Nathan Campbell

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

Say hello to my little friend…

I plan to use this little fellow as a “persuader” anyone who won’t be brought round to my point of view can expect a photo of this little guy in their inbox. Putting a horse head in someone’s bed or sending a fish in the mail is so last millenium. All gangster movie references aside, the little guy on the left is one of a colony of about 25 Magnetic Island unadorned rock wallabies. These critters are only found on Magnetic Island and the Palm Island group. Although apparently they make nice sandwhiches so there aren’t many left on Palm. This is just one of the many reasons people should come and visit me. He’s cool.

It seems that PR is the career path to pursue if you want amazing job perks. I thought I had it made in my position – but it turns out if you really want to live the high life as a media adviser you need to be working for a state premier. Premier Iemma from New South Wales took his media adviser with him on a European trip. Check out how much they spent here.

Once again I actually have nothing newsworthy to report. I guess my newsworthy bar is pretty high because I’m doing plenty of stuff with my time. I worked a 12 hour day yesterday thanks to the budget and an afterwork meeting. That was exciting. Actually at the meeting after work I got to pretend to be a real journalist. WIN sent a camera but no journo to cover the meeting so I arranged to do some interviews for them.

We had our first night of bible studies last night with Focus (the young adult group) and due to my work exploits I was in no real position to be leading a study – I listened to about half the things people in my group were saying. I think my eyes were probably glazed for most of the evening. But I’m told it wasn’t too bad for a first week (I think that’s Tim’s diplomatic way of saying there’s plenty to improve). (I’ve noticed that I’m putting plenty of stuff in brackets that could really just be left unbracketed. I’m not sure why it is – I think anything in brackets is probably stuff that can just be ignored because it interrupts the narrative flow of the blog entry otherwise. I wonder how long is too long in terms of bracketed passages. Surely this one is pushing the limits – you’ll probably have to go back and see what went before the brackets now. Sucks to be you – this bracket was at the start of a new sentence. I haven’t interrupted anything.)

Finally, I’m trying to find out how long the world’s longest recorded pregnancy was. No one has been able to help me out yet. But if you can I’ll be impressed and will feature you in my blog. Maybe I should start a “friend of the week” column. I think now that I’m in PR and I’m not a serious journalist I would seriously consider any cash for comment deals on the table. I have no ethical problems with that at this point.

Happy Budget Day

I hope you all had great fun watching the Federal Budget last night. Didn’t Peter Costello look dapper in his Sunday (or Tuesday) best – he was wearing a particularly spiffy stripey tie. He’s way too trendy to be a real Prime Ministerial candidate. I think Tony Abbott with his unfashionable satellite dish ears, and slightly elf like chin, is a much more realistic candidate. If you throw the “here’s my adopted-out non-son” nonsense into the mix he’s got the whole public sympathy thing happening too. Clearly that’s how John Howard got elected. Everyone felt sorry for the little man. I had a budget party by myself last night. How sad is that. I also installed a new hard drive in my computer and almost killed it. So I’m a nerd and a geek.

Today’s theory is that economists are the strangest people in the world – I base this theory on my two economist friends – Ben and Joe. Some of you will know both Ben and Joe, others will know one or the other, some of you will know neither. Suffice to say (that’s a grammatically incorrect figure of speech if ever I’ve seen one – there really should be an it’s before the Suffice, but that’s not how it works*)- they’re both weird. Anyway, I got a post budget email from Ben asking me what my opinion is on the government’s subsidy of childcare places – he’s not sure non-parents should be carrying the can for those who choose to reproduce. Here’s my response – copied directly from the email:

“On childcare – the reality is children are the future of our country, and a valuable resource that should be invested in. I think there are two ways to look at it – the government could provide financial assistance for parents who choose to stay at home and look after their children (meaning that childcare wouldn’t need to be such an issue) – essentially they do this with family allowance – but it could be a greater counter childcare incentive.
On the socio-economic side of things – it stands to reason that genetically some people will have more intelligent children than others – it worries me that “smart” people are increasingly choosing not to breed – and dumb people aren’t caring for and nurturing their children like smart people would – I think this will be a problem. On an interesting side note – there’s an economist who has tied decreasing crime stats in the US with the introduction of abortion – he’s that popular economist guy who writes those books. ”

Ben’s response used an analogy of a soccer coach who only invests in youth being narrow minded and not particularly likely to experience short term success.

Here’s my counter response:

“There’s no point spending lots of money on encouraging today’s generation to make as much money as possible if they’re going to die out – except that they’ll leave no heirs and the government will get the money. That’s an interesting form of investment – but the people the money will benefit in the long term will be children from broken homes, who have been educated through a crappy state system because they can’t afford private education and who have parents who haven’t been able to bring them up properly because they’re working to be able to buy their plasma screen TVs and luxury items.

By the same token – the parents with good jobs who work to put their kids through child care and pay for their plasma televisions will decide that economically it makes more sense not to have kids to begin with so they can buy bigger TVs and both work to make their lives more comfortable.

Inherent human selfishness will be the death of our society – the more self sufficient individuals society creates the smaller society becomes – those individuals become their own society and then die off. It’s a poor economic model – which is why children are our future – and it’s why Costello called for people to take one for the team and breed.

A good coach finds the right mixture of youth and experience (Chelsea – Robben and co, Crespo) a bad coach buys a bunch of guys who are in, or passing their prime (Real Madrid – Zidane, Figo etc) or invests only in youth and loses all their experience (I’d put Ferguson in that category at the moment, releasing experience in Beckham, Keane, et al and bringing in Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney).”

That’s the sort of thing I talk about with my strange friends. It’s pseudo-intellectual I guess, and very self serving (some rude people might say it’s a load of wank – but I’m not rude).

Now that I earn an income I say yay for tax cuts… and I’ll leave you with this asterixed point to check out.

*Sidenote on the English language – Micallef does this sketch as an arts critic filling in for a sports journo in a post match interview with a footballer who says “it all goes well for the finals” when of course the sports star should have said “it augers well” or “all bodes well” – his point was remade by the SMH a couple of weeks ago in an article highlighting the highjacking of language by our culture of stupidity. Read it here.

What sort of Christian are you?

It turns out I’m 93% reformed evangelical… hooray for me. Do the test here. Although apparently this makes me a 5 point Calvinist. So maybe I answered some questions wrong… I’m also 35% pentecostal/emergent church, and 50% fundamentalist.


Ego tripping at the gates of (goog)hell

Once again, the uncultured should go here to find out what on earth that title is talking about. Actually, that title was pretty much for the benefit of Dan Saunders who knows who the Flaming Lips are.

Ego Surfing is the act of typing one’s own name into an Internet Search Engine such as Google just to see how often you appear online. There are apparently lots of athletic Nathan Campbells out there – including a triathlete in Queensland who I guarantee is not me. However, my Internet recognisability index is on the increase. If you type “Nathan Campbell” into google and hit pages from Australia – I’m now number 2. I’ve lost my shoes. I knew being an illustration in one of dad’s sermons was going to be my downfall. Although I’m glad it’s not the bath tub story. I tried to find a link to the bath tub story but thankfully the keywords “Nathan” and “bath tub” don’t bring up the sermon on the MPC website. I’m happy to be the guy who lost his shoes. Anyway, the point of this story is that I was once number 16 in the results for the above search. Due to a concerted effort on my part I’ve moved up the ladder. If you search for Nathan Townsville blog I’m like number one. I’m so excited. Almost famous. Or not – given that you’d have to be looking for me specifically to actually find me. But I guess that’s the point of Ego surfing.

The Ego Surfing phenomona fascinates me – there are companies you can pay to protect your google image. Here is a site that makes the egosurfing process a whole lot easier.

So for those of you who want to actually read stuff about my life in Townsville rather than all this very interesting other stuff…

We had the first night of Focus the other night – Focus is the young adult ministry here at Willows that I’m now coordinating. I pretty much imported the latechurch bible study model – it’s hard to be enthuisiastic about something that just seems like common sense to me – I’ve never done anything different, but it’s all new for people here which is kind of nice. Somehow I managed to volunteer to write the studies as well so if anyone out there has hints on 1 Peter I’m all ears. Luckilly we’re past the bit about preaching to the spirits of those people killed in Noah’s day.

I’m also leading a grade 12 boys bible study group – I had my first official meeting with the 2 guys in my group tonight. They seem nice enough.

I have to go to Magnetic Island again tomorrow – which would be nice if I wasn’t going on the samne tour I’ve already been on twice and if it wasn’t raining so much outside. But I do have the work digital camera this time so there may be photos on my blog next week.

Tim and I are home alone this week – Dave, our conscience, has gone on a week’s jaunt to the Sunshine Coast. We’ve decided to have the house freakishly clean by the time he gets back just to freak him out. We’re hoping he’ll start to question whether he is in fact the messy one.

In other news – I bought the new Gomez album – this post is therefore brought to you by Gomez – How we operate. I think it’s my favourite Gomez album.

While I’m on the subject of CD’s – DVD’s are kind of CD like – I’m trying to track down my Godfather box set (last seen with either Chris Lindsay or Sam Jagoe), My Shaun of the dead DVD – last seen with Garnet and the first DVD of the Office Box set (I know you’ve got it Jo)

If people continue to comment as anonymous I’m going to have to make this a subscription only site – I want to know who you are or I don’t get that warm feeling inside. Bob on the other hand is trying a little too hard to create that warm feeling.


Let’s get political… political

I can’t believe I just referenced an Olivia Newton John song in my title. I can’t believe I know that that song is an Olivia Newton John song… can I get any sadder.

Yes I can. I’m about to go where only the second nerdiest blogs in the Internet go (the nerdiest of course deal with technology and Star Trek and stuff). I’m going to write about politics. I’m not normally a divisive person. Obviously I try to steer clear of discussions that ostracise half my audience. I’m all about unity and stuff. But today I’m going to nail my political colours to my political mast and then I’m going to chop the mast down and sink the ship. I like to tell people that when it comes to politics I’m a nicely centred bipartisan citizen. Claiming to lean neither to the left or the right. This is only slightly true. Naturally I lean a fair way to the right – I am after all a university educated, middle class, suburbanite with history in a farming area. I don’t belong to any unions. I once financially supported the Wilderness Society, but that was only because I was trapped by their street vendor and couldn’t say no. I withdrew my support when my $10 donation by direct debit overdrew my account and cost me $35 extra. It’s ironic really that my donation to the socialist collective ended up netting the banking institution more of a profit than they got out of me. See, even in my attempts to lean to the left I can’t escape the right. I think the QUT Young Liberals “rack of lefty scum” and “we put the fun back into funding cuts” stickers are the funniest things ever. While in theory and political philosophy I’d happily support the Democrats (Australia’s nominally central party) they’re just a spent force politically. My loyalty to the current government and my ability to defend Messrs Howard, Costello and co from all comers has been sorely tested in recent times. I’m not sure how many times you should turn a blind eye to political stupidity before changing sides but they’re skating on pretty thin political ice as far as I’m concerned. Unless they learn how to walk on water soon they’ll sink.

Before I talk about my complete dissatisfaction with the government’s performance I’d like to take a step back and applaud a truly decent politician who I have nothing but praise for. Former Deputy PM John Anderson was on Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope last night. John Anderson is a committed evangelical Christian who allows his faith to shape his political stance in a way that many people would complain is an anathema in the minds of anti-antidisestablishmentarians (people who are for the separation of church and state). In his interview with Denton John Anderson was able to present the gospel with clarity, handle political grenades with dignity and panache and at the same time appear to be a warm, gentle and genuine husband and father. He’s a clear example of the right gone right. My favourite bit of the interview was when Denton asked him about a scar on his forehead from a recent farm accident – he replied farming was just one of several dangerous occupations along with politics and taxi driving… which I assume was a reference to Mark Latham’s indiscretions.

So, onto the terrible state of the Australian political landscape… The Federal government is in danger of becoming a joke. It’s not a two party system any more – it’s one party and a wake. The Labor party is as good as dead. The Liberal Party has become complacent and irresponsible. The new Industrial Relations laws I could take – despite the Union’s objections there are good things economically that will come from the reforms. Curtailing to the US’s foreign “aid” demands I can understand. Our defence policy pretty much relies on the US stepping in to defend us – it makes sense to support your allies – although in the Iraq intervention it was morally reprehensible to be going to war on the basis of lies. Ousting Saddam and removing his barbaric government’s controlling share of a large oil reserve kind of made sense by itself – the WMD claims were terribly inaccurate. I could forgive them that. The AWB scandal is aptly named – essentially paying for your enemy’s weapons (the AWB kickback money – while it may not have directly gone into a weapon slush fund it boosted Saddam’s coffers) is grossly irresponsible. Lying or forgetting or ignoring the issue is negligent – I can’t help but feel that this is an issue that has failed to engage with Average Joe Public though – no one cares.
The Kovco debacle is probably the straw that broke this camel’s back. We have a defence force that is incredibly well trained, well paid and costs the taxpayer a substantial amount every year. Our soldiers are a costly commodity. As far as I can see from the reports I’ve read in various outlets the government’s handling of this tragedy has been inexcusably bad. Firstly the circumstances surrounding the death of Jake Kovco are shadowy at best – snipers are gun experts – they don’t accidentally shoot themselves while cleaning weapons. It would seem from the autopsy that Private Kovco was not holding his weapon when it discharged which would appear to suggest an accident did indeed take place. The government’s inability to provide a correct account has placed an untold emotional burden on the family – they’ve faced shameful accusations at the hands of some members of the trash media (channel 7 – their time will come in another post I’m sure). Not only have they failed to provide adequate explanation – they then arranged to fly the body home on a commercial flight – granted it’s a sound economic decision and all that but it lacks a certain dignity. This guy died serving his country. Not only that – they couldn’t even pick the right casket in the mortuary. This was another unacceptable bungle. All these stuff ups have made this possibly the biggest bungle in the Howard government’s history – bigger than the Tampa, bigger than AWB. I can’t think of a situation that has reeked more heavily of incompetence. In previous eras politicians would take a dignified exit and fall on their political sword. Every scandal that erupts leads to a call for resignations – calls that inevitably fall on deaf ears. The left is guilty too – probably more so – Peter Beattie promised to resign at the end of the year if the health system wasn’t fixed, made zero changes and two weeks later declared the problem solved. So next election I’m voting for the Fishing party – at least they stand for something I believe in – the killing and eating of animals.

Heroin is so passe…

For those of you who are wondering what on earth that title is talking about you should go here.

It would seem that the world’s most famous drug addict is in trouble again. Pete Doherty is a “musician” who owes much of his fame to his shambolic attempts at life in the media fishbowl – he is/was going out with supermodel Kate Moss. He’s also famously been arrested about 30 (I actually have no idea how many, but it’s a lot) times for drug related crimes. Yesterday the pinnacle of the English print media, The Sun – famous for its topless page 3 girls – printed photos of Doherty injecting some form of presumably illicit substance into the arm of an unconscious girl. Today he was arrested for his efforts. None of this is particularly exciting – but it reminded me of a story I heard on JJJ a while back. There’s a band/group of pseudo political activists/social commentators called the KLF. They famously burnt a $1 million pound art grant (they literally set fire to a pile of money) and did some other crazy stuff. A few month back the KLF released a press release claiming to have actually invented Pete Doherty’s career. Conspiracy websites all over the net picked up the story and ran with it. They claimed it was an experiment based on three key theories:
1. In the so-called “alternative” scene, everybody is too scared of missing The Next Big Thing to worry about anything else.
2. We feel that our culture has become an enormous soap opera. We don’t care what a person thinks, or creates, or contributes. We just care about what they do in their normal lives. Especially when it’s something they shouldn’t be doing.
3. If enough people say that a piece of rubbish is a bar of gold, we’ll
believe it’s a bar of gold

You can read about the Doherty hoax here.

I guess I should put some news about myself up here too…

This weekend I went to two birthday parties and a church camp – pretty action packed stuff really. I thoroughly enjoyed all three events. People up here are nice. Five word sentences are cool. Those of you who read the comments section, or even comment – will have noticed reference to a question about how to make a girl fall in love with you – it turns out the key is pulling faces and playing hide and seek – but the girl is three, and my second cousin so I’m not sure if that’s a method that is going to work anywhere else. You’ll also have noticed my sister Madeleine has decided that rather than starting her own blog she’ll steal my comment space. I’ll forgive her if her submissions continue to be as brilliant as her piece on public transport ettiquette. I also promised my housemate Tim his own entry in the main part of my blog. Tim cooked me some sort of fish dish last week – it was interesting – any dish with beer in the sauce is bound to be interesting. Tim is cool. He sometimes reminds me of me. I don’t think I can pay anyone a higher compliment than that. He’s also single ladies (I’m not going to punctuate that sentence because I think it looks funny – Tim is single ladies, hahahahaha, Tim is single, ladies, either works for me)… maybe you should all move to Townsville chasing someone.

The power of business cards

I’ve finally figured out how to get people to take me seriously. My father is constantly worried that the “Smiley” nom-de-plume (I’ve gone all French and cultured, two French references in three posts oh ho ho [that is an attempt at the traditional French grunting sound{I don’t really like the French anyway, they’re a bunch of cheese eating surrender monkeys who should take their freedom fries and go home}]) is not counting in my favour as far as people taking me seriously goes. The key to opening all sorts of professional doors is the humble business card. Seriously. I go to these functions and meetings and people look at me all funny until I pull out a little cardboard rectangle with my name and impressive position description on it – and POW, instant credibility.

I’ve also realised that confidence is the key to sounding impressive in meetings. Confidence and unexplained acronymns. You throw an acronymn out there and just keep powering on. No one questions anything if they’re too far behind. I’ve been able to thoroughly convince our local tourism operators that I know what I’m doing. Now I need to ensure my competence matches my competence. I was trying to work out the relationship between confidence and arrogance the other day – I think the third factor in the equation is competence – provided you’re actually as good as you think you are you’re confident not arrogant. When confidence outweighs competence that’s arrogance. I should be a motivational speaker – people would listen to me if I had convincing business cards.

In other news… I had two great phone conversations last night – the first one involved a couple of people coming clean, and thanking me for all my hard work getting them to become a couple – they know who they are, most of the people reading this also know who they are. I’d like to say on the record – When I told the guy in question that my matchmaking days were over – I only meant they were over for him. The second conversation was with my very good friend Paul. It’s always nice talking to old friends – they’re like a worn in pair of shoes, or your favourite t-shirt – instant comfort.

Only in America… (another gem from the SMH)

It seems friendly fire isn’t all that friendly. A DEA undercover agent from America had a first hand experience of the military oxymoron when he was giving a lecture on gun safety to a room full of children last year. A parent was on hand to capture the lecture on film. Filming undercover agents is a bad thing to do. Particularly if your home movie is going to make it onto the internet and onto millions of computer screens. This poor chap can’t work anymore and he certainly won’t be asked to give gun safety lectures. This video has caused me no shortage of amusement. I love the part just before he pulls the trigger when he says “I’m the only one in this room professional enough to be handling this weapon.” He displayed some form of professionality by continuing the lecture with a bullet lodged firmly in his thigh. The Herald gave some details on the aftermath of the incident.


l’esprit d’escalier [the perfect witty response]

I was reading the Sydney Morning Herald online today for my fix of culture and intellectual stimulation (not that those things are in short supply up here but News Limited Papers in general are pretty horrible) and I came across an interesting interview with Tim Freedman the singer from the Whitlams. Tim Freedman is one of my favourite Australian songwriters. He’s responsible for some of the greatest song lyrics ever written, eg “she was one in a million, so there’s five more just in New South Wales” from Up Against the Wall. He’s also one of the worst anti-drug spokesmen in the history of the “say no to drugs” campaign. I remember seeing a TV special where he basically told people the only way they were going to learn about the effects of drugs was to take them. Thanks Tim. Anyway, having firmly established his credibility as a role model I’m now going to direct you to the article here. He makes an interesting point about conversation – and missed conversational opportunities – particularly l’esprit d’escalier. To sum it up for people too lazy to click a link – he is haunted by missed opportunities. He’ll even call a journalist who interviews him two weeks later to amend his answers. I’m wondering if this is just a luxury for the rich and famous. Can we all buy an opportunity to add to past conversations? As someone who often misses great opportunities for witty (or even non-witty but effective) responses – only to think of them at some later date – I think it would be of some benefit to bring in a system where amendments to a conversation can be made in another time and another place. I propose to make this the time and the place for such comments. If you feel like you could have, or should have responded to me, or anyone else, in a more witty or appropriate manner then post a comment.

In other, less Whitlam related news…

I spent Friday night on Magnetic Island with a Sunday Mail freelance writer and her husband. If you’re ever on Magnetic Island I can now highly recommend the barefoot: food, art, wine restaurant. They did the best steak I’ve eaten in a long, long time.

I now have internet at home – if you desperately want to see how I’m going and are too cheap to call me and don’t like reading through the random stuff on my blog you can now find me on MSN at you need to put the @ symbol in there – that’s to ward off the evil spam harvesters.

Creatures of habit

Yesterday marked my one month anniversary* as a full time worker. This means that Monday must have been my one month anniversary** in Townsville – and no one sent me a card or even an sms. Clearly you’ve all moved on.

Doing the same thing 30 days in a row is meant to establish it as a habit (I read that somewhere – if this was an impressive blog there’d be a link to it here – that’s not a real link but it might help you find the information you’re looking for). So here’s my current habitual daily routine:
7.00am – Mobile phone alarm goes off – I am roused to the sounds of Strongbad yelling “TROGDOR” – I open my phone and quite coherently for the time of morning set it to snooze for a further 30 minutes. As far as I’m concerned this is much more efficient than hitting the snooze button the 6 times that would otherwise be required – LG life’s good.
7.30am – TROGDOR…snooze button
7.35am – TROGDOR…snooze button
7.40am – TROGDOR…snooze button
7.45am – TROGDOR…sn… You thought I was going to say snooze button again didn’t you. But this is where I get up.
7.46am – Shower and shave (if required)
7.55am – iron shirt, put on shoes, search for wallet, two mobiles and keys
8.05am – Drive to work
8.30am – Arrive at work
8.30am – 9.00am – read the papers looking for references to Townsville or anything we might have done with the media the previous day.
9.00am – 5.00pm – juggle “a thousand” (that’s in my best Fatty Vautin voice, indicating that it’s not actually a thousand, just a lot.) responsibilities to our different departments – including putting together press releases, handling media requests, writing columns for different magazines, organising “famil” programs for visiting travel journalists, going on famils, and eating free meals.
5.00pm – drive home from work
5.30pm – get home from work – at this point my day decends into chaos – some nights I do interesting things, other nights I go across the road to the shops, buy Chinese takeaway and drink beer in front of the television.

As you can probably tell with a variety of responsibilities that are always changing it’s pretty difficult to establish a “routine” in this role.

But what I really wanted to write about today is monks. Monks wear “habits.” Are they called “habits” because monks have very structured daily routines? Do they have to wear them thirty days in a row before they can be called habits? Why am I even writing about monks? Well… in Romans 5 there’s a famous passage about suffering being a good thing. Some traditional monks devoted their lives to this belief – often flagellating themselves to bring about spiritual growth. I’m thinking of starting a “ministry” where I offer to “flagellate” others to help with their spiritual growth. I think that’s a biblical idea. However, I wouldn’t look up flagellation on to find out what it means. You may assume I’m perverted (I know all of you have already done that – read entry three. It’s a punishment people. Nothing suss). So join this ministry today and whip a fellow Christian – you’re really doing them a favour.

*Technically you can’t have a one month anniversary – an anniversary is annual – as in once a year. I guess popular usage dictates meaning, so in the absence of a better word I’ll stick with that one.
** See above point.

Nothing Eggsiting

Haha… A pun, and an Easter pun no less – what a way to start this week’s post. I just had my first Easter Long weekend away from my family (unless you count the time I went on Easter camp, which I’m not – I was within 150km and I still got eggs). I guess my hope for chocolates to be posted was unfounded – unless they’re still in the mail. What sort of parents let their children go an Easter without eggs. My parents, that’s who. The kind of parents who spend Easter on holidays on the Sunshine Coast.

My Easter long weekend was good – in a productive kind of way. I achieved something major on each day – as well as doing the church thing on Friday and Sunday. On Friday I installed a new car CD/MP3 player in my car – albeit with the help of a qualified electrical engineer – I got him to help just in case I blew up the unit which would have been a waste of money. On Saturday I went to a breakfast de-brief session for the Da Vinci Code mission team at AFES staff worker Dave Walker’s house. I spent most of the day entertaining the Walker children and putting up a post for the Walker’s new deck area. Chris, if you’re reading this – Dave says I remind him of you – or something like that. I’m worried that he thinks we have a similar sense of humour. On Sunday I confronted all my fears and led the singing in church – something I haven’t done since my voice broke (except this one time for a Qut Christians service). I’ve decided I’d rather MC, preach or do stand up comedy – anything up the front is less intimidating than songleading – I had about 20 minutes to practice 4 songs. I think the difference between singing and other stuff up the front is that you only really get one bite of the cherry. When I MC I’m happy to make mistakes and then redo them – there’s just no scope for that in the middle of a song – you can’t resing a line. So that was Sunday. Yesterday I did my laundry and played indoor soccer – one of those was a very painful process. I’m in so much pain today. I’m walking around the office like a robot. In my defence we did play two games (we lost both of them after winning 14-1 last week we’re just trying to make it hard for the competition organisers to grade us).

So there you have it – nothing exciting as promised in the title. I bought a copy of the new Augie March CD yesterday. I can highly recommend it. It’s on high rotation in my car – unfortunately this means I’m driving slow, mum says the speed I drive at is modulated by the pace of the music I’m listening to.

To all the netball commenters (or commentators) out there – go get your own blog. GOSH.

A bit fishy

After Saturday’s garage sale efforts i’m the proud owner of a new fish tank. Bartering in person is so much more fun than bidding on things on ebay. I got two fish tanks (a 4 foot one and a 1 foot one) for $20. At the next garage sale we went to I bought a brand new industrial fish tank pump for $35 (retails at $160, priced at $50 – the guy selling it used to run an aquarium). My strategy is to have a limited range of bank notes in my wallet – then you can say I only have $X amount – will you take it? Most people say yes. Other purchase highlights include – a fish tank stand $5, a set of Remington Hair Clippers (working) $2.50, two beer mugs – $1 and a set of book shelves (with 5 Ben Elton books thrown in) $20. That was a highlight too – the lady was asking $25 for the shelves and $1 each for the books. I already own copies of all the books so these are my lending copies. The experience on the whole was, in the words of the mastercard adds – priceless. Tim and Craig – my garage sale companions – were suitably excited by their tuperware purchases.

The absolute purchase highlight deserves a paragraph of it’s own. I am now the proud owner of a golden, plastic bust statue of our illustrious former Prime Minister Robert (Bob) Hawke. But wait, there’s more. Not only is it a life like representation of Labors woolly haired union powerhouse – it doubles as a drinks dispenser. With a lid on his crown and a tap in his chest it’s the perfect party centrepiece. And how much would you pay for this item? Mum’s probably wondering how much I would pay for this item. Cast aside your fears. While the woman selling this triumph of political humour was almost unwilling to part with her effigious (I hope that’s a word – what do you reckon Kutz?) masterpiece. She had priced it at a fairly reasonable 50 cents. Not 50 cents the rapper – 50 cents the currency. Not to be deterred by this desire to price said statue out of the market – I approached the vendor with my counter offer of 30 cents which she duly accepted. It now sits atop my recently purchased bookshelves. I’m trying to decide whether Bob needs a hat to complement his golden brow.

The other highlight of our morning’s jaunt down garage sale lane was an actual “Garage Sale” – a used car yard had advertised its garage sale in nominal garage sale column in the weekend classifieds.

Unfortunately my quest for both Kitschy and kitchy glass ware will have to be continued in another time at another place.

Other weekend highlights included my stint as a Big League vendor (I got to use the word vendor twice – now three times – in the one entry. That has to be some sort of record.) at Friday night’s grand final rematch between the Cowboys and the Tigers. We took our place amongst people promoting worthy causes such as junior rugby league and returned veterans – their spiels were eluting a much emotive response from patrons. I felt it was my responsibility to take a stand for the poor, big, multi national media conglomerates behind the NRL’s official match programmes. Cries of “support junior rugby league” and “raise money for our wounded veterans” were soon drowned out by my best, most boomingest (not a word – unless Kutz has an opinion to the contrary) voice yelling “GET YOUR BIG LEAGUES – SUPPORT NEWS LIMITED.” Needless to say – I got some dirty looks, but I sold a lot of copies so that’s ok. That’s the price you pay for success I guess and I’ve always got the cold, approving stare of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke to go home to.

Just Ace

So… who took my Motor Ace CDs? I remember lending them to someone but I can’t remember who. I figure this is as good a forum as any for chasing down lost property. Feel free to post anything you’re missing in the comments page. Material possessions only please, not personality traits, Matt I’m afraid they won’t be able to find your charisma anywhere. That joke could have been directed at anyone. Hopefully Matt can take it… and he did suggest I should start hugging echidnas.

There’s not really much news here at the moment. It’s been quiet at work for the last couple of days, I can now catch up on my employee induction procedures and do all the background reading on our major projects.

I’m going garage sale shopping tomorrow. Last time I was up here I did a little bit of treasure hunting with Tim and Katrina (new AFES staffworkers up here). Katrina was horrified when I made snide comments about some terrible stuff that was being sold. Tomorrow she has a girl’s breakfast so it will just be Tim and me. I plan to be noisily critical of anything tacky being sold. I will try to get photos of the most offensive items with my phone. I may even buy the worst bit of glassware and offer it as a prize in some blog related contest. That’ll get the hits up. Hopefully one day my blog will be more popular than google. There are two ways I can see this happening – Google may experience a sharp downturn in popularity as a result of revelations about the sweatshop like conditions they have set up for employees in third world countries. Or I could experience a sharp upturn in popularity, achieving global fame and use the blog as my method of maintaining my connection with you ordinary, common, everyday folk. Neither of these are likely to happen. Even with the incentive of kitchy 70s crockery.

Wednesday, Bloody Wednesday

Apologies firstly for the use of vernacular in the title. It would seem though that as a result of Tourism Australia’s “where the bloody hell are you” campaign the word bloody is now an acceptable, but slightly cheeky, piece of Australiana. Actually I should really be apologising for a reference to a U2 song. I guess it’s a song from before they were middle aged political activists trying to be cool while writing inoffensive, sugar sweet pop music that you could play your gran (hi gran if you’re reading this again). How cool is my gran – she posted a comment on a blog. I bet your gran doesn’t do stuff like that.

This is my first blog post on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s have traditionally been lambasted as terrible office days – the furthest point from a weekend. In fact right now, in the middle of the day, must be the absolute middle of the week. How significant. Today I didn’t want to get out of bed. It was drizzly, my airconditioning and quilt were combining to keep me at optimal sleeping temperature and my alarm clock was just a distant buzzing problem which could be solved by a quick press of the snooze button. Or several quick presses of the snooze button. Luckily after 22 years I know myself pretty well so I set my alarm to go off much earlier than it has to.

The post cyclone activity cycle is on the down hill run now. We had Fran Bailey, the Minister for Small Business and Tourism come through town yesterday. She addressed a power lunch/forum on the issues in her portfolio post cyclone. I got to go. My free meal count for the week is up to 4. It could have been 5 but I blew off a church dinner arrangement last night to do important other things (nothing really, well a phone call or two and a DVD – I bought Run Lola Run from the local Video Ezy for $10 – a bargain at twice the price, unfortunately it was a badly dubbed version rather than the subtitled version… but I digress. End Brackets.). So far I’ve had sausages, bacon, eggs and croissants for breakfast at an animal park, crab, chicken and prawns at a resort, a roast at the church’s youth minister’s house, and Atlantic Salmon followed by a cheese/fruit platter at the casino. I capitalised Atlantic Salmon because that’s the way it should be served, as a proper noun.

Free food aside, it was interesting hearing from the Hon Fran Bailey MP. She spoke about baby boomers hogging all the good jobs in traditional big business. This has apparently forced the youth of today into more entrepreneurial roles. Big business now outsource a whole lot of niche things like training and stuff. So I quit my job and started a company. Well I didn’t. But if anyone has any good niche ideas that come with free food…

The dinner at the youth minister, Dave Hopper’s house was good. We’re/we were discussing the direction to take young adult stuff at the church in. There’s a bunch of uni student types who are so heavily involved in AFES stuff they’re not doing anything at church and there’s a shortage of people involved in leadership roles for teenage and children’s stuff. Which brings me to my favourite topic at the moment – the relationship between church stuff and parachurch stuff. I think one day I’m going to write a book on the whole church vs uni ministry conflict. It’s bizarre that it even operates as a conflict – surely as part of the one kingdom or wider church there should be a more synergetic or symbiotic relationship between the two groups. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out. Both the AFES staff workers up here go to Willows so there’s this occasionally tense undercurrent somewhere in the background (which I assume is where most undercurrents operate.)

So there’s a rambling update free of fake news (not that my stories about breaking an artwork and killing a national icon were fake it’s just that as Matt so rightly pointed out in his comments, or at least the sentiment in those comments pointed out – they weren’t really news. Actually I’m not sure his comments were pointing that out at all – I just wanted to put his name in the main bit to encourage further comments so did it in a way that vaguely supported my original point. I’ve been spending too much time with politicians.)