Monday, January 18, 2010

Service and Love — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2010

Yesterday when I went into the Unitarian Universalist service at our First Parish Church of Groton, the "banner" that you see below had been proudly placed front and center in the sanctuary. Produced by the dedicated hands of one of our members, the banner shows the dozens of organizations that members of the Church work with — providing service to our community.
The entire service, today, was inspired by the life and teachings of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. By his own leadership-by-example, he demonstrated unequivocally that “Love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems — even when doing so flies in the face of our other instincts, and even when it seems hopeless.

Another pervasive theme was that Service provides us all a pathway to greatness. Anyone — no matter what your life situation — anyone can be of service, not as an "isolated act" but rather as a way of being, day-to-day.
I was very inspired by the service. It left me reassessing the ways in which service is a part of my life.
After the heart-felt and very moving reading by Paul Harter, Jr — excerpts from MLK's “Presidential Address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference” in August 1967 — some in the congregation stood up in affirmation and many joined us in spontaneous applause.

I was also moved by these excerpts from MLK's speech, “The Quest for Peace and Justice”, delivered on the occasion of him receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, on Dec. 11, 1964 — in the reading by Dave Hill. Likewise, Rev. Elea Kemler's sermon, “Reflections on Service, was also very inspirational.

As we all look back on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2010… let us reflect upon the values and teachings of this great man. And let us rededicate ourselves to Service as our fundamental action, and Love, as a context for living.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas 2009 — Gifts that Get Given Away Twice

This year for many of my Christmas presents I used (in the USA, and its Canadian counterpart) to create real postage stamps — featuring my own pictures that I knew would be special to each of my loved ones. Images of the stamps are presented in the wildly flashing Intel 3D cube navigator, below. I also used the stamp images to create my sweetie's 2009 Christmas Tree Ornament — featuring the stamps glued onto a wooden cube, resting in an ornamental woven basket — shown at the bottom right, below. Hence came the whole idea of using my old 3D cube navigator for the web-based stamps presentation.

Use the 3D cube navigator (on the left) to explore the 6 stamps I created :
 • Move your mouse into the center of the green background frame (to the left) to “drive” and “look at” each of the images.
 • As you move the mouse within the moving 3D cube frame, you are in “drive mode” and the manipulation is done solely via mouse movement — without mouse clicks. For example, hold the mouse towards any corner of the frame and notice that the cube begins rotating in that direction. The rotation follows you around as you move the mouse, and is faster or slower depending on how close you are to the center of the cube.
 • Click on any cube face; it "zooms out", showing you the stamp image. A subsequent single click continues the rotation.
 • Double Click on an image face to get more detail — to see the original picture the stamp was made from. When finished, use your browser's "Back" button to return here to the cube navigator.
 • In “drive mode” the rotation stops whenever you move the mouse outside of the green background space, and resumes when you re-enter it.

Yes… this is what I do on a holiday weekend when it's snowing outside and I just feel like playing. Happy New Year 2010 !!