Friday, 20 May 2011

Journeying back to Ume

Here's a map of my planned trip back to Umeå to see the degree show and talks at the Design Institute. It's been three years since I left the Introduction to Industrial Design (IID) course, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the graduation work of my far more talented class mates and friends who stayed on for their Masters courses.

I just though I'd share my planning map since I've tried to follow a more interesting route than just flying direct. This was partly due taking the train is greener, but mainly because this journey seemed so much cooler & interesting (anything to not use Ryanair again :). Hopefully I'll feel the same way after all the hours on the tracks.

I managed to fit in a trip to Twickenham on the way, just couldn't pass up a chance to see the IRB Sevens tournament. Hopefully Wales will do me proud - annoyingly I couldn't make the first competition day (especially since so many friends will be there then) but hopefully Wales will get through in the main competition on Sunday. It would be so annoying to be stuck there alone with smug English people all around if that didn't happen!

Hopefully I can put my neat new camera into good use and post plenty of pics along the way. I'll have no excuse to get plenty of reading done either.

Ps. Thanks to 'The Man in Seat 61' for the much needed travel advice.

View Umea 2011 in a larger map

Friday, 18 February 2011

The Professor's Speech

The other day the movie "The High and the Mighty", 1954 was on TV (I love Film 4 and TCM). I didn't pay much attention to it, just enough to realise that it must have been one the fist 'disaster' Hollywood movies, playing on the newness of commercial airlines appeal back in the 50's. The funny thing about this movie is how many 'characters' they manage to squeeze onto the plane, each getting his/her own speech time to hopefully get you to care whether they live or die on this supposedly doomed flight.
To cut a long story short (I still haven't watched the whole movie) I was struck by the Professor's story. Check out his speech to fellow scientists, obviously involved in the testing of atomic missiles. Watching the original clip it's easy to make fun of the overly dramatic acting and melo-dramatic music but the thought of global destruction was many peoples minds.
Science as a study of nature is all well and good, but it's what you do with the knowledge that counts. I hope you find something interesting about the Professor's dilemma from these clips (there isn't a video clip available to share, but I found it better to read it than have the overly dramatic music in the background).

Prof. Flaherty. Welcome.
Are we to believe you are at last resolved to abandon the arts and return to science?
If so, we rejoice.
We have sorely missed your help, and advice.
You're doing all right.
You'll find out how to blow up the world all by your little selves.
It won't be long now and blooie. Congratulations.
Professor, we all appreciate the fact that you've been under enormous strain.
We deeply regret that a man of your calibre no longer sees fit to cooperate with us.
I had a seat on a nice little campus even if I wasn't making much money, or my students didn't know what I was talking about.  And I played pretty good golf and I slept nights.
I was happy because I figured it was still God's business to monkey around with the universe.
He can fix a star so it'll burn for a billion years.
Keep going and you'll find out how to burn one up in a minute.
Did any of you ever bother to look at the lagoon out there?
It's beautiful and blue, and the people around it are brown and kind and they did know how to laugh and sing. Only now all the fishes in the lagoon are dead.
And the people are scared forever. They don't sing anymore.
You found a way to blow out a window 65 miles away from the impact point.
Only, suppose there's a mother standing in that window with a baby in her arms?
Professor, I suggest you go to your tent and rest for a while.
I'll arrange transport back to the States for you at the earliest possible moment.
Yeah, do that.
I want to find a shepherd in the hills or a mountain in the mist, and paint their picture, before it's too late.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Group Bible study notes

Just thought I'd share some notes that I got from my sister on ideas for when you next do a group Bible study.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Things! Things! Things!

Here's a poem sent to me by Emma, who heard me give the talk posted previously. It sums up the frustration that stuff has in modern life. Oh for freedom from things, things, things :)
Things! Things! Things! On the table, on the floor, Tucked away behind the door; On the shelves and on the chairs: Dangerously on the stairs. Bureaus crammed and closets filled, Boxes packed and boxes spilled: Bundles everywhere you go, Heaps and piles that overflow Of Things! Things! Things!
Things! Things! Things! Things of value, worthless trash; Things preserved or gone to smash, Ancient things and things just bought, Common things and things far sought. Things you mean to throw away, Things you hope to use some day: Cellar, attic, all between One exasperating scene Of Things! Things! Things!
Things! Things! Things! Things that take our precious time; Hold us from the life sublime, Things that only gather dust, Things that rot and things that rust; Things that mold and things that freeze: Things that harbour foul disease, Things that mock us and defy, Till at last we grimly die Of Things! Things! Things!
Things! Things! Things! Let me cease to be their fool, Let me fly their crafty rule! Let me with unsparing knife Cut their canker from my life! Broad and clear and all serene Let me make my mansion clean From Things! Things! Things!
Amos R. Wells

I mentioned the 'Story of Stuff' before, I thought I might as well post it here:

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sharing English with Serbians

And we're back.

We left on Sunday, August 8th to run a school of English at a small school in Novi Sad, Serbia.
When I say 'run', it was more like playing loads of games with some great students, all local to the beautiful Novi Sad (it really is a hidden gem - please visit if you have a chance, a highlight is wandering the streets in the evening where young and old share a great night out).
We'll post a video round up of our experiences soon but I just wanted to share these videos until then.
On the last evening of the school we did a little presentation of the UK & Wales (Linroy proudly represented the British Virgin Islands as well).
I did a little section on the Welsh language and couldn't resist sharing the infamous/famous LlanfairPG name as an example of 'everyday Welsh'. Rugby obviously got a mention and it was great to see the locals appreciate Gareth Edwards Baabaas try - even though they barely knew what the sport was before.
Before we gave out freshly baked Welsh cakes at the end of the presentation - we wanted to show them this classic Two Ronnies sketch on the 'easy' way to learn English:

Unfortunately, only a few students got it - we forgot how different the alphabet is prounced here (not to mention their Cyrillic!).
Luckily we didn't show this next clip - no one would have got it!

Thanks to everyone for making this trip awesome, we may go back next year (there's sure to be many better pics to share soon, these are just some of Eiddon's pics, too lazy to take my won).

Monday, 19 July 2010

Talk: Big Picture, Small Actions

Finally got round to cleaning up the audio of a recording of a talk given for Carmathen Church on 3rd July (sorry about the audio quality, it's the best I can manage).
Key text:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 3:16-24
   (28598 KB)
Listen on posterous
*Audio updated on new blog post

'Story of Stuff' -

Friday, 2 July 2010

Rob Lacey and the 2 min. Bible

Welcome to my section of the AG website (we're not sure where we're headed, just praying that Jesus is leading the way). If you're new to Christianity, don't know anything about Jesus or have become disullusioned by your own 'religious' experiences, I hope we can share the amazinlgy simple and powerful truths that we're learning on our journey.
There was this amazing perfomer, writer and broadcaster from the valleys by the name of Rob Lacey. He had an amazing story to share on his path to use his wonderful creative skills to tell Jesus's story and lessons in a modern setting. Rob sadly passed away in 2006 but not before he managed to finish the radically relevant interpretation of the Bible called 'Word on the Street'. I only just found out today that the website of the publisher that detailed some his work has been removed, but luckily I saved this brilliant excerpt from the back of the book to share with you today*. I guess we're all trying to be part of Jesus's 'Liberation movement'! :)
The 2 Minute Bible, Rob Lacey
1st off,
nothing… but God
and off,
starts it all up and
Stuff everywhere.
The snake does some word twisting
Adam and eve fall for it
Kicks them out of heaven on earth
Death strolls in
They make babies
But the evil/good ratio goes through the roof
Turns the flood taps on
Only noah’s family and the animals survive
To see the rainbow
“Never again” quote God
More babies
Then Abraham –
The 1st jew
And his boys
Isaac, Jacob and Joseph
400 years on
the Jews are a nation
but just slave labour for Pharoah
Then God waves them out of Egypt through the red sea into the dessert via 10 plagues
Moses downloads the contract –
The big ten rules
The Jews break them all
Grumbling round the desert
for 40 years
once Joshua gets them into a land with milk and honey on draught
king David sorts out the giant goliath between recording his great compilation
Solomon comes out with some wise one-liners
then naff king after naff king
Messing up the people
Elijah and the other couriers can’t stop the rot
So God lets the Babylon army
Trash Jerusalem
And the Jews are carted off
As slave labour
Daniel gets to sleep
with the lions
Isaiah predicts a liberator
Esther stops a holocaust attempt
and, 70 years on,
the jews trek back to do construction work in Jerusalem
But no shift in attitude:
More idol promises
wind God up.
So he stops
talking to them for 400 years.
Enter Jesus the Liberator
good with hammer and nails
but he takes a career change at 30
and kicks off a 3 year
“heaven on earth” tour
with his mobile miracle clinic
and loads of stories
and questions
his team 12 love it
the religious suits don’t!
Dodgy trial
punishment beatings
public execution
-more hammers and nails
2 days later he’s back
having sorted out death
He’s launching the
Jesus Liberation movement
via Paul Benson
His foreign rep.
who’s sending out loads of emails
updating people on what it means that
Jesus came back to do
The sequel:
‘With God in us
We can bring heaven on earth
bit by bit’
all ending up with Jonno’s general memo
on how things are going to get
wrapped up:
The snake gets bbQd
The Jesus liberation movement get limitless life
Heaven on earth
*I don't want to break any copyright issues, just trying to share some of Rob's effort to de-mystify the Bible. Please buy the book by Zonderman if you're interested, I don't have the rights for this excerpt.