Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pic a Day Advent #picadayadvent HOPE

'Hope' as featured in the 'Eternity' display at the Australian National Museum in Canberra ‪#‎picadayadvent‬

Blah blah blah...

DNB Bank 24hr Ad Break

It's still possible to reinvent traditional media and make great things happen and that we all need good advice [when it comes to money or life in general]... food for missional thought!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Grief, Loss and the News!!

   It's true, people lose their lives everyday in motor vehicle accidents, ebola takes thousands, people are king hit at the pub and a female hockey player did die in 2012 after being struck in the head by a ball. The death of Phil Hughes has quickly become a huge media story.                                                                                                                                          
   But if notoriety offers anything alongside the reminders that those we 'know' through sport, art, film or even celebrity are not the only people we lose or who suffer in life, it's an opportunity to be open to and see raw grief and loss, community and even leadership at a tough time.                                                                                                                    
   My overwhelming feeling is that loss, grief, empathy & the stuff of life itself is not finite or limited... the onus is on each of us to bring reality to life and in doing so to demand that of our media.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
A tangential example of that for me also happened this week. Imagine if instead of following her around, the media reported that Jacqui Lambie was considering resigning from the Palmer United Party and then had said to her, 'so hey, get back to us when you've got an announcement to make, we don't need to report every day that there's nothing more to report or that you haven't decided.'                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
   And of course, change happens slowly... only some sports followers know who Meg Lanning, Lisa Sthalekar, Elise Perry, Laura Geitz, Stephanie Gilmour or Margaret Watson are...
   So here we are, with an opportunity to be 'alongside' people who've suffered loss of all kinds, to be open to what this story touches off for people.
   We can also 'be better' and give leadership in reminding people of those people whose names we don't know... how do we speak of God into this time? Like the tweet , from the ARIAs I think, that the writer doesn't pray, has never and won't be praying for Phil Hughes, asking, is it still OK for me to think of his family and wens best wishes... there's a whole conversation right there...

   Here's an opportunity to acknowledge how leadership of and conduct of Funerals and walking with people in grief, can be such powerful human behaviour and care... whatever the story...

"Mad Max Fury Road" May 2015

Peanuts Movie

"Offer It Up" Kate Miller Heidke

Thanks 'Art of Depth'

Half Price Dream Prezzie on Amazon

Better double check the free postage OS!!

It Took a Few Days Longer

It took a few days longer than I expected for the posts reflecting on media coverage re Phillip Hughes! Complex issue, fair calls! Plenty of grief to go around...

"Blue Sky Mine" Midnight Oil

Was sorting out some old t-shirts today for a secret surprise and exciting purpose and remembering the one that was stolen off my clothes line at Adamstown years ago... lost the black version, still have the white one..

Blog Post Pic for Twitter/Facebook

Star Wars VII Trailer teaser

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Playstation 4 The Future of Play

ALDI Australia Perfect Aussie Christmas 2014

Sainsburys Christmas 2014

"Ideology" Billy Bragg

   Our current Federal Government, the Liberal and National Party Coalition, was elected through our normal democratic process and replaced an unelectable rabble in Labor, no question. For many years now the results haven't been uniform nationally and no doubt the so called 'preference whisperer' had an impact in creating a Senate with a gaggle of independents so Legislation requires deft negotiations and trade offs.
   What we have though in the current government, is a group who always resented the previous election outcome and who, under Tony Abbott, have become driven by ideology rather than good policy. By this I mean they are projecting more right oriented values come what may and have also arrived at some policy decisions through bloody mindedness rather than what might make sense given a 'fairness test' or what might reflect taking good advice from your Departments or various experts.

Examples for me would include:
- The proposed Paid Parental Leave Scheme
Such a scheme is needed, but this version is not broad based and was dreamt up amongst a few initiatives to help Tony Abbott against opinion polling about how women viewed him
- The most prominent Budget measures announced
These fail the 'fairness' test and target some of this country's most vulnerable people in the name of deficit reduction. The whole lifters and leaners, earning or learning approach is disproportionate to both the incidence of 'bulging' and the contribution to the deficit in the first place
- Border Protection
From John Howard onwards these conservatives have vilified and created a villain in 'boat people' and while the cruelest part of their approach is intended to 'stop the boats' and therefore mean the worst human rights abuses are a deterrent, not an actual happening... it may stop the boats but will cost us as a society. This is especially true with children held in detention and what other mental health anguish and long term harm is being done to those who are imprisoned offshore
- Climate Change and Carbon
This country should be pouring funding into renewables in ever growing amounts. The reliance on fossil fuels needs to change more quickly and when the deniers run the policy this will never be priority enough
- There will be no cuts to education, health, the ABC or SBS?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Band Aid 30 aiding efforts to stop Ebola

Advent Resource for Ministry with Young People [or others]

In other media spaces I've shared a resource I've written while at home recovering from recent surgery and it's available for download from a dropbox here or if that doesn't work for you
Thanks Darren Wright as blogspot doesn't hold PDFs and although I have dropbox I don't know it's ins and outs

Pics for the reflection that week...

Monday, November 10, 2014

"All Your Friends" Coldplay

   It's a difficult few months for those who know war to be the worst option in resolving human conflict [of which there are endless futile examples] but there is something beyond the politics of WW1 and the foot soldiers who each volunteered for their own reasons and sought to fight for something of value to them... something we will focus on over the next 12 months courtesy of ceramic poppies, Gallipoli etc...

"Thinking Out Loud" Ed Sheeran

Looking fwd to a 'modern' dance routine of this at the annual concert this year!!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Movies I've seen in 2014

I think it's fair to say 2014 has been a pretty ordinary year for great films but there has been plenty of entertaining rubbish... I'm going in early with my list while on leave at home...


Mandela Long Walk to Freedom here in Oz
The LEGO Movie outstanding
The Monuments Men great story
Cuban Fury Nick Frost humour
Anchorman 2 most of it anyhow
The Muppets Most Wanted good story
Divergent disappointing
Noah fascinating with a few standout scenes/questions
Rio 2 yeah OK
The Amazing Spiderman 2 hmm, it was Ok
Bad Neighbours funny idea, didn't work for me, one funny scene... the De Niro's
Blended classic Sandler creeps up on you
The Fault in Our Stars a fav. from 2014
Jersey Boys Clint tells a story
Transformers Age of Extinction not as bad as could have been
Captain America Winter Soldier good twist
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes really like this series
Lucy a mixed bag of great idea they didn't know how to finish
Her I thought I'd hate it and turn it off, it was great
A Most Wanted Man the great Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Guardians of the Galaxy was very funny
Calvary stunning storytelling
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles yeah, dunno, funny, Ok story
Expendables 3 hilariously pointless escapism
The Maze Runner disappointing
The Box Trolls great
The Judge outstanding work
Mr Peabody and Sherman disappointing for a story I grew up with
Veronica Mars formulaic but entertaining
Grace of Monaco not as bad as critics said and I enjoyed the history lesson
The Hundred Foot Journey great story
John Wick if only Tarantino had done it, great escapism for 2 hrs, quirky idea
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1 like it says, 1/2 a film, enjoyed it, was sad about Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Exodus interesting despite 2.5hrs, more to say later

Haven't seen for Various Reasons But will
Charlie’s Country

Will See When I Can
Dumb and Dumber 2
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

The Water Diviner

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Stunning tributes for Gough Whitlam

Amongst others...

"From Little Things Big Things Grow" Paul Kelly Kev Carmody and friends

“Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands this piece of the earth itself as a sign that we restore them to you and your children forever.”

   I don't quite know why I am so emotional today watching on ABC TV the Memorial Service for Gough Whitlam at Sydney Town Hall and various live sites across Australia.
   At home recovering from surgery with some good outcomes, unable to do much more than rest, but thinking I guess about the way in which EG Whitlam's story and time in history frames my own political consciousness or some thing much simpler like my growing up.
   On one level I think as a community of people we just do so well at celebrating life, through sense of occasion, music and vivid story telling. There's something too about a persons opportunity to have a say in shaping their own service.
   More fundamentally I guess I still remember Bruce Humphreys, our Year Master at Maitland Boys' High, coming around on the 11th November 1975 to our Maths lesson and interrupting to let us know the Governor General had dismissed the Federal Labor Government and installed Malcolm Fraser as caretaker... in some ways my other memories of that revolve around the sublime work of Norman Gunston on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra. Only as I became more politically minded in the years that followed and only as I studied Economics in Year 11/12 and onwards at University did I come to understand the social revolution of Medicare, free University education, aboriginal issues, social change and the many reforms prospered in that all too short era.
   I also studied the advent of 'stagflation' or the coincidence of high unemployment and inflation which ruined world economies and challenged all conventional monetary and fiscal policy so that Labor would be judged unfairly over the country's interest rates, slowing development and the less than wise steps taken to re finance our economic growth.
   Still, social reform and a change of outlook that also saw Paul Keating and others take the reins of the economy to float the dollar and open us up to Asia, are irreversible aspects on todays Australia.
   Many years later, meeting Freda Whitlam, Gough's sister, a female 'Moderator' of the Uniting Church in Australia, I understood those indefinables of a heart for people, for western Sydney, for justice and opportunity, with humour, grace and disarming grace and humour.
   As a young politically 'liberal' person growing up in the 1970s my worldview changed. I have most certainly moved to the left in my leanings and while I still value the ethic of people 'having a go' and taking opportunities, I am committed to the idea that not everyone gets those chances and we must all work as a community to care for each other, whether that's free national health care, or values of justice an service.
   My faith and my vocation are informed, shaped and fuelled by an indescribable feeling for people, those I am comfortable around and those who are not my natural group but in whom I see pain, loss, disadvantage, struggle, doubt and life waiting to break out... my following is about participation in the world to reconcile and renew the whole of the creation, even if only in my little corner. I guess in some way my emotions today are for those Gough Whitlam seemed to know, understand and stand up for... a vision of opportunity and hope in fundamental human endeavour... lived by a man who described himself as a 'fellow traveller.'
   The story that drives this is the story of one who came to testify to the idea that God is love, that grace and compassion are the building blocks of salvation [of saving from all that life throws up at us, from ourselves and from disappearing up our own fundamentalist ideals in some cases] and that it isn't about me but us... my call is to take seriously who Jesus stood with, favoured and spoke for... in building a community of inclusion and gospel values... in some circumstances this is particularly about voiceless young people, but not always... unreliable memories and thoughts indeed...

Sunday, November 02, 2014

An Update of Sorts

So friends, it's Sunday evening at my place and an opportunity to let folks know how I'm doing...
I had a major surgery on October 17th and a hernia repair at the same time and have now been home since Friday week... so just over 2 weeks now since that op...
   I anticipate a minimum further two weeks recovery and am still waiting for the incision to fully settle... I have no idea how this'll progress...
   I can't lift anything much and continue to rest up... the surgery should be what's needed and all my tests are good!! Next will come regular testing and check ups for future years but I dodged the biggest potential complications from this time around... It's a slow recovery and I get tired, so despite goals of reading and writing a few things, that's a 'not yet'...
   I'm doing pretty well though, from getting up to walk the day after surgery, through to now. I have caught a few movies, TV series, magazines and plenty of my usual newspapers and some awful TV alongside sundry laps from room to room and up and down our hall. I do look forward to the afternoon nap!!
   I suppose it's good I've now lost some weight over recent weeks/months as that was part of the plan... maybe just over 20kgs... but that was from a bad start and I guess another 24 or so would be great... but unlike 2008 I might just need to keep it off!! I have no idea when I will return to the swimming pool... hopefully by 1st December but I won't be rushing...