Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer School 07 + 8 habits

Fort William's crest

Olly and I are off tomorrow to the East & West of Scotland Salvation Army's annual Summer School in Dunblane. We've been asked to help out as Welfare Officers for the week. We will also be teaching multimedia and web2.0 skills to the kids... and no doubt learning from them too.

I doubt we'll get any web access... which is a pain for the whole web2.0 thing... but if I do I'll post on the key happenings. Our intention is to launch a blog from Chris' Council of War site with youtube videos and podcasts of the thoughts

[Thanks Chris for all you've done to make this happen! Oh and congrats on the birth of your daughter Amy Leanne... G'on yersel Dawn!!!]

I will be regularly twittering if you are interested. Check out my twitter on Facebook (if you are a friend) or on twitter itself...

Before I go... Adele tagged me...

Here are 8 habits I have...

1) I take too long on the loo - Sometimes I read and sometimes I even take the iBook on the loo with me (thank goodness for wifi)
2) I don't pray or exercise enough
3) I don't do enough housework... certainly not my share!
4) I own too many pairs of trainers (sneakers) - 45 pairs and counting [I feel guilty about this]
5) I love music and will go without lunch to buy tunes - I can spend hours digging in the crates if there is a sale on (RIP Fopp!!!)
6) I love charity shops and can't walk passed one without checking it out
7) I fall asleep at inappropriate times and then stay up until 0200hrs or so
8) I love my wife and we'ans... and always tell them

Rather than tag folk... I'll leave it open to my community to tag themselves. Let's share.

Love you all... Speak to you in a week or so [maybe sooner]

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Holidayin' in the Highlands :: Days 2 & 3

Aye... He is

When we were up in Fort William we took the opportunity to pop into the Salvation Army there for morning worship. We were blessed to witness a dedication while we were there.

View from the Lodge

Sunday was a glorious day... with a tremendous view of Ben Nevis from the lodge. It was great to see the hill without its usual low cloud.

Glen Finnan

We headed to Glen Finnan - the place reported to be where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard, at the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Loch Shiel was beautiful in the sun... and we sat at her edge while we ate some lunch. Truly awesome. Olly and I couldn't stop taking pictures of the view.

Glen Finnan Viaduct

To be honest, though, we weren't there because of the pretty Prince (not the one formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince) but there to see the Hogwart's Express cross the Glen Finnan Viaduct. Impressive sight from the vantage point that we had. Couldn't justify the £100 or so we would have been charged for the trip on the train... so this was the next best thing. We could have got nearer but the vantage point worked. Impressive sound too. The chug of the train breaking the stillness of the day. Lovely.

Glen Nevis

Later on we had some good food in a local hotel - I had the best haggis, neeps & tatties - and then took a wander down at Glen Nevis. Again, beautiful.


On the Monday we experienced terrible rain storms. The news had predicted the weather so it wasn't a surprise. We planned to travel up to Inverness for the day... and hoped to see some of Loch Ness while we drove the 140-something mile round trip.

Olly in Starbucks

To be honest... the shops there were disappointing. We were looking for unusual independents, family-run boutiques and well stocked charity shops... and we got the usual mix of national and international chains. One of which, Starbucks, was a pleasure to spend some time in... out of the rain.

Picked up a few wee goodies... such as a pair of DC Shoe & a Manhattan Portage bag (more detail later)... while we were there (Thank goodness for TKMaxx!).

Loch Ness

Didn't really get a chance to see much of Loch Ness... and Nessie was obviously annoyed with the rain too... for she was nowhere to be seen.

We got home in the evening and just chilled... playing top trumps with the we'ans... and just taking it easy.

The way holidays should be!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann :: Desiderata

Monday, July 23, 2007

Stussy Scotland Tees

Loving these... Focus in Edinburgh are doing a sweet collab with Stussy for a Scottish-flavoured tee. Nice.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Holidayin' in the Highlands :: Day 1


The holiday started... as all holidays should... with a trip to a charity shop. This time... its ours! Well, its not mine... but its ours in Bellshill. Hugh, a good mate from the Corps is learning the ropes before moving to Burnbank (Hamilton). I hadn't seen the shop - it was only opened week past on Wednesday - and I have to say... I love it. It is well stocked and has a coordination to the randomness... of you know what I mean?

Bought some tunes for the trip including ::
  • The Greatest Hits of Duran Duran - awesome... we've all been singing their hits. Please... please... tell me now!
  • Ray of Light by Madonna - one of my fav albums. very spiritual with Craig Armstrong on strings for Frozen
  • Wilson Phillips - very American pop from the early 90s. happens to be the first album I ever bought Olly... on tape!
  • Disco Classics - another awesome compilation that got the whole family singing. peace and quiet in the Highlands... as if!?!
  • Light and Magic by Ladytron - some classic electropop from 2002. Seventeen is a classic track.
  • by Miss Kittin - more electropop. Miss Kittin's first album. pretty avant garde in a nice way.
Some great tunes for the trip... We also regularly listened to Tom Middleton's Trips - truly fab mixes that kept things varied and vibrant.


We intentionally took it slow on the way up to Fort William - this was for Pippin's benefit mainly... but we're about the journey and like the trip.

We stopped at Callander for lunch. Its one of our fav places because its not really globalised yet... no chains... just sweet little shops and coffeehouses and bistros. Framed by the Trossachs... its a special place.

The we'ans picked up the Madagascar game for their DS for a fiver in a car boot. This was a result - the girls played this game all week. Second hand rawks!!!

Loch Lubnaig

We stopped off at Loch Lubnaig on the way... Again, another fav place with lots of memories for Olly. Truly a beautiful space... although better when quiet.


We stopped again in Ballahulish - a Highland village that suffered from a liberal over use of the plural on a road sign :: shops it said... shop we saw. Walked the dog passed the Shinty pitch - what a game! Its a macho version of hockey... with big, burly chaps firing a cricket ball about like Tiger Woods driving with a wood. Fascinating.

View from the Lodge

Next stop was the Lodge in Fort William - I have to say the Ben View Lodges lived up to their name as having a fantastic view of Ben Nevis. What an awesome site. Majestic. Powerful.

The Lodge

The Lodge was ideal for what we needed - well maintained with 2 bedrooms... kitchen table... no internet and a small TV. It was a fab base for our adventures.

The water at Fort William

We went out and got our bearings... the water at the front was magical, although they could do more with the space - wasn't really a promenade if you know what I mean.

The shops weren't really what we expected. Too many Tartan shops for the tourists or goretex shops for the outdoors brigade. No record shops... only one 2nd hand book store and one cool coffeehouse that we only discovered on the Friday (glad too - it had free wi-fi).

The food was kind of disappointing too. Either too expensive and fancy... or not really suitable for the we'ans. The Brewer's Fayre was fab... for once... not too busy. Their haddock was first class.

The bridge at Lochyside

Afterwards... we headed out and explored the locality of the Lodge. We found a derelict castle on Lochyside which was nice to see. The bridge beside it gave us some fab views.

We were understandably knackered by the end of the day. A fine trip with the promise of good times to come.

Photos from our break

View from the Lodge

I've started the long and arduous process of uploading my photos to Flickr. Go here regularly over the next few days to see the set grow.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mo' Tag

My fav Texan... JD tagged me with a pop quiz he had on MySpace.

How old are you?

32 and 11 months

What did you do last night?

Watched the Big Brother eviction with Olly. Eat loads of cheese and had a bizarre dream about Halley Berry that I don't remember other than I woke up and said her name... to Olly (oooops!!!)

What did you do today?

Traveled home to the 'Well from Fort William. Stopped off at Oban and found a lovely teaset in a charity shop.

Current clothing?

DC "Uno" shoes / baggy jeans from ASDA / Can't Skate Tee / Calvins

Current mood?


Do you miss anyone?

I always miss my Uncle Robert... and the Soos who is no longer a friend.

Last book you read?

Sad to say... Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

Do you love with all you have?

I hope so

Is anything making you mad?

Yeah... there is some stupid dance TV show on at the mo'

Do you have pets?

Yes... Pippin the Cairn Terrier / George the Hamster / 3 budgies - Gandalf, Itchy & Sherbert / Heidi & Woody the Gerbils

Last person of the opposite sex you hugged?

My sister - Janey

Last person of the same sex you hugged?

My bro - Roscoe

What was the last thing you bought?

A cool tea-set from a charity shop

Something you need to do?

finish what I'm doing and go get food

Next place you will go?

Back to Venice, Italy; or NYC

Last person you kissed?


Next road trip you will take?

Up to Dunblane... for Camp

Do you have a boyfriend/ girlfriend?

I have a wife

When was the last time you danced?

I danced a cheeky wee Gay Gordons with Olly at Claire's birthday the other week

Have you ever been pulled over? By the cops?


Is there anything you want to do?

Make ((deep)) happen... and my wee web2.0 thing

Is there anything you are looking forward to?

Seeing the new Harry Potter film tomorrow

What time do you usually go to bed?

Usually between 2300 and 0200hrs

What time do you wake up?

0700 on weekdays and whenever the we'ans bounce on the bed at the weekend

Do you love anyone?

I love everyone... but am especially fond of my life and we'ans

Who was the last person to say hi to you?


Do you want kids?

Too late... glad I have them

How many do you want?

2... or as many as Olly wants

Boys names?

I have 2 girls... but if we had had a boy... he'd be called Liam

Girls names?

Dayna & Miriam

What was the last thing you ate?

Fajitas... thanks Roscoe

Do you diet?

No... should

Can you tumble?

Only out of bed

What is in your room?

Some sweet stuff... Olly is a fab interior designer

How big is your closet?

Big enough for my 40+ pairs of sneakers

Do you share a room?

Yes... with Olly and Pippin

What is your favorite color?

Green and orange... oh and colour is spelled with a "U"

Do you have a big family?

Not as big as Olly

When was the last time you showered?

This morning

Who did you last call?


What was the last thing that made you laugh?

Reminiscing about our holiday

What was the last weird conversation you had?


Do you own a laptop?

Yes... G4 iBook

Does anything hurt?


Could you see yourself marrying a doctor?

Not unless Olly decides to become one

Do you eat candy?

darn tootin'

Have you ever been kicked out of a bar?

Not for a long time

Do you like someone?


Is tom on your top 8?


Why is your top person your top 1?


I tag LL, Chris, Al, Johnny and my life

We're back...

Just a quick post to say that we're back... in the 'Well... rested and relaxed after a week in the Highlands. We've been to Fort William, Inverness, Mallaig, Arisaig, Glen Finnan and Oban... and been on Ben Nevis and the silver sands of Morar.

400+ pics to sort through... and loads of stories to tell.

Thanks to everyone who followed the journey on Twitter. Its a cool tool that has so much potential.

One thing to say just now... Got some news from a great friend and this friend sent the news to my hotmail account. I only got it today after our friend sent it to my gmail account. I am being careful with the news as I don't know whether its in the public domain or not... but Olly and I are delighted to hear of our friend's happiness. I would have loved to have said this a month ago... but I don't use my hotmail as much as I do my gmail.

Blessings to my friend... you know who you are!

Friday, July 13, 2007

I hope to walk... read... maybe even shop?

Olly and I are taking the we'ans and Pippin up to a lodge near Fort William overlooking Ben Nevis.

I hope to walk... read... maybe even shop?! but most of all... I just want to reconnect with my wife and we'ans... and feed.

Its going to be good! I doubt I'll be able to update the ol' nanolog or Facebook while I am away... but watch the twitter feed... I'll try to keep that updated.

I'll be back in a week (or maybe sooner if I find some wi-fi)

Go here for another view.

Happy Birthday Claire

Claire :: birthday girl

Olly and I were out in Keavil House, near Dunfermline; on Wednesday evening to celebrate Claire's 18th birthday. Claire (above) is the daughter of our good friends Yvonne & David aka "D" (below).

D & Yvonne

It was great to hang out with some fab people and enjoy a night together (my folks had the we'ans - THANKS!!!) We got there early and had some lovely chicken soup in the lounge area.

Emma, the 'phonaught & Ally

It was good to catch up with Ally (pictured) and to meet his girlfriend, Steph. It was also good to see Emma (pictured) and her brother Cammie.

Olly, Uncle Benny & Yvonne

It was great to see some of Y&D's wider family... Always good to blether with Uncle Benny (above) who was looking sharp in his kilt!

Chelsea Dagger

There were a ton of Claire's school friends there... wearing the latest styles and dancing to the latest tunes. I have to say it was sweet to see the room explode to Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis.

The highlight though, for me, was hanging with Bobby & Colin from Airdrie. Its fab to be in their presence... they are so switched on and committed to their Lord and their corps. Its inspirational.

Great night... with great company... especially my wife who was looking good!



Major Eck gave me some books earlier this week... and I just wanted to say THANKS!!!

I'm taking Mere Christianity with me on my hols up north... along with Sex God which I am kind of half way through.

Something beautiful for God is about Mother Teresa... and Community in Mission is an Army theology book that interests me... its about the big out there!

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Community is a web... its not solely a physical web!

Our social fabric is in danger of being ripped to shreds as we swap electronic connection for personal relationships. The very nature of community depends upon us being connected to one another. Being civil means, or at least used to mean, valuing our relationships beyond our immediate circle of family and friends. If upon leaving home we immerse ourselves in idle chatter on the phone, listen to music nonstop at volume levels that preclude hearing the world around us, read every piece of e-mail sent since the last time we checked, or hunt for bargains on the Internet, we miss the chance on the way to work to make new friendships, renew old ones, or simply say hello to a stranger. A community is not merely a collection of individuals. It is a web—the kind with a small "w"—of interconnectedness, and this web cannot exist for long if each of its constituents is concerned primarily or exclusively with itself.
Ethics and the iPhone by Bruce Weinstein, PhD

OMGoodness... Its the end of the world as we know it!!! but hey... wait a minute... I feel fine!?!

The concept of community is changing... Here's a fab example of this::
When members of the Lotus Esprit online forum website heard, they donated money and time to fix it.
Let me get that straight... hmm... members of an online forum. Online... remote... electronic... and yet a community in its truest... most real sense.
"I can't even begin to thank all the people who were involved. It just restores your faith in people and shows that there is good in everybody," he said.
Community is about connection... no longer solely physical connection... Its rubbish to say the world is going to end (OK... I paraphrase) because of tools such as the iPhone that can help us connect further with our community.

Maybe the very people the iPhone user is chattering idly with is his / her community? I have 54 friends on Facebook... (again I am not boasting here but stating a fact) I consider them just as important a part of my social fabric than my next door neighbour... who, btw, is new to the street and I haven't had a chance to speak to him yet (Olly has though).

Maybe they are more important to my social make up? I have the email and mobile number of people in parts of the world that I may never go to... and yet I don't know the surnames of some of the folk in my cul-de-sac.

Don't get me wrong... physical connection is extremely important. Church works best when people come together... but to say this is the only way to build community is naive in my humble opinion.

Community is a web... its not solely a physical web!

Oh and I can do most of what the iPhone can do already... and I still manage to say "hi" to my neighbours when I walk to work.

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Thanks for your patience as I get my balance back


I've been busy this week... getting things done... waiting for things to happen... chilling with my wonderful wifey... my we'ans... and my friends.

I'll try to catch up on the ol' nanolog... I feel guilty for being on Facebook more than the blog - thanks for your patience as I get my balance back.

I need to feed at the moment... and am looking forward to my break with my family.

Monday, July 09, 2007

This weekend...

chair no1

This weekend started with a bang... from a burst balloon or two. The new management hosted a drinks and nibbles session with a silly teambuilding game... that turned out to be great fun. Basic premise was to create a balloon couch... and my team won. G'on yersel Rak.

More photos here

Sir Harry Lauder

On Saturday we headed over to the Museum at Hamilton. The girls love to go there and the intention of the day was to do stuff with and for them. They have renovated the whole top floor and have curated a fantastic exhibition on the first Scottish super star Sir Harry Lauder

Sir Harry Lauder

We are talking early 20th century here... and his music is rather twee now... but I have serious respect for the man who brought Scotland to the world in a fresh and creative way (for his time).

Sir Harry Lauder

I love the fact that he had costumes and personas for each of his big songs. What's better is that the costumes are on display in Hamilton.

Miriam as Sir Harry Lauder

Well worth checking out if you are in the area... oh and its FREE!!!


Afterwards we headed over to Hamilton town centre to kill sometime before we headed to the Mausoleum :: I managed to score tickets while in the museum.


Hazelnut Latte

We headed to The Capocci Man (a bit of an institution in Hamilton) for a quick snack. I have to say the space is looking good... I haven't been there since the smoking ban... Their latte was lovely!


You need to give Hamilton museum 24hrs to book a tour of the Mausoleum... but we were blessed that there was a tour planned and we could join it (all for £3.70 for the 4 of us... no way!!!)

The Mausoleum is the 10th Duke of Hamilton's legacy... designed to hold the bodies of the Hamilton family (or at least the important ones). Its basically 3 spaces... a furnace, the cript and the chapel.

Furnace and Chimney

The furnace kept the chapel nice and toasty... with air vents bring hot air to the space above. What was amazing was the chimney was built underground... with it coming out at the Gatekeeper's cottage 100 feet or so from the Mausoleum. Unfortunately its a wreck now. Genius design.

Cript Cript

The cript is pretty scary... but harmless. Cooler than air temperature... dark but dry. Nothing for Yvette Felding to get excited about really.


towards the light

The dome is amazing... with fantastic use of natural light.

heat vent

Every detail is brilliant. The vents, for example, are beautiful... and no doubt were effective in their day.


The floor is something else. Truly special... with a vivid sun in the middle.

standing on the sun

Lastly... the most special detail was the doors. In the same vein as the gold Doors of the Canonici in the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence (which are amazing to see btw)



Check out more photos here

Afterwards... Olly and I played ping-pong in the back garden and finalised our meeting preparation (although not at the same time).

Airdrie's crest

On Sunday... Olly and I led church at the Salvation Army in Airdrie... and absolutely loved it.

Olly and Bobbito getting in tune

Bobbito came along to accompany Olly with a couple of songs (thanks bro!)

We love the folk in Airdrie. They have a muck in attitude... and have really come together while they were leaderless. Great to be part of.

Later on we hung out together some more... this time with the dog :-) and then spent time at a faith barbecue gathering at the Corps.

Fantastic weekend. My thanks to my family for making it extra special.

Cool Hunting's iPhone review

Check out Josh Rubin's review of the iPhone on Cool Hunting - Its pretty advanced and forward-thinking. Consider it a what if??? and hope Mr Jobs has CH in his google reader.

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I am not the only Scotsman who likes baggy trews

Sir Harry Lauder

Had a tremendous weekend... not least at the Hamilton museum where we discovered that I am not the only Scotsman who likes baggy trews. I'll post more on my weekend tonight.

Friday, July 06, 2007

street mining

Every so often I am blown away by the genius of people. Noah Brier is one of the brains behind likemind and is a big ideas person... especially relating to connecting and community.

The latest idea that he's been involved in is street mining
- the concept is pretty simple...
once a month a bunch of people get together and go walk the streets. each month is guided by a different person showing off their favorite gems. anyone's invited, so why not come exploring?

Anyone up for trying this in Glasgow sometime? Maybe instead of a gathering... we could go for a walk. Find places and spaces that we may not know about.

Love it. Noah... another genius idea, bro!

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