8/28/2010 06:52:00 pm

Update

Posted by Tom French |

A lot of people have been asking me how the video went down so I thought I should share.

The teachers liked it and the students seemed to warm to it. I showed it at the beginning of the talk and the students looked like that couldn't figure out what to make of it for the first minute or so. But after that they started laughing a bit. Which is probably about as much as you can hope for from a high school group. High school doesn't generally make teenagers enthusiastic and excited about anything coming from the front.

At very least, it wasn't an major disaster, so I'm thankful for that.

8/24/2010 11:26:00 pm

Spiritual Gifts

Posted by Tom French |

I'm speaking at a school on Thursday in a series they're doing called "Life According to YouTube". This is an excellent idea. They asked me to speak on spiritual gifts, and I couldn't find any videos on YouTube that would work, so I decided to make my own. I'm really hoping the 200 high school students get the joke.

Special thanks to Howie for being Director of Photography and lending all his technical equipment to the cause.

8/21/2010 09:20:00 pm

Hung

Posted by Tom French |

I'm really looking forward to a hung parliament. That would be the perfect outcome. Two good election results in row. I hope so.

8/21/2010 07:23:00 pm

Mo Kelly

Posted by Tom French |

kelly-200x250.jpg

Mike Kelly has an awesome moustache. If only I could have voted for him.

8/21/2010 07:13:00 pm

Now It Gets Exciting

Posted by Tom French |

I had a really good time voting today. I almost numbered 1-84 below the line for the Senate, but I wasn't inspired enough this year. I went with Gem and Jem. We voted at the RSL so rewarded ourselves with lunch. We met Lesley in the line to vote so she joined us for the celebratory lunch.

Now I'm settling in now for a night of election coverage with Jem and Lesley with Gem joining us latert. From what's been a pretty unimpressive election lead up from both major parties, it means that the election will be close. I'm excited because I like a close election. I may be unhappy with both the major parties, but I'm quite happy to watch a battle of the mediocres. Plus I'm hoping for something new to happen, like a hung Parliament, or perhaps the Greens to take Government by some freak voting event. I'd love a freak voting event. Maybe even the Sex Party will hold the balance of power in the Senate. I really doubt it, but wouldn't that be good for a laugh?

I love elections.

8/19/2010 05:19:00 pm

Dysfunctional and Loving It

Posted by Tom French |



I'm kinda enjoying this song at the moment. Perhaps enjoying is not the word. I'm glad there's a song on the radio that's about more than sex. Plus it is a good song.

What worries me however is that girls in dysfunctional relationships will hear it, it'll resonate and they'll think "Yeah, that's my life" but guys in dysfunctional relationships will hear it and say "Yeah if she ever does try and leave me again I will tie her to the bed and set the house on fire. Good idea, thanks Eminem." I'd really like the song to end with Eminem saying "If you beat up on your girlfriend, you suck" or something equally non-ambiguous. But I guess there's a difference between art and social service announcements. I just hope people who suck understand art.

8/18/2010 11:07:00 pm

Wednesday Nights are Election Nights

Posted by Tom French |

I love Wednesday nights. It's all politics on the ABC, and one of the programs is even funny (Thank you Gruen Nation). It's good because this election has been pretty dull. Since my last post on the election the only really interesting thing that has happened is the Libs absurd broadband plan. Actually it's not totally absurd, it's just mediocraty, spun as a good idea. "Our answer to a high quality but expensive plan, is a low quality but cheap plan." It's like everyone was thinking we were going to get a new car and now the Liberals want us to get excited about 1984 Datsun.

Not that I'm too worried, because I don't think the Libs will win, and even if they did I don't think their broadband plan is sustainable in the long term, it'll only be viable for a little while before Australia is forced to catch to the rest of the developed world.

And I really enjoyed seeing Tony Abbott getting schooled by Kerry O'Brian on the 730 Report.

Other than that I guess Latham has been mildly entertaining but he hasn't really been part of the campaign, just part of the side show. And I did enjoy seeing Julia getting asked lots if questions from loyal Kevinists at the People's Forum in Brisband tonight even if her answers were as dull as concrete. Actually duller than concrete, sorry Dad.

I still don't know who to vote for. I have noticed that if I donkey vote in my electorate Joe Hockey will get my vote and I'd like to avoid that. Maybe I'll do a reverse donkey. That sounds vaguely rude, but it's not, you've all just got dirty minds.

8/18/2010 07:20:00 pm

Gruen Youth Ministry Brilliance

Posted by Tom French |

I think I heard what could be the greatest youth group advertisment ever today. I was at a school speaking in their chapel and this plucky little year 6 girl got up to do an announcement and proceed to tell us everything about her youth group. I found out that year fives aren't allowed to attend but year 6, 7 and 8 are. Year 7 and 8 should attend because they need some fun in their life, they always look so bored in chapel. I found out that at youth group the girls have dance parties, go bowling and go to the movies and the boys just eat chips and wrestle. I found out that there's no food at youth group because the boys would eat it all. I found out that the boys always win Minute to Win It, except last week the girls won because girls are the best (at this point she commanded the girls to scream, which one half-heartedly did). Last week they played throwing ping pong balls at toast covered in peanut butter. They got to eat the toast afterwards. I also found out the name of every female youth leader in the youth group, but none of the male leaders (presumably because, as I also found out, boys suck). I found out that the youth group runs across the road from the Bi-Lo. The end.

Like I said, probably the greatest youth group ad ever.

8/17/2010 06:04:00 pm

Puppet Fail

Posted by Tom French |

Yesterday I did a visit to a school as I was doing a talk in their infants chapel about kindness and goodness. I had never done an infants chapel before, so I thought I might do a bit of puppetry. So I went and found my old friend Ron. Ron is a friendly, blue puppet who's been in our family for a very long time. I decided to do it ventriloquist style, rather than say, to have him whisper in my ear. The upside is that Ron can say funnier things. The downside is that it's much easier to stuff up. I love puppets, but I was pretty scared of doing this. I'd never done ventriloquism in front of an audience before.

I had decided to give Ron an Irish accent so as to differentiate his voice from mine. On the way down in the car, it worked perfectly. Ron was sounding like a Dublin native. It was brilliant. Unfortunately, I wasn't performing on the way down in the car. When it came time for me to stand up in front of the kids, I'd completely forgotten how to do an Irish accent. I stood up there and all that would come out was this demented Ernie-voice. And while I could have gotten away with that, the first thing I did when Ron came out of the bag is have Ron tell everyone that he was from Ireland. Dumb. And while the kids probably had no idea my accent wasn't anything like anyone from anywhere, the parents and teachers in the room could definitely tell that I was doing what was probably the worst Irish accent they had ever heard. It was a little embarrassing.

Oh, well you know, as Jesus said: "Those who suck at puppetry are sometimes competent in other areas." Or perhaps that was fake-Jesus. Thanks fake-Jesus, you minister to my wounded heart.

8/16/2010 12:22:00 am

On Singleness

Posted by Tom French |

alone.jpg

I'm not sure if I'll ever post this, but I thought I might write it because sometimes I think about it. Obviously, if you're reading this, I posted it.


I'm twenty-seven years old.

I'm single.

I'm happy.

I'm worried I won't be.

I'm worried that one day I'm going to wake up, I'll be forty, single, creepy, childless and lonely. All my friends will be married and have kids and I'll have no one to hang out with on a Saturday night. The issue is, while I see this as a possibility, my current contentment with my situation gives me very little impetus to do something to change it.

Generally my life has gone like this: Be single and content, find a girl I like, like her for way too long, ask her out, get a "No", feel depressed and analyse what I did wrong, eventually I stop liking the girl, then I be single and content again. At least that's the general process, it doesn't always go like that but it's always been variations on the same theme - unrequited love and a general lack of wooing skills.

So singleness rather than being a curse I must bear, is a blessed relief from the angst and disappointment of long term attraction. And in the positive, I love being single. I love being free to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I love having time to devote to whatever takes my fancy. I love not having to consider the needs of someone else a lot of the time. And most of the time, I don't feel any great need to be in a relationship.

The goodness of this is that when my friends get engaged, I get excited. When they get married, I love it. When they have babies, I think it's awesome. These significant life moments don't make me feel depressed about the lack of ladies and babies in my own life. What they do do, however, is give me this sense of being a somewhat late developer. Like somehow I'm stuck in the happy bachelorhood of an early-20s bloke, and everyone else is off being adults. It does make me feel like I'm immature. Maturity becomes not about age but life experience. And the experience of almost an entire life of singleness seems far less impressive or valuable than a couple of years of relationship, or marriage, or parenthood.

The other day someone close to me who loves me and who I love and respect a lot, challenged me on my contentedness, they told me that if I think God is calling me to be single I should be pretty darn sure God is calling me to be single. They said that by not being overly pro-active in relationship pursuing I'm depriving a girl of the chance to have a relationship that they may desperately want, and more than that, I'm missing out on all the joy, and happiness, and growth that being in a relationship brings. They implied that my love of romance and marriage and love stories, is hypocritical in the light of my lack of action on the romance front.

Of course, I'm not sure God is calling me to singleness. I'm sure that right now I have the opportunity to use my singleness to be free to do God's work. Right now, singleness is a gift from God. And I really like being single - totally free to do God's work. I'm probably selfish too and happy being selfish, independent and unchallenged.

The thing is that intellectually all this makes sense. I see the sense in putting the effort in to find a relationship so that my love of love isn't mealy theoretical. I know that I may be depriving someone of a life with me and I could be depriving myself of an excellent life with them. I understand that out-there there are probably many girls I could be very happy with. I understand that I may one day end up bald, sad, lonely and unhappy.

But what I understand in my head, and what I know in my heart are two different things. I may be in the middle of my own personal climate crisis. And while I say "Peace, peace" the oceans are rising, and soon I'll find that I'm treading water, searching for dry land, because I didn't do anything about it when the time was right. I am Al Gore's polar bear. I am Al Gore's unconcerned citizen.

But this isn't about my head, it's about my heart. I feel disinclined to pursue people just because they're single, Christian and female. I can't be bothered putting myself or anyone else through the awkwardness of date asking, coffee drinking, emotional ambiguity, engineered situations and strange relationship defining conversations if I'm not really committed to the idea of having a relationship with them. I don't want to hurt them or get hurt if I have just gone through the motions because I'm intellectually committed to the idea of relationships, or desirous of a relationship just not one with that particular girl.

That said, I know that my past experience of dates and hanging out with girls, while having had their disasters have also, at other times, been greatly beneficial and enjoyable. And I'm sure I have good friends now that I wouldn't have if it wasn't for doing a bit of awkwardness and flirting.

I guess what I'm waiting for is for a girl to come along, who I fall totally in-love with, who I really want a relationship with, and who I pursue, and who somehow, by the grace of God, is attracted to me and wants a relationship with me, maybe because of my excellent wooing skills, or maybe just because God predestined it that way. And while liking girls in the past has generally only caused me pain, I'm totally willing to do it again. I'm committed enough to love that I'll make myself vulnerable once more and I'll take the risk that my love is unrequited once again if it's for the girl. As long as I'm longing for her, I'll endure anything.

But as for anything else, as for pursing girls because I don't want to become old and lonely. Or seeking out a relationship because I have read that "it is not good for man to be alone." I don't know. It makes sense, but my heart's not in it, and I could be wrong, but it just seems to me that this is one area where you need your heart on board.

But maybe not. Maybe the times are changing, and my heart needs to catch up.

I don't know.

Singleness may be something you only really understand when it's over.



So if I stumble
And if I fall
And if I slip now
And lose it all
And if I can't be all that I could be
Will you, will you wait for me?
- Alexi Murdoch

8/15/2010 03:58:00 pm

The Expendables

Posted by Tom French |

The Expendables.jpg

On Thursday The Expendables came out in cinemas and I was pretty freakin' excited. This is an action film with Sylvester Stallone, Jason Stratham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Mickey Rourke in it, and cameos from Bruce Willis and Arnold Swartznegger. How could any self-respecting action fan not be excited?

So I saw it on Thursday night and it was pretty awesome. It's like they got all the greatness of 80s action movies, all the over the top violence, all the explosions, all the big men punching each other, all the evil Military Generals, all the over sized guns, and mixed it all together and pretended Jason Bourne never turned action into a small man's, small gunned, smart hero's game. While James Bond responded to Bourne by imitating him, Stallone has respond by telling Jason Bourne to go...um... I can't finish that sentence on my blog.

The story is about a group of mercenaries who go and blow up a small, Latin American country that is being ruled by an evil military dictator, who is in turn the puppet of a corrupt-CIA guy. That's pretty much all there is to the plot. It's not exactly heavy on story.

The film really is just an 80s action dream come true. There a plenty of dumb, smart-ass lines whenever someone does something cool. There is a beautiful woman whose only job is to be rescued, there are hundreds of henchmen whose only job it to get blown up by an exploding shot gun. And to have some of the greatest (and not so greatest) action heroes of all time doing it, it's brilliant.

The film isn't perfect. I would have loved to have seen Willis and Swartznegger doing some actual fighting but I guess they were busy. I think Wesley Snipes and Kurt Russell would have made awesome additions to the team. I didn't really think anybody did any good acting in the entire film, but then, you don't watch films like this for their action. I mean, Randy Couture is from the UFC, he's famous for beating people up, not for acting.

I know action movies will never be like they were in the 80s, and I'm not sad about that. But this film, this to me is their last hurrah, this is the 80s action flick going out with a bang. There will be no more Rockys, Rambos, Predators, Commandos, Terminators or Die Hards. Actually there will be, but they won't be like they were in the 80s. The 80s were a special time for action movies, but the world has moved on. Hong Kong, John Woo, Jason Bourne, The Matrix, Christopher Nolan, Kung-Fu and Brian Singer have come to town, and they're all awesome. The Expendables is a fine and fitting farewell to a genre that will probably never be back. At least until the sequel comes out.

But for now, I feel like I need to watch Die Hard as soon as possible, because that is probably the greatest action movie of all time.

8/12/2010 06:05:00 pm

Pride

Posted by Tom French |

I was reading a document one of my housemates left lying around the house on pride. It my have been deliberate.

One of the things it said is that we have to be continually waring against pride and putting on humility, and I thought to myself "But if I get rid of pride I won't appreciate how awesome I am, and then what will I have to enjoy?"

It probably was deliberate.

8/08/2010 04:00:00 pm

Results

Posted by Tom French |

I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seat wanting to know my City2Surf results. After coming with me these past two weeks for all the highs and the lows, the big day finally came.

Well... let's just preface this by saying, it's not about the time. It's not about whether you win or lose it's about having a go.

Yeah, that's what losers say. Winners say "I'm freakin' awesome, losers!"

Well I wasn't a winner today, in any book. But didn't I have a good time! And I had a go.

My time was 1h 21mins 03secs, or there abouts. So it was no where near the 60mins, 11mins of the 70mins, and a minute into Your Body is a Wonderland territory.

That said, I really did enjoy myself. I wasn't too concerned about my time because it's not very easy to go fast when you're in the back group with lots of walkers and joggers. There are so many people to dodge, I rarely felt like I was pushing myself. There are times you get slowed to a walk because there is just no way around the people in front of you.

So I'm not too concerned. It's pretty exciting to be going for a run with 80,000 other people. And it's fun taking cups of water off the volunteers on the side of the road. It's was enjoyable hanging out with Jem and Gem before and after the race. And it's a pretty nice run too. It's just a shame there are too many people.

The other great thing is that, next year I will probably get a better time.

All I had a good day. I want to do it again, in about 10 weeks when I could train better, but hey, now I've got a year.

Next run though is the 9km Brigde Run on 19th September. Unless I get really excited and I'll do the Half-Marathon, but that'd probably be dumb.

Oh and Thank you to everyone who donated to Jesus: All About Life. You've been very generous. If you still want to donate you can do so but going here.

8/07/2010 09:42:00 pm

Money for Running

Posted by Tom French |

As you may have noticed I'm running the City2Surf tomorrow. I'm doing it for Jesus: All About Life. If you dig the Bible, please sponsor me by going here; you can help raise money to get Bibles in Public Schools and celebrate that I'm going to sweat a lot tomorrow.

The Bible is probably the better motivation.

End of money pitch.

8/07/2010 09:37:00 pm

City 2 Surf

Posted by Tom French |

Well tomorrow is the day all my inspirational training will pay off... perhaps. I ran about 15km yesterday as a final preparation run. I did it in 80 minutes. I think I'd like to do much better tomorrow, I'd really like to do this run in under 70mins. It's a small possibility as I haven't been pushing myself for speed at all these past two weeks, only distance. But cutting 5 minutes off my time (considering I'm running about 5'30"/km). Next year I want to do under 60mins, but that's probably dreaming.

I'm currently making my City 2 Surf playlist. Here's what I've got:

City 2 Surf Playlist.jpg

If things were going great, I'd finish at the end of I Like it Like That. Hopefully I'll finish by Gonna Fly Now (Theme from "Rocky") - that's my power song. If I don't finish before John Mayer and John Paul Young, I'll be very disappointed. Knowing their songs are lurking at the end there is motivation to run faster.

I would like to say that this only a small reflection of my musical tastes. Some I like and enjoy running to - Battle Without Honor or Humanity, Feel Good Drag, some I've got because they amuse me - U Can't Touch This, one I have for Hamish and Andy - Far From Over. Whatever the case, I'm pretty happy with the play list.

I am doing this whole thing because Dan asked me to run for Jesus: All About Life. It's to raise money for getting Bibles into public schools. I like Bibles, so I'm happy to run for that. If you want to sponsor me click here and donate lots of money. If you click there now you may notice that no one has sponsored me, as of now. I'm not a very good fundraiser. I'm going to write the above too so people don't ignore the long post.

8/02/2010 06:10:00 pm

I'm living in Inception

Posted by Tom French |

Have you ever had a dream where you turn up to do something, like give a speech, but your totally unprepared? I have.

Today that happened to me in real life. I was at a school, I did a talk in their chapel, went to the staff room, and then one of the chaplains stood up and said "Right, it's almost time to go to chapel."

I spent a little while trying to work out what chapel this was they were talking about. I had no memory of going to another chapel today. I had a feeling it was a primary school chapel seeing as I had just done the high school. So I asked and the Chaplain said "Yes, this is primary school, and you're speaking. You didn't know?"

I had no idea it was about to happen. I thought the chapel was on Thursday and so I'd done no preparation for it at all. I don't know who had stuffed up, it could have been the chaplain's lack of communication, but I think it's more likely I just clean forgot. I do so much teaching when I visit this school, it's hard to remember everything.

Anyway I literally had 10 minutes to figure out what I was going to do, while having to hold a conversation with the chaplain about the schools upcoming holiday club. Happily, unlike the dreams where the moment where your realise you have to do a talk and you have nothing prepared streaches on for hours, till you wake up or find yourself on a train with your year 5 teacher, in real life it's not nearly so terrible. I adjusted my talk from the morning as the chapel was on the same topic and rejoiced that I just reduced my preparation load significantly. I don't think it was my best talk ever, but it did the job, and I'm happy to see that those dreams aren't so bad in real life.

8/02/2010 05:57:00 pm

Poos, Oranges and Flowers

Posted by Tom French |

We have air freshener in our bathroom. We used to have Orange Power which eliminated any unwanted odours by totally over-powering them with the smell of orange. It smelt like an orange had exploded. It was like citrus flavoured chemical warfare. The problem was whenever you went in there it made you associate poo and oranges, and that's no good, because I like to eat oranges but I don't like to eat poo. So the orange bomb went.

Now we have just the usual flowery stuff you get. It's pretty useless. The bathroom just smells of poo and flowers. Like someone's eaten a bunch of magnolia and cherry blossom and then shot it out the back end. Poo and flowers don't really go together. If you got given a bouquet of flowers and poo you probably wouldn't be all that impressed, which is why I'm not all that impressed with the smell of our toilet. I think I want the orange bomb back.

8/01/2010 10:54:00 pm

Trivia

Posted by Tom French |

Last night I went to a trivia night. My team won. I think that's the first time I've ever been on a winning team at trivia.

I did, by the way, learn that Kiwi fruit is native to China. Those sneaky Kiwis stealing from the Chinese and calling it their own. Now I don't feel so bad about us stealing everything of theirs that's successful and calling it Australian. Pavlova anyone?

Speaking of Kiwis, I heard Mel Gibson originally came from New Zealand...

8/01/2010 10:47:00 pm

Not So Rocky

Posted by Tom French |

I went for another run today. It was my first run since last Saturday. I've been hobbling around on sore arches for a week, so I figured I should give them time to recover.

But today I went for a 9km run from my place down to Middle Harbour and back. At least it would have been a 9lm run had I not gotten lost and found myself stumbling through the bush. The running gets pretty slow when you're clambering over rocks and roots and trying not to fall into creeks. Still I probably ran 8 of the 9km.

Anyway, all this is to say, my plans last week, of running 17km today, were a little too optimistic. I doubt I'm going to run 14km in one run before this City to Surf comes around.

Maybe I'll count this all as training for next year.

By the way, is anyone here a Nike+ user? If you are be my friend in Nike+ land. My name's Thomasw. I want some people to have competitions with.

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