Monday, May 29, 2006

The Accidental Swimmer

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Shell IT is currently having its Inter-Departmental competitions with events such as karting, ping-pong and athletics going on these few months. I'm having a ball of a time cause it's really a great opportunity for some de-stressing and networking with the rest of 1400 staff around. This weekend, we had a swimming competition at the National Aquatic Centre at the National White Elephant stadium, Bukit Jalil.

I went there to cheer for my housemate but lo and behold, the moment I reached there, I was greeted with some anxious-looking faces cause one of the team swimmer, who was unfortunately in my actual working department (Global Linux/Unix, we're hiring Linux/Unix System Administrators, btw) had Fong-Fei-Kei-ed (cantonese for renegading on a deal/promise, it's acronym, FFK, is also used pretty often in conversations). If there's not enough swimmers in the team, we would be losing quite a few points due to non-participation. So, no choice lor, I was volunteered (this is gramatically correct:P). But honestly speaking, I had quite a lot of fun and there wasnt much pressure cause I was in 2 relay races and everytime it was my turn to swim, the opponents were already like 10-20 seconds ahead. Of course I still gave my all lah. I think the spirit of participation and teamwork really shined through during the competition, so in the end, it was more my honour and privilege to be part of such a special occasion than me saving the day or whatsoever (no unexpected heroic victories here:P my housemate did win one of the relays and he was the anchorman. So i did get some 2nd-hand glory. No complains there:)). And this did prove, ahem, that my current twice-weekly gym sessions seem to be bearing fruits.

As a treat to reading this boring article let me share an interesting-looking picture, which i took from my loyal camera-phone while I was exploring the Aquatic Centre:


If there's any gauge of the typical Malaysian maturity, this poor door-sign says it all. This was a sign at the Doping Control room. The Malay translation "Kawalan Dadah" has been reworked and now says "Awalan Dada", which means Early Boobs (we're not even witty in our vandalism, that's even sadder:P). Considering that this is a National Sports Centre, used for an international sporting event 8 years ago (Commonwealth 98) and is still being used for "occasional" international swimming events, you would expect better maintenance. Of course, one could argue that the probability of a foreigner understanding Bahasa Malaysia is lower than the moon going off its axis and striking the earth, landing at the White House or Pentagon (especially if its a Hollywood movie). Well, nuff said! All the best to Visit Malaysia 2007. Hopefully I'll be some-place else by then:))

Photos of the event:
Immigrants who have just came on-shore and are being registered:P

Orange is the flavour of the day;)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Weekend Where Schumacher Lost and Regained His Reputation

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The Michael Schumacher of mid-90s reared his ugly head on Saturday's Monaco GP qualifying session again. Sensing that Alonso maybe quicker than him in the final qualifying lap, he decided to let his car do its own thinking abit and let it went out of control. He controlled it just enough so that he could park his car near a corner and spoilt Alonso's lap. Probably partly accidental and partly intentional. The Stewards though were not as stupid they used to be as Schumacher realised. They were able to analyze his car data, videos and concluded that he did indeed do it on purpose and took away Schumacher's pole position and demoted him to the back of the grid, letting Alonso win the GP quite easily on Sunday.

Having been called a cheat and having the Schumo-Schumi (crafty one) tag back on his name from the German dailies, he could have easily decided not to turn up for the race on Sunday. The racer in him didnt allow him to do it though. And Schumacher showed once again why is he such a special one. He provided the most entertainment in the closing laps, unlaping himself from race leader Alonso, set the fastest lap and did some cool overtaking moves. Which kinda makes you wonder why he need to do his "accident" on Saturday. Guess old habits die hard but something dies even harder, that is the racing spirit in him! The talent and willpower is just so amazing for someone who has been doing it for 17 years, having won everything that is to win in Formula 1, claiming all possible records. And for that, I respect him so so tremendously.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Day When Soul Won over Pheever

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Yes!!! The Soul Patrolman has triumphed over McPheever (more like McFaker actually). For the first time in American Idol's 5-year history, a white guy is allowed to win (beating the conspiracy theory that when you put a white guy in a final vs any minority (female, Hispanic), the white guy gotta lose due to political correctness:P). Of course, this aint no normal white guy. He was the underdog when American Idol 5 began with Simon Cowell blatantly saying that Taylor Hicks will never make it to the final audition. Well, he won over the crowd using his own style of singing and the fantastic tendency to dance it out. And what daya known. Simon Cowell was the one who finally affirmed Taylor as the American Idol before even the votes started coming in. Now, that's show business! There is without a doubt that there's market for soul music as seen by the votes garnered by Hicks Once again, kudos to Grey-Hair!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hope it's Hicks

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The American Idol Grand Finale was finally over. Now it's left to America to vote. Results will be out 12.00am GMT (25th May 2006). Based on last night's performance, it has to be Taylor Hicks. I really hope so. For 2 seasons when it's a guy vs girl final, the girl has always won ( Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood). This time must be different because really don't wanna see a fake Idol put on the pedestal. Looks like even Katherine McPhee has gotten a bit tired of herself as well with the way she sang last night. Really love the singing style of Taylor Hicks. Soul Patrol! Soul Patrol! Grey-hair rulez!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Zhng My Car[update]

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Found this very interesting site through Casey. Mr Brown's got a radio show called Zhng My Car ala MTV's Pimp My Ride but singaporized:))
Here are direct links to the 8 episodes so far:
1. Episode 1
2. Episode 2
3. Episode 3
4. Episode 4
5. Episode 5
6. Episode 6
7. Episode 7
8. Episode 8 (new one)

For more shows go to mrbrownshow.blogspot.com...

Da Vinci Code: Beneath That Smile

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Shirley had a great post on separating the facts from fictions in the Da Vinci Code. Great job, girl!

Google Analytics

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I've been using Google Analytics (G-Anal for short:P) to track my blog for quite a while. It's a extremely well made piece of software, as you would expect from Google. The amount of information that can be collected is quite amazing. But what's even more amazing is the simple and effective manner these information are presented. The following images show some of the stuff G-Anal can do, the ones where I can understand at least. They have various summaries (called dashboards) for different types of roles involved in a website (executive for the CEO/Managers, webmasters and marketeer for the marketing people). So far, the elligibility to use the software is by invitation. You just need to go to the website and register your interest. After that? Just wait:) After 1-2 months, you'll get an invitation:)
Main dashboard, (clockwise from top left) showing visits/pageviews, new vs returning visitors, referrals and geogrphical overlay of visitors
Webmasters would like to know which pages are more popular

Looks like a bit of promoting at Project Petaling Street helped my website quite a bit:)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

How to pack a bomb's raw materials in a box:P

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Because a mutual friend was coming back to Malaysia for a holiday, I helped my fellow geeks in UK to get quite a bit of USB gadgets. These stuff are pretty expensive in UK. The breakdown include:
  • USB Mug Warmer/Hub (as you can see in the link, it's £12.95. I got it for 1/2 the price at Unicgift, found through Google:)) - 2 units (I bought one myself to keep my daily dose of Milo warm)
  • USB 2.0 Hub - 2 units
  • USB Light - 2 units
  • USB-to-Serial converter - 1 unit
  • RJ45 Cross Converter - 1 unit
  • RJ45 Cross Cable - 1 unit
Don ask geeks why they need all these, they just do:))

All, in all when you put them all together, they look like raw materials to make a bomb.
USB Hub (top) and Mug-Warmer/Hub (below)
Clockwise from left: USB Light, Cross Converter, USB-to-Serial Converter, USB Hubs and RJ45 Cross Cable

After packing in a DVD burner box, they do look quite dangerous. Hope my friend will have a safe trip through the British Customs:))






Sealed, To Be Signed and To Be Delivered:)

Are You Not Impressed with American Idol?

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While waiting for the new season of Top Gear, I was absolutely bored with "Internet TV":P. And so for the first time, I started watching American Idol. Pretty surprising that it took me five years to discover what others have been raving about but I guess, it's all ok in my own bubble world:))
Kellie-mania is still in vogue!

Gotta admit the main reason I got hooked was because of country girl Kellie Pickler, who illicits as much love and adoration as disgust and contempt amongst AI fans. She's a really sweet girl who just loves music and have had quite a tough time growing up. But she is for sure, the most likeable contestant in Season 5 (Don't believe me, try Google's very cool Google Trends, which tells you what is more trendy when you compare two search terms. See Kellie vs Katherine). She has a wonderful voice but lacks the polished training/talent that some of the others had but she did makee it to the top 6 and that's as high as she has thoroughly deserved. Whether she is really that innocent or as Simon calls her, "naughty little minx". Or she's just putting up an act, dishing out country pronunciation of calamari and what not, she's still the most interesting:) But who am I to judge, I'm biased anyway:)
Soul Patrol! Soul Patrol!
Alan: White is cool! White is cool!

So, the final is next week and it's between Soul Patrol man, Taylor Hicks and Katherine McPheever. I gotta say, I simply admire Taylor Hicks. He has proved two important things in my opinion,
1. That in Hollywood, people do love you because of your talent and personality. And as America has voted, they like what they see in Taylor. Amazing voice and the tendency to dance it out has given a breast of fresh ass, a breath of fresh air to entertainment.
2. Most of important of all, Taylor shows that white hair can be cool!!!! And that won him my vote already:))
The only time Katherine looks more human than giant:P

Now, Katherine McPhee has an amzing voice as well but I think she has a personality problem. I thin if anyone bothers to watch back the Hollywood audition episodes, she was kinda bitchy then. When the top 24 started, she suddenly turned into sweet girl-next-door. Now, that's what I call a FAKE American Idol but no disrespect, she is as talented as Taylor.

And so, on to the finals on May 23. I cant wait for it to come. May the best performer of the night win!

For once, the white guy with the white hair gets the girl!!:))

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

New Macbook is out

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The ibook replacement, now called the Macbook is finally out!!!!!! The specs are not so surprising with a 1.83GHz Core Duo White ($1099), a 2.0GHz Core Duo White ($1299) and check this out, a 2.0GHz Core Duo Black ($1499) as seen in the pics. How cool is that?? The other specs are standard. The only grouse is of course, the choice of using the Intel Integrated Graphics. Having had such bad experience with it long time ago, I don fancy you can do much graphics stuff with it. Hope I'm wrong. definitely getting the black one!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Classic Formula1 season ahead

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Ferrari vs Renault
Red vs Blue
Bridgestone vs Michelin
Best of all, Former World Champion vs Current World Champion

There is just so much similarity between Schumacher and Alonso, it's almost scary. They have both won their driver's championship by age 25 with the same team (Renault/Bennetton) under the same manager (Flavio Briatore). Both are superfast, not just fast but meticulously and intelligently fast. They're always thinking of their championship strategy and then race strategy. The Spanish GP really set them apart from their team mates who are just plain ordinary F1 drivers. Alonso of course deserves all respect from all fans from the manner he has taken over the mantle from Schumacher. Would be nice to have them both in the same car but that is totally impossible with Alonso going to Mclaren and Schummi possibly staying in Ferrari.

But Alonso is quite a character with his victory celebration antics. Last year he had a habit of counting his number of victories thus far with his fingers while in the car. This year, he has decided to go animal. In Bahrain, he imitated the grinch as seen below. The animal rights people claimed he was imitating a bullfighter. In Australia, he imitated a kangaroo, putting his fingers to his head and wiggling them while bowing (cant get a photo of that, pity). In Spain where he had just become the first Spaniard to win his home GP, he imitated a bear/ape walking. Hahahaha. He's a great guy. Better than Schumacher knocking people out of races (think Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve) when he was young himself.

Take That Back for Good

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Wow, the most successful boy band in the 90s after Beatles are Back For Good. Yup, all Take That fans take note. After having a successful reunion concert sans Robbie Williams, the men (cant call them boys anymore) have just signed a £3 million recording contract. If you liked Take That without Robbie Williams, then this will be good news:) Even "greater" news was that Robbie Williams had also made-up with the other four lesser members as well:P

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Gmail Pictures

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New feature in Gmail. Associating pictures to your contacts. Called Gmail Pictures, it's a bit like the Avatar in Yahoo Messenger. But of course, anything Google does will always be cooler:P If you don't like the picture that your friend is using, you can even suggest one:))

Friday, May 12, 2006

Song to Share

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Sang this song a few years back at Multimedia University. It was for a chinese song composing concert. The song is called Bian Xin (Changed Heart). Now that I've experienced the receiving end of a failed relationship, I actually could identify with the song unlike the time when I sang it:P I still remember the special guest (some song composer) who commented when I sang this song, I wasnt serious enough and giving all the wrong emotions:))

Hope you like it. File's shared at Multiply.

The Da Vince Craze

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If you have not heard of the Da Vinci Code, you really need to examine your head:P. If you have not read the book, you really should. If you're not a reading fan, then you should just wait for the Da Vinci Code movie then, which will be out worldwide May 17. It stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou and Ian McKellen.

Being a Christian, I welcome this phenomenon with arms wide open. Have I gone crazy? A controversial book that claims Jesus Christ had married Mary Magdalene and had a baby and I liked it? Well, it's just a fictionous book, so what's the big deal? Harry Potter says that there's a witch and wizard world parallel to our normal Muggles' world and there's no controversy there what. Oh wait, there is but that's another story all together. The biggest problem with Da Vinci Code is that the author, Dan Brown, had boldly claimed that other than the main characters in the book, all other elements in the book are true historical facts. And that, my friend, had opened up a huge can of worms.

But I would like to invite you to take a step back and witness the power of God at work because believe me you, this movie/book, just like The Passion of Christ, would allow all humans once again to go back to the original question. Who is God? And God, in His most awesome sense of humour, had chosen to use Hollywood to answer that question. Yes, if that's not amazing, I ask you what is?

This movie/book would force Christians to re-examine their relationship with God and force them to go find out more about the history of Jesus Christ and what he really did 2006 years ago. It would generate incredible amount of interest in Jesus Christ amongst non-Christians as they would be curious to know if these bunch of gentle wayward folks called Christians had put their money on the wrong God:P

What an opportunity, friends, to let people know that not only is the book/movie really just a work of fiction but to share what Christianity at its deepst core really is about. To share what God had done in our lives so thoroughly, the breakthroughs, the transformations. So, is this book/movie bad? Only if you choose to let it be so. Me, I'm gonna thoroughly enjoy seeing God's power at work once again this summer.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Home Video Gone Awry

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You shouldnt stay in the UK for too long:)
Cast/Directors/Editors:
Shawn
Beng Chuan
Yeng Yee

Original video taken from National Geography.

Monday, May 08, 2006

New Top Gear is Amazingly Brilliant

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You know. Fifth Gear has upped the ante by spending more money and doing more research. Well, Top Gear did even better by just being more creative and even more flamboyant than ever. They've got a show intro, a new studio, new car for "Star In a Reasonably Priced Car", new ideas and wait for it, a dog. Yup, the idea they were so proud of was actually getting a labrador-poodle hybrid and comtemplate calling it Prius. hahahaha. They ultimately called it the Top Gear Dog and the mutt, which always seems to be sleeping, will be placed strategically at various locations in the studio when they do their presentation. Ohya, their first project for the season was to built a MPV-cabriolet. British!!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

2nd win in a row for Schumacher/Ferrari

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Yes!! Ferrari is really back for sure. Through brilliant driving and nifty pit-stops, Michael Scumacher clawed back another 2 points from Alonso, who again did a solid job getting the best results he could with the equipment he had. Massa finished third. According to the commentators, the reason why he is much slower than Schumacher is because he had used most of his new tires doing setup work during free practices allowing Schumacher to save his own. Wow. How's that for being a wing-man. Most memorable moments? Schumacher coming out in front of Alonso and Jean Todt giving Malaysia's very own Bond girl, Datuk Michelle Yeoh a peck on the lips. Pphhlluucck!

MI-3: Cruise in Q-ontrol

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Just saw MI3 at GSC's latest cineplex in 1Utama. Before about the movie, wanna mention that I bought the tickets through GSC's online ticket purchasing system. Really hassle-free. I went to www.gsc.com.my, logged in, select the movie details (cineplex(only for 1Utama for now), date, time), no of seats, seat locations (got map of cineplex to select), key in credit card details and got a confirmation number. I went to 1Utama, went to third floor, went to the ticket kiosk, slot in my credit card, keyed in my IC number as a verification and the machine printed out my tickets. The whole process did not involve queueing or talking to the sometimes moody ticketing people. This being done on a weekend for a movie that just been launched 3 days ago and at a packed cinema. Isn't online systems wonderful!

Now more about the movie, as my buddies and I concurred, this sequel was much better than the previous John-Woo effort. MI2 was too stylish and lacks real bite. This one was more balanced. It showed more team-work (which is what Mission Impossible really is about rather than Ethan Hunt:American James Bond), more emotions (this is more for the ladies as it seems that all new action movies must have a tearful moment for the indefeatable hero) and some amazing details (we can see how the face/voice masquerading is being done. Though fictional, it's still dam impressive)

Tom Cruise still got the mojo for sure. His on-screen presence is still amazing but ahem, for me, my favourite character has to be Maggie Q, who plays one of the IMF members. As usual, the Asian character gets 1000% on-screen charisma but less than 10 lines throughout the whole show. But trust me, when you see Maggie Q appeared on-camera in a stunning Lamborghini Gallardo and when she slides out of the car, all lines are not necessary. Must watch show!


Don worry, ladies. Hunt is bruised but still kicking

Dont know to focus on Maggie Q or Gallardo

"We Asians dont need lines"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

OneWebDay

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The web has revolutionized our lives so much that we really cannot imagine life without Internet and communication. So, some folks has got together and started this initiative called OneWebDay where just like Earth Day, we celebrate the breakthroughs that the web has brought to us. This year, OneWebDay is 22nd September 2006. Nice!

Why Ferrari never choose Italian drivers

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It's been a well-documented fact that Ferrari, despite being a proud Italian team has rarely given Italian drivers a chance. Well, as can be seen from the latest qualifying in the European GP, the reason is quite clear. Giancarlo Fisichella, in a race-winning car, qualifies outside the top 10 for the 2nd race in a row. Well, instead of analyzing what went wrong with his hot lap, he chose to walk all the way to BMW's garage to remonstrate with Jacques Villeneuve because he felt that Villeneuve blocked him during his lap. Fair enough, Villeneuve did slowed Fisico by 0.7s. However, you rarely see that happening to Schumacher, Alonso and Raikonen, do you? By the way, tomorrow will set to be classic race again with Alonso on pole but Ferrari's Schumacher and Massa will be keeping a close tab on the fast-starting Renault with second and third places respectively

Inconsistent Fisichella

Accidental villain Villeneuve

Crash Test: Renault Espace (MPV) vs Land Rover Discovery (4x4)

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If you want to transport your family safely across the city, which would you choose? A MPV loaded with new safety gadgets or a 4-wheel drive which looks like it could roll over any incoming vehicles? Fifth Gear (which is surprisingly entertaining and informative at the same time in its new season, despite still using self-gratifying ex-racing drivers as hosts) decided to test this theory. So the test was between the new Renault Espace (revealed by the Euro NCAP to be the safest car they've tested so far) and an old Land Rover Discovery (a 4x4 which still holds a special place in many people's heart. Incidentally, 4x4s are outnumbering other cars by 3 to 1 in the UK cause lots of school-runners there feel it's safer to travel in such vehicles). The two cars were filled up with 2 crash-test dummies each. These dummies each costs 100,000 pounds cause they are loaded with sensors that will measure the impact of a crash on the head, neck and other parts of the body. The cars were pulled by winches to meet each other at 40mph and the results? Well, if you think that perceived structural sturdiness beats engineering efforts, you better think again. The occupants of the Renault were calculated to be able to walk away from the crash, shaken and stirred but unhurt while the Discovery's occupants would have suffered major injuries if they were real people in it. So, next time you wanna get a car for your family, better do more research:)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Love him or hate him

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but you cant help but notice him. I'm talking about Mr Cuckoo-Nest-Hair, Jeremy Clarkson, brilliant main host of the ever-entertaining Top Gear. Jeremy writes everyweek (almost everyweek) for the Times on cars and general matters (mostly his opinions on how things go if we all live in Jeremy-World). In his latest article, he thinks crying babies on aeroplane should be eaten by sharks!!! Hahaha. I hope for his own sake, he's joking:P

Brand New Top Gear Starting This Week!!

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Ooohh yes!! Season 8 of BBC's top (not just BBC actually, it's a worldwide craze now) car variety show will be out this weekend (Sunday May 7 8.00pm GMT). Cant wait. According to Top Gear's official site, they're tweaking some stuff. And the fact that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are bragging so smugly about it, it's probably making Tiff Needel and his rather pathetic attempt at rivalry cringe so bad:P

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I am Supreme Nerd!!

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I am nerdier than 95% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

5% scored higher (more nerdy), and
95% scored lower (less nerdy).

What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

All hail the monstrous nerd. You are by far the SUPREME NERD GOD!!!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Is Ferrari Back in Business?

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Or is it just a flash in a pan? The European GP beckons in a few days time. Ferrari has always done well in Imola (interesting fact: Although Imola is the track for the San Marino GP, it's actually nowhere near the principality. But who cares??:P). So should be interesting to see if they can sustain the momentum. Or will the Michelin teams bounce back. We can only wait and see:) While waiting, you can consider learning Italy's national anthem:) I'm praciticing hard myself already:))

So You Would Come

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Sang this song during easter party few weeks back after sharing this testimony



Lyrics:
=======================================================
So You Would Come
Before the world began, you were on his mind
And every tear you've cried is precious in his eyes
Because of His great love, He gave His only Son
And everything was done so you would come

Come to the Father though your gift is small
Broken hearts, broken lives He will take them all
The power of the Word, the power of His Love
And everything was done so you would come

Nothing you can do can make Him love you more
And nothing that you've done
Can make Him close the door
Because of His great love, He gave His only Son
And everything was done so you would come
===================================================

This is the most touching Christian song for me so far. The melody is amazing and the lyrics summarizes beautifully what love really means in all sense.