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So, I was driving back home from Saturday night service at my Church, and I drove past this street (which I’ve done before). But this time, I was like, “oh, that would make such a cool photo”. And since I had nothing better to do, I decided to pull a U-turn and, voila, here’s what we got. On a scale of “Ugh, that didn’t turn out” to “Wow, those photos turned out amazing!”, I’d have to rate this a, “Hmm, not bad”, in my assessment.

William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was an English M.P. who became a Christian at the age of 25/26, sparking “major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform” (as Wikipedia.org puts it). He was a leading figure in the (eventually successful) fight to abolish the slave trade across the British Empire, and also founded such causes as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

William Wiberforce (1759-1833), English MP and pioneer in abolishing the slave trade across the British Empire

Just watched End of the Spear with the Thurs Bible study group. In 1956, five young men risked & lost their lives so that an Ecuadorian tribe (with whom very few had ever had contact; a tribe known for their violence and killing) could *perhaps* get a chance hear and understand a message that Jesus wanted them to know. They placed themselves in an imprudent, vulnerable situation with wives and young children who needed them – why? Because of their conviction that the reconciliation and cessation of hostilities between the Waodani people and God was assuredly more important than keeping themselves (and their families’ interests) protected and safe.

When contrasted against my life now in 2012, it makes me wonder what I am convicted of and whether I am risking anything for things that are assuredly worthwhile. Like something even as small taking several minutes to even talk to and hear from God – or maybe I’m too busy for that…? :O

Screencap from End of the Spear (2005)
(Credit: Every Tribe Entertainment, Bearing Fruit Entertainment)

(this blog post was originally written and posted on TeamLiquid.net – many of the photos will be cut off or the links won’t work, so it’s recommended that you view the original post here: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=355307)

Hi everyone! This is my first TL blog post, and it’s a week “late”, but I’d like to share my journey and photos from the NASL Season 3 Grand Finals near Toronto, Canada.

I ended posting a LOT more photos here than I’d thought I would, but I hope you enjoy them!

The full gallery is viewable here: Link <= there are a few more photos there, so feel free to browse the album!

– Journey to Toronto, Canada

The first part of my journey began with a flight from Vancouver, British Columbia all the way to Toronto, Ontario. That’s #YVR to #YYZ if you know the airport codes. From there, it was a quick airport shuttle ride (which I missed, at first) from Pearson International Airport to the Four Points Sheraton hotel where the NASL people would be staying.

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Flying Air Canada to #YYZ

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An airborne iPhoto

– Waiting for NASL to start

Line-em up!

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Morning line-up for Day 1 of NASL Grand Finals

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Entering the venue (International Centre – located in Mississauga, Ontario (next to Toronto))

As I was walking around before the festivities began, I came across some computers that they were using either for WCS Canada or the CSL Nationals 

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GoSu.Ostojiy // Quantic’s DdoRo

Clutch started amping up the crowd, and Mr. Bitter and Rotterdam took their seats at the casting desk. It was almost time to begin!

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Mr. Bitter getting a camera photo of the crowd 

But first, some Day[9] crowd control 

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Day[9] wants YOU.

– Day 1 NASL quarter-finals and WCS Canada

The first match up was SK.MC vs EG.Puma

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MC coming down the red carpet for the first time

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Awaiting the President Protoss // MC, the boss Toss, coming down the red carpet

And then I whipped out my camera just in time for a random iNcontrol & IdrA sighting 

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Leaders – n. Visionaries who go against the crowd for the greater good (of #esports)

And then it was time to hear the iNdrA (IdrA / iNcontrol) casting duo. I thought they were on a roll that weekend. I remember thinking to myself, “Man, IdrA is totally in the casting groove right now”. Good stuff!

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iNcontrol and IdrA getting ready to get their casting on

NASL had matches from WCS Canada (and maybe CSL Nationals) in the back of the venue up on a big stage so that people could watch them there.

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Root (Slush?) vs… someone? Man, I only know DdoRo, Ostojiy, Huk, and Scarlett (and DdoRo has his name on his back)

What they DIDN’T show you on stream was the hot dog guy with his food stand in front of the entrance. There was a concession area inside the venue, but I’m sure this guy made lots of money as well. I went outside and snapped that pic, and then when I came back in it was time for… LIQUID’HERO  Since I came from the outside, I decided to wait from the back instead of returning to my seat up front. In the end, I got to get REALLY close to him (almost right next to him, if I remember correctly)!

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NASL hot dog guy // Liquid’Hero getting ready to walk the red carpet

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Liquid’Hero fighting!

But Stephano ended up taking out Liquid.Hero 

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Dat guy…

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SlayerS.Puzzle vs Liquid.Ret was up next. Here’s Liquid.Ret coming down the red carpet.

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And then it was time for what all of Canada had been waiting for…

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We’re waiting for him!

…but first, SlayerS.Alicia 

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He’s so cute and cuddly 

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Not the ‘Hero we deserved, but the one we needed?…

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/cuemusic Here he comes, to save the day!

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Magnificent in triumph…

But sadly, SlayerS.Alicia is a PvP monster and HuK’s aggressive style failed to find any cracks in his armor  And thus, our beloved Monsieur Loranger went out 0-3 to Alicia.

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Devestated in defeat  – you’ll get ’em next time, HuK!

– Day 1 NASL semi-final matches
And with that, we had our top 4 NASL semi-finalists. First up, SK.MC vs Mill.Stephano *shivers*

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Stephano and the Boss Toss

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In the midst of the carnage and destruction that is MC vs Stephano, I found a brief spot of peace

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We found love in a hopeless place…

When I found this photo yesterday, I found it extra hilarious (after reading about all the complaints from stream viewers after the event) and I knew exactly what to caption it:

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NASL sound guy? :O

The other semi-finals match was SlayerS.Alicia vs Liquid’Ret. SlayerS.Alicia ended up taking the PvZ match.

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SlayerS.Alicia trying to give MC a run for the title of “Boss Toss”

Oh, and look who decided to show up in front of me? Soe and Day[9]  I tweeted this picture last night and Soe retweeted me! *swoons*

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Soe + Day[9] = Doe 

After the event finished ~10:30PM, Day[9] told the crowd to not crowd around inside but to wait for him outside the venue. And lo and behold, after a short wait, a wild Day[9] appeared!

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Day[9] with some random fans

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That guy looks SO scared, lol // There’s one more photo, but I don’t think we need to see where this leads…

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Day[9] signing my friend’s phone and making a drawing of his favorite Starcraft unit for my other friend

I bought some $1 store Canada flags and wrote on them for various people. Here, Day[9] is holding one I made for him and one I made for Megumixbear (who wasn’t able to make it to the NASL Grand Finals). He also signed my Canada flag that I was waving on both days in front of the casters’ desk.

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See? I fit under his chin 

Day[9] is one intense Starcraft personality. The event ended around 10:30PM and he stayed past 1AM I think to sign things for fans. He was really interactive, too, and would chat and be really friendly with EACH fan. He’s definitely good to his fans  And then he retweeted me after the weekend, too *swoons again*

– Day 2 at the NASL Grand Finals

WHEW! Ok, that does it for Day 1. Day 2 was actually quite a bit lighter in terms of NASL content. At least, my photo count went down quite a bit for that day (and I made more signs to hold up for the stream viewers)!

There was the Tribes: Ascend Grand Finals match, cast by HiRez.Bart and Fishstix. I actually quite like Tribes: Ascend and play it a bit, too. You can check out the main gallery link for those pics, though.

First up was Liquid’Ret vs. SK.MC, cast by Soe and Day[9], I think?

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Fusion core dance

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Frodan and Day[9] // Camera phone pic of Soe, Day[9], and the flag he signed for me 

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Liquid’Ret, the people’s champion

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neobowman sitting on the red carpet

MC is good at vortices. GG!

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I know what you’ve all been wondering – “What does the NASL hotdog guy like? They never showed him on stream!” Well, never fear, I’ve got you covered:

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NASL hotdog guy, up close and personal

And then it was time for the Grand Finals match! Here comes SlayerS.Alicia…

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Refueling the BitterDam

And in between a break, here came one of the most memorable moments for me this NASL. I was already sitting in the front row (SO thankful for those seats!), and while I was standing up I asked Rotterdam if I could get a quick picture. He happily obliged, which resulted in the following:

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Rotterdam and Mr. Bitter – not just really, really, ridiculously, good-looking #Zoolanderquote

Maybe they SHOULD quit their day jobs…

And then it was time for Stephano to come down!

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Clutch & Lauren // Comment allez vous, Stephano?

And as quickly as that, it was over. 4-0 Stephano over Alicia. Protoss’, cover your eyes!

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Stephano right after shaking SlayerS.Alicia’s hand (as Stephano wins NASL Season 3)

And thus commenced the first inaugural NASL post-finals on-stage DANCE PART-AY :O

Let the champagne flow (I got hit by champagne in the front row, heh heh)!

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Stephano after winning NASL Season 3 and $30,000

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Champagne, champagne everywhere…

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…and not a drop to drink.

I also have a photo of one of the NASL organizers scrambling to throw a black cloth over the caster computers to save it from the champagne, lol  (you can check my gallery link for that one)

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The infamous on-stage dance party…

I don’t know if this was shown on stream, but a little bit into the “dance party”, Stephano actually crouched down and had to stay down for I think at least half a minute because he was so overcome with emotion. I managed to snag this shot during that moment:

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Stephano overcome with emotion (he had to stay crouched down for maybe half a minute to regain his composure)

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He likes to move it, move it… (from Madagascar 1 & 2, which my 2-year old niece here in Ontario has recently educated me on)

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Gretorp and NASL ❤ Canada

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NASL <3’s NASL

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Yup.

– Some extra stuff from behind the scenes

I wasn’t allowed onto the top level of the stage after the event was over, so I had to reach up high and get the best shot I could of inside the stage booth. This is the one Stephano was in.

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A sneak peek inside the NASL stage booth

Look who I found in the normal spectator area! It’s Mr. Bitter! There weren’t too many fans around at this point, and only myself and another guy seemed to be interested in getting his autograph, so this was a great time for me to give him my custom $1 store Canada flags I made for him and Rotterdam (which he passed along for me  ).

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Mr. Bitter! With my custom Canada flags for him and Rotti!

I found Liquid’Hero just outside the curtains to the back stage area, so I asked him for a photo before I lost my nerve!

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Who’s photobombing me and Liquid’Hero in the back? :O

And my fellow Canadian, Chris Ostojic! From the University of Western Ontario (I’ve visited their campus, before) 

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GoSu.Ostojiy – go Western! (UWO)

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THE END

Epilogue: So, since I was staying at the NASL featured hotel (and since @JawesomeArt was telling me that he had drinks with IdrA and iNcontrol at the hotel bar for a few hours before the first day of the event), I decided to stop by the hotel bar and see who I could “run into”. Well, I was able to run into (a somewhat tipsy) Rotterdam and Quantic.DdoRo while I was there. And then I found IdrA and iNcontrol at a back table and gave them the Canada flags I made for them! They were chilling with Scarlett and Liquid’Ret  Oh yeah, and x6.MaximusBlack was there, too.

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If you look carefully, you can see EG.iNcontrol & EG.IdrA (back left table) and x6.MaximusBlack (center screen) 

So, in summary, NASL was a GREAT experience for me. It was especially great for me as a Canadian, and this was my first ever esports event, so it was a bit of a dream come true to be able to break into the national anthem with my fellow Canadians spontaneously (on Day 2)  I was able to get WAY closer to the “celebrities” and SC personalities than I had hoped to be able to, and it was surprising how being here at this event in person was a bit of a springboard for me to interact with a few of them on social media after the event, too! I was able to get on Inside the Game with djWHEAT, IdrA, and iNcontrol last week and talk a bit about it (and they remembered my $1 store Canada flags *swoon*).

So I was definitely very thankful to everyone involved with putting on the NASL weekend and felt very blessed to have a good experience there 

Background:

Yesterday, Mobilesyrup reported that Rogers had finally dropped their 3-year contract price for the Samsung Galaxy S II LTE from $199.99 to $179.99. That made it more competitive with the other carriers such as Bell, which is offering the original Galaxy S II for $99.95 and Telus, which is offering the Galaxy S II X (which is almost identical to the Rogers’ version, sans LTE) for $99.99 on 3-year contracts.

In fact, I’ve heard of Best Buy’s “Free Phone Fridays” which have offered Bell’s Galaxy S II on a 3-year contract for $0.01 (that price is being advertised right now on BestBuy.ca).

Yesterday’s price ($179.99):

So with that knowledge, I went down to my local Rogers Plus store in Burnaby, BC last night (Nov 8) to pick up my Rogers reserved Galaxy S II LTE which had arrived that day. When it came time to ring up the price, it indeed said “$179.99”, but I had to come back the next day because I couldn’t remember the PIN for the credit card I wanted to put it on (I only use that card for my Rogers bill).

Today’s price ($129.99):

Imagine my surprise when I went down this morning (Nov 9) to purchase the phone and the price came up to only $129.99! I was surprised, and I even confirmed the price with the Rogers employee and he couldn’t explain why it was different from the price just last night.

Has Rogers decided again to lower the Galaxy S II LTE contract price to be more competitive with the other carriers?

Receipt:

Here’s a low quality picture of my receipt (taken from the borrowed iPhone 3G that I’ve been using while waiting for my Galaxy S II LTE to arrive):

But I’m #245 in Rogers’ online reservation (pre-order) system for the Black 32GB iPhone 4S 😛


(from www.rogers.com)

I pre-ordered about 3 minutes after the Rogers system came back online (3AM PST/6AM EST). I guess I could have been earlier in line if I hadn’t read through all the terms and agreements before clicking “Accept”, just to make sure, hee hee.

Anyways, it’s a $40 deposit and it’s fully refundable. So now I guess it’s time to see if I can get my just expired 3-year contract renewed. It’s a Rogers retention iPhone plan from 2008, but it’s apparently better than anything Rogers offers now of days. If not… I may have to cancel this iPhone 4S order and start rethinking my phone plans 😛

Oh, and did I mention that I LOST MY iPhone 3G last Saturday, I think somewhere in Coquitlam? Yup. What timing, eh?

Early this morning, I got the following e-mail. I’m copying and pasting it here because:

  1. The blog is titled “Total Rip-Off”, which means that I like to stand on the shoulders of giants. And just repost what they wrote 😛
  2. I really like Charity: Water as an organization because of the innovation and clear principles they focus on. Namely, they recognize the importance of communicating your message effectively (through really good photos and videos – they make things look pretty).

And they are clear and focused about their message – each dollar you give goes directly to funding water projects in developing countries, and $1 is all it takes to provide clean water to one person for one year.

See? Simple and relatable.

So without further ado, here’s an example of their latest media campaign – Water Changes Everything – there’s a lot to learn about the impact of water from it!

For a memorable look back on a previous post on Charity: Water – https://paulman.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/charity-water-and-modern-promotion/

There are three things that I’m liking at the moment… they kind of give me a sense of peace or well-being, knowing that they’re present in my life right now, lol.

  1. DDR at work – I just finished organizing/putting on a Dance Dance Revolution and Nintendo Wii party night at work, and one person’s comment pretty much expressed one of the things I was hoping for from the evening.  She said something like, “I’m glad we get to play DDR – it’s such an Asian thing!”  Lol.  Asian / nerdy.  That’s how you bring about the “back home” feel.
  2. Finally reinstalling a clean, fast install of Windows Vista – I bought a used SSD along with my used computer several months ago.  It was so fast and so nice.  Then it started flaking out, and I sent it in for warranty repair/replacement.  They eventually sent me back a brand new SEALED one (wow!), but in the meantime I had realized that using a normal hard drive wasn’t all that slow once I got into the normal “web surfing” mode.  So, now I’m selling my brand new SSD on Craigslist and I finally installed the 1 TB hard drive I bought from NCIX for $48 (I ended up in a line-up on a Saturday morning, lol), and I am slowly reinstalling the programs and games I had before.  My computer is back to normal, fairly responsive, and not flaking out (like it was till I reinstalled Vista a few days ago).  Yay!  Praise the Lord 🙂
  3. I dunno… – I need to go sleep.  Or rather, I need to keep sleeping earlier and earlier.  I guess I’m just glad that I don’t have too much pressing left to do tonight, though I’ve got a fair bit of stuff to tackle tomorrow.  This isn’t really a third item that’s on topic, but it pretty much sums up my default state of mind most times.  I’m usually fluctuating between having a back log of things that I am intending to get to (eventually), which I’m behind in – versus having brief periods of breathing time, without too much “urgent” for the time being, but still knowing that that back log is still there.

I hope I’m not rambling… but anyways, here’s a nice photo to cap off the night.  It’s kind of embarassing, but what’s happening is that I’d just won amongst our little group of 4 that stayed till the end of a Mario Party 8 game on the Wii.  My character was Toadstool, and guess what his victory pose always was?  That’s right – arms crossed, and looking smug.  Looking very tiny, but looking very smug 🙂  Apparently, I’m the Superstar.

(From my Facebook page)

Mobilize practical help for Metro Vancouver’s homeless
(http://www.refresheverything.ca/ugm – Union Gospel Mission)

“I’ve met the person at UGM who is spearheading this grant campaign, actually – it’s worth voting for! $100k would be enough to fund a SECOND Mobile Mission vehicle for a full year. The first one has already proven itself in action!”

Right now, they’re at #4 in the voting.  The #1 choice will receive the $100,000 grant from Pepsi, so I would really like to see UGM’s Mobile Mission regain the top spot!  I say regain, because earlier today they were at #1, but they’ve since fallen behind to:

  1. Windsor/Essex County Humane Society (Build a Veterinary Clinic Focused on Spay/Neuter)
  2. British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Help find long-term solutions to the tragedy of pet overpopulation.)
  3. Rainbow Youth Centre Inc. (Beyond “Canada’s Worst Neighbourhood”: Healthy Kids Under the Rainbow) – located in Regina, SK

All are good causes, although I must admit that I’m upset that 2 out of the 3 projects that have displaced UGM’s mobile mission are for helping animals instead of people.  At any rate, I do think UGM has both the experience, the know-how, and the opportunity to turn a $100,000 grant into real, meaningful, and hopefully life-long results.

So, what are you waiting for?  Sign up to vote (like me)!
http://www.refresheverything.ca/ugm

EDIT: You’re allowed to vote for 10 different ideas each day, so make sure you vote for UGM every day until Oct 31st!

Or, if you don’t feel like voting, then enjoy the cool pictures I’ve linked to below!

P.S. “Project Legacy” is an unofficial name that I totally made up.  So don’t blame me if you ask them and nobody at UGM knows what you’re talking about 😛

P.P.S. Here’s a special treat – some images of the current ly only UGM Mobile Mission vehicle in action!




Showing the Jesus film in a village several hours away from Blantyre, Malawi (Summer 2009)

The following is an excerpt from my Facebook event birthday party description:

… *charity:water*

No need for gifts – just come on Sunday if you can! But if you were looking for ideas, this birthday party will be running alongside Charity: Water’s September campaign. So, instead of getting me a card and/or a present (ha ha, it’s fun to assume), you can help charity: water provide a person, family, or community with access to desperately needed clean drinking water. I’ve even set up a little birthday campaign page to make it all really easy if you wanted to give me this kind of present 😛 –http://mycharitywater.org/p/campaign?campaign_id=6279

So yes, I would actually be happy to receive the gift of knowing that YOU gave to provide SOMEONE (somewhere) with clean drinking water, all because it was MY birthday 🙂 (see? I’m making a difference in the world! Simply by staying alive, year after year)

P.S. If you’re still the kind of person who likes to give regular gifts, I won’t stop you! heh heh 😉

I never got to throw some pictures into that FB event description, so I’m gonna do it here.  Here we go!

Screen captures taken from the charity:water September campaign video
http://vimeo.com/14176808

I think I’m going to blog about this in three days: http://vimeo.com/13872950

– Charity: water

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