There’s been a couple of quite interesting posts by Bishops recently on the changing nature of the clergy in the Church of England, and I wanted to bookmark the links, as it can be horrendous finding these things again!
First is by Tim Thorton (Bishop of Truro) on Shaping Vicars – http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/views/shaping-vicars.
Second is by Stephen Croft (Bishop of Sheffield) on Self-Supporting Ministry – http://bishopofsheffield.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/generosity-humility-liminality-new.html
Sun 19 May 2013
I realised recently that I have more or less achieved my last list of photographic ambitions I set 2 years ago (Picture This), and I’ve added some new ones to it since then.
I don’t know that there’s any photos that I’m burning to take, but I do still have a few ideas I’d like to do. This is not a definitive list, but my thoughts are currently, in no particular order;
- Flash-freeze (drips / splashes again).
I think that’s enough to be going on with for now. The main barrier to any of these is just time – I even have a packet of coffee beans just waiting for the time and inspiration to hit.
In any case, my current projects is a broad bean plant we’ve got growing on the windowsill, which I’ve photographed every day since the first shoot, and I think this still probably has a few weeks life left it in as a daily project.
Warning – Spoiler Alert!
Went to see “Into Darkness” at the weekend. What an awesome film! I love what J.J. Abrams (and others) have done with this franchise, and the first outing was fabulous. At the time I commented about my appreciation of the fact there was no cheats way out of the paradox. Vulcan really was destroyed. Spock really was set adrift in time and ended up in a parallel timestream.
The casting is superb, and the action relentless. I have a few quibbles (would Kirk really be the only person to think that all the senior starfleet officers would be gathered in one room?), but in general it was very easy to suspend disbelief and get drawn into the action.
My favourite thing about the film is probably the parallel storyline to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It’s not really a secret that the chief antagonist is Khan, and I don’t think it really spoils the film to know this in advance. But this film ends up being almost the same film as “Wrath”, but with several crucial differences and switched roles. You could see it all coming a mile off, but it didn’t spoil the enjoyment all.
One of the positive aspects for me is the respect with which the original series is treated. You recognise the characters and their characteristics, while they still manage to be fresh and new. And the trekkie in jokes are there too, as is the humour.
The special effects are also spot-on, and Sci-Fi in general is a genre that particularly benefits from special effects. I saw it in 3D – mainly because of the times of the showing – and it’s just nicely done. Not in your face, but generally more immersive.
Summary – fantastic film. Go see. (but see the first one first)
Seen Sunday 12th May at Harrogate Odeon, in 3D.
Four and a half months into 2013, and I thought now was a good time to take stock.
- Continue climbing regularly, 10 times over the year, and improve by a grade (to 6b+, think)
- Pretty good so far, 4 times this year. The significant thing here is that I’ve learnt how to lead climb! I also have a fingerboard to attempt some training.
- Take a photo got every day
- Go to the cinema
- Not yet, but holding out for the new Star Trek in the next week or two…
- Go camping
– Not yet – probably summer holidays.
- Cook something I’ve never cooked before
- Yup – Jamie’s Lamb pot-roast. I’m still holding out for something a bit more dramatic though.
- Go to Spring Harvest (yay)
- Yes indeed – fantastic time.
- Maintain weight at around 72kg
- Moving swiftly on.
- Pray and read the bible every day
- More or less.
- Put my boys to bed every evening
- Pretty much.
- Complete a Times crossword (electronic aids allowed)
- YES! I can no normally finish them, giving long enough.
- Continue blogging and twitter-ing (20 blog posts)
- Not so good. Blogging definitely down.
- Take C# and HTML5 MS exams (towards the new MCSD qualification)
- HTML5 qualification in the bag. C# hopefully in a few months.
All in all not a bad stab so far. Could do with blogging a bit more, and losing some weight, but otherwise pretty much on target.
Sun 7 April 2013
Wow – not blogged for ever. Been so busy recently, and I think my all out assault on the Times Crossword has sucked up more of my time than I realised it had.
Anyway, about to go to bed, so no time for a long one, but I wanted to at least put down a couple of markers.
First of all, a Twitterless Lent. It wasn’t actually too hard, in the end, although I had removed the shortcuts off my mobile devices, which I’m sure helped. The interesting thing was how out I touch I felt with what was “Going On”. I discovered I was finding out the news a day later by reading the paper at work. It was very strange to come into work and see the headline “Pope Francis”, when I’d expected the conclave to last for days.
The weather also caught me out – I was surprised when it snowed, which hasn’t happened for a long time.
On the other hand, being back on Twitter at Spring Harvest was great. The hashtag #sh2013 was the “official” one for tweets, and while the Minehead Jonny-Come-Lately’s kept interrupting, it was an extra dimension to see people’s comments on the same talk you’d been in, or even just the weather. It was a connection between the cyber world and the real world, and Twitter often feels pretty disconnected.
Ah yes, Spring Harvest. Just back from an awesome 5 days or so in Skegness (photos on my 365). All about Jesus as the Source, and how we can “Be”, “Say”, and “Do” the Good News. The main thing the week did for me wass remind me that actually I’m all about Jesus, and advancing his Kingdom – everything else is secondary. I’ve been reading various bits and pieces about mission recently, and this week really helped focus my thinking and bring it all together. I honestly believe (if I was a preacher!), that I could preach for the next 12 months on the material we covered this week, and still not get through it all.
Ness Wilson (the main speaker at the morning bible readings) was fantastic, and I could have listened to her for hours. She really brought 1 John alive, and gave us plenty of food for thought. The “Think” Seminars were spot on, with even more food for thought, and significant challenges, as well as some relaly good ideas (which I intend to pinch for this year’s Growing Leaders).
Add every afternoon at Splash Waterworld, and you’re pretty much onto a winner.
I cannot recommend Spring Harvest highly enough, in case you hadn’t already guessed. I will probably unpack my thoughts a bit further in due course.
Thu 14 February 2013
I think No. 2 son has his first bad dream last night (at least the first that we were able to discern).
He awoke in tears, crying out “the saucepans have gone, the saucepans have gone.”
Given he doesn’t (typically) go to bed with saucepans, or indeed have them in his room, I can only conclude that he was having a culinary dream that went horribly wrong!!
Sat 9 February 2013
"Slow Cooked Lamb
Don’t often post meals, but this evening’s really was a stonker, and dead easy.
It’s from Jamie Oliver’s recipe. Take a shoulder of lamb, poke with garlic, shove it in a pan with some veg, chopped toms, and wine, and cook in a low oven for 4 hrs, then shred.
It’s going to re-appear in savoury pancake/wrap things tomorrow too!
Sat 9 February 2013
I’ve decided to give up (reading) Twitter for Lent this year. I had originally couched this in terms of social media, but actually I can’t give up e-mail at work, and I hardly ever go on Facebook, so Twitter it is. That said, I’m not going to start browsing Facebook just because I’m off Twitter!!!
For me, the purpose of giving up something for Lent is like an extended fast, and I’ve written about the point/benefits of fasting before.
In summary, it’s a combinaton of self-denial, as a means of growth in discipline and self-control, sacrifice to indicate that I’m serious about being a follower of Jesus, an identification – however poorly – with His time in the wilderness, and having a constant low-level reminder that I’m not of this world.
Of course, I’m not equating a few weeks without tweeting to Jesus spending 40 days in the desert without food! Never-the-less, I interact with Twitter probably 10 or 15 times a day, it’s clearly a luxury item, but something I will definitely miss.
I will continue to keep an eye on my @HGWeather robot – but as this hardly ever falls over, and I get notified if it does, so I don’t expect this to have any problems. I will also read mentions and direct messages, and respond to the latter if there is no other communication channel and a response is required. These get notified to me by e-mail though, so don’t involve me going on Twitter.
Oh yes, and if I do a blog post (and I suspect I might), it gets automatically tweeted.
Reason for posting this? Well, accountability I suppose, but also I wouldn’t want anything to think I was being rude.
Fri 1 February 2013
I took (and passed) the Microsoft Certifcation exam 70-480 (HTML5 and CSS3) yesterday.
I want to finish restructuring it, so that the code is encapsulated properly, and I’m thinking about putting the solving part into a WebWorker. The basic solve doesn’t need to be (I don’t think) as it’s pretty fast, but if I add an exhaustive search this will definitely need to not run on the UI thread.
Anyway, watch this space, as they say.
Tue 22 January 2013
"Driving me crazy
When weather conditions are inclement, I notice more than usual the bad drivers on the road. Snow seems to particularly bring out the foolish in people, who think that compacted snow and ice on the road will have no impact on grip, steering, or stopping distances.
This morning, for instance, a truck got stuck just outside our house. It was trying to turn around, and got stuck sideways across the middle of the road, unable to go forwards or backwards – the wheels just span. I went out to offer assistance (not least so my wife could get out of the drive!). While I was digging out around the wheels (in the middle of the road) 4 or 5 cars came past at a not inconsiderable speed, through the narrow gap left behind the truck – through virgin snow – only a foot or two away from me. What possesses people to drive so dangrously and inconsiderately?
I freely confess that bad driving is one of my pet peeves. On my daily cycle to work I see a lot of it, and you only have to spend 5 minutes on the motorway to see speeding, tail-gating, lane drifting, undertaking, swerving off to junctions, cutting up.
Naturally I consider myself to be a good driver – indeed all the surveys seem to show that the vast majority of drivers consider themselves to be a “better than average” driver. Clearly this is a nonsense; less than half of drivers can be better than average, by definition. So why is this?
I’ve not fully unpacked it, but I think some of the factors are as follows.
Firstly, there can be a lot of kudos / self-esteem associated with driving, and car ownership. No one wants to admit being a bad driver any more than being bad in bed, or a boring person to be stuck with. Some things attract an almost perverse anti-pride – “I’m so bad at maths”, but everyone wants to be a good driver. Cars are the keys to adulthood and independence. We know it’s potentially lethal to be a bad driver, so perhaps we subconciously avoid assessing ourselves, for fear of discovering that we shouldn’t be driving?
Secondly, in a global sense, Brits actually are quite good drivers. The roads are in good condition, cars are in good condition, the laws are sensible and enforced. It is unusual and note-worthy to see outrageously dangerous drivers in this country (so much so they can make TV programmes about them). The TV programmes don’t help here, either, as any of us can watch them and say “I’m a much better driver than that”. I suspect the general high standard contributes to our own assessments – we simply don’t notice the 99 other drivers who are driving well, we notice the single idiot and think “What an idiot – I’m a much better driver than that.” The incorrect leap is then taken “.. therefore I’m better than average” rather than “I’m somewhere in the range 2%-100%”. That said, it remains a sad fact that almost 2,000 a year are killed on the roads – more than 5 people every day – with a further estimated 80,000 seriously injured.
Then there’s the ambiguity of words. What does being a “good driver” entail? How do you measure it – Safety? Adherence to the Highway Code? Consideration of other drivers? Reaction time? Anticipation? Ability to handle the car at speed? The difficulty is on the one hand you’ve got the little old lady, who wobbles along at 5mph the 2 miles to the corner shop. She has never had an accident, any points on her licence, or insurance claims. On the other hand, you have, say, Jenson Button, who (in his day job) drives very fast, skids round corners, and has had multiple high-speed accidents, and has written off several cars.
This leads into my last point, which is perhaps the crucial one – and that is subjectivity and blindspots. We never get to observe or assess our own driving, and can carry on oblivious to the mayhem around us. If I sail merrily through a red light without noticing it, then by definition I haven’t noticed it! It’s an appalling piece of driving which doesn’t ‘count’ against me in my own assessment, because I don’t realise I’ve done it. Similarly if a stretch of road is very icy, but it happens to be straight and empty, I might drive too fast without realising I have no steering or brakes. If, by the time I need to brake, the icy stretch is over, I’ll never know I was driving badly. Or if I’m driving without my headlights on, I am unaware that other cars can’t see me (after all, I can see them), and if someone pulls out in front of me that’s their bad driving, not mine. And, let’s be honest, if someone hoots or flashes us, or instinctive reaction is more likely to be “stop hooting you jerk!” then “what am I doing wrong”? Of course if you throw drink into the equation, then judgment goes right of the window – we are unable to drive safely, and unable to recognise that fact. And if you’re looking at your phone, or trying to arbitrate a fight in the back-seat, or are otherwise distracted, you will have no idea how many near misses you had, or what dangers you avoided by luck.
The antidote is probably self-awareness and reflection – or possibly being videoed and being made to watch it back. There are clearly objective pointers, such as points on the licence, traffic violation fines, being pulled over by the police, involvement in accidents, awareness of adherence (or otherwise) to the Highway Code. Then there’s more subtle cues, such as near misses, ‘interactions’ with other drivers, feedback from other people (although this can be a touchy subject!). Scares help too – jumping on the brake pedal, finding out nothing happens, but getting away with it would hopefully be a learning exercise in the right way!
Next Page »