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Mil's home. That's good. She and David came over tonight. We had good talks. My Mum talked the most. I told Mil about the dream I had where we almost got married, but I stopped the wedding because I wasn't in love with her and she got upset because we'd put so much effort in to the wedding. Mil laughed at that. There aren't many girls I would tell I had a dream about marrying them, but Mil is one of them.

Welcome home Mil, that's what I say.

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I just saw a blog that was called "Life is a Sexually Transmitted Disease".

Actually I didn't I just thought I saw it and that was funny for me.

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"In the begining there was nothing and God said 'Let there be light', and there was still nothing but everybody could see it."
Dave Thomas

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A whale exploded in the middle of Tainan City, Tawain.

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I didn't wear shoes all yesterday.

Oh, um, except for half an hour when I went for a run.

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Last night we (Ryan, Howie and I) went late night frisbee-ing. That was cool. They had attached a little green LED light to the bottom of it so when you threw it the light would spin around and you could see the frisbee. It looked very posh. It has been good to notice that since this frisbee thing has started I have got a bit better. We played last night in Hornsby Park, which is where it all began, and being there reminded me of my bad frisbee skills all those many weeks ago.

I'm not very good at frisbee though, just better.

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The seas have lifted up, O LORD ,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea-
the LORD on high is mighty.

Psalm 93:3,4

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Today I went to Koorong and I heard Darlene Zschech singing "Walk On". I think there must be some law somewhere against that.

In other news, Hannah has begun climbing right to the very top of our clothes line. She walks around the wires that you hang clothes on a bit like a tight rope. She's very acrobatic, but she's got me nervous.

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Birthday for Jo

We went to Bronte today for my sister's birthday. It was very nice. The sun shone like a big, giant star, just near our planet. It shone well, injuring my neck in the process.

I took Hannah for a swim in the pool. That was nice. I haven't really swum with Hannah before, but she was having a wonderful time. She liked to attach herself to other people in the pool. Her favourites were skinny Japanese men, who would get a big grin on their face and laugh "hoo hoo hoo". They didn't seem to mind.

We played frisbee, soccer ball kicking and hand ball. And went for another swim, at the beach this time. Anna told us all the story of how her and Sub got engaged. Very romantic, ahhh.

On the way home I slept and Julian told Dad about diesel cars and HAM radio.

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Chipped Teeth and Dirty Secrets

"Try to keep myself away from me" - Counting Crows

What a day.

Good day. God good day. I preached today.

I talked to a lot people after morning service this morning. That was good, lots of positive people about the youth ministry. People who used to be not too pleased now very enthusiastic. Great. God is answering prayers.

I had a meeting with Helen and spent most of the day getting nervous about my sermon. After my meeting I worked on my sermon and got even more nervous. Had some more meetings, got more nervous. Prayed more. Prayed lots. "Not my will but yours be done". I was hoping that perhaps lightening might strike the church and it would burn down. No more preaching.

The problem was that on Tuesday night when considering tonight's sermon, I felt like God was telling me to use a sermon illustration from my life that I really didn't want to tell. This illustration was a story I had only ever told three people. And never in full. It was stuff that I would never talk about on my blog. Stuff I was too ashamed to ever let the world know about. But now God was telling me to stand up in front of the church and tell them. What a terrible thought.

"... if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me"

I prayed all week hoping God would show me a way out. Do an Abraham/Isaac test on me. But nothing seemed to be coming.

So by the time I got to church, I wasn't feeling particularly good. I prayed for strength, and I was doing alright, until just before the sermon and I suddenly had the overwhelming urge to vomit. How I could get up in front of the church with my guts leaping out the top of my throat, I had no idea.

But I made it up. And I didn't vomit. Once I was there I was fine. God was faithful. I got in the swing of things and it wasn't too bad.

I started my sermon pretending to get drunk on a large bottle of whisky. It was quite fun. I had trouble taking large swigs of apple juice (cunningly disguised as whisky) without getting it all over me. And then in my rush to get my bottle to my mouth I managed to run the bottle into my front tooth at a breakneck speed. Lucky my tooth was in the way to protect my neck, but I chipped my tooth. Now I have a little chip out of the my left middle tooth. It feels a bit rough, like when Dr McCrosty would leave a bit of cement on my teeth after fiddling with my braces. I guess now I have a permanent reminder of why you shouldn't drink in church.

I think that perhaps tonight was the raunchiest sermon I have ever preached. It's not often I stand up in front of the congregation and tell them "I wouldn't mind a bit of sex" and "I've got a lot of love to give". But hey, what's the pulpit for if not for extolling your vices?

By the time it got to illustration time, I was feeling comfortable enough that I didn't stumble. I looked around the congregation and tried not to imagine them all judging me. God looked after me. He answered my prayer and gave me courage when I needed it. It was a story of grace not judgement.

In the end it all went alright. God worked. People responded and I didn't feel terrible afterwards, just exhausted. Praise the Lord because He is good!

Preaching is a funny thing. Each time this year I've been challenged to do something, to step out of my comfort zone, step up to the plate, be obedient. God hasn't made it easy for me. But I've grown a lot. Preaching is scary. Not because of what happens when you get up there, but because of what God does with you to get you ready to get up and preach His word with integrity. I wouldn't have it any other way, but I wouldn't mind an easy topic.

"Safe?" said Mr Beaver; "Don't you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you" The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis

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The other thing I have noticed (just before I leave), is that I have been getting more literary-ly verbose (if that is an allowable term?). I have decided that it is because I am trying to have more fun with words (Ryan suggested it was because I was trying to impress women-folk). Often times I will read what I write and think to myself "Get your hand off it Tom", but still, I leave my pompous ponderings on the page, if only because it gives me a kick.

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It's past twenty past one. Now is the time to properly write a sermon. But I also have to buy my sister's birthday present (23 tomorrow) and I wouldn't mind seeing if the pet shop sells axolotls. I think I'll do some sermon shouting to Mum and Dad get home from their walk and I get embarrassed.

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I would just like to officially welcome Rachel to the blog world.

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Last night Ryan, David, Anmol and I went and saw Underworld. That was a welcome relief to yesterday's other abomination of a film. Vampire movies often don't seem to do too badly and this was nothing different. Kate Beckinsale did a lot of walking around in black leather and treating doors roughly, but was good fun. There was shooting and werewolves, two things always worthwhile to spice up a film. There was a silly bit with a sword and a guy getting his head sliced in half. But mostly it was pretty good.

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After my camp there was some music I thought I should look into, Linkin Park, Jet and someone else I've forgotten.

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Today was almost a proper nine to five working day. Fantastic!

Spent the beginning preparing for a mail out for youth group. We had fun and thought of a name for the youth ministry which could be to the distaste of everyone. But it's had a pretty positive reaction so far.

At midday I left Kaye and Helen to despair over the mail merge as I ran off to lunch and the cinema with my small group from last year. It was good. I took three year 8 boys out and we had fun. We went and saw Torque which absolutely sucked. The most terrible action film I have seen for ages. The script sucked, and the writers seemed to know that. But this self-awareness didn't do it an ounce of good. The film-making was made to appeal to a fourteen year-old boy (good for my company I guess), but I the best I could describe it as is wanky. The action was over the top but there was no "cool" element to it. The film seemed to be an attempt at a motor cycle "up yours" to The Fast and the Furious but alas that film's quality is so far above Torque that it needn't bother even a second glance. And that's saying something because Fast and the Furious itself wasn't really good enough to justify it's own existence. There was much funnies to be had by myself and the appalancy that was this film, but sadly I had no-one to share my mirth with. So I had to contain my giggles.

I got back to church pleased to know that year 8 boys are worth hanging out with even if the films we watch aren't. There I had some stern words with the computers and we managed to get all the letters folded and stuffed in time for Postman Pat to take them to their various destinations. Helen stamped them all for me when I had to run off to visit Alison who had to tell me how to make kids behave in scripture this year. That was good. I wanted some tips on that. I'm having nightmares of year 5 kids walking all over me as I meekly try and tell them about Jesus.

Tonight I'm thinking I'll see a movie then make full use of tomorrow's first sleep-in in a long time. The bliss of a bed that is familiar and an alarm clock that is quietly sitting in anticipation of nothing.

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Yesterday was a fat day. I worked 14 and half hours. That's over half my working week in one day. Massive.

And most of it was spent meeting. I was pretty buggered. Getting home from camp I wanted to go to bed early on Wednesday night but that didn't happen.

But there isn't too much to comment on yesterday. We had a staff day. Kaye and Jamie joined us as stuff for the first time and it was exciting to have them on team. Good to have them join the fun. If you can call it that.

Last night I went to Helen's house for our leader's meeting for this year.

That was a good meeting. Perhaps not world class in content. But it was good to get started. I've felt so eager to start youth ministry. The problems that have come up, I've been hanging out to actually stop talking and writing and start doing. Yesterday was the first of the doing. At least for me it was.

We had a session of singing, musical worship, at the end and it thundered and lighteninged. I thought of God refreshing the land and breaking the drought after Elijah's fight with the prophet's of Baal on Mt Carmel. Elijah's on the brain at the moment. I thought of Elijah hitching up is coat, tucking it into his belt, and running in front of King Ahab, through the rain, and for that short moment, all was right in Israel. And it was nice to think of God of the rain and God of the thunder. God of grace and judgment, destruction and rejuvenation.

I drove home and appreciated the silent lightening far off in the clouds, and my travels through the mist.

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I'm not sure how I want to post about my last few days. I don't think I want to post the whole thing. I think perhaps the highlights. Or best of. Something like that.

We arrived in Oatley late, I was dropped off by Mum, Dad, Hannah and Mark and I was feeling like our van was thoroughly looking like a van for "special people". It was funny I guess. I had decided before getting there that I wasn't going to be embarrassed rocking up in a white van with sheep-skin seat covers, accompanied by my parents and two disabled young people. I can't say I was quite at the stage to get them all out of the car to wave me off on the bus with a bunch of people I didn't know, but I wasn't too worried turning up with them.

It was interesting getting on a bus to head off onto a 4 day camp with 13 people I had never met, and one I knew a bit. They all seemed like nice people. I was particularly impressed with the anti-Shire banter that circulated the bus when we began our journey. There was a "Click, Click, Click" as windows around the bus were closed to protect us from "Shire air" as we crossed the Georges River into the Sutherland Shire. That little display of coordinated region-ism was nicely done and made me pleased to be there.

Conversation on the way down was kept to a minimum with my traveling buddy, a year 12 guy named Rob. I think we didn't have much to say to each other.

They were a lovely bunch of kids I found over the week. I have never seen better behaved youth group in my life. Never once did they do anything worth getting them in trouble for. Never a stern voice needed. David told me that the worst thing that happened the whole time was someone forgot to put the lid on the tomato sauce properly.

They were also very smart I think. They all seemed to be continually doing word or maths puzzles. They would tell each other interesting facts and often play "Eye Spy". Except "Eye Spy" was usually something like "Absent Abstract Eye Spy" where they would have to guess something intangible that wasn't the least bit connected to anything in the near vicinity. I never joined in that game. It was way above me. I stuck with their easier ones like saying "White horse" whenever you saw a white horse. Although I think I was the only one who played that the whole 4 days, they got bored after about 10 minutes.

We stayed at a little house in Sussex Inlet which was owned by the old lady from the church who gave strict instructions that no-one was to use the front door or climb in and out of the windows. It was a good house though with family photos from the eighties displaying young men with world class mullets on the wall. It was close to the beach and a park. Very cosy. No mobile reception what-so-ever. It was a 10 minute walk to anywhere I could make a phone call from, which just so happened to be right next to the closest public phones too.

The talks went ok. I was a little disappointed with my talks sometimes. They were a little hard to gauge how to do a talk for 13 people. In the end I used my notes but they weren't comprehensive enough I think. I don't think I was very interesting. I am praying that the Holy Spirit was doing stuff though. The Word was taught, I'd say it won't come back empty. Lucky the Holy Spirit works even when I don't.

We went swimming a bit. On Monday we went to a water hole and jumped off a big rock. Yesterday we went to the beach which was a little cold but lovely none the less. The beach was followed by ice cream at the ice creamery which I managed to only mildly spill all over myself. Then it was back to a different beach to play beach volley ball. That was funny. Beach volley ball is the only sport that I have had a commitment to in recent history. My four years of competition playing made me perhaps the most experienced beach volley ball player there (although probably not the best). I organised my team into the right formation and had them rotating all proper like. I was also the only one who could serve properly. The ball was very hard and now I have a bruised arm. It was very strange feeling mildly sporty. In the end the game descended into Nukem Ball so I couldn't show off my superior setting and spiking skills.

We had a lot of free time. I spent half of it asleep and the other half on the phone to Sydney organising youth ministry stuff.

I got to have my quiet times sitting on a park bench looking out over a river and the beach. It was quite tranquil, you could say.

I got a message on Monday morning from Helen about work. Suddenly I got a bit worried and stressed that nothing was going right back home. So I ran off and had a quiet time and a pray which was very good. My daily Psalm readings were up to Psalm 27 which ended with:

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD ;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD .

I could think of no better words to get from God at that time.

On camp I made friends with a kid named Scott. We made plans to get beefed up, grow facial hair, buy leathers, get tattoos, buy Harleys and start a gang.

On the trip home I sat next to one of the leaders, Emma. We talked a bit more, as happens when you have spent 4 days with someone. We stopped at Maccas and I was very happy to get some greasy, fast food in me.

David dropped me home after a massive trip through most of peak hour Sydney. Yay for him.

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Home again, home again, jigity jig

Yes I am.

Dad used to say that when we got to the top of the driveway after a night out, or a trip away. It was always such a nice thing to hear. When I become a dad I want to say that when I get home with my kids too.

Now, being home is very nice.

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Off on camp I go. Yay.

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When I got home and warmed up the computer I thought I'd blog. Just before I blogged I stumbled across a blog that was all about some guy's affair with a married woman. He asked readers not to make judgments because he and his lover don't make judgments. It perhaps wasn't the most constructive reading, but it was fascinating.

At one point he was talking about her husband who was getting annoyed that he thought the two of them were getting a little too close. The husband had no knowledge of the affair. This guy was annoyed at the husband because the husband had no right to be annoyed about their relationship, whatever it's status. His reasoning was that they had been very discreet and only done it in their free time (whatever that means) and that it had taken nothing away from their marriage. In fact it had added to it because now the wife, aware that she was sleeping with another man, was working harder to keep the husband happy too. So basically the husband should be thankful for the affair that he had no knowledge of.

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I had four talks to write today. I still do kinda. I spent most of the day feeling uninspired, and unable to get inspired. I went for a drive, and started talking in the car. That worked good. I drove to work and used the church as my talking space. I arrived at about 3:30. I emerged at 8pm with four talks under my belt. Shouting in an empty church for a few hours works good, but I'm very tired now. The talks aren't the worlds greatest, but I'll do my best. And in the end it doesn't matter how slick the talks are, it's God's job to make them good. "With Jesus as my strength I'll do my best, he'll do the rest!"(Kid's Praise 5)

I now have to commit the four talks to computer. That could take a while. I may not get them all done. I hope so. I'll give it a shot.

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Last night I saw the police 6 different times, all but once with their lights flashing. I kept asking myself if I'd had anything to drink, all the way home.

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Yesterday's run was good, we did it in alright time. We can do better next time.

I had little sleep the night before and yesterday was a struggle to stay awake. The upside was that I was feeling a lot sillier so I was able to amuse myself a bit more easily. Perhaps it wasn't all that useful for our meeting.

I went over to Oatley in the afternoon for a meeting about the camp. I was late and lost. There was no petrol in the car. The mum of the guy whose house I was at gave me some cake. That was good.

After Oatley I headed over to Bankstown (Actually Condell Park, but Bankstown sounds better) for Mitch's and Dan's house warming party. I ate steak. It was nice to catch up with all the college crew. We hung out till quite late having college conversation. Reminiscing, and bringing up all the old jokes, and generally having a conversation that would be completely uninteresting to anyone who wasn't a college student.

I left at around 11:10 and it was raining. I sung "It's raining in Baltimore, 50 miles east..." to Dan as I walked out the door and suddenly felt melancholy and needed to listen to the Crows. So I stuck them on and began my drive home. I couldn't be bothered looking at a map, I figured I'd just drive till I saw a sign to somewhere I knew. Sadly that didn't happen and I drove all the way to the city before I found something familiar. So much for passive navigating.

Still I got the whole cd done, and a little bit of U2 too. So it was all good.

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Sometimes the truth just ain't enough
Or it's too much in times like this
Let's throw the truth away,
we'll find it in this kiss
- Bruce Springsteen

I've been thinking about posting that lyric for ages, but I'm not sure what I think of it. I might like it. I can't decide if it's nice or corny. Perhaps it can be both.

It appeals to me because it's the reckless abandonment of truth, and when you go to Bible college, and you work in a church, and you teach the Bible, truth becomes so important. People talk about "the Truth" all the time. So the arrival of a lyric like that, my ears prick up, and I think "Throw the truth away? Get it back again in a kiss? What a nice idea."

Sadly there's not always truth in a kiss.

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My blog is the 155th most popular blog on Australian Weblogs. Wow, it's good to have achieved something special in the world.

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I've been a little distracted by blogishness. I'm going for a run with Ryan in the morning. 7am. That's a darn sight earlier than 10am, which would be much nicer on me eyes.

Sometimes you can come home from a night out and you feel like you've spent the whole night shouting. You feel like you've spent all night trying to be heard, trying to get people to notice you and laugh at your jokes. It's never a good feeling that one. I always feel like an idiot.

Once when I was 15 I spent a whole night trying to impress a girl then came home with that shouted feeling. It was funny though because I was flirting with her because I'd realised that I didn't like her anymore. I had liked her, but when I noticed that was no longer the case I went out and spent a whole night flirting with her. Perhaps it was the relief of the thing, perhaps it was just those heady days of a 15 year-old.

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Wanna see the blogger logo? It's mighty exciting!

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I was reading a website that was talking about Elijah. It wasn't doing too badly, it had some alright stuff to say. It ended up talking about prophets and the need to listen to good advice from Godly counselors who will tell you the truth in keeping with God's word. And then completely out of the blue ended with: The choice of a mate will have a significant effect on your life: physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

I thought that was funny.

Then I found a sermon by a pastor who, from his study of Elijah's prayer for rain, was able to discover the weather on the day of Jesus' return:

Six times he sent his servant to look for good weather coming from the Mediterranean Sea. He kept on praying. Finally a small black cloud about the size of a man's hand was spotted. That was enough! You know, someday we're going to see a small black cloud about the size of a man's hand. It's going to be in the eastern sky and that indicate that very soon you're going to see some quick action. When you spot a small black cloud about the size of a man s hand in a cloudless sky something awesome is about to transpire. You're going to see Jesus coming in the clouds of glory. In that cloudless cloud, here came that small black cloud. That tells you that at Jesus' coming it will be good weather, because if the sky is full of black clouds you couldn't notice a small black cloud, could you.

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Today is one of those days where I spend all day reading commentaries, writing small group material and planning talks. I have to be ready for next week's camp. Good fun.

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When we were little

That's Me, Anna, Ryan, Jem and Jo. We were quite the leap frog kings.

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Topless passenger declared flight 'next 9-11'

That's what Al Qaeda need, more stripping terrorists. They'd be much more popular, at least with half the population.

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I'm not graduating anymore. That's a little sad. It's not because I didn't do enough. If I wanted to I could graduate with a Diploma of Theology but I signed up for an Advanced one so the ACT won't give me a piece of paper yet. The Dean called me and said I could cheer from the sidelines if I want. "Yay! Cheer! Cheer!"

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"Banana, Banana Holiday!" - Bananas in Pajamas

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I do sometimes wonder if why I write so much. Doesn't bother me a lot.

Over the past week I have written 4,356 words. My post about Church Hopping alone was 1,475. That's a lot of words. I wonder if people get bored. And then I wonder if I should write so much because I might be making people bored. And then I decide I don't really mind if people are bored because I never planned to primarily write my blog for the benefit of others anyway. So I decide to write just as much.

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Just for the record, I did not buy Speedos.

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What we listened to on the way to, in, and going home from Coolangatta:

Going There

Day 1

R.E.M. - In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003
U2 - Achtung Baby
Coldplay - Live In 2003
Matchbox 20 - Mad Season
Micheal Franti and Spearhead - Everyone Deserves Music

Day 2

Bruce Springsteen - Ghost of Tom Joad
Sons of Korah - Redemtion Songs
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Ben Harper - Diamonds on the Inside


Day 3

Norah Jones - Come Away with Me
John Mayer - Room for Squares
The Elms - Big Suprise

Day 4

Ministry of Sound - Chillout Annual 2002 - Disk 1

Going Back Again

Day 7

U2 - Elevation Tour 2001 - Live from Boston
Lenny Kravitz - Lenny Kravitz Greatest Hits
Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
Gomez - Bring it On
Counting Crows - August and Everything After
Powderfinger - Vulture Street
Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde
Van Morrison - The Healing Game

All up we drove 1,951.1 kms.

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Coolangatta to Sydney in less than 10 hours!

I don't know that there's much more to say than that. We flew.

It was a good drive. We didn't have much deep conversation. Ryan's most deep was probably when he asked "Would you marry someone who didn't like Jamaicans?" I decided that I would as long as they treated them well despite their dislike.

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Church Hopping

One of the joys of being on holidays from work at a Church is the opportunity to visit other churches. Yesterday Ryan and I took full advantage of that. Yesterday for the first time ever in my life I went to 4 different church services, in 4 different churches of 4 different denominations in 2 different states. Posh. We had to get up very early to achieve that feat but it was worth it.

Act 1

St Peter's Anglican Church, Coolangatta 7am

Very early, the morning sun made the church look nice and crisp. The first thing I saw when we entered the church was an old lady slapping the organ at the back of the church to keep another who was playing it in time. We were the youngest people there except for one girl who I think got dragged along by her mum. Most of the other people there seemed to be over 60. A lot of old men and ladies. Old ladies are very good at smiling at you. It was your typical early morning country service. They weren't very high church, less than I expected. It was very quick. The sermon was on Jesus getting baptised, but I found it difficult to pay attention.

I liked it though, probably because I liked the friendly old people. The minister talked to us afterwards. He fitted well into the stereotype that most ministers are a bit strange.

Act 2

St Augustines' Catholic Church, Coolangatta 8:15am

The Catholic church was big and on the hill. It had a blue neon cross on top. We walked in with lots of other people, it was a very popular church. Everyone did the holy water thing and crossed themselves. It was a little strange for me. I left them too it, and felt a bit like a heathen. Then they all genuflected to the cross at the front, which we also failed to do, heathenish that we are (not that they thought we were heathens, that's just how I felt).

There was a lady up the front leading singing, doing audience warm ups. She reminded us of Wing which was very cool. Although that probably wasn't the intended effect.

The priest walked in and we got underway. I felt a little lost as there were no Bibles, Prayer Books, or hymn books, so following along was a little hard. Perhaps this is how life in church was pre-reformation, except everything was in Latin back then too. Thank God for Martin Luther bringing hymn books to the people.

Some of the stuff I could join in because it was the same as the Anglicans ("The Lord be with you" And also with you "Let us lift our hearts" We lift them to the Lord.) but the rest of it I didn't follow. The sermon was again on Jesus' baptism by John. I think maybe that this sermon was a little better executed but I still had trouble paying attention. What I heard wasn't particularly inspiring. The priest did this thing where he threw water at every one. That was cool. Kinda like when people throw their water bottles around in mosh pits.

Communion was had but we didn't join in because we probably weren't allowed.

No one talked to us, but we got a few polite smiles during the greeting of the peace.

Act 3

Coolangatta Christian Outreach Centre 10am (or so the sign said)

The charismatic service of the day, started at 9:30am but sign out the front that we had found the night before said 10am, so we were half an hour late (They had another sign that I think may have gone up that morning which said the correct time). Didn't matter, they were still singing.

There were about 12 adults and a scattering of kids, and a young guy in a bright yellow shirt, with a guitar, leading the singing up the front. He was very enthusiastic. They sang a song that I didn't know then "Light of the World" which I do. I sung along to that but didn't put my arms up when told to. As soon as we arrived a lady down the front came and whispered "Hello" to us, felt welcomed.

The kids went out to Sunday School and the guy in the yellow shirt turned out to be the pastor and a very enthusiastic one at that. Most sentences were finished with an "Amen?", which didn't usually get a response. It was good seeing him so energetic. As Ryan said, he was a big pastor in small church. The sermon was on the importance of small groups. I agreed with a lot of what he said, and I was very able to pay attention (Ryan thought I looked bored), but I felt that the main passage was taken right out of context. He was also very good at making absolute statements that a lot of people wouldn't be comfortable to make. But very passionate. It must be hard being the pastor in such a small church, having such big dreams, and day in and day out, struggling to see some fruit come.

After the service we both talked to different people, they were a very welcoming church. The pastor made me promise to talk to him before we left. He was still very energetic and he prayed for Ryan that he would find a church. I liked that. I liked him taking an interest and praying for someone totally outside his pastoral responsibilities, and who he would probably never meet again.

We left there feeling good and blessed.


We had nothing to do following the COC so it was off to the YHA for a bit of a kip. We went into town for lunch and spent ages after lunch browsing an antique collectible store. What a cool store. Full of war stuff, old appliances, toy cars, stickers, license plates and what got my attention the most, Coke memorabilia. I had fun in there. Coke stuff still excites me. I found stuff that I have hidden away in my collection on sale for lots of money. Good times.

We went to the beach too. I got caught in a rip just as we were planning to get out and got dragged across the beach and out to where I couldn't stand. I tried to swim away (I'm not sure where I was headed though). But that didn't work and I couldn't remember where you were meant to swim to when you get caught in a rip anyway. I got a little worried, and started having horrible thoughts of having to be rescued and all the people on the beach laughing at me. Luckily, I used my finely honed beach skills and used the waves to take me in where I could stand again and I walked back to safety. All that took about 2 minutes. We left after that and went home for a shower and a scrub up for our last "gathered body" experience of the day.

Act 4

Tweed Heads Presbyterian Church 7pm (or so the sign said)

We were half an hour late to this one too, but there was no sign that signaled that the time had changed. They said they were "just trying something different for January".

We walked in during the prayers. There were about 25 people sitting in a hot, stuffy hall with an overhead projector at the front projecting prayer points on to a screen. Everyone had their heads bowed and were looking very earnest and prayerful. The pastor's wife got us both chairs and said "Hello" (how good are pastor's wives?). The prayers were followed quickly by the sermon. This one was on discipleship. The passage was Peter walking on water. The sermon was good, but I found it a little difficult to concentrate again (perhaps I was too much in holiday mode).

The service ended with a Geoff Bullock song, and an apology from the pastor to all those people who turned up at seven and only got a half hour service.

We talked to the pastor's wife afterwards. She was very nice. While we were talking to her, a girl who was also visiting from Sydney came and introduced herself to us all. That was very brave, we were most impressed. She was a nice person too. The pastor met us at also and had a chat, he was a good too. It was all very pleasant and probably closest to what I'm used to. It reminded me a bit of St Peter's while I was leading it in 2002.

For dinner we had Japanese noodles one last time, and said "Good-bye" to our good friend the noodle lady. We went home to bed for an early rise in the morning for the trip home.

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We're back in the internet cafe. The steamy one. Not so steamy now. Or at least I'm showing less propensity to indulge my travel writer impulses so I can't be bothered calling it steamy. Perhaps today I shall call it quaint.

Since we were so tired and perhaps a little crabby yesterday, we decided not to go to Brisbane today and have a lie around day. That meant going to bed last night at 8 to read and falling sleep at 10. We got up at 12pm today. I think we both spent the morning reading and snoozing in our respective bunks.

I got up and had a shower and we ate our Honey Os for breakfast. They are lovely things. Taste much nicer than you would expect for a cereal that prides itself for being made out of wheat and oats.

Then it was back to bed for more reading. I went to the beach about an hour later and swam by myself. That was fun. I felt very independent and I didn't drown once. Ryan joined me, we swam for a bit then I went home. I got dumped too and hurt my back, but I didn't go home because of that. I'm not one for sulking. I went home because I got water up my nose.

At home I had a shower, and marveled at how the water kept coming out of my nose for the next two hours. I shaved and went through a whole razor (usually takes me a month) because I hadn't shaved since Sunday and it was hard for my little blade with all that tough, sexy, manly stubble. I must say, I was impressed that I really could grow a little bit of hair on my face. Puberty is starting to pay off, damn itchy though.

With my clean face I read some more (Tom Clancy, Red Rabbit - $8 at The Warehouse Taree) then headed off to the park with my Bible. I sat there reading and praying and calling down plagues on all the passing dog walkers. When I decided I'd finished for the time being, Ryan called and came and joined me at the park for some frisbee throwing. We had fun, stopping every time a jet took off from the airport (the park was at the end of the runway) because it was noisy, and the noise was cool.

We had dinner at the Japanese place again. We had another deep conversation. This time about relationships, God, and his guidance, and other stuff in that realm. The lady there is very nice.

Now we are here being very quaint in this internet cafe. Yay for us.

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Today was Warner Bros Movieworld day. I have a headache and I'm very tired, but the day has been fun.

I'm not sure what to say. The park had lots of cool buildings, with good theme-ness to them. We arrived early and headed straight for the Lethal Weapon Ride which was good fun. I wasn't nervous really, I think because I didn't think about it. Usually rollercoasters scare me, but this one was no problem.

We went on the Scooby Doo ride next which I think was the best of the day. It had this silly ghost train beginning but then turned into a roller coaster inside a big dark building with lasers and red lights. That was tops, we did it twice.

Everything else was fun, but about as you would expect it. The special effects show which I remember being wonderful from when I was a kid, was pretty dull. A little tacky perhaps. But then again, I know a lot more about movies than I did when I first went.

There were various parts of the day where I got inspired to make a movie again. I love movies. I love film sets. I think they're great. Maybe one day I'll be a runner in a big motion picture or something. We'll see what happens.

Tonight I'm going to try and get an early night. Perhaps I'll sleep better.

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Pacific Fair, this is where I am.

Ryan and I arrived here at this massive, ugly, green and purple neon-lighted shopping centre of tacky-ness many hours ago. It's quite large. There's a rumour going around between the two of us that this may actually be the largest mall in the southern hemisphere. If it is I'm pleased to say that I'm blogging from it. But this place has got nothing on Westfield Hornsby.

After the movie last night (which was good fun, not nearly as bad as we thought it might be) Ryan and I wandered back to the hostel. It was about a 30 minute walk. We wandered through a deserted fair gound, all closed up for the night, and by the sea with the almost-full moon glistening over the Pacific Ocean. It was very romantic and both of us wished that the other one was a woman for whom we had the deepest affection. Knowing that this was not the case we skipped the barefoot walk along the beach back home thinking that perhaps it may be inappropriate for two grown men on a night like that.

The bed (I have the top bunk) was as comfortable as one could hope for. Nothing to complain about. It was very hot in the room. We left the fan on all night, and I spent most of the night under a sheet, or at least the corner of a sheet. It was kinda like Martin Sheen in the beginning of Apocalypse Now although I wasn't naked, there was another person in the room with me, and there's no mirror in our room to smash when I get drunk.

Every so often there would be a big truck travel down the Pacific Highway at some monstrous speed, spewing it's angry, whine of engine noise into our little room, which would penetrate into my shallow dream world, waking me each time to wonder what the hell was going on. (Ek Ek)

In the morning I woke up to the kid outside my door shouting at his mum and dad. This confused me a little because this kid had an Australian accent and I was sure the kid across the corridor was Asian. After just waking up the answers to such questions don't always immediately present themselves to you. That was at 8am and I was pretty bummed that I woke up so early.

Ryan asked me then some question that was a continuation of last night's conversation about sorrow. It was way too deep for me after waking up 20 seconds before and I think I responded with a "Yeah". He then proceeded to ask another question of an even deeper nature. Not wanting to encourage the boy, I figured a less committed response might be useful, "Maybe". But this didn't deter him and he proceeded to ask something like "Do you think God cares who you marry or are there hundreds of people that you could marry, and you just pick one and then try and make the best of it, with the encouragement from God to enter into a differentiated, loving, selfless relationship that is the pinnacle of human love? Or perhaps we should just pick the people we marry as a further step to fairer economic rationalisation?" Or something like that, I was finding it difficult to follow, so the details may have blurred a bit. I decided the best response was to say nothing at all and to go back to sleep. I did this, waking up at 9:20am and the only question Ryan asked me then was "Do you want to go to the beach?". I handled this better and gave him an affirmative grunt.

We swam between the flags with all the other un-cool people on the beach. There was big, rip and the surf wasn't great but the water was warm and it was all very nice. On the way back home we met a man named Steve who seemed a little crazy. He said he was a beach comber, and he was 81 years old. This seemed a little strange because he looked a lot closer to 40. He also told us that the police were looking for him and that he had walked from Sydney to the Gold Coast in three days. Very impressive. When he found out I was two years younger than Ryan he pulled my chest hair and asked me what was doing with all that? He told us that his baby photos show him having a chest as hairy as mine, and as his (except less gray), from the day he was born. Steve really was an amazing guy.

We had breakfast at 11 in the courtyard then stayed there reading our books till 12:49. I nodded off a few times.

We set off for our days adventures after that. We visited the Currumbin World of Bees which was wonderful. They even had a "live bee show". But that didn't start for 40 minutes and as the rest of the World of Bees consisted only of about 3,000 different flavours of honey, magnets of men in bee handling suits with red beards and happy smiles and some stuffed bee toys, we decided to give it a miss.

Onwards we went and ended up here at Pacific Fair. We had some lunch then wandered around for a few hours waiting for the internet here at this cafe to get cheap. The extra three hours we spent here now means that we save $2.50 an hour! Bargain! While wandering we looked for Speedos for me to wear under my see-through boardshorts. Speedster Speedos, not the ugly old man ones. But I never thought I'd find myself in the Speedo section of any store. Well, lucky I've left the state to do it.

Now I have to pee. This will be my second pee here, a testament to the beautifully, long time we have spent in what is rumoured to be the biggest mall in the southern hemisphere.

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I just asked Ryan if you could call this internet cafe steamy, he said I could. So I will. It sounds very journalistic and expressive to call an internet cafe steamy. "I'm sitting in a steamy, gaudy walled, internet cafe in downtown Coolangatta. Set off to the side of a large and empty Thai restaurant, the fairy lights in the window twinkle welcomingly to the outside night life which consists of a large amount of noise coming out of the pub on the corner, and a few sunbleached, teen-aged, surfers sitting together on lonely park benches."

Ryan and I are waiting for our film to start.

My boardshorts are white (they have two pockets and fit all I want nicely) and they go a little see through in the water. We went for a swim after checking into our YHA (full of cool, tanned surfy types) and I noticed with no small amount of distress that you could see my under-garments. How embarrassing. It was a fun swim. I'm going to have to watch people in white boardshorts on the beach tomorrow and see how they keep their modesty. I suspect they don't. Surfer types like to show a bit of bum-crack it seems. But that's tomorrow's job.

The cool surfer types are a very intimidating. The guys all look like people out of Point Break and the girls belong in a Billabong catalogue (although they don't lie around as seductively*). I'm feeling a little out of place here. Kinda like I do in SDS but about 1,000 times worse because these people are about that much cooler. Coolanagatta is after all the 3rd best surfing beach in the world. Not a good break today though, a little choppy. Someone here rode a wave for 2kms once, I read today. I would have done that, or something close to it, if I had gone out further than waist deep water.

Now it's very muggy. We're going to see Welcome to the Jungle soon. Should be silly. We had Japanese noodles for dinner, and talked about shame (is it a valid motivation for good deeds). My buddy cost me $1.90 - Tops!

Now I have sweat on my upper-lip, I'm doing my best to add to the steamy-ness of this lonely little piece of net cafe**.

*Ryan would like to point out that they do lie around seductively, which I probably agree with, just not at the youth hostel where they seemed to be more intent on drinking beer

**Ryan would like to point out that that last sentence was "very Bill". I assume he means Bill Bryson. What can one say when I only finished reading him yesterday.

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Byron Bay, Hey?

I'm in Byron now. Last time I was here I loved it. That was winter. Maybe I loved it because everyone one at college hated it. Too many people with dread-locks and long hair. Today it's not all that interesting.

Yesterday Ryan and I drove for a long time. We left home 12 minutes late. That was well done. Nothing much remarkable happened I don't think.

We stopped in Taree and worked on our hobbit feet, had some lunch and I bought some boardies.

We went to Macksville, which I was hanging out for after reading Bill Bryson's terrible review of the town. We sat in the pub and had a Coke. It was very nice. Everyone there seemed to know everyone else and they were all old and country looking. It was cool. The man in front of us leant back on his chair and joined in our conversation about the cricket. He seemed to know what he was talking about.

In Coffs we stayed in a place called "Sanctuary Resort". We booked it on Wotif after the F1 fell through. It described itself as most plush. It had a spa, sauna, putt putt, tennis, rooms with opening windows. It was amazing, in word.

When we got there it looked posh if it were 1983. I was born in 1983, so I felt right at home. They nice lady at the desk gave us our key, we inspected the room, but only found one double bed. We returned to the desk and told them we had booked a twin not a double. This caused a search for the missing single bed to be embarked upon, but alas, it was lost somewhere after room 49. They gave us a crappy little wheely bed, with a band-aid as a mattress. Ryan slept on that, he lost the coin toss.

We had a swim in the pool. That was nice. We drove around Coffs at night looking for the cinemas, only finding it after a breakfast shopping trip to Coles. We didn't end up watching a movie.

We at dinner at a little fish and chip store hidden behind a petrol station. Nothing spectacular but the cook was a nice lady who sat outside the shop with another nice lady and smoked. It was good to be there even if the food was un-remarkable.

This morning we went for an early morning swim then set off for a quick visit to Sue and Pete to drop of their Christmas presents from Janet. 2 hours later, we were on our way. We never sat down because we were always about to leave.

We've driven and now we are here in Byron. We'll leave soon.

I bought another pair of boardies (which cost way too much money) because the ones I bought in Taree didn't have enough pockets. Ryan said he'd have them.

Now I'm going to leave and pay the internet man. This computer is slow. Coolangatta here we come.

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"Good bye Sydney, my love"

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I have spent much of this evening wrestling with this stupid NetMD program which doesn't feel like behaving tonight.

I should be packing and sleeping. Going on holidays tomorrow. How exciting.

Today I went to lunch with Grandpa. That was good fun. We got the meals (roast pork) for free because they took so long bringing them. We talked about lots of things. We talked about religion. We discussed the virgin birth and subsitutionary atonement. I said what I thought and Grandpa said he didn't believe a word of it and we're still good friends.

Back in Hornsby I tried to buy some board shorts but there were none my size, or perhaps there were, but I got scared and scampered out of the store before I got around to trying them on. Surf shops are such scary places. I bought a Japanese crepe to calm my nerves. It wasn't very nice and they gave it to me in this stupid paper cone which poured ice cream all over me. I tried to sit low in my chair and hide behind the bin in the food court as I made a mess of myself, my clothes, the table, and the floor. Eating really messy food isn't very nice when you're alone. It's usually pretty funny when you have friends around though.

We played frisbee at Waitara Oval later on. We spent almost two hours there I think. That was good fun. We improved much over the time we were there.

Maccas followed, then I came home to prepare for my Northerly experience. I found out the F1 in Coffs has no rooms available tomorrow night. We may have to sleep somewhere else tomorrow night. Or nowhere at all, like in the car. Who knows. It'll be an adventure at least.

Yay for adventures.

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Ryan commented on Helen's blog that this could be the best Summer ever. I'm not sure about that, but it's pretty damn good.

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I feel I should do the catch up thing.

Everyone else has blogged it though. So if I need a record I can just check other blogs. The beach yesterday was fun. Best waves I've seen all week. The water was darn tooting cold, but hey, that's alright.

I went to Church this morning. I tried on about six t-shirts before I found one that didn't have a stain or sustain one during the course of the morning.

In church I had no friends, so I sat in a completely empty row so that other people could make the decision to sit next to me, rather than visa versa. It ended up that no-one sat next to me. I had two empty seats on either side. Ahh well. People did say "Hello" though and one of my youth group kids joined me part way through the service till he got bored.

I hung out in the play ground with some new kids after church. Tried to seem cool and exciting so they would come to youth group. I don't think I succeeded.

After church I came home and slept. I woke up later than I wanted and had a Strongbow while I got ready for Gramp's memorial service. Ryan was over watching the cricket. That's something else that has changed about me, I'm paying attention to the cricket and caring about it. While I was walking through Westfield the other day I kept checking TV's to see what that score is. What's happening to me?

I had a shower (I've been having 2 a day a lot recently, too much sweat and beach). I proceeded to get dressed in my staple wedding and funeral out fit. So far it's done 6 weddings, 3 funerals, 2 Welcome services and 1 Jazz ball. I think I need another set of good clothes.

I went to the memorial service and it was stinking hot. The service was how my Grandfather would have wanted it. I didn't cry, I wasn't sure if I would. I got lumpy in my throat. I'm sure if the service had been different, but it wasn't and overly emotional service. Fitting really. It was nice I thought. A little surreal, but I'm not looking forward to the day when funerals aren't. I read a prayer:

O Lord God,
When thou givest to thy servants to endeavour any great matter,
grant us also to know that it is not the beginning,
but the continuing on the same until the end,
until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldth the true glory;
through him who for the finishing of thy work laid down his life,
our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

It took me a few minutes to figure out the prayer but in the end I decided that it was good.

The prayer was based on a prayer of Sir Francis Drake. I wasn't sure who he was, but I found out later he blew up the Spanish Armada for Queen Elizabeth. I wasn't really thinking about finishing the job of blowing up a 16th century Navy when I read it, but still, it makes it an even more fitting prayer. My Gramps was into the Navy and other such stuff.

I went to the wake afterwards. There were lots of people there I didn't know. Old relatives, and friends of my Grandfather, and old people who may have been relatives, but I wasn't sure, so tried to avoid lest I had forgotten who they were and they told me how last time they saw me I was still a fetus and very cute. I avoided them by sitting on the couch watching the cricket. I felt like part of the family then. Every summer event with my family, the cricket goes on and all the males stand around and watch it and I felt horribly bored and adopted. But today I watched with my cousins and felt like I bonded with them a bit. As much as one can when you all stare at the same point in space for a long period of time. I even got into the cricket watching so that when someone walked past and asked "What's the score?" I could reply "Four for two-eighty-five".

When the cricket finished I had to walk around feeling awkward. I joined a few conversations, which really just amounted to me standing in a circle while other people talked and I wondered where else I could be.

I finally got enticed into a game of botchie (I'm sure you don't spell it like that) in the backyard and later took my cousins on a trip to McDonald's. That was fun. McDonald's brings families together.

Later I came home and watched a Coldplay documentary on my dvd, then Rambo: First Blood on Foxtel. That's a cool movie.

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Sometimes I wonder why I have to be so un-original.

Posted by Unknown |

That last post was rather depressing. Yay for life.

It's a nice day today. The sun's out, the sky is blue, I have no shoes on, my breakfast is in the oven, and it's Saturday. What more could I want?

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So many bad things in the world. Usually I just switch my emotions off and let it all wash past me. I don't know if that's a good thing, but it's all too big for me. How do you do emotional justice to 20,000 people getting killed in an earthquake? How do you deal with the multiple rape of a 10 year-old? People suck real bad and I can't do much about it. The earth just caves in and I can only sit here. How do you weep when others are weeping and laugh when others are laughing when you know that all around the world there is so much saddness that you'd never smile again?

That said, I can emotionally switch off from death, but rape and abuse are so much harder. This guy who raped a ten year old, I can't hear that and stay disconnected. I get angry. I want to find this guy, who ever he is, and punch him in the head. I want to punch him many times untill I feel better. How will this girl ever cope? They said on the news that she came home from hospital today, but how can she ever come home? Her step-father's been killed and who knows what she's going through.

But if there's anything I liked about Tandia it was the bit about not fighting out of hate. Hate achieves nothing. Hating the people who commit the attrocities will only breed hate in me. I hate evil. And I hate the evil that we do to each other. The evil I see in you I see in me.

It's in the face of evil that grace comes into its own.

God's had mercy on us all.

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Why is it that Howie and I often seem to write the same thing?

I'm not asking for answers to that. You'll all just make rude comments.

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Not Myself

It occoured to me how much I have been doing lately that isn't like me:
- Going to the beach
- Hugging
- Wrestling
- Playing frisbee
- Wearing no shoes (although this has always been a dream of mine)
- Taking time off
- Going to the Pub

It don't bother me though.

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And the day that was...

Woke up and tried to organise the New Years movie with David but the tradition had to be canned because the selection was poor and it was very hot outside. It wasn't a movie day, it was a beach day.

We (Lesley, Jo, Howie, Michael, Jo, Kaia, Mark, Chris and I) went down to Freshie for a frolic in the water. It was full as a goog. People everywhere. But it was nice. New years day at the beach, I thought to myself "quintessentially Australian experience". That phrase has been floating around my brain a bit lately. We swam, then lay about. I slept for a bit too. Then swam again.

The night held a trip to Kaia's for, I quote: "for some time of sitting around doing nothing much and being able to play pool on a bigger much more funnerra table mainly funnerra cause it's free"

We did some of that. I was feeling hot and lethargic and spotted the backyard out the back door and it looked appealing. I decided a sleep on the grass might be in order. I announced my intentions to the gathered folk, and went and lay on the grass. This led to everyone else coming out behind me and starting a game of frisbee (our new craze) right where I was sleeping. So I didn't sleep I joined in. Michael informed us that there as a new flying fox installed at the near-by park. This sounded like immense fun so the males trotted to see this new appendage.

The flying fox was immense fun. What started off as just a small game of "See if you can enjoy the flying fox by sitting on it" turned into "See how many ways you can risk serious injury of this piece of play equipment". Very cool. Robert did the best job of damaging himself. It was a great flying fox. I reckon we got close to an hour's worth of fun out of that. When the women came and found us they too joined in, showing us a few tricks of their own and adding a more dainty element that was otherwise missing in our man-handling of the toy.

The night progressed with pool, sitting around, a sleep on the carpet and some McDonald's.

Nice nice.

Addition: David was at the beach as well. And it was very worthwhile having him there.

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"Aww, that was scary. Remind me never to marry or sleep with a singer." - David

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Last night was a good night.

I got to see a man set his pubic hair on fire, that was entertaining.

"Happy New Year!" he cried before pulling down his pants and taking his lighter to his pubic plumage. He got quite a good flame too. Almost at his belly button before patting it out with his hand. All the bystanders were very happy with his performance and gave him a round of applause. I too was quite impressed.

But the night didn't start with such an auspicious event as a man threatening his manhood with a micro-scale bushfire. No, that's just a good eye catching way to start my post.

After Cassie's welcome home party ("Welcome Home Cassie") Ryan and I found our way to Eastwood shops where we picked up Michael before heading off on a much convoluted, mobile assisted discovery of Waverton station. I was following Michael and Ryan while listening to Matchbox 20 and having a jolly old time. They were not wonderful people to follow but managed to make up for that by taking an illegal turn off the freeway that was spectacularly impossible for me to follow and allowing me to take the next exit and arrive at Waverton 15 minutes early which I used up reading my book. Good book, but that's a whole other post entirely.

We trained it after Michael and Ryan both bought me a train ticket. We gave one away to a lady who was very pleased but gave us lots of funny looks as we waited on the station for the train.

Arriving at Observatory Hill barefoot (I'd been barefoot since the food court at 1pm) and doing well in my slow progression to hobbit footage there were already a few early comers who had staked out an area roughly half the size of Tasmainia. I ate some chips.

Later in the evening a game of frisbee was started which was going great till I threw Ryan's frisbee over the fence. We played over the other side of the park with my pink one and it didn't go so well but it was still fun. I think I would like to go to frisbee school.

Eventually lots of people turned up (see here for the full list). I talked to lots of them. Michael, David, Kenny and I had reflection time and discussed our plans for the future while oft being interrupted by our own bouts of carol and old Christian song singing. Michael and I talked a lot last night.

We also went to the toilet together. Jo Michael and I went on the trek to the toilets. While we were there and waiting for Jo (she went a lot slower because she's a girl and girls always have to line up and chat and all that when going to the toilets) some women decided to visit the men's toilets. Obviously not content with waiting in line for so long and happy to sacrifice all the good make up tips and wedding dress discussions that such a line to the toilet will often yield for women-folk, they shot into the men's toilets and made full use of our facilities. This practice continued then for the rest of the night making a women's toilet and unisex toilet.

As this was the case on Michael and I's next trip to the toilet I shared an intimate moment with a young lady. She came out of the cubicle while I lined up to go in. She gave me a smile and said "Hi". That was nice. Her male friend came out of the next one, and they left the toilet together. Neither of them washed their hands.

On our way back we passed the two again. When you walk past people you sometimes hear one or two lines of conversation. We heard from the girl "But I didn't know you liked me like that". I thought, "If you're only going to hear one line of juicy conversation then that's the line to hear." I was pleased with myself and walked back feeling nostalgic for all those New Year's romances I never had.

Coming back from the toilets I noticed that Phil Swan was taking a group photo which I wanted to get in on. I planted myself at the back of the photo, happy to be back just in time when I realised that I knew none of the people around me and I had crashed someone else's photo which Phil had just been kind enough to take.

The fireworks were very nice. When the fireworks are happening I often forget that I'm watching them. They're good fun but I often find myself having to discipline my mind to stay focused on the large pyrotechnic display in front of me. I can sometimes get distracted.

The 9pm ones were good.

Before the midnight display Michael, David and I prepared ourselves for the countdown. We wanted to be right on so we could say "1!" and then the fireworks would go "Bang!". We used the Telstra man to get us on track and we spent 13 nerve-racking minutes leading up to midnight watching the numbers tick by and hoping that we would be right on. We started the countdown and managed to get quite a good level of involvement. "1" and the fireworks went BANG. We were right on. It was tops. We spent the whole of that fireworks display (which was very exciting) feeling extremely chuffed with ourselves for being right on, the only people in the whole of the Hill to be right on I think.

After the fireworks I enacted upon one of my recently made resolutions (not a New Years one) to hug more, and hugged most of the people there. It was very nice and friendly. We sang "Auld Lang Syne" at the top of our lungs. Here is a transcript of the lyrics:

For all acquaintance be forgot
and see la da da daaaa
daa da da da de dadd dea
la nah ne dah for Auld Lang Syne

It was about this stage that the man set a small amount of himself on fire.

We headed home after a bit of clean up. David, Howie, Ryan, Michael and I had a bit of wrestling match on the hill as we waited to leave. That was good fun and I felt particularly male afterwards and un-Tom like.

There were lots of people on the trains. The drive home was to Pop by U2 as selected by David. Everyone was quiet and sleepy. We got home late. Had a chat with Mum and I had a shower. Then I read a Psalm and went to sleep.

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Year New Happy