Friday, December 18, 2009

2 1/2 Days

4 hours driving
13 hours sleeping
6 hours eating
1 hour showering
6 hours reading or talking
2 hours churching
2 hours waiting
28 hours working

and then she's back.

And yes, I have been micromanaging my life for the past week and will continue to do so until this presentation is finished on Tuesday. 4 days until I get my whole life back. (2 1/2 until I get half my life back)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I found my new favorite sorting algorithm! It's called Tacosort, and its complexity is O(n*2^(k*n)), where n is the number of elements to be sorted and k is the bit size of each element.

So far my longest record is taking 1,269,829,745 tries to sort a 4-element array.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I don't think this could any more accurately and humorously describe the abhorrence that is Java:

Friday, November 27, 2009


Thanksgiving has passed, and it's snowing outside! This can only mean one thing!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Most Pagan of Holidays

  1. Excessive gorging on food.
  2. Blatant American consumerism.
  3. A distinct lack of thanks.

Pessimist? No, I don't think so. I prefer the term "realist".

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Go Blue!

The big game is tomorrow. Mandy and I have prepared by wearing our UofM apparel for the past week and only eating food that might possibly be considered somewhat close to blue and maize while avoiding any scarlet or gray colored foods (including plates, etc). Completely averse to anything I ever learned in statistics, I believe that we are overdue for our win. I have hope, and nothing anyone says to me can take it away.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

This should wake me up in the morning!


select(undef,undef,undef,1) while (`date +%H:%M` ne $ARGV[0]."\n");
`ogg123 "\`find /mnt/winshare/itunes/Skillet | grep "\\.ogg\$" | sort -R | head -1\`"` while(1);

Friday, November 13, 2009


Every day, I now get the following:

Vitamin A70%
Vitamin C933%
Vitamin D100%
Vitamin E100%
Vitamin K13%
Vitamin B6100%
Folic Acid100%
Vitamin B12100%
Pantothenic Acid100%
Molybdenum27% addition to all the nutrients in my DC food (i.e., none).

I feel so awesome! I like experimenting with my body...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Have I Been Lied To? (Again?)

The more I understand the Bible, the more I have this sneaking suspicion that I have been lied to all these years. Since grade school, we were taught that salvation is all about faith, and that there is nothing that you can do or not do that will save you. We teach such a faith-centered salvation and do everything we can to teach that the Catholics and Pharisees (the classic "bad people") say that you are saved by works, which is wrong. But I think I am finally starting to see that faith and works (i.e., deeds) are both required for the Christian walk, and that nothing is by faith alone.

Granted, the Catholics and the Pharisees are proverbially doing it wrong, but so are we by throwing in the towel on works! James 2 says, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?...Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

Faith without deeds is useless! It cannot save you! For years, I thought that the only thing I needed to do was believe in God and have faith, and that this would save me. Well, it may or may not save my soul, but the point is even deeper than that. The point is that faith alone does not produce a Christian. Deeds/works/action is required, right alongside faith. Being the efficient person that I am, I figured that deeds were pointless if they didn't save you, so why bother to do them but to look good in the eyes of other Christians? But they do save you! No, they alone do not save you. But faith alone doesn't save you either. Salvation=faith+deeds. It's right there in the Bible, right in front of our faces, and I'm only realizing today.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ruby Proc Objects

In order to dynamically create methods in Ruby and then have those methods copied to a new object when it is duped, I stored the methods as instance variables of class Proc in the object and then did some pattern matching when duping the parent object to find and copy the Proc blocks. But after the object got duped, I got very unexpected behavior, as if the Proc objects that represent my dynamic methods didn't get duped. Behold:

"Proc objects are blocks of code that have been bound to a set of local variables."

Thus, duping (or cloning) a Proc object may give it a new object id, but it doesn't re-bind the variables. It'll still reference the same variables it referenced before. Good to know.

Best Joke of the Year

Courtesy of John Tibble:

A tachyon says "ow" and then walks into a bar.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Is Skillet Losing Their Fire?

It seems to me that Skillet is becoming more disappointing as they become more mainstream. My biggest complaints about Awake are reflected in a recent interview with the Roanoke Times.

John Cooper said:

"I will definitely say the lines between Christian music fans and mainstream music fans are very blurred these days, much more blurred than they were 10 years ago, or even five years ago. Gratefully, we can thank P.O.D. and Switchfoot and Jars of Clay and bands like that, for ... helping blur those lines."

[Speaking of Hero] "I think most everybody in our world today would hear a song like that and say, 'Yeah, me too. I need a hero. This is crazy. I feel like I'm losing my faith sometimes.' And it doesn't have to necessarily mean faith in God. It could mean faith in life, faith in the world, whatever."

What rubbed me wrong the most was when he was talking about the recent success they have seen with Awake...

"At the moment, there is a lot going on, and it just really feels like, well, all the stars are aligning."

Seriously? The stars are aligning? What's going on, John? Are we now a band who ascribes to astrology instead of God to explain our success? Now, I fully realize that no one in Skillet as far as I know really believes in astrology or anything like that, but offhand comments like this make me wonder where they are headed with their faith. What happened to the Skillet who was "exploding like chemicals" over God? Instead of screaming for a Savior, we are now looking for a generic Hero to embolden our faith in God...or "faith in life, faith in the world, whatever." It's about reaching out to the mainstream audience instead of reaching out to God. This saddens me greatly.

I'll stick with Skillet at least until their next album, but they are going to have to get their act together if they don't want to lose me. It may be time for me to move on, or at least listen to classic Skillet from now on. We'll see.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Proposal

The Proposal
(told from Jessica's perspective)

Saturday morning, at 7:30, Jesse called my cell phone to say he was in front of the apartment building waiting for me. So I bundled up with a hoodie, pea-coat, scarf, and mittens and headed out. When I got outside, Jesse handed me a blue square envelope, saying that I could open it later. The envelope was square and thick, so I assumed it was a musical Hallmark card. We proceeded to walk to "our bench" which is one of the benches around the President's pond. We sat down and Jesse said that the envelope had something that I could take to Japan with me to remember him by. So I opened it up and saw that it was a small book with a picture of us on the front, titled "The story of our love." Jesse asked if he could read it to me. So we sat on the bench, I held the book and he read. The story was about how we met and how we have grown to where we are today. He hired a friend's wife to illustrated the pages. At first, when I got the book and he began reading, I was thinking, "aww...this is nice. I will be happy to have this with me." But as we neared the end, the second to the last page in particular, I had finally figured out what he was doing. Describing last summer he said "They spend a long, long time apart but they grew closer then ever." Then it said, "They loved each other more and more, until one day..." And at that point, I realized what was happening and became speechless. I didn't know how to react. I wasn't expecting a ring before I left for Japan. I wanted one but I wasn't expecting one. I had convinced myself a few weeks ago that it wasn't going to happen yet. So, he turned to the last page and read "the boy got down on one knee and asked the girl to marry him." (The picture was of me sitting on the bench and Jesse on one knee in front of me.) So, he said some stuff, which I honestly can't really remember, then said "So Jessica, I ask you...Truth or truth?" And inside, my reaction to the truth or truth questions was, "What!?!?!...Just ask me the question, I can barely talk." But I think I squeaked out a "truth." (Quick side note, if you are wondering what a truth or truth question is, it is like truth or dare expect there is no dare part. The asker usually means by "truth or truth" can I ask you a question that you promise to answer truthfully. The original version of this game says that "truth or truth" cannot be used to find out privy information but Jesse and I have ignored that rule for the sake of using the game to get to know each other and ask embarrassing, serious, or personal questions.) So, after the truth or truth question, Jesse said "Jessica, will you marry me?" And I somehow said "YES!" while trying not to explode. And before I could even put on the ring, all I wanted to do was stand out and hug him and hold on to him forever. After some time, I remembered that I still haven't put on the ring, so I pulled back to try it on. didn't fit. But to Jesse's defense, it was entirely my fault. I told him the wrong size. Oops. But it turned out to be a blessing in the end because it meant we spent the day together away from campus. Back to the story, I ended up putting the ring on pinkie and enjoy my first kiss which was short but very sweet and wonderful.

Oh and just a quick description of the weather, which was perfect by the way. The air was crisp and cool and the fog was in the process of lifting. I could see the moon above us and the sun was trying to rise and shine through the clouds. And fog was coming up off the pond. So, Jesse did a great job ordering the weather. It was perfect. :-)

So, by 8, I was no longer a girlfriend but now a fianceė. We took off for a walk, heading towards the Memorial Prayer Chapel where we found David, Jesse's roommate, praying. We talked for a little time and then went inside where Jesse took the time to pray for this new stage in our relationship.

So, back to the ring not fitting...Jesse, being the amazing guy that he is, purchased the ring from a jewelers, as opposed to just a jewelery store. Murray's, in Muncie, does all setting and sizing right at the store. We decided to go there first thing in the morning to see if they would have time to re-size my ring that day because I wanted to have a ringdown that night. (If you do not know what I ringdown is, it is basically a ceremony for announcing the engagement of a girl on a floor.) We went next to Gerig because Jesse wanted to check the hours for the jewelers and I wanted to tell Mandy and Alyssa. But unfortunately, Mandy and Alyssa were not there...they had to find out later over the phone. On the way to Muncie, I took the time to make phone calls to my family. They were excited and supportive.

The guy at the jewelers was really helpful. He sized my finger and said he would do his best to get my ring done by closing (which was 3:00). If you haven't noticed yet, we have not eaten by this point...which was like 10:00. So we walked around downtown Muncie but decided to avoid the dicey-looking cafe and drive to IHOP for pancakes. Working together, Jesse got us out of downtown Muncie and I navigated us to the IHOP. And over lunch, we finally got to freely talk about wedding plans and not beat around the bush or talk "hypothetically" like we had been for the last 2 months. So, by the end of lunch we had covered things like wedding cakes, colors, possible groomsmen and bridesmaids, and anything else we could think of. It was fun to just talk and dream.

After IHOP, Jesse needed something at Walmart, so we took our time walking through Walmart. Then to kill more time, we made a trip to Toys "R" Us to reminisce and explore all the new and crazy toys they have today. I used most of that time to continue making phones calls, but this time to friends. And while we were in Toys "R" Us, the jeweler called and said my ring was done. I was so excited. I could hardly contain myself. I was going to get to wear my engagement ring. So, we made the drive to the jewelers and picked up my ring. I don't think anything could have made me happier.

Summarizing the rest of the day, we went back to Taylor, took a walk to the dollar store, made dinner, watched a movie, and then I had my ringdown. I was so nervous about the function. I got engaged in the morning and wanted to tell people like my apartment-mates in person, so a number of people knew that we had gotten engaged. And I knew that by 11 at night, word had trickled through the dorm. And those who did not already know, could have easily guessed it was me. So, I was afriad that as soon as the girls saw me, they would want to know the story but I wanted to save that for later when I could tell everyone at once. But no one said anything when I got on the floor, which was a relief to me. Alyssa Hartman, one of my good friends, planned/organized the ringdown. She was great. She introduced what we were doing for the freshmen and upperclassmen who were not around last year when we had her ringdown. So, she let the candle which had my ring tied to it and passed it around the circle while we sang "Going to the Chapel." During a ringdown, we pass the lit candle around the circle and after it has gone around at least once, the newly engaged girl gets to blow the candle out announcing that she is one. For some reason, the wick was short and the candle kept going out. Each time it did that it went out, the girl who it went out on would be like "its not me, its not me!" and Alyssa would go running to the rescue and re-light it. And after who knows how long, it finally got to me the second time and I got to blow it out. And all the girls screamed and gave me hugs. Then I got to tell them the story of how Jesse and I met and got to know each other. I was exhausting but so much fun to tell everyone about what God had been doing in my life and in Jesse's.

So, this past weekend has been the best weekend of my entire life and I am so excited for the next 8 months. Prior to getting engaged, God has really be preparing me emotionally, relationally, and spiritually to leave for Japan. This was just icing on the cake. I felt ready before but now I am even more confident that God is going to use this time to help us grow.

Please put June 5th in pencil on your calendar. We are going to have the wedding and reception at my home church in Ohio.

Saturday, October 10, 2009





so I'm engaged.


Thursday, October 1, 2009


I want a Fifteen-Hundred-Megawatt-Aperture-Science-Heavy-Duty-Super-Colliding-Super-Button!

I also want a weighted companion cube.

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Did you know that Rick Warren did the ceremony for Bill Nye's wedding? His marriage lasted 7 weeks.

There's a little piece of trivia for you today.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SCP over SSH

I was asked by a special someone to convert a DV tape into digital format at the ETC. So I did.

The resulting file was a 9.35 GB Quicktime movie. Of course, I didn't at all think about how I was going to transfer such a large file off of the ETC computer.
  1. I captured it in Premiere Pro, which apparently cannot save to anything other than Quicktime format, nor does the ETC have any compression programs on their computers.
  2. I did not have my flash drive with me (which wouldn't have mattered since it's way too small.
  3. I did not have my laptop on me to transfer the file to.
  4. The only external hard drive the ETC has was checked out and overdue.
  5. I couldn't scp the file from the Mac to my computer, because for some unknown reason, I could not establish an ssh connection with it.

So what was I to do? I had exhausted all the file transfer possibilities I could think of. I decided to experiment a bit more and found out that, lo and behold, I could ssh into Matthew! Now, why I could ssh into my CSE account on Matthew but not into my personal computer is beyond me. I know I didn't leave my computer in Windows, and sshd should be I checked. I ssh'ed from Matthew to my computer just fine! In fact, I even ended up SSHing to Matthew with X-forwarding and then setting up a VNC connection to my desktop. It worked.

This went to prove that I was in fact able to transfer information from the ETC computer to my desktop, via Matthew. But how to transfer a 9+ GB file? I did some testing and then tried this experiment:

First, I created the most simple Perl script oProxy-Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: max-age=0

20my desktop:
print while (<>);

It just spits out everything that is fed to it. Then I invoked this script by SSHing to Matthew, passing it a command to SSH to my desktop and execute the script, redirecting the standard output to a file on my desktop. I typed in a few lines of text and then sent ^D. I checked the file on my desktop, and it worked! This means I can utilize this system to transfer arbitrarily large files over SSH. I first had to enable passwordless logins from the ETC computer, and then I set it to work...

$ ls -lh
-rw-r--r--@ 1 etcmedia staff 9.4G Sep 29 16:04 MovieProxy-Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: max-age=0

$ cat | ssh -C \
"ssh jdenardo@ \"/home/jdenardo/ > \

A few minutes later, the command finished, and I checked the MD5 checksums of the input and output files:

MD5 ( = ed889ff1879832e46c9d6e68fd56657a

...they match! Despite not being able to directly SSH to my desktop, I was able to set up a route through another computer on the LAN and copy files! As a bonus, it was all done securely! This is certain

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

clips Gentoo ebuild

I needed the CLIPS platform for one of my AI classes, and of course it doesn't appear to exist in Portage. (Even trying to find the correct Linux source code is a nightmare with the way they have it organized on Sourceforge.)

So I found someone else's ebuild, made a small modification, and voila! It's now in my local repository:

> su
> mkdir -p /usr/local/portage/sci-misc/clips
> cd /usr/local/portage/sci-misc/clips
> wget
> ebuild clips-2.64.ebuild manifest
> emerge -a clips

This will build two executables, clips and xclips. And, it even builds on ~amd64 with no problem!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I don't feel inspired to write poetry anymore. In everything there is a silver lining...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


So, it's about time I reviewed Skillet's latest album, Awake. I pre-ordered it a long time ago, and it arrived last Monday. I listened to it once Monday, about 7-8 times on Tuesday, and then another 3-4 times today. (By contrast, I have listened to Comatose hundreds of times in the last three years.)

First, a few notable songs that stand out to me, good or bad:

Hero - Skillet's first single from this album. I was able to download it when I pre-ordered, and I fell in love with it instantly. The lyrics and the music are very powerful. This is exactly what I expect to hear when I listen to Skillet. Hero features Jen's vocals, which I was very pleased to hear. John is a really good (albeit a bit scratchy) vocalist, but a touch of female vocals always goes a long way.

Monster - The second released single. At first, I thought it sounded an awful like like something TFK would do, and I didn't particularly like it so much. The "growl" midway through the song salvaged the whole thing, and it only took a few listens before I grew very accustomed to it, and I now like the whole thing (growl and all).

Awake and Alive - Now this is what I love to hear. I was just as amazed listening to this song as I was when I first heard Comatose. The strings are absolutely incredible, and it's a for sure hit at their live concert. Great to sing along to, and it occasionally gives me shivers. Again, Jen sings in this song, and it adds a lot.

Should've When You Could've - I wasn't so sure of this song when I first heard it. The lyrics are very high-school-breakup-ish, and the music and words are quite repetitive. I found that it easily got stuck in my head, and I didn't want it stuck in my head (unlike every song on Comatose, which I thoroughly enjoy when they get stuck in my head).

Believe - Also a relationship-breakup-ish kind of song (-5 points), but the chord/key progression saves it (+15 points). Not that this is a bad thing, the opening guitar strumming is uncannily similar to Three Days Grace (particularly Never Too Late from One-X).

Forgiven - Musically, not as unique as some of their other songs, but lyrically, very powerful. It has the power to speak for every person on the planet, and is basically worship to God. I love songs like this.

Sometimes - Much harder song, though not in the same vein as previous hard-rock songs like Savior or Better Than Drugs. It sounds much darker, and the lyrics follow the same style. They are actually kind of depressing, so I'll be interested to learn more about it and hopefully gain a new appreciation for the lyrics in the future.

Dead Inside - The first of two "bonus" tracks on the deluxe version, I am surprised they left it off the regular album. Both of them are excellent songs, this one in particular featuring powerful lyrics, excellent supporting string usage, and more prominent guitar riffs.

Would It Matter - Another excellent bonus song! Frankly, I think John's vocals are best on this song over every other. It's a typical bridge between rock and soft/melodic sounding, but it really gives his voice a chance to shine.

So far, I can't say I'm as impressed with Awake as I was with Comatose. With Comatose, I literally liked every single song and could stand listening to every songs a few hundred times, not to mention that most of the album was spent in worship. My overall impression of Awake is that it's less focused on worshiping God but more focused on emo/relationships. I count roughly 4, maybe 5 songs on Awake that can be attributed as some form of worship (Hero, One Day Too Late, Forgiven, Dead Inside, and maybe Never Surrender)--less than half, whereas on Comatose, I count 6 or 7. I feel like Skillet has strayed a little from this focus, especially when I hear songs like Should've When You Could've and It's Not Me It's You.

I also feel like this album is less personal than I would like, but I could be very wrong. I wish that Skillet would do an interview for someone and explain the motivation behind all of their songs...that would definitely help me to appreciate some of the lyrics more.

Musically, it's also somewhat less satisfying than I would have hoped, but I did listen to it a dozen times in two days and am very very pleased with it. I am not at all disappointed...maybe I just set my hopes impossibly high. I was hoping they would do more with strings, but I will settle for Awake and Alive as my goosebump-inducing song. I was also hoping for more harder rock, but not quite as dark sounding as Monster and Sometimes.

At any rate, I am very pleased with Awake, and I would highly recommend it to every single soul who can take a little rock in their diet! I'm super excited for the concert...I still set my hopes high for that...September 24! I can only imagine what some of these will sound like live.

Collide: 8 / 10
Comatose: 10 / 10
Awake: 8.5 / 10

Monday, August 24, 2009


I must have played a dozen games and have lost every single freaking one, sometimes leading my team. I was also told today that I can't move into the dorm until next Sunday, after I was promised to be able to move in tomorrow. Exceptions can be made for other people who DON'T have a job and who DO have another place to stay, but not for me. My hall director shafted me the same way last year when I had an on-campus job and nowhere to live. You'd think that a Christian university would be all about providing shelter to the "homeless" and extending grace and kindness to those who need it, but no, we don't believe in such nonsense.

What an awful way to start the week.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ruby's Complement Operator

So I was doing stuff with bits today and needed to do a bitwise complement. As it seems, Ruby's Fixnum complement operator (~) doesn't actually do bitwise complement. Working with Ruby 1.8.7 on a 32-bit machine, I get the following things:

irb(main):002:0> a=5
=> 5
irb(main):003:0> a.to_s(2)
=> "101"
irb(main):004:0> a.size
=> 4

This tells us that the binary representation of 5 is 101, and that Fixnums are 4 bytes long. Suppose we want to take the bitwise complement of 5. We would expect, for a 32-bit signed integer, that
~5 = ~101
= ~00000000 00000000 00000000 00000101
= 11111111 11111111 11111111 11111010
= -6

Indeed, we see that ~5 = -6, as Ruby shows:

irb(main):005:0> ~a
=> -6

However, when we look at the binary, we see a completely different binary representation:

irb(main):006:0> (~a).to_s(2)
=> "-110"
irb(main):007:0> (-6).to_s(2)
=> "-110"

Indeed, what we see here is not at all a 32-bit two's complement representation of -6, but we see the number 6 (110) with a negative sign in front of it! Apparently, Ruby stores signed integers up to 31 bits, but does not use that last bit for the sign! Instead, it stores the sign separate from the magnitude. So Ruby says, "take the number 6, make a binary representation of it, and then stick a minus sign in front of it to make it negative"...not the universal binary representation you would expect from any other (good) language.

Thus, the ~ operator in Ruby means {-x - 1} instead of {~x}. If a programmer wanted {-x - 1}, he would just write that! It's so rarely needed (in my experience) that it does not make sense to have an operator for it! But if a programmer needs to work with bits in Ruby (which is much more common), he is left without a suitable bitwise complement operator. You could implement something like this:

class Fixnum
def ~
self ^ ((1 << 32) - 1)

...and you would get (~5).to_s(2) => 11111111 11111111 11111111 11111010, but this is no longer equal to -6. Since it has overflowed 31 bits, it was automatically converted into a Bignum and now represents 4294967290.

Once again, Ruby has taken something that every other language has and removed it by design. For bit manipulation, use C. For string processing, use Perl. For websites and/or database access, use PHP. For passing around arbitrary blocks of code and not knowing what type your variables are, use Ruby.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More Things To Put On My List

  1. Been in New Jersey
  2. Visited a high security facility
  3. Seen the Liberty Bell
  4. Ate a $50+ meal (French Thai Cuisine)
  5. Ate raw fish (and other sushi)

Monday, August 17, 2009


I should be a Canadian. I like saying "Eh?", but I only say it to, maybe I can have a context-sensitive nationality! When I'm around some people, I'm American, but around others I'm a Canadian!

But then again, I'm not sure I want to live in Canada, due to this very important and non-negotiable fact, brought to you by your very own XKCD:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oh My Goodness Gracious

I just ate a meal. At a restaurant.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Amarok 1.4

If you are me (which most of you are not), then you fell in love with Amarok 1.4 and cried when they "updated" to Amarok 2, dropping many important features and settings, and causing it to crash all the time. Fortunately, all is not lost! By adding a custom repository to Apt, you can still get the old version of Amarok. See the tutorial here:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh, stuff

Today was the first real day of work, starting on my senior research project for Lockheed Martin. I can't really say anything about what I'm doing, other than I'm continuing the research that David Kasper did in writing a program that will help the productivity of Lockheed's researchers. I'm working with Dr. Geisler, which is a huge bonus (a good reason I wanted this project!). It's a little sad coming into the project so late, but I'm here now, and my summer was very worthwhile anyways.

I've been wondering lately what role emotion plays in the Christian faith. You have the old Baptist vs Charismatic debate, where Charismatics uphold spiritual gifts and emphasize very emotional experiences, but Baptists argue more for a more rational (yet more boring) faith. I think there's plenty of room for both, and taking it to either extreme is dangerous. I've been told (and still believe) that you can have a strong faith without the "feel good" emotions, because sometimes your hormones will lie to you, but I do also believe that God can and does speak to you through emotional experiences.

One main area where this applies is my trip this summer to South America. Yes, I felt led in a very emotional experience to devote my summer to overseas missions, and God definitely provided a way for this to happen. But my trip was a very unordinary one...I didn't preach to people on the street or play with orphans or help build churches. Instead, I fixed computers. It's pretty much my life when I'm not in another country, but it was still very different. Anyways, my experience was not life-changing in the sense of being a completely new person now that I've gone. I'm still the same person, I'm back in Upland doing the same things I was doing last summer, and I'm getting back into the old routine. I'm not one of those people who's totally on fire about missions and can't wait to tell everyone. Yes, I did have a wonderful experience, and yes, I'm fully confident that it was God's will for me to go and that he plans for me to go overseas again, but I'm not all emotional about it.

Is this a bad thing, or is it natural? My attitude toward it is basically, I'll listen to where God wants me to go, and I'll follow him wherever he leads me, but I'm not particularly excitable about all the awe-inspiring and amazing things that I "see" God doing. I want to serve God and serve others by obeying him and going where he sends me; is it really a sin to not be so emotional about it?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Back Home

I arrived back to Upland yesterday, and spent the afternoon/evening arranging furniture, unpacking, going for a walk, eating Happy Buddha, and visiting friends in the dungeon. I still need to do more unpacking and moving at Anthony's apartment until I can move into FOSO. Oh, for the days of senior year to come...

Also, I need to shower. I feel gross.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


So I found something really funny, and I was going to put it as my Facebook status message, and then I ran into this:

Account Disabled

Your account has been disabled. If you have any questions or concerns,
you can visit our FAQ page here.

It turns out I violated their TOS (but no one ever reads those things anyways!)...

2. You will not collect users' information, or otherwise access Facebook,
using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers)
without our permission.

Well, at least I have everyone's Facebook pictures now...

Plus, I think my account is permanently disabled, so I cannot log back into Facebook ever again! Good riddance! I must say, this is the most awesome way to be banned from a terrible web site...but I do have that one other account that was created for me, so maybe my relationship can still be preserved. At any rate, goodbye Facebook, for real and forever this time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Twitterpated a fun word to say.

I have no comment on how it may or may not relate to my current mood. It's just fun to say. :)

Ext4 and Cinnamon Rolls

I believe I have successfully migrated my reiserfs root partition to ext4, and I created a separate ext3 /boot partition. I had much trouble with the kernel crashing, but then upgrading to 2.6.30-r4 fixed that (no idea why). Then, I had problems with gcc going all segfault on me all the time, which is not good news if you know anything about Gentoo. So I reformated my new root partition and copied over all the files using the tar method, and then it's been working ever since. Once I'm entirely confident that I can trash my old partition, all that space is going towards my new ext4 partition, because that was the issue in the first place...running out of room on /.

AND I'm eating an Amish-made Butter Iced Cinnamon Roll from Shipshewana. It's SO DELICIOUS!

I also can't find our soldering iron and am considering buying one for myself. I'm not sure if I want to spend $20 though. I don't think I do...

Monday, July 27, 2009

OM - Finishing Thoughts

I have been home for a few days, and it's been great. One thing I decided on my flight from Detroit to Kalamazoo is that I love Michigan! I had a window seat at the front of the plane, and it was just beautiful. I got to see Battle Creek, Gull Lake, and Richland Bible Church. Michigan has tons of trees! I miss the trees and the hills, especially in Indiana.

I still haven't heard back anything about my support. I can't get a reimbursement check for my expenses nor can I send in my insurance information until Uruguay sends us the receipts for the hospital and plane ticket, which I don't think they've done yet. I'm still trying to contact people in Uruguay to work this out.

A lot of people came to our house yesterday for my mom's retirement party, and my trip to South America was a big topic of conversation. I'm so glad that I had that opportunity and that I was able to share with people some of what God has been doing this summer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

OM - Day 51

Today is my next-to-last day at OM. I spent the weekend with Jessica, who drove down from North Carolina, and I spent this morning, yesterday, and last Friday writing a report on my trip, figuring out finances and insurance, and making sure everything is ready for my trip back to the Zoo.

Speaking of finances, God has really provided! I believe, based on my own calculations, that the only thing that hasn't been provided for yet is the hospital bill and plane ticket to Brazil. The hospital fees should be covered by insurance (but it will take a while to figure that all out...I'm still waiting for Uruguay to send me the receipts), and I have no idea how much the plane ticket cost. I hope to find that out soon, but it may not be before I leave.

My travel arrangements have me taking off from Atlanta at 12:20pm and arriving in Kalamazoo (via Detroit) at 4:20pm tomorrow. I get to go home! It's so exciting!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Laptop Battery

I now have a laptop without a battery. It's officially dead. Hopefully hibernation works in Ubuntu!

How To Do Things In Life

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Uruguay Pictures

Uruguay pictures are up on Picasa:

The two panoramas are available at: (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)

Friday, July 17, 2009


This is today's Dinosaur Comic, and it is so true! It is actually really convicting.

(Click for full size)

I think the word "racist" is misused here, but the idea is exactly the same. Do we really have a right to be making jokes like this? Aren't we just being prejudiced against PROFESSION MEMBERS for really no good reason? What do these kinds of jokes do to our children and to our society?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

OM - Day 46

Well, I'm back. Back in Atlanta.

I was so blessed to meet with Austin Brown yesterday afternoon in the Sao Paulo airport and spend a couple hours catching up with him before I left for my trip back to the States. The flight from Sao Paulo to Mexico City was very was a Boeing 777, so there was lots of headroom, comfy seats, video on demand, and two (surprisingly good) meals.

Upon arriving in Mexico and going through customs, I spent a long time just sitting around, writing emails, reading, and watching planes taxi to the gates. I remembered that I still had 200 Mexican Pesos, so I managed to buy a bottled water from Starbucks and a souvenir from one of the shops. Funny story...the bottled water cost $18, and I gave the guy $200. He gave me back $2 as if I gave him a 20 Peso bill instead of a 200 bill. I'm not sure if he was trying to cheat me or if it was an honest mistake, but I caught him and he ended up giving me the correct change. :) I was dumb and used English though...I should have talked to him in Spanish, which I was fully capable of. Oh well, I got my money and managed to buy something else with it.

My flight to Atlanta was cramped, but it was shorter. I didn't really get to sleep much on either of the flights, so I'm just running on caffeine right now. They don't have Mountain Dew in South America, but they do here!! It's so wonderful. They also have plenty of hot water here, which I already used to make myself feel much cleaner.

I'll get an updated support report tomorrow, so I can let you know how much I have yet to raise. It's still probably a good bit...

Anyways, I haven't slept in two days and I'm really tired, so tomorrow I will work on sleeping, uploading Uruguay pictures, and writing a recap of my trip with as many details as I can remember. Stay tuned, there's still more!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

OM - Day 44

Tomorrow I leave for home! Here's the plan (all times are local to each country):


9:00am - leave for the airport with Alejandro
12:30pm - depart for Sao Paulo
3:00pm - arrive in Sao Paulo, meet with OM Brazil (hopefully Austin!) and give them the technology; hang out in the airport for a while
11:20pm - depart for Mexico City


6:45am - arrive in Mexico City airport
12:44pm - depart for Atlanta
5:09pm - arrive in Atlanta
6:30pm - take a long, hot shower

All the time I'm traveling, I won't have any communication or internet access. I'll try to post as soon as I can when I get back. Aw, and I just realized this will be the last post I make from overseas! When I get back and have time to think, I will hopefully write out some interesting things about my experiences in South America. And also, post Uruguay pictures. See you on the other side!

Support Raising Progress


That's how much more I need to cover my expenses.

Q: Why is this number's magnitude larger than the one I posted before?
A: I was expecting to travel to Brazil by bus for $250 less than the cost of the airplane ticket. The downside of getting sick...

Q: What is the deadline for support raising?
A: I'm not entirely sure, but probably before I leave Atlanta (i.e., 1 week from now).

Q: What do I get if I help you out?
A: Seriously, you shouldn't be asking this question. You should know exactly what you get, and the answer isn't 'nothing'. Besides, giving is being done with the wrong motives if this question is raised.

Q: Will you hate me if I don't give?
A: No, of course not.

Q: What is your relative input?
A: Cats and kittens!

Uhm, I can't think of any more questions. Stay tuned.

Frustrating, Part 2

They use kerosene to start fires! That's so not fair!

Monday, July 13, 2009


GAAAA Not with a whole ream of paper could I start a fire! Someone needs to show me what I'm doing wrong.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

OM - Day 42

I've been feeling much better lately. Still a bit sick, but better and better day by day. I still need to eat and drink more, but I'm working on that. My fever is going away and I can feel the strength returning to my body. Hopefully I'll be ready to work a little Monday and Tuesday, because there's still a lot that needs to be done to get OM Uruguay on their feet...

Technical update:

The goal for OM Uruguay is 4-fold:

  1. Clean up their computers and perform regular maintenance on them
  2. Upgrade their Petra and Workgroup server to a new machine, including a new hard drive (this is a big hassle!)
  3. Upgrade their Smoothwall by installing it on the old server...I'm not sure what will become of the old Smoothwall machine
  4. Convert everyone's OM Uruguay email accounts to Exchange

Number 1 takes lowest priority, mostly because I need people's passwords, and I don't have them (this is a problem). Number 3 is finished...Smoothwall works, as long as no one goes messing with it or the wireless router. Number 4 again requires people's passwords, but it's the highest priority. I've already converted three accounts, but I don't know how many others because I still haven't received a list yet! I need to bug Hazahel more.

But by far the biggest problem is with moving their server to a new machine. We have tried cloning the hard disk and installing from scratch, but everything we have tried has some sort of problems with it. It also doesn't help that I don't have full access to the OM internal documentation, so I sortof have to guess on some things. (Although I think that was more of a problem with Smoothwall...I might have full access to the server docs.)

I also want to get Alejandro's office completely cleaned up. Richard and I sort of took it over, and it's quite a mess now. So I want to at least get all the computers and cables organized so it at least looks presentable. The plan is to move the Smoothwall and server machines from Alejandro's office to another building, but I don't think Richard has got the wiring done for that. Hopefully I'll be able to work on organizing and cleaning today so that tomorrow I can be prepared to work on the server.

Thank you everyone for your prayers! They are greatly appreciated. I can definitely tell that God had a purpose for my sickness, which is unusual because I often don't see reasons for things for weeks or months or years, but I am confident that he allowed me to get sick for some very specific purposes. I trust that he will continue to provide for me and to protect me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

OM - Day 40

Well, I had quite an adventure today.

Yesterday I started feeling a little sick, but it wasn't too much. Today was a bit worse, though. I had an uncontrollable runny nose all day and a fever of 39 degrees (that's about 102 Fahrenheit for you Americans). After lunch I decided that I couldn't work anymore and I needed to rest. A little while later, Richard came to take me to the hospital, just to make sure it's not anything serious. So 4 of us went to the hospital, spent a couple hours there, and had an interesting time trying to communicate. I really need to learn Spanish. Anyways, the doctor said that I just have a cold, but that I need to stay in Uruguay for 5 more days. I was already planning on arriving in Brazil by bus early Monday morning, but now I am probably going to fly to Brazil on Tuesday or Wednesday and then catch my flight to Atlanta. I'm currently researching the cheapest option and getting in touch with the USA people to see what they think is the best option.

Whatever happens, I still plan on being back home (for relative definitions of "home") in less than a week, and then being truly home in two weeks. I'm happy about that. Thank you for your prayers, they have certainly helped!

Prayer Request

My biggest prayer request right now is for my health. My nose has been running constantly and I have a fever. Don't worry, I think it's just a cold, but it's bad enough that I can't work. I'm going to bed right now...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

OM - Day 38

Yikes. Things are going nuts. A short overview of the last two days of OM Uruguay:

Their email is broken. Very, very broken. Hazahel made official OM accounts for everyone at OM Uruguay, and it is taking time to convert everyone's email accounts over (today I have only done 2 of them). At the same time, I am also trying to work on setting up a new server because their old one is so slow. The easy way would be to backup to tape or DVD, and them restore the backup on the new server. Right? No. Nothing works. I tried getting the server to think a hard drive was a backup tape, but it didn't work. So for now, I am copying all the data from the old server to a hard drive the old-fashioned way (through my laptop). It's not an official backup though, so I'd have to set up all the users and groups like the other server, and I will not have time for this.

The other problem is that the next bus leaves here at Saturday 9pm and arrives in Brazil Monday 3am. This is bad, because my plane leaves Brazil Wednesday 11pm, which only gives me 2, maybe 3 days to work in Brazil. I'm trying to get in contact with them to see what all they want me to do. I'm also trying to call customer service to see if I can change my flight to a later date (I'm guessing not). I don't have nearly enough time in Uruguay. What I need is a full 2 weeks to get things sorted out. Plus, the Latin American time schedule that everyone else works out of means things don't get done. They just don't, and I'm stressed trying to do too many things that I'm not qualified to do.

The other, other problem is that I'm still quite a ways short on support. Thanks to those who have helped! If you want to help me get home, it's fun and easy:
  1. Go to in your favorite web browser
  2. Click the button next to "Give to support OM's ministry through a person" and click "Next"
  3. Enter your information in the appropriate boxes. Enter my name as "Jesse Denardo" and missionary code as 2268760.

The other, other, other problem is that my laundry is cold and wet. At least, I'm assuming it is since the sun wasn't out at all and my laundry was hanging up all last night.

I really hope Brazil has hot showers. I won't count on it though. Thus far 2 out of 5 places have had hot showers, not counting Atlanta.

Fortunately, a disaster here was just averted. I think it was a problem with the IDE cable, but I seriously thought the hard drive had died. But now, we are back to our old state of everything being broken. Nothing worse.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Argentina Pictures

Argentina pictures are up on Picasa this time! I find it much, much better than Facebook.

Link here:

Edit: The two panoramas (full-size) are available here:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

Oh, I almost forgot...happy 4th of July, for everyone back in the States!

Hehe, no one makes a big deal about the 4th of July in South America. I wonder why...

OM - Day 34

Well, I arrived in Montevideo with all my luggage. I slept on the bus, even though it wasn't the greatest sleep ever. The two entertainment movies were The Bucket List and Slumdog Millionaire, neither of which I could hear very well, but that's ok.

Montevideo is quite nice. Even though it's cold, there's at least some heat via a wood-burning stove and some electric heaters. I have my own room and am responsible for my own food, which is kinda nice. Edgardo gave me some maté before I left, so I'm planning on having some while I'm here in Uruguay. In Argentina, they drink maté con palo (with stems), but here in Uruguay they drink it sin palo (without stems). To an experienced maté drinker, there are differences, but for now I'll stick with what I've got. I have Argentinian maté, so it should be slightly less potent than sin palo.

I'm quite impressed at the operation in Uruguay, although many things are broken that require "attention". Their server needs more RAM, the wireless doesn't work, the printer is networked through one of the computers (so that computer always has to be on), and one of the computer's hard drives is completely full. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me!

Argentina pictures should be uploaded later today. I still need to get them organized and a couple more panoramas made. :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

OM - Day 33

Today I leave by bus for Montevideo, Uruguay, to arrive at 9:00am tomorrow morning. We are supposed to get dinner and breakfast on the bus, and the seats fold down into a bed so we can sleep, which hopefully gets to happen.

This morning I went to a Kindergarten school to watch a puppet show put on by OM. It was quite entertaining, even though I didn't really understand it. The kids look like they loved it. Ooooh, they were SO CUTE! I'd want to take one home with me, but I'd go significantly over my luggage restrictions. Oh well.

I do believe I am supposed to be leaving soon (for EXTREMELY relative definitions of 'soon'), so I will update more when I arrive in Uruguay.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Skillet AGAIN!

So, being a die-hard Skillet fan sure does have it's perks. Because I preordered their new album Awake, I got a free one-year subscription to their fan club, The Panheads. Members get to access to pre-sale tickets to their upcoming "Alive and Awake" tour, and the first 10 tickets purchased for each show get a free "meet and greet" with Skillet before the show! Of course, I was totally excited and immediately asked a certain someone if she would see Skillet again with me. Well, they just went on pre-sale at exactly 3:00, and you can bet that I snagged two tickets to the show in Fort Wayne! I'm so excited right now...I get to meet Skillet in person!!

There are very few things that I would pay premium prices for without a trace of hesitation. This is one of them.

Speaking of buying things, I bought (or rather, was given a gift of) an authentic Argentinian yerba maté drinking gourd and straw. So now I just need some maté to go with it. I found one place online where I can get 2 kilos for $20 including shipping. I suppose that should last me a while, eh?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

OM - Day 30


Today has been a great day for working. Yesterday, Edgardo and I worked on the laptops that I had been working on WAAAY back in Atlanta. I gave a 1.5 hour introduction to Ubuntu Linux, so hopefully he will be able to teach the kids at El Refugio some basic keyboarding and computer skills. We also discovered yesterday that he has two really old computers that are completely shot, but it's fun raiding computers for all their parts! (You nerdy people should at least be chuckling by now. If not, go back and read the previous sentence.)

But back to today. Today we got Windows installed on a nice HP Proliant server with a beautiful BIOS. I had to deconfigure a RAID 1 array to get Windows to detect the disks, so that was fun. Bad news is that HP doesn't think anyone will ever install Windows XP on their servers, so they don't provide XP drivers. We may be able to scrounge up parts from other computers though.

We also got another computer legal and tore apart Edgardo's laptop, attempting to disable the speakers (somehow they ended up making an AWFUL whiny noise whenever the computer was on, so we just unplugged it). Finally, we had an adventure with another desktop. It kept randomly turning off, and Edgardo wisely suggested an overheating problem. Yup, turns out the power supply fan is cooked! It's covered in some kind of black soot/grease and barely turns. If he can buy a replacement fan, I might be able to juryrig it to the power supply by running the fan cable outside into the case.


So today is the last day of June, and I am slightly more than halfway done with my trip. My future travel arrangements include:

- Travel by bus to Uruguay Friday, July 3 (and 4th)
- Travel by bus to Brazil approximately July 9
- Travel by plane to Atlanta Wednesday, July 15 (and 16th)
- Travel by plane to Kalamazoo Wednesday, July 22

All this traveling has left me in a wonderful quirky spot. It turns out that my trip will cost about $700 more than what I have raised at the moment, meaning I need your help. If you have some spare change in a penny jar, you might consider supporting a cause such as this one. If you do, let me know and I'll give you a great big hug when I next see you. (Which doesn't mean much because I'll give you a great big hug anyways...) I may even be able to give you a personalized LOLcat to sweeten the deal.

Ahem. Anyways, OM makes it really easy to give online if you so desire. The steps are as follows:
  1. Go to in your favorite web browser
  2. Click the button next to "Give to support OM's ministry through a person" and click "Next"
  3. Enter your information in the appropriate boxes. Enter my name as "Jesse Denardo" and missionary code as 2268760.

That's it! Thank you! I will try to keep you updated with my progress as it happens. Thanks so far to everyone who is taking the time to read my blog regularly. It's good to know that I have the support of a bunch of family and friends back home.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chile Pictures

Facebook pictures are up.

Also, I took a whole bunch of beautiful shots of the mountains and the city and stitched them together to form big panoramas. You can find them here:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

OM - Day 28, Part 2

I have made it safely to Argentina. The line for customs was long but fortunately they didn't go through my bags (perhaps partly on account of my very apparent lack of Spanish). I thought Argentina would be a bit colder than Chile, but it was actually warmer when I arrived.

Anyways, Chile was pretty cool. It was quite a different experience because 1. Rich was there and 2. we stayed with an American OM couple, Hal and Sandy. They have been living in Chile for 6 years and know their way around really well. So we got to be quite the tourists, especially on Saturday.

But first, work. Rich and I spent the majority of Thursday and Friday working in the OM office trying to get things working. Thursday was frustrating because the internet kept going in and out and it was hard to pin down the problem. We think it was caused by the faulty router due to the fact that it was behaving strangely even when it shouldn't. So we bought a new router, and eventually the internet stabilized. We aren't sure if it was the router, or the ISP fixing something, or the sheer grace of God. Either way, it worked pretty much all day Friday.

I was told that >80% of Chilean software is pirated. Being a Christian organization, one of my tasks was to "legalize" the office. So I changed the product keys for Windows XP and Office 2003 to legal ones, and I installed Windows on another laptop and did my best to make some of the computers faster. Hal has done a good job with keeping them up to date, so there wasn't much there to do. I was going to put more RAM in one of the computers and discovered that the motherboard only takes 168 pin SDRAM. (For you non-techies, that's OLD!) So much for that. I only brought DDR and DDR2 RAM with me, so I couldn't help that computer. I did put another 512 MB in Mario's computer, so hopefully that helps. Our other task for Chile was to convert their email accounts to Exchange, but the email accounts had not been set up yet, so we couldn't finish that.

Now for the touristy part. On Friday after lunch, Hal, Rich and I walked around a tourist market and bought a couple souvenirs with our very own Chilean pesos. Quite popular in Chile are items made from lapis lazuli, a beautiful blue stone found primarily in Chile and Afghanistan. Depending on the brilliance and craftsmanship, the prices on lapis lazuli figures can vary greatly.

On Saturday, the four of us drove up to the top of a large hill overlooking the Santiago valley, and the view was GORGEOUS! Perhaps the most beautiful view I have seen in my life. They said that usually the smog is thick and makes it hard to see clearly, but that day it was the clearest they've ever seen it. I got my camera out and started snapping pictures like crazy. My goal was to stitch them together into a wide, detailed panorama. When I get them finished, I will post links to them here so you can download them.

The point of this hill is that there is a very large statue of the virgin Mary at the top, where people go to worship or offer praises or whatever else they do with Mary. My view of Catholicism changed drastically after this experience, because of the flagrant idolatry all over the place. If I have any Catholic friends, I'm sorry, but that's too much for me to swallow. Give me the classic God of the Bible any day.

Other random facts of some interest:
  • It is safe to drink the tap water in Santiago.

  • It's rude to eat with your hands below the table. Maybe you're hiding a knife, a sword, or a gun down there?

  • Don't flush the toilet paper down the drain; the plumbing can't handle it well. Instead, dispose of it in the waste basket provided next to the toilet.

  • In Chile, the price is the price. There's no negotiating. But if the seller is nice, you may get a slight discount. :)

  • Chileans don't heat their homes. Or at least, not much. My first night there was extremely cold, and windows were open to the outside all day and night. (Fortunately Hal and Sandy keep a "gringo" home, so they kept it around 70 for us.)

  • Chilean food is typically very bland. You are responsible for your own spices.

  • A huge number of Chileans smoke.

  • Public transportation is cheap. You buy a "Bip" card and put money on it, which grants you access to the public buses and metro (subway). Once you use it, you have an hour to use it as many times as you want on the same charge. So you can catch the bus to the metro and take the metro to your destination and you only get charged once. Pretty nice.

  • (Particularly young) Chilean couples like to make out anywhere and everywhere. I guess they don't have much need for privacy.

OM - Day 28

It's been a while for updates, I know. I have church this morning and I fly out to Cordoba, Argentina later today. Hopefully either today or tomorrow I will have updates from everything I did in Chile, plus tons of pictures that I took. (182 this time! But most of them are scenic shots for'll get to see those too.) My flight leaves at 2:20pm in Santiago and I arrive at 4:50pm in Cordoba.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

OM - Day 23

Today is the last day in Ecuador. I fly out to Santiago, Chile via Lima, Peru tonight at 6:35.

My experience here in Ecuador has been quite different. Definitely more American than Mexico, but much more tighter security. Since I stayed in an apartment instead of with a family, I didn't get as involved in the Ecuadorian culture. I did have a couple classic meals, though, so at least I got a taste of the food. (Yesterday for lunch I had McDonald's...I had a McFlurry and it was GOOD! I plan on eating lots of ice cream when I get home.)

In my time here I built two computers for the Ecuador office. They are dual-core Pentiums with 1GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB hard drive. Yesterday was extremely long. In addition to building the second computer, I stayed until 9 or 10 waiting for their IT guy to come and show me what's wrong with backups. Apparently, he tried making backups of their server onto DVDs, but the DVDs would not write...only CDs. A quick glance at the front of the case told me the problem: the DVD drive is a DVD-ROM (i.e., it can't write DVDs). Backups would take about 10 DVDs or 50 CDs, so I said, it would be better just to back everything up onto another hard drive. So we waited 1-2 hours (I lost track of time) for 65GB of information to copy over USB. I was about ready to leave it for the night when I noticed that it was almost finished, so I stayed a couple more minutes. I guess this is their first backup in years (maybe forever?). Perhaps I'll install an extra hard drive and back up everything once more just to be safe. They can then have two copies of their data from the time the strange American was there.

Anyways, my flight isn't all day this time (thankfully!) but I arrive in Chile after 2:00am. That's...not pleasant. But then again, it could be nicer since the airport won't be as crowded. Pray for safe travels and easy customs! Time to continue my adventures in the southern hemisphere. (Oh, plus, it's going to be colder in Chile! says 50-60 degree weather! Yay winter!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

OM - Day 19

I made it to Ecuador two days ago, and walked off the plane with some really good stories! My first flight was from Mexico City to Houston, Texas. Apparently, you have to go through U.S. Customs even if you're on a connecting flight and your baggage is automatically transferred. Nevertheless, I made it through, if only to stay in America for a few minutes. I had good phone reception so I used what time I had to make a couple calls before I left again.

On the plane to Panama City, I sat next to a guy named Michael, who is traveling to Panama to stay with his mother for a month before he starts college. He was nice and took lots of pictures from the plane, which I hope to get from him. A girl sat in front of us who went on to Santiago, Chile to study abroad (don't know her name). I told her I'd be in Santiago in a week, but I'm sure we won't cross paths again.

The Panama City airport is nice because you don't have to worry about customs or immigration if you're not staying in the country. On the plane from Panama City to Guayaquil, Ecuador, I was sick of flying (almost literally sick). I didn't have a good seat, and it was getting late. I just wanted to lay down and sleep for days. I sat down next to an elderly lady who only spoke Spanish. Soon after, a guy from Ecuador sat on the other side of me; he spoke English very well. We started a conversation, and he asked me what I was doing in Ecuador, etc. It didn't take long before I mentioned the word "gospel" and he said, "Oh, do I need the Gospel! What do you know about it?" This was perhaps the most exciting moment of the trip so far. This man (whose name I later found out was Luis) had grown up Catholic but separated from the church because of all the hypocrisy he saw. He recognized that his life was in a bad spot, and I had the chance to share the gospel with him! He asked some really good intellectual questions. I was quite impressed. I didn't have all the words to say, and what words I did say definitely came from God. God also provided the witness of the lady on the other side of me. As we were talking, she said something to Luis, and he told me that she was a Christian. Later on, after we were done talking, she and Luis had a deep discussion about Christianity in Spanish. I don't know what was said, but I trust that God used her to reaffirm the truth.

As far as I know, Luis wasn't a believer when we parted ways in the airport. But hopefully a seed of truth was planted in his heart, and God will use that encounter and many others to draw this random Ecuadorian man to Himself. If you would pray for Luis and that God would send the Holy Spirit to teach him truth and to convict his heart, I would appreciate that. I doubt I'll ever see him again on this earth, but I'm hoping and praying that I'll see him in eternity.

And that was the plane ride.

I got to Ecuador and felt like sickness was in the air because of all the people wearing masks. At any rate, I got dropped off at an apartment, where another OMer is staying. Darren is a guy from South Africa (an MK I believe), and he's been working with OM Ecuador for a while. He's out pondering life right now.

Guayaquil is busy and loud. On first impression (which are never really that good), it seems to be more American than Mexico City, but poorer. I've heard that it's not even safe to walk two blocks from the office to the apartment with a laptop or other valuable items. Everything is locked up really well. You need three separate keys just to get to the apartment I'm staying at (which I don't have, so I rely on others to get me places). Like in all Latin America, the tap water isn't safe to drink, so we have large jugs of purified water. I have internet at the office and at the apartment, but it's not as reliable. Neither is the electricity. I don't know why, but my cell phone won't charge at the apartment, but it will at the office. My laptop works fine. The outlets aren't grounded, but they are the same interface as America. Ecuador also uses USD as its currency, which is nice if I ever bought something.

Without boring you to tears, I'll try to close up. There are three German students working here. They've been in Santiago for 9 weeks and have been here for 3 weeks already. They are doing stuff like going to orphanages, putting on presentations, and ministering to local people. I have a nice long list of things to do in Ecuador, but I haven't been able to work on them too much. I got some computer problems fixed, but I have to wait until tomorrow to work on some other things. I might be helping Roberto buy the necessary hardware for two PCs and then building them, but I have to decide if I have time to do that. I leave Tuesday for Chile, so it would be stretching it if I decided to do that. More updates later.

OM - Mexico Pictures

I have uploaded my pictures from Mexico into a Facebook album.

Sorry for the bad interface if you're not logged into Facebook...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

OM - Day 17

I'm spending all day in the airport traveling to Ecuador. Wish me luck!

EDIT: I have arrived safely in Ecuador. I don't think I ever want to fly that much again, except I'll have to on the trip back home. Oh well, at least then I'll have home to look forward to.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Do not fear, for I have pre-ordered Skillet's new album, Awake. I am expecting great things from this awesome band, and I have confidence that I will not be disappointed. Their single, Hero, is absolutely amazing! August cannot come too quickly, for so many reasons! In fact, I can think of 3 + 96 = 99 really good reasons right now...

Monday, June 15, 2009

OM - Day 15

Ok, here I am again. Like I said, Mexico City is ridiculously huge! With over 8.8 million inhabitants, it is the 10th largest city in the world. It is quite densely populated. There are few trees and basically no grass anywhere (sound familiar?). It's basically your big city, but in a valley in the mountains and very, very Mexican (obviously).

If you're an American who hasn't yet learned the virtue of total, unconditional trust, being driven around Mexico City will quickly teach it to you. Perhaps this is just my naive, ignorant American self, but from what I can tell, seat belts don't mean a thing here, stop lights don't mean a whole lot more, and the concept of lanes quickly deteriorates once you get off the main roads. The back roads are so narrow that you are forced to silently cooperate with other drivers/bicyclists/pedestrians to get through, often having to back up to let another car go or fold your mirror in so you don't hit it.

Church yesterday lasted from 11:30 to 2:00. There was nothing very surprising or culturally different. We sang worship songs and hymns in Spanish, had a few times of personal and corporate prayer, heard from members of the congregation what God was doing in their lives the past week, and listened to a message about money and tithing. The youth had their own service, and it appeared that the women had a separate meeting or something after the service...not quite sure what that was about. Going to church was actually quite convicting for an American. The attitude wasn't go to church because you have to, listen to the message, and leave ASAP. The drive was quite long (for us), and people stuck around for a good 1/2 hour to an hour afterwards to talk and hang out. I ended up talking to many people after church (much more socializing than I've ever done). I felt bad, because one lady was trying to talk to me in English, and her English was not very good. She kept apologizing for her poor English, when in fact my Spanish is much, much worse. If I ever visit again, even for a day, that is the first thing I would change. (Though I am getting better! Yesterday I was able to form the sentence "Mi novia es muy hermosa" all on my own.)

Even though I've only been here two days, I love the Mexican daily schedule. Apparently every family does it differently, but in Fernando's house, we eat a big breakfast at 9:00 in the morning, lunch around 3:00 in the afternoon, and dinner around 9-10 in the evening. If I could do that every day, I would totally adopt that eating schedule. No more of this 12:00 lunchtime where I'm not at all hungry because I ate breakfast only a couple hours earlier!

But there is one thing in which the U.S. and Mexico are not at all different in the slightest, and which both have an abundant supply of...couples. It's no surprise that love is universal.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

OM - Day 14

I have arrived safely in Mexico, and I am dead tired, otherwise I would write more. Mexico City is HUGE! More later...when I'm rested.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

OM - Day 13

Time to leave for Mexico! I am ending up taking an extra suitcase with me to Mexico, full of computer hardware that will be left there. Fortunately, Delta allows 2 free checked bags on international flights. It should be pretty simple...a direct flight from Atlanta to Mexico City, only crossing one time zone. This will certainly be the easiest of all my international flights.

Depart: 7:38pm ATL
Arrive: 10:04pm MEX
Delta Airlines 367

I've never been through customs before, so please pray that this goes smoothly and there are no problems with bringing a bunch of technology through. I have a letter of excuse from one of the OM Mexico guys saying that it's not for resale and for internal OM use only. Also, if you could pray for the hardware; it's important that everything gets to Mexico undamaged.

I won't be blogging from the US again until July 16th! See you on the other side.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I had some time on my hands this weekend

Braid constellation I finished the first season of Stargate SG-1 on Hulu. It's pretty kickin'.

Google Gears

Offline Gmail and Google Docs are awesome! So handy when you don't have an internet connection.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What does it take?

What does it take for evil to have a grip on a person? Is it black and white or are there shades of gray? What does it take for a thing to be ungodly? I only ask questions and do not presume to have the answers to any of them.

These thoughts stemmed from a recent conversation with a friend about media. I don't care what it's rated--hand me a movie made in the last 10 years and I'll be able to find something ungodly in it. Even some of the most innocent G rated movies have loads of swearing these days, not to mention violence and inappropriate images. Everyone has a particular limit as to how much bad content can be in a movie before they won't watch it, and some are more conservative or liberal than others. Personally, I care not at all what a movie is rated and instead judge it by its morals, its production quality, its maturity, and the amount of sexual content. Most violence doesn't bother me, but if a movie has a significant amount of language or sexing, I choose to avoid it (and of course, the word "significant" is very relative and undefined).

I never claim that this is a good standard or that it would work for anyone but myself, but the point is: how much is too much? If you could assign a point value to every immoral or questionable thing in some particular movie, what's the limit? Before we even get to that, we must consider whether everything weighs the same or if some things are "worse" than others (basically the question of "Are all sins equal?"). Once we have that figured out, what's the number? Does it take 100 units of badness to classify a movie as ungodly? Perhaps this could amount to 10 minor cuss words, 2 major ones, a couple of scantily clad women in the background and a few explosions with a bit of blood. Most people I know would be okay with that movie.

But what's the limit? 100? 10? Or just one? Does a thing have to be completely pure in all its parts to be pure as a whole? Or can a thing be wholesome and good despite a few flaws? To slightly misquote a popular 90s cliche, what would Jesus say about it?

I started rereading a book I really love by Greg Johnson called The World According to God. In it, he simply states that the purpose of a thing's existence is a direct result of the purpose of its creation. He says that in order to find out how we are to be living our lives as Christians, we must start with why we were created in the first place. In the context of popular media, its purpose is simple: it seeks to provide us with entertainment--nothing more, nothing less. Entertainment by itself was created good, just like sex. It's how it's used (or misused) that determines its godliness.

I do not seek to condemn anyone for the music they listen to, the movies they watch, the web sites they visit, or even the places they go. Besides, I'm as guilty as anyone. But I think we ought to take a second look at the reasons why we are so infatuated with our entertainment. I firmly believe that God wants us to enjoy life, and he gave us entertainment as a way to do that. But we must honestly ask ourselves if the cost is worth it.

OM - Day 10

Things are starting to get wrapped up around the office. We got a whole bunch of goodies the other day (picture below), and soon we're going to work on packing everything into my suitcase in the most efficient way possible. We have 5 old laptops for the kids in El Refugio, and a replacement for a secretary's old computer in Argentina. Her laptop screen is barely working; apparently, she has to keep it tilted just right or the connection breaks. Hopefully this will be an upgrade on the specs too.

Also, you know you're working with really old computers when you're genuinely excited to see 256MB of RAM and an ethernet port on a computer.

Computer hardware
Above: A sample of goodies I'm taking with me to Mexico and Ecuador.

Monday, June 8, 2009

OM - Day 8

Good visa arrived much sooner than expected! It got here on Saturday, so that was a huge relief. I have all my papers and passports, and I should be good to go to Mexico on Saturday. I'm kinda nervous about going through customs, especially since my first customs visit will be Mexican customs, and I will be transporting a bunch of electronic equipment in my suitcase that we just got today. Packing will be very interesting. I'll have several hard drives, dvd-rw drives, a couple of routers, and more odds and ends. Fortunately, I won't be taking the laptops with me (of which 4-5ish work now!). Turns out that the two laptops that I thought were the same model (and switched keyboards on) turned out to be ever so slightly different. Between these two, one has a broken keyboard and one has a broken monitor, and neither of them are easily fixable. Hopefully, some use can be made of them. Please keep the whole team in prayer as we figure out what to pack, what to leave, how to get from place to place, and how to do it quickly and efficiently.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

OM - Day 3

I checked this afternoon and my Brazilian visa has been processed, approved, and ready for shipment! With next-day U.S.P.S. shipping, it should arrive here probably by Friday, and I'd guess no later than Monday! This is great news, because yesterday I bought my ticket to Mexico for June 13.

At the office, I've been working on some old laptops--trying to get Ubuntu installed on them. Most of them have awful problems, and they are all very old. One's screen doesn't work, one's cd drive is unreliable, one isn't booting from the cd even though it says it can (plus Windows is corrupt, so there's no way of doing anything with it), and another one uses a European power supply, so I need to get a converter from the guy next door.

On another note, I froze my laptop battery for 24 hours and cycled it about 4 times to see if that would get it to hold more of a charge. (I read about this procedure on the internet.) Good news is, I think it actually worked! It can still only hold a charge for maybe half an hour, but if you've seen how long my battery lasted before, that's not so bad. Should I try it again or leave it alone? I don't want to be killing my battery now that it's almost usable again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

OM - Day 1

June 1 seems to be quite the day in my life. Three years ago, it marked the end of hated high school and the single worst day of my life. Last year, June 1 fell on a Sunday, and a talk I had with Paston Darren was both rejuvenating and helpful. Today, June 1 marks not the end, but the beginning of an incredible summer that is both nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. When God seemed so distant three years ago, I know He is here with me now, even though I feel alone in a big city with no idea what I'm getting myself into. I have no idea if I'm prepared enough for what I'm going to encounter this summer, but I know He will protect me. He has to, because there's so much to live for that I know He wants me to do.

The greatest blessing God has given me today besides Jessica is the wonderful fellowship with Taylor alumni here in Atlanta. After being picked up from the airport and dropping my stuff off in my room, I was starting to get overwhelmed. Rich, a guy I will be working with, took me to his house for dinner, and two couples from their small group joined us. All four of them are Taylor grads, and I had met one before when I interview for Chick-Fil-A in Atlanta last year. Reminiscing with them was so relaxing and wonderful. Even though I didn't really know them that well, there was so much familiarity between us that I felt like they were already close friends. Both husbands work at Chick-Fil-A and were computer science majors at Taylor. Everyone was really disappointed when I told them Gerig doesn't have the eggnog drinking contest anymore...

One last thing before I stop for today: I got to drink the most amazing tea today called Mate (mah-tay). It is a green tea and by far the strongest tea I've ever had, but it was amazing! Apparently, it's got a good bit of caffeine and it's supposed to be really good for you. Most teas I've had are not nearly flavorful enough to rope me in, but I wouldn't mind drinking a cup of this every day. We shall see.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Post-School Happenings

Another school year is finished, finally! For once I was actually looking forward to the end of the school year. Still, I think I'm going to miss everyone at Taylor until I go back. Fortunately I get to see lots of people at Robert's wedding tomorrow. Yikes! Robert's getting married tomorrow! That's so cool!

Anyways, I have been completely exhausted the past two days. I have been packing and unpacking carloads of stuff and carrying things up and down multiple flights of stairs. We (Jessica and I) didn't end up getting home (her house) until 1:30am two nights ago, and yesterday and today have been crazy with work. Today is her sister's graduation party, so we've been getting that all set up for today, which I am taking a break from now.

I have another week before I fly out to Atlanta, and then another two weeks before I fly to Mexico City for OM. I plan on updating here as often as I can, so visit back for updates.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quick Update

I attended my last class of my Junior year yesterday. About 10 people showed up. Only one more week of exams, most of which are on Monday. I also managed to finish all my homework and projects, save for one: implementing immediate files in Minix 3. Fortunately, I have until Wed. to finish this, and I feel like I'm awfully close already.

I also got around to backing up bunches of stuff on my external hard drive as well as installing an updated version of Rockbox on my iPod. Hopefully it'll fix some of the strange bugs I've been noticing. I also wrote a nice perl script to automatically mount my iPod, because it can show up in different device nodes depending on the order I plug it in to my computer. I should probably take it out of /etc/fstab then, so I don't accidentally mount something else to /mnt/ipod...hooray for Gentoo!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Trek

Two words:


Wow. Holy cow. Wow.




*pant pant pant pant pant pant pant*

*pant pant*


Whew. Ok. I caught my breath. So, the Star Trek movie is incredible. Like I suspected, it is absolutely nothing like any other Star Trek movie or series. It's completely different, but still amazing. And unlike I suspected, I only have two complaints with it--one major and one minor. The minor complaint involves a particular love story not present in any of the TOS episodes or movies, and the major complaint should be glaringly obvious to every Trekkie or even anyone who's watched any of the first 6 movies. It's so major, that I'm afraid I cannot accept this movie as canonical. Besides that, though, the movie was amazing and provided hilarious backstories on all the characters. The action sequences were very well done, and the opening scene was great. Overall a very entertaining and enjoyable movie...perhaps the funnest movie I have seen in years. I most definitely recommend it to everyone; even hardcore Trekkies will find it wonderful. I wish there was an HTML tag to express my emotions at this point...oh well, I guess you'll just have to see it to believe it.

Rating: 4.9/5

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


  • Teehee. It's just fun to say.
  • The best way to prevent yourself from getting distracted by video games is to demolish the MBR on your Windows partition, giving the only backup and all your Windows cds to someone whom you trust. Watching GRUB trying to boot it is funny...
  • Star Trek comes out tomorrow! 7pm, at an IMAX in Indy! It is SO going to be worth it, and I'm excited.
  • Minix does not use GCC, nor is there any information on the internet about "selector zones" or why a perfectly legitimate line of C fusses about them.
  • Getting the very last waffle cone at Cellar's open house is pretty cool. Good timing!
  • Going on walks with cute girls is fun. (s/girls/girl and s/fun/extremely fun/)
  • xkcd is hilariously funny this week. (updates every day, and has Firefly jokes!)

Friday, May 1, 2009


I wish I still had Facebook so I could change my status message to "Jesse is...extremely pissed."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Post-Easter Break

I was told when I got back that I missed the best break to stay at Taylor. I find that really hard to believe, because I had an awesome time in Ohio. My girlfriend and I drove up to her house Thursday evening and took it slow to stop for ice cream on the way. When we finally got there, the rest of the weekend was packed with things to do. I helped with baking in the kitchen pretty much all day Saturday and her brother took myself and her roommate's brothers out shooting that afternoon. I can now add a semi-automatic rifle and an old pistol to the list of things I've shot now (I think it makes three). The next morning was spent riding their horse, Max, who made me just about as sore as I've ever been. It was also the first time riding Western as far as I can remember. I then got to meet her extended family for a second time and had far too much good food to eat. And of course, no homework got done whatsoever...not until Monday after I recovered my sleep and had the whole day to devote to homework in the library.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Break

My personal conviction this Easter break: to think and reflect on Christ's sacrifice more than once over the weekend. (i.e., not just on Sunday morning) I bet not too many people do that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Yet Another Windoze Peculiarity

While working for this summer, I ended up with a bunch of files on my Windows partition of basically every 3-letter combination possible. I just now tried deleting these files, discovering that it can't delete four of them: 'aux', 'con', 'nul', and 'prn'. Deleting nul or prn gives the error: "Cannot delete nul: The parameter is incorrect." Deleting con gives: "Cannot delete con: Cannot find the specified file." Trying to delete aux freezes up explorer.

As soon as I saw nul, I got really suspicious. I created a new folder on my desktop and tried creating empty files of each of those names, but none of them worked; they were just reverted to the name they had before. Turns out the Wikipedia article on Filename lists these reserved words on Windows that cannot be used as filenames: "CON, PRN, AUX, CLOCK$, NUL, COM0, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6, COM7, COM8, COM9, LPT0, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4, LPT5, LPT6, LPT7, LPT8, and LPT9."

Further research indicates that you cannot rename, move, or open files of these names within Windows. That would make for an awesome April Fool's Day prank for someone with a Linux livecd...dang, I wish I had thought of this just a little bit sooner!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I flipping HATE SMALLTALK!!!! GrrRRR! I just lost over an hour's worth of work because I accidentally created an infinite loop, forcing me to quit the program entirely. And of course, pushing Ctrl-S to save the class method doesn't actually save the file to disk. I think this horrid interface even surpasses Microsoft's worst attempts at anything.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

DM Spring Break Photos

We didn't really take any photos of State College or Penn State at all. Just imagine a large college campus. The real beauty was at Three Springs Farm in Morris, PA. Here are a few of the pictures I took while there.

Monday, March 30, 2009

DM Spring Break 2009 - Days 4-9

So, I got so busy I didn't post anything. Sorry about that. The rest of the week working at DiscipleMakers went really well. I felt kinda left out for a day or two because Jeremy and Noah were making progress on the wireless but I didn't have anything useful to work on. But fortunately I was assigned another project; I created a simple portal system for their open guest wireless network that forces users to agree to a terms of service before using the network. This will prevent the staff from unknowingly logging onto the wrong network, inform guests that they are using DiscipleMakers' internet connection, and log basic stats such as their MAC address and time of access in case this information needs to be looked up. Because of delayed upgrades, the server we were going to deploy this on will be replaced in the near future, so the portal will be installed on the new server, once it's in place. Unfortunately I won't get to see the end result, but it should still happen. (Provided I documented enough...hehe)

On Friday we headed up to Morris, PA (not the one you'd find on Google Maps) for the annual DM Men's Conference. The scenery was beautiful! There were mountains everywhere, and we were in just about the most rural, rustic place you can possibly imagine. Nothing but mountains and trees for miles surrounding our conference location. Plus there were horses and farm cats, and a cool Victorian mansion where we ate meals. I have pictures of all of this, which I will post here tomorrow. It's too late to transfer files now, for I have an urgent need to sleep.

Monday, March 23, 2009

DM Spring Break 2009 - Day 3

Today was the first day of actual work, which was nice. We had an orientation in the morning, which was basically the systems guys explaining what Disciple Makers is, what its history is, what they do now, and specifically what systems does. Then right before lunch we got to open the Wireless-N 2.4/5 GHz wireless router they purchased and set that up. Jason (one of the systems people) and I worked on flashing the firmware with a much better open source solution than the stock firmware and then configuring it to use WPA2 Enterprise. Eventually we will want the access point to communicate with a RADIUS server on a virtual machine for staff login authentication with LDAP, but we have been having problems with getting the RADIUS server to accept connections, so for now it uses WPA2/Personal with a shared key for authentication. Tomorrow we should be able to iron out the wrinkles and get the RADIUS server working.

After dinner we went back to work and installed the new access point in the ceiling. Jason and I worked on drilling holes for a crude shelf that hangs down from the rafters in the ceiling. The ceiling tiles were too small to assemble it on the ground and then hoist it up, so we had to screw in everything in the ceiling, but it was a lot of fun. They had an existing Netgear wireless access point that they used for their unsecured guest network, so we took that and installed it on the shelf next to the new Linksys router. Noah, Tom, Brian, and Jeremy ran an extension cord and several meters of Cat6 cable to the entrance where we stuck the access points, at which point we tested the cables, plugged them in, put the ceiling tiles back, and went to the creamery to get some of the best ice cream I've had in my life. You can actually get a degree in ice cream making at Penn State apparently...

EDIT: I "accidentally" specified that we were using WPA2/Enterprise with a shared key for temporary authentication. As Jeremy has very kindly pointed out, this is not possible, and we were instead using WPA2/Personal for shared key authentication. I apologize to all the people I have offended with this grievous error.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DM Spring Break 2009 - Day 2

Today was quite the busy day. We started off at one of our host's houses, and then met up with everyone else at church. The church that two of our hosts attend meets at the Disciple Maker's headquarter building. They have an attendance of roughly 50 people and no formal pastor. Instead, people on the deacon board take turns leading worship and sharing messages. The sermon was really cool. It was on I Samuel 4, which I had been reading not a few days before. The rest of the day was filled with softball, ultimate frisbee, and good homecooked meals. I ate both lunch and dinner with my host, and they are a really nice couple. I'm looking forward to spending more time with them and learning some great new things from them. This evening after a short break we went to another couple's house for a Bible study. We studied Mark 9, and I was quite impressed at how much stuff there is to consider in a single chapter. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, with an early morning and a lot of work to be done!

The verse of the day is John 15:4. "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." This verse was really appropriate for today. It seems today's theme could be trusting in God and getting strength from Him instead of from my own power. I was feeling really crummy earlier today, but I specifically asked God for the strength to get me through it, and He provided it. He provided it later than I would have liked, but His timing turned out (yet again) to be perfect.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow and starting the installation of the wireless system. There may be a fair bit of nerdspeak in the next update, so beware.