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Monthly Archives: April 2006 Finds a new home

Some of you may have noticed significant downtime issues with over the past two days. In addition, any of you who e-mailed me yesterday or the day before may well have gotten a bounceback message saying that my e-mail address no longer existed. I had some serious issues with the server that hosted These issues have been eliminated by switching to a new hosting provider, AxisHost. AxisHost is run by a woman named Tina Peters who used to run AffordableHost, the former provider of service to When Tina was in charge of AffordableHost things rarely went wrong, but when they did, they were corrected promptly. After she left and AffordableHost was taken over by another group, it went way downhill. I’m happy to be back with Tina Peters again at AxisHost.
The following sites were also affected by the downtime, but are all back up and running now:
Tradigital Pictures
My Two Ovens
My apologies to those of you who were unable to visit these sites for an extended period of time.

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On Despair

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabacthani!”

Oh, how these words of our dying Lord on the cross pierce our hearts!

If you recall from my first post in this blog, I promised not to dwell on suffering and despair. I intend to keep that promise. Even though these words of suffering were uttered under the most desparate circumstances, they are truly words of prayer, hope and ultimately salvation. Recall that Jesus went to his death so that we might be saved. As he hung there naked on his cross, he was filled with pain, yes, but in many ways it was a pain which he endured joyfully and lovingly. God, in Jesus, gave up his own life out of love for you and me.

Dwell on this for a moment. Christ died for you. Christ died for me. It isn’t enough to say that Christ died for the sake of humanity. While that is true, it is equally true that he died for each of us individually! He would do the same thing again today for you and you alone. What a magnificent love that is! And it is a love that God lavishes upon us all. This love that God has for each of us is only barely touched upon here:

"The LORD remembered us in our misery, God's love endures forever;
Freed us from our foes, God's love endures forever;
And gives food to all flesh, God's love endures forever.
Praise the God of heaven, God's love endures forever."
Psalm 136:23-26

Yes, God’s love endures forever, even through the death of His own Son, Christ, Our Lord! It is Christ himself that feeds us with His own body and blood.

I just finished reading the book Silence by the Japanese author, Shusaku Endo. The silence referred to in the title is the silence of God that I am sure each of feels like we are experiencing at times. It is this same silence of God that Christ experienced on His holy cross. This book is set in 17th Century Japan, during a period of intense persecution of Christianity. Two Portugese priests sneak into Japan as missionaries and are eventually captured by the government. While in the custody of the Japanese, the priests undergo unbelievable torment and suffering. Fr. Rodrigues, the central character of the story, finds himself experiencing this silence of God and it makes his soul, like Christ’s in Gethsemane, “sorrowful even unto death.”

This feeling of God’s silence is one of the worst sensations we can ever have in this life. We know this feeling by a different name – despair. But remember, we know the end of the story!! The next time you find yourself despairing for anything, remember that God’s love is INFINITE. It knows no end, and even if you feel that God is silent, know that He is truly there. I am sure that the disciples of Christ felt the silence of God following his death on the cross. Can you imagine that? To have been in the presence of God, and then to suddenly have Him taken from you? For three days the disciples were without the God they had always known. But does this mean that God was truly absent in their lives? By no means! While God may have been silent to them, He was surely with them. When we despair, let us remember that God is with us, and that, like the disciples, we will always have the message and the truth of the RISEN CHRIST!

Do not weep! Do not despair! Christ has wept for us. Christ has despaired for us. Christ has suffered for us. Christ has conquered sin and death, and He freely offers to all who believe in Him the salvation that only He was able to earn.

All Glory and Honor be to God, the Almighty Father, and to His Son, our Lord and Savior, and to the Holy Spirit.

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Upgrading the Desktop

So I just got a new iMac computer! When Apple released the new Intel-based Macs, I knew that I wanted one. Pictured here, you see my computer workstation in all of its glory. I used to have a dual monitor system on my PC, but since I expect to rely much more on my new iMac now, I am using on of the flat panels as a second monitor for the iMac. It’s pretty sweet, particularly when I am doing video or photo editing. The second monitor allows me to see more of the project I am working with on the main screen, while all of my tools and controls and menus are tucked neatly onto the second monitor.
I am finding that I have a lot more free time these days. Now that the budget cycle is pretty much over at Berkeley, I’m leaving work by just about 5 p.m. each day, if not a few minutes earlier. This allows me ample time to do other things, like watch movies, write for my blogs, read, cook, go out, etc. It is nice to have a life, I must admit. One of the projects which will be moving into full swing now that I have the new iMac and my first-ever personally purchased copy of the Final Cut Studio, is My Two Ovens. My roommates and I shot a commercial for My Two Ovens the other day and I am in the process of putting it together for the website, which as of the posting of this entry still says, basically, “Under Construction.” But soon, I tell you, soon there will be a site there and then we just need the content. Oh, content.
I just finished reading an absolutely amazing book called “Silence” by Shusaku Endo. It is a book about a Portugese priest who travels as a missionary to Japan during the 17th century. 17th century Japan was not an ideal place for Christianty, as the book makes clear. Christianity was outlawed in Japan at that time, and Christians were heavily persecuted. The story alone is worth the read, but the subject matter is also amazing. It deals with some serious theological issues that we each grapple with at some time or another. I’m sure that I’ll reference this book at least a few times in upcoming posts in my new God’s Promise blog. I highly recommend the book to you all.
I just signed up for Netflix again. I really enjoyed the Netflix service when I was living here in San Francisco last year. I know it really isn’t a necessary service, but it is enjoyable and they have such a wide selection of movies to choose from. It might be a good way for me to stop buying so many DVDs! I can pay my $17.99 each month for unlimited rentals instead of paying $10 to buy a single used DVD that I might watch only once or twice (if I watch it at all!) before I forget about it. The trick is to watch at least 6 movies during the month to make it worth the price. I think I might be able to do that. My first three movies should be arriving tomorrow.
Speaking of movies, I just watched the movie Haiku Tunnel tonight. It was one of my many random movie purchases. It had some very funny moments, I have to admit, but overall, it wasn’t what I would call a “great” movie. I could see myself watching it again somewhere down the road, but certainly not tomorrow or even next week.

Categories: A Day in the Life | 1 Comment

Holy Week Begins

Happy Palm Sunday!

Today we celebrate two things: first, the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem, and second, the Passion of our Lord. In the case of the former, I think it is often overshadowed by the Passion. It would seem in reading Mark 11:1-10 that Jesus is finally being recognized openly as the Messiah as he enters the city! Here is an excerpt:

“Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
and others spread leafy branches
that they had cut from the fields.
Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!’”
(Mark 11:8-10)

Despite this initial praise, though, the people turn quickly against him. After his return to Jerusalem, Jesus is not satisfied with the practices of the Jews at the time. In fact, it is at this time that Jesus goes to the Temple and overturns “the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were seling doves” (Mark 11:15). It was an event like this, along with many others, that caught the attenion of the chief priests and scribes. They were not accustomed to having their authority challenged, and so they started to look for a way that they might be able to put a stop to this Jesus fellow.

In a twist of good fortune for the chief priests, then, Judas Iscariot decided that he had something to gain by betraying Jesus to them. It was the deceit and treachory of Judas and the chief priests that led to the Passion.

As we move into Holy Week, I feel that I will spend some more time elaborating on the Passion and how it is by far the most outward sign of God’s love for us. Ultimately, it is the heart of God’ Promise of salvation to us. But for right now, I want to focus on what we are called to do during Holy Week. Of course, we are called to remember the life that Christ gave up for us to free us from the burden of our sins. Of course, we are called to mourn the death of our Lord and rejoice in his promised and real Resurrection. But we are called to more than this. We are called to action.

As one of my friend’s so insightfully pointed out to me this evening, the Passion reminds us of the humanity of Jesus. Through the Way of the Cross, we see how Christ suffered and was weak. Despite being God, he accepted the weakness of the human form, and was subjected to one of the most cruel punishments ever devised. This weakness of Christ, this humility, should be to us a reminder of the fact that overcoming sin is a struggle. We are imperfect people. We struggle daily with our sins, but that’s OK. We aren’t called to be perfect. We are called to love God, honor Christ, and do our best to avoid sin. But it is inevitable that we will fall into the trap of sin. When that happens, though, we can call upon the Risen Lord, and he will pick us up. He will help us to bear our cross! Our Lord, our King, will be Simon to us and help us when we are unable to carry on under our own power.

This is more than simply a promise of aid in our times of need, though. It is also a challenge. While we each have a cross of our own to bear, we must realize that there is a good chance that somebody we know has a heavier one. It is up to us, therefore, to make sure that we are not adding to the burden of others. In fact, far from adding to others’ burdens, we are called to be Simon to others, to help them carry their crosses, even while we are carrying our own.
It is my prayer for you that your actions and example may be a light to others during this Holy Week. May you be blessed with abundant graces, and may all those who encounter you leave with a lighter burden than they had before. May you be a Simon to others.

As we celebrate this Holy Week, let us always be mindful of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us that we may never die, but that we may have eternal life with Him! Glory to God and to his Son, Jesus Christ!

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The Tuna Thief

Last Friday I mistakenly ate meat (it is Lent, remember). It was a completely honest mistake in the sense that I “forgot” it was Friday. Friday happened to be a holiday for me (Cesar Chavez Day), so I didn’t have to go into work. It is not customary for me to have Fridays off, so when I ordered Orange Chicken and Mandarin Chicken at Stonestown Shopping Center I really thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until later that night when Mike reminded me that it was Friday that I realized my mistake.
Anyhow, the result of that mistake is that I elected to abstain from meat today. And what better meal (well, second, of course, to my mom’s shrimp scampi) to have on a meatless day than sushi? I consider myself very fortunate to have discovered a sushi establishment just about 7 blocks from my house that serves excellent sushi at extremely low prices. Previously, my favorite sushi place was Isobune in Japan Town Center, but now that I have discovere Sakanabune, I don’t know that my sushi life will ever be the same again. At Sakanabune, I can get two pieces of Unagi (that’s eel, for the sushi illiterate) for a mere $1.50! Compare that to $3.15 at Isobune and the math is easy – Sakanabune wins out. Of course, many people might think that at $1.50 a plate the quality would be poor. Not so! In fact, the quality of the sushi is very good. Perhaps it isn’t as good as, say, Nobu, but remember that you will also pay more than $7 per serving there, and even then you’re really just paying to dine in one of New York’s hippest joints. Needless to say, the proximity, quality and affordability of the restaurant makes it very attractive.
By now, you might have guessed that I dined at Sakabune tonight. Sakabune, as the name suggests, is a sushi boat restaurant. This means that the sushi plates float around on little boats that go around the sushi bar where the chefs are constantly making new pieces. (“Bune” is Japanese for “boat.”) Generally speaking, people will take one or two plates from the boats at a time, consume them, then choose their next plate. Tonight, however, the man seated directly to my left (and his entire family, I might add) had a most uncommon approach to the sushi boat. They were what I like to call “stockpilers.” Instead of eating a plate and then choosing another, they pulled plate after plate after plate off of the boats until they literally ran out of room on the counter to put any more down. Every single plate of tuna that came by was grabbed up by them. Since the boats move in a counter-clockwise direction, this proved to be somewhat disconcerting as that meant that no tuna plates ever made it to me. Tuna happens to be one of my favorite, so this was a little frustrating. Fortunately, I arrived about 10-15 minutes before this family did, so I had already had two plates of tuna, but imagine if I had arrived simultaneous to them! They literally pulled off at least 10 plates of tuna.
To his credit, the guy did tell me that he “could be persuaded to let one pass him by.” I declined, saying that I had already had my fill of tuna. “Good,” he said, “I see this as the hunter-gatherer approach to sushi.” What did that mean? Was I supposed to knock him, his wife and two children off their chairs? Or us my chopsticks to stealthily pluck tune out from under their noses? Despite the fact that I personally wasn’t interested in any more tuna doesn’t change the fact that someone else down the river might have been! It is senseless, as far as I am concerned, to stockpile in that way. The sushi chefs are making new plate of sushi faster than this guy and his family were eating them, so why not just take a new plate each time you want another piece of tuna?
Anyhow, the apartment is a complete mess, so I’m off to do a little spring cleaning. Let’s see if we can keep it clean for more than 3 hours this time.

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Back from Disneyland

Most of you probably were not aware that I was just in Disneyland on Sunday. I know that the most diligent of my readers know this as they are the ones with whom I was enjoying The Happiest Place on Earth, but the rest of the world population was almost certainly not aware. Yes, I certainly do feel that it of the utmost importance that the entire world (at least the portion on the internet) know that I was in Disneyland. And for those of you so inclined, I would very much appreciate it if you could print out copies of this entry to spread them around to all those without access to a computer.
In reality, I think there are about 5 people who read this blog. Maybe only 4. It really depends on whether or not you can count a pregnant woman as two or not.
I know many of you must be waiting for the next installment in my Australian adventure series. I have just received a bunch of the pictures from the trip and soon they will be posted to my Flickr. Once they are posted there, I can assure you that the adventure series will continue. I just wanted to wait until I had some visual inspiration to accompany the text.
While you are waiting for the next thrilling installment of the Thunder from Down Under, you might be interested to know that I have started a NEW blog here on this site. For the past several months I have felt called to start writing about more spiritual themes. Instead of converting this journal into such a venue, I have created a separate blog that I am calling “God’s Promise.” As of the time this journal entry was posted there was only one entry in the new blog, but believe me when I say that great things are planned for it. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and got me to actually start the new blog was the creation of Wake Up, Dead Man, my roommates new spiritual blog. Once we become more active and regular posters, I feel that we will try to play off each other’s posts, creating something of a dia-blog. (Get it, like a dialogue, but between blogs… yah.) I invite you to check out both of these new journals.
Well, I feel that my bedtime is drawing ever nearer. I wish I could survive happily on only 5-6 hours of sleep, but alas, that just isn’t the case. Ideally I should be getting 8 hours of sleep a night, but to even consider that as a regular possibility would be insanity. For now I will just have to settle for 6-7 hours a night.

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An Introduction to God’s Promise

Welcome to the newest member of the family, God’s Promise. For the past several months I have felt called to start writing more about my life of faith, the state of the world, and the graces that God offers us, but it wasn’t until my roommate, Mike Huxley, started writing his new blog – Wake Up, Dead Man – that I finally decided to answer that call.

As I was trying to decide what the Faith Journal would be like, I toyed with several ideas. Should I make it a personal story about my the road of my faith? Perhaps I should make it an exploration of sin in the world? Should I have made it a faith-based exploration of current events? Perhaps a tool angling for the conversion of others? Ultimately, none of these really appealed to me. Far too many faith-based blogs focus on sin and the way evil has invaded our world. I didn’t want to fall into that trap. Likewise, I realized that a guided tour of my walk of faith wouldn’t be particularly interesting. I finally settled on the idea of “God’s Promise,” which I hope will be a beacon of light in the lives of all who read it. In the final analysis, I am sure that God’s Promise will turn out to be a combination of all of the elements I mention above, but I will frame it all with the Good News that God has made a promise to us of salvation! Even in the darkest of days, the light that shines forth from God can never be overcome.

This is God’s Promise: that He will catch us when we fall, console us when we weep, calm us when we are angry, forgive us when we sin, and love us beyond the end of the world! God’s Promise is one of grace and life, and it is offered freely to all people on earth. We are called simply to accept his miraculous gift of grace, and to honor Him for the ultimate sacrifice He made – His own Son, Jesus Christ.

With that, I welcome you to this blog. May you find God’s Promise – both this blog, and the real promises God fulfills in our lives every day – truly inspiring and a light in the darkness!

Categories: Faith | 2 Comments