Friday, March 31, 2006

"And You"

If someone says “Have a nice weekend” to you, what do you say back? More than likely, you would say “you too”. (Or, if you’re really Canadian, you might say “Yeah, you too, eh?”)

But I used to work with a woman from England, who would say “And you”.

Person 1: Have a nice weekend!
Person 2: And you!

For some reason this stuck with me, and I started saying it. And even though it’s probably getting close to 10 years since I worked with her—no, it can’t be that long, can it?—I still do it. I don’t know why. Any time someone says something that would elicit a “you too” type of response, I respond with “and you”.

So if you ever meet someone on the street, who uses the phrase “and you” but is obviously not British, it’s probably me. Feel free to say hi, and let me know that you love my blog, and that I’m brilliant.

Random thoughts during a conference call

  • This call is taking so long I can feel my beard growing
  • Some people in the world are as smart as I am. But not all of them.
  • Well, this is going pretty goo—
    “Which brings up another question…”
  • It’s hard to pay attention to a conference call when my email is open in front of me. Having my HTML editor doesn’t help either…
  • Five minutes left. I hope we’ll be finishing on time!


I’m disappointed with the internet, and I’ll tell you why:

I just found a link to a Simpsons Personality Test on a blog. “This oughta be good for a laugh” I thought to myself. You answer a few questions, and at the end it spits out a picture of a Simpsons character, and tells you why you’re like that character—with some handy-dandy HTML you can copy and paste into your blog. The problem is that the test was just plain dumb; it asked questions like “What’s your favourite phrase: ‘Aye Carumba’; ‘D’oh!’; ‘Burp’; etc.” (That wasn’t actually one of the questions, I just made it up, and exaggerated the foolishness for my own nefarious purposes.) It could have been really great, but it didn’t turn out that way, unfortunately.

The other reason I’m disappointed with the internet is also Simpsons-related. I found another site, a while back, that let you create your own Simpsons character. It had some kind of flash thing, and you choose the hair style/colour, head type, body type, clothes, etc. A very neat idea, actually, and I would post a link if I could remember what the URL was. (I think I came across it when I was reading a bunch of random blogs, but I don’t remember which one.) (Actually, I could probably just Google for it, but I’m too lazy.) (Actually, the funny thing is that I’m not too lazy to type in a URL that does a search on Google, but I am too lazy to actually read the results of that search, to find the site.) The only reason I was disappointed with this one is that I couldn’t get the character to look like me, so I had to give up.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I for I'm Never Going to See This Movie

It’s time for me to be realistic. Chance are that I’m not going to get to see V for Vendetta in the theatre. I really want to, and I’ve been looking forward to it, but we’re just too busy to go out to the movies for a night.

And I’ll probably never end up renting it, either. I’ll see it months down the road, when it comes on TMN.

Too bad, too; I think there would have been enough special effects to make it worth seeing in the theatre. At least, there’s lots of fire on the commercials, so I think that means there’s lots of special effects.

My Hand

I have a weird cut on my hand, and I don’t know where it came from. It’s right in the middle of one of the creases, on my index finger, like this:

That’s not my hand, by the way; I just found a picture of a hand on the web. I was going to take a picture of my injured finger using my camera phone, but it’s pretty low quality and the cut wasn’t showing up very well, so I figured it would have more impact if I drew the cut myself.

It would have had even more impact if I’d drawn a bunch of gore, or had blood spurting out, or something. But my artistic skills only go as far as drawing straight lines in Paint, not blood or gore.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

That Vendetta Movie Again

Just in the interest of confusing myself all the more, here’s another review of V for Vendetta, this time a good one.

Actually, the article isn’t so much about the movie, as about the media’s reaction to the movie. But she does mention that the movie is “a movie to savor”. This is from The Nation, a magazine whose politics are usually trustworthy.

Monday, March 27, 2006


I had been playing with the idea of creating an anonymous blog, under a pseudonym or something, just for fun.

But I decided against it for two reasons:

  1. There wouldn’t be much point unless the thing was going to be popular; why do it if nobody’s going to read it? But in order to be popular, it would probably have to be about, I don’t know, sex and violence or something. And who am I to write a blog about sex and violence?
  2. I probably wouldn’t be able to do it without giving little hints, that would give away the fact that I had done it. Like, in the anonymous blog I would reference a post from this one, or something like that. I wouldn’t be able to “blog with a straight face”, as it were.
So I didn’t bother. Which means I’ll take all of that creative energy, and channel it into this crappy blog…

Weekend is over, hence Monday

I don’t know if I properly used the word “hence” there; I looked it up, and it may or may not be correct. But I don’t really care. Comment away, if you want; I’m just trying to come up with new and exciting ways to title my posts.

We did a pretty good job in the studio on Saturday. Or rather, they did a good job—I wasn’t doing anything except making smart-alec comments.

While we were at the studio, Tyler called, and left his number. (Or rather, he got his errand girl to do it for him. Lazy, lazy Tyler.) But I wasn’t able to call back, because we left to go out Saturday night, almost as soon as we’d got home from the studio.

Then, Sunday afternoon, I had planned to call him first thing after church. (We didn’t have choir practice Sunday afternoon, which was nice and restful.) However, I fell asleep on the couch, instead, and he ended up calling me first—so now I feel guilty for not calling him back, and making him chase after me. But not overly guilty. In fact… just a second… wait for it… okay, I feel better now. I’m glad that’s over with.

I didn’t see Simpsons on Sunday, but I taped it. And I watched the beginning, and they used the live-action opening credits. Nice.

If you play guitar, or just like the sound of a really nice-sounding guitar, check out the Dixie Chicks website. When you load the website, it will begin playing a song that will be on their next album, called Not Ready to Make Nice. (The song, not the album; the album will be called Taking the Long Way.) A coworker pointed the site out to me, because he is really enthralled with the guitars on this song. And I am too, for that matter; they sound great. He’s been playing Dixie Chicks in his car, recently, and they sound pretty good, so I might go and pick up some of their CDs, the next time I’m music shopping. Also, they were one of the few sets of people who were protesting the war back before it was popular to do so, and America hated them for it—but now it’s pretty obvious that they were right, even to most right-wingers. I think a certain country owes a certain band an apology, don’t you?

I bought a coffee today, which didn’t win. Which isn’t too surprising, but it was the fourth coffee in a row that didn’t win. Previous to this, the longest I had gone this year without winning was three coffees. Could it be that I’m done winning for the year? Maybe so, maybe so.

I’m fairly sure I had other things to write about, but I can’t remember what any of them are, right now. I’ll have to post again later today, if I remember.

Oh, right, one more thing: A woman who had been reading over my book brought it back to me yesterday with her comments. So I’ll have to make myself go back to work on it soon, and incorporate her edits—if any are applicable—and then I should probably get to work on “publishing” it. (I put publishing in quotes, because putting it up on Blogger doesn’t really count.)

Friday, March 24, 2006


Today was a strange day. It doesn’t seem like I got too much done, but, on the other hand, the day just flew by, which only happens when I’m busy. But I have 45 minutes to kill before it’s time to go home, so I guess I have time to whip off a blog entry.

I have nothing to say, but, say it with me now, “I never do, so why should that stop me now?”

This Weekend

This weekend is going to be long, in a sleep-deprived kind of way. We’re taking the Youth Group roller skating tonight, and the rink is open from 9:00 to midnight—and it’s quite likely that we’ll actually stay until closing. Then I have a whole lot of kids to drive home. I don’t see myself getting home before 1:00AM, unfortunately. But I can’t sleep in tomorrow, either, because we’re going back to the studio tomorrow. (Did I mention we were going to the studio? Yes, I did? Phew. Never mind, then.) We did the instrumentalists on Saturday, and the singers are going go record tomorrow.

That doesn’t actually involve me, but I’m going as a chauffeur, so I have to get up at a decent time. I don’t mind, though—or wouldn’t, if I wasn’t expecting to be so tired—because I love being in the recording studio, even if I’m not involved. I just hope I’m not going to annoy the guy who runs the place; I sometimes get the impression that I’m annoying him, even though I’m trying not to. I get the impression that he thinks that I think that I know what I’m doing, when I don’t, and I know that I don’t, but I don’t know if he knows that I know that I don’t. In any event, he’s a really nice guy, so even if he is annoyed, he’s hiding it well.

My Razor

I know that you’ve all probably been dying to have an update on the whole razor situation, so here it is.

As I had assumed would be the case, the electric razor doesn’t give nearly as close a shave as I used to get with the Mach 3. It is, in fact, a bit worse than I was hoping, at least when I touch my face. (To look at, I don’t think it looks like it isn’t shaved close.) And it’s not quite as quick as I’d like; it takes longer to shave than I had hoped, because I have to keep shaving the same parts of my face over and over again, until they’re actually “clean”. But it doesn’t irritate my skin, even when I shave the same spot a dozen times over, which is good. And I am getting better at it, which means that it’s taking less and less time each morning. (Although it still takes long enough that I don’t bother to shave, on days that we need to get to work early, because I don’t want to make us late.)


Still haven’t seen V for Vendetta. Hopefully will soon. ’Nuff said.


I was just looking back over my postings for the month, and remembered that I’d put up a post asking for peoples’ comments about how Jon Stewart did on the Oscars. The one time that I actually ask people to comment—instead of viewing comments as a burden, to be endured—and only two people did so. So I won’t bother with that experiment again.

(No, I’m not asking you to comment now. You had your chance, and you blew it. Heh.)

Rolling up the Rim

I’m still maintaining my list of winning cups. I’m currently at a 31% winning rate, and I’m still surprised every time I roll up another winner. (Still just coffee and free doughnuts; no cars or TVs or anything yet.) Looking back over the spreadsheet, the longest I’ve gone without winning has been 3 coffees. I’m still expecting that situation to change; I’m not expecting to win any more. (Although, you might have noticed that I used the word “yet” when I said that I hadn’t won a car or TV.)

My Eye

My eye is still slightly bloodshot, but not like it was.


Based on a comment on Tyler’s blog, I found a link to Keith’s blog—Keith is Tyler’s brother. So I’m now going to begin reading that on a regular basis, too. Who needs to keep in touch, when you can just read each others’ blogs? It works for me and James. And Jer. And most other people I know who have blogs…

And that’s all I have to say, probably for the rest of the weekend.

Computers and such

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
having a boyfriend is great.

having a boyfriend who is not techy savvy is okay.

having a boyfriend who is not techy savvy but insists on installing corrupted pirated software chock full of virii and hardware-disabling crap, who then mopes about how he needs a new computer, and won't believe that it's because he's inept... sucks.

sernaferna says:
I wouldn't know.

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:

sernaferna says:
Do you mind if I post this to my blog? *snicker*

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yeah, so I lied.

I had said that I would probably post a bunch of things today, because I was in to work so early. But I didn’t.

Actually, it wasn’t a lie; it was an assumption that didn’t pan out. But “Yeah, so my assumption didn’t pan out” doesn’t make a very good blog title.


I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
Hi serna

sernaferna says:
Howdy. How's your afternoon going?

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
Oh not too shabby. Found a reference material that made my boss go out and have a joy-smoke.

sernaferna says:
Did it have naked pictures in it?

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:

only of guinea pigs... covered in vegetable oil... they'd been shaved

sernaferna says:
Your boss is a freak.

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
hahaha it's a skin irritation study on veggie oil in guinea pigs. one we didn't think existed. but i found it

sernaferna says:
You da m-

You a person.

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
*ROFL* oh serna. You're so politically correct.

sernaferna says:
And FRIGGING sexy.

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
the only mental picture of you that I can conjure is the one where you have a bloodshot eye... that isn't sexy

sernaferna says:
It's gotten slightly better, now.

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
not thinking as hard?

sernaferna says:
Not thinking at all. I found that's the secret.

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
better write it down!

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
and sell it for major cash

sernaferna says:
I haven't decided if I want to be a full-time writer, yet.

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
i think you should be. you can write children's books! about... about a superhero! named...


sernaferna says:
The only super powers I have are not suitable for a childrens' book.

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
tying the cherry stem into a knot?

or... y'know.. that pelvic thing?

sernaferna says:
I don't know which pelvic thing you're referring to.

I had meant mad programming skills.

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:

that's what i meant too

I shake my fist at chromosomal aberrations! says:
"pelvic thing" is code for "mad programming skills"

sernaferna says:
Ah, gotcha.

sernaferna says:
Before we get too far, do you mind if I post this to my blog?

There's an 8:30 in the morning now?

I have absolutely no compunction whatsoever about mangling a Simpsons quote for my own use.

Anyway, Andrea had to go to work early this morning, and, since we car pool, that meant I had to go to work early too. Which means I was at work at 8:30 two days in a row. Some of you may not be impressed by this; some of you may go to work at 8:30 every day. Well, some of you can kiss my skinny white butt, because I don’t like being up that early.

Not much to say, really, but the fact that I’m at work so early means that I’ll probably be writing a bunch of posts today anyway. (Just because I have nothing to say, doesn’t mean I’m going to say nothing. This is what I do to kill time, remember?)


I got a comment on my blog from an old friend, named Tyler. It must be strange for him to come here and find me calling myself “sernaferna”, since he (or maybe Dan—remember Dan?) invented the word. Ah, memories.

Anyway, welcome Tyler. I read through all of the posts on your blog, and since I haven’t seen/talked to you in years, it left more questions than answers. I guess we’ll have to rectify that somehow; maybe talking through blogs isn’t the best way to communicate? I also read your profile, and noticed that you listed A Man Called Rainbo under your favourite movies—I’m still looking for a copy of that movie!

But don’t worry: I don’t expect you to do the same and read through all of my posts; I waste a lot more bandwidth than you do.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I think I'm getting addicted

You would not believe how many blogs I’ve read in the last couple of days. I guess I’ve had a couple of not-too-busy afternoons, which gave me a bit of time to kill. When then happens, I usually turn to the blogs I read on a regular basis, and then when I’ve read all of them—if I’m still looking to kill time—I start clicking to the blogs that they link to. (Or reading the comments, and clicking the links of people who have commented.)

What I’m saying is not in any way strange; everyone who blogs does this, on occasion, I’m sure. (How else will you know that everyone’s blog sucks but yours, if you’re not reading everyone else’s blog?) I’m just amazed at the number of blogs I’ve actually seen in the last couple of days. (And yes, most of them are too boring to go back to—although I did mark a couple in my Favourites, because they have potential.)

The other day, as I was writing this post, I thought about mentioning that if you’re going to blog, you should probably read a lot of other peoples’ blogs. (Just like if you’re going to write, you should read a lot of books.) But I didn’t, and now I’m glad I didn’t.

Don’t bother. Most blogs are a waste of time, so you might as well just write about whatever the heck you want to write about, and be done with it, rather than wasting your time reading some other jerk’s boring blog about what they did yesterday.

V for Vendetta And Reviews Continued

To further the case against my point, I looked for other reviews for V for Vendetta on the web, and they’re all over the map.

Here are some I copied and pasted from Yahoo:

Critics ReviewsAverage Grade: B
SourceBrief ReviewGrade
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Eleanor Ringel Gillespie"The picture’s earnest politics are often as golly-gee cheeseball as its plot and characters." C
Boston Globe: Ty Burr"...turning as shallow as what it protests against."B-
Chicago Sun-Times: Roger Ebert"...actually interesting, inviting..." B
Chicago Tribune: Michael Phillips"...only if monotony qualifies as a lack of compromise." C
E! Online" ultimately a literate and intelligent film that will have people talking." A-
Entertainment Weekly: Owen Gleiberman"...has a playful-demon vitality, but it’s designed to let political adolescents of every age congratulate themselves." B Sean O’Connell" open rebellion against society’s close-mindedness..." B+
New York Times: Manohla Dargis"...sags when it should zip..." C
ReelViews: James Berardinelli"...2006’s first memorable motion picture..." A-
Rolling Stone: Peter Travers" action film that is not afraid to stop for thoughtful debate..." A-
San Francisco Chronicle: Ruthe Stein"...richly satisfying entertainment the way movies are at their best..." A
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: William Arnold"...a long way from a must-see movie." B-
USA Today: Claudia Puig"...visually exhilarating, provocative and disturbing." A-

(All of these review snipits had links to the actual reviews, but it was too much work to copy and paste all of that.)

If the reviewers can’t agree whether this is a good movie or not, then I’m back at square one: Do I see it, or not? In this case, the reviews don’t really help.

I only ever bother reading the reviews of the critics, not the general population; the general population reviews are always glowing, no matter how bad a movie was, so it’s not usually worth my time.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

V for Vendetta

Andrea and I are interested in seeing V for Vendetta. Unfortunately, one of the main things that was going to draw us to the movie were the political overtones, and the review I read on Wired said that that’s exactly what the movie did badly. (The other thing that will draw us is that we both like Natalie Portman.)

If you’re too lazy to click the link and read the whole thing, here’s an excerpt:

Vendetta is too vague to pack much political punch. Hollywood, with its congenital fear of alienating anyone, manages to dilute the comic book’s radical, complex vision.

What’s left is a fuzzy, pandering film. What are its lessons? Totalitarianism is bad. People power is good. Unless you aren’t quite sure where to stand on the whole Hitler-Nazi-Holocaust thing, Vendetta is unlikely to evolve your worldview.

The film’s biggest problem, however, isn’t its watered-down politics. Vendetta falls surprisingly flat as entertainment. There’s some dazzling action and the exciting design we expect from the Wachowskis.

But as it bounces between genres—a bit of melodrama, a dash of political intrigue, some half-hearted footage of a fascist dystopia—the film doesn’t seem to know how to look or feel. V (Hugo Weaving) and Evey (Natalie Portman) are lit in glowing, romantic hues, even as the film insists that we are on the edge of apocalypse.

The only thing that gives me hope is that a bunch of people commented on the review, saying that the reviewer is out to lunch. So maybe it is a good movie, and maybe he is out to lunch. However, the fact that Alan Moore (the guy who wrote the original comic) insisted that his name be removed from the credits is a bit disheartening.

Now, I’ve had conversations in the past with people who don’t like reviews at all. I’ve been told that movies are supposed to be entertainment, and that they don’t have to be Shakespeare. However, I respectfully disagree; I agree with the part that movies are supposed to be entertainment, and I have no problem with movies that are juvenile, or have gaping plot holes, or whatever, as long as I’m entertained. But if I read a review that says that a movie doesn’t entertain, that’s a valid criticism.

The flip side is that a lot of reviews are written by people who are working for the same corporation—or parent corporation, or some corporation in the same family as the parent corporation—as the movie makers, and only write glowing reviews. This is simply corrupt, and it always gets me aggravated. I don’t like overt propaganda maskerading as valid criticism. It’s to the point that I can’t trust positive reviews anymore, which is pretty sad; there are reviewers out there who are honest (or work for honest companies), and who can still do positive reviews, for movies that are really good. If you can only trust the reviews that are negative, you’re going to get pretty cynical.

Anyway, back to the point.

Some of the people “reviewing the reviewer” on the Wired site are saying that the movie doesn’t have to stay true to the comic to be entertaining—which I agree with—and that the movie doesn’t have to be political to be entertaining—which I also agree with. However, I come back to the idea that the point of the comic was to be overtly political, and the movie is based on the comic, and the reason that I wanted to see the movie is because it was political. So if I read a review that says it didn’t live up to expectations, I consider that a valid review, too. When the reviewer then goes on to say that he didn’t find it entertaining, either, I start to get worried.

I’m sure I’m still going to see the movie, and I’ll make up my own mind about it. But only because I had already intended to see it; if I wasn’t sure about this movie, I would have had to read some more reviews in order to make up my mind.

This situation reminds me of Fantastic Four. I read a review of the movie which said that it sucked—probably not in those words—and I trusted the review, and figured that the movie probably sucked. So I didn’t see it. Until I was on an airplane coming from Venezuela, and that was the in-flight movie, and there was nothing else to do. So I watched it. And it sucked.



I was reading some blog from J. Random Blogger today, and just out of curiosity, I scanned down the page to see how many comments she’d got on each post. Almost all of them had 0, except for a few.

So I’m not the only one who blogs even though few people are reading.

(By the way, this is not some kind of “reverse psychology” post, fishing for comments. I’m happier without them then I am with them, usually.)

Spelling with Flickr

I thought this was kind of neat. You can use this site to spell something out with letters on Flickr, like this:



It gives you the HTML to copy and paste into your blog, and some other tools too, I think. I edited it before posting it here, though, because it makes each letter a link, which I didn’t want.

SNL Videos

Saturday Night Live is sometimes very funny, and sometimes very boring. But I found some of the very funny videos online, which I’m posting here for your enjoyment.

Note: NBC has been cracking down on people distributing their content, so there’s a good chance that by the time you visit these links, the videos will be gone. If so, sorry about your luck.

Baby Toupee. This is a commercial, and self explanatory.

Natalie Portman Gangsta Rap. This was an SNL Digital Short, which I found absolutely hilarious.

Lazy Sunday. Another SNL Digital Short—the first one I saw, and absolutely hilarious.

I realize that I said “absolutely hilarious” twice, but I have a small vocabulary.

Monday, March 20, 2006

ANOTHER post about blogging

As regular readers of this blog know, I don’t know why I blog. I don’t know why people read my blog, and I don’t know why I keep posting things to my blog. I write about it every once in a while, because I’m not able to figure out why I’m bothering with this.

A friend of mine, who also has a blog, was recently asking the same questions of himself. Now, I’m mainly putting this link here because he said good things about my blog. Jer: You’re an intelligent man, of refined tastes, and you have very good looking friends. Especially the ones that live in Toronto.

But I’m also writing this because I feel Jer’s pain. (I especially feel his pain when he says that putting too much detail into a blog entry leaves people “over-informed and not interested”; anytime I write a blog entry more than a couple of paragraphs, I know that some people skip over and don’t bother reading it. But, since I don’t expect people to come here in the first place, it’s no skin off anybody’s back.)

I think anyone who blogs for any length of time is eventually going to stop and ask themselves the same questions: Why am I bothering? Does the world really need one more personal online diary? Am I really saying anything clever enough that I need to put it online, so that anyone with a web browser can read it? Or, as Jer asks, “Am I missing the point to ‘blogging’?” But the fact is, blogging is very popular because people want to express themselves.

And, since people express themselves in different ways, people blog in different ways. Jer is trying to figure out how to write his blog; how he should approach it. You could say he’s looking for his “blogging voice”. Whereas my blog is all over the map! I mean, if I look back over the 5 previous posts before this one, I see:

  • A post about a roast I’d cooked the night before; classic “journal material”, I think
  • a transcript of a phone conversation I’d had with a cold-caller
  • A correction to a frigging spreadsheet, that I’ve been maintaining of my winning cups from Tim Horton’s
  • The original post that included the erroneous calculation
  • A post about Bayview Village, and the fact that I’m not comfortable around rich people. (And that I prefer hanging around middle-class or poor people, but every time I think about this post, I wish I could have found a better phrase for “poor people” because that sounds a little condescending, which I didn’t mean it to be.) On the plus side, though, this post had a link to a cartoon that I found very funny, so it all evens out, I guess.
So I don’t know if I have figured out how to approach my blog, either. I just started doing it, and I’ll keep doing it, and maybe some day I’ll even out, and it will be more predictable, and maybe not. Probably not, in fact.

By the way, Jer: I also feel your pain when you talk about worrying that people will think you’re whiny, for complaining about work. Any time I complain about things in my blog, I worry about the same thing, that I’ll either come off as being whiny, or just being crotchety. (For anyone who doesn’t know Jer personally, I don’t find him to be whiny in real life.) But that’s the danger of blogging; you only write about certain things, and then that’s all your readers know about you. If I get annoyed at a colleague, and whip off a quick blog entry to say so, and it happens to be the only post I put up that day, then people are going to think I had a bad day, because that’s all they read from me. Sometimes I might even see someone online, on MSN Messenger, and they’ll ask me if my day is getting better, and I’ll think to myself “What the heck is this person talking about? My day has been fine.”

People sometimes forget, I think, that a blog entry is from a particular moment in time, and whatever I write about is just a snapshot of whatever I was feeling at that instant. If you’re reading my blog, don’t read it to find out what I’m thinking; read it to find out what I was thinking, when I wrote it. Whatever I’m thinking now will probably be different. (Or just read it to bask in my brilliance.)

The other danger, of course, is of looking stupid, which I regularly do. I have an HTML editor that I’ve configured very heavily, so that I can tear off a blog post—complete with fancy quotation marks, and pop-up windows, and bulleted lists, and everything else—in just a few clicks of the mouse. (Well, I also have to type the words.) Throughout the day, sometimes I’ll put out 5 or 6 blog entries, on whatever’s on my mind at the time. The flip side to that, though, is that it doesn’t take much thought, and often I’ll go back an hour later and read a blog post, and realize that I made some glaring mistake, because I didn’t put enough thought into it, or because I copied and pasted some text from one part to another and missed a word, or because I got distracted by my pesky job, and didn’t properly finish a thought. Maybe I put the wrong word, or made a very noticeable grammatical mistake, or something more fundamental.

And, if I don’t notice the mistake, there are three people I can think of off the top of my head that are more than willing to point it out for me.

This is a fairly long post, and after spending too long on any one post, your brain stops actually seeing what’s there, and only sees what it thinks should be there; there is probably something in this post that I’ll look back on later, and wish I could change. (But I don’t change my blog entries once they’re up.) If this blog were of any importance, I would never post an entry right away; I would type it up, and then set it aside for a few hours or until the next day, and go back and re-read it with a fresh eye later. But this blog isn’t important, so I don’t bother.

I read a post on Raymi’s blog once, which was from some graduate student’s study of her blog, and an interview with her. (I think; it was a long time ago, and I can’t find the original, so I can’t re-read it.) But I remember one of the interesting things about that was the question of who “owns” a blog: the one who writes it, or the legions of fans who read it? Of course, that only really applies when a blog has legions of fans, like Raymi’s blog does, but even for a less popular blog, people will want to read what they want to read. Raymi’s take on this was that the person who writes it definitely owns the blog. And I’m 100% with her on that one. (I’m surprised people would even ask the question, actually, but I guess it’s the same mentality that makes people think that they have a right to know the intimate details about the lives of celebrities, and that type of thing.)

A blog is a vehicle for personal expression. She writes about what she wants to write about, and I’ll write about what I want to write about. She has hundreds or thousands of people who read her blog regularly; I probably have less than a half dozen, and all of those people know me personally. But I hope that if I ever had that many readers, I would still write for me, and not for them. (I would probably have to turn comments off, if that were to happen.)

But it’s a moot point, because I don’t expect to ever get a larger audience for my blog.


I don’t normally write about my cooking, because my cooking isn’t normally anything worth writing about. If I make a horrible mistake, and accidentally give Andrea and myself food poisoning, I write about it, but other than that, nothing exciting ever really happens.

But last night, I made a great roast. I’m telling you, this thing was absolutely fabulous. I had never tried a roast before, but as we were trying to decide what to have for supper, I figured that now might as well be the time. So we stopped into the grocery store on the way home from church, and picked up a blade roast and some potatoes, and I figured I’d go home and look for instructions online. (As it turned out, every site that had instructions for cooking a roast said that you can’t really do it without a meat thermometre. So I had to go back to the store and get one of those, too.)

For a while, as it was cooking, I wasn’t very hopeful that it would turn out. For one thing, I wasn’t 100% sure what temperature to put the stove on; the main site I was looking at had different temperatures for different cuts of meat, but none of them explicitly said “blade roast”, so I had to try and figure out other names for a blade roast, since all of these cuts of meat have a bunch of different names. And, more importantly, it started to burn. It didn’t actually burn that bad, but the problem is that you’re supposed to leave the top off the pan, which let the smoke out more freely, and the whole house filled up with it.

So needless to say, I was a bit worried as to how it was turning out. But I need not have feared! When it was done, and I was starting to carve it up, I sliced off a piece to try, and my fears were allayed. As you’ll have noticed from the pictures, I also made mashed potatoes and some steamed vegetables, which also came out perfectly. (Actually, I didn’t make enough mashed potatoes, but the ones I did make came out good.)

I loved it, and Andrea loved it. I’m rather proud of myself.

If you’re looking to cook a roast, and, like me, don’t know how, the Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner site is pretty good. Or you can just follow these simple directions:

  1. Preheat the oven. I had mine at 450° F (230° C), but I think that was too high; I turned it down to 300° F (150° C) later on, after it started to burn. I really don’t know how hot the thing should be, for a “blade roast”. I’d suggest looking for a cut of meat with a name you recognize, so that you can follow the chart.
  2. Put the meat, straight out of the fridge, into the pan. Don’t put it directly on the floor of the pan; put it on a rack.
  3. Cook it until the meat reaches the desired inner temperature. You have to figure that out using a meat thermometre. I got a really nice one, that stays in the meat while it’s in the oven; it has a wire that goes out of the oven to the register, which sits outside, and which can be pre-programmed for the type of meat you’re cooking, and how you want it cooked—well done, medium, medium rare, etc. It has an alarm that goes off when the meat is ready. I didn’t actually use that, though; I followed the directions on the Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner web site, and took it out a bit early, and covered it with foil, to let it continue cooking.
It just goes to show you that with the right cut of meat, anyone can make a great tasting meal.

My Bank

My bank just cold called me. The conversation went like this:

Phone Guy: Hi Mr. ferna. I was wondering if we could look at your accounts, and see if there is a way we could save on your banking fees?

Me: Uh… sure.

PG: Excellent. I’m just going to pull up your file then.

M: Okay.

slight pause

PG: It’s just taking a second for it to come up.

M: No problem.

PG: While we’re waiting, I was wondering if you wanted to sign up for overdraft protec—

M: No thanks.

PG: Okay then. It’s just taking a second for your file to come up.

M: No problem.

another pause

PG: Okay then, I have your file up. Let’s see here… I see that you hardly use this account.

PG: And… I see that your other account is fine, too. You’re not paying any more fees than you should be. So… is there anything else we can do for you today?

M: Um… no.

PG: Okay then. Are you sure we can’t interest you in overdraft pro—

M: No thanks.

PG: Okay then. Have a good night!

As you all probably know by now, my memory isn’t very good, so this isn’t verbatim. But it’s very close.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Had another coffee, and fixed the calculation for the “didn’t win” total.

Like a typical programmer, I didn’t put enough analysis into that calculation beforehand, nor do enough testing after. Thanks to Macker for… well, for being Macker.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Still Rollin' the Rims

I’m still doing very well with my Tim Horton cup winnings. As shown in the following screenshot from Excel—the maintenance of which proves me beyond a doubt to be an übernerd—I’m at about 35% in my winnings.

Incidentally, all of the totals and the percantages and everything are calculated by Excel. I get my machine to do the work for me, ’cause that’s how I roll, yo. All I gots ta do is enter in the C or the D, and Excel does its thang. I got mad computer skills. Werd.

Sorry, I’ll stop now.

Anyway, I’m not expecting this winning streak to last forever; every time I roll up another winner, I’m very surprised.


I went to Bayview Village for lunch today. If you’re not familiar with Bayview Village, it’s basically a mall for rich people. Oh sure, they have an A&W there, but it’s in the middle of a bunch of posh restaurants and bistros that most people would never go to. (Other than the A&W, I didn’t see any other cheap places to eat.)

And, of course, there are a bunch of expensive clothing stores, where they charge twice as much—for clothes that are half as good—as at other stores.

And as were were having lunch, surrounded by people who were born into money, it occurred to me: I’m very uncomfortable around rich people. I much prefer hanging around middle-class or poor people than hanging around rich people.

[Comic taken from]


I had a brilliant idea today. Or at least, I assume I did, because I think my brain exploded into the back of my eye.

It’s so bad that I can actually feel it being bloodshot.


I found a really cool watch online, designed by Frank Gehry.

Designed by postmodern architect Frank Gehry and developed by Fossil this Gehry Writes Time Digital watch has an innovative time read out display in Frank Gehry’s own script. If the time is 11:30, the display reads in script, “half past 11” and if the time is 12:54, it reads as “6 til 1”. The display also automatically switches back and forth showing a negative screen during daylight hours and a positive screen at nighttime. Also contains a calendar function. Brushed titanium cases with a gold colored titanium plate around the perimeter of the display. Dark brown genuine leather strap. 11-year warranty.

Not that I’m planning to buy it, mind you. $150.00—$173.66 CAD, at time of writing—is a bit out of my price range for buying a watch.

But it’s still neat.

My Love/Hate relationship with Blogger

Blogger was acting up again today. I posted a comment to an earlier post, and it wouldn’t show up. (It showed up when I clicked the pop-up to add a comment, but it wouldn’t show up on the post itself. And Blogger didn’t email me to tell me that there was a comment, which it normally does.)

And then I clicked the Archives drop-down, to see all of the posts from March 2006, and the page wouldn’t completely load.

I don’t know why they have so many problems at Blogger. The site is owned by the people at Google, who are very good at this type of stuff. (I think I’ve said that before.) They shouldn’t be having so many technical problems, on such a regular basis.

Happy Anniversary! Um… to me

Today is the one year anniversary of the day I created this blog.

If you’d like to get me gifts, please remember that the traditional gift for a first year anniversary is paper. So please send large denomination money—no coins, ya cheap bastiges.

Project Management

I’m attaching a cartoon to this post that I find hilarious. If you work in project management in any way, especially for software projects, you’ll probably love this. (Of course, you may already have seen it, because it’s pretty popular.) Click the picture to see a larger version of it.

Actually, I don’t know where the thing came from, originally, so I might be breaking some kind of copyright laws by putting it here. But it got sent to me in an email yesterday, for about the fifth time, and I laughed just as hard as the first time I’d seen it, so I thought I’d share it with y’all.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Bathroom

I just saw something weird in the bathroom. (Please hold off on the silly jokes, thankyouverymuch.)

I think we’ve all seen the “touchless sinks”—where you just hold your hand in front of the sink, and the sensors turn it on automatically. I was at an office this afternoon that had touchless soap dispensers; a natural progression, one would think. If you’re already making touchless sinks, so that people don’t have to touch that grubby thing with their clean hands, then a touchless soap dispenser just makes sense.

But here’s the weird thing: The sink, in this particular bathroom, wasn’t touchless. So you can use the soap dispenser, and not have to worry about getting infected with someone else’s germs, but at some point you’re going to have to turn on the water, too, and then it’s all over.

Not that I really care that much about germs anyway. We care too much about germs in North America, and it’s going to come back to haunt us, when the germs get too powerful for the germ-killing agents we’re using. That’s why I advocate licking sinks in public bathrooms, to try and build up your immune system. Gather up as many germs as you can, I say, and let your body learn to fight them off.

Try it. And then let me know how it works out for you, because I’m sure as heck not going to do it. (When you’re telling me about your experience, you might need to get someone else to type up the email for you, if they don’t allow keyboards in the germ-proof bubble where you’ll be forced to live out your few remaining days.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Nothing. Just nothing.

I should probably learn to keep my blog posts shorter, eh? Maybe then people would be more inclined to read them. Also, I should have more pictures. People love pictures; when they come to and find nothing but text, I’m sure they get bored and leave before they even figure out how brilliant and witty I am.

Anyway, I found two new blogs recently, that I found interesting. One is maintained by a dragon, which is nice—dragons don’t get enough representation on the internet, in my humble opinion. The other is maintained by a sex worker. (I don’t read it because she’s a sex worker; I just find it interesting.) Sex workers, of course, get lots of representation on the internet—or, at least, certain parts of their bodies do. But her blog isn’t a “sex blog”, or anything; it’s just about her life.

Honestly, I don’t know how I end up finding these blogs. (Actually, I do: I found the sex worker’s site from a link on Raymi’s blog, and I found the dragon’s blog from a link on the sex worker’s.) I’ll probably get bored of them soon, and stop reading.

Less-than-interesting facts about serna's life

I may not have time to post again for a while, so I’ll have to throw up a big jumble of facts about my life, and leave it at that.

First less-than-interesting fact about my current life: The townhouse that I moved into has a sump pump. It had problems, in that the mechanism which is supposed to turn it on wasn’t working. Which means that it wouldn’t turn itself on, when the water got too high, nor turn itself off, when the water emptied out. We were afraid that we’d have to replace it, but it turned out I was able to buy a sump pump repair kit from Home Depot, so everyone’s happy. That is, assuming that it will work; I wasn’t able to test it. I poured bucket after bucket of water into the hole where the pump sits, hoping to get the water high enough for it to turn itself on, but the water kept levelling off before it could get high enough. I was able to turn it on manually, though, and verify that it turns itself off when the water gets down to the proper point.

Second less-than-interesting fact about my current life: I ripped my coat last night. And when I say “ripped”, I mean almost completely in half. It was the overcoat I wear to work—a really nice coat, which was also very warm, and which Andrea never liked because it was too expensive. (But I bought it a few years before we got married.) I was getting out of the car last night, and just as I was slamming the door shut, and walking away from the car, the wind caught my coat, and blew it into the door. So I slammed the door on my coat, but my forward momentum already had me walking away, and I ripped it bad. It’s now garbage; even if I get it repaired, it will be blatantly obvious that there is a big sewing mark on it.

Third less-than-interesting fact about my current life: I’m extremely tired today, and I don’t know why. I have absolutely no reason to be tired; I got a good sleep last night, and I didn’t do anything too exciting or strenuous yesterday.

Fourth less-than-interesting fact about my current life: For some reason, like a schmo, I’ve been manually typing “X less-than-interesting fact about my current life:” at the beginning of each paragraph, instead of copying and pasting. That ends now.

Fifth less-than-interesting fact about my current life: I have had a very sore neck for the last couple of days. I don’t know why; probably because I slept badly. (I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that any time I mention I have a sore neck/back/whatever, that’s what everyone tells me, so I thought I’d save them the hassle of doing so this time.)

Sixth less-than-interesting fact about my current life: I couldn’t stop myself from drinking Tim’s, even though I had previously contemplated it, but I’ve also won a couple more times. I used to be at 50%, I’m now currently at 5 out of 13, which is about 39%. So far I’ve won a coffee, another coffee, a doughnut, another doughnut, and today another coffee.

Seventh less-than-interesting fact about my current life: I started working on a blog post yesterday that I may never finish, because of too many conflicting thoughts. It occurred to me that I read a lot of blogs maintained by people who are actively anti-religion, or anti-Christian. And I thought to myself, “I should create a blog post for them, so that if they come to my blog, they won’t be afraid to stay.” I was going to put a link to it over on the right-hand side of the page and everything, right near the top. But it’s turning into another one of my monster posts—and, as I said, there are a couple of conflicting ways I was trying to write it, which meant that it doesn’t actually say anything so far—so I’ll probably never finish it. So one of these days, I’ll read a post on someone’s blog, and I’ll leave a comment on it, and they’ll follow the link to come back to my blog, and they’ll see that I’m a Christian, and assume that I’m only reading their blog because I want to tell them that they’re going to hell.

Eighth and final less-than-interesting fact about my current life: After I started copying and pasting the “X less-than-interesting fact about my current life:” part, I was very tempted to keep saying Fourth every time, instead of incrementing the number, but I didn’t think anyone else would get the joke—or find it funny, if they did—so I didn’t bother.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hello, Blogiverse

Heh. Blogiverse.

I don’t always get the time, but this morning I had some time to go through all of the blogs I usually read. And I’d like to say:

  • “I feel your pain” to all of the people whose jobs are sucking right now
  • “I hope you get better soon, and I’ll pray for you” to all of the people who are sick right now
  • “you make me laugh” to all of the people who wrote about shipping children through the mail
  • “I’m doing what I was told and linking to your post—even though only a very small percentage of it applies to me” to the person who posted that list
And that’s it. Those aren’t the only blogs I read, but they’re the ones I’m bothering to mention.

Live-Action Simpsons Opening Credits

Click here for a great live-action version of the Simpsons opening credits (sound required, for full effect). It’s part of an online marketing campaign by British satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

I found this online a few weeks ago, and now it’s in Google Video, so I can link to it more easily.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Quick Update

What’s this? A blog entry that doesn’t mention religion? Yes, it happens, sometimes. (Actually, almost all the time.)

I had a pretty good weekend. Andrea had the choir leaders over to the house on Friday night, for a leadership seminar/sleep over, so she wanted me out of the house. So I slept in a hotel that night. (If you think that it’s funny that I got kicked out of my own house, you’re not alone—some of the leaders who came over Friday night thought it was funny, too.)

But I didn’t mind at all. It was fun to go and stay at a hotel for a night. And, luckily, I didn’t find any bed bugs, so that was good. I got a bunch of writing done, and stayed up until around 4:00 in the morning. And, around 2:00, got hungry, and broke down and had some food from the mini bar. I’ll be paying off that debt for years. I was going to get a movie—they had The Constant Gardener, which I want to see—but they were $12 each, so I didn’t bother.

However, because I’d stayed up until 4:00, and then got up at a fairly normal time (10:00), I was pretty wiped Saturday; I spent most of Saturday afternoon sleeping. And was still able to get to bed Saturday night, which is not usual when I’ve had a nap in the afternoon.

Sunday was pretty normal, except that we limited the choir practice Sunday afternoon to just the instramentalists, and not the singers, so that we can practice the songs that we’ll be recording in the studio next weekend. (Did I mention that we’ll be going into the studio next weekend, to record some songs? No? Well, I have now.) That practice went pretty good; the musicians hadn’t practiced the songs that much together, but we caught on pretty quickly.

And Sunday evening I spent a whole bunch of time writing a huge blog entry—and talking to James while I did it (and asking for permission to post an MSN Messenger conversation, but not actually waiting to hear the answer before I did it). And then I talked to Jer for a while, and was tempted to post that conversation here too (Which would have given many of the hotel-related details I just relayed), but by that time I was bored, and just wanted to get off the computer and watch Law & Order: Criminal Intent with Andrea.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Do Unto Others…

This has nothing to do with my previous post, but it was inspired by James’ post on religion.

At the end of his post, James mentioned a number of teachings from a number of religions, and a bunch of them were along the lines of “don’t do things to people that you wouldn’t want them to do to you”. Good advice that we should all follow. However, if you read carefully, you’ll notice that the teaching from Christianity is a bit different: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Or, from a more modern translation of the Bible:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

This is basically the same teaching, but the Christian version is a bit more open-ended, and therefore a bit harder to follow. Christianity teaches that you should not only refrain from doing things that will hurt people, but that you should also actively do good things for them.

Hard teaching, that Christians don’t often live up to—myself included.

Open Mindedness and Religion

Warning: As I typed this post, it got very long-winded.

God does, indeed, work in strange ways. The sermon in church this morning was on the same topic as my previous post: that the mark of true wisdom is not being stubborn, but being willing to listen, and have your mind changed. Of course, the sermon was more on the idea that, as a Christian, one should be willing to be corrected by the Scriptures; if you believe something, and you read something in the Bible which disagrees, you should be willing to listen to what the Bible is saying, and be ready to change your mind. But he also mentioned that one needs to listen to others, to truly be wise.

Some examples, from the book of Proverbs, on true wisdom coming from listening:

Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. (Proverbs 9:9)

Pride only breeds quarrels,
but wisdom is found in those who take advice. (Proverbs 13:10)

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates correction is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1)

The way of a fool seems right to him,
but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)

He gave a lot more examples than that, but this will do.

So anyway, as mentioned in a comment on my previous post, my friend indeed posted his scathing opinion on the subject of religion. As he mentions, it’s on religion in general, not a particular religion. From reading the post, I would say he’s talking more about “organized religion”—for example, he isn’t talking about Christianity per se, but what Christianity has become, in the churches that call themselves Christian. Ditto for Islam, or Judaism, or whatever. In fact, I asked him about it:

sernaferna says:
Are you there?

James Mack says:

sernaferna says:

sernaferna says:
I read your blog post. (And, by the way, I’m not going to "respond" to it, and have a big "blog conversation/argument" about it. But I am going to mention it... hehe)

James Mack says:

sernaferna says:
Woudl it be fair to say that you’re referring more to "organized religion" - i.e., what "churches" have made religion into, rather than speaking about actual "religions", as in "what Christianity is SUPPOSED to be", or "what Judaism is SUPPOSED to be"?

James Mack says:
I’ll allow that

sernaferna says:

sernaferna says:

James Mack says:
"our god made their god" lol

sernaferna says:

sernaferna says:
BTW, do you mind if I post THIS conversation, in my blog?

sernaferna says:
(I know, I know, this is getting out of control already... hehe)

As you might have noticed in the conversation, the purpose of this post is not to argue the point with him (or anyone else). In fact, taken in the light that he’s talking about organized religion, I agree with much of his post; not the whole thing, but much of it. I did, however, want to talk about the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, in the Christian Bible. Again, this isn’t a direct response to James’ post, but it was inspired by something that he said:

When it’s used for convenience. You can’t just use part of it, you have to use ALL of it. If homosexuality is an abomination because of the way you have interpreted the book of Leviticus (Lev. 18:22) then please have no contact women while they are in their period (Lev.15: 19-24), don’t trim the hair around your temples (Lev. 19:27) or play with an authentic football (Lev. 11:6-8). I’m pretty sure the sins aren’t ranked anywhere either. Tis God, not David Letterman.

(I added the links to the Bible verses online, in case you want to check up on his references. But they’re all correct, and used in context. He’s not the type to make mistakes like that.)

I’m sure everyone reading this post knows this, but just in case, here’s the deal on the Old and New Testaments in the Christian Bible: The books that we call the “Old Testament” were originally written for the Jews. (The nation of Israel, and, later on when the countries split up, Judea.) The Jews were considered God’s “chosen people”, but they were also a nation. (In fact, the nation of Israel was a “theocracy”—in other words, they had a king, but the true ruler of Israel was supposed to be God.) So, in the Old Testament, in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, there are a number of laws set out for the people—613, in fact—but those laws cover three areas: Spiritual laws, such as “love the LORD your God with all your heart” and “love thy neighbour as thyself”; Religious laws, such as “if you commit this sin, you have to make this sacrifice”; and federal laws, such as “if a person steals, s/he must pay back this amount”. (In fact, when you consider that those laws were all of the laws for their country, 613 isn’t really that many.)

However, Christians believe that when Jesus came, things changed. This is where the New Testament comes in; the books in the New Testament are about Jesus, and how he changed things. Of course the federal laws no longer apply, since the nation for which those laws was written no longer exists—instead, I obey the laws in Canada, because I’m a Canadian. The religious laws no longer apply either for the Christian; for example, Christians no longer need to make sacrifices when they sin, because Jesus has been sacrificed once and for all—so any of the laws about sacrificing X animals when you commit Y sins are no longer applicable. The “unclean animals” that the Jews were not allowed to eat is another example; Jesus declared all foods clean in Mark 7:17–23, doing away with that particular religious law.

The laws outlined in the Old Testament still have value for the Christian, because reading them gives one a sense of the holiness of God; sin is a serious business, and God can’t be approached lightly. However, they no longer apply directly to the Christian, because the coming of Jesus changed it all.

All of that being said, I agree with James’ point, if not the examples: For example, if you believe that homosexuality is wrong, because of Leviticus 18:22—also in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11, a New Testament book—then you also have to believe that sex before marriage is wrong—whether you’re straight or gay. And, as James correctly points out, the one sin isn’t worse than the other; you won’t find anything in the Bible that indicates that homosexual sex is any better or worse than premarital sex. In fact, in the 1 Corinthians passage, the writer lists adultery, stealing, being a “drunkard”, and even greediness all on equal terms with homosexuality. (The next time someone starts talking about homosexuality, as them how they feel about greediness.)

As a Christian, I may not have to keep the hair around my temples long, but I do have to obey all of Christianity’s teachings, not just the ones I like. (The spiritual laws I mentioned, about loving God with all your heart, and loving your neighbour more than you love yourself, definitely apply; Jesus declared them to be the most important of all of the laws given to the Jews.)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Open Mindedness?

A quote from a friend’s blog:

Why do most self-proclaimed open-minded people seem to me to be very close-minded? .… I do have opinions, but they can be changed when presented with reasonable evidence. I do find I have a difficult time arguing when presented with numbers. I mean, numbers are numbers. My opinions do frequently change. Sometimes I don’t even have an opinion on things because I don’t have enough knowledge on the subject. I try not to purport to know everything. I do know a lot, and I do have an above average memory.…

(If you’re not familiar with ellipses, click here for a quick lesson.)

He raises some interesting questions. I basically see myself the same way he sees himself; I know that I’m stubborn, there isn’t much question about that, but I try to make an honest effort not to be, and to allow my mind to be changed when it’s presented with enough evidence. I also feel I’m pretty knowledgable in a lot of areas—not as much as my friend is, though—but I try not to let that colour my thinking; the people I’m talking with may indeed have more information than I do, so I should keep my mind open to what they’re saying. (Of course, he also says that he has an “above average memory”, which I definitely do not have. My memory is terrible.)

There is, however, one area where I definitely do not change my mind, and that’s religion—or, more specifically, Christianity. Here’s the thing: religion, in a nutshell, is the search for truth. The kind of truth it’s most concerned about are questions like “is there a God?”, and “if so, what is s/he like?”, and “are there general rules by which one should lead one’s life—absolute moral rules, or that type of thing?” etc. Religions are potential answers to those questions; e.g. when asking “is there a God?” Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all say “yes”. When asking “what is that God like?”, however, all three have very different answers. In fact, the answers are different enough that all three can’t be right; if Christianity is true, then Islam and Judaism must be false. (There may be parts that are true—the parts that agree with Christianity.) Similarly, if Islam is true, then Christianity and Judaism are false. Either one of them is true, or none of them are true, but there can’t be more than one that are true, because they disagree with each other on certain core principles.

The key, though, is that there is something called “truth”. Using the same example, of whether there’s a God or not, one of three things is true: Either there is a God, or there are multiple gods, or there is no God. One of those things is true; the other two, therefore, are not. So if there is not a God, and I believe that there is, then I’m wrong. Similarly, if there is, I’m right, and those who believe there isn’t are wrong.

I’m a Christian, and Christianity says that there is, and provides a book, the Bible, which purports to be written by God. There are those who don’t believe that God had a hand in writing the Bible, which is fine—they’re either right or they’re wrong. I believe that they’re wrong, and that the Bible is the word of God, which tells us about who He is, and who we are in relation to Him. And that, therefore, it gives the answers to many of the questions religion is trying to answer.

But when it comes to arguments about religion, or about Christianity, there is a wall that will always stop the argument, which is faith. A key element of Christianity is faith, and this is where the conversations will sometimes grind to a halt; you can argue things intellectually only so far, and people will sometimes get to a point where they think they’ve somehow argued that Christianity is invalid, or that some aspect of it is incorrect, or that a part of—or the entire—Bible is incorrect. And this is where they get frustrated with me, because I have faith that the Bible is correct; I may not be able to argue my point conclusively, in all circumstances, but I believe that it’s true. So, if someone brings to my attention some argument that some section of the Bible must be incorrect, I may not have a counter-argument, but I still won’t believe them; since I have faith that the Bible is true, I believe that there must be a part of the argument that we aren’t including, or a piece of information we either don’t know or aren’t considering. And this is where people will get frustrated with me, and say that I’m being irrational, instead of listening to their logic. And I can’t blame them for that, either—at some point, I’ll have to do another blog entry where I talk about “grace”, and then people can really get frustrated with me.

The thing is, we all do that. We all have faith in something or other, that can’t be shaken. One of the main reasons I enjoy reading Noam Chomsky is that he questions a lot of the core beliefs that Americans have, about America. If you were to raise the question of whether America invaded Iraq for oil, most Americans would start labelling you a conspiracy theorist—even though it’s pretty much a given, in the rest of the world, that that’s exactly why they invaded. But they have faith in their country, and in their leaders. Or, to take Necessary Illusions as an example. If I were to just tell you that the media in North America is a propaganda machine, you would probably, again, label me a conspiracy theorist, but Chomsky puts forward a very good case in this book that that’s exactly what the media in North America is. But people have enough faith in the media, and in the “free market economy”—in which they include the “free market of ideas”—that they have assume that the media must be fair and balanced.

If I were to say that I don’t believe in evolution, I’d be labelled as an absolute nut—because people have enough faith in scientists who claim to have evidence that evolution is true.

So, like my friend, I can definitely be argued out of many of the ideas I have. I don’t have his faith in numbers—numbers can be used and misused in a lot of ways, although I’m sure he feels that way too—but I think we both share a high regard for logic. If I believe—to use a political example—that most people in America are conservatives, because over 80% of them say so in polls, but then I hear about other polls, which claim that most Americans call themselves conservative, but when asked about the actual issues they turn out to actually be very liberal, then I’ll change my mind, and instead believe that most Americans are liberals. They just don’t know it. But it doesn’t matter what kinds of arguments you have, you won’t be able to convince me that there isn’t a God, or that the Bible isn’t true.

Unlike many Christians, however, I’ll try not to be a jerk about it. I do have the ability to respect others’ right to believe things that I think are wrong. Heck, this blog entry might even put that to the test; I wouldn’t be too surprised if I draw a bunch of comments.