Monday 31 October 2016

Sometimes I wonder

...looking at church history, and in the light of our life experiences, if we've not completely mis-understood who God is and how He wants to interact with mankind. At the funeral last week the worship band played Matt Redman's "You Are God In Heaven" and the lyrics seemed so completely 21st century-ridiculous, it was almost a mockery.

Have we been busy doing the same as every generation, and making God in our own image? I'm starting to think so.

Reading over on The Heresy (If you don't know the blog, I wouldn't worry too much) a debate about hell, salvation and who gets saved, the 21st century attitude is to ask how could anyone possibly be condemned to torment - no-one could deserve that (unless they're a paedophile). For second and third century Christians for whom death in various extremely unpleasant forms was distinctly likely, and where the everyday people around them were intentionally occupied with pagan evil, the idea that their oppressors might suffer the same cruelty as a just punishment afterward seemed entirely right and proper.

This time has both shaken and is reshaping my theology, and I'll never be the same again. I wonder a little more now if the traditional church that just goes through a kind of mummery isn't right after all - they have a lot of history on their side.

Sunday 30 October 2016

In lieu of anything meaningful

Yes, I KNOW this has been floating round for years, but working with people from Germany, Spain, Italy, Pakistan, India and America, I find it funny.

61 English expressions that don't work for Johnny Foreigner. ;-)

1. “It’s not quite what I had in mind.” – What the bloody hell is this?
2. “That’s a bit off.” – I will never forgive you for what you just said.
3. “Oh yes, he’s a lot of fun.” – He’s an absolute nightmare.
4. “They’re fine once you get to know them.” – They’re arseholes.
5. “It rings a bell.” – I have no idea what you’re talking about.
6. “Fancy a drink?” – Fancy staying out until 3am and waking up with your face glued to a kebab?
7. “We’re going on a date.” — We’re getting pissed together.
8. “I got a bit tipsy last night.” – I drank 17 pints and then punched a police horse.
9. “Picnic” — Daytime piss-up.
10. “Barbecue” — Piss-up in the garden.
11. “It got a bit lively.” – The police were called.
12. “I’m doing Drynuary.” – I’ve stopped drinking during the day.
13. “I’m a bit tired.” – I’m hungover.
14. “I’m feeling a bit under the weather, to be honest.” – I have alcohol poisoning.
15. “I’m a tad poorly.” – Kill me.
16. “You look like you had fun last night!” – You look like you slept in a bin.
17. “It’s OK, we’ve not been here long either.” – We’ve been here for ages and we’ll never forgive you for keeping us waiting.
18. “Yes, it’s great, I love it.” – I am very dismayed by this haircut.
19. “Anyway, it was lovely to meet you.” – Please go away now.
20. “I’ll let you get on.” – Seriously mate, piss off.
21. “I might pop along.” – I’m probably not coming.
22. “I’ll see how I feel.” – I’m definitely not coming.
23. “I tried to call you.” – I let the phone ring twice and then hung up.
24. “It’s totally fine if you can’t make it.” – I don’t want you to come.
25. “It could be worse.” – No, it couldn’t.
26. “I’ll have a word with them about it.” – I’ll never mention this to them.
27. “It is what it is.” – I can’t be bothered to fix this thing, so stop complaining.
28. “Truth be told, I’m a little bit miffed.” – I’m going to stab someone.
29. “Want to have lunch together?” – Want to run to Greggs and back in the rain?
30. “It was OK, but I wouldn’t order it again.” – This meal was horrible, deeply disappointing, and shit.
31. “Did I give you enough cash?” – Give me my change. Now.
32. “With the greatest respect…” – I think you’re an idiot.
33. “Well, it can’t hurt, I suppose.” – You’re making a huge mistake.
34. “Maybe I’m not explaining it properly.” – I am explaining it properly, you’re just dim.
35. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” – It’s not my problem.
36. “It’s a step in the right direction.” – But it’s still rubbish. 
37. “Very interesting.” – You’re talking bollocks.
38. “Don’t quote me on that.” – Don’t blame me if the vague, half-made-up information I just passed on backfires on you.
39. “It was working a minute ago.” – You’ve broken it.
40. “Don’t worry, it’s probably my fault.” – It’s definitely your fault.
41. “You should come over for dinner sometime.” – I will never invite you over for dinner.
42. “Ooh, I could get used to this!” – Something very faintly luxurious has just happened, e.g. being offered a cup of tea.
43. “Can you pop it in an email?” – Please stop talking.
44. “That’s a very good question.” – One that I don’t know the answer to.
45. “Can I borrow you for a second?” – You’re in deep shit.
46. “Now, don’t be alarmed, but…” – Be very, very alarmed.
47. “Let’s agree to disagree.” – I’m obviously right, but I’ve run out of things to say.
48. “Look, let’s just forget it.” – I will never, ever forget this.
49. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.” – I have no idea what to say about the crushing disappointment you’ve just experienced.
50. “Oh, hi! Sorry, I didn’t see you there.” – I was actively trying to avoid you.
51. “Well, that’s not quite what happened.” – Will your lies never end?
52. “There’s been a bit of a mix-up.” – I’ve ruined all of your plans and destroyed everything you hold dear.
53. “Only if you’re making one.” – Why yes, I desperately want a cup of tea.
54. “It’s up to you.” – You’d better pick the thing I want to do.
55. “Could do, I suppose.” – No.
56. “Sorry.” — I’m not sorry.
57. “I don’t mind.” – I do mind.
58. “It’s OK.” – It’s not OK.
59. “I’m fine.” – I’m fine.
60. “I’m fine.” – I’m furious.
61. “I’m fine!” – My whole life is in tatters. Please bring me a drink.
 Favourites roughly in order of usage are:

20. “I’ll let you get on.” – Seriously mate, I can't bear talking to yu any longer.
 1. “It’s not quite what I had in mind.” – What the hell is this mess?
 4. “They’re fine once you get to know them.” – They’re arseholes.
43. “Can you pop it in an email?” – Please stop talking.
51. “Well, that’s not quite what happened.” – Will your lies never end?
34. “Maybe I’m not explaining it properly.” – I am explaining it properly, you’re just dim.
39. “It was working a minute ago.” – You’ve broken it.  
54. “It’s up to you.” – You’d better pick the thing I want to do.
And, of course, "I'm fine/it's OK"

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Ever wonder why you do stuff?

Life seems so futile in many ways, especially at this end of things where one is gradually working down to retirement, then hoping to die comfortably before becoming old to the point of complete indignity.

It doesn't really matter that much what phone I use, what car I drive or a bunch of other stuff, but they're good distractions for a while.

It's tempting to sign this post off as 'Marvin', so at least you know I still have a sense of humour.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Day 2 on the settee this week

I went to work this morning & got sent home: been able to do a bit via email, but this hasn't been my most productive week. Felt miles better first thing, but was a dizzy, coughing wreck by the time I arrived at the Innovation Centre.

In other news, the Microsoft Lumia 640 turned up today.

So it's a 5" phone (yikes) that feels slim, lighter than expected & neat. The back is a really good fit, but comes off OK without a fight, and although the phone doesn't have the presicion engineered feel of my carbon & metal RAZRi, it's still good. The Giffgaff SIM worked fine, since the phone is locked to O2 and Giffgaff share that network. Call quality is great, with pretty much landline quality from indoors on my settee, rather than having to go outside and STILL getting breakup - this is a PHONE phone, rather than a small tablet computer.

The screen is also nice, both in terms of clarity and of oleophobic coating to reduce smears, and the interface seems pleasantly fluid if quite unfamiliar, despite having Windows 8.1 (may have to migrate to W10 to stay current in the app store - give it a week). At this stage I'm not sold on the windows mobile experience, but there's the promise of good things to come if I persevere. There's also a 5200mAh external battery pack given away 'free' (but no charger - just a USB cable) with the phone, and fortunately I still have my Motorola charger. Hopefully battery life will be a couple of days at least.

In terms of storage there was just over 3Gb free from 8Gb basic memory, which is no worse than Android (no idea about iPhones, other than to hear 16Gb iPad owners complain about no useful space). There's all the kinds of tools you might expect to find if you were using a windows PC, which is handy in some ways, more complicated than it need be in others. My initial experience is that I don't actually like windows, but on a PC it just gets out of the way and lets me get on with life - hope this will be the same.

And I've 14 days to return it - one of the key reasons for buying online. Not that I expect to, but if I just can't get on with the interface then, in theory, there's a no-quibble guarantee they'll take it back.

But sofa so good.

Now, where's that micro-SD card that was supposed to arrive today?

Sunday 16 October 2016

Pulling a sickie today

Had been asked to prep some songs for the meeting this morning, but my voice isn't good for singing (or very much at all) and when I move I cough. So I'm sat at home while Chris has gone to church, keeping warm with a laptop on my legs, coughing occasionally.


Circling over.

Just ordered a Lumia 640 from O2 for £70 on PAYG. Should take my Giffgaff SIM card OK (shared network) and I've got 14 days to return it if it turns out to be a lousy buy.

In the end it came down to a mix of low cost & size that made me go this way - £70 is a relatively small gamble for something I'm not sure about (Windows on a phone). The other options were a Moto G4 plus - great screen, nice camera, OK battery life, huge piece of plastic, Moto E3 - smaller & neater but laggy when actually *doing* stuff & not just flicking across desktops, iPhone 6 - much smaller and neater (IOS10 is enormously better than IOS6, which completely turned me off) but also relatively expensive and with poor battery life.

I'll report back whether the Lumia experience is good or bad later.

Saturday 15 October 2016

Migrated the main PC last night

It could be called an update, but I pressed an old 750Gb Samsung HDD into service and installed Linux Mint Mate 18 (Sarah). The dark colours look and everything seems to work OK.

The install took a couple of hours nstead of the usual 20min because I'b wated to partition the old drive to keep a usable windows install + data, and as the disc was a little fragmented there was a lot of file relocation going on. Also the codecs etc used for audio & movie playback weren't included on the disc for the first time I can remember, and they seemed to take about 20min to download even before the great disc shuffle had started. There were times when I wondered whether the install had failed, but there was data passing through the bus as illustrated by the light on the fron of the case, and I could feel the HDD writing when I touched the case.

One minor hiccup was having to instruct the sound card to switch outputs from the front headphone socket to the rear, using the command line and alsamixer command. I'd forgotten the need to do that last time, and it took a while to remember why sound was working.

This is planned to be a long term install, and I've been copying folders across from backup locations to the new desktop this morning, from where I'll use them. This PC used to be Ben's games machine (it's an old core 2 duo machine) and it struggles to run firefox these days, though Opera is pretty good. Likewise Chris's machine is about that age, grinding away with W10 now. She'soften frustrated because it always seems to want to download updates when she wants to use it. We may have to go to high speed broadband sooner rather than later.

Friday 14 October 2016

Circling is stupid.

I need to replace my old, now non-functional Motorola RAZRi phone.

That's not a problem.

The problem is that I'd like a phone similar to what I had: maybe a 4.5" to 4.7" screen with HD, similar 3-5 days with occasional use, slim and relatively pocketable, reasonable performance by current standards (an upgrade there!) decent mapping and navigation, reasonable camera.

Sadly, the market does not agree that this is a reasonable spec now. Everywhere it's phablets with screens as big as an E-Reader and 1 day battery life if I want anything with a reasonable specification. I've thought of joining the devil's ranks and buying an iPhone 5S or 6, but battery life is also less than ideal, performance somewhat lacking and that's a shed load of cash for last years (or the year or two before that) phone. And that's without having to cope with using Apple's most claustrophobic interface.

So I run in circles trying to decide what to do, not choosing anything because nothing is what works just right.

I've been looking at the Motorola G4 & G4 Plus: decent performance, great screen, good camera in the plus, fast charger (plus again) and not a bad price. But the thing is enormous, and even though it's not heavy, I couldn't imagine going for a run carrying one of those the way I did my RAZRi.

But then I keep coming back to a Lumia: cheap, smaller, but also with a reputation for unreliability and instability.

Then there's all those other phones out there.

And round we go in a circle again.

It's not like a lifelong commitment, but it IS a commitment for a couple of years, and one I want to get right.


Wednesday 12 October 2016

So we say goodbye.

Goodbye Jo. You'll always be that chubby-faced 10 year old girl that I first met when I remember you, even though you were also a wife and mother now. Wish we'd been able to know each other as adult friends for a bit longer.

The disappearing blogroll

Now seems to have reappeared. Bizarre.

Ever take a marriage quiz?

LIVING FOR NOW You definitely want to have a significant relationship at some point in your future, but you are just not quite ready to make that commitment to the “forever one”. At the moment you like to have love and try out the skills of relationship maintenance: sharing personal space, communicating openly and compromising but you are not ready to make this an everyday experience. You have lots of facets to your life that are important to you and right now you are not ready to dedicate the significant time and effort marriage requires. You want a little more time to explore who you are and what you want before settling down.

 It's like the last 35 years never happened, apparently.

Take the (silly) test here:

Sunday 9 October 2016

It seems I'm leading worsip today

Not for the first time, do I not feel ready for this - not because of what I've done, right or wrong, but because of what I'm carrying in my heart. So much easier to be at the back, maybe just play a bit, keep silent.

Saturday 8 October 2016

Of sausage and sealing wax, to chat of many things.

Apologies to Lewis Carroll.

This morning I was pondering issues of faith, certainty and making rules. Rules have long been a part of Christianity, inherited nicely fro Judaism with a good stirring in of human nature. You know where you are with a rule - rules are solid and reliable, not leaving room for doubt.

So, having survived losing a child, we're now experiencing a young friend dying of cancer, slowly in front of her husband and children. It does some interesting things to faith, not seeing healing or recovery happen.

Of course I know the intellectual answers to situations like this, but they don't answer the emotional questions.

So we're in a state of some limbo, in many ways.

On a different note, the kitchen is now fitted, and I cooked our first meal there tonight after a day spent relocating, sorting and discarding much of our excess kit that's been accumulated over the years. Let me tell you that drawers are greatly over-rated when it comes to kitchen storage, because everything is HEAVY, and a 30kg limit isn't very much.

We've won some & lost some with this design. Space is arranged differently, and we have far more drawers than before, but very much less cupboard space. The built-in freezer is a little bigger, despite having only 3 trays & a pit in the bottom for freezing. The fridge is about the same, but with a slightly less convenient layout. Dishwasher seemes a couple of inches narrower (NOT expected) and runs fairly quietly, oven's wider and with less height.

Induction hob is a winner.

It's now official here - an electric hob can be as good as gas to cook on. Heating starts in moments instead of minutes, and when you turn off the heat, the heat goes off. We have a large non-stick frying pan that wouldn't get more than a little warm with the old halogen & ceramic hob, but tonight I fried on it for the first time. Also nice is that any spillages don't burn on, because then only thing getting heat from the hob is the pan.

We had a brief moment of frustration earlier, thinking the hob hadn't been connected, when in fact the touch controls required a finger pressed on the power on mark for a couple of seconds before starting. Once that was sussed then it was plain sailing, although the obviously electronic nature of the device is mildly dissappointing - touch controls everywhere, fans starting up when the power goes on etc. There's a lot to be said for simple kit, even though this works really well.

Wonder if it will last 26 years like the last one?

In the vein of replacing things, I'd wondered if we needed to replace the settees soon. Chris told me they weren't going anywhere because the place she normally sat had a Chris bottom hole shape in it. That caused considerable amusment between us.

I also need to replace my mobile phone. The RAZRi is nearly 4 years old, and has succumber to the fluctuating battery fault that got so many when they were upgraded to android 4.4. The old HTC Desire that was my first smartphone was still around, rooted by Ben & running Cyanogen Mildwild - managed to find a punched SIM card outer that would take my microSIM from the other phone & suddenly I'm back in business. Seems pretty slick considering the almost 6YO hardware.

We'll be moving Chris to a smartphone soon, from her old clamshell Nokia, and whatever she gets I'll probably also have for me so that I can help trouble-shoot for a while. I'd quite like a WinPho (probably a Microsoft 650) but tried a couple of budget androids this afternoon while shopping. I was quite surprised at how much better Android phones are now - when I last went looking, a Galaxy S3 was quite glitchy and not always smooth, while these were all pretty good.

Talking of moving stuff on, we came across Sarah's Virgin Mobile SIM card packaging this afternoon. She had her first phone about 14 years ago, and what a meal they made of selling you access to a mobile network then! Guess it was all part of selling the dream of mobile telephony at a time when everyone sat down to a PC. Now it all seems almost embarassingly obvious, but in those days a mobile was still somewhat special. And it wasn't even a long time ago.

We're both coughing well tonight - hope we can sleep. Chris has had a REALLY nasty cold this week and I may have just acquired her cough.

Sleep well internets.

Monday 3 October 2016

Since we're on a posting roll - divergent

Watched the first 2 films in the divergent series over the weekend, and I can't help compare them to the Hunger Games films (of which I watched the 2nd or 3rd in the series while flying somewhere). Emotionally tortured teenage girl falling in love and bringing down a distopian regime seems to be the theme. Lots of pretty CGI enabling big sets, lots of people waving guns around. The storyline is present, but seems relatively uninvolving.

Guess I shouldn't complain since at least we're getting some real scifi films made after such a long, dry period: Gravity, The Martian, Interstellar, Edge Of Tomorrow were all good and watchable, although Interstellar had a hokey weak ending. Now if only someone would make the Ringworld trilogy, and then the Known Space series, that would be great.

My blogroll has disappeared

No idea why - it's nothing personal.

Happy thirtyfifthiversary to us

About this time of day, 35 years ago, I recall riding over to Chris's parents place, to see her before she got reading for the wedding. Her father was out (apparently he'd would not have been happy with my breaking of 'luck' from not seeing the bride on a wedding day) and so we saw each other briefly before I went home again.

Today we 'celebrate' by having our kitchen torn out and living room filled with all the stuff that normally lives in the kitchen instead. Chris has a nasty cold, so I'm not sure whether we'll go down the microwave meals or dining out route tonight.

Yay us. ;-)