Friday 30 September 2005

Completely off-topic

The *worst film ever made* officially is Plan 9 from outer space".

Apparently the film's original title was "Grave Robbers from Outer Space", but the Baptist ministers who financed the picture objected to it.

I've actually seen some of this film. It truly IS attrocious, although the passage of time has softened the jagged edges, so that it's now slightly 'quaint' and 'amusing'. Unlike the 'Biggles' film they made in the 80's, which was utterly and completely attrocious. The 80s was a really bad era for film making apparently.

An interesting question - does physiology influence behaviour or behaviour influence physiology? Pathological liars' brains are different from normal people's. The fibbers had up to 26 per cent more white matter than the honest folk, a study has found, suggesting that it is the white matter that allows people to deceive, and that pathological liars may not always be in complete control of their porkies.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, are in line with similar research into autism. Autistic people have more grey matter than non-autistic people, and generally find it much harder to lie.

An finally, also from The Register, Danish F-16s total Rudolph - Santa compensated for outrage. Air force spokesman Captain Morten Jensen told Associated Press: "We got a letter from Santa complaining about his reindeer's death and looked into it seriously. We're more than happy to pay if it means children around the world will get their presents."

Thursday 29 September 2005

Quite strange

Having been previously verbose, my mental processes seem to have ceased as far as posting goes.

I don't know if it's overload, saturation or just a need to shut up. Probably a good thing after all the nonsense I've spouted over the last few weeks.

Tuesday 27 September 2005

Sorry not to be posting much right now

I'm not sure why, but the past weekend was a slightly difficult time - feeling quite fragile mostly, and not really sure why. Now obviously things are a little more sharply pointed.

I'm aware that there are a number of people out there that haven't had email replies yet: Jon, Peter, Ruth, Clive & Carolyn. I'll 'get a round toit' soon, honest.

There is much to be grateful for.

Thanks for the care and prayers.

In many ways, although the timing of this is 'unfortunate' it doesn't carry the same sorrow for us that Sarah's death had.

Chris's dad was someone who had overcome the many obstacles that both nature and other people had put in his way: he had a family, a long and fulfilling work life and had travelled quite extensively. While we feel sadness for his wife, there is much mercy in being able to live like he did, and then die peacefully before the worst indignities of old age set in.

Given the choice, I'd much rather die like that, sat in a chair in my own livingroom, without violence or indignity, having lived a long and generally happy life.

Chris is with her mum today. There are many arrangements to make and much sifting of information to go through. I just pray that they'll be able to do it without being burdened too heavily, and too sad through it all.

Monday 26 September 2005

It seems our family is an endangered species.

Chris's father died this morning, sometime between 10 and 11 o'clock.

Both she and her mum are coping, although it'll take time for the reality to sink in. Even now, we can see God looking after us in it. For example I was working from home today - quite unusual - and received the call here while Chris was out. Chris's mobile was out of charge, so she didn't get a nasty shock in public. It was also quick and relatively peaceful, when it might have been slow and humiliating.

As I've said once or twice before, life will NEVER be the same for us again.

Never stops, does it?

I had a call about 5 mins ago from a neighbour of Chris's parents. Her father has been rushed to hospital after he stopped breathing this morning. Any spare prayers you might have would be appreciated.

I don't know what the best thing would be at this stage, but I doubt he'd want to do the veggie thing, clinging to the last shreds of life.

Life seems a fragile thing at the moment.

Friday 23 September 2005

This seems a little more real to me.

Rita is heading pretty much directly for the world HQ of the company I work for. Wednesday the company was closed and all computer systems turned off (coincidentally leaving our UK office without email or access to most of the web, including this site). The facilities were also prepared to resist (if that's possible) the effects of the hurricane.

Somehow NO was different: I didn't know people there. I guess really too news coverage doesn't convey what it's like to suffer such weather, and my own survival instincts tend to say "I'd never get stuck in a stadium or die on the roof of my car"


I know there is a strong likelihood that some people I care about will lose their homes, while others will certainly suffer. If you want to pray, pray that God is merciful to that bit of coastline. If you want names, pray especially for a kind and gentle lady call Jayanthi. Her house is right in Galveston. I'm sure there are others from the company that live there too, but I don't know them.

If any of you are able to read this, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Wednesday 21 September 2005

Today.... humph.

The samples I was waiting for turned up - gone 11.15 Assay time is around 4 hours, with over an hour to log them in and then prep them. Not a problem, except that I have a pile of other activities to complete in the afternoon, all of which require unbroken stints. Hence I can post while I'm waiting for an incubation to complete.

Plate coating later.

I was pleased earlier - the tyres for the bike arrived. That rear tyre is HUGE.

I wasn't pleased just now - the tyre fitter on site won't fit 'em because they didn't supply them.

So it looks like a slightly above average day here in the lab. At least we got some EXCELLENT results from one of the antibody studies we ran.

Talking of discussions......

Chris and I have been really enjoying house groups recently. The last couple of weeks we've been discussing stuff like the new and old covenants, communion and the early church, origins of the church in the western world and that kind of stuff, all in the form of bible study.

It's funny, because most of the time it feels like you know nothing: but get a point to focus on and all this information pops up. Chris gave an excellent 5 minute summary of the origins of the catholic church and the present denominational situation in answer to a question. It was the kind of stuff we've taken for granted that everyone 'knows' but it seemed no-one did. Amazing how you gather information over a long period, gently sorting and assimilating it into the subconscious.

She presents stuff verbally rather more neatly than I do too.

But we've not been stimulated like this for a VERY long time (probably not since we moved up from London) and it's great. I just hope it's not a strain on the rest of the group, although everyone had contributions to make - to the point I found it hard to do so myself sometimes! Still, it was better than holding back, hoping someone else would take part too.

Good stuff.

Dumb down or just responsible? Future blogging.

I've been wondering about this blog recently.

In the past I've never been afraid of a *little controversy* in the comments I've posted, both here and in reply to others postings on other blogs. However I feel a certain measure of 'responibility' at the moment, not to introduce contentious issues or go off on extravagant ramblings that won't help build the faith of Kita, Dan and Liv (and any others dropping by).

The net effect is that I now frequently think "I could post that - oh, no I shouldn't". Not that my thoughts were wrong, but that they aren't helpful.

Currently there are 2 options that seem reasonable to me:

1) Keep the blog of the ancient mariner as it is and start a new, semi-anonymous blog for my more controversial thoughts.

2) Create a communal blog with posting access for Kita, Dan, Livi, Chris and myself (plus anyone that becomes directly involved in the fledgling group) while returning the BOTAM (bottom! ) to it's original intent as my personal space to 'say things'.

So - you, my guests and friends - which of the options appeals more? I don't promise to comply with any requests, but they'll certainly be considered.

Sunday 18 September 2005


That was a 'spendy' day.

That show the we bunked off church for (to our shame) was useful, but far from free. Chris has finally go a Motorcyle jacket that fits properly, plus 2 pairs of gloves. Ben has a helmet (£20 clearance, but a normally expensive model) a jacket (owes me half) and a pair of gloves (that he paid for himself). I couldn't find the one piece winter suit I'd hoped for, and just got a cheap rain suit instead, plus a pair of cheap boots. Even the bike did OK out of it with a new set of tyres on the way (hope they're good).

We all have aching legs now, but hopefully are usefully equipped for another year.

Olivia, Dan and Nikita - hope you were OK today. Thought of you guys quite a bit while walking round.

See you soon.

Saturday 17 September 2005

Not much to say really.

We spent the day with Chris's folks. Not too much happening there, although for some strange reason I kept remembering Sarah while we were with them, and on the way home after.

Tomorrow, to our shame, we're bunking off the celebration in Oxford and going to a motorcycle show in Peterborough. The lure of potentially cheap winter kit is the main motivation, rather than looking at bikes.

Take care while we're gone and play nicely.

Friday 16 September 2005

Thursday 15 September 2005

Not the best day

Today is the funeral for Shirley's partner, Jim.

We won't be there.

I'm not sure we could cope, to be honest. I have work to do in London that I can't get out of and Chris just simply isn't there, emotionally. We will both remember her later, but it just isn't possible for us to come along at this time.

Once again, please pray for her.

Wednesday 14 September 2005

I've called it off

I just can't find a way for Chris and me to go to Canada, so we've had to can it.

Sorry if we got your hopes up everyone.

Tuesday 13 September 2005

Today I'm mostly

creeping around with a stiff neck and shoulder.

We went bowling last night at the friendly local US airbase (at a bargain price). This is me, leaning over 'coz my neck hurts

Monday 12 September 2005

Bloomin' eck

Saskatoon is DIFFICULT to reach.

Apparently there are 3 trains a week through the city, and internal flights from some cities cost as much as actually getting to Canada in the first place!

Still sorting things, but it looks like IF we come, it'll have to be November now.

Oh the eager anticipation of snow too cold for a snowball.

Popped into Bicester at lunchtime

And bought a LARDY CAKE.


Yum yum.



This Matt-style post was brought to you courtesy of Nash's bakery for your further reading pleasure.

Thoughts and frustrations

We've started using a new place to meet as a church, and I'm really struggling with it.

The room is claustrophobic, stuffy, smelly and to me, oppressive. Acoustically it's as dead as a very dull thing indeed, and I really struggle meeting there. Curiously, the majority of peoole feel fine about it, especially compared to the previous hall (painted dark blue, large children's paintings on the wall) which many found too dark. To say I hate the room is too strong a word, but intense dislike is no exaggeration.

Musically it's very hard for me to enter worship. Everything feels wrong and I can't hear myself properly.

On top of that our 'worship' times are rather sharply truncated on a Sunday. I know why, and there's a good reason, but it also frustrates me. But there are times it is better to say 'Yes' than dissent and discourage, even if you don't agree.

All this is contributing to my feelings of unsettledness.

Life is never going to be the same again for us. I don't think we really expect it to be, but there's a degree of wishful-thinking, a laziness and desire to get back to where we were comfy. Sarah's death has changed everything, including the way we parent. I can't believe we'll stay as we are much longer, but what we'll become I don't know yet.

Skive? Not me!

Back to work, bright and early this morning.

I'm OK really. Had a good night's sleep last night (apart from waking at 5.15am) and after a damp weekend, I feel much more 'up for it'.

BTW Kita, does your mob number end in 7337?

To my regret, we're losing Matt on the 1st October. He's off to start his PhD at Oxford Brookes University. Lucky Matt.

Saturday 10 September 2005

Please pray

For someone called Shirley.

Her partner died early in the week after a very short illness.

This year seems to be a year of death and sorrow to us: I've never known so many people that feel significant to us lose friends and family.

Absolutely bushed today

The last couple of days have been really tiring.

Biked into London twice, including riding back through that rain yesterday, had 2 VERY long days (5.45am 'til 1.00am next morning, then 6.15am 'till 12.50am) and a busy week. The work yesterday was probably useful, but not necessarily encouraging. I'm sat here with the tiredness pressing into my forehead like a hand. Many things need doing, but lethargy seems to be ruling the roost for the present.

Last night we had a 'half night' of prayer. It was curious how, when I was just trying to pray I'd fall asleep. Yet given a 'purpose' and object to pray about, God just seemed to keep talking to me about things. Maybe I needed to get my mind out of the way so that I could listen without interfering? Whatever, it was a good time.

One of the questions I was alluding to below is whether we should try to travel to Canada, visiting Randall & Lauralea and everyone this autumn. At the moment Ben's driving test is scheduled for the exact time I'd originally thought about going, plus there are other factors too that interfere a bit. We'll have to see.

Thursday 8 September 2005

We frequently use an expression here.

To assume makes an ass of u and me.

I assumed some materials had been sent to the lab in Kings Hospital (London) that I would be working in.

The materials have remained secure in a -80'C freezer here at Heyford through the time I drove there and back.

Looks like I'll be working in London tomorrow too.


Tuesday 6 September 2005

Monday 5 September 2005

Anyone ever say something they were sure of?

and have the sudden realisation that they felt absolutely the opposite? That happened yesterday in conversation. Because of the public nature of this blog I can't really discuss it now, as it wouldn't be either:

a) fair on those it would affect.

b) certain, that I'm right.

I have a certain sense of urgency in particular directions, and feel like things have changed, but can't yet see a way ahead, nor have clarity. Kind of 'calling' without a known destination. There are many factors feeding this, and I have to be sure that I can move in faith, rather than presumption or personal preference.

We'll see.

Saturday 3 September 2005

Thursday nights

We are proposing starting a Thursday night group to run every other week in our home, starting this coming Thursday. Dan, Kita, Rach, Liv: this is particularly with you in mind, but is also open to others.

We plan to spend time studying more about what it means to be a Christian, as well as praying, maybe worshipping and enjoying the company of you wonderful people. The materials I collected from Steve Beegoo on the basics of our faith look good enough to use as a resource. They were written by Mike Beaumont, who's one of the best bible teachers we've had the honour of knowing personally.

Really tired tonight.

Bicester churches did an 'open festival' today. Essentially a party in a park in Bicester where everything was free: free games, free rides, free food, free face painting, puppet shows etc.

The idea is that we just simply wanted to make the people in Bicester feel good - have a good time with no worries about the cost, any unpleasant overtones and a happy environment. Estimates so far reckon we saw about 3000 people come through Garth park to the event, which is around 10% of the total population.

Pretty good.

Chris did non-stop face painting for 3 1/2 hours (amazing really). A big Thanks to Kathryn C too, who worked alongside her tirelessly too AND came up with some great designs. I did some electrical work and gophering in the morning, ran the PA for the 'Flaming Squirrels' band, policed the bouncy castle and marshalled during the welly wanging for a while in the afternoon.

I've a ton of pics on the camera, but I just don't have the enthusiasm or energy to sort and upload them right now.

I was really nice to meet Georgia too - thanks for introducing yourself to us. Georgia reads the blog, but doesn't post here.

Yet. ;-)

BTW Marc - this is another example of what I've talked about sometimes - the Church rising above it's denominations to become the body of Jesus, rather than remaining in it's denominational groups but trying to find a common denominator.

Friday 2 September 2005

I've cancelled my trip

There's too much work to do, I got really stressed today, and I'm way behind. In the end it'll be more beneficial to the comapny for me to stay than go. It was also really getting me down, and I was starting to run in circles in my own mind, trying to put order into all the tasks that were impossible to complete.

If only I can focus on Monday then I might catch up by the end of next week. At the moment, to be quite honest I'm just a bit desperate trying to find the will to really dig in. I only really work well on adrenaline, and that's just not happening right now.

Thursday 1 September 2005

I've opened blogger

but whatever it was I was going to post has evaporated.

Circuit training was amazingly sweaty last night (27 degrees and a thunderstorm going on at the time).

I can't seem to sleep after hard exercise - my body doesn't relax, and my mind just freewheels through junk. Also had a head full of work (from a sudden experiment it was necessary to set up late yesterday afternoon). And then I fiddled with that guitar after Chris had gone to bed - ended up playing it for an hour after I'd cleaned and re-strung it.

And someone (not family or close friend) was being increasingly dumb yesterday, getting stroppier and stroppier the more I tried to calm them. It got to the point where I really wanted to have a good shout at them, telling them not to be so stupid and childish.

So here I sit, mostly awake, kind of. Looking forward to a meeting that will be 'really exciting' this morning.




Oh you're still here?

Well bye for now.