Archive for September, 2006

Another great day…The “happy” party

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

The child from last week was back, once again with challenging assignments…

This time she had to talk about “problems in society”, she had written cue-cards about pollution, and how bad it is that we’re polluting the oceans, but the empty cue-card had the headline “Religion” written on it.

“Do you think I know something about that subject” I asked? She nodded “Yes”.

She started out by acknowledging that there are more similarities than differences between Christianity and Islam, and once again the number one issue Muslims have with Christianity surfaced, the fact the Jesus, alav ha-shalom, is claimed to be the “son of God”, well since God or Allah, is “one”, this is blasphemy. My point was once again that we’re all children, and that our relationship with the Creator is much akin to the relationship we have with our parents, and that I believe that that was what Jesus meant (I feel that that is expressed by one of the names of God: Al-Wadud (الودود) The Loving, the Kind One).

We’ll after touching the subject of the prophet Muhammad “Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam” cartoons, she ended up with two cue-cards, focusing on tolerance and understanding as ways to avoid problems due to religion. The “Nudansk Ordbog” actually lists “Understanding other cultures” as a way to create tolerance.

Part of the assignment was to describe an ideal party – the “happy” party. I should get the 10 misson statements she listed, but here’s some important ones I remember:

  • Everybody should have a job
  • People shouldn’t annoy each other
  • It should not be allowed to beat children
  • The Police shouldn’t beat on people

I think the “happy” party will get my vote.

Finally she had a Math problem, and it included triangulation: You know the length of one side, and the three angles, now the job was to determine the middle normal! I believe that it’s quite simple to calculate – even without knowledge of trigonometry, I just couldn’t remember the formula, so after some attempts at analysis, I decided to do a simple calculation of the fractions, by measuring the drawing in the textbook.

One side of the triangle was 12 meters, I measured it to be 2,7 centimetres, so the unit is 4,44 meters/centimetre. I then measured the middle normal and got 5,2 centimetres yielding 23,11 meters.

We do need Internet access in the “classroom”, Wikipedia has the solution, but it seems that you do need knowledge of trigonometry, which she doesn’t have as far as I know. It might be that my approach was the correct one!

Am I doing what I’m doing because of 911?

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Well the world didn’t end yesterday, the terrorists are holding their breath, the world shouldn’t however, something will happen again. ’nuff said.

Last week I asked myself a question. Would I be doing what I’m doing today if 911 hadn’t happened? It’s possible, but I think that it made me curious to learn more about the reasons behind, and since ignorance is the order of the day, I’ve been trying to swim against the tide.

Mjølnerparken neonsignI now have several Muslim friends, but that wasn’t the reason I started doing volunteer work in a predominately Muslim neighbourhood. It simply felt like the right thing to do, and I also wanted to come to terms with my limitless tolerance, that my friends criticised me of having, calling me naïve and even worse names.

One of the most important things that has happened as a result of my work as a tutor in Mjølnerparken, is that my friends no longer can claim that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

A few weeks after I started as a tutor in Mjølnerparken, I went on a trip to New York. In 2004 I travelled a lot, and most of the times I had a mission. The actual reason I went to New York, was to attend one of the Ladies First Tour dates, but on the night I arrived, I first went to a great musical, and even though it was late, I immediately decided to head downtown.

After a 30 minute walk, I’m obviously not scared – this being after midnight, and I’ve never been to New York before – was standing at Ground Zero at around 1 am, being the only human being around, but probably the most surveilled person on Earth, just looking around saying: “Det er så WTC sitet…Et stort hul i jorden som man kan se” “So that’s the WTC site…A huge hole in the ground”.

It was immediately clear to me that my trip to New York, was much more a pilgrimage to visit the place where it all started, than it was about attending the Ladies First concert (which was great with performances from Missy Elliott, Beyoncé and an impressive Alicia Keys).

Like I wrote several years ago, I find it amazing that there was so little damage. Yes the hole is huge, but the WTC towers were so immense that it’s really a miracle, that a huge part of lower Manhattan wasn’t destroyed, when the towers collapsed. This fact is part of the fuel for several conspiracy theories, and that’s understandable.

One of the most important lessons I learned during my visit to New York, was that the New Yorkers wasn’t exactly suffering, like I wrote yesterday. Another thing I felt on my body was the fact that the war on terror is also about revenge, and that New Yorkers seem quite paranoid.

I felt the paranoia when I went far out in the suburbs to attend the Ladies First concert, basically being the only white person in a venue with something like 5.000 people of colour, might not have been the smartest thing in the world to do, walking home through projects, picket-fenced homes and deserted shopping mall parking lots, was down-right stupid. There are no pedestrians nor street signs in a New York suburb, and I though that locating a train station would be easy, it wasn’t. Working back and forth on the outskirts of the city, I felt the eyes watching everywhere. You know, I even tried to hitch a ride when I was trying to reach the venue an ice-rink..No I was definitely not in Kansas anymore.

So am I doing what I’m doing because of 911? I’m not sure, but it most likely came into play on the subconscious level, because my work in Mjølnerparken wasn’t something that I was shopping actively for. I actually didn’t really grasp the concept of volunteer work until I was actually doing it.

Windows cleaning – give Windows a makeover or how to turn a Windows pc into a Mac (well sort of)

Monday, September 11th, 2006

UPDATED 12-Sep-2006@23:14.

My mother got a laptop for her 70th, unfortunately not a Mac [-) – I really didn’t want to take that conflict with my brother and father

Instead I’m trying to install some “trojans”, to make Windows feel more like a Mac. Here’s what I came up with:

Installed:

  • iTunes (the “ultimate” trojan)
  • Picasa (very iPhoto like, actually better in some respects)
  • Open Office (2.0.3 simply rocks under Windows)
  • Gimp
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Mozilla Thunderbird

Additional:

• Google Toolbar
• Google Earth

To install:

  • Konfabulator

Considering:

  • Mac theme – nah?

Need suggestions:

  • “GarageBand clone”

More suggestions are welcome!

The Church doesn’t have Wi-Fi

Monday, September 11th, 2006

The Church Doesn't Have Wi-Fi15 minutes to go…5 years since Mohammad Atta shouted Allah Akhbar and slammed into the WTC, focused on Jannah and the waiting virgins, and the Church doesn’t have Wi-Fi.

A selection of today’s headlines:

  • The Internet is evil because the terrorists are using it to co-create terrorism manuals.
  • The problems of the Middle East are bigger than ever, but who cares about the people of Lebanon.
  • Danish forces are engaged in Afghanistan and Irak, we’re good at killing people
  • Anders Fogh thinks that Denmark is weak when it comes to foreign policy…We need to do more! OMG!!! Denmark is the 51st State!
  • Documents with lab results from the police investigation regarding the terrorism case from Odense has been found laying around in the open!
  • RFID tags, great Big Brother is watching!
  • Oh it’s so sad for the poor New Yorkers that lost their business! Well others lost their lifes! As far as I could tell when I was in New York in 2004, the New Yorkers aren’t exactly suffering.

Who do you believe? Our media? Their media? Your media!

It’s time to take back what’s rightfully ours, our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.

Forgive me I have to pray, pray for humanity, the jury is still out, but are we going to make it? Only if we wake up!

WAKE UP!!!

And my keyboard switched to Arabic!

Amen!

SLAM!!!!!!

And because the Church doesn’t have WiFi, I can’t access the Sacred Texts Library, to meditate on Surat 2.112, I’ll have to write it down in my own words:

“He who worships his Lord and is a doer of good shall fear nothing!”

Alahu Akhbar…SLAM!!!!

Hey my cell-phone and Google to the rescue…Surat 2.112 al quran…Yielded this page:

The Birth of Islam

It started out with quotes from Al-Quran most of them hinting a violent side of Islam, with quotes like this:

Surat 9, Al Taouba, “Repentance; The Immunity-Dispensation,” verse 29:

[9.29] Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

This means that Islam must conquer Jews and Christians, and if after being conquered they do not convert to Islam, then they must pay a tribute (head tax). You would either have to convert, or pay an “infidel tax.”

I was quite sceptical, what was the point? But I actually found the correct Surat 2.112 (my all time favorite quote from Al-Quran):

[2.112] Yes! whoever submits himself entirely to Allah and he is the doer of good (to others) he has his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for him nor shall he grieve. ‏بَلَىٰ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُۥ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌۭ فَلَهُۥٓ أَجْرُهُۥ عِندَ رَبِّهِۦ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ ‎
balay’ man ‘Ê”aslama wajhahuw lil:ahi wahuwa muḥsinunm falahuwÊ” ‘Ê”ajruhuw Ê•inda rab:ihiy wala’ xawfun Ê•alayhim wala’ hum yaḥzanuwna (I hope this was correct, I’m not proficient in Arabic).

Surat 2.112 is as far from fundamentalism as you can possible get.

Then the text suddenly become much more interesting, and turns into a rather full historical account of the “Birth of Islam”. Very interesting indeed sitting in a Danish Church reading this historical account of the “Birth of Islam” on the 5th anniversary of 911 on a cell-phone using Google, including sentences rendered perfectly in Arabic script. This was not possible to do 5 years ago, there’s still hope for humanity.

BTW the bible quote of the day was from the Letter to the Galatians. Paulus basically says “remember: the ‘books’ aren’t written by men!”…Hmm…I don’t agree – the ‘books’ are inspired, spiritual and ‘eternal’, but they are indeed written by men.

LysglobeI lit all the candles in the “globe” in the Church and prayed some more for humanity. Too bad that the “bowl” with Bible quotes for contemplation were nowhere to be seen! But I welcome that this tradition has reached Denmark, I saw it in Lund 2 years ago, and actually I prayed for it to be adopted in Denmark. My prayers were heard it seems.

99 Names of God

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

Al-Wadud99 Names of God – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A Naqshbandi Sufi site, The Power of Love

Al-Wadud (الودود) The Loving, the Kind One

I knew it!

Review: Saboon and Kamilya Jubran at Kaleidoskop K2 in Copenhagen

Friday, September 8th, 2006

I attended yet another music event as part of the Images of the Middle East festival in Copenhagen. On the 7th of September 2006 I had the pleasure of enjoying two very distinctly different and yet related performances, Saboon and Kamilya Jubran at Kaleidoskop K2 in Copenhagen.

SaboonThe first was from Lebanese/Egyptian Trip Hop combo, Saboon. Saboon delivers up-tempo music with a lot of mixtures and a beautiful vocalist. This was clearly dance-music, but the crowd, most of them clearly not used to the fact that dance music is meant for…ahem…dancing, so that wasn’t too good of an experience, and the people that danced didn’t really look like they were used to that type of music, but at least I wasn’t alone.

Not a bad performance, not by a long shot.

During the break I once again flashed my PowerBook, this time because the person selling CDs didn’t bring a diskman or anything for the prospective buyers, so I offered her that she could use it. She was quite happy, and I hope that she sold some CDs she wouldn’t have otherwise.

Kamilya JubranNow it was time for Kamilya Jubran to take the stage, I believe that she was appearing as Wameed, a very different combination of avantgardistic electronica and the traditional lute, and Kamilya Jubran’s expressive voice.

Really complicated music but also very beautiful, it seemed quite improvised. This was music better suited for the theatre adjusted audience, but I still wonder if it’s such a good idea to have a musical performance at a theatre.

But all in all an evening well spend, and it really showed the reach of the musical program for Images of the Middle East, it’s really quite remarkable and impressive. But the differences between the two acts was too big for most I suppose.

Kontakt Nykredit – gr8 but RETURN MY CALLS!

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Kontakt Nykredit

Nykredit is in serious need of help with their ICT.

First and foremost…They never answer if you use their contact form (follow link).

When you call them they will read you information from their screen, but their case workers can’t send the information by other methods than snail or fax (how 80ies).

The case worker actually said that he wasn’t proficient with computers. LOL. Denmark is indeed a leader in ICT! NOT! It’s a serious waste of my (which I care about) and Nykredits time (which I would care about if I was a private customer with Nykredit).

History 101 (or 911): Connections!

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Today was my regular day in Hjemmelektiehjælpen – private tutoring.

The 13 year old boy had an assignment where he was supposed to put into context World-war 2, The Battle for Dybbøl Mølle, Christian the 4th and 9-11 none the less. Phew! THAT triggered me!

The context was “what can you learn from history, and how do you avoid history from repeating it self” (or “man bliver klog af skade – great to hear such a phrase from a 13-year old), so “past in relation to future”. The boy was interested in the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, Star Wars or Ronald Raygun’s wet dream), that’s the future! Well that wouldn’t have stopped Mohammad Atta was my point. And I also remembered the words (not literal) of Mikhail Gorbachew, “if they build it we’ll just throw a stone at it!”.

It actually turned out that the 4 historic event are more closely connected than you might expect. I didn’t discover this until I had made a history 101 (or 911) lecture, of history as I see it.

The US entered World-war 2 after Pearl Harbour, 9-11 was a new Pearl Harbour. 9-11 triggered the “war on terror” and that is somewhat akin to World-war 2, since it keeps provoking images of the “next Hitler”, learning from history eh’? Peace in our time?

Denmark lost Schleswig-Holstein after Dybbøl Mølle and it was the final nail in the coffin for the dreams of a Danish Empire, that Christian the 4 had.

Denmark regained some of the land lost after Dybbøl Mølle, as an indirect result of the peace treaty of Versailles, that eventually was a pivotal point in triggering World-war 2, since it left the German economy in shambles, resulting in the likes of Hitler coming out of the woodwork, some see the same happening today.

Everything is connected, as James Burke, one of my favourite authors, always points out.

Poor kid, he didn’t really get any homework done, but I ended up having a fantastic discussion with his mother. The view Muslims has of 9-11 is “somewhat different” from mine. They do seem to see a huge conspiracy, which is not as far fetched as it might seem. The truth has been a major casualty of the war on terror.

Så kan de lære det…

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Blev lige ringet op af en af de plageånder der plager selvstændige erhvervsdrivende med at sælge hjemmesider etc.

Plageånd: Du taler med…Har du en hjemmeside?
Mig: Næh hvad er det?
Mig: Jeg aner slet ikke hvad det der Internet er for noget
Plageånd: Gør du ikke?
Mig: Nej kan du ikke forklare mig det?
Plageånd: Nej det kan jeg ikke…DUT DUT DUT

Tippet hermed givet videre!

ps. Pokkers også havde ellers set frem til at høre om det!

pps. Har også sendt min historie til vibrugerikke.dk, der samler på den slags.

ppps. Det minder mig om den værste af den slags plageånder jeg hidtil har haft den ubehagelige oplevelse af at have i røret…

Kvindemenneske: Du har vundet en flaske champagne!
Kvindemenneske: Jeg vil komme forbi for at give den til dig
Mig: Lyder godt
Kvindemenneske: Nå ok, hvor mange Laser tonere køber du så, “tar’ du en får du to” (ikke hendes ord, men ændret for dramatisk effekt)
Mig: Farvel!

Men det ærgede mig bagefter at jeg ikke fik spurgt hende om hvordan hun selv syntes det gik?

Reboot8: Co-Creation Rules Workshop

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Co-Creation Rules – Reboot

You know it’s been three months since reboot8, my first reboot ever…

And it actually rebooted me, it just took some time, and it was such a taxing experience that I only attended day one! Opting to stay in bed on day 2.

What I experienced on day 1 was indeed inspiring, but I didn’t really grasp the concept of co-creation until maybe these last few weeks, or even the entire format of the reboot event. I hope to be able to co-create more fully next year.

The Co-Creation Rules workshop was great.

We played games, like the game of slow-motion samurai, where we all ended up laying on the floor, and despite low odds, I finished third, even though it wasn’t a competive game, it sort of provoked you to stay alive, since all the people in the room were brandishing tainted virtual samurai swords, and they were trying to kill you in slow motion.

Dead simple, and that is how you reboot people and get them to talk.

But I have a question…Do you actually need rules for co-creation…I’m reviewing them again…Since I’m finally “getting it” (I think).