Friday, September 30, 2005



As well as the seminar on Tuesday, I've also had an academic tutorial this week. This was with Alan, my tutor for the year. Although we'd talked on the phone a few times, our first meeting was at his house on Wedndesday. We spent quite a lot of the tutorial getting to know each other, discussing the course, what we (both) hope to get out of the process and swapping some history (mainly mine to him, as he will be supervising me, but he very generously shared some very interesting information about himself and his family with me). I gave him the URL of this blog, so I hope he'll have a chance to glance at it from time to time (hi, Alan!). As thelogical reflection (see blogs passim) is an important part of the course, he was interested to know how I was trying to make that part of my life. It's supposed to be an important element of the assignments that I'll be doing for him, but there will only be six over the year, and it should be a more integral part of my life than that. I explained that I try to use this blog - at least a bit every week - for some theological reflection. He seemed to think it was a good idea, but now, of course, I need to make sure that I do.

One of the things we talked about (unsurprisingly, as the theme of this term is the Old Testament) was my views on the OT. Previously, I've not had a great interest: I've had a rather NT view of the world, which is maybe a classic close-minded protestant view. There have been sections for which I've had an affection - particularly the Psalms - but, overall, I've had the view that I could take it or leave it. That's theologically rather naive, and it's changing - and has been changing more recently, as I grow to appreciate more parts of the Old Testament. Apart from the mythological nature of much of the earlier books in particular, I think that I've seen the OT more as a way of understanding the historical context of Israel, and, ultimately, of Jesus, the disciples, Paul and other actors in the NT. The more I think about it, the more I understand that in the same way that our culture has been formed and informed by Christianity and the NT, so was the NT's by the OT, and, for that reason if no other, I need to take it more seriously, and study it more closely. The fact that I'm reading from it for evening prayer, which I try to say every day, and have been for well over a year now, means that I'm learning to know it better already.

The first tutorial was on source criticism (sometimes known as JEPD (J(Y)ahweh, Elohist, Deuteronomic and Priestly) or documentary cricitism). As a technique, this wasn't a struggle for me, as it was a methodology that we were acquainted with first for literary criticism in English literature (which I started off reading at university), and then for NT criticism (which was a module that I _did_ take when I switched to theology after two years). It made me think about my faith, and whether the acknowledgement (which is pretty much universal these days) that the OT isn't a single "given" text, but was put together but multiple people (or "redactors", though redaction criticism is subtly different from source criticism), over a long period of time, challenges my belief. In fact, it doesn't. Mainly since I'd already come to terms with the fact that even the NT books are, in places, a mishmash, and, for instance, a number of the Pauline letters were pretty definitely (and some probably) not written by Paul in the first place. One good example of a non-original passage in the gospels in the story of the woman caught in adultery, which appears in John's Gospel (was this gospel itself written by the apostle we know as John? Almost certainly not...). This passage probably wasn't in the original text, but it's clearly a consistent part of the received early Christian knowledge and tradition of Jesus that I have no problem accepting it as a part of the "authentic Christian gospel". Once you start accepting this type of text, you then need to start thinking very, very hard indeed about where you draw the line. Why, for instance, would you accept the views of those who set the NT Canon, several centuries after Jesus' death and the writing of all of its constituent parts? What does it mean to the "Word" alone should be your guiding hand (if that's your view)? All good questions, I'd say. And all to do with authority, and authorship, issues that fascinate me within the study of theology.

Music today


zzzz, a goose, miaow, not strained, fireman

Well, last night Jo went down around 1900, slept through to around 0230, and then to 0715. This is a real break-through, and if we can stick with this, we're onto a winner. 0230's not too good, but an unbroken sleep till after seven is great. A huge relief, and Jo was greeted with "angel baby" this morning by Moo, which seems entirely fair. We'll have to see how things go over the weekend, but it's a positive move. A very positive move. Indeed.

Jo's discovered the "boo!" game. Not only does she love it when you hold something in front of your face, then reveal it to a cry of "boo!", but she also does it herself. If you play the game a bit, then give her a cloth, she'll hold it in front of her face, wait a bit (for, it seems, quite a random interval), and then drop it to show her face. Sometimes she'll blow a raspberry or make a noise beginning with "b", but she's quite happy for you to say "boo!". It's really funny, and she seems to love it.

Jo (as mentioned in blogs passim) loves our cats. Yesterday she learnt to grab Willem's tail. He doesn't mind (we've never quite worked out why. Anyway, given her fascination with the species, we often point out the cats to her. This morning, we were in bed with Jo, talking, and I said the word "cat" in the conversation. Immediately, she started to look around to where Willem tends to be in the morning (though he wasn't there), which means that she definitely knows two words now: "Jo" and "cat". Useful...

Jenny's baby now has a name. In fact, has done for a couple of days, but I've not got round to blogging it. She's called "Mercy Élodie", Interesting choices: we know that Jen was very keen on Mercy from the beginning, but I'm not sure where Élodie came from. Mercy's safer than some, but I think there's a danger in naming a child for an attribute into which you hope they'll grow. For instance, given the level of physical coordination that I have (generally low), calling a child "Grace" would be asking for trouble. Likewise "Joy": she'd end up as a mardy cow. And as for "Chastity"...

Hi, Gary! Can't remember if I gave you my blog address: I guess I must have done. Nice to have you with us, anyway. Feel free to comment on anything and everything. (note: I realise that people might be able to work out from the content of the other paragraphs how the heading above was derived, but this is unlikely for this one. To help matters somewhat, apparently, in his (fetching) blue shirt, Gary looks like this member of the emergency services).

Thursday, September 29, 2005


It's full of stars...

Forgot to say. Came back from the seminar in Stowmarket late on Tuesday night, got home, and looked at the stars. My God, those stars.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005



Had a good Old Testament seminar yesterday. An interesting bunch of people, with lots of ideas and a variety of backgrounds and theological approaches, from what I could see. It was in the URC church committee room in Stowmarket, which was a bugger to find - it's in a pedestrianised area, and there are roadworks nearby which constrain access still further - but we all got there in the end. It didn't help that there are major roadworks on the A14 around Bury St Edmunds, which meant that I (and, it transpired, a number of the other attendees) was crawling for about 3/4 of an hour. As a result, I had to make do with a chicken burger and chips followed by a half of Guinness before we started, rather than manage a proper meal. Again, in this I was not alone (well, I don't know about chicken burgers, but failing to have time for a square meal, anyway). I also had a chance to phone my DDO (Diocesan Director of Ordinands: the person who guides you through the process of discernment of a vocation through selection and training to ordination) and have a chat. I was seeing him around once a month until my Selection Conference, and it was nice to catch up and give him the latest. I'll probably just see him once or twice a year until ordination from now on.

I enjoyed the seminar: it's nice to be thinking theologically and academically with a bunch of people again, and I've set up a mailing list (waiting to see if the set-up is successful) which I hope will enable us to continue discussions. We ranged from across a set of topics as broad as theodicy (why does God allow suffering? - must admit that I had to look up the spelling of this one) through covenant, translation issues, the use of notes, cultural shift in language and alternative readings. I think people found it challenging in different ways. I meet my tutor this evening, and am very much looking forward to moving forward with him into the more general work.

I slept quite well last night. Jo was up a few times, but not as often as late, and I'm afraid that I didn't wake up each time Moo went to her. We'll get there, I'm sure. Si and D have very, very kindly offered to babysit at some point so that Moo and I can have some time together, presumably just to go out for a meal. I think that allowing Moo some time to herself is just as important: we'll need to find a way to do this.

Sounds like Indigo ("Digi", Nik and Tosha's son) is doing similar things to Jo, but he's into going up steps, not down them. Jo's tried this, but only on a rather high step for now, and to no avail. We'll see. Hi Tosha, hi Digi, hi Nik! You'll find them on Tosha's and Nik's blogs. Speaking of blogs, Si's blog for today is very worth reading. Interesting and thought-provoking at the same time.

Music today

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Seminar, sleep

Life continues hard - though thanks to all for their kind words. I've got lots on - ERMC and work-wise - at the moment, and it couldn't really have come at a worse time for Moo. She's low on sleep, and has come down with a nasty cold, which Jo and I have so far pretty much avoided (though Jo had a couple of sneezy nights over the weekend). We'll weather it, and we're phoning quite a lot to keep communicating. Well, I am, but then again, it's the stuff that I'm doing that's compounding the problem. :-)

It could have been worse. Last night was my first night on-call (for 24x7), but there were no contacts, so I didn't need to get up. Less money, more sleep. At the moment, I'll take the sleep, I think.

Decided I needed to listen to some chill-out music today, so chose a double disc of Purcell which I was in the choir for in the early 80s with Deutsche Gramophon (sp?). It was an early digital recording, and still sounds so bright: fantastic music, and a brilliant recording. It's helping me maintain - or refind - my equilibrium.

Had a call this morning at 9am, so took that at home before heading into work, and managed to get a connection to our VPN at work using the marvellous vpnc. First time, it didn't connect, but gave me enough information to work out that I'd copied a password incorrectly, and after re-editing the config file, I was in. Access to both our Aarhus and Cambridge offices, so I'm really chuffed with it: good work vpnc. I've just emailed the lead developer with my thanks, as I think it's really important to give praise when you come across something really useful.

Music today

Monday, September 26, 2005


Sleep - or not

Jo was up a lot in the night, and is desparate for food, so Moo slept very badly again. I had a horrible nightmare where I knew I was dreaming, and just could wake up: at one point, I dreamt that I was shaking Moo, saying "wake me up, wake me up - I can't wake up!". So, neither of us are great today. I spoke to Jenny this morning on the way to work (stuck on the A14 waiting for the police to clear an accident), and had a bit of a chat about what we could do to help Moo, but other than Jenny giving her a call, there wasn't much. I also left a message for the health visitor to call me to see if she had any ideas.

This caused some problems. Moo was _well_ pissed off that I'd called the health visitor, as she (Moo) thought that I wanted the health visitor to call _her_ and discuss things. She felt that this was out of order. But I've learnt my lesson, and this wasn't my plan: I just wanted to talk to her myself, which I reckoned was fair, as I have an interest in both Jo's and Moo's health, too. Moo had basically refused to call her today as she said "she'll just say that I should use formula" (to which Moo is implacably opposed. This afternoon, Nicky (Nicki?) phoned back, and we had a chat. I explained the problem, and said that we're not interested in going to formula. She asked what Jo's weight-gain is like, and I said that I wasn't sure: though she's not pudgy, she's growing well, and is very active. I explained about the trick that she learnt yesterday of approaching a step whilst crawling, turning round, then backing down it (I'm so, so proud - I showed her how to do this a week or so ago, and either she's remembered, or worked it out for herself), that she's now pulling herself upright and walking round furniture, etc., and Nicky seemed astounded. Which is pretty good, from a health visitor. Anyway, she only had three suggestions:

  1. feed Jo water at night (we think that she's hungry, not just thirsty, so this may not help
  2. try "managed crying" (we're into "baby-led feeding", so this is probably out)
  3. try feeding her more during the day (we're giving her everything she'll take!)
So, we may just have to weather the storm, but it was worth asking.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Back home again

Tired (shouldn't have stayed up till 2am chatting), but happy. Jo and Moo are both asleep, so all is well with the world. Had a good (though tiring) weekend, and did find a friend to monitor my over-enthusiasm, on the condition that I monitored hers, too. A slightly "bitty" weekend which came together for me in the last session this morning.

Saturday, September 24, 2005



On an ERMC weekend at the moment, with the theme being collaborative ministry. Bit ironic, really, as I've just had a conversation with a member of staff who, when I raised the question, did confirm my fear that I'm participating too much in some of the sessions: making too many comments, asking too many questions, etc.. I know I do get very involved, and the problem is avoiding that being at the expense other people. It's hard to talk/blog about, as it's a little humiliating: I really should be able to temper my enthusiasm a little by now. It's not as if I'm unaware of the issue. I suppose the fact that I was aware enough to bring it up is good, but is balanced by the fact that I'm obviously not aware enough to fix it. I think it's so hard to talk about because I see it as a mark of immaturity, and because I don't want people to think either that I don't care about them/their opinions or that I'm trying to show off. Neither of those is the case: I want to participate, share and be involved, but it clearly doesn't always come over like that. Arse. I might unburden this onto at least one of the other students who I get on well with and ask her to keep an eye out. So : my most painful blog to date.

Friday, September 23, 2005


More support

Well, I've accepted the short straw, and will take the first support slot when we go live with customers on Monday evening/Tuesday morning. Hopefully there won't be any trouble, but who can tell? I'm off to Aarhus for a day trip on the 12th October to swap information about the companies who are using it, the software, their set-ups and all the rest. I means an early start (the plane takes off at 0745) and a late return (probably around midnight), but at least I don't need to stay away. We had a good discussion this morning on how it's all going to work, and I think we understand that, at least. Things are very busy at the moment, trying to interleave work commitments with ERMC commitments, but I'm sure it will all come out in the wash.

I have another weekend at Ditchingham starting this evening, and have bought 2 copies of the Yale Songbook in the hopes that we'll find the odd half-hour (probably in the evening, with a drink in hand) to do some singing. There are some good tunes (and some terrible ones) in it, so we should have some fun. The real reason for the weekend is to focus on the collaborative aspects of ministry, and I hope that this is an area where my working life and my MBA may come in useful. We shall see. I'm also looking forward to meeting more members of our cross-year group (Group D), who I must remember to add to our mailing list.

What else? Oh, I got WPA working with Ubuntu, despite Si's complaints in his comments on yesterday's blog.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Support, Rita and Ubuntu

Spent much of the day dealing with a number of support calls from one of our customers who's due to go live pretty soon. I think things are sorted now, and it's not a bug with our software: we're helping them through with something which has turned out to be a little trickier than expected. I'm going to be one of the (three) people doing 24x7 support from next week. A bit of a commitment, true, but both Moo and I reckon it's worth the money. Hopefully there shouldn't be too much coming through, and if there is, there's extra money for that, too. We could use it at the moment - small babies and 1500 quid on the car don't help much...

So, the US is braced for another big hurricane. We can only hope and pray that there won't be the levels of devastation that we saw with Katrina. I guess (though I couldn't be sure) that Houston doesn't start below the waterline, so we shouldn't see the terrible flooding that New Orleans suffered, but the damage from the force of the hurricane itself may be huge. The latest news seems to be that there's gridlock on the roads out of Houston - which means that many people may get stuck in cars when the storm hits. I know that the official view is that this isn't caused by global warming, but it can't help, surely?

Ubuntu seems good. Apart from the fact that it didn't install smbfs (which contains the apps required to allow you to mount samba - Windows - network shares), which took me quite a while to discover, it seems OK. Comes with a shiny new kernel, though not as new as the one I was using on my laptop, so I may roll my own. On a related note, it seems that the problem with fast USB devices failing to be registered properly is something to do not with hardware but the relevant driver: ehci_hcd. When I remove this, things work fine (though slower than they ought to, obviously!). There seems to be a clash of some sort with something else kernel-related, but I've been unable to track it down yet, as there seem to be another set of problems which give similar symptoms, but which don't seem to be related.

Thanks, btw, to Mark, who's helped me with a couple of questions that I had with Ubuntu: the most important one being how to get a root login. Cheers, mate.

Music today

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


The babysitters

That'll be us, then. Si and D needed to go out to a parents' evening at Morgan's school tonight, and were let down by their booked babysitter. So they called us up this morning to see if we could step in. I'm on one of Si's computers after he gave me a log-on before he left (saved me breaking in with his root password and giving myself an account, I guess!), Moo's on the sofa in the living room with Jo asleep on her, after Jo's had a lovely evening playing with Morgan until he went up to bed, then the Murphy (one of Si and D's dogs) until she went to sleep. We're not entirely convinced that Morgan's actually gone to sleep, but he went to bed very easily: he helped get himself undressed and put his pyjamas on, then picked out a book for me to read. After I'd done that, he was quite happy to be left, and so I turned off the light and went downstairs. We've heard the odd stirring, but not much, so we're pretty happy with how it went.

Spent the day at work writing a "support document" for a customer for whom we're about to start 24x7 support on Tuesday next week, answering calls from the same customer, and trying to get as much data off the really ill laptop hard disk as possible. It's going back to Seagate after their diagnostics program found 12 major errors (hardware sector level) on it. That's really quite bad, but this happens from time to time with disks, and I've never had problems this bad with any disk previously, whether Seagate or anyone else, so I think it's just bad luck. I'm going to have to reinstall Linux from the ground up, and I've decided to give Ubuntu a go. It's supposed to be pretty user-friendly (that's the down side...), is Debian-unstable based, has a good community feel to it, and I've heard lots of good reports. I'll try to remember to update this blog with information on how it goes. I'm hoping to get a working system up and running by the end of tomorrow, as it's a real pain having to use a crappy old desktop with webmail. Oh, and it's Windoze. Yeuch.

I've been thinking about what topic I should choose for my second Old Testament assignment. Not that I've chosen the topic for the first one, yet, but for the second I'm free to chose something that suits and interests me, as I'm not going for an academic award, but rather trying to move up to a more research-based academic methodology, with a possible view to a PhD in the future. The plan over the three years of the course is generally to find topics that resonate with my research interests, which are (broadly) online religious communities, but it's not so easy for this. What I'm thinking of doing is something on Author(ity) in the Old Testament (or maybe specific parts of it). I'm very interested in how we consider authority (and authorship) in a postmodern world, particularly as I come from a very poststructuralist and deconstructionist background which doesn't really hold much sway with the idea of the importance of the author. However, if the Bible (or, more accurately, the biblical canon?) is to be accepted as important and a guiding hand, then the question of authority is very important. How the canon was formed sets up a very interesting set of questions, and I know much less about the formation of the OT canon than the NT, so I'm hoping this will be fruitful for me and throw some relief on questions of how we relate to authority in a more peer-to-peer, ahierarchical online set of communities. I'm looking forward to discussing it with my tutor, Alan, who I've yet to meet, but have spoken to briefly on the phone, exchanged a couple of emails with, and about whom I've heard very good reports.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


An ex-disk

It has ceased to be.

Got a new (80Gb) drive for my laptop from work a couple of months ago. Noticed at the end of last week that I was getting some smartd errors reported, which suggested some problems. Got home last night, turned it on to use it for my meeting with Keith, and, of the 2 times (out of 4) that it even completed booting, it was unusable, and Reiserfs was reporting all sorts of horrid, horrid errors. So, took it into work this morning, and Oli (our sysadmin guy) agrees that it's: a) broken; and b) not my fault. So we're trying to get as much off it as possible before letting a Seagate diagnostic app (which also agrees that it's got some nasty low-level errors) do its best to fix things. Unluckily, we're having to use a machine with a very slow USB bus, so it's really crawling (we've put the laptop drive on one of the PCI controllers from a desktop PC and are copying to a USB-connected external drive). The drive should be well within warranty, and I can still mount the relevant partitions, so I should be able to get most of what I need off it, but it's still a real pain.

Despite not having a laptop for it (which wasn't, if we're honest, really required - I was just going to fill out the "Training Agreement" pro forma while we talked), Keith and I had an interesting meeting. We agree a bunch of outcomes to aim for this year, and methods by which to try to achieve them: I'll write them up here when I have them to hand. I also gave Keith the URL of this blog so that he can have a look if he wants: hello, Keith!

Listened to quite a lot of music yesterday, but didn't get round to updating it. Don't have easy access to the information right now, but will try to get round to it later.

Music today

Monday, September 19, 2005


Deathly quiet

Is it just me, or is nobody else updating their blogs at the moment? Well, Si has, but nothing from kittenhead, nik or D for a while, now. I'll keep on at it, cos I'm a good boy, but it does seem a little strange. Maybe Si and I are alone on the infowebsuperhighway... Or maybe it's just that other people wait until they've got something interesting to say, but I just witter. Do I just witter? Answers on a postcard to: "Does Mike just witter? Blue Peter, BBC Broadcasting House, ..."

The numbers of people reading this blog seem to be rising slowly, which is strangely pleasing, in an "I'm a blog-whore" kind of a way. I'm not sure what people read it for, though. I don't really read that many blogs by non-friends, so I'm not sure what people are looking for:

If people _are_ reading this on a regular basis, I've got some questions I'd love to ask them, including:

Not quite sure why I'm feeling so democratic today, particularly as, officially, this a blog for me, and not for other people, but I'm aware that other people are reading it, so I might as well find out what people like/don't like.

Found out that our financial situation isn't quite as dire this month as I thought it was, which is a relief. Also ordered two copies of the Yale Songbook ("Songs of Yale") to do some singing over a beer or two on the ERMC course next weekend. Should be fun.

Loving "Daniel Saw the Stone" by the Mississippi Singers just now.

Music today

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Jenny's new baby

... is lovely. No name yet (though Jenny's decided on one, whe's yet to convince Jake). Had a great time with everyone: Turtle, Jen, Jake, Kate, Mac and the new baby. You forget just how teeny little babies are - and she wasn't even really that small: 6lb 12oz (though Jo was 9lb 12oz, so therefore really _quite_ big). Had a very good sleep this afternoon, too.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


The Shepherd's Pie of Lurve

Tonight, I made a shepherd's pie, and I wouldn't want anyone to be under any illusions: it's a shepherd's pie of lurve. Best of all, it should last for at least another 2 nights. Whether that means that it'll be a shepherd's pie of lurve for two other nights, who can tell. In fact, Jo may have something to say about it being a shepherd's pie of lurve tonight. And it's not as if I'm going to tell you guys and gals anyway, but hey.

Watching X-factor at the moment, and there's some excellent talent, some excellent talent (of the other type), and some real dross. Which reminds me: I don't like Elvis Costello, I really don't. And his name is misleading: Elvis is/was very good, and is/was a star (not to suggest that he's still alive). But Elvis Costello isn't. And never has been. At least with Luther van Dross the clue is/was in the name.

A good day today, as you may be able to tell. Apart from the period between 2:30-3:30 or so, Jo slept very well. I took Jo down in the morning when she woke up, and Moo slept some more. And she (Moo) even had a sleep this afternoon when I took the Jo out for a walk. We went out in the morning to Halstead (note: Jo's childseat does fit in my car, but only very just indeed) and bought some presents for Turtle and Voldy (Jenny's new baby - see blogs passim) who we're going to see tomorrow. We both did some bits and pieces during the afternoon, and Jo played like a star. Her latest trick is to make a break for the step down from the garden room. She can now crawl at speed, and you really have to be on your guard. I've tried starting to teach her that she _can_ use the step if she goes backwards, but it's a little too much to expect her to realise just yet that she needs to turn around as she reaches the step. Over the last two days, however, she's down a couple of other new things:

  1. a new type of talking - less babbling, it sounds more like real words
  2. we've got a toy thing that we're borrowing from Jen and Jake which is aimed at older children and comes with some plastic balls, which if you drop them in a hole in the toy, drop down through some holes in a jolly sort of way. We've done it lots of times, and she likes watching it, but today, she tried a couple of times to put the ball into the top hole on her own. We were astounded: she's not even 7 months old. What a genius child she is.
We're very much looking forward to seeing the new baby tomorrow, and it's particularly nice that Kate and Mac (Moo and Jen's parents, and my in-laws) will be there as well.

On Monday, I talk with Keith, my supervisor for the ERMC course who works with me on the pastoral (non-academic) to look at my "training agreement", where we come up with some areas where I can hopefully learn and grow over the next year. I hope that it's going to be an interesting evening - I'd written some notes, but left them in Moo's car, which is still being repaired, after a week dead (more below). There are a number of areas in which I know I need to grow - or would like the opportunity to do more work - working with people with mental health problems or developmental difficulties, working with offenders, working with the elderly - but I really don't know firstly how realistic these are, or even if I have any gifts in these areas. Much to discuss, certainly.

I'm not sure if I ever said what the problem is with Moo's car: the cambelt went. Unluckily, so did the (please tell me if I'm making this up, but this is what we think the garage said: we might have forgotten) cam drive shaft, cylinder heads and head gasket. Or something like that. Anyway, about 1500 quid's worth. Bugger. Arse.

Music today

Just had a thought: as it's made with beef mince, and not lamb mince, maybe it should be a cottage pie of lurve. But the whole cottaging thing isn't working for me, so I think we'll leave it there, thank you.

Friday, September 16, 2005


A hard night

We had a hard night: Jo kept waking up before we even went to bed, so Moo said that she'd bring Jo into our bed from the beginning (usually - but not always - she joins us between 3:30 and 5:30), to which I heartily agreed. After a few half-awakenings, she really surfaced around 3:00-3:30, and started burbling. This is fine in the proper morning (after 7:30 is best, but we can usually live with 5:30-6:00), but at 3:30, it was just too much. After a bit of it, I asked Moo if she could please try to get Jo back to sleep, as I really, really needed to get some sleep as I was going into work this morning.

This may not have been the right way to phrase it, but it's not always easy to think straight at that time in the morning. "What" (Moo asked when we got up at 7:30, in response to my "are you angry?") "did you think I'd been trying to do up to that point?" I really, really didn't mean to get narky or upset Moo, but I really needed to sleep in order to be able to drive into work. In the end, Moo took Jo into the spare room bed across hall (which she had to make up), although I offered to go into the bedroom over the other side of the house. And I slept pretty well, and woke up feeling considerably more refreshed than I would have done otherwise. Moo didn't, and wasn't.

It's a really hard balance to strike, and I think I probably got it wrong last night. There have been times when I've got up and let Moo have a sleep. Of course, I wouldn't pretend at all that looking after Jo isn't a full-time job, too - along with looking after the house. She's also a bit depressed by the fact that her car's not going to be repaired until at least Monday, which has meant that she's been rather stranded in the house for the past week. I'm looking forward to letting Moo get some sleep over the weekend, including, hopefully, while I drive to and from Jenny's in London to see the baby and family.

On top of it, as well, is the underlying concern that the fact that Jo isn't sleeping maybe means that we're bad parents, or failing her in some way. And sleep deprivation doesn't help the rational side of you, that knows that this is rubbish.

Oh - and we moved lots of the office round at work today. Just because, really.

Music Today

Thursday, September 15, 2005



In London for some of the day today, which was odd, as I'd not been in for ages. It rained hard, and I got bored of "spot the terrorist" games, particularly as, on the way in, I was carrying quite a large box on the tube (filled with shirts, as it happened), so decided that eyeing people suspiciously was more likely to get me in trouble than them, as I probably looked quite shifty. It was the first time I'd been into London since the July bombings, but it didn't feel particularly different to me: I suspect that people have had time to settle down a bit. And lots of people were looking a bit miserable because of the rain, and I think that, rather than suspicion and fear, was the main motivating emotion in our nation's capital today (why does that phrase sound so (US) American?).

So, why "catch-up" as a title? Just because I've not done much blogging recently, mainly because I've been very tired on getting back from work, and not grabbed a few minutes over lunch, for instance, to do anything at work. I thought I'd try to write something a bit longer than usual, and even to do some theology. Or, at least, to do some theological reflection.

The obvious thing to reflect on would be Suzy's death and, of course, the birth of Jenny's baby. Let's start with Suzy's death. From a personal point of view, although there is sadness, the major feeling is of settled-ness. We had some fantastic times with her, she helped keep me sane when I was unemployed, she was there for cuddles and walks when Moo was having problems getting pregnant with Jo, and generally being there for all the time we had her. And we took her on after she'd already been rehomed once and they'd rejected her: before that, she'd been thrown out of a car in Chelmsford. So our job was to give her a happy home, and I think we did that. No - I'm sure we did that: she loved going for walks, seeing us when we came home, and just sitting with us and the baby. That's not very theological though: what is there to mull over on this score? For me, not much. There's the old chestnut of whether dogs go to heaven, but that's a no-brainer. Quite what my views are on a "literal" heaven are, I'm sure I'll get to on another occasion, but if:

  1. heaven is the fulfilment of all that we love, then there will be dogs in my heaven, and as I don't believe that any true, loving relationship can be towards a "foil" - a shell which represents something which isn't really there - then dogs will be there, too. I'm not into solipsism.
  2. we on earth strive towards the Kingdom of God, and our earthly environment is a poor reflection of what the Kingdom of Heaven can be, then all that which is good on this earth is a (pale) reflection of that Kingdom. Does this mean that heaven contains things which some feel are bad, things which harm people - even people who harm others? Well, without getting too literal, yes, it does. Wasps are in heaven. People I fear are in heaven. And people within whom I cannot begin to see the good are there, too.
That got rather deeper than I'd thought it might, but that's good.

What about the birth of Jenny's child? She's a godsend, particularly as for a long time it looked like Jenny and Jake wouldn't have one child, let alone two. I don't tie her birth to Suzy's death, other than God sending us some joy when we were sad. I'm not into the transmigration of souls at the best of times (!): reincarnation is not a Christian concept, let alone from animals to humans.

So, I've managed to do some catching-up. What's still around to do? Here are a few things I need to sort:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Another niece

Congratulations to Jenny, my sister-in-law, and Jake, her partner, who had a baby girl this morning. She was born around 0530, at home, in a birthing pool, after a full-on labour of about 6 hours (though things started to happen on Saturday). When we spoke to Jen at 0635 this morning, the baby hadn't been weighed - nor has she been named. As Turtle (real name Aurora) took days to have a name, Moo came up with the nickname Voldemort ("She Who Must Not Be Named") for now (though I wonder if it should be "Voldemorte" for a girl?). We hope to go and see them on Sunday, and it's all very exciting.

Music today

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


BBC Look East - evacuated?

Just watching BBC Look East, and suddenly, sirens came on. They finished the report they were on early, and then gave us the BBC London feed! The poor presenter didn't look very happy: hope they're all OK.


Non-Ashes things

...probably won't be appearing for a while, since the "having-won-the-Ashes-feeling" doesn't seem to be going anywhere too soon. Bad luck.

Had a great IM with an old friend from school today on skype called Kim. She lives in Norway, and ought to have been revising, but was writing some (rather dark!) stories instead. And chatting to me. She was one of the first really good friends I had who was a woman (well, maybe I thought "girl" at the time) - never a girlfriend, but just a friend who was (is!) female. She's very short, but not as short as Moo (in fact, she's a giant a 5'1"!), and she's with a bloke called Frode (who just got back home to discover that she wasn't revising...

Anyway, it's been a while since I put in much that was specifically theological, but I'm still reading the Postmodern Bible, and am now on "Ideological criticism", which resonates very strongly with me. I'm sure I'll have lots to say about it when I've finished.

By the way, finally got some more pictures of Jo up on her page, including last pictures of Suzy, taken the week before she died.


We've _still_ won the Ashes

This morning was a little like waking up to discover that the Berlin Wall was still down: we've still won the Ashes. Fantastic. Phoned our friend Catherine in Australia last night to gloat. Which was also fun. More later, probably, but just felt the need to blog this.

Monday, September 12, 2005



Last time, I was 17. And I remember the 1981 series, which was known as the best ever series up to this year, which has superseded it. I was 10/11, and really to into cricket for the first time, with James, my brother. We bought score books, and followed the games, filling them in as we went. Kevin Pietersen - what a guy!

We had some of the guys from Aarhus, our Danish HQ over today, and we spent a good hour explaining the ins and outs (or the innings and outs) of test match cricket to one of them. How much of it took, I couldn't say, but it was a gripping day, and it was a huge relief when our Internet connection at work finally got sorted, which meant that I could get ball-by-ball updates from the BBC webpages, and even listen to TMS (Test Match Special) streaming from Radio 4 longwave.

To our Australian cousins: a-haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! (At last, obviously) Sorry, Catherine, but if you _do_ come to the UK in the next week or so, you're not going to have a good time. We'll be very pleased to see you, of course, and we'll be lovely to you, but you're going to get lots and lots of stick. Sorry, m'dear.

To our American (US) cousins: no, it's not like baseball. It's much more complicated, much more tactical, much more strategic, and you can still have a draw after 5 days of play, and it can be gripping despite that.

And here's a thought. Rugby World Champions. We beat the Australians to get this, and it's their (second) favourite sport. And we have the Ashes. We beat the Australians to get this, and it's their (first) favourite sport.

On a more serious point, people have been lovely about Suzy, both online and at home, and we really appreciate the love people have shown.

Music today

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Recovery day

A quiet day today, recovering from yesterday. Watched the end of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (and all the extras), which we'd been watching on Saturday night. Si, D and Morgan came around with cakes and chocolate in the afternoon, and we visited the church flower show (really) with James, Claudia and Stella (who's _tiny_!) and their friend Sophie. Some tears through the day, of course, as we cleared things up. And the vet came in the morning to take away the body to be cremated. Sad, but we're getting on.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Suzy's dead

Suzy died tonight, in her favourite place in the hall, quickly, painlessly, in my arms. She's been a part of the family for so long, and helped us through some hard times. Now she can have all the pig's ears she wants, cuddle up with us whenever she needs to, and chase the cats, who won't mind. Bye-bye, Suzy, I love you.


0130 pickup

Yup. That's when people finally got their arses in gear: 4 hours after we broke down. We're now finally in a people carrier taxi (they first sent a small one which we wouldn't all have got in, even though I'd tried to explain about the size of the dog). The car should follow later: it was too much to ask to do it in one go, it appears. Our driver is a very nice Pakistani guy who has been delighting in telling us about his gambling habit (his wife thinks he's stopped, so don't mention it), the size of his (various) mortgages here and abroad, and the problems he sometimes has with his stomach after "1s and 2s". Nice bloke, if somewhat disconcerting. I'd be happier if he wore the seat-belt, but hey. We should be home by around 4, so time to try for a kip. G'night.

Friday, September 09, 2005



(Note - for some reason, this didn't get processed, so I'm backdating it from the morning after).

As I was driving Moo's car along the A43 at about 2130, on the way to my parents, I felt the engine start to lose power. I managed to get it to the near side lane and then to a happily situated layby, and that's where we are now, at 2310. We phoned the RAC (so glad we renewed our membership recently) and, as we have a small baby in the car (Moo, Jo, Suzy and I are all here) they got to us in around 50 minutes. The guy couldn't do anything with the car, so we're waiting for a recovery truck. Phoned my folks to tell them we wouldn't be joining them, obviously. And be thankful for mobile phones, cos I know I am.

We'd hoped for a truck within 30 minutes, and if it's much longer I'm going to ring them again. Luckily, Moo managed to get Jo to sleep, but you wonder how long that will last, and I'm a little worried about the dog if this continues. I'm going to post this now, and hope that I don't get many more chances to send these emails from my phone before we get home.


More cricket

Well, it could have got better, but at least we got more than 350. In fact, at least we got more than 200. I've been at home again, with the cricket on most of the day in the background (generally with the sound off). Work's got more busy, which is good, and so I've not had the chance to even to glance at it today.

Rather than having to clear up dog shit this morning, it was a dead rat (nearly decapitated) that the cats had left on the living room carpet. Nice morning welcome from the cats. Liberranter: you were right, but at least it wasn't hidden somewhere to fester.

I'm reading some more of the Postmodern Bible (see blogs passim) - I'm on to feminist and womanist criticism. I'd not come across a good definition (see Alice Walker's longer one, which I can't find online right now) of womanism before, and although I was aware of tensions (predominantly in the States) between classic feminism (seen as very white and middle-class) and the experience of black women, the chapter I'm currently reading has been very useful in this regard. Feminism is very good at highlighting power relationships (particularly gender-based ones) within communities and texts, and I'm enjoying this section. The womanist argument is that classic feminism too often concentrates on the gender-related problems and ignores some of the others (particularly those based on colour (sic!) and race). Oh, and have you ever read Hosea 1-3? Scary, scary.

Long journey this weekend to my parents. Hope the dog and baby cope all right...

Music recently I've not been listening to music via gnump3d much recently, so I've not kept a full record. However, here are a few things:

Thursday, September 08, 2005



I was working from home today, as our Internet access at work was a bit ropey (see yesterday's entry), which meant that I could sit with my laptop on my knee and the cricket on. 319's not too bad, but 7 wickets really is a pain. We need to keep the scoring up tomorrow in the first session. It would be a pity to have to rely on the weather to give us a draw (which would allow us to win the Ashes), but we might just have to.

According to Peter, my boss, our Internet access is better today, so I'll be going in tomorrow. If it turns out not to be OK, I'll be coming back home, where I now have 2meg down, and 512k up. Work's only 1meg symmetric, I believe, so unless I've got lots of stuff to send, then I'm better here from an online point of view.

Jo doesn't want to go to sleep tonight. She's been to bed, and that really didn't work, so she's down. She's very tired, but that's the way she's decided it's going to be. She'll go down to sleep at some point. But for now, she's sitting up next to me wondering which of the laptop keys will yield the most interesting results (which may include choice language if she's very successful).


New hosting company

I've moved to a new hosting company today: So far, it's been desparately easy, and the DNS updates propagated (for me at least) in under 10 minutes, which is astonishing/lucky. Hopefully this will update to the new server and all will be well.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Withdrawal symptoms

Getting into work took nearly three quarters of an hour longer than usual today, as the (temporary) traffic lights on the Milton Interchange from the A14 had died, and noone was letting people on the slip-road from the West-bound A14 onto the roundabout. Not that you care about the details, but take it from me, it was very dull. (Note to self - how often have I used the word "dull" in this blog so far? Si reckons it's a defining Mike word - so much so that he's started using it, to his chagrin - but I don't _think_ I've used it much so far.) When I did get into work, around 0950, I was still one of the first. Got my machine up and running. Changed the default route, as the normal route is pretty much down due to a Cisco box failing, and all was pretty much fine. Then changed the default route for a couple of cow-orkers (yes, it's intentional - do a google on it), and people started to trickle in.

All was well on this route for a while, until things started to get a bit treacly. Slow, slowww, sloowwwwwwwer. By lunchtime, it was pretty much unusable, and I was pleased that I wasn't expecting any important emails, and that I had a document to write which didn't require access to the Internet, as I had all the relevant information locally. But after a while, not being able to just check slashdot, knowing that all my IM contacts were down, not being able to send off a quick email: they all started to get to me. It was nice in a way, but it's amazing how cut off you feel if you're in a context where you _expect_ to be online, but aren't. I'm actually quite good at being on holiday without Internet access, or being out of touch for a while, but it's weird in the context of work. I'm young enough (and have been in the right sort of jobs) that since I left university, I've always been in employment in places where having Internet access is the norm, and being without has been a cause for (sometimes considerable) concern. I've generally managed to steer clear enough of system admin roles that I'm not expected to be the one to fix these sort of problems, but tried to keep close enough to the people who are fixing them that I can get information and provide the odd bit of help from time to time. People who know me may well say "help? Huh!" or similar, but a combination of knowing what's going on at the technical level and generally running a Linux box with enough useful tools that I can do some diagnostics from a "standard" user's perspective can provide a little non-hindering-type assistance (hopefully).

It got to the stage that people were going home early in order to have some Internet access, while some people (myself included) started using 3G phones/cards to access the Internet, which was fine. Rather geeky, but if your boss does it first, then fine, I guess. I was the only one doing it via Linux, though... Oh, but I'm a sad geek.


Not quite the point

Me (kneeling down with a cloth and a bowl of bleach, clearing up the remnants of the dog's problems from last night, and trying to instil a sense of communal living in the household): So, Jo: what you see is that it's a family enterprise.
Moo (feeding baby): Yes. If you shit on the floor, Daddy'll clear it up.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Finding a voice

Yesterday, I had a meeting (session?) with my spiritual director, John, in Bury St Edmunds. As an ordinand, you're strongly encouraged to find someone who isn't attached to your course/college, to whom you can talk about your spiritual life/growth, and who has no reporting relationship with anyone else. They're supposed, I think, to help you explore and deal with issues around spirituality and your own Christian life which aren't explicitly academic (for which you have a tutor) or pastoral (for which you have a local ordained supervisor). The course will keep an eye on your spiritual development, of course, but it's considered useful to have someone who's out of the loop to whom you can go from time to time, and who can give you some guidance. After a couple of false starts over the past two years, I've settled with John, who was a tutor of mine when I read theology at university (I was at King's College, Cambridge, and spent two of the four years I was there doing the theology tripos Part II). We've kept vaguely in touch, and he was one of the first people I went to see when I started down the road to ordination. I respect him, value his wisdom, and know that I can talk at all levels with him. I was very pleased when he agreed to be my spiritual director, and yesterday was my first official session (we'd had a preliminary one a couple of months ago, and had to cancel one when I was ill).

As I see the process of writing this blog as part of my theological reflection, and it's intended to take at least part of the place of a journal, we had quite a long chat about it, and at the end of the session, I gave him the URL so that he can look at it (and maybe even comment - who knows?) - hi, John! We talked about a bunch of things, including (in no particular order):

What we talked about most, however, was why I was writing this, and not a private journal. You're encouraged by the course (ERMC) to write a journal in order to record issues and be able to have something to return to and share with others (including staff) on the course from time to time. I decided to write this, instead - or at least as well as. I expect that from time to time I may want to record some thoughts privately, but so far, I've not felt the need, and I've tried to be honest about things here. I don't think I'm trying to hide from creating a personal journal: more, as I tried to explain, it's because I've tried it before, and I've never really found a voice that I'm happy with when I'm writing privately: a voice that feels like me. However, when I'm writing this, I sort of know who I'm writing for. It's for friends, but also for the person I think I'd probably be if I were outside the church, looking in. Hopefully receptive to ideas, but wanting detail and honest discussion. He wonders whether I am avoiding it, because I find it hard to find a voice, and whether that lack of voice for myself (as opposed to the voice that I can find to address other people, even if they are, to a large extent, "posited" people, and not specific people I'm addressing - an "ideal" audience, in other words) should be an issue about which to be concerned. This led on from - and back into - a discussion of how I find my position as a corporate Christian easier, at some times, than as an individual. Clearly, the individual side of my relationship with God is important, and if this is a symptom of a paucity in this area, it's to be watched.

An interesting evening, anyway. Today's been fairly standard - went to have a talk with someone at CacheLogic this afternoon, which is unlikely to lead to any commercial collaborations, but might lead to a paper or two, which would be good.

Music Today

Monday, September 05, 2005


And it threw it down (by "it", do you mean your father?)

Big rain this morning, thunder, lightning, the lot. First serious rain we've had a for a while, and quite a nice change. Made for interesting driving conditions, and meant that I didn't get to work as early as I'd have liked, given that I left the house rather earlier than usual. Suzy doesn't like thunder very much, and has been known to go up the stairs to my office on nights when we've had a big storm (she's shut over that side in the breakfast room, where her bed is), but she's never, ever tried to get up the stairs on the other side, to where our bedroom is: it's off-limits, she knows that, and has never pushed it. Moo phoned me this morning, however, to say that Suzy had gone up three times and had to be brought down. In the end, Moo worked it out: it wasn't just that Suzy was upset, but that she wanted to be with Jo, who was upstairs that side. She clearly felt that her fear and the rules that she's learnt, were less important than protecting the baby, which is fantastic, and very sweet.

Suzy's not so great at the moment: she's very panty, which was a symptom she was displaying before she got very ill. She doesn't seem to be having problems with abdominal distension this time, so the diuretics are working their magic, and the continence medication means that she's "leaking" less now, which is good for us and will keep her happier, but the panting is worrying. To start with, it was just in the evenings, but it's throughout the day now. She's off to see the vets on Wednesday again, who will hopefully be able to shed some light on things. It's hard not knowing how bad things are, and what we should be doing, but she seems fairly happy (now that the thunder has subsided, anyway), and not in any pain.

I'm reading an article on psychoanalytical biblical criticism (in the most excellent book The Postmodern Bible, which deals with a variety of different types of criticism which are, loosely, postmodern, including structuralist, post-structuralist, reader-response, feminist, womanist and ideological), and I'd forgotten how so much of Freud's original writing is both hugely insightful and a load of arse. More recent readings of his work take the view that his corpus should be read from a psychological viewpoint itself: i.e. that its own content should be subjected to the same critical tools that he is trying to apply to _his_ subjects, a never-ending circle, of course. This makes it more bearable, but some of the stuff he comes out with is just so far off the mark. But he gave us so much, too - a new view onto what it is to be human - and just writing him off is, in my view, very short-sighted. But you _really_ have to filter it!

First day in a new job for my brother (Jim) today: good luck (though I don't think he reads this)!

Music Today

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Well, the service seemed to go well - only five in the congregation, including me, whch means that none of you reading this blog came along. Well, I'm not surprised, but I'm obviously hurt.

Had a lovely day today - went for a nice walk around Birdbrook after a lunch in the Plough Inn there. Jo's doing more and more: telling us when she wants to listen to music (looking at the hi-fi expectantly until we turn it on), making choices (we offer her food or water, and she'll reach towards one or the other), asking to be picked up for a cuddle, and just being fantastic. We're happy, happy people.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Not Ghost Dog

Watching the marvellous Office Space. I'd forgotten what a fantastic film it is, and how much it makes me laugh. "Cover for the new TPS report"... "You do want to express yourself, don't you?"

Oh, and the red stapler. Of course.

And the great guy from Scrubs (John C. McGinley "Bob Slydell"). Who seems to have taken part of his Scrubs character from Bill Lumbergh, Peter's manager. I'm really sorry if you've not seen this film, but you really, really should.

I'm really looking forward to preaching, and I'm not expecting to use any notes this time: I've found that the thoughts I've been putting down for this blog have really helped me to form what I want to say. I'll be about the hurricane, about our unworthiness to make ethical judgements, and about discrimination, and about suffering. I may end up making a few notes, but at the moment, that's not the plan. We'll see how it goes.

Jo's been lovely today, the weather's been great, and I had a couple of naps. A good, good day. And thanks to Tosha for her comments yesterday. Keep the comments coming, folks.

Ghost Dog

Oh, and did I mention that the best film of all time is possibly Ghost Dog? I'm not sure I did. It rocks, dude. You can see some other great films in my profile. But Ghost Dog is _so_ good.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Dog, hurricane, stuff

Today, we went to the vets with Suzy, not expecting to take her back. She's become increasingly incontinent (urine only) - i.e. she's peeing a lot. There's clearly nothing she can do about it, and it's not such a big deal (though we've been using the washing machine more and more over the past few days for her bedding), but she was getting a bit upset by it, and, more importantly, we were concerned that it might be a symptom of kidney failure, which is always a problem when a lot of diuretics are at work. So, we went to the vets, and met two other Newfoundlands (and owners) there, and had to wait quite a long time, trying not to get too wound up, until we could be seen. The good news is that the vet we saw has seen other Newfs with similar problems who have lived for quite a long time, and feels that if we balance the diuretics with some other medicine to increase her continence, she should be able to carry on quite well for a while. So, having steeled ourselves for a difficult decision, it was a huge relief not to have to make it. My boss, Peter, was very understanding (partly due to his having had dogs before, I suspect), and everyone at work seemed pleased to hear that she's fine.

The news on the South of the US continues to get worse. The breakdown of law and order, the deprivation, the homelessness and the suffering continue to escalate, and with the eyes of the Developed World watching, we're drawn closer and closer to the problems. I'm going to step even further away from my initial posting on this subject, and acknowledge a couple of points that have come up. The first is that it's become increasingly clear that the entirety of New Orleans needs to be evacuated, and that no country can shift upwards of a million people in the space of a few days. The other was brought to my attention by the Chairman of the Black Caucus in the US Senate (I believe - he was interviewed on Radio 4's Today Programme), who pointed out that the people least able to respond to an evacuation order are the poor, who (at least in this part of the US) are black, and that they are suffering disproportionately. Due to lack of thought on my part, the relative suffering of the more/less privileged in society hadn't occurred to me. Obviously, there has been a lot of leveling, but again, as law breaks down, the weak, the poor - and, often, women - are particularly at risk. We are hearing of murders and rapes - even in the stadium used to house people temporarily - and it's astonishing to think how close we are to a life which, according to Thomas Hobbes, at least, is "nasty, brutish and short".

On the upside, there was a fantastic interview on the PM Programme with a woman whose brother owns a huge retail store in Houston, Texas, which they're throwing open to evacuees. She'd been awake for 48 hours, and when the interviewer asked her when she was going to get to sleep, she nearly broke down in tears about how she can't bear to see children, old people and all the others suffering. He'd earlier queried her use of the word "neighbours" (though she would probably have spelled it without the "u") to refer to these people, and she was having none of it. She didn't mention religion once, which, for some reason, seemed to give her comments all the more dignity, and I couldn't help but think that this was a perfect example of Christian charity, by people who might be of any religion, or none. The Good Samaritan steps forward at times like these, and it is thanks for stories like this that we should be offering up with/as our prayers, not rebuke to God.

Welcome to liberranter, who visited from Washington, D.C. and left a good long comment. (A quick aside: I don't have a huge amount of experience in locking down Debian, but I'd look at the SELinux debian packages if I were you, and learn to roll your own kernels if you don't already. I'll see if there's anything else I can think of at some point). He mentioned that they're seeing refugees turning up in Washington, D.C., which is really a long way from Louisiana and Mississippi (which even I knew!). His view is also that the relief effort has been badly mismanaged. We're beginning to get some reporting of criticisms over here, now, but most of the coverage has been on the aid effort itself and, of course, the suffering that people are enduring.

A company called Cachelogic have recently moved into the same building as us at Cryptomathic on the Science Park in Cambridge. They do some groovy stuff transparently caching popular p2p files (see here and here (pdf) for an introduction to file-sharing and my pages for some thoughts on the trust issues). They boast that because they use transparent IP techniques (their products are aimed at ISPs), p2p users can't "opt out" - but neither do they need to opt in. I began thinking about whether p2p users would _want_ to opt out, and I think that for the current file-sharing model, they probably wouldn't (though I can think of ways in which they could, actually, but that's another story). But what about third party attacks? What if the RIAA wanted to disrupt the service, for instance? I need to think about these issues, but I like what CacheLogic are doing, and it generally feels like a "win-win" scenario for both ISPs and p2p file-sharers.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


More hurricane

D's first day "at work" today (though the pupils don't arrive until Monday). Hopefully it's all gone swimmingly, and we might meet up for a drink this evening (as P isn't with them tonight).

I've been thinking about what I wrote about the hurricane yesterday. It's becoming clear that it was a greater disaster than I'd initially realised, and I'm feeling somewhat guilty about what I wrote in the first paragraph. I suppose that this rather underlines the importance of what I later said about God seeing all tragedies, and not judging them on size. In fact, it underlines the fact that we, as humans, cannot judge, and can only gift up our prayers to God, who will know, and understand. I'm sorry if I sounded rather judgemental in the first paragraph, but am feeling suitably chastened, and will probably preach on the subject on Sunday morning. Come along, if you like, it's in Stambourne church, in Essex (search on "Stambourne, CO9, Essex" on google maps) at 0930am.

After some thought, I've decided to add this blog to a blog aggregator. The most appropriate one seemed to be this one, listing UK God blogs on Quantum Tea. Don't know if it will lift the numbers of people visiting or not. If you do visit, I'm always interested to hear your views: please feel free to use the comment facility below.

Oh, Jo's started pulling herself upright from sitting this morning, so it's probably a good thing that we lowered the base on her cot yesterday so that she won't be able to throw herself out of it if she stands up. We're trying to live by the wise dictum from one of our midwives: "accidents happen because babies do things for the first time."

Music Today

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