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Pontification - The process of becoming a pont.

One day I hope to become a pont, I hear they get cheap bus fares.

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According to my ticket collection I have only managed to go to the movies 41 times this year. What a poor year.

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And the day that just was (30th December, 2003):

Woke up, talked to Ryan, David and Howie, organised outing.

Howie and I had breakfast at McDonald's at 12:25pm (after running into Kaia and Mark in the mall) then met Ryan and David at the station. Looking like the coolest four guys in Hornsby we hopped on a train and headed up the Central Coast, becoming the coolest four guys in each of the towns and hamlets we passed through (no mean feat in places like Wondabyne).

We got off at Woy Woy and caught the Route 60 bus to West Rd, Umina Shops. Rob and I bought a bottle of water to share in Bi-Lo, taking the express lane that turned out to be about 4 times slower than every other lane open in the supermarket.

Sitting outside a takeaway shop I took my shoes and socks off in my continuing effort to become hobbit-footed. We proceeded to walk to the beach which was a painful, but important, growing experience. Almost made it all the way to the beach till I was confronted by a 50 metre stretch of shadeless, boiling hot, black road. Rob also tried the hobbit thing with me ("ahh Pippin") and burnt his feet.

We arrived at the beach and dazzled the locals with our chests and went swimming. The ocean was flat as me Dad's pancakes so we had a game of frisbee in the water which was fun but not all that good. I floated a little.

Post beach, and a bit of laying on the sand and reading of books, we headed to an oval across the road to try our hand at a bit of land-based frisbee playing. We had a little more success but the wind was not really our good friend.

We headed home.

In Hornsby I had a shower then went to community dinner. That was short but very pleasant.

We headed off to the movies to see Lost in Translation which was definitely one of the better movies of the year. Lots of languages I couldn't understand with no subtitles and quiet, mainly stilted, conversations in English. Funny film. Good film. Not in the top three of 2003 though, perhaps top 5.

During the movies the cinema shook twice as if there was an earthquake or something near by. Just a small earthquake mind you. I don't think there was one, but we never found out what it was. Shakity-shake.

There was a security guard at Maquarie Shopping Centre who looked a little sad. I think I would like to be his friend.

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I've made a few plans for my summer over the past month. These are some of the things I want to do over the remaining two months (in the order I remember them):

- Wear shoes less, and get tough feet
- Swim more
- Swim at the beach more
- Swim at the beach more and enjoy it
- Get brown (Well at least off white or something rather less reflective than I am now)
- Actively seek God's kingdom and righteousness first
- Be ready
- Relax

If I manage to do all that I'll be a prepared and chilled out, hobbit-footed, beach loving, Kingdom seeking, tanned Tom.

I think I'm least worried about being tanned. Skin cancer doesn't appeal to me too much so I'll keep putting on sunscreen. I'm good at that.

I'm also going to try really hard and stay single the whole of summer because I think I've at least got a pretty good chance of achieving that (and I wanna be successful at something).

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Good night. Pub night. Lots of people and sillyness.

We got busted for swearing at Maccas. That was funny. I think I heard two swear words the whole time.

Some of us walked home. I got busted by the cops when I was waving good bye to the drivers. They pulled up and said "You holding up traffic are you?"

"No, I'm just saying good-bye to my friends."

"Oh yeah." and then they drove off.

Two bustings in one night. That's pretty good.

12/29/2003 03:51:00 pm


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"I'd sweep you off your feet, but I was never very good with a broom" - C.K. Knight

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Perhaps now I can call Christmas officially over too.

I went to Barry's last service today. How many last services can a person attend in December? It was nice to be back at St Peter's. I've been twice in one week, that's more than I've been to my own church. There are some many lovely people at St Peter's going back makes me feel like I'm seeing old family. I talked to some of my youth group kids. They are lovely. We sang a lot of the prayer book today. Normally that's a bit of fun, but they changed all the tunes this time, they did a prayer book re-mix so I didn't know what I was singing. I do like the prayer book. They talked about proclaiming the Gospel through the sacraments, and reading that was a really exciting idea for me. Sometimes I like the prayer book.


Let us continue with the blog
For it is right for us to continue with this post

Barry bailed me up as I left the Church and shook his hand. He gave me lots of advice about how I should be picking my subjects for the advanced diploma. That was very nice of him.

Going home after Church I cleaned up some dog poo on the stairs then Hannah, Jo, Tinku and I all drove off to Wollongong.

Getting there late we found the cousins' house full of relos. Most I knew, some I didn't really. Some guy walked up to me and shook my hand and told me it was a log time since we'd spoken. This I was sure was true because it took me about a minute to figure out who this bloke was. He was a second cousin. About 2 hours after arriving I managed to find out his name. The rest of my second cousins that were there I didn't talk to at all.

Once I arrived I slipped into my "am with the relos" mode, and resigned myself to the fact that most of these people don't laugh at my jokes, but are nice to me anyway. I never really feel like I know my cousin's very well, but I like them all very much.

I think I should use the word "splendid" more often and "luscious".

I think I had a conversation with almost everyone there about Return of the King. Small talk makes the world go round. During cracker pulling I made a joke about the hats all being green so you could wear them during the war and not getting bombed. I expected polite laughter but I got a good reception, suddenly I felt a lot closer to all my relatives.

We had a cousins' conference about what to do about our Grandfather's memorial service. We all sat around and discussed stuff. I didn't say much but it occurred to me that this is what real people do when family members die. I felt awfully real and awfully grown up.

At the end of the day I drove Mum, Dad and Hannah home. Dad had a sore back.

Jo dropped Tinku off at the airport. Tinku's gone to Bangladesh. Bye Tinks!

And that is my day.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen

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Family Christmas today.

First, good bye Barry.

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David, Ryan and I played frisbee in Hornsby park tonight till about 8:30 then we ate Indian for dinner. Ryan and I went to see Peter Pan. The frisbee was good fun. We should do more of that. The film had some coolness to it. I loved the beginning and the flying. There was, as Ryan said, too many sexual overtones. Tinkerbell needed a good slap in the face, I don't believe in fairies like her. The boat was cool, and it made me be excited about growing up. I liked the bitter-sweet ending. I'm glad people got killed but they should have made it M rated. I think it needed a meatier script. The score was nice except in the exciting bits where it was a bit too Mr Holland's Opus.

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Hobbit Hugging and B-Grade Directors with a Gazzilion dollars

(Don't read if you haven't seen the film)

So it is time for me to reflect on Return of the King. All up it was a good film. Probably I'd say the most enjoyable of the three. But I think Fellowship is the best. It's the most flawless, the best told story, the least wanky.

There was so much damn stuff to squeeze into ROTK that I don't really mind that things were a bit different. Minas Tirith was awesome. Definitely the best location of the series. I emitted a little cry of delight when I saw it. If it's still around they should put a big airstrip for fighter planes on the top. Although that wouldn't look very nice.

The Witch King annoyed me a bit. He was so scary in the book, but he was a bit of a punce in this. He ran around screaming and then got killed. He said "No man can kill me" and so they got a woman to do it. That was silly. As was some of Legolas' prancing. He prances too much that bloke.

The second last scene was really nice. Very well done. I liked the ship floating away and I loved the hugs of the hobbit. It made me think I should do more hugging. Especially at important moments, like when I'm about to get on a boat and sail away from everyone and everything forever.

I was not inspired to jump on people's bed's though.

How cool was the bit where they lit all the fires on top of the mountains. More squeals of delight.

Denethor was underwritten. Quite shallow if you ask me. He was mad, but why? No one mentioned his seeing stone. And who keeps women and children in a city that's about to be blown up? And who let's them stand at the windows when there are orcs throwing dirty great rocks at them? Not me. If I ever get women and kids they're not going anywhere near the windows when there are angry orcs about. Actually if I was ever in that position they'd probably walk all over me.

"Get back from the window!"

"No Tom. The kids and I are staying right here. It's for their education"

"But the orcs are angry Honey."

"No Tom."

"Ok Dear. I'll just be out the back then."

But I don't want to go about complaining. How good was it when the Rohirrim road over the hill? Kick ass! And Theoden can be my uncle any day. I really liked the bit in Mount Doom. And on the side of the mountain when Sam said "Rosie Cotton, Dancin'. I woulda married Rosie. If I'd have ever married anyone, it would have been her." Ahhh. It made me go all mooshy and want to grab the hand of the person beside me but I don't think either Anmol or Mike would have appreciated that.

It was a good film. I had a lot of fun. The books are better. But hey, they made films not books. I would be willing to say best film of 2003. Then Nemo, then A Mighty Wind.

It was a lovely evening. It's good to find yourself in a cinema with some of your closest friends and family. I spent last night in one of my favourite places to be with some of my favourite people. Nyyyce.

It did often occur to me (especially while at David's house which had wonderful atmosphere), why would anyone hire Peter Jackson to make the films? He really hasn't done much good stuff. Nothing worth risking your whole studio over. I haven't seen any of his earlier films but from what I hear, they aren't great. So why does he get to do Lord of the Rings? To me it's insane. But it paid off none the less.

There are B-grade overtones coming through the films at times. Some of it is a little corny and there's an over use of slow motion. People shout things like "Frroooodoooo!" when they think Frodo is about to die. Stuff like that. All the ghosts look like, movie ghosts. Ghosts probably aren't really snot green.

But Peter Jackson paid off. He was good quality and he proved to be the man for the job. He did well. I like the films. He did a mammoth job, I would have gone insane. All respect to him.

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I've now done Return of the King and it was good.

I might say more later.

I like the feeling of contentment. Often though I don't notice contentment until I have been content and it has now past. I think to myself "I was content just then, and that was nice". Although it's even nicer when you realise while you're actually there.

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I have this compulsion at the moment to blog my whole life. Everything I do has to go into the blog. I don't know if that's good, but that's what's going on at the moment.

But, well, I still have to now too.

It was, of course, Christmas night so that's worth blogging. It wasn't your typical Christmas night. Usually Christmas night consists of sitting around with everyone saying they feel full, and if you want dinner you'll have to have cheese on toast. Then perhaps you'll watch a video and go to bed.

But tonight I headed off to the Beach. Sal was kind enough to travel with me. We picked up Rachel on the way and due to recent events, talk became dresses, rings and weddings.

At the beach I chatted to Tim and Katie. I'm not sure what we talked about but it was pleasant enough. Later talking to Rach and Kaye conversation turned to the Bible and that was fun. Having both of them considering going to Bible College, I didn't have to worry about having boring Bible conversation. Good stuff, although I would say it was only about 5 minutes of talk all up.

Going home we picked up Jo, dropped Sal home and checked out her Christmas lights. Then it was off the Castle's with us. We arrived and watched the end of Life of Brian before heading out to look at Christmas lights. Chris, Keith, Jem, David, Jo and I all piled into the HannahVan and enjoyed the offerings of Mt Colah. They were mostly pretty poor really. Most people had turned their lights off. That may have been due to the fact that it was 11:30pm, but still it was Christmas night, you'd think you could leave them on till midnight?

Everyone went home after that. David and I dropped Jo home. I took the opportunity to take David to my office to find my sunglasses which turned up after 5 minutes of intense searching.

And now my Christmas night is blogged too.

Perhaps tomorrow I won't blog so much.

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I just finished reading Return of the King and just in time too. What a wonderful book. I still have a lot of appendices to read.

We went to church this morning, at St Pete's. It was interesting to be back. It felt funny, like I fell away and now only go to Church on Easter and Christmas. But I might be back next Sunday for Barry's last service. Mum got me to help with the children's talk and I somehow got conned into leading actions for "Wide, Wide as the Ocean" Olde Style. I've left the Church a year and I still get roped into doing things. Once a St Peter's kid always a St Peter's kid.

We went to the Castle's after Church as is Christmas tradition. And according to Christmas tradition we gave presents in the lounge room listening to The Wiggles while Hannah banged a balloon. The Castle's make wonderful cards and wrap good. I only wrapped one present for them (the others were either already given or joint with Jo so she wrapped) that was Jem's. She got hers in a bag, the same bag that Hannah got her present in last night, and her card I found in their recycling. It was to Gemma, and said something about Christmas, so I respelt Jemma's name and crossed out the name of the person who signed it and put on mine. It's pretty dodgy, but I hope they know I love them.

Lunch consisted of a gathering of people from many nations of the earth. Represented we had Australia, Britain, Hungry, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Romania and Mum named herself to be from New Zealand just to add to the festivities. Christmas lunch if not spent with the wider family tends to pick up various people who don't have another Christmas to go to. I really like that. There was a little old lady that Hannah took a shine to and liked to attack with hits and kicks much to the displeasure of this little lady. As a result I spent most of the time before lunch jumping on the trampoline with Hannah.

Lunch was very nice.

After lunch I cleaned up a bit then lay on my bed and finished my book. I fell asleep for 10 minutes too.

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"Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil." Gandalf - Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

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Not that I want to do more present listing but Jem is getting me a bag for Christmas and birthday. I don't have it yet because the shops closed but she gave me this card. I was so impressed.

Now I won't have to complain about my bag anymore.


(I had to shrink it so it did that silly pixel thing)

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Chruch tonight was lovely.

Whenever I played a sheep, or angel, or shepherd in my Christmas plays I never thought I was cute or any of my friends were. But tonight, that was cute. So many dressed up kids having no idea what to do just standing on the stage looking like underaged angels, sheep, shepherds and turkeys. Gosh. Makes me think I should be in Children's ministry.

The powerpoint went good. People laughed at some of the jokes. I was 50 minutes late for a youth ministry meeting before church because of it, that wasn't deliberate, but I don't mind not going through the values, vision and strategy one more time (sorry you had to Helen).

I got home after church and raced around the house finding bags to put all my families presents in. I hadn't done any wrapping.

We had dinner together (Dad, Mum, Jo, Tinku, Hannah, Lys and I) and then did the present thing. Dinner was nice, always is. I have a good family. Presents were very long, but ok. Hannah was in a bad mood. Or at least destructive, then bad (her computer program present didn't work properly so she lost it). Every time we do presents whenever we give one we have to say one thing we thank God for about the other person. I think that's nice.

I got good things. A new Bible, money for the holiday, a photography course with Jo, a U2 book, a U2 dvd (on order), and a ticket to the movies.

Robert got me an Aragorn action figure that I had been eyeing off a few days ago in the ABC store. I almost bought for myself, but thought it might be useless. Good thing Rob got it for me. Now I have my very own Aragorn doll, posh. (Did I mention that on Monday night I realised that I'm jealous of both Aragorn and Arwen?)

After presents we did a twenty minute Christmas lights drive. Usually they go for longer and we listen to Spindles and the Lamb but the tape player in the van is broken and Hannah was in a bad mood. We spent most of the drive singing Happy Birthday and assorted Christmas carols to keep Hannah happy that we missed a lot of lights and almost all the "Ahhhhhh"s that have to be said when you see some.

When we got home we cleaned up and I played on the computer making various Christmas images. I'm not sure if anyone else will be amused by my various creations but I had fun.

Now it's off to bed. Being 20 and all this is my last year for Santa. I hope he leaves me with something massive as a parting gift (a Miller tripod perhaps?). I'll probably just get the usual assortment of socks, undies, sticky tape and glue. Not that I mind. I love having a useful Santa. He stocks me up for at least 6 months.

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2 minutes to Christmas...

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Lesley's blogging.

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I find my blog very distracting. I just went back to December last year to see if I mentioned on Christmas Eve that in the old days on Christmas Eve I used to go to sleep to make the day hurry up (I did). I ended up reading most of December and finding myself terribly interesting. I'm a different person now, than I was a year ago. At least my life is very different. There are somethings about last year that I would love to have back. Other things that are different this year that I love to bits and wouldn't want to change. And then there are things that I both wish I never got and but never want to loose.

But God has brought me a long way in a year. This is good, this time next year I'll hopfully be as far away from me now as I am from me then.

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Meyarg ish mein if ye ish walish.

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Today I hung up decorations on the Christmas tree by myself. At first it was lonely then I started to have fun. Around the bit where the tinsel and the lights went up. I like shiny and flashing things.

Decoration hanging used to be a big deal. One year I was at my next-door neighbour's house and Mum told us that it was time to decorate the tree. We all got so excited (my next-door neighbours, Jo and I) that we raced up the driveway to our house. As we ran into the front yard, one of my neighbours tripped and hit his head on the latch of our gate. He cut his head open and had to go to hospital and get stiches. When he got back I think we all decorated the tree together. That's how important decorating the tree was.

Today though, I decorated the tree as part of my 3 hours of help for Mum. It was a chore. But it was still fun in the end. I marveled at how many ugly decorations we have. But I don't think it's possible to have un-ugly decorations. The ugliest by far are the 1950s ones we inherited from my Grandparents. But ugly 1950s decorations, the smell of pine, and old, dodgy, K-mart flashing lights that I conned Dad into buying one year are what our Christmas tree is all about.

Does everyone get nostalgic at Christmas?

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I'm listening to Vulture Street loudly as I create the Christmas presentation for tomorrow's Christmas Eve family service. It's a very enjoyable experience.

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I feel like the most un-inventive Christmas shopper in the world.

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We watched Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - Extended Edition last night at David's. I arrived after having a leader's thank you dinner at Church, which was very nice.

Watching the film was good fun. We all sat around, people made jokes. We projected it and turned it up a bit. We had a mild sized turn out, but they were all lovely anyway. We bonded and fellowshiped with the ring. Since reading the books, I understand more. This time, when the Ring Wraiths turned up I got a bit scared. Before they weren't so frightening, but now that I know what they are, and what they do, and how the hobbits must have been feeling, I was genuinly fearful. That's good. I like it when movies affect me. Now I can't wait for Friday. I think I'm looking forward to watching the next to films more than I am Christmas. So exciting.

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I'm sitting at work killing time till I have a meeting with Helen and Steve. I'm in a really good mood right now. Funny.

Since Wednesday night, life's been a little strange. Most days I've woken up in a bad mood. And being in a bad mood annoys me, and that perhaps perpetuates the bad mood if that makes sense. I walked around Westfield this morning understanding why it is the men like to punch things when they get angry. Yay for violence.


At this point Steve came into the office and said they were ready for me so I pressed post and left. I'll finish the post now the way I think it was meant to go.

Lucky though, when I got home I had a chat to Mum. She thought that perhaps I had been having bad moods because I was dealing with my grief. Perhaps. Certainly, there's a lot on at the moment. A lot of different things to get a guy in a bad mood. "Praise the Lord" Mum suggested. I had just put on All That You Can't Leave Behind. That sometimes goes on when in a not so positive mood. I like to remember thet "It's a beautiful day" even when life sucks.

Anyway, after U2, Sons of Korah went on, I listened to three tracks at home then drove to work. On the drive I had a pray and a shout then sang along to more of Sons of Korah and their musical Psalms. And now here I am feeling great. This is why the Psalms are so good.

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Mum asked me this morning if I was too honest on my blog.


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It's been a weird few days. I think I haven't had enough sleep. Perhaps I've got PMS.

I got invited to the beach today, twice, in the space of about 10 minutes. How bummed was I? Friday and today, perfect beach days, and I'm working. Yesterday, planned to go to the beach, but "Nooooooo", yesterday wasn't a beach day.

Matt had his last service today. I led it. No one could tell me what was going to happen in the service. Everytime I asked someone they'd tell me to ask someone else. In the end was planned the service about 10 minutes before it started. Then we changed the plans during the first bracket of songs. Steve and I stood on the side and nattered like old women, I felt very un-holy.

It was a good farewell to Matt. It wasn't very sad, for me. Perhaps because he isn't going all that far away and I haven't had the same involvement in his ministry as a lot of other people. But it was nice to see how important he is to everyone. And he was important to me, still is.

Emma got farewelled too. That was sad. Maybe because Emma's so cool and I don't know her very well, and now there is much less of a chance to know her. I think they're both great people. When I'm old and grown up, perhaps I'll ask them over for dinner or a barbie.

We went to McDonald's at the end. Half the world seemed to be there. That was cool. I hung out with some kids from my youth group. Yay for youth group kids.

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I just finished editing Matt's farewell video for my youth group and it sucks real bad. I only had about 2 minutes of footage that wasn't really about Matt and Emma leaving and then the battery ran out. I didn't get to shoot any of it and the quality of the camera was terrible. I think it'll probably be best left alone.

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Ryan, David and I spent the afternoon together. David and I went shopping in the morning for Ryan's present (a dvd player) then we came back to my house. We were going to go to beach but since the day didn't seem beachy enough we decided something different should be done.

We had a bit of an impromtu Christmas affair giving a few presents here and there, us being impatient males. Then we went for a walk to Wahroonga Park (it was a closer replacement to Hyde Park) to eat chips and read books.

On the way we met some boys. They called out to us from behind: "Hey Guys"

We turned around ."G'day" I said, having no idea who they were.

"Were you guys just at the internet cafe? We thought we saw you there."

"Umm no. We were at my house."

"Oh do you have LAN there?"

I almost said "No", and then thought about it and realised that I do so, "Umm, yes."

"How pentium!" said they and ran off. I think they were taking the piss.

We met another lady at the end of the next street. She was old and pushing a pusher.

"You young lads should be off having a good time."

"Oh we are" said Ryan "I hope you are too"

She laughed "Oh, I'm 81 and I've had a good life."

"Oh that's good."

"Ok. Bye."


And we kept walking.

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God is very good to me.

Truly, truly.

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I woke up in a bad mood today. I'm desperately trying to escape it. It's annoying because bad moods just mean that you feel pissed off and it's much easier to treat other people like crap.

I just spoke to Ryan on the phone for about half an hour, that took me a long way out of being a spoilt brat.

When Ewan said I had a carpet on my chest, that didn't bother me and I wasn't offended. We had a conversation about chest hair, a few of us boys, and a bit of a laugh. Was good.

Right now I'm having my breakfast. Bitter Lemon and Nacho Cheese Doritos. Sometimes you have to improvise when there's no milk.

Yesterday I had a Micro-easy Cheese Burger and a glass of flat Coke. No milk yesterday either.

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I went out to lunch with the staff today. We had this really cool waiter. It was his second day and he was extremely awkward. Before he took our orders, just after he'd arrived, he pulled up his fly. Whenever he leant over to put down someone's knife and fork he'd say "Sorry, Sorry, Merry Christmas". He was cool.

Youth Group tonight had 5 kids. I didn't mind at the time but I'm starting to feel a little depressed about it. I started the year with 30 kids or so, and 5 turned up. I know it's the end of the year and all, and they're probably all off doing stuff, but I don't know. It's not a very nice way to end the year. I feel like a bit of a failure. And next year could be a complete failure. And then I won't have done good in any youth ministry ever.

After youth group, I went to a get-together for the oldest youth group at church. It was a little strange. There was swimming in the pool. I swam but felt very awkward. I sort of sat in various corners of the pool and wondered if I should go and make conversation with someone and would then decide not to because I felt too intimidated and they might not want me talking to them.

I also wondered what there is for a guy to do in a pool if you don't want to do belly flops, wrestle, or flirt.

After the pool things picked up a bit. I get a bit more confidence with my clothes on (Ewan commented that I had a carpet on my chest). I played a bit of table tennis and managed to talk to a few people. There were kind words said about Matt. I think I'm going to hear a lot of kind words about Matt over the next few days. That, though, is not a problem. I think Matt's great and I'm all for kind words for the man. We surprised a girl who came home from England today. I'd never met her, but I jumped up and said "Surprise" anyway. I hope she didn't mind. I met her later and she seemed like friendly chap and not the least bit upset by my presence.

Almost everyone left at once, that was a little strange. Maybe someone said something offensive. I left too, no one said anything offensive. Maybe I said something offensive.

Can you tell I'm feeling a little insecure today?

In other news I got my marks from college and I now qualify for a Diploma of Theology, at least I'm not a failure at that.

Yours Faithfully,

Tom French Dip. Th.

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Last night I went to a meeting. It wasn't a bad meeting, as far as meetings go. Nothing spectacular. I sat on the floor. The meeting was full of lovely people.

When I went to bed last night I had trouble getting to sleep because I slept for about an hour yesterday afternoon and it was hot. When I did eventually get to sleep though, all I could dream about was being in the meeting again. It was terrible. Nothing happened. People just sat around and discussed nothing. We would sit in big groups and then small groups. Someone might say something but I wouldn't hear what it was. It was like my worst nightmare, an eternal meeting.

This went on from about 1am to 5am. At that stage I got up and got a drink of water in an attempt to drive the dreams away. I think it worked. I dreamt about swinging on our washing line in the backyard.

At 8am when my alarm went off, my door opened all by itself. There was no one about and it had been closed since 5am. It just swung open.

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Howie and others (I'm not sure who), have gone to see Peter Pan and I'm quite jealous. I really want to see that film. The book is tops. I might read that again soon. Dad used to read it to me at night and it had painted pictures. When he read it I thought I was too old for Peter Pan but I loved it anyway.

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I liked 2003. I'd do it again. Although I think I may have spent most of this year waiting for next, but all in all, I've had a good time.

Other people are allowed to not like it though. I'm a very open minded person.

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Last night Jo said I was stubborn. Howie often asserts this fact and I stubbornly insist that it isn't true. Then every now and again I decide that it is. Problem is, I also often feel like the King of Compromise. How can you be stubborn and compromising at the same time? Why am I both?

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I made an online quiz about myself last year. See how well you know me last year.

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In other news...

Ryan and I booked our holiday accommodation for the first week in January. We're going to Coolangatta and staying here. We'll probably go to the beach, I might get a little tanned, not on purpose though. I'll read my book. We'll go see a movie. Eat take away food. Maybe got to Movie World or somewhere like that.

I went to the Christmas Party. That was nice. Quiet. I had to dance. That was quite distressing. I wore a netted green top, and a pink singlet top. Both were way too small and made me look anything but attractive, or male. Still it was a silly dance, we took the piss out of "Unboxed". Jo assisted, and her being a co-creator, I didn't have to worry about offending anyone.

I don't think I want to dance again. It was very hard work and I have no fitness.

After the party we sat around and talked for a while.

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My Grandfather died tonight. Gramps we called him. Dad called him Dad.

I found out when I was at Church, we were sitting in the office, Jo, Helen and I, having a chat and Mum called. She told me about Gramps. I wasn’t quite sure how to react. I was shocked perhaps, and upset. But I didn’t know the right way to go about things. I knew I didn’t want to react the same way I did when Grandma died. That I did inappropriately. I want to make jokes. I want people to laugh. I know there’s an emotional response that goes with a situation like death, and laughter seems the safest one. I didn’t make jokes though. I wanted to go home. My first thoughts were that I should be at home. I should be with my family.

I took my leave and headed home. Triple M got turned off as soon as I got in the car. Although “Easy” (if that’s what it’s called) by Faith No More was on the radio, and for the mood I was in it may have been the right song.

As I drove, the first people I thought of were my Dad, and Betty, my step-Grandmother. I guess I’m saddest for her, she has lost her second husband. Who’s going to be with her now?

My trip to New Zealand suddenly took on the significance I felt it should have had while I was over there. My last words suddenly meant something. God’s timing became apparent to me. I wasn’t going to go to visit him, but my God-feeling told me I should. It kept telling me, till I organised it. I couldn’t have gone at a better time. We could still talk, it was close to when he died. All his kids, and all his grandkids (except for Hannah) got to see him close to when he died.

I thought again about how everything in life, all the little things, lose significance in the face of death. But really, death only has significance because of life, and all the little things in it. I know it’s sappy but you’re allowed to be sappy at times like this.

When I got home I didn’t really want to go inside. I didn’t know what I would find. I would rather have stayed in the car at the bottom of the drive, bottled up any feelings, got on with life. If there’s anything I like to avoid in life it’s vulnerability. I went in though. I found only Mum (Rob was in my room on the computer), she asked me to drive her to my cousins house where my Dad was with his two sisters. We left Robert at home with Hannah.

On the way over Mum told me how he died. It was nice. Exactly how he would have wanted it, peaceful, proper, no fuss. He had dinner with Betty’s daughter and her fiancĂ©, remembered a word that no one else could (he liked doing that sort of thing), had some whisky and said “Good-bye” to them. Soon he slipped into unconsciousness, and a few hours later, with his wife by his side, her daughter and fiancĂ© there too, he died.

When we arrived at my cousins house I didn’t want go in. This time not because of me, but I didn’t know what I would find. I didn’t want to confront grieving people. But I went, Mum went with me.

Inside no-one was very happy. But they weren’t distressing. There were tears and hugs, and my Uncle was getting everyone cups of tea and biscuits, keeping himself busy. They all talked about Gramps, they talked about his day, and about how he was in recent weeks. Everyone seems pretty pleased with the way it had all happened, if pleased is the right word.

I’m glad I went in. I’m glad I sat there with my grieving family. It was nice. Everyone was so genuine. There was no pretending tonight. My family isn’t really big pretenders (expect perhaps Gramps who pretended he wasn’t dying and probably right now he’s pretending he’s not dead) but tonight was different. No-one needed to seem better or stronger than they were. I didn’t say much, but I’m glad I was there. I’m glad I was there with my Dad, who I love very much.

God blesses us so much. He even blesses us in death. My family has been so well looked after by God.

I’m not sure what I’m meant to feel now. On the way home I felt empty, like there was a hole, and something was meant to fill it, but I wasn’t sure what. Now, I’m not sure. I’m not sure where I am. I’m not sure if it’ll all suddenly hit me. Perhaps I’m most of the way through dealing with this. Perhaps I will cry, but that may never happen.

I feel like now I should talk about who my Grandfather was, and how important and wonderful he was. Because he was both those things. But I have nothing to say. He was a good man. He was a lovely man and a loved man. He is part of me, part of my father and part of my family.

Praise the Lord for Gramps.

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Tonight I have been talked into dancing at this Christmas Party. Hmm. I got tricked. Oh well.

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Last night, as I slept, I had a bug crawling on my neck (problem with sleeping on the floor with the general bush floor/mulch that is my carpet I suspect). I woke up a little and tried to remove whatever the thing was that was making my neck feel funny. Being mostly asleep though, I didn't think it was a bug, just a tickle. I would brush the bit that felt funny, but by that stage the bug had crawled off. I felt it in one of my brush pasts though and realised it felt like a centipede. Once I computed this information I grabbed the bug off my neck and threw it away into the middle of my room.

As I started to go back to sleep I wondered if it was a centipede. And as I fell more asleep I started to think/dream that this actually was a centipede, and this centipede was an important centipede. He was the administrator at one of my friend's workplaces (I'm not sure what friend it was though). I thought perhaps I should get up and go talk to this centipede as he was an administrator and knew my friend. I started to feel quite rude and inhospitible. I really should make him feel welcome. Before I could do that though, I fell fully asleep, and the centipede headed off somewhere to continue being a centipede, or administrator. I hope he wasn't hurt by my rudeness.

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God is better than football,
God is better than beer,
God is better than cricket,
'Cause God's there all the year.

- Traditional

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God is much better than I am.

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I went shopping with Mum this morning. We bought a lot of frozen food to make the young males of this household happy. I had to buy a new toothbrush. That was quite an agonising decsion as they didn't have my old Macleans there. I had to go with an ugly Oral B.

I also got some new Spresh.

Lunch was had with David H and his female friend, Erica. We talked about his youth group camp that I'm speaking on. Gave me a lot to think about.

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Yesterday I cleaned my room for a few hours, listening to music by famous people. It was good and productive. My recycling bin now has a lot more paper to deal with. I didn't finish but everything is feeling a bit better, cleaner.

I managed to make it to the pub. I sms-ed many people and wondered who might turn up. I spent the first 15 minutes sitting out the front of the Blue Gum waiting for a friend. David arrived and we sat down for a quiet drink, Coke for me, red wine for him. Jo and Howie arrived later and joined us and the night was getting underway. Sal turned up next and added an easily amused element to the proceedings. Ryan came along too. He was wearing a Strongbad T-shirt. That was cool. Seeing as I needed to drink, there was a bunch of tequila sunrises bought. I managed to spill mine all over myself before I drunk any of it. But once I got my drinking problem out of the way I quite enjoyed the beverage. Helen turned up too, making it 7 days in a row that I've seen her. We didn't talk work. At least not for a while.

Jo and I had a go at betting on the dogs (money-free betting though) and I managed to win while completely misunderstanding how to bet. Jo alas, won not much.

David played a silly computer game in the corner and got all the high scores. That though, was due to the fact that no-one else was silly enough to play the game so there were no other high scores.

Later in the evening after some departing ("Bye Ryan" "Bye Sal") Jo (Sister) and Tinku turned up for a silly game of pool. We got kicked out of the pub after that. They wanted to close down.

We finished the night at Maccas where I managed to spill my drink on myself again. More silly conversation was had, but I cannot remember anything we talked about. There was a toddler there with his family and he managed to walk into the glass and hit his head with a loud bang. That was a bit distressing, poor kid.

The night ended after McDonald's. I hope everyone slept well, I did.

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Sometimes I find myself sitting at my computer in just my boxers, like now. I get distracted and check e-mail and read blogs scantly clad. I never intend to do this, but if the computer is on before I get dressed it is very distracting.

Please no-one make a mental picture of this post.

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I had lunch with Jem today, that was fun. We went to the GPO, twas a little posh.

Tonight I might go to the pub. I might walk, or get a lift too, that way I can drink, I never drink at the pub.

I have had two conversations recently about sitting up straight. I should do it. It's good for me.

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"We got him"

Saddam's been caught. I just saw a news conference live on tv where they showed footage of the captured Saddam. It was weird. When they showed it all these people started screaming at the screen. They were Iraqis and I couldn't understand what they were saying.

I'm happy that have Saddam. I hope they don't kill him. The Army dude, Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, who was running the press conference, finished the conference by saying "God bless America". Bah, vomit. God bless Iraq.

It's funny having internet and tv. Now I get to know things, soon after they happen. See things, like press conferences and important events, as they happen. I really like this connectedness. But it's a strange feeling. I think that's the best thing about having television, esecially Foxtel, seeing news happen.

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We had a discussion about women in ministry in McDonald's tonight. I'm pro-women's ministry, but I need to think more about it. I haven't read enough. I don't have enough of a solid biblical argument. But I say, yay for women.

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Well here I am. Sunday. We went to Maccas this morning with 28 kids. That was mildly fun. I spent my whole time keeping my eye out for mischief that I didn't get to spend much time with the kids. That was a little sad. That group won't be running next year. That's a bit sad too. We had some year eight boys who were quite rowdy who took a shine to Jo. We'll miss them.

Yesterday I went out to lunch with Mum, Dad and Howie. We went to Brewhaha. I got a big breakfast. An all day breakfast. It was a pleasant occasion.

Breakfast was followed by a trip to Westfield where Howie and I run into two people from our year at school. That was good to see them. We had boring catch-up talk. Howie and I decided that yesterday was a good day to meet people from school as we were wearing our "hippest" clothes. For some reason we had managed to stay at least a little un-daggy yesterday and so were in the best outfits to impress people. I'm sure both old school friends went away impressed at how far we'd come since high school. "Howie and Tom, wow, they sure are cool, and they've done well for themselves. I thought they were dags at school, but since I saw them in Westfield, that's all changed."

And it's all in the clothes.

While we walked home a car driving along the Pacific Highway gave us a friendly "toot-toot". I smiled and waved as it drove past. It was a blue hatchback driven by two young blonds who both gave us the finger as they flew by. That was little odd.

At night David, Michael, Tim, Chris, Jem, Ryan and I all went to the amazing House of Chan for dinner. Good times were had. Jemma got a glass with a pink straw in it.

After dinner a few of us retired to David's for a DVD. We watched Antwone Fisher, an inspiring true story, staring and directed by Denzel Washington, with too much Hollywood, and badly done subplots.

Kaia and Erin popped in to visit too.

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I'm going to the House of Chan tonight. Yay.

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Sometimes I can't be bothered brushing my teeth, and I only do it because I'm a legalist.

Other times I love it. It feels really productive, like I'm doing something useful, and that's nice.

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I've had the last of my many meetings for a while. Ahhh, praise the Lord.

It went pretty good. The parents didn't rip us to bits which I was worried they might. It was nice. God did good things. The overall tone of the night was at least mildly positive. Good stuff.

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I'm feeling it's head in the blender time again.

It's raining today. My feet will get wet, the holes in my shoes will let the water in. If the water just stayed in the sky I wouldn't have a problem with it on the ground.

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I want to post something that's not about my day. All I seem to do at the moment is post about my day. "Today I did this..." "Today I did that..." Well not now. Not tonight. Tonight I'm not going to talk about what I did tonight. Perhaps I will talk about something different. I will talk about theology. I will talk about art. I will talk about philosophy. I will talk about abstract concepts. I will talk about concrete realities. I will talk about pain and death, and hope and love. I will talk about dreams and talk about magic. I will talk about nothing and everything at once.

Once I was talking to someone and I was sick of having conversations with them that never went anywhere. We talked a lot but never about anything important. We never talked about the deep things that we needed too. I think I said that it annoyed me that we talked about nothing and everything at once. Or maybe I didn't say it, maybe I just planned to say it, but never got there.

Perhaps I won't talk about everything above, but one day I would like to. I dream about doing blog posts that are works of art. Or stories. I've been thinking about writing fictional stories and sticking them on my blog. Just because. Not because I'd be any good, but perhaps because you can write differently when you write fiction. Perhaps that's something to do when I have a holiday.

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Steve, Helen and I went to a meeting at the high school today. We met with the Vice Principal and the Scripture Coordinator, and a woman from the Catholic crew. It was interesting. The Catholic woman came in hard from the outset, weilding the sword of legislation before the School, making sure they knew that legally we could be doing a lot more scripture than we are currently doing. It wasn't quite the approach I would have taken. She was ready to kick butt. I think there was a bit of a uncomfortableness. I was pleased she knew what she was talking about, but I don't think I would have refered to the law quite so early on in the piece. In the end we got what we wanted but I think we probably would have got that without looking threatening. Hopfully everyone is still friends.

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Had another meeting (Oi, so many meetings) tonight. I thought it would go for about an hour, I told Howie it would go for about an hour. He came on the trip with me to see Jo. We thought we might hang out afterwards. I was in the mood for something frivolous. But alas, this one hour meeting that started at eight finished at 10:30 and debrief finished at 12:20. Oi! I'm having a holiday soon. I can't wait. Rob and Jo had to hang out together, they seemed a little bored when I found them.

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I decided come home. And then go back. The primary school was fun. I got to do my talk again. How cool are primary kids?

After the assembly I went to morning tea with the scripture teachers. That was nice I had a chat to another local youth minister. And met lots of old women. When they started dispersing I took my leave and attempted to walk noticeably through the playground so the kids might run up and talk to me, me being famous and all. Alas, they did not. Until I got right near the gate when a girl from my Sunday School class shouted out to me. I went over to say "G'day" and I was set. I got descended upon by many year 6 kids. They were fun. They thought my feet were massive and tried to get me to say "The Devil is good". They also stole by baby doll and ran around with it.

I have to go back to work tonight for this meeting. Grr. I shouldn't have organised it. I have the same problem again tomorrow. Meeting in the morning, meeting at night, nothing in between. Bler. Oh well. I'll cope.

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Today I have to be at work for three different things at three different times of the day. And I have a phone call to make in the middle of thing number 2 and 3. I can't decid whether or not to go home and go back or just stay there. I might take stuff to do with me so I can do what I want. I'll take some colouring in and maybe a puzzle and see if someone will mind me in the long hours I wait till it's time for me to begin again.

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Howie seems to have this problem that whenever he's in my room he farts. It's absolutes appalling. He farts a lot but never so much as in my room it seems. It really reduces my love for my room.

Today's meeting was shorter as Helen pointed out. I would like to say that it was 7 1/2 hours, not 7 1/4. 7 1/4 was when we finished talking about meeting stuff and 7 1/2 was when we just stopped talking all together. I think we just ran out of words in our vocabulary and there was nothing left to say.

It was a good meeting though. Got a lot done. Still I will be happier when everything is over. No more to worry about.

Well, another Christmas assembly at a primary school tomorrow. That should be fun. More primary school kids, tops, they make me laugh.

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Today's big decision day at Church. Bugger. Prayer needed.

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I really do worry too much about what other people think of me. I need to stop that. It stresses me out too much.

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Today has been very nice. I woke up late. Actually kinda early because Mum woke me up to ask me to drive Hannah to school but then I went back to sleep.

Then I woke up late.

Days off in the middle of the week, (or beginning, like today was) means that people aren't often free to do things with you. Today I didn't bother trying to find someone to hang out with me. I thought about it but couldn't be bothered. If someone had called me up though... Anys, having days off at home depresses me, so I got out of the house again. I went to Hornsby and got the 1:13pm train to the city. I read Return of the King on the journey.

In the city I decided to go see a film, I saw Master and Commander after some Hungry Jacks. The film was good. Lots of good boat action. I remember thinking it didn't look very good from the trailer, but I was impressed. Nothing mind blowing, but worth seeing.

On the way out of the cinema I noticed that sitting on a seat in front of me was a syringe. I looked at it for a while. It didn't seem to have a needle. I thought about putting it in a bin. Then decided not to in case people gave me funny looks. Not for having a syringe, just for picking it up. I get way too worried about what people think about me. When I walked out of the cinema I noticed the cinema attendant standing at the door. I paused, thought about telling her, plucked up the courage, and went and talked to her.

"In the second row there's a syringe sitting on the seat," The woman gave me a look of absolute horror, like that was the worst thing I could ever tell her, and she was going to have to deal with it. "Don't worry, I don't think it's got a needle. I just thought I should tell you" She relaxed a bit and said "Thanks" or something.

I then proceeded to Hyde Park for more book reading and a bit of sleeping in the ever moving, constantly lowering sun.

I came home then.

Robert and I just hired Our Lips Are Sealed, the Olsen twins film that Chris Foy was in, that I went to see film down at Freshwater. It was shocking. We didn't finish it. Absolutely appalling. But we got to see Chris. I don't blame him for the film. I'm happy I stopped it.

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Yesterday I borrowed my Grandpa's digital camera. That was fun. So I think I'll blog yesterday in pictures. They are all a bit pixelly. I'm not sure how to fix that. Sorry if it takes a while to load.

The sunday morning group was crazy. The kids were in a really disruptive mood. We didn't get all the photos taken.


Jo, Helen and the mess that was left after the group.


I had D-teams in the afternoon. We talked about drinking an swearing. They look excited.


Chairs at Church.


We usually go to Maccas after church. Last night was fun. I spilt my Coke. The man in the background with the mop cleaned it up for me.

Howie and Helen

Howie and Helen wanted to be in a photo.


I just liked this one for some reason.

My Room

My room is a bit of a mess at the moment.

Then I went to bed.

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Go to Google and search for "miserable failure" and see who's first on the list. Quite funny.

Thanks SMH.

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I'm ready for church early. I don't have to leave for another half hour. This is amazing. I'm not sure how I managed that. It's funny, I'm never sure whether to call church, church or work. I guess when I'm there on any other day than Sunday I'm inclined to call it work. And when it's not Sunday evening after 6:30pm I'm inclined to call it work. But when I do call it work I get a pang of "Oh dear, Church shouldn't be work. Church should be church. It's much more special than work" But then, for me, I think it's pretty special working for the Church.

Anyway, right now I should be running around finding stuff for Sunday morning group. We're making a Power Point, story thing for Christmas. That should be good fun. I like the kids, I think they'll have fun doing this. Dressing up, being silly. I'm going have to figure out a way to keep them occupied while their photo isn't being taken. Perhaps they can peel potatoes or something. Or carrots. Do something productive. Although peeling carrots and potatoes when you don't need them peeled only really feels productive in reality, it's something completely different.

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"If you have walked all these days with closed ears and mind asleep, wake up now!" Gandalf - Return of the King

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I just got home from Louise's 19th birthday dinner. It was a nice occasion. We all sat around the table and ate, dinner. I put on a cd by a French accordion player called Buckwheat. That was terrible music. There were often awkward pauses in the conversation so Buckwheat the French accordion player would come through and soften the impact of the lull in conversation. It was fun though. The food was top quality. I was having trouble fitting it all in, I had had a big lunch to close to dinner. I working at finding new places in my stomach to put the dinner. We played a game called articulate. It got us talking. Were silly.

I gave a lift home to a girl called Kara. She was a friendly chap. Actually I gave her a lift to Hornsby and she disappeared into the night from there. It was good to meet another new person in my life. I'm thinking that perhaps now though she'll be another one of those people who you see around but have nothing much to say to, because you met them at a party and had one conversation. One of those people. Oh well, we'll see what happens.

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My MSN signs me in all by itself. That annoys me. People think I'm there when I'm not. Or I am there, but I don't want to be signed into MSN. I generally stay off MSN unless I feel the urge. Rather than, only get off MSN when I feel the urge not to be there. If that makes sense.

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This morning I went to the pancake breakfast. That was fun. I like pancakes. I think I should make more. I only spent a bit of time there before having to go to work for a meeting. When that finished I promptly came back home and slept for an hour and a half.

I went to the shops when I woke up and sent a barrage of sms to many different people as I walked. I had a conversation with some "random" who sent me a message saying "Who is this?". We tried to work out how they had my number but to no success. In the end we wished each other a good day and got on with our lives. I don't know who they are. I think Ben might have sent an sms from my phone this morning to a wrong number.

At the shops I brought Louise a present for tonight's dinner do. And I bought myself some lunch. Now I think I'll go eat my lunch and watch the "The Making of The Two Towers". Cool.

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I think I need to catch up.

I had a 4 hour holiday on Thursday night to Manly. That was fun. No stress for a few hours. Good stuff.

Yesterday I woke up bright an early at 5:50am for scripture seminars. I picked up Tanya and Mike, and we headed off to the school. The school was very nice to us and the kids were really well behaved. It's good fun doing them. We got to tell the gospel, although not as conventionally as most scripture seminars. Sarah spoke about her time in Romania and told lots of good stories. All the kids listened. We prepared candles to be given out for Christmas presents in Kings Cross. 'Twas very nice. Everyone got into it. I never got to lead a small group, I never planned it that way but it never happened. The Vice Principal introduced me to years 7 and 8 as "Mr French". That was funny, but then I had to tell them all to call me Tom and I felt a little bad destroying all his hardwork of telling people my name. By year 9 I asked to be called Tom.

Anys it was good to talk about Jesus to people who don't know him. That's good fun.

It was very wet yesterday and I got lots of water in the bottom of my shoes.

Mike and I ate lunch together at the little shopping centre. Then headed back to the school for the lunch time group which was pretty crazy. They all were noisy and talked a lot. Oh well, had a bit of a laugh.

Staff meeting. I tried to stay wake and my feet were freezing the whole time. I drove home when it finished to put on some long pants, put on some dry socks, and find some dry shoes. Sadly the only shoes I had were my sandals. So I wore my socks and sandals back to work and looked terrible. Many people thought it was quote funny. Rob thought it was very funny, he said it made his day and he had a pretty bad day so my feet must have looked pretty bad. I ran youth group in my socks, feeling perhaps wearing my sandals would get me laughed at. It did.

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Quick, blog! Just while it's still Friday...

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I just got a hair cut. How they freak me out.

I spent a lot more money. I bought Christmas presents. I don't think I have ever in my entire life bought Chirstmas presents this early. I figured though that it was best to buy them now while I have to money or everyone may end up getting paper mache creations or something.

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Yesterday I also got to go to one of the local primary schools and do a Christmas talk. I had to do it twice because they couldn't fit the whole school into the library together. The infants came first and they were great. Really well behaved, laughed at all my jokes. I'm not sure if they got the point, but they had fun. I told them I was very excited to be at their Easter assembly and they all shouted back that it was Christmas. Exactly how I'd planned.

The primary kids on the other hand when I asked them if it was Easter or Christmas, they all shouted "Easter!" which then made it difficult for me to continue with the talk as I actually didn't have an Easter talk planned, I was just using that to warm up the kids. Luckily I was saved when the MC informed me that it actually was Christmas and I could continue with the talk.

After the assemblies they had a massive morning tea. Full of cakes and pies and sandwiches and other things. It was amazing. It was a table laden with good food. So I stood around and ate that and made small talk for a while. That was pleasant but I had to leave because I had a meeting with Helen and Steve to attend. I'm happy I did leave, because in the playground I got mobbed by kids. It was great. They all wanted to come and talk to me and see what was in my box and look at the toys I brought along for the talk (an Easter bunny and baby doll). I got to talk to them about school and Christmas, and names. It was good fun. I love hanging out with kids. I only got to spend about 5 minutes in the play ground because the bell went. But I'm happy I got do that.

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Yesterday I went to city and spent a lot of money on tickets to Return of the King. That was fun. It's a good feeling knowing you have your tickets. I'm very excited. Yayness.

What's sad though is that most of the world gets to see it on 17th December. We, for some reason, are being snubbed. Oh well, absence makes the heart grow fonder, we Australians will like it more, except for perhaps those in Italy who only get to see it on 22nd January.

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I forgot to write about Monday night. Not that it's important but one figures it's worth doing.

Ryan and I were planning on going out to dinner and then watching a movie. But we decided to go see what was on first and then go find some food. Once we did that though we discovered that S.W.A.T. was the only movie on at a good time that we wanted to see. And it was on in about 10 minutes. So we headed off to Coles, bought some Pringles and Coke and went and saw the film.

It started off well. I always like the idea of films about people with cool, guns and body armour. Especially teams of them. And helicopters, and Police. It was all very cool. But after the start it all went down hill. It was the same dull action movie that most are. It could have been good. There were good ideas in it. The $100 million to free the prisoner was a good idea. But they didn't play that to it's full potential. And it had too much cheesy action movie humour, and some really terrible scripting.

If, though, they got Michael Mann to do it, and got him to run over the screenplay that would have been cool. Heat was a damn good film. Having S.W.A.T. made like that film would have kicked serious butt. But alas, no.

After the film it was back to Coles to buy some dinner. I discovered myself dancing in the frozen food isle while no one was watching. We came home and ate Vegipastys and wedges. We watched Black Hawk Down on Foxtel. My second movie on Foxtel, my second night in a row. But it was good movie. Better than what we watched at the cinema. It was a pleasant night. Good fun.

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One year ago today I did my first regular blog post. At that stage I had now idea what I getting into. But it's been good. I've enjoyed my blogging experience. Happy Birthday to my blog.

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I don't have many regrets in my life, but I've got plenty of time to work on that.

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Having done the whole Two Towers: Extended Edition, I'm suitably impressed. Was very cool. I discovered that Aragorn is 87 years old. I found that a little distressing.

Still, is wonderful. I can't wait to watch the "Making of" stuff.

Ryan and I had a conversation about who was better Arwen or Eowyn, but I think I find the whole Aragorn or Legolas discussion much more interesting.

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I just finished disk one of The Two Towers: Extended Edition. Ooooohh my goodness!

Sooo good.

Now it's time for disk 2!

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Blogspot is down at the moment but I'll get this post done anyway.

Today was very long. I had a 7 3/4 hour meeting with Helen about youth ministry next year. It wasn't a bad meeting, but I would say the longest one I've ever been to. I'd been having a really bad lead up to the meeting. It was making me really scared. Having to make decisions and plan and stuff like that. Making choices that will affect the lives of many other people. It was stressing me out. Sunday night I sat in church and felt terrible. I thought, "This is just beyond me. You can leave me out of this. I don't want to make any decisions. I don't want any responsibility". But today has been fine. God's been looking after me and it wasn't as stressful as it could have been.

I went to community dinner tonight. I managed to get a large chuck of Tim Tam stuck up my nasal passage at the back of my throat. Very uncomfortable, but quite spectacular to bring up again for the various diners to inspect the size of my unwanted secretion.

We headed off to Woolies afterwards too. I had to get wrapping paper and a ribbon for this Christmas Assembly which I'm doing tomorrow (I haven't written my talk properly yet). While David and I were in the middle of a conversation about how God speaks to people, David noticed a double John Grisham book for $7.95, he picked it up and showed me, then put it back on the shelf. I thought "Ooo, that's tempting". I stood there for a little while wondering whether I should get it or not, when it fell off the shelf. I declared this to be a sign from God, and picked up to book for later purchasing.

At the checkout, the woman looked at the price sticker on the back of the book (I didn't know Woolies still had price stickers), it said $6.95. She scanned it and it came up as $7.95. She gave me a funny look and I remembered that there's some deal where if it scans higher than it is marked you get it cheaper or something. I mentioned this to her in some vague, hazy question, and she replied with "Yeah, I'll sort that out in a tick". She scanned the rest of my items and told me I would get the book for free. How exciting. I turned to David and said "I told you it was a sign from God."

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Happy Birthday everyone who's birthdays I have forgotten.

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I went into the city today because I had to figure out my vision for youth ministry and I wanted to do it in conducive environs of Hyde Park. It was a nice place. When I arrived at the park there was an old lady feeding pigeons under my favorite tree. There were hundreds of pigeons all over her. There was also two gay men (well at least they were giving off that air) in business clothes chasing each other around the park, tackling each other, rolling around on the grass together, and generally having a good old flirt. They looked like they were in year seven. They looked very cute. I've never found gay men cute before but I think it was the clothes that did it for me.

When it started raining and getting my paper wet I covered my paper and slept till the rain went away.

I walked back to the station via the convenience store and bought myself a packet of Nacho Cheese Doritos and a bottle of Coke.

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This is the road trip music of Jo and I while in NZ:


Norah Jones - Come Away with Me
Third Day - Offerings
Bruce Springsteen - The Rising
U2 - All That You Can't Leave Behind
Delirious? - Deeper - Disk 1
Delirious? - Deeper - Disk 2
Matchbox 20 - More Than You Think You Are
Paul Colman Trio - PC3 Live Electric

In Wellington

U2 - Pop
John Mayer - Room for Squares New from the Warehouse


Ani di Franco - Living in Clip - Disk 1
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals - Live From Mars - Disk 2
U2 - The Joshua Tree New from the Warehouse
Michael Franti - Stay Human
Sons of Korah - Redemption Songs
Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen
U2 - Elevation Tour 2001 - Live from Boston

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My mother said the other day that Bryce Courtney is like the Steven Spielberg of novels. Perhaps not in success, but in style. I agree I think. He goes a bit sappy at times, and feels a little contrived. But I don't mind too much. It gets a little annoying at times, but over all I can cope.

But I love Steven Spielberg, for precisely those reasons. There's very little subtlety with that bloke. And there's all these wonderful shots of sunsets and the like. How cool is Empire of the Sun? The book was great, and the film, although not really a good adaption of the book, was a wonderful example of why I love Spielberg. Wahoo.

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I think. In my blog. I have an inappropirate. Overuse of full stops.

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Tonight I'm going out to dinner with Ryan. I've been getting excited about this for weeks. I can't wait.

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I watched The One. It was pretty poor.

Now I'm going to go to bed and finish my book. I have about 6 pages to go. How exciting. I love reading.

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My archives disappeared. But now their back. Just in time for the 1st anniversary of the beginning of regular blogging for Tom. Expect big celebrations on Thursday...

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

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

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

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Swimming it all in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I came home, and blogged.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jo and I didn't get on television.

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

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

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


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

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

We listened to good music.

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

I had more sweet and sour pork for dinner.

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking Good

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This is Wing.

Wing is one of New Zealand's finest.

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

Don't like Andrew Lloyd Webber?

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

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

Hell, listen to them all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you in Sydney.

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

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

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

Um. We saw lots of police today.

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

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

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

I think I'll update tonight in Auckland.

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

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

Hello my dear Mary,

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

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

I love you with all my heart, James.

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I'm feeling a little tired today.

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

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

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

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