Friday, November 30, 2007


Mummy, you're so beautiful ... but ruined

So said Jo to Moo as she scribbled all over a picture that she'd painted. Lots of things today:

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Thursday, November 29, 2007


Good meeting

Met a potential customer in Cambridge today. The meeting went well, I think, and they seemed interested not only in the main product we were talking about but also in a possible future one, too.

Ordered a new laptop today. Should arrive Monday. Oh, yes.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007


SecondLife and the virtual self

(backposting) I went to a lecture in Chelmsford Cathedral today: "The Virtual Self". The lecturer, though providing some decent quotes from Baudrillard and making some comparisons with the images in Plato's cave which I liked a lot, was generally very negative about SecondLife and the rest. I didn't like the fact that he spent a lot of time talking about people with clear issues IRL, and then how much time they spend in-world, or how different their avatars are from their "real" bodies. He talked about idolatry a lot, and addiction.

There were questions at the end, and I was one of those who stepped up. I made three points:

  1. that everyone there is very welcome to join us at that Anglican Cathedral in SecondLife, that we hold services and prayers meetings and have pastoral encounters
  2. that Baudrillard would say that they growth of the "imagined" other self dates from at least the invention of the printed book, and that every time we make a phonecall or write an email, we're imagining a self, and employing a persona. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and no-one - not even ourselves - can truly know the "real" us, except God. The imagined selves that we present are part of who we are and how we engage with the world as it is now, and although there are dangers, there are opportunities, too.
  3. that we have a duty as Christians to step out and engage with people wherever they are, and that not only are there lots of normal people there, but they are very ready to engage in spiritual and theological encounters - more so than is often the case IRL. And they are _young_ people, who the established churches have problems interacting with generally...

I wasn't the only person to stand up and make positive points, but the people there were mainly in their 50s or above, and this was all pretty new to them. And frightening, from the way he talked about it.

I was flabbergasted, by the way, that he felt in a position to talk about, and criticise, MMOs (and social networking sites like Facebook, which he painted with the same brush!), despite never having visited any of them.

Ah, and my first night on my own with the girls (Mel baby-sat until I got home).

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007



Spent a fair amount of the day speccing a new laptop. Oh, yes.


Monday, November 26, 2007


Back to work

Moo took the day off and went with her parents on the traditional Christmas shopping trip to Cambridge. Miri ended up in our bed, and I actually managed to get to sleep while she was actually screaming, which is quite impressive.

I had a supervision in the evening with Alan, on modern hermeneutics and the Psalms. Interesting differences in our use of them in a liturgical setting. Got home, slept on the other side of the house, to give Moo more room in our bed with poor, coughy, teething Miri.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007


Miri's baptism

We started late. Only six minutes, but it does help to have the relevant person there to be baptised. Same goes for funerals, although there's old precedent for marriages by proxies. Dad celebrated, James P., Kirsty, Victoria and Si were the godparents. I preached on potential and belonging to the family of the church, and Miri only cried briefly, which was a surprise, given that she wasn't on very good form.

Then we all went back to our house for lunch and drinks. Lots of adults, and lots of children underfoot. We were a little worried that Jemma might get left out when Turtle turned up, as she and Jo get on so well, but not at all. Oh - it turns out that the rules for "What's the time Mr Nudey Wolf?" are pretty similar to "What's the time Mr Wolf?" as played by (naked) children with little grasp of the standard rules.

Some people stayed late, some didn't. We had a great time. James, Alex, Jemma and Alice, Kate and Mac all stayed overnight again.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007


Tidying, cleaning, preparation

(backposting) That's what today was about, basically. Mum and Dad took Jo out for coffee and cake, Miri had a sleep, and we tidied, I stacked the logs, took the bottles to the bottle bank, etc.. Kate and Mac arrived after lunch, and later, so did James, Alex and their two girls Jemma and Alice.

Jo and Jemma got on well when they met in Cornwall in September, but none of us had any idea how well they'd get on today. They had a lovely time, running around, playing together and the rest. Poll and Lee arrived a little later, after a bit of a frantic trip to Halstead by me and my mum for passport forms, and some IT help for Dad (aaargh!). Poll and Lee headed off to supper and left the rest of us to a lovely chicken casserole from Kate. To bed, with Miri in our bed. Not as much sleep as we'd like.

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Friday, November 23, 2007


Hospice - day 2

My second day at the hospice - and there's to be one more next week. Again, a fascinating and interesting day. I started it with a visit to a funeral directors. I'd never been to one before, and they were very helpful and accommodating. Spent some time with another member of the chaplaincy team, including taking communion and talking to some of the day centre patients.

My mum had turned up by the time I got back, and went to get my dad later on: they're staying at a pub nearby, as we've got other people staying with us this weekend.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007


Hospice day 1

(backposting) I've taken two days off work for my placement at St Helena Hospice, today being the first. I spent the whole day at the main site (and the Colchester Day Centre), attending meetings, meeting staff and patients, and discussing it with my supervisor Alan. People were very generous with their time, and it's one of those places where the staff - from volunteers to directors - really believe in the place. I had a very interesting time, and enjoyed myself very much.

Did a little more tidying in preparation for our visitors this weekend (Miri's baptism), and then did lots of ironing in front of Tuesday's episode of Spooks.

Oh - I hate providing IT support. Particularly for Windows. And even more when it's long distance, over the phone. That's one of the downsides of Polly and Lee moving out.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007



Meant to say: Jo's really got the hang of reading. She now spells words out (with sounds): for instance, the other morning, when we asked her where she would be going later on (the correct answer was "pre-school"), she got a gleam in her eye and started spelling out "guh - ih - guh - ul: Giggle Factory!" Wow. And now she keeps asking for new words to read. In fact, this evening she's started us to writ edown particular words: we had "cup", "calendar", "spoon" and "yoghurt". She has to be helped along, particularly when she thinks she can guess what's coming next, but she was very pleased with herself for getting "slug" over supper.



Essay done!

Yes, you saw aright. It's finished, and I'm even quite pleased with some of it: we'll see how it goes down with the markers. Got some work done reacting to the HMRC news from yesterday and how it affects us, threw out some old computer cases and bits and pieces to Black Barn Computers, who may be able to do something with some of the newer pieces. Yesterday, they have me a quite serviceable CRT (monitor) to give to Jo's pre-school, which was very kind, so I thought I'd try to send some decent stuff their way along with the, um, rubbish.

Speaking of rubbish, England are 2-0 down to Croatia. We're going out, and deserve to do so on current form.

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A bad night - and some shocking news

(backposting) Very little sleep, and a fairly quiet day, including doing some more work on the largeish document I was working on last week. Rather pleased to get that off.

In the evening, I had a seminar in Stowmarket, and it was before the seminar started that I heard the shocking news. Not about the 25 million people's details (that's over a third of the population) having been "mislaid" by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, though that's pretty shocking - our details will be on the list. Worse than that, by quite an order of magnitude: I discovered that I have a 3,000 word essay due in on Monday, for the "Gospel and Western Culture" module that we spent lots of time on at summer school. I had no idea, and have done absolutely no preparation.

We had quite an interesting seminar on hermeneutics in the modern (and postmodern era), and on the way home, I rang Sally, who kindly looked up the essay titles so that I could think about them as I drove home. When I got home, I started things off, and managed to get 700 words, and a fair plan done before heading off to bed at 1245.

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Monday, November 19, 2007



Spent time at Jo's pre-school today, which was lovely. Work, doctor (sinusitis), supervision with Keith. In no particular order. Seminar tomorrow: I feel rather well prepared, which kind of makes a change.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007


More sleep

(backposting) The girls slept through again. Looking good...

Church with Jo in the morning. Moo tidying for christening next week, me looking after the girls.

Saturday, November 17, 2007



(backposting) Really, really cold all of a sudden. We went for a lovely walk with the girls and the dog, though: we've just got a new back-pack which Moo can use, which means that we can carry both girls if we need to.

In the evening, we went to Victoria's 40th birthday party. I'm not that far off 40 myself, I guess: scary! We had a lovely time, and I spent a fair amount of time talking to someone whose father was head of one of the huts at Bletchley Park: fascinating. They had a spit roasted lamb, which was just so lovely.

Last night, we slept through!

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Friday, November 16, 2007


And home...

(backposting) Got home around 1100, having had a bit of a sleep on the plane, and in the car on the way back (always worth mentioning that I wasn't doing the driving). Really felt OK, and got a fair amount of work done in the afternoon.

I'd bought quite a few presents, and Jo's new coat, in particular, went down very well indeed.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007


Going home

In an hour and a half's time, or so, I'll be getting on a plane to go home. I've accrued enough air miles that I'm able to upgrade to "Executive First", so I'll get a good seat and a chance to sleep, which is good. I'm ready for home, I really am.

I've bought lots of presents for the girls (including Moo): just one of those trips (and the Canadian dollar's very weak at the moment, which helps).

Did some coding today. It's been a while. Nice to have the chance: I'm working on a PoC (Proof of Concept) for an idea I had this week.

Enough. Home soon.

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Money and the Church: why the big fuss?

Well, I really set myself up for this one, didn't I? I chose a sparky little title and thought "well, this shouldn't be too difficult to write about, should it?"

So, I started to think about it. What could Jesus have had to say about money? Well, there's the bit about not serving God and Mammon. That's a bit negative. And he mentioned giving unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. That's not too helpful, either. Oh, and giving up all you have to follow him. And there's the very confusing bit about the woman who'd spent all the money on perfume which the disciples thought she'd wasted on him. Or the parable about the woman quietly putting a small amount of money into the collection when the hypocrites made a huge deal about putting in lots. And the whole overturning the stalls of the money-changers in the Temple episode.

Oh dear. Jesus had lots to say about money. And it's, well, not all very positive, is it? My excuse is that I want to look after my family as best as I can. Make sure that they're safe, and happy, and well educated and the rest. And I think that that's quite a good excuse, as they go. I'm intending to be a priest, and not to cost the church much, beyond training. That's good, too, isn't it? So, it should be OK to carry on in a highly paid job whilst other people aren't, as long as I give myself (well, bits of Sundays, and the odd evening a week - not _too_ much, obviously) to God. Well, the church, anyway.

It's actually very difficult, and I struggle with this. These things aren't always easy. There, it's said.


Today is a "synchroblog" on the subject of "Money and the Church". 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, November 13, 2007


ECC conference

So, I'm here in Toronto, enjoying a conference that Certicom (my employer) runs. And Moo's at home, getting far too little sleep, as Jo and Miri were both unwell last week. I've gone and bought some books for Jo, and spoken to her and Moo twice (and Miri once - apparently she found it hilarious, and just laughed at the phone).

So, away from home and "conflicted" is, I believe, the term. It's nearly 2200 local, or 0300 GMT. It's odd being away from home.

I wrote over 3,000 words of a new document today, during the sessions. I'm quite pleased with that.

And I've just phoned down to the front desk and asked if they'd send up a Bible, as there isn't one in the room. Odd conversations of our time.

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Monday, November 12, 2007



I'm here for a conference we give each year on ECC (Elliptic Curve Cryptography), and will actually be doing a speaking slot for my ex-boss, which is a bit freaky. Got here safely, straight into a meeting about OS hardening, internal security consultancy, etc.. Brain a little fried. Then taxi to the hotel and I'm about to get some food. Then definitely bed.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007


Remembrance Sunday

A terrible night's sleep - Jo was coughing so badly that I was beginning to get worried. She ended up in the spare room with me, and actually slept quite well. We went to the Remembrance Sunday service at Great Yeldham, and I played the organ. The church was as full as I'd ever seen, and Jo, Miri and Moo came along, too. Although we don't have it as a hymn, I've finished the service for the past few years with "I vow to thee my country" on the organ, as it's a fantastic and stirring tune.

I made it clear on my Facebook profile yesterday that I wasn't in a good way, and I've really appreciated the love and prayers that people have sent my way. I've had a bit of a knock sideways, and prayers, in particular, are much appreciated.

Oh - I'm off to Canada tomorrow.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007


Learning things

A good day in Cambridge: Jo loved the bus.


Friday, November 09, 2007


At home, preparing for next week

I'm off to Canada next week, and spent most of the day at home, finishing up some old stuff, and preparing for next week. Looking forward to the trip, though not the jetlag or leaving Moo and the girls. Speaking of which, Jo's got words: she can start to spell them out and work out what they say. It's so exciting!

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Thursday, November 08, 2007



(backposting) At first, this looked like it was going to be a problem this morning. I woke up with a sore throat and little voice. A little unfortunate, given that the whole point of my trip was to give a presentation for someone else. Luckily, by 1600, when I was on, things were OK, and it all went rather well. I really enjoy speaking in company - even when the audience, a bunch of intellectual property lawyers - aren't the obvious constituency. However, I was invited, provisionally, to give another talk on the same topic in the future, so it must have gone fairly well.

Plane got in around 2330, home before 0100.

Finished the Cobb book, read a good deal of Introduction to Jungian Psychotherapy: The Therapeutic Relationship by David Sedgwick. Fascinating.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Seville via Ryanair

(backposting) The Westin Alfonso XIII is one of the nicest hotels in which it has ever been by good fortune to stay. Stunning architecture, accommodation, staff service, food, the lot. Took a while to get here, but that's fine, I guess. There aren't that many direct flights, and though I'm not always a fan of Ryanair, they did OK and we got in on time. The airport's pretty close to the city, and although I was feeling pretty rough (a nasty cold started to attack me yesterday and I was streaming and coughing and sneezing by the time I arrived), I managed a lovely meal before turning in.

On the way over, I had one of those marvellous, though rare, experiences. I was about to go through the security scan, following a couple. The bloke had already gone through, the the woman was held up. A security guard saw us both getting ready, and said "are you together?" The woman stopped a moment, looked me up and down, and said, "I wish."

You can't even hope for that sort of experience, you really can't. Great for the ego...

Reading The Dying Soul, by Mark Cobb, on spiritual care in the hospice and palliative setting. Very interesting.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Trip booked

(backposting) Well, I am indeed off to Seville tomorrow. At first thought I was supposed to be going to Staines, but it turned out that the line was bad, and it was "Spain". Near enough, I guess.


Monday, November 05, 2007


Little sleep

Says it all. And then I've heard that one of the senior folks at work wants me to fly to Seville to give a presentation for him on Thursday. I'm looking at flights.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007


ERMC and home

Woke up feeling even worse - not just a bad throat, but really ropey and shaky, too. Excellent session on work and ministry: very helpful indeed. Thought about going home early, but glad I stayed for Communion, I'm pleased to say.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007


ERMC (more)

(backpostin) Good Bible study bits on the Psalms and graphic novels. Feeling worse. Two very difficult meetings. Slept badly.

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Friday, November 02, 2007



(backposting) Supervision over lunchtime, went well. Went to ERMC. Not in a good mood. Beginning not to feel very well.


Thursday, November 01, 2007


NFS, compiz, amarok, firefox

Some keywords: .kde, .qt, .mozilla, .config

It turns out that compiz doesn't like being run where the home directory is mounted on NFS. Specifically, you need to softlink .config to a local directory.

Similar problems with firefox: softlink .mozilla

Similar problems with amarok: softlink .qt and .kde

This took quite a lot of investigation, mounting, remounting, linking, etc., but my main box is getting close to working as I'd like it to. It also appears that amarok isn't desperately keen on building a large collection on a samba share, but we're getting there on that, too.

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