Dan’s Online Diary 

# 27.6.03 by Dan
I write about stuff, I write about things and I write about places, I write about good times, and I write about bad times, I even write about me sometimes.
But I fail to write about the most important things - firstly God, and the things of Him, and a most important second - people.
Why I have skirted these issues is perhaps akin to the fact that my classical thinking processes are not comfortable dealing with that which is not rational, logical, and tangible. But I don't know. I've never felt a specific dislike for the irrational, emotional, arty side of things, as I see the evaluation of that which is presently inexplicable as a challenge. A challenge to make these issues of inexplicabilty fit a(my) rational thought process without attempting to reduce them to a system of complex, yet rational and logical nodes of thought. So I dunno. Anyway...
Every single person is a universe of intrigue, mystery, surprise and wonder. I went up to level 25 to see a fellow who logged a job with our helpdesk. His email and calendar entries had disappeared (all but 7 of them). I've seen this fellow around before, but haven't introduced myself, or had any opportunity to interact with him. He is 50ish, and he's an uncle. Not my uncle, but if I conjour up the image of an uncle in my mind, this guy is it. Maybe he does remind me a little of one of my uncles, but anyway.
He has rather bushy eyebrows, and what is perhaps one of his more grabbing(not quite 'striking') features, is his choice of spectacles. They aren't at all outrageous, or anything special, but the frames do have very straight top edges, accentuating the bushy eyebrows, giving him a distinct air of severity. I really wonder if these initial outward appearances are a true reflection of a person's self, or whether they are red-herrings, serving only to make interaction with a person more of a challenge - something requiring effort, which is in turn rewarded. A smoker, is this chap, which adds to his character - how it does so would be a whole nother chapter - but I think it might tend to fit with the 'air of severity'. Yet despite the slight edginess that this presents, he is an apporachable chap, with a nice warm unhurried voice.
I could keep on describing him from a purely objective point-of-view, but the real person is more fully revealed when we examine a given scenario where one can interact with this person.
I fixed his problem quickly and simply, copying back the missing messages and calendar entries from a local replica of his mail file. He was grateful, and was pleasantly surprised that it took so little time and effort to resolve. He did, however, ask what might have caused the messages to disappear. Most users are simply happy to have their problem solved, and aren't interested in the guts of it. But the occasional user thinks enough to realise that if they understood the problem, then perhaps they could prevent it from happening in the future. But another reason for this inquisitiveness - which could quite possibly apply in this case - is that people are worried that the problem was caused something that they have done, and want to be reassured that it wasn't - that its a known bug in 'the system', and that they couldn't possibly have instigated it themselves, even unwittingly. I have had three and a half years experience working with Lotus Notes, and I have not, if recollection serves me rightly, encountered a case of 'dissappearing messages' where user error has not been the cause. Now, to share this information with our 'uncle' here would indeed be truthful, for it would be the most correct answer to his question. But I can see that revelation of this fact, and the subsequent implication that it was in fact him that had caused the problem, would be unhelpful. The whole reason he asked me what might have caused the problem could be that he himself may suspect it was user error, but wants assurance that it was, in fact, 'the system' itself - so that he might maintain his confidence in working with 'the system'. Telling him it was user error would diminish his confidence in 'the system', which might lead to further errors being made. Lots of 'if's, 'but's and 'maybe's here, but what I am driving at is that in order for him to sign off the experience on a positive note, he needs to be told it wasn't his fault. This means I have to be 'creative' with the truth. I don't want to admit to him that I don't know what the problem is, for that would lower his confidence in my ability(and the rest of my team) to diagnose and resolve problems with 'the system', and hence confidence in 'the system' itself would wane. So I have to blame 'the system' itself, which may not be an outright lie, for the 'user-unfriendliness' may have presented more opportunity for user error, but at the same time, is not the specific truth. Even though blaming 'the system' makes 'the system' look bad, this response does not in any way reflect on the ability of either myself, or himself, to manage 'the system', despite its faults. So, everybody is happy - uncle and 'the system' are at peace. But am I at peace. I'm semi-uncomfortable with the fact that I was not specifically truthful. I didn't tell him that I was %80 sure it was user error, which is what I believe and am telling myself. So what do I do? and does it really matter?

[Bumper Sticker]
'My boss is a Jewish Carpenter' - seen on the back of a van, Southern Motorway, this morning.

# 27.6.03 by Dan
[You Guys...]
You guys rock - take a look at this and you will see that all y'all been busy browsing my blog. Thanks guys!

[The Hulk]
Just been to see The Hulk. I loved it - it was better than I had expected - excellent cinematography, appropriate storyline - decent length, (none of that MIBII 'I'm-just-a-long-trailer' 80 min short feature rubbish). I'd love to tell you more, but I don't wanna spoil it. 'The League of Extraordainary Gentleman' looks like a good flick too. I quite like these 'I-was-once-an-cool-comic-strip-but-look-at-me-now-I'm-an-awesome-movie' thingies, like X-Men and Spiderman and stuff like that.

[The Weather]
I know, I know - can't think of anything else to talk about, so bring up the weather. Well - three words for the current weather : Cold, cold, and cold. It really is that cold.

'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' - Robert Pirsig.
This book is truly awesome. I'm not a big reader, in that I hardly read much at all, so I've not read much in the way of modern classics, or any classics, for that matter. But I must say this book is quite unlike anything I have read before. Its totally hard to explain - you'll have to read it yourself. You won't be disappointed, I promise. I'd say more, but I don't want to be a spoiler. Here's one of my favourite bits for you read, anyway :
You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness.
Its just choice. I expect you to all read it this week, and write me a 2000 word essay on anything you like and you won't be graded on it.

Anyway - gotta catch some Zzzzs (not the Coach)

# 25.6.03 by Dan
[Are they trying to kill us?]
This makes me mad. They're driving this country off a cliff. I wanna hop in the Alfa, head down to that stupid beehive (which isn't even properly round) and bang some heads together. Or just move overseas and never come back - leave this country to those blinking meddlers that bleed us dry only to feed the sinful desires of the voters.
No decency, no respect for their fellow man, no moral foundation - these people are by no means fit to be running our country - besides, I sure as heck didn't vote for them.
Quite frankly, and as eloquently as I can manage right now, 'You 60 MPs suck'.

[Paging Alana "its my 21st soon" Banana]
Its on the link bar to your right, under 'fun:'. Or you could click here.
Or even here.

# 24.6.03 by Dan
[Added Stuff]
Added some stuff down the bottom of the link bar. Check check it out.

[Working Late]
I like working late (as I am doing right now). There is something cool about being the only one around, with the windows all black - seeing only the lights of the city. With the background noise of the air conditioning giving a comforting atmosphere. I dunno - maybe I'm just weiord.

# 22.6.03 by Dan
...is what having a blog is all about. I love having a blog.

[Christchurch Report]
My time in Christchurch was awesome. Went straight from the airport to the office, and posted a blog entry (see previous posting). Unpacked a server, a switch, and a UPS and assembled them ready for installation on Saturday morning. Then I met up with Nato and Dan M and went to a Thai restaurant called 'Thai Thai' (you can't get much more thai than that.) The food was plenty and cheap and rather authentic. You could not go to a Thai restaurant in Auckland and get more than enough food(ie: we couldn't eat it all) for three people for only $22. No way. Talked about the ethics of killing people, not murder, just straight killing. We also found entertainment in the accents of the groups of Americans sitting at an adjacent table. Sorry if you're American, but your accents are cool and funny.
Christchurch has a bus terminal that is more better than some airport terminals I have seen. You sit in a departure lounge, the arriving bus is annouced, and you are directed to the appropriate 'gate' to board your bus. Works really well, and it looks nice too. Sarah J has much more fun and adventure on her bus trips than I do, so I'll simply leave it at - 'We caught the bus to Nathan's place'. I caught up wih the members of Nato's family that I already know, and met for the first time the ones that I didn't know. Nato gave us a good bit of a fire-staff display, with John getting a bit of practice in too. I didn't want to set fire to my clothes, and I wasn't prepared to take them off just to burn myself. But fire is seriously the coolest stuff. I mean what exactly is it? Its just a chemical process that converts fuelish stuff into heat and light - in the coolest way possible. And Matt's apple cider was good..... once he'd managed to get the lid off of it.
Went to work the next morning(Saturday), and got it all done by about 2pm, so I hung out with Kris and Louise unitl I had to fly back to Auckland. It was good to catch up with them again. We went to a local pub for a kinda late lunchy thing (corn fritters with bac0n and avocado), and then we went back to their place. Kris tried to set up Shine TV, but the new aerial splitter split, so the venture was unsuccessful. Kris and Louise are cool - they are the sort of people who, despite having not seen them for months and months, you can just pick straight back up where you left off last time with them. Cora and Amy are growing up, and their third is on the way :)

[Church Newsletter]
Well, its 02:20 on Sunday morning now, and I'm just finishing off the church newsletter. Tomorrow is a big day for the church. Muffy is getting baptised, Carl and Muffy are being accepted into membership, its a communion service, and to top it all off, we're having a shared lunch after the service to commemorate the 2nd birthday of our church. Its all on, I tell you. I am so tired, part of the reason its so late(time, that is), is that I kept falling asleep at the keyboard whilst typing up the hymns. Shocking.

I need a haircut. Or an audition with Oasis.

I are very tired. Photocopying nearly done - just 20 minutes of folding, and then home to bed. Yay - church tomorrow!

# 20.6.03 by Dan
Well, here I am in Christchurch - it really is a lovely city. This is the first non-Auckland post in my blog. Verily - a milestone. Since I came straight from the airport ot the office, I haven't got much to report, but we'll provide you with more details as they come to hand.

I am gutted - it is going to cost US$105 simply for shipping, for a US$25 hoodie. I had to check that I'd only ordered one, and not a whole container load of them. So - its been called off - no Blogger hoodie. Argh.... such bitter disappointment.

As I have previously lamented, I need to post more links. And in a similar vein, I have received record hits from people searching for 'I will never, ever, ever write a song about sibbie'. And still plenty of 'Hey Steve' hits. Homestarrunner makes my site look popular - I like it.

Must away - 'ere end of day.

# 17.6.03 by Dan
All I seem to talk about is dinner, it seems. Mark Tasker cooked up some mighty tasty butter chicken tonight. Followed by chocolate pudding..... Mmmm. Discussion revolved around cars (considerable focus on Alfas(me) and Subarus(Mark and Malcolm), motorbikes and Japanese warships. Also discovered that a blank video (ie: one that has never had anything recorded on it) will not pick up the counter, and will, of course, not track properly. I should have expected this, but I'd never played a completely blank video tape before.

I'm flying down to Christchurch on Friday afternoon to upgrade a Lotus Notes server in our Christchurch office on Saturday. Hopefully I will have all the preparation done on Friday and it will all go ultra smooth on Saturday morning, so that I can fly back up in time for STEPS at 19:00. Which is at my place, so I kinda need to be there. Although I could give a key to Muffy and he could run the show. Or Corina. Or anyone, really. I'd like to have some time, maybe on friday night, to catch up with some people there - Nato, and maybe Kris and Louise.

I really couldn't think of another heading, so thought I'd just make up a miscellaneous heading that I could just ramble on a bit under. not that I've not got much to say. I did have a revelation today at lunch time, and I remember thinking - "I must blog that...' - but it has slipped my mind..... and i think it was something good too. Maybe I'll go home and go to bed. And the headache is still with me today - although it did move to the other side of my head just after midday.

# 17.6.03 by Dan
grey dull day
greets grey dull ships
rain-hazed harbour
floats jagged silhouettes
killing machines quiet
lethal force stood down
single bird - wings folded
rests on deck - asleep
routine procedures
tedious in peace

but now my mind fills
stories from my boyhood
shattering sirens yank
frantic fervour from snap-woken soldiers
screaming sirens shove
boots on running to posts as icy arctic air nails through the warmest
shoulders against rests as sight swings to spot swooping stuka
lead leaps out against the sky
tracers plucking at wings and tail as diving birds disengage from deadly droppings
payload plunging past upper aerials - smashing superstructure
burrowing beneath decks to sit still - seconds stretching to seeming hours of time
before the blast erupts - shredding steel - concussion shattering order
magazine detonates - shells explode - gunner thrown
bones breaking as body tossed against bulkhead
inferno rises - flames fill the fearsome night
the screams of tearing hull as vessel collapses
the screams of tearing minds as the unthinkable is realised
the roar subsides but for the hiss of steam as ruptured engines bleed
the churning sea open - hungry devouring flesh and steel
but soon the bubbles are diminished as the bird flies on
peace once again but on the surface still a slick
to show where once a warrior stood

but out my window rests still these warriors
wild war a far-fetched figment from these fair days
but built for battle they be
their time shall arrive all too soon....

# 16.6.03 by Dan
I know - I'm a g33k - I bought one of these. Online. Possibly my first online purchase.
Actually, it is my second. I bought a workshop manual for my old Datsun 1200 online - once upon a time. I need new clothes - so its all good, really. I was going to buy a The Cheat hoodie, from the store at homestarrunner.com too, but they only have Super Extra Large, so I'll have to wait until they get new stock in September.

Possibly in line with my comment a few posts ago about killing people, I have recently been playing a bit more counter-strike. Its a multiplayer game, but can provide hours of solo entertainment if you use 'bots' - computer controlled players in a mulitplayer game. I'm getting more better, and am looking forward to the next time we can have a good bit of a LAN game again.

What do you do with a headache that won't go away? It has been tormenting me for 5 days now. Nurofen+ kinda helps temporarily, but it never quite seems to go away completely.

[Electricity Savings]
Much to my chagrin, I just discovered that I have have probably cancelled out the 10% saving we were all encouraged to reach on our power bill, by leaving the iron on for a few hours. Most upset. And I never even got started on the shirt I was going to iron. I am bad.

Remind me to write more poems.

# 14.6.03 by Dan
STEPS is a young adults study group that meets each Saturday evening. STEPS is an acronym, but I think everyone has forgotten what it actually stands for. Tonight we had a progressive dinner - food and fellowship work so well together. Had a really great time - discussing all sorts of things, blogging being one of them. Was able to share a request for prayer for Michelle, and for our marriage. It was good to pray as a group, and its good to know that others will continue to pray, even when myself and/or Michelle are unable/reluctant to, for whatever reasons.
A big thank you to everyone who has/is/will supported myself and Michelle at this time - we really do appreciate it. Really truly and deeply.

At STEPS, a couple of us fell into a discussion examining the fact that too many people don't think enough. We lamented the sad reality that far too many people willingly believe what they are told by others without first processing and evaluating the data for themselves. I think that as Christians, we should constantly be thinking, about our current actions, about the actions of others, about everything. Ignorance is not an excuse, nor is "Well, told me this so it must be true."
Our brains aren't just for keeping the inside of our heads from echoing. We need to be constantly evaluating, comparing, recalling, formulating, discarding, testing, creating, proving, improving the data that we receive, and transmit. We can't just be 'carriers' - be must be 'effectors'. We must make our own sound.

[For Anita]
Sorry - I was going to mention the chicken, and actually thought I had, but upon review of my post, it appears that the method by which the chicken was carved is not to be found at all.
Sorry about that.

Well, must complete the church newsletter for tomorrow - you all have a great Sabbath.

# 13.6.03 by Dan
[Artificial Intelligence]
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come to the forefront over the past few years, with movies like 'The Matrix'(and its sequel 'The Matrix : Reloaded'), and of course, AI. AI is an ever-present concept and technology in most sci-fi stories. But, I think the thing we have to realise is that even by its own definition, AI is not real intelligence at all. Machines can only do the things the are programmed to do. But then AI takes programming one step further, whereby machines can collect and manipulate data beyond that which has been explicitly defined. But even still, machines can only learn and adapt as they have been programmed to. Hence their intelligence is merely artifical - a virtual intelligence - an appearance of intelligence, and bounded entirely by the developer's specification.
Given the above - I don't think it is possible that a Matrixesque scenario could eventuate, for as with genetic life, AI stuff can work only with the information it already has inherant in it's code, and hence cannot evolve.
Just a thought prompted by mhjb's link to an article reporting that 'The Matrix : Reloaded" had been banned in Egypt for its religious overtones.

Had dinner at Hamish & Anita's last night. BBQ chicken - and potato. Good yummy stuff.
I must admit, there is no excuse why we don't share meals more often. This is like the second time I've ever had dinner with Hamish and Anita and we've seriously had plenty more opportunities, but it just one of those things that everyone really wants to do, and everyone really enjoys doing it, but it just never seems to happen. Perhaps we need to change that. There are plenty of people we could invite around for dinner.
fellowship + food = good times.
Played The Sims on PS2. I reckon its much more better than the PC version.

I know it has its own blog (I'm trying hard not to call it 'her'/'she'), but I just thought I'd make a more personal (as opposed to technical) comment about it. Despite the fact that it is incredibly thirsty, I really like the Alfa. Nice to drive, and... and... it handles well, and it corners well, and.. its nice to drive. Its kinda ugly, but that means it has more character. The heater doesn't work, but that only makes it cooler. Its black, so I can pretend to be sneaky at night, but the engine is clattery, so I don't need to use the horn, which doesn't work much anyway. So all in all its all good, y'all.

Some of you may have been astute enough to notice that there have been [Headings] both yesterday and today. I think these are good, in that you don't have to sift through all the stuff you're not interested in to get to the really good stuff. Also makes the layout look more better.
So thats it from me on headings. Over to <someone else (probably me again)> for the weather...

We've had crystal clear weather here in Auckland for days - not a cloud in the sky. This, combined with the fact that I've been getting to work at about 0645, has been conducive to the viewing of spectacular sunrises. Even as I speak type the sun is just peeking up over the end of North Head. How can anyone have a single doubt in their mind that there is no intelligent creator when there is a simply gigantic nuclear explosion just far enough away that we don't roast, and close enough that we don't freeze to death - but that it looks simply awesome, and just the way the atmosphere filters it makes it turn everything its light touches into something beautiful.

Well... best start my work day. lay-ihz.

# 12.6.03 by Dan
Lately I've been drinking this tea - its called something like 'Rooibos' Red Bush Vanilla tea - I love vanilla and this tea is just great.
I recommend you try it.

Had dinner at Pete and Jo's last night. Pete cooked up some Thai green curry chicken - it was top stuff. And he shared the secret of how to cook rice the most bestest way. You put the rice in the pot and fill it up so that the water comes up only about ten millimetres or so above the level of the rice. You then bring it to the boil, put the lid on turn off the heat and leave it. No drainage required, and no stickiness. I must try it one day. (maybe thats how everyone cooks rice? everyone except me...)

[Killing People]
We watched 'The Bourne Identity' after dinner, and had to pause it part way through to have a brief discussion. Both Pete and I commented that it would be very cool to be a Black Ops operative or a secret agent or the like. But I've felt bad about it, and I'd always written the idea off simply due to the fact that such a job would involve killing people. But then Pete brought up the fact that it isn't actually wrong to kill people. Where in the Bible does it actually say it is wrong to kill people? It is most certainly wrong to murder people, as we read in the ten commandments. But if we look at the definition of murder in the dictionary, it is defined as being unlawful, malicious, inhumane. But if you were employed by your government to dispose of certain targets, the act would no longer be unlawful, nor would it be carried out with malice, as more likely than not, you would have no personal connection with the target. Nor would it be essentially inhumane, for elimination of the target might indeed mean life or liberation or safety for many others. Going to war is not unbiblical, therefore it is not wrong to be a soldier, and the large part of being a soldier is the elimination of the opposition, ie: killing people.
So, does that mean that in the employment of a government(ie: legally), and for a biblically sound cause, it is not wrong to kill people?

But really, I can't imagine that there are any boys(and maybe some girls) out there who haven't(even secretly) thought - "Man it would be cool to be able to do all the cool gadgety, sneaky, knife-fighty, snipery, international-travelly, cool-black-kevlar-outfity, high-velocity-precision-weaponry, car-chasey stuff that special ops people do." I know I've thought that before. I'm thinking that right now in fact.

[Token Song Lyrics]
cautioners - jimmy eat world

the time i would spend with pictures i would not send
i watched you go from left to right
i followed you all night across my blinds

you'll change you mind come monday and turn your back on me
you take your steps away with hesitance
you take your steps away from me

i'm making my peace
making it with distance
maybe thats a big mistake
you know i'm thinking of you
i miss you

you'll change you mind come monday and turn your back on me
you take your steps away with hesitance
you take your steps away from me


# 10.6.03 by Dan
This is the 21st week of this blog's being.
So - Happy 21st, mine blog.

I'm reckoning I need more cool links here. Most of the more successful blogs are very linky, with lots of cool stuff. Whereas this blog has only mindless ramblings, with the odd good comment by a reader.
I fixed a thing today at work - it was good. I like fixing things.

n e way - gotzta say lay-ihz,

# 9.6.03 by Dan
Well, I finished that project today, after 8 hours straight in the lab - no lunch - nothing but a brief pause to scoff a ginger cookie and a Coke. Didn't go to work today, obviously. I only asked my boss yesterday if i could take today off, so I feela bit bad - like i was wagging or something.

My good friend Sam, who I haven't seen too much of lately, came along and visited our church yesterday morning. We hung out for the rest of the day, doing quasi-blokey stuff, like eating Burger King, talking about cars and watching Blackadder episodes on DVD.
What made it even more cooler, was when some of Sam's mates rung up and said something like 'We're going to the Buddhist Temple to ride a motorbike'. So we did that. If only us Christians could build a church as cool as a buddhist temple. Its still under construction, so you can walk around on the site without too much trouble (except its all sticky yellow clay underfoot). It has a monster bell tower, with a monster bell. Even if you punch it with extreme awesome force, it hardly rings. So they have this big swinging log thing. But we thought it best not to try that just in case we got busted.
Theres like a subdivison right there where the temple is, and thats where the bike got ridden. I was the official time keeper as I was still wearing church clothes and despite my great envy at the joy of those who were riding, the desire to keep myself clean won over, and I was able to co-rejoice with the racers from the finish line. Mark pulled the best times, with Sam close on his heels.

After watching Survivor through tired bored eyes, I was going to go into the city for some exciting thing at a place, but I didn't know what it was or where it was or exactly when it was, and I couldn't get hold of anyone who I knew was there, so I turned for home and got call from Michelle, who thought it would be cool to go for coffee and desert. So we went to Cafe Jazz in Remuera - on a scale of one to awesome - it was super great! Talked about us mostly - constructive, but not conclusive, if you get what I mean. It was really good to spend that sort of time with her.

I'm a little more happierer. Not over-joyed yet. But working on it.

I'm going to go 'x' right now, so - as pommie people would say - 'lay-ihz'

# 7.6.03 by Dan
The reason for this post is simply that I am commiting blatant and shameless procrastination.
I'm at tech, working on a project that is due on Monday afternoon. Supposedly.

This week has been tougher than last week, I've been finding it hard to concentrate on things, and often find its easier just to sit down and play Playstation, or just stay at work until late, or just drive.
Thank you to those who have been praying. I have really noticed the effects, both in my own life, and in Michelle's - so thank you.

Better get back into it..... laters and thank you.

# 4.6.03 by Dan
# 3.6.03 by Dan
This is a test blog post for the benefit of Scotty.

# 3.6.03 by Dan
The regional park thing didn't happen, but we had some jolly good LAN-gaming!!

I really can't be bothered with much at the moment, and the blog is suffering as a result.

Things are not good.

# 2.6.03 by Dan
Today (Monday) is a public holiday. I think we're supposed to be celebrating the Queen's birthday.
But I'm going to explore a regional park and then play Counter-strike.

Thats all folks!

(PS. Happy Birthday Lizzy!)