Thursday, May 31, 2007

This is me...


I know its vain to post a pic of yourself on your blog... but I just wanted to say that this is me. I'm broken, vain, and selfish... I don't read enough... I don't exercise enough... I am a covetous and compulsive obsessive neophiliac.

But you know something... at the end of the day... I believe God loves me. There is nothing about me that God needs... I can bring nothing to Him... and yet He wants me [for a sunbeam] to come as I am and be with Him.

He is slowly and patiently teaching me how to be content with what I have and, more importantly, who I have in my life. He is showing me that its not about the next things but the real things I have around me that matter.

I love my wife and we'ans... my family and friends... and am grateful for everyone who touches my life in whatever way - past, present and future! You all mean the world to me! I consider you the blessings that I need to count.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

designcity symposium

I'm getting away early from work tomorrow to attend the designcity symposium at the Lighthouse in Glasgow. I've no idea what to expect...
This international symposium, in co-operation with Europäisches Haus der Stadtkultur e.V. (EHSK), Gelsenkirchen, NAI, Rotterdam and The Lighthouse, explores how city spaces affect our communication, mood, thoughts, and feelings. Sometimes confusing, often enlightening, city spaces are alive with sensations. Speakers from three countries - Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland - will examine how designed and un-designed spaces in their cities affect people on a personal level.
...but have a feeling it'll be fun. I'll report back tomorrow.

Thoroughly enjoyed this lecture. Almost had a clue what the speakers were talking about.... almost!

Some of the highlights for me were...

DesignCity Symposium

Jonathan Charley (pictured above) reading from his work entitled "A conversation in the ministry" - at times very funny... at others direct and insightful. He talked of a city with style and a smile that goes the extra mile that made me laugh.

Alan Pert from NORD [Northern Office for Research and Design] was brilliant. His observations on Glasgow's street life following the smoking ban were really insightful and helpful. He spoke of how the pavements in the city have been appropriated by bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes; for smokers... and how this is an opportunity. Glasgow wants to be a European centre like Rome and Paris... and the smoking ban may actually help in getting people out onto the streets.

He also spoke of some unexpected outcomes from the ban... such as the social phenomenon of SMIRTING - smoking and flirting! In Dublin, some argue that smoking is sexy again as a result of smirting. Crazy but true. Another outcome is patio heaters... that seemingly release from CO2 in a couple of hours than an ordinary car, stationary with its engine running all day. Mental!

Another insight he had was the need for nicer ashtrays on the sides of buildings... something we would have invested in the Victorian days. He also spoke of work he is involved in bringing back public conveniences. Fab.

Another highlight for me was the talk from Agnes Wijers from the Netherlands. She is a hugely talented artist [the kind of person who should be on Cool Hunting Video]. She spoke of the public domain as space where action and intervention happen.

She spoke of the gap between intention and actual use... which was useful. She spoke of how the public domain [not just public space but interaction and media as well] needs to be created - it is not a natural phenomenon - and its something that we need to protect as it isn't as evident as before.

She spoke about cultural mobility as the essence of public domain - this is where we are challenged / encouraged to engage and relate with others. Where we get the sense of a place through its inhabitants... where there is space for community in the making... where people get an image of their community and, in doing so, gain a sense of belonging.

Some of the other speakers were good in their own unique ways... Ursula Banks was very funny [destroying the reputation that Germans lack humour].

Good times. Nice to get out the box! More please Glasgow!

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BB is back!



Work is crazy just now... a complete management reshuffle has left me the longest running business person on a technology project. I am feeling exposed and vulnerable... and not in the I've just used a urinal and I'm wearing light coloured khakis kind of way.

I need to consider my options... but I also need to let go. This is a faith thing... that I just need to give over to God. There are some possibilities... but they are ether at the moment.

Truth is... I'm not content and I need a change. Something new... a new challenge. To be honest... I want a lifestyle job... something I can be rather than do... if that makes any sense?

Please support me... in whatever way you can.

June's Calendar

June 07

Here is June's calendar... download it, if you wish... I'll be using mine to mark off the days until my favourite Canadian bawheid Pernell[ton] starts blogging again.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Berits and Brown :: Merchant City

A new coffeeshop / deli opens near my office in the Merchant City tomorrow called Berits and Brown - it looks all posh and fancy... the kind of place Jamie Oliver would shop in.

The Merchant City is bursting with vibrant independents right now... and long may it continue. I think it is actually the last place on Earth without a Starbucks!

I have to say I like what Berits and Brown stand for:
The Berits & Brown delicatessen, located in Kippen, in rural Stirlingshire, Scotland was established to bring high quality, fresh and honest produce from all over the UK (and indeed the World), to local communities. We value quality and flavour above everything and have personally selected a range of exciting foods and wines for you to buy.
I'll check it out...

They have a number of stores across the UK... and even if you can't find one... you can get their gist through the recipes they publish. Nice.

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TrocaBrahma :: 2007

Got the heads-up from that the TrocaBrahma event is happening again this year. I had a fantastic time last year and although it won't be the same... it should still be a very special event.

This year its being held in London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Sao Paulo... with the Friday night in Glasgow ((Four Tet, Open Field Church, DJs Aidan Moffat + Chris "Beans" Geddes)) looking very appealing [although its the night before Olly and I go to Music School].

Recommended if you are in the area and have a passion for leftfield and/or Brazilian music.

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An interesting weekend... part 3

On Monday nights for the last seven weeks or so... we've been running the Alpha Course and the follow-on course :: a life worth living :: at the Bellshill Salvation Army along with the Majors Still.

Olly and I have been leading the a life course... and it has provided us with new insights into Paul's letter to the Philippians... and has brought us closer with the group who we are journeying with. Some of the discussions have been priceless... and to see the progression in the lives of some of the folk in the group has been wonderful.

Its hard work... time is needed for prep and the slides for the songs... Olly is busy in the kitchen and with B*L*O*C... for us Tuesdays are our Mondays - we tend to be knackered by Monday night.

But it is worth it. Its about progression... about moving on... and it is just a blessing to witness this and help people move on. Truly a privilege. One that we couldn't do without the support of the faithful few... and my folks for their babysitting duties.

I would seriously recommend running Alpha and alife at the same time... people enjoy coming together with people... and it allows for a more natural progression within the comfortable rhythm of meal, worship, and discussion.

Try it.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

An interesting weekend... part 2

Yesterday was Pentecost... the day when the Holy Spirit came to the early church. We spent the morning in Church celebrating the gift of the Comforter... singing songs like Send the Fire:
O God of burning, cleansing flame, Send the fire
Your blood bought gift today we claim, Send the fire today
God of Elijah, hear our cry, Send the fire
And make us fit to live or die, send the fire today
To burn up every trace of sin, to bring the light and glory in
The revolution now begins, Send the fire today
William Booth

...along with more contemplative ones. Tremendous.

Balloon release

Afterwards... the majority of the Corps braved the weather and headed down to Strathclyde Park for a Family Fun Day. The boys played football and the real men (like me) played rounders with the girls. Great fun!

Later on we released some helium-filled balloons into the air... each balloon had a wee ticket that spoke of Pentecost and invited folk to join us.

Balloon releaseFlyin'

In the evening... a group of us headed over to Airdrie Corps for a time of sharing and fellowship. We played silly games and hung out with old friends - good times.

Joanne, Kenny & Leeanne

Good to see Joanne, Kenny & Leanne.

Rachel & Bobby

Sweet to see Bobby and his girlfriend Rachel... who comes from Paisley Corps and was part of their Youth Alpha who asked me really awkward questions. Good to see you guys together!

Dan, Chris, Emma & Cameron

It was also fun to hang with Dapper Dan, Chris and Emma, and Cameron; It was a special evening... far exceeded my expectations through the power of just coming together.

Swappin' shoes

Lastly, Olly and I thought this was so sweet... Chris and Emma had swapped an All Star... His and Hers. Nice!

Josh Spear on YouTube

Big fan of and thought I'd share his presentation from a recent Google pow-wow. You may find it interesting.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Love the tees from Skeletees... especially this one of the gut... ideal for explaining the problems I have with my stomach.

Check them out.

Thanks to boing boing for the heads up.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

An interesting weekend... part 1

The Band at the Bellshill Gala Day

This is a bank holiday weekend for me... and today is the Bellshill Gala Day. The Salvation Army are always well represented - we bring the Emergency Van out and provide the good folks of Bellshill with tea, coffee and hot rolls. We also have a couple of stalls with quality thrift and the Band have a slot between 1200 and 1300hrs. Its always good to here the Band and see them represent their Lord in this unique way.

Didn't get any good music this year... which is always a wee bit disappointing... but, hey! the search continues. Digging in the crates is a lifestyle choice..!

Afterwards... we headed over to Hamilton to see the third installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. I won't spoil it for anyone... although I will say it is darker than the previous two films... not as much humour. 3 hours well spent - it is enjoyable and well presented with the cast acting their socks off.

The "One" Event

Later on... after Janey and Roscoe arrived to babysit for us (Thanks guys!) Olly and I headed over to the GLO centre in Motherwell for a worship event. Bobbito had asked us to come along... kind of a wee factfind for S*N*A*C etc.

I enjoyed parts of the evening... it was a gathering of the local youth groups and a testament to the folks who run it. The "house" band for the One event is led by local hero, David Ramage, and I have to say they were very strong. Didn't know the songs they played... but knew I would eventually with their help.

When they finished and there was a icebreaker game where a lassie won an iPod it all kind of went downhill a bit. An American mission team from Connecticut were there for the weekend and they took over.

Why did it go downhill? Well... it wasn't all bad but I do resent getting mugged for money to support the team before they had done anything. Need funds? Don't get on a plane! I know this is uncharitable but I don't appreciate televangelism of any sort... and this came very close. I didn't need to touch my telly... but there was a point where I thought the preppy chap was going to ask me to do something similar.

Afterwards, their band came to lead worship and they did a good job... they had an interesting almost post rock sound with guitars, keys and a violin. But the thing is... I couldn't participate with their worship. I simply didn't know their songs and couldn't pick them up... even though it seemed like they were playing the same song over and over.

The pastor then spoke... at length... and called a response time that nobody responded to. Something he didn't pick up on... and he dragged it out.

It was good to be there... even though Olly took one of her migraines due to the volume of the music... and lack of food. Good because I was encouraged by the youth movements that are happening in and around Motherwell. God is alive and His church is vibrant.

What disappointed me was how linear and samesy the meeting was... and how I couldn't participate. Sure there were testimonies... but they were from the American team. I didn't know the songs and the thought lacked any opportunity for participation.

It got me thinking about S*N*A*C and how it is different - its about participation... contribution and not consumption... its about a one-to-one experience with Jesus through creative exploration. Its about new ways... not existing formulas. I'm not intending to be critical of the evening... far from it. It just didn't work for me in the same way it worked for others.

Fiona & me

I did take great pleasure in seeing Fiona G there tonight though. Fiona is one of our young folk who has moved on from Bellshill and, in doing so, deepened her faith through attending another church. I am pleased that she is continuing to walk with her God... and that she hasn't fallen away. She is, in part, an inspiration for the things we do in Bellshill. I don't want anybody else to have to walk away so as to come closer to God.

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Guy Kawasaki + Threadless

I'm a big fan of Guy Kawasaki and regularly read his blog. I'm also a big fan of the tee-shirt company Threadless and their approach to my fav piece of clothing (other than my gold lame thong). It was, then, a great pleasure to witness their coming together... when Guy went to the Threadless space.

The pics on his post are wonderful and make me all jealous.

Check it out!

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Zidane - a 21st century portrait

Following on in the post-rock-instrumental-soundscapes vein... is the soundtrack to Douglas Gordon & Philippe Parreno's film about Zinedine Zidane :: Zidane - a 21st century portrait by the Glaswegian band Mogwai.

I haven't seen the film... and value the soundtrack as a stand-alone piece of music... an album that evokes movement, grace and beauty... an album that transcends the here and now - replacing it with something magical... something precious. Guitars... Drums... Keys... all come together to create an amazing post-rock ambience... an instrumental collage of sound that moves and grows... evolves... into something special. Like a master craftsman weaving a wonderful tapestry.

I really enjoy listening to this album... I am grateful for it... Its where I am at... Check it out.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Constance by SouthPacific

OK... I'll admit it... I like rock music... there, I said it. Sure I like obscure netlabel electronica made in a bedroom in Latvia or somewhere... but I have to be true to myself... I love guitars.

Been listening to a lot of more "classic" rock recently... Led Zep... Janis J... The Bees (yes... I know they are not classic but they are real close)... The Beatles... as well as bands that come into the "post-rock" category, such as Sigur Ros and the fab SouthPacific...

SouthPacific are or should I say were a three piece Canadian band who recorded one album on the now defunct Turnbuckle label... they quit in 2000 or so. Constance is a masterpiece of mostly instrumental "spacey" psych post-rock that just chills me out... Their music has a timeless "floaty" quality that sounds like the kind of music used in films when the character is motionless and the world is zooming past way too fast.

This album was a gift from a special someone who I've lost touch with... I'm not sure if that's why it is tinged with a sense of melancholy or if its just a by-product from the band's sound.

Either way... this is a future "classic" that you must own. Check it out.

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May's Calendar

May's Calender

Taking a wee break and fooling around with FD's Flickr Toys - check it out.

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Working from home today again... need to get my head down and focus on a paper that I need to finish today. I love working from home... no distractions apart from the birds in the garden.

Coffee & Juice

Fresh coffee... and squeezed juice...

At home

Great tunes... and sweeties!

At the end of the day... I have to get this done today. No ifs... buts... or maybes.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose

I'm a big fan of Janis Joplin's Pearl album - there is something raw and magical about it. It has an intriguing timeless quality about it... that makes it essential listening today.

I spoke of it with Paul C recently when we were taking about worship bands. I want to hear a worship band that sounds as raw and as real as the Full Tilt Boogie Band sound fronted by JJ.

Anyway... was listening to the album today while working on a paper and a phrase stuck in my head from the track Me and Bobby McGee that says something like...
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.
Reminded me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:39:
Whoever finds his life will lose it & whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What am I prepared to let go of... for my freedom? What do I hold onto... in some vain attempt to have a life? What am I prepared to give up?

These are the thoughts that run through my head... as I type on my iBook... as I listen to my iPods (yes... plural)... dressed in a Duffer tee. I believe I have come a long way from the consumerism of my past. I no longer covet in the way I did previously... and do believe I have enough. But is this enough?

Can I lay down my nets... as Peter and Andrew did when they were called (Matthew 4:18-20)... in order to follow Jesus? Can I give up my comfort and certainty... for a world of pain and uncertainty?

Food for thought! Something I will dig deeper into... for a meeting I am involved in at the Hamilton Salvation Army on the 3rd June.

In the meantime... I will continue to listen to Pearl and mourn the loss of one talented lass!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Imagination rather than memory

Is he a true Greek / Roman???

My friend Stewart over at Scream Without Raising Your Voice made an interesting point in a recent post. He spoke of his church needing to look to imagination rather than memory.

This struck a chord with me... On Sunday, at the Salvation Army in Bellshill, we held a business meeting to discuss some options that have come to light with regards to the new building for the corps.

We can either move within the main street... or move to a nearby location... either way, we'll need to move from our present position. So far, so good.

It was a healthy debate with, IMHO, an obvious winner - the nearby location will be slap bang in the middle of 3 estates... with a further development planned. A space without any other church presence... unchartered territory... where we can exist for the people around us.

What amazed me were the arguments for relocating to the older building on the main street. History... Presence... Being seen..! In essence, the past... times that have passed us by... our memories of what was. Sure the building has potential for the future... but it is established... set in stone (if you pardon the pun). Sure the flag will fly on the main street... but will that bring people in? Will that enthuse us to look out? Not sure.

What we need is imagination... the ability to design the future of Bellshill... create something new rather than rely on what has been.

This quote hit me the minute I opened up the book I am reading::
Any new idea that does not raise a howl of protest is probably not a good idea. Those who are comfortable in the use of the old idea find it difficult to see the inadequacies of the old idea. If you have to imagine new benefits and you cannot achieve this effort of imagination, you have no choice except to resist the new.
Edward de Bono

Maybe its me... maybe I cannot see the value in staying on the mainstreet... or maybe the chance to design the future appeals to me. Maybe too its the people who want to stay on the Main Street that cannot see the flaw in their argument. Its like shares... past performance does not predict future performance!

Thing is... at the end of the day... we can have all the imagination we want... have all the passion and vision available... but if the Lord isn't in it. If we are not doing it for Him... then we have failed.

Imagination, for me, is about having the guts to ask why not... as well as why? Imagination is about trying... experimenting... seeing what works and what doesn't. Its about getting your sleeves rolled up... Its something you do... not something you watch.

Imagination is checking out all possibilities... not accepting things as is. Its about looking behind the loin cloth of some classical statue... instead of accepting what should be there.

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Nouvelle Vague :: Glasgow :: This Friday

Nouvelle Vague are playing this Friday at the ABC in Glasgow. I am trying to secure babysitters... so Olly and I can go. I am a big fan of their music... love the concept - timeless punk tunes reinterpreted with bossa nova grooves. If you get the chance... suggest you check them out..! and if you are going too... leave a comment and we can try to hook up.

Oh and watch the Cool Hunting video - if you haven't already. Nice interview.

Didn't go... Olly wasn't really up for it today... and I didn't know anyone else who fancied it at short notice. Ah well... maybe next time?

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Some interesting stuff on 'tinterweb!

Here's a few things that have caught my eye this evening...

First off... the latest video from the go-to-place for everything cool :: Coolhunting :: is on the Minnesota RollerGirls. This is a sport that is totally alien to me over in Ecosse... we don't have something like this over here. I love the empowering-women-in-a-punk-rock-way ethos of this sport... but not big on the violence. Its an interesting spectacle to watch and I give kudos to the girls for making their community happen. Check it out.

Next we have the PT3 aka Puma Table Tennis Tournament - I love table tennis... and would love to play regularly with Olly. I love what Puma are doing here. Sure its promotion... but they have made something inspirational while promoting their brand. They have created, supported and brought together a community around ping-pong... and I dig that. It shows what can be built if the correct thought and emphasis is brought to the table [no pun intended]. Check out the website... and download the "soundtrack" - makes a great ringtone... if your phone can play mp3s.

Speaking of great music... Craig Armstrong - one of my favourite musicians and composers - is playing the Connect Festival. I would die to see him live. Honestly! Just kind of combust. The line up is getting stronger by the day. Who wants to go with me?

Some great photos on the fab Supertouch blog of Phil Frost's studio in NYC... well worth a wee dander over to check them out.

Oh and lastly... if you rawk a Mac... you may be interested in Neo Office :: its a fully-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs) for Mac OS X. I have Office... but would seriously consider it if I didn't.

Feasting on my family...


Been fasting from the blog... and feasting on my family [not literally] over the last few days. Blessings are like house value... not much use if you don't stop and appreciate them!

On Sunday, Dayna [eldest child] was 8. EIGHT!!! Where the flippin' heck have those years gone??? I remember her being born... Olly nearly broke my hand as she squeezed her out... I cut the cord then fell asleep - it was 3am - while Olly got some stitches [yet to be forgiven for that!]

Scary how time flies.

viewpark flower fest

On Saturday... we all [including Janey & Roscoe] headed over to the Viewpark Gardens to the annual North Lanarkshire Flower Festival - Its an annual celebration of all things relating to gardening... flowers... compost... you name it. Loads of local craft stalls, displays and educational exhibits... all to the bizarre soundtrack of 70's pomp prog and disco blaring over the tannoy.

Viewpark Gardens

The gardens are lovely... really peaceful and yet lots to see. Their cactus garden is special (as you can see below) with a true variety of our spiky friends:

oooh errr

viewpark flower fest

There was a beer garden there too with music from local acts... I caught a local singer / guitarist who played the blues with amazing vigour and sang with an annoying vibrato... interesting!

All in... it was a great day out... although the rain did spoil it a wee bit - we got caught in a monsoon and soaked through our waterproofs. Usual weather for the west coast!

Janey and Roscoe joined us for food and flicks afterwards... watching Ugly Betty, Dr Who and Nacho Libre together. Good times!

Dayna & Miriam

After church on Sunday... the four of us headed out for food and some together time. Not sure what Dayna and Miriam are doing in the photo... but I was caught red handed pinching some ice cream. Ooops!!!

I am a blessed man... I realise how important my family are to me... and am grateful for their presence in my life. God is good!


I love my wife... and


I love my we'ans! Check out the photos here

May's gathering

Be there... [if you can]


It looks like I may not make it afterall... please meet up without me and post the pics on Flickr.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

May's gathering

Be there... [if you can]


It looks like I may not make it afterall... please meet up without me and post the pics on Flickr.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

My dad is 60

Bentley Hotel

Spent this evening at the Bentley Hotel in Motherwell... celebrating my dad's 60th birthday.

CakeHappy Birthday to You!!!Miriam & my mumThe Family

The meal we shared in their conservatory was lovely... enhanced by the rhythm of the heavy rain on the roof... and a soundtrack of classic Motown.

chicken stuffed with haggis

We all had chicken stuffed with haggis and absolutely loved it. The food is great for the price... 3 courses for just over a tenner each. Imaginative dishes like the chicken with haggis (above) along with standards like fish and chips. Nice!

My Dad

Happy Birthday old man! Hope you enjoyed the meal... and the pressies are to your liking. Thanks for your influence in our lives... and your pragmatic approach to love and friendship. Here's to the next 60!


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