Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Music Thursday

A couple months ago I wrote a post about 4 musicians/bands I had recently discovered.  Well, I think it's time for another.

Brooke Fraser is not a new artist.  She is a big deal in New Zealand, going 7 times platinum in 2003.  She joined Hillsong, and gained some followers in the Christian subculture with her renditions of Desert Song and Hosanna.  She's had one song crack the playlist on LIFE, with minimal success.

Seeing as the majority of her success came outside the Christian music industry, she has elected to go back to the mainstream.  A couple weeks ago she released a new album, Flags, which has been getting some serious attention on my iPod! 

I came across these guys on a couple of the blogs I regularly read, but didn't really pay much attention.  That is until Relevant Magazine did an interview with them.  I've really been into the celestial instrumental sounds lately (it's good working music) and these guys are at the top of the list

Keeping with the instrumental theme, The Album Leaf was recommended to me by Justin Piercy.  If some of their music sounds familiar, Rob Bell uses their songs for his Nooma videos.

Allie Spencer introduced me to GRO.  I checked them out on Grooveshark and liked what I heard.  They've been in regular rotation since.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beautiful Decay

I was talking with Justin Piercy earlier today, and he was showing me some of the photos he took at an abandoned factory in Orillia. 

Beautiful stuff.  (The guy has some talent.)  Made me want to take my camera and go explore an abandoned warehouse/factory/airport.  I don't know what it is about abandoned buildings, but I see beauty in them.

Beauty in decay?  Yes.  I can't explain it, but those pictures move me.

Check out this series from BlogTO.  Beauty!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Collaborative Consumption

Earlier today i saw an interesting video on collaborative consumption.  The video makes the case for collaborative consumption as the next big thing.

Do I believe it?  I think so.

I see myself participating in more bartering, sharing, swapping and trading.  Let's be honest, culture isn't really into big spending right now.  When the economy recovers maybe?  Maybe.  But I don't think we'll reach that point in the next 10 years.

Watch the video and discuss.

Is collaborative consumption the way of the future?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sure Thing

While Barrie, Toronto and pretty much all of Ontario's elections were up for grabs tonight, one thing was for sure...  Hurricane Hazel McCallion would score a 12th term as Mississauga's mayor.

She did it with zero promotion, and still scored 75% of the vote.  (Cause for concern?  She's usually north of 90%)

Growing up in Mississauga, there were a number of times no one ran against her.  Why waste the money?  Hazel is about as close to a sure thing as you can get.

Would you rather have a sure bet like Hazel, or the suspense/tension/excitement of a real mayoral race?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Asking For Scorpions

Do you know anyone who has walked away from their faith because God doesn't answer their prayers?

I know I've found myself wondering what's up when I pray, and pray, and pray, and God doesn't answer my prayers.  Maybe you've experienced something similar?

Maybe you've been praying and praying to get into one specific school?

Maybe you've prayed and prayed for that job?

Maybe you've fasted and prayed and pleaded with God to have a baby?

Read Luke 11:11-13:
You fathers—if your children askt for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

When you read those verses you see that God gives good gifts.  If you pray for a fish, he won't gift-wrap a snake for you.  Makes sense right?

What if we flip the script on this one.  What if you asked for a snake or a scorpion?  He still wouldn't give it to you. 

No matter how long you fasted.

No matter how long you prayed.

No matter how many times you ground your face into the carpet pleading with him.

Sooooo... (try to follow along)  What if we think we are asking for an egg, but really it's a scorpion?  God won't give it to us because he only gives good gifts, but we see it as God ignoring our prayers.

We are like the 14 year-old kid throwing a tantrum when her parents don't let her go to the party.  We stomp our feet and yell something to the effect of "I HATE YOU!" or "WHEN I'M 18 I'M OUTTA HERE!"

We walk away from our faith because we think God a) doesn't care, or b) doesn't exist.

Reality is, he won't give you a scorpion.  Even if you ask for it.

I Kept It

I showed Crystal the jacket this morning and she loved it!

It's a keeper!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Movember is fast approaching and I have a decision to make... do I grow out the teen 'stache?  Maybe I should try out the goatee?  Do I do anything at all?

I haven't talked with Crystal about it, but I'm pretty sure she'd vote against any growth on my face.  Not only because it's uncomfortable for her, but because my facial hair grows dark in some spots, and white in others. 

Yeah, it ain't pretty.  What do you think?  Maybe some mutton chops?

A Beard Film (stop-motion) from Ian Robertson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Man's Best Friend

Ever have a really crappy day?

Coming home to a dog that's happy to see you and covers your face with sloppy kisses makes you forget all about it.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Jen Melanson used to go to TIFF every year, and it made me jealous.  I wish I could go to a film festival.  You see, I love film.  I'm a wannabe film-maker, and one day hope to buy a video camera and editing software of my own.  Film inspires me.

Last year  I found out that Barrie has its own film fest.  You don't get the big name celebs out at the screenings, but it's still a film festival.  A surprisingly good film festival.  Last year I went to two screenings, and vowed that "next year I'll get involved."

Well, "next year" has arrived and I'm volunteering at the BFF.  My first shift was Saturday, and I loved it.  Hanging out with other people who love film, making some new friends and enjoying some under-the-radar work.

My favorite film from this past weekend was Exit Through The Gift Shop.  A film about street art by (the legend) Banksy.  It left me with a new appreciation for street art, and the intelligence and creativity that goes into it.

Next weekend my hit-list includes The Tillman Story.  I have been interested in this story since Sports Illustrated did a story on it a couple years ago.  (Yes, another documentary)

If you have some time over the next week, hit up the Barrie Film Festival.  You might be surprised at how good the film is.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hearing Voices

"God told me I'm going to marry you"

I still remember that day.  My friend came to me and dropped the G-bomb on me.  Apparently, God told her that we're going to get married.  (I was very tempted to her her that people who hear voices belong in institutions.)

Did I believe God speaks to people?  Sure. 

Did I believe it that time?  No.

I think people use "God told me to do this" as a way to rid themselves of any responsibility that may come with the action in question. 

"God told me to break-up with you."

"God told me to burn the Quran."

"God told me to stand on the street corner and yell hurtful things at people."

Apparently God tells people to do all sorts of crazy, destructive, hurtful things.

Maybe I am a crappy christian, but God has never spoken to me in an audible voice.  Sure there have been times where I've felt God leading me to something, but I can't remember any point in my life where I've been able to say "God told me to do this." 

I'd describe God speaking to me, as more of a stirring of my spirit.

In my experience God stirs my spirit through film. 

He stirs my spirit through music. 

He stirs my spirit through nature. 

He stirs my spirit through other people.

So does God speak to me?  I think so, but not in an audible voice.

Verbal is only 10% of communication right?  Perhaps God's audible voice isn't his primary way of communicating with us?  Maybe he uses people to speak for him?  *GASP* Maybe God can use a non-believer to communicate with his people?

How many times has a "secular" (I hate that term) song/show/film spoken to you on a spiritual level?  A number of times while watching Lost, God stirred something in me.  He "spoke" to me. 

I think God is trying to speak to us, to connect with us, but we so often miss it because he's using someone/something we don't expect because it's not "christian".

Does God speak in an audible voice?  I doubt it. 

What about when you get that feeling you need to go talk to someone and it turns out to be exactly what they needed?  Yeah, God can stir up something inside of you, but that is NOT an audible voice. 

I think we can get to a place in our relationship with God where we are constantly in the presence of God, and in that case God can communicate with us through that still small whisper (1 Kings 19:11-12) which is NOT an audible voice.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Couchsurfing Update

When I signed up for couchsurfing, I didn't really expect to have many people crashing at our place. Well, last week we had a couple from Germany take up residence in our guest room. Crystal and I were unsure what to expect. What would they be like?

Turns out they were GREAT! Super friendly, very polite and clean too. I didn't get to spend much time with them, but Crystal spent a couple nights hanging out with Barbara and Jochen and loved it. They watched a movie, made a fantastic dinner (for $12!) and played Settlers Of Catan.

Apparently Germans get right down to business and don't make "nice deals". They simply take over the entire board.

Crystal said it was a fun experience, (one that I wish I could have experienced with her), and she's ready to do it again. All we need is someone who's looking to visit Barrie.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Smell Like A Monster

You know you've effectively infiltrated culture when Sesame Street does a spoof of your commercial.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


The last person I'd expect to see in this music video is Chris Tomlin.

Maybe his image consultant recommended a cameo to up his street cred?

Any way you slice it, I like it.

Objects On Monitor Are Not What They Appear

Earlier this year (April) Crystal and I couchsurfed in Erie, PA and the experienced was good. It stretched us, moved us out of our comfort zone, and opened our eyes to a new way to travel.

Starting tonight, we are on the other side of the couchsurfing experiment. A couple from Germany is travelling across Canada and for the next 2 nights, they will lay their heads on our futon when they go to sleep.

Last week I attended a seminar where the speaker said 92% of people trust the word of an acquaintance. That is why websites like TripAdvisor and Epinions are so popular.

When I received the couchsurfing request, the first thing I did was check out their profile to see what kind of ratings other people had given these guests. All positive. I don't know any of the other people, but for some reason I trust them. I believe they are telling the truth.

Weird, huh?

It's very easy to massage the way you present yourself online. We untag ourselves from embarrassing photos on Facebook. We are very careful to put out exactly what we want people to see.

Have you seen anyone tweet that they just fought with their spouse and want a divorce?

Has one of your friends posted pictures of themselves with puffy eyes and bed-head?

How many people blog about their lack of devotional time or that they have given up on God?

We present this polished image of ourselves online. I do it. You do it. We all do it. Online, we are perfect.

But we're not.

I'm not saying we should go online and intentionally post pictures of our acne-scarred teenage years, or blog about how we elected to watch an episode of Jersey Shore instead of spending time with God. No one needs to know that you're struggling with lust and you're having a hard time staying faithful to your spouse. (Actually you probably should talk to someone about that)

All I'm saying is that you need to be careful, because not everything you see online is entirely true.

I'll let you know how the couchsurfing thing turns out next week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

He's The Best

He had the most wins for a pitcher that had never been to the playoffs.

He was already being called a hall of fame player.

He wanted to win, so he left Toronto for the friendly streets of Philly.

In Philly he pitched a perfect game, and tonight he threw the first no-hitter in the playoffs since 1956. (The Leafs have won a Stanley Cup more recently)

Glad to see the Doctor doing well.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Environments & The Death Of The Office

I took Crystal to the dentist today, and instead of sitting in the waiting room reading magazines from the Clinton administration I elected to go to Chapters and read something current.

I stumbled across Rework (a book I had been hoping to take out from the library) and sat down to read it.  It wasn't a very tough read, so I finished it before Crystal called me to say she was done.

The chapter I found most interesting was about work environments.  I'm a big proponent that the environment has a HUGE effect on the experience.  The environment makes or breaks a concert.  The work environment has a huge effect on a) productivity and b) morale.

The book said that you cannot intentionally create the work environment.  The environment is a byproduct of the way management treats the employees. 

If they aren't trusted to do their job, and are management is always looking over their shoulder to make sure they are "on-track", then the work environment will be more like a prison than a community.  If management encourages socializing, joking and building relationships within the office walls, then the work environment will be more enjoyable and more like a community of friends.

But what about productivity?  If the employees are socializing, then their productivity suffers.  That is partly true.

They did a study and found that when employees are given more rope/freedom, their productivity goes up by nearly double. 

They also mentioned that you need to have people on board that buy into the vision.  If they don't buy in, then they shouldn't have been hired in the first place.

It's an interesting concept.  I've worked in some environments where socializing with co-workers is strictly forbidden.  I have also worked in environments where socializing took a huge bite out of productivity.  I think it's a delicate balance. 

I'd say the best way is the evaluate people is not by how much time they spend in the office, but by the outcomes of their goals.  If they hit their goals, why does it matter how much time they spent tied down to their cubicle?  If they are only in the office 2 hrs a day, but they nailed their goals, isn't that a success?  Maybe they work best outside the office?

With the advancement of technology, I'd say the "office" is almost obsolete... but that's a post for another day.


Monday, October 4, 2010

A Little Bit Of Country

Yesterday Crystal and I decided to try out this "date your family" thing our church was trying.

(Granted it was easier for us because our "family" is the 2 of us)

We decided to go to Rounds Ranch and try the corn maze. Crystal had done it in the past with a friend and wanted to try it again with someone new. (me!)

We elected to try and find all 12 stations in the maze before attempting to find our route to the exit. After about 25 minutes of wandering Crystal "accidentally" led us to the exit.

(I think she wanted to prove to me that she is an amazing navigator.)

Having solved the maze, we ventured back in searching for the clues we managed to miss on our first pass.

We were moderately successful, finding 11 of the 12 clues. We decided not to go through the maze for a THIRD time and headed out of the maize.

There was lots to do (if you're a kid) including a haunted house, wagon ride, pumpkin patch, obstacle course and corn cannon. Seeing as we were one of the only couples there without kids, we thought going to the kids activities might be a bit creepy awkward uncomfortable inappropriate... we decided not to do it.

We did however take a ride on the bucking bull.

It was a fun afternoon on a beautiful day. I liked "date afternoon." And we'll be sure to visit Rounds Ranch again once we have kids, then I can play on the kiddie rides!

Friday, October 1, 2010


I grew up in a large church in Mississauga. One church, one location, one building.

I now attend a mid-size church with 2 campuses, Barrie & Orillia. One church, 2 locations, no building.

Which the "right way" to do church? I don't know. I have enjoyed both, I have been frustrated with both.

I'm not a fan of James MacDonald or Mark Driscoll, and I don't know who the other guy is, but I found this video interesting.

Multiple Sites: Yea or Nay? Dever, Driscoll, and MacDonald Vote