Archive for September, 2005

raphael

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

As I was leaving choir rehearsal last night I bumped into the Dean of the Cathedral who said that he really enjoyed overhearing our singing. We were chatting as we walked to the parking lot when we noticed someone lying in one of the porches of the building, outside an office door. We spoke to him to tell him that we had to lock the gate of the porch so he couldn’t sleep there, but seeing as the weather was so bad – strong storms – could we help him to a shelter and pay for his stay there? He shook his head but told us he was hungry, so we told him to stay where he was while we tried to find something. We got a great big tub of corn, some chicken salad mix and a few sandwiches plus a bottle of Coke, for which he seemed really grateful. We walked him over to a covered place where he could stay, and talked with him as we walked. He’s called Raphael, and is originally from El Salvador, although he said he’d lived here for 15 years. We said good night and I hoped he was OK.

This morning while I was walking to the office I actually passed him on the street. Not sure if he recognized me but at least he was OK through the storms last night.

gmail hard drive space

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

I found an article today about how to use gmail’s amazing free storage space as a virtual hard drive – basically you install software on your PC which allows you to drag and drop files right into your gmail account and they show up as emails from yourself, so you can access these files from anywhere you like. Emma’s been talking for a while about having an online storage space, and I was going to set something up on the mogendorff.com server, but this might be easier.

But! There seem to be a couple of flaws here. Firstly Google has sometimes blocked this tool. Secondly there doesn’t seem to be a mac version, and as Emma is a funky mac user this wouldn’t really cut it.

So! Here’s my quick and easy suggestions to do this. She can just email herself her documents which she might want to work on from a different computer. If she makes sure she always has something like “FILE” at the start of the email subject line it would be a snap to create a filter in gmail to ensure that they always get put into a “Files” folder so that they don’t clutter up her inbox and distract from regular emails.

Easy!

You’re welcome.

our cathedral

Monday, September 19th, 2005

The cathedral where Emma, Toby and I are members, St Mark’s Cathedral in Minneapolis, has just relaunched its website at ourcathedral.org. In my opinion it’s a bit banner-heavy but hopefully that’ll calm down at some point.

One thing I’m hoping is that it’ll drive up the attendance for evensong services. Last night there were only about 12 in the congregation. Hopefully if you happen to be in Minneapolis on a Sunday at 4pm you’ll come along to our choral evensong – it’s a great way to wind down the weekend with outstanding music and contemplation.

pirate

Thursday, September 15th, 2005

You may know that Monday September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day. So get practicin’ me mateys! My friend Robin sent me this great picture:

toby’s kilt

Monday, September 12th, 2005

We’re going on vacation in a couple of weeks to Calgary for my cousin’s wedding. We thought it would be a great thing if Toby would be willing to wear the kilt which was made for me when I was three years old, specifically to be page boy for my Aunt Angela’s wedding (and it’s her son who is getting married). On Saturday we tried to get him to wear it and he refused point-blank, but last night he was all for it and we all think he looks pretty darned smart. Judge for yourself.

photos

Monday, September 12th, 2005

In the interests of completeness I have posted a few final pictures of my India trip – you can see them at this link.

Incidentally it’s really annoying that Safari doesn’t have all the same buttons on the toolbar in Blogger as every other browser, including the add link button.

Not pictured in this series is anything to do with my epic 36 hour journey home, including the heat, stink and general grottiness of Mumbai airport where I had four hours to hang around in the middle of the night. About half an hour of this was spent standing in sweltering heat waiting for the bus to transfer from the domestic to international terminals. It was pretty nasty, but kind of cool in an I can survive funky international travel experiences kind of way. Also had a long layover in Amsterdam airport, where I sat and watched Lord of the Rings on my little DVD player. Then we got on the plane and sat for about 2 hours while they found and tried to fix an electrical fault on the plane, then we had to get off and get on a different plane. At least they found the problem while we were on the ground.

It was great to get home, apart from hardly being able to read Toby’s story books that night. He got annoyed with me because the wrong words kept coming out of my mouth. Also culture shock going to church was more powerful than I expected – everyone was so scrubbed and clean and well fed.

Back to work and really really busy, which is why I haven’t posted until now.

social darwinism

Monday, September 12th, 2005

I realize that the title is ironic due to the Administration’s (and their friends’) aversion to evolution etc, but anyway.

There’s an excellent viewpoint on the BBC today about how the New Orleans flood might, like the Great Depression, shock the American people and political landscape into a new era of social support, what with the sight of so many people devastated and the incompetence and, in my opinion more importantly and more sickeningly, complete lack of accountability and apparent caring from the government. We can only hope. Emma made the excellent point at the weekend that while the Hurricane Katrina tragedy has indeed been appalling, thousands upon thousands of Americans face their own tragedies each day as they are abandoned by the government – lack of decent schools, homes, healthcare, public safety – and we should be outraged by that as much as how offensively pathetic, confused and lost our President has been over the last couple of weeks.

The BBC article expands on that idea a bit, with the hope that we might see some good from the tragedy. I’m not so optimistic that things will change very quickly, despite GWB’s plummeting approval ratings (last week it was at 39%, with 2/3rds of those polled saying that the government could have done more to help the people on the Gulf Coast – so 1/3rd think they did enough??). I think that the right wingers, and Bush’s push for faith-based aid, will get in the way of people thinking that Government should provide all of the safety net – witness the huge giving to charitable organizations instead of calls to raise taxes and have the government take care of the people affected.

winding down

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

So today is my last full day in India, for now anyway. From a work point of view we ended up really well, getting some great people to hire – really excellent. From a getting out and seeing the place point of view however I’m winding down somewhat. I wanted to scout around some of the shopping areas but by lunchtime today I was feeling really rough, achy and in need of lying down. Bob, who is here working with me, had the same thing yesterday, took a couple of antibiotics and felt way better, so I came back to the hotel to do the same thing. I’m feeling not nearly so bad now but still a bit wiped. I think it’s a combination of working hard, the food, the time difference and maybe even a bit of culture shock. So anyway I’m just going to lie low tonight and hopefully be well refreshed for the long plane rides home tomorrow. Can’t wait to get back to Emma and Toby, that’s for sure.

more info

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

My brother Robin asked a few days ago about actual evidence for evolution vs. Intelligent Design. Here is a great article in the Guardian about what the theory of evolution is, what makes it a scientific theory, why ID is so crap and what makes it non-scientific. There’s also a link to talkorigins.org which is a great resource explaining evolution. Hope this is helpful for you all.

do it

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

The news is so hard to read these last couple of days. Here’s a small way you can help the people in New Orleans etc: visit Mercy Corps.