Sunday, December 31, 2006

Pomos in The Economist

Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard might not have enjoyed an afternoon at Selfridges. He was a French philosopher not known for his interest in handbags. But, had he dropped in for a little retail therapy, he might have recognised what he saw. As he wrote, “eclecticism is the degree zero of contemporary general culture; one listens to reggae, watches a Western, eats McDonald's food for lunch and local cuisine for dinner, wears Paris perfume in Tokyo and retro clothes in Hong Kong; knowledge is a matter for TV games.”
Interesting article in The Economist on how today's shopping experience was predicted by an unlikely source - the Pomos or Post-Modernists - folk like Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard.

I love eclecticism... I thrive on my ability to be the artist of my own life (albeit in the hands of my Creator)... and actively enjoy the fragmentation of life. The nanolog is a representation of this. Its the whole of me :: my faith... my family... my life... things that push my buttons... stuff that makes me smile... or think... or pray.

Its not about numbers... I don't care whether something is popular or not... if it works for me then I am happy. Ironically, more-often-than-not something limited has more appeal for me... the obscure has more kudos... and marketers have picked this up.

Taking this to my expression of faith :: mass appeal no longer works... its about the niche... the fragment - its about the sheep, not the flock! I see this as being vitally important... its about small, interlinked and interdependent communities... its about taking theology from the pulpit and into the small group.

This is where I see the emerging church being important. There is no longer a one size fits all approach to life. As such... there shouldn't be a one size fits all approach to church and faith. I no longer wish to be lead... but to lead my own life.

Thing is... with all this eclecticism and fragmentation... the true... the real... the authentic comes out like wheat separated from chaff. Think of some of the things I love - iPod... Moleskine... Mac... Stussy... The authentic comes to the front.

This is the opportunity that the church has... or should I say individuals have... to bring the revolutionary whose birth we recently celebrated to the fore. Bring authentic teaching and guidance to the fore in our own lives... and shine in this dark and confused world.

With all this excitement, however, comes confusion and uncertainty for some as a result of fragmentation. Its as if modernity has become a niche in itself. Just as I love the challenge of change and newness... some people value predictability and sameness... The feel secure within tradition.

That's what I love about these times... these interesting times... there is room for everything... and everybody. If you want tradition... you can have it. If you want the obscure... you can have it. You want both... sure, why not? I like that. Its about breadth as well as depth.

Hope this makes sense?

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New Year's Resolution (1) :: Read More

books to read

Blogger is driving me mad... one minute I can upload a photo... the next I can't. Hmm... Wordpress is looking mighty appealing.

Anyway... my first resolution is to read more. I don't make enough time to read... especially now that the shower has been replaced.

These are some, but not all, of the books I intend to read (clockwise from top left)

* Angels & Demons by Dan Brown - some light entertainment. Fun and interesting.
* Sally Ann - Poverty to Hope by Bo Brekke - I borrowed this a while ago ((link)) and need to finish it.
* Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - Olly got this from the girls for her Christmas. Its one of her fav books from her schooldays. Really powerful story about IQ and genetic engineering. I am a big sci-fi fan and can't wait to read it.
* The Message Remix :: Pause by Eugene Peterson - My favourite translation of the Bible in a daily reading format. In each week, the 7th day is "free" for contemplation... which I like. I intend to start it today... and keep it going.
* Change the world for a fiver by wearewhatwedo - Chris picked this book up when we had food with them recently and I picked it up on his recommendation. Its a great wee read... nothing heavy except the challenge to change. Nice. 50 actions include... (35) write to someone who inspired you, (06) take public transport when you can, (32) do something you think you can't do, and (30) bake something for a friend;
* Breaking the mould by Peter A Hunter - I was given this book a while back and never picked it up. Its about personal stories of ordinary people becoming powerful... and change that works.

A mixed bag... but some stuff I intend to get through. Make time to read.

U*P*D*A*T*E
I would like you... the nanolog community to recommend the books you have read or intend to read... the what and why... for me, and the community to read... leave a comment with your top five and I'll check them out.

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Joint New Year Message of Peace from the Moderator and the Cardinal

“May the Lord bless his people with peace!” (Psalm 29:11)

As 2007 begins, we want to make this prayer our own, and to encourage all in Scotland to do the same. Peace is a promise of the risen Christ. When we pray for peace we pledge ourselves to work for peace, to be peacemakers, and there has never been a time when peacemaking was more necessary.

Many things concern us as we begin this New Year, and looming large is the ever present menace of nuclear weapons. This year there is a wonderful opportunity for our Westminster parliamentarians finally to take steps to fulfil the obligations this country made many years ago to rid itself of nuclear weapons. We pray that our MPs will make a stand for the principles of peace, and will have the courage to refuse to endorse a replacement for Trident. Peace cannot be advanced by the commissioning of new weapons of mass destruction.

Because this small country is dear to us, we are ashamed of its inheritance of sectarianism and violence. We call on all to resist attempts to divide people on religious or any other grounds. Faith unites us infinitely more than it divides us. The promise of peace is for all people, whatever denomination and whatever faith.

The promise of peace is also for the creation, the earth which is our home. Our planet has been ravaged over many years and is in urgent need of healing. We pledge to do all we can in this New Year and in the years to come to commit churches to environmental justice, and we call on others to join us. We ask our congregations to do all they can to be carers of the earth: aware of the resources they use and of those they can replace.

When we pray for God’s blessing of peace on all people we affirm the deepest truth of our faith, that humanity is created in the image and likeness of God. This must make us acutely aware of the inherent dignity of all people, and of the need to honour all, especially those who often seem least in our society.

All over the world there are peacemakers, seeking to build the kingdom of God among the weak and the marginalized, the insignificant and the forgotten – in places of danger and persecution, oppression and poverty. We take our inspiration from their example and commend them to the prayers of our churches.

May the peace of Christ be with all those on the margin of our own society – the homeless, the poor, those in prison, those who seek a new life among us, and may our pledge to be peacemakers be for them a source of hope.

As we enter this New Year, the Christmas message still rings in our ears: Glory to God in the Highest Heaven, and on Earth Peace.
Alan McDonald (Moderator of the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland) &
Keith Patrick O’Brien
(President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Scotland)

Kind of says it all to me.

Firstly, I am encouraged to see the leaders of the biggest churches in Scotland unite to issue this message of hope and peace.

I am delighted that their message is of peace... for an end to any form of bigotry... and the end of the ridiculous misuse of public funds in the name of "self-defense" aka Trident.

I am also heartened by their focus on the environment - this is something we all need to be part of... and we can take a lead.

Lastly, I am thrilled by the example they bring us of the peacemakers working with the marginalised. This, for me, is the Gospel in action.

Truly a message of hope. Let's take their words... and act on them!

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tea

I gave my friend Yvonne a row for her Christmas gift... I told her I didn't need to be anymore pretentious than I already am!!! She laughed and gave me a hug.

Argghh!!! I like my coffee... especially old brown java... and thought nothing of the palaver of making a cup. Tea is simple... or at least tea used to be simple. Get a pot... put a couple of bags of Tetley Tea in... add once boiled water... wait... pour... add milk... relax!

Now I have leaves..! and flavours..! Fancy tea used to be... you know... pushing the boat out... Earl Grey. Now I have Assam and Jasmine and Indian Spiced Chai to choose from.

Olly has simple pleasures... and still loves her Tetley... but, thanks to my pals in Cowdenbeath, I have something else to savour and enjoy. Thank you!!!

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Welcome to the 'hood

I would like to extend a warm welcome to the following fellow journeyers.

Matt left a comment in the previous post that I read wrong - d'oh! I didn't get it... but we have patched things up and I welcome Matt to the ol' nanolog community. He is on a journey...
the aim of (moving to Melbourne is to) plant and cultivate a community of Christians with a desire to live out a truly authentic spirituality that conforms to the true and truly good message of Jesus.
His experience is welcomed... oh and he is also a big Nando's fan.

I'm not sure how I came across Maria's blog but her posts are wonderfully insightful... kind of a post-modern daily bread for the noughties.

Put these blogs in your RSS reader (I recommend Google's Reader) and follow their journeys.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas :: The Brand

Christmas 06 is nearly a memory. For those of us who have some time off... it kind of continues... at least until New Year's Day (and the 2nd Jan if you are a Scot - where else do you get a day off to recover from a hangover???)

Anyway... I thought this was interesting... and a wee bit sad, to be honest.
CHRISTMAS may be many things to many people, but to those who care about commercial design it is one thing above all: a tired brand, as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola and Kleenex but badly in need of an update.

/...The “x.mas” label would function not only as a template for Web sites — a new domain would be created alongside .com, .net, .org and others — but also as the cool new way of referring to Christmas, a 21st-century spin on the stingy old Xmas abbreviation. In addition, anyone wanting to create a Web site infused with Christmas spirit — or for that matter the spirit of Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, the solstice or other observances — could use the .mas designation, “mas” coming from the Anglo-Saxon for “feast day” and, while certainly ecclesiastical, easily fungible.
A design consultancy, Pentagram, has some ideas on how to refresh the Christmas brand for the 21st century.

I like trees and decorations and lights... mince pies and turkey and music... they make me feel all Christmassy! But the thing is... we need to strip back Christmas and, dare I say, give it away.

Christmas is a time of goodwill and family and enjoyment... its about telling folk how much you love them... so far, so good...but for most people that's where it ends. For me Christmas is far more... it is a time to consider the fact that God as Man was born poor to ordinary parents. Its the start of the journey... one that finishes on the cross and restarts at the tomb.

Christmas will still be Christmas for me without all the trappings or presents.

That's why I say we should give it away... Let people celebrate their feasting and consumption... Give people their own festival - call it Saturnalia or whatever... and let's take Christ and celebrate His birth in a way that can't be usurped or stolen or ripped off by marketers.

Read the whole article here :: NY Times

U*P*D*A*T*E
I've been mulling over this all day and I've changed my mind. We are called to be salt and light... and present a real alternative to the culture we exist within. We are in this world of ours but do not need to belong to it... to think like it.

So I would like to take back Christmas... and present a suitable alternative to emptiness of Christmas without the baby boy. We celebrate because we are free! and where does this freedom come... from that wee we'an born in the most humble of situations.

So lets all celebrate at this time... but me and mine have more to celebrate.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Stuff - from Santa and the Sales

First off... its important to say I'm not anti-capitalist or even anti-consumption - I like my stuff... I just think we need to put more thought into our consumption. Green issues and personal debt are two reasons why we need to think twice about what we buy... do we actually need it? Oh and I believe capital is necessary... I just subscribe to a form of capitalism where care is central - care for workers... care for the environment... Hope this makes sense?

Anyway... been a good year in the ol' Headphonaught household for stuff. The girls got their room done up with a bunkbed and a lick of paint and some fab furnishings. Thanks Olly... your work is wonderful and appreciated!

The girls got way too much stuff... highlight (for me) was a Nintendo DS Lite (in white so I could borrow it) - it proved way too popular... so we got them another in the sale. I now have a 20% share in one!

Olly will, no doubt, blog about her gifts... needless to say, however, that she joined the Moleskine gang.

I was very blessed and I am extremely thankful! (From top to bottom - left to right)

* Thornton's toffee is just the best... ever! Its the only way my wife can shut me up. True!
* Candles for Olly and I from Janey & Roscoe (Thanks guys) - they are unscented but burn with different coloured flames. Nice.
* 24 (season 5) on DVD - extravagant but worthwhile. Will give Olly and I another reason to cuddle up together. We are going to binge it - already watched 3 episodes.
* Seriously Bad Album covers - thankfully I don't own any of the albums featured... they are all awful... and funny!
* The Message Remix "Pause" - Its a daily reading Bible that is split into 6 readings a week (you rest on the 7th) - going to start on Jan 1st... and discipline myself to read through. Thanks Olly!
* A Moleskine blank notepad - for lists and drawings and sketches... for the creative part of my brain.
* An interesting version of John's Gospel... liking the tricked out typography.
* A limited edition RED (unfortunately not Product(red) - missed opportunity!) Moleskine diary and notepad. Love it!

A couple more pics of my new Moleskines... and my latest toy! A 5th gen 80 (yes... EIGHTY) gig iPod. I openly admit to being an Apple junkie... but it is something I get pleasure from and do use them for my Lord and my family. I love the video capabilities... although prefer the PSP for screensize. Loving Nooma on the tiny screen.

We went to the sales yesterday... long day of shopping in Glasgae. It was cold and damp and busy... but the girls were, for the most part, wonderful... and we picked up some great stuff cheap.

First off... I picked up a Supreme Being tee with this logo... for £10. Its yellow with a fuzzy felt logo print. Why did I buy it? I love love!!! and it has my initials on it... which Dayna thought was funny - basically, it says "love me".

I picked up a couple of DVDs... need to spend more time just chillin'. Bought Bladerunner and Big Wednesday - two seminal films from my youth... for £6 each.

Would have preferred the original cut of Bladerunner and not the directors cut... but hey this is better than nothing. Beautiful film!

Big Wednesday
is just an awesome film about surfing and people who surf... set in the 60's. Lovely.

I also picked up a pair of grey Dockers for my work for £7. These are special for 2 reasons - firstly, they are a nice cut with sweet detail like an extra pocket within the right hand pocket... and secondly, they are the first trousers I haven't needed to shorten. 30" leg (I'm wee).

Thanks my folks... and my out-laws for their kindness in funding my trip to the sales. Appreciated!

All in... been a great Christmas. Not because of what I have... but who I have in my life. I have really needed to reconnect with Olly and the we'ans... and both sets of folks.

God is good..! Thank you!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I love Olly

Buy Nothing Day

Pic :: ((link))

Buy Nothing Day is usually the 24th and / or 25th November... to coincide with Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving.

I would like to propose that Boxing Day becomes the UK's Buy Nothing Day for one reason... the workers! I have 2 statutory days off - Christmas and Boxing Day... Christmas is hectic, but lovely! Boxing Day is our family day... we play games... watch films... eat leftovers... recover from spending a considerable amount of time in the same space as both sets of parents.

People need today off... and yet all the retailers are starting their January sales today. They can't even wait until tomorrow. This is nonsense... but demonstrates effectively our consumerist culture to a tee.

So today I encourage you to participate in your family... friends... community... and reject consumption. I'm sorry if this seems leftist to my politically minded friends... but we need to keep today for the family.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Capt. Alec on the radio

Our officer... Captain Alec Still... was on Radio Scotland this morning on Cathy MacDonald & Isabel Fraser's show. The Band were also featured.

I recorded it and present it here in all its AAC glory :: ((link))

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James Brown :: RIP


One of my favourite musicians... the Godfather of Soul and creator of Funk :: Mr James Brown :: has died.

I am gutted... Read his obit.

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Merry Christmas y'all

I would like to wish everyone who is part of the ol' nanolog community... and anyone else who is maybe here for the first time... a joyous and blessed Christmas. Surround yourself with what means the most to you... and celebrate the birth of a true revolutionary. Christmas is about Him... without Him... its a pretty worthless and empty event.

I would like to thank the following people for their love over the last year... (in no real order)

Andy W | Pernell | Chris & Dawn | weebeautifulpict | existentialpunk | Nuno | mathaionios | Studgie & Wee Emma | JD fae Texas | Joel | Dan & Carol Ann | Lard | Ally Smith | Paula | Johnny Laird | take broken me | John & Jean in Aus | Janey & Roscoe | Roy

As well as...

My Salvation Army people :: Our officers... Alec & Andrea, Matthew & Debbie in Kirkwall, Clare B, Kenny & Sarah, Bobby & Diane and my mate Jon G.

My brother from another mother (and father) :: J :: Love you man! My friend and workmate - Barry... and my folks and family.

My blogging inspiration... Jonny Baker and Andrew Jones.

I would especially like to thank my best friend (who is not Olly) - The Soos - who is a huge inspiration in my life and whose generosity amazes me.

Last, but by no means least, my all-in-all and soul bride, Olly for just being wonderful

Love you all. May God's peace be with each and everyone of you at this time.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Departure Lounge :: Freesoul Sessions - 26th Jan 07

Bembe Segue wants to moveOne of the highlights of 2006 was the TrocaBrahma event that The Soos took me to in Edinburgh. It was a strong line up... but one of my favs was Mark de Clive-Lowe with the amazing Bembe Segue on vocals... doing her thing.

Mark's album :: Tide's Arising :: is fab.

Well... Mark & Bembe are coming to Edinburgh on 26th Jan 07 to one of my fav clubs :: Departure Lounge :: I'm not sure if I'll be in Scotland that weekend... possibility that I may be attending a church planting event in London... but if I am... I'll be there - hopefully with the Soos!

Check it out.

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Interesting :: Talent Speaks

I wish I was more creative...

I like to think I am good at networking... coolhunting... thinking out-of-the-box... communications and maybe even analysis.

But I have always wished that I had the skills of folk like The Soos or Lard or even my all-in-all... I wish I could paint and draw and do graphics... just like them. That's how I define creativity.

Anyway... talentspeaks.com is a fab wee space for creative types. It is
...a web discussion that explores how advancements in electronic networking and digital technologies are quickly creating opportunities that will empower independent artists to achieve success through self promotion. As the Internet continues to evolve with far-reaching networking tools, artists now have an unrestricted ability to promote themselves to the global audience. New Media methods are creating a New System that allows artists (musicians, designers, photographers, writers, etc) to deal directly with consumers, bypassing the traditional hurdles of an outdated art and entertainment industry. As a result, scores of independent creatives will benefit both professionally and financially, to achieve success through their networking efforts and the support of their fans.
I think Josh Spear's article on DIY Tools is well worth reading.

Check it out... Especially recommended for my creative-type peers.

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Howies :: Little Big Voice lectures

This looks interesting... Howies - the fab clothing label with a conscience (who are now funded by Timberland) - are doing a series of lectures from the 13th to the 16th April 07 down at Fforest Farm in Cilgerran, amongst the wilderness, between the spectacular Teifi Gorge and Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve.

Their intention is to equip people, like you and me, with the tools we need in order to bring media attention to the causes we believe in. And the more publicity we get for our cause, the more likely we are to bring about change.

Its all about change... As they say:
If we want to change things, we need to learn some new skills. We need to learn how to use the media to give the small guy a big voice.
Check it out... who knows, you may be one of the lucky 40 who get chosen to attend.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
Third verse of O Holy Night

This is my favourite Christmas song...ever! There is so much power and emotion in the verses... especially the third verse. So much truth.

I don't want to get political here... but wow... the first four lines say more to me than any politician or leader of men could ever say. Just think Guantanamo Bay or human trafficking or crack cocaine or rampant consumerism - the examples of enslavement that we are so familiar with... and here's the answer.

I have versions of this song by The Singing Company, Sufjan Stevens, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey & The Martins - Gemma Gunn does a fab version on the Bellshill Salvation Army Band's Christmas CD : Christmas Praise. Its almost become too familiar...

BUT, for me, it sums up Christmas. The why surrounding the event and why I celebrate the birth of a revolutionary. ...in his name all oppression shall cease. Wow!

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New Music :: Rhythms Del Mundo :: Cuba

I picked up this album in Borders on Friday night and am LOVING IT. Its on rotation with The Bellshill Salvation Army Band and The Singing Company - its fab. Probably a bit too pop for me... with Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, U2, Kaiser Chiefs, Jack Johnson, Franz Ferdinand, Dido & Faithless, and Maroon 5; all contributing to the mix... but then who cares? Its just lovely music and a great idea.

Basically, the musicians from the buena vista social club redo some great tracks like clocks, dancing shoes, and still haven't found what I'm looking for with their mojo. Each track has contributions from the original artists... making it more of a remix than a cover... and it works.

It also has some covers from buena vista artists such as the fantastic Ibrahim Ferrer with his version of as time goes by - this was his last recording and its sharp. Miss him.

It also has a very thought provoking booklet with facts on global warming. In fact £2 from each CD goes to APE :: Artist Project Earth. Worthwhile.

All in... its a great CD and well worth purchasing. Check it out... and love it as we do.

http://www.rhythmsdelmundo.com/
http://www.apeuk.org/music.htm

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Friday night with the Hintons

Spent Friday night with Chris and Dawn Hinton. We met up at Nando's for some gutbusting peri-peri goodness... and just had a fab time chewing the cud. Olly beat me too it with her post - but I'll reiterate that Chris and Dawn are our kind of people and I am secretly grateful for Jon to have the craps (quote) and Kenny to have a trapped nerve (please pray for them both... seriously) because it allowed us to get to know Chris & Dawn on their own. They are a sweet team and really do complement each other. Only been officers for 18 months but are taking things forward in Glenrothes.

After food, we headed to Borders for a wee latte in Starbucks - it was great just to chill out in each others company.

In Borders they were playing a fab CD that I had to buy (I have some Christmas money) - Rhythms del Mundo : Cuba - I'll blog about it later. We all just got it... and were digging it while we were chatting. Nice addition to the evening. Chris picked up a book on how to change the world for a fiver which was pretty cool and on my wishlist now.

I gave my three companions a small Moleskine cahier each and challenged them to keep a wee prayer journal. Chris now has more Moleskines than me which is kind of crazy as I got him into them. Just call me a global tastemaker - Macs... Moleskines... hmm... what's next? I will call them on the prayer journal task and report back to the ol' nanolog.

Afterwards... we headed back to our house for tea and more conversation. I talked through an idea I have for the Army with Chris. I had promised Jon G earlier in the week that I wasn't going to have any more new ideas but I can't help it. Global tastemaker and strategic thinker. Wow!

Here's my idea:
Set up internet cafes. Teach people how to use the net and give access to people who don't have access otherwise. Train people in the basics. There are grants for this kind of thing.

So far so good... this is where we leave the box and go into headphonaught territory... Use the existing set up and organise it as a MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) LAN space and build up a community of players who will physically interact as well as virtually interact. Set some rules about decent play and away you go. Bring the kids off the street and introduce them to World of Warcraft - build a guild that works offline together as well as online. Teach them to act as a team.

Needless to say... Chris is an inspired individual. If anyone can make this happen, he can.

Last point from the evening :: my all in all was looking very hot. Sweetheart, I love you!

All in... fab evening. Loving this weekend... chilled and feeling robust.

Bye Bye Barry

My mate Barry (right) left on Friday. I have blogged about him before. Get's me down that he had to leave... he was a good mate and an excellent asset to my team and the project we work on.

Its not the end... however... I will catch up with him soon. I have been working with him on a wee project and hope to begin some alpha testing in the new year. I'll tell you more about it shortly. He also has my copy of The Art of the Start

All the best with your new role, buddy, and I hope to see you soon.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Singing Company :: Christmas Musical ep

Everyone should own the Singing Company's Christmas Musical ep :: Its available as a free download from the SAYTunes

5 tracks of indie Christmas goodness that will melt the heart with a warm festive hug.

You need to register for SAYTunes to be able to download... but you will want to when you see all the music available to sample. The crazy thing is :: SAYTunes is a Salvation Army site... and the musicians featured are all actively connected to the Army. What a breadth of talent there is!!! Ideal for ((deep)) if I can get a fat travel budget.

Check it out.

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Pics

Having some trouble uploading pics to the nanolog... hmm?

Guardian :: The new 100 most useful sites

Sweet article in the Guardian about the 100 most useful websites.

Here's what I use on the list...

* Technorati
* google.com/reader
* blogger.com
* vox.com
* google.com/analytics
* mail.google.com
* mail.yahoo.com
* mail.live.com
* maps.google.co.uk
* multimap.com
* news.bbc.co.uk
* nytimes.com
* bbc.co.uk/radio
* last.fm
* pandora.com
* en.wikipedia.org
* google.co.uk
* linkedin.com
* youtube.com

Not bad, eh? 19 out of 100. Does this mean anything? Well I do like Google... although I don't like the whole "China" thing. I also like the BBC... have at least 3 pop3 emails... and am into finding out about new music.

I am open about how my life has changed over the last 15 months... what with the ol' nanolog et al. Here's to 2007 and what opportunities the Lord will provide. Who knows... maybe the web project I have been working on with my mate Baz and a few close collaborators will be in the next list? More on that shortly.

Check out the list... and the surprises it, no doubt, holds.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Have a "PC" Christmas... er... Winter Festival

The "Politically Correct" Christmas Message...
Hi All

I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to my friends and colleagues, but it is so difficult in today's world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my solicitor yesterday, and on their advice I wish to say the following:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted Gregorian calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

No trees were harmed in the sending of this message.
aka "Have a Coca-Cola Christmas!!!"

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Apple :: Edinburgh

The Apple Store in the King of Prussia Mall, Philadelphia

Thanks to Roy for the heads-up that Apple are coming to Auld Reekie...
Apple Computer plans to open a retail store inside Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh during the 2007 calendar year, AppleInsider has learned.

People familiar with the matter say the company recently secured retail space along the Edinburgh's main shopping strip on Princes Street.
Sweet! This will become the Soos' third place!

Appleinsider

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Vox

Been playing about with Vox - its a cool blogging... photo... movie space... kind of like myspace but cooler.

Here's my url :: http://headphonaught.vox.com/ :: check it out and be my friend.

(OMGoodness - how desparate does that sound?)

Just spreadin' the nanolog community into a new neighbourhood.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Moby is at it again...

Moby is at it again...
/...the religious right need to sit down and look at what they're doing.
christians in the 21st century should be humbly tending to the poor and needy, not opposing stem-cell research, banning harry potter books, getting upset about homosexuality, and defending christmas from the pagan infidels.../
G'on yersel wee man!

Makes sense to me. Read his full post here

U*P*D*A*T*E
/...We need to be sensible about what we do and don't speak out about, but we can't just fade into the background.
Chris
/...The public expression of Christianity has become too politicised. As long as well-meaning Christians sell their souls to any secular political expression there will be compromise and a job half done. The Salt will lose its savour.
J

Chaps... thank you for your contribution and the variety of opinions expressed in the comments (thanks to Andy too). I would like our shared faith to be about what we do and not about what we don't... about what we celebrate and encourage... instead of what we condemn and decry.

The world thinks we are haters... when we speak out... we speak out against something... be it trivial like Harry Potter or serious like stem cell research... When was the last time we spoke out for something? Probably the Manchester Passion?! We need to pick and choose our battles carefully...

Moby is probably too political for his own good here... but at least he is presenting an alternative to the Christian haters out there... he isn't fading into the background! Who else is out there, as high profile as Moby, presenting an alternative view of the Christian faith?

My God is the God of love... the God who gave us a chance through the birth of a baby boy... maybe if we expressed ourselves with this same kind of love... instead of the judgmental, self-righteous way in which we pick our fights... then more people would get it and we could actually make a difference.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'
Matthew 25:34-40 (The Message)

For me... its all about the poor... the despised... the forgotten... Maybe we should say less... and do more?

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The VICE guide to travel

Check this out... VICE Magazine have created a travel guide...
When VICE decided to produce a travel guide, you had to have a slight hunch it wasn’t going to have the same content you’d expect in your typical Fodor’s or Lonely Planet. Known for its controversial content, VICE often provides an ironic pose on today’s world and society. So instead of visiting Disneyland or Rome, VICE decided to visit the most f**ked up locations on this planet. Places you don’t hear about. The idea turned into The VICE Guide To Travel, which features 7 short documentaries of the best places NOT to visit.
Well worth checking out.

We are ALL the whosoever. Get knowledge.

Thanks to the Soos for the heads-up. You are on a roll today, my man!

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Indian Thriller


Possibly the funniest thing I have seen since MJ got acquitted. Thanks to the Soos for the link.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Aunt Jenny Finlay

my aunt Jenny died today. cancer took another precious soul.

but her death has no sting...because she is now with her Lord.

we grieve individually as people who love her and miss her...

however, we celebrate as one voice for her promotion to glory!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I've been tagged :: 5 things you don't know about me

I've been tagged (gettit???) by my mate Pernell over in Canada. So here goes... 5 things no one knows about me (except perhaps Olly) ::

1) I love musicals... especially The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz and have their soundtracks on my iPod. When I feel low I put on Maria singing "I have confidence" or "My favourite things" and I feel much, much better.

2) I studied at Napier University in Edinburgh and have 2.1 honours degree in Commerce. I also qualified as a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland - yes, folks, I am a qualified banker!!!

3) My favourite toasty is blue cheese (danish blue or shropshire blue) and banana - absolutely wonderful!

4) The first 7" vinyl single I ever bought was the sun always shines on TV by A-HA - I still listen to Hunting High and Low on the iPod or with Olly (its one of her favs too) - still sounds good after 21 years!

5) I used to be a real handful as a we'an. I used to bounce on everything like Tigger. So much so that my mum put velcro on the ceiling in my bedroom to catch me like a fly in flypaper. It worked - I was left hanging by my curly mop for 5 mins or so (hurt like heck) - I have never bounced on a bed in the 25 years since.

So there you go... Now :: Chris, Andy "Tighty" White, Roy, Johnnyboy Laird and Lard :: you're it!

New Music :: The Singing Company

Thanks to Johnny Laird for the heads up on The Singing Company... Have to say I was a wee bit skeptical when I saw the promo pic... seemed a bit ironic and it probably is... but their music is wonderful!!!

Songs from the Salvation Army's song book given an indie... guitar and piano... make over. The vibe is definately Tim Hughes but with more of an independent vibe. I am really excited about them... musically they are strong... but they bring beautiful songs like Never mind, go on... I am saved... Storm the forts of darkness... to the listener in a new and fresh way.

Marching on, for example, is a funny multi-part harmony that evolves into some sweet beats and wah-wah guitar. Nice job!

Oh and they do fab merchandise too... They are going to be big... or at least ghetto fabulous within the Army. An exercise in how to do old new!

Now... how do I book them for ((deep))???

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New Music :: ((Pride & Glory, Truth & Beauty)) by [Phil Laeger]

Thanks to Dan for the heads up to this fab 4 track ep from Phil Laeger entitled Pride & Glory, Truth & Beauty which kind of gives away the theme of each of the tracks.

Loving it... in a Keith Green for the Noughties (not that Keith isn't relevant for today)... Piano... Guitar... Beautiful vocals... Lovely!
My heart breaks at Your beauty
Like the waves on this New England shore
And I can't believe You'd make all this for me
And it just leaves me wanting You more
My soul faints from Your wonders
Like the sunshine and rain on my face
And I can't conceive of a place more serene
Than to be in the palm of Your grace
To be in the palm of Your grace
Glory

Well worth checking out. Recommended!

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Friday, December 15, 2006

New Music :: ((Tonight it shows)) by [cantaloup]

Some lovely new post-rock electronica available for free download from aerotone - tonight it shows by Cantaloup is a special 10 track album of atmospheric electronica with Sigur Ros like post-rock guitar work and ethereal, haunting vocals. Here's what they say ::
Cantaloup, aka Thomas Peters, living in Marburg/Germany is producing music since 2003. The musical experiences he made by then were collected in several band-projects (e.g. in the postrock formation “item”).
He decided to use the ressources and experiences of bed room production studios to create music which tries to take listeners to journeys, in which sound evokes images in warm colours. Cantaloup is not only using modern digital comforts to reach his goal.
The bigger part of the songs and spheres are played live with instruments, supported by Eva Paul who brings her beautiful voice into a few songs. These fragments - with little help of some fx - merge to an extraordinary overall view, whose appeal lies in an own form of slowness and in a reduced perception on small things of everydays life.
Amazing! Well worth checking out.

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Question..?

Here's a question for the ol' Nanolog Community... and beyond.
Is there a spiritual gift that corresponds with some people's ability to network and connect people?
It was a question posed by Roy while we ate / hung out on Tuesday night.
Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!

The variety is wonderful:
* wise counsel
* clear understanding
* simple trust
* healing the sick
* miraculous acts
* proclamation
* distinguishing between spirits
* tongues
* interpretation of tongues

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.
1 Corinthians 12: 7-11 (The Message)

I have two talents... well three, actually, if you consider having the gift of healing iPods a gift?!? I can present... and I can network. I'm not the best at either... not by a long shot... but these are my skills. I can't sing or create like Olly... or take beautiful images like the Soos... but I am comfortable in front of people and I like to meet and bring people together.

Question is... are my skills God-given (I believe they are) and, if so, do they fit within our understanding of spiritual gifts?

What do you think?

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Music in London

My 4th gen 40gb iPod was a faithful friend while in London... keeping me sane as I traveled the underground... at one point getting lost an route to a meeting... or enduring the rush hour. I didn't buy anything new... but reveled in found sound ::

First off was cut copy with their fab album of garish electroclash - bright like neon love : It just fits the rude push-and-shove bustle of London. Its loud and very 80's inspired but the opening line of the album : time stands still when I think of you : kind of sums up how I feel when I am away from Olly.

For the times when I needed ambient, glitchy and contemplative music... the fab Sutemos compilation :: Draumar Um Kalt Sumar (Sutemos012) :: worked. It is a beautiful, melancholy compilation of haunting, abstract electronica from my fav Latvian netlabel. I counteracts the noise and busyness very well... especially in the airport or walking about. Download it for free and you'll know where I am coming from!

Beyond These Shores by Iona provides needed respite from the intensity of the city. Iona connect with my celtic blood and engage the deep need within my soul to praise my Creator... wherever I am. Prayer on the mountain - the opening track - is a wonderful instrumental piece that transports me to wild and desolate spaces in my homeland :: the Menoch Pass... Loch Luibnig near Calander... walking towards Tinto... or overlooking the Falls of Clyde. It then breaks into Treasure which is a wonderful track that keeps me grounded and appreciative of the blessings my Creator has given me... and where your treasure is... there is your heart! - so apt for London.

electronic music from the swedish leftcoast is a classic album by Plej that I was given by The Soos and love it! It is minimal yet funky... deep yet accessible... housey electronica that puts a spring in my step... and joy in heart. The joy of being in a thriving metropolis filled with interesting sights and sounds and beautiful people.

In addition... I was privileged to enjoy Bebel Gilberto's Bebel Remixed album while consuming the biggest eggplant burger I have ever seen with Roy in Giraffe...

...and I had the pleasure of Massive Attack's company (Collected) while eating breakfast in the Sherlock Holmes Hotel

Music inspires me... and it was fab to hear some great tunes while eating... instead of the usual insipid nonsense. I will remember the soundtrack to my time in London with fondness.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Results...

Random almost related pic

I spoke to my GP today about my recent appearance on telly (straight to DVD that film!!!) and he informed me that I have a mild form of colitis - small parts of my bowel and other, less desirable, areas are all affected.

I haven't had the results of the biopsies yet... which is a wee bit disconcerting... but at least I know what's up with my guts and I can either act on it... or ignore it.

Trip to London

Flew down to London yesterday. I had to present the prototype to our main internal customers in a sweet office in Little Venice near Paddington Station. I love the urban design aesthetic of the underground in London... and snapped a few pics of vanishing perspectives and the like. I have to say that the Heathrow Express is a great service that really does take you from the airport to the centre of London in 15 mins.

Little Venice is a fab space just off platform 8 of Paddington Station. It looks like it has only recently been renovated... and was busy with pedestrians. I could imagine it would be very social when the weather is better... loads of people hanging out when the sun was shining.

I spotted Yakitoria on our way to the office... and was fortunate enough to be able to try it out for my lunch. A chap called Craig, who was with us (he was presenting too), is a big Japanese fan and we grabbed the opportunity to check the place out. Fab decor... very chic in a rich, vibrant yet kind of minimal way. The space uses colour very well and focussed on the details nicely.

Their edamme was to-die-for - nice and seasoned with chilli and garlic. I follows the edamme with miso soup and vegetable tempura - both excellent in their own ways. Lovely.

After lunch I presented the prototype of the product to senior (I mean SENIOR) management and it went down a storm! It was really well received and the audience were encouraged by our vision for the end product. My boss was happy and others in the audience, with whom I've worked before, were pleased. I was delighted by the response - presentations are what I do well and are something I love to do.


After the presentation I had the unfortunate privilege of navigating the tube from Paddington to Moorgate. OMGoodness - how do Londoners cope with such blatant rudeness? Horrendous. Took me a while but I got to meet the person I needed to speak to and got some detail for building into one of my change requests.

After all the stress of the day... it was an absolute joy to go back to the Sherlock Holmes Hotel on Baker Street. What a beautiful boutique hotel.

The interiors were magnificent... different class from the standard hotels I usually stay in... like the Hilton I stayed at when in Philly. Very relaxing with soft lighting and bathroom facilities that Olly would die for.

After grabbing a coffee in the nearby Starbucks with my boss for a debrief... I headed to Waterloo to finally meet up with Roy - he took me to a venue at the South Bank called Giraffe for food and a great blether. Giraffe is a child-friendly world music themed space with great interiors and fab music. I got to hear the beautiful voice of Bebel Gilberto while we were eating which was lovely.

Roy works in new media and is looking to expand into comedy and documentaries. He is a friend of the Existential Punk and has actually seen her in the flesh (I like to think of her as a Charlie figure who contacts her Angels via encouraging comments on blogs).

We really hit it off. We talked about Jesus... the emerging church and how it is almost becoming another denominational "thing"... Macs and toys and...

...moleskines (he showed me his and showed him both of mine). We talked about charismania and dogmatism and the Salvation Army. We talked work... and blogging... and generally chewed the fat as if we'd known each other for years.

Afterwards, we headed back to Waterloo via the Thames... I was in tourist mode and snapped a few pics of the view.

I got back to the hotel and pretty much chilled. I realised why I don't watch the telly... when I tried to relax by watching the highlights of the comedy awards. Wi-fi wasn't free (ridiculous) and I only had my work laptop with me.

All in... good times. Thanks Roy! Take that idea I passed to you and run with it, bro!

Flickr pics

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