Posted by Tom French |

Because I like to know when I'm famous, I found one guy who linked to my blog who said: "One guy has a poofter-ish looking photo and finds it uncomfortable watching topless women dance (bit like me, really) but it turns out that he's just religious. Oh well. It's a fine line, sometimes!"

I know people don't really like the photos of me on my blog, they say they're a bit scary. But I can't see the homosexualness in them. Not that there would be any real problem if they did look gay. Who cares if I look a little camp? Not I.

Anyway, I read a bit of the guy's blog, it was interesting. I think he's a dancer. Maybe Helen has run into him at dancer dance things. They could become friends.

Posted by Tom French |

The whole upstairs of my house smells. I think we may have some hidden dog wee somewhere.

Posted by Tom French |

My Weekend (evolving into a rant about church unity)

I've sat here for a while composing the first few words of this post. The options I have floated to myself have been:

"I don't..."

"Do Do Do Do..."

"I wanna be Kate!"

But none of them seemed right.

A lot has happened lately. I was on a leader's weekend away this weekend. It was good to hang out with the youth leaders for this year, they're good fun.

I also went to the opening service for College (the old one). It was a good chance to get a bit of closure and see some of my old friends. In the service I had to pray up the front. It was a little worrying because I was praying in front of a few Sydney Anglican big wigs. Like the Bishop. I spent most of the service trying to compose the prayer so would have the theology right. Then I realised that it is silly composing your prayers too much because you aren't praying to Sydney Anglicans you're praying to God. And so I just prayed. Once I finished though, I started analysing the prayer again.

I said at the end something like "And I pray that God continues to use this College to show the world his gospel and his glory." And I had visions of people coming up to me later and saying "Tell me, what is the difference between God's glory and his gospel? Wouldn't you say that the gospel is God's glory?"

And then I would disintegrate under the stares of the some of the world's most influential conservative, Evangelical theologians.

Ok, so I might be talking them up a bit (Uncle Pete wasn't even there), but it does sound good. I have never been quizzed on my theology by a Bishop, College Dean (except for tuitional purposes) or anyone else before for that matter. Except perhaps that kid in Canberra who asked me what the one thing that made Christianity different from every other religion was. I quite like Sydney Anglicans. I am one. And while I acknowledge that we Sydney Anglicans have been known to be a bit arrogant, too conservative for our own good, or just a little forgetful of some important bits in the Bible, there is a great heart for the gospel in us. And I don't think it's all as bad as everyone makes out, we just have failings like the rest of the Christian world.

We discussed church unity in staff meeting last Monday, and I’d been thinking about it a bit lately. I’m a little sick of all the church bashing that goes on amongst Christians. We seem to ignore how important unity is, how much Jesus values it. It was the last thing he prayed for before he got arrested, but we don’t seem to remember that, we just rip into each other in the name of the right way of doing Christianity.

It’s just silly. It seems to me that we Christians spend so much time trying to get the speck out of each other’s eyes, that we don’t notice that we’re bashing Jesus around the head with the planks in our own eyes. Everyone has something to accuse someone else of. The Evangelicals accuse the Pentecostals of putting too much emphasis on their feelings and experiences, the Pentecostals say that the Evangelicals worship the Bible. The Liberal Theology people accuse the Conservatives of being bigots, the Conservatives accuse the Liberals of being soft. The Social Justice people accuse the Conservative Evangelicals of forgetting the poor, the Conservative Evangelicals accuse the Social Justice people of forgetting the gospel. The Anglicans accuse the Hillsong people of teaching prosperity doctrine, and I don’t know what the Hillsong people say about the Anglicans, I haven’t asked them.

I’m just sick of it all.

Sure there are problems. We all have problems. But why do we have to expend so much energy tearing each other down. We all love Jesus, we’re all doing our best. While I’m a Sydney Anglican I’ll do my best to keep urging us to be good teachers of the gospel, lovers of the poor and marginalised, and followers of Jesus (with all that that entails). When I join Hillsong, I’ll do the same, when I join the Uniting Church, I’ll do the same. But until then I want to do my best to encourage my brothers and sisters from other churches.

I haven’t quite figured out where we have a responsibility to encourage each other to a biblical faith. After all, we are not really defined by our denomination, but by our faith in Christ. So in some ways I do have an obligation when I see my brother or sister, of any church, doing something which I think is not in keeping with the Bible to encourage them adjust their behaviour. I do believe that we should all keep each other accountable.

I think perhaps the key is in who you talk to about problems. I shouldn’t spend my time telling all my other Anglican friends how much I don’t like the Baptists (actually I quite like the Baptists). Sometimes I should keep my mouth shut, or if I really have a problem, I should go talk to the Baptists about it. It’s hard to do that, it’s so easy to engage in the verbal bashing of other Christian groups. There’s no risk when you’re amongst friends and it makes you feel righteous. I’ve done it way too often.

If we really are to have unity, I think we need to get better on this one. I can’t think of an easy way to fix the problem, so I’ll just keep plugging away and asking others Christians to join me in doing the same.

Posted by Tom French |

Love Wisdom

"I say hurl. If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's yours. If you spew and she bolts, then it was never meant to be." - Wanye Campbell, Wayne's World

Posted by Tom French |

I watched the Tennis tonight. I've never really watched the Tennis before but the Australian Open has got me. I've become a fan I think. I was so tense watching Fedora and Safin. Too tense. It should have finished so much earlier, and I had to stand in my living room (I was too nervous to sit) and make funny noises ("yiiaayaah") I'm just like my dad. I wanted Safin to win though. I think because he wasn't meant to. Good stuff.

Posted by Tom French |

I’m not fully in the mood to be blogging but I do want to get rid of my photo off Blogfeed. I’m not particularly attractive in that photo.

Yesterday was a fun day.

I awoke early (8am) because Jo was having her birthday celebrations here. It promised to be the annual filling of my house with all the many people that my sister loves. Sometimes she decides to hold this event in the morning. In the days preceding this morning I am often struck by this horrible fear that people will arrive early and decide to hold the party in my bedroom. I know it’s an irrational fear, but on any day I don’t like meeting people in the morning before my shower, so it makes sense that I would be worried that Jo might decide to hold the party in my room so I wake up surrounded by pancake eating strangers.

Anyway, that whole paragraph is really just to establish why I got up so early. As it happened I got up early enough to avoid the hordes of early morning revellers seeing me in pre-shower “bler”.

At around nine people started arriving and they hung around till about one, eating yoghurt, croissants, muesli, and fruit salad. They talked and laughed and generally enjoyed each other’s company.

Once they’d all dispersed Howie and I headed off to the food court for a well earned meal of dodgy food.

After an afternoon nap, it was time for Third Day.

Chris, Howie and I journeyed out to Castle Hill to see Third Day play their music.

Upon arrival at Hillsong, we decided to have a competition to see how many people were there that we knew. (I think I won by the end of the night with 16) The line to get in was massive, but happily upon arrival I got a message from Erin who was let us join her closer to the door.

We got inside in good time and managed to find ourselves sitting with a bunch of people we knew. It was happy camaraderie.

Rookie (one of the support bands) were very fun. They made us laugh, worked the crowd. Musically they were a little too Pop/Punk (I think that’s what we call “Ponk”) for my tastes. But they were good performers.

Third Day were good. They played like seasoned performers. They worked hard to make the show about Jesus, not about them. They were fun. It wasn’t an awe inspiring show, and it was turned up too loud to be a good corporate worship session. Their music was solid, although they didn’t deviate much from what you hear on the albums. I knew most of the songs they played, which may say something about the popularity of their latest album (which I don’t own). But Third Day was good, I’d be quite happy to go see them again. They kept saying “Aussie”. Things like “Come on and sing it Aussie”. No-worries, they are American, we’ll forgive them. We’ll forgive Americans lots of things.

Posted by Tom French |

Hair

The first thing I did this morning after I got up, the very first thing, was take a photo of myself so I could preserve my hairy state.

Beard.jpg


Today I got a hair cut. I hate hair cuts. This afternoon I was sitting in the living room and Howie woke up and came out of his room. We looked at each other, I laughed and he said something like “Bastard”. We had both gotten hair cuts on the same day. It’s annoying when this happens, we look too similar and people laugh at us. Oh well.

Haircuted.jpg

Posted by Tom French |

Marriage

I decided tonight that if I would be so excited if I married me because I've got a really good cd collection. I like almost every cd in it.

Posted by Tom French |

I just talked to the Dean of my college and told him that I wouldn't be continuing with them this year. I didn't like doing that, I felt like I was breaking up. He said he understood and he thought I was making the right choice if I'm going to get to work on my degree. But it is very sad.

So may I say publicly that Youthworks College is fantastic. They teach good Bible, they give you good foundations for a life in ministry, they love their students and they love God. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Youthworks, not just because they made such as huge impact on my knowledge of the Bible, and how to teach it, but because it is a place that genuinely cares and wants the best for you. Go them!

Posted by Tom French |

I just shaved of my month old beard. I have now learnt that it takes a long time to kill a beard when all you have is a disposable razor. I went through one and a half of them. Now I look 16.

Posted by Tom French |

Happy Birthday to Jo my fabulous sister!

Posted by Tom French |

Today was a good day. It felt like the first day back at school after the Christmas holidays. Those days always had a sense of anticipation to them. You would arrive and wonder what your new teacher would be like, who you would sit next to, who had the best covered books in the class. It was always an interesting day.

Once I got to work, it was much like normal, except I could see how it was different. I feel a bit like I did at the beginning of last year, except now we're on season two, the return series. Should be fun though.

Tonight Mum, Dad, Howie and I ate dinner together. A rare event. Mum and I argued about whether Jesus was calling us to perfection, or pronouncing everyone a sinner, at the Sermon on the Mount. It then evolved into a discussion on the tension between an attitude of grace, and an intolerance of sin in the church. We were essentially arguing two sides of the same coin, as we generally do, but I like our discussions. Mum never lets me think that I may know everything. And because she’s my mother, she gives the impression that she probably does. I’d say that’s the way it should be.

Posted by Tom French |

Hey Now, Hey Now, Don't Dream it's Over

My holidays are almost over. Tomorrow it's back to work.

The sad bit is that I don't get to sleep in anymore, I don't get to do whatever I want with my days and I don't get to go traveling all over the nation.

The happy bit is that I really like my work and I'm looking forward to this year and doing ministry, hanging out with people and being silly in the office. I'm am looking forward to going back. If only I could work and be on holidays at the same time.

Today was a quiet day. I woke up late than had a really late breakfast with Jo.

Tonight I went to church with Chris. It was a good experience. I like visiting other churches. They were a friendly bunch and the pastor seemed like a good guy. It seemed a little like Hillsong Lite. It was a like a big penty church without the bigness. I had fun.

I went home with Chris and Chris (the housemate) and hung at their house. It was good to see Chris. He's a good chap.

And that's all I have to say.

Posted by Tom French |

Inspiring Church Sign Quote of the Week

"Today is the tomorrow you looked forward to yesterday."
Found outside a Church in Katoomba

What can I say?...

Posted by Tom French |

Freedom

I just read Bush's inaugural speech.

It was a very good speech. He has good writers. It sounded like a sermon. There were lots of biblical illusions in there. I would have enjoyed giving that speech.

I found it hard to read though and not feel a sense of irony in what he was saying.

“We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.”

I wonder how those in Guantanamo Bay feel about their chains. I wonder how many Iraqis still feel that they are living at the mercy of a bully.

“Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling.”

Again Iraq seems to mock this statement as she continues in violence, and so many oppose (both violently and peaceful) its upcoming elections. Perhaps they want the right to vote, but do they want it now, and at this price?

I found the speech worrying because it seems to be proclaiming America’s God-given right to impose freedom on the rest of the world. How can you enforce freedom anyway? Isn’t that oxymoronic? I know Bush said people must chose it, but do they chose freedom before or after America invades their country?

Perhaps freedom, at least political freedom, shouldn’t be the primary goal of every society anyway. Perhaps a quality of life, and a higher standard of living should be first on the agenda. Perhaps education, clean water, the irradication of preventable deseases should be America’s highest aim in its foreign policy. Perhaps many of the people in the world would give up their rights to vote in a second if it meant they could keep their children alive and free from a life of fear.

Perhaps America could achieve more for freedom, true freedom, by feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and healing the sick, than by enforcing democracy through guns and bombs. When they do that, how much more leverage will they have to free the oppressed?

John Stott once wrote (while discussing nuclear war, although I think it is still relevant in this context): “In the end, then, we have to decide which blessing we value the more: social freedom, though at the cost of losing our moral integrity…or moral integrity as a nation, though at the cost of losing our social freedom…If this might one day be the option before us, I hope we should know which to choose. It would be better to suffer physical defeat than moral defeat; better to loose freedom of speech, of assembly, even of religion, than freedom of concience before God. For in his sight integrity is even yet more valuable than liberty.” (New Issues Facing Christians Today, 1999)

I think that America, and we her allies, no longer have the moral victory, we lost it long ago, and continue to loose it. It seems we are erroding our integrity daily.

Don’t hear me saying that I don’t value democracy. I do, and always will. I love the freedom I have in this country, I love that I can stand up for what I believe in. I love that I can vote for which ever person I want to. But I think that democracy is not the starting point of freedom, but an end point. And, as Stott said, ultimate freedom will never be found in a society, but in our hearts, before God.

Posted by Tom French |

I love catching express trains at night. I love being in a brightly lit carriage, as it races through stations. I love the way the lights flash past, and you see glimpses of suburbs, and then you're in the dark again. I like the way you can rush through so many people's lives, the places of their realities, and no body knows that you were there, just a loud noise, some rushing lights and you're gone again.

Posted by Tom French |

I spent most of the day on my own today.

I went to the city to wander around. There was nothing on at the right time at the cinemas so I meandered slowly towards the Botanical Gardens. I thought it might be nice to sit in the shade and read, it was such a stunning day.

I got distracted by the State Library. I’ve never properly explored the State Library. Or in fact figured out how it works, but it looks fun. I decided today wasn’t the day to try and understand it, to make sense of its marble floors and intimidating bookshelves, so I looked at the photographic exhibition upstairs. That was very interesting.

By the time I made it to the Botanical Gardens the sun had disappeared never to return. While I had planned to read my book, I found that I also learnt about why there are no roses in the Rose Garden and which are the best grasses for playing fields and to survive drought. If you want to keep Buffalo Grass healthy you must keep it at least 50mm in length.

I finally found a bench and read for an hour or so.

When the sky started to look threateningly grey and turgid, I decided to head for home. I caught a train from Town Hall back to Hornsby. In Hornsby I ate some dinner and read my book in the Library.

I only left to break my day of solitary hermitness to watch Alexander with David. Boring. Not David, the film. It was three hours of Colin Farrell staring longingly into the eyes of every waxed legged soldier in his army. Anthony Hopkin’s character just droned on and on and on. Even the fighting was dull. I didn’t care about any of the characters, just how much colder it was getting outside for my walk home with every extra, excruciating, minute of the film.

Now, thankfully, I am home, and I no longer have to watch Colin Farrell stare at anyone, or hear Anthony extol the greatness of Alexander’s golden, deity inherited locks or whatever it is he was nattering about.

Tomorrow I head for the hills, I’m going to Katoomba.

Posted by Tom French |

These days when I pray I usually start by saying one of two things. Either "Thank you God that you are good" or "Here I am Lord, I don't understand". I guess that's because those are two constants I can rely on.

Posted by Tom French |

These days have been pretty quiet.

Yesterday I decided to try and get my life in order and figure out what I will do with all the time that I’m not working this year. I rung a Bible college, looked up jobs and researched volunteer positions. I then went to the Library and read the paper.

I bumped into Jem after the Library and hung out with her for a bit. At night I went to Commy Dinner. A nice day, nothing spectacular, but very pleasant.

Today I went to visit the Bible College to talk to people and see if I can start my Bachelor or Theology this year. I figured that could fill in the idle hours. The problem is that if I do that I’ll probably have to leave my current college. That would be sad because I love my college, nice people, good teaching, friendly staff. Oh well, I guess I’ll have that figured out by the end of the week.

Tonight we had our first pub of 2005. Quiet, but a nice little bit of sitting around.

I should go to bed soon, but I’m not sure I want to. I wish there was something on TV. Foxtel costs too much. It just seems to be a black box that sits on top of my TV to give me the option to give away hours of my life watching noisy, colourful nothing. Then I just feel depressed when I turn it off.

DVDs are good though.

I watched Fahrenheit 9/11 the other night. It was interesting but not all that good. Michael Moore’s biased reporting made me switch off and not listen to any of what he was saying. I came out thinking no less of George W than I did before.

And all the George W shots that were taken out of context reminded me that, whatever I think of George’s policy, I think he’s a funny guy. Not someone to laugh at, but he can actually make a joke, and joke about himself. If nothing else, I admire that about him.

I watched The Village the night after. That was good. I heard that was a comment on America following September 11. If that is true, it was much better at making me think than Fahrenheit 9/11 was. It was interesting to consider a society that used fear as a legitimate tool to maintain its good ideals. I wish I got to listen to the directors commentary on that one.

I also watched the second series of The Office. That was as brilliant and dreadful as the first series. It really is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time, and it is probably the most painful show I have watched. The people are just so pathetic. And when you watch them and see your own foibles in there, it’s even worse. I don’t think there will be a third series but I wish there was, they really are top quality television.

The Office is on Foxtel I think, I’ll give Foxtel that.

I wonder what I’ll do tomorrow…

Posted by Tom French |

I spent almost all day on my couch, sleeping, reading, praying, watching and eating. It was marvelous.

Posted by Tom French |

Well I’m home now. I’ve come a long way baby. 4,826kms in the van to be precise. Today we drove about 400kms.

I’m not sure what to say. I wouldn’t mind going to bed at some stage, reading my book, perhaps watching a DVD. Who knows?

I could write about the past few days, I may write about the past few days. We’ll see how this post pans out.

I had a great time on our road trip. The Great Lower Quarter of Australia Road Trip was a stunning success. Being back in Sydney is a little strange, I’m not sure I want to be here. I don’t want to have to deal with Sydney life, I want to be away when all I have to worry about is what to do that day, or how far to the next driver change over and petrol refill. In Sydney I have to sort things out, sort my life out, organise my year, become a better person, on the road I can just stare out the window.

Melbourne was tops. I didn’t really do much. After breakfast in the City (and a dodgy night in the F1), I caught a tram to the city and sat by the Yarra reading. I am reading The Purpose Driven Life. I never really planned to read it, but it was on the shelf and I wanted some structure to my God contemplation. It’s not bad. I’m a few days behind. I wasn’t very good at having quiet times on this trip. It’s hard to find time alone when you’re always travelling with 6 or 7 other people. Oh well I’ll catch up. I’m only three days behind.

At night we went to Soul Survivor for the night. It was good. Hugh Evans spoke and spoke well. He was honest and passionate. It was good to see how much he loves God, and how much he is intent on searching God out.

It was fun to catch up with the church crew. They’re a lovely bunch. I went to say “Good bye” to a bunch of them and told them to drive home safely because if they died driving home I wasn’t going to their funeral because I’m on holidays. It was a joke but it sounded pretty dodgy. I meant nothing of the sort and drove home kicking myself, because it wasn’t a funny joke and just sounded, um, bad, Scrooge-ish?. Oh well. We all say stupid things some times. My stupid mouth…

Over the past two days we drove home from Melbourne. It was a much quieter journey, there were only 7 of us (Jo left us in Melbourne) and Liz was sick. I think we were tired too. Last night in Genoa (just near the Victoria/NSW border) we realised both cars were almost out of petrol. Genoa had nothing open that would give us anything resembling petrol, and we didn’t have enough to make it to Eden the next town up. We had sudden terrifying thoughts of getting stuck alone in our cars in the wilderness having to have Breakfast Club-type conversations where we all shared our deepest secrets while we waited for the NRMA. So, fuelled by our fear of intimacy, we headed off down some mostly ignored road hoping to make it to a remote costal town that we found hiding on the map in the hope of finding petrol. We arrived in this town and found had a surprisingly large amount of people in it. I wondered where they all came from, and if they ever left. It felt a little like we were explorers like Captain Cook in dire need of water and had discovered an island somewhere in the vast, empty ocean with a colony of natives no-one had ever heard of before, who were most probably cannibals.

As we drove into town it felt as if everyone was staring at us. We drove past a long abandoned petrol pump on the way in, and hoped that wasn’t the only one. There was an Ampol, but that was all locked up for the night. In fact every petrol station was closed.

We were saved from a night spent in our petrol free cars warding off the hungry locals, by the owner of the Shell, who was cutting lettuce in his yard adjoining the station. He kindly opened his pumps again so we could fill our cars up. He said he didn’t ever do this but he did it for us because we’re tourists. He told us to be quick otherwise the locals might notice and then they’d want a piece of the action. At the time I thought he was talking about after-hours petrol but on reflection it was more likely he was protecting us from their appetites.

We spent last night in Bega. The people who live there are very friendly. I’d recommend the Pizza shop on the main street to anyone. Mainly because they have the friendliest pizza shop owner I have ever met.

Today we drove and thought of Sydney. It really is a lovely place this. The whole trip was pretty un-eventful (although I did pick up my first ever hitch hiker, a lovely Czech girl called Mishalandavlvofvaoiviavfkvkvich). We ate lunch in Ulladulla, perhaps not the classiest little seaside town in Australia, but certainly not lacking any tacky charm. It had what we needed (a parking spot, toilet and food), except for my friend James who has gone AWOL. Shame. I’m sure he’ll turn up. At least, I’m sure he’ll turn on his mobile again.

We drove into Sydney at around 3:30pm, with a cheer and a smile. I started to feel like I was back home as I drove to the city at the speed limit and everyone else was driving faster than me. In the rest of Australia I’m a bit of a hoon. I’ve noticed that in most of the places we’ve been people stay about 10kms under the speed limit, in Sydney everyone stays about 10 over. I guess we all balance each other out.

So now I’ve seen more of Australia. I like this country, and I like these people, even the cannibals and the people from Dandenong. I think next time I’d like to drive to Perth. I wonder if the van would cope.

Posted by Tom French |

I have less than 2 minutes left on this computer. We're staying in a YHA in Melbourne. Last night we were in the Formule One in Dandenong and it was pretty dodge. More dodgy than usual. Doubt I'll be going back there.

Melbourne is good fun. Bigger than Adelaide, much. Harder to get around too because, well everything is further away.

Posted by Tom French |

We're in Lorne at the moment. Somewhere on the Great Ocean Road. We've been driving it since this morning. It's a wonderful road, lots of ocean and pieces of limestone sticking out of the sea. We'll be in Melbourne tonight. But first, in perhaps an hours time, we'll be at Bells Beach to watch the sunset. Famous Bells Beach, I've wanted to go there ever since I watched Point Break.

I'm sure I'll find myself an internet cafe tomorrow. Right now, I'm going to read my book by the beach.

Posted by Tom French |

I was just reading some blogs here at Adelaide Airport and I got told "Less reading more blogging" so that's what I'm doing.

At the moment there are bushfires in the Adelaide Hills, but not near us. No excitement with fires tonight. Shame.

Posted by Tom French |

I was just reading some blogs here at Adelaide Airport and I got told "Less reading more blogging" so that's what I'm doing.

At the moment there are bushfires in the Adelaide Hills, but not near us. No excitement with fires tonight. Shame.

Posted by Tom French |

There isn't much to say today. It's the last day in Adelaide, how sad. It is a lovely city. It's so easy to drive around and the locals are very friendly. If I were a travel writer I'd recommend Adelaide to anyone.

All over Adelaide there have been posters for an event that was on last night called "Adelaide Bands Together" which was designed to raise money for Tsunami victims. We figured it'd be a bunch of local bands doing their thing. Local music, good fun. So we headed off in search of the venue.

The posters didn't give us an address just the name of a pub in Hindmarsh. So we found our way to Hindmarsh about 3 hours late for the start of the event and drove around a suburb full of factories, vending machines and closed pubs. There didn't seem to be any places open though. Eventually after asking for directions at a service station we found our way to the Governor Hotel.

Upon arriving we made our way in through a side door, past a person doing terrible Karaoke, through a deserted bar and into a garage full of people dancing to a Irish sounding band out the front. I looked at the crowd and noticed that they all had something in common. The were all about 40 and had a little too much to drink. It was like going to a Christmas Party with your parents when you were 12. It was really weird. I've never seen so many 40 year old women dancing. And I'm not sure if I want to see it again. I was feeling quite young. Obviously the Governor isn't the place where the 20s hang out.

We turned around to go outside and look for some dinner and discovered the front door where they were charging people $20 to get in. Oops. I have never snuck into an event before, so I thought it was good that my first success at evading bouncers (or at least alternative looking women with bandanas on their heads) was at a charity event.

We left but came back in later and paid the $20 cover fee.

Apart from all the gyrating middle aged clubbers, it was good night. The bands played mostly covers of Mix 106.5 songs, but it was fun. I did enjoy myself. At least now I can say I've don't the Adelaide night life.

Today, I'm not doing much. We'll take Howie to the Airport soon. After that it's back to the YHA to clean. In the morning we'll be up at 7am and off to some town in Victoria. The road trip continues. Thank you Adelaide, it's been tops!

Posted by Tom French |

Second last full day in Adelaide today. I'm having fun here. It is a good city. I haven't done much touristy stuff here. I'm a bad tourist. But I'm having fun. This city is so small. You can walk anywhere.

Today we dropped the van at the Nissan service place in the North. We put it in because the breaks were shuddering when we went down hills at high speeds so we thought it might be good to get it looked at so it doesn't kill us on the way to Melbourne. I'm hoping it doesn't cost me thousands of dollars.

Yesterday was Sunday which means church visits. We only made it to two. We went to Pilgrim Uniting in the city in the morning. It was very much like what I expect a Uniting Church to be like. The people were very nice but the service didn't really do it for me. Still I like to see people expressing their faith, and the tea and coffee room afterwards was lovely.

I came home to sleep for a few hours because I was buggered from the night before. We had managed to stay out late enjoying the night life of the local area of our YHA. I think I got about 6 hours sleep the night before( that's small for this holiday, a luxury the rest of my life) so a sleep did me good.

Once I had awoken from my slumber, we headed off to Paradise Community Church to see what Guy Sebastian's spiritual home was like. It was fun. The had lots of screens with Media Player visualizations projected on them, and a band that played well. It was exactly what you can expect from a big Penty Church.

The preacher was a visiting guy from the US. He sounded exactly like American preachers do, it was cool. He shouted and often seemed like he was going to cry. He was so over the top it was hard to not think he was putting it on (I don't think he was). I did have fun.

Whenever I go somewhere like that I usually try and figure out what I would do I if I were preaching there. I wrote half a sermon in my head while I watched last night. I doubt I'd be nearly as energetic as this guy was though.

After the service we visited the Guests Lounge where everyone who we met asked us the same questions. At least they were welcoming us. I liked the hospitality of the Uniting Church more though, they were less slick, but seemed a little more genuine.

I like being a Christian, there are so many other Christians out there doing their Christian thing, and we all know we're related to each other. It's tops.

Posted by Tom French |

I'm watching the tsunami telecast at the moment. It's a good idea but I'm a little sick of all the self promotion from the Australian celebrities. They could have twice as much singing and half as much talking and it'd all be much more enjoyable.

Posted by Tom French |

Sometimes internet cafes are great because you are away on holidays but you can connect with the world at home. Other times internet cafes remind you that there is a world at home and it just kinda intrudes on your happy, ignorant lifestyle.

Blogging so often makes me think that things should have changed since the last time I blogged but they haven't. At least not much.

Yesterday afternoon I only made it back to a park to read my book. That was great.

Last night we watched Breakfast at Tiffany's in the Botanical Park at the Moonlight Cinema. It was very cold. We hid under our rugs and leant on each other for warmth. I didn't really watch a lot of the movie, I spent most of the time listening to the sound and staring at the stars. I watched a satellite make its way quietly across the sky. I wonder if anyone else was paying attention to it.*

The movie though is a tops movie. Audrey really is something special.

Today we have come to the beach. Gelnelg is where we are. We caught a bus to the city from a little town/suburb down the road from where we live called Sterling. We caught a tram from the city to Glenelg. The tram was cool. Old fashioned with uncomfortable seats.

The beach here isn't very interesting. There is no surf, there's rocks instead of sand, and it's not like the beaches back home. I am an arrogant Sydney-sider and Glenelg is a poor excuse for a beach. But still it's a lovely place. I think it'd be a great place to eat an ice cream and read a book and I'm looking forward to doing both.

Today is Saturday which means I am almost half way through this Great Lower Quarter of Australia Road Trip. I really am having a tops time. I think mainly because I'm not in Sydney and I'm living with 8 other tops people. We laugh more than we should and sing more than we need to. There's much joy about.

Tonight I'm hoping to have a beer in a local pub. If you ask for a Schooner here you get a Midi. If you ask for a Pint you get a Schooner, tis amazing. "They come in pints? I'm getting one!"

*I thought if I was being melodramatic (or Picoult-ish) I could have written "I watched a satellite make its lonely way quietly across the dark night sky. I wondered if anyone else was paying attention to it as it weaved a straight line between the stars. Sometimes we all make our way through life, doing our thing, wondering if anyone's watching. We slowly go about our business, just a speck in a sky full of shining lights. We keep going around, and around, not because there is any choice in it, but we can do nothing else but stay in orbit." But I wasn't being melodramatic and so I didn't write that. But I did write it down here though because I thought it'd be fun.

Posted by Tom French |

Today is the "Do Adelaide by Yourself Day". This has led me to wander around the city by myself, as I tend to do when I'm alone in Sydney. It is one of my more exciting past times.

Last night we watched The Neverending Story. I hadn't seen it since I was about 7. It was very fun. When I was seven I didn't pick up the overt imperitives from the film makers to have good self esteem and fight depression. It was all pretty blatent which made it all the fun.

In the boys room last night we created a fortress out of our beds. Each bed (except David's) has its own light prevention system which uses blankets to enable each individual to put their bed in a cacoon of complete darkness. It's very effective, I woke up at around 9:30am this morning and it was so dark I thought it was somewhere around 3am.

My time in the city today has been tops. Time alone means lots of time for introspection. Often I enjoy doing it, but it never really changes. I'm always kinda similar to how I was last time.

I've read, prayed, and read again in the Botanical Gardens today. My book has very small writing and it isn't all that easy to read. But I'm enjoying it. It's not very pleasant. At the moment there is a man who is living in a really crappy marriage. Most of what he talks about is making money and how crappy his marriage is. It's a stream of consiousness. It's pretty depressing, but I think that's the point. I really don't want to have a crappy marriage, but this isn't giving me much hope. I hope the book gets better. We'll change characters soon.

Since the park I have eaten in Hungry Jacks and walked down a street. I discovered the William Street of Adelaide. I'm always facinated by the seedy parts of town. I'm not sure why. Probably because I spend all my time in un-seedy Christian land. Although as facinating as streets full of tatoo palours and clubs called "Pleasure Land" are, they are always kinda depressing too.

Now I'm in an internet cafe. I'm not sure if that defeats the purpose of having a day on my own, reading about everyone else and chatting in MSN, but I'm having fun.

I have to decide what to do next. I may go sit in a park again. Or see a movie. I can't decide. Or as I suggested to myself, perhaps I'll go visit the Scientologists.

Posted by Tom French |

Well Adelaide rolls on.

We went to Hahndorf today which is meant to be a quint little German town in the Adelaide Hills. I didn't like it very much. It was full of tourists and quite fake. It was prtending to be German, but really it was just making a buck. We went into one quaint little pub for a buffet which turned out not to be quaint or little but just a facade that led to a pokie filled, gaudy decored, RSL type club. But it still was that place I wanted to eat. I like gaudy.

Once that was done we escaped on the O-Bahn (which was cool) from the city to a Westfield. Felt like home but now I'm itching for a game of frsbee or something.

I'm really enjoying sleeping in. Our days haven't started before 12 yet. It's great.

Tomorrow we're having "alone day" this means you explore Adelaide on your own. I think I'll read, sleep, internet and perhaps visit the church of Scientology.

Should be good.

Posted by Tom French |

I once looked at my world it all made perfect sense. I knew why things were the way they were, why things had happened the way they had, and how things were going to be. When I looked again it was gone and I wondered if I had ever seen it in the first place.

Posted by Tom French |

I had a sleeping the park, met some drink guys, read my book and Bible. Fantastic. This is what holidays should be like.

Posted by Tom French |

Some Photos



Leaving.jpg
This is us leaving from Campbelltown. I'm standing in front of Ryan.

Jugiong.jpg
Jugiong

Serena on Plain.jpg
The Mighty HannahVan on the Hay Plain (perhaps)

Posted by Tom French |

Boom Boom.

I'm in Central Adelaide right now and it's reminding me a lot of Parramatta.

We woke up late today and headed into the city. I caught the bus from the town just down the road. I do like buses and the like.

We'll go and have lunch soon then have a sleep in the park. It's just Howie, David and I at the moment, everyone else has gone to look at the Art Gallery. I'm happy enough not being there.

Posted by Tom French |

So I'm sitting here in the YHA blogging from David's laptop. I thought I'd take he opportunity now that he's arrived, plus I like the novelties that a laptop presents for the backwards technophobe that I am.

After leaving Mildura we drove and drove. It was quite a distance from Mildura to Adelaide. Some where just before the South Australian border we ran into a dust storm. It was completely tops. I've never seen one before. There was red dust flying around and visibility was down to about 10 metres in some places. I felt like were really in the Outback then, enveloped by the red devil.

The storm evolved into a normal rain one as we kept driving. It pelted down. One of those rainy times when you can't see a thing. I was driving that bit and it was most fun. I love driving in the rain.

In Mildura the man sitting next to me in the Internet cafe complimented me on my typing ability. He turned to me and said "I wish I could type like that."

Just before arriving in Adelaide Liz and Lesley discovered that contrary to popular opinion Mylor, where we are staying, is not North East of Adelaide it's South East. This meant that it wouldn't just be on the way. We would have to go through the city to get there. Or we could go round the the outside. We decided to circumnavigate the city which in retrospect probably added about 2 hours to the trip. We were all getting tired and tempers almost flared, my car spent the whole time telling ourselves that we were relaxed which I guess was like when cancer patients tell themselves they're fine and hope to go into remission as a result. It's the power of hope. By the time we reached Mylor we we all at peace. Probably because some of us has passed out from a lack of food and the tiring ordeal of being stuck in the car for four hours straight.

After picking up the key to our house we headed straight for a restaurant in a small town just down the road. We ate gourmet pizza at a place that seemed to have been conjured up out of the wilderness of public holiday small town nothingness just for us.

Once our bellies were full and our conversations getting exhausted we headed for our temporary residence. We drove down dirt roads through the dark till we stumbled upon an orange-security- light-lit wooden building in the middle of the bush. We pulled up and ran excitedly in. It was like the first night of camp.

The building has six rooms and a corridor. First there's a big living, eating cooking area. The kitchen is nicely adorned with lime green bench tops, two stoves and and tiny fridge that hasn't learnt the definition of cold yet. There are also tables and benches which look Christian camp to a tee and a living room which is under-populated by couches but has one (which is one too many) big ugly vomit coloured rug.

The bedrooms have 4 bunks and look like an army barracks. I could imagine a Sergeant walking in in the morning and shouting at us.

It really has the atmosphere of a church camp. I feel like I should be up at 7am having compulsory devotions. I feel there should be heaps of rules about bed times, who's allowed in what room and when we need to be where. But there are no rules. We get up when we want to, eat when we're ready, we have no schedules. It's great.

The boys room is well on the way to smelling like a boys room.

Today we woke up around 10am-ish. We ended up eating breakfast at 12pm.

Breakfast was a little late because Liz and Ryan took Jo's car down to the local Bi-Lo and it died. It wasn't in the mood to start. I got an emergency call out. I think it'd be fun to work for the NRMA. I got to jump-start the car. I felt very manly. I love jump-starting.

Following breakfast we headed into the city for a perusal of the the local architecture and culture. Unfortunately Jo's car managed to die at some traffic lights in the middle of the city and the next hour or so was consumed by trying to get the car seen to. But this death of a car did lead to what I feel was the most fortuitous discovery of the day. Ryan and I after parking the van were walking back to the incapacitated little blue hatch back when we found a bright yellow building advertising itself as an indoor pistol range. We popped into see what it was all about and discovered that we didn't need anything special to go shooting, just money. Anyone could shoot, even blind people!

Ryan and I booked ourselves a few lanes and organised to pick Howie up from the Auto Electrician's in Bel Air so he could join the fun. We arrived back at the shop with our money and blind person and were shown how to safely use a hand gun by a boring dvd with crappy royalty-free music. We were then taken to the pistol range, given safety glasses, ear coverings and given another demonstration on how to use a pistol. This was more exciting because it was the first time we got to see our guns. I was geeking out. I love guns.

We were given 50 rounds on a Glock 9mm Semi-Automatic pistol (I've had fun saying that all day). As soon as I picked up my gun I got nervous. It was heavy, metal, black and designed to kill people. All my fantasizing about guns as a young man were finally coming to reality. I loaded the clip and flicked the slide release. I lined up my sights on the target, squeezed the trigger and suddenly there was a very noisy explosion, and the gun leapt powerfully in my hand. Wow. The gun had my respect.

It really was lots of fun. My target wasn't all that impressive. In 50 shots I only hit the bullseye once. I don't think I'll make a very good marksman. But it was good. The noise, the power, the destructiveness. It appealed the everything male in me. It was the same excitement that is suspect you get from driving a V8 really fast.

As well as having a wonderful time it made me understand how horrible guns are. It's really a disgusting thought shooting someone with a gun, anyone. I have experienced and I hate what guns are designed for. As much fun as they are to shoot at paper and cardboard, they scared me, and if they had never been invented I'd wouldn't be upset. I could always drive a V8.

Following our manhood affirming experience we met up with the girls, ate some lunch then went to pick up David from the airport. The road trip crew is now complete.

Ryan and Howie dropped David and I back home going back to the city to get the girls. Since then I've just mooched around, read, had a nap, and eaten dinner once everyone had returned to the roost. Slowly everyone has disappeared off to bed. I'm to only one still up. I'm committed to blogging I guess. Plus I know I can sleep in. But now that I've run out of mundane holiday memories to record for the the worldwide audience of 15, I too might head to bed. Chances are Ryan is still talking on the phone to his girlfriend so I probably won't need to creep in.

Shoom Shoom.

Posted by Tom French |

Trippin'

We're in Mildura at the moment. We entered Victoria about an hour ago. Tis good fun this place. So far we've probably driven around 1000km now. I could convey the wonder of this journey in many fantastic words, but sitting here in this internet cafe has sapped my brain of the desire to make my writing seem good.

We left very early yesterday morning. It was about 6:30 when we left but it seemed later because the sun was up and the air was warm. I think that may have something to do with summer.

We picked up Jo in Campbelltown and did breakfast and Church in Mittagong. We then drove for a long time.

We've been swapping around cars every two hours or so to make sure we all get to talk to different people. Sometimes there's sleeping, sometimes there's deep conversation, often silly jokes, mostly inappropriate.

We stayed last night at a pub in Hay, the Old Crown Hotel. It's about 760kms away from Sydney. It was a the best pub. Kinda country, kinda quaint. The boys got given a flat to stay in which had a lounge room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms. It was luxury pub style.

We ate and drank in the beer garden, it was very fun having a restaurant and a bar so close to your bed. At 10 o'clock the manager came out to tell us they we would have to stop drinking as their license on Sundays only went till 10. We thought that was funny seeing as most of us had only had one drink and were only planning on having one. We aren't big drinkers. Too Christian I guess.

I'm not too sure why I wrote my last paragraph like that, probably to let you all know we didn't get drunk. I wouldn't want anyone getting the wrong idea.

Today we've driven through lots of flat outbackish land. Red dirt and all that. I'm feeling very much like an Australian.

I think it may be time to head off now. The girls aren't really using the internet much so I figure I should be off. We'll be in Adelaide tonight, that'll be fun.

Next time we go on a road trip, you should all come.

Posted by Tom French |

Farewell Sydney!

Yeah Baby!

Posted by Tom French |

I forgot to celebrate my Blog's second birthday. Shame.

Posted by Tom French |

New Years Eve 2004

2004 was a good year. I can't really bothered to reflect much. It was fun, people were good, God is best. 2005 should be tops. Here are tonight's happy snaps...

David and Guin

The Boys

Anmol and The Girls.jpg

Large Crowds

The Rocks

Portaloos

Prayer

Fireworks

Fireworks 2

Full Bin

Happy New Year to you all.

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