STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

OK, let's start by getting the elephant in the room dealt with: you're not real. Look, sorry to say it, but you know it's true. You might rightfully then ask why I'm writing you a letter. That's a fair cop, and one I'm willing to answer - I guess the fact that I know that Dad (that being the heavenly one) knows my thoughts as I write them, and that I can put a part of myself down in writing in this way is kind of appealing. So yeah, OK - I'm kind of using you. But you're not real, so I say we're even.

That being said, can I tell you something? It's been hard this year when people have asked me what I want for Christmas. I mean sure, I could put some games or DVDs on a list, but the reason I haven't is that none of it really shines for me. Honestly, there's just something much deeper missing and I've been thinking about it a little. Just every day for close to the past two years, I'd say. And so here's my Christmas list, Saint Nick - you ready for this?

Someone to love, who will love me in return.

That's it. That's all I want. I mean, I probably should be a tiny bit more specific - we're talking love of the variety that is "until death do us part" here, which means toward someone of the opposite gender, and that is deep and romantic in nature. I'd hate to give you room to be cheap on this one, Santy. Because we all know you can be cheap when you want to. I mean seriously - what good is a remote controlled car with no batteries? Yes, I do remember.

Look, I was never made to be alone. Dad knows this better than anyone, and so I'm not sure why he's let things unfold this way, but here I am. It's just been such a long time since I've looked in someone's eyes and seen that subtle softening that comes from owning a special place in the heart of the person to whom those eyes belong. I desperately long to see that again. My heart holds an empty room; furnished with hopes and dreams that began years ago; waiting for someone for whom that place is home. It's been lived in before and wasn't treated very well, but I've spent a lot of time cleaning it up; repainting the walls and scrubbing the floors. Dad even helped me fix up some of the bits that were a problem before it was trashed. When I look at it now, it seems... ready. It's a home for someone. They just aren't there yet.

So big guy, I'm doing my bit. I'm meeting, and coffeeing and generally doing things no 32 year old man with two kids should have to worry about. I'm preening and cleaning and trying to change the things about myself I look at and think could be better. But I can't make this one happen on my own. So I guess what I'm doing is being the kid writing a letter to Santa, hoping that his Dad might read it. That maybe, just maybe, it won't be as hard... or as long... or as complicated as I think it has to be. That the story of my life will give inspiration to those who tread a similarly painful path, rather than serve as example of how lonely things can end up when relationships go tragically wrong.

Well, that's about it Santa. I'll leave the rest in your white-gloved hands. Oh - and I'll leave out some beer and chocolate on Christmas Eve, but if you haven't taken them by midnight I say they're fair game.

Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Well, that didn't go so well.

OK, so I've been trying harder to eat right, and losing small amounts of weight. I'm thinking through what I can do about Japan, and making plans for when I can go, and that's all awesome. And I've been getting up at 6:30am... but...

As it turns out, this last change has changed the status quo of my household. My two wonderful children, who I used to have to wrestle from their beds post-7am in order to get them ready on time now wake before my alarm goes off at 6:30am, and demand breakfast amongst other things (one wanted chocolate recently for some reason), and generally ensure that I'm not spending that time peacefully contemplating passages of Scripture and in reflective prayer, as was the origial intention. So not really sure what to do about that one, but it certainly makes it hard for me to justify continuing this new tradition. That being said, I am generally more organised thanks to the getting up early and stuffs, so I guess in that way it's good.

I know I could do this stuff at the end of my day, but usually by the time I get my kids into bed my brain is already mush and I just want to soak it in sitcom, or live vicariously as a ninja through my Playstation controller. Both activities requiring as little or as much thought as I feel up to at the time. Mornings have always been my strong thought times. Post-coffee, of course, but that's just a given. So what do I do? :-s Does anyone else have some words of sage-like wisdom that might help? Maybe I should eat more sage. Or thyme. Need more of both of those.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Murphy's Law Strikes Back!

I find it hilarious how as soon as you make a decision about doing something, suddenly things go dreadfully wrong in terms of making it happen. This week I was going to get more exercise. I was thinking I'd get out with the boys on their bikes, and try and do a lot more active outdoorsy stuff. And then in poured rain all week.
I started getting up half an hour earlier each day. This was hard thanks to not going to bed early enough, so I tried to make myself go to bed earlier. Then my son got sick, and was up and down all night. I slept through my alarm and woke up 20 minutes after I normally leave. I've never done that before.
I've been invited out for food a lot, which has not been good for the whole weight loss shindig. I mean, I wouldn't quite put this in the Murphy's Law category - I could have not gone, but it certainly has been a challenge. I've managed to gain a little weight, although CalorieKing tells me that could be because I've been eating a lot of salty foods. Which I did yesterday. So we'll write it off as that, and I'll keep trying to eat healthier.

All this aside though, making these goals has been a good step. I'm serious about them, and they're in my head, and as a result it's given me some direction and that feels good. Short term, I've got something to achieve. My trip to Japan looks like it might become a bit of a family thing, as my parents think about travelling to China and Korea towards the end of the year. Nothing certain yet, but I think that would make a big difference to the challenges of taking my boys on planes and that kind of thing.
The couple of mornings I managed to get up early this week, I also managed to read my Bible just for quarter of an hour and spend some time with God. It was good. And I'm keen to do it some more.
And I've had an offer of guidance from someone who has some experience with personal training and exercise and that kind of thing, which is a massive blessing. Hopefully that will be really useful in finding ways to exercise that don't seem like a chore.

Anyway - the journey continues! I'll keep updating this as I progress.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Beginnings, New Blog Postings

So, it's official. For those of you who may have missed previous goings on, as of 11/11/11 I'm officially divorced. And as the lead up and lead down to this event has unfolded, I've had to consider a lot - had to face a lot of hard truths. Life isn't fair, and never will be. The justice I want to see in my situation may not unfold in the way I'd like, or indeed at all. God is a God of love, but we should not mistake "love" for the wishywashy "do anything to make you smile" type thing we see on TV, nor should we be so narcissistic to assume that God loving us means his plans revolve around us. They don't. No no really - they don't. God has a big picture plan in Ultra Full High Definition(TM) and you are a pixel. Or possibly one colour element of one pixel. You're vital to the picture, but the picture is not about you. Or more to the point, it's not about me.

OK - so moving on from this, I've decided I need to make some goals for myself. And unless I tell people, I probably won't stick to them. So I'm telling you, Internets. And more than that (MO4R!?!?!?) I'm going to regularly update this blog with how they're going. So here's what I've got so far:

In 2012, assuming world doesn't end when Planet Nibiru hits us, I plan to:

- get my weight under 100kgs
- take my boys on a holiday to Japan
- get up half an hour earlier each morning

Now, for some important information about these. First, the weight one. I've been trying to lose weight for a long time. In the midst of my great sadness in 2010, I got down to 100kgs and then proceeded to put all the weight I had lost back on and more, up to the point where recently I was 117kgs. I'm now just under 115 and am on my way down. Very... very... slowly. It's funny how quickly you put weight on and how slowly you lose it. I'm going to make use of a website called CalorieKing to help track my progress, and you can look up how I'm doing here:

The trip to Japan has been a goal of mine for ages. Just before my eldest son was born, my ex-wife and I were planning to move over there for a year and teach English just for the experience. Things changed, and as a result we didn't go. I've never been outside of Australia, so for me the experience of travelling overseas is going to be a very big deal. I'd like to expose my boys to a different culture early on while they are still young and able to adjust quickly. I don't know why, I just think it would be good for them to learn that not everyone lives the same way we do. I'm wanting to do some things like staying in traditional ryokan (ryoukan?) accommodation and going to hot springs baths and other cultural particulars so that they can get a real sense of the country's culture. At least, that's the intent. We'll see how it pans out. Anyway, finance is always an issue so trying to actually accumulate some savings is going to be the hardest part of this. I have a few plans about how to get some additional funds, but we'll see how we go...

As for getting up half an hour earlier, there's two main drivers for this. One is that I'm always running short on time in the mornings. Just being up and awake even 10 minutes earlier I think will make a significant difference. But the primary driver is that at this point I'm basically spending no time with God in my day. I pray before bed each night, but it is hardly devotional. It's a bit ritualistic to be honest, but at least it motivates some conversation and some nights that can be very valuable. A lot of the time though, it's half a practiced prayer as I slip into unconsciousness. Hardly a quality offering. So I'm going to try getting up half an hour earlier and reading my Bible, and even if it's only 10 minutes, at least it's something. A start.

Well, that's it. I'm starting on these as of tomorrow - I'm going to set my alarm half an hour earlier. I've been working on trying to improve my diet, and I'll need to get on the exercise treadlymill or something to get a bit of exercise into me. The Japan one is a little more long term, but I'll keep on working on getting funds together and how I might make all things work together to bring about great success. Ganbatte!

Watch this space for additional updates, hopefully regularly. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


This should have been a tweet, but was too long to fit so I've turned it into a blog post. Basically, several people I follow on twitter have retweeted the following this morning (this is the original tweet):

Now, the statement in essence is true. Google are discontinuing support for Internet Explorer 7. However, this is because they've enacted a policy of only supporting the two latest releases of any supported browser other than Chrome - which is basically IE, Firefox and Safari. The linked article explicitly explains this, and notes that at the same time as they discontinue support for IE7, they're discontinuing support for Safari 3, and Firefox 3.5.

Why is this so irritating to me?  Because the people who wrote the original tweet make it sound like Google are singling out IE7. Which they aren't. So it's not truthful. And I'm big on truthiness.

Blog post done. Go about your day.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

An Irregularly Shaped Peg

So I said I'd write more, and so far I've done nothing. I think I need to start though, as there's so much going on in my head all the time that getting it down "on paper" might help sort some of it out, and sharing it with others has previously been very cathartic for me.

One thing that's been on my mind lately is how common my current circumstances are statistically, and yet how difficult it seems to be to now fit in with a group of people who previously I had no trouble fitting in with. It started to become apparent a few weeks back at church. I walked around looking for people to strike up conversations with, and tried striking up a few, but ultimately wound up going home as I couldn't really engage with anyone. No big deal - that happens sometimes. But then it happened the next week. And the next. And I started to wonder why, and that's when I started thinking about irregularly shaped pegs.

To generalise, I think there's two main peg shapes in church circles: those who are married, possibly with children (let's call them square pegs), and those who are single (who we'll call round pegs). The round pegs might have a knock or two out of the side of them from previous hurts or difficulties, but from my observation none of the round pegs have ever been square pegs. They're round pegs, and their friends are round pegs, and that's the sum total of their peg experience to date.

So what happens when someone was a round peg, became a square peg, and then had their corners ripped off leaving them, well, irregularly shaped? Sort of a round peg, but not really. Sort of a square peg, but not really. When we're looking at pegs in round or square holes, which in this analogy is the ability to slot into a particular social group, an irregularly shaped peg is going to struggle.

When trying to fit into a round hole, it becomes immediately apparent that the remains of corners are getting in the way. Whether those remains are age, commitments, children, or just the emotional results of dealing with relationship disaster it's fairly obvious that an irregularly shaped peg is not round, and while trying to ignore the remains of corners might be an appealing way of dealing with being older and suddenly single again, the sad reality is that you can't go back. You're not a round peg, and you never will be again.

Trying to fit into a square hole presents it's own set of problems. Truly square pegs are very much a known quantity, and represent something the irregularly shaped peg is not - a couple. The irregularly shaped peg leaves the square hole inadequately filled, and the absence is noticed by others in the peer group - particularly those of the opposite gender. Spending time as a single man with married couples, the thing I notice is that the wife of the hosting couple seems to miss the presence of another woman to balance the conversation. This makes sense, as while it would be completely appropriate for me to spend extended time 1-on-1 with another man having in depth conversations and forming a rewarding friendship, if I was to do that with a married woman it would be cause for significant concern. There's always going to be a limit to the depth a friendship can form under these circumstances, and so ultimately the irregularly shaped peg is not offering as much to the square peg couple as another square peg couple would.
[Remember I'm discussing within church circles here - I'm unsure of how things would play out if many of the limitations we apply to ourselves in church circles to avoid falling into sin were not a concern. Obviously people would fall into sin significantly more often, but perhaps in some instances both parties in a couple could form a Platonic relationship with a single party that had significant depth to it. I just don't know. I've never been confident of the reality of Platonic relationships between members of the opposite sex, and recent experience makes me question it even more.]

So what is an irregularly shaped peg to do? Well, I suppose find other irregularly shaped pegs. The problem in my small sample set is that the tiny set of people I know to be irregularly shaped pegs seem to have already disappeared from view. I don't know their reasons, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they just didn't feel like they fitted in. Maybe they went somewhere where round peggers didn't know they used to be square, and try to keep the remains of their corners out of view. Maybe they decided to keep to themselves, and not try and find a place where they would fit - which for a peg, is a very unfulfilled place to be. Pegs were made for holes.

To throw the metaphor aside at this point, the question ultimately is where do I fit? And when you follow that through to some depth you come to a fundamental question we all seem to come to at some point: why am I here? Perhaps not "here" as in alive on the earth, but why have the sum of my choices and experience led me to this point, at this place, at this time? Is there any purpose? Given what I understand of the nature of time, I can't believe that anything is just random chance, but perhaps the path that brought me here didn't do so for a purpose - it just had to go somewhere, and here was as good as anywhere else. I know we tend to quote Jeremiah 23:11 in these circumstances, but what I see there was spoken to a very specific group of people in a specific circumstance. Not to everyone for all time. We won't all prosper. Some of us will experience harm. We can all have a hope and a future, but not necessarily here and now.

So where does that leave me? Well, at some point I'd like to think I'll remarry. But before that can happen, I have to be redefined both internally and externally as being a single man again. The internal bit is a process that I can see progressing, and that is well on the way. The external process however seems to be the hard one. It's what has inspired this whole pegs metaphor. In a group of people who have always known me as being married, can I redefine myself and be accepted into a group of peers? Or are the edges of the peg holes so rigid that someone carrying the scars of being left by an unfaithful partner will never really fit in? I suppose time will tell.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Audience Stats

Today, I've had 17 page views from France. I just thought that was worth sharing.

Welcome, French visitor(s). I hope you've enjoyed your stay. :)