Wednesday, December 23, 2009
My friend Carly put it together, and did a really great job of it.
You can listen or read the transcript.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thanks for reading, and commenting this year, it's been great to have you. I'll be back early to mid January, to pick up where I left off.
I hope you all have a great Christmas, and a happy new year.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Then later this arvo, the girls are coming in to work for the family Christmas party. Apparently Hi-5 are going to be there, so Little e will be pretty stoked.
Just gotta keep her away from the junk food table as much as possible to avoid another beserko meltdown like we had on the weekend.
Logistically, I would be working through the holiday that's felt like the light at the end of the tunnel, and I would only be adding to the strain at home. Working through the nights, working through weekends. Even less time with the girls. Nuh, just not doable right now.
I think it's one of those times when I need wisdom and faith-- wisdom to say no to something even though I really want it, and faith to hand over my desire to God and trust that He will bring other opportunities my way.
I got home from work as they were there checking her out, and then E drove her to Emergency on their advice, while I stayed home with Little e. They checked her over, and as she had completely swallowed the thing by then, they didn't really do much, and just said it would eventually make it's own way out..
She seems pretty right now, but it was pretty awful and scary, and just felt like yet another drama in a long line of them lately.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Come now, don't be like that, friends.
It's just that it's nearly Christmas, and frankly, I'm quickly running out of steam. Life has been crazy, and I'm just absolutely hanging out for a break, and for some time away from everything.
So just hold tight, and know that I love you.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Hounds of Love- Kate Bush (1985). A beautiful, beautiful album divided into two parts, the first side a bunch of brilliant pop songs, the second a weird concept thing about someone drowning.
Pet Sounds- The Beach Boys (1966). The perfect example of the genius that is Brian Wilson. Heartbreakingly beautiful, groundbreaking songs, impeccably produced.
Daydream Nation- Sonic Youth (1987). Strange, sprawling soundscapes that still feel like the soundtrack to my life, and stop me in my tracks whenever I give it a spin.
Disintegration- The Cure (1989). Beautiful, spooky love songs that bring my teenage years flooding back.
For Emma, Forever Ago- Bon Iver (2008). Fantastic! Best new music I've heard for a decade. Written and recorded by one guy holed up in a log cabin for the winter.
Homogenic- Bjork (1997). This album sounds exactly like the giant, freezing glaciers of Iceland where Bjork is from. Her voice is incredible.
Surfer Rosa- The Pixies (1987). Doolittle is a great album, but I've always kinda liked this one more. When my brother leant me the tape in year 7, it blew my mind.
Don't Break The Oath- Mercyful Fate (1984). My biggest discovery of the last year is this Danish metal band. You've never heard anyone sing quite as strangely as King Diamond, and the riffs and solos, and songs about witches and demons are too much for me to resist.
Ten- Pearl Jam (1990). I'll always have a soft spot for this. Kinda overblown, and maybe over-produced, but just great none the less. So passionate and earnest.
Ritual De Lo Habitual- Jane's Addiction (1990). A cool hybrid of lots of influences, punk, metal, funk, goth, all rolled in together.
The Psycho Social...-Jedi Mind Tricks (1997). To me, the epitome of hip hop. I love lots of hip hop, but this weird underground mix of spooky production, great rapping and conspiracy theories is amazing.
New Morning- Bob Dylan (1970). Bob retires from the public eye, moves to the country and has a couple of kids. Less scathing, and more layed back and at peace, I love this album.
Music From Big Pink- The Band (1968). Dylan's backing band release their own album. It is exquisite. Three beautiful voices, five brilliant musicians, and a great songwriter.
Tango In The Night- Fleetwood Mac (1985). Awesome songs on a very 80's sounding album. Synthesised up the yin-yang, but amazingly it doesn't sound cheesy or lame.
Loveless- My Bloody Valentine (1991). This will always remind me of my brother, and listening to it with him in his room. Weird guitar and keyboard messes with ethereal vocals.
Where You Been- Dinosaur Jr (1993). My soundtrack to year 10 at school. Introverted love songs about the girls I couldn't get--this was right up my alley!
Treasure- Cocteau Twins (1984). Elizabeth Fraser is one of the most incredible singers I've ever heard. She doesn't sing actual lyrics, just strange wordless sounds that break my heart.
After The Goldrush- Neil Young (1970). A wonderful, relaxing way to spend half an hour. Great acoustic sounding songs with lots of piano and nice harmonies.
The White Album- The Beatles (1968). Hard to choose just one Beatles album, but I love the diversity of the White Album; just chock full of ideas and new new sounds.
Ride The Lightning- Metallica (1984). For me, both the quintessential Metallica album, and the quintessential metal album. Anything that I want in a metal album, this has it.
Crocodiles- Echo and The Bunnymen (1980). Sort of like a cooler, tougher, darker and better version of early U2. Awesome post punk sort of sound.
Three Feet High and Rising- De La Soul (1988). Fantastic, funny, crazy, un-pretentious psychedelic hip hop, from the masters.
Painkiller- Judas Priest (1990). Absolutely cranking metal. Loud, heavy, awesome. Rob Halford at his screaming best.
Hatful of Hollow- The Smiths (1984). A great young band full of ideas. The vibrant enthusiastic playing of Johnny Marr was the perfect foil to Morrisey's boo-hooing.
Raise- Swervedriver (1991). Great indie guitar songs about driving fast cars.
Show No Mercy- Slayer (1984). Awesome early thrash metal. A meaner, nastier Metallica.
Pacific Ocean Blue- Dennis Wilson (1977). The solo album by the overlooked Beach Boys drummer turned out to be one of the most amazingly touching things you'll ever hear.
Monday, December 14, 2009
It's gonna be a bit big, so take a deep breath, make yourself a cuppa, and then sit down and give it a shot...
1. Favourite album, this year (NOTE- doesn't have to have been made this year, just what your fav. was. Same goes with books, movies etc.)
2. Favourite song, this year
3. Favourite movie, this year
4. Favourite TV show, this year
5. Favourite book, this year
6. A global phenomenon you'd like to see not carried into the next decade
7. Most annoying word/saying of the year
8. Biggest eye-roll inducer of the year
9. Over-exposed celeb of the year
10. Interesting world event
11. Highlight of your year
12. Lowlight of your year
13. Something you're proud of achieving this year
14. A disappointment
15. Something you'd change if you had the chance again
16. Describe your year in a sentence or two, bare bones.
17. A way that you are different now than you were in January
18. A way you'd like to be different by next December
19. A hope for next year
20. A resolution
I finish work this Friday, for three weeks, and intend to steer clear of computers as long as possible.
I'll then get back into it mid-Jan, and begin the third year of this blog. I never would've thought I could stick to something for that long!
Anyways, on with celebrating this final week...
I recently heard the idea that God runs us through certain trials and hardships, repeatedly, until we grow from it and learn an important lesson. This is what this situation feels like to me.
It feels like He is trying to get me to grow and trust in Him, and to learn to still be able to be content and at peace in the midst of these difficulties, but instead each time I face the trial, I quickly bow out, get angry and resentful, and don't learn the lesson.
Behind this thought process is a very immature view of God that I keep falling back on: if You loved me, You wouldn't let this happen to me. In this thought, I am totally disregarding what I actually know to be true, when I'm in my right mind- that God intends everything for our good, and uses everything to make us grow.
God doesn't test me because He likes to see me falter and have difficulties. This is incompatible with the good God that He is. Instead, He puts me into the flames, to purify me by burning away all the rubbish, to just leave the gold, which is the only thing that can withstand the heat.
He burns away my self-reliance, my pride, my selfishness, my anger, my immaturity, to bring me out a stronger, more capable, more peaceful person, with a deeper trust, reliance and love for Him.
But until I'm willing to let go, and learn to grow through the painful things in life, while they are happening, without jumping to resentment, my guess is that I'll just keep returning to the start.
Friday, December 11, 2009
The first step is to do this with a three letter word. Once you do that, the next person has to do four, and so on (but you can't skip from three to five).
Once it gets to five letters, there can be an extra vowel in the word, but the same one must be substituted in all the words.
The winner is the one who eventually gets the longest word, and they will get an amazing prize.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
When Mother Bear discovers that some joker has been sleeping in her bed, she goes, "Land sakes!". Why wouldn't she? I'd say it too.
Anyways, you should try it. I'm not sure what it means, but it sounds good and is fun to say. Little e and myself have been dropping it casually into our vocabularies.
Now organised, she looked sideways at the woman sitting beside her with a look that said "I'd say you were the most putrid, germ-infested thing I have ever seen. If you so much as brush past me, I will probably be dead by the time I reach Emergency".
The other woman looked sideways back at her, with an expression that said "what the hell are you sideways-looking at, shower cap head?"
But anyway, the point of this post is that Mrs Clean then proceeded to lean on, and hold tightly the metal pole, seemingly without a second thought. It occurred to me that this would be like having to wear knee-length gum boots to use the urinal, but then resting your hands on the trough.
*Is 'compulsed' a word? If not, can we make it that it is?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
So, nearish my work is this men's hairdressers place, very blokey, with lame 'hard rock' always playing, lots of car and Ralph magazines, and stuff like that, and about five young male hairdressers.
Anyways, often I walk by, and they're all sitting around talking about V8's and chicks, because business is a bit slow. That kind of brings me a little joy in itself.
But far more great and fantastic than that, was this one special afternoon when I walked by. Let me paint the glorious picture that I saw:
The head honcho owner guy is in the chair himself, his head draped back over the basin, hair lathered with shampoo, and eyes closed in cathartic pleasure. Around him are the other lads, one is doing the lathering, gently massaging his mate's scalp. Another guy stands by with a brush. Another has a towel over his arm, patiently waiting to fulfill his own special role.
Ahhh. More bromance than you can poke a stick at. I just think that's so great and hilarious, and just calling it to mind can cheer me up in an instant.
How did this occur? How did the conversation turn from "Fwooor, did you see her?" and "Check out this sick carburetor" to "So guys, how about totally giving me a good old fashioned pampering"?
Doing the intensive speech therapy course in February was the giant turn-around that I desperately needed, but since then, the thing that has had the biggest impact on my speech and attitude about my speech, has been the Toastmasters group.
I thank God for His amazing providence, that the one and only TM club for stutterers in the country, just happened to be five minutes up the road from my house.
Monday, December 7, 2009
The movie itself was pretty average- one of those ones that you struggle to remember anything about a couple of hours later. What I long for in a kid's movie is just some stillness and nice, calming sequences, but these days they're all crazy fit-inducing colour and movement. I could sense Little e was finding it all a bit full-on, and she'd turn away and look at something else, like the exit sign, for a while.
But it was fun taking her. She spent most of the time sitting on my lap, chatting to me about random stuff, and asking for more snacks. She's a good kid.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
That's the problem with us- we leave all the really awesome names for the silly celebrities. We need to try and be a bit more adventurous on that front.
So if we have a boy, I'm thinking Conan Barbarian McLaughlin.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
~Your Affectionate Uncle Screwtape
Little i slept for roughly seven minutes, and spent the remaining hours, crying, yelling, playing, laughing, squawking, yodelling, gargling, whimpering, guffawing, hollering and hooting.
So now to get on with sleep-walking through today..
2. The other loser guy
3. The loser kid
4. The rest of the loser cast
5. The loser song
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
When I was about twenty, all that my friends ever wanted to do was rock-climbing. It's Saturday, let's go to some cliff in the bush and try and scale it. It's Friday night, let's go to the indoor climbing place and try to climb up a wall.
Oh gosh, can we?
I'd try really hard, really I would. I'd tag along, and give it a little go. I'd get about a metre off the ground, and in a whirl of vertigo squeak out something like 'I really need to get down now please'. And then I'd sit and watch in the hot sun, shooing away flies for the next three hours.
Next Saturday comes, sorry I'd dearly love to join you but I'm washing my hair.
And now, a decade on, it seems that bikes (of the pedalling variety) are the new equivalent among my Christian friends. Join a conversation, they're probably talking about bikes. Ask them what they are doing on the weekend? Most likely something involving bikes.
Now, don't be mad. I am not passing judgement on either of these pursuits. They are good pursuits. Climbing stuff is good. Riding bikes is good.
But I suppose at the heart of this post is a question- is there some psychological flaw in me that makes me want to run a mile from these things and not get involved? Is there a subconscious stubbornness that makes my eyes glaze over at the very mention of such things? Why is it, that when a group of my friends like something, my knee-jerk reaction is to run in the opposite direction?
Why is it that if they said 'hey, let's go rally driving' I'd want to go and write poetry and paint my nails, but conversely if they said 'hey, let's go listen to mellow acoustic music in a cafe', I'd want to go out pig shooting with a beer in my hand?
Why, how and when did I become so reactionary? Why do I almost want to be the odd man out?
Well, as you can see, a small joke post has turned into a long serious and soul-bearing one. But I would be interested to hear your thoughts. Even if you ride bikes.
This was all well and good, and enjoyable, except for the block or two that I got followed/chased by a little, angry white dog who kinda looked like Falcor from The Neverending Story.
The sky probably still looked beautiful, but my attention was mainly focused on running.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The word: Struggling
Who uses it? Christians
More specific? Christians who aren't struggling
Give me an example? A guy tells you earnestly about the things he 'struggles' with. What he really means is the way that he sins, but he doesn't want to say that word. And 'struggle' sounds all 'I'm fighting the good fight', like he's in this honourable battle, when nine times out of ten he's not really trying that hard, and gives in after fighting said good fight for about twelve seconds.
Why does it bother you? Well, it's putting up a front, in the same way described in the proverb my owner (who over-uses the word 'struggle' more than anyone) posted yesterday. It's not being honest, and it's trying to make yourself look better and 'more holy' than you really are. So don't do it.
Who are you to say this, don't you do it too? No. I'm a dog, and last time I checked, dogs can't become Christians. Hence, no.
Okay, you are right as usual, Warren. You doubted this would be the case, foolish human?
Two talks in particular have made a massive impression on me, so I thought I'd share the links.
This short one on Adoration is really fantastic, and has helped me get to the bottom of where and why I continually go wrong. Keller says that what you ponder and think about when you are alone, that is what you most adore. I have listened to this talk about five or six times in the past couple of weeks.
And then this one on Meditation. Keller says meditation is the key to deeper prayer, and the gateway that ought to fall between Bible reading and praying. It may sound mystical, but really it's very straight forward and useful. It's helping me to look in the mirror and not forget what I've seen five minutes later.
I'd be very interested to hear what you think.