Bottle of kombucha

I love kombucha. 

Several years ago, I became interested in it, but rarely bought it, as it's in that category of pricey, cool products that are too expensive for this Dutch guy to buy. I mentioned, off-handedly, to my wife once that I wanted to try and make some myself, but never really did anything until Christmas of 2015. That year, we decided to challenge ourselves into trying to find heartfelt gifts for each other with a $10 price limit. I bought her some earthy cosmetics and loose-leaf tea, and she bought me the supplies to start making my own kombucha.

Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This was a question that I started asking early on in my research of Catholicism. I understood the basic reasons why Catholics venerate the Saints and Mary, and why they believed they could be asked for prayer. (The actual process of veneration of the Saints, which involves scientifically verifying that a miracle has occurred because of the intercession of a possible Saint, was a key point here.) Being rather skeptical by nature, I decided to research the topic from the other perspective: why can’t we pray to the Saints?

Priest with thurible

Though I've been exploring Catholicism for the past two years, I recently came to a point where I felt that I needed to take action on it. I've decided that, over the summer, I will decide on a local parish to join, and start attending their RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults) class in the fall — meaning I would be confirmed and welcomed in to the Church at Easter next year, assuming all follows the usual schedule. Many people have recommend joining RCIA, even if I don't end up joining the Church, to really understand the entirety of what's going on.

The four best used albums

It’s weird to think of the idea of “used” music these days. In this age of infinitely replicable digital media files, why would someone move an .mp3 to your device when it can just be copied?

Ninety percent of the music that I own on vinyl was acquired second-hand. There’s a multitude of good artists from years past that not only are still worthy of a listen, but were popular enough that their physical music releases are still easy to find. The fact that many used vinyl records can be bought for as little as one or two dollars at a thrift store means the barrier to entry, and trying a new artist, is very low. Sure, many of the more popular albums will get snatched up by someone reselling them for $10, but it doesn’t hurt to check the vinyl rack at the thrift store on a regular basis and see what they have.

It is a well-known fact that cell phone service providers in Canada are some of the priciest in the world. When it comes down to the lesser of different evils, who should one pick?

I recently switched mine and my wife's phones from Koodo to Public Mobile. Public Mobile is owned by Telus, and operates off of their towers. (This means that if your phone is locked to Telus or Koodo, you're good to go!) You'll have coverage anywhere Telus operates. Their big marketing push is that they don't sell phones. You can buy a phone from the manufacturer, a friend, or another used phone buyer/seller. Or bring one you already have.

I hate the term "New Year's Resolutions", especially if you study the etymology of the phrase and it's pious origins. So without any better options, I'm calling them "goals".

Taxes 💩

I have a problem with some kinds of tax. I'm not going to go as far as saying that all taxation is theft (though sometimes it wouldn't be too hard to convince me) or suggest better ways to tax people to make the bulk of government funds (though I wouldn't mind talking about wealth taxes as an alternative to income taxes). This is specifically about taxes used as a deterrent against something that is bad, or deemed to be bad.

First, I should say: by "spend", I mean spending of all three core resources: time, energy, and money.

While this video is specifically directed at the Catholic Church, it's relevant to all Christian churches in my opinion. Because of Western society's focus on always picking the cheapest option, we've got to the point where church websites and branding are frequently done by unprofessional volunteers. Sure, this can keep the costs down at a new church, and sometimes the volunteers are actually skilled in the relevant areas, but that isn't frequently the case.

Sunrise in Edmonton

To contest my sister, who wants me to move back to Metro Vancouver, I've compiled this list of reasons why I'd rather live in Edmonton. (Not how I got here, but why I don't want to leave).

I always find it odd when a well-known public figure, such as a film star, author, or celebrity, goes out of their way to "announce" which political figure or side they are casting their vote for. Voting is usually set up in a way that gives the voter complete privacy, so their decision is theirs alone. It's weird that some people have to go and make a big fuss about it. Why not just say why one should or shouldn't vote for certain sides and not make some big announcement? 

What's even worse is when the person picks a side they know they will get hate for, and also don't agree with as much as some of the other options, and then go on to try to justify their choice. 

INKS. is my current go-to casual iOS game. It takes the idea of pinball to a very interesting, artistic level.

Born at 05:43 on 29 September, weighing in at 3.4 kilograms, it's the newest member of our family!

I stared in to a candle for way to long last night. Isn't interesting how on most properly-made candles, there's a sort of symbiosis between the flame and the wax? The flame never seems to get too large, and the wax doesn't melt so fast that it puts the flame out.

iOS 10 is out and you should install the update.

Do you ever watch the news and notice that a certain channel seems to have a political direction, even though we're told that they aren't supposed to have an opinion?

The value-for-value business model, as described by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak on their podcast, No Agenda, seems to be the only truly viable business model for digital media.

The stumbling block that many people seem to have when it comes to content in digital form is that it's very difficult to force people to pay a set price for something that can be perfectly replicated ad infinitum.

If someone is a craftsman and makes eight doohickeys in a normal work day, and two doohickeys are stolen, it's easy to see how someone stole two hours of their time (not to mention supplies, wear on his tools, and a portion of the time developing the concept of the product). But what if the doohickey is a digital file?

When I was younger, I remember asking (maybe not out loud, but at least introspectively) who was the best team at the Olympic Games. Of course, the Olympics is supposed to be more of a feel-good, everyone-wins-something kind of event, and doesn't have a true structure for an actual winner, but we subconsciously want that.

Every sports page in the newspaper and online seems to show the top three nations, along with Canada, sorted by their total medal count, and we seem to be happy with that. But what about the fact that the several nations have over 100 athletes while many nations have less than 10% of that? And don't forget that nations with more money and resources can probably train better athletes! I thought we could do better, and these are my suggestions.