Sunday, 31 August 2003

Hello! Bit of the old church this morning. I asked Mum about the lack of OT readings in the lectionary. She said that were sometimes some gaps, but usually there was one. I find this very odd. I mean, if you open a random page of the bible, you're more likely to find yourself in the OT than the NT. Bashed through some songs; that side of things went okay. No Mum though. I think she said, but I wasn't expecting it. She was at work. I can never think of much to say to the grown-ups after church, so I opted to play floor tennis with the Hooper kids, which was fun.

Mum asked me to do her readings next week at church because she's going on holiday. It's Proverbs 22:1-2,89,22-23. Lot of editing there; goodness knows why. I also had better try and persuade someone else to sing.

I never saw Some of my best friends are... Jewish which I think is rather a shame. I'm now reading What's So Amazing About Grace? by Mr. evangelically ubiquitous, which should be good. I've a mind to reread Grace Abounding too.

Had some port. It was quite good.
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"When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be with this evil generation."
- Matthew 12:43-45

So one needs some new spiritual furniture as it were. The question of what exactly one does, on a practical level, having been saved "by grace" and "not because of works" (Eph. 3:8-9) always seems a bit tricky to me. There is grace. There are spiritual disciplines. I'm fairly sure God's a fan of both. It's like some bizarre kind of theologically-blindfolded mental balancing act trying not to abuse one or t'other.
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Saturday, 30 August 2003

I refer the honourable reader to the post I updated some moments ago.

Update: [Sigh] Will's blogged the interesting portion of this day. His permalinks don't work though. Oh actually, come to think of it, I did some other stuff, but Nick blogged that.

Okay, let's do this again:

  • I swept a bit too, and did some drying up. I feel I have been neglected in Will's account. And never in a million years did I say "What on earth do you think you're playing at?", that being far more the kind of thing Will would say.

  • Will doesn't much care for coleslaw, and he is not shy in expressing his distaste.

  • I think Rosie played better then last time.

  • We wandered round a bit afterwards and had some ice-cream. Rosie said she was thinking of getting fit this year. She mentioned Pilates, and I said I wouldn't do something that Madonna is reputed to do if I could help it.

  • Will and I bartered for the price of seeing me jog round a field. £2.32, but I didn't do it, because there were people watching, and I didn't really want an audience.
  • We went over to the miniature railway, but it wasn't open. There was a "TRIM TRAIL" through the woods though. We had a brief mess about with some parallel bars.

  • Rosie's getting a guitar from Argos (The Greek God of pointless queueing)! I gave her one of my guitar books and lent her another.

  • The phrase Nick was searching for is clearly "I feel like chicken tonight." The popular media has clearly met it's match in The Incredible Slogan-forgetting Boy!

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Friday, 29 August 2003

Off to Lille. The mots justes will probably follow tomorrow.

Update: Nicholas wrote some very creditable mots. You should read them if you want to know what I got up to. I'll say some other stuff later, but I'm tired and I want to go to bed. Fare well.

I'm rereading it now, and working out what I might add:

  • I didn't much fancy porridge that had been left out overnight, so I had Kellog's Just Right. It was delicious.

  • We didn't play I-Spy in the tunnel.

  • The Warm Goat's Cheese Salad was great, but it did have unexpected bacon.

  • The only word of French which I spoke to anyone French that day was "Merci".

  • Nicholas, I gather, doesn't know much about art, but he knows what he likes. He was keen to point out that he felt most people spent too long looking at paintings. He gets the gist and moves on he says. I started slowly, looking at the informative English language cards for the rooms, but went sped up, as time pressed. I wish I has worked out that the medieval stuff was in the basement. I probably would have started down there.

  • The pictures of Christ coming down from the cross were good.

  • I had some Lipton Ice Tea. I didn't, as Nicholas noted, play bingo, or get a mullet thereafter.

  • I left my coat at Nan's. It's black, faded and it's got a pocket NIV and my passport in it.

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Thursday, 28 August 2003

Just got back from Pizza Hut. Rather good. Blog properly later. Must get to sleep; early start tomorrow.

Update: Hello. Well this was a very pleasant evening. The catalyst for it was that Nicola Watson, who is one of Adrian's friends and who went with myself Adrian and Ruth to a bible study group called Sunday plus in the last parish in Farnborough, was back from Jersey where she now lives, married with some guy I haven't run into yet. Indeed, I haven't even seen her since before university, and now, as I may have mentioned, I've graduated, so that's pretty weiord. I had a chance to see her last year at a kind of second wedding reception she had, but I couldn't get back. She wasn't back in fantastic circumstances, as her grandmother is ill, but she did want to see some of her friends who she hadn't in a while. They would have gone out somewhere posh, but unemployed 'ol me was the limiting factor, so Pizza Hut it was. I don't think anybody minded anyway. Dad offered me a lift, and then didn't. Neil did however, so I got to have a drink outside of the house which was nice.

Neil picked up Ruth and Nicola and we met grumpy Sarah and her current squeeze Simon who I haven't run into before. I can get away with calling grumpy Sarah grumpy Sarah because Ruth doesn't have the internet. She was in good spirits after a token period of grumpiness though. We talked of many things, including films especially. Probably because Nicola mentioned that Jersey had got a ten screen multiplex. It was nice, and Nicola left the crusts, and I was aghast, at least until I ate them, whereafter I was satisfied. I had a Margerita, but Simon left a slice of his meat-based one and I had it; if you must cook animals, you might at least not waste it.
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Blogger is getting on my nerves of late. I wouldn't mind the random insertion of numbers so much if it just got the width of the sidebar right.
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I walked past a guy on a bike with a huge white man's afro into town, where I wandered around a few shops to kill time until my Jobcentre appointment came up. In MVC I saw a Dogtanian and the Muskerhounds DVD, which is presumably the same one that Phil bought. It was in the 2 for £10 section. Personally, if I had a DVD player and a spare tenner, I'd buy it with Taxi or perhaps make it a bumper cartoon double bill with Around the World in Eighty Days with Willy Fogg and that sinister fox guy with the glinting eye. Then I went to the Jobcentre to sign off for the weekend so I can go to Lille tomorrow.
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A fairly productive day today, especially compared to some other recent ones. I finally sent off for the application pack for hostel worker. It'll be a tight schedule to send an application in if I do turn out unexpectedly to be suitable. Then I worked out the route from 5 Cowley Bridge Road to County Hall via bus for the interview. I started on one application only to work out slightly too late that it asked for office experience and I don't have any. But it's okay, I found another one. I also found out that the thisis network job section doesn't just link to fish4 like most local website, but has it's own job section. I couldn't find anything promising there though. Hopefully it will be easier to find jobs in Exeter in the local papers than online. I've saved up another 200 pounds to put in my reserves. I'm just going to phone Direct Line and sort that out.
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Wednesday, 27 August 2003

Hello. Today I went to Exeter with Neil. On the way we listened to Radio 3. The presenter seemed to be in a daft mood, playing a piece from an operetta I think, in which vegetables take over the world. Actually, scratch that; it's clearly the composer who needed to be locked up. Imagine trying to get funding for writing that. Later on was Composer of the Week. This week it's Bernstein. I wish I'd known beforehand - Bernstein rocks. Everything on it was good apart from the last piece, which went on for about half an hour. Bernstein wrote a Kaddish, which, as I understand it, is a genre of Hebrew poetry, wherein the protagonist makes a complaint against God for being abandoned, then apologises and then praises. It was rubbish - worthy, turgidly chaotic modernist stuff. It was interesting though. God came across, in Bernstein's words, narrated in the recording by his wife Felicia Montealegre, as a type of impotent old man, who after seeing what mankind had made of mankind was in great need of a hug. Very revelatory I thought.

Neil got his passport alright so we proceeded to the new house. Luke was in, and no-one else, so we wandered around a bit and I moved some boxes of things into someone or other's room. Not James'. Dan's. I was quite keen to get a key for Luke's room so that I didn't have to worry about it anymore, but some muppet had taken it already, apparently deluded. Therefore I probably added to the confusuion by taking the spare key to Adam's room, which will let me in the front door, and we should be able to sort it out later.

We went past Mere on the way back.

Neil drove all the way to Exeter, and I drove part of the way back. After the first stretch my back was regretting it, so I had to take a couple of painkillers when I got back.

In the evening I got round to phoning Vicki, and then Will and then Gavin, whose land-line I finally determined by ringing up his mobile and asking him outright. He said his interview thing went well. Vicki and I are going to meet up probably the Saturday after next, but this Saturday Will and Rosie are coming over, to play Pigeon Putt among other things. Huzzah!
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Tuesday, 26 August 2003

I finished reading Yancey again today. It's a good book I think. It doesn't exactly provide solutions to anything much, so much as point out that if faith seems hard, then you're in good company.

My friend Vicki, with whom I was at Sixth Form yet hardly ever speak to now, sent me a text today saying that her first day at work went okay. That she had a job was news to me, so we exchanged a brief flurry of phone calls and I said I should probably phone her instead. She's doing market research (glorified data entry quoth she) in Bracknell now. I didn't phone her before phoning Rosie though. I just had an idea that I should phone, and we talked of various fun non-things for a while. In my confusion, I was not aware that Will was at Rosie's. When I found it it was tea-time, so I didn't speak to Will, and instead ate Dad's patented throw-everything-in-a-big-pot-and-add-chili-powder chilis. Dad was faux-moaning about having to go to the inuction of a new vicar over in West End. I thought I might go, so I did.

I thought the induction was quite good; a jolly upbeat sort of an affair. We arrived pretty dashed early so that Dad could robe up, and he sat up at the front in an official capacity, so I was left to wander round on my own for a bit. I remembered that I had neglected to phone Vicki so I texted to let her know that I wasn't likely to. The church was pretty small and old-skool, but it was packed out with people dressed up nice. I should have known, but I was the only casually-dressed person there. Apparently, Bruce Nicole, who is the vicar of a church down the A30 a little way, is the Rural Dean. I had no idea. The bishop was there, doing his thing, giving a sermon and saying bits of the welcome at various times. The hymns were to organ accompaniment, which makes a change, at least for me. We did a version of "Be Thou my Vision" in a dodgy rewrite with key words missing which messed up the metre something chronic, and well had a good stumble over that. At one point in the service-book there was a little instruction to kneel, where everybody looked at each other and the bishop said sitting would work. The procession at the end was a little silly, only because the organ voluntary was ludicrous. Just you listen to this (right-click: save as should work) and try and tell me it doesn't sound like clowns should troop out to it at the circus. I feel I have probably dwelt on the negative too much. Possibly because the good bit wasn't so memorable, but it was fine.
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Yesterday i convinced my mum that south american killer seaguls were invading the country because of the hot weather.

Much as I cannot condone such flagrant deceit (though I did once persuade Nick, many years ago, that Jeanne d'Arc was a famous taxidermist), you've got to admit that that's no mean feat.
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It seems I'm going to Exeter tomorrow, though I'll probably only be there for about ten minutes. Neil needs his passport to go to France on Friday, and his passport's in Exeter, so I agreed to help him with the driving. I thought I might be able to see some people too, but it's not looking likely. James intends to be at the library all day and Gavin says he might have an interview. I'm not sure I'd want to work for a company that didn't tell you, until the day before, whether or not you had an interview. Luke may well be in though, and I might be able to dump some stuff, probably pots and pans and suchlike.
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This morning I was listening to Snakefinger. From the track "Here come the Bums", I followed through onto working on my Schnarf from Thundercats impression. It made sense at the time anyway.

I went to town. Again. I'll have to go on Thursday too. I'll be sick of the sight of it. Firstly I paid in the collection money at HSBC. It came in a little brown bag which would be improved greatly by the addition of the word "SWAG" in black marker pen. Speaking of theft, I went to get a haircut at the same time. It was getting a bit rebellious. I asked Neil if the prices were okay in town and he said they were. Apparently living in the Southeast for so long has deluded him; I had a worse haircut for almost twice as much as I did at my regular place in Exeter. £9.50 it was. The point of me going in to town was to see about getting some advice on interviews and about getting some time off from JSA. I have to sign off to go to France even for the day apparently. Well, I'll do that then, silly as it is. I did also get a colourful A4 booklet which had a section on advice for interviews.
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Monday, 25 August 2003

I'm just looking for an excuse to post cartoons up really. I'm not like this at all. Peanuts is better though.
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I've just realised how blue I am today. Very. I mean that in the sartorial rather than the "My baby left me" sense.

Also, something quite cool just happened. I was investigating my ulcer in the mirror to see if it looked any better. Quite involuntarily, a salivary gland under my tongue got the idea that now was the right time to deliver the goods and a small spurt of the stuff arced out of my mouth and into the sink. I expect that sounds pretty grim, but I thought it was great, like being a king cobra or something. Life is full of surprises. Now I feel like lying in ambush and taking down a wildebeest or two. Maybe another time.
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A pretty bitty day thus far. I'm trying to arrange things like my interview, which is more complicated than it might be, and also a day-trip to France. In the course of this, I edned up speaking to Luke in our new house. He excitingly informs me that he has become a contact-worker for Belmont, which is well good. Also, I've claimed his room, as apparently he derives some kind of benefit from this; something to do with Norris pestering him to move out while he's trying to write essays. He also informs me that he is making progress with the lick from "Northern Star" by Hole which I tabbed for him when I was round there last. It is a very peculiar thing to think that two people think I play the guitar significantly better than them. I certainly don't do too much to deserve the reputation.

I have this huge mouth ulcer underneath my tongue which I've been ignoring, but it got quite painful yesterday, so I went into town and bought some stuff to put on it, Bonjela I think it's called. On the way into town I saw this fabulous little white and yellow bird on the pavement; goodness knows what it was. Two things about Bonjela. Firstly, it proudly proclaims that it is sugar-free, which I shoul have thought was a matter of course, and secondly there is a discrepancy in the instructions: Children are instructed to apply the stuff with a clean finger, adults merely with a finger. I've got my damage deposit back, and today I finally bought some new trainers. They are mid-blue.

I wondered on the way back whether most of my moral actions, or inaction as the case may be, are motivated by habit and by a sense of duty rather than by an awareness of the presence and love of God. Probably. I've been trying to keep God's presence in mind of late.

When I got back I watched the last bit of Gods in the Sky. It was good again. The beginning was bad though - there was a lot of needless recapping. Turns out the chap is a Christian (probably Catholic) and he made a case for Christianity being the impetus behind a lot of scientific progress; as welcome as it was unexpected. It was sort of a pity moving to Christian astronomy though. It seemed somehow more like a normal history documentary. No outlandish weirdness hindering Christian rationalism I mean.
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Well now, people are trading fantasy shares in my blog. That's sort of a nice feeling. Not only that, but my stock is rising steadily. I'm a good investment! I wonder how long it'll take for that bubble to burst?
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I went the see The Rolling Stones and starsailor at Twickenham. More details tomorrow. Now I'm going to sit down with a cup of tea and some sandwiches and watch my taped programmes. Good night.

The Stones were very good. I mean, I'd far rather have seen The Magic Band when I had intended to, but the Stones are a bit of an institution and were certainly worth the trip. We got the tickets for free, no manifest reason, from Nicholas' work. It was not only the first concert to be held at Twickenham apparently, but also the first UK gig on the tour. Nicholas' account seems pretty good. Read it here. The crowd seemingly cheering at random times were actually cheering a random guy doing cartwheels. The people in the stands could see him, but we of the mid-pitch seating generally couldn't. It took us ages to work out what was going on. I thought it was a wind-up. I notice that Nick didn't really review the music at all. I would, but not being exactly a Stones expert, I couldn't tell you much that you couldn't guess. They're still not dead, and apparently having fun with it. Music, I often think, is all the better for being fun, especially avent-garde stuff. I could try a playlist, approximately sequenced, and based only on my imperfect knowledge of the most popular Stones songs:

  • Brown Sugar

  • Wild Horses

  • Happy

  • Paint It Black

  • You can't Always Get What You Want

  • Sympathy for the Devil (whoo whoo!)

  • I Just Wanna Make Love to You (the one Etta James did, yeah)

  • Honky-tonk Woman

  • Start Me Up

  • Jumping Jack Flash

  • Satisfaction


As I say, after that I watched Some of my best friends are Anglican. The Times said it was the best one of the series. This presumably because it uniformly presented the dear old C of E as completely useless. The presenter, forget who he is, some journalist, was a big fan of Betjeman's "faint conviction" phrase. What he likes about the Anglican church is apparently that it provides a haven for people who don't feel comfortable about believing anything. He said he like the tradition or something. I just cannot get my head round those sort of views. Much easier to understand atheists. If you don't think you can assert with any confidence at all that Jesus of Nazareth was something more than a man, it seems to me that going to church, and presumably stating the Nicene creed, is just the biggest waste of time. It kicked off looking at some clergy who didn't believe anything. I got the idea they thought that declaring theological ignorance was very daring, very noble. You might as well ordain a sideboard then I should think. The presenter thought this was pretty stupid too, which is odd considering that it seemed to agree perfectly with his professed views. Then he addressed the evangelical wing of Anglicanism, going to an Alpha course. Thereafter he eschewed their "certainty" and said he couldn't deal with that end of things either. I think he's quietly waiting for the church to drop dead. It was a pretty rubbish programme, one professing Anglican relentlessly mocking the spiritual side of Anglican faith and complaining that he couldn't derive any comfort from it.
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Sunday, 24 August 2003

You'll never guess where I might be going today.
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Exeter Shilhay Community Ltd. Gabriel House Resettlement Project (that's a mouthful and no mistake) are recruiting: Hostel Worker Days and Evenings. My spider senses tell me that I would suck irremediably at that job, but there's no harm in trying.
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Today's readings:

Anglican: John 6:56-69, Ephesians 6:10-20
Catholic: Joshua 24:1-18, Ephesians 5:21 - 32, John 6:60 - 69

Looks like we do a little more John actually James. And today's Song James Won't Like is "Jesus, Lover of my Soul" (Songs of Fellowship 2 873). Today, Some of my Best Friends Are... Anglicans.
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Saturday, 23 August 2003

James has just posted his second commentary on John. While I remember, I thought I might lower the tone. From The Straight Dope:
Regarding humor in the Bible, here are some jokes from the New Testament (John 1:45-51):

Philip found Nathanael and said unto him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" [Joke!] Philip said to him, "Come and see!" [Boom!] Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile" ["Hey, here's an honest Jew"--joke]. Nathanael [not getting it] said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you yesterday, standing under a fig tree." Nathanael said [losing his cool], "Rabbi, you are the son of God! You are the king of Israel!" Jesus answered him, "Because I said I saw you standing under a fig tree, believest thou?" [Big joke! Gets laughs!] "You shall see greater things than these." [Release.] And he said to him, "Truly, truly I say unto you, you shall see the heavens opened and the angels of the Lord ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." [Boom!]

Preserving humor through translations from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English is problematic, but with a little sympathy for the intent of the speaker, you can find a lot. --Del Close, Chicago
On the other hand, maybe deleting entries is a good idea. I know: I'll switch from outright irreverence to an interesting thing I found in the foreword (Canon J. B. Philips) of the interlinear bible earlier. Check it (you know; in a street way - oh never mind):
I am glad, for example, to see that Dr. Marshall has not missed the peculiar Greek construction in Matthew ch. 16, v. 19, where Jesus tells Peter that "what he binds on earth" will be "what has been bound" in Heaven. There is a world of difference between guaranteeing celestial endorsement of the Apostle's actions and promising that his actions guided by the Holy Spirit will be in accordance with the Heavenly pattern!
Ooh, contentious that is, being a favourite verse for Catholics arguing the primacy of Peter. But if you don't know Greek, there's no way of checking this kind of stuff. Hum.

Update: James maintains that it isn't actually "a world of difference" in any important respect, and, come to think of it, I agree with him.
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Man, I'm really enjoying the proms this evening. It's the Russian one this evening you see, and I love a bit of Russian music; Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, and now Shostakovich. Radio 3 are mad on Shostakovich, and yet have never provided me with a reason. Christian Tetzlaff, this evening, did just that with Shostakovich's 1st Violin Concerto. The first movement was pretty unengaging actually, but the second and third rocked. I don't think I ever heard anyone get such diversity of tone out of a violin, and the music itself was frenetic and dashing. At one point in the third movement he made the most fabulously incongruous noise. It sounded kind of like a small dog coughing politlely yet firmly "in a wind tunnel". I wonder how youndo that with a violin... anyway - a million chat windows. Bye!
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What ho everybody! I expect I should tell you what I've been up to today. Firstly I got up and practised the songs for tomorrow. Nothing especially gruesome in there, so that's good. Mum and Dad have been away for the weekend, but today they came back with the caravan while I was descaling the kettle; the scaliness of the kettle was inhibiting my tea enjoyment y'see. By the time I'd finished attending to that with my trademark pointless thoroughness they had already parked the van, so that was good.

I'm reading John now, as you may have noticed, which is also the name of this splendid fellow who has a new blog, but it's not finished yet! I should probably mention that I finished A New Eusebius a while back too. It didn't end very dramatically. There was some stuff about Athanusius, which I frankly didn't understand, and then some extracts from Eusebius saying how great Constantine was and how he died. I was a bit confused, because I was expecting him to become pope and he didn't. I think this was Constantine the Great (b. 274-288) rather than the pope fellow. I should have known; everyone seems to have had the same name back then. I've decided that I am, on the whole, in favour of surnames. What also didn't help was that there was an extract entitled "Constantine as Bishop", which was only a chuffing metaphor. It's not what you want in a reference book. Anyway, the book as a whole raised more questions than it answered. Not a bad thing, I daresay.

I have veered away from today. Oh yes, John. I read John 5, in my RSV. John 5:39:
You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me[.]
Righto, I thought. I wonder if the NIV has that a little differently; I am given to understand (paradosis) that the NIV is not an especially impartial translation. I wonder if it puts a more positive spin on the scriptures:
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me.

I didn't notice the "diligently" first time around, or the capitalisation of "Scriptures", but the sense of it seemed to be pretty dashed similar, so I didn't think too much of it. What caught my attention was the second bit. The NIV has a different sentence structure altogether, which means that one of these must differ in structure from the original Greek. Why? This struck me as a little rummy. One of the perks of being the son of a preacher man is that you can get an interlinear bible, in this case The NIV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, with ease. So I did.
Ye search the scriptures because ye think in them life eternal to have; and those are the [ones] witnessing concerning me;

Fair enough I suppose. The RSV's a bit more faithful, but I guess it's the NIV's perogative to edit out a little clunkiness. I don't think Greek has punctuation (correct me if I'm wrong), but I did see capital letters, which means that the NIV have put "Scriptures" where the text doesn't suggest it. You know, I kind of wish I hadn't typed all that out - there doesn't seem to have been much point to it. I suppose it's because I'd started and I didn't want to scratch the whole thing.

Anyway, after all that frivolity I watched Whistle Down the Wind. I have no idea why it's called that. I think the review that's there is pretty dashed good, but I don't agree that "[t]his is a tough little movie that says we lose hope and the idea of faith as we mature". I mean, Cathy's one of the older kids, and she's the one who blindly hangs on, her young brother being the one who gives up on the "fella". The ending's good; it doesn't tell you what to think, only what Cathy does. I hate it when you're certain about something at the end of a movie. Well, that's a bit strong. What I mean is, I prefer not to be told.
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James, on his blog, has sort of a policy, as I understand it, of not deleting what he puts up, or what people leave in the comments boxes. This seems like a good idea to me, as promoting not only as detailed an account of the past as is possible, should I wish to review, but also an awareness of one's own idiocy. I wouldn't like to think that I was deliberately erasing my mistakes. James also has a reader called Jesse, whose blog I visited this one time out of curiosity about James' readership. Jesse's aproach is different - when James and I had a little comments box squabble (which turned out fine btw) he removed the little traces of discord. I'm not complaining though. What I wanted to ask was whether, in your opinion, my retention of argumentative nonsense on my blog is a good idea or a bad idea.
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They have 17 locations in Southeastern Michigan.
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Friday, 22 August 2003

Well, I've just got back from my walk and I find a letter for me from Devon County Council. I am immediately excited because I know they don't send acknowledgements, so it must be something significant. And it is; my wery furst interview. How exciting. Though I am sure it will soon become an object of dread, it's really perked me up for the minute, so I'm quite pleased. You get tested on the day as well as an interview. It comprises some comprehension and mental arithmetic tests. I don't think I shall have to worry too much about my litereacy, but I haven't even attempted mental arithmetic since, well the last agency I went to actually. I did pretty well, but I was far too slow (I think I mentioned that I was meant to be using a calculator), so I think I might get some practise in. I just looked at Bitesize, and wasn't too surprised to find that they don't have online mental arithmetic tests. I wonder where I should look...
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Thursday, 21 August 2003

I can't really remember what happened today. I expect I moped. Just goes to show; update your blog regularly kids.
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Wednesday, 20 August 2003

Oh, everything seems really futile today. I think I'd better go for a walk.

* * *

If anyone actually notices that I've updated this, they will notice that I missed out a rather significant event. My little walk to try and solace myself went along the idea that I needed somewhere to sit down and pray. I thought I'd try the local woods. I don't know why I ever try to find somewhere to sit down in woodland, because there never is anywhere that I'm happy wih, so I just carried on through the woods. I went a route I'd never gone down before. I knew the direction I was going in, and how not to be lost, but I didn't have great idea of where I actually was. After a little while walking, I heard a kind of crackling from the direction of the road, which I couldn't quite see. I wondered if it was some kind of vehicle breaking twigs, but it sounded a bit more like a fire. I thought I'd investigate, so I headed towards the sound. I met a couple of lads coming the other way, about sixteen years old. They just walked past. Actually, one had one of those metal scooter things. When I got near the source of the crackling, I could see that it was a fire, at the edge of a clear path right by the road. There was a whole heap of smoke. I tried to get onto the pavement on the A30, only there wasn't any. It was unadulterated A30, so I thought I had better just head back along the main path. I phoned the fire service, but couldn't give very precise directions, for all I could see was trees.

I ended up back home therefore, and having been cheated of my walk in the woods, I decided to go to town. Town isn't a great place to go with about 50p of change in your pocket. The only free things to do that I could think of were to go to the library and the little Surrey Heath museum. These I resorted to after a little pointless browsing in a few shops. The museum seemed not at all interested in Camberley, which I thought a little odd considering that that was where it was based. And then I came home.
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It's sort of easy to forget about Blake. He's very... set-text. But this has been sticking in my head of late, and it's a bit class.
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Well that's a bit annoying. I get an automated response to do with my application, and it's in the format of a W32.Sobig.F@mm-infected .pif - great. I haven't got any kind of acknowledgement before, and they say that I shouldn't expect one as a matter of course either, so perhaps it's a good message. Nonetheless I still can't read it.
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Tuesday, 19 August 2003

Another day, another Devon County Council job application.

Earlier, I drove Nick into work. Dad was going to, but he was obviously fed up so I did instead. Dad and Nick rather annoyed each other this morning regarding lifts into work. I have some theories on why.
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A loud cat noise by our front door while I'm writing an e-mail. I check it out and see two cats nonchalantly occupying the porch, one sitting in it's own urine - lovely.
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Monday, 18 August 2003

The legend will never die:








* * *

A fairly uneventful day. In the evening however, I got Nick to drive me to Ruth's house and then went on to The Courthouse to play countdown whist, which remains a great game in defiance of James' indifference. We met up with Dave, a very amiable chap, who was relatively sober this night. We stretched out one game (13 cards counting down to 1 for four rounds, and then back up to thirteen) for the entire evening with plenty of time for amible chat and otherpleasantry. We left a little later than Nicholas originally intended. I claim to be nothing other than a driver, and no great shakes at that, but in observing Nicholas' driving, and chatting about him with it a bit, I have come to the conclusion that his previous instructor was a bit of a dope.
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Good morning. How are you all?
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Sunday, 17 August 2003

Good morning. My back is feeling better this morning, thanks for asking. Later I may do some back-blogging to let you know what I got up to, pain quite literally notwithstanding.

* * *

Well that never happened did it? I was feeling sufficiently perky to do the music at church today. I had an idea it went fairly badly, but Dad thanked me for the playing and I overheard Theo in the kitchen saying it was a lovely service, though obviously that needn't be in reference to me at all. It was an uphill struggle too. I knew about a quarter of the songs, and one of the communion ones was obviously devised by someone who, if not actually wishing death upon guitarists, at least wished to decrease their level of comfort on this earth. Check it out, check it out, check it out, check it out:
E       A       B7      G#7/B#

C#m F#m7 F#m7 Am9(#7)
Am9(#7) E B#dim C#m
F#9 A/B A/B B7
Hmm. Now let's run that through Dobson's Patented Gratuitous Nonsense RemoverTM to purge it particularly of expendable extensions and bass note substitutions...
E       A       B       G#7

C#m F#m F#m Am
Am E B#dim C#m
F# A A B
... and I still wouldn't wish it on an enemy.

Fair old amount of time playing Time Crisis after that. I had to take Mum in to work after lunch and then pick Nick up. I could od it alright, but it hurt every time I changed gear. Fortunately, when I got to Homebase to pick Nick up, he could drive the rest of the way back and thus spare me. I'm near the end of A New Eusebius now, having just finished the section on the Nicean council, which is the prepenultimate one. I'm not entirely sure that that isn't a made up word, but it serves my turn.

I then had a bit of a nap but got up to watch half of Some of my best friends are... Muslim, which was interesting and then all of Gods in the Sky, also interesting, but I suspect inaccuracies. The Greeks were a free people, he said, and my cynicism kicked in, but then freedom depends on definition, so I'll let that one go. What I was more suspicious about was his assertion that the Greeks were the first to have laws, "real laws" I think he said. Anyway, I was led to believe by another TV programme (this is, I fear, where the majority of my historical insights come from) that the first things ever committed to parchment, or whatever (and hence the first readily verifiable history) were in Sumeria, or a similar place, and that these were the first laws. Well I don't know. The guy, I forget his name, also related a creation satire which starts off like this: First there was chaos, and in the middle of chaos, night. Night, for reasons of her own, started flapping about to create Wind. This wind took rather a shine to Night and they got it on. And the fruit of their union was this egg thing. This is apparently a fairly common beginning. Now in this myth, Monkey comes out of the egg. Monkey is rebellious and does various chaotic things, all of which suggest that one should obey the emperor because rebellion sucks. This rather took my fancy. From Great Pop Things:
Bobby Dylan: "He tried to change the world by setting various suggestions about how the world should be changed to music and singing them with his acoustical guitar"

[...O]ne day, Bobby was involved in a horrifying cycling accident...[...]

FARMER I say young feller, what're you rebelling against?
DYLAN What've you got?
FARMER Well I got my mule and them stringbeans
DYLAN I'm rebelling against them then
For Monkey then, you can substitute one mule plus stringbeans for...
  • Chaos

  • Night

  • Wind (to my mind, practically synonymous with Chaos)
  • Remains of monkey egg, 1
...which is scarcely more impressive. Rebelling aginst chaos would seem to be missing the point somewhat, and Night? Well, you can't fight the moonlight. I'd be very interested in hearing about last time any of you guys rebelled against used eggshell. That is all.
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Saturday, 16 August 2003

Gah. Among other things this morning, I bashed the base of my spine against our towel rack, and it hurts quite a bit occasionally. What is one meant to do? Get on with your life or lie down for a portion of it?

More cheerfully, we saw a woodpecker on the lawn this morning. Perhaps it thinks there is parquet under the turf. Anyway, I saw a woodpecker yesterday. I think I am fairly unobservant, especially in the area of natural science, but I did notice that the red bit on this bird's head seemed to have become particularly vivid since yesterday. As this occured to me, another woodpecker joined it, which had a more subdued red bit. I assume they are a couple. How nice.

* * *

I wasn't feeling too bad first thing, so when Nicholas said "Do you want to go into town?" (i.e. "Walking to town on my own will be boring.") I said I would. So we went down to town and he got Time Crisis II and two guns. This is an awesome game. I especially like the bit in the first level on speedboats. Everyone complains about it being too short but Nick and I have only completed it the once by cheating (we played it with a gun each as though we were only one player with two guns, and this in "very easy" mode), so there's life in the old dog yet. Also, it's got this great clay-pigeon shooting simulation. We cheated so that we could unlock a section where you complete various missions, which is also very good. I've already confused today with tomorrow, but never mind.

In the evening we went somewhere or other to eat some very nice food, which I had with Grimberger Blond Klosterbier. Those monks know a thing or two about beer-making; it was something like 6% and tasted like lager, very clever.

When we got back from that, I was tired and wanted to go to bed, but Dad had the idea that we should play scrabble so we did. Everyone else had a bad game, and I suppose, relatively speaking, that I did too. I won anyway, but I'd rather have been asleep. Indeed I almost was at many points.
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Friday, 15 August 2003

I just looked at my Record of Achievement, as I noticed it was down for one of the assessment methods on one of the jobs I'm applying for. It is one of the single most underwhelming collection of paper and plastic that it is my misfortune to posess. BSc = Bronze Swimming Certificate stuff.
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If you looked at GeoURL right now, you might be forgiven for thinking it was the official homepage of deviantART.

Error: Misnomer at line 1
Suggest "deviant?myARSE", "ARTforsheep" OR "ratherpopularART"
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"TV and Radio for RE Teachers". It might be a tad slow in updating, but I daresay it's a fairly good way of keeping track of such things. I also note, from the C4 microsite, that the Anglican church is coming up in Some of my best friends are..., making 50% of the series concerned with Christianity.

Also, from The Sunday Herald (apparently):
Still, O’Leary leaves on an optimistic note, concluding that, although he doesn’t agree with every ex-cathedra pronouncement, he can call himself a Catholic. Throughout the film, I kept thinking of The Night Of The Hunter, when Robert Mitchum’s preacher is asked what religion he professes, and replies: “The religion the Almighty’n me worked out betwixt us.” Of course, Mitchum plays a deranged psychotic killer but still, that answer makes a lot of sense.

Words fail me.
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Thursday, 14 August 2003

Hmm, what to add to Nick's post...

I wasn't in town merely to have a lightly celebratory meal with my hairy brother, though it was very pleasant. I was there also in order to sign at the Jobcentre and to buy a new diary and lever-arch folder. I'm living in crazy times! Said stationery was easily purchased. I got offered work at the Jobcentre today, which was a first. Well, the first job they offered me was a first, and the second was a second I guess. Anyway, I couldn't do either of them. The first one was a permanent position, and I pointed out that I had said I was only here temporarily. Then the woman found me another job which sounded good. "I'll take it!", I said, or words to that effect, so she gave me the requisite paperwork, which I read whilst walking down the street looking for Nicholas, who was to appear with two guns and a copy of Time Crisis II. Before that didn't happen, I noticed the dreadful little phrase, "Touch typing is required", so I had to go back in and retract. I hope they don't count that as a rejection. I mean, I can't actually do the job.

I don't sign onto MSN much now for some reason, but today I did. Phil was busy remodelling for his dissertation next to tall Helen B, but had some time to chat to me, which was nice. He said he thought I'd make a good academic. Apart from the work, I think I agree with him. "Andrew" was online too, and played a few of MSN's new games with me. Mostly it was the sort of inverse minesweeper one, where he beat me the first time (I was trying to avoid mines) but then he couldn't get the better of me for the next four games. Had brief chats with John and Will too.
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Well, that's one more job application submitted

Well, that's one more job application submitted, as Nicholas casually strolls off to Collingwood College to find out whether he's got into uni. To be exact, probably the best University of Wales in Swansea.

Update: The results of which, as well of the greater part of my day, can be found here.
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Today is A-level results day, and, moving from the general to the specific, Nicholas's results day, so the three of us, Nick, Dad and myself, awoke to an atmosphere of interest. Nick maintained a lax demeanour, although he did get up at 0830 and called it a lie-in. Palpable nonsense I say. Same as him saying he's drunk after a pint.
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Wednesday, 13 August 2003

A job that I'm filling in the form for calls itself a temporary job, but does not say how long that is. I want to find out if that means two months or something, because if that were the case, it would hardly seem worth bothering. I find that it is a two year temporary contract. What an odd way of thinking about things.

* * *

Hilary Goodwin came round for tea today. Hilary is one of the people who came to the church plant, Southwood, that Dad was the vicar for immediately after his curacy. In November it will be 10 years old; I've been invited back. Well not just me obviously. Anyway, she came for tea, leaving husband and two boys behind her for a bit, and we talked of many things; of shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings. Actually it was quite theological - ecclesiological rather. Things like christenings, Anglican canon law (I never even knew there was such a thing, but apparently Dad promised to follow it a while back) the appointment of women to the priesthood, and of homosexuals to the espiscopacy, of falling away and of speaking in tongues. It made a change from sola scriptura anyway.
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Wahey! Victor blogged the video for "Move your Feet"! This being one of my favourite videos of recent times, here it is again! (I could've linked to the file itself, but the menu screen's good)
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After the atrocity that was Tiny Toon Adeventures, Boomerang have the temerity to suggest that I watch Baby Looney Tunes? Watch it will I none - pah.
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Oh good, Joe's back.
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Tuesday, 12 August 2003

A quick blog so I can catch most of Monty Python on Paramount. Did very respectable at the Monkey Puzzle with the usual kru this evening - 24/30, but it wasn't good enough to get us past fourth place. Winners had 27. Ah well, according to current quiz trends, in six weeks we should have a perfect score. Naturally I wasn't drinking, but I was slightly less put off by this than usual because I remembered that the Monkey Puzzle does ginger beer, which is at least very flavourful. Generally if you're not drinking properly, everything else reminds one of water, or that's what I find anyway.

When we got back we found Mum had fallen asleep to the TV in the fron room, but she's gone to bed properly now. G'night all.
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Phil's finished his dissertation, but says he has no-one to share his joy with, which is a shame. In tribute to Phil then, I am going to attempt to maintain a sympathetically joyous state of mind for the next thirty seconds, and ask that all readers of my blog do the same at some point today. Well done Phil.
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This morning I woke to the news that single sales are being outsripped by ringtones. I guess that makes sense - take one irritating product of the kind that someone with a little effort could make for themselves, get people to pay over the odds for it, and bingo, you have one growth industry.

I then watched more of Ri:se then I usually do. This was because Iain and Kate were having an argument over the legality of barefoot driving. This is something I have been known to do myself, assuming that it was fine, but I thought I'd better stay tuned to hear the final verdict. I don't trust either of them, but Zora e-mailed the department of transport and they apparently said that barefoot driving is illegal. So I guess I won't do that anymore then. Later on, Iain had a good stab at mentally scarring an eleven year old girl, who for some reason (nepotism I think) co-presents the TV section these days, by, after grilling her on-air a few days earlier about who she fancied, replayed the offending clips as well as getting the aforementioned into the studio and getting her to choose one, also on-air. It was painful to watch. Even Ice-T said it was "cold", and he's a bad-assed mother, or so I am given to understand.

Today I have being doing various life things, phoning people, e-mailing, looking for jobs, filling in application forms. For lunch, Dad had an idea that we should get baguettes at Frimley Park Hospital, where Mum works, and this we did. Dad found a place advertising for a permananet courier job, but he popped in and asked wjhether they might make do with a temp, and the guy said yes, so I popped in myself and gave him my details. If no-one good comes up, I'll be under consideration.

A real-life (i.e. not a figment of my imagination) inspectrix turned up today to read the gas for our house and church. I'm going to get Nicholas from Camberley station after a bit of Exodus and Moyles.
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Monday, 11 August 2003

I got a hit from this guy apparently, but I have no idea how. I hate it when that happens.
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A pretty late start today, but I got my act together somehow. Hung some washing out, did some dishwasher-based activity, and looked for local temporhary jobs in the paper and on the internet. Nothing doing. It was about lunchtime then, and Dad made me a mushroom risotto whic was quite nice, though he was convinced it would be bland and opted for Chilli instead. Then I went downtown to trade some CDs in, came back dripping sweat and had a quick shower. Then I started looking for jobs in Exeter. I've got about six jobs to apply for at present, and I shall get going on them tomorrow.
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Arresting my attention on fish4:
PACKERS URGENTLY required to work in a meat-based environment.
I'm having visions of a job that could be directed by Cronenberg.
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James? On the St. Blog's drinking game? How could that have happened? Thinking about it, I should have proposed Phil as well. Hmm. Anyway, someone else can do that - nominate James.
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Dream: Right, so there I am in my hardware shop, wherein I provide general goods to the public at competitive, but not sacrificial prices. Outside I see an attractive young knife inspectrix (specifically knives, yes) taking down notes and talking to a guy. It is apparent to me that the guy has it in for me because I own a particularly sharp (razor sharp I think) knife that he's quite nervous about. The woman, man and the knife I think I may have dreamt about before, certainly I know all about them in this dream. I'm a little frustrated with this man and believe myself to be compliant with the law, so I stride out and ask if this woman wants to check my knife, glaring at the guy, who slinks off while she comes into the shop. I find the offending article, and she gets out a standard form and asks for my details, saying that she'll have to take the knife away for a couple of days. And she does, I guess.

Well I don't know too much about Freud, but enough to guess that the latent content of that one is probably quite embarassing. I wonder whether the word sacrificial was a conscious or unconscious addition. I also think the sharpness of the knife may have been suggested by an encounter yesterday with a particularly lethal bean-slicer we have.

During the night, the fan I had in my room blew back my RSV from Exodus 23 (Concerning restitution) to Genesis 11 (Tower of Babel). It also woke me at about 0500 by creating a non-specific fluttery noise really near my head. It was some paper rather than the vicious killer moths I had half-heartedly posited.

It's well quiet round here. Dad's usually up and about before I consider getting up, but he's still KOd. Must have had a bad night. The postman got me out of bed. We had some mail go missing, but he came round personally to mull it over with me on the doorstep, which was ineffectual, but pretty considerate. He even apologised for getting me up, which was something the postmen in Exeter never did. Having said that, a normal person would be up by now, as it's coming up to nine.
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Sunday, 10 August 2003

I watched a programme today called Some of my best friends are... Catholic, presented by Dermot O'Leary. Do you know, I've never resolved how to type surnames that begin with 'O? I guess I shall look into it later. The premise was this: Dermot outs himself as a catholic (he's in a confessional, it's terribly witty), says he has an issue with some of the church's teachings, exclusivity of salvation through the catholic church, contraception, morality of homosexuality, and then proceeds to ask some other Catholics if that's the kind of thing he can get away with and still call himself a catholic. Obviously they differ. I guess they had a pretty 50/50 liberal/orthodox representation. It was quite interesting.

The orthodox people were fairly vocal, but with a tendency towards being completely unpersuasive. I daresay that was because of the editing, but naturally I couldn't say. One guy about to enter into theological college, or whatever it's called, apparently didn't even understand Dermot's question of what would happen if the Pope said one day "Actually, come to think of it, maybe contraception's a pretty good idea." He just said it was an impossible question, an impossible situation, which is presumably what he believes, but of no rational help to anyone. There was also a woman representing Catholic Truth, a web-site (couldn't find it) apparently with the purpose of snitching on liberal clergy to the church heirarchy. She said that questioning church authority was wrong, which is one of the most stupid things I've heard for a while.

Dermot was very put off by these answers, saying that his reason and conscience were God-given. For solace he found some more liberal catholics. They never justified their liberal position, so far as I can recall, with reference to anything other than the world and it's problems. They tended to have an air of naughty schoolboy to them, and one of them looked a bit like Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. Hmm. The frustrating thing is that no-one represented an alliance of faith and reason to Dermot, or if they did, it was edited out. In conclusion, Dermot walked into the sunset saying something along the lines of "My faith is strong, and the church authorities can't take that away from me." Poor Dermot. I wish I could have a chat with him.

Ah well, apparently the nights and days shall be cooling off from hereon in, so I might get a good night's sleep as a prelude to my search for the elusive beast known as a job in Exeter. On the other hand, speaking to Mary today, I remembered that Bristol is a fairly big nearby place, and they'll have jobs too, so perhaps I should apply for stuff there too.
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Ah, well that was nice. Andy just phoned; I didn't even know he had my number and I didn't have his, so I wasn't expecting that at all. Sounds as is he's been having a lot of fun. House-parties and such, and punting in Cambridge apparently. Anyway, he phoned to see if he could stay at our new place for the resits. As I said I probably wasn't going to be there at the time he suggested that that meant there would be at least one room free. I wouldn't exactly count on it myself, but he has my permission to turn up and use my room anyway.

I hadn't talked to anyone from uni for ages. MSN just doesn't really cut it, but it's proving a bit difficult. Today I tried to phone Mary, but the line was engaged, then I tried phoning James for about the fourth time I think. He's always out when I phone. I'd phone either Will or Rosie, except I only ever think to do it when they're together, and I don't really want to butt in, as it were. Having a phone conversation with Paul is a bit tricky, and I don't have a land-line number for Gavin. I should also phone Mino, but I didn't get his number; silly of me. And, again, if Mino is reading this, I think I have a jumper belonging to you. It's a bit frustrating really. Ah well. I hope you are all well.

I'm going to get back to watching the actor's commentary on Fellowhip of the Ring. It's better than I thought it'd be.

Update: I did get through to Mary in the end, so that was nice too, but she seemed pretty tired.
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I awoke with a slight, persistent headache, which was probably jolly lucky in view of the heat. There were two services on today, the ten o' clock was a service for the Holiday Bible Club, and there was an early communion for such rogues as thought that was a good idea. I went to both. I probably would have gone to just communion, only they wanted me to play on some hymns, so there you go. I thought that perhaps there wouldn't be any hymns in the first service, but there were. They had intended, apparently, to use the MIDI keyboard, but by some happy quirk of fate I was spared that ("Do you think Welsey would have referred a synthetic flute or clarinet solo?") particular horror, and as I hadn't been asked to play, we just sang it ourselves which was very nice. The second service was okay, just sort of a review of the week. With actions.

Mum and Dad have gone off to do something with the caravan, and Neil's gone back to Exeter. Theo came round to offer Mum and Dad runner beans, which I vicariously accepted. I then found that the meat I had bought for last Sunday's dinner was still in the fridge. Oh, and for some reason, I'm looking after the collection money until Dad gets back.
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Saturday, 9 August 2003

If I don't update for a while, it'll maybe be because our computer's died. Dad and Neil think it's over-heating.

Nick and I were bored and trying to think of some stuff to do. We wanted to play Comet Busters so we thought we'd try and set up a peer-to-peer connection, but my computer is made of string. If you install all the neccessary network components on my computer and then tick the box that says, "I want to share my files - why the hell else would I want all these network components?" it politely asks you to restart and then reloads without changing anything at all. So I ticked the box and restarted a few times, and now we're going to play scrabble instead.

* * *

Scrabble was fun. We played one game wherein I almost won, and then one in which I did win. I played three words simultaneously at one point whilst picking up one of the corner triple word scores - satisfying. It was odd that I won the second game, as I had received a fairly thorough dosage of alcohol. I had a Smirnoff Ice, which seemed reasonable, and a gin and tonic, which again seems reasonable, althought not likely to improve my game much (I thought). Trouble is, Nicholas decided he didn't want his gin and tonic, and Dad helpfully decided that I could drink it. He then suggested mixing gin and Ortali 50/50, which sounded dubious even at the time. Fortunately, I decided to try a little in a glass first, and as it tasted not only lethal, but pretty weird, so I stopped, which is just as well. I was in a dashed good mood though.
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Neil just got back from North Camp with a new garage key for me, since mine had broken off in the lock, and two packs of Blue Ribands, among other things. I never cared much for Blue Ribands, still less now I learn that they are a filthy Nestle product. All the more reason to buy delicious Tunnock's Milk Chocolate Coated Caramel Wafer Biscuits, hooray! For what it's worth I am also a definite Pink Wafer advocate too.
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From today's Times:
THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL[...]
No costumes and some steamy sex scenes make for a curiously abrasive period drama.

That can't be right can it? An entirely naked Bronte two-parter?

Update: Mum says they weren't naked at all. They were even wearing period costume.
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Friday, 8 August 2003

MYCHAINS Our story begins at the start of Acts 12.
[...]
FELLOV King Herod (stands) was a bad man.
That was me that was. I made a tolerable Herod too. Last day and it went okay. I had a helper in the kitchen today, so I didn't have quite as much to do, but for some reason I needed to drink a lot more than I had been. Tidying up afterwards, I was very pleased to find some maggots squirmning aroubnd at the bottom of one of our bins. They'd run out of whatever it was they had been eating, so the polite thing to do seemed to be to put them in the compost heap. It took a long time to tidy up afterwards and I pitched in where I could work out what to do. It's over now, but there's still an inflatable whale and netting by the communion rail.
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Thursday, 7 August 2003

In case you felt like looking at the timestamp below to see when I wrote this, and then worked out that it was impossible for me, at 1800 to talk about a film I watched at 2030, well I can only apologise. I'm not sure I can be bothered blogging when I get back - I need sleep for the final day of the Bible Club. Anyway, here's what I did/will do in the evening of this fine English day in the temperate zone.

There was a BBQ on for the bible club, which I might have gone to, but I mistimed everything, and only got Nick and I a pizza done and eaten just in time to go to Ruth's and then on to Basingstoke cinema. Basingstoke, we had been warned, was difficult to navigate. Nick and I felt the case had been rather over-stated, as with only a handful of directions (M3 to Basingstoke, off at J6, over one roundabout, left at the next, look out for a cinema) we got in pretty easily, in plenty of time to see T3. £3.50 it was, with student discount- a definite improvement on £6.25 at Bracknell. We had allowed tonnes of time, so Nick and I had a blast at a couple of shooters. Time Crisis II was in operation, so we had a quick go at one called something like Robot Ninja Assault which was pretty fun. And then Time Crisis as it was free. Ruth, as per, pitched her wits against a trivia machine.

T3 would be an easy film to criticise if you felt like it. I don't. It was fun, just a lot of action strung together, with some very self-consciously daft moments thrown in.

The drive home, I would have liked a warning for. We followed signs for the M3E and ended up on the A30, not being sure for a fairly large proportion of the time, whetehr or not we were going in the right direction. And then to bed. I was a bit knackered actually.
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I finished reading Emma yesterday, but never mentioned it. It's very strange not to have to give it any thought really. The subtext of the work is safely stowed away, far from my concern. I liked it. It was good. It's pretty funny how scared they all are of the weather. Emma's apology to Miss Bates seems incredibly incomplete. I can't believe Harriet came out of it as well as she did. That's all that immediately springs to mind.

Well, today. Today I thought James was annoyed with me or something, so I texted him, and he wasn't. Huzzah!

Holiday Bible Club again, fairly obviously. I spent a large part of the morning trying to avoid being in the drama. Jess, who apparently was organising all of the dramas, was trying to get me to be "a dancing man" but I wasn't having any of it. I couldn't deter her except by asking someone else, so I did. There was a little bit of a meal after it today but I didn't have much, because I was still doing the washing up.

Thgen I went to bed, because I can. Having dispensed with Emma, I'm already reading another book, Reaching for the Invisible God by Yancey.
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Wednesday, 6 August 2003

There's a dog-trainers group in our back garden. Whaddya know?
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I was startled to find a Data entry job on the Jobcentre web-site. They directed me to Manpower (always sounds to me like a militant gay rights group) who told me I wasn't availabe for long enough. Pah. Still I can carry on looking. I'm so knackered though; after these mornings I just want to flop out. Never mind.
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Back at the Holiday Bible Club, doing the drinks for the hottest day of the year, and I daresay I made a fairly tolerable job of it. We had some sports-type bottles donated to us, and a lot of the kids had them with water in. Utilising the power of fridge overnight I chilled some of them, and a little girl thanked me for making her water so nice and fresh. Jolly nice. I'm still a backroom sort of a helper, so I didn't have too muich contact with the kids, but I did have one of them say to me that she had found a fairy under a leaf, but it was okay, because it had flown off now. I informed her that she had undoubtedly done the right thing. I couldn't really think what else to say.

We had almost ran out of squash and milk by the end, so I was given a tenner and an errand - to fetch some from town. Jess decided to come along too. She said she was a bit bored at her nan's, also that she found the lack of "air-con" a bit annoying. She professed to not mind walking into town, even though it was sweltering. I always walk. We entertained each other pretty tolerably there and back and had a few refreshing drinks in some Camberley pub or other. They're much of a muchness. Now I'm back and ready to relax and listen to Chris Moyles, but should look at the Jobcentre web-site first, and found out when T3 is on at Basingstoke, because Ruth and I shall see it tomorrow, competence permitting.
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Ugh. My alarm didn't go off.
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Tuesday, 5 August 2003

I saw Muriel's Wedding yesterday, and I thought it was a pretty good film, but (and I fear I am becoming predictable) what kind of person calls it a comedy? That's what the Times called it. It seems like a film has to be unilaterally depressing and worthy to escape being labelled a comedy. It was somewhat absurd certainly, and I did like it, but it didn't crack me up exactly. A summary of plot elements:
  • One dysfunctional family

  • One daughter measures her worth by her ability to marry

  • The father blames his family for his lack of success

  • Cancer and paralysis

  • A sham marriage
I suppose you could make a comedy out of that, but, well, they didn't. Don't get me started on peope calling things black comedies...
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Apparently I inspired Holy Whapping to do their permalinks. Feel slightly guilty now ("Dan spent all morning on it[...]."). Still, no harm done I should think, and now any reader of said Shrine may link to a particular post, which is I daresay, a good thing.

Oh, and Brian Sewel actually was naked in The Naked Pilgrim today, so I guess the title does make sense after all.
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The BBC saith:
On a visit to Glasgow, even the Prince Of Wales was moved to joke with factory workers that the weather was "bloody hot".

"Why is this a joke?", I wonder. I expect it has something with royalty. It's something of a pity then, that I don't have any royal readers. Then I might propose a test along these lines: Say "It's bloody hot today." to the next suitable person you meet and pay careful attention to their response. I predict that my more proletarian readers would receive a response along the lines of "Yes, it is." or "You don't say; I had wondered why this river of sweat had formed about my feet." but if they chuckled politeley, that would be a pretty good litmus test for royalty. Today I feel less happy about being English.
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More Bible Club today. I suppose it doesn't warrant italicisation actually. Owing, presumably, to the sterling service yesterday, everyone was very eager to be drinking today from the off, which made it rather more difficult. One person kept coming in and making drinks for everybody and generally making me feel more useless than I might. Anyway, I made a tolerable Jesus, and I don't think I am going to be called upon to do it again. Huzzah! On the other hand, the person who was going to be running the little christian-stuff shop table thing had to go, and someone asked me to do that. I am the wrong person to manage such as thing I feel, but after much disorganisation, that was over too, and I could get back to being quietly and steadily useful. This is by far the most effective form of Mark. And now I suppose I shall carry on reading Emma which I've nearly finished. feeling that in the next thirty pages there must be some unexpected twist, because things are strangely looking up. Hmm.
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Monday, 4 August 2003

This computer has the worst homepage in the world. It's set to be the Sheffield Wednesday homepage, but what you actually get is a fullscreen advert, efficiently rendered in mostly graphics which launches a pointless little pop-up. Also, the URL has the temerity to include the string "HomepageTakeover". I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Check out the monstrosity if you like. Anyway, I've got a little bit of a headache, so I'm going to have a read in between listening to Chris Moyles. A guy came to repair the loft door about half an hour ago, and he's already gone. He said it's stronger than it was before now. I'm not saying the chap's a liar, but it looks considerably weaker. Dad says it'll smell because he's used silicone on it. My nose and I shall see.
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I had finished reading Psalm 42 this morning, and feeling moderately contemplative, when there was a reasonably loud crash from the next room, followed by an exploratory "Mark?" So I wandered into Nick's room in my fetching green dressing gown to see what the matter might be. The ladder to the loft was there, so I had a look up, and saw Dad, who related the lately perilous condition of the ladder and desired me to go into the garden and get him a better one. This I did, getting Mum to lend a hand. Come to think of it, I never even asked what he was doing up there.

There's a Camberley Bible Club on at the moment for the kiddies. I'm terrible with kids, but I thought, encouraged by Mum, Dad, and Roger that I might pitch in with more down-to-earth things, like erecting small tents, making weak orange drinks alongside caffeine-based ones, and washing them up. I was expecting, given that there's a lot of legally neccessary forms to fill in for working with kids these days, to be politely refused, but when I asked Laura, the person in charge, she did not seem averse. So that's what I did. They sang and clapped and did other things. There was a audio story bit with music that sounded exactly like Super Monkey Ball (I like the Nintendophiles blurb), which seemed noteworthy. Because I am weak-willed, I'm going to be acting as Jesus tomorrow, walking on the water. I was rather too easily talked into it by the youngest leader there, Jess[ica] who had relatively good trousers, the baggy kind with arbitrary strips of material coming off. Think All Saints. Anyway, now that's done and I'm eating tomato soup and writing this. I Should probably phone the Jobcentre, as this is voluntary work, and so long as the fiscal kind isn't forthcoming I shall be doing it all week.
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Sunday, 3 August 2003

Some time ago, I recommended Lukas Moodyson's film, Show Me Love, "a Swedish film about lesbian schoolgirls". I was clearly in a stupid sort of mood, because that description combined with the rather less pleasant original title, which I gratuitously used when such a nice-sounding one is available, makes it sound completely unwatchable by anyone with any moral sense at all. That's entirely wrong-footed; It's one of my favourite films, and if you can catch it on BBC Four tonight at 2140, I feel that you should. Thank you, that is all.
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We were just eating Sunday lunch when a wasp came over with the intent of partaking of my meal. "Avaunt." I said, flapping at it half-heartedly, prompting the question of what "avaunt" means from my Dad. I said it was the kind of thing you might say to a recreant knight, or fowle daemon, if you should meet either. So the he asked me what "recreant" meant. I don't really know. But I thought it'd be fun to guess c.f. miscreant. I expect the "creant" part is old past tense for "created", so a recreant is one who has been uncreated. In the sense of a knight, I suppose that would be a shamed knight, or one whose behaviour marked him out as false. Our survey said: a fair enough match for a guess on the meaning, completely out on the etymology.
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Nicked from Aquinas via Shrine of the Holy Whapping, who need to get their permalinks together.

It is against reason to be burdensome to others, showing no amusement and acting as a wet blanket. Those others without a sense of fun, who never say anything ridiculous, and are cantankerous with those who do, these are vicious, and called grumpy and rude.
Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Trans. GilbyII-II.cxlviii.4.
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Saturday, 2 August 2003

Mum and Dad got back today. They seem pretty chipper despite being rained on in tents all week. I've just been doing odd things. Dropping a Nicholas here, buying potatoes there. We've just been shopping, and bought a whole ton of stuff. I think Dad thinks we eat too much. I managed to find some ginger beer, and it's very good. We also got an Indian Meal with some Cobra beer which I am very much looking forward to. That's pretty much it. Shinwa Andy and I are drawn 1-1.
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Well now. It seems my free Squawkbox account has expired. Remarkably, I just can't bring myself to pay for it, so goodbye Squawkbox, and welcome Haloscan, coincidentally at just the time at which Will has implemented it himself.
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Good morning all. Well, I say all... Anyway, not a great deal going on, except that Shinwa's getting his rematch and someone's been sneaking round and reading the gas-meter. I found the back gate open and the meter cover also open. Very rummy. When I got up this morning, about half an hour later than Nick I think it was; 0945 , he called me, if I remember correctly, a slacker. About ten minutes later I find him back in bed playing Pokemon. Why do Blogger wants us to use <em> tags rather than <i> do you suppose?
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Friday, 1 August 2003

Hello, I've just got back from giving blood. It was quite good. There was a group of first-time donors who kept on saying things like "It doesn't hurt; only as much as being stabbed with a rusty nail." and "Look at Chris! He's fainted. Hehe, you wet tart." to liven the place up. And then a cup of tea and a standard ration pack of three custard creams on a mild, grey day with mild grey drizzle. It feels good to be English today.
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Huzzah! Well I've just submitted my application electronically. I wasn't really happy with the amount of blank space left at the end for supporting statement, but I'll chalk it up to font size. Anyway, now I feel I can relax. Best recharge my phone in case any agencies want to call me while I'm giving blood. It seems like an eternity since I gave blood, so I must be able to this time.
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SUPPORTING STATEMENT

Please use this section to provide further information in support of your application. This needs to be related to the requirements of the post and should cover the following:

  • The experience, skills, knowledge and personal qualities which you consider make you available for the post
I'm, like, unemployed, ya know?
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