Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
At the start of this month, I spent an enjoyable, if challenging, day with the Imagineers from Sandersons Wynd Primary School at the Scottish heat of the Lego Mindstorms Challenge, which took place in the new Informatics Forum at Edinburgh University. Our team acquitted themselves well, particularly in the teamwork category, being pipped at the post by just one point.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Pownce has been acquired by Six Apart, and there is the possibility that some of the community will move to Vox. But Vox is different - it doesn't (in my opinion) have Pownce' elegance. There is a connection between technology and community (and, I guess, commerce - the decision to close Pownce was, presumably, a commercial one). I, for one, shall mourn the passing of a platform which, surely, deserved better.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Then my daughter needed help to figure out how to make a beanie (some kind of hat, not, as I previously thought, a small, cuddly toy). Various alcoholic beverages have helped me through this weekend, but the jury is out as to whether this is healthy. Isle of Jura was reduced at the Co-op - a taste of heaven ...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I wonder at what point my mother in law has to be told that someone else will take the decisions. It's difficult. I don't think that my wife wants to be responsible. But surely anything is better than what we have now.
Friday, November 14, 2008
One joyous consequence of the wibSite's makeover is that I can login again. Which means that I have two blogs, again ...
As ever, time has been a commodity in short supply (although following some communication from British Gas, it appears that money, too, may become scarce). An Asperger trait of which I am increasingly conscious is the inability to multitask. I suppose that I've always been aware of a deficiency in that department, and tried to counter it with "must try harder". So it is with some relief that I accept this aspect of myself, and try to manage my life accordingly.
It can be a good thing. If I allow myself to focus on the task in hand, I cease to be aware of many anxiety-inducing thoughts. And, hopefully, as I single process, I may be doing a better job ...
Saturday, November 08, 2008
The upright slats from our fence, which were lying on our lawn, have been stolen, which is sad, and creates more problems. The surveyor considered the damage to be wear and tear (although I'm pretty sure that there was human intervention), so no help from the insurance company. I'm considering some kind of temporary repair, while we find somebody who can replace the whole fence.
Just have to keep going, I guess ...
Friday, November 07, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
It is about, and expresses emotion. For me, I guess, it is a vehicle, whereby I can bring near to the surface the overwhelming sadness which, mostly, I hide. Sorry, please move on - the sight of a grown man crying ...
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Lothian Buses (presumably) have installed bus trackers at the stops along part of my usual route to work. I like them, although, of course, they don't make the bus come any sooner. It's intriguing, though, to watch them trying to cope when things go wrong. To-day, however, we got a pleasant surprise, being told that our bus was due in 9 minutes, when it appeared. My theory is that the company was being proactive, after a couple of no shows earlier this week, and had slotted in an extra bus.
A bit tired, these days, but doing what we can ...
Sunday, October 26, 2008
And I have long observed the practice of supermarkets of placing desirable items by the checkouts, in the hope of tempting a shopper to make an impulse purchase. On this occasion I was somewhat surprised to see a leek (probably abandoned by a previous customer), but my attention having been snared, I proceeded to buy a bag of mini marzipan butter stollen - another excellent purchase - and a considerable improvement on the sweets and chocolate usually on display elsewhere ...
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I have a lot of time for Rich Mullins. I discovered him through the ragamuffin connection, from Brennan Manning's "Ragamuffin Gospel". I sense that he has an authentic voice - he speaks truth (whatever we mean by truth) ...
And then yesterday evening we went to see Hannah and Harvey (at the Brunton Theatre). We were expecting a fanciful, cuddly tale for children (to be fair, it was 'recommended for everyone over the age of 10'). We got a somewhat harrowing insight into childhood mental illness (for black bunny, read black dog). But it was OK - I'm pretty sure that our 8 year old son coped - and probably learned something ...
Friday, October 24, 2008
Maybe the song is repetitive (depending, of course, on how it is sung), but an uplifting anthem doesn't go amiss, once in a while.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Knowing, as I do now, that I have Asperger's, I realise that my perspective may be different from many people's. I am not comfortable with the idea that someone else's truth may be different from my truth. I suppose that I can accept that we are all dealing with approximations to the truth, but that doesn't really resolve differences too well. One can still end up with the argument that my approximation is closer than your approximation. I'm still reckoning that 'out there' is something which we may or may not be right about ...
I'm thinking back to my youth (ages, perhaps, from 8 to 18), when I was well aware that I was having to deal with at least two quite different views of what Christians believe. I attended (with my parents) what was probably a fairly liberal church (of Scotland). At school, I belonged to the Scripture Union group, whose doctrine seemed to be much more sharp-edged than what I was encountering on a Sunday morning.
I am particularly reminded of when the two worlds collided (although that isn't quite a true description - truer to say that a third world, which probably had more in common with the second world, collided with the first world). For some reason, I attended an evangelistic meeting at another church in the town where I lived. I went forward (which is another story), which led to the evangelist contacting my minister, presumably to encourage him to follow up this new convert. Whereupon my minister approached me, somewhat distressed, to say that he didn't understand why I needed to be converted, since I'd grown up in his church, and was already a Christian.
I find, as I write this, that I am confronting layer upon layer of questions, which may be why, at a somewhat more advanced age, I find myself trying to unpick the curious mixture of ideas which continually bash into each other whenever I try to think through an issue related to my faith.
If He does exist, what is He like? Again, we receive mixed messages. At the same time, He is kind, loving, and just, and eternally punishes some people simply for not knowing about Him.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The moral of the story, as spelt out by the minister, was that if any of the children happened to be, say, in the school football team, and there was to be a practice session on a Sunday morning, they should say - sorry, I can't take part - on Sunday morning I go to church. What a burden to lay on young shoulders!
OK, but let's be consistent. I knew of an elder who was building his own house at week-ends. So he took a holiday from church - nobody batted an eyelid. What if a parishioner announced that he or she was going to run the Edinburgh Marathon? What if half the congregation goes straight from church to the supermarket, or the garden centre, or the diy store?
At a crisis point in my life, my parents had arranged for me to see a psychiatrist. The only time he had available was on a Sunday morning. Should I go and see this man, who is unlikely to support a religious view of life, or should I trust God, and attend church? If it is obvious to you that I should see the psychiatrist, then why do you support Eric Liddell's decision to put God before country?
And finally, another Christian sportsman, Bernhard Langer won a major tournament, which happened to finish on Easter Sunday. He played (of course), and won, and announced how proud he was to win this competition on the day that we remember Jesus Christ rising from the dead ...
Sunday, October 19, 2008
We are writing on behalf of 498 supporters of cartoonist and blogger Dave Walker, a group which includes bishops, national journalists in the UK and US, lawyers, clergy, and concerned members of the public.
We would like to ask you please to contact Dave Walker and withdraw the demands made in the 'Cease and Desist' letter which you sent him in July. Your letter, as far as we know, instructed Dave to remove all his posts about the recent history of SPCK bookshops or face action for libel. With the pressures of the impending Lambeth conference, and a very short deadline given by yourself, Dave complied. He commented at the time: “I have therefore removed all of the SPCK/SSG posts on this blog, as, although I believe I have not done anything wrong I do not have the money to face a legal battle. The removal of these posts is in no way an admission of guilt.”
Many of us have read the posts concerned, and are surprised, to say the least, that they could be called libelous. Indeed, the first three posts make no mention at all of yourself, the Society of St. Stephen the Great, or anyone associated with you. The 4th post reports your takeover of the bookshops with the comment “this is splendid news.” Another post is a simple link to your SSG video on YouTube. Other items include verbatim reports of your own statements, and in the simple post on the death of Steve Jeynes, dozens of people used the comments to expressed their grief and condolences to Steve’s family.
Dave is a reasonable man, and if all critics were as fair as he is the world would be a better place. If you were able to reconsider, and point out specific statements and claims you were unhappy with, we are sure Dave would be happy to correct them where appropriate. This is the normal process of debate on the internet, and in real life, and follows the strong tradition of free speech for which our countries stand and are rightly proud.
So this is a polite request from all of us: please contact Dave Walker, advise him that your ‘cease and desist’ communication no longer stands, and let him report freely.
8 signatories representing the ‘We Support Dave Walker’ group.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Home again - wife and daughter attending an amateur performance of "Summer Holiday" in Edinburgh, while son and I hold the fort at home ...
Friday, October 17, 2008
I was on the beach, flying my kite, as you do, when I realised that a helicopter was flying towards the beach at low level. I was frantically reeling in the kite, wondering whether the kite or the helicopter would come off worse if there was an entanglement. Thankfully, the helicopter roared overhead, a few metres to my right, without fouling the kite string.
Some time later, a gentleman approached me, introducing himself as the helicopter pilot. He said that they would be filming for an hour and a half, and could I 'be aware'. I said to him that I was happy to call it a day - indeed at that point I was trying to retrieve my kite without it ending up in the sea.
Not a hazard you expect ...
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
My daughter said to me this morning that this is Walk to School Week. I told her that as far as I am concerned, it is Get to Work on Time Week ...
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Imagine a blind person running a race, unaware that the other competitors can see. It would be a mystery to him how they so easily find their way around the course. I am criticised for not contributing enough at meetings. The truth is that it takes me all of the effort I can muster just to keep up with what's happening - to follow. There is no way that I could ever take the lead.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
But for me, personally, I didn't know what to think. My encounter with GH Hardy happened when I was contemplating studying mathematics at university, and a maths teacher suggested that I read his book. To a young person, wanting to find something useful to do with his life, GH Hardy's comment wasn't exactly encouraging ...
Saturday, September 27, 2008
My mother can be somewhat critical when observing the tidiness of house and garden - well, we've done our best ...
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
But I didn't post, and we've had our team meeting, and I've had my lunch, and I've enjoyed listening to some Brahms (the 2nd, 3rd and 4th movements of his 1st symphony). I don't suppose that I'm coping any better, but I'm feeling happier ...
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The great moment, of course, is the achievement of the summit, often coinciding with time to consume our packed lunches. But I'm thinking also of the mid morning break, on the shoulder of the hill, perhaps the cars still in sight, tiny, far below. Between two worlds - the demanding, complicated world of normal life - and the bracing otherness of the high plateau ...
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Many years ago, I attended some kind of gospel rally in the Music Hall, Aberdeen. Where the speaker made some comment about how much more valuable was the event taking place than what usually happened in the Music Hall. And I was thinking - the event which I had previously attended (most recently) at that venue was a symphony concert. Did he really have the right to claim that what he was presenting was significantly better than the moving, uplifting, edifying concert I'd been to a few weeks before?
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I'm being more candid than I usually am, inspired by my friend Ian's reference to the story of Hannah Modra. I know someone who (perhaps not unexpectedly) took her own life. And I am constantly aware of my own inner darkness - to-day so out of tune with the day's brightness.
And this isn't a 'poor me' post. I know how fortunate I am, and am truly thankful. It's just - perhaps mostly tiredness - I don't know ...
And I would add my prayers to Ian's. I'm back remembering the Shack, and that papa (God) loves us with such a gentle love, past understanding ...
Saturday, September 20, 2008
And I'm quite pleased to have my Saturday mornings back. Last year, our daughter attended a ballet class which involved me in driving her there, driving back home, trying to do something useful in the intervening period, and driving out again to bring her home. Her ballet class this year is midweek, which brings its own challenges, but has allowed me to sit at the computer this morning to make some inroads on the pile of family and home admin. Trying to be realistic - I don't want to spend the day at the computer, but hopefully over time the height of the physical pile of papers sitting in my in-tray here will diminish ...
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
And I did manage to put on the blinkers, and tackle just one job, not completing it, but, hopefully, moving it along. The fear is, of course, that those jobs which I had to lay aside now bite me. In my home life, given the opportunity, I can usually work my way forward, one task at a time, through a myriad of tasks. It's more difficult at work, where I have less control, and people have a habit of criticising me for not doing something, when I was doing something else. I should be able to defend myself, but I don't always know who's right. Asperger's again, to some extent, I guess ...
Anyway, better get on. Thanks, again!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
It's mid morning. Work is impossible. But if I go to my boss and say that work is impossible, that will intensify the crisis. And the only relief that it will bring will be that the tasks will be redistributed. And I shall have failed again.
I can try, as is my usual practice, having surveyed the mess, to tackle one job. Move that job, hopefully, one step nearer to completion. While being acutely aware that other jobs will be waiting. And with the prospect of desk duty this afternoon. Where I can sometimes actually help with, on a good day, 10% of the calls.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Why do I blog? I, too, battle depression. I sometimes think of my blog posts as waypoints. If I blog early in the day, it is to put down a marker; if late, it is generally to try to identify a positive aspect to the day. Perhaps it is best to think of John Bunyan's Slough of Despond (is it pronounced 'ow' or 'uff'? I always wonder), and of the traveller making the best route that he can.
Friday, September 12, 2008
And as I drove home this evening (after dropping my daughter at Focus in Prestonpans), whoever orchestrates the sky was surpassing him (or her) self - in one direction a glorious sunset, in the other what looked like part of a rainbow ...
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Another book I am reading is Alan Jamieson's A Churchless Faith. I am impressed by how sympathetically he describes the questioning which some people go through when they find that their received faith is inadequate.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Leaving soon for the cinema, to see Clone Wars with my son. My presbyterian soul feels that I should be in church, but since my son regularly elects not to attend church, and therefore one of us (his parents) stays at home to be with him, I don't think that my guilt feelings are appropriate.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
I've been listening to Beethoven's 9th symphony. Inspiring stuff. I have a set of CDs of the Beethoven symphonies performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. Clean, satisfying performances. What struck me about the last movement of Beethoven's 9th (the famous choral finale) was how different the climaxes were from, for example, those in Mahler's symphonies. The late romantics build up to their climaxes, whereas Beethoven's seem to come from nowhere, like water bursting through a breached dam.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Somewhat anxious about the travel arrangements - we're leaving the car at home (well, not quite - we're driving to the station), and taking the train and a shuttle bus - I'm just hoping that the the shuttle bus is big enough for all to fit in ...
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Another meeting, this afternoon, with somebody whose job it is to help us; but being invited to attend yet another meeting is not being helped, unless something is then offered. I'm tired, and afraid that in my fear and my frustration I will come across as uncooperative.
Pray for me ...
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I'm finding it difficult to report on what is happening around me these days. A crisis, I guess. On many levels. Too many questions - reminds me of the old days of trying to solve applied maths problems - if there were too many unknowns, the problem couldn't be solved ...
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
This is a peculiar darkness ...
Work terrifies me, these days. There is simply too much to do. Perhaps, if I had different skills, I would be able to get other people to perform some of the tasks - but I don't. I've had my second interview with the lady who is trying to decide whether or not I have Asperger's. It's an odd experience. I had to complete a questionnaire which was designed to assess how well I empathise with other people. As I worked through it, I was conscious of how much, throughout my life, people have said to me that the one thing which is more important than anything else is what they generally call love, but which seems to me to be something like empathy. And here I am, being asked - do I empathise? Of course, it feels like a trick question.
So, if, because of who I am, I can't empathise (maybe I can - the doctor seemed to be thinking that I do empathise - but then if I've put so much effort into trying to empathise, surely I have been able to, to some extent - but, then, maybe I've been fooling myself all along). What I'm trying to get my head around is - how can they say that love is everything, if there is a group of people who are unable to love? Except, I suppose, that empathy and love aren't necessarily the same thing.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
It's been an odd day; for a while this afternoon the sun shone, but the sky darkened as threatening clouds moved in, and rain (maybe some hail) began to fall. This, by the way, is our church - more rural than you would expect for the community we live in ...
Friday, April 04, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Of course, Easter was last week-end, but with it coming so early this year, the children are still on holiday. Life still feels like a struggle to keep our heads above water - it's difficult to think of anything positive to report. We're having new windows and doors fitted, in about 10 days' time. In preparation, the computer has been moved - it now resides in what feels like a good location - the landing in this house has an open space which is like an extra room. And my wife says that she's been sleeping better since the computer was moved upstairs - I wonder if the gentle swishing sound of the fan could be soporific. But it's more difficult for me - my desk is still downstairs - it used to be easy for me to swing round from my desk to the computer whenever something needed to be recorded electronically.
But I am enjoying the more open, brighter space. I guess that this arrangement will stay.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I just wish that I could reach a place where, even just for a while, everything that needs to have been done has been done, and I can just relax. Now, I relax at times, when I have to, but just to recuperate, so that I can get back to catching up - always catching up.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
So I'm picking up the threads. To-morrow morning, the surveyor comes to measure up for the new doors and windows we've ordered. To-day, I picked up the car after it had passed (with some work) another MoT. And to-morrow, of course, is St Valentine's Day.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
But my son, kindly, gathered some of his toys which he knew that I enjoy playing with, and gave me them as a present. Wonderful.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
To-day is my actual birthday.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
And yesterday's presentation - I was pleased to see, in the lecture theatre, that the lectern was brick (or possibly concrete) - I could have sheltered behind it if there had been trouble - in fact, someone in the audience admitted that they were giving us a hard time ...
Monday, February 04, 2008
I have to go through with it, but I wonder if I shall ever be in control of my life, able to say, "no," to things which I really don't want to do.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Originally uploaded by Glaswegian
There's a bus theme running through my 365 Days photos on flickr, so I thought that I could appropriately post an old picture (I took) of a couple of 26's. Last year's panto (in the Brunton Theatre - just behind me when I took this photo) included a brilliant gag referring to the hearts on these buses (you can just see part of one in the top left hand corner of the picture). I'm not sure that I can capture the humour - you had to be there ...
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Yes, Karin, it's that time of year when winter seems to be going on and on for ever; I'm longing for the first snowdrop; and hoping again that you're feeling better.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I know that for some people, alcohol has to be avoided. And that some people disapprove of the drinking of alcoholic drinks. And that alcohol is implicated in some bad behaviour. And that it is dangerous to drive when under the influence of alcohol.
All that I ask, gentle reader, is, please do not be offended by these references. I do not think of myself as a problem drinker, but that is my perspective. Incidentally, I am writing to-day under the influence of nothing stronger than a mug of tea.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
We dinna have a lum. The phrase 'lang mae yer lum reek', basically, means 'long may your chimney smoke' - I guess it just means - 'may you prosper'.
But 'dubs' is a word I hadn't come across. Scots Online says that it means 'mud', which is fun. I can guess what 'fou as a puggie' might mean - perhaps not entirely suitable for homework - but, sadly, occasionally an accurate description of this blogger - well, possibly a slight exaggeration ...
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Lang mae yer lum reek!
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
It was getting late this evening, and the cat was still in the house. Nobody else seemed to be concerned; I was too tired to do anything subtle, so I picked up the cat and carried him out the back door. His piteous miaow nearly broke my heart, but I didn't let him back into the house. When I opened the door about ten minutes later, he was gone.
I really don't know what to do. I can't believe that he is a genuine stray. So I suppose that my head is now telling me that I did the right thing, but my heart isn't so sure.