Centaurs vs. Unicorns

As some of you know, when we were at Hume Lake a heated debate was born.  It created quite the divide between two growing armies.  There was shouting, there was impromptu questioning, there was some crying (you can probably guess which side would cry).  The debate is simply this: Which creature would you rather go into battle with: a Centaur or a Unicorn.  Here is a brief history of the debate.

We were seated in the Snack Shop, enjoying burgers, fries, corn dogs, and sodas.  Each night when you order, instead of asking for your name, they ask for fun things.  This evening, it was your favorite animal.  Well, James Norwood went to order his food and he said, “Unicorn”.  When I heard of this, I simply questioned his manhood.  James was convinced that a Unicorn was a very manly animal, to which I posed the question that bore the debate.

The debate started with simply asking people everyone around us, and two sides were firmly formed.  Before we knew it, we were yelling out reasons why our animal was better for battle and asking strangers in the snack shop which they would choose.  Needless to say, reputable individuals chose Centaurs.  To prove our point, we began to form a list of reasons why Centaurs were better than Unicorns.  Here is the list!

  1. It has the mind of a human
  2. It can wield heavy, dangerous weapons
  3. It has six limbs, not just four
  4. It has the ability to be an ethical creature, understanding good and bad
  5. Can see all around them, can’t be surprised from behind
  6. Can defend and attack from 360 degrees
  7. Can carry and execute long range weapons
  8. They are simply more manly
  9. They have no terrorist ties (some proponents of Unicorns were saying they could drop Anthrax on armies from above).
  10. Can carry a conversation and are good for companionship
  11. Not associated with rainbows, which are simply for girls
  12. Can execute and carry out commands by themselves
  13. Have opposable thumbs
  14. Getting dirty doesn’t bother them
  15. Princesses ride unicorns
  16. Warriors ride centaurs
  17. Are not scared by lightening
  18. Darker colors provide natural camouflage
  19. Pink and purple are associated with Unicorns
  20. Dark colors are more manly
  21. There are thousands of centaurs and they travel in groups.  You have one, you have a hundred.
  22. Centaurs can get and prepare their own food
  23. You can lead a Unicorn to water, but you can’t make it drink
  24. Centaurs do not like glitter
  25. If a centaur loses his sword, he gets another
  26. If a unicorn gets its horn cut off, he’s out of luck
  27. Centaurs can talk and clearly communicate
  28. Unicorns can only neigh, stomp its feet, or shake its head
  29. Little girls dream of Unicorns
  30. C.S. Lewis dreamed of centaurs
  31. Centaurs eat meat, which is manly
  32. Unicorns eat hay, hardly food for war preparation
  33. Centaurs can play catch when you are bored
  34. Guys who like squirrels like Unicorns (this one is for Kim)
  35. A sword can be 5-6 feet long
  36. A horn can be 2 feet long, max
  37. Centaurs can reproduce, creating lineage
  38. A centaur has more options for weapons
  39. It is more likely that a centaur could get saved
  40. Centaurs cannot be bought with carrots
  41. Unicorns cannot set up camp and start a fire
  42. The camp speaker thinks centaurs are better
  43. Centaurs can properly cleanse themselves
  44. Centaurs can rock out, playing any instrument in a band
  45. Centaurs can get a mohawk, creating group unity
  46. Centaurs can give back rubs without killing you.
  47. Centaurs can wear clothes
  48. Horses can’t vomit, and if they eat something, they will die.
  49. Centaurs love Aslan
  50. Centaurs aided Hercules
  51. Centaurs would kick but at Kijabe Kan Kan
  52. Centaurs have better balance
  53. Centaurs can lift and move large obstructions so others can pass through
  54. Unicorns would only be able to jump over them
  55. As Motaro, in Mortal Kombat made clear, they are fantastic one on one fighters.
  56. Centaurs can carry a torch and bravely lead the way into a dark cavern or canyon
  57. Centaurs can count to ten with their fingers.  Unicorns can’t count
  58. Centaurs are able to form and sign treaties to prevent or resolve conflict.
  59. Can sleep lying down, horses are going to die if they lie down
  60. Not self conscious about feminine physique
  61. They have twice the internal organs, making them twice as healthy.
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“Three Things Thursday On Friday” Makes a Dramatic Return!

We haven’t done this in awhile, partly because I got lazy, partly because I wasn’t thinking of good topics. But here’s one:

Your Three Favorite Olympics Memories

Since we’re in the midst of the Olympics now, it has got me thinking of the Olympics in the past and what sticks out to me the most. Not to make people feel old, but I really only remember back to the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Here are some conditions for the discussion:

1. They can’t be from this Olympics. I think everyone would put Michael Phelps or Dara Torres up there, and we can’t really appreciate this Olympics until they are gone and past. So nothing from this year.

2. They can be from either Summer or Winter Games.

3. They have to have taken place during your life time. So I can’t talk about Jesse Owens running in front of Hitler or Cassius Clay tearing apart the competition.

So with those three rules, here are my three things!

3. I’ve honestly found it difficult to get three big ones in my head. There is one overwhelming one and a bunch of lesser ones. So here, I’ll mention the lesser ones:

– Nancy Kerrigan winning the silver in 1994 after she was attacked. Watching Harding complain and cry on the ice was nice, too.

– Tommy Moe winning gold and silver in 94.

– Watching Jonny Moseley win the gold from the bar at the hotel we were staying while my sister was at a ski meet with Virginia Tech.

– Jamaican Bobsled team- I know this was in 88, but I vaguely remember all the hype. And it inspired ‘Cool Runnings’, so you have to recognize it!

-The US winning gold in baseball in 2000 and coached by Tommy Lasorda.

– Misty May and Kerri Walsh winning in Greece.

– Carl Lewis defeating all odds and winning the gold in 1996 in the Long Jump.

– Gail Devers and those nasty fingernails

– Kerri Strug’s vault in 1996.

– Bonnie Blair in 2000.

– Apollo Anton Ohno- before dancing with the stars.

– Rulon Gardner beating Karelin, who hadn’t been beaten in his 13 year career. He then did a cartwheel.

– Dan Jansen finally winning Gold in 1994. His sister died the day of his race in ’88, and he slipped. In 1992, he skated poorly. In 1994 he fell just before finishing when he was on record pace. But a few days later he finally won gold in his last chance. Actually, this is my official third choice.

Bad Moments

– Greg Louganis hitting his head

– Bode Miller’s failures, even letting down NH.

– US not getting gold in basketball.

– Dan and Dave falling flat before the Games actually began.

2. Michael Johnson and the Golden Shoes- This was one of the first great sprinters that I followed in 1996 in Atlanta. He is the only man to win the 200 and 400 and presently has the world record in both. (although Bolt from Jamaica just broke the 200 time.) He was a part of the 4×100 in Sydney that won gold (later taken away because a guy doped) and they all struck poses with the flag. A lot of people didn’t like it, but I thought it was pretty cool.

1. My all time favorite memory is really no surprise: The Dream Team in 1992. I still watch the tapes that we recorded of them destroying the competition and the other teams just being in awe of the players. (Actually, we just watched some a month ago with some College students. Here are some favorite memories:

– Charles Barkley not caring that it is practically an exhibition and just physically punishing people.

– Watching the guys try to set up Christian Laettner, who was just happy to be there.

– Pippen to Jordon on a fast break off the back board slam dunk.

– Teams taking pictures with them after the game.

– Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing transforming into ‘Larry and Harry’.

– Larry and Jordon’s McDonald’s commercial where they play H-O-R-S-E. “Through the window, off the scoreboard, nothing but net…”

– Somewhat related- Lithuania’s uniforms designed by the Grateful Dead.

– Unfortunate Memory- Larry Bird on the sideline laying on the ground because of his back.

Ten Things I Learned at Hume! Part II

5. New Perspectives are Good

As I continue to grow in ministry, one of the things that I’ve learned is that different perspectives are good.  One of the funny things about camp is that a person will say the exact same thing that you’ve been saying for years, and the kids will say “Wow, I never realized that before.”  Personally, I’ve grown to not care who they learn it from, as long as they learn it.  It’s a very good thing for people to hear things said a little differently, because it will cause them to stop and pause, and reflect on what they heard.  It’s similar to singing a song you’ve always sung, but just to a different tune.

4. I’m very blessed to have the staff that I do

This year we had three new leaders at the camp this year, mostly because of two of our former staff members getting married and staff being the wedding.  We brought one up from Jr High (Stephanie) and brought a college student to help (Justine).  And on the Monday night, they put on a Chicken and Waffles dinner for youth pastors and their wives, so I went being eager to learn, network, and ask questions.  But after sitting down for a little while, I realized that there were guys sitting there who were doing almost everything themselves.  They almost fell of their chairs when i told them that we had over 20 people on our youth staff for Jr High, High School, and College.

I realized that there is just so much need for direction for young youth pastors out there.  I have a feeling that they are given little direction, and probably just told to teach and take care of the youth.  There were some that felt like they had no idea how to train up staff members and some that felt like they were on a total different page than the rest of the pastoral staff at their churches.  It made me appreciate the staff that we have, and that I have three other pastors on staff here at SGUC, all three were youth pastors at this church, and all have the same perspective on ministry.  It is a great position to be in to learn the ministry, to say the least.

3. I LOVE RICH BAKER!!!!!!!!!!

Need I say more?

2. Micah is an attention hound that everyone ends up knowing

I guess he gets this from his dad, but it was funny when I’d be pushing him in his stroller throughout camp and people that I didn’t know were saying ‘Hi Micah!’  He started playing with kids from another church that had a ball, and they absolutely loved him.  Then he would walk up to other kids his age and introduce himself to them.  Then the parents would say hi to him whenever they saw him the rest of the week. The little girls were a little interesting. There was one little girl that happened to be in the family dining area at the same time as us a couple times.  whenever she was up there, Micah would just wave to her the whole time, until she acknowledged him.  He was very insistent.

Then there was another girl that was the daughter of another youth pastor, and they played “I’ll show you my belly if you show me yours.”  He lifted up his shirt, and then she obliged.  Then he poked her belly.  Once they were adequately acquainted, they decided to tackle together a collapsed table leaning up against the wall.  Needless to say, Micah wanted everyone to be his friend.

1. Most of all, the camp was an overwhelming affirmation to what we’re doing here at SGUC.

One of the greatest blessings of camp is to see your students around other ‘normal’ high schoolers.  Sometimes you can get so focused on who you got that you forget how much that they have grown.  But when you see them around other kids, you realize that what we’re doing is right.  For example, during one session there was a question and answer time, and most of our kids were bored with the type of questions.  The speaker mentioned Calvinism and you could tell the kids had no idea what it was.  It was encouraging to know it was nothing new to most of our kids.

Another example was in talking with one of the kids who had recently been going to another youth group.  He realized that he wasn’t being fed there and that things were based on emotion and shallow, repetitive teaching.  He then said he plans on coming back because he wants to grow.  Music to my ears!

Camps can sometimes be discouraging when we don’t have the massive numbers making an altar call, but really its an affirmation of where our regular kids are.  Praise God that we did have four kids make professions of faith, but none of those four kids have had significant ties to our youth program. Its a testimony to our faithfulness to preaching Gospel and discipling them in Christ.

Ten Things I Learned at Hume! Part I

As most of you know, this past week was our high school’s summer camp at Hume Lake. For those of you who have never been there, Hume is quite the location for a week away. It is located in the middle of the Sequoia National Forrest, and sits right on a lake with a gorgeous view of mountains and trees. The camp is really a small Christian community, with a High School Camp, a Jr High Camp, and High School Leadership Camp, a year long program for College Students, a couple of hotels, a hundred or so cabins, and a general store and gas station.

At the High School camp itself, kids have a big dining hall, a large chapel, a coffee bar, The Frozen Sombrero (Mexican food and Ice Cream), the Snack Shop (burgers, great grilled cheese, corn dogs and shakes), a big, shaded deck where we play games, a lake where you can kayak, row boat, or just swim. You can rent bikes, skate board in their skate park, play Frisbee golf on their 18 hole course around the outskirts of the camp (something we do every day), play paintball, dare to climb a high ropes course, take a painting class on the grass next to the lake, or even get a few friends into a recording studio and walk away with a CD at the end of the week. Needless to say, Hume offers what no one else can match.

Our week in Hume is one of my favorites of the year. They have a good run of great speakers, usually have a solid, God centered band, fun videos with a message, and an opener that leaves you with goose bumps every year. It provides awesome times of making memories and getting to know the kids. It gets them away from distractions just long enough for them to realize how distracted they really are. During this week you see sides of kids you didn’t know existed, you seek God work more than you expect, you realize that kids who signed up seemingly coincidentally actually have a divine appointment with God, and you laugh with kids who you didn’t know how to laugh.

This year was not unlike any other, and I end up learning more than the kids. Some things are serious, some things are silly memories. But all are treasured. So here are the top ten things I learned this year at Hume:

1. High Schoolers have no idea when to clap.

One of the humorous things that we tracked throughout the week was how the kids around us clapped for seemingly anything, as long as it was pointless, fruitless, and meaningless. If it was anything of consequence, you’ll hardly get a blip. Here are a list of some things that received applause:
– Cell phones
– Pirates of the Caribbean
– Bananas and Mangos (mentioned in a poem/rap that was movingly presented)
– Facebook vs. MySpace
– Rambo
– Young Elvis- (young David was mentioned right afterwards to no applause).
– Pushing cows over and fireworks
– Pinto- I can almost guarantee that roughly 85% of the kids have no idea what a Pinto looks like.
– Kansas (the state, not the band or University)
– A Smoker Friend- the speaker mentioned one of his friends in college smoked and it effected his running, and someone actually clapped when he mentioned the smoker friend).
– Previews at the movies
– The speaker’s exclamation of meeting his wife at Hume and saying, “That woman is hot!”
– Beer, Lawn Chair, Helium Weather Balloons, and a gun- a story of the guy who decided to fly one day.
– Refrigerator artwork
– Picture Books
– Harry Potter
– School House Rock
– Rednecks.

For the record, C.S. Lewis go no applause at all when mentioned. So sad. When so many things are applauded, the applause no longer means anything. It cheapens the effectiveness and function of the clap. I would like to start a movement to redeem the clap, and reserve it for things that actually mean something, like an encouragement to read your Bible, or possibly even a mention of C.S. Lewis.

2. Daniel Vera is a Brutal, Merciless Friend Killer

For those of you who know Daniel, this may surprise you. Daniel is treasured as a source of all random knowledge, which has earned him the nickname Wiki. If there is ever a question on any topic, we turn to Wiki. He is normally caring, loving individual, but this week we saw the dark side of Daniel.

Let me set the scene. On the last evening, I stayed in the cabin because a couple of our leaders had to leave for a wedding on Saturday. I heard a bunch of yelling and the boys were saying that a huge spider was in the bathroom. I went and checked it out and it was just a Daddy Longlegs. Daniel noted that one leg was much longer than the others, and I told him it was a censor. He quickly corrected me, but I pretended to be very sure to confuse him.

The boys decide to name him Legs J. Mahoney, and he becomes part of our family. A little while after I exit the room, I hear yelling and scream, and then see Daniel come into our room with scissors in one hand and his toiletries bag in the other. Daniel killed Legs. I saw the scissors and asked him if he cut Legs’ legs off, as that would be the cruelest irony for him to endure. He said he thought about it, but decided not to. He just crushed him with the bag.

So I go back into the room, to attempt to recover a body. You can’t kill a creature right after you name it. Unable to find the body in the trash, we decided Legs deserved a proper burial. So I grabbed a ribbon, a couple small braches, fashioned a cross, and formed a grave. All the boys came out by the grave, Ricky played his guitar, Caleb and Joey provided the eulogies, where Joey revealed that Legs was his mentor and that his middle name was Jackson, and I read through the first half of Ecclesiastes 3. We also had a red light shining on the proceedings, as it was about 11:30 at night.

It was a moving time, and the guys in cabins around us were staring at us, wondering what in the world we were doing. When we were done, we headed inside and Daniel was warned to sleep with one eye open. He was reminded that spiders are very territorial and vengeful. It was unfortunately at this moment that I realized I was sleep underneath him. I was just hoping that kind words and the lengths that I went to in order to give Legs J. Mahoney a proper burial.

3. Centaurs are better than Unicorns

One of the great things about our group is the pointless, yet entertaining debates we get into. One evening we were hanging out in the Snack Shop and when you ordered, they asked what your favorite animal was. They would then call out that animal when your order was ready. James, one of our seniors, said the Unicorn was his favorite, and that didn’t settle well with us. Needless to say, it is a girly animal. But James was intent on proving that the Unicorn was a war animal. So I asked him, “Which would you rather go into battle with: a Unicorn or a Centaur?” And so began the debate.

The debate became quite heated that night, resulting in playful shouting matches, stopping people around us to ask them, as well as petitioning employees, the speaker, and the drummer in the band. Needless to say, almost all of them said a Centaur was their choice. The debate continued throughout the week, and we decided to come up with a list of reasons why Centaurs were better than Unicorns. I will supply the 52 reasons we have so far at a future time.

4. Tim Costine = Spirit and Motivation

This may seem a bit prideful, but on the last day a couple of our leaders had to leave to be in a wedding, so I took over their team that was squandering in 20th place (out of about 25 teams). The last day that have ‘the Great Race’ which is wear the whole team holds a rope and runs together throughout the camp, accomplishing tasks at various stations. Our team, the Yo-Bots (Yoooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!) placed 6th place out of all teams, and it propelled us up to finishing in 10th place. I think we were the only ones that were happy about while still not finishing in the top ten. Eat that Josh. (Sure, it may have something to do with a bunch of the boys doing their memory verses and those being added to the final scores at the end of the week, but I choose to believe it was my super spirit!

Random Thoughts Before I Depart for Hume

Hume Lake

Today finds me on the eve of another summer camp, but this one is fairly relaxing. We’re taking 53 people up to Hume Lake for our High School summer camp. We’ll be joining almost 1,000 other high schoolers there for a fun and relaxing week. The days are made up of eating with the kids, sitting in chapels with the kids, playing card games and Apple to Apples with the kids, playing frisbee golf with the kids, and other things, generally with the kids. It’s relaxing because I don’t have to organize the kids while I’m there, just shuffle them from event to event. We have about 4 hours of free time every afternoon and the kids love roaming the camp with each other. And I don’t even have to stay in the cabin with them, as the family has a hotel type room up there. Good times all around!

Olympics

Last evening we watched the opening ceremonies to the Olympics and I was frankly blown away. I’ve never been a fan of them, as they are usually way too vague to understand, full of post-modern symbols that supposedly communicate unity and good will. Even I appreciated the artistic direction and the unity of the performers moving as one unit. But the thing I can’t get past is the fact that the IOC is allowing China to push forward a picture of their country that just isn’t accurate. Their human rights stance is well known throughout the world, as well as their involvement in Sudan. It’s also amazing how much lack of freedom the people are allowed.

At one point in the ceremony, the narrator said that something was symbolizing the two great walls China had. I automatically thought, “The Great Wall and the Firewall the government has set up to keep information and ideas out of the country.” What’s even more amazing is that this firewall that keeps info out of the country has been extended to the Olympic Village.

They also had a part where they were giving recognition to three religions in their country- Confucius, Buddhism, and something else. What was ironic is that they are completely intolerant of any other kinds of religion. Interesting side note, if anyone has seen that pastor guy who locked himself in hotel room in
China and is doing demonstrations over youtube.com. Well, I think I may have a connection. This past Sunday someone in my church pulled me aside and said that a friend of theirs who was a pastor was going to go to China and do something to raise awareness of the persecution of the Church in China. Turns out the guy in the hotel room is from this area. So I think its the same guy. Not sure what he’s really accomplishing…
Earthquake!

As most of you have heard, we had a little shaker here a couple weeks ago. It was my second somewhat momentous earthquake since I’ve been out here. I haven’t felt the others, but this one couldn’t be avoided. I was working at the time and there is nothing like the uncertainty of a earthquake to shake your core. Your first thought is, ‘Here we go!’, quickly followed by the thought, “Is this the big one?!” It started off as a slow wave, then a few big jerks. Its a wonderful reminder that nothing is for sure outside of God, not even the ground you stand upon. Reminds me of Psalm 20 and placing our faith in God alone.
Manny Follows Nomar

Another interesting development in the last few weeks was Manny Ramirez getting traded out here. You would have thought that the Dodgers had be guaranteed a World Series appearance by Manny being traded here. Granted, they didn’t really give anything up, but they only have him for the rest of the season, and he can’t pitch, which is something they will be lacking. It’s funny how everyone out here teased me for Manny being on my team. Only seems just that he now plays for them. When he came in he said that he wanted to play here the rest of his life. Today, the news came out that he wants to play for the Yankees to get back at the Red Sox. Well, that lasted a week, huh? He also said that he was going to cut his hair, and I told people not to hold their breath. I’m saying he doesn’t. A week has passed, and its still there.

A Prayer Request

Yesterday, the door bell rang and Leah found our neighbor at the door asking for anointing oil or holy water. Confused, Leah said we didn’t really do that. Apparently, his pregnant sister-in-law is in the hospital, and she’s leaking water. And one of the nurses had the nerve to tell her that she had a curse inside of her and needed it taken care of. What kind of nurse says that?! Well, they are Asian, and the hospital is largely Asian, so there may be a lot of cultural things happening there. We appreciate your prayers for her. The family above us, we believe, are Christians, but we aren’t really sure where they are at. They are confused and scared through this process.

Lost

For those of you who remembered, there was a Dharma ad in the last show and they had you enter your email address. They were doing ‘recruiting’ this past weekend in San Diego, which happened to be Comic Con, also. Here is a video that was shown:

The text in the email said this:

ATTENTION ALL RECRUITS
RE: SECURITY BREACH AT COMIC-CON 2008
As many of you may be aware there have been a number of security breaches in recent days related to the nature of the Dharma Initiative’s latest research.
Apart from the leak of a sensitive internal communication there was also the unauthorized release of confidential video documentation during a sponsored panel discussion with the makers of the TV show “LOST” at Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego. Consequently, the person responsible for this breach, a promising recruit by the name of Dan Bronson, has been expelled from the volunteer program and had his Dharma Initiative membership permanently revoked. Furthermore, the Dharma Initiative has withdrawn their sponsorship from “LOST”.
The Dharma Initiative must stress that the video material leaked at Comic-Con 2008 was viewed entirely out of context. Furthermore, the way in which the material was presented utterly distorted its significance and credibility as scientific data.
The Dharma Initiative is extremely disappointed with this outcome and has ordered a security audit of all departments. As part of this audit the DharmaWantsYou recruiting website will undergo a security upgrade in the next few days.
Upon completion of this upgrade a date will be announced for the official commencement of Volunteer Assessments.
All recruits are reminded that the unauthorized release of confidential information pertaining to the details of your activities within the Dharma Initiative will result in instant dismissal from the volunteer program

Namaste.
Hans Van Eeghen
Head of Recruiting
The Dharma Initiative

I honestly haven’t even read this, or watched the video, due to lack of time. But enjoy!

Long time no talk!

I know its been quite awhile since I’ve posted. And I know that that sentence is seen much too often on blogs these days. This summer has been quite a busy summer for me, and next week we head up to Hume Lake, so there will be another gap next week. But, anyhoo, I thought I would check in to let people know how things are going here in SoCal.

Our CORE Week, ‘The Weight of Glory’, went extremely well. Though our attendance was down a little bit, we loved the theme and there were quite a few really good conversations and convictions born out of the week. Of particular interest was an evening on the topic of Hell and Christ’s roll to help us avoid that, and then the evening presenting the majesty and pleasure of Heaven. It was a great evening that one Jr Higher best surmised by saying with wide eyes, “It makes me really excited about going to Heaven.”

A week and a half later, our Jr High headed up to Big Bear. It was a weekend in which we reflected on II Timothy 4:2 and seeking to please the one who enlisted you. Unfortunately, in my haste, I forgot almost all of my speaking notes at home. I think this ended up being a blessing, because it allowed me to change what I was going to talk about. I was able to change it according to how the weekend was going. One evening session I decided to speak a little on Heaven and then have a Q&A time afterwards. The Q&A time was incredible and we all talked for an hour. It was really encouraging for everyone, and a breath of fresh air.

As most of you know, Leah and Micah had gone back to NH during this time, so I was going bachelor for almost two weeks. It was a frightening time in my life that led me to take up jogging in the evening again. That’s right. I went jogging to avoid boredom. After some traveling issues, they finally got home and life ws returned to normal.

This past Sunday, I had the privilege of speaking in church. I decided to speak on the subject of our CORE Week, and II Corinthians 4:16-18. it went really well and I’ve heard a lot of encouraging responses from people who hadn’t heard it yet. If you are interested in listening to it, click here. (UPDATE: It’s up!)