Monday, 29 February 2016

Since I'm posting pics

Here's a couple of the mini in not-so-shiny condition. (Oops, spelling).

The boy has a toy to fix.

Guzzi V50 II / collection of odd bits of Italian engineering.

When I got home tonight he was cutting mudguard mounts from 2mm Ali sheet with an angle grinder. It's that kind of bike.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

I'm still grinding away at Eusebius

And I'm inclined to believe it's a useful and quite informative grind, even if that's an unfortunate choice of words, considering how much he writes about martyrs.

This section of the book has been dealing with the period that he personally experienced during the co-reigns of Maximianus, Maxentius, Maximums,  Constantius (father of Constantine) Galerius and Lysinius (names are a little flexible, not least due to the OCR occasionally failing as the book was digitised) when the empire was split into separate regions. He describes a period of heart-rending brutality, though not at all out of character with other times in the history of Rome, when an emperor was able to take whatever he desired without limit or restriction, experiencing insatiable lust and then unlimited fear and superstition.

The church in the period immediately prior to this round of persecution is presented as having gone completely off the rails under benevolent emperors, with bishops building empires, frequent heresy and internal warring. The persecution was described as though it was God's just retribution on the church for failing to worship Him. The need to please God - the word 'appease' God was used in the translation, though I have no idea how accurate this is in terms of Eusebius personal or the common church theology - was seen as the way to get the persecution lifted. One has the feeling of a system of religion not so far removed from Judaism with updated details, and not like a vibrant, Spirit-led 1st century Christianity.

Throughout the book thus far there is a subtext of an increasingly sophisticated system of religion being developed, with significant variations between different geographical locations due to the power and influence of individual bishops. Some of these variations seem honest and of good intent, some because of emotional direction or personal preference, some of mistaken intent that would allow itself to be corrected and some of deliberate malice for the purpose of acquiring power and wealth. Martyrdom was frequent and common, often performed with a breath-taking degree of cruelty, always presented as being desirable and something one should seek in order to obtain a better salvation. Those performing the various tortures were almost always seen as being willingly directed by demons, no longer in control of themselves, and subject to Satan's will. Self-harming and deliberate hardship was also seen as desirable, for example Origen's attempt at self-castration so that he might become a eunuch, in his mind emulating the apostle Paul, was admired.

It's interesting to filter these behaviours through an orthodox 20th century theology, but futile to view them with 21st century secular values.

This book has really opened my eyes to what I formerly saw as rather bizarre, highly superstitious religious paintings that depicted the righteous going to heaven while the ungodly were sent to hell to endure various unspeakable torments. What I first though were the products of a superstitious mind, I now rather suspect is a replication of many of the tortures that early Christians were forced to endure at the hands of those driven by demons. The torturers were being handed over after death to experience the very things that they had inflicted in life, and the experience of those early martyrs created such a strong impression on the church that, more than 1000 years later, the result was still being reproduced in art.

Monday, 22 February 2016

What ever happened to X?

Where X is someone you worked with......

Having spent time on linked In building business contacts over the last week, I've been amazed at how many ex-colleagues have become consultants. Maybe it's because they (we?) have reached the age where kids are grown, mortgages paid etc, but I also wonder if it's a set of attitudes and an independence of thinking. Who knows?

Friday, 19 February 2016

God waits for us.

Yup, really.

Ever do a bit of a stock-take, and I don't mean just counting how many tins of beans or bottles of wine you have in the larder.

Since we were released from Heyford Park my relationship with God has been up & down. Escape came barely in time, and I'd reached the point where I'd seriously wanted to walk away from church and churchy things, not really wanted to carry on, burned out emotionally and plain tired of the politics and religious guff that made us dance round in circles. Our welcome back to BCC and the love shown then amazed me, but at the same time my emotions were in ribbons, and each meeting was a rollercoaster between boredom and tears.

Normality gradually returned. Sort of.

More recently I've found myself wanting to pray for people again, wanting to spend time with God (but often failing to do so) fasting a little, praying, studying the bible. I realised just now the change that's gradually taken place, and I'm grateful. Both the old Toni who could help lead a church and the old Toni who gets things wrong are still here, but there's new stuff on the horizon too.

Wonder what will happen next?

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Back in the lab today.

When everything goes well, is understood and in control, lab life is easy and pleasant. When nothing works repeatably then everyone starts navel-gazing, looking at the most unlikely parameter in the hope of finding a controlling factor. 

Deja vu.

Sometimes it even produces useful information. 29V 560ma. It's just stuff.

Presently enjoying an aldesko* lunch.

Not to self - spell-check phone blog posts more carefully (less carelessly) than usual. 

*It's like having lunch alfresco, but sat at your desk. :p

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

More than a foot*

Someone described me as fabulous in an email today - I think Aesop would be proud.

*not merely legendary then.

Wednesday morning

Part-way through a coffee, feeling various pulls about what to post, wondering if not posting at all is better than saying anything.

So I finally decided that I cannot continue in a huddle, and that the book I mentioned a while back - Building A Discipling Culture - contains too much that is contrived or simply plain wrong.

And this bothers me.

A lot.

It's one thing to stand back and chuck the odd rock at the Church of England, because it's been built up over generations by some guys that were godly and some that were the opposite, and it's been constructed from parts borrowed from each generation that's passed through it's doors. But it's quite another to see people who I've known and trusted, at least to some degree, picking up something that looks increasingly unhealthy and start building it into a church group that I feel I've had a hand in building.

I mentioned there's a lot of crank stuff out there about Mike Breen and 3DM, and I don't know what truth is behind it (masonic - really??!) but one more sensible review I came across that didn't seem like that was here on The Schooley files.

I never refused to be part of a church initiative before, even when I didn't like it. Guess there's a first time for everything.

*edit* When I was a new-ish Christian and really determined to be radical and 'go for it' as hard as I could, the guys doing the heavy shepherding (as it became known) seemed really good. What could be better than following directions from Godly men who were sensitive to the Holy Spirit and bulding the church. Then I saw some of the effects, and how the guys doing it were just normal Spirit-filled christians who made mistakes, were sometimes self-serving or unable to step out without an OK from the guy they were following. And then I saw the church splits, not first hand, fortunately.

A key difference is that heavy shepherding only really happened in relatively few streams, while this is seeping into many streams that have no natural connection to 3DM.

In other news, I have started running again, and while the knee is reminding me to take it easy, its not bad either.

And my assistant arrives here in 2 weeks. :-)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Differences between north and south

I heard today, about north and south pints and how to pull them. Beer, for ths unfamiliar with the word 'pull' in this context.

Apparently a southern pint needs to be drawn slowly, with just a fine skim of bubbles on top of the beer. Southern beers are often heavy, and need to be made peacefully. A northern pint apparently should be jetted into the glass to create a deeper foamy head.

This started as a rant-ette about Australian bar staff and the serving of beer that was too cold by a morris-man, shortly after a question about the etymology of the word 'coaster'.

Monday, 15 February 2016

After just over 18 months

The keyboard on my Dell is starting to play up, mainly the G and H keys. I have 3 years next business day on-site warranty, so may well invoke that before the business is completely closed.

Talking of fragility and short lifespan, a colleague's iPhone 5 started on the death-spiral of ever-shortening battery life a couple of weeks back at just 13 months old. If it had been a consumer purcase then Apple would have replaced it for him (as required by consumer laws) but because it was a business phone they wanted £199. Eventually this was negotiated down to £60 (the cost of a replacement battery) but his experience of Apple staff over the course of multiple visits to a store many miles away was not encouraging. I wonder if there has been a change in corporate culture?

I have been 'encouraged' by work to have a facebook account in order to operate a business page for raising awareness of the lab here. Friends outside of work will not be able to connect: this is for business only.

I'm also having to resurrect my Linked-In account, and worse than that, will also become a twitter user.

It's a sad day.

Writing with a gift pen.

A local business has sent a mass mailshot to all the businesses in this building. Result: a mass of free pens with a small LED light at one end and a rubber nub at the other.  The point of the light isn't hard to fathom, and I would guess the rubber nub is intended for use as a touch screen pointer.  So let's try it then.

Wkkind of chy CND t a fingip.

Works kind of patchy compared to a fingertip.

What does it say about your business to send out a piece of shiny junk?  What does it say about how you perceive your customers? I need to bear this in mind, since a growing aspect of my job will be generating publicity and business links.

A good lesson to learn.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Could any hearts have grown fonder in my absence?

One heart has at least remained beating with enthusiasm for me: Chris arranged a valentine 'treasure hunt' for me, and did it for Saturday morning because the rest of our weekend was booked up.

Valentine card plus a 'clue'.
The 'phone box'.

Once a cross

A kissing gate

The one to kiss
A gate that used to kiss, but is now disappointing
The collection.

The clues weren't *quite* in numerical order, but it was very much the love that counted. :-)

Thursday, 4 February 2016

That's a double-Holger

I passed 2 people just now in the corridor, both German, both called Holger.

In Britain.


We also have a Viennese born lass who seems to have an Irish accent.

Europe is increasingly mixed up.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Who would have thought?

That carefree speed stripper was a floor polish?

I have a funny feeling that someone, somewhere, ordered a case and was disappointed.

January stats

Apparently I ran 64.5 miles in January, burning over 10,000 calories, and improved my PB for 10K by 1 second to 55.34.

Interestingly, although my longer distance PBs have been improving, my PBs for 1K, 3K and 1 mile remain unchallenged from 2014: basically I'm running longer, but a little slower. It will be interesting to see if new shoes make a difference to that.

The Card




The business card sat there, staring enigmatically back at me as though the arrangement of words were entirely conventional, and any curiousness were down to my parochialism and inexperience. Nobody knew why it had been the only item with any text that had survived the 350 storey fall when Sagbaart was pushed - or jumped - and became a very shallow person indeed.


I have this very card sat here next to me, and it struck me how at one time it might have inspired a major science fiction series, but now in business marketing it's just another device used to attract attention among a million others all trying to attract attention. Reality and scifi have collided, and the result is...... ordinary. I'm almost tempted to attempt writing a story around this, but fear it would get abandoned without completion as my energy and interest were drawn away to other things. 

At lunch we were discussing the incredible way in which the internet has made so much information available to those who can find it, though this time in the context of looking up past court records. The information age is quite astonishing, but instead of heralding in an age of peace, wisdom, understanding and prosperity, mankind is the same as it's always been.

FWIW I do consider the card clever, and the business behind this does seem to be doing some interesting things.