Thursday 26 August 2010

Question: when is a holiday not a holiday?

Answer: When you're running around like a lunatic for a week trying to keep up with 60 teenagers whilst teaching them the gospel!

Ah Venture. I do love it - that is when I don't hate it. It's exhausting and emotionally draining. But it's also joyful and gloriously uplifting.

So, things I've learnt during the past week:

1. "And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times have reached their fulfilment - to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ." Ephesians 1:9-10 taught in a classic memory verse style-e.

2. "You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24
P.S. You have to sing it to the tune of Aladdin's 'A Whole New World'. It's a less well known memory verse strategy, but a hugely effective one!

3. Paintball is NOT for me. I'd always thought as much but decided I should give it a go before passing judgment. Perhaps I was missing out on something amazing? I wasn't. Unless by amazing you mean painful and tear inducing. I got shot in the head (ouch) which was then compounded by the accidental coming together of a team-mate's gun and the exact spot on my noggin that had just been so violently introduced to paint (double ouch). I decided to bow out and did so ungracefully and inelegantly. But not before I attracted a shot to the thigh that eventually yielded a bruise on such a scale as I'd never seen before and hopefully never will again. despite my lack of enthusiasm for the paintball experience I am strangely proud of that bruise.

4. Dead fish don't dance - more on that story later.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question...

Please don't keel over in shock.

It is indeed I, Giraffe-a-licious, returned from blogging exile. A self-imposed exile I hasten to add. I haven't been deported or anything so sinister.

It's not even really been an intentional exile. Somehow life has got in the way of my communicating my terribly important thoughts with the world... or at least the two or three people that may ever read this.

But I felt compelled to reignite the flame of passion with my dear blog and so here I am. Darling blog, will you take me back? I do hope so.

I begin my return with a question: to tweet or not to tweet? I am fighting the urge to join the seemingly ubiquitous Twitter. Now of course 140 characters is never going to be enough for me to express myself fully but my main concerns are of a rather different nature. By joining the Twitter-sphere am I labelling myself an egotist and a voyeur? The arrogance that anyone would want to read of my comings and goings or musings on life (hold up, I'm writing this ON A BLOG... I think that ship has sailed). OK so I'm already an egotist. But what of this voyeurism? I am in no way a fan of the celebrity culture in which we live these days but I can't deny that my inclination to join Twitter is in no small part due to wanting to 'follow' the likes of Andy Murray and Chris Moyles. It's respectable stalking! Perhaps I can claim it as a form of research into the human condition... that sounds jolly intellectual don't you think?

I turn my dilemma over to you dear readers... or reader... or silent empty vacuum of

Twitter - yea or nay?

Friday 16 October 2009

Impeccable timing

I am no longer Hobnob tooth! Cue wild cheering and arm waving!

I am now the proud owner of 'silky-smooth-in-fact-so-much-so-that-my-other-teeth-are-jealous-front-tooth'. Hurrah. Unfortunately I wasn't able to rejoice in the day of tooth beautifying quite as much as I'd have wished.

Not only was October 15th Dentist Day, it also turned out to be school photograph day. Shudder. Now you could be forgiven for thinking that having left school a full 7 years ago I should not ever again have to face the horror of a school photo. I thought similarly. I was wrong. I (apparently foolishly) work in a school and at this school (which shall remain nameless) they like the staff to have their photos taken and stuck on a wall. This alone is enough to cause sleepless nights for an inexperienced admin assistant. But then imagine if you will, that said admin assistant has had a filling on her front tooth at 10am that morning. She has had a local anaesthetic and cannot feel her top lip nor half of her nose. She is finding it impossible to tell whether she's smiling or grimacing. Then merely an hour later stick that poor woman in front of a photographer. Gah.

They took two photos and asked me to choose which I preferred. Two?! In this age of digital cameras surely they could have given me at least 10 attempts to get it right!

Well I hope that they're happy with their mug shot. It's not my wall that it's going to gaze out from for the next year.

I still maintain that mine is a beauty that the camera cannot capture. Such radiance cannot be conveyed in the momentary capsule of time that is contained within a photograph. It must be beheld by the true eye of humanity in order to be discerned and appreciated. And even then you wouldn't believe the number of people who miss it...

Monday 5 October 2009

Louis shmooey

I know I'm being manipulated into writing this particular blog entry but unfortunately I just can't bring myself not to.

It's this man's fault:

Gah. Louis Walsh. Once upon a time he was something of a pop svengali - not so much these days mind. But he's still got his judging role on a little known talent show called The X Factor. The mute button is my friend when Louis is on screen but sadly the mute button doesn't prevent the muppet from making absurd decisions when it comes to his acts.

These two scary looking boys are John and Edward.

On Sunday Louis put them through to the final 12 X-Factor acts and as such they will be performing this coming week in the first live show. Let us all hope that it is a one night only affair and that the twins will be unceremoniously disposed of before the competition has really got started.

They are genuinely awful. It is a mystery how they got past the initial auditions let alone into the prestigious final 12. By putting them through Walsh has managed to erase any modicum of credibility that the show may ever have had. But put them through he has. I can't believe that Louis actually thinks that they have any talent - last night he compared them to a pre-fame Boyzone (in fairness this could be accurate but the pop music industry has changed in the last 15 years and you can no longer get away with launching an unprofessional half-baked outfit - which is what Boyzone started out as - and some may argue also finished as!). So unless Mr Walsh has actually lost his mind what is the other option?


And he's got it. TV, radio, newspapers, blogs (ahem)... all decrying his choice and heaping insults upon him. But it's exactly what he wants. A large percentage of people tend to stop watching X-Factor after the initial auditions are over because their motivation for watching is the cringe worthiness of the no-talent contestants. In which case taking John and Edward through to the live shows is actually a master stroke by the annoying Irish one. The no-talent contestant appeal continues! And the public are well and truly aware of it thanks to all this publicity. To which I have now contributed. Sigh.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Excuse me, Mr Williams.

I'm annoyed. Irked; riled; angered; peeved; irritated; vexed; and any other word that desires to throw my way.

The source of my agitation? Mr Robbie Williams.

I would like to state from the outset that in general I've never really had a problem with Robbie. Some of his music is good and he's a first class entertainer. He does have a tendency to come across as a little obnoxious and arrogant at times, but show me an A-list pop star who doesn't!

It's his new single that's got me blogging. It's called Bodies and you can listen to it here.

Musically I think it's a return to form. Very catchy and it's got a good anthemic vibe come the end. But have you heard the lyrics? Here's a slightly abridged transcript for you:

God gave me the sunshine
Then showed me my lifeline
I was told it was all mine
Then I got laid on a ley line
What a day, what a day
And your Jesus really died for me
Then Jesus really tried for me

Bodies in the Bodhi tree
Bodies making chemistry
Bodies on my family
Bodies in the way of me
Bodies in the cemetery
And that’s the way it’s gonna be
All we’ve ever wanted is to look good naked

Hope that someone can take it
God save me rejection
From my reflection
I want perfection

Praying for the rapture
‘Cause it’s stranger getting stranger
And everything’s contagious
It’s the modern middle ages
All day every day
And if Jesus really died for me
Then Jesus really tried for me

Jesus didn’t die for you, what do you want?
(I want perfection)
Jesus didn’t die for you, what are you on?
Oh Lord(Jesus really died for you)
Ohh(Jesus really died for you)
(Jesus really died for you) Ohh

I've bolded the stuff that's causing me a problem. It's obvious that the song is an outworking of all sorts of things that Williams has been thinking about. His interest in spirituality has often been a feature of his songs and I don't believe that he's intending to offend with his lyrics. But offend he does. I'm loathe to use the word offend actually. It's bandied about too often these days and has lost any real meaning. It might be better to say these lyrics upset me.

I'm a Christian. The absolute core of my beliefs is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, totally God, totally human, absolutely holy and pure, died an horrific and undeserved death in order to take the punishment that I deserve for my disobedience and rejection of God. This is a truth. Jesus died for me. Really. I would have no problem if Robbie was singing that Jesus didn't die for him, if that's how he feels. But it is heart-breaking to hear someone singing at me through the radio that my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ didn't die for me.

This also brings up an interesting situation. Who do I complain to? There's no real reason for me to complain to Williams (other than to correct him!) - he has a right to write and sing what he wants. Freedom of speech and all that. But should radio and TV stations be more responsible in what they are broadcasting? I'm 99% sure that if someone wrote a song denying in such terms something so integral to the Islamic faith, that the media would at the very least think twice before airing it. It is in fact only two lines of the song that truly affront. It would be very easy to edit out - they do it enough with swearing these days. You would be well within your rights to say, "But if it's only two lines then what's the big problem?" but those two lines - "Jesus didn't die for you", "Jesus didn't die for you, what are you on?" are killers. They come at the very end in the most anthemic part of the song and for Christians they have the capacity to cut to the heart.

Robbie's confusion and agnostic predilections are made clear by the fact that whilst he's singing these words the backing vocals are chiming, "Jesus really died for you". He would probably use that as his defence and it does diminish the insult a little. Although until I looked up the lyrics I thought that they were also singing "Jesus didn't die for you" - perhaps a slightly greater quality of diction is all that's required there!

Interestingly I've not heard a single word of complaint to any media outlet but I expect that a lot of Christians find themselves in a similar situation to myself - to whom do I complain? It makes me sad but for now I'll have to make do with responding to Mr Williams in a loud voice each time I hear his song: "Actually Jesus did die for me, thank you very much! Praise the Lord!"

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Channel surfing adventures

The occupation of channel flicking is a largely fruitless and wasteful pastime. Doubly so if you're not the one in control of the remote. My daddy dearest is a consumate channel flicker. Thankfully I've managed to introduce him to the wonder of the on screen TV guide and so reduced the headache inducing constantly changing picture as he moves from one channel to the next without so much as a glance at what he's flicking through.

He's only ever really satisfied once he's found either Trawlermen, Deadliest Catch or How It's Made. But he also enjoys regularly checking British Eurosport (1 and 2) to make sure that he's not missing some random Latvian 125cc motorcycle race. There are many downsides to this strange behaviour but every so often it does provide me with a little gem of entertainment that I would otherwise have been ignorant of. A couple of days ago I was gifted such a nugget.

Aussie Rules ladies and gentlemen. That's what I'm talking about. That bizarre Antipodean sport that thinks it's rugby but better. It isn't. However, it does have a couple of joyous elements that I believe need to be introduced to the rest of the world.

The following video should give you some idea of what I mean. Sadly YouTube was unable to provide me with a simple example of the elements of the game that I am so in awe of. So you'll have to make do with a random fan's System of a Down music mix!

Check out the 'ball-up' (aka Bounce) and the backwards boundary throw-ins. Sadly the video doesn't quite get across the verging on acrobatic nature of an umpire's Bounce. The match I saw this week featured a much better standard of bouncing. But you get the idea. The umpires get all the best stuff to do in this game! We need these rules in British sport - I vote we get both elements put into football forthwith! All in favour?

Thursday 3 September 2009

All I want for Christmas...

... is not you. Sorry. It is in fact my two front teeth. Thankfully I shall not have to wait until Christmas. Unfortunately I do have to wait until October.

I am currently the proud owner of one and a half front teeth, plus a temporarily attached second half. I woke up at 3am on Tuesday morning to be greeted by a slightly less toothy smile than I'm used to seeing in the mirror. No panic though - this wasn't the first time.

The first time was roughly 6 years ago. That morning there was definite panic from the 18 year old Giraffe-a-licious. In fact I would go so far as to use capitals - PANIC! Half my front tooth was missing and I had visions of spending the rest of my life in such a state. Not my ideal look I must admit. I rang my then boyfriend and with just a smidgen of hysteria in my voice desperately asked, "Will you still love me?" His oh-so-reassuring reply was: "I haven't seen how bad it is yet!" He was not my favourite person that day.

Anyway, to cut a long story a little bit shorter, the dentist worked a minor miracle and from that day til Tuesday my smile has been happily complete. That was when the filling fell off. I made an appointment with my friendly tooth-man but had to spend the intervening 36 hours alternating between being Gappy McGappison and gingerly reattaching the filling to the vacant tooth (this proved surprisingly effective until I tried to eat - or sing at my church prayer meeting!).

Sadly when I did get to see Mr D. Entist he didn't have time to do the proper job. So instead I have some sort of temporary filling which is proving rather annoying. I was eating a Hobnob today and became convinced that it was stuck to my tooth. A glance in the mirror told me that there was no such biscuit on my tooth but that the front of said tooth simply has the texture of a Hobnob. Very reassuring. So I'm stuck with this weird tooth anomaly thing until the 15th October. Lovely.

Thankfully my dentist is much friendlier than this one.