Wednesday, 31 December 2008
It's just another year, isn't it?
Saturday, 27 December 2008
Thursday, 25 December 2008
Wearing my MxPx tshirt last night, and my sister-in law's Mum's cousin's husband started talking about The Ramones, and how they were part of the great British punk scene. I'm not sure I can comment much further on that without being rude. So I shan't.
Monday, 22 December 2008
Over the week I have come to a few, tentative and very vague conclusions. Here they are, probably in slightly less coherent form than in the essay, but my brain is just about fried.
First off - God forgives us first. I know that sounds somewhat daft, and even somewhat obvious, but I had been plunging myself into Jesus' teaching on prayer, where he says 'forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are indebted to us.' The way the sentence reads is as if we are only forgiven if we continue to forgive others. However, when we juxtapose this teaching with his parable of the unmerciful servant, we see that we cannot affect God's forgiveness of us, but as we are forgiven, we need to emulate God's character, and forgive others.
Second - it is nigh on impossible to forgive wrongs not done to you. This, as you may well imagine, poses a problem for the situation found in The Sunflower. Forgiveness is a very personal thing, and needs the victim to forgive. Which leads us to the question: is murder unforgivable?
Thursday, 18 December 2008
But age has made a faithless man of me. Since that child-like declaration, I have become rather attached to life. It has grown on me. I have dreams, aspirations, things to live for. And yet, life is only fleeting, and as if seeing through a glass darkly. I want to hold onto life much more lightly.
Monday, 15 December 2008
And I actually rather enjoy it. It's amazing what happens when you plan your day previous to you waking up to it. Admittedly, I was dead to the world this morning, but I chugged through what I had planned and have come out the other side feeling rather productive, and quite proud of myself.
I have a feeling that Graham might be onto something with this whole write it down and speak it out lark. Craziness.
Amid the order, there is chaos. My mind is going like the Clangers - no, wait. So many thoughts and feelings assailing me, but I have this quiet assurance it's OK. It may be that the above order has put paid to panic, or it could be the fact that within that order, I'm determined to start my day with Bible reading and prayer. For what's order without the one who instilled it in the first place?
How many deaths does it take to remove a Zimbabwean dictator? Alright, it's not a joke, nor is it funny, but I just get the feeling of a bit of farce going on. Black comedy, if you will. The situation seems so far removed from any semblance of reality. Take, for instance, Mugabe's insistence that a) there is no cholera (much like there is no spoon...) and b) Brown caused the cholera! The West has poisoned the water supply! Biological weapons! Attack! Argh! The contradiction in terms is not dissimilar to the oxymoron that is 'Zimbabwean Government' - ministers that, according to an article I read earlier, are each receiving cars that are rolling off production lines as we speak, just so they have some choice. I'm no expert at running countries, given that all attempts with Civilisation and SimCity failed miserably, but I could at least tell you that in an economy such as Zimbabwe's, cars are not really the order of the day.
But back to this cholera lark. Mugabe insists that it has been arrested, and cholera is no longer affecting his nation. And as it was a pretext for the West to go to war with Zimbabwe, we no longer need to go war, Everything Is Alright, Folks! Just An Accident... etc., etc.. But considering an UN report today suggests an increase of 25% in cholera deaths, I'm thinking either the UN are lying, infiltrated by the West (ha!), to plant evidence as an excuse to go to war, or Mugabe is just rubbish at propaganda. As it is, I still think we need to do something, drastically - it almost feels like we're waiting for something big enough. And to be honest, I don't think we get out of bed for anything less than falsified reports of WMDs. Which leads me believe that no-one really knows who the joke is on...
Monday, 8 December 2008
Why is the grass always greener?
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
I'm currently reading Edward H. Flannery's response to The Sunflower. He's a Catholic, but I like the way he thinks. Every contributor up to this point has asked the question, 'is it right to forgive someone who has commited such vile offences?' Flannery, however, has the presence of mind to ask a different question:
‘Is it permitted to refuse forgiveness to a sincerely repentant malefactor?’
Everyone else has read the story with a degree of Jewish or philosophical or even Plain Old World-Weary cynicism. This Karl fellow, they say, were they Oxbridge types, are you sure he's penitent? Is he not just having us on, pulling our leg, feeling a bit sorry for himself? He's still a Nazi, after all. Always used to try and skip rugger, too, they would add.
Of course, we cannot go around handing out forgiveness to every one who says they are sorry. Or can we? Flannery points out the very Jewish way Jesus says '70 times 7', implying a repetitious and continual forgiveness. If someone says they are sorry, should we not forgive them? Whether or not they are truly repentant is God's business, but we should certainly do ours.
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Shocking stuff, really. The authorities finally managed to take control of the Taj Mahal hotel this morning, the final outpost of the terrorists, 3 days after they managed to force their way in and hold hostages. The body count up to this point is at 195, probably to rise as the authorities clear the buildings.
You have to wonder what this will do to Mumbai as a city. Indians will still love it, it will still be a thriving metropolis - I can just imagine hawkers prowling around the Gate of India once again in the coming nights. It will not die. But the effect of such an unfortunately effective terrorist attack on a city that heavily relies on tourism is unknown.
One of the most frustrating elements of it, as an Englishman, is the England cricket team coming home. Now, I'm all for safety and so on, but as I have said after every major terrorist attack in the last 8 years - the time immediately after the attacks are the safest. Security is high, terrorists rarely try and strike twice so soon after. There was an attempt two weeks after the London bombings, but it was stopped, because of heightened security. So, my plea to the English cricket team is that you should go back out there and play cricket. Because if there's something that gets Indians back on their feet, it's a good old game of bat and ball, with a bit of colonial retribution thrown in.
My friend who lives down the hall from me is often away for the weekends, visiting his girlfriend, and so on. I often complain about such activities, as it often means we rarely see him. So, in one conversation, I joked that he was a disappointment for being away so often. Quick as Usain Bolt on performance enhancing drugs, he replied:
'Well, at least I'm not a mistake'.
I was doing some research for my project yesterday, reading through the response the The Sunflower, noting down their opinion on forgiveness, quoting them if possible. One opinion I came across was a well thought out, philosophical response from a man who had been through the horrors of WWII as a Jew, and emerged a survivor. Just. And forgiveness for him was completely superfluous, more or less equating it with a feeling; nothing more. Forgive the long quote, but he says it rather better than I could:
‘I can easily imagine that, under only slightly different circumstances, you might have forgiven the dying man. Suppose you had seen his pleading and implring eyes, which may have had more of an effect on you than his rasping voice and folded hands. Or suppose that just before that encounter, you had been in contact with one of those “decent” SS men, whom we all know, who had treated you with a little bit of kindness, putting you in a more tolerant mood. … So, then you might have forgiven: in my view, it would have meant just as little as your refusal.’
Is forgiveness really this cheap? Does it really amount to nothing but psychological peace for the one who is forgiven? Because if it does, my entire belief of forgiveness and how it works is subverted. There must be something more to it. Surely?
This recession, eh? What a to do. Thus far it had seemed a very arbitrary thing, quite distant from real life. And then on Thursday, Woolworths has gone into administration, taking EUK with it. And I have a friend who works for EUK, and another who had a job lined up there. Suddenly everything looks quite unsure. And the real threat of this recession has hit me. When you really start to think about it, it's apparent just how bizarre the whole capitalist set up is. Currency value is based upon other currency values. What kind of circular logic is that? They're lined up like dominoes, ready to fall on each other. We'll soon be back to bartering pigs and chickens. Which is problematic for those without livestock.
Last night was the first night of the Christmas production, with a very student-like take on the nativity. The crowning moment of the night, and possibly the hardest to keep a straight face for, was during an 'argument' between myself and Paul's character's, as everyone else went silent, he, rather loudly proclaimed:
'You look like a sultana!'
Lunch is upon us, and I had have had my fill of bizarre blog comments. I think.
Sunday, 16 November 2008
I sometimes wish you were still hanging on that old rugged cross.
Because I sometimes forget.
It's because you're never on it now
That I forget you ever were.
There was actually that bloody day in History.
Where the brown wood being stained red was probably the most minor change.
Everything changed that day. It had to.
But I sometimes forget.
I sometimes wish you were still hanging on that old rugged cross.
So I could see you. Blood, sweat and tears.
I'd probably be a better person if I could.
But they took my Jesus away - removed him far from the scene of the crime -
Which definitely makes me a better person.
I sometimes wish you were still hanging on that old rugged cross, -
but I'm glad you're not.
Thursday, 30 October 2008
I haven't read anything yet. I have merely looked up books. I have occasionally glanced at their contents pages. And I feel sick. I have this feeling of being on the edge of something, and the moment I read that first book, there will be no going back. There will be no twee, 'we must forgive' type answer. I feel like I could lose my faith. The enormity of the horror of the Holocaust has never struck me properly, and I want to read, and understand, but mostly, hold onto my faith. I don't mind if it's shaken, but I will not accept it being taken from me.
So, friends, if you happen to be reading this, whoever you may be from the small number that do: uphold me. I want to hang onto Biblical truth, but I want to engage with the feelings and tragedies of the Holocaust. I am about to walk out into the unknown, without a light or a map, and only a vague memory of something good to keep me going. Help me.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
No, I don't think so.
Last night, I went to see Tree63 and Delirious play at the IndigO² (not one for product placement, but there's not really much else one can do when it's incorporated into the name...). They were both very good, excellent musically, the performance was highly enjoyable, and so on and so forth. However, I paid £15.50 to go see them. Not that I complain at such a price - it's reasonable for a gig. But would someone pay that amount of money to go to church? I highly doubt it. I raise this question because the totality of both sets were 'worship songs'. I have nothing intrinsically against 'worship', don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure it's right to charge people to go and see it. If a band is going to simply entertain me, then I think it's fair that I pay them for their services. But 'worship songs'?
I say all this, and as I say it, I realise my folly. My concept of worship is askew, I suppose - if worship is a life of godliness, then it doesn't matter if it's 'entertainment' or 'worship', does it? I've gone and got myself confused. Come back to me on this one...
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
So, Facebook etiquette, eh? A fresher has added me. I do not have a problem with this at all. In fact, I welcome the opportunity to get to know them a little better. However, what's the deal with adding friends? I mean, should I add freshers because they're freshers, or wait until I get to hang out with them, adding them one by one as the socialising dictates? Harking back to when I was a fresher, adding second or third years seemed like I was punching well above my weight, and I got quite excited when one of them had the good grace to add me. But now, I feel the freshers might be offended if a third year they have barely talked to added them on Facebook. I'm thoroughly confused, and don't really know how one goes about this whole process.
So, I vote that someone writes a book of Facebook etiquette - write it all down and sort this mess out once and for all. It'd be so much easier. Then I wouldn't even have to talk to people...
Monday, 13 October 2008
I thought my missives had lacked a distinct note of financial despair over the last few weeks, and now seemed like a good a time as any to thrash out my thoughts regarding the current economic climate.
First off, how bizarre is it that this 'crash' has no apparent ramifications for the 'real world'? I put those concepts in inverted commas because it would seem that the financial world, money markets and stock exchanges inhabit a different reality to the one within which we live. When we start talking about billions of monetary units, we're no longer talking of hard cash, but numbers which governments feel they can justifiably materialise from nowhere to steady the market. The actual outworking of these crashes will be felt perhaps in a few months, as long as the situation doesn't worsen, but currently, I have felt no realistic worry about my money, or the future of the world.
Perhaps this is due to my being a student, not currently owning a house, nor a car, nothing that will drastically depreciate or that I have a loan out on. Perhaps I am just being naive, and missing the point entirely, wandering about happily in my own world, about to shocked something silly.
But what is our theological response to this? We are told that we will soon be feeling the pinch, but I believe in a God who supplies all my needs. I'm not sure that Christians should be worried; concerned, yes - because we are seeing the potential shift in power from the banks to an unspecified 'other', but worried about money? No. God promises to provide all our needs. We should be more reliant on what he says he will do, as opposed to what the banks threaten to do.
I have recently discovered the iTunes visualiser. This is amazing. Midway through this post, I was mesmerised by the visualisation of a Sigur Ros song... this could be fun.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
But I am torn. It has been my aspiration, since the age of 11 or 12, to study theology and work in a pastoral setting immediately afterwards. However, increasingly it seems, I have had a few people mention the possibility of going into secular work of some kind, office work, perhaps temping for a year or two previous to finding church employment. I can see the logic of this: working in a non-Christian environment, earning some cash before going into one of the worst paid jobs in society, and escaping the Christian bubble, albeit briefly. However, God's call in my life is to go and work in the church. This said, I have no definitive time frame, and temping would not close the door to finding church work swiftly afterwards. This, my friends, is why I am torn, and ever so slightly confused. I want to do the right thing, and I have no clue what that might be.
Monday, 6 October 2008
I do, however, need to get a good balance of all the things I'm working on. I need to look at project material soon, but I'm currently reading up on my lectures. I don't want my project to go on the back burner for too long, or I will fall too far behind. All these things, all these infuriating little things - burdens, frustrations and concerns - they plague me, but I hope in doing so, they spur me onto higher and greater.
Friday, 3 October 2008
First of all, the entirety of the English media seems very much against the Republican side, and seems to assume, due to his dynamic style and liberalism, Obama has it in the bag. I would disagree with this entirely. Never underestimate the Right when it comes to America. Putting aside the dubious Florida results, the Republican win in 2000 was preceded by the Guardian asking their loyal readership to send letters to their American counterparts to vote Democrat. The support for Al Gore was strong over here. But as Briana wisely said: 'I don't care what British people think. They don't have a vote.'
Secondly, if we took Obama and McCain, with Biden and Palin as their deputies, and transported the electoral process to the UK, political spectrum staying vaguely in place, the Left would win outright. Partly because the UK is a more secular culture than the States, and the Right's policies would abhor most over here, but the major moneywinner would be Barack Obama's ability to look like he's cool, calm and collected in all situations. We value that over real politics, which is a concerning indictment on the British state of play.
Obama and the Democrats have not won outright. They do seem to have the lead in the polls, but it is in no way a foregone conclusion. Watch this space.
I have moved into college, and I'm currently typing this from my desk in my room, observing the courtyard - where nothing happens - and trying not to stare at the lecturer's offices across the way. It has been exciting, and yet very tiring. I look forward to this weekend, and the possibility of getting to sleep in for a considerable amount of time.
I am also currently aware of how bizarre relationships, and the process by which they are formed, are. Getting to know 60 odd new people is something of a challenge. You want to retreat to the safety of known friends, and you want to make the new people feel welcome. It's a very odd experience, being so torn. I only hope I might be getting it right, somehow.
Monday, 22 September 2008
Oh, and a simple apology to Tim, who has probably heard all this, spewed up in the last week in some form. So, sorry.
First of all; an appeal. Not just to anyone, but to those who are ever planning, in some way, shape or form, to ever join together with another human being in holy matrimony/civil partnership/common or garden marriage. It does not matter if you are not currently engaged, nor even in a stable relationship, nor even if you're still playing kiss chase. I don't care. All I ask is this: Please, please, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, and whatever you share a passing interest in, make sure your wedding invitations are unequivocally clear, and have not even a sniff of ambiguity about them as regards whether that person is invited to wedding/reception/after-party. Please. That is all.
Staying with the theme of weddings; as various people have got married throughout the summer, the feeling has slowly overtaken me of being left behind. While this is horribly introspective and narcissistic of me, and I do share joy with those who have got married (just probably not as much), I seem to have this pervading sense of still being 14, while others have raced away into the big bad world of Adulthood. Some may argue that this is a good thing to hang on; a child-like, (more -ish, if you ask me...) nature being something to aspire to. But it does feel like the maturity quota has left me a little short. I'm not sure I'm making my point, so I think I'll just finish this here.
And to end on the most disturbing thought of all: Jesus has become a nice theological truism. And this is a critique of no-one but me. I was reading through the gospel of Matthew, and compared the Jesus I found in those pages to the Jesus I thought I knew. Somewhere, somehow, 'my Jesus' had become an excuse for my shortcomings, in that I knew 'my Jesus' would forgive me were I to say to sorry and repent. But the Jesus I found in the gospel was one who asked difficult, awkward, frustrating things and demands a life of repentance. Oh, to live in that truth. Help me.
Friday, 12 September 2008
Jacob Zuma has been cleared of any fraudulent misconduct, allowing him the right to become President. As previously mentioned on this blog, no South African I have spoken to (although it must be noted that they are mostly caucasian middle class South Africans) has a positive opinion of Mr Zuma. His comments regarding HIV/Aids a few years ago show a distinct lack of common sense. In the last three years, he has been accused in three separate court cases, all three collapsing for various reasons. I am not a South African, but I do have various ties with the country. If I were to have a vote, I am sure I would not want this man in charge. He does not fill me with confidence, nor seem to show the ability to lead a country such as South Africa, a country hanging in the balance between the West, and Africa - so delicate a culture that a man with a large clunking fist and a lack of forethought could ruin the good work of the past.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
As NFG once wisely said:
'Why would anybody want to the leave the safety of their homes?'
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
I can't get away from the fact I'm an arse. I'm an arse with two legs and a torso, and a few other features we shan't mention here, such as arms and a head, but essentially, an arse. I am twenty. Soon to be twenty-one. I often joke that I do not look twenty without a beard, however, it would be more true to say I do not feel twenty, irrespective of facial hair. I still feel like a child, and while there are advantages to be had seeing the world through these childish eyes, there are also considerable cons, such as being scared witless by everything and anything.
I say everything and anything. It is a wide, sweeping generalisation that I cannot provide any solid evidence for. But it is also how I feel, that horrible crutch of feelings and emotion in a time desirous of something more tangible. For instance, the feeling, as I pathetically tried to describe to Tash earlier, of wanting to run away from anything that may potentially, perhaps, one day there could be a chance, vaguely optimistically, may in fact look like it could ever be serious. Now, the obvious leap here is to relationships, and while I do not deny this apparent fear affects such circumstances, it would also seem that the rest of my life is tarred by the same brush. Again, 'the rest of my life' is a huge, rather complex issue, and not one to be swept aside with a simple cliché. Take, for an example, work. When I talk of work, I don't merely mean the menial tasks which I perform to gain a part-time salary, but of the Real World, the big 'Out There', the After You've Finished type of work. What would I like to do, I hear you cry in unison? Well, to be honest, I would love to do doss work in a church. Who wouldn't? And the moment someone has the audacity to remind me of the preparing, the preaching, the pastoring - I want to bolt.
I sincerely hope that in the next year, I grow up a bit. That would be nice. Less arseing about. Less fear. Less trying to sound like Stephen Fry, however long it might take me to write out a few paragraphs. (30 minutes, incidentally. Just in case you were wondering.) Less me. More God. Amen.
Sunday, 31 August 2008
However, home was a different matter. Not to say I do not love coming home. Not at all. I was looking forward to coming home. But everything happened at once. Mum wanted the laptop, to go on holiday. She was running about sorting things out before the left. I spoke a few harsh words. I managed to forget my PIN for my debit card, so I can't send the money to Jonathan and Destiny. I was tired, having not slept in 24 hours. I was a bit icky, having not washed in the same time. Everything happened, and I didn't like it. I remember thinking that I just want it all to stop. Just so I can be, momentarily, and not be doing.
Saturday, 30 August 2008
This said, I am distinctly looking forward to going home, sleeping in my own, uncomfortable bed, and catching up with the football. Sounds quite pleasant to me. Meanwhile, I have the flights to contend with, and airports, and security, and the small matter of lying/not saying anything to customs officials. What fun.
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Passport control have been told to be nicer. Airline attendants find it hard to conceal surprise when asked for a gin and tonic by a twenty year old guy. Entertainment on demand is awesomelike. Florida is hot. Florida also has a hurricane on the way. CNN is funny, as in, 'laugh at the Americans' funny. I need to go clothes shopping. My mother has stolen my laptop. Biscuit is also awesomelike, but less on demand as entertainment. Oh, and I need a shower.
You may, or may not, get a slightly embellished version of that should I get the chance.
Friday, 15 August 2008
I have been watching the Olympics via the BBC website, and enjoying it hugely. Despite the fact that Great Britain never seems to do that well, we always believe we have the possibility of doing so. Never before have I become so passionate about table tennis, or even a lady running 10,000 metres. And yet I was watching that race at the same time a friend in Bombay was watching it. The global connection it brings about it amazing, and I cannot wait for the Olympics to arrive here.
I am heading off for two weeks to America. I have packed light, to enable my suitcase to contain my brother's vastly British shopping list. It does mean that I shall have to purchase clothes when I'm out there. Although initially happy at this, Mervyn King, our esteemed leader of the Bank of England, has just given a gloomy financial outlook for the next few months, and it didn't take long for the pound to stumble, and lead to the frustration of having to work out the conversion rate of 1.75, instead of 2.00. I'm less worried about the money I'm losing, and more concerned about me standing in the middle of a shop trying to figure out the price in pounds.
Additionally, I won't have my laptop with me, so that my mother can use it for DVDs when she is away. Which also means I shall be laptopless when in Edinburgh. I shall have to revert to pen and paper for any amusing thoughts, of which I normally have many when it comes to the Americans. Bless 'em.
Monday, 11 August 2008
'The bifurcation of the contemporary social world into a realm of the organizational in which ends are taken to be given and are not available for rational scrutiny and a realm of the personal in which judgement and debate about values are central factors, but in which no rational social resolution of issues is available, finds its internalization, its inner representation in the relation of the individual self to the roles and characters of social life'.
Yes, my friends - what?! Even with the context, I'm still bemused. No sentence should be that long, surely?!
In other news; I have arrived back from camp. I am still recovering. It was a positive experience on the whole, but I am my worst judge, and probably therefore the worst person to talk to about it. However, the leaders I was spending time with were amazing, and I have to give a lot of thanks to God, for the confidence I had and the reception that I got from the kids. If it weren't for Him, I'm not sure that was possible.
Returned home to find Russia and Georgia at war. I reckon this is going to be over very soon, with either a ceasef fire/truce, or Georgia being annhilated. I sincerely hope it's the first.
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Baby Emily gets to sleep best in Mummy or Daddy's arms, as one would expect. As today was a hot day, they didn't want to carry her around too much, as a burnt baby is not a happy baby. However, putting her in her pram to get her off to sleep doesn't work too well. When one of the older ladies asked why they carried her around so much, I explained it's easier for her to get to sleep. The conversation followed a route of suggesting that they were 'over-parenting', and should try to get her used to going to sleep in the pram, etc., etc..
Now, this is all well and good, as it is sound advice, but my current thoughts on parenthood (and I'm sure they shall continue into actual parenthood), are that it's an adventure. You discover things that do, and do not work. What works for one baby may not work for another. I'm all for advice and information from those who have been through the whole process, but at the end of the day, I will be the parent, and not them.
I do not see the problem with lavishing love and attention on a baby of 13 weeks. Weaning them into an independent state is just ridiculous at such an early stage. Phil and Monique absolutely adore Emily, and are doing an admirable job as parents thus far. But I think it is only acceptable that they are allowed to make mistakes and discover the reality of having a baby for themselves, and not be told step by step instructions by those that assume they know better.
Monday, 21 July 2008
Naturally, the answer is assumed to be 'No,' simply because of the nature of Germany of that time. But Bonhoeffer preached, and tried to live this costly forgiveness. If a man can choose to forgive - up to a point - living in the barbaric state that was the Third Reich, then why do I struggle with it? I think I still misunderstand forgiveness.
And that scares me a little.
Saturday, 19 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
We know there is a cost to forgiveness. It offers up our dignity. In some ways, we also lose our victimhood. Once we forgive, we are the victor, not the victim. And yet, it takes great humility to forgive. So why do we do it? For the Christian, the stock answer would be that Christ preaches it. But what about the rest of the world? Why do they forgive? Do they forgive? What is it about forgiveness that holds us back from it, and yet, when we do forgive, we wonder why we didn't do it originally?
Struggles and thoughts. Only 9 pages into a 300 page book.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
Sigur Rós and War & Peace arrived today. I'm letting the Icelandic stuff just happen to me, chronologically, as it were. What I've heard thus far has been amazing. I've also read a bit of War & Peace. I thoroughly underestimated the size of the book. I have a summer to plough through 1350 or so pages. I'm up to 25. Not too far to go now.
I am aware how boring and inverted I am being recently. I have yet to pronounce opinions on any topics in the news recently, which is slightly boring of me. I must work out a system of writing down thoughts I have that doesn't include the back of my hand, because that's one of the most abhorrent things I can think of.
Talking of my hands, I am shocked at the shock of so many people to my having the nails on my left hand painted pink. I'm not aware of it being that bizarre, but I've come across people who seem to be struggling to get over it. I think I'm just keeping it on now to rile people, which is probably the wrong reason. Fun, though.
Monday, 14 July 2008
The Sigur Ros albums are just for generally being amazed. War And Peace is again, an attempt to further my horizons, and read some books I wouldn't normally, and the Bibliophile's Dictionary is for Dave, a birthday present which was due in May. My other purchases hopefully will include a digital SLR, a new pair of football boots, and perhaps an iMac. But that may be a little over the top. We shall see.
Ooo, discuss: Is utilising BBC iPlayer when I don't have a TV, and thus don't pay a license fee, immoral?
And when I say 'discuss', I mean... uh, well, only one person will actually reply. But nevermind. I can make believe.
Saturday, 12 July 2008
A truly disturbing discovery. I can't type with Scrubs on. I had to wait until the end of the episode for me to be able to start writing this post. I feel slightly disappointed at my brain for being the lack of dual-tasking, let alone multi-tasking. Although, I'm holding high hopes for Sigur Ros being the band that falls outside this viscious circle. New album = awesome.
I have made a decision regarding my future. (Trying reading that in a happy voice, and don't think 'doom-laden.' I had good intentions, really...). I have decided to live in halls next year. There are a few reasons, but I think it would be a better experience for me, all-round. And slightly cheaper, which rarely hurts the decision making process...
Finally, a brief mention of my time spent in the Borders with Tash and Giz. It was fantastic, and amazingly enjoyable. We didn't really do much, but what we did, we had fun. Well, I did. If you are that way inclined, check out the photos I'm slowly putting up on my deviantart. (Just click my profile picture. Technology, eh?)
Monday, 30 June 2008
My summer is panning out as follows:
I visit the Borders and Tash tomorrow. I shall take lots of photos. I shall read a lot. I shall write a lot. I shall alternatively do nothing and have a fantastic time. Although, that said, I do intend to have a fantastic time whatever I do.
After that, I'll be gearing up for holiday club, and teaching kids how to play rugby/basketball. Which is funny, 'cause I really have no clue, myself. But, should be a hoot.
Camp swiftly follows, for which I still have to work out stories and talks for the kids. I genuinely love camp, and I can't wait to go, despite it being the most tiring thing I do in my year. Although, I'm not sure how not being a team leader will pan out. I am exciting, nevertheless.
I intend to go to America after that, to go see my brother and sister-in-law for their birthdays, and then hopefully go and spend a week in Union City with my Briana. However, not until this week had I considered the full ramifications of this - the whole trip will probably be about 6 flights. The cost could be interesting.
The entirety of September I have nothing planned, except working, ocassionally. Speaking of which, I really need to get that form back in...
I am in a bit of a conundrum. I was given until last Friday to definitely take a room in Laing, one of the halls at college. So, in the morning, I went to Registry and confirmed it. I was really excited - first time moving out of home, living in college, etc., etc. And then, a day later, I get offered a room in a flat in Northwood. If I were to make a snap decision, I would choose to live in college. However, there are advantages to living out, such as the independence, and the availability of alcohol. What to do, what to do...
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
'It just goes to show, white men can't wrap.'
Monday, 16 June 2008
While on a night hike around 'the common', one of the girls from the Minchinhampton youth group idly muttered that if there was a power cut, all our torches would go out. One of our youth group, quite concerned, fell in step with me and asked if it was true. I can assure you I attempted not to laugh. It should also be noted I failed miserably.
Same hike, same child. I mentioned that he was quite pessimistic, and in response, he asked what that meant. I told him that it meant he was quite negative and didn't trust anyone. The reply was fantastic, considering it came from a thirteen year old child:
'Well, you just can't trust anyone in this day and age.'
On Saturday, we went to place that involved a maze, a butterfly house, and crazy golf. Not the most thrilling of days out for a bunch of city kids, but they actually had a really good time, although slightly embarrassed to admit it. However, I was unaware of the potential of teenage boys being scared of butterflies. One of the most amusing things I have seen for a while, aside from the owner of the place, who was wearing a straw hat that I associate with punters of the Oxbridge kind, and was so well-spoken and knowledgable, he was on the verge of seriously creeping out our youth group. A demon the diablo,though, which atones for it.
A thoroughly enjoyable weekend, topped off by the confusion of young people on Sunday afternoon. All weekend they were picking on a small lad called Ben, who after lunch on Sunday was being chased. He ran outside, with the rest of the youth group following. He managed to avoid them and run back to the door, where I let him in and locked the others out. Someone then let them in, and Ben hid in the disabled toilet. While they were waiting for Ben to come out, I slipped round the back of the church, and helped him climb out of the window, and helped Will, a rather larger boy, climb in. The look on the faces of the youth group as Will sauntered out of the disabled toilet was hilarious. One girl even checked the toilet, like we folded him up and shoved him under the seat.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Further to my previous comments on Zimbabwe, I have realised the invasion thing was quite rash. What I should have said, was 'let's invade after Mugabe rigs the election'. Having read today that 1) Tsvangarai was arrested for the third time this month, 2) the secretary-general of the opposition party is being brought to court with a charge of treason after speaking out against Mugabe, and 3) a regional wife was mutilated and burned by Mugabe's security forces, I am seriously under the impression that something needs to be done, and quick. However, the great grandfather of doing nothing, Thabo Mbeki has spoken of the 'concern' he has for the situation in Zimbabwe, but vetoed the plan by the States and ourselves to bring the political instability to the UN table, desiring that the problem is sorted out instead by the 'Southern African Development Community'. Which, without sounding too cynical, isn't happening. Someone better do something sharpish, or we'll end up with a man with an honourary knighthood killing lots of people, and we just wouldn't want that on the Windsor CV, now, would we?
Monday, 9 June 2008
Thoughts on the tournament so far: less Ronaldo, please - he's good, just not that great. I decided, from the beginning of the Portugal-Turkey match, to count the number of times we had a close-up shot of Ronaldo. By the end of the game, we totalled 15; which was easily more than twice the next player. A minor point, and an irrelevant one, perhaps, but still annoying, nonetheless.
Can we just invade Zimbabwe? I'm really struggling to see the difference between the prospect of Iraq and Zimbabwe. It's all very well going round admonishing Mugabe, but the man is running a totalitarian regime, detaining his only political opponent and generally being a bit of a dictator. Is it just that the money we could get out of it isn't enough? No major oil fields that far south? Of course, we cannot go invading a country for not being democratic, but I'm not sure that boycotting cricket matches and telling him he's a very bad man is doing much.
Thursday, 5 June 2008
But almost 25 million? I'm intrigued as to the outcome of this - having read the report, it seems to be suggesting that they got a little ticking off and a 'must do better next time' type remark. Which seems quite generous, if you ask me.
The largest publishing houses in Britain have come up with a scheme to 'help parents'. This idea is one that seems to be a good idea gone wrong. It is where books, from next year sometime, will have 'age guidance labels'. Yes, that's right. A child's book will no longer be at the parents/childs discretion, but we will be told as to what kind of age range it is appropriate to. Taken to an extreme, it would be amusing to see a spotty Woolworth's trainee enquire of a young child's age - 'Sorry, if you're not above 7, you can't read the Famous Five'. I would have been in serious trouble. I was devouring any book I could from a ridiculously early age. If we want our children to read, surely the best solution is to let them read the books they find interesting. If a 9 year old wants to read Shakespeare and is told to stick to Jacqueline Wilson, something has gone horribly wrong. What next, banning children from smoking?
I'm also back to the old 'too little butter spred over too much bread'. I cannot wait for these exams to end. I didn't even get to read The Times today. That's how worn out I am. Amusingly, every time I go to have a brief peruse of said paper, I either I have someone chastise me for not working, or just strike up a conversation. I wish to hide away in a quiet place with my paper and get lost in the real world.
Played Ultimate Frisbee this evening. Was enjoyable. I'm discovering that I have various aches and pains I didn't know I had. Cycling is obviously not as strenuous as first thought. I do like the image that has been somehow put across about my fitness, that cycling to college and back every day makes me some kind of machine. I wish it sometimes. On the subject, some brief estimates were made by myself as to how many miles I have cycled over my two years at college. Working from 15 miles a day, 5 days a week, 30 weeks a year, we come out somewhere around 4500 miles. Which is just ridiculous.
Monday, 2 June 2008
The Times changed today. They've gone all Guardian on me. Which, funnily enough, is the reason why I don't read the Guardian. However, I will get used to it, in time. The most amusing part is the number of responses to the changes on the website, the majority complaining about the positioning of the crossword. Ah, Tory voters, eh? If it doesn't affect them (i.e., the news regarding the most catastrophic of events happening worldwide), they don't care. But woe betide the foolish man who decided to move the crossword.
Although, one of the many grumpy young men type discussions came up while talking with Dave this week. He was describing how some unfortunate kid hadn't got his Oyster card when trying to get on the bus, and tried to give the bus driver a sob story of his terrible plight. For the uninitiated and the unLondoners, an Oyster card is the credit system by which the majority of Londoners pay for travel. Kids get on free, 'cause we're nice like that, but if the driver doesn't know if they're underage, they have to have their swipe card. Leads to many arguments and lots of wasted time.
However, I, in my genius, have come up with an alternative plan to all this kerfuffle. I have based it upon the average cost of bus travel per person, per year, in that a child goes to school 40 weeks of the year. In those weeks, a child will go to school 5 times. That requires two journeys, back and forth. Using a basic £1 for the cost, that brings us to the rough estimate of it costing £400 a year to merely get each child to school and back using the bus. What we then do, is take away free travel for these young people, implement a cost of £1 for their use of the bus, and with the money we have saved churn out carbon copy bicycles, for easily under £100, and give them to every child in London/England/UK [delete as applicable to your sense of nationalism]. Now, I'm no mathematician, but that saves a lot of money. And, funnily enough, combats the two 'biggest threats since the war on terror,' (Labour stylee), and deals a 'hammer blow,' (Lib Dem stylee) to climate change and childhood obesity. (The Conservatives just don't care). The bikes don't have to be amazing, just long-lasting. And one would hope the situation would be similar to that in Cambridge, where every student has a considerably average bike, and thus, no one really has the desire to steal them. One average bike is uncool enough.
This will provide everyone with a choice. You can no longer complain about not getting enough exercise if you are given a bike by the government. If you want to use the buses, you pay for them, probably at a cost less than £1, because currently, the adult population is subsidising the kids - once the kids no longer have free bus travel, prices will go down all round.
There is one problem, courted by the most extreme opponents. Where will the young people put their bikes once they have got to school? Simple. Those playing fields we always hear schools are selling off? Just put a massive bike shed on them. It's not like they will need the exercise any more.
Friday, 30 May 2008
OK, one. It may not have been the original thought that I had, but it's of slight interest. I managed to not remember cycling up the largest hill on the way to college. Now, doesn't sound impressive in itself. More worrying, than anything. But I loved the experience. Cycling on auto-pilot happens all too rarely for me, and for it to happen during the most strenuous part of my journey was a great pleasure. I remember going over the roundabout (in the proper manner, after the Highway Code) before the hill, cycling a little way up it, but then I got lost in a day dream about playing rugby, being the only man who could catch up with the opposing winger who had broken away and heading for the try line. Irrespective of the pain that may be caused by the speed with which he is pumping his legs back and forth, I launch myself forward and wrap my thin, fragile arms around his legs and he comes tumbling down, just short of the try line. By which time, I'm at the top of the hill, slightly out of breath, and feeling the ache in my legs, but with no remembrance of the event whatsoever.
In all honesty, I can't remember the other thing, if there ever was one. So stick that anecdote in your pipe, and smoke it. You'll just have to come back sometime.
Thursday, 29 May 2008
It must be noted, however, that this is the first time I have seen a rag and bone man in my twenty years, and I had no clue what one gives such a person. Doesn't bode well for business, really...
Edit: I'm currently sitting upstairs in my room, and today's episode explains a mystery I had never been able to fathom; what the bizarre noise was, coming from the road. So, in retrospect, I had been aware of the rag and bone man, but without knowing what it was. Which bodes slightly better for business, but isn't doing much to convince me of the affluence of my area.
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
We lost, one would argue, due to an unfortunate ignorance of the rules. Two teams had just played, prior to our match, and as we walked on, the goalkeeper and one of the players that had just played joined the team we were about to play. Now, stranger things have happened, but were it not for these two players, we would have stood a very good chance of winning the game. Our goalkeeper has decided to take it up with the management of Goals, to see if we can get the result turned in our favour, as the rules state that no player can play for two teams within the same division in one season.
Now, normally, I think we would have let it slide, but for some reason, Matt has decided to take up the case. Got me to thinking about rules, and the principle behind the rules. Should such rules be strictly adhered to? And should we, as Christians, be gracious enough to accept defeat even when the rules have been broken? Something within me strives against the being so particular about the rules, and just letting it slide, or perhaps I am just not principled enough.
Who knows? Considering no-one but me is reading this currently, I'm not sure they care, either.
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
I have just spent the larger part of three hours reading through Simon Wiesenthal's 'The Sunflower'. In it, he relates his time as a Jew in Poland, but the emphasis is placed upon the conundrum he once faced, when asked by a dying SS man for absolution for the horrific acts he had taken part in. I am deeply moved, and asking all sort of questions of myself. Wiesenthal himself ends his tale with the somewhat chilling question:
You, who have just read this sad and tragic episode in my life, can mentally change places with me and ask yourself the crucial question, “What would I have done?”
For this, I cannot come up with an immediate response. But I now feel I have some basis for which my final project shall be written. An essay, a brief foray into the doctrine of forgiveness, in response to this book. Then, I hope, shall I be able to answer this question better. I refuse to answer until I end these ten thousand words. Should you choose to read this while I'm writing my final project; I sincerely hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: If they don't like this, and my project idea goes to pot, I apologise. Y'know... just in case.