Posted by Tom French |

Stuck in a Moment

I'm going on Dirt Bike Camp for boys in years 5 and 6 tomorrow (8am! Ahhh!) and I'm the speaker. Over the past week I've been writing 5 talks. It's an odd experience writing 5 talks at once. It's daunting, hard, unrelenting. You just get lost in this world of a never ending cycle of "point, illustrate, apply, repeat, point, illustrate, apply, repeat". It's so hard thinking of illustrations all the time.

When I planned it I thought "Oh I'll just rehash some talks, make them for a younger audience, cut stuff out, easy" But I've found it's not that easy. I'm basically rewriting the old ones from scratch and writing some brand new ones.

Oh well the end is in sight.

Posted by Tom French |

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Yesterday Jo and I bought our tickets to Europe for next year. Yeepah!

I have no savings.

Posted by Tom French |

Did you know that it was a Belgian priest who first proposed the Big Bang theory?

It was. His name was Georges LemaƮtre and he did it in 1927. I think that's cool.

From here.

Posted by Tom French |

I forgot to say, I thought the White Witch in Narnia was excellent. She was the best character of them all. So well done. So vicious. Tilda's the bomb!

Posted by Tom French |

I went and watched Good Night, and Good Luck. today with Ryan, Libby and Lesley.

What a great film! It's about Ed Murrow who was a News Reporter with CBS in the 1950s. He did a series of reports on Sentator McCarthy during the height of his communist witch hunt. I first read about him in February while sitting in a park in Croydon reading my book Tell Me Know Lies. I thought he was pretty cool then. The McCarthy witch hunts have always interested me, ever since studying The Crucible in school. So it was fun to see McCarthy and Ed Murrow (or at least an Ed Murrow actor) do their thing.

The film is a very pointed critique of the erosion of civil liberties which is currently going on in the US. I thought it was interesting that The Crucible was written about the Salam Trials as an allegory of what was going on in the McCarthy era. Now the McCarthy trials are being used to take a shot at what's happening now. I hope they make a film about what's happening now in the future to have a go at their contemporary issues. Although if we have to wait 300 hundred years (as was the space between The Salam Witch Trials and The Crucible) I may sadly miss the film.

But all that said, it was good, well written, well acted and smart. The film reminded me a bit of Fail Safe but that may have just been because it was shot in black and white and had George Clooney in it.

So in light of the past few days film watching I will have to revise my Top 10 of 2005:

1. Million Dollar Baby
2. Cinderella Man
3. Batman Begins
4. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
6. Ray
7. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
8. Good Night, and Good Luck.
9. Downfall
10. The Aviator

Posted by Tom French |

Gravity

Gravity, is working against me
And Gravity, wants to bring me down
Oh, I've never known what makes this man
With all the love that this heart can stand
Dream of ways to throw it all away

...Just keep me where the light is - John Mayer

Posted by Tom French |

I watched Fun with Dick and Jane with Ryan yesterday. I was expecting it to be pretty crappy. But, alas, it was surprisingly good. It made me laugh, and engaged in a bit of social commentary. What more could you want from a bit of Hollywood fluff?

Posted by Tom French |

Narnynaa

I went and saw The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe tonight with the usual suspects. And what a special film it was. Oh, yes. It was sheer joy. I loved it to bits. It was well written, well cast, well shot, well acted, well…everything. I’d give it a proper review, but I can’t, it was just special.

I think Adam Adamson had a real hard job directing in the shadow of Lord of the Rings but he did it. And it came off well. It’s a kid’s movie, it’s not LOTR. It’s not as violent as I would have liked, but 7 year-olds have to watch this, so I can cope.

Aslan was great. I want to meet Aslan and hug him. Please don’t tell me I already have.

The film opened really well with London being bombed. It anchored us in the read world, and established the characters and their situation quickly.

Yeah. It was cool. I reckon I’ll buy it. Yeppers.

How’s that for a good review?

Posted by Tom French |

I feel like I should write about Christmas. I don't have much to say, it was rather quiet. Grandpa and Valentina came around. As tradition dictates we went to the Castle's before that. And before that I went to church at St Pete's for the one service of the year (not including weddings). And that was it.

But it was nice. It felt more like a Sunday when people came over for lunch, but that's ok. Tomorrow I'm off to the Gong for Christmas with the large (numerous, not fat) side of the family, so the fun continues. I'll try and be less tired tomorrow.

I got a tool kit. Now I'm a real man. And I got a dictionary so I'll be smart. And the new John Mayer CD, so I'll be happy. Plus other happy goods.

It was good of Jesus to come to earth, it meant that I get presents.

Posted by Tom French |

For your viewing pleasure

In the continuing tradition stupid photos of me...

This was taken last night after the Midnight Service.

Tom in Castro Hat.jpg

And this is the Christmas Tree in Darling Harbour with the Novotel in the background. I took that on Friday night.

Noel and Tree.jpg

I went to 3 church services yesterday. I was almost over Christmas before it had even started, but doesn't that happen every year?

I did a children's talk in the 5pm service and it was one of the hardest kid's talks I've done in my life. The kids were noisy, and playing with Christmas presents. They didn't really seem to be understanding me very much. And every time I'd say something like "Isn't it true that one of the best things about Christmas is the presents?" they'd say "No" or just look at me like they had no idea what I was talking about. Oh well, these things happen.

Posted by Tom French |

Christmas Cheer

Click Here to See My Christmas Card

Happy Christmas to you all!

Posted by Tom French |

Oh. It's Christmas.

Posted by Tom French |

Posh

I'm sitting here in 5 star comfort at Star City. It's kinda fun. Howie and I are staying here, well, because we can. And so we don't have to go home as far after going to Westfield Bondi tonight.

I arrived in the Hannah Van. I gave it to the Valet parking guy and told him he better not scratch it. He thought that was pretty funny.

David
came over to visit tonight because Howie has gone out to dinner with his lovely lady.

David and I explored the pool and spa which was fun, then found some expensive dinner to eat. While we we looking for a resturant, walking through the gaudy surrounds of the Casino, a big scary looking man tried to grab me on the bum. Generally only my friends do that so I turned around to say "Hello" but realised that this wasn't someone I knew. Oh well. As least I known people find me attractive.

After dinner David and I went out for Ice Cream at Darling Harbour. It was very romantic. Now I'm about to have a bath then a nap for a bit.

Then at 3am it's off to Westfield. Woohoo!

Posted by Tom French |

I finished most of my Christmas shopping today. It's a nice feeling. I did it all but 2 presents about 1 hour. How good am I?

Posted by Tom French |

Don't you worry 'bout your mind
Don't you worry 'bout your mind
You should worry 'bout the day
That the pain, it goes away
You know, I miss mine sometimes - Fast Cars - U2

Posted by Tom French |

Top 10s

Paul Byrnes has picked his top 10 and bottom 10 of the year on SMH. I don't often agree with Paul, and I don't really agree with him now. I guess anyone who spells Byrnes like that is bound to someone I disagree with.

Here's what he said and my comments on the ones I've seen:

Tops

1 War of the Worlds - Good but top? No, MDB was much better. I don't think it'd make my top 10
2 Downfall - Yes, this was good. It was depressing. This deserves a place
3 Mysterious Skin
4 Million Dollar Baby - What a film! Ouch, it hurt. Clint is a genius.
5 Look Both Ways
6 Little Fish - Well written, fantastic characters, silly implausable ending
7 Bad Education
8 The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
9 Sideways - Good
10 The Upside of Anger

Turkeys
1 Alexander - Yes Paul, yes. What a useless piece of film. They should have lengthened the men's skirts and shortened the film
2 Luther - Perhaps I'm biased because I owe so much to the reformation, but it wasn't that bad
3 Heights
4 The Island - Come one, don't we need some fluff here and there? It was fun. And Scarlett is great.
5 Bewitched - As above, minus Scarlett
6 You and Your Stupid Mate
7 Elektra
8 Alfie
9 MirrorMask
10 Elizabethtown - This film was cool.
___

Ok so it's not that bad. I agreed a bit, not with his bottom 10. Perhaps I should make my list.

Tops

1. Million Dollar Baby
2. Cinderella Man
3. Batman Begins
4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
5. Ray
6. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
7. Downfall
8. The Aviator
9. Closer
10. Oyster Farmer

Turkeys

1. Sister Hood of the Travelling Pants
2. Constantine
3. Alexander
4. The Dukes of Hazard
5. Fantastic Four
6. Raise Your Voice
7. Cellular
8. Be Cool
9. Hide and Seek
10. Stealth

Posted by Tom French |

I had a full day at work today but mostly it just involved sitting around and talking to people. I drank Coke, ate Thai food and drank Beer as I conversed. What a good job I have.

Posted by Tom French |

Podcastrianics

The last podcast for the year. With the low-down on the engagement. Sorry it's long.

Here it is.

Posted by Tom French |

Kanye

Kanye West will be the Support Act for U2 in Australia. That's fun. I was just thinking while I was in the shower today that I would be interested in going to see Kanye, now I guess I won't have to. He's coming to me.

Of course I only know two of his songs, now I'll have to learn a few more if I am to fully appreciate the experience.

Posted by Tom French |

Red Light Special

Hooray for Howie and Jenny getting engaged. Well done folks.

I was dropping Howie at the station so he could ask Jenny's parents for permission when I drove through the red light and good booked. It was because I was so excited about my task as driver and upcoming event that I didn't notice the red light. So for that I expect Howie and Jenny to pay me $300 for my role in securing their marital bliss.

Either that or an invite to the reception.

Posted by Tom French |

Angels on the Back Verandah

B2B Angels.jpg

Yesterday was fat.

It started at midnight when I was still writing my sermon for the morning. It was a hard one to write. It only really started to feel good at 11pm after a conversation with my family. I was writing till 3am.

After 3 hours sleep, I got up, showered, got dressed, drove to work. I was there by 7:20. It was rather early. I added an illustration to the sermon then printed it out. I ran through the hard parts then headed over to the church. I was feeling pretty shot. It's a bad way to start the working day.

I preached at 8am. It felt ok. My tiredness got me a few times, I almost lost my voice, and in an illustration I said "when I was in year sex" instead of six. No one laughed at then, which was sad. I got good feed back though. The 8am congregation are very encouraging. I like them all.

10am was a rushed service, but I preached better. I'd warmed up, and I knew the sermon a bit better.

I think people liked the sermon. I only heard good comments. Lots of people came up to me and said they appreciated my honesty, and my bravery with sharing my stories, but I didn't think they were particularly hard to share.

After that service it was Back to Bethlehem all the way. Back to Bethlehem is our church's annual Carols by Candlelight equivalent. We set up our church property to look like Bethlehem (sort of) and run a market place were people can do craft and enjoy the atmosphere, then we do a nativity play. Last year I was Joseph. This year I borrowed a sheet from the Buckley's, wrapped it around me like a toga and called my self Hotus Guyus Maximus.

Back to Bethlehem was good. The market place was fun. I got to do lots of craft, and meet people. And the play was well done. Probably one of the best nativity plays I've done. They used the whole property, stables in the park, the Inn under a slippery dip, Joseph's house in the car park, Angels on the back verandah. It was fun.

After the Back to Bethlehem there was a lot of packing up and carrying to do. Finally Jon, Helen, Stephen and I retired to Big Fish Little Fish in Chatswood at around 11pm for dinner. That was very exciting. I do love dinner.

Posted by Tom French |

I just got booked for driving through a red light. Oops. I wasn't really paying attention. It was at Hornsby Station. I was turning left, the cars around me were moving and I didn't check the lighs.

That's $300 and 3 demerit points. But at least I got to talk to a cop and see the flashing lights. That was fun.

I think I need to learn to think about driving while I drive. It may save me money.

Posted by Tom French |

The Youth Ministers - 2004-2005

Helen and Tom Glenelg.jpg


Tonight was the last night I did youth ministry with Helen. We had our youth ministry Christmas party. It was fun, it was sad. We said goodbye to Kristen, Rob and Helen. They're all tops. Everyone is great. I heaps of fun hanging out with the young people. They're lots of fun.

Leading the youth ministry these past 2 years with Helen has been special. She's good stuff.

It was fun. Thanks Helen.

The photo was taken in January at Glenelg in Adelaide. I figured this would be a good time to pull it out. We had a whole set of us staring into the distance attempting to look inspired or inspiring. I think this is the one that turned out best. I would have prefered Helen in the front but we did a follow up series with Helen in the foreground but they didn't work. So you'll just have to put up with my ugly mug. Sorry.

Posted by Tom French |

Long Kong

My life is so full at the moment. I'm having dinners and meetings, writing sermons, going to parties, sleeping, watching films. It's kinda fun but rather bulky.

I watched King Kong last night with David. It was ok. The script was pretty poor, Peter, Fran and Phillipa didn't have Tolkien backing them up this time. It was too long. We spent about 2 hours just on the island with the main characters battling overgrown animals. There was good stuff there, but way too much of it. Peter Jackson shouldn't have been given free reign. A bit like the Watchowski's and their overgrown trilogy, Jackson seems to have been let free to do whatever he wants because he's made the studios so much money.

Once the film got back to New York it got better. The scene in the theatre was so sad. But still, there was too much of New York. They should have cut it down.

Oh, well, better luck next time.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm home from being away in Forster. I went up on Sunday night and now I'm back. Since I left Sydney's started bashing each other and I'm disgusted. I need to go to bed but I have to go to work early tomorrow as I have no car. But I wanted to register my disapproval before I go to bed. I'm especially upset with those people who look more like me, because I guess I feel like I'm part of that group.

12/10/2005 12:10:00 am

Why I want to be American

Posted by Tom French |

One of the reasons Mike Spence, the president of the California Republican Assembly, has for wanting Mel Gibson to run for Governer of California: "His [Gibson's] last movie made more money than the Governor's [Terminator 3]."

From here.

Posted by Tom French |

Moving to the Country

Iran's president has said that Isreal should move to Europe. What a stunning idea! Why didn't anyone else think of that? I wonder if they'd put every building on the back of a truck and drive in a massive convoy up the road?

Perhaps while we're at it, we should move a few other things. Canberra could move to Tasmainia, just so that Tasmainia can feel important and New South Wales can get the valuable land back that we lost when they made Lake Burley Griffin, and built the world's biggest round about. Australia could move to America to complete the sell-out. Guantanimo Bay could move to Mars because I don't think even international law applies there.

Oh the posibilities!

Posted by Tom French |

The Preaching Blog

I have been thinking for a few months about making a podcast/blog of my preaching. I have been tossing up whether it would be a good idea to stick my sermons on the net so the whole world can listen. The reason I wouldn't is because it feels like self-promotion, unhumble. But I also think if God has gifted me then I should use my gifts, and sticking my preaching on the net is a way of doing that. It means they might be able to impact more people.

So now I have made a blog and posted my sermons. I've posted four of my sermons 2 old ones and two new ones. Over time I'll add more as I go. I've also made it a podcast so that all my many, many fans can subscribe and always know when a new sermon has been posted. Hopefully this podcast will balance people's view of me a little against the me on the other podcasts.

I've also made a comment on each sermon, kinda like the preacher's commentary. I guess to justify the blog, but also because it's nice to be able to give some notes. Clarify some things, talk about what worked and what didn't. It also means I'm able to review myself and hopefully pick up my faults. So far I discovered that I really need to stop saying "Um" and "Ahh". And I finish every sermon with "I'm gonna pray".

Anyway, if you're interested (I won't be offended if you're not), here is the site: http://tompreaches.blogspot.com/

And you can subscribe to the podcast at this address: http://feeds.feedburner.com/tompreaches

As the Bible doesn't, but perhaps should say: "Preach the Word; be prepared in iTunes and out of iTunes; correct, rebuke and encourage - ?with great patience and careful instruction." - 1 Timothy 4:2

Posted by Tom French |

Feeling the Rhymes

I had a dream last night that I was at the park with a bunch of firends having a meeting. One of them said something offensive to my friend Graham about a close relative of his who died (I don't think he's lost any relatives lately). Graham got upset and started crying and shouting at them through angry tears. I saw this and jumped up to encourage him saying "Don't stop mate, let it out, don't stop! This is where the Hip-Hop comes from!"

Posted by Tom French |

Enticed

I was standing at the lights near the Botanic Gardens on Macquarie St today waiting for the lights. I was listening to my diskman and looking at the building across the road. It had three statues on the corner built into it's facade. They were called "Mercy", "Compassion" and "Justice". I found this very interesting, I thought about the fact that they were three attributes of God, wondered about whether or not they were an ideal lived up to by the designers of the building, and what they might look like up close.

As I was staring at these, the beeper for the crossing went off, so I started off towards the statues, thinking only about getting a closer look. As I walked across the road I noticed there was a black 4WD coming very quickly towards me. I thought "That person is obviously is not obeying the road rules." I looked up at the little green man and found, to my confusion, that he was red.

I looked around and found myself in the middle of peak hour Sydney, with everything driving towards me. I ran for the other side of the road, realising that the beeping had been for the other crossing next to me and feeling rather embarrassed that lots of people just saw me do something vague and stupid enough to get myself killed. Like Odysseus'' sirens, the lure of Mercy, Compassion and Justice had enticed my towards my death. But I'll tell you I forgot all about them when I was about to get run over.

So the moral to the story is: When confronted by the imminent death (or severe physical injury) mercy, compassion and justice go out the window.

Posted by Tom French |

Cooling Down

I heard it was 38 degrees today. My body odour can testify to that at the moment. I had a fun-ish day.

It started early with a trip to my scripture school. It was my last time there this year. I'm happy with that. My Scripture class this year really didn't like me. I don't I have been so disliked by a group of people as I have by my class this year. Except perhaps when I went to Griffith and told the whole of Year 8 they deserved to go hell*. But I have never been this disliked for such as sustained period of time.

Today, though, I didn't have to teach any classes. It was Christmas Scripture Assembly day. I was privileged enough to be the speaker again. I'm the regular speaker now. One day I'll get bumped and my ego will take a bruising. But till then..

My talk was about what makes Jesus so special. It was fun because I got to talk about Jesus being really smart and creating a rocket ship out of grass and manure, or being really strong and tearing a cow in half. In the end I said that the baby Jesus didn't do any of them. He was special because he was "God with us". It was way fun. Especially the infants, they thought it was quite funny.

After the Assembly, when I was going back to my car and I got surrounded by Kindergarten kids who wanted me to tell them jokes. I tried but couldn't think of anything. In the end I resorted to just giving them high fives. That descended into 25 little kids repeatedly slapping me. I thought I was going to get slapped to death by a bunch of 5 year-olds in an horrific, Lord of the Flies-style scene of abuse and over-zealous affection. I was lucky to get out alive.

We had staff meeting after that and I fell asleep during the prayer time, so I got too scared to pray, in case I said the same thing as someone else.

The rest of the day was hot really. I mooched around the office, ate a quiet lunch with Helen and Maryanne, made some posters and some phone calls.

Tonight I went bowling with the Young Adults. It was pleasent, I enjoy the people. I was a rather mild bowler though.

And that is the day concluded.

*That sounds really bad. I tried to be as diplomatic about it as possible.

Posted by Tom French |

I don't want to moan about being a bad blogger but I am. I just haven't been making the time for it.

Today Helen, Jon, Lauren and I moved Helen into her new Newtown house. It was good fun. Lots of lifting and stairs climbing, but also time to explore Newtown a bit. I got to dream about next year and the joys of living in the Newtown. (I learnt why Newtown was called Newtown the other day, something to do with a farm and a general store, but I've forgotten now.)

Tonight we hung out in the flat ate noodles, drank sparkling white wine and Coke and ate chocolate. It was fun. I laughed a lot.

Yesterday was rather stressful. Getting the U2 tickets was hard. Mum, Howie and I were all calling the Ticketek line. Howie and I were both on our computers trying to get onto the website. At one stage I had six different windows open all trying to get onto the site. Then finally after 40 minutes of trying, the seas parted, and two of my browsers arrived at the site. I logged on as both Howie and myself and bought 12 tickets. Phew.

After that I made a few phone calls to see how others had fared, then went back in to try and shop for those less fortunate than I. That meant that I was online watching as the last tickets were sold. Contrary to media reports, that was 1 hour and 40 minutes after the sale started, not 60 minutes. But 60 minutes does sound good.

I'm wondering if I should go to the concert on the Saturday night too. Go sit somewhere different. See the show from a different perspective. It would cost money. There are starving children in the world. Although there are billions of them and only one U2. Please don't bother trying to correct that logic.

I didn't get to shower yesterday because there were workmen next door cutting up the sewerage pipe. It meant I smelt a little until I got to the shopping centre to wash up a bit with soap.

I did other things yesterday too (Max Brenner's Chocolate World with Ryan and Libby, Lunch with Matt, a sleep in the park, Pub with the boys and girl) and they were all fun. I was well blessed yesterday.

Posted by Tom French |

We're going to U2!

Posted by Tom French |

So Much to Tell You

Of course I've been a real bad blogger lately. Harry, Bible Study Marathons, Weddings. So much to say.

But it's real late at night at the moment. So I'll just share something small.

On Friday morning I paid the deposit for Jo and I to go to Europe in June/July next year with Granpa and Valentina. That was fun. I've enjoyed visiting the travel agent. I've felt all grown up doing it all by myself. And what I thought would be a big, daunting experience turned out to be rather easy. Of course there was a lot of work to find the cheapest, easiest way of getting around. But it wasn't some complex process that you have to be really smart to do. You just rock up and say "I wanna do this" and the Travel Agent says "Ok" and off you go. So fun. I want to go overseas more.

I really wanna go to America. The Mother Country!

Posted by Tom French |

Oh Well

No email. No codes. Pre-sale closed. Oh well. I'll be buying with everyone else on Monday.

Funny thing is, I'm listening to Howie's iMix and while 12pm ticked over U2 was playing I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

Posted by Tom French |

20 minutes

Posted by Tom French |

Waiting for the Code

I'm a paying member of U2.com which means that I should get a Pre-Sale code for U2 tickets. The problem is that I haven't gotten one. The presale ends in 48 minutes. I called Customer Service in America yesterday and they said they'd try and get me a code. I called this morning and they said they'd send me a code as soon as they could. Now I'm waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

I'm checking my emails constantly. The stress. The stress. If I get my code in the next 47 minutes I'll have tickets to U2 today. If not I have to wait till Monday and join in with the General Public. Oi! It's not the end of the world. But it'll be the start of a whole new level special feelings if I get tickets today.

At least I have tickets to Harry Potter tonight.

Posted by Tom French |

Reading

Today Jem and I went and saw Elizabethtown. That was a pretty fun film. Orlando if pretty good looking. I can see why girls find him hot. He was a bit of a pansy as Legolas though. Not that Orlando's looks were the highlight of the movie, I just noticed it. In a manly, hetro kinda way.

The memoral scene was pretty special. I was impressed.

Afterwards we went to the St Mary's Cathedral to see inside. It was very impressive. I reckon the nicest church in Sydney. Better then the Anglican Cathedral. I reckon we should see if we can swap for a bit. Run a Cathedral exchange program.

We folled this with a visit to the State Library. Wow, that was cool. Last time I went I was too scared to go into the big library. But since I had a friend I made it through. I looked though the catalogues and wondered about all the information that must be in the stack. So fun. Although I wasn't brave enough to figure it out. I'll have to take Lesley one day.

I read a book called Leviathan: The unauthorised biography of Sydney. I much enjoyed the first 13 pages. I want to go buy it. He's good that Birmo.

I had Chef's Lucky Noodles of dinner. No 31 with Thick Rice Noodles. Lovely!

Posted by Tom French |

Burn in Hell

Last night when I started my sermon I pretended to have a good rant about the prosperity doctrine. I got to say that anyone who preaches it is "spawn of Satan!" (which I don't believe.) It was way fun. And my favourite bit was saying "Come out! Come out and stand on the Truth that God wants you to be miserable and poor!" or something like that.

I hadn't really thought about whether or not it'd be fun before hand. I just decided it was the right thing for the job. But once I'd done it I wanted to do it again. I think I need to become an angrier preacher and call down more curses. That'd be heaps fun.

It's sad I don't think it's a very good idea.

Posted by Tom French |

From the Dust

"Music, as well as being the most dispensable of arts, is probably the hardest to throw off. It pursues...by strange means. Music lives beneath the soles of our feet. Given no encouragement music rises from the dust itself." - Tim Winton

Posted by Tom French |

Mr Miyagi has Died

Pat Morita, who played Mr Miyagi in The Karate Kid series, has died. He was 73.

That's sad.

From here.

Posted by Tom French |

Post-Podcast Comedown

The day after podcasting is always a hard one. I live in fear that this time I've oversteped the mark. I'm going to make someone, somewhere angry. That'll I'll get angry emails from parents of people in my youth group.

That hasn't happened yet, but it certainly is a fear. I guess I realise that most of the world doesn't find toilet humour as funny as I do. And that my humour, when it's at it's most offensive (eg characters making racist comments), is usually making the opposite point than is being espoused. It's scary because you're jumping between the extreamly childish and the social commentary (which is hopefully a little more grown up, although it's probably not much). I doubt anyone really comes away thinking "Yeah that really made me think." But I do at least hope that people don't come away saying "The world could do without that sort of thing."

Posted by Tom French |

Podcast 5: For Angus

Well here it is. The people I would like to appologise to this time are:
Indonesians and Michelle Leslie.

I'm sure one day I'll get in trouble for this.

Podcast 5

Posted by Tom French |

I love Chef's Lucky Noodle. I'm having it for the second Friday in a row. God is good!

I tried writing Sunday's sermon yesterday. It didn't work. It was like trying to give birth to a echidna, which I assume is rather difficult.

Posted by Tom French |

Ethical Conundrum

Fighting Men Small.jpg

I was walking to Community Dinner on Tuesday and I saw some guys across the road at the bus interchange, about 25 metres away (I was outside Forty Winks, they were at the Toilets near Jack's) start arguing with each other. There were four of them. I was intrigued. I'd been watching them for a little while because they looked to be doing the usual business that goes on in those toilets.

Anyway they started arguing. And as I was standing at the lights about to cross William St, they started fighting. There seemed to be two-on-two with punching and kicking and all the rest. Also at the lights with me was an old woman and a young guy. The young guy was extremely interested. He started saying "Get 'im! Just F***ing get into 'im!"

When the lights beeped instead of crossing the road this man ran across the Highway to join in the fight. The Old Lady and I started crossing road. I don't think the Old Lady noticed the fight. I kept watching as I walked because it was rather interesting.

The last thing I saw of the fight was of the guy who'd been standing with me at the lights trying to break the top off a branch he'd found on the ground so he could use it in the fight.

I just kept walking.

I was wondering what I should have done. I didn't really like the idea of getting involved and trying to break it up, but I didn't feel particularly good walking away either. I felt like I should have done something. I decided I was allowed not to get involved because I remembered this verse:

Like one who seizes a dog by the ears
is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.
- Proverbs 26:17

But I can't say that verse convinced me not to get involved, it was more a justification of my desire not to do anything.

It makes me wonder what I would do in other situations.

The reasons I hope I would get involved:
My friends, family, people I knew, were involved
It was unprovoked/one party was not wanting to participate
They were in a weaker postion (Women, children, elderly, uneven)

The reasons I had for not getting involved on Tuesday:
I'd probably get hurt
No-one seemed to want to avoid the fight (I'd been watching for about 5 minutes before the fight broke out, both parties had plenty of time to walk away)
There was two-on-two (not three on one for instance)
The above verse

But still I felt more like a coward than someone who was morally right. I could have called the cops I guess. I'm not sure.

Jesus did say: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." (Matt 5:9). While I do know that I've spent a lot of my life attempting to make peace, I can't help but feel in this situation I only succeeded in looking out for myself.

Views anyone?

Posted by Tom French |

I went to KFC today with some of the Staff. I ate it just because I forgot what it tasted like. Now I remember. It hasn't improved.

11/21/2005 06:21:00 pm

Pretending to be a Traveler

Posted by Tom French |

Or perhaps I'm just just a lowly pilgrim.

I'd rather not call myself a pilgrim, it sounds rather like I'm subtly extolling how humble I am.

I am feeling like a traveller though because I'm in a net cafe near Central Station. It's a backpackers one as opposed to a gaming one. This one is full of people talking in all sorts of foreign languages, where as gaming ones are full of people speaking Asian or bad language. To come to this one I had to join up with some thing called Global Gossip. They gave me a form to fill out where every field was mandatory, which I think is a little rude. When it got to Mobile Number I lied and clicked the box which said "I don't have one yet". I wouldn't have lied but they didn't have have a "I don't want to give you my number I just want to use the internet" box to tick.

Anyway net cafe forms are not all that interesting at the best of times, I can't see why you would want to read about them second removed on my blog.

I've spent the day (at least the meaningful half after 12pm) preparing for my sermon. I went to college and read and wrote in the Library. I didn't start falling asleep till about 3 hours in so I thought that was pretty good effort. Better than any of my study efforts.

This morning, after dropping Hannah at school, I bought myself the new U2 dvd. I'm all set to watch it tonight after Dosas. My life is quite full of U2 at the moment.

Now I'm just mooching around on the net continuing my sermon research while I wait for Dosas to start. Did you know that John Cadbury (who owned Cadburys in the 19th Century) created the Animals Friend Society a forunner to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals? He did. (Wiki told me)

That's all I have to say.

Posted by Tom French |

March 31st. U2. Oh yeah.

Posted by Tom French |

Today

Today marked my beginning to the 3rd Annual Shirts Off Summer. It's probably not the most auspicious event of the year but it's a neccisary one.

Jo, Hannah, Howie, David and I all went off to Freshy. It was my first time at the beach this summer. I do enjoy a frolick at the beach. The swell was flat, but the water wasn't too cold. It was a good day for the beach.

I'll have to do more of it.

When's the next hot day?

Posted by Tom French |

Friday

Well yesterday wasn't as eventful. It was a work day. They're normally fun, but un-remarkable.

At the lunchtime group at school the people who came handed out flowers and chocolates to their fellow school mates. It was cool. We suddenly became popular and our group doubled in size even when the chocolates and flowers ran out.

In the afternoon I ran a Bible Study for the year 8s. It was fun. It was planned to be a study for people to go deeper into the Bible than in their usual small groups. I was a little worried that I might not be smart enough for it. But I think we managed ok. I challenged to group to stay focused this time and they did well. As opposed to my usual small group, everyone participated and stayed on track. I had enjoyed myself.

My small group afterwards was a crazy as usual. It was a distinct contrast to the one before.

After small group I went out with Howie, David and Anmol. I ate half a box of Chef's Lucky Noodles for dinner (Number 30 with thick rice noodles) and we went off to see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. That was a good movie. Smart, funny, witty, twisted, black, cool. That's my six word review.

I ate the rest of the noodles for breakfast this morning.

Posted by Tom French |

Thursday

Thursday morning consisted of study. Not hard core study, but a solid hour and a half perhaps. I reckon that's a pretty good effort.

I caught the train to college and studied more as I traveled because I'm a bit of nerd. My train came late but I only missed the role call.

The exam wasn't too hard. Which probably means I failed. But what can you do? I'd studied for two of the questions that morning, so things were pretty fresh. That's when cramming really comes into its own.

After the exam I found a place to give me an early dinner (a resturant called "Chicken Quicky" or something; it was full of flies) then meandered my way to the Sydney Superdome. It was TD Jakes night. I got there about an hour and a half early so I walked slowly from Concord West to Olympic Park. I enjoyed the walk through Bicentennial Park. The grass was green, the fountains bubbling and the there was no one about. I stopped along the way to read a monument to King Cyrus who lived around 550BC. I learnt about him at College and was wondering why he managed to get a monument in Homebush. It was from Persian Appreciantion month in 1994 or something. I like the monument though.

When I arrived at the Superdome I had to run a gauntlet of cheery CCC volunteers. They were all smiling and every single one of them said "Have a good night" to which I inevitably replied "I'll give it a shot." It sounded like didn't think I'd have a good night, but that wasn't the case. I did. I just didn't want to promise I would. When I'm given a bubbly command to "Have a good night" I don't want to commit to it as having a good night is not wholly in my control. So I gave it a shot and ended up succeeding.

I went into the Superdome and found three seats about 2 thirds back from the stage and but near the floor. I watched the ads on the big screens and noticed that every CCC ad is big. They have big orchestral music, footage of mountains, waves and wild horses and every conference seems to be advertised as "The once-in-a-lifetime moment when your life will be changed." That said they have good production values. They did well with the ads.

It was fun sitting in the Superdome imagining that I may be back there in a few months time to see U2 play. How exciting.

Anyway, the show started. Howie and Jenny arrived. I didn't know any of the songs we sang until Darlene arrived.

TD Jakes was cool. He's a big, noisy, Black American preacher. People say he's the next Billy Graham. I disagree. He wasn't much like Billy, but he was cool. And he was powerful. He preached about the Prodigal Son. He was quite theatrical, using the whole stage, sometimes preaching with his back to the audience, or sitting on the choir stands behind a rack of guitars. And he'd say things like "I don't think you're hearing me" when he wanted the audience to clap more.

It would be fun to preach like he does. I'm not sure my church would cope. Nor would I have the courage.

At the end he made the altar call and it was great to see heaps of people go down the front. He did an interesting thing where he said "Imagine this is the last 60 seconds of your life. Would you be sure of you're destiny? If not, come down now, you have 60 seconds." Then he counted down. People came running. I was getting nervous. It was effective. I haven't decided if it's a good idea, but it was smart. It added drama to an altar call too, but I doubt that was its intended purpose.

I'm glad I saw TD.

We came home after that. I had a Caesar salad and yoghurt for dinner.

Posted by Tom French |

I've been a rather bad blogger these past few days. Wednesday and now it's Saturday. Hoi! That's disgraceful.

I'll try and write about all the things that I've missed. Here we go...

Posted by Tom French |

Well done Socceroos.

I have my exam tomorrow. I reckon I've done 2 hours study. That's a record for me in the past few years. I'll probably blitz it with that much work.

Posted by Tom French |

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, I went on a another protest march-o

I went on the IR Reform protests today. They were fun. Much like every other protest really. Lots of speechs and sore legs, a march and sore legs, then more speechs and sore legs. But still fun.

My favourite part is always the march. They're noisy, look good, there's lots of police and helicopters, you can walk in the middle of the road, you get to catch up with friends and you get to stand up for something you believe in, what more could you want?

The highest highlight of the day was being able to march along and shout "The workers, united, we'll* never be deafeated!" and shake my fist in the air. It was like a real protest.

People also shouted: "Whatdowewant?!"

"Workers rights!"

"When'owewann'em?"

"Now!"

Which I thought was silly seeing as we were protesting against our rights being taken away. So we have them now, when'owewan'em? Next year as well! Although that's not quite as catchy.

I hope the Government listens.

*or is it "will"?

Posted by Tom French |

U2 is coming to Australia!

From U2.com:

"Vertigo//2006 will commence in early February with stops planned in Mexico, South America, New Zealand, Australia and Japan."

Yeehaa!

I'm there, I'm there, I'm there!

Posted by Tom French |

Straight Talking

In John 11 Jesus proposes that he and his disciples go to Judea but they react saying "Rabbi, a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"

Jesus replies "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."

Now if I was a disciple I would be rather frustrated by that response. I'm not particularly sure what that means and why Jesus said it there. I would have preferred Jesus just said "We cannot be deterred by fear" or "Stop being wusses we do what God wants" or "Sticks and stones may break your bones but I'm the Son of God!"

A bit further on Jesus is talking about Lazarus' death referring to it as having "fallen asleep". The disciples don't get this so Jesus puts it plainly "Lazarus is dead". That's what I'm talking about. That's the Jesus I can understand.

Posted by Tom French |

Today at the retirement home that we were visiting with the youth I offered an old lady my phone number. It was all innocent on my part, but I got in trouble from the youth for chatting up old women.

Posted by Tom French |

Brothers, Sisters, Corpse and Noodle

I had a BSBB training day today. It was interesting being in a non-Christian training environment. Especially a Children's/Youth one. It's been so long since I've been in the real world properly I couldn't work out why we didn't open and close with prayer. It was good though. Good to meet a group of people who aren't Christians and aren't all that interested in whether you're one or not. They all seemed like good people.

Then tonight David and I went to see Corpse Bride. Tim Burton is a twisted man, but probably a genius too. It was very good. Funny, charming, good story. I was impressed.

For the record, as an act of civil disobedience against Greater Union's silly allocated seating David and I sat where we wanted. I'm going to write a letter.

Afterwards David and I had dinner at Chef's Lucky Noodle. The Noodle is always great. We talked a lot about power imbalances, pastoral care, being a Christian super-hero, and mentoring. I enjoyed.

I also returned my DVD 5 days late and David's book 4 years late.

Posted by Tom French |

Chlorine

Last night we took the youth group to the Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre. It was a massive logistical event. We planned all our car spaces down to the very last person, then had extra turn up and drivers pull out. I did a lot of organising on the fly. We even almost left without one person but we got them in the end.

Apart from being extremely self-conscious of having to run around in just a pair of boardies, I had a great time at the pool. Youth Group socials are one of my favourite parts of my job. They mainly just involve playing with teenagers. What more could you want? Pools are good fun.

Today, two showers and much soap later, I still smell like chlorine.

Posted by Tom French |

Fact of the Year

Botton is the 65444th most popular surname in the USA.

From here

Posted by Tom French |

A little Stressful

We had Scripture Seminars on this morning, and I went to bed last night with less than enough volunteers coming, no game to play and no speaker. Scripture Seminars always stress me and these weren't particularly turning out well. Lots of people hadn't been able to make it and Stephen, who was meant to be speaking, was sick. Basically we had no seminars to run and we had 4 periods stuck with 100 students at a time and nothing to do with them.

I woke up this morning and showered while trying to work out at what point we cancel seminars.

The thing about seminars is that they never seem to look like we can run them. But I have this belief in me that even if the seminars don't look like they're possible to run, God'll come through and we'll run them. I don't think I've had a seminar which I've ever felt like they can run. But this one is the first time I've still been wondering if we can pull out on the morning of the actual seminars.

I decided on a game and drove to the school making up a talk in my head. As I drove a got a call from one of the volunteers saying they too were sick to come in. I arrived at school feeling rather ambivalent. Only a few leaders had turned up, some were running late. I couldn't run the game I had planned because there were no doughnuts at the shops. It may not sound like a big deal but with everything going wrong it was feeling like it could be the last straw. I had no speaker, no game, and very little ability to run small groups.

I started discussing with the other leaders at what stage we pull the plug. As we were talking the Acting Principal walked in and asked if we wanted the back doors unlocked to let some air into the room. I said "Yes" and chickened out of pulling out. I figured once you've had the doors unlocked there's no turning back.

Courtney rang one of her friends and got him out of bed to come join us, the rest of the leaders turned up and things felt a bit manageable. Chez thought of a game and Helen volunteered to MC the day. Once I was committed to doing it things felt a bit better. We prayed and waited for our first year to turn up.

The year sevens came in, and were as rowdy as ever, except the guy who usually shouts out "I love Satan!" was shouting "I love Jesus!" which I guess is a bit of an improvement (or a lot of an improvement depending on where you think his sincerity levels were at).

Helen welcomed everyone and we had the game which was fun. The students had to speak for a minute on a subject of our choosing without saying "um" or "ahh". They didn't really manage to do it.

Then it was my turn to speak. I've heard about a lot of preachers who have gotten into similar situations to me today. They have to give a talk or sermon at very late notice. And almost every time they say that they preached one of their best preaches then. It's funny. So I figured if I did have to talk God would come through. I preached and it did alright. I think it was probably the best scripture talk I've ever done. I got good feedback from the students and that never happens. And they seemed to come with me a lot more than usual.

My talk was about what God is like. Does he exist? And if he does, what's he like? I used the Prodigal Son because that was the last thing I preached on thankfully. And it all came out good.

Our small groups were big, but most leaders said they were productive. In the end the seminars turned into some of the best seminars we've done. "Good on God" I say. He does things like that.

Posted by Tom French |

Qld Premier demands Channel Ten reinstate Dan on Idol

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has demanded the producers of Australian Idol reinstate Brisbane-based performer, Dan England. Because Queensland is not on Daylight Saving Time his fans say they were not able to vote for him.

Mr Beattie said "Look we were robbed. I mean Dan was robbed...I'm asking Channel 10 to wake up to themselves to turn back the clock to Monday and give him a fair go."

It's good to see Queensland politicians have such important things to worry about.

From Here

Posted by Tom French |

Does it seem a little worrying that the Police/Government wants to arrest people but they can't because there are no laws to do it, so they change the laws and arrest the people a week later? Doesn't that seem a little like those kids who you played with when you were young who would change the rules half way through the game to make sure they'd win?

But as I said before I am still for catching terrorists and stopping terrorism. I just hope we're going about it the right way.

Posted by Tom French |

Police have raided homes in Sydney and Melbourne arresting 15 men suspected of planning terrorist attacks.

It's hard to know what to think. I'm all for stopping terrorist attacks from happening. If that's what has happened then, good. I'm a little suspicious about the timing though. It seems these raids will do well to cement the case for the need for the new anti-terror laws.

I wish I could trust my Government because right now all I would feel would be pride and respect for the work of our police. I wish things were a lot more black and white.

Posted by Tom French |

Sedition

Senator Andrew Bartlett has outlined on his blog the Government's definition of sedition. In the new Anti-Terror Laws you can get seven years for displaying seditious intention. Bartlett wrote:

"seditious intention means an intention to effect any of the following purposes:

(a) to bring the Sovereign into hatred or contempt;
(b) to urge disaffection against the following:
(i) the Constitution;
(ii) the Government of the Commonwealth;
(iii) either House of the Parliament;
(c) to urge another person to attempt to procure a change, otherwise than by lawful means, to any matter established by law of the Commonwealth;
(d) to promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different groups so as to threaten the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth. "


In that case, I'll join with him, in showing seditious intention. Disaffection is defined as "disloyalty to the government or to established authority". As long as our Government is trying to force dodgy laws on us I urge disaffection against the Government. When they will try and deprive their citizens (and those who may just happen to turn up on our shores) of their civil and human rights, I will urge disaffection. I will urge people to show their loss of affection and loyalty by voting the Government out, by writing letters, by telling their friends, by protest, by any peaceful means they can find.

There was an interesting article in SMH about how Jesus would have been easily charged with sedition under the new laws coming in. If Jesus can be charged with sedition, then me too! WWJD? Yeehaa!

Posted by Tom French |

Backish

I've been a rather slack blogger recently. I was going pretty much non-stop from Thursday 8:30am-2am everyday no-breaks. I slept in today but I'm still pretty tired.

The reason for all this was Impact, the Breakthru Artz concert. I was in charge of creating and running the DVDs and Powerpoints that had all the music and visual stuff for the whole show and getting the show. We had two projectors for the front and the back of the stage. I had to swap between the two making sure that either one or neither was on at a time. I had to make sure all the music started at the right time. Almost the whole show ran without a hitch. It was pretty good. We did well.

Unfortunatly the good run went to the dogs last night in church when the simple job of playing a DVD for a dance was just too hard for either me or Pete the sound man. We may have had a technological emotional breakdown.

I went to lunch with a family from Church yesterday. We had a barbeque and sat in the sun. It was rather fun as was youth group. I enjoy playing soccer but I really need to get fit, I feel like I'm going to die when I run around. Oh dear.

Posted by Tom French |

My Grandpa sent me this. Tis funny. He made it himself. He's a funny man.

http://muglets.com/6YBA

Posted by Tom French |

Up late making another DVD. My life is a perpetual DVD creating cycle.

Posted by Tom French |

Something fishy is going on when the Government keeps trying to rush legislation through without a chance for people to look at it properly. Like when you're in a group and you try and fart quickly and quietly so people don't notice it was you that made everything stink.

Posted by Tom French |

Read My Thoughts

I went and had my 2nd interview for BSBB yesterday. It was a long one. 2 hours, but I had fun. I got asked lots of personal questions about traumatic experiences, my love life, how I learnt about sex, whether I do drugs, what I think of pedophilia, things that make me angry and more. Lucky I'm not all that worried about answering any of those questions for anyone. It didn't feel all that personal, but maybe I just don't have all that much I feel like hiding.

The best bit of the interview was when I got the results of my psychological profile. The man said to me "The test results say that you were quite defensive when you did it. Do you think you were defensive?"

I replied "No. I don't think I was defensive." I thought that was pretty funny.

The guy also asked me if I was a risk taker and if I thought I had a good amount of insight. Apparently the test said I was defensive, a risk taker, had low insight and therefore an inflated view of myself.

It did strike me as a bit odd that the computer that read my test thought I had an inflated view of myself but it's never met me. I could have a completely reasonable view of myself.

I don't think view is inflated at all. I'm pretty special and everyone knows it. I'm smart, witty, good looking, strong, caring, sporty, coordinated, tough but gentle, inspiring, universally loved, simply spectacular in every
detail and damn good at spelling.

The guy also said I answered two questions with true answers that he wanted to ask me about:

People can read my thoughts and Death would be a relief.

I can't remember why I thought that people could read my thoughts, maybe because I blog. It may also have been that I feel pretty transparent and people seem to know why I do what I do. I said that death would be a relief because heaven will be tops, not because I'm suicidal.

Anyway I got through to the next stage of the program. It's a training day, probably where you have to play hand holding get-to-know-you games, have lots of sharing times and climb over 3 metre high brick walls blindfolded. Things like that.

I'm enjoying the BSBB process though. The people at YWCA are nice, they give me water. And I'm looking forward to being a Big Brother.

Posted by Tom French |

I don't even know where my horse went. 6th or something by my TV watching.

But that's ok. Makybe was pretty special.

Posted by Tom French |

Tom's Melbourne Cup Tip

Ok folks, listen up. In 2003 I picked the winner, in 2004 I picked second place. So now you're all salivating for my pick for this year's Melbourne Cup. Well here it is:

RAILINGS
No.7

Of course I'd love to see Makybe Diva win again, 3 years would be smashing, but my odds are on Railings.

Yeehaa!

Posted by Tom French |

Today was a long day. But not as long as it could have been. I got to church an hour late. Damn daylight saving. I'm not sure if anyone in my house remembered, I sure didn't.

Posted by Tom French |

Movolution

Howie and I went to Sal's 21st tonight. It was tops fun. Lovely people all round. The theme was 1920s/All that Jazz, so I went the 20s mo. It was real sleazy. Check out the evolution.

Seventies Peace.jpg

Seventies Porn Star Mo.jpg

Slicked hair and mo.jpg

In costume.jpg

Posted by Tom French |

Too Hairy

Hairy Face.jpg

This is the hairiest I have ever been in my life. In about an hour almost all my face will be clean shaven. Stay tuned for the mo, for tonight only!

Posted by Tom French |

Cramming

It's three weeks before our exam and our lecturer told us today "Just remember that there's always value in cramming." If studying now is called cramming I'd hate to think when he thought we should have started real study.

Posted by Tom French |

I walked in to teach scripture today and the kids saw my beard and said "Ooo gross". Then a kid put up his hand and said "If I get bored of this can I join Jewish scripture?"

It's nice to feel loved.

Posted by Tom French |

Tom's Beginner's Guide to U2

Well I did this for B, and because I'm excited. I'll stay up way too late writing this, but I'm having fun.

So here's the list.

1. Out of Control

U2's first single. You can't really make a guide without their first single. Probably not their best work, but certainly gives us a few pointers about where they might be heading.

2. New Year's Day

Off their third album War, this song has something to do with Poland and war I think. I've forgotten, but it's good. War was the first U2 album I owned, it was on cassette when I was 6. This song stuck with me.

3. Sunday Bloody Sunday (Live at Red Rocks)

Such an important song for U2. They copped a lot of flack about this song at the time. People thought it was a call to arms for the IRA but it was a call to peace which is why at the beginning of this version Bono tells the crowd "This is not a rebel song". I always like the bit at the end of the song when we're called to "claim the victory Jesus won". It gives me goose bumps.

4. Bad

I've heard that when it was released this song had the longest list of "tion"s (ie dislocation, separation, condemnation) in a song ever. I doubt that's true now, what with all them rappers and all, but it's an interesting thought.

I like the song, it's not one of my faves but I thought it was a good song to show the transitioning between their early years sounds and their middle years stuff. They had a new producer this album (Brian Eno) who started them in a different, vibier direction.

5. With or Without You

This is track 3 on The Joshua Tree arguably U2's greatest album. It was certainly the album that made them huge. The first 4 tracks of this album sound like a fanboy's dream playlist. It is a massive anthem filled album.

I'm not quite sure what this song is about but I think it has something to do with living trying to live a life of love, a Christ-like life. You can't live with Christ, it's too hard, but you cannot live without him. It's a good dichotomy between what's received and what's desired.

6. Bullet the Blue Sky

Someone once said The Edge's guitar in this song is the angriest guitar in rock history. It certainly a song filled with barely suppressed rage. It was written as a protest against the USA's foreign policy in Latin America, where it fed the civil wars and propped up despots to meet it's own agendas.

7. Running to Stand Still

This is the first song so far that wasn't released as a single. It's a song looking through the eyes of a drug addict. It's a painfully beautiful song.

8. All I Want is You

The album this is off, Rattle and Hum, has been viewed as a bit of a let down after The Joshua Tree. It was an attempt to find the roots of Rock 'n' Roll. I think it's good. But I think U2's all good. This song is one of their most spectacular love songs. It really just turns you to mush.

9. The Fly

The first single off Achtung Baby (my favourite album, damn solid!), Bono described this song as "the sound of four men chopping down the Joshua Tree." It showed a radical departure from classic U2, a time when they embraced irony, parodied themselves and the rock star life. This song is cool and I'm sure it has a message about consumerism or mass media or something in there too. I've never sat down and tried to work it out.

10. Love is Blindness (Live)

I dig this song. It makes you ache.

11. Mofo

From Pop this song shows U2 at their most non-rock, in their electronic, experimental stage. It's probably not the best song on the album but it is a good one to show where Pop was at. Pop is a damn fine album, not great, but it certainly has the foundations of greatness. So much potential. U2 say if they had an extra 3 months in the studio this album would have achieved what they were aiming for. You can just see the juicy goodness elusively floating under the surface. It's an album full of questions and doubt, but still clinging to hope by the barest of threads.

12. Walk On

Classic U2 are back. From All That You Can't Leave Behind, this is U2 at their simple song writing best. This song is wonderful. It was this album that made me fall in love with U2. It's very special.

13. All Because of You

A rocking, stomping, tribute to grace. Yeah baby!

14. Where the Streets Have No Name (Live from Boston)

Probably U2's most famous anthem, this song soars. It's the first song off The Joshua Tree and has gone on great guns from there. It's a staple song at U2 gigs. When it's played live it sends shivers up my spine, and I've only ever seen it on DVD or heard it on CD. It's wonderful. Bono has said whenever they play this song live, whatever their show has been like before it, you can always feel the Spirit enter the place. This song encapsulates why U2 are so great.

You can get the iMix here. If the link doesn't work search for "Tom's Beginner's Guide to U2".

Posted by Tom French |

How Fun is iTunes?

Hooray for Aussie iTunes. I just downloaded 13 U2 tracks that I don't own. And made a cd. So fun.

Posted by Tom French |

Rather Interesting

I went to Hornsby today to wander around and I got a message from Howie telling me Hornsby Mall was blocked off because of a bomb scare so I immediately headed across. There was lots of Police tape about and the cops had blocked off the Western end of the mall up to the St George Bank. It was pretty cool. I maneuvered my way to a good stop and stood and watched hoping to see something interesting.

The mall was had three cop cars, an ambulance, and a fire engine, plus plenty of people in yellow vest looking rather bored. It looked like the bomb threat had been to Hungry Jacks. I wanted to see a bomb squad (which I doubted I'd see seeing as I doubted there was any bomb) or at least some sniffer dogs. But I saw just a guy wearing white Police cover-alls and carrying a black box. Shame.

I heard some kids talking in the mall. One of them was saying in his most authoritative voice "I wouldn't be surprised if there is a bomb, considering the way John Howard has been acting lately." It took me back to the days when I would put on grave authoritative voices to pronouce my wishful desires for destruction in the guise of good analysis (Think:"The bush fires probably will come our way rapidly considering the contours of our valley and the wind speed"). These days, while always hoping for a bit of good old fashioned excitement, have seen only dullness result that I don't get my hopes up. Plus there's the other part of me that knows that watching a bombing probably is a rather horrific event.

A woman came up to me while I was standing in the mall to ask what was going on. When I told her, she said "Who would want to bomb Hungry Jacks? The should have gone for McDonald's".

In the end the mall was given the all clear and I got to be one of the first people into the re-opened mall. It was quite an honour.

After that I hopped on a train and went to a Make Poverty History Stand Gathering (or whatever one would call it). A bunch of young concerned citizens gathered at Darling Harbour to stand for 8 minutes of silence, one minute for every Millennium Development Goal. The event started at 5:30pm (or was advertised for then) and ended at 7:15, which was rather longer than the 8 minutes I was expecting (how long can 8 minutes take?). There were lots of speeches, and I got told many times that 30,000 kids die every day of preventable causes. Which is not a nice thing to hear, but I've heard that so many times this year I think I tune out a bit.

Actually what did occur to me is that about 10 years ago we did a thing at church where we were talking about 40,000 children who died every day of preventable causes. So if the number is now 30,000 that's a good thing. That's a 25% decrease in 10 years. I hope that's true, because it means the next 66% (I think that's what the MDG is) is achievable. Hooray!

Anyway once we'd got many speeches out of the way, we managed to stand still for 8 minutes in silence. I was worried about how I'd cope, but it turned out fine. I really enjoyed it. Silence does make a loud noise. More people took the time to look at us when there was nothing at all being said, than when we were talking.

After my continued efforts to end world poverty Jo and I went to dosas with David. It was a small gathering, but fun. I ate a lot and now my hands small of Indian.

On the way home David and I had a long wait for our train at Strathfield so we went to the pub. A quick beer in a seedy tavern. The pub reminded me of church camps with crappy, vomit coloured carpet, a dodgy pool table, mismatching furniture, and a book case in the corner with old Jack Higgins books and at least one copy of The Cross and the Switchblade, this is the camp not the pub. But the pub had that feel. How fun. I love seedy.

In Wollongong last week I found some toilets that looked seedy on the outside but was disappointed to find that they were pretty clean. My spirits perked up a bit when I discovered that all the cubicle doors had been removed, I guess to prevent shooting up.

On the train on the way home David and I talked about Microsoft PowerPoint, IQ scores and politics. How fascinating for anyone listening.

Now I am home.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm getting sick of my beard. It feels too fuzzy.

Posted by Tom French |

The Good Chaplin

This is the the story of a Muslim Army Chaplin who was put in Guantanamo Bay just for being suspected of being a terrorist. It's pretty horrible.

http://dox.media2.org/barista/archives/002447.html

Posted by Tom French |

If I were to disappear...

I've been reading stuff on all these new anti-terror laws, they look fun. ASIO and the Federal Police can jail people for "preventative" measures. So if they think you may be about to commit a terrorist offence, they can jail you. You don't have to be guilty, you just have to seem like you could be about to become guilty. And a court doesn't decide that, the police do. Plus they can bring you in for questioning and you don't have to even seem like a terrorist. You may just know a terrorist, or someone who seems like one. Or just know something about someone who seemed like a terrorist. And if they brought you in for questioning, you have no right to a lawyer and you aren't allowed to tell anyone you're there. If you tell anyone you can go to jail for it. Plus if the people you tell tell anyone they can go to jail too. That's getting jailed for telling someone that someone you knew got questioned by police because they may have know someone who may be about to be a terrorist or may know something that about some terrorism that may happen.

All this questioning can be done without the courts being involved. It's only when they get around to actually charging you with talking about talking to them, that the courts get involved.

Effectively this means that people can just disappear. The police can bring you in for questioning, or preventative detention and no-one will know you're there. They can just keep renewing their warrants to have you there and you don't have to turn up again. And if you do turn up you can't tell anyone where you've been.

So let me just say, if I do disappear, it may not be something as simple as a drowning or a late night walk in the bush that goes horribly wrong. I may not have run away. It may be that I am in police custody being questioned about things that I may or may not know about or I may or may not be about to commit.

And if I turn up and you ask me "Where have you been?" and I don't tell you, then I was probably detained by police.

The laws also state that people can be put under house arrest, given tracking devices, not allowed to attend meetings, and told who they can't talk to. This is almost the same as the banning orders the South African Government put on anyone they didn't like during apartheid.

But I don't have anything to worry about at the moment, I'm white and I'm not Muslim. How could I be a terrorist?

Posted by Tom French |

VHS Triumph

Just as we were leaving Video Ezy tonight we saw a bargain bin with a few old ex-rental VHS tapes for sale for $2 each. We had a look through the tapes and as David described them "They were the dregs of the dregs" (or something to that degree). I found one tape called Death Before Dishonor, it had a cheap holographic picture of a soldier in the desert pointing his pistol. Arm goes up, arm goes down, arm goes up, arm goes down... It was pretty dodgy. So I said to David "If I had $2 on me I'd buy that". He called my bluff and lent me $2. As I bought it I said to the guy at the counter "I just had to own this piece of cinematic history" He just grunted at me.

Now I own some stupid movie from 1987 which someone on IMDb said was a "feature length enlistment infomercial". Woohoo! I can't wait to watch it.

Posted by Tom French |

Control Room

David and I watched Control Room tonight, a documentary about the Arab news network Al Jazeera and it's reporting on the Iraqi war.

It was a good film. I've heard it set out to put a human face on a channel that most people don't understand and only really know as the channel that plays Osama bin Laden's home videos. It did it's job well. The people who work there are intelligent and concerned for their people and for their role as journalists.

One of my favourite people in the film was Capt. Josh Rushing who was the Marine in charge of talking to Al Jazeera during the war. I was expecting him to all propaganda and silly lies, but he was smart, thoughtful and willing to learn. He would listen to the Al Jazeera people and give good answers to their questions. He talked at one stage how he was more disgusted when he saw pictures of American casualties than Iraqi casualties. And when he realised what he'd done, how he'd reacted, he was extremly upset. He said "It makes me hate war, but it doesn't make me believe that we're in a world that can live without war yet." I think I want to join his fan club.

Iraq is such a strange place. It's sad, but I pray that it goes well, that it finds peace and real independence.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm going to bed now. This is real early.

Posted by Tom French |

I started watching season 5 of The West Wing tonight. It's good but not as good as the last four. There's no Aaron Sorkin and it feels like it's missing a limb. Plus the lighting seems to have gotten worse. But I shouldn't complain.

Posted by Tom French |

Truly Momentous Occasion

Last night when we got home Howie and I had the privlege of watching live on TV the new prince of Denmark making his first public appearance. He was walked down a corridor in Mary's (our Mary's) arms, he was taken outside, then strapped into the back of the car. Frederick drove the car away. As Channel Seven's reporter described it, it was "amazing".

Posted by Tom French |

I watched Cinderella Man today. It was a fine, fine, movie. I got real tense in all the fights, especially the big one at the end. Usually I can pick the ending, but I couldn't on this one because it's a true story. Although it ended how you would expect a Hollywood movie to end, at least I wasn't too sure.

Russ and Renee did good and the main family was really sweet. The parents were so devoted to their kids and each other, it made my heart warm. It was a heartwarming boxing movie with lots of punching. I like that.

10/17/2005 10:08:00 pm

He was a Day Tripper

Posted by Tom French |

I had a lovely day today.

I woke up early, had a shower, did my hair (well, flattened my hair), and did my best to look spic, span and incredibly sane ready for my psychological examination for Big Sister Big Brother (For those who are wondering BSBB is a mentoring program for dis-advantaged young people who need mentors). Mum offered to give me a lift into the City so we dropped Hannah at school then sat in rainy day traffic for an hour. Happily I was only about 5 minutes late.

At the YWCA (who run BSBB) I was shown into a shoe-box sized conference room and given my test. It was like doing those Maths and Science Competitions in school. I had a book full of statements and I had to circle my answer on an answer sheet. It was all multiple choice so I guess I have about a 1-in-4 chance of being insane. All the statements had to be answered with either:

F - False, never true
ST - Slightly True
MT - Mostly True
VT - Very True

They seemed to ask a lot of questions about whether I get nervous, if I take drugs, if I'm physically ill and if I often think about killing myself (I guess it's not a good example to have your mentor nervous, high, vomiting or killing themselves while you're out on an esteem building outing to the Zoo.) The questions were things like:
I have trouble controlling my anger - F
I think I have a lot to offer the world - ST
People tell my I have a drug problem - F
I think there are people inside my brain stealing my thoughts - GOGODY (Get out! Get Out Damn You!)
I would make a good stand-up comedian (Don't ask me what that had to do with anything but the very thought of it made me nervous, which probably meant I should have changed my answers to some of the earlier questions)

My favourite questions came up every 40 questions. For some reason on 40, 80, 120, 160 etc they just asked bizarre questions;
40 - My Favourite poet is Ryzard Extamper (I don't remember his actual name)
80 - I sometimes get ads in the mail I don't want
120 - My favourite sport to watch on TV is High Jump
160 - Most people would rather win than lose
200 - My favourite hobbies are Stamp Collecting and Archery

I can't remember the rest, but they were bizarre questions. And I'm not making them up. Anyway, they were fun. The whole test was fun. I was disappointed I couldn't have more interesting answers to the questions though.

After the test I decided to go for a train trip. I had a few hours to kill in the City before I met Jem. Usually when I'm in the city I sleep in the park, but because it was rainy, and I was tired, I decided to find somewhere dry I could sleep, read my book, and listen to music, so I caught a train. I went to Wollongong. It was a lovely trip. I slept and read. So relaxing.

I wandered around the Gong for a bit when I got there, ate lunch, then caught the train back again, sleeping and reading. I think I will do that kind of thing more often. Perhaps next time I will go further.

When I got back I had beer with Jem. That was good too. She's fun, Jem.

Tonight I came home and watch a movie on Foxtel with Mum.

Posted by Tom French |

Weekend Round-up

The Motor Show was fun. Lots of big, expensive cars. And I wanted to own lots of them. Especially the Holdens. I think perhaps it may have been a place which encouraged coveting. Although no-one really seems to care too much about that commandment these days.

Howie with F1.jpg
Howie gets excited about an F1

Toyota Concept Car.jpg
I wanted to touch these tires because they looked cool, but I was too scared

Subwoofer.jpg
Fully sic bass, bro!

Last night I went to hear Lauren sing 60s and 70s music. She was good. And it was fun. There was lots of fun, boppy songs.

Afterward Matt, Beck and I went to the pub in Belrose for a drink. I was expecting it to have lots of Saturday night drinkers in there but there were only about 8 other patrons. It was rather sad. I guess Belrose isn't the place to hang on a Saturday night. We only had time for one drink before we were kicked out so they could close up. So sad.

Today I was tired. But my drama group decided that they wanted to do a sitcom for the concert. I'm looking forward to writing that.

We, the youth group, went to the retirement village today and had lots of fun. I laughed a lot with the residents. They were most fun.

Tomorrow I have a psychological examination for the YWCA Big Sister Big Brother program. I think that will be fun. I'm hoping they tell me I'm crazy.

Posted by Tom French |

Because I got Tagged

1. If money were no object, what would you be doing with your life?

Well, I'm going to take that not to mean that I have unlimited money, but that I have none at all. Because if money is "no object" then that would mean that it doesn't physically exist right?

So I'd probably be a subsistence farmer. I'd specialise in growing carrots, tomato, lettuces and soybeans (for when my sisters come around to visit), but I'd make sure I had a few goats and stuff so that I could make cheese for my Greek salads and swap them at the market when I went bartering. I probably wouldn't have a gambling problem.

Of course, if money were "no object" it could just mean that money would be purely conceptual, and only ever numbers in computers, never cash. So I'd never use an ATM and I'd only ever shop at places that had EFTPOS or Visa. In that case I'd probably do a lot of online shopping. I may have a business on eBay doing something, just because, well that's what people do.

2. Money is just that - an object, so why aren't you doing it?

Because I like the smell of cash, I'm not a very good farmer, online shopping is too cumbersome for things like grocery shopping and I've never seen anything on eBay that I've wanted to buy.

3. What's better: horses or cows?

Horses. Because who ever saw a Cowboy riding a Cow? And what did the Man from Snowy River ride down the mountain? Not a cow. And what do Aragon, Legolas and Gandalf ride? And the U2 song is not called Who's Going to Ride your Wild Cows.

4. What do you think the secret to happiness is?

A cold 600mL Coke, a good DVD, and a McCain's Chicken Parmigiana on a Friday night. Of course it's only a short amount of happiness, but it would have been boring if I just said "Jesus" or "Drugs".

5. When was the last time you had a dream that you either remember well or did not want to awake from? Can you share a bit?

Well I often remember dreams. I dreamt last night that I was on a Church camp and we went canoeing in blow up rafts. It wasn't a very interesting dream. I also dreamt that I shaved off my beard and I got upset because I forgot to take a photo of it for the blog.

6. When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An Engineer like my Dad because my Dad drove diggers and wore a hard hat. He didn't really drive diggers but he did wear a hard had. I'd still like to drive diggers and wear a hard hat.

7. Complete this statement: Love is......

Love Is (2005) - A film/dance production.

Using their unique blend of dance, shaky video and poor sound, Breakthru' Artz tell the engaging and wildly original story of a boy, a girl, and some other guy (complete with cheesy speech and sappy music). This is teen angst in all its glory. It's hip, it's fun, and it's a celebration of many of the wonderful ways in which creative Christians try and sneak the Gospel in on unsuspecting viewers. A must see!

;)

8. Can you tell a good story?

I'll tell you one about the dreamtime...

9. Can you remember your last daydream? What was it about?

It was three questions ago and it involved driving diggers and wearing a hard hat. Before that I think it was getting married, moving to Newtown, drinking freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast and getting the paper in the morning from my 2-square metres of concrete front yard wearing a white bathrobe.

10. If you were to thank someone today, who would you thank?

I'm sure I'll thank lots of people today. I thank everyone, for everything. My thanks comes cheap therefore probably doesn't mean much.

Thanks folks.

Who's tagged next? Sam

Posted by Tom French |

Last night when I was looking after Hannah she decided to try and wash her hair using laundry liquid. She just opened the bottle and poured it on her head. It was a bit of effort to get it all out so I'm hoping now that her hair's whites are whiter and her colours are brighter!

Posted by Tom French |

Neotown

I went over to Ryan and Libby's place tonight. After small group I jumped in my car and drove over to Newtown. I hung out in their little flat then we walked up to King St to the Dendy and watched Howl's Moving Castle. The cinemas have lots of winding corridors and red walls. It's a bit like Alice in Wonderland. The film was lots of fun. I think the guy who directed it, Hayao Miyazaki, is way cool.

After the film, at about 11:40pm we went to a little cafe where we ate fruit and yoghurt and drank chai. Then I drove home.

I had lots of fun. I can see why people are falling in love with Newtown. It has pubs, cinemas, cafes, live music venues and a theatre, all on the one street and all open till late. There are always people around too. Plus get off the main street and there's heaps of narrow alleys, little parks and terrace houses. How fun. I reckon I'd like to live there. I approve of Newtown residents.

I got tomato sauce stuck in my beard tonight too. I felt like a had a real beard then.

Posted by Tom French |

Tomorrow I'm going to the Motor Show. How fun!

Posted by Tom French |

The Disappointing Return

Podcast Girls.jpg

We're back. Click here for Podcast 4.

Posted by Tom French |

The good thing about books is that they're never "down for maintenance". They just sit there on the shelf for whenever you need them.

Posted by Tom French |

Last night I watched Serpico because I saw that it was on Foxtel. I'd been wanting to see it for a while. Years and years. It's directed by Sidney Lumet who is one of my favourite directors.

The film was about a cop who refused to take bribes when corruption was rife in the Police. He then went on to be instrumental in establishing means to get rid of huge amounts of corruption in the force. Throughout the whole film his integrity was tested and he suffered because of the choices he made through the actions of those who were on the take and because of his own frustration at trying to fight a corrupt system. I liked seeing a character who wasn't a goodie goodie, he just believed in his cause and doing the right thing. It inspired me to have integrity and to do what is right.

Posted by Tom French |

Dad and I cut down some trees this afternoon. It was fun. I got to climb ladders, saw trees and repair the Foxtel cable that we pulled down. We should be drinking beer and watching footy now. Except I'm writing a Bible study.

Posted by Tom French |

Ideas

Tonight The Idea of North came to our church to perform. It was fun. They're damn good. Good performers, fantastic singers, nice people. I was impressed. Our little church blessed with the best a cappella group in the country.

I invited one of them to join our youth group but I don't think she was interested. She was probably too old, but we can bend the rules for people who sing good.

I also spent a lot of today organising the mail out for youth ministry this term. I kinda enjoy dull, administrative jobs. As long as you have music, or people to talk to, or best yet, both, it's pretty good. I think I could cope with having more mail outs. I think I like the containedness. There's a lot less of the messiness of humans and their relationships. Just paper, folding, envelopes and a good cd with a lot of your attention. That's a pretty good way to earn a quid or two.

Posted by Tom French |

Face Conversation

I'm continually having conversations about my facial hair. People come up to me and say "Tom, you're growing a beard." And this generally gets one of three responses:

1. "I can't help it, it just comes out"
2. "Yes, I've been working hard."
3. "I just forgot to shave this morning."

Now I don't really mind people talking about it, but it's not a subject that has much variance. Sometimes people want to talk about the technicalities of my beard, which isn't always the most stimulating conversation either. "Yes, you're right my moustache doesn't really connect up properly."

Other times people tell me "You're starting to look like Jesus."

To which I reply "Bless you my child."

It's not always exciting conversation but I'm usually polite.

Kemp said to me today "You're very hairy Tom"

I said "Shut up"

Posted by Tom French |

I haven't blogged much lately. I feel like not much that is all that remarkable has happened.

I went out to dinner last night with some of the people from Love Is. They were mostly dancers but dancers are pretty friendly. We went to Wockbar in Manly. Ben and I invented a new game where you cross your legs with each persons foot positioned in front of the other's opposite leg. Then you hit your knee and try and kick the other person's leg with your amazing reflexes. It's not exactly a high pain game, but I think it has potential.

I watched U2 on Conan O'Brian last night. It was a special U2 only show. I'm not a big fan of Conan and the show confirmed it for me. Although he did better than I've seen him ever do before. He managed to spend most of the show not talking about himself which is what he normally does in interviews. Probably the worst thing was not the show but the editing of the show. Foxtel seemed to have a bit of a hack at it which was very sad. We missed the end of Vertigo and cut straight to an ad. I was rather sad.

Posted by Tom French |

I’m not broke but you can see the cracks - U2

Posted by Tom French |

Miyagi Wisdom

"Never trust spiritual leader who cannot dance." - Mr Miyagi, The Next Karate Kid

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