kitchen, sink, stove, fridge, shower, fireplace, etc. We'd have to share the washer and dryer but that's no big deal. "Is it furnished?" she asked. "Well no, not really... I could probably keep Becky's waterbed but other than that there isn't any furniture in the basement right now." "Well don't worry about furniture, we will get you all the stuff you need." My mom went on to say how various relatives have all sorts of different items of furniture that they're not using and would be happy to get rid of... She was very supportive of the idea! So I think tomorrow I will go and talk to Becky again, and let her know that I'm at least interested. But ya. What a strange weekend! I think I will get ready for bed though... Tonight would be a great night to sleep on a register. I might just take my blanket and pillow and go upstairs and do that.

November 25, 2004 - 1:31 AM

Jerimiah 5:22 "Should you not fear me?" declares the LORD. "Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it." NIV

November 26, 2004 - 9:10 AM

And the music keeps on playing all night long...
--[ Basement Jaxx ]--

The secret to life it seems is learning the important lessons
BEFORE it's too late.

November 27, 2004 - 10:10 PM

Definitely a hot chocolate night...

I just got home from work. I got to work at 9:30 am yesterday morning. How's that for a long day? Actually I wasn't there the whole time, Barb invited me over for supper last night (and to come network their two computers together) so I ahd supper there before returning to work. There are some parts of my job that have to be done at night when nobody or very few people are around. Let's just say that it is probably the most interesting part of what I do there because you really have to be, as that fellow in "Mr. Deeds" (Which we also watched last night) Very Sneaky!. After completing the tasks I had set out to accomplish, I had breakfast at about 5:00 this morning but by that time I was too tired to do anything really productive such as drive home, so I pulled out my little bed and settled down for a bit of a snooze. When I woke up with a full bladder it was about 11:00. All that Pepsi I drank to keep myself awake through the night came back to get me in the morning. So I got up, took care of said matter, and began to work on my Grenada presentation for church tomorrow night. I said I would present some pictures and stories from the Caribbean Island during Life Night, so if anyone is interested in coming to see that, we usually start at 6:00 PM. It's at Grace Baptist Church, just off Memorial Drive right across from the Franklin LRT station. (They share overflow parking lots. You can't miss it.) I put together a collection of images from my 1,047 of the trip (not to worry, it's considerably shorter!) and tomorrow afternoon I will iron out the things I want to say. It brought back a lot of memories already, looking through all the pictures. I need to get that web site up and running. I'm trying to collect everyone's Grenada pictures to culminate on a web site ( but so far I have been booked solid every day and night since I've been back and only got a very small amount of work done on the site. *sigh* I feel tired. I think Barb might have given me her cold last night too. Anyhow, it's bed time for me. I need sleep something awful! I'm supposed to play in the morning service tomorrow as well which means being at church by 8:45. I don't even get to work by that time! But anyways, thanks for stopping by and for having patience with me as I sort through all this stuff. I will have pictures for you to see soon!

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