Find what you're looking for

Monday, 31 March 2014

Other cool people!

Friends are awesome!

As such, I've updated my Links page. It now has two sections; all the blogs I had listed before are under a subheading of "On Hiatus" (because it's been so long since I updated that section that they all are); and another section that says "Current" of other cool blogs run by people I know (a couple are the same people, actually) that are currently going.

The ones under the "Current" list I have also put in a nifty new gadget over on the right, so you can see them and click them straight from wherever you are on the blog!

I'll try to keep it current and such, but I tend to be terrible at that, so we'll see how I go.

In other news, my album launch is this coming Saturday, and I'm kind of freaking out quite a lot. But I know it's going to be good! Yes! God has it under control, I know. Just....yeah.

Anyway, if you are around the Australia/New South Wales/Sydney/Campbelltown area and are free this coming Saturday late afternoon/evening and would like to come to an album launch; it's at Campbelltown Church of Christ, 65 Woodhouse Drive, Ambarvale. Doors open at 5:30pm, concert starts at 6pm and goes through to 7:30pm, but you can stay until about 8:30pm. Entry is $10, and I'll be selling CDs on the night for the same amount. Refreshments will also be available to purchase, and all money is going towards the Hub (Community Pantry) that the Community Connections team at the Church have started to get happening.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Imparting a Story.

I realised that I hadn't done an actual post about my experience of Impart itself. So I thought that I would do that.

For those of you who don't know about Impart, think of it as an intensive one year Bible college course, merged with a spiritual formation/personal development type thing, and you'll be in the right frame of mind. I only realised that it was actually Bible college proper after I was half-way through the first intensive. So I can actually say that I'm going to Bible college, even though I have a grand total of four weeks of teaching. ;) There's ten of us, I'm pretty sure, plus the people that are taking us through it. So it's a small group, but that's the idea - to be a community together.

But one of the biggest things we did in Impart - and, indeed, one of the first things we did - was a unit called Spiritual Formation. And this essentially looked like sharing our life stories. Except slightly condensed, because of how many of us there were. So we were told about 10-15 minutes, but people typically went to about 20-25. But that was cool. And it wasn't about giving your testimony, or telling the success story of your career. It was about being honest about where you were at; what you were really struggling with, where God was really challenging you, how you were really hurting. And then we'd affirm and encourage each other in that.

And that was an incredible, amazing experience. First of all, it was really freeing to be able to share in that space, where there was no condemnation or disapproval; and secondly, it was amazing being uplifted and encouraged by the other guys in the group, and relating to their stories as well.

Something I found that I thought was interesting, is the definition of the word 'impart'. I just looked it up on, and it came up with this:
im·part  [im-pahrt]
verb (used with object)
to make known; tell; relate; disclose: to impart a secret.
to give; bestow; communicate: to impart knowledge.
to grant a part or share of.
verb (used without object)
to grant a part or share; give.
1425–75; late Middle English  < Latin impartīre  to share.

The big thing is about sharing, giving, relating to others. And that's really what's been so great about the experience for me so far; both in terms of what others, and God, have imparted to me, as well as what I've been able to impart to others. And I think it's really important to always remember that it is a two-way street; it's a relationship, not a transaction. You don't just take what you need; you give back where you can, and not just because you feel you need to, but because you want to. That's true relationship.

Anyway, that's enough from me for now.

As a side note, Andrew, a good friend of mine, just mentioned my last post here: Which is pretty awesome :D

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Exposing the Well.

Each of us have sin and pain in our lives - often quite a few. But typically, there will be a couple that we really don't want to tell people about. We dread their reaction. Rejection. Disgust. Anger. All of the above.

And yet; we hear about the healing power of forgiveness. Of the power of confession; telling your story, warts and all, to someone else. Exposing yourself, in all that you are. And I've talked a bit about that before, in a post I did earlier this year. Or not, actually, now that I check. OK. Going to need to do a post on that then, maybe. Essentially, though, I've been introduced to that a bit this year.

So we decide that we want to share. But what do we share?

Well, what I've realised is this. There's pretty much three different levels you can go to.
1) Telling them that you have a well. "I've struggled with sadness at points in my life."
2) Telling them that your well is really actually quite deep. "I've been affected really badly for most of my life because of my depression."
3) Showing them exactly how deep your well goes. "I'm taking drugs to try and cope, and there are times that I've thought of committing suicide."
Now, that might not be a great example. I don't have any experience with that level of depression myself, so it was a bit hard to think of exactly where to go with that one.

But the thing is, you can go to that first level. You can even go to that second level. And you'll feel like a burden is lifted; particularly if the person/people you were telling responded in an affirming and forgiving manner.
But the devil is still going to hold that third level over you. He's going to whisper in your ear, saying that no-one could love you if they knew that. They'd think it was disgusting. They'd hate you. Couldn't even look at you.

And so you're back at the same place; with a deep, dark secret that you don't want anyone to know. And that's no way to live life.

Now, at the same time, in many cases, there are things that you can't tell just anybody. Sometimes because of the nature of the things, sometimes because of the nature of the people, sometimes through a combination; there are people who don't have the level of understanding needed for this sort of confession. But you can't let that stop you; you can't let that hinder you. If you ask God to give you an opportunity to talk about this, he will. Trust him.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Meek and part.

Recently, I was given the book Wild At Heart by a good friend of mine. Now, I had heard about the book many, many times before, but had never actually read it myself. My goodness, it is quite a read.

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gents, we're heading for a bumpy ride.

This book is about guys. Guys in general, to some degree, but particularly Christian guys. Now, if you've been keeping up with my blog of late, you'll have probably seen this:
Thankfully, the writer of the book (a chap by the name of John Eldredge) isn't so much talking about that sort of thing. What he is talking about, though, is being wild. Being dangerous. And that might sound a bit scary to some people. And, in a way, it is. But in a good way.

He starts off by looking at our God. And if you think that the God we worship is cute and cuddly (or meek and mild as one song would say), then you've got another thing coming. This is a star-breathing God; a God who made the lightning, and the thunder, and the rain, and the wind - would you call these peaceful things? I think they're a bit wild. I think they're a bit dangerous. But I think that's a good thing as well. One of the great pictures of Jesus like this actually comes from Revelation 19:11-13; "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God." Though, one of my favourite ways of putting it is still: "He is not a tame lion."

Now, being made in God's image, obviously there is some of that wildness then in us. The problem is, that the world wants to domesticate us. It tells us that we need to be polite, and prim, and proper, and meek, and mild. Now, that doesn't mean we should be being violent, abusive, mean, rowdy, foul-mouthed, and other similar things. But it does mean that we need to be true to who we are made to be - wild. Not encaged, not domesticated, not a puppet; but neither reckless, bad-tempered or prone to violence.

He also talks at length about the role and power of the father, both in a positive and negative sense; the battle with the world and the Devil; the rescuing of the princess; and the longing for adventure. I'd love to talk about those a bit more, but I really don't have the time or space to give them any justice.

When I began this book just over two weeks ago, the Introduction scared me. Talking about being dangerous, and wild - these were things I shied away from, tried to dull down for fear of hurting people. But now, finishing the book just a few days ago; it's so encouraging, so inspiring, so revelational. And that's a big word, but for this book, it's true - it's been a massive eye-opener for me into who I am, and into who I can be and need to be.

This is an absolute must-read for Christian guys. Christian girls, this is definitely worth a read as well, to better understand us - but there's also one written for you by John's wife Stasi, called Captivating, that I'm planning on reading before too long.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Short and sweet.

Keeping it quick, because it's late already. But I thought I needed to do a quick update.

I'll definitely have another post up here soon. Not sure what I'll do first. I've just finished Wild At Heart - which was so, so, so amazing, and I really want to do a post about that. Also just finished Water Walker, a book by Ted Dekker (awesome Christian author, check him out if you haven't heard of him), which was also fantastic. Could probably get a post out of that as well.

I also feel like I should have more than one post of what I attempted to do with that last one. I had an idea for the next one, so I guess that's a place to start. I think I may be basing this somewhat on a bit from one of the Rowan of Rin books, though....anyone ever read those?

In other news, in two weeks time, my album launch will have happened. It's coming so quickly, and it's only going to come quicker - I'm heading off for Perth on Wednesday morning, get back the next Tuesday morning, am on a camp that Wednesday to Friday, then the album launch on Saturday. Pretty hectic, not a lot of time. Think God is doing this as another one of those I've-got-this-just-trust-me things. Which are annoying, but always work out right in the end. Like my 19th birthday, which was much better than my 18th. But anyway.

So yes. That is it so far. But hopefully. There will be more coming soon. Before Wednesday. Or possibly after, given that I will still have internet in Perth.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Passionate Style of Gifting.

Recently (i.e. last night), me and my Life Group (read: Bible study group, small group, etc.) finished up a series on Spiritual Gifts that the pastors at our church were leading. It was about discovering our own Spiritual Gifts, Personal Style, and Ministry Passion, and using that information to figure out where we fit in the picture of our church; how to use our Gifts, not just knowing what they are.

Spiritual Gifts you've probably heard about at some point, so I won't explain them too much. Things like Faith, Helps, Prayer/Intercession, Leadership, all the way to the impressive-sounding/looking stuff like Miracles, Healing, Tongues, all the way back to things like Administration, or Craftsmanship, which you often don't think of. Had a few on the higher end here, but the three that seemed to come out were Creative Communication, Faith, and Helps.

Personal Style, essentially, is like a simplified personality-type thing. It talks about how you're energised, by people or tasks; and how you're organised, structured or unstructured. Both of them are like a continuum, and you end up somewhere in one of the four quadrants. Though you can be a bit borderline, but that's all cool. Personally, I feel like I flip between Task-Structured and People-Unstructured, but what I ended up with was People-Structured.

Ministry Passion is a bit more diverse. Essentially, it's a specific area that motivates you, that you're passionate about. It could be a group of people; a social issue; a religious issue. It could be youth, or divorce, or perhaps science and faith. I had two that stuck out for me; firstly, helping/motivating/mentoring specific individuals to be the best they can be, particularly in God; and secondly, to encourage awareness/understanding/acceptance/love for people with disabilities/diff-abilities, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder/Asperger's. They're a bit lengthy, so what I came up with to sum them up is to Motivate Change, and Encourage Understanding. I like the sound of that.

And, yes, the Ministry Passions I have at the end here don't quite line up with my top three Gifts at the beginning. Motivating Change comes more under Shepherding, and Encourage Understanding I would put under Mercy, or something like it. But Shepherding was still fairly high for me (I think the fourth highest on my self-assessment), and Mercy was I think either highest or second highest on my self-assessment. So they're definitely there, just not the top three that I got out.
(If you're wondeirng why they're not in the Top 3, it's because we also take an observer assessment into account. Other people listed Creative Communication, Helps, Faith and Knowledge as my top ones.)

So yeah :) That may very well be old news to you, if you've known me for a couple of years now; you may think that obvious. But I think it's nice to be able to define it a bit, so I can then really use it :)

Monday, 17 March 2014

On Dis/Connection.

For the last little while, largely due to a couple of things happening recently, I've been trying to look into connection, and disconnection. More specifically, why people leaving - as in, moving somewhere else, or perhaps if they were only ever here for a short time - has such an effect on me.

And you try to turn to God for answers. But with me, he's never particularly chatty. He seems to talk to me through events that happen, and in his time, rather than when I'm asking. And not often particularly clearly, or specifically. Which is annoying. But not much I can do about that.

As such, it's something I've attempted to think about myself. At first, what I came up with was that it didn't actually effect me at all, and what these people were saying was silly. It wasn't their fault that they were leaving; that was just what was happening, and there wasn't anything that they or I could do about it. As such, why dwell on it? That's what seemed logical.

But it's emotion. It's not logical.

Recently, I got a sliver of insight into this. Our church has been looking around for a Youth Pastor for a little bit now, and recently, there was a bit of a hum about it, to the degree that I knew it would be happening soon. And then it got announced just over a week ago at church - and who was it? Well, it was actually the guy that used to be our worship pastor/leader/co-ordinator (actually, that one sounds too businessy, but whatever). He left about four years ago and went up to Forster, and recently got married up there.

Back when he was still around, he was quite a good friend of mine. He was one of the first guys to help me discover myself as a musician, and to really encourage my creative side. He was one of the first people - from memory, at least - that I actually showed my songs to. And he helped me start to record a couple of them. We never got very far, but it was really good having him there and doing that for me.

And he left, and that was quite hard. And I knew that he needed to leave, but that never really helps that much. There's been a bit of a habit of people leaving from our church. There's a habit of people coming as well, thankfully, otherwise we'd be quite empty.

But when I heard that he was coming back - I was on cloud nine. It was never something that I could have ever expected, and it was just so out of the blue, and I was just - so happy, so joyful, absolutely over the moon. And I suppose that reaction to that news made me realise how much that him leaving had meant to me in the first place; it helped me to realise that this was something that was real, and was there.

I'm still not exactly sure how to define it, or understand it. But this is my best guess at the moment; that I value connection. Because it's not something I'm used to, not something that I'd had a lot of experience with, particularly not a few years back. And so to me, when I connected with someone - properly connected with them, that is, not just someone who's a friend, but someone who really cares - that was something that I really valued, really cared about.

So losing that - having that be cut short, so to speak, is hard. Because, sure, you might be able to stay in touch through email, or phone, or Facebook, or Skype, or whatever. And you might make new connections. But it's not the same, and they're never going to be the same. That's a connection that you've lost, and it seems like forever.

But, sometimes. It doesn't have to be.


Sunday, 16 March 2014

On Divergent Storytelling.

When writing a story, traditionally, the story follows a linear fashion. Whether this story is written as a book, a movie, a TV show or series, a comic book, this will still be the case. There are instances where we have multiple stories linking together; a sort of mesh and interweaving of stories; however, the way that these are told is ultimately linear.

The exception to this rule, that you may have thought of (within books, at least) is Pick-A-Path stories. In Pick-A-Path books, the reader will, at regular points (often after only a page or two) be given a choice of specific directions that they can take. After choosing which to take, they are told to turn to a specific page, whereupon they continue that line of the story, it having been effected by their choice of path to take. In this sense, there is a feeling of creating the story as it’s being read; of interaction with the story being told. There is, of course, only a limited number of stories that can be told; however, there are Pick-A-Path stories that are incredibly complex and intricate in the way they weave through and around each other. Often, readers will go back to try and get the ‘best’ ending; many endings seem to end with the main character dying prematurely, and so this encourages retrying.

For those familiar with gaming, this may seem surprisingly familiar; and, indeed, it could even be ventured that Pick-A-Path stories were almost akin to the first Role-Playing Games (RPGs). Apparently, the first of these stories were out near the time that Dungeons & Dragons was first released, one of the first modern RPGs. However, computer/video games didn’t reach this level of storytelling until a bit later on.

But the significance of divergent storytelling, and the impact that it has on the participant - because it is an interaction, and no longer a one-way reading or viewing - is something that is a lot greater than many seem to realise. This is what we shall concern ourselves with in this writing.

The power of story is something that has been known for centuries. For a long time, stories were how things were taught, passed down; a vocal tradition is all that was kept, because writing was so scarce. In some cultures, such as the American Indians, or the Indigenous Australians, this vocal tradition very much continues through to more recent times. Homer may never have written a word himself; he may well have been just another in a long line of storytellers.

The Greeks certainly knew about the power of story; the size of their amphitheatres were colossal. Greek plays were the great works of the time; comedies, tragedies - this was where they were born, in the ancient Greek theatre. Playwrights were important members of society; because the Greeks knew the power of story.

Eventually, the theatre broadened, and started to include musicals as well as plays; the printing press was invented, and books flooded the world - stories came into every person’s own home. Reading became the new fashion; literacy had never been so popular. Then, there was the motion picture - movies, and then television; like the theatre, but with so much more potential for entertaining the masses. Stories were proliferated at a ridiculous rate, and continued to do so, to the point where it seemed that every story under the sun had already been written.

However, another kind of story has also arisen, and the potential of it is perhaps greater than any of those already mentioned. The story of the individual. It’s why there are so many biographies, and auto-biographies, and memoirs of people’s lives; why the church puts so much emphasis on the individual testimony. Because they know the power of a person’s story. It carries the same potential as any other story that you might have heard; but it’s true. And you can relate to it, connect to it, all the more because of it. There’s real honesty there, a true grit to it that you can’t properly put down on a page or act on a stage. You need to have experienced it first.

And many times, people may have questioned why it is that people connect with stories so greatly. Why it is that books are still being sold in their millions, authors are still earning a living, even in this age of the computer. Some argue that we are seeking an escape from our difficult or mundane lives; others say that we are seeking an explanation for its strangeness, or a validation for our struggle. Perhaps we want to learn the lessons of life, without having to live it ourselves. But whatever the reasons are for this connection, the power that story holds over every person can clearly be seen in the world, even today.

Divergent storytelling, however, offers something a bit different. It almost blends the narrative and excitement of the traditional story with the connection from a personal story; it offers interactivity. Customisation. A level of choice; of being able to seemingly create the story as it is being experienced. It is no longer just being read, or heard, or seen; it is being experienced, almost lived. It becomes decidedly more real for the person.

This divergence can be on many different levels. At one end, in can be quite set in stone, like the Pick-A-Path books; the divergence is still there, but the creative feeling is somewhat illusory. At the other end, however, nothing is set in stone; people may choose to react however they decide to, and the story will adjust and change accordingly. Some things, perhaps events, may remain constant; but the way or fashion in which they unfold could vary greatly depending on the decisions made.

While a fully divergent story, on that end of the scale, is (almost by definition) impossible to pre-construct, writers continue to push further in that direction. And it is in gaming, particularly in video and computer games, that we see this exploration occurring. And, perhaps, this is the only place it could occur - the closest we could get to this in a movie, television show or book would be akin to a Pick-A-Path. Theatre does have improvisations,  and there are examples of these being in response to audience suggestion at times; however, this is notably different to one specific person being able to control a whole story.

Perhaps the best way to see how great an impact this divergent storytelling has, is to look at some of the people that it has impacted on; the gamers. One of (arguably) the best examples of this in recent years has been the Mass Effect trilogy. In this game, participants play as Commander Shepard, attempting to bring together and lead a crew on his ship on a mission to save the galaxy from destruction. Actually a series of three games, in each game players are presented with many, many choices, from seemingly small to very important. However, a grand number of these - hundreds, according to many - have repercussions in the following game/s. These choices also effect the character of Shepard himself, through something known as the Paragon/Renegade scale; it’s not so much good/bad, more “leave no man behind” / “get out of my way”. Some players will try to play to one side of the scale, but often you will find people making choices as they would in that given situation.

One of the people who worked on the project told a story about a player he was watching play through one scene in particular. (He was live streaming it on the internet, and many others were watching as well.) This particular gamer had been playing to a Renegade character the whole way through the game, and was now in Mass Effect 3. At one point, however, he is talking to one of the female shipmates (called Tali), that Shepard has known since the first Mass Effect game. As such, there is a significant connection there. The player has the option to make the Renegade choice, and spite/tease Tali, or make the Paragon choice and say something a bit nicer. At this point, the player hesitates. They have made Renegade choices for all the games so far. They write something on the chat feed - “Guys - what should I do? I don’t want to be mean to Tali.”

These people are no longer just reading a story, or watching a show or a movie. They are immersed in an experience; in this unfolding series of events that they themselves have had a hand in creating, in shaping. That’s something that you can’t do with any book, with any movie. That’s the power, the potential that divergent storytelling has.

Storytelling, in and of itself, is so diverse. There is the book; the play; the musical; the movie; the television show; radio dramas, which I didn’t mention before; and personal stories, testimonies or biographies. And all of these things, in and of themselves, have such great power, and potential.
However, divergent storytelling does something more; it immerses the person inside the story; makes them the creator, not merely a partaker. They are an active participant, and not just a passive reader, listener or watcher. And this world has so many stories to tell.

The universe is made, not of atoms, but of stories. — Muriel Rukeyser

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Episode 1 - Another John

So, I have this space of time that I'm trying to use up. I didn't get any suggestions, so I'm thinking of doing some creative writing. Specifically, at the moment, I'm thinking of doing a series of linked short stories. How exactly that's going to work, I'm not sure - whether they'll be like chapters of a book, or like completely different stories but within the same time/place, I don't know. And I don't know if I'll even be able to keep it going. I'm notoriously bad with this.


Episode 1 - Another John

Everyone seemed to be called John. He wasn't everyone, but he was still called John. That's logic for you.

John looked around. There wasn't much of interest here; he was on a dirt road going through a fairly open grassy area of the countryside, and he couldn't really see anyone else at all.

John kept walking.

John looked around again. He had travelled a bit further, but there wasn't much that had changed; he thought he could vaguely see something near the horizon in the direction he was travelling, so that was probably something.

John kept walking in the same direction.

John was a bit closer to the something now. Close enough to tell that it was something reasonably sizeable; bigger than just a person, or a person riding on a horse, or indeed a horse riding on a person. He thought it also seemed to be somewhat stable; it wasn't moving towards him. Or if it was, it was doing it incredibly slowly.

John continued to walk in a similar direction.

John could now tell that this something was, in fact, a town of some description. That is, it was some collection of living residences in a fairly contained area. It could have been a city, or maybe just a hamlet; but a town seemed most likely, so that was the word that he stuck with.

John maintained his journeying direction for a while longer.

John, at this point, came upon a sign, which was very nice, considering that he had barely seen anything the last few times he had looked except a town that still seemed to be quite far away. The sign, in fact, confirmed this, reading: "Town - Quite Far Away". As such, he resigned himself to quite a long distance of travelling left before he reached the town.

John decided to check his supplies. He looked in his bag, and found that he only had one bottle of water and two apples left. This might be enough to get him a bit further, but he would need to find more to get him to the town in any decent state. Of course, there wasn't anything particular in the town that he was going to, so it didn't really matter if he looked somewhat dishevelled, but he would appreciate not being starved and thirsty as he stumbled in fatigued through the town doors.

John began to dig for water. Or, rather, he started to scrape at the ground with his hands, before realising that without a shovel or digging tool of some sort, he would dehydrate long before hitting water. Besides which, the digging would probably make the water muddy and undrinkable.

John decided to look around again. He once again saw the sign, but the sign didn't look particularly appetising. There were trees around, but it didn't look like there were any that had fruit on them. And in terms of game, there was nothing bigger than a mouse out there. And they were finicky to catch at the best of times - besides which, he had no way to cook the meat, even if he had procured some.

John ran flat out to the town like there was no tomorrow, because he could totally make it there without even breaking a sweat.

John lay flat on the ground about a hundred metres from the town, collapsed from exhaustion. His throat was so dry, but he didn't have the energy to reach into his pack and get his water out. And even if he did, he had thrown away the pack when he had started running, because he could run faster without it. He had come so close, but now he was going to die in the dirt, and it didn't even matter anymore.

John's eyes closed.

John's eyes opened, but he couldn't see anything. Where was he?


As you may or may not have realised, I've gone with almost a text game-like pattern; where you have these regular points at which you choose what it is you do, and the game tells you what happens next. Each new paragraph is an instance of that.

So, where is John now? If I get any good suggestions between now and the next time I write, I'll try and use them - otherwise, you'll have to wait and see. Though, who knows, I might end up using someone different...

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Why I'm Not A 'Guy'-ey Guy.

Just in case you weren't aware, I'm not your typical guy. WOW! My goodness!

OK, now that you've gotten over that shock right there.

Most people know that I'm not by any means a macho sort of guy. Or even a really manly guy. But honestly, I wouldn't even consider myself a 'guy'-ey guy. I wouldn't call myself a girly guy, now, but I'm very much not like what I would call a guy.

Most guys very much like most, if not all, of these things. And by very much like, I mean almost swear by.

Fast cars.
Sport (especially football).
Bulking up/gym/having big muscles.

Now, true, you do get guys that aren't particularly into these things. This age has very much seen the rise of the geek/nerd as a commonplace and more accepted person in society. However, I doubt that they would be as against these things as I am.

Beer - I associate the smell of beer with vomit. Yeah. I have never had beer, and I don't ever want to have beer. Not even going near the stuff.
Fast cars - I hate cars in general. Fast cars? They scare me! And not in a good way, OK?!
Sport (especially football) - I have no interest in watching sport, at all. It's slightly worse than watching paint dry, because then you can at least do something else and not be distracted by people yelling at the wall of paint for some reason. As for playing it - there are about two sports I like doing at some level. Pretty much the rest of them, I'll enjoy playing them with friends, but that's because I'm playing with friends. Not because I enjoy the sport.
Bulking up/gym/having big muscles - Err, no thanks. I like being skinny, and flexible, and fast. I do like running, but that's a little bit different. That's just to keep fit and healthy. And because I like it.
Meat - I'm almost a vegetarian. And if I went vegetarian, I wouldn't get those stupid meat substitutes, that are supposed to taste, or look, or smell like meat. Part of the reason I'm near vego is because I don't like the taste! I am somewhat fond of ham/bacon, though. And don't get me wrong, when meat is done well, and properly, it can be very nice. But most of the time, it's not. And veggies taste better. :P

I also don't like pubs, don't like paintballing (before my latest experience, that is), don't like shooters (games, that is), don't like guns, don't like really spicy things, often don't like hanging out in a big group, and don't like talking about just surface-level stuff. And have no interest in showing off my legs, arms or chest for the girls. Or the guys.

Call me weird. I already know it. ;)

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Production and Distraction.

I tend to spend a lot of time watching things. I watch a lot of movies on my laptop (DVDs that we own, as an aside), download a lot of TV shows from iTunes or catch up with them on the respective channel's websites, and spend a fair bit of time playing video games. I can easily have a whole day disappear on any of those.

And it's good to have that sort of stuff sometimes, particularly if you need a bit of a pick-me-up - a good old Disney movie can be just the ticket. But at the same time, it can very easily distract you from the mountain of other things that you could be doing, and being actually somewhat productive with.

So, my church does Lent each year. 40 days leading up to Easter. (They don't count weekends, for some reason. Jewish thing, just how it works.) And the idea is, you have something that you give up for that time, and you use that time you give up to focus back on God, ideally.

And God was giving me a bit of a prod about giving up this stuff for Lent. Which I honestly hadn't really given much thought to. But now, I have much time on my hands. I still have many things to do with said time, but I'm actually doing things with it now. Which is cool!

As one of those things, I think I'm going to try and do another posting series up on here. If people have any ideas about one I could do - whether it be another A to Z, or thematic to something, or whatever, suggest as such in the comments below. And hopefully, I'll get that going in the next few days or so :)

Quick aside: for those interested, I've started doing livestream shows/gigs every so often on a website called StageIt. Insofar, I've done two shows, the first with no-one there, the second with two people. And two people I didn't know! Which was cool. But I'm hoping to build up a few more there, which would be nice. And there is the potential to get actual monies from that, which is cool as well. So if you're interested in that, head over to and search for Brendan James Raymond. For people that see this in time, I'm actually doing a show at 11am today (the 6/3), AEST. In two hoursish. Yep.

And, pretty much straight after, I'm watching one of my inspirations, and someone who's really helped define my music do a livestream show - Brendan James :D Yes, I may have found him by typing my name into Google.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


There's an interesting phenomenon (if that's the right word) that you experience sometimes. It's when you're sad, but still enjoying yourself.

Now, to some people, this may be seen as impossible. Personally, I think it depends on the type of sadness. But most of the time, I think that you can be sad, and yet still actually enjoy something - not just pretend to enjoy something, and putting that mask on.

Why I think that's true is because of focus. It's all down to where your focus is. For example, if I'm playing a game with some friends, and that's what I'm focussing on, I'm enjoying myself. And that's a true enjoyment. However, if I'm instead focussing on something that makes me sad - say, for example, someone that recently passed away - but I'm trying to cover that up, then that isn't true. That's where the mask comes in.

And yes, it's very easy to slip from one to the other. Your attention can slip for a moment, and you're gone. But in that moment, you also have that choice - that choice to be authentic, or to put that mask on. And sometimes that will depend on who you're with as to the choice you make; but it's always your choice, even if it's become almost automatic.

We can often have these undertones working away, these undercurrents of sadness, and pain, and loss. And they might not show a lot of the time; we might even forget them, more often than not. But they're always there, constantly, and they're very easy to slip back into if we don't have enough distractions, diversions and focus.

How do we change that? That's a darn good question. Let me know if you figure it out.