Friday, October 27, 2006

I Want My Fone Back!!

My fone charger has been missing in action (presumed irretrievably lost) since last Friday. I left it in my room when we cleared out of the Wycliffe Centre last week and the cleaning staff did not find it when I called in the missing "persons" report. Having sent in my inside contact unsuccessfully, yesterday I went undercover to try and recover the missing unit. Posing as a Wynet-er I tagged along to a youth day and slipped off in search of my precious fone charger that was to restore my connection to the world. Sadly this venture was unsuccessful also. It would appear that the charger really has been lost to the great beyond.

Giving up on the real purpose of my visit to the centre I rejoined the Wynet-ers at the beach volleyball court where Tim and Myself took it upon ourselves as responsible, skilled youth workers to trash Ian and Pountney (the two young stars) in an exhibition match. Now, I dont want to sound vain or anything, but damn!! My serve was on fire!! High toss, two steps forward, jump and smash!! So sweet the lads barely got it back and when they did we sent it straight back at them. Is a definite high point of youth work: a big part of your job is to be bigger, smarter, faster, stronger and generally better at most fun stuff than the kids. (Ian and Pountney I count much more as mates than kids but it was still sweet to step up and smack 'em down)

On the topic I will be compiling a list of essential youth work skills, so far the top of the list is being good at pool. Contributions welcome, watch the sidebar for a growing list.

O yeah, so I am still trying to get my fone charged, Atari man has taken it for the weekend to see if he can restore life to it somehow, otherwise I will have to purchase a charger next time Im in striking range of a shopping centre.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Back From the Great Beyond

Foundations finished last nite with the typical debrief, which, typically, was anything but brief, but fortunately was also typically worth staying awake for. It's good to be back home and chilling out. Mim and me are watching Lost in Translation which is not impressing me anywhere near as much as I'd hoped. For a Bill Murray movie it's not brilliant. Havent turned it off yet tho. One of my favourite movies is Fight Club. Kind of random tangent but Ill run with it: Fight Club has 8 rules...
-the first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club
-the second rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club
-third rule; some one says stop, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over
-fourth rule; two guys to a fight
-fifth rule; one fight at a time
-sixth rule; no shirts, no shoes
-seventh rule; fights will go on as long as they have to
-eighth and final rule of fight club; if this is your first night, you have to fight

Now for the random link. Stevie and I were renaming some of the units in the course for fun about half way through, then on Friday we did an activity called broken squares where you split into groups of three or four and each group is given some pieces to a square but the pieces they have at the start dont make a complete square. This is where it gets interesting (and more importantly where we link in to fight club)
-the first rule is you do not talk
-the second rule is you do not talk
-the third rule is there is to be no communication of any form with members of other groups
-fourth rule is you may give away pieces but you cannot take them from other groups
-fifth rule is you cannot put pieces you are giving away "in place", you must put them beside the group
-sixth rule; no laughing
-seventh rule; the activity will go on as long as it has to
-and the eighth and final rule; the task is not complete until every group has a completed square of the same size
"Silence Starts Now. Begin"

I find the activity most fun as one of the "policemen" who patrol the room citing the rules to those who would break them, but this time I was put in a group which is always an interesting experience in communication and team work. Innevitably people miss the most important rule and the point of the whole exercise: the task is not complete until every group has a completed square of the same size in front of them. And so some see it as a race, some see it as a game (and throw pieces away to the despair of those competing in the race) but the real aim is to communicate with your team and to then help the whole group to complete the task. There was a moment where I was trying to communicate the task and what I wanted to do to our teams "racer" (who was very earnestly trying to complete the task as fast as she could all by herself, bless her) and she didnt get it at all it turns out but she must have picked up some of my intention and let me take the pieces to the group that needed them. That group disposed of the pieces without even looking at them. Not the point, but hey.

Then we have the most important part of the process: the debrief. You learn thru reflection on experience, so we discussed both in our small groups and as a whole group how we had found the exercise. And then our "racer" spoke up, and I hadnt realised the significance of the previously mentioned moment until this point, and described the moment from her side and said that even though she had not a clue what I was trying to communicate the fact that I kept at it and didnt just do what I wanted to do but waited until I had her "permission" almost had made her feel valued and shown her more of the point of the exercise. A little bit of patience and love is a huge gift to any team. I only wish I could get it right a little more often.

Back in the Posse House. Frustratingly, have left my fone charger in the Great Beyond and so am cut off from the world except via the internet. Strange, strange feeling, had not realised until this point how much a part of my life it has become. A little bit scary. Challenge for the week: see how you go without your fone for a day or two.

See You on the Dark Side

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sleep is for the Dead

It's twenty to three in the morning. I just finished my unit preparation to teach tomorow. I probably wont be awake as I teach but hey... gotta practice it now =]

Feeling very awake and alive bizarely. I generally do my best work at nite but this course generally saps any ability to remain conscious past eleven, for some reason Im still going. Listening to Marilyn Manson who just popped up on my itunes, randomness...

Todays theme (or really yesterdays theme now) was eternal life. What is it and How do you get it?? For a bunch of Chritians we had a hard time answering that. Having done the course several times before the answer has finally etched itself into the neural pathways of my mind (but im not giving it to you that easy, you'll have to do the course yourself and find out!!) Mal had entirely too much fun gently teasing and coaxing us through to the answer, I was under strict instructions to keep quiet and so I worked through the process despite knowing the answer and picked up some new stuff on the way which was awesome. Now feeling very alive.

There's a question for you: What is Eternal Life and How do You get it?? Leave a comment if you think you know the answer. (would be particularly interested in the answers of any traffic from YouthBlog)

Now I had best go slip into that unconsciousness we need to live. See you on the dark side!!

Monday, October 16, 2006


Second day of Foundations is just about over and Im really enjoying the course. Funny that I just dont get sick of it, I think this is my sixth time doing the weeklong course or something like that and Im sure Ill do it many more times. If you click the link there will be some sort of description of Foundations but Ill throw in my own version. Foundations is a three stream discipleship course that looks at theology (living with God) sociology (living with other people) and psychology (living with yourself) and i use discipleship in the sense that it aims to show people the character of a disciple (of Jesus) and at the same time equip them with the skills to intergrate those characteristics into their own lives. And the reason I can do the course over and over again is that eveytime I learn something new, each time there is more to unpack of the material and more ways to learn and grow and challenge the way I think and act. The big thing standing out to me this time round is belief and its tie up with faith. How we need belief in ourselves but also others to believe in us (because we work out who we are by what is reflected back to us by others) and then we need something to believe in, purpose, faith, in this case; God. Who in turn believes in us and sees our potential and what we can become, not simply what we are at the present moment.

It only being one day in Im sure there will be more insights that come through the week and Im looking forward to it. (Altho I am definitely missing the comfy chairs from Vertigo, I should have nicked one to take with me to every christian event I attend that requires me to sit on a chair what hurts!!)

Mum, Mr Fearkess says hi and wants to know what youre up to these days. Dad, I dont have any messages for you... sorry. Peace out!! (Or Shalom even)

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I'm beging work on this post before the fact because I know two things: 1, if i wait till i get back tonight it will be very late and i will be very tired and 2, i know i will stay up too late blogging at that point and be shattered the next day.

Vertigo is a Christian Youth Event run about once a term by a whole load of youth workers from Oxfordshire. Tonite will be my first time but from everything I have heard back about ones in the past its a fantastic nite and I should love it. I'll edit the post later tonite and let you know if the prediction was accurate.

And we're back from Vertigo a little later than expected. Contrary to what I had thought, Vertigo ran till 9:30 and then was open as a cafe/hang out till 10:30. So we legged it at 10 hoping to get an early bus back home only to find that the next bus was at 11!! Not happy Jan!! As the bus takes an hour to get from Oxford to Haddenham it was 12 when I got home and consequently, I am, as predicted, shattered.

Vertigo itself was great. The fire alarm went off twice in the first half hour (could have had something to do with the smoke machines that were responsible for the smog-like haze that filled the building) and everyone ignored this except for me, who rounded up my young people and headed for the door (how goods my health and safety??!!) followed not long after by the rest of the building. They had a cool guy who lead worship and then a couple did a talk about prayer and then there was a time to try out some fun creative prayer ideas around the hall. It was pretty good all in all. One of the MCs made some jokes that were actually quite funny but for some reason didnt quite come off (tough crowd maybe??) The highlight of the nite for me was a young guy from the CU I lead in the high school came and hung out with me all nite, chatting and sat with me even when the rest of his youth group were doing other stuff.

Anyways, Im gonna chip to bed coz I have some vague idea about going to church in the morning [OH!! forgot one of the best things from Vertigo: they had comfy chairs!! All too often you end up with really uncomfortable chairs at Church events (ie. PEWS!!) but these guys has really cool chairs that leant back slightly, were just that extra bit bigger (always good to have some more room) and were nice and soft, I was VERY impressed with that I have to say] but all that may change when we actually get to the morning and I realise exactly how much effort and sleep thats going to cost me... till next time!!

Im reading a series by Phillip Pullman at the moment. He's the author of the His Dark Materials series that some may know of. I loved the dark materials series and have been getting really into this series (which doesnt seem to have a name) about the adventures of some folk in London back in the era Disraeli was prime minister (think thats 1800's or something) its keeping me hooked. Pullman has some interesting takes on a lot of things that I quite enjoy and while the stories would seem to b a aimed at children there's a lot in there that would go over the top of a young persons head but smack and adult square in the face.

Anyhow, Im gonna chip. See you on the dark side.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Good News/Bad News

Some Good Some Bad today. Good: Fearless Leader and Mrs Fearless are back from Germany/Greece/Oz/China and a range of other countries after 8 months away from "home", we had a good catch up as the team is back together for the first time in quite a while. Bad: Everybody bailed on the plan to go to Cuddington tonite which I'd been looking forward to all week. Good: Found out the Wycliffe Centre has open access wi-fi so next week during foundations I will have internet access contrary to prior predictions. Bad: Worked all day on an assignment and still didn't manage to finish it, rather frustrating.

Dad pointed out on my last post that I should at least warn my mother if I'm going to blog about near death experiences. After careful consideration I have decided upon the following- 1. when blogging about near death experiences the title field will read "more lives than a siamese cat" and that should allow mum enough time to leave the room. 2. in the event of my actual death, i promise not to blog about it.

Forest Gump is on TV and I have more work to do on that irritating assignment so I better vamoose!! Ciao Bambinos!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Still Alive

Had a close call today. Atari Man was driving us both to a Youth Network day over in some place that I forget (thats really bad as it was like 3 hrs ago but hey, was a cool Christian Youth Resdiential place that deserves a plug, check out Youth Blog and Im sure they'll get a mention as Ian was running the show today) ANYway, so it's absolutely tipping it down on the motorway and we're running ;ate so Atari Man was driving like he's in the Nascar on Sega3000 or something (harsh but fair) and Im torn between closing my eyes and praying fervently for our souls (coz at this point its not a matter of the chance of death, it's more a matter of how long till we die... Here's where Atari Man makes the save of the Century and wins the Nascar all in the one smooth move: for no apparent reason (Im calling it "prophetic driving" with all seriousness) he changes from his prime position in the outside lane into the centre of the motorway, perhaps to flaunt his blatant superiority over the other racers in the game who are perhaps more sensibly just focussing on keeping their cars on the road, (just used perhaps twice in the one sentence but o well) and ten seconds later we pass a car that has crashed into the barrier in the middle of the motorway and is blocking off the lane that we had just vacated. Death narrowly avoided. Silence fell in the Surge for several moments. Breaking the silence I compliment Atari Man on his prophetic driving and suggest that now we are winning we let the other cars catch up to make the race more interesting.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully (in comparison) and dinner 2nite saw Alice lash James with another brilliant serve from her silver tongue. I really enjoy Alices tongue lashings when they're directed at someone else. So far her two best lines have been "but you know all about bashing your head on gravel tho, don't you Mark? -turns to me- only, were you drunk?" and then 2nites effort "zac's my favorite adopted brother... sorry james" [that one needs explaining, James' older brothers used to tell him he was adopted, when he went to his parents to check his dad said "now james, if we were going to adopt someone, do you really think we'd have picked you?" so there is an ongoing joke that james is adopted, poor boy will be scarred for life im sure]

Foundations is next week so there may not be much happening on the blogging front unless the place should happen to have wi-fi, which is possible but not likely. Will try and post some more before then, tide you over the withdrawal period...

see you on the dark side

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I won't need to eat for the next week

Sunday lunch was this massive roast at Ians place, beef, potatoes, yorkshire puddings, parsnip, carrots... mmmmm was beautiful but I ate enough to keep me going for the whole weekend. Then sunday nite a mate bought me dinner from the chippy and that was huge as well so I shared it/gave most of it to Pete who could eat 3 horses and a turkey for breakfast and still be hungry (seriously, two hours later we were in Maidenhead getting nacho's coz he was hungry again)
I had meant to post on thursday (coz thats the best day of the week) but i got half way thru my post and the internet cut out and i managed to lose my piece of literary genius frustratingly to my own stupidity (i had been in the process of trying to save it from the farthest reaches of cyberspace when i forgot that i had copied it and proceeded to copy something else over the top of it!!) I attempted repication of said genius but gave up as it was never going to be the same...
Thursday I spent in Oxford, always love the chance to spend some time there. Highlights were wandering into an HMV store (thats a music and video store for those in Oz or otherwise youth culturally impaired) and staying there for an hour listening to the kooks new cd Inside In/Inside Out waiting for Naive to come on which is near the end of the cd (click here to listen to naive on the Kooks My Space page) I also visited St Andrews Christian Bookshop and found a copy of the Screwtape Letters published in 1946 (proper old school!!) And I also had a doughnut and a coffee with Ian from YouthBlog in the coolest Krispy Kremes building I've ever seen, they converted Oxford Castle into a really cool complex, will have to get some photos next time Im there.
Sunday saw the roast dinner and other feasting that I already mentioned. Back to work today and Dan and Danni are finally back from Oz, they brought the kids in so i spent a good half of the day babysitting but it was good fun. Gotta run for Cell Group now...
See you on the Dark Side

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

God Put a Smile Upon Your Face

Is a very cool song by Coldplay. I had a smile on my face quite a few times in the last day (and by day I mean 24hrs coz Im including something from last nite) Lets start with last nite.

Walking through Wheatley to catch the bus I walked past a corner and as I took my next couple of steps the dreads buzzed (a bit like spider mans spidey sense my dread locks tingle when Im in danger or there's free food or if a pretty girl is close by) looking back over my shoulder I see a man leaning against the wall with his arms folded, head down but his eyes looking up at me. There's a slight grin on his face. He's wearing a police uniform and has another officer a few metres away. I grin as I realise one or more of the drunken rabble up the street are probably going to have a similar experience in a rather less amusing way some time in the next couple of hours. "G'day" I say and give the lads a wink as I keep walking. I think the copper was getting a bit of amusement out of the situation as well as his grin got bigger as he gave me the nod.

The second smile was this morning before I had even woken up. I had a dream where I was at school (i know this sounds like a nightmare as opposed to a dream but trust me on this one) only me school was on a beach and there was a whale 10metres out to sea. So I went swimming with the whale. How cool is that?!?!

Third smile was for Cris who passed his driving test this morning. He's been hanging out to drive forever basically, I can empathise coz I was pretty similar when it came to driving, so it was very cool when he rocked up to give me a lift into to town this morning.

Fourth smile was in Aylesbury. Went to the physio and despite my best efforts to destory my body he says my knee is fine and to keep doing my exercises and it will hopefully prevent it from popping out again.

Fifth smile. I bought an old school england football top a few months back during the world cup and really liked it but managed to shrink it in the drier after the first time I washed it and ended up giving it to James (it fit him perfectly). But today in sports world I found the same top for half the price of what I paid the first time round!! Too nice!!

Sixth smile. I got my picture messages to work on my fone!! It's been annoying me coz someone tried to send me one and the icon has just sat there on my fone reminding me that i cant see the stinking picture for three days.

Seventh smile. Was the fun I had beating up James after he picked on his sister. Unfortunately his mother didnt realise that was the reason for the beating... Alice did back up my story tho.

And the last smile was for the moral of the story on Gazza's blog. You'll have to scroll down to September 11 to read the story, it's under the Karate Kid. Well worth a read.

And thats me for today. See you on the dark side.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sooo Cold

Englands summer is gone. Bye bye. Finito. Gone.
And now it's FREEZING. Ridiculously cold. I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. Nice and toasty in there and could feel the ice in the air outside of the doona... not good.
Englands summer is awesome but the winter (which lasts 9 months of the year) is pretty horrible. I had to go home from work today to get a jumper and a pair of socks, i still refuse to wear shoes so im looking v cool in my socks and thongs at the moment.
The upside is that there are a lot of group hugs in an effort to stay warm, i rekon we were huddled outside church on sunday nite for a good half hour chatting and freezing, it was fun.
Anyway, gotta shoot to youth cafe and then tidy Dan and Danni's House before they get back from Oz. Ciao Bambino's!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

NOT a morning person...

Part of being a Nite Owl is NOT being a morning person in any lucrative sense of the term. One thing I share with my father is that Rose Braun has on (numerous) occasions I'm sure described us as "the most spectacularly un-morning person ever" how we both manage to be the most ever is irrellevant the point is that I did something rather silly ie. ask James to wake me up at 7 this morning so that I couldn't sleep in... He obliged my request and I have spent the last hour in the process of waking up, realising that there is actually nothing to do at this time of the day and wandered around in my half dead, still asleep, go back to bed you donkey state of being. Alice asked me if I was ill, much to her mothers amusement, and I said no, I'm just still asleep, Barbara said she didn't think mornings agreed with me... I'd agree with that...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Nite Owl

It's 2:30am, Sunday morning. What am I doing awake?? I'm writing my talk for church 2moro evening. I have a habit of leaving things to the last minute (tho I have made a commitment to myself never to write a talk or complete an equivalent task in the last few hours again) so Im writing my talk the nite before.
Seems to work ok for me because Im a nite owl and because I get some space and time at nite to focus, there's not much around to distract you from work at 2 in the morning other than bed.

This Week:
I signed up for My Space which is a network of teenagers (mostly) from around the world. It has two great benefits so far, 1- you can listen to music from heaps of bands who have a site and put some songs on the net to promote themselves (im a regular visitor to the Kooks My Space as of last Wednesday) 2- it's put me in touch with two awesome people who ive been missing, my little sister and my best mate from when I was about 5 Josh who moved back to America about 8 years ago.

Youthblog and Waiter are my regular reads at the mo.

I did my first nite as a Bouncer on friday at the Band with No Name gig. Spent most of the nite pressed between the stage and a mob of screaming teenage girls. Was especially cool coz a few of us had got to meet the band at dinner the nite before, cool by association points are going through the roof. I finished the nite by talking to about 10 kids for an hour or so about the talk Chip gave at the end of the gig and about life in Risborough. Was kind of affirming for my Youth Work ego that we had to be kicked out of the back room coz they were trying to close up and the kids just wanted to hang out some more. (probably more of a testament to how little there is to do in Risborough for these kids normally and how much they loved the gig and meeting some people who are actually interested in them)

Must mention Street Wars. These guys will be on the side bar as soon as I get a spare minute to play with the blog again (so some time in the next decade with any luck) but they run a 3 week long wide game. Me and Andy both were in the moment we heard those words. Basically you have to assassinate a target with a water pistol or bomb, if successful you get their target as your new mark. No more words necessary to tribute their genius... a moments silence and respect please.

Anyhow must get back to work... see you on the dark side!!