Month: November 2004

Ella died this morning.

Ella died this morning
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

This morning as I went to put the rabbits into their new, improved hutch I saw that Ella had died. She was a good rabbit, but she had been sick for the last week and finally succumbed.

Cathy and my daughter were sad and cried. My son and I weren’t too broken up about it, though. At this point I am far more emotionally attached to the rabbit hutch than to the rabbits themselves.

Rabbit hutch Plan C

Rabbit hutch Plan C
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

The last rabbit hutch design controlled the waste material sufficiently, but it stunk. Literally. So I had to design a removable waste collector. Hopefully this time it will work. This one has a plexi-glass tray that is removable for cleaning – and lots of silicone caulk.

It looks so nice, and I’ve spent so much time on it, now I don’t want to put the rabbits in it.

language lesson

language lesson
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Just about every Friday morning we have language lessons with the Seelys. This morning we conducted class in our kitchen and used the refrigerator as the white board. Our teacher, Zsuzsa, is outstanding and makes class enjoyable. We don’t expect to become fluent in Hungarian, but with each little bit we learn, life becomes that much easier.

Happy Thanksgiving – What are you thankful for?

I asked everyone what they were thankful for today. Here’s what they said.

daughter: “Annie [our dog], the bunnies, my family, friends in Orlando that I really miss.”

son: “warm shower, my family, friends, music”

Cathy: “hot water [ours had problems until yesterday], an adventuresome life, my husband and kids, our dog and our bunnies (sounds juvenile, but I enjoy them), a great landlord here, my work at the school, our house here which is the coziest I’ve ever lived in, the list could go on ….”

Jerry: my relationship with God, family, friends, the team of people who work with us in our ministry through their prayer and support, my job which is exciting and challenging, our home in Budaors, the chance to live in Hungary, our digital camera, my notebook computer, high speed Internet, good health, difficulties, …[I’ll stop here for your sake.]

What makes you thankful?

Computer Genius?

Computer Genius
Recently my son downloaded Macromedia Flash, a web-based animation program, and used up his 30 day trial period building stick figure fight sequences. In the process he managed to create a less violent one, and I had posted it here originally.

But last night a reader of this blog mentioned that the content of the video was a bit too violent and gun-oriented for an American audience. In the video, the computer genius gets frustrated with his computer, pulls out a gun, and blows up the monitor.

What say you? Is this inappropriate content or just harmless fun?

Rabbit hutch – Plan B

Rabbit hutch – Plan B
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

So far, so good. This revision failed my water-from-a-cup test, but passed the water-from-a-rabbit test.

This experience proves my theory that it’s virtually impossible to do anything right the first try. Usually you can get it mostly right on the second try. And by the third time you should have it down.

In this case, if I had the time and money for a second attempt, I’d rebuild the whole upper cage to slightly different dimensions then make a tray underneath that pulled out on drawer slides.

Rocky the Guard Dog

Rocky Kutya
Rocky and my bike
This is Rocky. Note the relative position of his pen to my bike’s daily parking spot. Rocky didn’t like me at first, and it took a while for him to accept me, but he finally did. I brought him cookies each morning until he stopped trying to tear through the fence and eat me. Now he still salivates when he sees me, but for a different reason.

I’m still not sure if we’re friends, though. A couple days ago I parked my bike next to his pen, like usual, but I noticed the pen door was open, and he was not in his cage. This meant he was out, and I might meet him in the open. I didn’t want to put our friendship to the test just yet, so I hurried to the door with my adrenaline starting to flow. Just as I got to the door we saw each other, but I made it inside before he could reach me.

My friend, the security guard Pista Bacsi, was taking him for a walk. Rocky ran across the parking lot towards me (against the commands of Pista Bacsi) with both ears straight up and an intent look in his eyes. I opened the door a crack and let him stick his nose in when he got there. He neither growled nor put his ears down, so I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Then he decided to obey his master, and he went back to his pen.

So who knows whether he’d kill me or lick my hand if we meet again out in the open.

If you click here or on the top picture of Rocky, you’ll see a video of Rocky in action!

If you watch the video, you can see him lick his chops as he’s trying to figure out what I’m doing with my camera pointed at him.

(The video is 170Kb and will take about a minute to download on a dial-up connection. It requires Windows Media Player.)

Good article on e-vangelism

My friend, Rob, who started a blog about making Christ known on the Internet, pointed out a good article in the Orlando Sentinel, “Connecting through e-vangelism” about what Tom and I are working on here in Eastern Europe. The two people mentioned in the article have been inspirations for Tom and I as we help our staff here in Eastern Europe develop similar sites for students here.

A free subscription is required in order to read the article.

Here’s an excerpt:

By Carol Scott | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted November 14, 2004

“To spread the gospel, evangelical Christians are using Web sites such as, run from the home of an Orlando woman for the Campus Crusade for Christ. It’s an effective high-tech link.

The girl’s plea for help didn’t make a sound.

Instead, it popped up silently in Marilyn Adamson’s e-mail in-box.

It’s not that I don’t believe in God, because I do, and I want to believe in the stories . . . I think I need God, but I don’t know how to find him. Can you help me? Wrestling with drug addiction, alcoholism and fears about a recent abortion, the 18-year-old reached out to Adamson’s Web site,, in January, asking for spiritual guidance. She had never gone to church or read the Bible, she said. She had gone online to search for answers from the anonymity of her home computer.

Adamson was ready to help. …”

Rabbit hutch – not done; leaking

I didn’t know rabbits peed so much. If the puddle hadn’t been under the rabbit hutch leg I would have thought it was our dog’s mess.
Now I need to modify the design so it catches liquid better, but I’m stumped. None of the plans I studied seemed to have anything better than what I designed.
So rabbits go back to their old house until that one is solved.


In the middle of my last book, America’s Secret War, I picked up Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. It’s a great book about the failed expidition in 1915 to cross the Antarctic continent. After becoming ice-bound the expidition survived the next 17 months in the open and made it back to civilization. No one died. I really enjoyed reading it, and I would highly recommend it.

Ironically, the last two days after having stayed up too late reading it, I have no endurance.

One More Year!

Hertzlers in Budapest
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

The day before Election Day in the US we voted, too. We voted ourselves in for another term here in Budapest, Hungary. We decided to stay one more year until the summer of 2006. The vote was not unanimous, though.

God has blessed our work here, and we think that one more year will enable us to leave our staff here with more capacity to integrate technology to help their ministry. The Seely family decided to stay another three years, until 2008, so they will also continue working toward this end with us.

Another reason for our conclusion is that there are some interesting jobs developing in Orlando with Campus Crusade that look likely to avail themselves of our experience here in Hungary. Who knows how God will lead us over the next year and a half, but right now these developments look like the next thing He is leading us to. Please pray with us as we continue a dialogue with our coworkers in Orlando about these opportunities.

Unlike our decision to move here, all four of us were not unanimous in wanting to stay another year. Our daughter was disappointed because she misses her Orlando friends very much, but she is working to make the emotional adjustment. Please pray for her.

With this resolution behind us we have the next round of challenges ahead of us; next summer’?s plans, family vehicle needs, renters for our house in Orlando, possibly new house necessary here in Budapest, sufficient financial support, etc.

All of our concerns are in God’??s hands, and we know He will take care of us. We would appreciate your prayers as we move forward.

My digital ID

Today I learned a little more about digital privacy. Someday we will all have digital ID’s that we use to verify our identity, just like our signature, but today the technology to do this is just emerging from the geek world. As I worked on a project to help our staff in this area communicate sensitive information via email today, I learned some new things.

I imagine this is where I lose most of your interest in this post.

A while ago I had acquired a free digital ID from Thawte, and I’ve been using it to sign email messages. This same digital certificate can be used by others to encrypt messages to me such that only I can read them.

Microsoft Windows (and thus Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express) makes managing digital ID’s pretty easy, but I’m still learning the various details of how it does this.

One way to inform Windows about someone’s digital certificate is to import it.

So here’s my digital certificate. I think all you need to do is click on this link and select “Open” when the prompt appears. On the following screen (displaying details of my digital certificate), click “Install Certificate.” Then, presto, you can email encrypted messages to me at Note, this certificate is good only for this address. Soon I’ll get one for

And here is my thumbprint: 89 4e ef ee e7 df e8 ef 2f 84 99 c1 f3 8a 23 d0 75 43 2f 03

I haven’t yet learned what the role of a thumbprint is other than to verify the authenticity of the digital certificate. I think it is the result of a numerical hash algorithm that runs against the digital certificate above.

One final note. One of the best books I ever read was “PGP: Pretty Good Privacy” by Simson Garfinkel. It explained encryption technology in mathematical terms as well as the history of Phil Zimmerman’s efforts to make a publicly available encryption tool. Good geek reading.

Voting Day and America’s War

Voting Day today reminds me that there is much at stake today for the future of our country, especially as it relates to our war against Osama bin Laden’s movement and Iraq. But according to a book I’m reading, America’s Secret War by George Friedman, our future foreign policy might not change much at all regardless of whether Bush or Kerry wins. It’s a good book, published just last month, and it seems to be doing a very good job of explaining the events of the past ten years as they relate to America’s current situation.

I would recommend the book, and I’m only on chapter 4. It’s not partisan, it’s not sensationalistic, and it’s not a “conspiracy theory” book either.

All Saints Day

Today is All Saints Day here in Hungary. They celebrate the day here by visiting the graves of loved ones and leaving candles and flowers. At night the cemeteries are lit up with all the candle light, but tonight we don’t have the energy to go look.