November 2004 Archives

November 28, 2004

Waiting; watching

To many folks who celebrate Christmas, today might represent 26 more shopping days. And that it is; I went online today to get some ordering done.

But in the Anglican tradition that we're a part of in the Episcopal Church, today is the first Sunday in Advent.

Advent is a splendid season in the church year. The theme of Advent is expectation, waiting and watching. In theory, it's a season of penitence, like Lent, but in practice, we do well just to stem the tide of commercialism that starts rising around our heels before Halloween. It�s really a bit of split-personality dance, from Christmas parties, Christmas cookies, and all the rest of the things that we enjoy, to the asceticism that we are called to practice in Advent.

In church, I love the colors and signs of Advent. From the endless greens of the six-month season of Pentecost, we are plunged into deep blues and off whites. The first of five Advent candles are lit, young children sing �Light one candle to watch for Messiah..�, and we chant a litany.

Also a tradition in our church on the first Sunday of Advent: we make an Advent wreath to bring home. I say �we,� but today it was really my children: Jen was down in the choir, and I don�t do well with these crafty things. So the two younger children covered styrofoam with greens cut from the back yard mixed with a few fake holly berries, and in the evening we gathered around it, lit the first of the four candles, sang a brief hymn, and each shared what we�re looking forward to this Advent.

Christmas gifts on the contemplative/spiritual side

I alluded to the fact that my life has been in a more spiritual/contemplative place over the course of this year.

Here are a few things that I've received as gifts that have meant a great deal to me.

Continue reading Christmas gifts on the contemplative/spiritual side.

I like Thunderbird

I've been using the Mozilla mail client for a couple of years, and I've been pretty happy with it. I've even set up non-tech friends with Mozilla mail in preference to having them use Outlook Express.

But I've now been using Thunderbird 0.9 for a little over three weeks now, and I've been very happy with it. If I was starting my non-tech friends on email today, I'd give them Thunderbird and Firefox.

It's hard to quantify why I like Thunderbird better than Mozilla mail - it does have a few more features, but mostly it's a fit-and-finish kind of issue: both Thunderbird and Firefox pay a little more attention to the look and feel, and both feel a little less geeky. Most everything that works in Mozilla mail works in Thunderbird - all the shortcuts.

The one thing I use about using the combination of Firefox and Thunderbird is the one-keystroke back to mail from Firefox. That's picky - you can do it with Alt-T M - but that's two keystrokes. Picky, picky. (In Mozilla it's Alt-2.)

The only glitch I've had with Thunderbird so far is a conversion issue. I apparently installed an old release of Thunderbird on my laptop. Usually Thunderbird does a very clean job of importing mail and settings from Mozilla. However, when I installed Thunderbird 0.9 on the laptop, I could not re-import my Mozilla settings - it had old settings that I'd used before, and the 'Mozilla' import option was missing. Still haven't figured that one out, so I'm still using Mozilla mail on the laptop.

It's also worth saying that I use IMAP for email everywhere. Read on for my mail setup ...

Continue reading I like Thunderbird.

nothing here for ages

I recently made a small update to my my post on The DaVinci Code , and Paul Beard (weblog A Crank's Progress ) rightly chided me for not having posted anything new here since last April.

I have my excuses.

Continue reading nothing here for ages.