Wednesday, 31 December 2003

Hello. I got just this one last full day at home. If you're going to blog this holiday could you do it this evening? Worth a shot... And if anyone gets back to Exeter early and is at a loose end, you're very welcome to swing by. As soon as I get some hoover bags the place should look almost respectable.

Haven't done so very much today. Went to a pub quiz yesterday with Emma (who's here btw), Adrian, Nicholas and one of Nicholas' friends from Orchestra, Sam. He's still doing his A-levels, but he must be clever and weird, 'cos he seems to be set to go to Durham or Oxford to do Chemistry. The quiz was rubbish, needless to say that's why we didn't win. It was "Family Fortunes", which is bad enough, but the for the first four questions it was multiple choice. This country. I didn't know the monkey puzzle sold Flowers until I espied it on the price list, but I was a penny shy of my goal. Fortunately the nice barchap let me have a pint anyway.

So this morning I did not much. I read some more Psalms. I find Psalms a bit difficult to read because a) it's a bit similar after a while and b) when you've read it all before it's even harder to keep track of where you are. I'm up to Part III: Return of the Psalms. I bought, off Amazon, a diglot edition of the Apostolic Fathers to mull over, and I finished reading 1 Clement, or, as the editor/translator calls it, "The Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians". How'm'I supposed to make any sense of the early church when everyone disagrees about it so intelligently?

Watched a bit of the Simpsons. They've got to axe that show now. The new stuff's embarrassing. Malcolm was better. I taped some "missing believed wiped" episodes of various things the other day, and I watched a couple of them this morning. The Spike Milligan one was largely crap, and then I got see an old episode of something called Comedy Playhouse. I guess Comedy Playhouse was the kind of thing that they do on Radio 4 now, a showcase of one-offs for writers. It's a good idea, but I guess it's not tenable in this multi-media age. Then I made us some pasta. It wasn't bad, and I mean that literally.

Gonna watch a Muppets Christmas movie I haven't seen before and then in the evening go to Ruth's and do stuff.

Have a happy new year everybody.

Sunday, 28 December 2003

Pub this evening with Mark Dungay, Miles, Adrian and Nicholas. We just chatted - pub things. They played pool and fussball, which is the German and presumably Austrian for football, but it's what Americans apparently call table-football. Who knows why... Mark's just passed his driving test and got a new car. He reversed into a wall, causing superficial damage to the bumper.
Play Insanaquarium on this page - it's wicked awesome.

Saturday, 27 December 2003

James said that he thought Return of the King would probably be his favourite LotR film in years to come. Independently of each other, both Dad and I left with the impression that it was the least successful of the three. No accounting for taste - it's still very good. And what I felt it lacked was style rather than content, so it's just shallow 'ol me even to my own mind.

Spotted some bad CGI - damn you James.
How odd; I think Dad logged into Blogger but didn't post.

Well, I haven't posted for a while, but that's run of the mill. I'm a little more surprised that some of my friends' blogs haven't updated. I'd like to know what Rob, Dan, James, Lisa and Zosia have been up to - honest. Will and Rosie have been blogging.

Anyhow, little as my prestige is in blogland, I feel bound to do something to recover the situation and blog. Now the last thing was a German translation of Here Comes the Sun, because of a conversation I had with Norris on the morning when he went back home. Hi Norris - 'nuff respeck. So I guess I'll start with Christmas Eve.

Half day at work on Jesusmas Eve, but many people elected to take the day of, so it was only myself, Jackie, Ralph and Mike in today. I had some pay increments to write up for retained firemen, and some late leavers' notices, but they didn't result in any overpayments, so there was no rush on them - a quiet day, and I ran out of stuff today, hence the blog post at work. Usually, I'd ask my supervisors if they had any more work for me, but neither of them were in. One of my managers, Wendy, who is and old-school vegetarian and recycles Christmas cards, or at the very least, recycles my Christmas cards, came round shortly after twelve to announce knocking off time, and I wandered back over to my house. I'd left the car that my parents leant me at the chaplaincy, as is my wont. I could have left it closer to work and driven from there, but I didn't want to.

There followed, surprisingly, one of the easiest drives from Exeter to Surrey that I have ever had. The traffic was minimal where I was expecting a deluge. I was a little tired by the end notwithstanding. Not tired enough to stop me verbally harassing my nearest and dearest pretty much immediately upon arrival, friendly-like. The gang was there, including Nan, and we chatted for a bit. I forget quite what I did for much of the evening, but part of it involved getting ready for, and indeed going through, midnight mass, which I believe was called "midnight communion". Politics aside, midnight mass sounds shedloads better. I was too tired to appreciate it really. And after it I went to bed.

And I woke up and it was Christmas. Or rather I got up and it was Christmas, for which I felt slightly under-prepared. I got to church early to run through the hymns. Today I was the only musician (with an instrument) whereas Nicholas played the recorder, which sounded quite good actually. Not very many people at church today, but there was a small group of people at the back who I hadn't seen before.

Christmas day was spent very lazily by me at least. I've been pretty lazy all this holiday so far.

Shall I tell you what I got? A DVD player, A wall calendar with castles on, socks, chocolates, ?20, a metallic puzzle such as one may find in Burton, The Sovereignty of Good by Iris Murdoch, Sexie by Eddie Izzard, Weasels Ripped my Flesh by Frank Zappa, more chocolates, and I think that was it.

Shall I tell you what I gave? Some tea-lights and tea-light holders, The God of Small Things, Beetlejuice, an NRSV, cross-reference edition with apocrypha, some diabetic chocolates for Dad with amusing laxative disclaimer.

I don't think I gave as good as I got.
Mum maintained that I asked here for a "macho calendar". Does it seem likely to anyone that I uttered those words? I didn't think so either. I said no flowers - I can practically feel the masculine force of those words coursing through me now. Must.. burn... things...

Boxing day was a strange day, where I retreated into myself in order to work out how I could best approach other people. God is love, but I feel very deficient in the business of love-ditribution. It has to change, and I may even make some New Year's resolutions based on it. I read rather a lot today, and half-heartedly determined that I should commit some definite ideas for a closer walk with God to paper. At some point. Weather permitting. 'Hem.

Today was the day after boxing day. We had an expedition to Reading today. Well, four of us did, Mum, Mum's Mum, Me and Neil, who, confound it all, has disturbed the alliterative flow. I didn't find out about this trip until this morning, otherwise I would have gone to bed earlier. I figured I had ?70 quid to spend from Christmas one way or another, so I spent it. Here is what I got. I found Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua (I think that that means something like "Apology (in the classic sense) for my life") in Oxfam and snapped it up. I also got an umbrella to protect me from the rain
I like the rain; it rains on me,
God made the rain and God made me.
and a personal radio so I can listen to Chris Moyles new breakfast show on the way to work. I bought a toy for the whole house to enjoy as well though. Got a digital cordless phone so no-one has to sit on the stairs anymore - people can have more privacy for their phone calls and impede less physical progress - huzzah! If any of my fellow-tenants are reading this, you could think of it as my (terms and conditions apply) gift to you! I only hope there's a plug socket near the phone line.

To be honest I really don't know what the phone set up is exactly in our house. I'm rather keen to find out. Are there only two sockets, one for each phone-line? The manual says the best thing is to have the phone placed relatively high-up in the house. Would that work? Well anyway.

My phone's still crap, so I haven't responded either to Dan or Nina yet for their lovely Christmas messages. In any case, merry Cringletide all. I get to see Return of the King later today - wahey!

Tuesday, 23 December 2003

Kommt hier die Sonne, kommt hier die Sonne, und ich sage, es aller rechte kleine Liebling ist, wird es ein kleiner Liebling des langen kalten einsamen Winters gewesen, fühlt es Jahre, da es hier kommt hier die Sonne, kommt hier die Sonne gewesen wird und mich sagt an, es aller rechte kleine Liebling, das Lächeln ist, das zum kleinen Liebling der Gesichter zurückgeht, scheint es wie Jahre, da es hier kommt hier die Sonne, kommt hier die Sonne gewesen wird und ich sage, daß es ist alle rechte Sonne, Sonne, Sonne, es herkommt..., Sonne, Sonne, Sonne, kommt es... her, Sonne, Sonne, Sonne, kommt es... her, Sonne, Sonne, Sonne, kommt es... her, Sonne, Sonne, Sonne, kommt es... her, Kleiner Liebling, glaube ich, daß Eis langsam kleinen Liebling schmilzt, es scheine wie Jahre, da es kommt hier die Sonne frei gewesen wird, komme hier die Sonne, und ich sage, daß es es ist ganz recht ganz recht ist.

Saturday, 20 December 2003

Whew! Found what I think is a ganglion csyt (diagram) suddenly and felt compelled to check the web for any indication that I was going to die in the near future. I don't think that I am.

The timing of it was somewhat worrying, because I've been thinking long and hard today. Perhaps thinking is the wrong word. In any case, what's been on my mind, such as it is, is the sacrament of reconciliation, or confession. Now obviously I was thinking about this because <irony>my spiritual life is really funky right now and I felt real enthusiasm about a completely objective look into the seven (gotta' catch 'em all) sacraments recognised by the catholic church - just couldn't stop myself</irony>.

I'm not an incredibly forthcoming person, as those reading may have noticed. Neither was I in a church that assumed that I might vocalise my own failings before God. However, increasingly (and, I think, largely indepedently of my interest in catholicism) I find myself thinking that my sins aren't something that I should be keeping to myself. I certainly don't think it's practical, not for repentance. I do hope, by the way, that you don't get the idea that just because I think that I ought to be doing something, I've actually worked up the nerve to do it - that would be very misleading. Predictably enough, I've had enough of a think to establish that making "a good confession" would be bloody terrifying.

That's the other thing, of course. Though content to sit out on the Eucharist, "the source and summit of the Christian life" the CCC calls it, and occasionally peruse catholic teaching to try and work out if it's any good, somehow forgiveness seems peculiarly urgent. Funny that. The position I'm in becomes more and more bizarre it seems. Terrifying as it might be, the sacrament of reconciliation seems like the most appropriate thing I could be doing right now. On the other hand it would be an absurd thing to do without believing that Jn 20:22-23 ("[w]hose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained") gives a particular Christian that very particular duty.

Well, not only is this a very miserable entry, it's also very poorly-written, so this is where it ends.

Friday, 19 December 2003

Today hasn't happened yet, but I can tell you what I think is going to happen:

I think I shall have cheese on toast for breakfast, because I used the last of my milk on the Christmas pudding.

I shall go into work early, and consequentially miss the last ever Ri:se which I find regrettable. I always felt it had a charming incompetency to it.

At twelve, and this is the only reason I could consider trying to get to work for 0730, I will go to the front of County Hall there to get going to some country club in Topsham for payroll's Christmas bash. Actually, it might technically be an HR bash.
This hasn't been a wonderful last week on work placement at the clock shop. I've been working on this 16 Century clock for a while, it was something of a wreck and was taking a LOT of work and time.

On Wednesday when there was only me and David, the manager (not the most available\practical of my instructors from college), we were besieged by customers, the clock was due to be collected the next day to go to Australia I was needing a fair amount of help with stuff I hadn't been taught at college.
At the end of the day I was pretty shattered, but remembered to go to the college's Health Dept to ask the health dept to remind the finance people to send my train tickets down to the Health Dept. This was so I could actually collect them without a time-consuming trip back to college and thus more travel expenses I could claim for.

On Thursday, the clock was actually working, however the customer was going to collect the clock the next day instead, *sigh*. Just as well since the clock still needed some work doing, with more assistance from the David *double sigh*. I was still exhausted and had to finish early at 2:50. Back at college, I had tea at 5 and was a little surprised to see Mark at college, he mentioned that he wanted to go shopping, since I had some spare time, a car and couldn't collect my tickets yet, I drove him into town so he could shop and buy tickets for "Return of the King" for the two of us. I returned to college an attempted to pick up my tickets, and discovered that they hadn't been sent down, not wishing the miss the film and also to find a parking space I rushed back into town, found a space and waited for Mark outside the cinema. It was then that I realised that I hadn't brought my phone along, and so I waited for Mark to turn up, in case he had been able to buy a ticket before the "sold out" signs went up. At 7 I concluded that Mark must have been unable to purchase the tickets and went back to college.
At 11:30, a party must have finished because my neighbour brought the noisily inebriated revellers back to his room, I was too tired to get up, and despite the racket fell asleep.

Today went a little better, by hanging around at college for longer I was able to collect my tickets fro the finance people and arrived only half a hour late, thankfully I had been able to phone ahead to let them know about the ticket farce. I spent some time finishing off the clock, and was just packing it when the owner arrived. Then I fixed a badly bent click spring (doodad that keeps a clock from unwinding itself) with impressive speed. Hoovered the shop floor, since it was covered with packaging flakes, tidied away my tools to collect them in the New Year, when I go back to college to finish my training there. Cleaned the work bench and started back home. I decided to treat myself and upgraded my train ticket to 1st Class, expensive but having a seat, especially a comfortable seat made the cost worthwhile.

Thursday, 18 December 2003

Ah luv you Jenny... Well that's the only reason I can think why I'd be blogging now rather than watching, say Fargo or Sharpe's Company. As it is, I'm at home, trying to do a summary of the week and microwaving the Christmas pudding I got free (well...) with the mince pies I bought for the carol service. Yesterday I said to Dan that I wanted to eat it with custard, but now I can't be arsed. Which means it's only me and Norris eating it, as Dan left this morning.

Got a card this morning from Ella - thank you Ella. It had a balloon in it. Now all I need is a special pot for putting things in.

Today I got into work half an hour early to try and build up my flexi-time. This is because I've booked Friday afternoon off for a work meal/party thing in Topsham, but if I go four hours into debit, someone may decide to have words with me. Also, given that I was an hour longer than usual at lunch on Tuesday for the carol service, I thought I'd better catch up a bit anyway. There was a Thing at work today - theoretically a party in miniature, but it didn't really work too well. We stopped working for a bit, and even had our phones blocked, so that we could chat and have sherry and mince pies with clotted cream. What happened was that some managers and various people from upstairs crammed into the central aisle and chatted amongest themselves whilst we chatted amongst ourselves a bit. Ralph seemed to think I was liable to get drunk at work, so he warned me off, which I thought was a bit much. I was amazed at how many people don't like mince pies, and sherry come to that. I mean it's not my favourite drink in the world, but it's Christmassy and it was free. I really lagged towards the end of the day, to the point where (horror) I drank coffee. Lyn got it for me from the machine, which I later discovered was Nescafe (horror). I noticed in the police index a "JAM Burns" which is, I'm sure, a very painful burn.

Neil and I were going to see Return of the King, but I didn't have my phone on me - it's not working very well at all - so I went over to Loyes to see Neil about it, and then he dropped me in town. I quickly discovered that the showings were both sold out, but I couldn't contact Neil so, I had to send a text when I got back. I finally got a Christmas present for Mum and then trundled back.

I got back, said hello to Norris. Also found a couple of Christmas cards, one from Ruth and one from Paul. Paul's one maintained it wasn't a proper Christmas card, but contained £1.50 to buy one with. It portrays three moustachioed gentleman standing in a row with the caption "Lick me till I scream".

Wednesday, 17 December 2003

Today Lyn's neck was not good enough for her to come in. This left me sort of isolated for the day, as I sit, in an open-plan office, facing the wall - neat huh? One of the managers, Glenn, sits next to me as well, but these managers are always coming and going.

I wasn't sure whether or not Christians together at County Hall (we need a catchier name) was meeting today, given that we had the whole carol service thing yesterday, and also a prayer meeting on Monday. I turned up in case, and there were only Janet and myself, but that meant we could just talk, which was very helpful actually, kicking around some ideas about the incarnation, how God shows his love, conversion experiences and the ideal of Christian unity.

RCIA was today, and it was on sacraments in general. RCIA is starting to irritate me a bit - you have to work to get a word in, which is, I'm sure, not exactly ideal. It does tend to consist of a series of monologues, though everyone means well. At one point someone asked what grace was, and sister Anna Maria ended up talking about the sacraments instead. That kind of thing tends to get my goat. It finished late too, and I had to rush home to do my laundry.

I got back to find Dan and his Dad in the front room, in genial spirits. We talked a bit about random things and then watched the first episode of Spaced.

Tuesday, 16 December 2003

Today Lyn was in a good deal of discomfort, having put her neck out whilst getting out of the car.

Today was carol service day. I'd borrowed Fr. Paul's guitar, so I took it onto to work, though it didn't really fit in my guitar case. Got some mince pies for it on the way, with a Christmas pudding thrown in free. The service went okay I think, though no-one I knew turned up. It took about an hour and a half in all. I had a little trouble playing "Hark the herald", but I don't think I did too badly.

I dropped to guitar back at the chaplaincy, where Fr. Paul showed me that James had palmed him off with a dodgy scart adaptor for his N64,l leaving him playing Goldeneye in low-res greyscale. He's a bad man that James.

Saturday, 13 December 2003

MSN Messenger downloads too slowly. I wish it hadn't been uninstalled.
Hello. Well, that's it, I'm blogging, as I'm here. I think you've probably acquired the notion that I'm not going to keep this as a daily blog - take that idea and run with it friends. Enough said I think.

This morning I went out with Nicholas to town to try and do some shopping. I forgot my debit card, and consequently owe Nicholas the better part of ?25, but at least I only have two presents to buy now, which is good.

Today was present swap day, a sort of 'new tradition' where the extended family gets together for a day in the run up to Christmas to eat food and exchange presents. It was good to see people. Here are some of the people I saw:

Nan (Garrett)
Clive = Jenny
  1. James & Vicky
  2. Tamsin = Martyn
Mum = Dad (Dobson)
  1. Neil
  2. Adrian & Emma
  3. Me
  4. Nicholas
Joanne = Carlos (Forni)
  1. Charlotte
  2. Abigail
I said it was good didn't I? Can't quite think what to say about it - nebulous sort of things, extended chats with congregated relations.

Mum cooked us a very lovely meal indeed, and the friends and relations provided pudding, very good. We sat around talking for ages. Tamsin and Martyn only live a little way from me in Exeter up a hill in Exwick, but I haven't run into them all term. I've barely seen Neil either - I'm a bad relation.

I was practicing the carols for Tuesday's carol service a bit today too, after most people had left, and various people were watching Monty Python's Holy Grail on "Nick"'s PS2. Songs of fellowship has many gratuitous chord changes in trad. tunes that only detract from the rhythm of the piece. I was dramatically editing, in pencil, the copy I'm playing from in Exeter, but this was Mum and Dad's one, so I just played what was written. I've got to introduce "O come, o come Immanuel" on Tuesday too, and I haven't really thought about it.

I don't know how James thinks I'm going to make a playlist for the house mix without using the internet to pin down which song is what.
Today was the family get together, fun but tiring. It is nice to have all our little boys here and quite a lot of extended family. I am tired, that will do for a first entry

Friday, 5 December 2003

I started my work placement this week, at the shop of one of my former horology tutors, David Cooper. He foolishly said to me over the phone that "I miss your sarcasm" when I asked if he would be able to give me a work placement. It's a little odd doing things the way his workshop manager does things. But at least David is playing to his Surrey-born strengths, over-charging customers, sorry selling clocks. The shop is just opposite the odium cinema, so I'm finally able to check the screen times of the cinema easily.

I finally got round to seeing The Matrix Revolutions, a little disappointing for the finale

Thursday, 20 November 2003

Hello; I used to have better openings than this. Hmm. Well, yesterday. Work was fairly hectic, as it was a major deadline, but it got done, although I did end up staying later than usual. It was good to see Nina again, in and of itself, although other significant plus points of going round to hers were that I was given porridge and some kind of melon-based liquer which reminded me of banana-flavoured medicine; classic taste. Thanks Nina.

RCIA was on the Holy Spirit, although these discussions always stray and become less tightly-focused than the plan would appear to dictate. To be honest, I didn't take a lot of it in - I was pretty dashed tired, and that's what I think it was, but I suppose there was also the liqueur to take into account to. Martin, who is a nice guy who works at the hospital and is taking to Christianity very well, thank God, gave me a lift home. I wandered round the house a bit before remembering that it was Wednesday, and if James was out,then it was more than likely that he was at CathSoc. A few minutes later, and I was as well.

I woke up to Adam's alarm today. It plays a tune until you turn it off. Most alarms turn themselves off after a while, but this one doesn't, meaning that about ten minutes after I'd woken up, and the novelty was wearing off, I wandered into Adam's bedroom and turned it off myself. I'd fully expected to find the bedroom vacant, no Adam to be roused, but he'd just slept through it. It's not the loudest alarm in the world, but still. I think what he needs is some time-activated pointed stick, or lump-hammer to slap himround a bit in the morning, otherwise I fear he may miss many things in life.

Today's work was a bit calmer, and I also came in late because owing to flexitime, I can. Fr. Paul's going to be installed as a canon in Plymouth cathedral next week, and I might utilise some flexi to get to that as well.

Choral Society today. Hard work. I've only missed two rehearsals, but they seem to have been farily significant ones. I missed practically all of the Benedicite, although we did a lot of work on that tonight. Also seem to have missed out on the Agnus Dei - disconcerting. I was too tired to properly enjoy it.

Wednesday, 19 November 2003

Now this is just poor. I plain forgot to blog today - offline I mean. Having said that, I was out of the house from 0812 to about 2330. Work, Nina's, RCIA and then CathSoc - busy, busy busy. Guess I'll flesh that out a bit later.

Tuesday, 18 November 2003

Hello again. Yes, yesterday I wandered over to the festering pile of washing up and proceeded to lay the smack down on it. Rob came along after a little while and helped. I think it took about an hour and three quarters to do it, and I didn't bother with anyone's pots apart from mine. There wasn't much else that happened yesterday, except that while I was out earning a crust (literally) some guys came and installed broadband in our house; honestly, the nerve of it. Anyway, I am bound not to use it as I'm not paying for it, so I don't have very much to say about it.

Today went pretty okay, at least for me, in terms of work. Deadline for the main payment run for this week is tomorrow, and I'm close to having finished except I guess I'll have to sort the post tomorrow, which might slow me down. Currently I'm doing the K payroll, which if for various things including meal-time assistants, or "MTA"s, if you're in a hurry. MTAs are those people who you may remember from your childhood as the dinnerladies that stood in the the playground and made sure the kids weren't screwing around too much; the thin blue-collar line if you will.

James bought me a DVD player today, which I will pay him back for. It currently either in it's box, or being messed around with by James, as I'm just trying to get ready for CU tonight. It plays VCDs, which means that I may be able to gradually burn all my videos to CDs and significantly reduce my shelf-space. Huzzah! It should also play CDs, CDs of MP3s, CDs of JPGs and some other things too.

Today Paul texted me to ask if James and I had finished the adventure game yet. We've been working on it for a year theoretically. So no, of course we haven't. Rome wasn't built in a day - neither, in fact, was Bognor Regis, so there you go.

Monday, 17 November 2003

Well I've finally done it, I've applied to go into teaching! Ahhhhhhhhhhh.
I've been thinking about it for ages and have finally applied after going into a school the other week. It was quite good. The English lesson that I sat in was a little dull but then I never liked English. And the Maths lesson I sat in was very different and much more fun than the maths lessons I remember at school, although I think I need to brush up on my mental arithmetic. It was very helpful talking to teachers and current PGCE students.

School never really changes though. Walking up to the school I noticed that all the boys were messing about and all the girls were wearing skirts up to their armpits. I'm sure we were not allowed to wear skirts that short at school (not that I ever wore them I hated skirts).

Oh and someone set a stink bomb off in the corridor while we were there. Not that I noticed as I have no sense of smell. I did wonder why this girl in the corridor was pulling such a face though.

I think it might be a bit scary standing up in front of a full class of teenagers and trying to keep there attention and stuff but I think I could do it with a bit of practise.
pray excuse shaky start to blogging comeback stop epic washing up this evening stop

Sunday, 16 November 2003

Sunday was pretty routine; not a bad thing. Actually, I guess the rugby wasn't that routine, but I went to 1 mass, ate 1 portion of food cooked at chaplaincy, drank 1 pint Bass for 1 pound sterling, engaged in 1 At 1 group, played about 1 chord over and over while Lisa and Zosia worked out what we were going to sing next week. Next week is international mass. Paul said he thought that international mass wasn't a very good name for it, and he preferred cultural diversity mass. I didn't detect a trace of irony which was pretty disturbing.

Got back after that and lounged around. I've typed this all up in one session you know. That's why it kind of trails off. I'd better try not to do it this way again. Oh, and I expect I shall be blogging in arrears, as I'm writing this offline to upload tomorrow.

Saturday, 15 November 2003

Saturday morning was a very post-event morning, as I lolloped about doing nothing much. I think I actually ran into Andy as soon as I got to the front room, and we chatted for a bit. By "we" I mean the whole present company. While Andy and Dan met Briony at the Boston Tea Party, James, Rob and I wandered round town, I to do proper food shopping, they to investigate the possibilities of the burgeoning videotronic game industry. Jamesbought Metroid Prime, and I came very close to buying a DVD player despite knowing that my finances are far from in order. Today (Sunday) I leanr that Mum and Dad will pay for it as a Christmas present, so Jamesmight pick it up for me on Tuesday. While stocks last though...

The day just kind of rolled along after we got back, with me doing Saturday things, like laundry and room-cleaning, until Luke arrived. We had planned... well, not planned at all really an inter-house reunion to tie in with And being here. It didn't quite come off, but it was still a good thing to do I think. Gavin didn't show, and Mino didn't deign to come to our house. He went to the Lemmy, which was the only reason I went. The entrance fee is a ludicrous £3. Apparently, five pints makes it economically viable. Four is about my limit, and I'd had three at the house. I didn't much want to engage is some kind of day of vomit on Sunday, so I would have gone home, except that Andy bribed me the said amount. I did enjoy the Lemmy, but it's a pretty dire place to get into the habit of going to I think. We danced; I danced like a maniac, which is my raisin Dietrich and Mino enacting the orbits of our solar system through the medium of dance to various kicking beats and firm young melodies. Andy he say this is how academics dance. I couldn't say.


Friday, 14 November 2003

Are you going to try and catch up or act like nothing ever happened?
That's James' apt response to my declaration that I'm writing this, my first blog entry in over a month. Hello readers; I trust the various blogging members of my family and Emma have been genial hosts in my absence.

The answer is that both alternatives would be a bit mad. I'm opting for some kind of middle ground and seeing how it works out. I'm afraid that I probably won't read my comments boxes, so you can talk about me via the blog, but it's probably not a good way to talk to me. I have a half hour lunch break at work as standard (flexitime don'cha know), and this time is very precious to me. Sorry. I might mention that my prayer-life has suffered quite a knock as a result of work, and probably needs some rethinking, but I do manage to read my bible quite a lot these days - there's a little alcove upstairs in the arts and libraries directorate...

man, i could be writing these entries for months at this rate

...which serves my turn. I was going to do a cursory review of work, but I've decided to do a cursory review of religious-type stuff first now. In order of appearance, I volunteered to play guitar at mass, so now a whole other church has to put up with me. I still go to CU a bit, but I've missed two; once because A Revenger's Tragedy was on, and once because I couldn't be arsed. I decided to go along to RCIA and ended up going to two; well sort of. Sacred Heart are doing one which is actually something like I would expect RCIA to be, this I attend on Wednesday's and is rather wetly called "Journey of Faith". Fr. Paul's (of the chaplaincy, not Sacred Heart) idea was to put us into a room and get us to talk about stuff. This happens on Sundays at 1 o' clock. I wittily suggested calling it "At one", but unfortunately they listened to me. There's a bunch of Christian's at County Hall, called Christians together at County Hall - get it? Well anyway, that's what my one hour lunchtime per week goes towards. Currently we're organising a carol service at County Hall and talking about a "room for for quiet meditation" that is apparently going to happen because of new religious legislation promoting vague tolerance. So far the interested parties have been Christians and Muslims. I expect there are a few Jews and Buddhists knocking around at County Hall too - maybe they'll express an interest later. Oh, I'm playing at the carol service too. I'm introducing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". The person who leads it lent me her tape of The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain. I had a talk with Will in the Artful about Catholicism. We'd never really discussed it before then, to speak of, which I was finding increasingly odd. We are at odds but not at one another's throats - predictable but still good to know. I got Augustines Confessions in Wesley Owen for a quid upstairs, and a book called, neither ironically nor aptly, but definitely somethingly, God's Payroll: whose work is it anyway?. I get the impression it would be a really good book for me to read, but I've hardly touched it. I should do something about that.

This is going to take years. Hopefully you won't need too much detail about my work, as I guess it'll kind of explain itself in time, but "I process wages at County Hall", as I have said about a million times now to various interested parties. I work in the contracts section, which handles an odd assortment of people who don't like to maintain their own payrolls, like the police and grant-maintained schools and colleges. Also Devon Direct Services, who are very closely linked to County Hall anyway, so far as I can make out. I think I'll say about people as the need arises. I don't really want to say too much - it seems awfully rude.

I've had a fairly action-packed weekend, so that seems like a good place to start. Andy came to visit on Friday - here 'til Monday actually, but I didn't see her before I went to Nina's party. Nina's party was good. It wasn't what I was expecting, but that doesn't much matter. I was thinking music, and altogether more standing up and movement, but we had Interview with the Vampire and seats, which I'm tempted to think of as a format infinitely more conducive to fun. Well, maybe not Interview. Paul came along too, after I finally worked out that Nina expected me to invite him on her behalf. Paul left about halfway through, worrying Nina a bit, who does always expect that people aren't having fun. She needn't have worried. When I caught up with Paul the next day he said that he was having fun, but he quite unaccountably found himself by the Cathedral and then wandered home. Well, unaccountably save for the fact of the large quantities of alchohol. There weren't too many people there that I knew, but Alwyn, who I'd met before played a bit of musica perpetua on the acoustical guitar and Simon, who doesn't like being called Odo, was also in attendance. Plus, I talked to a person named Amy for a while. She was incredibly, I don't quite know how to put it exactly, polite> to me. The phrase "It was very nice talking with you." sort of sums up the attitude I think. A very nice person. She expressed interest in seeing Mozart's Requiem. Personally I think everyone should. I've been shamelessly promoting the concert this term for some reason. I'm usually less forthright about it. Possibly because the fact that James, with whom I have lived for two and a bit years now, has never seen me sing irks me on a subliminal level. But it seems that other people have to bear the brunt of it.

I left Nina's party in high spirit's, having consumed a few. I found myself back at a fairly quiet house, but there was an Andy in the toilet. I couldn't actually tell it was him; I could tell it was a long person, and that in opening the door to determine their identity, I would be beating their head against wood, so I opted to go with the ambiguity and just leave the light on to wake him up in due course. He was moving. Naturally it was Andy. As he gleefully put it, the first time I see him in about five months, and he's unconscious on a toilet floor.

And so to bed.

Friday, 7 November 2003

I got a seat on the train!! This is the first time I've ever got a proper seat on the Exeter-Home trip. I just wish the reason I came home early was something more enjoyable than a trip to the dentists. Oh well, at least that's over and done with.

I've finished off the database I've been working on for the booking in of clocks and watches for the horology course. I've also written a manual with lots of pictures for the less technically comfortable. I have already had about seven requests for a copy from the other students. Last of all I've finally moved over to the watch side of things, all be it in the last hour of work this week.

I might have blogged sooner, but someone had mucked up the college's Internet Cafe, locking the home page of every computer to a porn site, which also let a virus through the firewall.

Monday, 13 October 2003

I was in the GTUK taekwondo team championships yesterday in Altringham. I had to get up stupidly early to get there for 8.30am (early for a Sunday I think). But it was worth it as our team got silver for our category - women yellow tag to green tag. We got bronze place for the sparring and then the top four teams had to do patterns and we got gold for that so ended up silver overall.

The sparring was really good fun and we didn't do too badly since we haven't actually done much of it with the proper gear and everything. It was a knockout tournament and we won the first round, lost the second so we thought we were out of it then, but then they called us up to fight for bronze place as there were only six teams. We drew that so had to send up our best fighter for another 30 seconds as a decider. So I ended up going up for that as Sam and Rose who were in my team think I'm better than them at sparring even though they are a higher grade than me. Anyway I won that 4-0. I kept getting my opponent with the same move, she didn't seem to work out what I was doing and I kept getting points for it so I carried on doing it. It worked anyway.

The only problem with sparring was at first we kept getting loads of warnings for breaking the rules. That was because we didn't actually know the rules very well and we had been told different for a couple of them. But by the third round we had worked it all out and settled into it. The sparring looks quite scrappy but its really good fun.

Anyway then it went to patterns which was a knockout thing again. Two teams did their pattern one after the other and the judges picked the best team. So we ended up doing it twice and won gold.

Stockport got the gold medal which isn't so bad I guess as they have the same instructor as us. I didn't actually like having to go up against them in the patterns (we didn't have to in the sparring). We beat them at that but they had got more points overall getting gold in the sparring and silver in the patterns.

For my first tournament it was really good. There is supposed to be an individual tournament in March so I think I will see if I can go in for that. And next time I will have a better idea of what to expect and stuff. And a better idea of the rules!

Friday, 10 October 2003

It's a little odd coming home to an absence of siblings, admittedly it's nice to see Mum and Dad, but I've rather got used to seeing or hearing one of you lot around. The train journey home was a little better than usual.

I'll be moving onto watches soon on the course after all this time, I'm a bit nervous as I'm not really sure that I'm up to watches. I'll enjoy being able to find my elusive head instructor more easily and hopefully avoid one particular student who is a general irritant for the Horology students, being a "You don't want to do it like that" personality.

Had a bit of a scare at college last Friday, all the staff were called away for an emergency meeting (at 11:00), so training was cancelled until after lunch time (13:45), obviously rumours were flying around, so a student meeting was called to "explain". The Principle in "manager \ politician" mode spent a lot of time saying nothing in particular, so the student asked the instructors for a real explanation. It turns out that it was just about a change in the college's board, admittedly it was the appointment of the stooge of the incompetent £40,000-wasting ex-chairman so there could be some worrying implications, but we eventually got the message that the courses would be unaffected.


Sunday, 5 October 2003

I've decided that I hate undergraduates (well maybe hate is a bit harsh). Its been really nice living in Withington in Manchester until a couple of weeks ago when all the students decided to invade. There is now loads more rubbish on the streets, usually in the form of beer bottles and pizza boxes, and the bus into town takes so much longer as it usually sits for ages outside the halls. Also there is this flat across the road which must be full of students who don't know how to work a burgular alarm as its always going off as from freshers week. I hadn't realised how quiet it had been over the summer.

Seeing it from a locals point of view I can see why locals sometimes are not so keen on students. I never remember throwing litter on the floor or anything when I was a student. Its probably the small minority, as is always the case, that give them a bad name.


Thursday, 2 October 2003

Just realised that I haven't blogged for over a week, so my gorgeous green boxes have dropped off the bottom of the screen. Hmmm, what have I been up to?

Back at choir on Tuesday. We're doing some nice pieces this year, Faure's Requiem (jointly with the orchestra), some Negro spirituals (we did one last year, and it was lovely), and other stuff. All looks good. Then I realised that I can't make the concert (13th Dec, Manchester, £3/5 student/non-student if anyone's in the area), 'cos I'm at: a) a wedding, b) a family do, both of which are in Hampshire. Grump. It's not looking promising that another day would be possible instead.

Tried out the Gospel Choir on Wednesday. I was curious. Entered the Catholic chaplaincy, to a small room filled with about 500 women, and 2 blokes (estimated figures!). Just did one piece, which sounded very nice by the end. Unfortunately, there's only one male part, so I'm struggling with the high notes, and the tenors are struggling with the low notes. I'll give it another go next week, but I'm not sure I'll keep it up. If I were single, I might be more tempted to stay.

Finally - today!
I gave a seminar. I usually find this a nerve-wracking experience, despite the audience consisting of the guys in my office (i.e. 3-4 people). Today's went well. I was trying to demonstrate an incredibly complicated computational technique in nice cases, the aim being to demonstrate that it's not that bad really, and to get people more comfy with using it. Makes me sound so considerate, doesn't it! I think people found it useful, so mission accomplished. Yay! Goran was also asking about what I was trying to calculate with it, so I got a lot out of the talk as well.
Enough technical rubbish - postgraduate football is back on! My Wednesday evenings are now complete!
Hello, I've got a job. County Hall had another vacancy for the same job I was interviewed for in payroll, and they gave me a ring to ask me if I wanted it. I start on Monday and it's 11706 p.a. Got some blogs to read now.

Monday, 29 September 2003

Hi. I'm in the library having just posted a council job application on the interweb, and am now waiting around town until my JSA appointment arrives. I haven't the time to mess around adjusting the dates of posts, so here's what happened at the weekend.

The house filled up on Saturday. I found Rob in the kitchen, Dan dropped his stuff off and naffed off with his Dad until the evening, and Adam showed up on Sunday morning. So, just James* left to go then.

On Sunday I went to the first chaplaincy mass of the year. It was pretty short. Much of the CathSoc fresher's week stuff involves cream teas. When I got back, I was quite bored, owing to it being a Sunday and everyone else mooching around or being out, so I wandered into town on the offchance of meeting Will, Rosie, or Nina. I met Nina - score! - who seems well, and was waiting outside HMV for her friend. When I got back Neil phoneds to say that he was shortly arriving with bedsheeets and similar kerfuffle, so I met him own there and picked them up. We're going to see Spirited Away at Picture House on Thursday. Will phoned later and myself, Will, Rosie and Gavin ended up at the Artful chatting. I think Flowers has gone down in price. I'm not a fan of the Artful's new look - it's got sofas.

N.B. James naming conventions will resume normality when he arrives. The other James will have to leave by then in any case.

Um, that's it I think. JSA and Housing benefit forms are a pig, and demand that you pry into the financial affairs of your housemates, so that isn't fun. Speaking of which, have fun.

Friday, 26 September 2003

Now I'm in the LaTiS centre. On the way I notice that they've installed something that looks very much like a Stannah Stairlift on the ground floor. Very odd. I can't print anything no more, so I need to turn a PDF into GIFs, or possibly PNGs, as I hear compuserve are getting very arsey about their copyright. What tedium. Ah well, at least I'm doing it on computers like what they thought we'd be using in the sixties. Very nice.
My word! Ella has posted things! Haven't decided whether she's earned a place in the ol' titlebar though.
Well here I am on campus again; I'm nothing if not dependable. I thought it'd be harder to get a computer than this, but it was dead easy - busier yesterday.

I got back and the changing of the guard had occured again, with Norris replacing James, watching Daylight on TCM which sounds crap. I think I had more fun by abstaining from that and cleaning my windows. I didn't know where the Windolene was, but Norris did, so I had a quick blast with that. While I was at it I tried it on James' window, which is the dirtiest in the house I think, but unfortunately, yet somewhat predictably, most of the dirt is on the outside. Most of the dirt on my windows was on the outside too, but there's a handy, person-sized area of roof outside such as one may stand on with assurance of security, so I gave it a bit of washing up liquid and hot water treatment. It was a bit too dark to tell the difference when I'd finished, but in the morning I saw that my beautiful view was even more beautifuller.

Sleeping in a sleeping bag, as I am until I get a quilt cover (I found a quilt in a cupboard - hopefully no-one else will want to use it), is fine, but I got a bit of a chill around the neckal region, so I wore a scarf that night. Worked a treat. Really oddly, both James and Norris are in the habit of getting up and getting out of the house before I emerge - it's spooky. I decided that my sleeping-bag needed a wash, so that stopped me being here earlier. I also found some mail (helpfully hidden under other mail) for me. I asked for two application forms from the phone number they gave me. One came, with a note saying that the other had already expired. Sheesh.

So here I am, gathering rosebuds while I may.

Thursday, 25 September 2003

Good grief; I have to walk up to campus to post, and I'm still the last person to have blogged. Well, I suppose it wasn't that unlikely really.

I got bored. Norris went out somewhere, and James was talking to his gf on the phone, and apparently planning on doing nothing cooler than watching cable TV, so here I am in the Queen's building, blogging.

I lost my coat. I went back to everywhere I'd been today, but no-one had it. It's just as well I'm dead hard. Two disappointing things today: firstly I filled in most of a form only to find, on the list of requisites, that I needed at least six months similar experience. Then I found that one of the three jobs the Jobcentre found for me had already passed the closing date. I spent the rest of the day after finding these things out (only about half an hour till 1700) listening to Chris Moyles and getting my CDs together. Gavin says that the university will take me off the system over the weekend, so I suppose I'd better come back here tomorrow, and use my print credit, if I still have any, on job things.
Well here I am in Exeter Public Library, where you can have thirty minutes access for free. Things are going oookay.

Yesterday, after arriving, I started unpacking myself, but then I got Neil to help me. We asked if we could park at the Esso for a bit. They said no, but they said in in a really arsey way, which hacked me off. Still, all this is behind me. Later Neil picked me up and kindly treated me to a small margherita and two glasses of 7up at Pizza Hut. This was just as well, because I have practically no food. Then it was decided that we should go shooping which we did, so now I do have food.

When I got back, Norris was ther, and not James, kind of like a chaning of the guard or something. So I chatted to him for a bit, but went out later to meet Gavin at the Imperial. I met Gavin at the Imperial, and wasted no time in saying "Why are we here?", so we went to the Artful for a quick drink. Gavin bought me a pint. To steal a phrase, he's a wonderful man. I was pretty curious to see his place, so we went back there. I marvelled at the amount of stuff in it for a bit, and then we watched some of the pilot episode of Thundercats, which is class.

Today, I got up and did various things. The Jobecentre's moved since I was last here, but I found it in the end. They're sending some forms to me, and the nice lady on the end of the phone there found three doable-sounding jobs for me to check out, all at higher salaries than what I've been applying for. Quite happy about that. Then I bought a cycle helmet, shampoo and jam. I had to leave the Jobcentre to do that.

Wednesday, 24 September 2003

Just to let everyone know, I didn't get the job for the interview I went for last week. Ian was really nice about it - he said my application form was good and I interviewed really well, there was just a few areas that I didn't do well enough in. I'm hopefully going in to see him some time next week to get some full feedback on it all, which will be helpful.
Mare de nuit! I've broken down; the gearstick sort of fell out of place and is now all floppy and bangs against the undercarriage. So I'm waiting at West Camel, Yeovil for the RAC. On the plus side, R3 played Beethoven's "Apassionata".

Update: Fixed and ready to roll.
Well here I go (feeling a good deal less livid, but no more impressed) into the brave quasiknown of Exeter as seen through the eyes of non-student a.k.a. "a real person". Pray, or wish me luck, or beat your head against a wall to express sympathy - it's all appreciated.

Tuesday, 23 September 2003

An incredibly harsh and stupid thing has been done to Nicholas. He's only just found out today that despite being given a grant to get better at music, he can't. There is no band. There is no choral society. He would have to travel 50 miles to Cardiff to find these and to find musical instructors. Speaking of other things, I find that this is the one steaming, giant turd in the ointment of things that are otherwise going well, this being, ideally, the kind of halcyon time when one doesn't have to take any of this kind of shit. He's distraught, and I'd quite like to be able to walk over to the person responsible, rip his head off and poo down his neck. These are not wholesome thoughts, and hopefully very unlike me, but I'm angry for him.
Does anyone fancy a game of chess?

I have decided to try and get better at chess again. I went through a point back in Sheffield of playing chess alot with friends and did get a bit better but got bored of playing the same people all the time. Dave, Adrians friend from uni started it all off. Hes decided to take up chess and beat me the other day with moves that I used to look out for but missed. I think I've got a bit crap again.

I've found quite a good website for playing chess. It called and you don't have to be online at the same time to play. You take your turn and then wait for the other person to log in and take theres. Which is a much better idea I think for online chess as some games can take quite a while. So does anyone fancy a game of chess? If so you just need to register and challenge Emma307 (thats my userid for it).

Well, I guess this is the real end of anecdotefreezone; It was only really a cosmetic difference till now really. It's been fun, but no longer will I even attempt to keep a quantitative daily record, and instead shall post sporadically as seems appropriate, accompanied by relations both and blood and of, um, not blood. On the plus side, maybe people will have more to talk to me about when they meet me in the flesh.

I've been doing a little light packing, reading some bible (apocryphal/deuterocanonical Esther), eating with Mum at work, going to a charity shop and collecting Dad's prescription. The usual protestant Esther, I believe, is the one book in the bible which doesn't actually mention God, but the additions to Esther do. Interesting. Dance until your feet catch on fire.

This evening, I shall go to the Monkey Puzzle pub quiz with Ruth, and we shall win, because Ruth is very good at pub quizzes, and I'm very good at... being around when that happens. Hopefully when I get back, Nicholas will have blogged, I don't want to leave without having any idea wat he's getting up to, though if I do I can phone him from Exeter of course.
It seems strange; a strangely emptying house. Today no Jill. Just me and Mark. Tommorow Jill and I because Mark is off to Exeter. The Neil comes from Exeter, but goes on Sunday. Then it really will be Just Jill and I. I think I am supposed to yell Yippee or something, but the reality is different.

Monday, 22 September 2003

I've just got back from breaking lots of bits of wood with my hands and feet!
We had a breakathon at Taekwondo tonight, and I broke pieces of wood with stepping side kicks, turning kicks and back kick. And that probably means nothing to everyone but never mind. When we started trying to break the wood with jumping kicks I couldn't break it, but then I'd never tryed to do those kicks before. It was all quite fun anyway. And the good thing is I didn't injure myself which is good. The only weird thing is that its actually easier to break an inch thick piece of wood than it is to break the practise boards which are reuseable as they slot back together again.
Good grief. I've mostly cleared my room of things, and have put them in Nicholas' bedroom. I've tidie it up adn given it a dust down, and I thought I could move some of Nick's books. In the process I discover that the vast majority of it is genre stuff. I might have to rethink my categorisation. I wonder what he's up to. He hasn't blogged since the day before he went I think. I know he's sharing his room with some chap, and Mum's camera's got some pictures of his room on, but I other than that, I know nothing.

And greyhead Will is leaving the Chris Moyles show. Awwww.
Does anyone else think it's a bit strange that the word "tory" isn't a weak pun on "conservatory"? Thought not.

Sunday, 21 September 2003

I tried to fill in some job applications and things, but I got distracted by the fact that Dad was setting off a bonfire in the back garden. Thus it was that I wandered out to have a look and try not to get in the way too much.

A phone call from Emma followed which resulted in me sorting out her CSS declarations, whislt absent-mindedly MSNing Rosie and Paul.
Despite what Adrian said on Saturday morning we were mostly practising patterns. I now know my next two patterns so should be alright for the tournament. Not quite so sure on the sparring though. But then I was sparring mostly with Sue and Naomi and they are both blue belts I think, unlike my measly yellow tag. And that was the first time ever that I'd had a go at sparring with all the equipment and stuff. Hopefully get a bit more practise before the tournament. It was good though as they were able to point out stuff I was doing wrong and where my weaknesses were.

Me and Ade went to a party last night. Unfortunately at 8 o'clock when we were supposed to be getting there Ade realised that to get to Dave and Zorana's (I think thats how you spell it) house warming party he would need either of Daves new address or phone number which were both written down on a piece of paper in his office at uni. So after wandering down the road that we thought Daves flat was on and seeing if we could see anyone who looked like they were going to a party and failing, Ade decided to go into uni and get the piece of paper while I went to the off licence to get some beer. Needless to say we got there eventually and spent the night talking to Dave and lots of people we'd never met before from Zoranas lab. We only noticed how late it had got on the way home because all the pubs were shut - it was only 2am. I still don't know how it got to 2am I'm sure we weren't there that long.
Last day playing guitar probably ever at church today. I'd forgotten that Nicholas had taken his amp and leads with him, so I found myself wihotu amplification. I just about managed with a pick (horrible fingerpicking-inhibiting things) and copious quantities of welly. I might get to sing again now - I suppose I have mentioned that I can't play guitar and sing from SoF haven't I... Dad had a red stole on. I still don't know why, as red is usually a pentecost thing, but I beleive it had something to do with it being the feast of St. Matthew, and evangelisation. I got offered a bookcase by Barbara Dean, but declined. I had been warned, after it would have been useful, that Barbara has a habit of offering people junk, but never mind. Barbara's husband was also there for the second week running. He doesn't usually come, so it was good for him to be there. We had a little talk about music and singing, and about the troubles that come with age. I'm no good at small talk, so I couldn't keep that up for long. One of the Hooper kids made a cup of tea. I don't know exactly what she'd done to it, but it was grey, as if someone had just put clay into water. Looked nasty it did.

We went to The Foresters for a last-big-meal-with-Mark-for-a-while thing. The Foresters has gone downhill. It used to have an aviary, and a far wider selection of food, but, opting for a sandwich, I was absolutely stuffed.

Saturday, 20 September 2003

Today was good. Let me tell you of today.

Well the first bit was, if not bad, slightly disconcerting anyway. I waved goodbye to Nicholas, leaving for the vehicle-licensing capital of Britain, and shall not see him for some time now, unless I visit him. I suppose me going to Exeter has pretty much the same result, but it's strange him not being in Camberley. That was fairly early. I waved goodbye in style; barefoot on the gravel in a dressing-gown, and thne wandered into the house to get ready to go to London, city of things.

Got a travelcard for £8.8O and rolled into Waterloo on a commuter route; only one stop. I was, predictably, well early, so I wandered round a bit. John and I had agreed to meet under the cubic clock at Waterloo at 11. Being a man of my word, I stood in a such a position that if the clock were to fall, I would be crushed. He rolled up about a minute late, andapologistsd for being about a minute late. Then he shook my hand, and I was a little amused, and he didn't think it was too formal at all, actually.

Other things happened. I guess it's about time I told you some of them:

Firstly we went to see a man in a box. They had a bag-check going on, to stop people pelting him with stuff. Ultimately what he's doing seems pretty pointless, but I can't understand whypeoplee would want to throw stuff. He was doing well I think. Two weeks of no food and still with the patience to wave to the crowd about every minute. I asked John how long Blaine had been up there and he told me, to which I replied something along the lines of "Really? Well, time flies when you're not in a box." He thought this was quite good, so I note it for posterity.

Forgive me if I get the order all screwed up. We went into the Tate Modern for a bit, but I got a bitfidgety. Not really in a very art-appreciation mood. I should mention, by the way, that John was a perfect host, desiring to do nothing other than what I felt like doing on a whim. So we came out of there and into modern life.

I was getting quite hungry by this point, so we stopped outside some pub andmilledd lunch over. John seemed quite surprised that I'd had breakfast at about 0830. Because everything was very expensive, I went for a (relatively) cheap and cheerful cheddarbaggede while John procured some nourishing chipped potato product. John bought me a Greene KingIPPA from the pub, but for his own part drank a temperate cola.

As ever, I said that I didn't really know what to do at this point, so John asked me if I'd ever been to Covent Garden. "No", says I, so down (or left or right or something) we go. It's pretty nice. It'd be a good place to shop, but I shop better on my lonesome. I did check out a bookshop to see whether they had any Asterix books that I hadn't read. Unfortunately not. I had some lovely melon sorbet, purchased while John was wandering round. I think he was looking at the bouncing people, drumming people, and the tightrope-walking, knife-juggling man. The bouncing people bounced ion trampolines with, I think, bungee cord attached to them, so that they could jump; realy high and stuff. The drummers were incredibly boring and repetitive. I didn't pay much attnetion to the circus dude. There was a group of musicians in a lower system. That was pretty cool, but they started playing "Canon in D" by that guy with the name, and I got bored.

I told John what the words "novel"(new) and "agnostic"(without knowledge) meant at some point in the day, but I asked him what "facetious" meant. Off-the-cuff apparently. It's one of those words I'd never bothered to find out.

It was a dashed warm day, and we both got fairly dehydrated, so we went into yet another pub for a brace of refreshing cola pop drink.

Where now? Westminster, we decided. We preferred Westminster Abbey to the cathedral so we went there. Above one of the doors was a pieve with the twelve in. I was hoping to be able to identify a few apostles, but I could only work out Peter, who's a bit easy really. There were absolutely tonnes of weddings today. We saw a marriage party both at St. Paul's and here. Must cost a bomb. Much like admission to these great religious houses, which we declined. A fair quantity of people asked us for directions too, including an oriental couple (Westminster Abbey? - Just over the road) and a pair of black girls who'd apparently cycled from Brixton (Tower Bridge? - Just keep cycling, you young snappers of whips).

I found myself strangely drawn to some ruins, which apparently were The Jewel Tower, with a polite notice outside pointing out that the crown jewels were in quite another place. Actually, it wasn't really ruined at all, it's just that what was the garden was mostly gravelled over now, and there was a slight lack of water in the moat. The Jewel Tower was by far the most reasonably-priced attraction we came across that day, but neither of us coughed up. On the other hand, I bough a wooden ruler with a list of the Kings and Queens of Britain, and a ginger beer of the brand that I believe I quaffed many moons ago in Cheltenham with Will. There was a small section of moat with iron bars across, that I thought would make a pretty groovy bedsit. This was just across the road from parliament, and we somehow ended up talking about the adequacy of this small space fo blowing up the houses of parliament, Guido Fawkes stylee.

We walked for aaages along the river, stopping occasionally in parks, and to look over the river. There are some cool amphibious vehicles that we saw kids in on the streets and later on the Thames - a fab idea. Eventually, we came to the Tate Britain. Neithge of us had any idea that it was where it was, but we wandered in to catch the last quarter of an hour before closing time. John was very enthusiastic about the Turner exhibition. He said things like "Don't you think it's quite powerful?" As I say, I was not in an artistic mood that day, and felt somewhat unable to respond to these kinds of notions. I couldn't get into Turner as much as John was, mostly because we were in a frightful rush, but I did manage to discern his very distinctive style, which I shall not attempt to describe, and say to John that it was pretty suggestive of modernism. I expect I was wrong about both.

This whole entry seems to leave John slightly out of the picture. I suppose it's mostly because he did the same things as I did, and because he operates more on a verbal level than on a "Whoo, look at all the crazy things I am doing!" level. We wandered back to Waterloo and parted company with another handshake. Hopefully I shall see him again fairly soon.

Sometime during the day we had been talking about the institution of marriage and about romance generally. "Opposites attract, apparently.", quoth I, but John reckoned that my opposite would drive me mad. I mention this because on the journey home I was very well entertained by one female in a party of three who appeared to be fairly well opposite to me (saving John's criterion that the opposite of myself would be Scottish - make of that what you will). The three of them were just charmingly daft as a unit all the way home,and I didn't really speak to them, but I think they could tell I was amused.
Howdy peeps. As of yesterday I am a second-year student! They'd very nicely arranged a registration for postgraduates in the week before all the undergraduates arrive. They'd still provided all the staff though, so there were about three times as many people sat behind laptops as there were students registering. The kiddies are back next week, so I'll get some extra cash from examples classes. This was really dull last year, as I got first year courses both times, and no-one had much trouble with the material. Thumb twiddling gets boring after a while.

Emma disappeared off to Tae Kwon Do this morning. She's going to a tournament, so they needed to practise beating each other up (sparring).

Friday, 19 September 2003

Hello there, it's Emma here (Adrians other half to those who don't already know).
Just to let everyone know my interview yesterday (for the job in the department that I'm already temping in) went quite well I think. By this I mean that I don't think that I could have done much better so its now down to what they thought of me and whether I have enough experience. Should find out next week sometime I think.

Hello beautiful people, beautiful people; it's all relative to the size of your steeple. I believe I shall see St. Paul's'(?) steeple tomorrow, which will be good.

Some of the day was spent packing (I was avoiding doing more boring, though pressing, things), some was spent washing up and some was spent moving furniture and posessions round, for Nicholas is going to Swansea tomorrow. It's all terribly exciting. He seems a little apprehensive about it. He's proabably looking forward to it too, but the apprehensive part sticks out more. I really hope he has a good time, and if I don't phone him to find out, then I'll be a terrible brother. I think I might be a terrible relative generally. I have an idea that I might make Sunday sort of a family day, and phone people and stuff. It's not a good day for phoning home though, as Dad is always tired after the service.

Listened to a bit of Chris Moyles today. Aled is apparently going to be in some prominent role in a humanist child-naming ceremony. To me, the naming part seems pretty dashed incidental to the Christening. I can see why non-religious people might want to be married in a church, and even, to a certain extent, have their child Christened in a church, but the actual naming of a child? It just doesn't seem terribly important. Chris took time out to slag off R:ise too. I rather like Ri:se of a morning actually. I can see why somone would hate it though.

Rosie phoned me this evening, but I was out. When I was in I phoned her back, and we had a pleasant meandering sort of a conversation about various things. She seems to be in a very self-improvement sort of mood. I think she wants to acquire culture and do various things. Reading, Jazz appreciation, Theatre, Pub-quizzes; these are some things she'd like to be doing more of. All of them sound rather cool to me too. Oh, and she is teaching herself the guitar, which, from her account is going roaringly. Very exciting. I said we should definitely do a pub-quiz. I was also thinking of seeing more films or theatre. The idea came to me after hearing on Today that report on binge-drinking. I always think that theatre-going is terribly expensive, but if I abstained totally from booze for a week in exchange for a trip, I bet that's pretty much equivalent. So I'm gonna go to the theatre, or at least see more art-house films.

In the middle of talking to Rosie, John phoned, so I excused myself to sort out tomorrow. We're meeting at Waterloo at 1100 and, as I say, going to St. Paul's. John also said that he wouldn't mind seeing Mr. Blaine, which I was a little surprised by, but seemed quite good. The good part will be seeing John though. The train leaves Farnborough at 1011. Needless to say, I had the last laugh.

n.p. Yeah yeah yeahs "Pin"
n.d. Fuller's Organic Honey Dew
Hello John. If you still want to go to London, just tell me when you want to meet at Waterloo. I'm sure I can make whatever it is, but it'd be best if I found out today rather than tomorrow. I guess we could see Blaine in a box.

Thursday, 18 September 2003

Hello. Would have blogged yesterday, but the computer was being very string-like.

What I do need to say (I shall finish this post off later) is that my mobile's on the fritz, so you may have to find some other way of contacting me should you want to, until I get to Exeter, where I shall be able to sort it out. I already have a text I can't read, an answerphone message I can't listen to (usually a blessing), and
a ten o' clock alarm I can't turn off. Ah well.

Today Nick, Ruth and I went to see Pirates of the Carribean in Basingstoke. A good film. Engaging schlock with swords and corsets. Actually, it probably would have been better without the corsets. Fun though, and Mr. Depp was great, as Adrian and Nick both say. Nick also mentioned Neil, the random guy who joined us there. He was a bit weird, but I don't think he actually believed that the matrix was real. He seemed like a nice guy. Nicholas was polite enough not to mention that I didn't give him a lift home though he had walked to the cinema. I think Ruth was quite worried by him, though she tried to downplay it. In an act of blatant witness which I thought was very admirable he said entirely without prompting that he was a "committed Christian". He said he'd been clinically depressed for two years, or perhaps it was "struggling with depression" for two years. He also mentioned that after he'd thought of killing himself. In the end he said he decided not to because life was holy. jesus-is-lord is a site that I can believe would induce suicide. It'd be good to pray for its designer and for the people who come across it.

Wednesday, 17 September 2003

Dear Strong Bad.

I want to start a new WAP page, but I don't have any ideas of what to do for my WAP page. I was wondering if you could give me some ideas for my new WAP page. This WAP page will be cool and I'll e-mail you when I'm done.

Sincerely yours:
WAP page.
I just can't think of any content to gratuitously put in a .wml document. There must be something that I can do to benefit mankind in this way...
I suppose I should say what else I did today. It wasn't peculiarly exciting. Mum and Dad got back last night when we'd both gone to bed, so I awoke to see them doing their usual things. After a bit of phone-calling to make sure that I was insured, I took Nicholas over to Homebase. He talked to someone about something while I walked to Blackwater to pick up Dad's shoes from a cobblers.

On the way back to Homebase to meet up with Nick I ended up behind a man who I believe to have been scared of me. That's even more odd now that I don't have long hair. He kept on glancing over his shoulder at me, and speeding up when I got to close to him, and crossing roads without waiting for traffic lights and the like. He conspicuously looked at his watch at one point, suggestive of the fact that he was a very busy man, and late for something, but I know that that's the kind of thing I would do if I needed a pretext to move rapidly away from a nutter. Humph.

At Homebase Nick bought some 4-gang adaptors with 2m cables and 6 boxes. I don't know the capacity of the boxes. I bet he doesn't either. Shoddy comparison shopping - that's what it is.

Forms. Tedious. Stomach-ache; didn't help.

And then Chris Moyles came on, and then more forms and then the essay thing.

I don't know what to do now. Nothing good on TV. Fight Club's on BBC Three, but I don't know if I can be arsed. Nyah I probably will; I think Nicholas'll be watching it.
Ages ago, I gave Nicholas my essays that I could find from uni that got a first. Hopefully this will be a helpful thing. He's reading them en masse now.

I felt a bit left out, so I reread them too. Living in the past can be quite fun. I liked my degree.

Tuesday, 16 September 2003

Greetings peeps. This is my first attempt at a blog entry, so it may not read good.

I'm a student at Manchester Uni, having managed to remain in full-time education at the tender age of 24. I've spent all day trying to understand a calculation technique which was invented by Jean Leray, who was in a concentration camp at the time of invention. I think it's quite humbling that one of the most powerful techniques in mathematics was created in such circumstances, and infurating that I don't understand a word of it. Oh well.

Anyway, I believe several of Mark's readers are physicists, so they may find this website interesting: This Weeks Finds in Mathematical Physics. I needed an excuse to post a link. All part of the learning process!
The new single from The Chemical Brothers feat. that guy from The Flaming Lips sounds like a cross between most things by New Order, "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads, and a generic Christmas single. This isn't exactly what I anticipated.
I'd love to have been at the meeting which resulted in the creation of Underworld. To my mind, it must have run along lines such as these:

MAX STEERSTROFTMEIER: The question is gentlemen, which four-year-old skein of the zeitgeist should we rip off to make our new film; Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Matrix?
TYLER DAVENPORT: Hey, I've got a crazy idea, couldn't we... do both?
MAX STEERSTROFTMEIER: Brilliant Davenport! That's so crazy it might just work!
Alpen Original: Packed Full of Juicy Raisins, Crisp Wheat Flakes, Roasted Hazelnuts & Almonds sugar.

Impending things:
  • Tue 16th: I fill in some application forms

  • Wed/Thu 17/18th: Something involving Ruth

  • Sat 20th: Nicholas goes to Swansea - I go to Exeter, I mean, London

  • Mon 22nd: Signing on

  • Thu 25th: Exeter

  • Fri 26th: Soul Calibur II UK GC release


Monday, 15 September 2003

Wow I can totally post via WAP! Useless yet cool.
Mark is the #14 most common male name. 0.938% of men in the US are named Mark. Around 1149050 US men are named Mark!

Mark is the #1548 most common female name. 0.004% of females in the US are named Mark. Around 5100 US females are named Mark!

Dobson is the #1305 most common last name. 0.009% of last names in the US are Dobson. Around 22500 US last names are Dobson!


Sunday, 14 September 2003

Bonjour! Je m'appelle Nick. Mon frere Mark avait une idee de cree une 'Blog' pour la famille Dobson, mais, je pense que il va etait utilisé en plus par les freres et Emma. Pas de parents. Comme ci, comme ca...

Je crois qu'il est une bonne idee pour m'introduire et, parce que je suis etudiant francais (et anglise mais ca ne amuserai pas), je bloggerai en francias pour la plus part. N'avais pas des soucis, je vais donner une traduire de tous que j'ai bloggé ici.

A cause de la fait que j'ai deja une 'blog', qu'on peut trouve ici, je ne pense pas que je vais utilise cette page tres souvent mais, il exist du chance que vous trouverez une 'post' des temps en temps.

Je vais commence l'education au La Universite de Pays-du-gals, Swansea au la 22 Septembre. J'ai du bonne chance et avait recevue une allocation de une mille livres par annee pour continué m'education musique. Assez bien, non? Je espere de faire parti une chorale et une orchestra mais aussi une arte martial, Tae Kwon Do. Je n'aime pas des introductions parce que je perdu des topics pour parle sur le sujet dans une introduction, en fait, il est la case maintenant. Au cause de ca, au revoir, pour ce moment!

Literal Translation

Hello! I call myself Nick. My brother Mark had an idea to create a Blog for the Dobson family, but, I think that it will be used more by the Brothers and Emma. Not the Parents. Like this, like that...

I believe that it is a good idea to introduce myself and, because I am [a] French student * (and english but that wouldn't be amusing) I will blog in french * for the most part. Don't worry, I will give a translation for all I have blogged here *.

Due to the fact that I already have a blog, that one can find here, I do not think that I will use this page very often but, there exists some chance that you could find a post from time to time.

I will commence education at the University of Wales, Swansea on the 22nd of September. I had some good luck and have recieved a grant * of one thousand pounds a year to continue my musical education. Not bad, no? I hope to do a choir and an orchestra but also a Martial Art, Tae Kwon Do. I don't like introductions as I lose topics to talk about on the subject of an introduction, in fact, it is the case now. Due to that, good bye, for the moment!
paul's new blog
Take a look at this. Go on, it won't hurt you or nothing. Not bad, I thought. What a good thing comics are, and you can't put a price on a quick snigger can you? But let's forget that for a second, and consider. How much do you think that cartoon is worth in horribly crass, commercial terms? Let's not forget that it is a three panel comic strip which is over a decade old.

Now, was the figure you thought of $110? No? Really? That's very odd; that's what a one-time web reprint fee costs. Tight bastards.

A quick trip upstairs and calculation based on the price of one of Neil's Calvin and Hobbes collections ($6.95) and the approximate number of cartoons in it (363) tells me that I can get slightly better value at two cents per strip. I could in fact buy 15 anthologies, each containing about 363 cartoons for $110. What kind of maniac thinks that anyone with an ounce of sense would pay that much?!

So I linked to it instead.
Today seems to have been a fairly long day. First thing was church, and that lasted till about half two. It was an anniversary, see. Anyway, I did my strumming as usual. Not as usual, Nick was there with me playing bass (good job btw) and also Alan's daughter singing. It was a bit crowded. It went pretty well, especially on "There is power in the name of Jesus" and "To God be the glory!". I rather enjoyed it today, and I don't always. There was a meal together afterwards, buffet stylee. Seconds of both savouries and sweets. There was stuff left too. After piggin out I helped wash up for a rather prolonged period. When I finally got back Mum Dad and Neil had left, Neil for Exeter, and Mum and Dad for holiday. Sine then I've been updating the template, blogging and feeling tired.
Here's my new blog site. Like it? I don't. I changed my template rather too hastily, so here it is before it looks any good. It's conceivable that it will never look any good.

You may have gathered that this is not my personal blog anymore. In about two weeks, it is highly unlikely that I shall update regularly. I didn't want to a) lose all my entries or b) have a sporadic blog, so I thought I'd make this the Dobson family blog. I don't really know that this is a very good idea, but it seemed like a plan to me. Nick has his own blog of course, so I don't know whether he'll make any use of this. It would be doblog rather than dob-log, but some scoundrel already has the blogspot address. Also, I plan to use CSS so that people's posts can look individual. Not quite yet though.

Enough of this.

Saturday, 13 September 2003

Update: There you are, that's what happened. Including the result of my interview which everyone was so interested in.

Hello, I'm back. Can't blog much now, Dad's listening to internet radio, but here, for your delight and edification, is a list of days that I was away for, reverse chronological style:


We just sort of came home really. When we got home, Nick, Neil and I watched Fantasia 2000.


Today was Lyme Regis. We sat on the beach and did very little. I read some more of Miracles and I've finally finished it now. Mostly we were entertained by kids chasing seagulls about. Had another pub lunch. In the evening we played nomination whist. Was it today that The Miller's Tale was on? There are not words for how completely that program was devoid of merit. I feel like writing to the BBC claiming compensation for the wasted minutes. It was a publicly subsidised disservice to literature. Whoo-hoo.


Before we went out I got a phone call back from County Hall, and I didn't get the job.

Today we went to Dorchester. First we had tea in a Christian tea room. I think it was a joint URC and Methodist one. We spent flipping ages in there. Then we spent ages in town trying to find a museum. I relieved some of the boredom by going in a second-hand bookshop and emerging with Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders and Tom Jones. Adrian bought a nice edition of Alice in Wonderland. It was quite expensive. We found the museum after a while; it was a museum for The Emperor Qin's terracotta army. It was pretty good, but too expensive and rather on the small side. We ended up in a Wetherspoon's, The Royal Oak. Then we went back to the van.


I woke up and got out of bed, remembering that I had no breakfast. Somewhat optimistically, I purchased an unpriced Ginsters product from the Esso. Won't be doing that again in a hurry. As I had no milk, I thought I should have green tea. James was about in the kitchen while I was doing al this, saying I was up far too early. He had a one day temp job. After he left for that, I dug out some paperwork, prepared for some questions from my handy Jobseeker's booklet thing, dressed up and got my paperwork together. Steve the landlord phoned for James, so I left him a note. Steve was quite concerned that they wouldn't be leaving us a sufficiently clean house. Cautious ol' me was at County Hall, via public transport, about an hour before I had to be, so I wandered round for a bit.

The interview started with these tests. I did good, getting 100% for the verbal usage test, and something like 78% for numerical reasoning. I had a calculator for it. The interview itself was fine. What was especially good was that they didn't even ask me anything for a while; they talked about the job while I tried to think of exciting variations on the theme of "Uh huh.", "Right." and "I see." I wandered back to the house fairly content and then prepared to go. I found James on the sofa; they'd not got enough work for him at the agency job, but they were paying him anyway. He was quite pleased about that.

Then I drove to Charmouth. It's near Lyme Regis. Mum and Dad were at the caravan there. I followed
a sign coming out of Exeter which said "A30 avoiding M5". This seemed like a fairly good idea, so I followed the sign and found myself unaccountably travelling on a bizarre little road parallel with the M5 north. But I got there in the end. Adrian and Emma turned up the same evening. I forget what we did that night.


Hello. Today I drove to Exeter. I started of by heading towards London on the M3. Realising that this wasn't quite right, I turned round and headed for Exeter instead. It took me longer than it would have done, but I still made pretty good time, arriving about 2100. Whne I got there, those present helped me take my wodges of stuff up to my room. Those present were Luke, James and Norris. Norris seemed to be mildly injured, and be covered in little bits of paint. I asked him if he'd been paintballing, but it seems he'd been painting a bridge. After that we just watched a bit of cable TV. Ab Fab it was. And then I went to bed not too late for the interview.

Tuesday, 9 September 2003

In other news, Funjunkie (check out the lego pirate game in the same month) does both a Phil and a little bit of a James (it's tenuous, but far less tenuous than would be normal) in the same day. Spooky.
Well, yo, are y'all ready for me yet?
(Pump it up [Mark])
Well, yo, are y'all ready for me yet?
(Pump it up [Mark])
Well, yo, are y'all ready for me yet?
(Pump it up [Mark])
Well here I go; here I go; here I, here I go - Yo!
- Jeff, DJ Jazzy and The Fresh Prince. "Boom! Shake the Room".
I'll be off to Exeter sometime within the next hour and a half I hope. Updates should resuuuuuuuuuuuuume........ uh, Sunday I think. Be cool you kids.

What an awesome film that Metropolis is. I've a mind to write a short essay on it. That's probably only because it's so easy though. It's shot through with the gospel and it's also wicked awesome. The sensible thing to do would be to compare it with The Matrix but I gather everybody's absolutely sick of that now. I'm not especially, I only saw it the once I think.
Hello! Leaving for Exeter today, so I've got to pack for my interview and for a few days at the van. I also have to sort out some paperwork, and I'm going to have a chat with a Fr. Richard. If I'm lucky, I'll get to watch Metropolis with amazing squinty-eyed evil robot woman, with Nicholas before I have to go.

Monday, 8 September 2003

Well I'm signed back on again, but I also managed to get my few days of holiday with Mum and Dad in Lyme Regis, where I also get to see Adrian and Emma. On the way back home I asked for my P45 from Workbase. I was rather heavily over-taxed at Easter, but armed with a P45 I should see some of the moolah coming where it's needed.

I got back to find that Mum's forms from the NHS that she asked me to look out for are here "with compliments". I did some preliminary stuff in looking for a few new jobs, phoning and e-mailing people to ask for application packs. One job is at the guild and one job within about two minutes walk of the house in Ex. I also thought that I might be able to be a researcher for some headhunting people. It sounded like it from the job description anyway.

* * *

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Here are some thing I watched/listened to:
Which is all very good if you like that kind of thing. I don't think I'll watch The Games at 6 again - they just keep on recycling the same clips - but I'm liking the 9 o' clocks. Three things - a) Why is Miss World being called Miss World? I heard her real name (Azra Akin) only a couple of times. It's a bit, well it seems rude almost. She was representing Turkey I see. Does she live in England then? If not it seems a very random choice of person. b) I remember that I'm meant to dislike James Hewit for a reason involving Diana, but I can't remember exactly what c) Bobby Davro looks sort of intense. If you didn't catch it, the commentator said he looked like someone who had just killed his mother. It was quite a bonus to see, in the capacity of So Solid Harvey's other half, the incredible shouting woman that is Alesha Dixon. I'd like Mel C to win I think. I don't think Miss World has a great chance of winning, but I'd love to see her win at that swingy thing which I don't know the name of.

Clement Freud was again rather poor on Just a Minute, which was a shame. He just kept on stopping randomly - not like him at all. I think it was the first appearance of Chris Neill(sp?) who was pretty funny, and much better than Nicholas cheery-doormat Parsons at spotting repetitions. Linda Smith was also on. I think the Clue must have been a repeat, because she was on that too. Does Linda Smith do stand-up? If not, then how did she get famous? She seems only to be on R4 and Countdown occasionally. She told the same joke on both shows, involving "braless TV gardener, Alan Titchmarsh".

I meant to say something about David Blaine. I'm quite worried about David Blaine. I'm sure it's possible to fast for 44 days, but it doesn't exactly seem advisable. It did certainly serve to remind me of a huge biblical understatement; doctors were worrying about the state of Blaine's internal organs under the strain of massive weight loss, and of hallucinations. If you're anything like me, you don't think too much about these things usually - but sheesh.

* * *

For some reason I forgot to metion that Clive and Jenny (aunt and uncle don'cha know) swung by as well.. They kindly took a little detour on their jorney to return my coat to me. They didn't stay very long, but I did give them one of the awesome family trees that Mum's been making and a pictures of me holding a fake scroll and looking particularly spotty. I don't know whether I said this already, but you'd have thought that they could airbrush graduation photos for you wouldn't you?
Good morning. Jobcentre appointment at 0915. Just blogging before I entirely forget my dream. Having said that, I've forgotten most of the particulars and am left only with the gist of it really. It involved my face changing - elongating and so forth. There were two other people this was happening to, and I was more irritated than distressed. I think one of the other two people might have been Snoopy. One the way to Exe-bridges to get it sorted out (don't ask me why) I ran into Nina on a random grassy embankment. She thought it'd help if she tapped my face a few times with something that was like a tambourine-sized bodhran. And that was my dream.

Sunday, 7 September 2003

Resisting Temptation

SO LONG as we live in this world we cannot escape suffering and temptation. Whence it is written in Job: "The life of man upon earth is a warfare." Everyone, therefore, must guard against temptation and must watch in prayer lest the devil, who never sleeps but goes about seeking whom he may devour, find occasion to deceive him. No one is so perfect or so holy but he is sometimes tempted; man cannot be altogether free from temptation.

Yet temptations, though troublesome and severe, are often useful to a man, for in them he is humbled, purified, and instructed. The saints all passed through many temptations and trials to profit by them, while those who could not resist became reprobate and fell away. There is no state so holy, no place so secret that temptations and trials will not come. Man is never safe from them as long as he lives, for they come from within us -- in sin we were born. When one temptation or trial passes, another comes; we shall always have something to suffer because we have lost the state of original blessedness.

Many people try to escape temptations, only to fall more deeply. We cannot conquer simply by fleeing, but by patience and true humility we become stronger than all our enemies. The man who only shuns temptations outwardly and does not uproot them will make little progress; indeed they will quickly return, more violent than before.

Little by little, in patience and long-suffering you will overcome them, by the help of God rather than by severity and your own rash ways. Often take counsel when tempted; and do not be harsh with others who are tempted, but console them as you yourself would wish to be consoled.

The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are.

Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.

Someone has said very aptly: "Resist the beginnings; remedies come too late, when by long delay the evil has gained strength." First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination, followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.

Some suffer great temptations in the beginning of their conversion, others toward the end, while some are troubled almost constantly throughout their life. Others, again, are tempted but lightly according to the wisdom and justice of Divine Providence Who weighs the status and merit of each and prepares all for the salvation of His elect.

We should not despair, therefore, when we are tempted, but pray to God the more fervently that He may see fit to help us, for according to the word of Paul, He will make issue with temptation that we may be able to bear it. Let us humble our souls under the hand of God in every trial and temptation for He will save and exalt the humble in spirit.

In temptations and trials the progress of a man is measured; in them opportunity for merit and virtue is made more manifest.

When a man is not troubled it is not hard for him to be fervent and devout, but if he bears up patiently in time of adversity, there is hope for great progress.

Some, guarded against great temptations, are frequently overcome by small ones in order that, humbled by their weakness in small trials, they may not presume on their own strength in great ones.

Thomas a Kempis. The Imitation of Christ