All posts by steve

Cut and paste experiments #1

Since there are now instructions for adding images, and I just found this on my friend Steve the Junior Web Developer’s blog (his name isn’t actually Steve the Junior Web Developer, I thought that would just help explain why this would be on his blog) and found it particularly funny…

The long and winding road

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you probably should get out more.  But meanwhile, you may have noticed my tendency to be vague about things, to talk about stuff and situations without ever really telling you anything.  This, my friends, is the problem I have with the internet – it’s a great place to share things, but due to the fact that anyone and everyone can then read what you’ve said, it’s not always appropriate to share very much at all.

As if to demonstrate this, there are currently three situations which I really want to tell you about, but because there are other people involved, I can’t really say much.  But let’s have a go anyway, eh?

Situation 1 has been rumbling around for a long time, and at the end of last week I realised I can’t just let it keep rumbling without doing something about it.  It’s going to be a (probably) long and difficult process to sort it out; I’ve been on the journey to sorting it for a while, but I’ve largely been sitting in the passenger seat, and now I need to start driving more.  While I’m getting there, though, I still have to travel through places I don’t particularly want to be in – but I know if I stay here, it will become a place I want to be in even less.  So now’s the time to start moving forward.

Situation 2 is rather complicated.  If we use the journey analogy again – I’ve spent a while driving down this road, only to find myself at a dead end.  Except I’ve been having some trouble accepting it’s a dead end, and have been looking for ways around it.  However, I’m now starting to think I should head off in a different direction instead, and then my sat nav appears to have already programmed itself to take me there, even though I’m still not quite convinced it’s where I want to go.  This is potentially quite an exciting adventure, but I feel I need to make my mind up where I want to end up, and I’m not sure I really know yet.

Situation 3 is thankfully a more positive one.  I’ve spent a long time driving, and needed a bit of a break – someone to take the wheel for a bit.  A few people have considered it, but for one reason or another it hasn’t really worked out.  Now, though, it looks like we’ve tracked down someone who’s a great driver – much better than me – who can share some of the load.  This has been a long time coming, and I’m so grateful we’ve finally reached this point.  I’m not stopping driving altogether, you understand – just allowing myself more time to doze in the passenger seat while someone else is at the wheel, thus ensuring I’m fresher and better prepared for when it’s my turn to do some driving.

So there it is.  A mixture of positive and not-so-positive issues from my life, disguised as non-specific motoring adventures.  I look forward to the day when I can tell you that I’ve reached my destination on that first journey, and when I’ve worked out where I’m actually going on the second journey.  Right now, I’m just glad the third journey is finally sorted, as it gives me hope that the other two will be sorted too one day.  And then, maybe, just maybe, I might be able to tell you where I’ve been going and stop all this vague stuff.

Comments and confusions

Have you ever had someone make a throwaway comment to you, only for you to realise you can’t throw it away?

I only ask because someone said something to me earlier, and even though I think there may have been an element of tongue-in-cheekness about it, I recognised it as a more extreme version of a thought which had already crossed my mind.  And as I’ve started typing this, I’ve realised I need to think and pray about it more.  Darn you, throwaway comment person!  Now I have to use my brain!

Meanwhile, the techy stuff continues to gradually make more sense to me.  Sort of.  I was thinking earlier of starting a thread on the boards which could act as both an FAQ type thing and a “hey look, I’ve found you can do this, how exciting!” type thing as well.  However, I seem to be having a bit of trouble with the boards, in that every time I click a link to them, the page appears for a nanosecond before redirecting to a “page cannot be displayed” page, although I can then click the back button to return to the page I was trying to look at.  However, I can’t actually log in to write anything on the boards, as I get redirected but clicking back takes me back to a screen where I’m not logged in, and every time I try to log in I go through the whole palaver again.  Ho hum, I’m sure it’ll all make sense one day.  At least I’m only one fifth Anglican* though, otherwise I’d really be struggling with all this change… :p

*it’s a long story.  I might tell you it one day, if you’re unlucky.

Barack and I have something in common…

…we both have a new pad and face the difficult task of redecorating the place to our own satisfaction.  As you can see, I’ve made a start on mine, and I dare say I’ll do a bit more in the coming days.  But anyway, enough about me – onto the real man of the moment…

As both of my regular readers may recall, I’ve been backing Obama for a rather long time, so I’m understandably pretty happy with the results.  But, of course, as is always the way, we won’t know whether he’ll do a good job or not until he starts doing the job.  He’s talked the talk, but now comes the difficult bit.  And given his immense popularity, you can bet that the first time he slips up, or even makes an unpopular decision, his critics will come down on him like a ton of bricks.

Ah yes, the critics.  An old friend who I grew up with now lives in America, and on election day her facebook status proclaimed that the US would be “pretty screwed” if Obama won, which several of her friends had then echoed enthusiastically.  I’m not sure how she’s formed this opinion, but she obviously feels quite passionately about it.  And since the result was announced, I’ve heard from a few other people who think Obama doesn’t have enough experience for the task ahead.  But then isn’t that the problem with every job?  You can’t have experience of being the president until you’re the president, right?  Barack’s made the shortlist, had his interview – in front of an intervew panel of about 130,000,000, which has to be pretty daunting – and the panel have decided they want him for the job instead of the other guy.  As George W Bush apparently said when he called to congratulate Obama, “now go and enjoy yourself” (probably the wisest thing Dubya’s said in eight years in office).

Anywhat, I could go on but frankly, as usual when I get started on a Big Serious Issue, I’m not entirely sure what point I was trying to make.  So I’ll stop there.

As for me and my new digs here – well, firstly, thanks for dropping by.  If you’ve got some time to spare, please have a look at the rest of the Wibsite and especially at the other Wiblogs, as they’re very very good.  The arrival of this new improved Wibsite also coincides with my feeling that I want to do a few different things with my blog.  There may well be more of the “what I’ve been doing lately” stuff that I normally churn out, but I’m also thinking of sharing some more of my thoughts on life and the world around me (much as I have above).  Also, I think there may be some regular CD / film / book reviews (although knowing how infrequently I actually complete a book, they may not be so regular) and possibly a bit of creative stuff from time to time.  And, of course, some exciting tales of what God’s up to and all that.  Apart from that, though, there won’t be much going on here.

Feel free to sign the guest book, and drive home safely.

One… two… two… two… one… is this thing on?

Woo, look everyone – superduper new improved Wiblog!!  So this is just a test post to see if I can work out how to drive this baby; if you can read it, then I’ve probably got it right.

Anyway, it’s late / early (depending on your perspective, and possibly where on Earth you are) so I won’t start playing around with this now; I’ll just say another big thank you to the Wibsite Overlords who have made all this possible.  One day I might even meet you in the flesh, and no doubt I will owe you a drink or seven.

Right, now to think of something witty and insightful to say…  Well, there’s got to be a first time for everything, eh?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… well, last night in a pub…

It’s been a while since Pub Quiz Man had an outing. But last night, he was back with a vengeance and ready for a fresh adventure. Unfortunately, what had sounded like being a fairly large team had dwindled over the previous 48 hours to just me and my friend Becky. But everyone else missed out – not just on the quiz element, but on one of the most strangley hilarious nights I’ve ever witnessed.

To cut a long story short, there’s a big pub quiz on Monday nights a one of our nearby hostelries; it’s hugely popular, but very difficult to win, and the prizes are, frankly, a bit crap (open a mystery box – you might win some money! Or a tin of tuna! Or, er, nothing at all!). So the discovery of another pub nearby also doing a Monday night quiz – but this one with a definite cash prize, wooo!! – made us think it was time to try a new challenge.

We’d been tipped off the quiz started at 8, so Becky and I both arrived about half 7, had a drink and a chat and noted how strangely quiet and empty the pub was, considering there was a quiz imminent. It transpired the quiz was actually at 9, not 8, so we just kept chatting and psyched ourselves up for it. At about five past nine, with still no sign of anything happening, we checked with the bar staff – yes, there was a quiz on. About ten minutes later, the quiz master came round to explain how it worked for our benefit. Worryingly, his explanation took in several different variations of rounds, extra rounds, odd puzzles and so on, culminating with the words, “and then eventually, we finish sometime around Friday morning…”

And then we finally got started. Quite early on, we noticed the quiz master’s gentle, whispering tone, wich was kind of reminiscent of David Attenborough commentating on a snooker match. We also noticed some slightly ridiculous questions, none more so than the first question of the first round. The round was entitled ‘Star Wars’, and the opening question was: “which series of films is set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?” I almost wondered if it was a trick question, and considered putting the Lethal Weapon films as our answer…

Well, we got off to a fine start and at one point were even in the lead. However, a double whammy of sport (mostly about American football and baseball, two sports that are very much non-mainstream in the UK) and history left us struggling somewhat. Then came a round in which a correct answer would give you another point but an incorrect answer would see you lose a point – but you had the option of not answering any of the questions if you wanted. All the while, the quiz master continued to very quietly come out with random announcements like, “and here’s question number two, which comes after question number one and occurs just before question three, although it’s still a long way off question eight…”

Finally, all the points were added up and, out of the seven or so teams taking part, we were pretty much slap bang in the middle. However, two teams had finished with the same score and were set a tie-break question, which caused some controversy as the quiz master struggled to do the maths and work out who was closer due to forgetting that BC years were further back in time than AD years. So well done, winning team. But wait – there’s more. Despite the fact that one team had apparently just won, we were then asked another question – what is the capacity of Wembley Stadium for an American football match?* – and everyone put forward an answer. At which point, the team who came closest got to choose from two cups and win what was under the one they picked. And so, it came to pass that the apparent “winners” of the quiz didn’t seem to actually win anything, while some other people who’d taken a lucky guess at one question walked off with the princely sum of £19.

All in all then, it was a confusing and frequently surreal evening, and by the end of it Becky and I still had no idea what had just happened. But we had laughed a lot and enjoyed the competitive element – even if we still had no idea how the quiz actually worked – and I suspect there may be a return visit soon. Maybe we’ll just keep going back until we actually understand it.

* 86,000 – in case you ever get that question in your own local made-up-as-it-goes-along pub quiz.

*sigh*

Sometimes God says “yes”.
Sometimes God says “no”.
Sometimes God says “yes, but not yet”.

Unfortunately, I’m not always very good at telling them apart. So – as has happened recently – I might think God’s saying “yes”, only for it then to seem that He’s actually saying “no”. At which point, of course, I become convinced that He must have actually been saying “yes, but not yet”.

But then there are two problems. The first is that I’m still not sure that I’m actually hearing God right. And the second is that I’m so impatient, the “not yet” bit does my head in. And tonight it’s *really* doing my head in.

Still alive

…but quite busy this week. I promise at some point I will catch up with blogs (both reading and writing), but I have lots to do and lots on my mind. In the meantime, a few quick points that have come up since I last posted:

– regardless of what flavour it’s supposed to be, all baby food smells like feet.
– God has a funny way of putting the right person in the right place at the right time.
– our cleaner rearranges the furniture and our landlord does our washing up.
– Braveheart is (for my money) one of the cheesiest films ever made.
– there’s no pleasing some people.

That’s it for now. Off to bed. Goodnight.

Inappropriateness – is that a word? It is now…

So last night we had our second evening service, and although we didn’t have the enormous turnout of students we’d had last week (it turns out the unis’ CU have organised for the freshers to do a tour of all the major local churches until the end of October, at which point they’ll all decide where they want to go) there were still a few students showing up.

Well, before the service I was standing about chatting to my friend Stephen and, as often happens when we start talking, it got a bit surreal. We ended up having a huge discussion about when, if ever, it is appropriate to go to church simply with the aim of finding a wife, and Stephen was telling me about one of his friends who had done exactly that. But the exact phrase he used was “capturing a wife”, which summoned up the idea of traps and nets and all manner of probably inhumane methods. This is a fairly typical Steve and Stephen conversation – starts sensibly enough, and then goes a bit daft and borderline inappropriate.

Anyway, it was at this point that our pastor came up to say hi to us, and then added, “guys, there are some new students over there, you might want to go and chat to them”. Now, I’m all for trying to welcome people, and I definitely think we should make an effort to talk to new people (or even people who aren’t new but who we don’t really know yet), but it is something I find really difficult and get quite self-conscious about. And Stephen and I thought about it for a moment, and then reasoned that, even with the best of intentions, it might be a little dodgy for two 30-year-old men who have just been having the conversation we had just had to go up to three 18-year-old girls and say, “hey ladies, do you come here often?” (Of course, we would’t really phrase it like that… we’d probaly be less subtle…) So we stood there for a while, wondering what we should do, and then a female friend of ours went over to introduce herself to the students and we sighed a big sigh of relief.

Incidentally, after the service some of our regular lads in their late teens were trying to summon up the courage to go and talk to the girls… although they insisted it wasn’t like that… they were just going to say hello and make friends… honest…

Good evening

Yesterday we had our first evening service at church in some time. As I understand it, there used to be an evening service a long while back, but it stopped shortly before I moved here (five years at the end of this month – blimey, where does the time go?!). Well, now we have our own building, and have been seeing a bit of an increase in numbers over the last year or two, we’re going to have evening services again.

It seems that there may have been a bit of promotion for this at the various universities in town, seeing as how we had about thirty or forty students turn up for the first time. It being a large church, I’m used to not necessarily recognising everyone there – but even by my usual standards, I was left thinking, “where did all these folks appear from?!” – in a good way, like. But there were also plenty of regulars. It was all a bit exciting, and it’ll be interesting seeing how it develops over the coming weeks and months.

Yesterday was also interesting for me, as I had something of a baptism of fire in my new role on the technical team. I only agreed to do it on Thursday, so I hadn’t really had time to do any training. Thankfully, there were a few people on hand who knew what they were doing, and I picked it up quite easily. In a nutshell, my role involves working the laptop that puts all the songwords, notices and suchlike up on the screens. And, I have to say, it was a whole lot of fun. There’s a large element of seat-of-your-pants to it – particularly during worship, when you have new songs you’ve never heard before and older songs where the worship band may choose to go on to the next verse, back to the last verse, or somewhere entirely different, and you have to get the right words up on screen quick – but thankfully that was more exciting than nerve-wracking. In fact, I can’t wait to do it again next month.

So, all in all, I think these evening services are going to be A Good Thing. Hurrah!