December 20, 2003

Still catching up

Catching up on life back home, on the blogosphere after a week of exams, on that thing some call 'sleep'... I haven't got anything substantive to say right now. Actually, not true. I have lots to say, but no desire to sit down and type them out...

Is it okay (moral, wise) to blog IM conversations? Probably not, especially when the person in question knows people who know what my blog is. But I'm nothing if not pushing the limits of conventional morality in a reasonably harmless way, in the interests of humour...

Her: me and my sister are making a scrap book for my mom for christmas and were doing a hundred reasons why we love her and i'm at 79 and i'm running out of ideas

Her: do you have any

Me: um, not really... i don't really know her...

Her: no but if it was your mom why do you love your mom

Me: um, i dunno...

Her: i need 20 more because i'm at 81 now
Her: can you think of anything really sappy

Me: not that wouldn't be pretty specific I don't think...

Her: what do you have that is specific
Her: maybe it will apply to my mom
Her: my sister is supposed to be helping me but she isn't

Me: um i really don't know.
Me: changed your diapers maybe?

Oh yeah, and I saw RotK, days before I thought I would... but now, there's people I was going to see it with but who haven't seen it and I can't talk about it around them.... I liked it, but there were some problems. It definitely better add some stuff in the Extended Edition.

Posted by Tim at 11:41 PM | Comments (2)

December 19, 2003

Open Letter to the Internet

Dear Internet,

Hey, how's it going? Long time no see -- between exams and driving home and being home, I haven't gotten more than a couple minutes with you in several days, sorry about that.

I was just writing to ask you something. Namely, please do not allow me to see any more spoilers to Return of the King. Yeah, I know I'm the hugest fan ever. Yes, I saw Two Towers innumerable times in theatres, the first time with like 12 people, all of us dressed up as LotR characters. But, no, unlike the rest of the free world I have not yet seen the RotK and I probably won't see it until Saturday so until then please don't tell me about it, m'kay?

Thanks Internet. You're my friend.


Posted by Tim at 01:19 AM | Comments (4)

December 15, 2003


This lovely site lists "liberal-unfriendly" places. I'm proud to see my hometown, Grand Rapids MI, has a spot
on the list. Readers are invited to leave comments on Just How Horrible the place is:

Grand Rapids certainly is one of the most opressive cities, from its embedded Calvinist Theology all the way down to its staunch anti gay attitude. Grand rapids not only lacks diversity, but it is a city without any real look for the future. It is truly the most conservative city outiside the Bible Belt. The sun shines but three days a year on Grand Rapids.....We Liberals Roam elsewhere!
Makes me laugh...

Posted by Tim at 02:58 PM | Comments (8)

December 14, 2003

Well, I'm feeling a bit better this morning

and this hasn't hurt either.

You can run, but you can't hide. And now, Saddam, you will be brought to justice for your crimes against humanity.

I am super-proud to be an American today. Proud of my President, proud of the military that has protected the world for fifty years. Proud that, more often than not, we have acted "with firmness in the right as God
gives us to see the right".

Posted by Tim at 11:12 AM | Comments (1)

Another quick apology

Yeah, I've not been around much lately. And that trend is sure gonna continue, because

--Church in the Box is tomorrow night and I'm taking part in the drama and reading a Scripture

--My family is coming up from GR to see me tomorrow

--I have one exam each of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

--I'm heading the 500 miles home after my morning exam Wednesday

--and oh, did I forget to mention that I had to take my room-mate to the hospital Friday because he had thrown up so much from a virus that he needed to be rehydrated? Oh, and now I've got the damned thing -- I just threw up for the first time in 15 years. The worst possible time.

So, blogging will be non-existent to negative. I also may just take the whole Christmas break off, so I might not be really back until after school starts up again in early January.

Pray for me, please!

Posted by Tim at 12:30 AM | Comments (1)

December 07, 2003

Um, I think the media got it wrong again

Remember how Johnny Hart, the writer of the comic B.C. is a vicious anti-Muslim? Well not so much -- unless an an anti-Muslim in now anyone who wants to bring them freedom.

Will Mr. Hart get an apology? Nope.

Posted by Tim at 01:03 PM | Comments (4)

December 06, 2003

Canadian right united

According to the CBC, the PC Party (the Progressive Conservatives) have voted overwhelmingly (90% in favour) to merge with the other federal conservative party, the Canadian Alliance (which voted for the merger yesterday). This makes it at least possible for the federal Conservatives to defeat the ruling Liberal party (although how much of a chance they'll have I'm not sure, I don't know enough about Canadian politics to speculate.)

Anyway, good news for political conservatives, and for those who think competition in politics is a good thing.

Posted by Tim at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

Simon just showed me a tin with potatoes in it from Thanksgiving.

Remember that Canadian thanksgiving was 6 weeks ago, not one.

Posted by Tim at 04:52 PM | Comments (2)

I'm not surprised, really

When the questions were basically all a rephrasing of "Do you like Christmas for the religion, the presents, the family, the fun or do you hate it?" there was really no doubt. Meh.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You are 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'. You take
Christmas very seriously. For you, it is a
religious festival, celebrating the birth of
the Saviour, and its current secularisation
really irritates you. You enjoy the period of
Advent leading up to Christmas, and attend any
local carol services you can find, as well as
the more contemplative Advent church services
each Sunday. You may be involved in Christmas
food collections or similar charity work. The
midnight service at your church, with candles
and carols, is one you look forward to all
year, and you also look forward to the family
get together on Christmas Day.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Tim at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

Apparently, we're doing a tour

of the blogs I read semi-daily. Anyway, PickleJuice is probably the funniest blog on my rounds. If you have children this post will make you fall off your chair. If not, you still will, don't worry.

Posted by Tim at 12:56 PM | Comments (2)

Umm, I think my blog is degenerating...

For once, I can see myself agreeing with Barbara Walters...

Posted by Tim at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)

End protectionism

The excellent blogger at Iberian Notes is exactly right to condemn the protectionism that occurs in the European Union and, to a lesser extent, in the United States:

I do not like Bush's economic policies at all (I do not pretend to be an expert on this, so correct me, please, if I'm wrong). About all I can say is he's just ended the "steel war". Good. The freer trade is, the better for everyone in the long term. Now, what pisses me off are the subsidies to agriculture. It's not quite as bad as the EU, which basically buys the French farmers off so they won't riot (and a French farmers' riot is a lovely thing, with burning tires and trucks overturned and produce spilled out onto the road and occasional farm animals slaughtered in public places.) But it's ridiculous to "protect the family farm" by paying subsidies to huge agricultural corporations while keeping tariff barriers up against democratic Third World nations. (If we want to pressure non-democratic countries with trade sanctions, that's another story.) Colombia should bloody well be selling us millions of pounds of fresh fruits a year. Mali, one of the few real African democracies (a quite admirable place, really; look it up. They're even both Islamic and anti-fundamentalist) has peanuts out the wazoo that they'd love to sell us. The Central American countries, El Salvador and Honduras and Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, are standing by us right now. They've sent troops to Iraq. All four of those countries should be admitted to NAFTA right now. And Colombia, while we're at it. If any country deserves a break, it's them. They've been fighting the same damn civil war since 1948.
It is absolutely unjust that rich agricultural corporations in the Heartland are subsidized by the Federal Government the American people while there are nations dying --literally, dying!-- to export there crops to us. They can do it more cheaply, 'twill mean lower taxes for us and we'd be doing much more to eradicate poverty than the UN and the NGOs and the Foreign Aid (also known as the Dictatorship Enablement Programs).

I hadn't known that Mali is a democracy. I think I'll do some research on it. More on that later, probably.

Oh, and about the weak-dollar economic policy of the Bush Administration: I don't know enough about economics to know whether it's good or not -- from the response of others in the blogosphere, i suspect not. All I know is that for each cent the US Dollar loses against the loonie, I get to pay hundred dollars or so more for tuition.

Oh, and I really like Iberian Notes. It's written by an American living in Spain (I'm not sure why he's there) and is an excellent read on Spanish culture and politics.

Posted by Tim at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)

How to, er, "shizzolate" your blog

OK, so you go here.
Then you type in a URL. It... the best word I can think is... translates.

Disturbingly entertaining.

Posted by Tim at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2003

I want a new email address

Redeemer University College gives all its students an email address. Because many of our names are quite long (Dutchness at work) they are truncated at seven characters if needed; the first initial and the first six letters in the last name.

My name is Tim Van Alstyne. My email address is therefore (without the spaces) t van als @.... My email address, my room-mate just pointed out to me, can also be read as tv anals@.... I want a new email address, please. Or a new name.

Posted by Tim at 10:56 PM | Comments (11)

I was surprised; then slightly embarassed

(By the way, that use of the word embarassed made me think of the fact that the Spanish word embarazado which looks like it means embarrassed but actually means pregnant. So if you say 'Soy embarazado' you will be embarassed but not for the reason you think.)

Anyway I was surprised to see a comment in my email from Roger. Then I realized that I was surprised because I hadn't had any comments in a while. Then I realized I hadn't had any comments cuz I hadn't done any blogging. Um.

<waves hands wildly> Hey look, over here.</waving> Go here or here or especially here to enter the wild, wacky and world of webcomics, especially if, like me, you are a student and have exams for the next three weeks and need ways to effectively procrastinate for hours on end a few moments of light-heartedness between studious labour and exam-taking.

Mookie, do not follow any of the above links; I don't want your dad coming after me when you get failing marks on all your exams.

Um, ditto for you, Wraj. Your parents know where I live and everything, plus I live at your house half the time which will make it that much easier to plot an apparent, er, accident.

Posted by Tim at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Random acts of poetry

OK, I don't know how this stuff all fits together, but it's what's bouncing around in my head right now, so I'm going to post them without comment. Except, er, for this comment here, I guess. The first is a poem I wrote the other day; the second is a Jars of Clay song called Faith Enough; the third is the hymn Fill Thou my Life, O Lord my God; the fourth is the poem Pied Beauty by Gerald Manley Hopkins.

Our lives are split, drenched with pouring sorrow

Fringed with tears, circled ‘round by leavings
Comings and goings, greetings and partings
When will everything change?

I want to live and work in joy
when every pain is joy, the joy of
pain well-earned, well-carried
The ache of muscles, after serving
How can all this be?

There is a time or will be, say
they say our dreams shall come true
I heard You say the other day
that what was
is not
but shall be

When will You return?

The ice is thin enough for walkin'
The rope is worn enough to climb
My throat is dry enough for talkin'
the world is crumblin' but I know why
the world is crumblin' but I know why

The storm is wild enough for sailing
The bridge is weak enough to cross
This body frail enough for fighting
I'm home enought to know I'm lost
I'm home enought to know I'm lost

Just enough to be strong
In the broken places, in the broken places
It's just enough to be strong
Should the world rely on faith tonight

The land unfit enough for planting
Barren enough to conceive
Poor enough to gain the treasure
Enough a cynic to believe
Enough a cynic to believe

Confused enough to know direction
The sun eclipsed enough to shine
Be still enough to finally tremble
And see enough to know I'm blind
See enough to know I'm blind

Fill Thou my life, O Lord my God,
In every part with praise,
that my whole being may proclaim
Thy being and Thy ways.
Not for the lip of praise alone,
nor e'en the praising heart,
I ask, but for a life made up
of praise in every part.

Praise in the common things of life,
its goings-out and -in,
Praise in each duty and each deed,
however small and mean.
Fill ev'ry part of me with praise:
let all my being speak
of Thee and of Thy love, O Lord,
Poor though I be, and weak.

Glory be to God for dappled things -
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-mioles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal, chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced -- fold, fallow and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzel, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Posted by Tim at 12:31 AM | Comments (2)

December 01, 2003


is here! It's snowing super-hard! I'm so excited!

Posted by Tim at 12:42 PM | Comments (1)