BEST EVER!

Ok, I’m sitting at home, feeling pretty tired, run down and fairly unhappy. A blog I’m reading mentions iTunes, and I fire it up to listen to some cheery music. While I’m there I try for the millionth time to find a copy of “Come On a My House” a remix of a Rosemary Clooney song by Nasty Tales which I first heard on Triple J radio.

I searched a bit, and the Nasty Tales web site I found had a sample that didn’t sound right. I thought it might have been the version on the Ursadelica - Ursula 1000 album, but wasn’t certain.

Anyway, I LOVED it when I heard it, but I couldn’t purchase it on iTunes, which is my preferred method. For weeks I’ve tried, but to no avail. But then today - a miracle - it’s there. Not quite the version I was looking for, as I think I was looking for the wrong one, but I think it might actually be the one that Triple J played those weeks ago. SO YAY! I’m a lot happier now.

<a title=“Link to Come on a My House on the iTunes music store” href=“http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=135448213&s=143460&i=135448318">Download it NOW if you have iTunes. I promise that the 1.69AUD that you’ll pay will be worth it. It’s noisy and fun and happy. Cheer yourself up. Tell me what you thought.

CSS Naked Day

Update: 2006-04-06 It’s over and I lived!

I’m getting this in early, in case I forget or don’t have time on the day - April 5th has been declared the First Annual CSS Naked Day. No my web site is not broken.

This is a minor big deal in the web world. Credit to Dustin Diaz for coming up with the idea.

To those who don’t understand: CSS is a web maker’s tool for styling a web page. In the early days of the web people used all sorts of tricks just to make their pages look good, but they often only worked on one or two specific Internet browsers. So someone using Internet Explorer might see a pretty web page, but someone else using a Mac’s Safari browser might see something else entirely. Not to mention that all these crafty tricks twisted the information in the web page into nooks and crannies all over the page - making it difficult to extract the information using the ‘wrong’ browser or a web page reader such as a blind person might use.

The people who make decisions about the Internet decided it would be better for the information to be set out logically on the page, and have the pretty designs added later (this was in the original plan for the Internet, but it kinda got forgotten by a lot of designers). CSS is a way of ‘prettying’ a web page without changing the underlying information, and leaving the info accessible in a logical and sensible way. Web designers can make a basic page, and then use different CSS ‘style sheets’ to make the page look a certain way on a computer screen, a different way on a tiny mobile phone screen, even sound a certain way on a web page reader!

If you are here on the 5th of April, you can see this site sans CSS, and you should still be able to find your way around. In effect, this is how a blind person might ‘see’ my site, so it has to still be usable or I have failed to make my site fully accessible. Other sites listed at the above site are going naked too, in an effort to promote this idea of ‘usability’.

If you aren’t here before or after the 5th, you can still see what I’m talking about if you use Firefox, by selecting the View menu > then Page Style > then No Style, or in Opera: View > Style > Usermode.

Select View > Page Style > Basic Page Style in Firefox to go back, or View > Style > Authormode in Opera. It is also possible to do something like this in other browsers, but it can be more tricky.

So enjoy CSS Naked Day, and in the spirit of this nudieness, a lewd joke:
Q: How do you titillate an ocelot?
A: Oscillate his tit a lot!

First Post… Again

I’ve switched web hosts. This might not mean much to some, but it means a better, easier experience for me. What it does mean though, is that I had the opportunity to switch from one blogging program to another. However they are two entirely different beasts, and I’m manually moving most of my old posts to this new system.

So there will be a small transition phase. I’ll get the bulk of the comments over to this system too.

I still have my GodBlog, my regular blog, my dad’s blog will be back shortly and very soon I’ll be launching my archive of how-to documents that I’ve created in the course of my work. Check it all out!

Yet another use for Gmail - file recovery

I recently discovered another use for Gmail’s ‘convert to html’ feature.

For those of you who weren’t aware, Word and PDF files that you receive in Gmail can be opened in-browser as html files. What this means for you and me is a simple way to open some of these common file-types without needing to download the file and fire up the correct program - simply click ‘Open as HTML’ and you’ve got your file, ready to read in seconds using Google’s conversion.

I was reading Lifehacker’s article on this very feature - Travel tip: Use Gmail as a file viewer, and was reminded of a discovery I made a few weeks back. My ma asked me to recover a seemingly corrupted file for my sister. Their PC wouldn’t open the Word document (an all too common experience) and I was unable to offer much help over the phone. I asked her to send it to me (via my Gmail account) so I might try it on my own computer. When it arrived I remembered the ‘convert to html’ feature and gave it a shot, thinking it couldn’t hurt to try. To my surprise, it worked! Gmail opened the file with no issues.

I tried to open it on my Mac, and it worked - so the story isn’t so amazing - and I’ve since tried other files that haven’t opened.

But you’ve nothing to lose if you have a file that really need to open (and if you haven’t a Mac handy) give Gmail a try - another tool in my file rescue kit!

Oh, and if you want a Gmail account, you can sign up from a text message sent to your mobile - apparently even in Australia now. Or leave a comment and I can hook you up! Check out why Gmail has developed such a huge fan-base.

WHAT!? Who named that child?

I was doing that narcissistic thing where you look up your name on search engines… come on… you’ve done it… everyone does (and you’re not blind and you don’t have hairy palms like all the naysayers predicted)… Where was I?

Oh yeah, so I found my name on a page that I haven’t visited yet. On a side note, Josh Nunn is a popular name - I’m going to start a page devoted to it, where Josh Nunn’s can write about themselves - very niche. Anyway, this page was a genealogy site with details of the birth and death of one Josh Nunn… But well…

Who named the
child?

O_o

If you don’t see it - I’ve highlighted the problem. How? Since when is that… I… who…

There goes my masculine name.

And while we’re on the topic, why do women poo-poo some of the greatest ideas men have - specifically, why won’t Mil let me call my son William Theodore Cornelius Buck? It’s a great name - a manly name. Until he Googles it and finds that William was a girl. DAMN!

Please don't take this the wrong way.

I am not an atheist! I say this because I am about to link to an article that makes a few excellent points about common Christian arguments. Before I give you the link I want to stress that I am not saying that I am an atheist, or that there are no reasonable arguments for Christianity - only that some don’t hold up to scrutiny, and you must know what won’t be convincing to me if you use it as an argument.

Look on this as a way to improve your ministry…

OK, enough disclaimers. Read this article before you argue with me:
How Not to Embarrass Yourself in an Argument With an Atheist.

I love the Opera!

OK, that’s a bit misleading, as I don’t in fact love opera as entertainment. I don’t even love it as a web browser. I am however giving it a shot as my default browser. I had been using Firefox, and whilst I appreciated the ability to customise it to the n^th^ degree I was finding it slower and slower for my usual browsing.

So I switched. I may go back, but I like the speed.

And speaking of great movies

I saw Kung-Fu Hussle on the weekend. It was tops.

It was a lot of good fun. Don’t see it expecting your life to be changed, see it to laugh. See it to watch groups of people fighting in totally improbable ways. Watch it to pick out the references to other movies. I think the eastern superhero is growing on me.

The western superhero has a scientific origin. Superman is an alien, the Green Lantern has a device, Spider-Man was bitten by a modified spider - all very clear-cut scientifically explainable origins. The eastern heroes on the other hand all have the same origins. The power comes from within. Each character has a special power just like our western heroes, but it is a manifestation of their inner power and their training. So one character may have the power of the wind, or the power of a particular animal. They’re just like our heroes, but with very different back-stories.

So check out Kung-Fu Hussle if you’re in need of a superhero fix before the release of Spider-Man 3 next year, or are lonely for The Matrix, or just need something to see next Friday night.

Psycho: An unfinished book review

I have just started reading Psycho by Robert Bloch. Actually, I think I may have read it before, but it’s hard to tell. Of course I’ve seen the movie, which confuses the issue further, but I can’t help feeling like I’ve compared it to the movie before. Please understand, it’s not that I remember reading it, just comparing it to the movie…

So now I’m all confused. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie: Why not? Do yourself a favour. Those of you jaded by today’s clichéd Hollywood movies, rent this and see it tonight. Don’t get the colour remake, get the Alfred Hitchcock original. It’s a masterpiece. The story (courtesy of Robert Bloch) is stunning, and in Alfred’s hands could have only be made even better.

So no, it doesn’t matter that I haven’t read it. Or don’t think I have. Only that I’m going to.

Update: 2006-03-14 I’ve finished reading it now, and I made Mil re-watch it with me (I ignored her protests - it’s not scary

It really is great. I didn’t understand what people meant when I first watched it - but it truly is a remarkable story, in both forms. If Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings couldn’t convince you that a book can be made into a movie without some of the bits you’d think should be kept, then maybe Alfred’s treatment of Robert’s story will. And Mil loved it too.

Testimony

A quick intro to where I currently stand on spiritual matters. Read this before my other posts.

I was born and raised in a Christian home. My father was a pastor so I know a measure of the bible, and some theology too. I’m not an expert, but I know what the bible says and I studied it for years as a part of my daily life.

Being a Christian was a part of who I was. I felt there was no other way I could be. I had never officially had that repentant ‘moment’ that other people say they had - that day that they say they turned their life over to God - as I always felt I was God’s child right from the moment I was born. Of course there were times when it seemed hard to follow, or I rebelled, but never for long, and I always returned to God. In those times, I never truly doubted I would return, and I always accepted that it was my sin and my choice that had led me off the ‘path’.

This makes me sound like I was a typical wayward teen, but I really wasn’t. I wanted my parents to be proud of me, and I wanted to be the type of guy that others would look to and see Jesus’ love. So all my sins were internal or petty - selfish anger, pride, lust - never anything particularly obvious to an outside observer. That isn’t to say that I didn’t recognize these sins as sins - I did - I asked God regularly to forgive me for them, to take them, to teach me to be better.

Despite this though I guess I arrogantly assumed that my sin wasn’t all that great, and for the most part - I was doing OK.

But the biggest part of Christianity was a bit more elusive.

In my mind, the thing that separated Christianity from all other religions was this: that God wanted a relationship with me. No other religion I know of declares that God wants more than good deeds and happy thoughts. It is distinct and unique.

I’m telling you my thinking primarily for you to understand that I get it. I get Christianity. I understand that it’s not about rules and regulations.

What I rarely (if ever) felt was that God was interested in me. I believed that if I truly knew God I would feel it. To the very core of my being. I knew other people who knew it. My parents knew it. Why didn’t I feel it with the certainty and conviction I thought that I should? That is - just saying I was a Christian and reading the bible and going to church left me wanting more.

A few times I think I felt it. A few clear headed moments when I felt my sin, or felt so emotional about God I thought I could burst. But I’ll make a confession - being slightly sceptical about some things - I couldn’t help but wonder if the times I felt that way were due to lack of sleep, or any number of other more earthly factors. I’m not going to dismiss them all, but there was never a pivotal defining time I could say - “I have felt/seen God, and I know He is there.”

Instead, I took it on faith. My faith helped me when I couldn’t see God. Instead of my experience, I used my parents, my church leaders and my friends as sources of God’s work in the world. And I thought “that’s not too shabby, nice going God”. And it wasn’t too shabby. My family and friends are all great people, who care deeply about one another, and care for the earth, and care for strangers - not a slouch among them.

But relying on others can be a difficult thing. 1 Peter 3:15 says:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.<a href=“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=67&chapter=3&verse=15&version=31&context=verse" title=“NIV verse at Bible Gateway”>1 Peter 3:15 (<a href=“http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/?action=getVersionInfo&vid=31" title=“NIV information”>NIV)

I felt that I may have been able to fudge it if anyone asked, but I never felt I had the answer. I may have said “I have hope and joy because I know God loves me”, but I feared that if anyone pressed me, I couldn’t convince them that they needed God too. And it became kind of important to me that I should have the answer. So I read some books on creation vs. evolution (and those sorts of things) so that I might have more ammunition to refute the claims of science. And I prayed for God’s presence to fill me. And asked for God’s love to show through me.

But besides a few nice people telling me that I was a decent guy, I never attained that status that some people have of “amazing person of God”. Obviously I was doing something wrong, or God had chosen not to speak to me. Let me aside here for a moment and say ‘Some of you can point out my mistakes at this point, but don’t yet please’ - I realise that my ambitions at this time in my life may have been the problem. Regardless, I wanted to really know God, but found that I couldn’t do it.

Let me explain with an analogy. If you aren’t a Christian, the analogy may not work, but for those of you who are - go on, click and read, and then come back.

OK, so I couldn’t get God to show himself to me - but I still kept going on faith. Years passed, and I thought I was getting closer to God. I got married, and I thanked God for his blessings. A year passed, and life was good. Then my wife got ill. We knew fairly soon that it wasn’t life threatening, and we even hoped she’d get better reasonably quickly. Lots of people have ‘Chronic Fatigue’ and get better in 1 or 2 years. We were hopeful.

But as time went on, I discovered more about how Mil was feeling. She hid it well, but she was in constant pain, and couldn’t do anything that she wanted to do any more. She had to stop going to bible studies - but I kept on without her. She soon found it difficult to wake up for church - so I kept going alone. One by one, all the things we hoped for our first few years of marriage fell away, leaving Mil bored, alone, and hurt. Leaving me angry, frustrated and tired.

I kept it up for a while. And I thought that maybe it was in God’s Plan^TM^. But the illogic of the situation started to eat away at my faith. I thought, how could this be in God’s plan? To allow pain and suffering on someone I love? How could any future benefit outweigh the damage that has been done to our faiths, our friendships and our plans? I still had a glimmer of hope (still do honestly) that it could all work out for the best. It all happened slowly over time, but I put it into words one morning after a particularly bad night. That postwas the first I wrote.

My frustration has become the seeming pointlessness of it all. For years I thanked God for the wonderful things He’d done - hooking me up with Mil, surrounding me with friends, getting me into jobs and courses I wanted. I even thought my first IT job was a gift, and apologized for doubting him the times he didn’t get me jobs I thought I wanted. That sleepless night though, I wondered if we give Him too much credit. If God cares about those little things, why wouldn’t he care about these big things, or things bigger still - hunger, war, poverty? Maybe care is the wrong word, I’m sure I’ll be told that God does care. What I mean is - why not act?

So here I am.

I want to believe. I want to go back to how things were for us. Even with Mil uncured, I could still believe that there is a purpose to everything (see Games and the Meaning of the Universe for how I could understand).

But now it will take more than just reading my bible. I still pray occasionally. Maybe they are selfish prayers, but I pray that God would reveal Himself, or cure Mil, or just let me know in some way that He cares. I don’t want to dictate the terms of how He might do this, but it’d have to be obvious. And when I don’t pray, I try not to think about it. Science has given me a viable reason not to go running to God when things don’t make sense, and the world makes more sense to me now as a mindless machine. Again, I want to be wrong but…

And the future? I want to get God’s attention. I want him to notice that I’m not on His guest list any more and come looking for me. I guess in a way, the parable of the prodigal son is not a comfort for me, because I don’t feel I ignored my Father, but that he ignored me. And if I can’t get His attention, I’ll keep living my life. One day, these questions will cease and I won’t bother looking at all. Alternatively, this testimony will have a sequel - and I’ll tell you how I came back to God. I know which outcome my loved ones will be praying for.

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