As much as I try to deny it I am a true geek in all the senses of the word, and I have tried to keep technical (IT) blog posts of this blog andkept it all on a secret blog out there but alas, time to cave in and show my true colors so I have now migrated http://olterman.homelinux.net into this blog under the category techspeak.
This weekend I have been home sick and have had some time to geek out with my computer, I started out with upgrading to the new Ubuntu release Edgy, and with a brand new install I am happy, after that I went to fix Angelinas computer wich used to be a debian/freevo hack and installed the brand new GeexBox 1.0 with wich I am duly impressed it’s a no click no worries media powerhouse!!
So here we are all geeked out, now if I can only make a new geexbox theme…
Less than a month to my birthday and people are asking what I would like to get, and I am always ata loss to answer well here is the comprehensive list. And yes this is my dream list, it’s the one time a year I get to dream shamelessly about gadgets and gizmos….. You have been warned.
My wishlist on Librarything
Today is St. Crispins day. Maybe a good day to remember the war we are in and the cost to fight it. St. Crispin was a humble evangelist who worked as a shoemaker during the day and preached the gospel during the evenings. Together with his brother he evangelised the [[Gauls]] before meeting a very violent death at the hands of [[Rictius Varus]] who was governing the area for The Roman emperor [[Diocletian]]. When captured and asked to renounce their faith they are said to have answered:
“Thy threats do not terrify us, for Christ is our life, and death is our gain. Thy rank and possessions are nought to us, for we have long before this sacrificed the like for the sake of Christ and rejoice in what we have done. If thou shouldst acknowledge and love Christ thou wouldst give not only all the treasures of this life, but even the glory of thy crown itself in order through the exercise of compassion to win eternal life.”
Displaying the chivalric virtues of [[loyalty]] and [[faith]], Staying true to their hearts conviction and having faith that Christ would save them and therefore not fearing death.
I hope today is a day where we can honor our loyalties and display true faith in everything we do. Not that we shouldn’t do that everyday but maybe today we could make a point of showing loyalty and faith in honor of two brothers who gave up everything to stay true to their hearts.
Sometimes I grow a tad cynical and weary of the selfishness of the world. It seems like the only law that governs our reality is [[Murphys law]], it certanly felt that way when I was standing at the Dallas Fort Worth airport and they told me that I was not allowed to check in three bags unless I could dish out $125 for the extra bag, otherwise, I was told I could feel free to leave a bag behind.
I had noone I could call and no credit card, the money just wasn’t there and the people at the check in counter couldn’t care less how I solved the problem as long as I showed up with two bags (not three) or the money for the extra baggage.
I was furious, not at the rule of two bags only but at the people who would not come with any solutions only a wall of indifference. Desperately I tried to repack my luggage in two bags keeping a larger bag as hand luggage. After a lot of tweaking and throwing away some stuff I finally made it. Still fuming I checked my bags in who now where over weighted and had to pay for the extra weight per bag.
Once through security who had some intriguing questions about the armor pieces now in my hand luggage, I thought I might as well use up whatever change I had left to get a Latte and hope that there would be enough food on the plane to sustain me until I got home.
The lady in front of me in the coffe line turned and asked what I was having and I answered I’d have a medium latte, still counting the change in my pocket, I figured the man behind the counter was being efficiant getting all the coffe orders in one go. Before I figured out what was happening the Lady in front of me had paid my coffe.
- Did you just pay for me, I asked?
- Random acts of kindness I believe it’s called….
The anger ran of me in an instant, my faith in mankind restored. I have done this to others many times and often found it amusing how baffled people get when you treat them like people. But I had never been subject to it myself and now I found it very amusing how shocked I was by this.
The lady continued by asking me where I was going and ended up giving me the ten dollars for a lunch I would eat in Detroit so I would not starve myself on my way home. After that she promptly left. I was left standing there with my latte and a crisp ten dollar bill. Thanking God for sending someone my way to just take the load of.
Arriving in Texas Brian let me know that he wanted to do a compagno test with me before I left the states. Naturally I was thrilled at the opportunity, but also a bit apprehensive, would I know enough to pass the test?
As the days rolled by I was more and more sure that I was not ready for it, surrounded by the best sword fighters of the world it seemed that I had barely just scraped on the surface of the Fiore Dei Liberi system.
Saturday night there was a compagno testing, at first I was sad that I was not invited, and then as I sat and listened to the in depth questions asked, I was glad. Having studied on my own I might have some of the basic technique down but I was unsure if I had the theory behind it. I told Colin Hatcher, my sensei, mentor and friend that I did not feel ready for the test. He was very encouraging and told me that maybe I was mistaken about my prowess.
Sunday morning, I step nervously onto the list field for my first Pas D’armes, It was the first time for me to ever spar with the longsword, first time to put the stuff I’ve read to the test. It worked, I lost most of my bouts but I could feel that the system worked and that I had it in me. I was fighting carefully and slowly, trying my hardest to make sure I was fighting within the system, looking for the plays so that I could use the responses I knew. Knowing that everyone was watching my every move didn’t help to aleviate my nervosity. But it was fun. Everyone was courteous and chivalrous. The whole Pas D’armes was fought in good spirit and with a large portion of humor. I think everyone that was there both fighters and spectators enjoyed it.
After the tournament was finished awards was given to the fighters who had proven themself in the Pas D’armes by showing prowess and virtue. I was called up and awarded the yellow belt of the compagno, there was no bells and wistles but the power of the moment, simple as it was, brought tears to my eyes.
I had been tested in the passage of arms and deemed worthy.
I got up at four in the morning to catch a flight to Amsterdam from Riga. Having a serious case of jitters before my trip I couldn’t sleep before after midnight.
At Amsterdam I had just had time to buy a sandwich and get on my flight for Detroit. The flight to Detroit will be a flight I will never forget! I was sitting minding my own buissness watching a movie when just a few rows ahead of me an elderly man stoops down. The stewardess calls for medical doctors with credentials over the intercom and several rush to the scene. After a few moments of confusion, getting oxygen bottles and a defibrilator. What seemed like an eternety later (in reality 15 minutes) he was declared dead. The older man (in his 60s) was travelling with his son who began weeping and became violently ill with grief. We where a bunch of Christians (me, a Catholic priest and a large churchgroup from phoenix who had just been to Greece to retrace Paul the apostles footsteps) where praying for him and trying to comfort him. Promptly his father was swept in a blanket and put in the seat next to him for the duration of the flight.
Once in Detroit I was subjugated to the strenous US border procedures, and boy have they gotten picky. I had to deposit finger prints, photos and fill out form after form. I had to go through special customs checks as I was told my swords where lethal weapons (And why was I bringing lethal weapons to the US). Then came the bomb detection machine, take of your shoes step into this machine (wich huffed and puffed) and lets see what you got.
Finally ready and in Detroit airport I managed to unwind with a burrito at Tacobell and board my next flight to Dallas fort worth. I was placed crammed into a row between one very big lady and a man with his laptop, kindly I asked the stewardes if I could move, I was tired and had had a dramatic day so far (a man died on my last flight!), promptly they wisked me into buissness class and kept trying to serve me coktails that I didnt want, I just wanted space. But the first class seats allowed for a very comfortable ride indeed.
After an hour and a half delays (weather, the doors on the plane broken etc) I finally arrived in Dallas to be picked up and taken to a faboulous mexican restaurant (the blue goose) where I was treated to fantastic beef fajitas and great company. I got to Spend the evening with Guy Windsor from the Europen school of Swordsmanship. Who turned out to be agreat guy even tho he was a britt… (You know who you are … )
Later on we visited the hall where the event will be held and met with Brian Price and had a faboulous time…..
Twenty seven hour later I was snug in bed In Brians house ready to doze of for a few hours, promptly waking at six o’clock for morning prayers…. maybe I’ll try to get an hour or two more sleep, but I am far to excited!
So this is my rub it in your face post. I am now (or very very soon) on my way to Texas to attend WMAV 2006, THE western martial arts event of the year, sporting the best swordfighters the western world has to offer.
Checked the weather forecast to, it’s going to be like a very hot Swedish summer. Oh, come now don’t feel sorry for me …..
I am also thrilled to my teeth about seeing my good friend, sensei, rolemodel, hero and mentor Colin ‘Gabriel’ Hatcher. Who will no doubt bust my chops for a week…. cant wait!!!!
Hopefully I will also be able to spend some time together with Brian Price, the founder of the Schola saint George and with some luck some skill and wisdom will rub off.
I was watching the latest episode of Battlestar galactica, and a very short conversation between Adama and Sharon (actually there was several good conversations between the two) struck me.
Sharon: Sir, How do you know you can trust me?
Adama: I don’t, that’s what trust is…
In todays society we like to be sure, we want to know before we bet everything else is gambling and we are not willing to risk it. But this is what being a Christian is all about, to choose to trust God before you know that He will do what the Bible sais He will. Like [[Søren Kierkegaard]] said to believe is to throw yourself of a cliff not knowing if God will catch you.
We need to trust before we have been given reason to, it is scary, but in the end oh so rewarding. This also applies to people, when we trust them we build trustworthyness in them. Just by trusting somebody and letting them know you trust them, you will make them want to honor your faith in them!
Yes being trusting can give you a mental black eye or two, but I’d rather be naive and truting, than untrusting and in the end alone.
A growing group in our society are the spiritual vagabonds, restless souls wandering from fellowship to fellowship and never settling down. Either on the constant lookout for the perfect church or treating organized Christianity like a smorgasboard where you pick and choose the bits you like and move on to the next dish.
This begs the question, what went wrong? Why is our congregation not able to even gather and hold on to the Christians? And if we cannot make Christians to come and stay in our corps how on earth are we going to be able to win the unsaved?
It was soooo hard to get up today and pray, it was like the world was swimming in a thick mist. When the alarm went off at six o’clock it just wasn’t right, the darkness clung tightly to all the windows and there was a chill in the air.
Prayers was awkward and I rambled through my hour without really feeling connected to God at all, and then as I slowly climbed the stairs back to the apartment I looked out the window and realized that autumn was here, a grey blanket of coldness and gloom had swept in over Riga while I slept.
It is time to curl up in your favorite reading chair, light a candle and bury your nose in a book, dream of distant lands, and not stick your head back up until spring.
So I was delighted when I found the Library thing a fine addition to my blog and a great tool to help me and anyone in my [[oikos]] (If i keep sneaking it in you will have to find out what it means) find those gemstones for this winters reading list!
Let the reading begin!