Thank You!

August 18th, 2004

I want to officially thank everyone that was around last weekend for my trip to Philly.

As I have told some of you before, there is not a day that goes by that I don't wish I still lived out there. Sure things are going well here: job is great, bought my own place, new friends are fantastic people. To me, however, there is something to be said for living in a city. I love to walk. It is my preferred method of transportation. Living in Philadelphia I had the option to walk anywhere I needed to go. Philly was also mine. Home is not mine. Home I share with my entire family, Philly was only me. I could stretch my wings a little bit out there, it was nice.

Sorry, I digress. Despite only one trip to Pat's, I had a great time. Pleasant surprises were the news of how many people were actually coming into town Friday night. Going to the Bew Pub is never my first choice for the hot spot, but I did get over it this time.

I did take a few pictures, though only of the museum, water works, and one or two of boathouse row. They will hopefully be up this week. No, I'm not that busy. Yes, I am that lazy. Don't push your luck.

Book of the Month - September, 2004

August 18th, 2004

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi by Yann MartelLife of Pi is a masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound. Using the threads of all of our best stories, Yann Martel has woven a glorious spiritual adventure that makes us question what it means to be alive, and to believe.

Growing up in Pondicherry, India, Piscine Molitor Patel -- known as Pi -- has a rich life. Bookish by nature, young Pi acquires a broad knowledge of not only the great religious texts but of all literature, and has a great curiosity about how the world works. His family runs the local zoo, and he spends many of his days among goats, hippos, swans, and bears, developing his own theories about the nature of animals and how human nature conforms to it. Pi’s family life is quite happy, even though his brother picks on him and his parents aren’t quite sure how to accept his decision to simultaneously embrace and practise three religions -- Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.

But despite the lush and nurturing variety of Pi’s world, there are broad political changes afoot in India, and when Pi is sixteen his parents decide that the family needs to escape to a better life. Choosing to move to Canada, they close the zoo, pack their belongings, and board a Japanese cargo ship called the Tsimtsum. Travelling with them are many of their animals, bound for zoos in North America. However, they have only just begun their journey when the ship sinks, taking the dreams of the Patel family down with it. Only Pi survives, cast adrift in a lifeboat with the unlikeliest oftravelling companions: a zebra, an orang-utan, a hyena, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Thus begins Pi Patel’s epic, 227-day voyage across the Pacific, and the powerful story of faith and survival at the heart of Life of Pi. Worn and scared, oscillating between hope and despair, Pi is witness to the playing out of the food chain, quite aware of his new position within it. When only the tiger is left of the seafaring menagerie, Pi realizes that his survival depends on his ability to assert his own will, and sets upon a grand and ordered scheme to keep from being Richard Parker’s next meal.

As the days pass, Pi fights both boredom and terror by throwing himself into the practical details of surviving on the open sea -- catching fish, collecting rain water, protecting himself from the sun -- all the while ensuring that the tiger is also kept alive, and knows that Pi is the key to his survival. The castaways face gruelling pain in their brushes with starvation, illness, and the storms that lash the small boat, but there is also the solace of beauty: the rainbow hues of a dorado’s death-throes, the peaceful eye of a looming whale, the shimmering blues of the ocean’s swells. Hope is fleeting, however, and despite adapting his religious practices to his daily routine, Pi feels the constant, pressing weight of despair. It is during the most hopeless and gruelling days of his voyage that Pi whittles to the core of his beliefs, casts off his own assumptions, and faces his underlying terrors head-on.

As Yann Martel has said in one interview, “The theme of this novel can be summarized in three lines. Life is a story. You can choose your story. And a story with an imaginative overlay is the better story.” And for Martel, the greatest imaginative overlay is religion. “God is a shorthand for anything that is beyond the material -- any greater pattern of meaning.” In Life of Pi, the question of stories, and of what stories to believe, is front and centre from the beginning, when the author tells us how he was led to Pi Patel and to this novel: in an Indian coffee house, a gentleman told him, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.” And as this novel comes to its brilliant conclusion, Pi shows us that the story with the imaginative overlay is also the story that contains the most truth.

Buy Life of Pi $8.09

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Get this party started.

August 17th, 2004

It is time for my blogging to begin. I have been waiting too long for this. This is now my second install of b2evolution at The first one was a few months ago that I never used because I was waiting to customize the css to make the rest of seamless. That, obviously, never happened. To force my own hand now, I have decided to simply start using the blog and convince myself that I have to customize the css or I have to deal with a page that looks a way with which I am not comfortable.

The blog will be for many things. I want to be able to simply put down on virtual paper all of the little nuggets of wisdom that pass between my ears at any given moment as well as provide you all with reviews (movies, books, music, video games, hardware) to which you can relate.

I will be linking the majority of my blog posts to the message board ( for increased discussion.

I hope this page becomes a useful tool for you as well as fun for me.

Come back soon!