Dan’s Online Diary 

# 31.12.03 by Dan
Had dinner with Nathan and Sarah last night. It was a great time of great food and great fellowship.
I set up networking between their two PCs. Not sure if it was a good idea, since they mentioned not getting any sleep due to long games of Age of Empires. Ah well....

Apple Japan
You have to see this.
The video takes a wee while to download, but its worth the wait.

For some strange and obscure reason, whenever I hear a Gomez track, Benicio del Toro always pops into my head.
His site is quite sweet.

For Tomorrow
All is quiet on New Year's Day
A world in white gets underway
And I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day

I will be with you again
I will be with you again

Under a blood-red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few,
The newspapers say, say, say it's true
And we can break through,
Though torn in two, we can be one

I will begin again, I will begin again
Oh and maybe the time is right
Oh maybe tonight

I will be with you again
I will be with you again

And so we are told this is the golden age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage
Though I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's day

# 30.12.03 by Dan
I cannot make custard.
If I make it in the microwave oven, it never thickens.
If I make it in a pot on the stove, it burns.
I have resigned myself to the fact that i just cannot make custard.

Tha Japan Cru
The Japan team is back. (incl. scotty and anna)

The Return Of The King
I think that the king returned very well.
Possibly better than the two towering and the fellowshipping that went on before.
Excellent-most computer graphicness. The Elephants were simply awesome, as was Legolas's single-handed Elephant neutralising skill.

The Soren Larsen...
... is a very cool ship. Went out sailing for a few hours on the 27th. Here is some more info.

# 25.12.03 by Dan
Its Christmas morning. Michelle has gone to work. In 15 minutes I'm going round to Mum and Dad's. Its church, then a big family lunch over in Devonport.

Hope you all have a joyous day, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
May God's richest blessings be with you all.

# 24.12.03 by Dan
I'm not sure I'll get a chance to wish you all a merry Christmas tomorrow, so here, you all have a merry Christmas tomorrow, from today.

Yay - my iStockphoto.com application has been accepted. I've uploaded some images and am just waiting for them to be approved.
Photos are grouse - everyone should have them.

# 23.12.03 by Dan
Alana Macp is now writing a letter to the world.

I am feeling decidedly un-christmassy. I don't know what it is. But there doesn't have to be a reason. Anyway.

I done got me some photos 'published' at stock.xchng.
I'm still waiting for upload approval at iStockphoto.com. There is money to be made there - US$0.10 per download.

# 22.12.03 by Dan
Jack Campbell was a high-flying bachelor whose business deals involved moving billions of dollars - he had the best office, a luxurious New York apartment, a Ferrari, and any girl he wanted. He moved in circles where, beyond business, relationships consisted of meaningless banter, and passing comments.
One day, however, he wakes up in suburbia, a tyre salesman, with two kids and a minivan, married to the girlfriend he left 13 years ago. A parallel life of what could have been.
Jack comes to love this life, and so when the 'glimpse' of what might have been is gone and he is taken back to his real life - I cry.

Jack's life revolved around his company - making money - and he presumed that everyone else felt the same - keeping his employees busy with a crucial business deal on Christmas Eve, telling them that this was more important than their families.
He saw families and serious relationships as a burden and a weakness.
But after his glimpse, when he returns to his bachelor life, he mourns for his family that could have been. And he sees the admirable qualities in others that go beyond his own desires for the success of his company and therefore himself.

You may have seen the movie - it screened on television last night - Nicholas Cage as "The Family Man".

As anything should, it made me think.

We are not individuals. No way.
The concept of individuality has been hammered into our souls, but like a square peg into a round hole - it doesn't fit.
I recently read somewhere that it has only been since the invention of the printing press that people have begun to consider themselves as individuals. Prior to this, one was always considered as a part of a whole, as a member of a family, the church, a guild etc.
But now, with the hurricane of human rights hitting us head-on everywhere we turn, it is every man for himself.
What is best for you?
What makes you feel good?
Where will you be in 10 years?
What do you have to show for your efforts?

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent."
-- John Donne

Being a human being is not about being oneself, even if you're really good at it. Our meaning and purpose can really only be realised in the context of community - ongoing interaction with others.

The realisation of the importance of our relationships with others produces a reaction such as we see in Jack Campbell, when, after he is returned to his proper life, he goes looking for his old girlfriend, with the desire to start what they should have started 13 years earlier, and with the potential outcome as per the temporary experience he recently lived through. This response is excellent and good, and the movie provokes this response in those who view it - that is the point of the movie, I believe. We can feel the desire to be a part of something that is bigger than our own individual lives.

But ultimately it still means nothing - you are born alone(unless you're a twin) and you die alone. Why bother with all the effort if even our relationships die and are forgotten with our passing?
In reality you cannot get past this futility and find any meaning in life without looking beyond our life times - with an eternal perspective.

We are born with eternity in our hearts.
How do we know this?
- by nature, we are afraid of death. The desire to preserve one's self is very strong indeed. This is a fear of the unknown - we know in our hearts that there is more to death than simply rotting away in a grave. If it were that simple, all too many of us would welcome death as a huge relief. But yet we do not, and are afraid.
- mankind has invented religion. What is the point in seeking out anything beyond ourselves if it indeed does not exist? Where does this desire for eternal security come from?

We have within us, from birth, an inherent ability to relate with others. This is due to the fact that we are created in the image of One who also desires relationships.
Also, because the image in which we are created, we have eternity set in our hearts.

We automatically develop a relationship with every single person with whom we interact - even if it is but a single brief encounter. Good relationships develop through good experiences shared, while bad relationships develop through conflict between the two.

In my thoughts, it comes down to this. God has created us, with the ability and desire to relate, and with an eternal perspective. Since he has created us, we are automatically in a relationship with Him, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.
Sin, however, is also inherent in us from birth, a legacy left for us by our first parents, as a result of their disobedience to their(our) Creator. This sin afflicts every aspect of our being, and causes us to respond, by default, in any way that is in opposition to our Creator. So you see, this develops into a bad relationship with God.
This presents us with two problems:
1. God is Holy (ie: without sin) and we cannot be restored into a right relationship with Him while there is even a speck of sin in our lives. There is nothing we can do of our own accord or effort to restore this relationship while we are sinful.
2. God is just, and, according to His nature, must exact punishment for sin. Payment must be made.

What is simply incredible is that God continues to honour His relationship with us. He has provided the perfect solution to the problems above. He sent His only Son to live here on earth among us, and to die.
Problem 1 is resolved, because His Son, Jesus Christ, lived as no man could - without sin. And that sinless life is given to us, that we might be clothed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before His throne on the last day (you all know it is coming - because you all know there is more after death).
Problem 2 is resolved, as, in the death of His Son upon the cross, God placed all the punishment for our sins on His shoulders, as the ultimate, once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins.
But the grave could not hold Him, and he rose again, three days after His crucifixion, having conquered the powers of both sin, and death.
And our Creator, God, calls us His children - His adopted co-heirs with His son, Jesus Christ. We are His holy people, His church - in the fullest sense, members of the body of Christ.
Where is the individuality, apart form the fact that He loves each and every one of His people?
So - our mission and purpose is now clear - we live to honour Him who has saved us. Our chief purpose is to exalt Him and enjoy Him for ever - in a perfect and eternal relationship.

But more specifically, how do we accomplish this?
Through service.
We must serve one another in love, even unto death, as per the example of the perfect life of Christ.
Discipling others, through service, into a relationship with Him who loves us.

This is what we are called to do, and in this context will we experience the true joy, peace and eternal happiness that we are all seeking after.

Forget about yourself, you can't save yourself. If you work for your own ends, you will be left to die with nothing, cut off from all that is good for the remainder of eternity.
Work then as the united body of Christ, for the purposes of the Lord, in loving, self-sacrificing relationships of service will you store up treasure in the eternal domain - treasure of value unprecedented here on earth.
Every moment counts.

# 19.12.03 by Dan
I've been snapping lots and lots.
I've applied to istockphoto.com to upload photos there - I can make ten cents each time someone downloads one of my images.

More Bloggingness
Alana inadvertantly won my webby/graphicy designingness skills at an auction the other day, and so has commissioned me to design a blog for her to use whilst she is over in Australia next year! Awesome - I love it!

# 17.12.03 by Dan
Canon s50 in the house!
I bit the bullet and went into etown.co.nz (Queen's Arcade in town) and purchased one of Canon's finest digital photography products - the illustrious Canon s50. Five megapixels like you just wouldn't believe - in RAW format (uncompressed) an image makes a 30MB file.

We have a summer photography competition at work - the winner wins a digital camera (if they use a conventional camera) or a mystery trip away for two (if they use a digital camera), plus their winning photo gets added to the marketing department's image library.
We have two factions in our IT department - those with Canon digital cameras (two s45's and two s50's) and those with Sonys - so the competition will be lively.
I love taking photos - I'll have to upload some for your perusal.

# 15.12.03 by Dan
I love/hate bookstores.
Love, because there is such a high concentration of information(whether it be useful information or otherwise) compared to most other places.
Hate, or rather frustration, because I know I'll never be able to read a fraction of all the books present. And even if I could read all the books, the amount of parsed information that I would actually retain, having read them all, would be but a mere fraction of the total.

... are not working or are gone. I hope they come back.

# 13.12.03 by Dan
Work Christmas party tonight. Free food and fizzy stuff.

The end of this year has found me decided cynical toward anything typically christmassy.
My 'automatic speech-assist word replacement utility'™ has been replacing all instances of the name 'Santa' with its more correct anagram, 'Satan'.
The insane amount of tinsel, stress and revenue that is generated at this time of year is ridculous.
Freakin' fat fellows in Coca-Cola costumes are sitting around in shopping malls to turn the hapless minds of poor disillusioned kids yet further from the true meaning of Christmas.

Why don't you all forget about the cheap toys that are broken and/or forgotten within weeks? Forget about the gluttony and grogging that gags the will and the mind.

Relax, flag the stupid shopping and have a wee bit of a think.
'Christ'mas is the time of year when we remember the birth of Christ. He who was without sin came into the world, to live a perfect life, and to become sin for us - suffering the punishment for our sins - separation from His loving Father.
His perfect life He offers to us, as a gift, that we might be clothed in His righteousness on that day when we all, each and every single last one of us, must stand before a Holy God and give account of our lives.

What are you going to have to say for yourself? Huh? ....just what are you going to say to Him?
'Well, I've been a been a pretty good person, and..' - nup - doesn't cut it.
'Well, I haven't killed anyone..' - no - sorry.
'I've kept the ten commandments...' - no you haven't, liar.

Unless you are clothed in the righteousness of Christ - a gift you have accepted from Him only - God will see only the sin staining your life completely, and will have no choice according to His justice and holiness than to cast you from His prescence for all of eternity.
'Hell' is not just a big pissup with all your mates and without some goody-two-shoes there to tell you that what you are doing is wrong. 'Hell' is separation from every single thing that is good - friends, family, tenderness, compassion, mercy, love, beer etc - the list goes on - for eternity.

If you don't have one already - get a life!!!!
Not your own life, but the perfect life of Christ.

So - when you grasp the true meaning of Christmas, the fat guys, the fruitcake, the frantic shopping stress, the barbeques, sun, sand and surf(in the southern hemisphere, anyway) all fade into pitiful insignificance.
First, get a life, and then you'll truly be able to enjoy the blessings of this life here on earth.


# 12.12.03 by Dan
'punter' is a stupidly-used word.
A punt is the indentation in the bottom of a wine bottle.
A punt is also a small flat-bottomed boat - so a punter is the person on the punt doing the punting.
Oh, yeah, and a punter is also 'one who gambles'.
So the term 'random punter' could have all sorts of assorted meanings, none of which actually mean what 'random punter' is intended to mean in its most common use.

...looks so good it's tempting to actually fork out some dosh for it.

# 11.12.03 by Dan
I had a think, and realised that one can really only learn through mistakes that are made in ignorance. If you intentional make a bad decision, knowing full well that it will produce a negative or undesirable outcome, then you're not going to learn from it.
But even then, mistakes made in ignorance can only be learned from if one is consciously aware of the outcome of their decision, and is able to determine whether the outcome is in fact good or bad.

About the only thing we can learn from repeated intentional mistakes, and this is a fact we may not become aware of for quite some time, is that God is faithful to us, even when we are not faithful to Him.

# 10.12.03 by Dan
This is a tragic tale.
So much could be said.
Broken and/or unconventional families are fast becoming the norm, and yet the evidence of their destructive influences on the lives of children is continually being ignored by a government who simply throws more money into picking up the pieces..
We are governed by head-in-the-clouds politicians who seem so isolated from the truth, clinging to their 'ideals', as a hapless person clings to a tree branch in the midst of a violent tornado, eyes closed, imagining they're tucked up comfy-like in a big armchair in front of a warm fire.
Countless studies(I hate 'studies' and 'statistics', to tell the truth, but anyway...) show that a child develops best when their parents are their biological parents, and are living together as a married husband and wife.
Ah well... what can we do?

Happy Birthday Doom
Doom turns 10 today. Many happy returns.

# 8.12.03 by Dan
What is it about stupid kids that makes them think they know better than you?
How can they think that those with more experience them are so blind?
It defies logic.
As a teenager, I bemoaned the loving discipline of my parents, only to discover later that they had always been right and reasonable.
I wasted thousands of dollars on cars (and parts for cars), stereos and other such stuff that rusts and gets eaten by moths, before I realised what was really important.
I'm 26 years old, have been through two serious-type serious relationships, and am nearly four years into a marriage that has already survived an affair.
Admittedly, I am still young myself, and my experience is far from complete, but why do these kids not listen to me??

There is a slight possibility that 'these kids' may read this, and if you do, you'll know who you are.
Stop being dumb-asses.
Stop playing with fire.
Invest your time and effort in things that actually matter. Things that will build you up, not tear you down. Things that will bring you deep-seated joy, not fleeting pleasure followed by regretful pain. Things that help and encourage others, not things that distract others and cause them to stumble.

If you don't know what those things are, then ask me, and I'll be more than happy to tell you.

Finding Forrester
Watched 'Finding Forrester' last night. I really liked the movie, but I don't know why.
I'd like to write. But this blog is as close as I get. I don't know diddley-squat when it comes to literary stuff. I have some poems done written - they're littered sparsely throughout this blog, but yeah.... <looks away pensively>

Student Loans Moan
This is ridiculous.
Next thing you know the student loan scheme will be targeted for discrimination against people whose hair grows faster than average, since they can't pay their loan back as quickly because more of their income is spent on haircuts.
And are they discriminating against older people, since they have less earning years of their life remaining with which to repay their loan?
The world is going freakin insane!

This is perfect.

# 5.12.03 by Dan
Dan's Online Diary is now the 'empire'.

More marketing guff to follow.......

# 4.12.03 by Dan
Watched Bruce Almighty last night. I was nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated it would be. In fact, I'd almost go as far as suggesting you get it out and watch it.
I could say a bit more about it, but don't want to spoil it for you. It contains some very real truths.

# 2.12.03 by Dan
I am most ill, but I'm still at work.

Hotmail has had a facelift, if you didn't notice.

huffer is cool, if you didn't notice.

Well, thats about the extent of it for today.

# 1.12.03 by Dan
This is good to see.

I was at Botany 'town centre' yesterday, and I commented to Michelle that it all seems a little fake. Sure the shops are real enough, but it is a bit rich to call it a 'town centre'.
What would make it authentic, however, would be to have the retail stores as they are, but with apartments above them.
This is a popular configuration found in many other countries, such as Singapore, parts of Europe etc, and I really think it would enhance the atmosphere of the place.
And to top it all off, after our visit to Botany, we went back to Michelle's parents place where I read Saturday's NZ Herald and found a letter to the editor suggesting the exact same thing.
Great minds...