Gretzky jersey thief caught after “Liking” sports store

Ottawa Citizen

Really? Are people as foolish as this story makes them to be? Some twenty year old tried to steal a Gretzky jersey collectors item from a store in Ottawa. They got away, but the thief was “smart” enough to have “Liked” the store in the past on the stores Facebook page, that they were able to match the face on the security video to the guys face on his Facebook profile. What a story!

Read the whole thing here on Yahoo.  **shakes his head**

My Two Cents: The Last Airbender

So I was hoping to have a post a little more prolific than a movie review to post, since it’s been a while since I’ve posted. But this is what I got.

I watched The Last Airbender last night, written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shyamalan. I had heard it was either terrible, or it was just okay. I don’t think Shyamalan is ever going to make another blockbuster like The Sixth Sense again. I don’t think he’s trying… or if he is, he’s doing a terrible job.

To let you know where I stand with Shyamalan, I am THAT guy who actually likes the majority of his movies. The Happening was a bit much for me and just seemed convenient to release a movie where the environment rebels against humanity when environmentalism is so trendy right now. Other than that, I love Signs, The Village, and could watch Lady in the Water repeatedly. Shyamalan creates incredible character development in a movie that all takes place in an apartment building.

So I had high hopes for The Last Airbender, hoping that the few people that were dissatisfied with it were the same folks who didn’t like the movies I’ve just listed. Unfortunately, I did find it to be poorly done. A movie such as this had the potential to become an epic series of movies a la Jackson’s Lord of the Rings.

But alas, the whole movie seemed rushed as a great deal of dialogue between characters was handled as voiceovers while the actors moved their lips on screen, instead of really taking the time to develop the story. It seemed like Shyamalan was given a time restriction before the filming even began and he was forced to stick to this. I also didn’t care much for the cinematography given to the many intense fighting scenes. With so many scenes comprising only of people moving their arms and legs around and directing air, water, or fire around with their hands, it doesn’t look that impressive when the angle is from a distance and the scene suddenly becomes a little bald boy in the middle of a crowd that looks like he’s having an epileptic seizure.

All that said, I still plan to buy this movie–senseless I know, after all I’ve just said. The fact is I am a sucker for life lessons, and there are tons of scenes in this movie where the characters are dealing with insecurities and other things that we deal with day to day. There are tons of sermon illustration clips in this film. So it’s a must buy for me for this reason… not for sheer entertainment quality.

All in all, I give The Last Airbender 2 1/2 stars.

Review: “The Boy Who Changed the World” by Andy Andrews

The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews is a wonderful story of how the small things we do and the choices we make day-by-day can have an impact for years to come and on people whom we will likely never meet.

The illustrations are beautiful for kids of any age. However, I found the stories themselves to be at a higher age level than the illustrations themselves would let on. Even reading this book to someone, I think, would be over the heads of children 5 years of age and younger. It easily could have been dumbed-down even further than the original stories to reach a broader reading audience. It’s also heavily Americanized. Perhaps this is the target audience the author intended for; but I recognized many nuances and assumptions within the stories that were particular to an American audience. As noted below, extended versions of each story would help this.

This was a book I was hoping to gift to my 5 year old nephew. I think he will appreciate it, but may not take the point of the story to heart until he is older. But perhaps I am short-changing some kids of that age. These are just my initial thoughts.

I could see this book separated into four books, by the four stories it tells. Each story in and of itself would be fascinating and magical for children to consider and listen to the deeper details of the children’s lives, so that they can further relate with the characters. Creating a series of books would allow for deeper thought to each story, while encouraging reading each book, and ending off with the “big idea” that this book ends off with. I would recommend this book for 5-10 year olds.

Review: “The Butterfly Effect” by Andy Andrews

Let me preclude this review with a disclaimer that I detest “gift” books such as the The Butterfly Effect. They are useless like the little wooden knickknacks my grandmother loves to decorate her house with from ceiling to shag carpet, or the teddy bears who sit on her chairs and couches, taking up any possible seating area for visitors or the occasional friendly cat. Coffee table books, as some choose to call them, can make for a nice gift to a friend “just because” or a pastor at Christmas or a teacher at the end of a school year. But ultimately, if they are read at all, afterwards they sit on a shelf or a side table collecting dust, or hide under the 9-month-old Chatelaine magazine, or show up on the yard sale table of that best friend you gave it to–and never get read.

Ok. Now that I’m off my soap box, with the above in mind, let me say that The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews, was a beautifully laid-out book with a life-changing message to deliver.

It does, however, suffer from its own flaws. What was delivered in 60 pages easily could have been told in 20 or less. (But that’s what you get when you print one sentence per page.) While the message Andrews looks to give is one worth reading and one worth taking to heart, again, the format which the message was delivered, a segmented picture book, takes away from the readability of the stories he tells. Considering I’ve learned the stories from this book are ones he tells on speaking engagements, I can see how such a talk would be uplifting and inspiring. But in this format, it’s lacking.

I also found the book to be somewhat self-serving, repeating what I found in The Boy Who Changed the World, Andrew’s children’s storybook of the same stories: the writing is whole-heartedly, proudly, American. While I can’t knock the feats and accomplishments the people of the USA have attained over hundreds of years, they are less than humble about it–and it’s annoying. While it’s not wrong for Andrews in this book to gush over the USA’s ability to fight WWII in both Europe and the Southern Pacific islands, he seems to celebrate and boast about the sheer population of the States, not the American’s willingness to lend a helping hand to those wrongfully attacked. If he’s proud about the population size of the USA, whoop-dee-doo! This isn’t a big deal in the context of the book; it’s just annoying.

Overall, I’m obviously not the target group of a book such as this, so I digress. I’d rather receive the message Andrews looks to communicate through a simple video, where the passionate emotion of the stories he tells in The Butterfly Effect can be communicated in a way pretty pages cannot do.

I finally settled on purchasing a 32GB iPhone 3GS this past weekend. And I NEED to tell you the adventure that it was to get it into my pocket.

I’ve been saving up for the iPhone 4 since Christmas 2009, agreeing with my wife that I could purchase it as my birthday present this year, as my birthday is in June. So June comes, Apple introduces their brand new, beautiful peace of art in the iPhone 4 and I’m set to win my prize. However, amidst the waiting I had to suffer as I waited for iPhone 4 to be released here in Canada, I had a change of heart.

I have a cousin who bought the original iPhone when it was first released in the US, the one that was never released in Canada. He was looking for a 3GS to buy himself with the iPhone 4 now available. He didn’t want the 4 because he does not want to pay for data, same as he has not done with his existing original iPhone. After finding out how he gets away with preventing any data usage and how easy it is to do, I was convinced I wanted to do the same, as I find my data plan to be an unnecessary luxury at this point in my budget.

So I set out to find a 32GB 3GS instead. eBay didn’t have much to offer. Apple was only offering the 8GB brand new for $550, and 32GBs were priced around $500 on Kijiji. So I kept an eye on available black iPhones on Kijiji. I’m not big on buying from Kijiji sales as there’s very little accountability from sellers and you normally have to pay cash. But to get a 32GB for that price, I didn’t have much choice.

Well, I found a phone that seemed decent enough. It was purchased in February, so there was 6 months still left on the warranty, and the seller was selling it because he bought an iPhone 4. (The hope being in making such a statement that the phone isn’t stolen.) I sent a message to the seller, he called me back and we set a time to meet up.

We met in a Fresh Co. parking lot. We was a young guy driving his father’s Cadillac around. He seemed legit and was friendly. Julie and I took a look at the phone, trying to see if there was anything physically wrong with it. I couldn’t check its functionality as the phone had been reset to factory already. That seemed a bit shady, but wasn’t completely unreasonable as of course he wouldn’t sell it with his personal info on it. He also offered it at a good price too, much lower than what was generally on Kijiji, and he reduced it even further because he thought I was a nice guy, asking him where to meet instead of demanding he meet me somewhere for this.

So we agreed to buy it. I followed him over to a bank so I could get the cash and he waited in the parking lot. I brought the cash out to him, jokingly saying “You got the stuff?” as I brought it to him. I counted it out for him so he knew it was all there, and we made the exchange. I went back to my car, and he went on his way.

When we opened the box however, we found the phone had a crack in the screen on the lower corner that we never saw before. Your ultimate concern suddenly appears reality–did he swap the phone while he waited in the car? I was freaking out, feeling as if I had been had.

I quickly called the seller back, telling him about this crack we didn’t see. He said he didn’t know it was there either, and he said he would come back to us. We waited for a few minutes, wondering if we were waiting for nothing, wondering if we had been “had”. Sure enough, the seller came back! I showed him the crack and I wasn’t sure what his response would be. He felt bad about it, as he had not seen it before. You could only see it if you moved it a certain way in the light.

I was going to tell him to forget about it, but waited for his response instead. He said he had a friend who had his screen replaced for $50 and said he could do that for us. I told him I would go get it fixed myself, and he could just give me $50 off the price. That way he doesn’t have to worry about it and I get it cheaper. He agreed to that. He gave me the money, and we parted ways feeling a little better about it all.

I got in and started my car, when a policeman walked up behind the car and knocked on the trunk, asking me to turn the car off and step out of the vehicle. Having done nothing wrong, I got out without argument.

The policeman asked me if I knew “that man,” pointing towards the guy I just bought the phone off of. I said, “Yeah, I just bought an iPhone off of him. Is it stolen?!? Please don’t tell me it’s stolen!” (I was afraid my biggest concern was coming true.) The policeman said, “What??” I told him, “Kijiji! I just bought an iPhone from him.”

He turned his head and laughed with a big smile saying, “Are you kidding?? Someone called us saying there was a drug deal going on! Carry on.” And he walked away.

So that was the exciting experience of buying an iPhone 3GS. The seller called us on our way home, asking us what happened. We found it pretty funny that we had been talking about $50 and crack for 10 minutes before they showed up. Haha.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the phone works great! Hopefully I won’t have to buy from Kijiji again any time soon.

I just finished reading Plan B by Pete Wilson, and I wanted to give a few impressions of the book. If I had stars, it would get a 3 1/2 out of five. It was a good book. The first four chapters were a bit slow, and uninteresting. But then there were a few chapters that hit home more with my own life experience.

The book reads like a sermon. Each chapter starts off with a story of someone who has experienced loss, and then Wilson adapts his next point around it. I would recommend the book to those who are seriously doubting their faith in God, as Wilson offers up a lot of hope for those who just aren’t sure.

What I appreciated the most about Plan B is that Wilson doesn’t claim to have all the answers. Instead he reminds the reader of the God whom they serve, and the kind of faithfulness He has shown throughout Scripture, and that we can have that same hope in God, even if things don’t work out as expected.

I would recommend this book to those who are feeling like they have somehow missed plan A and have been forced to move on to plan B.

I’ve now been married for 9 months. Considering how long I intend to be married, I suppose this isn’t a long time. Nonetheless, since we are still renting, I have had the future prospects of mortgages on my mind since tying the knot. (A man’s gotta provide a roof for his family!) So the opportunity to read and review Mind Your Own Mortgage by Robert J. Bernabe was an easy one to accept.

While this is another book taking advantage of the cultural subject matter at hand–reflecting upon the housing boom and resulting crash of the past ten years, the book was both incredibly informative and invaluable for a newbie like myself who is new to the housing market, and I don’t doubt it’s usefulness for those looking for some practical advice for something they may have many years of experience from.

Bernabe spends most of the book peddling his MYOM formula, which is a good formula by the way. But most of all I appreciate the time he spent in encouraging the reader to be a responsible spender, repeatedly reminding the reader that when you have a mortgage, any other unessential purchase you make is costing you much more in the end due to the option of using excess cash to pay down your mortgage, and thus paying less interest through amortization. I look at this as the best possible viewpoint I can have as a future new homeowner.

Bernabe also stresses the importance of shopping based on cost, instead of interest rate and payment. I’m actually excited to apply the knowledge he provides and the system he’s developed aided by the extras made available on MindYourOwnMortgage.com. But having completed the read and wanting to apply what I’ve learned, I’m in an unfortunate position now to see how these American rules might be similar to the Canadian rules of mortgages I find myself in. Most of the ideas will be very similar, but of course, it was the Canadian market that did not crash as hard. So I am anticipating differences in the process.

Now I am left to search for a Canadian equal to Bernabe’s excellent homeowner’s guide. Any suggestions?

My wife recently asked me to speak to our youth members about some of the subjects I’ve been contemplating on this blog. I thought I would post pieces of that sermon on the blog to add to the conversation. This is Part 3–checkout Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already.

Step 1 is to setup some guardrails, some personal standards of behaviour that become a matter of conscience, big red lights and flags that pop up when you’re bumping into them and fast approaching danger.

What’s STEP 2? Step 2 is to look in the mirror. And I don’t mean in the conceited, oh is my hair in place, makeup straight, and skirt short enough. I mean look in the mirror and find out who YOU really are. Take some time to examine your inner self.

STEP 2 is to ask yourself, what am I doing physically, mentally, and most of all spiritually to prepare myself as a good future husband or wife.

I could write an entire sermon on this subject. But let me just go through a few things for you to check your own heart and see how prepared you are to be in a relationship with a future husband or wife. And I’m going to list them in the third person, as if you were looking at someone else from a distance in the mirror.

  • Is she kind? Does she do nice things for people because she wants to, not because she’s expecting something in return?
  • When someone asks for help lifting something or putting tables and chairs away, is he the first one to offer a hand, or does he sit in the corner with another group of people pretending as if the clean up is already over?
  • Does she dress modestly? Or does her shirt have so much cleavage we’d all need to repent at the display if she were to sneeze too hard?
  • Does he have a job? Is he working on a career, and saving his money to buy a house and make sure he has a way to provide for his family for the future? Or does he waste his money on his cool car, Xbox, Nintendo Wii, and Playstation 3, with assorted games of course?
  • How does she talk to her parents, and those who are older than her? Does she treat them with respect? Or does she talk back and feel she can talk to people however she wants to, because she’s a “strong woman.”
  • How does he talk to his parents and elders? Does he love and respect his mother? Does he treat all women with respect?
  • Does she tithe? Does he tithe?
  • Is she involved in ministry in the church or elsewhere?
  • Does he open doors for people?
  • Does she think of others before she thinks of herself? (This is a big one, you realize after you get married. You realize how selfish each person is.)
  • Does he exercise? Does she eat healthy? I don’t know who you’re going to marry, but I can guarantee they’re likely going to want you around for a while. Take care of yourself.
  • Does or she have guardrails and barriers that she clearly lives by?

You need to find out what kind of person you are. Are you the kind of person that others can stand to be around? Are you preparing your own heart to be a loving husband, or an honourable wife? Do you have a pure heart before God?

Pastor Mark Batterson says, “Your potential is determined by your purity. If your motives are pure, there is nothing God cannot do through you.” Your potential is determined by your purity! (Ask someone what that means.)

Step 1, setup some guardrails in your life to warn your conscience against potential sin. Step 2, check your own heart if it’s pure before God, and see what you need to do to prepare yourself for your future husband or wife.

Have everyone pray in pairs (girls with girls, guys with guys), first asking them the top 3 things they are looking for in a future mate, and why. Then pray for the other person as they prepare for marriage, and for their future spouse.

QUESTION: What choices have you made already to set yourself up to be the husband/wife God has called each one of us to be?

(Read more at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com and everythingispermissible.com)

My wife recently asked me to speak to our youth members about some of the subjects I’ve been contemplating on this blog. I thought I would post pieces of that sermon on the blog to add to the conversation. This is Part 2–checkout Part 1 and Part 3 as well.

What guardrails did we setup in our relationship to help prevent this scenario from EVER even coming close from occurring? What did Julie and I do to keep our purity in check? Let me give you a list of our personal guardrails:

  1. We chose a mate who had similar beliefs and values as ourselves. The Bible says, “Do not be unequally yoked.” You’re like an ox carrying the burden together. I promise you, if you don’t follow this, you’re setting yourself up for heartache for your ENTIRE life! Marriage is all about compromise. Don’t tell me you’re going to change him after you’re married. I can’t emphasize this enough.
  2. We never hung out at each other’s homes unless there was someone else there. (Movies, food, etc.) If nobody was home, one of us had to leave, or we had to go somewhere public to chill together.
  3. Another guardrail à No sleepovers! 8 year-olds have sleepovers! This meant, even if someone was home, I never slept over at her house, she never slept over at my house. It just wasn’t allowed. (Now we did sleep over at our parent’s place. Due to the circumstances, this was unavoidable. But even this should be avoided if possible.) A guardrail is there to keep you from danger before you engage it.
  4. No kissing! Another guardrail. Now this one is probably for most of you an act of an insane person. Julie and I didn’t actually kiss until our wedding day. And a mighty fine kiss it was, I must add. Now even if you don’t wait until your wedding day, I encourage you to at least wait until your engaged. I can feel another sound of disgust out of many. But here’s why à You need guardrails to guard your heart. Girls, you especially. Don’t give any of yourself away, until you know he’s worth giving it to! Can I get an amen?? The world tells you that you need to compromise, or you will be left alone for the rest of your life. Don’t believe it! It’s a lie!
  5. Along the same lines, DON’T SAY THOSE THREE WORDS! “I LOVE YOU!” Most of us throw them around like we do our boxer shorts, not caring where they fall. Let me tell you, these are some of the most POWERFUL words you will ever speak to your future wife or husband. Keep them sacred by waiting. Setup another guardrail here to guard your heart. (Ask Julie to share on her experience.) You don’t HAVE TO say it to the person, even though our culture says you must.
  6. Don’t rush things! NO MATTER WHAT! You’re going to have to live with this person for the rest of your life. You had better make sure it’s someone you’re going to be able to stand in a year.  (Compare the lasagne to Chef Boyardee)
  7. Last guardrail I want to share, this is a BIG one: You NEED the BLESSING FROM YOUR PARENTS. You just do! Girls and boys come and go. But your family is with you forever. It should be VERY important for you to have your family approve of the person you are considering marrying for life.

Those are just a few Guardrails we’ve had in our lives, and found they had a major impact on us individually and now together as a married couple.

Also… get this! You need to share these guardrails with the person you’re in a relationship with. If you’re afraid to, get out of the relationship because you’re not mature enough to be in one. If she rejects your request for boundaries, get out of the relationship because she clearly doesn’t care about your own spirituality.

You need to guard yourselves! Don’t believe the lies our culture tells you every day. 1 Corinthians 6:12 says: “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial.” You can go murder someone. You have that ability. But doing that may not be beneficial. We ALL have free will. It’s a gift from God. But having that free will does not mean it is ok for us to do what we please. Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you should. Even if it’s not labelled as a SIN in the Bible. This is why you need guardrails, so when you bump into a guardrail, the danger is still a good distance away.

If you need to ask, “How far is too far?” you’re already in danger. You’re trying to toe the line of sin without crossing it. That’s the wrong approach. You’re asking the wrong question. You should be asking, “HOW CAN I show respect to THIS GIRL OR BOY/MAN OR WOMAN WITH ABSOLUTE PURITY??” as Paul wrote to Timothy. What can I do to keep my body and my heart pure?


Check back later this week to see what the next step is that you need to take after marking your guardrails!

QUESTION: Have you talked to your boyfriend/girlfriend about your boundaries? What was their response?

(Read more at everythingispermissible.wordpress.com and everythingispermissible.com)