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Monthly Archives: June 2006

A Weekend in Wine Country

Good morning! My, what a marvelous weekend this past one was. A few of my friends and I have been planning a trip to wine country for the past couple of months, and this was the weekend. The original plan was for Mike, Sarah, Chris, Michelle and me to head north and enjoy ourselves from late Friday – Sunday afternoon, but Mike dropped out last week, instead opting to attend the grand opening of a bar in Millbrae with a girl. He refuses to admit it, but this choice was really his loss. All joking aside, I hope he had a good time nonetheless.

Anyhow, the remaining four of us headed north at about 7:30 p.m. on Friday. We stoped for a tasty Mexican dinner at Puerto Vallarta in Santa Rosa. While the food was good, it still fell into the same trap as every other Mexican establishment I have been to that isn’t Lorena’s – it just wasn’t AS good. From dinner, we headed up to Windsor where Chris’s parents live. Windsor is a quaint, small-ish town just south of Healdsburg. His parents live in a newer housing development and all of the homes there look very nice. Chris’s parents had just this past week painted the exterior of their house and put in a new cooktop in the kitchen. We got a grand tour of the well-decorated home. Along the way, we encountered well-established colonies of photos of Chris, and even several of Chris and Michelle, his fiancee. We enjoyed good conversation and opened a bottle of Scott Harvey Zinfandel. As we were sitting around the kitchen, enjoying our wine, Chris’s parents returned from the SF Giants game they had attended in the city that night. If memory serves, in a year and a half of life in San Francisco, I believe this was the first time I have ever met both parents of any of my friends, and only the third time I met at least one parent (Mike’s dad and Leilani’s dad representing the other two). Chris’s parents, Dave and Bev, were very nice and I truly felt welcomed in their home. Each of them reminded me in certain ways of my own parents. Like my mom, Bev always had a smile and was not only willing, but also excited, to make sure everyone was satisfied and had what they needed. And like my dad, Dave had a clever comment about most things, and wasn’t bashful about making quick-witted conversation with strangers, but was still firmly grounded when it came to issues of fact.

The hour began to draw late, and soon after Chris’s parents retired for the night, so too did we four travellers. We had a long and exciting day ahead of us – wine tasting and dinner.

Read more »

Categories: A Day in the Life | 1 Comment

LancesWorld Video Blog

Fans, family and friends – I’ve been touting the video podcast for some time now, but to date I haven’t bothered to do anything about it. That changes today… Well, last night actually. I have produced and published my first-ever video podcast. Oh yes, it is fresh and ready for you to view… Simply subscribe to the RSS feed. You will need iTunes (you may need to download a newer version if you haven’t upgraded in a while) for either Mac or PC. Once you have iTunes installed and open, simply take the following steps:

  1. Click on Podcasts on the left

  2. In the menu bar, select Advanced
  3. Click “Subscribe to Podcast…”
  4. Add the URL http://www.lancesworld.com/video/lancesworld.xml
  5. Download and enjoy in iTunes OR on your iPod!

I really don’t have anything planned for content – as you will see – and who knows when (if) the next podcast will come, but at least I’m no longer tooting the horn of a technology I’ve never used.
Enjoy!

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Sitting on a Bus

Good afternoon, faithful followers. Here I sit on the 38AX Geary Express bus on my way home from work. Summerfest is this week, and I really can’t wait for it to be over. I really do enjoy planning thing in general, but I also find it difficult if not impossible to work efficiently with others for whom efficiency is a four-letter word. I count 10 letters, personally. OK, enough complaining about Summerfest.
I’m really enjoying this mobile blogging thing. It is a great way to pass the time during my commute. I enjoy using the time to read, as well, but sometimes reading isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. Perhaps I should just start referring to this as “mlogging?” I think it’s likely to be the next big thing. How long before we get the mobile video blog? People are already taking video on their phones, but I suspect eventually they’ll be able to post it to the web instantly – if they can’t already.
So, Nokia has just released a new phone with a 3 megapixel camera. That’s better than my stand alone digital camera! Technology never really ceases to amaze me. Soon we’ll be able to use our cell phones for everything – pay bills, change channels on the TV, take video, listen to streaming audio, drive a car remotely, conduct cardiac surgery from a lounge on the beach… You name it, it will be possible. Actually, PayPal has introduced a new feature that will allow you to use your credit card to pay friends via text message! You simplu setup your PayPal account, send a text message to them with your friend’s e-mail address and the amount of the payment, then enter your PIN number when the automated system calls your phone and you’re done! Gone are the days when your friends need to be spotted at the local diner.
What else can you do with your phones? How about get driving directions from Google? Absolutely. Get definitions of most any word? Sure. Identify songs playing on the radio by playing the song into the phone? Yep. Make a phone call? Maybe. All of these things have been made possible through the miracle of technology. And get this – all of these things can be done with almost any modern cell phone. If your phone can make calls and text, you can do all of this. Expand it to phones with mobile internet, and there’s a whole new world of possibilities.
OK, so there are just some things that you shouldn’t be doing on a public bus – like clipping your nails. Acting with a great deal of stealth, I took this picture of a woman clipping her nails on the bus. Let me say, I wasn’t the only one with a look of disdain, if not disgust.
My stop approaches.

Categories: A Day in the Life | 1 Comment

The Body of Christ. Amen.

This past Sunday, we celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi – the Most Sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a celebration of that most precious thing which Christ gave up for us – His very own life, that our lives (and our souls) may be saved!

I was reminded several times over this past weekend that the Eucharist is not just something we receive on Sundays at church; rather, Eucharist is something that we do as a church, as a unified people of God – as THE Mystical Body of Christ. So often I feel that people have forgotten the true meaning of the Eucharist. How much of a habit the Eucharost has become! “The body of Christ. Amen. The blood of Christ. Amen.” We receive each week, or even each day, but for many, Eucharist ends there. we have lost touch with what we so blindly and readily attest to each time we receive that communion wafer, and partake of that shared cup.

“THE BODY OF CHRIST”
“THE BLOOD OF CHRIST”

This is not simple bread and wine, these are not simple words – these are just about the most amazing words you will ever hear in your entire life! And how loved we are by God to have the opportunity to hear these words so regularly! But the regularity has, for many, turned the eucharistic celebration into just another thing we go to.

Eucharist is more than the wafer and wine that we receive. The entire Mass is Eucharist – it is Christ truly present in our lives. Many Catholics today focus so much on Christ’s real presence in the bread and wine that they forget Christ is also present in the Word, in our neighbors and in all of creation. Notice that I said Christ is in our neighbors. Christ is in you!

Christ is in you! Christ is your Savior, your Redeemer, and He is in you! Are there any more beautiful words than these? The joy of these words is immense, but it often either forgotten – or worse, doubted! To lack faith in this matter is truly to turn your face from the loving light of God. But there is more than one difficulty in accepting this Awesome Truth.

First, to accept that Christ is within us is to accept that we are truly made in the image and likeness of God. This is not to say we look like God; rather, that we have been blessed with God’s Spirit. Second, if we accept that Christ is within us, we must accept that Christ is also in others. Even in those we dislike. Yes, Christ’s love extends to all men & women throughout the world, even to those who do not believe. Is this a challenge to accept? Of course! It can create feelings of resentment – why lead a good life when God will love you no matter what? The answer presents the third challenge of accepting that Christ is you – because you ARE Christ! I don’t mean this in a blasphemous way, of course. I do not mean to say that you are God. What I man to say is that, if you accept Christ within you, you can’t help but share that Christ with others, you truly become GOD’S LOVE for others! Are you amazed? Are you humbled? Are you afraid? YOU SHOULD BE!

Why? Why had God chosen ME to be His Love for others? Why has God chosen YOU to be this same Love? Because Christ died for you. He died for me. This death – this saving death – has created an eternal link between each and every one of us and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is no greater love than this, and that Love lives in you. Once you accept this and believe it, then every action you take, every word that you say, is done or said by Christ.

Accept Christ in your life and go forth and be Christ to the world!

I pray for you all! May you never feel darkness again.

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Incompetent People

I enjoy doing things to help others. I don’t mind serving on committees – I don’t even mind chairing sub-committees if people really need help. But I really do mind these things when nobody else seems to be putting in a respectable effort. Perhaps it isn’t fair to say that NOBODY is putting in effort – just most others aren’t.
Such is the case with a committee I am currently working with to plan this year’s Cal Summerfest Staff Appreciation Day. I offered to help out, and in the usual fashion, “help out” turned into chair a sub-committee. I ended up being put in charge of the Staff Organizations & Strategic Vendors. I was told to invite the various Stafforgs listed on the Berkeley Stafforg Website along with out Strategic Sourcing Vendors. I did this. Then I started getting all these other requests forwarded to me by our Committee Chair and our Development Coordinator. It turns out that other campus groups should also have been invited – groups that fall into neither of the categories I was told to invite. Silly me…
Finally things started to fall into place and so I set a few deadlines. The early deadline was May 23 and the late deadline was June 2. I still had people wanting to join TODAY! Part of this is because of their own stupidity, but part of it is because others on the committee refuse to say NO. Despite my vehement protestations, exception keep being made to let vendors join my section. It makes me more than a little upset.
To top this off, I really feel that a lot of my time is being wasted in all these meetings I go to. The committee meetings turn more into a place where people are trying to conduct business than a setup where people report on progress. Do I really need to hear the entire discussion between catering and parking? No! I actually got up and left a meeting once because it was so ludicrous.
Things wouldn’t be nearly as bad if people would just act a little more responsibly, but it seems competence is something extremely uncommon these days.

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Video Blogging

So, I recently – or perhaps not even the recently! – posted here in the journal that My Two Ovens would be coming soon. Well, soon has come and gone, and still we haven’t even posted the commercial for it. It is hard to commit to any type of internet video on top of all the other things going on in my life and the lives of everyone else who would need to be involved.
While I agree that the internet has made it easier for people to get their video content seen by people other than themselves, I’m not quite sure how good that content is. Content streamers like YouTube try to make it easier to find the good videos through user ratings and the like, but there are probably still some undiscovered gems hiding amongst a slew of garbage.
I’ve personally had some idas for online content that I think people would really enjoy. Unfortunately, finding the audience is the hard part. You might have the best idea, but unless people see it, it doesn’t matter. The success of Rocketboom is amazing. They have become worldwide internet celebrities and have been invited to speak at internet devlopment forums, conferences and symposiums. The creators of RB were actually just here in San Francisco for Vloggercon – a conference of video bloggers from around the country. Last year’s Vloggercon was held in NYC. The fact that this conference has been held in two of the country’s biggest cities is, I think, a testament to the success vlogging currently enjoys.
What is the future of vlogging? In my opinion, it will continue to enjoy widespread growth. It will become a new norm for the net. Finding the good stuff wil get easier over time as sites like YouTube help point the curious to the best of the net. The trick must be that these “video blog search engines” have to be operated independently. As soon as they start charging people for listings or accept advertisers, then the best vlogs – produced by real, common folks – will be lost.

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Shaking & Waking

It is a strange feeling to wake up at 5:25 a.m. and realize that your house is shaking. That’s what happened to me this morning. You all know that when you first wake up you feel a little disoriented at first. So when I woke up, despite the fact that the building was shaking, I didn’t really think anything of it. It was almost as if a shaking building made sense and was a common occurence. It probably took me a second or two to realize what was happening – an earthquake. Once I realized what was happening, my reaction was one of mixed excitement and nervousness. In general, I am not easily woken, so any earthquake that is strong enough to wake me automatically qualifies as worth my attention. Despite my realization of what was happening, I didn’t do anything except look at the clock – 5:25 a.m. it read. Then I just listen to my dresser rattling as the building shook. A few second later it was over and I was asleep again.
When I got out of bed at 6:15 I logged onto the U.S. Geological Survey website to make sure I hadn’t just dreamed it. And it turns out that I had not dreamed it at all. There was a 4.7 magnitude earthquake reported at 5:24:51 a.m. – exactly when I woke up in a shaking, rattling and rolling room. OK, perhaps you can nix the “rolling” bit. Though it was the largest earthquake recorded by the USGS in Canada and the lower 48 in the past week.
Apparently this quake made the news in Utah because my sister called me today to check in and make sure I was still alive and not buried in a pile of rubble. Far from it. In fact, I don’t think any damage was reported at all. Even near the epicenter (which was southeast of San Jose) it was only considered “light” activity. Still, 4.7 sounds like a pretty decent quake. When you conside the the Loma Prieta quake of 1989 was a 6.9 and caused freeways to collapse, you would expect 4.7 to be a little more than “light.” Still, at least this wasn’t the “big one.”
On an unrelated note, I’ve booked my flight to India for October. I’m flying halfway around the world (9,888 miles one way) to attend my friend Divish’s wedding. It takes two days to get there and a day and a half to get back. I leave San Francisco on October 11 and return on October 24. Despite being gone 14 days, I’ll only actually be in India 10 days. Yah – a lot of travel!
I’m very excited about the whole trip. I’ve heard stories about these Indian weddings, and naturally I’ve seen movie depictions of them. I fully expect that the people of India will break in unified song and choreographed dance on the streets at opportune moments.
So I’ve discovered that a great time for me to blog is while in transit between home and work. I can type entries on my phone (as I am doing now) and then either post them while in transit or post them once I’m home. If I drove to work, this wouldn’t be a very good idea!

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Living the Green Dream

Well, folks, today was an ecologically friendly day if ever I’ve lived one. Let’s recount some of the things that transpired today that benefited the environment. First, I took public transit to and from work. Of course, this is nothing particularly new, I’ve been doing it most days for the past 4 months now, but it certainly is a good thing. One nice thing about public transit is that it is going to run regardless of whether or not I’m there. That means that my riding it has a marginal (if any) incremental impact on the environment. Since I have to get from point A to point B anyway, I may as well get on a vehicle that is already headed to where I need to go instead of driving my own car.
The second thing that makes me environmentally friendly today is that I walked to the grocery store. This isn’t a big deal, really. There is a CalaFoods just over a block away from me to the South and an Albertsons about 5 blocks to the West. Both are very convenient. I prefer Albertsons by far, so I walked up the street to buy a few things there this evening. I considered driving there, but then thought about how silly that would really have been, so I walked. I knew that I was only going to be picking up a few select items, and so I went prepared, which leads me to the third ecologically friendly undertaking: I brought along my own canvas bag. This prevented me from having to use a new plastic or paper bag at the grocery store. This helps reduce waste, and it also saved me five (5) cents! Yes, Albertsons credits you 5 cents for each bag of your own that you bring. Next time I go there to buy a loaf of bread, I’ll take along 100 bags of my own, thereby making the bread free!
The canvas bag that I took along with me to use was actually one that I purchased at Trader Joe’s the other day. It only cost me $2.99, and it is a very nice, heavy duty bag. You might think that it is a little silly to buy a grocery bag, but in the long run it has many benefits. First of all, it is much more environmentally sounds. Secondly, if I take it to Albertsons 60 times, it will more than have paid for itself. 1 down, 59 to go. Also, everytime I use it at TJ’s, I am entered to win a $50 gift certificate. If I won that, it would more than pay for the bag!
Oh, I never want to be one to disappoint my friend Adam, particularly since he is graciously putting me up for a few nights when I visit ND for the Michigan game in the fall, so I have posted the first few pictures from the Australia trip on flickr. Enjoy!

Categories: A Day in the Life | 1 Comment

One Step Closer

A few folks have noticed that I have yet to post any pictures from my trip to Australia. I apologize, but I assure you that I am now one step closer to posting the first photos! I just transferred a load of them from CD onto my computer, and soon I’ll be sending them on their merry way to flickr. Could I do that just now? Of course, but I’m tired and I want to go to sleep.

Categories: General | 1 Comment

More video online

I have now posted all 8 segments of the Coffee House Video online for people to enjoy. You can access all of them on the St. Dominic’s Young Adult section of LancesWorld or by clicking on the following links:
Intro
Molly & Matt
Auditions 1
Auditions 2
Auditions 3
Auditions 4
Auditions 5
Auditions 6 & Outro
Some people have informed me that they have had trouble viewing the video clips. If you have trouble watching these clips, it might be that you are running an old version of Quicktime. You can update your Quicktime Player (PC or Mac) for free at: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/standalone.html.

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