Hello and welcome
Some introductory text to go here. Probably. Maybe soon now that I have FTP access again.
The Blog of Life
My dad died when I was two years old from a rare form of leukaemia and today he would have been 70 years old. I'm pretty much the age he was when he became ill and Ethan is about the age I would have been. I've known for a good few years that my earliest memory is of him in hospital (though I always thought it was just 'an old man') throwing a bag of malteasers out of the window as we got in the car. More recently I've realised a few more connections from that time - watching the streetlights turn on with Nanna while standing on the bath, my intense dislike for music boxes and those little windows above internal room doors, even a soft toy that I have now inherited that I am almost phobic about comes from a memory of it from then. The loss that he and we all suffered has of course come starkly to mind with the arrival of my little boy - indeed it was Dr K who pointed out that when we found out it was a boy (rather than my hoped for girl) it would offer me a wonderful parallel.
So I have spent the day programming in Python, which I'm sure he would have got into as Daddy was programming on the ZX Spectrum he got for my birth. He made some computer games which I can still remember playing and that is probably what got me into gaming (that and spending hours watching my brother playing - something I used to love doing). I've also cleaned out and organised my shed, which is the closest thing I have to a cellar which is somewhere I always felt closest to him. And right now I have a small glass of my home brewed blackberry wine raised in his honour. I hope he would be proud of me.[2016-08-25]
500 Days of Ethan
43,200,000 seconds and counting it's been since the little guy arrived. He is so big and capable now, so much has changed that it's hard to believe he is the same person. There are occasional glimpses of his newborn look, but increasingly the direction is opposite and I can almost see him as a man. We all know time flies, especailly as you get older (I've been concious and activly opposing this since a very early age myself), but who knew babies grow up so fast. Actually I did - I've been worrying about his leaving for univeristy for a good few years prior to his conception. It is quick. It is wonderful. But it is all too quick.
And now a little word form the guy himself:
Softly to Sleep
As ever, putting in a blog post just after an emotional bedtime is not a good idea. He was very calm and after a little play in the window and then a reading of "That's not my bunny" he curled up and went to sleep holding my hand as I rested my head on his side and gently wept. Even the slow bits are so fast and slip by; how am I supposed to cope with this?[2016-08-07]
The Blog of Photos - past 30 days
Praise Him With the Sound of Cymbals
Or in our case, bowls. This was the little chap playing fervently with the mixing bowls before church. The clatter was just lovely as was the way in which some of them fit inside others.
like father like son
A Pi Project
I have finally got around to using my Raspberry Pi which has up till now been languishing in the TV corner. I was inspired by Peter who had created a PiVR which he showed us at Easter. I was pretty impressed with this and felt that I should have a go myself. After acquiring a new SD card and a little experimentation I got the image flashed onto the disk and booted it up to reveal exactly that - an internet streaming PVR working on a Raspberry Pi. Awesome. Al it needed was a wifi dongle and this neat red coupe case and my work was complete. It works really well.
Raspberry Pi with case
Sungkyunkwan Univeristy Logo on the Earth
While trying to locate those mountains I zoomed in on a rather intriguing formation which looked like a bit of human engineering - it was indeed a river delta which has been massively utilised for farming right in the far reaches of the east of Kazakhstan near the border with China. I then realised that the formation looked quite like a ginkgo leaf which is the logo for my Father-in-law's university in South Korea - Sungkyunkwan (also the oldest). Sadly when I checked the logo online I realised that the land formation is instead the mirror reflection of the logo. Here they are side by side. For your interest the geographic coordinates are: 46.040012N, 81.036736E near the town of Alaköl Audani
Alaköl Audani bearing a very close resemblance to the Sungkyunkwan University Logo
Using this rather nice simple website I was able to identify a moth I photographed 11 years ago as being a Brimstone. Go and check it out at animalphotos.me.
brimstone moth in 2005
Not wanting to be neither too disgusting, nor too proud a dad, but today was my Son's first poo on the potty. Yesterday he accidentally did a wee when I sat him on it. But today we managed a number two! I was well chuffed. In fact I was a proud dad because I took this photo. Sorry.
yes, there is poo on my website
Sunday Fellowship: Church without the church, but also mostly just church.
When we went down to Southampton a couple of weeks ago we joined our friends for the Monthly Quaker "youth" outing to the Southampton Sunday Assembly. For those of you who don't know, the Sunday Assembly was started in 2013 as an idea to take the best bits of church such as communal singing and gathering together, but without any of the crappy religious bits that obviously makes actual Church rubbish. Here are their four point summary (see, they even shirk the three point sermon):
- We are a secular congregation that celebrates life.
- We have an awesome motto: Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More.
- A super mission: A Sunday Assembly in every town, city and village that wants one.
- An awesome vision: To help everyone live life as fully as possible.
So we went along and it was just like church. Actually, it was closer to some of the funkier churches in Southampton such as New Life or Vineyard, perhaps even a little CU at a push. There were the funky folk, the quirky outsiders, the poets and the rebels. After an initial slightly awkward meet and greet time with coffee and tea the service got under way with some singing of traditional pop songs (Cold Play's "Fix You" was rather enjoyable) followed an excellent poem on apathy by an American member of the congregation. The main sermon was also good, by local poet come song writer Grant Sharkey about maintaining a line between love and anger (and included the term 'binge thinking' which I rather liked). This was followed by the short five minute talk (which went on for nearer 30) and tried to get us to share nice things that had happened in the past week. We then prayed together. No, I mean we thought together. There was even a collection!
It was good. Nice people and a friendly atmosphere, just like a good church should be and quite often are. It was markedly young, as seen by their twitter banner and I suspect most of my church would feed out of place and not as a result of the lack of God. Indeed I barely felt there was a lack of God, just that no one mentioned him or tried to avoid mentioning him (actually Grant accidentally did). This was simply church re-imagined by young people who failed to be taken along to a CU while at university. Or perhaps they were taken along to a CU, or similar funky modern church where they were prayed at or otherwise intimidated into being saved, resisted but secretly enjoyed the whole thing.
Perhaps I'm being a little facetious. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons why people were there, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if a number were ex-evangelicals, some of them had that look. Either way there is something other actual churches could learn: people like to sing together, and do pretty much everything else that Church does. It's not even the preaching that puts people off, though no doubt some of the older traditional stuff has. We just need to loosen up a little and funk it up. But at the same time I certainly don't want to loose all the lovely silver backs we have in my local Church - they bring such warmth, love, vision and stability that should be treasured. Also they are most certainly not all stuck-in-the-mud bores who don't want change. Lets all sit together and learn from each other. It is hard to be a cohesive living church of all ages, but God really can help, even if some have to pretend not to have heard about him.
PS. The idea of giving new people different coloured mugs so everyone knows who's new and who's not is a wizard idea.[2015-08-17]
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Listening to: OK Go
Upside Down & Inside Out
From: Hungry Ghosts
23 knife wounds
Recently:Slipped while sharpening cleaver and sliced deep right across the proximal interphalangeal joint
Change from our first outing with baby
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