Monday, May 29, 2006

Monday Webcomics

It's Monday, and that means that there is a new comic up at the St. Margaret's youth webpage. This week, it is courtesy of Elliot gave me a new "Paul and Jan" comic.

While we're on the subject of webcomics, Sinfest has had a few quite interesting and funny comics lately, and Sam and Fuzzy has been one of my favourites for a while now.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I swear I'm not making this up

My mother visited Winnipeg for a few days recently, on her way home from visiting her new granddaughter.

It was nice to see her, and it was nice to be able to show her our life.

One of the things she wanted to do while she was here was take a walk through the Winnipeg Art Gallery. So we went, on Wednesday evening. We got to the WAG at 8:00, and it closed at 9. We decided that it was still worth taking a walk through, even if it was only for an hour. My mom talked the clerk into giving us all student rates, since our visit was going to be so short. So far, so good.

We decided that we would start at the top, and work our way down. So we went to the roof, to look at the sculpture garden. Honestly, it was a little disappointing. We walked around for a bit, but the sculptures were actually few and far between, so we decided to move down to the Gallery level, to look at some paintings.

The door wouldn't open.

This must be a mistake. I thought. We must be pulling instead of pushing, or something. So we pulled, and pushed, and twisted, and banged on the walls. Nothing. The door was securely locked. We were trapped on the roof of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The walls were high, the fall was long, and my mother is not as young as she once was. We couldn't jump off. We found the fire exit, and peered through the door at what we guessed was our best hope: a long dimly lit staircase behind the gallery. At each floor we tried the door, but to no avail. Our situation had not improved in any measurable way. We were now trapped in a stairway instead of on a roof. When we got to the bottom of the stairs, we found a door with a sign which informed us that an alarm would sound if the door were opened, and the fire department would be called. We considered our options. It was 8:30 by this time, and we knew that if the fire department was called, we would see no art. If, on the other hand, we could find a way out without sounding an alarm, at least we would still get half an hour of gallery touring.

I left my wife and mother trapped together in a stairwell and ran back to the roof to give one last ditch effort on every door I could find. I found the door to a restaurant on the top floor of the WAG, and found to my delight that it was unlocked.

As I opened the door I heard a strange beeping sound. And then a loud wailing sound. The door was not locked, but it did have an alarm, and instead of the fire department, the police were now on their way. I hurried down to the front desk, and told the clerk and the security officer:

"We were on the roof in the sculpture garden, and the doors were locked. My wife and mother are now trapped together in a fire escape, and when I opened the only door I found unlocked, an alarm started to go off."

It took a bit of explaining to make it clear that there were two issues that required immediate attention. 1) The alarm, and the police would soon be responding to it, and 2) My wife and mother trapped in fire escape.

The security guard took me back to the roof, disabled the alarm, and followed me back down the fire escape to where Jan and my mom were waiting in silent hope.

We got out, and my mother expressed her disatisfaction to the clerk, who gave us some free family passes!

Anyone want to check out the Marvel Comics exibit with us?

I think she looks like Yoda

As promised, I have pictures of my new niece.

She's adorable. I can't wait to see her in person!

Say hello to Freda Margaret Hope.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Jews and Judaism

I'm reading a book called The Gospel According to Moses. So far it is quite good. It's simultaniously a defence of Christianity in the light of the Jewish Scriptures, a defence of Judaism to Christians, and an attempt at building fellowship between Christians and Jews.

Some historical Christians have claimed that in failing to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the Jews have lost their special place in God's favour, but Jesus himself said "everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." (Luke 12:10) Jews, who do not acknowledge Jesus but who DO acknowledge the Holy Spirit of God have clearly and explicitly NOT lost their place with God. The Apostle Paul says "All Israel will be saved, as it is written: 'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob'" (Romans 11:26)

I have become convinced lately that most Christians (at least, myself and most of the Christians I know) are insufficiently knowledgable and insufficiently respectful of Judaism. Jesus was a Jew. Christianity is Jewish. Although it is true (as the apostle Paul repeatedly points out) that Christians believe that through Jesus the law has been fulfilled, and God's grace has been extended to all people, and that the cultural trappings of Judaism are not necessary for salvation, yet it is also true that the roots of Christianity are in Judaism, that the God Christians worship in the Jewish God, that the promises of God to his chosen people have not been anulled simply because they have been widened, and that Christians impovrish ourselves spiritually by ignoring the vast depth of Jewish commentary, thought, insight, tradition and faith.

So for myself, I intend to study the Talmud, the history of Israel and try to learn about God from Judaism. I think it will make me a better Christian.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Check it Out!

New comic at the St. Margaret's Youth webpage, and a promise of new comics every Monday.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

This is what I get for caring

The Ottawa Senators have been eliminated by the Buffalo Sabres.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Graffiti as Conversation

Sometimes the graffiti in Winnipeg is purely destructive, like spraypainted squiggles on a snowbank (yes, it has happened). Sometimes it is bizarre and mysterious, like "Murder Capital" and "Stand Tall", and "Baby Mama" stenciled around the city. Sometimes it is affirming and even sweet, like the various "I love you"s found throughout the city, not to mention "Forgive Her". Sometimes it is worth quoting for months, like "Sam Katz Eats Babies".

I like it when it is a conversation. There is a bus stop on the walk from church to home where someone wrote "Hang Dykes", and someone else wrote "... and homophobes." Although I can't say I approve of violence, it's neat to see conversations carried out anonymously, over months.

There's a traffic box that had "Happy is a choice" written on it for months. Eventually someone wrote "Directions please" underneath it. A few weeks after that, a third person added directions to the nearest church.

I think that's cool.

Sam Katz eats babies.

With my Own Two Hands

I can change the world
With my own two hands
I can make it a better place
With my own two hands
Make it a kinder place
With my own two hands
With my own, with my own two hands.

I can make peace on earth
With my own two hands
I can clean up the earth
With my own two hands
I can reach out to you
With my own two hands
With my own, with my own to hands

I'm gonna make it a brighter place
With my own two hands
I'm gonna make it a safer place
With my own two hands
I'm gonna help the human race
With my own two hands
With my own, with my own two hands

I can hold you
With my own two hands
I can comfort you
With my own two hands
But you've got to use
Use your own two hands
Use your own, use your own two hands
-Ben Harper

Monday, May 08, 2006


Cathy tells me: "You know that whole thing women say about how childbirth is so painful? Lies. It was a snap. She just popped right out. But don't spread that around. We have to keep the secret."

Does posting it on my blog count as spreading it around? I'll ask her.


I got a phone call today.

My sister Cathy had her baby.

My new niece is named "Freida". She was eight pounds, and had lots of black hair. I'll post a picture when I get one, but just for comparison, here's the "before" picture.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

You learn something new every day

I made an announcement in church today.

After the service, someone came up to Jan and said "I didn't know Paul was funny!"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

That was totally intense

Friday was the first Ottawa/Buffalo game of this series. It was crazy. Both teams were scoring like it was going out of style. It ended up 7/6 for Buffalo, a few seconds into overtime. Wow.

I'm sad that Ottawa is down by one game, but still. That was a pretty freaking impressive game.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What's up in the Blogosphere?

After a brief hiatus on account of moving, AMP has returned to the land of the blogging.

Jan's not having fun searching for a new home, and neither am I.

Elliot gets a comeuppance, and responds with maturity and humility.

Chris has trouble imagining his next trip to Mexico, after certain Mexican laws are changed.

And Diedre is sick. As she tells is in more detail than I cared to know. Why oh why didn't I heed her disclaimer?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Best of Winnipeg

Uptown Magazine's latest issue has a supplement which lists the best of Winnipeg, according to Uptown's readers. It's a pretty comprehensive list. Jan and I both voted back when the survey was being given out, firstly because we occasionally read uptown (it's FREE!), and secondly because we both love surveys (the Canada Census was VERY exciting).

Some of the winners were pretty predictable (529 Wellington as Best Fine Dining) and some were downright shocking (The Keg as third Best Fine Dining?). I have a few bones to pick.

Tim Hortons won Best Coffee Shop, just narrowly edging out The Fyxx. Now I know Tim Hortons is a Canadian icon, a Canadian institution, a Canadian hallmark. And maybe their coffee is good (I'm not really much for coffee). And maybe some of their baked goods are still delicious (although I'm pretty cheesed that they've stopped cooking their donuts fresh). But seriously, the service sucks. Their staff are almost as surly and clueless as Superstore's. The Fyxx is also Canadian. I'll do you one better--it's a Winnipeg-owned chain! They serve good coffee (even I like it) and the staff don't look like their managers torture them whenever no one is looking.

Smitty's won Best Wings, beating out Carlos and Murphy's. I remember Smitty's being called something that rhymes with its name. Carlos and Murphy's have the best wings I've ever tasted.

Best Used Bookstore went to Red River. Ugh. That place gets my vote for worst used bookstore in Winnipeg. Okay, it wins points for being big. But it's terribly organized, the books are stacked to the ceiling so that you can't even take then out half of the time, the staff are rude and don't know what they stock, the owner is ruder, and it FULL of PORN! They probably have more porn than all their other books combined. Yech.

I'm not even exaggerating.

I think that it is literally the coldest day in the history of Winnipeg. Jan and I walked home from Portage, and it was freezing. I think I'm literally frozen solid. I literally can't remember ever being this cold. Ever.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is this really all there is?

The Internet is a disappointment, frankly.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for a honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
-W.B. Yeats

I don't know how this happened

Jan and I have been watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

We didn't mean to. It just... happened. It all started by flipping to an Ottawa game during the commercials of... something. I don't remember what now.

I was born in Ottawa. I grew up there (for a while at least). I like Ottawa. And Ottawa was doing well. I found myself interested in the outcome of the game. When Ottawa looked like they were going to score, I was happy, and when Tampa Bay looked like they were going to score, I was sad.

Why the heck does Tampa Bay have a hockey team anyway? Nothing against Tampa, my mom is from Tampa, but seriously! They don't even have snow there!

The Senators WIPED THE FLOOR with the Lightning. It was 4 to 1. I looked up how the other Canadian teams were doing, and Montreal is also in the playoffs, and so are Edmonton and Calgary. And then I actually made a point of watching the next game. And the next one. And the next one.

Tonight I came in to a Detroit/Edmonton game in the third period, and the Oilers were down by two. It looked bad, but then the Oilers pulled it out from nowhere to come away with a 4-3 win, and moving on to the semi-finals. It was tense, and we CHEERED when the Oilers got that fourth goal.

So I'm watching hockey. And I'm rooting for Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary. In that order. I just had to get that off my chest.