Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Sorry to not be around

Been offline all day.

Meeting Thursday night, usual time and place. Role call:


Anyone else up for it? _RUN_?

Monday, 27 February 2006

A surprisingly good post to link.

Can't say I've particularly agreed with Jordon Cooper in a number of areas over the years, but this post is very good indeed.

Specially for Randall, Laura, Marc and everyone who doesn't know the 'Thursday 4'.

Talk about getting someone's goat....

Not for those of a sensitive disposition, the overtly self-righteous or anyone lacking a sense of humour.


It IS the BBC, so it can't be that bad.

Posting has been thin recently

and I'm sorry for that.

I've not been inspired much: staying out of arguements makes things more peaceful but doesn't stir up the thoughts or stimulate exploration of alternative ideas. I also feel a little tired to the point where some things I'd planned to do have gone by the board - like working through 'A generous orthodoxy'. I did a couple of chapters, thought "some of this is right, but some is wrong" and lost interest.

There was someone talking on the radio this morning about pay equality for women, and how 20 years or so after a specific act of parliament women's gross pay was still on average 17% lower than men's. They were using phrases like "women being forced into part-time work because they had children" and clearly failing to understand reality. I wonder how people that have so little grasp of human understanding are able to achieve positions of power?

As a church, we're about to start going through the 'Purpose driven life'. Guess I'll find out whether it's the dreadful capitalist-right-wing-megachurch-advertising book that some have suggested. Or if it's actually something that might help build people up in their Christian lives. We'll see.

Friday, 24 February 2006

Why Computers Sometimes Crash! by Dr. Seuss.

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort,
and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel to another protocol,
that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall.

And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse;
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'cuz sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang.

When the copy on your floppy's getting sloppy in the disk,
and the macro code instructions is causing unnecessary risk,
then you'll have to flash the memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM,
and then quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your Mom!

Thanks to Richard (who doesn't blog).

Thursday, 23 February 2006

Meeting tonight

At our place. Dan, Kita, Livi, Katherine - if you want to contact me the email me at work - @XXlabs.com. I'm going to be offline all day except for email.

Sunday, 19 February 2006

Never before

Never before did I ever see an acoustic guitar that I wanted for looks alone.

It probably sounds like complete pants, but I'd love to use that in church.

Well, the boy got back

Undamaged and exhilirated from his ski trip.

We're grateful all went well, and that he doesn't need to heal. The house is different already, with mud on the floor and more bodies dashing around. Glad he's here though.

Saturday, 18 February 2006

Very, very weird.

Last night I DID make it out for Sue's birthday, after dosing up with cold relief stuff. After we got back I surfed a little and enjoyed some of Mr. Jameson's finest (for medicinal purposes) before heading off to sleep. At that point I was starting to sneeze and stream again. Yet this morning I seem fine apart from being a little 'woozy' (nothing to do with the minimal quantity of whisky ingested).

This is really very strange.

Guess I should be grateful that I haven't succumbed big-time like so many.

Friday, 17 February 2006

And another........

"Please don't use contraceptives"

"Why not? Are you Roman Catholic?"

"No, I'm a Rythm Methodist."

The last couple of hours

I'm in a meeting, my nose is streaming, my globular head (adiponectin discussion) is thick and fuzzy and I keep sneezing explosively. Poor sore nose. We're supposed to be out for a curry tonight for Sue Tugwood's birthday - hope I can cope with chicken Tikka masala.

Now at home, I feel like I've been given a good solid thump in the head, and if the drugs don't kick in then I won't be going anywhere, curryhouse or otherwise.

Heard in the office

One for the Anglicans in our midst:

"What happens when you're no longer Verger intacta"

"You become a laid reader."


I'll be here all week folks.

Thursday, 16 February 2006

Delayed Baptisms

Chris writes:
I was disappointed at Toni's brief account of the baptisms so here is my version, just a little late!

Well, what a fantastic day!

There were 4 people being baptised alltogether. In addition to Dan & NIkita there was Jon & Ben, both young lads of about 13 who have grown up in the church, so it was a very special time. We also had a lot of guests as all their respective families turned out in force! They all did brilliantly well with their testimonies, which can be very daunting, & this was quite moving. I started to get emotional when Dan read his!

Both Jon & Ben were baptised by a leader plus their Dad, then it was our turn! I don't really know how to put it into words, it was quite overwhelming. Such a joy & a priveledge to baptise these two who have come to mean so much to us, I was laughing & crying at the same time!

In many ways it was more emotional than baptising our own kids, we have paid a high price to see this happen. Sarah was baptised when she was just 9, very young really, but she was just so sure. Toni & I baptised her ourselves & I am so glad we had that priveledge & have those memories. Ben was baptised last March, & I am glad she was around to see that.

Afterwards we had coffee & cake & a chance to meet Nikita's family. It was especially good to spend some time with her Mum. Then we went back to Dan's house for a chinese take away & some good social time. I spent some time with the 'oldies' (that is my own generation!) but in the end couldn't resist drifting over to the youngsters. My mother-in-law is such a sweetie, she reckoned I didn't look much older than them! She always did have a tendency to see those she loves through EXTREMELY rose coloured spectacles!

And talking of Mum-in-law, we had a really nice day together on the Monday. We went to art class where we saw Nikita's Grandma Joy, then we had lunch with my Mum, then I took her back home to SE London & we went out for a meal together. We both really appreciate the great relationship we have.

And finally, Happy Birthday to Nikita, who is 18 today!


Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Thankyou, but they don't fit me very well.

I arrived this morning to find a padded envelope on my desk with my name on and 'Private and confidential' underlined with red.

Inside, were a pair of slightly cheap looking scarlet and black lacy thongs with the message 'Happy valentines day' on a piece of paper.

A quick check with Chris by phone confirmed my instinct - they'd not come from her. However my colleagues here kindly calmed my fears by assuring me that the other married guys in the office had received the same thing the day before. At least I haven't got to unpick anything complex.

An email conversation with my wife then ensued, finished off with the question "are you blogging this?" for which suggestion I thanked my wife. In order then:

Sent: 15 February 2006 09:04
To: Toni Ertl
Subject: Red Lacy Things

My love
No I most definately did not send you red lacy watsits. Are they ladies or gents? If the former I suspect they are on the wrong desk, if the latter I expect it is someone's idea of a practical joke!
Don't worry about it, it's rather funny really! It certainly gave the girls here a good laugh!



Sent: 15 February 2006 09:10
To: Ertl, Christine - Social & Health Care
Subject: RE: Red Lacy Things

It's OK, things have unravelled a little now. I gather all the married males in our office were presented with them, secretly courtesy of the girls on the front desk (A****a included). I may play a little joke on them in return shortly.

I am very relieved that I don't have to unpick anything.

Love you



Sent: 15 February 2006 09:24
To: Toni Ertl
Subject: RE: Red Lacy Things

'I gather all the married males in our office were presented with them'......

................Oh yeah!



To: Ertl, Christine - Social & Health Care
Subject: RE: Red Lacy Things

William complained that his didn't fit.



Sent: 15 February 2006 11:08
To: Toni Ertl
Subject: RE: Red Lacy Things

Are you blogging this?



So, ladies of the front bottom ..... errr I mean front desk, I understand the source of embarassment one of your number experienced when I was leaving on Monday for Germany now.

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Germany calling.

It's been an interesting morning, and has just become an interesting afternoon. Just eaten 3/4 of a too-large pizza (delicious though) and now it's begun snowing. There was a lot of snow here last week, but it's mostly melted. Now it's just started again. The woods look pretty still from here though.

I should land around 7ish tonight - be nice to be home with my own wife again.

Monday, 13 February 2006

For those about to rock

We suggest you....... use this.

Link courtesy of Jon Barker - unfortunately w/o a permanent on-line presence.

Odd, yet good too.

It was a curious weekend.

Good - nope, great - time on Sunday at the Dan and Nikita's baptism.


But I think I was struggling with the Lurgy that's been around.

Saturday I was tired, really ratty, fuzzy headed and indecisive. We wanted to book a holiday break away, but I just seemed to be struggling all the time. Hard not to get cross with Chris when it felt like she was interrupting me all the time, yet actually I was not being clear and decisive about speaking and so it wouldn't have been obvious to her (being interrupted is close to the height of rudeness to me). I ended up just frittering the day away, browsing the net, looking at the amp for clues as to how to fix it and back again. Didn't really do ANYTHING.

Sunday woke up tired and achey and very thick headed, only really surfacing around lunchtime after driving to London and back. Playing for the meeting in the afternoon, I just sweated like it was 30'C, rather than 3' outside. Managed to string a few words awkwardly together at the appropriate times, but still felt slightly out of myself.

When we got back after the meeting it was hard to stay awake - the eyes just kept drooping, legs ached and mind went blank again. Things rallied a bit when we got to Dan's parents place, and Dan's dad was kind enough to keep a decent conversation going with me.

Slept like a log last night. Feel OK today, although waking was hard again - maybe it was just a weekend lurgy, and I'll be OK now. Off to Germany later (back tomorrow night) so I'd better be alright.

Sunday, 12 February 2006

Saturday, 11 February 2006

Great post on healing

From Sue over on the Country Life Blog. Sometimes you ask and ask, wondering why people don't get healed. Then BAM, it happens. If it was the same lurgy most of the country seems to have had then it should have lasted a week. Even the most resilient people I know have been laid low by it - poor Lisa (Mynheer - work colleague) is still really ropey.

And talking of Lisa, please pray for her and her father. He seems to have developed a medical issue while in India, and can't stand.


Friday, 10 February 2006

Just been looking at the weather

Since we're thinking of a little winter sun, it seemed like a good idea to check on how warm or cold various places were right now.

According to the BBC weather site Heraklion (the capital of Crete) is going to hit -6'C overnight on Wednesday.


Not in February it isn't.

Mr. Angry

The valentines day For My Girlfriend (FMG) anti-speeding campaign is underway.

It's about as subtle as a brick between the eyes, and similarly brutal.

I told Chris about it, hoping to warn her before she saw or read about it, and it just produced tears.

It's callous, stupid and will only cause suffering to those who've lost loved ones in accidents. I cannot believe for one minute it will change the attitude of those it's supposed to reach toward speeding - if anything it's likely to encourage it more from defiance. And Ruth - if you're reading this, then you can quote me on that.

Not happy.

Why is it?

That I can have a bunch of interesting thoughts when I'm busy somewhere, yet faced with this screen, my mind goes blank right now?

Guess the good thing is that I'm not being driven ATM, although it makes for a quiet blog.

Trivial things then:

We looked at a Godin stove on Saturday to replace the one that I inherited from my parents. 'Won' it on ebay. Looked really nice, the image suggested it was of a similar size to the item it's to replace. It's an absolute monster! If anyone wants a mixed fuel stove to heat a large room at a great price then contact me. Now we've got to find something else, probably in the 'much wenlock' size.

Discovered I have 7 days more A/L that thought due to an administrative hiccup (last year was a complete blur, time-off wise). We will therefore be trying for a little 'winter sun' shortly, mostly for Chris's benefit. Trying to find something that's not exorbitant or in a resort with 'clubbin action' but would be warm enough to laze on a beach. Egypt appealed a little until we thought about present tensions. Ditto Tunisia. Eilat looks nice, but is expensive. Probably try for the Canary islands or similar, although Crete is actually quite nice, weather wise (warmer than Damascus) and Cyprus is interesting but a little spendy.

Need to book a trip to see some distant friends soon too. Now we can have a holiday before the summer, it makes a 1 week planned trip to see them much more reasonable. This was a source of tension, as I wanted to go, but not pay for internal flights for a second week to more exciting lanscapes. Chris wanted a holiday for a second week somewhere with exciting terrain, and wasn't keen just to go for 1 week with no opportunity to rest. Ben wants to come to see new places and because it's free. Oh, and to meet people in meatspace he's only MSN'ed. That appears to be resolved now, and we'll try to find flights as soon as possible.

I've just finished wiring up my new amp 'Double Trouble'. Judging from the amount of hum it generates (more than a tramp on a hot day) and the fact that's it's already given me one electric shock there's a fair chance it'll live up to it's name. Based on the classic 18 watt marshall design, it has 2 channels with different voicings and a bunch of other interesting features. Ugly brute, isn't it. Still needs knobs and a lot of tweaking:

That's enough trivia to type up now.

Hopefully see everyone at Dan and Kita's baptism - Sunday 12th, 2pm at the Kings Centre, Osney Meade, Oxford.

Wednesday, 8 February 2006


Bushed now.

Just got back from circuit training. My ears are freezing and burning at the same time, from the night air. The temperature seems to have really dropped while we were in the hall, and even though it's only a few hundred yards to our house, my ears and bare legs got chilled.

What my body wants is to just flop.

What my head wants is to get on and finish my latest amp build.

I should really be preparing for tomorrow night when we see Liv, Dan and Kita.

Maybe I'll do a little of each.

Monday, 6 February 2006

Would you believe

how much dust csan be stored in a small PC base unit?

I've just done memory upgrades on the corporate and Mair's PCs, and the room absolutely
disappeared in a cloud of dust. Richard's PC is really REALLY slow, but he's used to that, and won't really mind.

The Times impressed me this morning.

They ran the Victory of Scotland over France in the rugby as front page news, and relegated the Islamic extremists to a less prominent place.

Sunday, 5 February 2006

BTW thankyou

To Tracy and Peter or Helen and Phil.

Or all 4 even.

For the flowers and cards left for Chris, that we found last night.

Thank you all.

Our favourite restaurant

Might well have been the Dashwood Arms.

I first ate there when the company entertained a visitor from the US, and it seemed so good, it was worth a second shot. Well for me the food WAS great. Unfortunately Chris appears to be a little more delicate, with some nasty tummy pains this morning: all sorted now.

This isn't unusual - in fact nearly every time we have a really nice meal out there are some repurcussions for her afterward - so it doesn't really reflect on the restaurant. Looks like we'll have to stick with Pizza hut.

Saturday, 4 February 2006

Everything is rather llooonnnnggggg right now.

After that discussion with Matt I ended up buying one of these.

Now I personally don't like widescreen format per se, and really hate those tellys where a 'standard' width picture is smeared across a 9:6 screen. However this is OK running at 1440:900, although you do sometimes get large gaps on the right. And it does work better with DVDs, which was a key reasons for the purchase as the previous monitor would literally only use half of the screen for most films.

It also means one of the cats won't have a warm spot to sit on

Might start stacking the DVDs and CDs behind it instead, thereby making the desk tidier.

It'll also be handy for when I want to work on procedures for work and worship song lists for church. This way I can have word and excel documents open comfortably side by side for cross referencing etc. Think I might suggest one of these for my work desk next

Thursday, 2 February 2006

I thank God that I live

in a country where for most people real poverty is a cultural memory and not a daily experience. Today I've been reminded of what it's like to have grown up in a culture of poorness.

What do you do when you've broken most of a set of plates? Throw them out? The tins you used to store coffee and tea have worn so much that the aluminium shows through: do you keep them? You are able to afford new gadgets for the kitchen, but what about the old ones....? How about clothes that you've not worn for 20 years, but are still 'OK'?

I'm really grateful to be able to throw away the things that are used up, worn out and cracked. I hope Ben (and his wife, whoever she is) will be grateful that we could when it's their turn to help one of us move.

I have a lot to be grateful for.

Wednesday, 1 February 2006

She's in.

Thankyou everyone that prayed for us today - that was one of the smoothest moves I've seen. There is still a huge amount of unpacking to do, but the flat is already tolerable. I just have to connect the cooker and cut down (again) a bit of worktop.