Thursday, March 31, 2011

Closer - on guitar

I think this might be the first 'pop' song I try to teach myself off the internet on guitar.

If I can ever wrap my fingers around the F chord that is. We learnt this chord on the last night, and the teacher had to come and rearrange my hand for the first time, and the only consolation to keep going was that it is supposed to be the hardest chord there is to play. I do so like this song by Dido (and the other Dido love song I like is this one). You have a weird snippet here, because originally it wouldn't embed, so if it doesn't you'll need to click through.

A quote

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet (1807-1882)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The look you're aiming for

So, I thought I'd help you guys out with a few looks you could achieve with some crochet wrist warmers. (One never knows what they might end up blogging!) There's something for everyone here I think. Or maybe you could just be a sad etsy boyfriend (I cracked up laughing over that post - I think I need me one of those).

The careless artist/too cool to really care look (this is the look I think my guitar teacher will achieve - he has this hair).

The suave, slightly metro look (this guys looks a little like Westley out of the Princess Bride, which is always going to work).

The rugged outdoorsy look. This is a good, manly, not-too-fashion-conscious look.

From the Sartorialist. That has to be cool (taken on the left bank in Paris).

Usher, whoever he is, sporting a pair (from a website called "Hip Celebrity"). Personally, I don't think you want patterns.

I believe this is Brad Pitt. Enough said.

Whatever you call this. Culture Club style?

Urban cool, with Andrew Garfield (but the coloured stripes are questionable).

This is a bit homeboy or something. I don't think you want this look.

The English Gentleman. Nice, indeed.

A fashion poll (for guys)

I don't think so many guys read this blog, but if you are one and you do, I need your help. Would you wear these? (This is old camera stuff, so the photo isn't so good.)

I've given a pair to one guy, who said not a word (so I'm not taking that as so positive), and tonight I thought I might give some to my guitar teacher, because it's the last lesson unless I go on to the next course (which I probably will). I think you can wear these and still play guitar, in my bumbling capacity, but he might not think so, because he's better at palm muting and whatever else it is he does. So, what do you think? My guitar teacher will probably be nice about them even if he won't wear them and thinks I'm a nutter, because he's just a nice guy, so I need honest opinion. I've put a poll up on the right (first one ever!) so you can even be anonymous, because this is such sensitive information and all. And I'll let girls vote too, if they know guys who they think would be definitely yes or no.

(I've been scrutinising and I've had to make them big for the guitar teacher, because he has large hands, but also guys often have much thicker forearms, even if their hands aren't so big, which need to be accounted for and not strangled by the base chain. So if you know me and see me staring curiously at your hands and forearms, it's just human variability research.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Poetry Day - Temptation market

Last night in church we read Isaiah 55, and for some reason that made me think of one of Christina Rossetti's most famous poems, Goblin Market (it's the echoes of "come, buy"). I have never featured Goblin Market on this blog because of it's length, but it really is a magnificent poem. It tells the story of two sisters faced with the same temptation, of the fall of one and her eventual rescue of one by the other. The ending makes me weep. I tried to make this poem into an illustrated book for my two older nieces once, but it proved too ambitious for me (I couldn't draw goblins!), so I bought one. You can read the whole poem here (and you get so taken up in the story you hardly notice the length!), but I thought I'd post a few snippets to lure you in.

This is Laura, the sister who later gives in, when catching sight of the goblin men and their enticing fruits:

        Laura stretch’d her gleaming neck
Like a rush-imbedded swan,
Like a lily from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone.

Then later follows this section describes the relationship of the two sisters:

        Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each other’s wings,
They lay down in their curtain’d bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like two flakes of new-fall’n snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipp’d with gold for awful kings.
Moon and stars gaz’d in at them,
Wind sang to them lullaby,
Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
Not a bat flapp’d to and fro
Round their rest:
Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
Lock’d together in one nest.

And after Laura has fallen and eaten the fruit, this is Lizzie going out to meet the goblin men, in order to save her sister. Isn't this magnificent?

        White and golden Lizzie stood,
Like a lily in a flood,—
Like a rock of blue-vein’d stone
Lash’d by tides obstreperously,—
Like a beacon left alone
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire,—
Like a fruit-crown’d orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee,—
Like a royal virgin town
Topp’d with gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguer’d by a fleet
Mad to tug her standard down.

Then this is how the story ends. It's beautiful.

Days, weeks, months, years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town):
Would tell them how her sister stood
In deadly peril to do her good,
And win the fiery antidote:
Then joining hands to little hands
Would bid them cling together,
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

Friday, March 25, 2011

New toy

This is hardly a post worth waiting for, but, a discerning eye might have noticed an increase in the quality of the crochet photos below. That's because I have a new toy! I finally splurged and bought myself a DSLR camera.

After hunting around I settled on the Nikon d3100. I'm a Nikon girl, because I believe they've always made superior cameras, and unless I was going to lose my grasp on reality and buy a Leica, built with the excellence and precision that only the Germans know how, that's what I want (if God is going to take our passport photo, it won't be on a Nikon or a Canon, it will be on a Leica, like this one - and that is a bargain!).

This review by cnet rated the Nikon d3100 as the best entry level DSLR, and while I don't really like to consider myself in the "entry" category to SLRs, since I have been using them from back in the days when they had a light metre inside the view finder and you had to adjust aperture and shutter-speed till the needle swung to the middle, it's been so long since I've had one now, and the world's since gone digital, that all those specs and what-have-you weren't meaning much to me, and how much I wanted to spend was "entry level". The Canon 550D is the nearest rival (because it's so much better than their entry level 1000D), but is also more than $200 more expensive, so where is the real competition?

I got a great deal from this website last week (I highly recommend them - they were fantastic, and I could track the parcel all the way here), with just the basic 18-55mm lens, where it's already gone up by more than a hundred dollars (and even then is still cheap), so I am feeling very chuffed! I have hardly had a chance to get it out of the box yet, and am still to read the manual, but so far so good ...

So, you can expect better things here (well, maybe). But now between learning guitar, doing crochet and perhaps attempting some photography (and reading books - that goes without saying), I feel like I have more than enough "hobbies" happening.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It might get loud - girls' edition

So I mentioned that I've found myself on the committee for our church Fair Trade Markets. I went along to the first meeting wondering what my contribution could be, and the captain of the whole venture happened to mention that it would be good to have some bunting to string up on the stalls to make us look 'festive'. I thought to myself 'bunting - I can do bunting!'. So, inspired by this (third photo down), which I've shown you before from the Finders Keepers Markets, I started to have a go at some the other week.

I'm sort of wishing I didn't use the orange, because I don't really like orange, and it's the loudest, but anyway, bright and festive is what we're doing! I'll have to block these obviously, because the triangles have seriously curled up.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It Might Get Loud

Our guitar teacher is a total guitar head. Last night he was going on about this movie - a documentary on The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White - especially this bit, which just looks like classic boy stuff. Dare I? (I'm not going to play electric guitar any time soon!)

IT MIGHT GET LOUD: Movie Trailer. Watch more top selected videos about: Movie Trailers, Jack White


Last week I had the pleasure of going to the Moore Theological College Graduation, which was a great night all round with especially fabulous music and singing. We sang O Great God, which I love, and I was reminded in discussion over the church weekend away that it was based on a puritan prayer (as many of your probably know if you own the sovereign grace CD Valley of Vision). So, I went looking for that original prayer, and so, here it is (and I am going to fetch that Valley of Vision book out of my Book Depository wish list I think!):


Occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist they holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine for ever.
Thou art worthy to be
praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul
served with my every act of life.

From here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A bleep

So I’m back from a fantastic church weekend away, with great talks on 2 Corinthians and seminars mainly on the theme of sharing our faith. Tired though, because, while there was plenty of time to get enough sleep, for one reason or another I didn’t sleep so well when I was actually in bed. Then I came back to a great sermon on Philippians 3 at church that night, then to keep it all rolling I went to the CCL lecture at Moore College on Work last night. So, I have a head full of good things and might blog some of them when I have a chance to review and string two words together. I have guitar class tonight (haven’t done much practice!) and bible study at my house Wednesday night, so I am looking forward to Thursday evening, when I am going to stay home and collapse in a big heap.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Poetry Day - Come away

Since I'm away for the weekend, here is a poem of escapism for you. (A link on Sting's facebook page set off my poetry radar and sent me to this site where Oprah (yes Oprah!) asked celebrities to share their favourite poem, and I liked what Matt Dillon had to say about this one.)

The Stolen Child

WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
From a world more full of weeping than he can understand.

William Butler Yeats

Picture from

Friday, March 18, 2011

Getting away

It’s our church weekend away this weekend, or church camp as I prefer to call it. Last year, around this time, I wrote as my facebook status “I have a love/hate relationship with weekends away” and Sydney folks instantly assumed I was talking about church events, as though “weekend away” was a proper noun for them. When what I was intending was going away for the weekend. I do love going away for weekends, and always enjoy them when I’m there, but it’s the getting-away-on-Friday-afternoon-after-work thing, and the Monday-morning-and-I-haven’t-done-any-washing-or-cleaning thing that I hate. But I manage. In light of this, reading Mikey’s post a while back about the term 'house party' made me laugh, and recently when one of the Tasmanians came up to me at church and said ‘are you going on the church camp?’ I said ‘yes, yes, I am going on the camp’ and we saved about two seconds of our lives by not having to say ‘weekend away’.

Funny, but though I am an introvert I’m not actually bothered by crowds of people, and could be a sort of conference junky if I liked. Perhaps it’s actually because I am an introvert and don’t feed off people interaction, such that if I can’t find anyone to talk to or feel like a reject I can just go to my bunk and read a book and I am happy (not that I do this on church weekends mind you, but I just don’t feel any particular need to be the life of the party or right in the midst of everything or any other thing, so it doesn't bother me if I'm not - that and we have Saturday afternoons free, so should you need to go and escape there's always that option).

All that said, I have been out every night this week so far, so I was feeling a bit frazzled about everything sometime yesterday, but then I swung it so that I could work from home today and that has made a significant difference to the frazzness. There’s something about the physicality of being ‘home’ in there somewhere. And I can just pack my stuff and depart here at my leisure.

We have Wally Behan from Christchurch coming to speak, which should be interesting. Of course it was all planned before the disaster in Christchurch, so I expect it might be sobering to hear his account of that.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Borders of our Lives

I worked from home yesterday and revisited Simon and Garfunkel, mainly because when listening to the Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes recently I was hearing a lot of Simone and Garfunkel. I had my own personal revival of Simon and Garfunkel back when I was at university, and have always liked them, but don’t actually listen to them that often these days so initially I was trying to figure out which song it called to mind. I think it is Homeward Bound, but perhaps it is just a general S and G vibe I’m getting.

In the process I was listening to The Dangling Conversation, and rediscovered that it is quite poetic, in more ways than one. It describes a situation I don’t want to be in, but sometimes feel I might be prone to, because I am often dissatisfied with the result when I try to have any sort of challenging or direct conversation with someone (I think I’ve said all I can say in the moment, then go home, ruminate, and wish I’d taken things further). Maybe they’re just hard, which is why people write songs about them, especially when much hangs (no pun intended) on the outcome for yourself – and your wonder if you’re the only person hearing the ocean roar – or them. But I feel the need to attempt to dig deeper more often than I do (for the good of others, and myself, not just out of curiousity). So, without further ado, here are the poetic lyrics of this song (listen here):

The Dangling Conversation

It's a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtain lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we've lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
And the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
"Can analysis be worthwhile?"
"Is the theatre really dead?"
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You're a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

Written by Paul Simon.
Picture from here.


On Monday night I started meeting up with someone one-to-one, after discussing it with them since last year. They’ve been at church, and done the Simply Christianity course, but didn’t actually own a bible till a couple of weeks ago when I helped them choose one. I had in mind to do Romans, especially since they’d have done Luke in Simply Christianity, but after some discussion, including the idea that they thought the church sermons were a nice philosophy lecture, I decided to do another gospel. So we started John.

I have been mostly reading the Old Testament myself lately, and it’s been a few years since I’ve done one-to-one with someone, and I hadn’t prepared at all for John, so it all felt a bit bungling at that point. In the past I’ve read resources on one-to-one discipleship and done training courses etc, but hadn’t revisited the material lately and hadn’t done much preparation for this evening at all because we were just going to have dinner over the first get together and we hadn’t decided what to do yet, so I discovered that just opening and reading, while of course that’s good, felt a bit inept on my part – especially when I’d ask if there were any questions and she’d say “yeah, what is he talking about?” (the beginning of chapter three really is a bit mystifying at first read, and we were in chapter three because she just wanted to keep reading). So, now I feel the need to get myself much more organised and prepared for next time, and have a few questions in mind so we don’t just read on through chapter after chapter (not that there is anything wrong with that either, but there’s so much to discuss along the way!).

So, I’m potentially looking for something for beginners on the book of John. She’s also after something good to read on forgiveness. Any ideas?

Forgetting my head ...

Arghh, I have been all distracted and forgetful lately, but this morning was the worst: I got half way to work on my bike before I even realised that I wasn’t wearing my helmet, because I just completely forgot to put it on! So, then I poked along on the footpath, feeling like a “scofflaw” or an “organ donor”, hoping I wouldn’t get fined on the footpath even if seen (even though you’re not actually supposed to be riding on the footpath if you’re over 12 years old) or wiped out in brain-injury-causing accident by a car. Then, I stopped off at the local IGA near work to buy some stuff for lunch, still calling myself an idiot for forgetting the helmet, paid for my groceries at the checkout then left without them, not realising till I got to work that I left the bag behind, so I had to run back for that. Then I went into the bathroom to get changed into my skirt, only I forgot to actually get changed, so I came in wearing my shorts! I should never have left the house today.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Poetry Day - I do not love you as if ...

So I thought today I post a poem by Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet, since he was mentioned a couple of posts ago. I haven't actually read a lot of his poetry, because much of it is not so helpful when you're single (I don't need to be filling my mind with it, if you know what I mean), and because poetry written in other languages often frustrates me as the translations can be so different I don't know which is truest. So here is Neruda's Sonnet XVII from here, but if you read it here you will see that it is quite something else (eg, I think a salt-rose, that being a rose that is very tolerant of salt conditions, is something different altogether to a rose of salt, and "dimly" conjures up something quite different to "darkly" etc).

Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark obscure things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Pablo Neruda

Picture of a salt rose from Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The old tram sheds

After scheming for some time, a friend from work and I decided it was time to visit the old Glebe Tram Sheds. They are now under a development proposal (the sheds will be kept as some sort of "space", but who knows what might happen to the contents) so we wanted to take a look before that begins. Technically we were trespassing, and so were hoping we wouldn't get arrested, but it's now quasi-public space and I had noticed lately that the door was wide open, so how could we resist ...

It was very eerie and quiet inside at first, and strange to be in a space so empty and yet so full of the evidence of people having been there, but then before too long we could hear voices, though for all the echoes we couldn't really tell which wall they were behind and decided to leave well enough alone. Then before we left some graffiti artists themselves arrived and I think they actually got the biggest fright. I took over a hundred photos, but here is a sample (and I am soon going to get myself a DSLR, but for now I had my old hand-me-down point and shoot). They don't really do it justice as the place was literally a riot of colour, but you get some of the vibe of the place.

This was like a modern art installation. You can't really tell in this photo, but it is all just balancing on itself.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Never Let Me Go and the reasons for creating a life

So I thought I’d better start mentioning a few more books that I have been reading. I did just finish Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro for a book club I am in. It’s an older book, and it’s too hard to say anything about it without spoiling the plot, so if you intend to read it yourself or want to see the upcoming movie in ignorance, stop now. But, essentially the book is the story of a school full of cloned children, who are being raised to be biological donors for others. They are cared for by “guardians” who give them only the vaguest information about why they are there, so the story follows the growing awareness of the children of the purpose of their lives. As they get older it’s terribly sad of course, but also curious how, having been raised on an idea, the children mostly come to just accept it as the way things are and as their reason for existing.

I thought Ishiguro did an amazing job of capturing the way children come to understand their world, and invent their own explanations for what goes on around them (for example, I loved it that they thought Norfolk County was where lost things went), and of writing a kind of ‘stream of consciousness’ as the girl who narrates the story goes back through her childhood to make sense of her life, though the actual writing style didn’t overly captivate me. Ishiguro dabbles in all genres of writing, so I’d like to read some of his other works.

Anyway, obviously Never Let Me Go is exploring, along the way, what it actually is to be human, using what might seem to be an extreme scenario to do so. But when I read this post by Nicole yesterday, I realised that it is just not so far-fetched anymore. It seems to me that the ethics of deliberately creating excess embryos to be destroyed for research is not so far from that of raising children to be (fatal) donors. Horrible.

A girl who reads

I don't know who this post on date a girl who reads is quoting, but all the same I'd like to bring to your attention this photo of me with one of my four book cases. ;) Below are some of my favourite bits (and if I was being all serious I'd scrap the last paragraph, because I don't like that sort of 'deserving' speak, or the tone of it). H/T Along Addison's Walk.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things will come to an end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
And I'd just like to end by whispering that a thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

David met Nicole

I passed this nice shop davidmetnicole, full of lovely vintage things, the other day, so I am posting this just for Nicole (who is married to David of course) - there's a resemblance is there not? (Click on the "store" bulb for a picture.)

Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear

This morning I got a link on facebook (it’s never a good idea to check facebook before work) for a download of three new songs by Robin Pecknold of the Fleet Foxes, including a duet with Ed Droste from Grizzly Bear. So, excuse the fact that I have nothing to post besides music, but I thought I'd share the joy. Click this link, then wait for the “Regular Download” button to come up (you have to pay for the “Premium Download” option above it) and there you go. I've only listened once, but so far I'm happy (the last is reminiscent of an Irish ballad).

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Helplessness Blues

The title track off the upcoming Fleet Foxes album (it's interesting listening to the lyrics after reading this article on the rise of narcissism in 'the youth of today'). I find this song very Simon and Garfunkel.

Friday, March 04, 2011

A long bleep

I’m in a state of self-inflicted headachy bleariness today. Last night I did something a bit odd, which was to go to the Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park to see The Godfather (Part 1). One of the guys in my connect group emailed around to see if anyone wanted to go, and The Godfather being one of those movies I thought I “should” see, plus knowing people whose opinion is of interest to me who list it amongst their favourites, I thought I’d go. But I went with some fear and trepidation, because all I’d ever heard about this movie involved the head of a horse, and I really, really neither like nor cope very well with violence and gore. And what I also didn’t know when I said yes is that it is 185 minutes long! But despite the fact that I spent most of the evening in a state of uncontrollable trembling (and I wouldn’t be able to tell you whether that was from cold or dread), checking the time on my phone with a shaking hand in the dark every so often to see how much longer I had to endure, hiding behind the picnic rug someone gave me to use as a blanket in parts (it wasn’t so difficult to work out when the horse head was coming), I can see why you’d call this a good film and I did get engrossed in the drama. It also wasn’t quite as violent as I had led myself to believe, and there was an unexpected ‘humanness’ about it. But since just about everybody on the planet has already seen it, I probably need not say more.

I also used to live in Kensington and either run or walk around Centennial Park (a large urban park, which has some areas of bush left in it) almost every day, and thought I was quite familiar with the layout, so I gave one of the guys a lift, parked in a side street, ducked through a gap in the fence and went cross country, only then I couldn’t remember quite where the amphitheatre was, so I asked some people who looked like they might be heading that way (because one can’t expect a guy to ask for directions after all) and we got there. But then afterwards, somewhere between 11 pm and midnight we were wandering about in the dark through the bushland trying to find that gap in the fence (the guy I was giving a lift is about 6’3”, otherwise I wouldn’t have been doing this – I’ve had to talk to the police before about a murder in the night in the park, and after that movie I’d have been in a complete panic on my own), which all felt a bit surreal. So it was a bit late getting home for a school night.

On Wednesday night I went to a “hot topic” night at Sydney Missionary and Bible College with my connect group also. A couple of people in my group are at the college so they had the intel. Sam Chan was speaking on 'Reasons why people don’t believe the gospel'. He had taken large chunks of material from Tim Keller’s Reason for God, but it was an interesting and challenging night. Our slogan for church this year is Reaching those we know, the idea being that we can be good at doing “evangelism” to complete strangers, but often less good at talking to the people we know. That is certainly true for me – I find it easier to walk up to passersby in Martin Place or St Andrew’s Square than have gospel conversations with friends, and often when I take someone to an evangelistic event I can’t help feeling that it’d be easier to stand up the front and give the talk to other people’s friends than have to follow through with the person you brought along. But I’ve “selected” a few people to target this year ...

Then Tuesday night was my guitar class. Prior to this week my repertoire was the Peter Gunn Theme, Wipeout, Smoke on the Water and Wild Thing, which wasn’t quite where I was hoping to go with this. But then this week we got Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and Bob Dylan is getting closer. I’d been talking to the teacher the week before about a Bob Dylan song, so I was pleased when he came out with one. He then asked if anyone was going to the concert. I didn’t know Bob Dylan was coming (and while I like him, I wouldn’t describe myself as one of his biggest fans) so I looked this up when I got home – but goodness it’s expensive! I’m really enjoying the guitar, but now just need to find the time to practice, which is not so compatible with having stuff on too many nights of the week. (My ideal kind of life in general is not so compatible with having stuff on too many nights of the week really.)

So, I’m glad it’s Friday, as always. I’m all in a weary disarray and have had a run of doing stupid things in a state of forgetfulness this week.

Poetry Day - The parade of our mutual life

I read this poem on Along Addison's Walk and looovved it, so here it is, a poem for a Friday morning. I particularly like the idea that without knowing an individual well the pattern from previous experience prevails, and the verse about the errors of childhood storming out through a broken dyke, and all of it really ...

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

–William Stafford

Picture from here, where, after choosing it out of the vastness that is google images, I discovered it was illustrating the same poem.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


I do love a good German word, so here is something else to add to your vocabulary (from A Word A Day).


(SITZ-flaish, ZITS-)

1. The ability to sit through or tolerate something boring.
2. The ability to endure or persist in a task.

[From German Sitzfleisch, from sitzen (to sit) + Fleisch (flesh). Earliest documented use: Before 1930.

Sitzfleisch is a fancy term for what's commonly known as chair glue: the ability to sit still and get through the task at hand. It's often the difference between, for example, an aspiring writer and a writer. Sometimes the word is used in the sense of the ability to sit out a problem -- ignore it long enough in the hope it will go away.

"Some prominent seats go to those with prominence. Others go to those with Sitzfleisch, like Representative Eliot L. Engel. Every year since 1989, the Bronx Democrat has won a prime spot at the State of the Union Address simply by showing up early and sitting in it."
Elizabeth Kolbert; An Aisle Seat In the House or the Titanic; The New York Times; Jan 30, 1998.

Family cuteness

My three-year-old niece picked up the camera and took a few shots of her two-year-old brother.