Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Haunted By Geography

I have a fair few recurring dreams. Some are good, like that cool one where I flap my arms frantically like a chicken, and slowly rise into the air, filling all on-lookers with amazement and awe. And some are bad, like that one where I'm about to play a gig, am up on stage, guitar in hand, drawing breath to start singing.. when I realise I haven't learned any songs. Oh.

Then there's the weird insidious ones that are just always there, just in subconscious territory, creating a weird tense sort of feeling of unease, even when I'm awake, like deep down I believe they are actually real, I just haven't accepted the fact yet.

Enter the Geography Dream. At the start of the year, year 12 I think, Mr Talbot has told us, the Geography class, that there is this massive assignment. We need to really plan for this one, and put a lot of time into it. It'll take about a year.The rest of our entire schooling is worth like, 4% of our tertiary thingo score, but this King of All Assignments is worth the remaining 96%. He's not going to mention it again, but we are to keep all this in mind. Anyway, time passes. I don't work on King Assignment at all. It never gets mentioned again. I do my HSC. Still no mention. I get my results and head of to uni. Still no mention.

But King Assignment hangs over me like, ummm... let's see.. like the Sword of Damocles, or something literary like that. I awake, but the dream remains. My shoulders are never quite relaxed. I can never breathe quite deeply enough, there's always a bit of tension that lingers. I'm never quite sure what it is.

I get on with my life. I marry, and work and make some children. I get wider and greyer. But always waiting. waiting to eventually be found out and to have it all just unravel. One day Mr Talbot will arrive at the door, flanked with armed, burly officers of The Law. And they'll take me away. Everything has been a scam and a facade, and now I must pay.

Because I never did that King of All Assignments for Geography.

Taaaalllllbbbooottt!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Achievement Of The Day

Trawled through all 4,267 results for "desk" on Gumtree.

I tend to get a tad fixated. I must look at every single result, for what if I only investigate 4,266 desks, and it's that very last one that was THE ONE? How could I go on living?

But I think I've found one. In the land of the Giant Killer Robot.

Now to work out how to transport the thing..

Heady Days

Big stuff is afoot..

Bubba #4 is arriving in December! Trying to work out how to fit a family of six into 2.5 bedrooms.

In a few weeks I start a new job after 13 years at the same place. Resigned a few days back.  I've made the switch to freelance, and I'll be working from home. Trying to work out how to transform the garage from junk-filled, redback infested asbestos icebox to lovely, professional-like home studio.  

Hoping to return to this here blog to chronicle such happenings. I miss you guys and need some yoomun interaction to avoid being Nigel No Friends Alone In Garage All Day Man.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ummm..

'Thailand's military said on Tuesday that its radar detected a plane that may have been Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 just minutes after the jetliner's communications went down, and that it didn't share the information with Malaysia earlier because it wasn't specifically asked for it.'

From the SMH.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Still Small Voice

This is a really good Tim Keller talk, well worth a listen.

The reality of God is far greater than our conceptions of God. In this passage, Elijah, persecuted and feeling hopeless, returns to the mountain where God appeared to Moses and hopes for a similar spectacular revelation of His glory. Yet God confounds and comforts Elijah by appearing as a still small voice.

5:2


I've slowly put on weight over the years, and it was getting me down a fair bit. Seeing photos of myself from Christmas I was quite shocked. My face shape was becoming less Burt and more Ernie.

So anyway, I've started this diet thing, and have been trying to make a few changes. Have you heard of The Fast Diet, or the 5:2 Diet? That's what I'm doing. E's doing it too. In a nutshell, you eat normally 5 days a week, but on the other two days you fast. You can eat 500 calories on those days, which is about a quarter of what you'd usually have. Those days suck a bit, (especially after a meagre dinner when I want to knock back a couple of rows of chocolate but have to settle on a small handful of sultanas. Grumpiness ensues..) but it's great knowing tomorrow you can eat whatever you want again.

This is my fourth week on it, and it's going pretty well. I've lost a couple of kilo's, and am just generally feeling better. I've been jogging a bit too, and doing some push ups and sit ups to help things along.

You Talk To Yourself


"No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you as much as you talk to yourself. 

People laugh at that statement, but I'm really quite serious. You're in an unending, incredibly important conversation with your soul every moment of every day.
You interpret, organize, and analyze what's going on inside and outside of you. You talk to yourself about the past, you talk to yourself about the future, and you talk to yourself about what you're experiencing in the present.

Obviously, this is an internal conversation - if you had this conversation aloud they would probably put you into a ward! But that's why it's so dangerous - you often don't even realize that you're saying things to yourself. But you are. You're saying things to you that will shape your desires, actions, and theology.

What are you saying to you about God and your circumstances? Do your words stimulate faith, hope, and courage? Or does your talk stimulate doubt, discouragement, and fear? Do you remind yourself that God is near, or do you reason within yourself that, given your circumstances, he must be distant?

Here's the question: how wholesome, faith-driven, and Christ-centered is the conversation that you have with yourself every day? Do you remind yourself of your need? Do you point yourself once again to the beauty and practicality of God's grace? Do you tell yourself to run toward him in those moments when you feel like running from him?

No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you as much as you talk to yourself. What will you say to you today?"

-Paul Tripp, from here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Slug Love

Wanna see something gross? Of course you do. The other day the kids spied this writhing mass of slugginess--


The closer we looked, the more stomach-churning it all became. And yet it was impossible to look away. Strangely compelling, it was  What the heck is that weird pale blue monstrosity?


Is that normal? Does it hurt? It was connected somehow to both of the young lovers, and then within seconds it kind of shrunk, retracted and disappeared. Also, consider the strength of the mucus membrane holding the weight of those two hefty slugs to the wall. Wowsers.

E did a bit of a Google to find out about the weird blue thing. She discovered the terrible truth. Read at your own absolute peril. You have been sufficiently warned.

Slugs are hermaphrodites, having both female and male reproductive organs.[10] Once a slug has located a mate, they encircle each other and sperm is exchanged through their protruded genitalia. A few days later, the slugs lay around thirty eggs in a hole in the ground, or beneath the cover of an object such as a fallen log.

Apophallation is a commonly seen practice among many slugs. In apophallating species, the penis curls like acorkscrew and during mating, it often becomes entangled in the mate's genitalia. Apophallation allows the slugs to separate themselves by one or both of the slugs chewing off the other's penis. Once its penis has been removed, the slug is still able to mate using only the female parts of its reproductive system.[10] (Wikipedia)



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Exciting New Project

I liked this comic by Jamie Smart. It resonates painfully!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fillums

We've been on this trial thing for Quickflix. It's great. Movies magically arrive for you in the post, with a postage paid envelope, and then you just drop them back off in a postbox when your done. The first month was free, and lovely as it was to catch up on lots of movies we've missed over the past couple of years, I doubt we'll continue with the paid version. Still, it was fun while it lasted. Here's some of the stuff we watched--

Silver Linings Playbook 
I really, really liked this. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were both great. I'd happily watch it again.

4/5

Hitchcock Okayish. All I could think of though, was 'that's just Anthony Hopkins with a rubber face on'. Why not get a less known actor that actually looks like the person they are portraying? I found it all a bit forgetable.

2.5/5

Wuthering Heights I love all things Wuthering Heights, but I actually hated this version. We both did, and we didn't even finish it. It tried to be very edgy and different, but just stripped the source material of all the essentials. That's Heathcliffe? The guy who barely even speaks in the whole movie? Nope. The camera work was so edgy that I think it was being hand-held by a monkey. And whenever they wanted us to understand the inner turmoil of a character they'd pan a way to a dead tree, or maybe a moth writhing in the mud. Yeah, we get it.

1.5/5  

The Impossible I knew nothing about this movie, and had low expectations. But it blew me away, I thought it was amazing. The way it portrayed the tsunami was frighteningly realistic (hooray for scale models instead of dopey CGI) and Naomi watts was really great. Made sense to discover it was the same director as the awesome The Orphanage.

4/5

The Internship Before this, I thought I hated anything with Vince Vaughn in it. 

I was right.

2/5



Great Expectations Okay, but a bit unnecessary. the BBC version a couple years back with Agent Scully as Miss Havisham was better. Overall it was not bad, especially the parts with Ralph Fiennes as ol' Magwitch, and I'd have rated it higher if it were not for The. Dreadful. Helena . Bonham. Carter. No, no, no, no no! She is the same in every role. Kooky, crazy, unhinged.. but THE SAME. She's only good when she does something different. Like The King's Speech, where she just acted like a normal person for once.

3/5

Friday, February 21, 2014

And With This, I'm In

Sometimes it's better to sneak in through the back door rather than make a grand entrance.

Especially when you're very late.

Friday, December 20, 2013

And With That, I'm Out

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a relaxing break. Thanks for sticking by me this year, even though content has been so thin on the ground. You guys are the reason I bother coming back, to be honest.

I hope and pray that you have a wonderful 2014, and that God blesses you, protects you, and leads you to good things. and I hope to catch up with you in January some time.
Your pal,
~Ben

The Epic End of Year Super Quiz 2013

1. Your year, out of 10
2. Highlight?
3. Lowlight?
4. An achievement you're proud of
5. Something you learnt
6. Something you're thankful for
7. Song of the year
8. Show of the year
9. Book of the year
10. Movie of the year

11. Biggest world event
12.  Biggest vomit inducer
13. Most interesting celeb
14. Most annoying celeb
15. Most annoying saying
16. Strangest global phenomenon
17.  If you could go back in time and do the year differently, would you?
18. Something you want to start next year
19. Something you want to leave in 2013
20. A hope for 2014

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mischief


'Oh no, why did you do that?'

'Because it was in my eyes.'

Amnesia

Oh yeah... I have a blog..

Whoops.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rejiggery

I've done a bit of a re-jig of my painting website- bigger images, and hopefully generally a bit clearer.

Any tips would be appreciated, as I'm pretty crap when it comes to fonts and all that tom foolery.

PS- check out the nifty options under 'Classic' in that black header bar thing. I didn't put that there, but I like it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rivers & Robots

Been loving this song by Rivers & Robots, a Christian indie band from Manchester.

You can download it free. I did. I like free stuff.

Good News Of Great Joy

I've been reading these Advent devotionals by John Piper. I've been finding them really good. Short, clear, and a good way to start the day. And free too. I downloaded the PDF and popped it my phone. Highly recommended. Here's today's one--

NO DETOUR FROM CALVARY
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. —Luke 2:6–7

Now you would think that if God so rules the world as to use an empire-wide census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he surely could have seen to it that a room was available in the inn.

Yes, he could have. And Jesus could have been born into a wealthy family. He could have turned stone into bread in the wilderness. He could have called 10,000 angels to his aid in Gethsemane. He could have come down from the cross and saved himself. The question is not what God could do, but what he willed to do.

God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor. The “No Vacancy” signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. “For your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

God rules all things—even motel capacities—for the sake of his children. The Calvary road begins with a “No Vacancy” sign in Bethlehem and ends with the spitting and scoffing of the cross in Jerusalem. And we must not forget that he said, “He who would come after me must deny himself and take up his cross” (Matthew 16:24).

We join him on the Calvary road and hear him say, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20).

To the one who calls out enthusiastically, “I will follow you wherever you go!” (Matthew 8:19). Jesus responds, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).

Yes, God could have seen to it that Jesus have a room at his birth. But that would have been a detour off the Calvary road.


A Small Request

Do you know anyone called Naomi?

Do you pronounce her name 'Nye-omi' instead of the normal, correct way? Can you not do that anymore, please?

Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Painting in Progress

Here's a few pictures showing how I went about that painting. I usually paint the canvas brownish, with a thin wash, because painting onto a blinding white canvas scares me. I then pencil in where I want everything to go.
 Then I rough in the darks. This means you get the contrasts right from the beginning, and it helps block in the bones of the picture.
 Then some of the mid-tones. I whacked in a bit of sky earlyish this time (usually I do it last) because I was getting a bit disconcerted by the apocalyptic brown sky.

And some time later-

Monday, December 2, 2013

New Painting

I did my first painting commission the other week, for the lovely Sarah and Izaac. Little Queen Street, Newtown--


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Oh My Kingdom For Some Knee Warmers

I have very strange body temperature issues (yes this blog has stooped to body temperature issues) which seem to show up when I get into bed. Some parts of me feel all tropical while others are arctic. Even in the hot summer months I wear a long sleeve top to bed. Yet even in winter I need to get my feet blanket-free. It's very hard to get the appropriate coverage in all areas.

One part of me that's always cold, whatever the season, are my knees. I lay in bed and all I can think about is how cold they are. Not just the skin, but the actual knobbly bone itself. It's just cold and can't be warmed. As I lay awake I often ponder making some manner of makeshift knee-warmer. I'd get a pair of woolen socks, cut off the toes and slide them up my leg so they cover my knees. Ohhhh man. As I lay awake the thought of those little babies puts a contented smile on my face. Oh for some knee-warmers.

Out of curiosity I did a Google search to see if such a thing exists. It totally does! Many,many results. Turns out the cold knee affliction transcends race, gender and religion. And Etsy even sell 'vintage' ones. Because clearly how aged the sock is very important. Sort of like a good cheese or a fine wine, I suppose.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Social Media'd To Death

What do you think about this whole LinkedIn business? Trying to be hip and nowish, I signed up a fair while back, and have been obligingly asking people to be my friend connection. I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing this for though. To be honest I don't know if I really want any more connections in my life. Is that bad?

It would all be harmless and not annoying enough if that was that. But no, 70% of my email inbox seems to consist of some kind of uninteresting LinkedIn stuff. So and so has made 4 new friends connections. Wow. My day is now made. I know I'm being surly. Maybe if I was looking for a job it would all be very wondrous and life-saving. But for now it's just kind of annoying. Am I alone in this annoyance? Is LinkedIn actually a brilliant thing that I should be enjoying?

And then there's that Google+ thing I unwittingly signed up for a while back. No idea what that is either. But I do feel very up to date with the knowledge of so and so's new friend, um, er connection, opps I mean circle.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Two Vees Do Not a Double Yew Make

Have you noticed that you can't type two v's in a row without it looking looking like a 'w'?

It's annoying, because otherwise I'd use the word 'luvvie' a whole lot more.

The Work Iron

I would wear more collared shirts if they didn't require ironing. Ironing is a drainer. It unnecessarily saps your life.

I'm going to the girls' dancing concert tonight though, so I brought a shirt with me. But it's pretty crinkled, so I'm going to use The Work Iron. Actually I'm using it right now as I type. Do you know what The Work Iron is? You wouldn't, because I just invented it.

What I've done, is folded it very neatly, and have put the folded garment on my chair. And now I'm sitting on it. Not unlike a broody hen. The combined warmth and weight of my trousered buttocks (sorry) seem to be producing a very satisfactory result. A couple more hours of nesting and I should be good to go, said garment crisp and tidy.

Results may vary.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why We Click Stupid Links


I liked this post from the Desiring God blog.

'And so Augustine emerges from history to ask us three reflective questions about our browsing history:
*Am I seeking out hyperlinks that offer me a promising pathway to see more of God’s beauty?

*Or, are my hyperlink habits unregulated, prompted by some inner whim, and terminating on nothing more than my vain curiosity?

*Or, most tragic of all, are the hyperlinks I click on really just a series of pint-size pothole cisterns out of which I hope to slurp up a little gratification for my empty soul?'

Ouch.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Spade a Spade

Now, I will use this to show that our culture is insane. It’s insane. Let me give you a case. It was recently in the news. Here’s the news story. I’ll just read it: “Last June, Remee Lee found out she was pregnant and was over the moon. But her euphoria soon turned to despair when the man she knew as her boyfriend secretly killed her fetus. John Andrew Welden didn’t want children.” You guys who want sex but not children, you’re on the path to murder. You may not be there yet, but you’re on the path to murder. “John Andrew Welden didn’t want children, and so he tricked Lee into taking an abortion pill, causing her to miscarry at six weeks. Welden, 28, pleaded guilty to killing their”—here’s what the article says—”unborn baby. In order to trick Lee, Welden told Lee that her blood tests had shown that she had an infection and needed to take amoxicillin, and that she’d need to take it for three days. But instead of the antibiotic, Welden gave Lee Cytotec, a drug that first causes contractions, followed by miscarriage. Lee ended up being rushed to the hospital with abdominal pain and bleeding. Doctors discovered the pills were not antibiotics but abortion pills”—yes, the kind that junior high kids can get at school without parental consent in some places even though they can’t get an aspirin. “He accepted a plea deal that could send him to prison for at least thirteen years. Welden was indicted under the rarely used federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, a murder charge that carries a life sentence.”

This is an application of the principle in Exodus 21. The baby is a person, and if you murder the baby, you deserve punishment from the state because you are a murderer. The article uses these amazing words. They use the word “unborn baby,” “abortion pills,” and “murder.” Are you telling me that an unborn baby is a person with rights and that abortion pills cause murder? Yes.

I’m particularly perplexed by this rarely used Federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Yeah, you’re not kidding, it’s rarely used. See, if the woman would have taken the pill and murdered the child, we would have had a parade, but because the man tricked her and gave her the pill, we sentence him to prison for thirteen years.

My question is, was it murder or not? If it was murder, then it doesn’t matter who murdered. It’s still murder, and I agree with the decision, and I’m praying for the woman. Her baby was murdered by her boyfriend, the child’s father. He’s a murderer, but he’s not alone.

Does this seem crazy to you, that a man could walk up and hit a pregnant woman, and if she miscarries, he could be charged with murder, unless he’s a doctor and the mother asks for it? It’s insane. Again, the question is not choice; the question is murder. The issue’s not choice; the issue is murder.

-Mark Driscoll

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Princess and The Pig

Last night I read one of the best kids books I've read for yonks- The Princess and The Pig by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene.

Track it down, it's really great.

Monday, October 28, 2013

T Day

We are going camping after Christmas, down the coast for a week. It'll be our first foray into the whole family camping thing. It could be great. Could also be, um, somewhat less than great. Sleeping in a tent 5 hours from home with two small kids and a baby..  But you've gotta try these things.

We got a sweet tent a while back in the sales, and after much strong urging from E, yesterday arvo we had a practice run of putting it up. Me and E are from different schools of thought.  My school is, this task is going to suck, it's going to be hard and annoying, so why do it twice when you could only do it once. In other words, skip the practice run and just deal with the pain when we actually get there. E is from the slightly more prestigious school of thought, the one with he strict uniform code that includes a wide brimmed hat, the one with the school motto in Latin. She wants to be prepared, and to nail the hard task in advance, to study hard so that exam day is a breeze. In other words, she wants to go through the painful tent experience twice. Being the loving dutiful husband I am, it only took her several months to get me to comply to her prestigious school. So yesterday was T Day.

A youtube clip said it takes 26 minutes to erect our particular tent. We took maybe 7 times 26 minutes. Grrr, smug youtube clip. Grr haiku tent instructions.

Anyways, long story less long, we got the job done, and yes (insert adolescent eye rolling) I'm glad we had a practise run.


The Latest Love

I am a man of very intense, though often short-lived passions. They come, I am obsessed for a while, and then suddenly they sort of vapourise away in an Ecclesiates sort of way. Sometimes the love returns after a year and I'll become obsessed again for a few more months. It's all very unpredictable.

Anyway, right now it's samurai movies. I've only seen a handful, but the love is quite strong. Akira Kurosawa is my new favourite director. He is absolutely amazing. I'm halfway through his epic Ran which is a sort of retelling of King Lear. It's jaw-dropping stuff.