Saturday, April 30, 2011

This is cool :: is a fab wee interface that uses the instagram API to present your recent instagram pics for folks to see via a browser rather than in-app on an iPhone.

I am is you want to have a look at some of my pics.

Sign up is free... you just need to authorise the site via instagram.


This is cool :: Isobel and Dave's sunny colourful homemade wedding :: photos by Anna Hardy

I am grateful to my dear friend Laura for bringing to my attention the fabulous work of Anna Hardy and, in particular, this fantastic photoset :: Isobel and Dave's sunny colourful homemade wedding.

I don't know who Isobel and Dave are... but they look so happy together and their wedding looked awesome. Thanks to Anna Hardy for allowing me to share in their happiness with her truly awesome and inspiring photography. I would love to be given the opportunity to take photos like that.


PS I hope they don't mind me pinching one of their photos to illustrate this post?

May 2011's Calendar

May 2011's Calendar :: 1280x800

Its nearly May... and, to the relief of my dad who has been on the phone regarding this, here's May's calendar. Taken in the Scotland Street School Museum in Glasgow earlier in April.

Usual flavours are included below.




Oh and I wish I could give you a Kindle version... but I haven't worked that one out yet.

in the moment

I am hurt.
I am broken.
I am defeated.

Or at least this is how I feel.

The poster... the promotion... and now the declined placing request... are now piling up on me.

I say this not for sympathy... but for information... because it is only fair to let you know what's going on.

I am in the middle of uncertainty... of doubt... of questioning and its a horrible place to be. I want to be at the other side... I want to be beyond this... I want to have the reassuring certainty that everyone so readily dishes out:

What's for you won't go by you.
It wasn't the right time.
I genuinely want that certainty... but it comes with hindsight and I'm not through the pain... and, as such, haven't been awarded such vision.

I'm still questioning:

"Why?" "Why not?" "Why me?" "Why not me?"
I truly hate this uncertainty... because it robs me of all the good and great in my life right now.

I am blinkered.
I am myopic.
I am blinded to that which is successful by that which is unsuccessful... as always the minority spoil it for the majority.
I focus on what I don't have rather than focussing on all that I do.

So please... as you seek to comfort me and others like me... remind me of all that I have in my life and let me work out whether or not it was my time and let me reconcile why it wasn't for me.

And please do not take this as a criticism. I am extremely grateful for all the support I have received. Each message... via phone, text, tweet, FB message, comment, IM and even in person... has reinforced one thing that I do have... I have awesome friends.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

experience & differentiation

I recently went for a promotion... and got rejected because I lacked experience... specifically... the experience of leading and managing people.

It's true. I cannot argue against their judgement... because I do not have enough experience in this area. I can accept this.

What would make it easier to accept, however, is if there were opportunities for me to gain is experience in my current role. Unfortunately, there is not. Which means I need to consider my future.

My current situation aside... I have been considering experience... as a means of differentiation... possibly the only means left to us now.

Let me explain.

Take music, for example: Access is now king. Before it would have been ownership... but in the days of bit-torrents and spotify... we have, at our fingertips, unparalleled access to the kind of content we could only have dreamed of before. Thanks to my Internet connection, I can access any album that takes my fancy. Not everything but far more than just my personal collection.

Or take books? Access to content has always been available through Public Libraries. I am a huge fan of the Library and hope they never disappear... because they give access to ideas that a private citizen may never have otherwise.

I am grateful to Amazon for their Kindle. I recently bought one and love it. It complements my iPad nicely and it is some "thing" that enhances my life... because it gives me access to their whole library of material... albeit at a reduced price rather than for free. The Kindle and the Kindle apps are enablers in this manner.

That said... if we all have access to all this content... what differentiates us as people?

Access is not enough. We need to do something with this access to benefit. We need to experience.

I believe every book we read... every song we hear... every relationship we build and conversation we hold... every mile we travel... builds us as people. We are shaped by our inputs. They are what allow us to grow.

It's all fine and well to have the ability to access anything we want... we need to do something with it. This was true before digital... and it's true now.

Increased access gives us width.

Yesterday I read H.P.Lovecraft and from the Message translation of St Matthew's Gospel. I went for a bicycle ride on my refurbished BSA Javelin then watched "Mary Poppins" and a number of videos on Vimeo. I also listened to a post-rock compilation featuring artists from throughout the world... as well as listening to two Italian guitarists playing the most exquisite Baroque music on their acoustic guitars. This is width and it is this width allows me to experience some very different and disparate things.

The key is experience... and it is our experience that differentiates us.

Whilst we may be moving towards homogeneity when it comes to our devices... it's what we do with them that counts. iPhones & Androids, iPods & zunes, iPads and Kindles... may all becoming ubiquitous but the content on them varies and what we do with them varies even more.

I see this as a tremendous opportunity... because we need to... in fact, we have to... look beyond the homogeneous artefacts to see the content.

Before we could judge a book by it's cover or an album by it's artwork... now we need to inquire. The visual clues have changed and we now have more work to do.

We'd better get busy then.


- Posted from my iPad using BlogPress -

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hope for Japan... a compilation of awesome music for a wonderful cause

Hope for Japan is a compilation of seriously awesome music for a wonderful cause... it features personal favourites such as Matt Stevens, Lowercase Noises, The Echelon Effect, Good Weather for an Airstrike, and Circadian Eyes... along with a whole host of others. 36 tracks in total... all for a minimum donation of $5.00 with all proceeds going the Red Cross' efforts in Japan.

A must-have purchase... Well recommended.


Saturday, April 23, 2011


As around the sun the earth knows she's revolving and the rosebuds know to bloom in early May.
Just as hate knows love's the cure, you can rest your mind assure.
That I'll be loving you always.
As now can't reveal the mystery of tomorrow but in passing will grow older every day.
Just as all is born is new, do know what I say is true.
That I'll be loving you always.

Did you know that true love asks for nothing.
Her acceptance is the way we pay.
Did you know that life has given love a guarantee.
To last through forever and another day
Just as time knew to move on since the beginning and the seasons know exactly when to change.
Just as kindness knows no shame, know through all your joy and pain.
That I'll be loving you always.
As today I know I'm living but tomorrow could make me the past but that I mustn't fear.
For I'll know deep in my mind, the love of me I've left behind.
Cause I'll be loving you always.

We all know sometimes lifes hates and troubles can make you wish you were born in another time and space.
But you can bet you life times that and twice its double that God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed.
So make sure when you say you're in it but not of it, you're not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell.
Change your words into truths and then change that truth into love, and maybe our children's grandchildren and their great-great grandchildren will tell...
I'll be loving you.

"As" by Stevie Wonder... taken from "songs in the key of life". Words that are very apt for the day before Easter Sunday.

Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

Friday, April 22, 2011

Passion... Two albums that mean a whole lot to me

The soundtracks to "the last temptation of Christ" and "the passion of the Christ" mean a whole lot to me... especially at this time of year - their ambience adding to my meditation on the suffering of Jesus.

I have only seen one of the two films (the passion... ) and only seen it once. Regardless... I think that their power as soundtracks is evident... with the sentiment they express being the value I seek from them.

Well worth checking out... if you haven't already?


Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

When I survey...

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died; my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God; all the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
When I survey

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Currently listening to... Yann Tiersen's soundtrack for "Amelie"


Amelie is a wonderfully quirky film... filled with stunning visuals, excellent acting, a fascinating tale to tell & a wondrous soundtrack.

I only recently picked up the soundtrack & absolutely love it. It has a expertly crafted balance of quirkiness and poignancy... that really works for me... and demonstrates how talented Yann Tiersen is.

So much so... I picked up a number of his other albums. Talented is actually an understatement.

Find it on Spotify & enjoy. It's for sunny days like today.


Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Moleskine iOS App looks rad


The Moleskine app is thoughtfully designed for notetaking & drawing... which builds nicely on their reputation and provides an authentic digital experience - it functions as a notebook rather than just being a brand extension.

Oh and it's free... which is pretty awesome, if you ask me.


Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Loving... "End Of Line [Original Tron Re-Score]" by Mogi Grumbles

This makes for interesting listening... a re-scoring of the soundtrack that backs the seminal Tron. Here's the blurb:
"End of Line is an original re-score of the movie Tron (1981), created by Ann Arbor native French / Disco House antihero Mogi Grumbles. End of Line is a 100% independent composition that lives wholly outside the original film score by Wendy Carlos and Annemarie Franklin.

The result of a live collaboration between Alex Taam and video editor Christian Silbereis, a re-cut of the film featuring the Mogi Grumbles re-score has been released as a companion piece for your viewing pleasure. End of Line is being released digitally as a name-your-price offering, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the artist."
Download the re-score here... and enjoy.


More photos of birds in Olly's Garden

130411_ Great Tit feeding

140411_ Blue Tit feeding

150411_ Blue Tit feeding

160411_ Coal Tit

Application is where knowledge is transformed into wisdom

060411_ washing line #1

I broke my fast.
I tried and I failed.
I continued to consume... because there is too much good music out there... too many interesting apps and enticing second-hand books for me to check out.
I needed a new case for my iPhone.
I needed a new (to me) waistcoat.
I needed a pair of Birkenstock sandals for my holiday to Lido di Jesolo, near Venice.
I tried and I failed.

But in my failure I have learned about what motivates me to consume... and believe this awareness will help me in the coming days. It is something that I can use.

I am motivated by the thrill of discovery. I derive pleasure from finding something new.

I am not a horder, per se... in that I am not necessarily motivated by having lots of stuff. I am not really a collector of anything... apart from film cameras, I guess.

For me... its the obsession of the hunt... that singularity of view of my prey where everything else is kind of blurred (kind of like focussing on a single raindrop on a washing line)... and then the rapturous joy when I get what I'm after.

If the thing fits with my needs and my self-identity then it becomes assimilated into my life.

However, if the thing intrigues me but... is ultimately extraneous to my life then... at the point when the novelty wears off... it becomes another thing taking up space.

I don't think I am alone in this.
I don't think I am the only person who enjoys the hunt.

Where do I go from here?
What do I do with this knowledge?

I could differentiate between what will have an impact in my life... and what is transitory? But then... will I know it is extraneous at the time?

I guess this is where I should question myself...
Will it add to my life?
Will it improve my life?
Do I actually need it?

The key here is to apply my new learning.
Application is, afterall, where knowledge is transformed into wisdom.

We'll see.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It must be the synergy effect in effect... thoughts on curation and creation

”Curation will be prized a lot more over creation in the future”
Alison Mooney - Conference NYC

I spent part of my lunch hour debating this sentence with Innes Johnston today. Innes is a dear friend who, in part, runs eat-a-cd with his wife and brother. I see what they do on their site as being curation... and used the quote to demonstrate the point.

It did get us thinking if curation is actually more important than creation... will it be really more prized?

For me, the action of curation is to bring together... to use some form of judgement to filter through various options and present this selection... for consideration by others.

To this end... art galleries are curated... so too blogs and magazines... anywhere there is thought applied to the content on show.

Curation is important... but then so is creation. It's a symbiotic relationship - the curator needs the creation to filter and promote... and the creator needs to be promoted and to feature in an independent curation is important praise.

I think if the phrase used was "trusted curation" then I would have an easier time agreeing with the statement. Over time, certain curators demonstrate their taste and ability to appeal to your aesthetic sensibilities... and become trusted. I am more likely to buy an iOS app featured in Swiss-Miss or Notcot... because the blogs and the curators behind them have proven themselves worthy of my trust due to their taste.

But the thing is... I can't get over the fact that the bringing together of things is more important than the things themselves. It must be the synergy effect in operation?

Is the output I produce as a result of my filtering process more important than the content itself?

I think there is a need for humility in the presentation of the filters... in acknowledgement that whilst the curation is very important, it is the icing on the cake... or should I say, the icing on someone else's cake.

There is too much "stuff" out there. I failed in my Lenten fast partly because of this fact. We need effective filters to reduce this noise... and this is where curation comes into it's own as something to be truly prized.

However, I believe the best outcome would be for us all to seriously consider the "act of filtering" and seek to develop our own abilities.

I guess this is where discernment comes into play. We need to keep thinking for ourselves. We need to curate our curators... and even become curators for others. This blog, for example, or my mixcasts are my attempt at this.

Just as we are becoming our own publishers & creators... we too will become our own curators.

And that's where the real prize is, imho.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Loving... the second Hawk Moon Records compilation

I have a confession to make.
I overuse the word awesome. I say it too often... and I think I have devalued the word.
Why my sudden remorse?
Well... I've been listening to the second Hawk Moon Records compilation and... well... its awesome!

It kicks off with "sun" by in lieu ... who are new to me but have seriously impressed me. Full on euphoric post rock with vocals reminiscent of Jon Anderson from Yes... albeit less wedgie-esque.

We then go into "FL350" by the wonderful Echelon Effect... who carries on his trademark deep wall-of-sound with a piece that incorporates American Police Radio (I think) and a tremendously languid melody.

Afterwards we have a piece from Damn Robot entitled "the great landfill in the sky"... which follows "FL350" with some French ranting (I think) over subtle beats and harmonies. Damn Robot is the new project from Rob (Inachus) Honey and Tom (Good Weather For An Airstrike) Honey... and I really look forward to their album in May. This track winks at real promise... albeit part of me wants to understand what the rant is all about.

From there we move to "the cure" by ...And The Earth Swarmed With Them which is beautiful in its graceful unhurried elegance and subtlety... very much the calm before the storm.

The storm coming in the shape of another favourite band of mine MinionTV with their track "Yardsticks". Their trademark post rock is combined with a frantic sense of urgency... and a building towards a chaotic climax... which comes in sound of skittering beats and an epic sounding wall of guitars. A track that needs volume... in fact it demands it!

We then come down a peg or two with "blood and toothpaste" by Escalators... before the rhythm becomes more frantic and the pace quickens again... with chunky guitars and a driving sense of movement. I'm really, really eager to hear more from them.

The penultimate track is fast becoming a favourite of mine... "the days of snow" by Circadian Eyes is melodious piano-driven post rock... that snares the listener and draws them in before building in pace towards a wonderfully joyful and euphoric moment of climax... a moment that holds a real sense of the cinematic.

The last track is by one of my all time favourite musicians... Lowercase Noises. "Let in the morning light" holds all the trademark elements that makes for a truly wonderful Lowercase Noises track :: a slower tempo... subtle melodious keys... skittering beats... and the most beautiful layered guitar sounds that build, evolve and mutate as the song grows. Truly gorgeous and warm-hearted.

All in... this compilation is awesome. The material on offer is truly the best out there... in my opinion. In fact, this compilation would make a mighty fine soundtrack to a Hollywood film.
Yes, its that good.

Oh and the craziest of things is that the compilation is free to download here.

As my twitter friend @textistential put it... "Holy cow. WHY IS THIS FREE?".



Sunday, April 10, 2011

An egg cooker... and the need for single-purpose as well as multi-purpose

100411_ Olly's egg steamer

Recently Olly came home with this egg cooker. She does that... brings home wee gadgets for the kitchen. This one is really special... it cooks eggs.

How could this be "really special" I hear you cry? because it cooks the eggs better than if they were cooked in a pan... in water... on the gas.

I'm not sure why its better... it just is. The eggs are cooked to our view of what a perfect egg is... golden runny yolk and a tender white. Which is, by the way, awesome on a buttered Irish soda farl with a wee spot of hot sauce.

I digress.

What has also impressed me about this egg cooker is its singularity of purpose... it doesn't do anything else. It cooks eggs and it cooks them perfectly. That is it.

We are becoming more and more used to multi-purpose devices. I'm typing this post on my 13" MacBook Pro that is definitely a multi-purpose device - for surfing the interwebs, listening to music, watching videos etc - consuming and creating content.

Beside me is my iPad... and my iPhone - both excellent (in my opinon) multi-purpose devices.

However, beside me too is my camera... my Nikon d60. Its a single-purpose device - it doesn't shoot video and only takes still images.

Notice I said "only"? Its as if I am excusing its failing... "Yeah... it only takes still images".

I personally think it captures excellent still images. (I am not saying I take excellent images... but making the point that the camera, in my view, does a grand job and when its off... its because I am off.)

Sometimes I think... in all our technological advances and grasping for growth... we put too many things into a device.

We have too many expectations.

I coined a phrased yesterday called "notifitractions" ... this is the distraction that comes when your technology seeks to notify you of something. If you have a smartphone with push notifications "on" or you use "growl" on your Mac... you'll know what I mean. Its the technological equivalent of a small child tugging at your clothes to ask you something. Its pleasantly annoying when you are in the mood for them... and down right distracting when you are trying to be in the zone.

Notifitractions disturb our concentration... and our concentration, as my boss reminds me, is a very, very, very scarce resource... at least mine is... ***squirrel***

They are a symptom of "connectivitis"... the disease that comes from being connected on the internet for too long a continual period of time... like bed-sores but virtual. (Credit to @tenstrings for that phrase).

As a result of even the mildest of connectivitis... we have too many expectations. We expect our tools to do everything... and do everything awesomely. Think about it... the criticism of the iPod is that it doesn't have this or do that. No one stops to ask... why? Not why they are not there but why they are expected!

I recently saw a bluetooth-enabled Casio G-Shock watch... that receives and then presents notifitractions from your smartphone. It was an awesome application of technology... and I could see myself using it... when I surreptitiously sneak off to the toilet whenever an email comes in whilst I am at work.

Surely a watch should be a watch... and do chronological things awesomely... to the detriment of anything else?

If you have ever tried to use a "databank" in a digital watch... you'll get what I mean. They should stick to telling the time... and forget about all the extras.

Does anyone actually need a bluetooth-enabled watch? Does anyone actually need phone numbers stored in their watch? No... didn't think so.

I have taken to reading eBooks on my iPad when I am out of wi-fi reach. Why? So that my enjoyment of the story isn't spoiled by the ***bing***bing***bing*** of notifitractions.

Yes... I should just turn them off... as I have done with my iPhone... or switch off the wi-fi when I am reading in the house. I know... I should... but then I wouldn't get the benefit of them when I need them (I hate the hassle of switching things off then on then off again... yes, I know, I have first world problems!)

Maybe I will delete Twitter (which is the main culprit) off my iPad. I don't need it when I have my iPhone beside me... or my MBP.

I think the issue is that I allow these notifitractions into my life in the first place.

A book, for example, is the perfect single-purpose device. Yes... you can consider the fact you can prop up a shoogley table leg, provide insolation to a house or burn them for heat as other uses of books... but these are not the main use. The main use is for a book to be read... to impart knowledge and provide an experience.

Maybe this is why the Kindle has been a success?

It does one thing... and one thing well (we'll ignore the browser).

I guess when you have something that does what its meant to do really well... and you use it for that purpose... then there is no need to disgard it and upgrade.

This is then the point where our consumption becomes considered... when we think about what we want and what we have... and really consider what it does and whether it will do what we need it to do.

Its also where we could start to consider minimalist ideals... and look to strip away all the unnecessary bells and whistles... to focus on the purpose of the device and the value it brings to our life.

In this way... we may be able to see even the most rampant multi-purpose device as having a degree of sleek singularity.

Well... it does for me.


A broken lens... and some accidents of light

100411_ an accident of light #2

Bob Ross was fond of saying...
"There are no mistakes... just happy accidents."
Now while the fall that damaged my 55-200mm lens for my Nikon wasn't a happy accident... in any way shape, or form... I do quite like these pics. They came from me trying to work the lens and discovering it wasn't auto-focussing in any sane means.

100411_ the blur of a broken lens

100411_ an accident of light #1

I have tweaked them in Lightroom... but I haven't altered their content... just played with the colouring / contrast.

I hope to take the lens in to get fixed. There is a shop in Glasgow that's been recommended by two independent but trusted sources. Hopefully it won't be too expensive... or I'll need to start selling my pics to recoup the loss.

I'm not sure what else to say... other than to try and see the beauty in even the toughest of times... you'll be surprised at what you see.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

In my garden... this morning

090411_ Spider's Web #3

090411_ Spider's Web #5

090411_ drumstick primula

A question... if I may? #2

I have recently discovered Yann Tiersen's awesome soundtrack to the film "Amelie".
It says "Paris" to me.
It says "France" and "French"... and reminds me of my holiday last year.
This year I am heading to Lido di Jesolo, near Venice, in Italy... and was wondering if anyone could recommend a piece of music... say, a soundtrack score... that says "Venice" and "Italy" to them?
Any ideas?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Yesterday's trip to Dean Castle

070411_ Dean Castle #1

Yesterday... we went to Dean Castle in Kilmarnock for the afternoon. To be honest... none of us had heard of it until Olly came across it.

It is a really well restored Middle Ages Keep and Banqueting Hall. The Keep is free to visit but you need to go on the tour (again... free) to see all the other great spaces. The tour is well worth the wait... with the guide being very engaging and informed.

Afterwards... we had a donder around the grounds... then went for a cuppa in the tearoom.

As always... I took some pictures. Go here to see the set.


070411_ within Dean Castle #8

070411_ Stag #2

070411_ Dayna #2

070411_ me

Wow... Tempest Freerunning Academy

Every-so-often... I see something like this and go "wow". This is definitely a "wow" moment.
Thanks to JD for sharing.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Yesterday at Kelvingrove Museum

060411_ The King #2

Yesterday... after a very depressing start... we joined my sister and Godson in visiting the Kelvingrove Museum (after a wee trip to the Salvation Army charityshop on Dumbarton Road).

To me... Kelvingrove is one of the finest museums in the world. It has an eclectic nature that makes wandering around a sheer pleasure... moving between stuffed aninmals to dinosaur remains to Egyptian artefacts to one of the most wonderful Religious paintings in the world...

Salvador Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross:

060411_ Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross

The pic was taken with my iPhone because I only had my 50mm prime lens with me. I have to say the alcove in which the painting resides is now befitting of the painting. Before it was on the top of a stairwell and was lit in the more terrible of light... now the lighting has been greatly improved and there is a wee video and some posters to put the picture in context and provide a background to its history.

I would recommend visiting the Museum just to see this painting... albeit you wont be disappointed with the rest of the space.

060411_ blossom #2

Afterwards, we headed to Beanscene for a London Fog and a blether... good times, regardless of the weather.

Well recommended!


060411_ Giraffe under a Spitfire's wing

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Some pics of birds from my dining room window

010411_ feeding on a rainy day

As mentioned yesterday... I only got round to uploading the pics from my Dad's Canon EOS 350D recently... and apart from the photos from the Whitelee Windfarm, there were a number of photos of birds in our back garden.

Olly has done an awesome job of making the back garden an inviting place for humans and for wildlife, especially birds. We love nothing more than watching the sheer variety of birds that we get (albeit not as varied as in Marc de Ridder's garden).

I have taken to having the tripod set up in the dining room... and a 300mm lens left in there too... to facilitate shots like the ones on here.

I could really get into wildlife photography... albeit that's a very costly area of photography with the emphasis placed on big zooms and macro lens.

I many ways I am pleased with what I have achieved with what I have.



260311_ Blue Tit #1

260311_ Blue Tit #2

270311_ Home sweet home #2

290311_ Looking on #2

290311_ Dark against the background #1

250311_ Sparrowhawk #6

Monday, April 04, 2011

Some photos from Whitelee Windfarm

140211_ Whitelee Windfarm #14

A while back... Olly, Dayna, Miriam, Pippin and myself took a wee donder around the Whitelee Windfarm, near Eaglesham. I took some photos with my dad's Canon EOS 350d and never processed them (I prefer SD cards to CF... my MBP has a direct SD cardreader).

Apparently it is Europe's largest Windfarm... and it is, well, truly awesome... in the true sense of awe inspiring. The turbines are so large... you just feel small... and with the dark and ominous sky, it was wonderful.

I've posted the set [here] and hope you like them.


140211_ Whitelee Windfarm #4

140211_ Whitelee Windfarm #13

We need Guides rather than Experts

As I am typing this... Olly and Miriam (my 9yo) are watching "America's Top Model".

I have had an allergic reaction to shows like this... and programmes like "The X-Factor"... because of the role of experts... or should I say the role given to experts.

In these shows... the experts (and please understand I do not doubt their expertise and experience in their respective areas) are elevated to the role of Judge, Jury and, in some cases, Executioner.

Their opinions can make or break a person... and their careers. They act as subjective filters... removing the chaff they wish to remove to emphasis the wheat they wish to keep.

Now... don't get me wrong... I believe there is a lot of chaff out there... in fact, every contestant on "The X-Factor" is chaff, in my humble opinion... but that's the thing: its my opinion!

Just as these Judges choose based on their own subjective views... I select what I like based on mine. I am opinionated... I have an opinion!

That's the point... if we allow others to make up our minds for us... do our thinking... filter out the chaff... then we do not develop our own tastes and therefore cannot complain when we feel unsatisfied and empty.

We need to think for ourselves... we need to develop our own preferences and be open enough to share them.

Consider the Rob Bell "Love Wins" furore... a number of people didn't and haven't read the book because they have sub-contracted out their opinions to people they "trust"... they happily follow the people they have raised to Expert level and let them do the thinking and the opinion-forming.

I have been inspired by the book and hope to share my thoughts when I finish the book... but please don't take it from me. Don't follow my opinion on the book or, for that matter, the music I love or the films I've seen... taste them for yourself and make up your own opinion.

Read the book.
Listen to the album.
Watch the film.

This is why I would consider myself a Guide... someone who shows you what they have found and lets you sample it for yourself. I don't care if you don't like what I like... because I'm not invested in being an expert... the thrill for me is finding something awesome and pointing to it. If you like it then fantastic! If you don't but have tasted it then fantastic!

We need more Guides than Experts... show me new things and let me decide rather than telling me what to think.

The only issue with this is choice... an over abundance of choice... but then we need to choose our Guides carefully... and be prepared to form our own opinions.

But don't take it from me... what do you think?


Sunday, April 03, 2011

A wee trip to the Scotland Street School Museum in Glasgow

020411_ Scotland Street School Museum (inside) #7

020411_ clothing hooks

Yesterday, Olly, the we'ans and myself took a wee trip to the Scotland Street School Museum in Glasgow. Scotland Street School was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and was a functioning school up until 1979. As a museum, it tells the story of education in Scotland over a hundred years, from the late 19th century to the late 20th century.

It is also a must-see for Mackintosh fans - the building is a wonderful example of his architectural style and the first floor has space that shows the process of building the school, from plans to opening.

On the second floor, there are various period classrooms... from the Victorian era to the late 60s... all decked out as they would have been. There is even a large "Home Economics" space set up as it would have been.

On the ground floor there was a Toy exhibit... that contained a remarkable number of toys that all four of us remembered in some way... from Action Men to Furbies.

The cafe... a Willow Tearoom... was fab too - very reasonably priced with a great selection of food, leaf tea in pots and some fantastic local ice cream.

All in... a fab afternoon out... made even better by the fact the whole space is free.

The rest of my photos are available >>>here<<<.


020411_ Scotland Street School Museum (inside) #9

020411_ Buzz Lightyear

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Just because you can... doesn't mean you should!

I'm on holiday... and trying to spend more time with my family and less time on the interwebs. Slightly ironic that I am saying this on a blogpost... I know... but I couldn't keep silent about the actions of Pastors Sapp & Jones... and, more importantly, their "right" to do what they did.

Just because you have the freedom to say whatever you can... doesn't mean you should say what you want!

Now... let's be clear... I do not condone the acts of retaliation that have resulted in 10 people dead, so far. Nothing is worth killing over... especially the killing of innocent third parties... and I condemn outright the people who have killed them. I believe they have completely and totally overreacted.

However... I strongly believe this could be avoided.

Consider these verses from 1st Corinthians 13 (taken from The Message)... words both Pastors will be very familiar with:
"Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end."
I could pick out any line from the above, but I'd like to pay particular attention to the second line... Love cares more for others than for self... regardless of what you think of another person's Holy Book and their faith... the loving thing is to care more for them than you do for yourself.

This means taking their opinions... thoughts... feelings... beliefs... and values into account before acting.

When viewed in this way... the actions of Sapp and Jones were nothing short of selfish and unloving... and for Pastors... for representatives of Jesus in this world... that is nothing short of atrocious!

Yes... I would agree with some who say that... in this day and age... no one has the right not to be offended... but sometimes the best thing to do in response to a personal affront is not to do anything at all.

Except maybe to smile... and move on.

Just because you have the perceived right to say whatever you want in criticism of others... doesn't mean you should. Ten people are now dead because two Pastors held their freedom of speech as being more important and significant than their calling to love.

And we wonder why people walk away from the name of Jesus. God help us all!



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