Saturday, February 28, 2009

That's All Folks!

Myriad Shades of Gray has moved to...

There will be no further posts to this location. Please reset your bookmarks and RSS feeds or resubscriobe ny email at the new site.

Thanks to all who have read this blog. Please be so kind as to continue with me at Wordpress.

Blessings... Dennis A. gray

Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm Moving...

Hey everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that starting Sunday, March 1st, 2009 I am moving 'Myriad Shades of Gray' to Wordpress.  The same title but with a different look and a little more content. I'm afraid those of you who are subscribers will have to re-subscribe, but it is just as simple as before so I hope you will stay with me.

The reason for the move is simple enough; Wordpress offers a few more options and I am looking to do a little more with the blog.  Java and Jesus will stay here at Blogger for the time being but will likely move sometime later this spring or summer.

After today all new posts will be at the new 'Myriad Shades of Gray' the address for which is..

So please drop by soon and comment on the new look and additional pages.

Thanks for your support everyone.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

A last Minute Invite...

So, what are you doing on Sunday morning?

If you're going to be in the Guelph area then I'd like to invite you to drop around toWestminister-St. Paul's Presbyterian Church. The regular Sunday service starts at 10:30am.

If you do you'll get a chance to hear yours truly give a little presentation called "At the Marriage Feast with Mordecai ."  What is it? I'll let the church bulletin explain...

"The presentation Dennis will do, offers a midrash (a Jewish story amplifying a biblical text) on the text of John 2: 1-11 (the wedding feast at Cana, where Jesus performs his first miracle – turning water into wine).  The story is told from the perspective of a participant at the marriage feast, specifically one, Mordecai, uncle of the groom.  This original presentation, researched, written and recounted by Dennis Gray, fills in much of the cultural detail around Jewish marriage that John’s first readers would, of course, have known, but which most readers of John’s gospel today do not."

I'm not a big fan of blowing my own horn, but hey, one needs to get the word out somehow. Besides, I'd like to get the chance to meet some of you and that's only going to happen if you know where I'll be. So please, drop on by and introduce yourself.
Here's a map showing where to find WSP.

Until next time...  see you in church.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Give It a Second...

Came across this video today at The Long Now Foundation.  It is a great commentary of increasing impatience with technology.

I'll be the first to admit I have an obsession with technology.  There is little that gives me more satisfaction than finding the right technology to simplify a task.  But as Louis CK points out, I think my fascination is born out of the fact that I remember when we had the dial phones. I remember my aunt who was on a party line and I had to wait until the neighbour was finished before I could make my call. I remember going to Malton Airport in Toronto for an afternoon to do nothing other than watch the planes come and go, amazed that something that big and heavy could actually fly.

Yeah. I know. I'm showing my age. But that's okay. I've waited a long time to be this old and experienced and I'm going to relish every minute of it. So have a little patience, it wasn't all that long ago the cell phone in your hand was the stuff of science fiction.

Till next time... give it a second!

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Left Foot - the Saga Continues...

For those of you who are interested, the progress on my left foot is going well. I am now walking freely in the AirCast® (Das Boot), only using the cane for uneven or slippery terrain (winter is not a great season for crutches).

I have also been given permission to start putting a little weight on the foot when I'm not wearing Das Boot. This means I need to use my crutches so that the bulk of my weight is shifted off my left foot. We are still working on range of motion development - strength building will come later.

The best part about this is that I can now start thinking about the bicycle again. I've been doing 20 minute, resistance free sessions on the exercise bike during my physio sessions (wearing Das Boot). Today, Laurie (my physio-therapist) asked me if I have an exercise bike at home I could use.

I don't, but rather than getting one I have decided to pick up a trainer to use with my Trek 7100. For those who don't know, a trainer lifts the back wheel a few inches off the ground so that you can 'train' on the bike indoors during the winter. With variable resistance settings it should do the job quite nicely. I'm thinking of a magnetic trainer, tire drive, with or without the remote cable; probably a Blackburn® or a Cycleops®. (Blackburn pictured at right)

Here's the pitch, always looking to save a dollar or two, and being a firm believer in reuse/recycle, I'm wondering if there's anyone out there (in the Guelph, Ontario area) that has a trainer in the garage or the basement that you'd be willing to sell for a fair price?

Yes, I know all about Craiglist and eBay, but not everyone posts to sites such as these, and it would be nice to see if I can deal with someone I know. So I'm putting out the feelers to see what comes back. So if you have such a beast kicking around (or know someone who does) and you or they are more likely to go cycling with Barack Obama than use the trainer any time soon, please give me a shout in the comments section and we'll talk.

Until next time.... Keep on pedalin'

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Why Did 1234567890 Day Matter?

As the title of this post implies some of you have been asking, "Who cares if the Unix Epoch Clock reaches 1234567890? It doesn't really affect anything." And to be fair, that's true, it doesn't. But, it does provide an opportunity to gain a little numerical perspective.

Like most of you I've been listening to all the numbers being bandied about regarding the stimulus/bailout/please-keep-our-collective-asses-out-of-the-fire package. It always strikes me odd the way people talk about $300 billion or $750 billion and most of us really have little concept about just how much money that is. We know it' s a immensely huge amount of money, but can any of us in the everyday world relate to these kind of numbers.

Well, consider this: Let's say that back on January 1st, 1970 you and a few buds were asked to count out the $350 billion the government was planning to give the auto industry. So the lot of you started counting, working in shifts 24 hours a day seven days a week, every day of the year including leap year, counting at a rate of 1 dollar per second non-stop.

That means that yesterday at 6:31:30pm EST you would have only counted $1.2 billion dollars!! that just 0.34% of the entire $350,000,000,000. It will be 4:30 am EST on May18th, 2033 before you finish counting the second billion! With that in mind try to imagine for a second what a trillion dollars looks like because that's what some are suggesting the stimulus package will be in total when all is said and done. (BTW - You'll finish counting a trillion somewhere around the year 33670. yeah, that's right - 5 digits!)

I have often thought that when we stopped doing accounting by hand, with the endless hours of spreadsheet tabulations and the tickida-tickida-tickida of the adding machines ringing in our ears, and let the computers do it for us in the blink of an eye, we lost our sense of perspective on just how much we were spending. The quick flash of numbers on a screen does not compare to miles of paper tape rolling out of a desktop calculator to make us turn to the powers that be and cry, "Oh my GOD! Are you insane?" There's just something about doing things manually that helps keep the universe in perspective.

Until next time ... hopefully sometime before 1266207752...


Image Credit: Life Magazine

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Feb 13th !

Well boys and girls, it's Friday, February 13th and we all know what that means don't we?

No! Not the Triskaidekaphobia thing. By no means. No, today is the day that Epoch time hits a major milestone - let the partying commence! Geeks the world over will observe this moment in geek friendly pubs and taverns I assure you.

What is Epoch time you ask? Well it's actually a fairly simple thing primarily of interest only to Unix geeks. Back in the day when computing was young it was decided that some kind of universal time code was required to help keep all the world's computing systems in sync. And so the word went forth and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) was created. At midnight January 1st, 1970 the UTC clock was started and it has been ticking away ever since., one second at a time ignoring all the variances of human time (such as leap seconds) tracking the passage of universal time.

Well today, over 1.2 billion seconds later, at about 6:30pm EST, the Epoch clock will read "1234567890" and Unix geeks will solemnly observe the moment. It is, I admit, only one second among billions, but hey - any excuse for a party right?

If you'd like to observe the moment yourself you can find a countdown clock (count up?) HERE.

And if your in the neighbourhood, here's a short list of available celebrations - Enjoy!

Image credit: Epoch Time clock available from

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Warning: Blogging can be Habit Forming!

It has been just over a month since I started blogging again and I have made a discovery. Blogging (for me anyway) is like potato chips - I can't write just one!

Here's the deal. Back in November I purchased a new study Bible - the ESV Study Bible (English Standard Version) published by Crossway. I've used a number of different study Bibles over the years and this is one of the nicest I've seen. The translation is a literal translation but with more than the usual attention given to sentence structure and syntax making it more readable than say, the NASB (New American Standard Bible). The extras are top notch, the contributors the best in their fields, and the artwork is amazing. You can check it out at the link above.

During my recent recovery period, I started reading the book of Matthew in the ESV and it wasn't long before I started thinking about the work I left unfinished at my blog 'Java and Jesus'. I found that I wanted to finish the work, and so, after some prayer and contemplation, I have decided I shall.

And so starting today I shall once again be posting to on a regular basis. How regular, I'm not sure, but I will pick up where I left off with little fanfare and a lot of trepidation. If you enjoyed what I posted before, or are intrigued by what you've read here, I invite you to join me. If you know of anyone who used to read J&J then please pass this along and let them know it has started up again.

That's it for now... see you over there, and here as well.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Then as I End the Refrain...

When I was a child my mother did her level best to instill me with a love of literature, especially drama and poetry. In my teenage years I rebelled of course, but the fact remains that as I grew older the power of her influence made itself known. Her efforts bore more fruit than she might ever have imagined.

One of my favorite performances, introduced to me by my mother, is Jose Ferrer in the title role of the 1950 movie 'Cyrano de Bergerac.' Based on a play is about the romantic trials of a French swordsman, poet and attendee of the Royal Court, the story line will form the basis for Steve Martin's movie Roxanne. (Trivia note: Jose Ferrer was the father of
Miguel Ferrer who, among other things, played Dr. Garret Macy in 'Crossing Jordan'.)

In order that the rest of this post might have some context, here is a clip of my favorite scene from the movie...

The other day the poem composed by Cyrano during the duel came to my memory as I sat before my computer bemoaning my current situation (see former posts - tags 'surgery', 'Achilles tendon') I found myself inspired to attempt a small parody of my own. And so I present for your consideration Dear Reader a humble offering which I entitle...

The Musings of a Gimp after Watching Cyrano De Bergerac
By Dennis Gray

Lightly I walked ‘cross the boards that day
To fasten my work to the backstage wall
Not seeing the black hole that lay in my way
That soon would become the site of my fall.

A snap of a tendon, the slap of my heel,
A shriek of pain and a retching moan.
A shock from my head to my toes I feel,
Then comes a brand new refrain - I’m stuck home!

My foot in a cast, my heart in a sling
I hobble, I stumble, I shuffle, I crawl.
Each day becomes a laborious thing
As each second is marked by the clock on the wall.

A visitor comes! Oh Callooh! Oh Callay!
We talk for a while of the places they roam.
A movie we watch and then - on their way,
And once more the soulful refrain - I’m stuck home!

Outside of my window the traffic flows past
While inside the boredom I try to forestall;
I blog and I email, play hits from the past,
Get beaten in Scrabble by words like ‘quetzal.’

They take me physio - they bend and they stretch
On a modern day rack made of vinyl and chrome.
They say I’m a ‘picture’ - I feel more like a sketch,
Again comes the endless refrain - I’m stuck home!

Dear Friend, think of me, sojourning through trouble
As I ponder a name for this four-wall syndrome
And perhaps you might bring me a large double-double
For yet I still sing the refrain - I’m stuck home!

With apologies to Edmond Rostand, until next time...