About coffee.

I’d like to say that when God made the coffee bean, he did the world a great, delicious flavour. Er, favour. And if he’ll excuse the joke, I’ll get back to work.

Dan ( Two scoops of cream in a xl Timmy’s coffee… )

About pet peeves.

There are few things I really hate in this life, very few indeed. I’m pretty easy-going, I guess, or some reasonable facsimile thereof. But there remain a few peeves of mine that just get under my skin and show no signs of getting any better with age. And I know I don’t use this blog to rant about things like this a whole lot, but bear with me for a while.

First off, people that ask stupid questions when all the tools to find the answer are right at their fingertips. For instance, this morning I had to show yet another person how to set the default printer in Windows. It’s maybe the easiest thing you can do, next to opening a browser window! Why couldn’t you have opened that browser, gone to Google, and searched for “setting the default printer in Windows” or something like that? It would have returned the right results probably in the first available link. And I know it’s easier to ask a question then research it yourself – goodness knows I just did in the other day with a .htaccess question – but I don’t typically do that. Asking people to do things for you instead of doing them yourself when it’s feasable makes for a culture of laziness, in the workplace or in life.

Secondly, there are these people that exist in this world, both male and female, that seem to garner a lot of attention and a lot of friends. And yet, they’re self-important jerks – not always, but there’s always that one popular person that makes you want to scream “What’s wrong with you people! Do you want yo be like this guy?” It’s pretty difficult for me to actually dislike a person… there aren’t many personalities that instantly rub against mine. But that one does – because it seems so backwards or something – I don’t know.

Thirdly, people that never come out of the woodwork except to point out things they think are wrong – but we won’t go there.

Dan ( A little pissy this morning. )

About BitTorrent

I had no idea about this, but BitTorrent is now the dominant transfer protocol in terms of bytes transferred over the internet.

But now that I think of that it makes sense: HTTP/FTP is designed mostly to be lightweight. BitTorrent is specifically designed not to be. And as a distributed system, it’s amazing. I think I’ve probably downloaded at least ten or twenty gigabytes of television programs (mostly Gilmore Girls re-runs), all of which I’ve deleted due to sheer ease of just downloading them again should I need them.

You know, if Hollywood thought about it, it’s a great idea. Use a customized BitTorrent client to transfer television that people can keep as long as they want. I’d even be willing to put up with some DRM if the price was right. If it was cheap for me to watch ad-free television, I’d do it a lot more.

Dan (Freedownloading since 1997…)

About the roundabout.

Everyone, go read Laura’s blog and post comments to cheer her up. Becauise… um… I said so. Yeah.

Anyhow, inbetween co-ordinating production, honing drills, writing on whiteboards, and spilling my thoughts on headcoverings (yikes!) all over the internet, the day’s been going by pretty fast. When I’m honing drills (which is basically a boring, repetative action that requires some manual skill and a great deal of patience) I had some thoughts.

These are my thoughts:

Denominations are given no scriptural support. There’s mention of a council being called (at Jerusalem, if I recall correctly?) to decide a few things, but no mention of the extensive and top-heavy church government exhibited by churches such at the Catholic and Anglican churches. Even the synodal model of the URC/CRC/OCRC and the Presbyterian model aren’t drawn from scripture, unless you consider “let everything be done in good order” to be the scriptural foundation for a denominational superstructure. So call me postmodern, but I think unity would be promoted further by a loose association of like-minded churches than by a tightly-controlled denominational framework – because you could have a presbyterian elder-for-life style and a traditional Reformed give-the-people-a-vote existing in the same association, and as many slight variations as you like. The only real power the body at large should have is the power to “excommunicate” churches from the fellowship on a solid basis that needs broad scriptural support.

Also, I dislike Reformed Fundimentalists that beat you with Calvin’s Institutes. They’ve translated Calvinism into a vulgar religion based on a set of impersonal facts and Truths(tm) that Win Arguments rather than serve any useful purpose – like for instance increasing the Glory of God. You think you winning your argument with the full weight of Calvin, Van Til, and Plantinga resting on someone’s head is bringing glory to God? Think again my friend.

On the other hand, there’s enough people that get so turned off by Reformed Fundimentalism that they embrace the Anything Else with arms wide open. I’ve seen it happen on the internet (where the hardcore Calvinists and the flavour-of-the-week Calvinists are out in force) and in real life (where the Born Reformed and the Don’t Know Why Reformed graft themselves into the Baptist or Pentacostal denominations after getting sufficiently pissed off at Home Base).

I don’t want to be either of those things – a Reformed Fundimentalist of part of the long line of leavers. I don’t want people to point fingers at me and legitimately call me a “wooden shoes, wooden head, wouldn’t listen” Dutch Reformed stick-in-the-mud, but I also don’t want them to legitimately label me a liberal Scripture-tosser.

*Sigh.*

Dan (Oh, what a twisted web we weave when first we practice to believe…)

About the mailing list.

Thanks to the generous donation of time by Geof, our lovely site admin I now have the good old-fashioned mailing list working. I can hear the collective sigh of relief – or was that a scream of horror? I don’t really know. Suffice it to say that this is merely a test post to see if everything is working properly.

If you’d like to subscribe and I haven’t already forced subscription upon you, there’s a nice little box on the sidebar that’ll let you do just that. I don’t know why – it just seemed like a good idea.

About appearances.

I just thought about people judging from appearance again, thanks to the Rumor Forum. More in the context of how I look at girls – if I look at them at all – than in the context of what people wear and what value judgements one makes based on that. But it’s the same – I judge people by how they look all the time, whether right or wrong – and people judge me.

The thing is, there are certain things you can objectively judge (at least most of the time) from the way people dress, but there are several questions I like to ask myself when doing that.

1) Is this helpful? What is my judgement prodding me to do? What impetus does it give me? If I see someone dressed in such-and-such a way, does it make me want to ignore or avoid them.

2) Is it right? Am I walking over lines here, predicating my own feelings and experiences on someone else’s mode of dressing?

3) What are my motives? Why the judgement? Why not ignore it altogether.

Those are some questions I like to ask. I know people are always going to judge by appearances, quite frankly because it’s a lot easier than judging someone’s heart by getting to know them.

So you can call me a prep, punk, goth, slut, fool, or whatever four-letter stylistic designation you like. I don’t mind. I have people who love me in spite of that.

About friend and beer.

Thank God for friends. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Me and Nick took a long walk and basically ranted – to borrow a phrase I graciously attribute to someone else who will not be named – about life and the complications and tension of it. He played the role of councellor and I played the role of patient, and at the end of it, the decisions in my head seemed the more clear for it. The things that seemed twisted became straight, and I feel like a new man.

Let me ask you: are you afraid of emotion? Is logic better? Do the emotions get in the way? Answer me this riddle.

For all you Americans wondering about the great beers that you can’t get in the US, here are a few of my favorites: Rickard’s Red, Alexander Keith’s India Pale, Sleeman Original, Guinness (I know, you can get it), Creemore Springs Premium, Rickard’s Honey Brown, and Sleeman Honey Brown. These are beer that, if you ever come to Ontario, you must try. Without exception. Every one of them, though preferably not in one sitting.

And I’m out – have a great night, all!

About a studio.

I just got finished tracking the song “February” (you can read the lyrics under in the archives, if you’d like). I tell you, I get really sick of playing the same guitar track over about seventy times, but hey, you do what you gotta do. Not to mention that I’ve still got this wonderful cold which makes me sound like a busted frog when I sing. However, the lucky green gino shirt came into play, and everything sounds wonderful.

Let me, for the layperson (me, a couple hours ago), explain my setup. First of all, I have no monitors. That’s right – no monitors at all, except the kind of monitors that attach to computers and display information, but by monitors I mean “speakers designed for this sort of thing”. I’m using the nice system that came with my computer (by Yamaha), but it doesn’t exactly give me the full sound – for instance, the noise I know is there from my computer and laptop is showing up in the headphones, but not on the speakers, so that’s a bit annoying. However, I shall remedy that as soon as have what I like to call “money”.

Anyhow, I’m using my Shure SM-57 mic to record with, and get this: I don’t have a mixer, either. My mic is plugged directly into the 1/8″ sterio jack on my laptop, which happens to give decent sound, thank you very much. I’d like something more… direct and designed for the job, but I’m a starving musician and don’t have the cash for it. Although I have three pretty fast computer sitting around here. So my mic is plugged in directly and I’m basically recording directly into Acid Pro 4.0.

I started with a good old fashioned click track to keep me on time, and then recorded the guitar track. Remember, I only I have one mic. I’m still trying to get the positioning right (and the levels, come to think of it), but it sounded good. I had to record it at least five times before I got something I even liked – I’m no guitar mystro – and then I went to the vocal track. It’s a pretty simple song. I also had to record that several times before I could combine them and have it sound like a guy singing with a guitar, not some screeching bird disembowling a small rodent.

I screwed around with the EQ for a little while, working mostly on the high shelf for some technical reasons, and now I’m taking a break from this process. It’s good to do something, not just lounge around and wait for the night to fall so I can head over to the Irish Pub and sit down with a pint and read a book in the (relatively) relaxing atmosphere.

Also, for those of you who wonder if you’re ever going to hear this track, yes, I’ll post it somewhere when it’s ready for semi-public consumption. And if you’re wondering if I’m planning a wonderful career in showbiz based on this track, no I’m not. There’s quite enough people in my family pimping their songs around trying to break onto the scene. I’m going to copyleft them with Creative Commons and let people do what they want to do with them, if anything.

The end.

Together

This is how it works: it comes and goes,
always in the wings, it ebbs, it flows,
and we should work together.
Don’t you call it love and keep it in.
A battle never fought you never win.
But we could fight together.

You trade risk for peace.
I’ll taunt the karma police.
You set out the fleece,
but we should live together.

If I were a path and you the tread
would the gravel here be running red?
Oh, we should walk together.
Don’t you call it love and let it die.
A decent animal, no air supply.
We should breathe together.

You trade risk for peace.
I’ll taunt the karma police.
You set out the fleece,
but we should live together.

February

These words red in their birth and painful,
screaming their sour lungfuls,
calling you February.

You sift laughter to find me frowning
and point out the words as reason,
calling me February.

But it’s not you, it’s me, I am getting bitter.
But it’s not me, it’s you, you are getting better.

These words green at the heart and hoping;
lean rings for desert seasons;
rooted in February.

You paint these coins into a corner;
afraid of admitting interest;
buried in February.

But it’s not me, it’s you, trying to be bitter.
But it’s not you, it’s me, tying it together.

So tell me now, what’s the use
of having these muscles that you never use.
So tell me now that you can’t discard
how it works, how it got so hard.

You’re so screwed up, you can’t deny it,
but I would have walked you through it,
if not for February.

I’m so broken at every nightfall,
I’d love you again, I promise,
maybe in February.