Posted by Tom French |

Yesterday was massive. About nine of us watched all three extended edition Lord of the Rings movies in a row. Pow!

We started at about 10am and finised at 10:40pm, with a few breaks in between discs and films. It was good though. I fell asleep for about 10 minutes in every film making it a little bit more relaxing.

As I was driving home listening to music every lyric seemed to relate to something in the films. I was composing montages from the Lord of the Rings to go with The Joshua Tree.

They are top notch films. I don't know if I'd do it again. I feel like I spent all of yesterday in the dark (I did), but it was good.

Posted by Tom French |

Sad Macro, Lovely Micro

I'm on holidays, I'm having a wonderful time, and I'm feeling a little guilty about it. Every time I open my browser SMH is there. It's always showing me a new number. 22,000, 26,000, 30,000, 50,000, 60,000. It's like a Keno jackpot going horribly wrong. There's nothing I can do.

Most of me doesn't want to know what's going on outside my microculture. 60000 people? What can I do with that? Don't tell me about the horror, I can't help. I don't want to see pictures of dead people, I don't want to hear stories of people getting swept out to sea, I'm not useful.

Yesterday morning Mum and I went and saw a film. Before the film we were sitting in a cafe eating breakfast and a woman with her daughter walked in and said the the Barista: "Guess where we were going on Sunday? Phuket. Lucky it didn't happen in a week. We're wondering where we'll go now. We'll get a full refund on our plane tickets."

In the afternoon Rach and I went driving to get her hours up. We drove all the way to Stanwell Park. We parked, bought a Coke and walked to the beach. There were hangliders flying off the cliff above and landing on the beach. The ocean was rough and looking angry. It felt like the water might be trying to tell us all something.

At Community Dinner that night we were all in good spirits. There was the usual laughing and stupid jokes at everyone's expense. The night only got sad when someone brought up the tsunami and we prayed about it. I wanted to move on. We did, desert was very nice.

Impotency sucks, but when I'm not thinking about the rest of the world I'm having a great time. I bought a new cd today, did shopping with Mum, watched DVDs, hung out some washing. If I stopped opening my browser my holidays would be perfect.

Posted by Tom French |

When you hear that 22,000 people have died what do you do? I have no idea.

Posted by Tom French |

Well, I haven't been a very good blogger lately. Too much has been happening.

I finished my book today and I didn't like the ending. I also didn't really change my mind about it all, but I may read another one by Picoult.

David came home the other night. That was fun. We walked back to the car past security zones, over busy highways and abandoned bridges, it was way cool. We ate pizza in Newtown till late and regaled each other with stories of the past six months.

On Christmas Eve, I got to do the talk at the family service and people were nice to me. I had spent the afternoon building Hannah's birthday present. A pink bike. I sat on the floor surrounded by nuts, bolts, washers and tools. I felt like a Dad building the bike. I decided that I look forward to having kids so I can build bikes and Ikea furniture for them. The pinnacle of fatherhood.

Christmas Day started at my old Church where the new minister bowed down to me and called me a legend. True. I think he was joking, but it was funny to go back and find that I've joined the ranks of all the ex-youth ministers before me.

I got lots of books and gift vouchers this Christmas, yipee.

I had lunch at my cousins house. Christmas night I spent sitting on a couch watching The Panel and Almost Famous. That was a tops movie.

Yesterday I wrote my sermon, and last night I delivered it. I wasn't thrilled in it, but I'm happy it's done. At church I heard a rumour that I had stolen someone's girlfriend. I thought this was funny considering my romantic history. It all turned out to be, well, nothing really, and everyone's friends, so that's nice.

When Church was done, I was on holidays. Many of us went and saw The Incredibles. What a great film. I laughed. Pixar are just the best.

Today I woke up late and went a saw Blade: Trinity with David. That too was a good film. Actually I don't know if I'd say good. It was fun. There was lots of fighting and cool stuff. Guns and chases and the like. The music was cool too.

Tonight I watched John Safran Vs God with Jem and Ryan. Funnies.

So that's my life in dehydrated form. I'm going start reading my next book in about 10 minutes. That'll be fun.

Posted by Tom French |

In the space of about 20 minutes my mostly empty week has filled up into a mostly full week. Fantastic.

Posted by Tom French |

I went for a drive today to write my sermon for tonight. I needed a place alone where I could talk out loud so my car was the place. I drove for a while north up the freeway and when I got to the end of the sermon I decided to turn around. I took and exit did a u-turn then headed back towards home.

I started my sermon agan and as I drove I noticed things I hadn't noticed on the way there before. I dove over a brige I didn't remember and saw water that looked out of place. It was only when I was 70kms south of Newcastle that I realised that I was still heading north. I turned around properly this time and headed home. It took me a while to get home.

12/25/2004 06:09:00 pm

The True Meaning of Christmas

Posted by Tom French |

I was reading an article the other day where Dominic Knight (whoever he is) called Christmas "everyone's favourite pagan-made-Christian-made-pagan-again holiday."

It's common knowledge that Christmas was a pagan festival that was appropriated by the Christians thousands of years ago to help the simple folk celebrate Christian things rather than non-Christian things. As far as I can tell from my extensive research Christmas was originally a festival to the Roman god Saturnalia. The festival was to celebrate the solstice (21st December). Jesus wasn't born in December, it was probably around March. But instead of creating a whole new holiday to celebrate the Christians just used an old one. Why build a new house when you can just renovate an old one?

Anyway my thought was, we Christians stand up and declare that the real meaning of Christmas is Jesus birth. It's not about Santa or shopping, it's about the incarnation.

But by that same token Wiccans can stand up and say, the real meaning of Christmas is not Santa and shopping, it's not babies and incarnations, it's the about the Sun and the god that Saturday is named after. It's just as valid, or perhaps more valid than most of the Christian talks that happen in churches and Christmas assemblies all over the western world.

I think the real meaning of Christmas may be that humanity likes to get together, eat food and give presents. We just like to chuck different names and ideas behind it but they're all just an excuse to bring out the best and worst in people.

But don't let me be a spoil sport. I love celebrating Christmas. And I think it's a wonderful excuse to talk about Jesus and God's gift to us. I'll celebrate at the drop of a hat so Jesus' birth is a wonderful excuse for a family get-together.

So Happy Christmas everyone. And when you've forgotten what you ate for lunch today, and you've forgotten what presents you've been given, remember that God's visit to planet Earth is just as wondrous on Christmas Day as it is every other day of the year.

Posted by Tom French |

Christmas, Ooo.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm procrastinating.

Procrastinating would be great if there were no guilt attached to it. Oh dear now my cd has finished that was my marker for when I should start doing some work. Goodo.

Posted by Tom French |

I had a day full of meetings. Meetings, coffees, morning teas and beers. And meetings pretending to be coffees, morning teas and beers.

But I got a lot done. I had lots of discussions. Normally having this many meetings would make me annoyed. But I know I am having this many meetings so I can go on holidays, the hope is sustaining me.

Harry Potter 5 is coming out on July 16th 2005. That'll be fun.

And if you want to hear something funny, listen to the techno version of the National Anthem. Bad, bad, bad. Doesn't make me proud of my heritage, but then again when does the National Anthem ever make me feel patriotic? Play me Jimmy Barnes any day.

Posted by Tom French |

Book Thoughts

I started reading My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult on Friday. I was intrigued, because I had heard lots of women talk about her, some rave about her (perhaps only 5 but that seems like a lot), but never once heard a man mention her and she seemed to come out of no where. I was interested as to why this was so. So I've started reading.

I'm eating the book up, it's a very easy read. I'm just under half way through and I really want to keep reading. She's filling my spare moments.

The story of this book is about a girl who has been born as a designer baby to be a genetic match for her older sister who has leukaemia. She was born so she could donate blood, bone marrow, organs, etc to keep her sister alive. The girl decides she's had enough of this and files for medical emancipation from her parents, she wants to be able to make her own decisions about her body. This is effectively signing the death sentence for her older sister.

The book paints a really interesting picture of a family struggling to cope with big problems. I'm really enjoying seeing how well thought out the situation is. None of the characters are black and white, there are no good guys and bad guys. And the ethics of it all are in your face, and heart, the whole time.

On the other hand the book isn't as well written as I would like. She lacks subtlety. There are metaphors strewn through out the book, but they’re easy to find because she makes sure they're at the end of a section of story. There are certain lines of dialogue dripping with subtext which she points out to you by virtually writing in the next line "That contained subtext and the deeper meaning is..." It makes me feel a little stupid. I don't want to be given neon signs to find the hidden treasure. Of course I am stupid, rarely can I read a book and figure out what they're really trying to say ("Animal Farm was about communism? Really?") But I at least like to pretend I can. Stories should be able to stand on their own and get richer with the deeper meaning.

I wanted to get that off my chest because well, it's interesting for me. She sure beats the hell out of Dan Brown, his characters are thinner than the paper they're written on, and everything else is predictable, sensationalist, dull and, well, bad. And she writes better than Clancy, but Clancy writes about spies and tanks so he probably beats her by a smidgen (except for Red Rabbit, which was a poor execution of his own well trodden formula). She beats Grisham who writes to match the price of his books (I got two for $6 but actually got them for free because they priced them wrong in Woolies). She’s not as good as Rowling who doesn’t pretend to be anything she’s not and doesn’t treat her readers like ten year olds. She isn't as good as Courtney, but at least her characters preach less. Tolkien wins hands down, his writing is like eating a rich mango (I would say peach but I don't like peaches) which is exquisite when you eat it and it hangs around, filling your life long after mango is gone; you can still taste it a year after reading it. In my view she also can't touch de Bernières, because he preaches at you for a whole book but you never saw him doing it, and he weaves words into pictures, emotions, characters and stories, leaving you enthralled at both the intricate little bits and the sum total. He un-pretentiously shows you the other half of the English language, and then makes you decide you should go find it for yourself.

So in my completely un-comprehensive list where does she fit?

de Bernières (He’s probably up there on the strength of Captain Corelli’s but the other books are good)
Tolkien
Rowling
Courtney
Picoult
Grisham
Clancy (but he’s more fun)
Brown

There are lots of other people I would love to write about (C.S. Lewis, Chuck Palahniuk, Jeffery Archer, Stephen King, David Gutterson, and probably lots more) but well, I need to go to bed.

Anyway, my verdict is she’s wroth reading (although rarely do I read a book that I regretted reading, The Day After Tomorrow, Tim Allen’s book and anything by Archer are notable exceptions). I don’t quite get why all the women love her so much. I think perhaps because the female characters are well written, better written than the male ones (which is rare, probably because a lot of the popular writers are men), and the male characters fit stereotypes that appeal to women (not to say all the characters are appealing, just the stereotypes).

I say all this only half-way through the book and I could be wrong on everything. I might write again when I finish the book.

I didn’t mean to write this much, I think I’m just having too much fun. Writing about books makes you look high brow and educated. Either that or just a conceited fool.

Posted by Tom French |

It's not the end of the world. It never is. Unless of course the world is ending.

Posted by Tom French |

Today was going to be my day off. Then I woke up and decided that I had more chance of seeing friends tomorrow, so I decided to make tomorrow my day off. I still got the traditional day off sleep in though.

I went to Chatswood today and had coffee with Matt. He's good value. I went to HMV with $20 gift voucher wandered around and bought nothing. I must have been depressed or something normally I can't avoid wanting to buy half the cd store.

I read my book on the train, and that is always fun.

Posted by Tom French |

I reckon Beth is one of the best commenters around. Good on you Beth.

Posted by Tom French |

In two days it'll be the longest day of the year. If I was a witch I'd dance naked on a hilltop and boil things in a mini-cauldron that I bought from India Fox.

Today we had our big Christmas carols thing on at Church. It was big. I spent all afternoon doing manly work in the sun. I used a big spanner to take a fence apart and I got to carry heavy boxes around. I sweated a lot and got dehydrated. It did feel good to be working hard though.

I also got to help set up the kindy farm that the brought in for the occasion. I got to carry a lamb, then walk a sheep on a leash. I got to pull out all my "Good Shepherd" jokes. The animals were the best. There was some ducklings that I contemplated adopting. If only you could keep ducklings small and cute. But well, ducks are cool too.

In the evening I dressed up in my costume. It was in a Joseph costume because I played Joseph in the authentic re-enactment of the Christmas story in the playground of the church with Angels wearing nighties and playing keyboards and Shepherds living in a multi-coloured playset. Being Joseph I had to lead Mary on a donkey, a real donkey. That was cool. I became the donkey handler for the night and that really jacked up my feelings of self-importance.

The donkey however had no such illusions of its own self importance with his ability to defecate and urinate where ever and when ever he liked. It just made the whole authentic experience more authentic. I wish I too could have done that in the middle of the play, just for the feeling of freedom that must be.

I didn’t actually have any lines in the play and I didn’t feel like the job was all that hard. I had only been to one hour long rehearsal. After the event lots of people told me I did well as Joseph. I usually replied with “I know”. For those that were being serious it probably sounded arrogant. For those that were being silly it probably sounded as it was meant to. It didn’t occur to me till later that some people may have actually thought that I did well. All I did was lead a donkey and look surprised when there was an angel in my bedroom. No arduous task, but well, it was in front of 300 people so maybe it seemed bigger than it was.

I think I’d be Joseph again next year if I got the same deal, especially if there was a donkey around. I really liked the donkey. His name was Martin. I may name my 5th son Martin in honour of him.


Posted by Tom French |

I went to a family picnic today. I don't usually go. This morning Mum asked me what I was doing with my day and told me that she was off to a family picnic. She hadn't asked me and but had some how decided that I would be writing a sermon or something. Feeling very "spur of the moment"-ish I decided to go. I really hoped I wouldn't regret it. I'm always very awkward at family things.

But we arrived and I pretended I was in Youth Minister mode and I did alright. I told myself that everyone didn't hate me so I made conversations and stupid jokes. It was fun in the end. I got lots of comments about how I never turn up to anything. I told them that if they stopped having picnics on Sundays I might come, like today.

I think the point of the picnic is that when I decide that people like me I'm much better at socialising. I already knew that, but it was highlighted again.

Posted by Tom French |

It is interesting how your thoughts and feelings late at night, in those places you explore between turning out the light and being caught by sleep, can be so full on, so sure, so intense, but when you wake in the morning they're nothing but a shadow of the feelings they were, like the smell of ciagrettes on your clothes after a long night out. You wake in the morning and the sun has taken away your dreams. Sleep devours the passion and infuses you logic. You can change the world at 3am, but by 7 the world just works its changes on you.

Posted by Tom French |

Yesterday I helped my sister pick up a bookshelf for her house. She asked if I could drop it around at Jem's house. I did this. arriving at Jemma’s folded into my car as the bookshelf was so big it encroached well into my driving space.

The drop off was only meant to be about 5 minutes, but it evolved into an hour. That then evolved into a trip to Hornsby to eat lunch which later found its way into a second hand bookstore. I bought Captain Corelli’s Mandolin to lend out to people and The Satanic Verses to read myself. The bookstore smelt, but I liked it. There is something comforting about second hand bookstores, they seem to be in this twilight world, in a literary place between death and resurrection. It holds all the smells, memories and nostalgia that all old books have, but the promise and anticipation of new, undiscovered, un-read books. It’s great.

We then managed to head over to Westfield to do a bit of Christmas shopping where we met my sister after she arrived back from her day’s expedition that began just after we picked up the bookshelf. The drop off had developed into a wonderful little serendipitous affair to fill my day off.

In the evening Ryan came round to watch Return of the King: Extended Edition with me as I had bought it while at the shops. It was tops. I didn’t think the extra footage was as good as the extras in the first two, but it was still fun to see. Any extra footage is good. I maintain that Denethor is the most underwritten, one-dimensional character in the series. Even with the extra scenes he wasn’t all that complex.

Still it is wonderful film. I do love them all to bits.

Posted by Tom French |

Oh how the mighty blog world has fallen.

Posted by Tom French |

Somedays I notice how socially awkward I get. Like today. Other days I don't. Like yesterday maybe.

Today, apart from moments of feeling rather stupid and relationally gangly, was good. I had lunch and dinner in two restaurants. I did a talk. I said nice things about people. People said nice things to me. I saw Christmas lights.

In the morning I went to a primary school to do the talk for their Christmas assembly. The assembly amused me a little. My talk had a lot of toilet humour which made the kids laugh. I hope they got the point though.

We went out for a staff lunch. Fun too. We met the new staff worker and gave each other presents. It was nice to just relax.

I had a meeting and rang my small group. I also drove to Chatswood to get some videos copied.

Tonight I had a leader's celebration for youth group. I really like all the youth leaders. I think they are all tops. I got to tell all the leaders in my section how I felt about them, which was good. I really enjoyed telling them what I liked about them. Helen did the same with her leaders. Then they said nice things about us. It was very nice. I felt quite loved.

We had dinner out, and that was good. Funnies all round. The night ended with a trip the Christmas lights land. It was good but it still doesn't feel like Christmas. The year is ending soon though. Yeah Baby! I am way more excited about the 27th of December than the 25th.

Posted by Tom French |

I've fallen completely and hopelessly in love with myself.

Posted by Tom French |

Today I went to "coffee" with two of the guys from my small group. I had a Mixed Berry Smoothie. I didn't finish it so I took it to my car, put it in the cup holder and forgot about it.

Tonight I went out with my family for my parent's 30th Wedding anniversary. It was very nice, very romantic. After dinner Jo, Hannah and I took them to a 5-star hotel where we had booked them a room secretly. I moved the smoothie out of my car and into Jo's so that Mum and Dad could have that car for the morning. I put the smoothie on the front seat reminding myself not to forget it was there.

After seeing Mum and Dad into the hotel and checking out their room (I've never seen a bigger bed) we took Hannah back to the car. I put Hannah in her seat and reminded myself that the smoothie was on the front seat. Between doing up Hannah's seat belt and getting in the front I forgot about the smoothie and managed to sit on it. I got mixed berry all over my bum. It was quite funny and mostly disgusting.

On arriving home I have cleaned the car seat and my clothes are in the wash. I was going to soak them in Napisan but there are no spare buckets so a bit of Preen will just have to do.

Posted by Tom French |

Napisan will get rid of any stain. It's the best. I wouldn't look nearly as spiffy as I do if it wasn't for the old Napisan.

Posted by Tom French |

Life happens without me asking it to sometimes.

On Saturday night Jem and I went to see Team America. That was an interesting film. There was lots of very funny stuff and lots of offensive stuff. I very much enjoyed watching the film except when it got too crude, like in the sex scene and the speech at the end.

After the film though, I decided I liked it less. The film made fun of everyone. When it started I thought it might be a good satire. It was just cynical in the end. It basically said that everyone who is taking part in the debate about the War on Terror is wrong. They never proposed that there might be a right way to go about things, just that everyone was an idiot. That was my biggest problem with the film.

After the film, we spotted Hornsby RSL with dancing people inside. it looked like a fun place to be. It was a fun place to be. We left about 1:20am at that time when you start to realise the implications of your impulsive decisions on your following day at work.

The following day at work was tiring as I have commented before. For drama we just played in the park and drank Coke. My ideal drama time. The other end of the day was fun too. I had a good time at Maccas. Holidays always makes McDonald's a much sillier place to be after church and that suits me just fine.

I spent all day today working on videos and fidling around with banks. Tonight I went out with Ryan and Lesley to watch Finding Neverland. That was a very nice movie. Johnny Depp was tops as always and it made me think. Goodness movies make me think a lot these days.

We ended the night at Keith and Stella's for pancakes with Jem, Mil and Martin around too. Good times.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm really looking forward to the holidays. I had a sleep on my office floor for almost an hour today. My brain isn't functioning at work nearly as well as it did these days. I need my four weeks.

Posted by Tom French |

My belief in open community costs me a lot in sms-es (how do you write the plural to sms?). Whenever I decide to organise a movie watching (or similar event) I send out masses of sms. I always have the decision of deciding who to invite or who not to. I can usually tell the people who will come and who won't but I think it's good to invite anyone. Sometimes people surprise you. There are some people that you wonder if you should invite, or if perhaps you aren't good enough friends with them to invite them to go out with you. In the end I usually end up inviting them because I'd rather offend someone for being too inclusive than offend someone for being too exclusive.

Posted by Tom French |

I have just returned from the shops. I managed to buy 6 Christmas presents. I'm not sure who I'm going to give one of them to, so I may just keep it for myself. But the rest have homes and I'm looking forward to giving them.

I like Christmas. I really like giving people things I've decided. That is the best part of Christmas. Now I don't get disappointed if I don't get what I want, because really, I don't want anything, I'm quite content with the mass of material possessions that I already have. But I do enjoy adding to others treasure on earth. It's no disappointing when you can't get them something they want.

But yay for Christmas I say. Yay for being able to spend lots of money and not feel too guilty.

Speaking of guilt and greed (which also starts with G) this was a good article in SMH yesterday. Interestingly it was written by Matt Wade who used to work as the photo and video man for Tear Australia. If you read the article you can tell.

Posted by Tom French |

"I am not Pinocchio. The truth will make us free. We overcome by looking it in the eyes." - The Doctor
Captain Correli's Mandolin, Luis de Bernieres

Posted by Tom French |

Countries that refuse US immunity 'face aid cuts' - SMH

That is really dodgy. America is going to cut aid to countries who support the International Criminal Court but don't give Americans immunity. I don't know much about the whole thing, but in theory the ICC seems like a good idea. America just seems to be bullying the poorer countries in the world into removing America's accountability to anyone but themselves. Grrr.

Posted by Tom French |

Canberra and Back in a Day

So today we went to Canberra. What fun.

I picked up Jem from Hornsby at 9:20 or so this morning and drove to pick up Rach. We were going to Canberra so Rach could get her learners hours up. We managed to do that quite successfully. Leaving Rach's house 20 minutes late we headed off in search of our nation's capital at no more than 80kms an hour. This was all against the advice of our worried parents.

The trip down was fun. We had silly conversation. Many times silly conversations lead to one of us taking mock offence, but then that just seems to be the way conversations go these days. Jem and I sung a lot of John Mayer quite badly.

I ate breakfast in Berrima. It is a town full of jam, craft and old people. Our presence in the town probably brought the average age of the people there down about 50 years.

From Berrima it was straight on to Canberra. What a fine (and circular) place Canberra is. On arriving in the city we drove straight to Parliament House where we got security checked were then allowed to sit in on part of a session of parliament. It was mighty good fun. We all got to see out local members. We say Latham, Peter Grarrett, Crean, Bronwyn Bishop, and all sorts of other celebrities. I'm not quite sure what they were all nattering about, but their insults put a smile on our faces.

We left when Phillip Ruddock started a long blah about some mismangaged Labor lease agreement. We explored the building a bit looking at the paintings and historic documents (Is that the real Magna Carta? And if it is, what is it doing in Australia?).

From there is was a trip to Ali Baba. He fed us well.

We headed home, and had only just got out of Canberra, to Lake George to be precise, when we got caught in a storm. A big storm. We couldn't see out the front of the car windscreen so Rach pulled over and practiced using her hazard lights. This seemed like the best idea as most of the other cars on the road seemed to be doing the same. Soon, in a scenic spot by the Lake George (that was currently missing behind the pouring rain) the hail came. Big bits, as big as the top of my thumb perhaps. I know that doesn't sound big, but they look big. It was most exciting.

Once the rain eased we headed for home once more, and were soon in the sunshine again, with no memory of the deluge behind us.

Homeward bound was a little quieter, and tireder. Rach got progressively sicker with a cold that she had probably picked up from the Berrima locals. Jem, well, she was a good passenger, keeping up her end of the conversation nicely and encouraging us to sing carols.

Once back near Sydney, we dropped Jem off at a farm that Ryan is currently house sitting. My sister and Martin were there too. It was a nice farm although, seeing as we arrived at around 9pm I couldn't see much of it.

I drove home the last leg and we talked about the alphabet and how news travels. Twas good.

Now I have arrived home. It is good to be back in the land which is mine. I've just eaten some butter chicken from a frozen meal and it's better than I thought it'd be.

Posted by Tom French |

It's funny all my blog posts recently have been short. Not many remarkable things have happened in my life recently. I've spent lots of money.

I didn't wear shoes till 6:30pm tonight, it was great. I went to a dinner party thing at Louise's tonight. That was fun. We spent the whole night sitting down so if you wanted to talk to someone you had to change seats. It was a bit like musical chairs but there was no music, and people were a lot more polite. I did like my time there, the food was good and the people were better.

Last night Jo, Ewan and I went and saw Garden State. It was a very funny film. Very well made and not very Hollywood. There had been a lot of thought put into it.

I think Natalie Portman is cool. If I knew her I might have a crush on her.

Jo and I invited almost half the church between us and only Ewan turned up. Oh well. Next time we'll get more friends.


Posted by Tom French |

I did a talk today. 4 times.

We had scripture seminars at the high school. I didn't like my talk very much, and it's hard talking to a hostile crowd. But I got through.

I really enjoyed hanging out with the young people though. The great thing about high schools are that they are full of young people and young people are tops. Even the ones that don't like you because you're a judgmental Christian.

Posted by Tom French |

I went to Campbell's Cash and Carry today. Boy that was fun. A big warehouse full of boxes full of stuff. Stuff that I want to buy. Crates of Coke, big boxes of Chocolate, huge amounts of cereal, buckets of cooking fat, walls of toilet paper. Oh so beautiful, so fun. I'm sure that heaven will have some resemblance to Campbell's Cash and Carry.

Posted by Tom French |

Last night I said I would play Joseph in the church nativity play. Ahh! Scary. I get to lead a donkey around the church property though, that'll be fun.

Posted by Tom French |

Oi! Life makes me real sleepy.

Last night people became Christians at our Term Celebration, that was cool. I got to talk to one kid who I've known for two years and he decided that Jesus' death meant that he should respond. I was so excited I couldn't stop grinning stupidly at him. Poor guy he was probably scared about what he had got himself into.

Today I had plans to get Tuesday's scripture seminars ready but I got distracted by things at work. Most interestingly a website full of testimonies from people about why they stopped being Christians. Very worth reading, very challenging.

Skipping back in time, yesterday I got to go to Chatswood and buy an Air Hockey table. Fun it was. I took it back to church and put it together with other people from the youth group. I love spanners, I got to spanner that table (tighten bolts) and I felt like a handy man.

At the end of the night we had to put the table away. We needed to get it through a gate on the church property but it was too big. We ended up having to pass it over the fence. That was a good fun manly moment. We had 5 guys passing an air hockey table over the top of a two metre (or so) high fence. Grunt!

Tomorrow I sleep in...

...and then do all the rest of it.

Posted by Tom French |

Ahh flipity flob.

Life doesn't always go how you expect it to. Which is both a good thing and a bad one. Sometimes things just come out of the blue.

In other news, tonight I had fun. After setting up for the term celebration at church, Helen, Kaye and I went off to the movies together. We arrived about an hour and a half early for our movie so we needed to kill some time. We went to the arcade and played car racing games, which were very fun. And then created a makeshift picnic at Coles which we consumed in the deserted food court of Warringah Mall. It was a smashingly fun occasion.

With happy bellies (at least mine was) we headed off to the cinema to watch Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. I thought it was fun to watch, while nothing much more than that, it was worthwhile. And I got to see the Episode III
trailer. Yeah Baby! How excited am I? Very.

Now I'm going to bed because tomorrow I'm buying the youth ministry an air hockey table.

Posted by Tom French |

Cathy asked me to link to her on my blog, so here is the link.

Cathy is in my youth group and she calls me "Tomothy".

Posted by Tom French |

I've had a lot of conversations over the past two days about marriage and how Christian girls should dress. It's been very interesting but I'm feeling almost talked out.

My youth leader coffees have continued, I had a water with Sally at her house this afternoon, followed by a really long Vienna Chocolate with Beck. Matt messaged Beck to tell me I'm very attractive which was interesting since I had been just saying that if I was a girl I would have a crush on him. Funny that.

My meetings with my leaders recently have been a lot more about other things than about youth ministry. I've had fun though. I'm now just hoping I asked all the good questions.

Mum and Jo (sister) also talked to me about the usual subjects. I had a long discussion with Mum this morning about marriage and how she feels about being The Brady Bunch Mum. It was interesting to hear her views, but it always is.

Tomorrow I am going to college for my last class of the year. We're going to the movies. I can't afford that, but I'm sure I'll scrape by somehow.

Posted by Tom French |

Well, hmm. Jo and I had a meeting today. We went to the pub. We started at the President at 5pm and ended our time together at the Blue Gum at 11pm. We spent six hours either at pubs or between them. And in that time I managed to have three drinks. I'm an alcoholic I tell you. 3 drinks in 6 hours.

Anyway, we covered many topics and it was all good fun. At the Blue Gum when we met up with everyone else we had a long discussion on girl's clothing, and what their obligation is to guys to help them keep their eyes up. It was interesting.

I did other things today too. All of them involved being hot. Except for staff meeting which was held in air conditioned comfort.

Profound.

Posted by Tom French |

Marriage, Girls and Terror

I heard an ancient Babylonian saying that went something like “Treat your mother like a queen”. I’ve thought about that one a lot, I thought it was great. I think my philosophy on women goes something like this:

Treat girls like princesses, your wife and mother like the Queen.

I know that it may seem a bit old fashioned and perhaps a little chauvinistic, and that there are many girls who don’t want to be treated any different from guys. But I’m happy to be both of them if it means I treat women well. I know I didn’t always have that view of women. If you’d asked me when I was in year 10 I would have said “Treat everyone the same”, but since then I’ve changed my mind. I think it was because I’ve see too many guys who don’t treat their girlfriends well and it’s annoyed me. I think it’s because my Mother told my that my Father has utmost respect for women, and I realised that I admired that about him. I think it’s because I’ve noticed that I’m going to marry a woman (rather than a man) and I want to treat her well. I think it’s because women are a lot better looking than men.

I’m thinking about this because tonight’s small group was about relationships. Discussions and studies on relationships always get me thinking a lot. I think marriage is one of the things I am passionate about.

I’m also thinking about it because I was watching Ben Kingsley’s character in last night’s movie and thinking about what I admired in the way he treated his family, and what I didn’t like.

In tonight’s group we were asked to write down three things we value in relationships, and a list of the things we thought were the positives and negatives in our parents’ marriage. We were told that the three things we wrote down were probably a reflection of the things you didn’t like in your parents’ relationship. So if you wrote that you valued affection then you probably felt your parents weren’t affectionate enough.

The problem for me was that I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about my parent’s marriage. I am in awe of my parents’ marriage, and as much as I thought, I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.

My list was a reflection of the things I valued in my parents’ relationship, but it was also a reflection of the things I had seen go wrong in the relationships around me.

I am aware that I have grown up in a strange place. My parents’ relationship is like the model marriage. I come from the Brady Bunch home, I have an abnormal family that is much more blessed than I can express. We are like we are because my parents love each other so much, work hard at their marriage, and are really good match. My parents both think the other one is fantastic.

On the flipside side of that, the other major influences on my views on marriage are the relationships of the families that I grew up with. Way too many of them went bad. I have seen too many of my “secondary parents” split up. And as little as it seemed affect me when it happened, I still seem to be processing it today.

So the result of this is that I have very high ideals for marriage. I have this romantic dream of a fairytale marriage. I have dreams of making my wife feel like the most important person in the world, and loving her till I die. But on the other hand I’m terrified that I’ll stuff it up. I’m terrified that I don’t have the grace, commitment or love that my parents have. I’m scared I’ll ignore my wife, or I’ll cheat on my wife, or I’ll stop loving her after 3 years of marriage and spend the rest of my life in a sterile, non-aggression pact.

I have high ideals and a terrible fear of reality. I know what I want, but I don’t think I can get there.

I think one of my biggest fears is that I’ll commit adultery. It’s funny because I’m one of the least promiscuous people I know. But I’m scared that somewhere below the surface of me is this man that will always be seeking fulfilment in the arms of a “better woman”.

I hate what I haven’t even become. Perhaps this is a good thing, perhaps it is just paranoid.

As a result though, I am determined to make my future marriage work. I am determined never to cheat on my wife. I am determined never to abuse my wife. I am determined not to ever be rude to my wife. I am determined to always think my wife is the best. I want to treat my wife like a queen. I want to love her like Christ loves the Church.

I have said before that I don’t find Romeo and Juliet romantic. Anyone can fall in love for three days. If asked me what I thought was romantic I would say an eighty year old couple that has been married in a loving, committed, relationship for the last sixty years. When I think about love, I think about waking up next to my wife after years of marriage and realising that I don’t want to be married to her anymore, and then working like hell to make it work, honouring my commitment and my wife, and loving her with everything that I have, so my feelings will again fall back in line. That is real love, love that is not about feelings, but about selfless commitment.

I know that sounds very un-romantic. But for me, it’s perhaps what scares me and excites me about marriage the most.

Posted by Tom French |

I went to the beach again today. All by myself. I've never done that before.

I've not been blogging much recently because I've had nothing to blog about, or I've been too busy doing things that I could blog about, but I didn't have time.

That said, I now don't have time again. I just had about 45 minutes set aside to blog, but managed to talk to Helen for most of them. Perhaps though, talking to people is more important than blogging about talking to people.

Ryan and I watched House of Sand and Fog last night. It was very good, but very depressing. It was very well written, and as Matt once commented the characters were very well developed. The problem was you just finished it feeling horrible.

Oh it's meeting time so I'll go have it now.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm going to the beach today.

And seeing as tomorrow is going to be damn hot, I might go then too.

Posted by Tom French |

Contrary to not having enough time to do everything I need to do, God is managing my time very well (it must be God because I have the time management skills of a brick, that is, assuming bricks have no time management skills, however they do tend to do well at doing everything they need to do in the time they have to do it so perhaps a brick is a bad choice.)

In the past few days I have run a lunch time group at a high school, run 2 Bible studies, written a Bible study, written a sermon, written my last assessment for college this year, re-hashed a Gospel talk and been to a 21st. And between now and 11:30am tomorrow I will give a Gospel talk, do a drama workshop, go to a 21st, practice a sermon, give 2 sermons, and change my clothes too often. I haven't been stressed, and everything has fitted quite nicely, and the rest should fit nicely too. Calm I am, and it's lovely. My only disappointment is that I'm not at the beach.

Posted by Tom French |

I am going to wear 4 different outfits today. I feel like a girl.

Posted by Tom French |

Sometimes I feel like deserve better than this. Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve anything at all. Usually the second feeling comes quick on the heels of the first.

I've spent all day at home. I've managed to rewire the "entertainment unit", jump with Hannah, write a sermon, read a lot of news articles, watch TV and do some washing up. And I feel like I've been un-productive, I think that is the problem of having more to do than you have time to do.

Posted by Tom French |

Last night at the pub we had Get-to-Know-You question time. One of the questions was "What has been the most memorable fart of the day?" I think perhaps that question should be asked every day. It'd make me laugh.

Posted by Tom French |

There isn't much food in my house.

There were three girls in my Scripture class yesterday who said they became Christians. That was very exciting.

I have a Veggie Tales tie and an assessment due in tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'll get it done by then. I'm going to try.

I'm also going to try writing Sunday's sermon today. That should happen. I'm almost ready to start my run at the computer. One more shouting session in the kitchen, perhaps a quest to Hornsby for lunch and then I'll be typing my little heart out.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm meant to be writing an assessment at the moment so I'm signing petitions to end AIDS.

I reckon you should sign it too.

Posted by Tom French |
Posted by Tom French |

Telstra put a halfpage ad in the paper today telling them to go to a gayporn site instead of Casey from Idol's site. That's funny.

Story here.

Posted by Tom French |

"If only my life was more like 1983
I'd could just be a little, fat, bay-bee"
- Tom Mayer

Posted by Tom French |

I don't like it when you watch movies or tv shows and you see a character who is just like you.

Actually that bit isn't too bad.

The bad bit is when you spend the whole time feeling sorry for them.

Posted by Tom French |

All before breakfast

Because Mum and Dad are on holidays in Melbourne I woke up at 8am this morning to go pick Hannah up from respite. I put on yesterday's clothes and shoes with no socks. I intended to go get Hannah, drop her at school and be back in bed by 9am.

When I got to the respite place they said Hannah had a sore on her leg and we should keep an eye on it. Hannah was walking funny, but she seemed happy enough so I took her to school. I told them what was going on and to call me if Hannah was unhappy.

I came home called my parents, then was about to get ready for bed again when the phone rang. It was the school they wanted me to get Hannah and take her to the doctor. So called the doctor, made an appointment then hopped back in the car and went back to the school.

From there we went to the doctor. The doctor saw Hannah, perscribed some antibiotics then said see me in a week. Hannah and I went back to the school. As I was taking her to her classroom a bird pooed on me.

From there I went to the chemist, but they couldn't give me the persciption because I didn't have Hannah's health care card. I walked to the other side of Hornsby to get to a pharmacy that could give me the medicine. As I walked I thought about breakfast, my dirty clothes and the bird poo in my hair.

Once I had the medicine I went back to the school who told me I had to get a form filled out by the doctor to say that she could have the medicine at school. I also had to organise a form for Hannah's respite place so she could have her medicine there tonight.

I came home had a shower then went to the doctor with the forms. They said they'd be done by 2pm. I hoping they call soon.

Once that was done I came home and had some breakfast. I haven't bothered going back to bed.

Posted by Tom French |

Maybe I wasted that last quote there. Perhaps I should have saved it for something romantic. Oh well, I always have Van Morrison and Have I told you lately for wooing the ladies.

Today I wooed no one. I had fun though.

In drama we were rehearsing a scene for church next week. We have an American girl with us, so, just to make me happy, I made everyone (me included because I was filling in for a missing actor) speak with an American accent, except the American girl, who had to be Australian. It served no purpose except to amuse me, and amuse me it did. Actually I think we all found it pretty funny.

Later Rach and I went driving. She's getting good. She's very good on windy roads now. (That's windy where the road does a lot of turning, not windy where there is a lot of air moving around at high speeds. Are they spelt the same?)

Tim and I hung out at the shops and had laughs.

I did the talk at youth and that was harder than I thought it would be. I got nervous. Funny that. I couldn't quite work out what I was nervous about but that's ok. I guess it wasn't the easiest talk in the world. It was a "sin" one. It was on Acts 4:36-5:11.

What did I learn from this talk? I got a desire to see the young people of the Church have the courage to stand against sin. I got a desire to see them change the Church in the future by being ruthless on sin (not people). I learnt, personally, that I need to hate my sin. I'm too complacent, and I am too complacent with sin in the church.

We went to church and we started the service with an aerobics routine. I was up the front being led by a dancer and I did real badly. I was trying my hardest, but truly, I suck bad when it comes to moving coordinatedly. But at least I think some people laughed.

After church we watched Australian Idol. I was going for Casey, until Guin complained that she was too young. Then I felt a little guilty for voting for her. Perhaps I have some responsibility if fame ruins the poor girl's life. I hope it doesn't.

But destroyed lives aside, I'm glad she won. Anthony was too smooth and good looking for my liking. Any man that's better looking than me shouldn't be winning Idol. I know that means that not many men would be winning, but at least it would make me feel better about myself.

Posted by Tom French |

"Freedom has a scent like the top of a new born baby's head" - U2

I got it! I got U2! I got How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and I'm loving it. I'm on play number two for the day.

I went to Borders at 9am this morning to get the cd before going to work. When I found out they didn't that the Ultra-Super-Fantastic-and-Too-Expensive Special Edition, I had a terrible dilemma. I ran around to all two open stores in Westfield to see if they had it, and they didn't. In the end I had to settle of the Quite-Super-Reasonably-Priced Special Edition. I'll get the other one later and figure out what to do with the extra cd.

I drove to work (late) listening to the CD very loud and very happy. I had to drive the back way to church so I would arrive a little later and wouldn't have to stop the cd in the middle of a track. I finished the cd on the way home tonight. Yeah baby!

"Oh you look so beautiful tonight" - U2

Posted by Tom French |

I'm going to the Water Works today and where has all the good weather gone? It was hot yesterday, and Thursday. I was dying for the beach. I consoled myself by saying "On Saturday I'm going to the Water Works" and now I'm here, and the weather is cold and grey.

Oh well.

I went to visit a youth group in western Sydney last night. It was fun. I like new youth groups. They spent most of the nights in groups organising their Youth Service which is coming up. This meant that I spent most of the night sitting alone on a chair in the middle of the hall trying not to looking like I as sitting alone on a chair in the middle of the hall. I read my talk over a few times.

I did my talk and it went alright. It wasn't a very funny talk. It's hard not doing funny talks because kids never give you much visual feedback. They don't look impressed, or nod their head, or say "Amen". So you just have to plow through and hope that it's doing something. There was one leader who was looking very concerned about what I was saying. I think maybe she didn't agree with me.

After the group I got to hang out with the kids a bit and have a chat, that's always my favourite bit. They were good fun.

On the way home I pulled into a petrol station that was large, over lit and underpopulated. I filled my car up then went to pay. The counter woman was very friendly and asked me about my day, and the weather. Then my Visa card got rejected. This was a worry because I had just made sure there was money in my account. She told me the machine is sometimes funny and she'd try again. Nope, no luck.

"Oh dear. That's no good." I started having visions of being stuck at the petrol station for the next week having to earn money by busking and doing portraits of people on napkins from the Freezie machine.

I called Robert and got him to log onto my internet banking. After telling him my life's secrets, he told me that I still had as much money in my account as I thought I had. I went back to the friendly counter woman and asked to try again. She told me that usually the rejects people once, but never twice, but I could be the unlucky first. It turns out I was. My card was fine third try.

I drove off with the legitimate petrol in my tank. I stopped off at KFC for dinner then drove home.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm off to do talk number one tonight. It's feeling alright.

I have decided that, because I am spending so much time writing talks, but having so little time between them to let them affect me, I am going to figure out what I learn from each one.

Tonight's passage is the Sheep and the Goats.

I've decided that I need to love Christians more. Honestly love other Christians in my life. Especially the difficult and needy ones. It's easy sometimes to hide behind my busyness and my job to not have to help people. But I shouldn't. I should be looking for ways to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ, not doing it out of professional or religious obligation.

Often it's a joy to serve others, sometimes I need to work on it.

Posted by Tom French |

It annoys me when you watch a live DVD of a band and they don't just show you the concert. Like when they put artsy bits in or have talking over the top of songs. I don't mind talking, and I don't mind artsy bits. But when the music's on, just give me the music, just show me the show. Get your hand of it and keep the rest for the special features. That's what I reckon.

Posted by Tom French |

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb comes out so soon, and I'm getting itchy. I'm getting restless. I'm getting impatient.

Posted by Tom French |

I have 4 talks to write and deliver between now and Sunday week. The thing that is exciting me about it is that I will be reading, thinking about, reading about, and teaching a lot of the Bible between now and then. I realised today that it's kinda nice to immerse yourself. I find I'm driving along making connections between all the different passages I'm speaking on, and thinking about all the different Bible verses. It is fun.

Right at the moment my head is full of Anna and Simeon, the early church, and Sheep and Goats.

I should be stressed, but I've given up on stress for the moment. It wastes my energy. These days there's too much to stress about, so I can't really be bothered putting too much effort into it.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm tempted to read the gossip magazines for a week just so I can give them up and feel really self-righteous.

Or perhaps just so that when I give them up I feel clean and new. Like sinning so you can experience grace.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm going to join Breakthru' Artz!

Bangles.jpg

Posted by Tom French |

It's no secret that the stars are falling from the sky
The universe exploded 'cause of one man's lie
Look, I gotta go, yeah I'm running outta change
There's a lot of things, if I could I'd rearrange
- U2

11/16/2004 03:25:00 pm

Beauty

Posted by Tom French |

"For God beauty has value in and of itself. He has created stars that man will never find, corners of the universe of untold wonder where we will never venture. He creates flowers in the wilderness that will bloom and die without any human ever encountering them. He has laid out his infinite wonders, very few of which we will ever know about. For God there is beauty whether anyone but he notices or acknowledges it at all." - C.K. Knight

11/15/2004 10:24:00 pm

TMI

Posted by Tom French |

More information than you need to know about my day today
(infact 2,774 words of it)

I woke up at 10am when my alarm went off. I set the alarm at 1:18am this morning thinking that 9 hours sleep should be enough (excuse my lazy maths). I fell back to sleep and woke up at around 10:05am when there was a knock at the door. I ignored it because I decided that it probably wasn’t for me and drifted back to sleep thinking about the uncomfortable excursion to the front door in just my boxers that would occur if I did go and answer the door.

I drifted back out of my sleep when I heard the knocker enter the house. I tried to work out whose voice it was that had come into my abode, “Was it Emily or Gemma?” I decided it was Emily. I ignored Emily’s “Hello”s, still thinking she’d be looking for someone other than me. Eventually when she knocked on my door, I thought I should declare myself awake. So on the second knock I grunted at the door. Martin game me some flowers.

After they left I got up and had a shower listening to Switchfoot. During my shower I tried to clean the red pencil off the shower floor that Hannah drew on Saturday night, I went over my schedule for the week over and over again and I watched a fly that was flying around the bathroom and wondered if it was the same fly that had been flying around the bathroom last night when I did my teeth. I wondered if it was cruel to lock a fly in a bathroom over night. When I finished my shower I was up to track four on the cd. I tried to stop it at the end of the track and was mildly put out when the guitar from track 5 came in before I could press stop.

After my shower I called Andrew to organise to see him this week. I stood on my bed trying to decide what I was going to wear today, while trying to sound normal and uninteresting, but genuine enough to be worthwhile.

Once I was dressed (I chose my brown shorts and green car crash T-shirt) I went and sat on the couch with my Bible to have my quiet time. I got distracted reading the bulletin from last night’s church visit. I started thinking about the way strangers have a much easier time getting through my defences, because I am too busy trying to figure them out and impress them to keep my guard up. Mum came home during this thought process, so I retreated back to my room to have my quiet time.

I read my Bible (Luke 9:28-36) and considered the Transfiguration. I thought about what a thoroughly overwhelming revelation about Jesus it was, and wondered how I would react. Then I realised that I have a much greater revelation of Jesus in the Bible (although seemingly less impressive), and I don’t get nearly as excited as I think I would if one of my friends turned white, a voice commended them from heaven, and Elijah and Moses turned up for a guest appearance.

I prayed my prayers, out of their usual order and as a result probably prayed for some things twice and some things I don’t normally pray for. I thought this was probably a good result for a little bit of mixing up the status-quo.

As I prayed I watched Mum hang out the washing and felt guilty that I wasn’t out there helping her. It didn’t occur to me that I may have been taking on a “Martha Mentality”.

As soon as I finished my quiet time I turned my computer on (according to daily ritual) and headed out to finish hanging out the clothes while the computer went through its seemingly infinite, mostly useless processes, before it becomes a mostly-functioning machine.

As I hung out the washing I considered how one best hangs out washing in tandem while causing minimal upset to my usual way of hanging out washing. It was a clash of washing hanging cultures, and I wasn’t sure how to hang with integrity. In the end I assimilated knowing that she had done way too much of the washing line to make my mark on the hanging procedures. During the process my mother invited me to go shopping with her today. I told her I would like to do that.

My mother went to have her morning tea and a shower before we went shopping, while I went to read my emails, check blogs and eat breakfast before we went exploring and raiding the plentiful world Woolworths. I read some articles at smh.com, noticed that there was no new blogging since I went to bed and that the emails didn’t change my life (although I did get an offer for a little social activity). I wondered if I had already blogged the fact that every time I check my email I look for the email that will change my life, whatever email that is. I’m sure if I took up some of the useless offers of enlargement and enrichment that arrive in my inbox I may just change my life, although I can’t think how my life would change apart from feeling stupid and disappointed.

I looked at my blog, wrote a comment and tried to work out who some of my unknown commenters were.

I couldn’t think of anything to blog so I blogged about the weather.

I then went outside to visit Mum who was reading the Good Weekend in the front yard and suggested that we went and had lunch as well as shop. She liked that idea and told me to eat some breakfast. I ate some yoghurt. She went have a shower leaving me an empty chair and a full Good Weekend.

I relished the sun and read. I started many articles and only finished one. All the others I stopped tantalisingly close to the end. I have an attention span that is almost long enough to be functional. I did notice that I’m not like many people my age. I have never slept in a park, or burnt a love letter. The Good Weekend let me know, that because of this, I didn’t reach 20 having done what most people have done by the age of 20.

When my mother was ready to go, I came back inside to check my email and the blogs. Nothing had changed.

When Mother and I set out for the shops it was about 1pm. Mum decided we didn’t have enough time or money to go shopping so we’d just have lunch. This seemed good.

At the Westfield car park I used my superior knowledge of the parking area to guide Mum to one of the best parking spaces in the centre. It was probably mostly due to being in the right place at the right time, but at least I knew how to get to the right place.

In the mall Mum and I had long discussions about where to eat while making the most of the $27 we had between us. We settled for Café Florence because neither of us wanted anything all that expensive.

Mum ordered as we sat at our outdoor table. I had my elbow placed just outside the shadowed area from the above umbrella, just so I could pick up a few extra rays as we waited. The food arrived and Mum told me about her sermon last night, I talked about and dissected my church experience yesterday and we discussed some preachers we both know and their quirks. David’s Dad walked past without a beard. It was the first time I had ever seen him without a beard in the 16 years I have known him. I realised that there had been more of David hiding under the facial hair than I had ever realised.

We came home to get ready for Hannah to go to her respite place tonight. Mum packed her bag and I rang up to book the car in to get the starter motor fixed. The girl who answered sounded friendly and I wondered if she was wearing blue overalls.

I found a letter that Ryan had sent me last week next to the phone. It contained a cut out print of a painting of a bum with some undies riding up the crack. The artwork was called Bottom, it made me laugh muchly.

I came into my room and checked my emails (nothing), and blogged about my waking up experiences and whatever came after that.

Just before I finished the post, the woman in the red car who drops Hannah home honked in her usual rambunctious fashion. It would scare me if I didn’t know she was so friendly.

I grabbed my keys and Hannah’s overnight bag and wandered out of the house having an internal argument about which a car to take. The Pulsar won. I collected Hannah from the red car and bundled her into the grey one. We the set off on our journey across Hornsby with the company of Triple M on the wireless.

At the respite house I parked the car, locked it and unlocked it too many times, and took Hannah in. Inside we were met by a carer whose name I have forgotten. Hannah gave me a hug and a kiss and I hoped that the carer (who was probably about my age and had a very impressive Irish accent) knew that I was Hannah’s brother. I thought if she didn’t she might think I was a really creepy white bus driver (all the kids that get dropped at respite places come in white buses).

When I left the house I wondered how someone would go about picking up a respite carer while dropping a kid off and I realised I wouldn’t know how to do it. I wasn’t surprised or upset by this thought at all.

As I drove home I wondered if writing about Fifi Box on my blog would increase my Google hits. Somehow the thought process evolved into thinking about all the exciting jobs I could have if life was a little different. I went to my computer and blogged.

I packed my bag and walked out of the house again. I walked to the shops listening to Switchfoot from where I left off this morning and wondered if I should blog the embarrassing things that happened to me yesterday or if they would reveal my hidden insecurities. Outside Homebase I saw person who was in my year at school and noticed they had a shaved head. My bag felt funny, I had a look, and I realised that I had walked all the way to the shops with my bag completely open. I was horrifically embarrassed. It felt like I had walked to the shops with my pants around my ankles. I did wonder if anyone has seen my Bible and Christian books and hoped that perhaps I had done some really passive evangelism. I wondered where the easiest place to blog about my bag might be.

I bought a Coke and walked into the shops. I looked to see if Sal was at her work (she wasn’t), and decided that it would be a hideously scary place to work. I was happy she was doing it and not me.

I went to Borders and wandered around and questioned myself as to whether idlely walking around Borders might be placing myself in the path of temptation in this temple of materialism.

Forgetting this I went to religious section of Borders and noticed that it was conviently (and symbolically) located next to the Business section, and that Bhuddism has more shelf space than Christianity. I read the foreword to the Book of Job written by Louis de Bernieres. I decided that he wasn’t a Christian and wondered how much of the introduction I could quote on my blog.

After Borders I headed across to the Library strategically trying to avoid the “professional beggars” of the Cancer Council and all the guilt that comes with them.

In the Library I looked to see if there were any books they by Jodi Picoult, I thought I might read a bit of one to see what all the fuss was about. The computers told me that they were all out and reserved. This didn’t answer my questions, but did further prove that there is a lot of fuss about. I had images of lots of women running around Hornsby and Epping libraries borrowing Jodi Picoult books in a crazed, estrogen and literature induced frenzy. I have no idea of the demographics of Picoult’s readers but of all the people who I’ve heard talk about her, they have all been women so naturally they must all be women who read her. I was quietly relieved that she was all borrowed out, as I could have preserved my masculine image while in the library.

I walked over to the newspaper section and finished my perusal of the Good Weekend still not finishing any of the articles.

Following this I pulled out my book New Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott and embarked on a journey into the theological reasons for Christians to get involved in social action and welfare. I would often drift off into self-affirming theological musings of my own. When you consider theology on your own there is no one to disagree with yourself.

At one stage I got distracted a impulsively jumped out of my chair to see if there were any copies of The Economist around. I went back to my chair empty handed.

Eventually swapped to Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres and wondered how much of it I could quote on my blog.

Every now and again I would get distracted by my arm on the chair and wonder if was getting any browner.

I left at the end of my second chapter and headed home. I walked past Phillip Ruddock’s office and considered acts of vandalism I could (but never would) do to it. I saw a man walking down the street who looked like Phillip Ruddock and I suddenly got excited and thought I could go meet him and we could become good mates. Then I noticed that the man was carrying a green Woolie's Enviro-Bag and I decided that Phillip wouldn’t carry one of them around.

When I got to the lights on the old side of Hornsby I thought about writing a song, which quickly evolved into poetry when I remembered I can’t play any instruments. I returned my dvd to the video store then got struck by the thought that I could write a really long blog post about everything I did in this mundanely commonplace day. I walked home composing the post in my head.

When I arrived home, I still had one track left on my cd so I un-packed my pockets and ventured out to the trampoline with my bag on and my earphones in. I decided to test the shock-protection on my diskman. I proceeded to jump on the trampoline with my Caribee on, listening to Switchfoot. I hoped the neighbours wouldn’t see me. Right at the end of the song my back pack exploded open and the contents went flying everywhere. I am happy to report though that the cd didn’t skip once.

I repacked my bag, put it on the ground and continued to jump. I wanted to see how high I could get. When I heard my neighbours talking I got scared and got off the trampoline.

I came inside and started this blog post. I listened to Dave Matthew’s Band while I wrote it.

Mum came and asked my to hang out some more washing with her. This time I was more assertive in my hanging style and we compromised and accommodated each other, creating a hybrid of out hanging styles.

I then hand washed my woollen jumpers and on inspection my the water afterwards I relised I am as dirty as I think I am.

I came back here to write this post.

At 8:40 I went and ate my dinner of Fish and Chips on the couch watching Four Corners which was about the siege in Beslan. That was depressing and made my angry. My chips had been over cooked.

Now I’m back in here, blogging, and I’m wondering how I’m going to finish this blogpost.

Posted by Tom French |

Jobs I would like to have for a bit:
(if I had the skill and the opportunity)


Petrol Station Attendant
Builder
Rock Star
Astronaut
Special Forces Soldier
Someone who drives diggers
Demolitions Expert
Pyrotechnics Engineer
Chef
Fireman
Policeman
US President
Truck Driver
TV Host
Musical Theatre Star
Film Director
Cinematographer
Novelist
Motivational Speaker
The Pope
The Dali Lama
Bodyguard
Secret Service Man
Rally Car Driver
Fighter Jet Pilot
Body Builder
Flare Bartender
Personal Assistant to a Really Famous Person
Teacher
Kung-Fu Master
Boxer
Rugby Leauge Player

Posted by Tom French |

Mil and Martin came over this morning to borrow my video camera. They found me in bed. I would like to imagine that when people find me in bed in the morning, I was a vision of seductive, self-confident, radiant male beauty. Women would swoon, and men would aspire to be like me. Alas I think people just generally feel guilty for finding such an incoherent, mess of a man.

When I see people who have just woken up, I usually think that perhaps they aren't a real person yet. I think "If I say "Hello" to them now will they know who I am?" Like when people have a shower, or put on clothes, they also put on their real personality. And for some people that personality takes a while to warm up, so they aren't fully themselves till around midday (depending on what time they woke up).

Sometimes I feel the most fully myself at around 1am or later. Although I think this maybe just the time of the day I feel the most lucid and carefree (on a good night). When I answer the phone after I have just woken up I usually do my best to sound as with-it as I do at 1am (on a good night), but people most often see through my facade and feel guilty for having the phone answered by such an incoherent, mess of a man.

Posted by Tom French |

It's a good day today. The sun is out, the sky is blue, and I've got bare feet.

Posted by Tom French |

If you search for Tom French in Google, I'm second on the list. Posh.

Posted by Tom French |

Mash

I just made some mashed potato. It wasn't magical, but it was quite good. I have decided to become a world class mashed potato maker. Then people will talk about my mashed potato, and I can make it for my kids and grandkids. It'll be great. People will want Uncle Tom's mashed potato. When people are sick, I'll send over a pot of it and they'll get miraculously better. The future is looking good.

Posted by Tom French |

We went to Zone 3 tonight for youth group. There were 31 young people aged 12-14. And they all ran around shooting each other with laser guns. It was good fun. I have so much fun hanging out with youth, even if I don't feel cool enough to hang out with them. We had small group too, which was, in my view, the best one we've had so far with the combined group. We were able to get some questions answered, and maybe, somewhere, someone learnt something. Ben helped out with the group for the first time.

In contrast to my night with friendly, fun, teenagers, I watched Thriteen when I got home. I'm really glad I watched it. The kids were amazing. It was so sad, and distressing to see this thriteen year old girl do so much to herself in her efforts to fit into her world. I've never been a thirteen year old, but it did make me think that perhaps this was an important piece of cinema. Important to get an idea of what it might be like for some. Seeing this girl go through so much, makes me pleased to be a youth minister. I may not be able to help much, but if I can do a little, then that's good.

Posted by Tom French |

I am doing my readings for college at the moment and I'm reading about censorship in movies. One of the readings is discussing if swearing is ok for a Christian to watch in movies. They went on to talk about swearing in the Bible. I thought this was interesting, and it made me chuckle. I chuckle at anything obscene I find in the Bible (and there is a lot more of it in there than I thought.)

I remember [a professor] leading a course in Philippians, and talking about a vulgar term used by Paul [that] the New International Version had covered up with the word 'rubbish'; the King James Version's 'dung' was a wee bit more accurate, he said. Essentially ? Paul was saying his accomplishments as a natural-born Jew and a law-abiding Pharisee weren't worth s***. Thomas Cahill, in Desire of the Everlasting Hills, translates one of Jesus' sayings, from Mark 7:18-19, as: 'Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean,' since it doesn't go into his heart but into his bowels and then passes out into the s***hole?' Cahill says in a footnote that the word aphedron is commonly translated privy or sewer but in actuality it was Macedonian slang that would have sounded barbarous to Greek ears; the NIV, tellingly, omits the word altogether and translates this phrase 'out of his body.' Of course, Jesus probably spoke in Aramaic, not Greek, so what we have is a translation of what Jesus said. But it's still there in the Bible.

The whole article is here.

Posted by Tom French |

How good are U2? Hugly good, that's how good.

I sat upstairs in my chair and just stared out the window listening. It was great. I didn't want to move because I was listening through the radio on my phone and it didn't have good reception everywhere.

The album is sounding like U2, but it makes sense to be the next place they'd go after All That You Can't Leave Behind. There was one moment where I thought, "Hey, that reminds me of something", and it was The Hands that Built America I was thinking off.

It is an album that makes you feel good. U2 are singing about grace, and they're hopeful (as usual). There's a lot of God on this album. I'm most impressed. I want to hear it again. And then again. And then well, a lot more. It's beautiful.

November 22nd here we come!

Posted by Tom French |

I'm currently listening to U2's How Dismantle An Atomic Bomb on Nova. Oh Baby! I'm freaking out! I love them! It's almost like the arrival of the messiah!

Posted by Tom French |

I'm at church now, and the car won't start. It won't even make the engine turn over. It's like it's stuck in drive, but it isn't. I've checked spark plugs and thought about looking under the bonnet, and neither have solved he problem. I didn't actually look under the bonnet because I didn't think I'd have any idea if things were out of place anyway.

So now I'm stuck here waiting for the NRMA. It was funny, I rang them on 131111 and got got put on hold listening to their recorded woman who told that if my car wouldn't start I should call them on 131111.

Posted by Tom French |

It's funny, with all that's happening in the Blog World at the moment I'm tempted to make a post that says something. I could talk about abortion but I did that before, and I don't have much more to say. I could complain about George and John, but I'm sick of that, complaining doesn't solve anything anyway, it just makes me feel better. I could talk about their policies, but I've written about them too. I could make a passionate plea for unity, but well, I can't be bothered. I think we all know we need unity. So, while I want the visitors, I have nothing to say.

I wrote a blog post the other night that I didn't post. Although I never planned on blogging it. It was my blog post that couldn't be blogged. Some of the things I want to say in public but can't. It felt good. I still wrote it like a blog post and had all the same rules I have for blogging, it was just un-publishable. It may have been publishable a year ago, if I was feeling really tired, and a little irrational, but these days, one can't put too much of themselves on the blog. It's the whole issue of remaining honest but guarded.

The problem is, when you have things you want to say on a blog, but you can't, you tend to be more vague, and more cryptic.

For example take this post:

I have this perpetual feeling that I'm missing something.

Now that, is not as cryptic as some have been, but it's recent so I'll use it. There are any number of assumptions you could make from that post.

1. He's in love and wants girlfriend (always my first assumption when reading any person's cryptic blog posts are that they are about love)
2. He's hoping for the baptism of the Holy Spirit
3. He's not a Christian and needs to fill that "God-shaped hole"
4. He's always thinking that he's left something at home (like when you think you've forgotten to turn off the heater)
5. He keeps forgetting to wear underwear and wanted to blog about it without telling people that he keeps forgetting to wear underwear.
6. He's lamenting over friendships that have disappeared from his life
7. He's lamenting over friendships that haven't eventuated in his life
8. He's feeling left out from the social activities of his peers
9. He's got some continual sin that he needs to repent of and he's not feeling the forgiveness of God.

And you could go on for a while.

The truth is that I wrote it because I've been feeling a bit restless lately. And I've been feeling like I should be doing something for God, or that God should be requiring something of me. But I don't know what it could be. So I have this feeling that I'm missing something. Like I'm missing what God might be saying to me. I wasn't sure if that was because I was missing something, or I just felt like that. Either way I wanted to blog it without going into this much detail. I don't mind people knowing though.

And so you blog non-specific things, which give less facts, but start more wonderings. It's so easy to misinterpreted things on blogs because more often they are written with a very limited audience in mind. You write for those who will understand and forget about everyone else.

Anyway, none of this means much. It's just some thoughts while I kill time. I'll still keep blogging the same way. I'll make vague and cryptic posts every so often, and people will make (mostly) wrong hypotheses about them every so often. And life will go on.

Posted by Tom French |

It's annoying when you drop your toothbrush in the toilet.

Posted by Tom French |

Home group tonight was a lot about the separation of church and state and freedom of religion. It was interesting as it seemed to touch a lot on the blog discussions of late.

Kemp and I had a long chat in the car about looks and good looking people. And how we reacted to good looking people. I would like to say it was an important discussion where we made good moral progress, but I don't think we solved much at all. The verdict was probably that some people are good looking and that matters for about 5 minutes.

I had a road trip meeting with Jem about the Road Trip too. We booked accommodation and it's all very exciting.

Tomorrow I will shave.

Posted by Tom French |

If I was ever to get very depressed, or go on a violent rampage, it would be triggered by burning DVDs.

Posted by Tom French |

I have life pretty good. There isn't much I should be complaining about.

I was sitting in McDonald's today trying to work out if I almost always get what I want, and that's why it feels like that. Or if I don't often get what I want and I have just decided that I have enough anyway.

Or somewhere in between.

I never finished the thought because I got distracted by the manager carrying a tray from the post-mix machine.

Posted by Tom French |

I went and had lunch with Matty G today. It was nice to catch up.

Generally when we catch up he has something to say about how he wants to the church to change. He always inspires me to do something. Today I told him that I wanted change but I have no idea how to do it. I see some of the problems with the church and I think "The only way to fix that is to start a whole new church" but I know if you do that within a generation the church will just go back to how it always was.

It's a shame but it's true. So I stick within the current system, not because it's perfect but because it's there. As flawed as it is, it's still God's Church, his Body, his people.

Posted by Tom French |

Well there's a bit of healthy debate going on in the blogworld. Yay!

I must say, contrary to past occurrences, I agree with a lot of what Matt said.

I especially liked what he said about prioritising why we elect people. I have been thinking about that for a while, but I haven't put it as eloquently as Matt.

I didn't, however, vote for Howard and CDP.

My issue with the CDP seems to be that they have more interest in restoring Christendom than they do in governing lovingly in this post-Christian society. It makes me sad that our leading Christian political parties are known more for their views on homosexuality than they are for their love and compassion. There seems to be more condemnation than calling for justice, equality and love. I have no interest in endorsing homosexuality, but I think there are bigger things to worry about in the country.

In the Church I think it's a different argument, but our country is not the church.

As far as abortion goes, I am less happy to let things go. I hate abortion, and if we could get rid of it that'd be great. Unfortunately, as Matt said, it's going to happen anyway. I could vote for whoever in Australia, and it'll still be legal.

I think George Bush is a Christian. And that's great. I think we should pray that all national leaders, especially that they find Christ as we are urged to do in 1 Timothy 2. Christian government is the ideal, but I don't vote for politicians on their religious beliefs, I try and vote on how closely I think their policies fit with the Bible. Unfortunately, I find this quite a disheartening exercise.

When Jesus said we should love our enemies, I'm sure it was applicable to individuals. I don't think it was meant for governments. While I would call on my government to love its enemies, I think governments have been given the job by God to bring justice to the world. Sometimes where an individual should turn the other cheek, a government should go to war. How that works for Christian soldiers, I'm not sure.

Sadly, I don't think there are many times when governments go to war motivated to bring justice.

I think that the war in Iraq wasn't justifiable. I think the continued presence of troops in Iraq is. As I have often said, although perhaps not in my blog, I think it's a bit rude to go and blow up a country then leave. I support the US and Australia doing their bit to clean up their own mess.

I think the "War on Terror" is being fought in primarily the wrong places. If the terrorist's ideologies are being fueled by the Western-enhanced oppression, and inequality that is experienced in much of the world, then perhaps the place to start is not the terrorists, but the problems that help create them in the first place.

Of course, I do not in any way think that the problems caused by the West in the rest of the world is any justification for terrorism. Terrorism is abhorrent, more so than the actions of our governments. If I could tell the terrorists to stop I would. But I am not a citizen of a terrorist nation, and my responsibility is to be responsible for the actions of my country, and call on my government to act with justice.

I may have more to say, but I can't find it. This hasn't been all that well thought out, it's just a bunch of thoughts. I didn't want to get left out of the discussion. And now I will end with a quote from Bono, because, well, Bono is just the best.

"The war against terror is bound up in the war against poverty, I didn't say that, Colin Powell said that. And when a military man from the right starts talking like that maybe we should listen!" - Bono


Posted by Tom French |

I've been watching too much useless Foxtel recently.

Posted by Tom French |

I have this perpetual feeling that I'm missing something.

Posted by Tom French |

I had this thought last night that I'm not really all that good at video stuff. I just know more about it than most other people, so I do better at it than other people. If I taught people how to use the stuff I use in very little time they would be doing a better job than me.

I thought this because as much fun as I had last night mixing the concert, I think I did a bit of an amateur job. I couldn't get a job in the industry.

What was fun though, was that I had a good time. And I like hiring equipment. I went to St Leonards on Friday arvo to hire stuff. And I always like doing that.

The concert went good. My drama team performed good, despite their drama leader.

Why am I bad at blogging at the moment? I don't know. I don't feel like recounting my days, I just like to talk about the interesting things that may occur. But recently life has been pretty mundane. Well I've had fun, but just nothing too out of the ordinary has happened.

On Thursday night Kaia, Ryan, Jem and I went and saw Hero at Chatswood. It was a really wonderful looking film. The fighting was very good. I didn't like it as much as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

On the way home Ryan and I had a long discussion about whether the film was promoting communist ideals, and telling people that the violent conquests of a nation's leaders are justified because in the end it brings peace. I thought it was, Ryan didn't.

All in all I thought the film was kinda preachy. I thought that if the script was in english I would have vomited. But that could have just been the subtitler.

On Monday night Jem and I saw The Manchurian Candidate. That was good. The story was fun and I liked its really strong undercurrent of the war on terror. All through the background of the movie there were news reports of the war on terror, and all the polititions kept talking about security. Even in the quiet, reflective scenes there were sirens in the background. It was interesting because the next day the elections in America were happening and the film was about presidential elections in America.

It was quite an uneasy film.

I don't think the film approved of the current government in the US, or it's foriegn policies. It seemed to think the the government was controlled more by the corporations than the people.

I think I agree, to a certain extent.

I went and visited St Peter's tonight. It was good visit. I felt like I was in a dream. Like I was back at my old church (which I was), and there was a new minister (which there was), with many new youth (which there were), and I was still the youth minister and expected to do something (which I wasn't). It was an odd feeling, but I'm glad I took the opportunity to go check it out.

The bad thing about doing video stuff on the weekend is that you always have to take the hired equipment back on Monday morning. I wanted to sleep in.

Posted by Tom French |

Howie and I just spent 45 minutes watching TVSN (Television Shopping Network).

Posted by Tom French |

At the moment I am burning the last DVD for tomorrow's (today's) concert... If it works. I'm hoping it does. I may even get more than six hours sleep tonight. Posh.

I think that tomorrow (Sunday) I would like to go find a pub and watch the Kostya Tszyu fight, but I don't think I have any friends who will go with me. It would be fun though. For some reason I have been interested in the fight. I'll see if there are any boxing fans in my life. How fun, to sit in a bar, with a beer and lots of men, watching other men hit each other around. I can't think of a better way to spend a few hours of my life.

My blog posts of late haven't been all that long. Probably because I haven't done huge amounts. At least not huge amounts that is different from what I usually do. Although I have two films to de-brief. I'll do it when I have time. The cinema is tops.

It occurred to me after my exam how exciting it is to know stuff. I really like having knowledge and being able to answer tricky looking questions. There are many joys in education.

On Thursday night I decided to start asking God "What are you trying to teach me?" Just in case I'm missing something. I haven't found anything so far. I'll keep my eye out though.

And now I will put two cool words into one useless and pretentious sentence:

"After the sun prematurely capitulated to the advancing evening, the day seemed somewhat truncated."

Posted by Tom French |

I think that being a video person would be kinda fun. I like plugging in TVs and video cameras. I like saying things like BNC and RCA cables. It's fun making the mixer work. One day I'll work at a U2 concert. I'll work on the video crew. Yeah, I reckon.

Posted by Tom French |

Exam done. Not many people liked it, but I thought it was fine. That probably means I'll fail.

Posted by Tom French |

Today I have my one and only exam for the year. It's a worry, because I'm not worried. I'm not stressed. And I haven't studied. Usually at this point in the process I'm crying out to God for grace, but at the moment, I'm not really thinking about it. It's just another thing to do this week. I have done about 2 hours study for it though. And I'll do some reading for it on the train, so I should be fine.

We'll see what happens.

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