Friday, February 29, 2008


Playing Yahtzee round at Mally's last night with Cath, the Vivster and Irony Boy, I chalked up my highest score ever: 506. That's three Yahtzees and everything in the bottom section except a full house. Oh yeah.

Incidentally, this blog has been offline of late because I've been concentrating on job applications. There are some really fantastic looking jobs out there. Now I've sent them off, I've got everything crossed (which make sitting here a bit painful!)

It'll be another four years till I blog again... on a leap day! (Had you going there, didn't I!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Recently I've been doing plenty of thinking around the concept of 'god' as a future development in human consciousness.

I can see the logic in an idea that if humanity is progressing towards something, and that something will become 'god', then in its god-state, time will cease to be a limitation and then the 'becoming god' can re-enter time to guide the progression of humanity to the point where the godself becomes. Progression is thus a loop, being both caused by, and causing in turn, the 'becoming god', which, for want of a better word I refer to in my head as theos.

This idea neatly sidesteps the holes in evolutionary theory, and allows for intelligent interference in a concomitant evolutionary process. A 'guided evolution' if you will, which is only different from a creatio ex nihilo dogma by a small degree. It's still creation, of a sort.

The problem is though, I do wonder if I'm drifting into a sophist trap. When we start getting into the nuts and bolts of the theory, it means a reinvention or a rejection of certain key doctrines which I would hold particularly dear, considering my Christian theological background. Then there's my role in our church, my employment for a Christian charity in a post with a genuine occupational requirement for professing faith, and even my fledgling freelance theology sideline.

I'd put all those things at risk if I suddenly propounded a dubious theological world-view. I don't really want to start my own religion, but I don't think my current religion would be particularly happy to include me in the ranks still.

And, on a deeper level, I'm not sure I really believe it enough to stake my life on it. That's what it comes down to in the end. But if I don't believe in it, what is the point of continuing with the thought experiment, no matter how intriguing it is?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Well I take a few days off and the place falls apart. Got back into work today to find that a) the toilets were out of order and we had portaloos in the car park; and b) the servers are out of action and I couldn't access any of the files I needed to work on.

I don't think the two areas are related, although if they are, that gives a new meaning to the phrase "data dump". (And possibly explains the quality of some people's work...)

Crucially, though, I did get on and complete my latest inspiring task - working out the Biscuit Supply Rota for the new team.

I realise as I'm job-hunting, some of the stuff I write on here about work makes my career seem trivial and banal. Which, of course, is a contributory factor to the restlessness. On that note I had an exciting chat with someone today about a high-powered Comms job that looks the biz. It would stretch me to the nth degree, but I need that because life is too short to be bored.

Monday, February 18, 2008


We get too many cards round work these days and I've been tempted to start signing them with gibberish. I mentioned this to my sister-in-law when we were talking about signing her bright red leg-cast (achilles tendon snap, if you hadn't heard). She says it's stupid, but I think she thought it was a cleverer idea than she'd ever admit. (She doesn't like to humour me as she knows nothing good comes of it...)

Here are a few possible gibberish phrases. Feel free to use them.

Ar Fflarffan Boingo (pretend it's Welsh)
Grond Toglwogl (ersatz Norwegian - or possibly Greenlandic)
Hin Qin Tai Che Roh (could be from any Asian country)
Lapsis Anagooksis (faux Greek - you could additionally claim it's a Cypriot dialect)

NB - to get away with using nonsense greetings is just be confident if anyone asks you what it is. "Well it' s the customary greeting of the Lammu tribe in Vietnam. I just thought it would be fun."

After all, who's gonna know?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Telegraphed plot twists

I've recently finished reading The Kite Runner, which was excellently written and moved me greatly. The waste of life and potential as a result of the blinkered Islamist takeover of Afghanistan permeates the book and it's quite a melancholy read as a result.

The only problem is the two plot twists which I have to admit I saw coming a mile off. For a start I guessed the relationship between Amir and Hassan well before the former learned it in the book. Then I knew the identity of the white-robed Talib almost immediately - it just seemed so inevitable who it was going to be.

Maybe I'm a bit over-read, or analytical in how I approach novels. Today I finished Matter, the latest Culture novel by Iain M Banks, which had a very sudden and slightly unexpected ending. But again the main plot crux stood out before it was revealed by the author. In this case the problem is it's a plotline used in literally hundreds of epic SF stories. Banks hides it well, because for the first two-thirds of the book you don't know what the main point of the story is. But when it settles down to the plot proper, it isn't that much of a surprise.

Which is a shame really,because Use of Weapons remains my favourite Culture novel - mainly because I didn't see the twist coming until it was too late. And the shock (and sense of violation) I felt at the literary betrayal by the 'hero' still unnerves me on subsequent re-readings. It seems those heights (depths) elude even the greatest writers occasionally.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Men and women, part 1,982,456

Yesterday on a late run to Tesco Extra, the main clientele were blokes buying Valentine's tat and flowers. A guy behind us in the queue had a bunch of roses costing £35.00.

In a discussion with (male) colleagues today we agreed he was probably buying them for someone other than a wife or long-term partner, mainly because a wife or long-term partner would flip out if you spent £35 on flowers instead of something useful. Of course, he could have been so rich, £35 was just spare change, but if he was that affluent, he hid it well.

In fact my wife/long-term partner couldn't believe someone would spend £35 on roses (especially not from Tesco) and said as much to me. "No," I agreed, wistfully. "For that money I could buy that really amazing lego set of the radio-controlled dinosaur that's marked down at half price..."

I do love lego.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I took the day off work today to go paintballing with the youth. T'was tremendous fun. And as I said to some of my fellow group leaders, the way things are at work at the moment, spending a day running round in the mud being shot at, is far more preferable to being in work.

I have to admit before I went I was a bit worried I'd be the de facto target for the games. But in reality when you're in the games you spend so much time scrambling for cover you can't really pick any one person out. Plus I'd let it be known I would operate along the same lines as Imperial Rome and dish out a disproportionate response to anyone who shot me - namely a severe case of revenge shooting. (Of course Imperial Rome would just crucify the whole village, but the principle of disproportionate response was the same)

I even managed to avoid getting any major bruises. The only one I have got is conveniently on my forearm, so I can show it off tomorrow and bask in the kudos of putting my life on the line "for the kids." Oh, yeah.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

California flashbacks

I'm currently munching my way through a box of Hot Tamales - the cinnamon candy you can't buy over here. I discovered them in California and every time I bite into one and close my eyes I can see sunshine on the surf as we cruise down Highway 1 from San Fran to LA. The beaches are pristine, the road is winding and fun to drive, the trees are huge and evocative of an untameable land, the pampas grass flutters in the breeze, and life is good.

In my heart I think I'll always be a little bit in love with California. And the taste (and smell) of Hot Tamales will always take me there.

Friday, February 08, 2008

More interesting things from my week

1) I put the word Jedi down in a game of Scrabulous as a joke, and the dictionary accepted it. Cool.

2) E-marketing guru Michael Katz thought my entry into a haiku competition was one of the best. My haiku was:

Chat to guru Mike!
And listen perhaps to the
wisdom of penguins?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

5 interesting things you might not know about my day

1 - I was on UCB Radio today with my Jon the freelance theologian hat on talking about whether clones have souls. They said some very nice things about the website and invited me back on the air sometime.

2 - The interview meant I was late for a team meeting, but I did get there in time for my agenda item - sorting out a rota for who's buying the biscuits for coffee time.

3 - Chatting after book club yesterday I admitted I sometimes try to use the Force to move stuff. Doesn't everyone do this? I've been thinking today that if I did find I had Jedi powers, I may be very tempted to use them for evil. But then, hey, as they say, sith happens. (Jedi joke!)

4 - The job hunting is still ongoing. I got an email from Oxfam telling me I hadn't been selected for interview today, but that might be just as well. I like working for a charity, but I've done four years in the Third Sector. I emailed my CV off today for the job I really want down in the Bay, and I'm planning to apply for another three jobs by the end of the week.

5 - I managed to get three pancakes at a Shrove Tuesday mini-gathering, whereas most other people only got two. But then I was on pancake-making duty some of the time.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The war escalates

After setting traps to cath the mice in my friend's loft the other day, we returned last night to find that all the bait had been eaten out of one unsprung trap. And the other trap had COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED!

We have our theories on that. It could be a) bigger rodents than mice, who wouldn't be particularly affected by Little Nipper traps. It might be b) a mouse got caught, but not killed, and carried the Little Nipper trap off. It's possibly c) a mouse got caught, but next door's cat can get into the loft and took dead mouse, and trap, away to eat it (the mouse not the trap). Or maybe it's d) the mice took the trap away to analyse it in the lab and work out how to defuse future traps.

Either way, I'm off to the hardware store this morning to look at f-off traps. Because when the mice start taking the traps, it feels like they're taking the p---!

Friday, February 01, 2008


I now have three personas on Facebook. My "work character" Kev Kennedy, my 'Jon the freelance theologian' alter ego, and me. A real trinity of deception.

I'm also friends now with a friend's cat. A friend of mine is friends with one of her friend's pet pig. It makes me wonder whether the genuineness of social networking is over-rated.