Wednesday, October 31, 2007


First Aid/Emergency First Responder

I was at a restaurant (The Plough in Coton, as it happens) for lunch today, for work, when somebody went outside. They were choking, and the staff were looking a little flustered. I offered my services for First Aid. After asking the woman concerned, who was in some distress, I performed the Heimlich Manoeuvre. She made an odd noise, and was immediately fine. Amazing: it works. She was very thankful, and went straight back to her lunch. Nice to help out.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007



Did an assembly at Long Melford primary school today, on caring. Started the kids singing anything they wanted, all at the same time ("I don't care what you sing"). That fell apart, as expected. Then got them all to sing "Twinkle, twinkle little star" all together, at whatever speed and volume they wanted. Ditto. Then asked them to listen to each other, and work together. That did it, although I was ready to conduct them and lead it if needs be. They did very well, and it was a clear and obvious message, and went down well. Ian, my supervisor, seemed happy.

More following up of stuff for work, which seems to be going well.

Oh, and Moo's started knitting. We're both sitting in front of the TV watching Spooks.

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Monday, October 29, 2007



Having all sorts of problems with Compiz on one of my machines. Spent too much time during the day playing with it, and had to spend extra time in the evening making up the time doing some proper work. Didn't just play with compiz - work stuff too, mainly catching up with stuff from last week while I was in Canada.


Sunday, October 28, 2007


More theology

On the way back from Greenstead Green church with Jo and Miri, decided to address the question of Jesus' flying (see Friday's entry). Went into omnipresence (Jesus doesn't really fly, but he's everywhere): could have gone worse. Then addressed Jesus' dying, and coming back. ("Why?" "Because He loves us: Jesus is God, and he loves everyone.") Went back into omnipresence. "He's everywhere, but you can't see Him." Pause. "I can see God: he's over there." (Jo points at a field).

I have some more work to do.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007


Giggle Factory

We went to the Giggle Factory in Sudbury today with Jo. Had a great time, and met loads of Jo's friends from pre-school, and an old friend from swimming/ante-natal class. Then popped round to Mel's house (saw Dean, met Mel's mum), then Waitrose, then home. Walk with the dog - Jo walked all the way, and didn't complain at all. She's done really, really well today, and the fact that she slept all the way through last night was great. We've now put a night-light in her room on a timer, which should turn on at 0600. We can always move that on a bit...

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Friday, October 26, 2007



(backposting) A conversation between Jo and Moo today:
Jo: Mummy, you know Jesus?
Moo: Um, yes?
Jo: He does a lot of flying around now he's dead, doesn't he?
Moo: Does he?
Jo: Yes, he's always buzzing around everywhere. Like a fly.
Moo: I'd ask your dad about that.

I have some work to do.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007


Tomorrow already

According to my laptop, it's already tomorrow. Which means, I suppose, that I'll be home today. My laptop's on UK time, my watch is on East Coast time, and, to be honest, I'm not quite sure which one I'm one - leaning towards the latter, I think. It's never much fun coming back eastwards - the jetlag hits your harder - but hopefully it won't be too bad this time.

I've had a productive trip, all in all, and though one of the tasks I'd hoped to achieve was less successful than I'd hoped, the other went very well, and I've got lots of other things done as well, which is always pleasing. I've got lots of writing up and new work to do when I get home, so that'll keep me pretty busy.

I've spent some time this evening responding to a document discussing some of the legal issues around services in SecondLife, which is quite exciting. I was also very touched to be invited to the ordination of a good friend. Unluckily it's in New Zealand next month, so I don't think I'm going to get the chance to attend, which is a pity.

On a geeky note, I've just managed to install compiz on my laptop, which rocks. Lots of lovely 3D desktop effects, etc. which I'm looking forward to applying to my desktop machine at home as well. There are some performance problems which I need to address, but that's all part of the fun: tuning is definitely part of the deal.

Well, on a plane soon, then home.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007



Hallowe'en (or just "Halloween"). As if we Christians didn't have enough issues to split us into multiple camps as it is: homosexuality, women priests, women bishops, the hymn/song debate, the Filioque issue, robes or no robes, the appropriateness of pebbles in worship... But Hallowe'en is another one, and it's interesting because it seems to create different fracture lines to some of the other issues. Although you can guess where some people are likely to go on it (most conservative Evangelicals would be against celebrating it, for instance, in my experience), others who you might think would have strong views don't. And vice versa.

But it's one of those issues on which people feel that they _ought_ to have strong views, and it's an issue which has been raising its head more in the UK than it did, say, 10 years ago. This is because the retail sector (read "supermarkets", mainly) have realised that there's a big, big buck to be made from selling costumes and food and accoutrements to children and their parents. That and because it's a major cultural event in the US which we've picked up on from their media.

So, why do people think that they ought to have a view on it? Well, for Christians, the view that's been fed by the strongly anti-Hallowe'en brigade is that it's a celebration of darkness and evil which is linked to a pagan past and which is inherently un-Christian. I can kind of see this, although I'd come back with the contention that at least we're remembering a Christian festival here (albeit possibly levered into a pre-Christian consciousness of spirits and animus-worship). All Hallows' Eve is about remembering all those who've died in the faith, and that's a good thing. Looking at the dark side is less so, I agree, and there are dangers there, but for most people - and certainly most kids, and that's where lots of the concern arises, I suspect - the dark side (evil) really isn't what's being celebrated. The best type of "trick or treating" (which most of us in the UK seem to have missed) is about families having fun and bonding with other people in their community in a joint community pursuit - of which, God knows, we have too few.

That's not to say that I'm entirely happy about it, and in particular about the blatant commercialisation of (yet another) Christian festival, but I think that Hallowe'en exists as an education opportunity, rather than as a ranting opportunity, and that's where I'd like to start the debate from a Christian standpoint. I look forward to reading what my fellow synchrobloggers have to say on the subject: I do hope they're not all as woolly liberal as I am...


Today is a "synchroblog" on the subject of "Christianity and Paganism". If you've liked what you read here, or, more particularly, if you didn't, and you'd like to read some other opinions, please visit one of the other participating blogs:

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007



(backposting) I wasn't sure how much work I was going to get done today, as things ended up being less prepared than I'd thought, but in the end, it went rather well. There are a whole set of skills and a lot of expertise from previous jobs that I've not had a chance to use much in my current job, and that changed today, which was very pleasing. I was basically acting as a security consultant to a variety of people within the organisation who wanted to have a broader picture of how what they are working on fits into the wider world and security context, and it was lots of fun trying to work with them on that. Tomorrow I'm giving a talk on auditing, which I see as connected, and 34 people have already signed up, which is a good number.

Went out of dinner with a couple of colleagues, and had a very enjoyable Chinese.

Oh - slept for 9 hours last night, somewhat to Moo's chagrin.

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Monday, October 22, 2007



(backposting) Off to Toronto today. A later flight than usual, so no need to pack last night, but things got a little frantic in the end. Someone was coming to pick me up at 1000, and I ended up packing rather later than I'd intended. And I could _not_ find the book that I needed to take. I was aware that I'd not seen it for a while, but was pretty sure that I'd left it in my suitcase, but when I opened it up, it was nowhere to be found. Moo (and even Jo...) helped look for it, but I had to leave around 1010 without it, rather more stressed than I'd intended.

Easy drive to Heathrow, where I checked in, with an upgrade voucher meaning that I'd get to go in Business Class. Flight fine - watched Surf's Up, most of Sunshine (until it got a little too scary) and Ocean's Thirteen. Landed, through customs, went to pick up my hire car, opened one of the secondary zipped up compartments of my suitcase, and there was the book that I'd been stressing over. Oh, well.

Usual hotel, all well, food, evensong, bed.

Oh, I'm re-reading Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, as I've not read it for a while.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007



(backposting) Went to Gosfield church this morning with Jo, to their Harvest Festival family service. Around 100 people there, lots of kids, and Jo was up for lots of participation. It didn't matter that she didn't know the actions (or, indeed, the words) to the song that was sung at the front, we had to go up there anyway. And we might not have brought any food with us (I hadn't realised that it was their Harvest Festival), but she was definitely going to go to the back and take a pack of biscuits up to the altar. We had a good time, and she stuck with it very well.

Walk with Moo, Jo, Miri and Buster in the afternoon, and then swimming with Jo. I made a shepherd's pie for supper, and we watched some TV to finish the day.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007


Quote of the day

Me: that video referee needs lynching. [pause] In a loving, Christian kind of a way, obviously.

It was such a try. And we might not have won, but we'd have been in it.


Friday, October 19, 2007



I don't often comment on politics on this blog, but a couple of things have just presented such a stark contrast over the past few days that I thought I would. Compare the posturings of the Liberal Democratic party (who I'd probably vote for if they could get a bit of a life and drop their ridiculous insistence on Proportional Representation - just look where it got Germany recently) with what's just happened in Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto may not be perfect - in many ways - but when I turned on the news this morning and saw what had happened, I was proud to turn to Jo when a picture of Bhutto came on the screen and say, "That, Jo, is a brave woman." Not to mention, of course, the 130+ people who died, many of whom were unarmed "bodyguards" who were surrounding her armoured coach. God be with them and their families.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007



Next week, I'm in Mississauga (our Canadian HQ), and I'm due to give a presentation to anyone who wants to come. I've chosen the topic "Getting Paid to be Evil: the joy of audit", because auditing can be fun, and creative. And you get a chance to be evil by trying to work out how to break other people's stuff, but you don't have to fix it. Lots of fun. So today I wrote the presentation. There will be references to Sneakers, Spooks, Cryptonomicon and Hackers in it. Just because I can, and I'm a sad geek.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Carbon footprint

(backposting) Luckily, I've hardly left the house recently on business or for any other reason, as otherwise I'd be feeling rather bad about the fact that I drove to London City airport this morning, caught a plane at 1035, arrived at Zurich airport, had a meeting in the airport, and flew back, arriving around 1800, and getting home some time after 1920.

Useful meeting, but all a bit weird, to be honest.

Jo seems to be getting the sleeping-in-her-own-bed-all-night thingy. Good. Now, if we can get Miri better from her cold, we'll be nearly there.

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More -ve

(backposting) Woke up at 0130. Finished vomiting at 0630. Water, followed by weak Ribena, and a single piece of lightly buttered toast in the evening. At least Jo's better.


Monday, October 15, 2007


-ve, +ve

-ve: Jo's been sick this evening. Asleep now.

+ve: I've got Alien Arena 2007 working on my box at 1600x1200. Nice. And free, of course.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007


Trying something new

Today I took two services, one at Little Yeldham, and one at Great Yeldham. I did the same thing both times, something I'd not tried before, and with which I was very pleased. I was a little worried, as it was so new - and something that neither congregation is used to - but it went very well, I think. A few negative comments, but from the quarters I would have expected, so I'm not overly worried about that.

The general plan was the same for both churches:

Quite a few people loved it, at least one hated it, but I was very pleased with how it went overall. One comment from both churches was that they'd like to have a little more of a sermon to react to, discuss and think about, and I'll try to do that at some point. Next time, we're combining the two congregations into one service: that'll be the 2nd Sunday of December, if anyone fancies coming.


I took Jo swimming today, and she had some problems getting her swimming costume on: "bugger," she said, matter-of-factly. I had to tell her off, and explain that it's a rude word that we don't usee. And, when we got home, I had to tell her mother off, who's been known to use at home, and who I'm had to tell off just this morning...

Looks like we're going to be playing South Africa in the final of the Rugby World Cup next weekend.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007



That was one of Johnny's off days. And we're still through.



Anniversary (and mensi-versary)

15 years ago today, Moo and I officially started going out. We'd known each other for a couple of weeks, and were getting closer, so we decided to "make it official". Moo was only in her first term at Jesus College (I was in my third year at King's), and it wasn't a move that was met with complete approval, particularly by her elder sister Jen (also a third year). In four months (to the day), we were engaged, though we kept it secret from pretty much everyone (including Moo's family) for nearly a year). We got married about 2 and a half years later, in King's College chapel, and haven't looked back.

Miri is also exactly 6 months old today. Crawling quite confidently backwards, sitting up (once placed in that position) unaided, two teeth, very chatty, very happy, and loves her little sister to bits.


Today, my brother Jim and I went to Silverstone (we stayed overnight with Alan and Chris, his parents-in-law last night), and did the Lotus Experience there. It was brilliant. What cars! We had a briefing, an initial 4 laps with an instructor, a short break, and then another 5 laps with the instructor (faster and more confident this time), a lap with the instructor driving (_much_ faster!), and then a quick debrief. I loved it - Jim preferred the lap when he was being driven - and I can really see the point. 100+ miles an hour round the track - braking _hard_ for the corners, beginning to get the racing line. I'd love to do it again. Then back home.

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Friday, October 12, 2007



Jo (on coming home with Moo after being out for a bit): "Daddy, did you tidy up?"
Me: "Yes."
Jo: "WOW!"


Thursday, October 11, 2007



1900 is officially too late to go for a walk with the dog in the country. Without a torch. And a very black dog. But we had a lovely time, and he really enjoyed it, as did I. Who needs light, huh? I chose a walk I know very well, and which doesn't have too much walking under trees, and I could pretty much see most of the time.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Humour and theology

At the time of posting, Google searches on the phrases "if God had meant us to laugh" and "if Jesus had meant us to laugh" bring up no hits. I'm not sure whether this should be considered good news or bad. Neither am I sure why I'm wasting my time on such research...

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Very tired

So once Jo was off to pre-school, had a sleep. Much better.


Monday, October 08, 2007



It's been on the cards for a couple of days, but Miri started crawling today. Not very fast. Not very convincingly, but there was definite movement. So, Miri's officially crawling.



Sunday, October 07, 2007


Infant Communion

I've never felt even vaguely happy about infant communion. Although I realise that there's an argument to say that it's good to involve children early on, and not to leave them out of a particular part of the service, but I've always taken the view that you shouldn't be taking communion until you're of an age to understand the seriousness and importance of what it's about.

I was reading Jo some stories from the excellent My Very First Bible today. We'd done Jesus in the storm (twice), the hole in the roof (once), and Jo wanted another story, so I read the Passion narrative and then finished with the Resurrection. When we got to the Last Supper, I read along the lines of "Jesus shared bread and wine with his friends, and told them to do the same to remember him."

Jo said, "you have bread and wine, don't you?" I said, "yes." And then she said, "but you don't share it with me, do you? I have a biscuit, don't I?"

She knows that she can't have the bread and the wine, but if she's patient, after a service, she can have a biscuit with the coffee/tea afterwards. I've tried very hard to make it clear that the biscuits aren't an equivalent, or alternative, and I think she gets that. What was heart-breaking was the tone with which she accepted that I don't share the bread and the wine with her. She really understands sharing and how important it is. It's a really difficult thing for a toddler, but she's getting quite good at doing it with Miri and with us: sometimes she'll even offer us her food if she really likes it. And I really believe that she understood the importance of Jesus sharing the bread and the wine with his friends. She made the leap from that to the Eucharist service completely on her own, and I was astonished. And heart-broken.

I have some serious thinking to do about my theology of the Eucharist. "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings...": Matthew 21:16.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007


12-10 (and some theology, at last)

There's a classic theological dilemma about whether it's right for Christian nations to pray to God for them to beat their enemies in war (everyone does, of course), but it's hard to see how people _can't_ believe in God when he sends a result like today's by England against Australia in the Rugby World cup. I can see that if you're Australian, you might take a different view.

On a serious note, though, this brings questions about what it's right to pray for. I _didn't_ pray (well, not consciously, at least!) for a win over Australia, though it's bl**dy marvellous, but that's not the point. Even praying for a parking space - which is likely to mean that someone else will be deprived of one - is an issue which has come up recently (after the Church of England published a se of prayers for commuters and travellers). I think this is one of those areas when we have to give up our prayers to God: in two ways. The first of these, of course, is to direct our prayers to God: that's what prayers are about, certainly prayers of intercession. The second is about realising that God knows better how to answer our prayers than we do. Here's the great prayer of St Chrysostom (as used at Mattins and Evensong in the Book of Common Prayer:

Almight God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise, that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests; Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting.
The key phrase here is "as may be most expedient for them". Our knowledge is finite, and time-limited: God's, on the other hand, is limitless and outside time. So, is it OK to pray for things that we know may have a (negative) impact on other people? Here are my off-the-cuff guidelines: These may be difficult things to do, certainly all at once, and we're human, broken and fallible, so we might not managed them, but I hope (and believe) that God will understand and accept prayers offered in the spirit that I've outlined above.

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Friday, October 05, 2007


Where's all the theology

I do try to do a little theology once in a while - usually once a week - but it's been more than that, really, and I'm afraid that there's none here today, either. I'm having a little break from thinking theologically, inasmuch as one can...

But I have booked a trip to Canada (Toronto, as usual). And planned another one. As one does.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007


Another day, another tooth

(backposting) Yup, Miri's got another one. Might explain the restless night (though not Jo's now-usual appearance in the early hours). Two down, lots to go.

Went to Cambridge today, to buy a book on system hardening: Network Security Hacks, 2nd ed. by Andrew Lockhart. It's good, and is relevant because I'm going to be doing some work with colleagues in Canada on this.

Watched Heroes (yesterday's episode) which we'd recorded. It keeps being good, doesn't it? Just how many twists can _keep_ happening?

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007


"My own bed..."

0610 this morning:
Jo (waking up next to me in the spare room bed): "I slept in my own bed all night!"
Me: "No, you didn't!"
Jo (plaintively): "Why?"
Me: "Because you came into my bed in the middle of the night."
Jo (with conviction): "I'll try to sleep in my own bed tonight."

My night?

Not exactly standard, but I've had worse...

Apparently Turtle, Jenny's eldest, won't watch Underground Ernie, which Jo loves. When Moo asked Jenny why, she answered, with a shrug, "Talking Underground trains?".

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Not very well

Haven't felt very well today. Suspect that it's non-specific idiopathic man-itis, so I think I'll be better tomorrow. We had an Internet outage for a couple of hours today: scary!

Please pray for Chris and Sally and family: Chris is ill again.


Monday, October 01, 2007


First tooth

Yup, Miri's first tooth has come through. Centre bottom, left. Yay!

D. popped in with Morgan this afternoon - just, of course, as work really kicked off, but that's typical. Lovely to see her, and Boo (Charlotte) has grown nicely. She did say that Miri basically looked like a toddler, though...

Had a good supervision with Keith. I'm going to be doing a joint Great & Little Yeldham service on the 2nd Sunday of each month, and he's approved the ideas that I had come up with for liturgy.

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