Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ennui Redux

I wrote in an earlier post that I’ve been suffering from ennui. A colleague found a good definition for the word “ennui”, but I can’t remember where she got it; in any event, here is the definition she found:

a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom
I had earlier theorized that my ennui might be caused by the time of year, or maybe because my relative was in the hospital. I now have another theory: maybe it’s because I’m cutting coffee out of my diet. I still drink coffee—a lot of coffee—but I’ve switched to decaf.

I probably should have thought of this earlier, but I didn’t. And I have a theory as to why I didn’t think of it earlier: I’ve cut coffee out of my diet. I still drink coffee—a lot of coffee—but I’ve switched to decaf. So that’s a possible reason as to why my mind might not have been as sharp as it should have been, when I wrote that earlier post. (I think I may also have started repeating myself, from time to time…)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dove Evolution

I thought I had posted this before, but apparently I haven’t.

I love this ad. I love that there are sometimes—not often, but sometimes—opportunities to use media to expose media’s tricks.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Finally, some spare time! So… now what?

After a pretty hectic couple of weeks, I suddenly have a day which is not too busy. I only have one meeting in my calendar, and I’m finished with the development that I wrote about in a previous post. So I have a bit of time to catch up, and wind down.

But I have nothing to catch up on. There’s nothing work-related that I had to push off; I’m caught up on all of the blogs that I read regularly, so I don’t have anything to read from them; I’ve pretty much kept up to date on the news sites I follow, so there’s nothing to catch up there, either; I have nothing that I really feel I need to post to any of my myriad blogs (except the serna Bible Blog, which should be posted to daily). Just… nothing.

So I don’t know what I’m going to do with my “free” time. Maybe create the Youth Group blog I’d been mentioning; I’ve given it further thought, but I haven’t found a good template for it yet. (I sort of like the NewZen template, or, since it’s a Youth Group in Rexdale, maybe the Canada template—which, really, shows a picture of Toronto. I’m still loving the templates at FinalSense, but I’m also thinking that maybe I should get some templates somewhere else, since variety is the spice of life…)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Blog

It’s been a couple of days since I created a new blog, so I figured I’d better create another. (That’s an exaggeration, but only a small one.) I have created the serna Book Blog, which is a diary where I can talk about the books I read. (I already have a link to it, over on the side, as well as an RSS feed, but I hadn’t bothered to announce it here until I’d managed to write about a few books, first.)

Notice I’m calling it a “diary”—the intent is not to do book “reviews”, just to write about the books that I read. Of course, that will entail mentioning things that I like and things that I don’t like—I won’t try to get around that—but the intent is to look inward, rather than to convince my audience of a book is good or if a book is crap.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Sovereignty of God and Prayer

Further to a comment from a previous post (Answered Prayer), I happened to be at a church-related meeting this morning, and my pastor gave out a handout called “The Sovereignty of God and Prayer”, by John Piper. I was going to reprint it here, but then I read their disclaimer at the bottom, and they said that they’d prefer it if websites link to it instead.

So, here is a link to the article, on Piper’s website (desiringGod). Actually, Piper is a great Christian thinker, so probably any article on the site is worth reading.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Redux of my Web 3.0 redux

I found another interesting blog post, related to social networking sites (and related technologies). This time, the author is showing that teens tend view things much differently than adults do; adults are much more likely to want one account, that they can use to log in everywhere, while teens are content to create dozens of throwaway accounts, that they use temporarily.

In fact—according to the blog post—teens are much more likely to forget their passwords for their accounts (on Facebook, or MSN Messenger, or Yahoo Mail, or whatever), in which case they simply abandon the accounts, and create new ones. They’re not concerned with bringing all of the data or “friends” or whatever, they just start over.

I know that I myself am firmly in the “adult” camp; I would much prefer to be able to create one account, and use it everywhere—the thought of forgetting a password, and not being able to get it back, gives me butterflies in my stomach. (Of course, most places allow you to get a password back, either by emailing it to you, or by entering an answer to a secret question, at which point they’ll reset the password.)

But this leads me to wonder: Is this an age thing, or a generational thing? That is, when teenagers grow up into adults, will they start to want one account that they use everywhere, or will they maintain their “use it for a while and then create another one” mentality even into their adult years? My assumption is that they’ll do the latter; they will have grown up doing things that way, and they’ll probably see it as the norm.

So my question is this: How much time is being wasted on technologies for “world-wide-web-wide” accounts, which people will stop using when the current generation of net users die out? I may be completely off on my assumptions about “Web 3.0”…

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Web 3.0 Redux

Some of what I talked about in an earlier post is coming to fruition. (Or, at least, being talked about.) See this article on Wired.

If you’re interested in this stuff, click the links in the Wired article, too, and read them. Especially this one.


We were in Future Shop a while ago, and one of the guys who worked in the store told me that I look like Vladimir Putin. I’d been meaning to look for a picture of him, and never got around to it until last night, at which point I discovered that no, I don’t really look like him.

But then Andrea mentioned that someone had once told her I look like the main singer from Radiohead. So I looked for a picture of him, and found out that yes, I think I do look like him.


Unfortunately, in that picture, he looks like his clothes are about three sizes too big, and looks way smaller than his bandmates—which just makes me look even more like him, because my clothes are often too big for me, too.

Lesson for the day: whenever serna buys new clothes, he needs to get them tailored.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Google Skimps on Its Own Advertising

I read an article on Wired (I hope that link works), about the fact that Google spends very little on advertising, compared to other companies that have large, recognizable brands. They’re able to get by simply through word of mouth, and by providing services people actually want to use. I thought it was a very good article, pointing out that you don’t have to follow traditional models of advertising.

And then I got to the end, where they started quoting someone who is a “veteran marketing consultant”, who is basically saying “well, it’s all well and good that Google has gotten this far, but they’ll have to start using traditional advertising eventually.” And I thought: “Why?!?”

Hasn’t Google already proven that you don’t need to use traditional advertising methods to be successful? Why would the reporter write an article on Google’s success without resorting to [much] advertising, and then completely undermine their point in the last couple of paragraphs? And use someone from the advertising industry—hardly an objective third party—to do the undermining?

Although I caught the article on Wired, it’s actually an Associated Press story, which means that I can’t blame Wired for it. But man, talk about embedding bias into a “news” story.

I’m getting a desire to go back and re-read Necessary Illusions again…

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Every once in a while I just get bored with my life. There’s nothing specific I want to change, I just get… bored. It’s not a mid-life crisis; I’m not tempted to go out and buy a sports car or something ridiculous like that. It’s definitely not my marriage (so you can stop worrying); I am very happy with my marriage, and am very happy that Andrea and I love each other the way that we do. I just find it hard to get excited about anything.

Perhaps it’s related to my relative’s battle with a stroke; am I contemplating my own mortality, on some subconscious level? Probably not, since thoughts about mortality work differently for a Christian. But who knows? Maybe it’s a factor.

I’m sure I’ve posted something along these lines before, but I did a quick search, and couldn’t find it. (I was sure I would have used the word “ennui”, but apparently I didn’t, because a search didn’t turn anything up. Of course, that search will turn something up now, because I’ve used the word in this post…)

Maybe it’s just the time of year? Since I couldn’t find the previous posts when I talked about this—assuming that there were previous posts—I don’t know if they were in the September/October timeframe, or if they were some other time of the year.

Oh well. I’ve done my duty, anyway; I’ve posted something to my blog.

Answered Prayer

I previously mentioned my family member who was in the hospital. It turns out that the person had a stroke. However, it turns out to have been the most minor stroke I’ve ever heard of; she has no lasting effects from it—no problems with speech, or visible drooping in her face, or anything else. I’ve never heard of anyone having a stroke which affected them so little. She had some pins and needles all down the left side of her body, but as soon as they started giving her blood thinners, the pins and needles started to go away, and she has no side effects left over.

Now, someone reading this may be thinking, “but I knew someone who had a stroke, and it affected them even less.” The fact that her stroke is the most minor one I’ve ever heard of isn’t the point; I’m not claiming that she’s setting some kind of a record or anything. My only point is that I’m thankful to God for answered prayer; we prayed that the stroke would be minor, that there wouldn’t be any lasting effects, and it was and there weren’t.

You may claim that it was coincidence, and that God didn’t do anything. (You may even claim that there is no God in the first place.) I don’t really have the tools to convince you otherwise, and, even if I did, I don’t have the mental faculties these days to carry on a complex argument. But I believe that there is a God, and I believe that He helped out my family member. And it’s one more thing for me to be thankful to Him for.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What a weekend

I did a lot of driving this weekend. In fact, it feels like I barely left the car. I drove from Toronto to London, to visit the family member who is in the hospital, and then spend the rest of the weekend driving back and forth between London and Chatham. Apparently driving really tires you out, because I’m pretty wiped today. (Not that I did all of the driving, mind you; I also let Andrea do some, so that I could catch up on my reading.)

And I thought I had more than this to say, but apparently not, because I can’t think of anything else.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Posting for the sake of posting

Yes, I know, I haven’t posted here in two weeks. What can I say? I’ve been busy. (I was reminded that I haven’t posted here when a friend of mine said that he’d visited my “old” blog, and I had to sheepishly explain to him that no, the blog is current, I’m just not consistent in posting to it.)

So here are a bunch of unrelated, random facts about the current state of my life:

If the colds I’ve been having lately really are psychosomatic, then my psychosis is pretty bad. (I love throwing in random medical jargon, apparently. Doctors reading this would probably either cringe, or roll their eyes…) I have a cold right now, and it feels like a real cold, not just a stress-driven cold.

Speaking of illness, a family member is in the hospital. And it’s the worst kind of visit to the hospital, in my mind: something is wrong, but the doctors don’t know what it is. They’re sending her to London for an MRI, but there are no ambulances available, so she has to get their herself. (Well, not by herself; her husband will drive her.)

I’ve been doing some development, lately, which is why I haven’t been blogging—my laptop just can’t run the development tools and anything else at the same time. (Even though I’ve got 2GB of RAM.) Which goes to show you how much memory the development environment sucks up. In any event, it’s fun to be developing again.

Um… what else?

Work has been crazy, lately. I can’t get anything done—not even my beloved development—because I keep getting pulled into impromptu meetings, and getting showered with issues that need addressing. (Maybe my cold really is psychosomatic!)

I gave some thought to creating a Youth Group blog, where I would write about my work as a Youth Group leader at my church. I haven’t yet got around to doing it, but, judging by past experience, I probably will…

And that’s about it. Out of the last two weeks, I’m sure I could think of other things to write about, but I have to head out soon, to pick up Andrea. (Once again, no time to post…)