Posted by Tom French |

I just got home and The One with Jet Li is on Foxtel in 6 minutes. I think I might watch it. It's meant to be a crappy movie, but Jet Li is cool and that's cool. I might try and make myself some dinner too.

Church was interesting tonight. God has been working on me quite solidly over the past few days. Get home from New Zealand and "Bam" He goes for it. Good on Him I say. It's just a bit scary. Oh well. Good journey. Worth going on.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm praying a lot at the moment because I'm scared of bulldozing people and people not feeling valued or being treated valuably.

Posted by Tom French |

Swimming it all in

Today has been a good day. An unexpected day, but a good one. I went to the beach today. And I swam. And now I'm amazed with myself. It's been a bit of a breakthrough really. Funny really. Swimming at the beach, and just normal swimming in general to a lesser extent, has always been a big deal. Generally I don't like to swim. And at the beach I detest the thought.

Since I was about 7 I have hated the beach. Well not most of it. Not the sand, or sitting on the beach, all walking on it. Don't mind them at all. But swimming, that's another question. I hated having to deal with waves ("Over or under?", "Jump or dive?") and I had this terrible fear of getting dumped. Then I grew up a bit more, and swimming was something I just didn't do. Walking around in just my boardies was self-conscious city for me. When I went to the beach at the beginning of the year, I had a mild time. I spent the whole time though thinking that everyone was looking at me, and they were all thinking "My gosh he's white, and hairy, look at that shoulder!". And so the beach, well, it just wasn't in me.

Anyway today I got a message from Sal asking me if I wanted to join a bunch of people at the beach. I think Matt was organising it. And me being the fear facing, opportunity taking person that I am, said I'd go. I thought "Here is an opportunity to hang out with a group of people I don't hang out with much, and to confront my issues with the beach". It sounded good in theory, but once I'd decided to go, suddenly everything seemed like a bad idea. I discussed with Mum learning to like the beach. This year would be year of the Beach or something like that. But learning to like something means you have to go through the bits you don't like first.

Anyway, I headed off feeling most uncomfortable. Every time I wear my swimmers I think to myself, "I hope I don't have to use these". But I knew that indulging my beach-phobia, would be harder in the end that doing the beach thing.

Anyway, we get to the beach, and it's time to swim. Arrgh. I pluck up my courage. "Yeah, let's go". I said something to Matt about confronting my demons and headed off into the deep blue.

But once I was there, it was good. I didn't have a problem with the waves. I forgot about all the people looking at me. I didn't worry too much about having no idea what one is actually meant to do while in the water. I made small talk with Byron. And it was all good. Generally pleasant. Not totally amazing. I'm not in blown away. But it felt good to be there, and not worrying. I wasn't worried about waves, and I wasn't worried about other people. I was generally content.

When I got out I was pleased. I'd done something. I'd confronted a fear. And it's kinda funny that something as normal as swimming at the beach can mean so much to me, but it did. Little things for some can be big for others, even if they are irrationally big.

The rest of the day went smoothly. I sat around and talked a little. And I had fun.

Tim had his 21st tonight. I went and picked up Jem and Chris and I told them of my endeavors at the beach. They, both having been beaching with me before, seemed to understand the significance of the occasion. We picked up Kaia then headed off to St Ives.

At the party, I swam again. And again, I had no problems, no worries. All good. We played a game where we threw a ball from one end of the pool to the other and the guys and the girls had to try and score goals or something. It was good. In a little way I felt like a new person. At least a little bit of my person was new and a little free-er.

Posted by Tom French |

Today

Started at 3am. Very early after a crappy sleep.

I drove out to the airport listening to Bruce Springsteen. I'd picked that mini-disk in Wellington I think. Days of planning had gone into that.

I drove through the deserted streets of Auckland. Was very cool. There was one stage where there was one other car on the road with me and I was driving a long the motorway through the city, under and over bridges and past buildings, everything deserted. It was like I was driving in a racing game on PS2 or something. I enjoyed that.

I arrived at the airport after just one wrong turn. I parked the car in this funny little carpark and left the keys under the mat, then left the car unlocked and walked to the International terminal, getting water in my holly shoes. I had to call the car rental people after that to confirm the drop off. I felt like a drug dealer.

At the check-in counter I noticed a sign saying "$25 Departure Tax may be paid at the Bank of New Zealand". This was a worry. I had never heard of this departure tax. I wasn't prepared. I had no money on me. Just $A30 to get me home from the Airport in Sydney. I wandered around for a bit wondering if perhaps I had already paid this fee. But it wasn't to be. I had to go to the bank and hope they would take my Aussie money. Luckily they did and I got $7 change. Not enough to get me home. Bugger.

That was at 4:47am. I decided to call home and get Dad to pick me up, (he had offered the night before, but I refused hoping to sleep on the train on the way home). So at 2:27am Sydney time Mum and Dad got a call from a lovely Telstra woman who asked them if they'd accept a reverse charges call from their dear, long, lost son. To my relief they still love me enough to hear my pleas. Dad said he'd meet me at the airport. Ahh, sorted.

I caught an Airbus A340 home. It was LanChile. Very cool. They had TV screens in the back of every seat and I had lots of movies and TV shows to chose from. If I hadn't be dog tired I would have indulged. As it was I just slept. I only dribbled and woke myself up once.

During breakfast I listened to Fallen the album by Evanescence which was one of my inflight listening options.

That was good because I've been thinking about buying that album. It was good, but perhaps not buyable. Good music, but the lyrics are very Year 9. Not very subtle really. A bit gothic and dull. Amy Lee can sing a bit though. So I enjoyed the music and singing and the sausage and Coke for breakfast. Just not the words. They didn't go down too well.

In Sydney I met Dad and we drove to St Leonard's where he went to work and I drove home.

I slept at home for an hour and a half. That was very nice. When I arrived in Sydney I didn't really feel like being back. I didn't want to be back in Australia where I have too much stuff to worry about. Overseas was so nice, no problems. But once I got into my bed, then I knew was happy to be home. If only for my bed.

Work today was good. My office is a mess as usual. Although not my fault this time. Jamie told me he had had some girls in there while I was away. I think they were doing Soul Survivor stuff, but it's more fun to think there was a wild party. It would be fun if someone had a wild party in my office while I was away. There was an empty coffee mug and some half eaten biscuits so I'd say that points to a massive, wild, party.

Maybe someone used the photocopier for you know, photocopier at a party stuff.

Helen and I had lunch together and had important talks about youth ministry. We do lots of important youth ministry talks.

I spent my $7 change from my departure tax on a chicken burger and Coke combo. It really is good to be home.

Matt and I caught up. That was good. Good to talk.

Youth group went good tonight. We played a silly game with Wing's music that illustrated the talk. The kids enjoyed that. They danced to Wing.

At the end of the night one of our kids disappeared. He's an autistic boy who comes and at the end of night he decided to wander off. We searched and called our for him but couldn't find him. His father turned up, then drove off in search of his son. Some people got stressed. I stood around feeling like I should have been stressed that I'd lost a kid, but I wasn't. I wasn't sure if this was a good or bad thing. I was pretty certain he'd turn up. He tends to be a wanderer this kid, although, he's never wandered off from youth group before.

He did turn up in the end. He wandered off to visit his Mum at tennis.

I came home, and blogged.

I got to see Mum and catch her up on the news.

And Hannah got up and needed to be put back to bed. I got to do that. I really liked doing that. Putting Hannah to bed, carrying her upstairs and putting her blanket over her, that's another reason I'm happy to be home.

Posted by Tom French |

Tuesday

begun late. 9:30 or so. They let us sleep in. Geoff woke me up then to move the car so they could get out of their garage.

Later we got a tour of the house. It has really good views. You can see the bay and planes landing in the airport. Geoff also pointed out the WETA studios and the warehouses where they filmed a lot of Lord of the Rings. They have a really nice house. The toilet has posh wallpaper. I liked.

Geoff and Annwyn went out with their cute kids (whose names I'm not going to attempt to spell) so I took the opportunity to have a shower. I relaxed a bit after being on my best most normal behaviour now that no one was home. I whistled and sung silly songs. I sung "Boom, Boom, Boom". And I got out of the shower feeling wonderful. Then I noticed that someone had brought the mail in. Damn it. Geoff came home. I'm sure he heard me playing silly buggers. I felt as embarrassed as I did the day before in the cinema when the cleaner woman caught me pulling faces at myself in the cinema toilets.

Jo and I went to the Chocolate Starfish cafe which is meant to be very famous. I had a hot chocolate. We were sitting there and I looked up and saw a tall aboriginal looking man in an akubra. I said to Jo "There's Ernie Dingo". I was just joking but on further inspection it turned out actually to be the great man himself. Ernie and his friends were there to film a segment for The Great Outdoors it seems. Everyone crowded around Ernie, all his entourage. Whenever Ernie made a joke, everyone laughed.

Jo and I didn't get on television.

We went to Te Papa Museum after that. It was good, very modern. I got bored after about an hour and half, the uncultured swine that I am. I went and moved the car, then found myself some more cheap, lunch from the same food court as the day before, then headed off to the same park for more sleep and book reading. So wonderful.

I met Jo at 5pm and we went to the Warehouse and bought some cds an Christmas presents then headed off to our second cousins house about an hour or so out of town. I got to drive, it was good fun. The road was really windy with massive drops of the side of the narrow roads with only a wooden fence the catch you. Plus the whole thing has a speed limit of 100km/h. Crazy New Zealand roads. Beautiful countryside. Lovely hills. Lots of fun to drive. Zoom Zoom.

We arrived at our second cousins place, which wasn't actually theirs, just one they were housesitting. They were friendly. John and Kate and their 3 kids. I slept in a room with Claude, the eldest child. He was probably very nice, but I didn't really meet him. Just slept in the same room as him.

Wedneday

Yeah. I think I don't have too much to say. A lot of driving. Like Sunday in reverse really. Much wetter though. Jo slept more. As did I. We talked less.

We went to the Flying Teahouse which is a cafe in an old DC-3 stuck up on sticks. It's very cool. We took photos there, of the plane and of our faithful hire car.

We listened to good music.

While we were driving into Auckland it rained on an off. On second it was completly clear, the next it was pelting down. So thick taht you couldn't see the car in front. You had to judge where you were driving by following the cats eyes when the lit up on the road in the reflection of you headlights right in front of you. That was fun.

I had more sweet and sour pork for dinner.

Posted by Tom French |

I have a lot to write about I think. So much to catch up on.

I think I'll do what I missed of Monday and Tuesday first.

Yeah.

Monday

After our stint in the internet cafe Jo and I headed off in search of a park and a place to read our books. I needed to pee too. We found the park finding very difficult. Eventually the friendly and informative back wall of a newsagent showed us a map and we found a lovely park by the water front.

We headed off and found a place to get some lunch for me. I had crappy sweet and sour pork for cheaps because it was after 3pm. Then it was off the park for fun in the sun, or wind and cloud at least. We read and ate and I slept on my bag. Ahhh. I think back with fondness.

We then proceeded to go back to our Motor Inn and get our car and attempt to find our way to Geoff and Annwyn's.

We got there late, but that was ok. They're top people. Very nice. We cooked them dinner. Jo was very good at making conversation. Jo had never met them before and I'd only met them once properly, but they let us in their home and made us feel very welcome.

They have a killer DVD collection. If I was still a DVD collector I would want one like theirs. They had all the right DVDs. All the good special editions. Very cool.

We all watched Spirited Away together because none of us had seen it. That was a damn good film. I was blown away. So cool. I'm in love with the whole damn thing. The animation, the story, the characters, ahhh, it's definitely love.

Geoff set Jo and I up. I got the futon (sp?) in the lounge room and I slept very well.

This is Jo and I at dinner time looking stunning (I thought it was funny enough to post):

Looking Good


Posted by Tom French |

This is Wing.

Wing is one of New Zealand's finest.

Listen to Wing's amazing version of "The Phantom of the Opera" or perhaps this stirring rendition of "Memory".

Don't like Andrew Lloyd Webber?

How about a few Christmas numbers? "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" or "Jingle Bells".

And make sure you listen to the last 10 seconds of "When You Believe".

Hell, listen to them all.

Posted by Tom French |

Home.

Nyyyyce.

Posted by Tom French |

This will be my last post in Auckland. How sad. I really like this net cafe. The owner is really nice and I like the computers.

It's a good place. I'll be sad to go.

I really should catch up on that past few days, but sadly, I want to go to bed. It's not really that I should catch up for the sake of all my readers, but I want to have my record of the holiday.

I fly in tomorrow at around 7:20 I think. I'm on the first plane from Auckland. I have to be at the Airport at 4am. That's two am Sydney time. I suspect I wouldn't normally be in bed by that time if I were in Sydney. I have to get up at 3am, that's 1am in Sydney. Crazy.

Today I didn't do much. I went to the library to do work for tomorrow. I have a talk to do now. And I still have youth ministry stuff to sort out. I'm not looking forward to going home. It means I have to worry about my life again. Pfff.

Jo and I had lunch with my great-Aunty, Pam. She's cool. She's lots of fun. Made us food. There are lots of things she does which remind me of my Grandma. She laughs the same, and looks similar. It made me sad a bit. But Pam's the bomb. She gave me a blanket and I fell asleep in her chair. I've been doing that a lot.

My cousins and Aunty are staying in the cabin with us. They're cool. I like my family. They don't laugh at my jokes a lot though. Oh well. It's good to be on holidays with them.

Jo and I went to see my Grandfather this after noon. It was nice. We had nice conversation. Nothing substantial. I kinda felt like it should be significant because it was the last time I'm going to see him. But it wasn't. Still he's a good man.

My last words to him were "Thanks for having us. It's been good. Good-bye"

The "It's been good. Good-bye" held more significance for me than appeared being tacked on to the end of "Thanks for having us." But got caught up in the moment and I didn't want to sound like a sap. But I wanted to at least know that the last thing I said to my Grandfather was something I wouldn't mind remembering in the future.

Chances are I'll speak to him on the phone between now and when he dies.

Tonight we all went out for dinner at a Turkish restaurant. It wasn't bad. Good times.

Now I think I'm going to head off to bed.

See you in Sydney.

Posted by Tom French |

"Every flower has a right to bloom" - Michael Franti (I think that's his name, we listened to him in the car)

Posted by Tom French |

I was going to blog from here in Auckland (have arrived safely from Wellington) but I have been called back to the cabin.

Anyway, in Wellington yesterday Jo and I went to a cafe and who should turn up but our good friend Ernie Dingo. He was filming the Great Outdoors at the cafe. Very exciting.

Um. We saw lots of police today.

Yesterday and the day before I read my book and slept in a park by the shore of Wellington Harbour. Was very nice. Reading and sleeping in parks is one of the most wonderful, relaxing pastimes I can think of.

I'll say more later. Perhaps tomorrow is big post day. Now it's time to visit the cousins.

Posted by Tom French |

I just wrote a long post but this silly computer killed it.

I think I'll update tonight in Auckland.

Right now I think perhaps Jo and I will go find something to eat here in drizzly Palmerston North.

Posted by Tom French |

I got an e-mail from a guy named James, he seems very nice, this is what he said:

Hello my dear Mary,

I have been thinking about you all night. I would like to apologize for the other night when we made beautiful love and did not use condoms. I know this was a mistake and I beg you to forgive me.

I miss you more than anything, please call me Mary, I need you. Do you remember when we were having wild sex in my house? I remember it all like it was only yesterday. You said that the pictures would not come out good, but you were very wrong, they are great. I didn't want to show you the pictures at first, but now I think it's time for you to see them. Please look in the attachment and you will see what I mean.

I love you with all my heart, James.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm feeling a little tired today.

At the moment I'm in a cafe in central Wellington. Everyone here speaks English quite well. There's a woman in the corner complaining to the owner that a porn site keeps popping up. I don't think anyone would have complained in last nights cafe. They were watching Ninja Turtles when I left.

I had trouble getting to sleep last night and now it's catching up with me. This chair has a very nice high back and I'm tempted just to have a snooze right here. But that would cost me $4 an hour.

Not much has happened today. Jo and I went and saw Intolerable Cruelty this morning. It was a good film. Very funny though. I think George Clooney is the bomb. I would like to be like him one day. I think that perhaps I will never be.

After the movie a woman standing out the front of a pub gave me a card with an invitation to watch jelly wrestling tomorrow night. I don't think I'll go. Do the wrestlers get to eat the jelly? I would like to become a jelly wrestler if I get to eat the jelly. Although I don't like rough sports. I'll just become a jelly, without the wrestler bit.

Posted by Tom French |

I have noticed that New Zealanders don't seem like very good drivers.

They have this habit of driving, when in the left lane, with half the car out of the lane, most of the way to the gutter. It's strange. I have been very careful to keep fully in my lane, to show them how a real driver drives.

Posted by Tom French |

It's now almost midnight. Cool.

Posted by Tom French |

In Wellington now.

Today has been quite a day. To give you an idea where I am, Jo and I are sitting here in a pokey and smokey, internet cafe in Wellington, about 2 minutes walk from our motel (The Gunhappy Shooter's Motor Inn, or something like that). The monitors are all grubby and everything on this computer is in an Asian language that I don't understand. Even the Internet Explorer messages are in another language, I have to say "yes" and "no" to all these things I don't understand. At least I think it's "yes" and "no" I'm saying. At least I understand the little "X" to close windows. This became particularly useful about five minutes ago when I got a pop up with a lovely video of two people practicing the art of procreation. I hope they were married. If they knew they popped up on my screen they'd probably be frightfully embarrassed. They should have sex in more private places. Next time they pop up perhaps I'll warn them that they left they're webcam on, happens to the best of us.

We left our lovely motel in Northcote, Auckland, at 7:55 this morning. We had to pick up the hire car at 8am, so we were running a little late. After spending many funny minutes trying to find "Scotties Car Rental". We arrived at around 8:30 and there was a distinct absence of Scottie-types.

They turned up at around 8:45 thinking we were planning to pick the car up at 9. Little did they know that we were actually planning to be at a church on the other side of Auckland at nine (luckily we weren't too late, Auckland is small enough that you can leave for one part at 8:30 and arrive in another part at 8:25, it's a bit like Parramatta on wheels, without the wheels.) We had a few issues getting the car (they tried to give us a manual, but neither Jo nor I drive manuals), and they told us that the insurance didn't cover us if we were drinking, on drugs, speeding, or Australians. I'm hoping the last bit was a joke.

We made it to the church at 9:18 and managed to arrive after the Sunday school had left, and the worship (musical kind) had finished. We were visiting friends and they had kindly saved us seats in the middle of the church (big charo-type church) and in the second row. That was nice of them. Everyone then knew we were visitors.

After church we set off for our trip with lots of lollies. I slept then drove. I liked being able to drive, was fun.

Around somewhere or other in the middle of New Zealand, we were driving along happily and I was contemplating overtaking a truck when I noticed a truck swerve suddenly, the car next to it was also swerving, and a dog came out from under its wheel. I noticed the van behind the car get very close, then it slowed down and was not so close again. The back of the car I noticed was a lot more compact that I remembered it being. Everyone slowed down very fast and I pulled out my best defensive driving maneuvers (Jo said she was very impressed). The truck kept driving and the car and van that had smashed into each other stopped in the middle of the right hand lane. We pulled up beside the car and asked if they'd be alright (the van looked fine). They said they'd be fine. We drove forward a metre before they asked us if we had a mobile. We did, so we pulled over (that was embarrassing as I had used up all my good driving on the emergency before).

I put on my hazard lights (very exciting) and we hopped out of the car. I went over to give the woman my phone. "Would you like the phone?" I asked.

"Call the police" she said

Suddenly I felt very stupid and like an bad traveler.

"I don't know the number. I'm from Australia"

"111"

I called and the voice on the other end asked if I wanted Police, Fire or Ambulance. "Police" I said (I've never got to do that before) then the crash lady took the phone off me and talked hysterically to the police. Her husband drove their car to the side of the road, it wasn't looking too good. The smashed up boot was ripping up the rear tires. Then the driver of the van came over to visit. He was a Maori man driving a bunch of interlectually disabled adults home after a day trip. They were all very nice and made the side of the road experience even more fun.

Eventually an over abundance of Police turned up and we were thanked and told we could go on with our holiday.

"Enjoy your holiday" the man said.

"We will"

"Sorry you lost the rugby" said the woman.

"Sorry you lost worse" replied I.

And then we were off. All in all it was quite an addition to our journey.

(The dog that got hit seemed fine. He ran off before anyone could help him.)

Following that we traveled through very Middle Earth looking country. I kept having to say "Frodo" in my best Shire accent at varying intervals.

We saw two very big snow-capped volcanos. Absolutely awesome. Makes me want to become a mountain worshiper. Yay God and His glorious creation. It really was a beautiful sight. The whole drive was pretty good.

In some town Jo and I ate dinner in a greasy Chinese fish and chip shop. The two men who worked there were lovely. I didn't eat much. I arrived feeling like I was going to vomit, didn't eat much, and left feeling closer to vomiting more than before. Jo drove from there, and I slept.

Now we are in Wellington and staying in our wonderful motel. Jo has left this crazy internet cafe, and no-one here has yet spoken English. I feel like I'm back at school. Or overseas. Very overseas. I'm enjoying it though. I like feeling like the odd one out at times. Not very often though.

Posted by Tom French |

I should be watching the rugby but I felt the call of the net more. I'm keeping track on the net and I'll probably go home to watch the second half. Or at least the last ten minutes. Like I did with the semi-final.

I'm a fair-weather friend of Rugby.

Today was a quieter day. I didn't fly to any new countries. I did though sleep a lot. So far I have slept four times today. Once in the morning (like usual), once in the car, once in the middle of a conversation with my grandfather, and once on a couch in the cabin. We bought the NZ Herald weekend edition. Almost like being in Sydney.

Today started very slowly because everyone wanted to sleep in. Jo and Dad went for a run while I had a quiet time (I may have fell asleep during that too). We ate breakfast at 11:30. Holidays are nice.

We made it to One Tree Hill. It's good to see. There was a big obelisk as a monument to the Maori people. I felt like a true U2 fan. Although the place didn't really seem very U2-ish, I knew that deep within the trees, and the earth and the sheep that stand around the bottom of the hill, was the spirit of that band of Irish men.

The rugby ain't looking good at the moment. 14-5. I need to go and cheer Australia on.

We went to visit my grandfather again. Still nice.

Tonight we went out to dinner at a restaurant call Valentines. It's just like Sizzler. Very cool. Buffet! Ya Ya! I was too full from lunch though.

I'm trying to eat as much food as I can while I'm here though. Take the chance while out of the country to take as much of New Zealand home with me as possible. I'm hoping to be a big fatty when I step off the plane on Friday morning.


Posted by Tom French |

Julius Caesar was thought to be a genius because he could read in his head. Everyone else read outloud.

I think that's true.

Posted by Tom French |

Yes, now I am here with the sheep.

Actually I haven't seen any sheep. Or maybe I saw a few on the plane as I looked across the isle, past the Indian lady's head and into the lush green pastures of Auckland airport.

It's now two hours later than Sydney time. Add two hours to whatever time this says it was posted at. I can't be bothered changing the time for a week.

Getting to the airport, we caught a train, and then heard at Wahroonga that someone had died at Turramurra and so our train may not be able to go past Warrawee. Dad and I jumped off the train and grabbed a Taxi which was waiting for us (perhaps it is taxi day). We caught it and then noticed at Pymble that we were driving along next to our train. How annoying. We caught the taxi all the way to Central. We were meant to meet Jo there but she forgot her passport so we met her later at the Airport.

I caught a plane. And I used my passport. Both very exciting things.

New Zealand seems just like Australia. Just like another state really. Nothing special. Different money. Their $50 note has a guy that looks like Stalin on it. I have $NZ200 in my wallet. That's nice seeing as I have -$53 in my bank account.

I got international roaming turned on on my phone while I was in the taxi. So I can sms still. Calls cost a lot. The Optus woman that I talked to sent me an sms about who to call to get my voicemail. She signed it "Sarah P" that was nice, I felt like we were friends.

They have different Coke cans and bottles here.

We got a hire car with a cd player. Jo and I are hiring a car for our drive to Wellington on Sunday. That will be fun. I get to drive. Jo brought cds and I brought my mini-disk. I like to drive with music. Yay.

Dad, Jo and I saw my grandparents. That was nice. We had conversation. My Grandfather brought up the fact that I haven't opened my HSC. As I told him, he's the only person who still brings that up. It's nice to see him. He's much thinner than he used to be. It's sad that I probably won't see him again after Thursday. But at the moment it's nice spending time with him.

We are staying in a cabin thing. The motel is right next door to Maccas and Pizza Hut. Posh.

Tonight we had dinner in a two story asian food court. I had indian and am feeling full.

Tomorrow night we are going to watch the rugby. I want to find a pub populated by Australians so we can all cheer. We are also might go to One Tree Hill tomorrow. I'm gunning for it. I'm not all that interested in the hill (which I have heard no longer has the "one tree") but U2 wrote a song named after the hill, so that's cool.

Local calls are free here. Unless you go to a pay phone. I need to find someone to call for free.

Now I think it's time for me to go. I have to find Jo and Dad who are shopping at Woolies (Woolies has a different logo here). I asked them to buy Corn Pops if they are here. I hope they still make them in NZ. Ever since we stopped getting them at home I've felt like a lesser person. If they do still have them here, I might move.

Posted by Tom French |

I just thought I'd take this opportunity to blog from Sydney Airport. I'm about to leave for New Zealand. It's all very exciting.

I didn't get much sleep last night. A bit like the night before really. We had issues getting here. Trains and stuff. Jo forgot her passport. But we're all good.

Last night was good fun. We had a college dinner. People said good-bye and gave presents. I started a fire on the table with my napkin which I was quite calm about but caused much screaming and water throwing from the women at my table.

The day was reflection day, which means reflecting a lot. Not really my favourite past time. Sitting around talking about "college life". During prayer groups time I got to have one by myself because my prayer group didn't turn up. That was good. I slept and prayed. The two would keep swapping. Very pleasant.

Anyway, I'm going to find Jo and Dad with my macca's breakfast.

Posh.

See ya in NZ!

Posted by Tom French |

I found out who the mystery love letter sender was. It was people playing silly buggers. Which is good because Robert started sounding like the person was real. And then I started to think about it more. Because if the person really did like me and was sending me love letters written by two different people, then they had serious issues and when I found out who they were, they I was going to have serious words with them.

When I was talking about it today with college people, someone suggested that I tell one of the faculty because, just incase this person was real, (which I was pretty sure they weren't but not fully sure) then they would have problems and things could go bad. They might go crazy. So for protection from sexual abuse claims or something I should tell someone. So I had a chat with the Dean. He agreed that if the person was serious, then they had issues. At least now I'm protected in case the mystery letter writer sues me.

Posted by Tom French |

We had an Australian Idol party tonight. Twas fun. We were silly. Rob made lots of signs and put them everywhere. We cheered and all pretended to be experts on Idol.

Later Gus and I watched a documentry on this crazy cult guy called Rev Sung Mung Moon. Or something like that. His followers were called Moonies. They said Moon was bigger than Jesus. And when Moon's son died in a car accident, Moon said his son had taken Jesus' place in Heaven, and Jesus bowed down to him. Yep. Moon was very rich too.

We then watched Bush's speech in England on Sky news. Now it's late and I'm getting up in 4 hours.

It's been a good night of quality TV watching though. Except perhaps the special on what happened to people after they were on Baywatch. That was a stupid show.

Posted by Tom French |

Yay Guy!

Posted by Tom French |

I'm going to watch the Australian Idol final tonight. I voted for Guy via SMS the other night too. I'm feeling a little ashamed of my behaviour, but, well, I'm human too.

Posted by Tom French |

Lots of women say I'm sexy, but I reckon they're just gold diggers.

Posted by Tom French |

I think they should let Mugabe go to the Commonwealth council summit and then all the other leaders of other countries can shout at Mr Mugabe and tell him to stop being a poophead. Not that that would do anything, but perhaps peer pressure works on dictators as well as 13-year-olds.

Posted by Tom French |

"There is a stillness and a sureness about mountains to be found no-where else; it is landscape that diminishes man, who, on flat land, can imagine forests and fields of ripening crops, lowing cattle and distant church bells or who, on the sea, can fashion a coracle and hoist a sail and command the wind and the surface of the sea to be his servant. But high mountains are not as easily tamed; man can burrow like a small rodent into them to hide or blast and chip vaingloriously at them, but he cannot vastly alter their shape or diminish their control of the heavens and the clouds that rise above them and the water that flows from them to replenish the earth. The mountains do not lie still, meekly submitting to the arrogant tampering, the thoughtless rearrangements of man. Instead they test his strength and courage and ignore his pompous sense of superiority over all things. When man is threatened by others of his kind he seeks the mountains, a place to disappear and to change the odds, to hide and force his enemy to pursue him on more equal terms." Tandia - Bryce Courtney

Posted by Tom French |

What is God teaching me at the moment?

To seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

Posted by Tom French |

Well today was pleasant day.

I arrived at Loftus at 11:48, my train was meant to get in at 11:28 but I think it was running late judging by the time. I'm quite good at things like telling the time.

I bought my self some breakfast from "Ma and Pa Crazy's Takeaway" (chips, two scallops and a Coke) and walked college to the lovely tunes of Bruce.

Once at college I had my general working bee feeling of inadequacy. All the jobs make me feel like I need to be manly and skilled with tools, or feminine and skilled with cleaning things. I know that's a sexist generalisation, but I wouldn't feel capable of fulfilling any task that either manly or feminine skill. I'm have no manual skills. I've got low muscle tone, that's what Mum reckons.

Anyway, I managed to stand around at the top of the driveway and watch as three of Youthworks lovely ladies dismantled letter box. And then I found myself a job near the mulcher. That was fun. My job was to make big branches smaller. This required me to do some sawing. So I spent almost two hours sawing my little heart out. I sawed big branches, I sawed twigs. I sawed everything in between. Every now and again, in a fit of strength and manhood I would snap a branch in half or something. I'd find big branch in the pile of what once used to be a few trees, drag them out like, and then cut em up. It was great.

I told Mitch Tinku's story. That was nice, standing talking to Mitch. He's a good man.

After lunch the mulcher broke so I stood around the mulcher looking like I knew something and making un-helpful comments.

I did some weeding later on and explored the poo pump.

Then Gus and I traveled home (he's sleeping over tomorrow night, yay slumber party).

I slept all the way from Central to Pennant Hills. Beautiful.

At Community dinner we had discussion about favourite films and a heated debate about whether Moulin Rouge! was an American or Australian film (IMDB lists it as both). I think it's still American, but I'm happy with saying it's both.

On the way home Howie and I discussed who it was that is sending me secret love letters at college. He's not telling me anything. It's quite infuriating. I'm not really all that concerned about it except when I'm around Howie because he know's what's going on but he won't tell me. He said I should figure it out, but from the notes I can hardly tell anything. I'm not a very good detective. Anyway, it's all a little perplexing for me. I can't figure out why it's happening. But hey, I'm sure it'll make a good story, if nothing else. And if you're reading this, mystery letter writer: "Hello, feel free to let me in on the secret anytime".

Posted by Tom French |

I aimed to get up at 7am today. I got up at 8:30. Just lovely.

Posted by Tom French |

Jo and I had a "travel plans" meeting tonight. My requirements for this trip to New Zealand (apart from seeing my Grandfather) were to sit in a park and read a book and to go see a movie. I think I may just get both those things.

Posted by Tom French |

I just read someone's blog about how easy it is to make a low budget feature film on film, and I got nostalgic. I got nostalgic for the days that I was planning to do that. Perhaps one day I still will. Probably not though.

Posted by Tom French |

Hmm. I've thought about writing about yesterday, but I can't be bothered. Read Jen or Rob's comments. They'll sum it up for you.

Tonight I preached again. I didn't really make a big deal about it. I didn't send my usual "I'm preaching" e-mail to the official Tom fan club (sorry fans). I only had this week to prepare and really till today, I had about 4 hours to properly prepare. I finished writing it at 3:30pm this afternoon, right before I had a meeting. And I didn't even get to go through it once before preaching it. I wasn't feeling too good about it, not very confident. I met Matt in the hall later on, and he prayed for me which was really nice.

May I just digress for a bit to say that I think Matt is a wonderful person. He annouced his leaving tonight, and that's kinda sad. Exciting because of what he's heading off to do, but having Matt around has been great. I couldn't have asked for a better boss this year. He's been really supportive, always looking out for me, making sure I'm going ok, open to sharing his life with me, and anyone really. He's a great bloke. Mum asked tonight if I'd miss him, and I said I would. I miss him now when he's not around the office. Not having him there next year will be sad. So that's what I'd like to say. Praise the Lord for Matt. May there be many more like him out there.

Anyway, back to me. Tonights "sermon" (I still feel silly saying that word), was kinda strange. It wasn't conventional. It was basically Tinku's story, and stuff about Abraham. I went into it feeling the least prepared I have ever felt. It's a scary feeling. And telling Tinku's story was scary too. It's a pretty full on story. Quite difficult to believe I guess. And telling it meant that I was committing myself to it. Committing and saying that I believe and endorse this story. Which I did, but I still found it a little hard. That and not being prepared, made me feel pretty vulnerable. That's a good thing though. I believe in vulnerable preaching.

I also didn't really enjoy myself tonight. Usually I enjoy myself. Preaching usually is fun. But this time, it was more draining, and hard. But I knew this was never going to be "my night". It was always going to be God's. The Holy Spirit had His way tonight. So it's nice being a "vessel" as they say. But it's still not the easiest thing in the world. Still I love doing it. It is an honour to preach God's Word. He gives us good stuff. It's good being privilaged to be able to spend 20 minutes every now and again talking about it to people.

Posted by Tom French |

I just read my last post again and had a laugh. I have to say, how good is toilet humour. Never fails to get that ten year old boy inside me having a giggle. When I was younger, like 10, people used to walk up to me and say "Bottom" and I'd loose it.

Speaking of loosing it, today in Bible Study I lost it for the first time ever in my amazingly long history of youth ministry. Dan put some stuffing on his face and I suggested he play Santa at Christmas. Steph mentioned that the Santa at the local shopping centre died and that's when I lost it. I just thought the idea of a dead Santa was extremely funny. I felt bad too at the same time because I was laughing about some guy that died, but the image of a dead jolly man in a red suit, well, what's not funny about that? When Jo told me a bit more about the guy who died later on I felt even worse. I think it was something about the meeting. We combined with the girls group this week, just for fun. It was hard to keep people focused, but it was quite a funny afternoon. I enjoyed hanging out with the kids even if we didn't learn much.

Posted by Tom French |

James said that he "won't be able bog until tuesday night." I would just like to say that I don't think that's healthy mate. Two days is often achievable, like on camps and stuff, but it does get a tad painful.

Posted by Tom French |

I caught a bit of World Cup fever tonight and watched the last 10 minutes of the game. Yay Australia. I would like to say that I am a fair-weather friend of Rugby.

Posted by Tom French |

Now I am home from the daytrip. It was long, hot, and full of nice people. I swam too. That was nice. I was looking forward to the swimming the least but was really good considering the heat.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm here, I'm alive, I'm sleepy.

Today I had a lot of meetings. But I made it through. I bluffed my way through my various ministries rehashing stuff from St Pete's. You gotta love the rehash.

I feel like Channel Ten and its MASH repeats.

Posted by Tom French |

It's interesting how people write in songs about all these women that are mysterious, irrational and seductive, and they seem wonderful, but in real life they would probably just be annoying.

Counting Crows are very good at that.

Posted by Tom French |

Today I finished up my coffee meetings.

I did breakfast with Beck in the morning. That was nice. I had a bacon and egg roll. Beck gave me good suggestions and it was nice to talk because I think Beck is the leader I talk to the least.

I met with Matt too. We debriefed his day yesterday a little. It was a big day for Matt. He rang me at 8:40am yesterday morning while I was still asleep to tell me his important news. When heard it was him on the phone I had to ask Mum what day it was. I thought I must have not turned up for something at work or the like. I already figured the phone call was coming. But when Matt told me his news I figured I should say some important words to him because it was an important occasion, but all I managed to say was "Important words." He said "Sorry?" And I said "Don't worry about it.".

Anyway today I said more important words to him. Moving words that men aren't meant to say very often. But it was good to talk.

I came home and slept then wrote my sermon for a few hours.

I met Louise in the city at 5:10pm (I was running 10 minutes late) for coffee. We went to Woolies so Louise could buy some blank cds then we went to Starbucks for our coffee. I had an iced chocolate, the closest thing to coffee so far in this whole leader catch up. Louise and I managed to stay at Starbucks till about twenty to nine. Over 3 hours in Starbucks. We seem unable to have short conversations Louise and I. We get distracted a lot. There was a bus driven by a man with a beard that went around the block about 15 times while we sat at our table in the window. Anyway it was a useful conversation.

After coffee Louise insisted we go to St James station, which seemed closer than Town Hall (I'm sure it wasn't but I didn't get to make the decision), because she had cold toes. I'm glad we went to St James though, it was top quality station. I'd never been there, but it has all this old world charm or something. It's absolutely fabulous. It's all lime green tiled and looks a little art deco perhaps. 1920s. It's got a really cool neon sign at the entrance. Yeah, posh.

We caught the train home from there.

All up I had fun and the Starbucks chairs didn't hurt my bum too much, but I got a little sick of the looped cd.

Posted by Tom French |

I would like to say, for the record, I agree with Matt a lot more than I disagree with him.

Posted by Tom French |

I think democratic politics is an expression of the morality of a country. As a citzen of my country I have a right to have a say in those morals. As a Christian my faith should influence my morals, lifestyle and my politics too.

Posted by Tom French |



That's a little scary. She has 1,903 piercings, at least 500 of which you wouldn't tell your mother about. I don't mind piercings, but...

Posted by Tom French |

Tinku came back tonight. That's very exciting. After 3 days of worry and prayer. And he's got a damn good story to share. Tonight's been a damn good night. God is damn good. God has answered our prayers above and beyond our expectations. Praise the Lord!

Posted by Tom French |

Good Factor

As opposed to Sunday night, getting a phone call with good news on the other hand makes your day and you start to believe in the power of prayer again.

Posted by Tom French |

On the way home from Community Dinner last night, Robert said "random" out of its approriate context.

In one and a half weeks I go to New Zealand.

Posted by Tom French |

Today was another foodcourt day. We introduced a vistors book today. It's kinda fun. Rob, David and I were joined by Jo, Kara and Sarah. That was fun. They signed the book. Kara and Sarah brought us a present of doughnut holes. It was very nice of them, we had very nice guests at the Table of Dreams today.

Posted by Tom French |

I wrote a post last night. Nothing really special, but it did the job. Sadly my computer put itself to sleep before I had the chance to post. Now it is gone my post love.

Yesterday involved no coffee, but lemon squash, Coke, water, a chocolate milkshake, 3 doughnuts, and a Kahuna sandwich (which had nothing remotely Kahuna about it). I enjoyed these food and beverages in four different locations on the North Shore and Northern Beaches, with 4 different people (Tanya, Lauren, Matt, and Ben), at three different times. I managed to see the ocean twice on two separate occasions. I felt like I was a proper youth minister for the beaches.

It was very hot yesterday and I should have worn shorts.

Last night I went to community dinner. And when I got home I watched the end of 25th Hour by Mr Spike Lee with our good friend Edward Norton. It was a good film. It was set post September 11 New York. Interesting. I liked the film.

There was a song for Bruce Springsteen at the end. A song from the album I just bought. I like the album, it's not "Rah, Rah, America", it's an appropriate American response to September 11 I think. It's not about revenge, it's more about dealing with loss, and a sudden, catastrophic change in a person's reality. He sings a lot about sky, blood, and tears, but that's ok. Occasionally it is a bit shmultzy but I cope. Any way I like it.

And Norah, I've listened to her at least seven times and I'm not sick of her yet. Her voice is beautiful. Melting perhaps. Yay for Norah.

Posted by Tom French |
Posted by Tom French |

Today I'm doing "coffee" with two people, and "lunch" with one. I wonder if I'll eat lunch and drink coffee. I can say no to the coffee. Lunch I'll probably eat.

I realised in the shower this morning that college is all done. I have two more days this year, and that's it. I never have to do a Monday-Tuesday again. It's a weird feeling. Next year is all a little up in the air. And now that I'm done with college, it's all on my doorstep.

Yay, hooray, oh dear.

Posted by Tom French |
Posted by Tom French |
Posted by Tom French |

Today I had my New Testament exam. Last exam for my diploma. That was a good feeling. I gave Graham a hug when I was done. My phrase for this exam was "paralysed frog". I managed to get it into the Hebrews essay, in the conclusion and everything. This was the conclusion. It wasn't a great conclusion but hey, I got it in:

A persecuted church, falling into apostacy, is like a paralysed frog. Far from being able to leap above the curse of this evil age, it must float along in the murky swamp of fear and doubt, going with the flow of the world, heading towards destruction. Hebrews encourages its hearers to take strength from its message. The better things of Christ can bring life to those faced with death, the warning passages encouraging the believers to hold fast to the better things they began in the faith believing.

Yep. I reckon I've got a 50/50 chance of passing.

Posted by Tom French |

I just went behind the Iron Curtain. Ooo. Any North Koreans, you can become capitalists too if you want. E-mail me and I'll make you a special post as well.

Posted by Tom French |

I've decided to convert any Chinese people who visit my blog. Chinese people this is a message for you:

HELLO CHINESE PEOPLE, CAPITALISM IS GOOD. RISE UP. ESCAPE THE BONDS OF COMMUNISM. BECOME CAPITALISTS.

FROM TOM

Posted by Tom French |

It's rainin' but there ain't a cloud in the sky,
Must of been a tear from your eye
Everything will be okay


- Bruce Sprinsteen, "Waiting on a Sunny Day"

Posted by Tom French |

Dodge Factor

It's dodgy when you come home from a good day to really crappy news.

All you can do is feel helpless and pray. And you wish you could swap places with the people involved. You wish things could happen to you instead of them because at least then you wouldn't have you worry about you. There's no hope of solving problems when they're not yours. So all you can do is feel helpless and pray.

I know prayer is powerful, but sometimes it just doesn't feel it.

Posted by Tom French |

I had my first full bottle of beer today. Tooheys New. I got bored while I was studying at the table in the living room and thought I'd get some rice crackers. I went and grabbed the usual half eaten packet you can find lying around my house. Most of the time they're seaweed.

While I was eating I thought "I need to be drinking something cold with these". There was nothing in the fridge so I sat back down to try and continue to learn about Acts. About two minutes later I remembered that we had cold beer in the fridge. Thinking it might relieve some of my boredom to try and drink a whole bottle of beer I went and got myself one. I got a Tooheys New because if there's any beer I want to like its that one. I really like the idea of going up to the bar and saying "Schooner of New, thanks."

I got to the table and tried to open it. I felt a bit un-manly when I couldn't just pop the top off with and easy twist. But I managed eventually. So I sat down to my study trying to feel contented with my beer and seaweed biscuits.

The first sip was alright. The second I thought "Yeah, I should be able learn to like this"

And then it all went downhill after that.

It was quite distressing. The beer tasted terrible. After every sip I needed two or three rice crackers. Soon they ran out and I was forced to drink without any foodal accompaniment. I tried big, long, gulps. They tasted bad. I made myself some raisin toast. They got burnt but they were my only hope. Finally after three burnt pieces of toast and lots of time between gulps I got my finished a bottle of beer for the first time ever.

The upside to all this is that I said I wasn't allowed to stop studying until the beer was finished. And as drinking the beer took so long, I got quite a bit of study done. And I was disliking the study so much that I continued to be inspired to finish the beer.

But still, after all that, I think I realise again that there is very little hope for me to ever join the general, beer-drinking, manly population of Australia. Probably not even the feminine, beer-drinking population of Australia. Shame, shame.

"Schooner of Coke, thanks"

Posted by Tom French |

I just found my HSC in all it's un-opened glory. For a few seconds I was tempted by curiosity. But no. I stood firm. Only 7 years to go.

I'm meant to be studying at the moment. I'm not doing very well.

Posted by Tom French |

At the moment Iraq isn't really being much of a "beacon of hope".

Posted by Tom French |

I started thinking about where I was going to live next year last night. It's a little strange, moving out. I really like Hornsby. I looked at houses to rent on the net. Just to see what things cost, how many friends I would need to join me in a house, unit, tent. It's all so expensive. I don't think I'm grown up enough.

If only you could grow down. Maybe I could grow backwards. Next birthday I'll turn 19, the year after that 18. Soon I'll be back to school. I could unsit my HSC. Go back to hanging in the library and having a race with Chris every morning to see who could get Time magazine first. Problem with that would be I'd only have 20 years left to live.

Oh well, I guess I better just try new experiences.

Posted by Tom French |

Norah is doing well for me. She's in my head at the moment and I'm quite pleased with it.

Posted by Tom French |

Tonight I went to Long Reef with Jo and Helen. I had fun. We sat on a piece of concrete near the helipad.

We talked about many things. In the middle of talking about what superpower you could have if you could have any superpower, we got onto the subject of pedophiles. I got really pissed off. If there's anything in the world that really pisses me of it's pedophillia. I get all tense and start thinking violent kind of thoughts. It's perhaps the closest I get to being an angry male. Child abuse, rape and woman abuse (I couldn't think of a better way to put it, but it sounds kinda strange). They are perhaps the three things in the world that make me the most angry.

We wrestled the conversation back to superpowers and in a few minutes I was back to my usual, happy, content and peaceful headspace.

Posted by Tom French |

I brought lunch with me to work today. I was very excited because I have never done that before. I'm never organised enough. But I thought I'd save some money and feel good about myself so I brought some left-over ravioli with me. I put it in a take-away container (probably from House of Chan) and wrote "Tom's Lunch" on the lid. Then I thought about it all day.

When it was time for lunch I started to get excited. Matt and Jamie were discussing what they would buy from the shops. I told them I'd just get a Coke, "Because I've brought my lunch".

Then someone suggested Maccas and I crumbled straight away, "Get me a large McOz meal." So Jamie got me a large McOz meal and it was wonderful.

Now I'm eating my ravioli for dinner. I never have dinner here at work anyway so really it's all a little useless.

Posted by Tom French |

Today we had 16 kids to the lunch time Christian group at the school. That group is amazing. If I were to pick one ministry that I do that's the lamest it would be that one. And we have 16 kids. Near the end of last term we were averaging about 3 kids. And I was getting really depressed. I couldn't figure out how to make the group good. And no body was turning up. One day I was walking to the school and I said "God, this sucks. Please do something with this group because I got no ideas" and that day we had 8 kids, 4 of which I had never seen before. That was a few weeks ago. And today we had 16 kids. It's still nothing special but we have more fun. And the kids like it. I can't work out why. All I have to say is "Yay God".

Posted by Tom French |

Everyone's having dreams at the moment. I dreamt something or other last night. Can't remember what though.

Jen had a dream about me, that's kinda strange. Not bad. I don't mind people dreaming about me, although I've only met Jen once, a long time ago.

Mark had a dream too.

Posted by Tom French |

Perhaps we should talk Revolutions.

We traveled to the city we did, Chris, Kaia and I. We only managed to have a little trouble with our city driving. I was only mildly laughed at. And we found our special parking place no problems.

We met Liam and Graham at the cinema and headed to Maccas. I had some ice cream too.

We hung out back at the cinema while Jo, Howie, Lys, Angus, Rachelle, Keith and Ben turned up. While people were turning up, some got places in the line, and then seats in the cinema. We did the front row thing again. It was great. We encouraged everyone to bring their donnas, a novelty thing. Which worked quiet well. But there weren't enough doonas to go around so I got cold feet spreading my doona across 3 people. The idea was nice though. And at Return of the King we'll do better.

The film itself was interesting. I really liked it. It was good fun. Not a lot more. It still doesn't live up to the first one in cool-ness. The first one was perhaps complicated in it's ideas, but a had a simplicity about it. The story was easy to get your head around, you didn't have to think to hard, but if you wanted to you were rewarded. The next two films haven't had that simplicity. Reloaded seemed to get bogged down in itself. Revolutions though, managed to stay a little above getting lost up itself. There was a lot more conventional film making. It didn't seem as show-offy.

There were a few bits I really liked. The fight at the end with Neo and Agent Smith was had coolness even if it was "just folk boffing each other around". The flight of Trinity and Neo was good too. I liked when they went above the clouds. It may have been a little corny, but it was a nice within the trilogy.

Anyway, it was better than Reloaded a lot more fun. Not as good as the first one. Half of Animatrix was better, half wasn't. And they managed to have a lot less breasts in this film. Except for that Monica Bellucci chick, as one reviewer said they were "served up to camera like a pair of golden apples."

We drove home and I got to sleep at 5am. 'Twas goodness.

Posted by Tom French |

I woke up at 11:56am. That's the latest I've slept in all year. Thank you Neo.

Posted by Tom French |

This time on May 15th 2003 I was very excited. I was going to see The Matrix Reloaded and I couldn't wait. I even bought new jeans to wear to the cinema. I was like a little boy. Hoi! How exciting.

Now I'm not so excited. Revolutions just doesn't have the same buzz for me. I'm still looking forward to it. But if Reloaded had been the first film in the series, I wouldn't be in the city at 1am to watch its sequel. Reloaded disappointed me too much. It was good, but not up there with the first film. I'm going tonight for the original Matrix, kinda like going to Episode II at midnight because of the original trilogy and definiatly not because of Episode I. No, certainly not Episode I.

Posted by Tom French |

I bought some cds today. Darn impulse shopping.

I bought Come Away with Me by Norah Jones and The Rising by Bruce Springsteen. I met James at Boost Juice just after I bought them and he told me Bruce was meant to be good but it was a post-September 11 "We are America, we will not be defeated" cd, which upset me a bit. He said Norah was good the first 6 times you heard it then you get bored because it all sounds the same. That disappointed me again.

I went to bank after that. Got a big cheque made up, and took $300 out of the bank. I'm feeling very poor again. Oh well. There's some money on the horizon.

Now I'm listening to Norah and she ain't doing too bad. It's only listen one though.

Posted by Tom French |

Phillip granted 203 visas in his last week as Immigration Minister.

That's good of him. That's like the US governor who let everyone off death row in his last week as governor. I think Phil's redeemed himself a bit in my books with his visa spurge. I don't like his ASIO ideas though.

Posted by Tom French |

For those who are wondering I have seen 37 films this year. So don't count me out of the race. Still could be anyone's year...

Tonight will bring me up to 38.

Posted by Tom French |

Let me be quick about today.

I pretended to study this morning. Mostly I sat starring out the window listening to Sons of Korah thinking "I love the Psalms. I should read them more"

I left home at 11:15 and picked up my passport from the Post Office. It's very exciting now I feel like a real Australian. I can go overseas and cross borders and get picked up with drugs and stuff in Vietnam and I can wave my passport around and say "I'm an Australian! I'm an Australian!"

I studied a bit on the train.

I got to college. Waited around. People made jokes about me studying for Church History today. I told everyone my tip for the Melbourne Cup.

The exam started. I think I didn't know anything. It got progressively worse as the exam goes on. I may be able to pass though. If the God is nice to me. I am very happy I had that extra day's study.

Afterwards Gus and I went to the city. I got to go to the Disney studios again. That was fun. They have little Mickey Mouse figureines all over their walls.

We progressed up to the George St cinemas. I found $20 on the ground and tried to give it to people who were standing around but nobody wanted it. The box office people didn't want it either. They said I should spend it. So I did. I bought a movie ticket and my Matrix ticket. I then messaged half the people in my phone asking them if they wanted join us. Half of the half did. So I bought the tickets to Matrix Revolutions with a few extras for those who wanted to go but hadn't messaged me yet. I still have one spare. I'm sure it will be gone by tomorrow night. But it's kinda exciting. It's like there will be a mystery guest. Who will take the last ticket?

Gus and I went and saw Kill Bill: Vol. 1. It was very violent. I liked it though. Gus laughed very loudly whenever anyone got a limb or their head chopped off. No-one else in the cinema seemed to be laughing when someone got killed. I had a little chuckle. I felt perhaps that people might think Gus was some crazy, violence loving, scary guy. He's not. I understood why he was laughing. I can't work out why no-one else in the cinema was laughing. It is kinda funny seeing someones leg getting chopped off, or eye ripped out. That's funny. Chick getting scalped? That's funny.

Anyway, the film was good. The violence was so over the top that it made the film bearable. If the violence had been realistic I don't think I could have handled the film. Yeah. I came out thinking "I want to make a film. I want to make something cool.".

I came home and went to commy dinner. There we looked at photos of Black Stump and the 2003 Motor Show and I got Gem blog. Go visit.

The End.

Posted by Tom French |

I would like to say I am very pleased with myself that I picked the winner of the Cup. I've been telling people all day. Well all day since I found out at around 4:45pm. And I didn't rig it. I decided last night I wanted to see if I could pick the winner. And sure enough, there I went. I did better than Bart Cummins. Where was his damn horse? Nowhere near mine.

Posted by Tom French |

While studying (ha!) I found this on top of one of my notes pages:

I once got a fighter jet,
but it crashed and burned.
I think I might get a glider,
let the wind take me where I need to go.


I thought it was very profound.

Posted by Tom French |

Here's my tip for the Melbourne Cup. Me being the horse man that I am:

MAKYBE DIVA

Weighing in at around 51kgs Boss is quite a rider. Plus we haven't seen a better trainer than DJ Hall around the Cup for years. Makybe may not be the favourite to win but certainly there's a good chance. And I'm betting the turf will be nice to the Diva. Take my tip, go all the way with the Makybe.

Posted by Tom French |

Since the invention of the
calendar, our days are numbered.

(Wiley)

From Ruminations

Posted by Tom French |

Today on the train home I fell asleep and there as baby crying. As I lay there drifting off into sleep I thought "I like babies. Even when they cry. Babies should catch the train more often."

Posted by Tom French |

I think I should do the dreams post. Yeah.

Last night I had my first dream that was set at Church. I was re-enacting the wedding of a friend. I had a nice wedding dress on and a black leotard underneath so I didn't show too much cleavage. I came into the church and I had to do this wedding as a dance. Helen put on the music for me, it was "Joyful, Joyful" I wasn't too happy about this because I know that I'm meant to be sick of "Joyful, Joyful". Everyone else seems to be sick of it, so I was sick of it too. Anyway I danced around out the front doing this wedding and I remembered that I needed a man. Phillip Ruddock happened to be walking past and so I grabbed him and we did a waltz together. He started to hold on to me quite tightly. I started to get worried that Phillip might be cracking on to me. I didn't know he was gay. I kept going with the dance though, me being the good showman that I am. When I finished we parted company and I was very relieved. He went back to his seat and his wife (who was a very little old lady) had obviously noticed how he had behaved with me and was very angry at him. I got the feeling she'd had problems with him before. I went over to shake his hand and be polite. He shook mine and acted as if his wife was nothing to worry about.

I also got to go to Koorong at some stage during the dream. This was very exciting because then I could buy that Daniel commentary that I have been wanting to get.

The other part of the dream was that our house got moved to the main road. We were at home, Rob and I, and I think Jo my sister may have been there too. We heard these loud bangs so we ran across to the window. There was a big truck that usually carries dirt driving along. It had lots of bangs and flashes coming out of the back of it. I realised the truck was full of fireworks and the fireworks were going off. It was very cool and we stood there watching. The truck drove past the house which was a little scary and then crashed into a tree and fell over. Jo told us to get away from the window because it was going to blow up. And sure enough it blew up. And the back of the truck blew off and flew through the two bay windows at the front of the house taking out all the walls and everything. I thought this was very exciting. An ambulance drove past with its sirens going and I wondered where the fire truck was.

Posted by Tom French |

I take full responsibility for everything that has happened today (except not getting paid, that's not my fault)
This post is very long, don't read it if you don't want to know about my day in great detail. It'll waste your time.

Yes well. I woke up at 7:00 (actually I woke up at 3:30, 4:30, 6:35 and then 7:00) from the strangest dreams (some of which I'll share but not in this post). I got up after falling asleep again about 6 times at 7:17 and had a shower listening to Train. I had a quiet time, looked in the fridge but found no milk. Mum suggested I buy some but seeing as it was 8:10 I thought there wasn't enough time. Rob and I were planning to go and drop off all the video gear from weddings and Impact at 8:30. I suggested we go a bit earlier and go to Maccas. I checked my bank account and I didn't have any money (I'm meant to get paid on the first, at least that's what I thought) but Rob said he'd pay.

We packed the car and left and found no petrol in the car, Rob said he'd pay. I had a Sausage and Egg McMuffin, two hash browns, and a large coke (I meant to ask for an orange juice but when I thought juice, Coke came out). I wanted to get hotcakes too but Robert aptly pointed out that they are difficult to eat in the car, especially while driving.

I was conscious that I had and exam today. I wanted to get this all done quickly so I could get home and get an hour's worth of study in or something, every little bit counts.

We arrived in St Leonards, at Panavison in good time to drop off the tripods. Rob went in and I hung out in the car park wearing my sunglasses, drinking my Coke and wondering how cool I looked (not very) and how much sleep I'd had over the past 76 hours (around 16 hours). Rob came back and we headed off to Artarmon to drop off the mixer and cable at Digihire. We arrived in Punch St (right near Ryan's old work) and I remembered that I'd left the cable at home. The 66-metre BNC cable that was due back at Digihire at 10:30am was still sitting in my room. I think I may have said "Bugger". Rob laughed. As did I, I think. I decided that I'd better drop off the mixer then go home and get the cable then come back. It was at that point that I saw the only hour of study for Old Testament 2 that I was going to get at home go out the window. I dropped the mixer off then we turned around and headed home.

I had to drop Rob at Fusion but I forgot because I was too busy thinking about my boss from the cinema and his girlfriend. I dropped him in the bus zone near the pool.

I went home told Mum my news about having to go back to Artarmon. She didn't find it very funny. She'd been most unimpressed with me all morning due to my lack of study and my inability to plan ahead and say "No". I got the cable, hopped back in the car drove to Chris' house and dropped off his mixer. He was wearing his Coffee Club clothes.

From there I drove back to Artarmon and back to Digihire. I gave them their cable at around 10:54am. I needed to be back in Hornsby in time to go home then catch the train at 11:43. I turned around an drove home. I drove over the "whoopsie" in Lindfield a second time at around 77km/h. It was fun but not as fun as the first time.

I got home at 11:28. I checked my bank balance and I still hadn't been paid, I had to grab money of the board from Mum and Dad to get myself to college. I started packing my back, and deciding what mini-disks to take when I looked at the time: 11:33 I had to go. It takes 10 minutes to walk quickly to the station. I shoved all my mini-disks and my bag and walked swiftly out of my room carrying every thing I could possibly need to study Old Testament and Church history as I traveled. I arrived at the station at 11:44. A guy who looked stoned was standing at the ticket machine asked me if I had $2, I said "No sorry" then felt bad as I bought my ticket with a fifty dollar note. I got a $2 coin in my change so I went back and found him and gave it too him. He said I was "a champ". I went through the ticket barriers, then headed for my platform. I noticed the stone looking guy coming through the barriers too. I hoped he didn't catch my train. Actually I didn't mind if he did. I hoped he didn't sit with me. I hoped God wasn't setting up and evangelism opportunity for me to seize so I could save this guy from the pits of Hell. I didn't have time for salvation, I had to study.

He didn't come to my platform so I sat on the platform and read up on Hosea, Amos and Josiah. My train came and I continued to study (which I decided as I walk to college today wasn't "cramming" but a "concerntrated study program") between nodding off every few sentences. As I passed through Artarmon I thought "This is the third time I've been here today, and it's only just past twelve"

At Town Hall I had two minutes till the train I was planning to catch all morning. That was a nice surprise. I bought myself a can of Coke I was in such good spirits (I probably would have bought a can of Coke if I missed to train too, to console myself or something). On the train I continued to read up on the Servant Songs of Isaiah and I realised how little I know about this subject. I didn't fall asleep all the way to Loftus though.

At Loftus only 3 people got off the train. None of them college people. I decided not to listen to my mini-disk but to take the opportunity to use the walk to college to plead to God for grace in these exams.

I arrived at college to applause and another love letter in my pigeon hole. I prepared myself for "Tom Time" when I told everyone how little study I had done, what stupid morning I had had and about all the wonderful things I have been doing that have been stopping me from studying. I wandered into to lounge room where everyone was studying hard. I didn't think it was worth me studying too. I felt I was doomed anyway. I noticed a few of the people studying Church History. I thought that was a little strange, they must be very confident with their Old Testament. Then I noticed that every desk seemed to have a Church History text book on it. It slowly dawned on me that perhaps these people weren't so confident after all. I asked Angus and Rachelle what exam we had today. "Church History". Bugger and buggery bugger. Then I laughed. I'd done all my study for completely the wrong subject. Not that it was much study, but when you compare 2 hours to nothing 2 hours in incomparably greater. I went and sat down on the couch and felt like a down right dill. I messaged Rob and Helen, the two people I've complained most too about my exams. Robert called me a "bloody idiot" and Helen sounded quite concerned. I didn't reply to Robert. And after the exam (which is when I got Helen's message) I tried to make her understand that it was really quite funny.

The exam began. I read the questions and realised that I had no idea what most of the questions were on about. "To what extent was there a 'struggle for liberation' in ONE of the following in the period of 1550 to 1689? England; Scotland; the Continent; the American colonies." There was a struggle for liberation? No-one told me that. "Account for the main changes in Evangelicalism in the first or second half of the 20th century" Billy Graham? Peter Jensen? I don't know.

In the end I wrote about the Anabaptists, the Age of Reason, missionaries in the European colonies and Vatican II. The first two I had written essays on, the third one I had no idea but I figured it was the easiest to crap on about and the last one we watched a bit of Brides of Christ last week in class when the nuns talked about Vatican II and I was paying attention to that. I didn't really think that basing a whole essay on an ABC mini-series staring that early 90s bombshell, Kym Wilson, was a particularly good idea, but it was the best I could do.

It was in that essay that I decided to answer the challenge one of the HSC students at church. I told her to put the words "trapezium", "mandarin" and "existentialism" in her English essay, so she told me I had to write "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless" in mine. I figured that wouldn't be too hard in an Old Testament exam. Ha!

So I thought of the old nuns in that Australian convent where our Kym when to school as they watched in horror as "St Basil" was taken of the roof of the church as a result of Vatican II and I wrote:

"Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless" may have been the feeling of many of the conservatives of the faith as they watched centuries of tradition disappear in a bid to make the church more modern.

I don't think it'll win me any marks but it won't loose me any either.

I was particularly pleased with my concluding sentence:

In short the impact of Vatican II was both positive and far reaching, bringing Roman Catholicism firmly into the 20th Century.

I'm not sure if that's true. I'm not quite sure what Vatican II was. But it's always good to state your opinion in church history and if that means I get marks then I'll have an opinion on anything, even Vatican II.

After the exam I went home. I bought myself some butter chicken from the Sutherland Indian Man and a movie magazine to read on the train home (now that I don't have to study for Church History). The butter chicken wasn't bad, but I'm still burping it. The magazine was boring and full of fluff. Pretending to know all about movies but really just wanting to tell me who was sleeping with who or nothing at all.

I came home listening to "Third Day" and I'm thinking that perhaps God did give me grace in the exam. Now I don't have to study for Church History, praise the Lord, and now I have more time to study for Old Testament with 2 hours already up my sleeve, praise the Lord!

So that's my stupid day. I have enjoyed it very much. I have no hard feelings. I'm not angry. Except perhaps at the people who made that stupid magazine.

Posted by Tom French |

Angus has a blog! We love Angus. He's been writing in it too. How good is that? Good, that's how good.

Posted by Tom French |

Today

Did the morning church group thing. The group went alright. Jo was dead on her feet with sleep deprivation. That amused me.

We ate breakfast (chocolate milk and a danish) afterwards in the lounge room, or whatever that room is called (Meeting Room 1 officially I think), and I didn't manage to get off the couch for another 3 hours. Helen came and joined the lounging at some stage. At 3:30 I had to leave as I had a meeting to attend.

My Bible study group was good. The boys laughed at my speech problems because of my tiredness.

I then raced away from church so I could preach at the church down the road. Jamie, Sal, Luke, Joel and Jono played the music for the church tonight. It was a little strange hearing music from my church in the wrong church. At times I felt like the only one singing. I did the same talk I've done over the past two weeks. I was feeling very tired, a little sick, and I forgot to get myself a glass water. It went alright. I forgot a few bits. People liked it though I think. Even with my stuff ups due to my lack of sleep. They were all very nice. I liked the people at that church.

I had to preach in my daggy, college jumper. I stress about that all day. I wanted to wear my t-shirt but I discovered it had stains on it when I got to church. I had to wear my jumper. Oh well. It's a comfy jumper. But so is my t-shirt. And my t-shirt is cooler.

Now I am home. Now I will sleep.

I have an exam tomorrow and I have done absolutely no study. This is bad. I really don't want to fail this subject. Or any subject. I want to graduate. I've just been too flat out to have a look at my books. But I probably wouldn't have studied at this stage anyway, even if I had every day for the past week free. This way at least I was too busy to feel guilty about my lack of study.

Posted by Tom French |

Saturday

...started around where Friday left off. 7am in shower, then off to collect a tripod, drop it at a hall then go back again.

I finished setting up a little more of the live mix and then we had a technical rehearsal for the show. It was a little long. There were long spots where I had nothing to do. I almost read my book but only realised I could read my book just before I needed to work again. I was on dvd playing. The dvd had all the music and video stuff for the whole show on it. I felt pretty important but really my job was just pressing skip track at the appropriate time.

The technical rehearsal was followed by a trip to Chris' house so I could borrow his mixer (thanks Chris) then back to the hall again.

Dress Rehearsal followed. That was a little more thrilling. I had a little more button pressing to do.

Michael, Rob, Michelle and James, (the video crew) all arrived during the dress rehearsal. We ate pizza with the rest of crew and felt very exclusive (for some reason cast wasn't allowed to eat food. Some people said it was because they'd get fat and wouldn't be able to dance properly. I think it would be fun if everyone ate pizza together. We could order 50 pizzas and make the hall a big, pizzay mess. And then we could watch a video and have a sleep over because that's what people do after they eat pizza in big groups.

The show happened. I pressed my buttons at the right times. It was a good show. TOOBSC felt a little strange. It didn't feel like my baby anymore. It felt like I'd lent it out to someone else. I had very little emotional connection to it. The live stuff went well looked good. Matt would be nominee for my "Tom's Person of the Year" award if I had person of the year awards. Zac was good quality, very well done.

(I don't think I could ever have "Person of the Year" awards. I'd feel really bad giving one person the award when there would probably huge amounts of people I'd want to give it to. People would get upset and offended if I didn't give it to them. I'd probably have to give it to a disabled person every year because then no-one could complain because if they did they'd just look like a bastard.)

As I think I've said before, I'm getting into dance more. I wasn't bored by the show. I probably would have been when I was 19. Now days I watch and think, "That looks good" and "Oh I like what they did" or "Ouch! I wonder if it hurts doing that". That sort of thing.

People didn't really laugh much at the video Tinku and I made. I wasn't made for acting.

After the show we packed up. Then went home.

Posted by Tom French |

I am quite tired at the moment so there is that possibility that I'll say something I'll regret. It's times like this that secrets get out. But I will try an refrain and not disappoint my future self.

It's been a big few days but I don't want to say too much about it all.

On Friday I tried to render the dvd, that wouldn't happen so I went to work and ran a poorly planned lunch time group. I never feel all that good about the lunch time group. I always feel as if they're a bit flat. But the people who come seem to like it. One of the girls asked if we could have it twice a week, or more. That made me feel a bit better about it.

I've been listening to Dad's Sons of Korah cd a lot lately. They are very good. I don't often listen to Dad's music.

Friday afternoon was filled with picking up equipment for Impact. Before that I ate lunch with Matt, Jamie and Steve. It was good fun. I felt like "one of the boys". I even made a rude joke which everyone "guffaw-ed" (is that the phrase?) about.

Friday night was setting up the live mix for the concert. That was difficult as I only had one camera to use and not enough BNC-RCA plugs but I got finished about 11:30. I left to go pick up David so we could get the rendering done. When I got to St Ives I remembered that I left the tripod that Rob needed for the wedding back at the hall. I couldn't go back and get it because David was waiting for me and I didn't have enough petrol so I drove on.

David and I visited his office so I could borrow some plugs. Then was came here to make this thing render. We ate coffee wafer sticks till the early hours of the morning. I dropped David home at around 5am as the dvd was beginning to burn and the sun was coming up. I didn't feel particularly excited at the prospect of the few days ahead I was facing with little sleep.

Posted by Tom French |

It's too late to be doing this. So I won't. I've had a long day with a lot a energy for very little food and even less sleep (if you can compare the two).

But right now I'd like to send a big shout out to David who stayed up till 5am making the dvd for Impact happen. He even stayed awake while I had a power nap. There's dedication.

Yay for David. A beautiful man.

(It's funny how I'm much happier to call other guys beautiful than I am girls. Perhaps because with girls when you say beautiful it usually means you're talking about their looks, at least that's the first thing people stop at and I never talk about peoples looks. Plus people would think it was an un-plutonic beautiful, or at least I'd think they would. So usually girls get called "top notch", "high quality", "very cool person" and perhaps "friendly chap". Then again guys can get that too. So really, girls just miss out a bit I guess.)

Posted by Tom French |

I was up till 5am last night. I was going to complain about it on the blog but Rob didn't sleep at all and stole my thunder. Now I've got nothing to complain about. I feel like one of those starving Ethiopians in the early ninties when Rawanda had the famine and stole all the media coverage. Bloody prima donna Rawandans.

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