Learn from me; I KNOW

My top tip for your 1st week in the US: talk to shop assistants and waitresses.  They like it (cos it looks like they’re working really hard and are very people-oriented etc.), you get out of your comfort zone (ever so slightly), and it gives you practise at speaking American too!

[weird flipping language]

[just don’t let them bully you into actually buying stuff]

On my first full day here, I bought something, and then had to return it.  One of the joys of the States seems to be that you can return pretty much anything, but, in a rather unexpected display of generosity and hospitality to the poor foreigner, the guy refunded me $3 more than I paid (and my head was in too much of a whirl to really take it in).  My, what philanthropic people!

ready to roll out the red carpet

Well, obviously I’ve arrived at that stage of life where not only are my friends all getting married, some of them are getting famous too:

Bromhead’s Jacket (who I CLAIM as my own!) are just releasing a single with The Streets; and our beloved Factorian Nathan Johnson wrote the score for Brick (which is never going to be HUGE, but still sounds GOOD), and that gets its theatre release in the States this week.

Man, I’ve got some catching up to do!  I mean, it’s one thing knowing D-list Christian celebrities, but REAL LIVE FAMOUS PEOPLE might be a bit much, y’know?

Ever Restless Works

  Confusion to the black-faced clock by the side of the bank that awoke me!
        May its head, its tongue, its pair of ropes, its wheels moulder;
         Likewise its weight and dullard balls, its orifices, its hammer,
     Its ducks quacking as if anticipating day and its ever restless works.

Daffyd ap Gwvilyn, c.1304AD

I just picked up In Praise of Slow this morning (wherein was placed the above quote from an unpronouncable Welshman), and loved it.  ‘When God created time, He made a lot of it’ is another great quote it sets out to fight the fascism of going-faster-and-faster-to-fit-more-in.

There’s always stuff to do, and there’s always MORE to do.  Come on people!  The only way to not get enslaved is to not to be a slave!!

Recently, I’ve really enjoyed noticing that unbusyness doesn’t make me guilty (I’m kind of pursuing the dream/hope/thing that actually God might have made us to live at peace, you see).  But with some of my most beloved people, for whom inactivity equals unfruitfulness, it REALLY does.  And that’s sad.  It seems pretty clear to me that a busy life does not mean a full life (though we may be too busy to notice), but then again, inactivity never guarantees you peace – Laziness is for Losers.

We weren’t created to work, work was created for us.  Amen amen, etc etc.  Now let’s all celebrate our freedom by working through the night …

Breaking up is never easy …

This morning (which is VERY distant history now – maybe 34 hours ago?!) I said goodbye to my first true love and true shoulder-to-shoulder life-sharer. Goodbyes can be tough, but that is the way it must be in transitional times such as these …

Sam (so called because of being my travelling companion) has been a faithful Honda cohort for nearly 2 years now, and we’ve been through quite a lot (together & apart).

It’s funny how cars can become such natural places of openness and honesty; I’m believe Sam has heard MOST of my deepest, darkest, lightest, and brightest secrets, and I know that they’ll go no further. And now I’m in America! Which is why it’s STILL Sunday. I’m happy! And very full of Japanese food …

the deal with leaving

Tonight I’m in Auckland, and tomorrow Tauranga – not too big a thing really – and I’ll be back in Aucks on Sunday.

But after that, am I ever coming back?

Man, it’s weird to think of the future in that kind of way.  I was hanging out with Jay & Erin (my YWAM friends&bosses for the last 2 1/2 years) today, talking about this ‘transitioning’ stuff (which Erin saw coming, 6 months ago, of course – flippin female foresight!).

It’s such a freaky thought that they might not be a completely normal part of my life before long – when I moved to NZ, they were my ONLY friends; I don’t remember what it’s like for them not to be there …

And just saying ‘goodbye’ doesn’t really say anything, does it?

Common Wealth

Right, so if you’re a parent and you go along to your wee ones’ school sports day, you’ll probably be quite interested in how your offspring perform.  Because they’re FAMILY.  But, at the same time, I rather doubt that loyalty to your progeny somehow forbids you the privilege of cheering for EVERYONE ELSE as well – whoever wins, everyone gets encouraged.

At the Olympics, it’s not like that.  While you may be permitted to take pity on the helpless underdogs – the swimmer from the landlocked desert country, the sprinter from the jungle swamps of central Papua, or the British – that’s only because they aren’t threatening to you and your babies.

But the Commonwealth Games are not like that.

Oh no.

For two glorious weeks, I get to cheer semi-patriotically for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Guernsey & Jersey, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, and so on – yes.  But of the 71 nations represented, it seems that only Australia deserve to not be cheered for (cos they’re going to win everything anyway, and they keep telling everyone so).  But even then, I LIKE AUSSIES(!!), so I can cheer for them too!

It’s one big happy family.  Lovely 🙂

And above all, everyone should cheer for the Fijian sevens team.  Partly because Waisele Serevi is playing for the last time, partly because having Rugby 7s as your national sport is just flipping cool, and partly cos they all have Bible references written on their wrists (usually Phil. 4:13).

[please note my inherent/instinctive Christian favouritism – SHOCKER!!]

the importance of being Idle

I’ve been out for a walk, leaving my mind free to wander/wonder.  This is where it went:

I started by reciting the ‘Bruces’ sketch (as one does when traversing a small-but-attractive antipodean town), and then was remembering Monty Python Live At The Hollywood Bowl (where the Bruces sing The Philosopher Song).  That was in 1982, and within 5 years – so I noticed – Michael Palin was off doing his 80 Days Around The World series, safely on his way to becoming a respected member of society.  Which made me consider this …

Michael Palin – respected travel journalist and Sheffield’s favourite son
Terry Jones – very-nearly-respected history writer/presenter
Terry Gilliam – respected movie director
John Cleese [real name John Cheese] – respected actor, writer, and all of that living legend stuff
Graham Chapman – respected dead person (but that’s what you get for impersonating King Arthur)

and

Eric Idle

Not exactly a living legend (or a dead one), or particularly respected, or particularly doing anything much – reliving past glories, if that.
Just being Idle.

And that’s where my brain wandered to today.  Thank you.

and if you think this is harsh, you should hear U.G.L.Y.

Yeah, I don’t know about you, but to my mind, pop perfection was reached in early 2000 with the release of ‘Ooh Stick You’ by Daphne & Celeste.  Unfortunately, I’ve only ever heard the song once – can you help me?  Not even iTunes can help.  Any copies will be gladly received.

And, just to jog any memories that you might have, here are some of those amazing lyrics (which I find tellingly remeniscent of the Song of Songs, in a scary, evil-twin kind of way …):

OOOHHHH! Ooh stick you
Your mama too
And your daddy
Ooh stick you! You go girl!

Eeeehhhhhhh!
Oooooohhhhh!

Aye! Do you want me to tell you what I really think about you?
You got facial hair like a polar bear
You blow up like a toad and then explode
Your face looks mean like Halloween
You got big red eyes like cherry pies
You got the IQ of a digeridoo
You look insane and got no brain
You got a big fat belly like a bowl full of jelly
Your fat mum Milly looks like Free Willy

Ooh stick you
Your mama too
And your daddy …