Month: December 2004

The Hunt

Matt hunting near Tata, Hungary
Hunting in Hungary
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Today Matt and I went hunting. Or rather, Matt hunted, and I tagged along for the ride. We had a great day. Matt bagged 2 geese and 3 ducks.

Besides the hunting, the highlights of the day were being on the Danube River on the opposite bank of Slovakia and eating dinner at an old Hungarian hunting lodge deep in the woods.

Our young guide, Gabor, knew only a little English, so I did much of the translating. While I was surprised and pleased with how much I understood and could speak, I am exhausted after an entire day of it!

And like yesterday, If you click on the photo (or here) it will take you to our photo log at where you can see several more pictures from our day. (Click “squarejer’s photostream” when you get there.)

Landwehr Gang in Budapest Castle District

Today we hiked around the Castle District, but it was much colder than yesterday, so we didn’t stay long.

Tonight we go to the Adler, our favorite restaurant.

Click here to see a 9 second video of us on the way.

And like yesterday, If you click on the photo (or here)it will take you to our photo log at where you can see several more pictures from our day. (Click “squarejer’s photostream” when you get there.)

New discussion thread

Great! I’ll post the first entry here for a new discussion.

For my part I will try to keep my comments/entries short on the topic. (Unlike the last time we had a discussion here.)

Anyone else – please jump in with comments.

For the record: my purpose in discussion is to understand things more. My goal is to arrive at a “right” understanding, rather than “be right” or win an argument. But “arguing” really helps me clarify my thinking, so don’t mistake a *passionate* discussion here for a *bitter* argument.

Below is the start of a new topic from “Anonymous.”

From: Hertzler blog

Many people have different fundamental understandings of what Jesus is all about. He was the Messiah. I say was, because he did that way back when. He isnt The Messiah anymore. He came He obeyed out of LOVE, and He left. No more messiah. Who is Jesus now? That is the question we need to ask ourselves. Embrace Christ ! you said. Give Jesus a hug…is what I got from that. Jesus was born…it was an event. He was a special baby. We dont say, ” in the name of Baby Jesus”. Because he was that, and did that, and grew up to be an adult. So we should not be using the words, Jesus Christ. They are meaningless. It is the same as saying Jesus The Messiah. Just because you use the greek doesnt give it any extra special meaning. We need to present jesus as he is today.

Landwehr Gang in Budapest at Vásárcsarnok

Today we went downtown to the Covered Market (Vásárcsarnok) then to Vaci Street. We had dinner at Central Coffee House and afterward walked across the Chain Bridge and took the tram home.

Everyone’s watching “What’s Up Doc?” (Barbara Streisand, Ryan O’Neal 1972) in the family room now.

If you click on the photo here it will take you to our photo log at where you can see several more pictures from our day. (Click “squarejer’s photostream” when you get there.)

Big day for Drewster

Today’s a big day for Drewster. It’s his birthday, he becomes a teenager, his cousins from the US arrived today, and they brought both Christmas and birthday gifts for him! Drop by his site and send him a birthday email wish.

back to school

For the last year or so, I have led an area in which I don’t have direct experience; web ministry. While I have some campus ministry experience, and I have some web design experience, I have neither in sufficient amounts to make me an expert.

Recently, though, I got motivated to learn, and I had the time to go along with it; a rare combination. (Most of the time I just have the desire to learn but not the time to do it.)

The other night I learned HTML, the instruction language that makes web pages appear as they do.

Last night I finished a basic primer on using CSS, and I re-formatted some of this blog (did you notice?) with what I learned.

It’s far from finished, but it’s progress in the right direction. At the end of the road I want to have a well-designed website, and I’d like to have a better understanding of how to direct the development of ministry websites that Campus Crusade produces for Eastern European students.

With Hungarian, it’s the thought that counts.

Yesterday I ate lunch in the office kitchen with the Jackson family (American) and a couple other Hungarian friends. The Jackson’s daughter, 8, goes to Hungarian school, so she speaks two languages. Knowing how bilingual kids generally won’t play the “language game” with adults (i.e., speak to the adult in their “other” language), I thought I’d see if she’d play it with me anyway.

“Hány éves vagy?” I asked her. (“How old are you?”)

“You have a REALLY big accent!” was her English reply.


My Hungarian friend, Gina, then leaned over and reassured me, “It’s not important that you speak without an accent. It’s that you try to learn our language and communicate with us that matters.”

Andrey and the Orange Revolution

The other day I got a call from Andrey, our guy in Kiev, Ukraine (on the left). He is developing a student website and learning all the things involved in doing that. Tom and I visited him in October.

After he asked me his questions, I asked him mine, “What’s it like there?!”

He told me excitedly how things had changed with the court ruling that ordered a new election. He said it was an “Orange Revolution.” [Orange is the color of the opposition political party.]

The street in this photo has been lined with people camping out in tents for the last several weeks in protest of the initial election results that declared Viktor Yanukovych the winner. (I guess both of the candidates are already “Victors.”)

The Christian community in Kiev is very supportive of Viktor Yushchenko, as he is supportive of creating an environment where people can practice their faith with freedom. Viktor Yanukovych represents the old Soviet values, aligns himself with Russia, and would most likely make life more difficult for Christians in Ukraine.

One of the most unique things about the protests going on is that the protestors have behaved in an entirely well-ordered manner. There have been no robberies, looting, violence, or anything else usually associated with political protests carried out in the streets.

I, along with most of the rest of the world, am eager to see what happens on December 26, the date of the re-election.

My friend, Jim Southard, has some photos you won’t see in the mass media of the demonstrations there. Christian Community at the demonstrations | Food | Cold | Tents.

Geeking it up

This is a development blog where I’m trying a bunch of different things.

I’m motivated by trying to design a page layout that I like as well as a website that loads quickly and is easy to maintain.

But the process is bringing out the latent geek in me. The more I want to do, the more I realize I need to learn. Last night I stayed up until 1:00 am learning HTML. That has been something I’ve avoided, but yesterday I realized I had no choice but to get it done and learn it.

It was surprisingly easy. I thought it would take me a while to work through all the concepts. Actually I already understood all the concepts, I just didn’t understand the specifics. Now that I’ve been through them, I’m ready to tackle CSS (cascading style sheets).

CSS is my real goal. When I saw what was possible with CSS ( I realized I needed to learn it.

So after I learn CSS and clean up the messy HTML on, then I’m considering making a database-driven site using PHP and MySQL. That’s probably out of my league, though, but we’ll see.

Story Of The Soul – Budapest

Story Of The Soul – Budapest
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Music, literature, film, and art all combine to tell the story of the soul, the story of man in search of his deepest needs. The search resonates with themes of corruption, redemption, and love and has been told as long as man has told stories.

This last semester in Budapest our university group sponsored “Story of the Soul” events where they presented and discussed themes of this search in today’s art and culture.

Many saw the connection between their current longings and those expressed in the music, art, and literature of their culture. Many found new fulfillment, the end of their search, in Jesus Christ.

This is the audience at one of those events at a university in Budapest.

(photo by Jim Southard)

How our dog is neurotic

Annie’s light spot
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Rob asked me how our dog was so neurotic. Actually he and Patricia had kept our dog for a few days before, and he KNEW how weird she is. He really asked what new strange things she was doing lately.

As I wrote him a reply I realized how much Annie keeps us entertained.

Generally she has a fixation with light spots and moving water. It began with a laser pointer I brought home once. She wore herself out chasing it and barking at it that first night, and since then she’s decided that anything close is just as much fun.

Moving water? That gets her barking and biting, too. From a hose, the tub, a puddle – just as long as it moves. Frozen water (snow, slush)? Yep. Moving water in a dishwasher? Yep.

But that’s just a small part of it.

You should see her when we let the rabbit run around the kitchen! Whenever the rabbit gets near her food bowl she growls. The rabbit is clueless about what that means, so sometimes the rabbit keeps hopping onto Annie’s little carpet, and it just drives her crazy.

Annie’s latest neurosis is FBSA (Food Bowl Separation Anxiety). If you pick her up from her corner (where the food bowl is) and carry her away, the farther away you get, the more she struggles to get loose and get back to her bowl. By the time you leave the kitchen she is almost impossible to hold! If you get her into the family room, she’ll start whimpering. When you let her go she scrambles as fast as she can back to her bowl.

The corollary to this one is that she will come running, very concerned, from wherever she is if you rattle the food in her bowl. We can tell her to “come here, Annie” until we’re blue in the face – with no results, but as soon as we disturb her bowl she is there in an instant!

The latest light-related annoying habit is connected with the lamp in the family room. It has a pull-chain with a metal ball on the end of it. When we first got the lamp she barked at the light pattern it made on the ceiling. Soon she learned that whenever the pull-chain ball clanked against the lamp rod, the light pattern would appear. So, of course, our highly intelligent dog decided, “Why wait?” She barks whenever she hears the pull-chain ball clank, regardless of whether the light is on or not. We have three of these lamps in the house on three different levels, so you can imagine how busy this keeps her!

This is a picture of her, on top the couch, trying to catch a light reflection on the wall.

If dogs become like their owners, what does that say about us!!???

Back from Bratislava

Today Tom and I took the train to Bratislava (capital of Slovakia) to meet with our friend, Brian, who is creating a student information website. Students in Bratislava have no service that helps them get oriented as freshman when they arrive, so Brian is hoping to meet that need and use the opportunity to connect with students. Slovak students are generally not interested in spiritual things at first, but this will be a way to show them how a relationship with God is a necessary part of life.

Tom and I plan to take a template of this website and make it available to our other university ministries around Eastern Europe.