Half-Ton Man

I couldn't go past an article entitled "Half-ton man works toward gastric surgery", describing how a man who weighed half a ton (487 kilograms, or 76 stone) is losing weight.

Doing a quick Google search reveals that much has already been written about Patrick Deuel. After reading the story and alternately laughing, feeling disgusted and then feeling angry, I guess I realised this guy is entitled to medical help, and if he's serious about getting down to 300 pounds (136 kg), then good on him. The article points out that when he arrived at hospital, one of the doctors on his nine-person team said Patrick was dying, so it's not like he's got it good!

Good luck Patrick.

North Korean Worries

What's happening in North Korea? I read last week that the North Korea Could Test Launch Missile, and then today that North Korea Says Danger of War 'Snowballing'.

Perhaps my bro could fill us in from the scene in South Korea. Is the kind of stuff that these news articles talk about really going to happen? Is this as bad as Iraq (in terms of U.S. demands on the regime and North Korean government stubbornness), but with nuclear weapons?

The Eighth Wonder of the World

I think I might have discovered the eighth wonder in the world - and along with many of the other wonders of the world, it won't remain unchanged for long!
That wonder is my daughter, straight out of the bath, with water droplets still on her eyelashes, and her big blue eyes smiling up at me. Yep, she sure is a treasure!
Needless to say, seeing her big brother drying himself just like his daddy (with his leg on the bath so he doesn't have to bend down so low) is also a memory I will treasure for a long time!


For Christmas last year, I bought Thomas a chess set, because he was getting back into it. He was so excited, and invited friends around to play chess, talk chess and strategise. All very positive things.

And then it happened.

He asked me to play. At first, I chose to let him try to explain the rules to me, I amused him by moving little bits around the board and appearing interested, while all the time quite bored. I lost every time (and for me, that is a real turn off. I am very competitive and don't like to lose all the time!!). As time wore on, I was experiencing inner conflict - to play and lose, or to play and try to win because, you know, I was getting better and surely I could win just once. But for a while, I lost some more and was quite depressed afterwards.

And then something else happened.

I won a game. Sheer luck, because Thomas wasn't feeling well, but I had experienced Checkmate! I was hooked for the next two weeks because I could win, I could win!! But then, I didn't win. Depressed again.

Times in our house are not so bad as they were before in the realm of chess. I have come to understand that Thomas is a much better chess player than I will ever be, but, we can have good, fun, friendly games and not have a complete crash afterwards when I inevitably loose.

I currently enjoy playing at www.chessworld.net called "Liv" (if you want to come online and play a game). I am even playing in a tournament!!!!

The moral of this story is: don't buy 2 player games for spouses if you don't want to play them, but if you do, chances are the quality time spent engaging in the game will far outweigh the negatives of a losing streak or such. And, you may find that playing the game you thought you didn't like is actually good fun and not so hard after all.

NB> Thomas is called "thomasswilliams" if you want a game with him, but be careful because he is good!!!!!

Japanese Zoo

I was telling people about this image, an exhibition at a Japanese zoo (via Yahooligans!):
Yahooligans! News Slideshow
Visitors look at a spotted seal swimming in a column water tank at Asahiyama zoo in Asahikawa, Japan, Monday, Sept. 6, 2004. With a variety of unique exhibitions like this, more than 900,000 have visited the zoo so far this year. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

On Voting

Obviously, there's a US election that is at least 7 or 8 times bigger than the Australian election (I reckon), even for me out here in Australia. I know I can't influence the vote, nor am I informed enough even to want to, but it is interesting what sort of issues and values come out of the campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry.

Brian has had many interesting posts on voting and the issues behind the election (as has GetReligion). I guess it is a little more serious over there, as Brian asks and examines "How Would Jesus Vote". I don't think Brian came up with the almost cheesy images, but the question of the title still remains and I guess is applicable to the Aussie election coming up soon.

The Jesus Creed

Brian McLaren posts about The Jesus Creed.

I read that and I identify with it. I am encouraged that this is the one I believe in:

We have confidence in Jesus Who healed the sick, the blind, and the paralyzed. And even raised the dead...

...He preached parables of the kingdom of God On hillsides, from boats, in the temple, in homes, At banquets and parties, along the road, on beaches, in towns, By day and by night...

...We have confidence in Jesus, So we follow him, learn his ways, Seek to obey his teaching and live by his example. We walk with him, walk in him, abide in him, As a branch in a vine. We have not seen him, but we love him. His words are to us words of life eternal, And to know him is to know the true and living God...

Rodney's Blog

Rodney has come up with some great posts over the past week, so I'm blatantly going to list 'em here:

  • How John Howard is going to win over voters with a hairdo by Advanced Hair - Vote Winning Hair (you'll have to scroll down a bit on Rodney's blog, or the direct link is here)
  • Priest Idol - the hunt for a new vicar at a London church (this one is serious)

Thanks Rodney for the links!

What a smile!

I've noticed that whenever anyone takes a photo of TJ, and he says the obligatory "Cheese", he squints up his eyes and puts on almost a fake smile:
What a smile!
Oh oh, he's already pulling faces for photographs...because I've got two brothers who do not smile for pictures, I can see where the "faces" come from!

The Cat

We've got one of my Mum's cats "on holidays", with the option of letting her stay or not depending on whether she likes the place, whether or not Mum really wants to let her go, and most importantly that she doesn't attack Maya or TJ! So far, one week on, Cassie's been really great and has "come out of her shell" enough so that Olivia and I have enjoyed her company (Maya gazes at Cassie everywhere she goes, TJ follows Cassie around protesting loudly that he's "not chasing her!")

Cassie's a beautiful ragdoll cat, which means she's got medium-length hair and is an indoors-only cat. I don't have a photo of her but you can find information and images at sites like The Ragdoll Cat Homepage, Ragdoll Cats and The Ragdoll Connection Network.

Personally I don't mind cats, or dogs, but we'd been holding off getting a pet until the kids were more grown up (also we're renting). Olivia's more of an animal person - she grew up on a farm! So we'll have to see how The Cat goes...

Scrunching or folding...(cont)

I just had to let everyone know that I have taken on the enormous task of teaching TJ to be a scruncher. And lets face it, there is an art to being a sucessful scruncher (sucess measured by dryness of hands at end of task). The paper needs to be not too tightly scrunched, because the surface area is then too small, and not too sparsly scrunched, because then there is very little protection. I have noted that he is keen to scrunch, but tends in the too tightly scrunched catalogue. There is much work left to do, but I am up to the task.....

TJ Is Three!

Our big boy turned 3 yesterday...Happy Birthday TJ!

He of course got presents, and lots and lots of hugs and kisses from his mum and dad. Relatives phoned up (he even answered the phone!) and he got sung "Happy Birthday" about ten times (he started off saying "thank you, thanks" sincerely each time Olivia started up with the song, but eventually pleaded with her to "stop singing mummy").

As a celebration we went to the Melbourne Zoo. TJ had a great time (we all did) - it seems spring is a good time to go to the zoo because some of the animals are "active". Some of the highlights:

  • We saw a huge male gorilla - the head of the clan, silver backed, 20 years old, massive, weighing around 190kgs - stare down a female half his size, then he punched the window where we were standing and hit this female gorilla, then she chased him around and the other females came to help, there was yelling and running and sulking (if I sound breathless describing it, it's because it was really exciting).
  • There were two huge brown bears pawing barrels (presumably) full of food, as if the barrels were weightless. TJ was fascinated by them, I reckon because we'd recently watched a documentary about North American brown bears fishing for salmon.
  • Two seals were swimming around playfully, obviously enjoying the (almost) cold spring day, and we were told that one of them is the zoo's success story as she was found almost decapitated from a fishing line and now, years later, is finally starting to put on weight and grow. TJ loved watching them from underwater.
  • The male tiger Ramalon was pacing back and forth just inches from us (behind a big window, of course). His head is so big, he looks so strong, and he even stared at TJ, Olivia, Maya and I. Cool!
  • The new elephant section is impressive but not yet finished...the two elephants didn't really come out, maybe they were scared by the noise of the diggers?

Anyway, Happy Birthday TJ!

The Stones Are Talking

I read this out of "Streams in the Desert", September 1 entry.

"The stones in the wall said, "We have come from mountains far away - from the sides of rugged cliffs. Fire and water have worked on us for ages but have only produced crevices. Yet human hands like yours have made us into homes where children of your immortal race are born, suffer, rejoice, find rest and shelter, and learn the lessons that our Maker and yours is teaching. But ot come to the point of being used for this purpose we have endured much. Dynamite has torn at our very hearts and pickaxes have broken and split us into pieces. Often as we lay disfigured and broken in the quarry, everything seemed to be without design or meaning. But gradually we were cut into blocks, and some of us were chiseled with sharper instuments until we had a fine edge. Now we are complete, we are in our proper places, and are of service.

You, however, are still in your quarry. You are not complete and because of that, as once was the case with us, there is much you don not understand. But you are destined for a higher building, and someday you will be placed in it by angelic hands, becoming a living stone in a heavenly temple"."

I found the above wonderful in its illustration that I am not finished, that there is much more work to be done in me. God will shape me in His time and for His purpose, not just for some ordinary use.

Sport, Competitiveness, and the 30-ish-year-old

I have been playing basketball since I was 17 or so. When I was a teenager I wasn't much into sport - I was a library dweller during school lunchtimes - but when I was in Year 11 or 12 my friend David asked me to play basketball in an F-grade team (he had never played before either). I didn't dribble the ball at all that first season and didn't shoot a goal, but it started something.

My bro Simon pushed me to get better. He always beat me down at the local court even though I was taller (not anymore!) and older. I started to practice every night after school to get better at my one thing. I still can't kick a footy or bowl a cricket ball...all my eggs are in the one basket(ball). Boom boom.

During the time I was hard at improving I played with a team my mate Jarrod had something to do with through his church. He didn't always play but I soon got to know the other guys on the team and I felt pretty confortable playing. The grade was higher than F-grade and it was a small and friendly competition. We used to play in a high school gym where the court was not quite full size, the roof was low (most everyone's 3-pointers hit the ceiling) and there was no room to sit or stand around the edges of the court as the gym hall was only as big as the court (when that ball was going out of bounds, better to leave it). I remember playing most weeks before the game at Jarrod's place, in his driveway. He beat me every game for 2 years before I won one!

Fast forward to today. I guess I think of the basketball history I have related mainly as an increase and growth in skill terms, but somewhere along the way I learned to be competitive and have an "attitude", to get angry when I lose and boastful when I win. I don't think I'm alone in these feelings but increasingly I see around me destructive examples of competitiveness, and constructive ones. I'm definitely in the camp of the "destructive" tendencies; sulking, fuming, giving up, blaming and being negative towards my team-mates when we lose (and sometimes when we win). Perhaps I hide it well on the outside, but I can tell you when it happens it's pretty unattractive for an immature child, let alone a thirty-something!

OK, this sounds pretty heavy and perhaps hard on myself, but I have often asked myself - what if I won every game and hated it? Wouldn't it be better to have a good attitude regardless of whether I won, drew or lost?

Jarrod (whom I'm still good mates with 14 years later) helped me out recently by setting me the simple task of a) running the whole game, and b) saying something encouraging to each player on the team. He went even further to say that in his experience, for every negative thing you say to a player (even if it's in the vein of constructive criticism) you have to say 9 positive things. I don't take that as advice to be sugary or insincere, but rather to focus on encouragement and noticing the good things that different players bring to the game. For me it's important to work on the attitude rather than just focusing on the physical (like winning or losing the game at hand).

Physically, I hope I'm still mobile enough to play at 50 years old, and at some stage am able to play on a team with my children. Attitude-wise, I hope people want to play on teams with me and I hope I can enjoy those potential 20 more years (Lord willing) of basketball. At 31 it's not hard to see that my ability and fitness level have dropped off over the last 3 or 4 years. But, I can accept that this is not a barrier to my enjoyment of the game. I want to keep working on my attitude so I can say I did my best, each game, and be a "good sport" that makes the players around him better.

Scruncher or Folder???

Warning - Toilet Humor to follow....

Scruncher or folder - that is the question! (we are talking about toilet paper here). After many studies and inconclusive evidence, I hypothesise that scrunchers are those that are very quick in the toilet, for number ones and twos. Folders are those that take their time, and can often be found reading books. (Anyone seen the Seinfeld episode when George takes the book into the toilet at the book shop and then it is flagged?? What a classic one!)

I myself am a scruncher, so I am a quickie toilet user (the toilet is not warm when I am finished). My motto is "If I have to sit here too long then I'll come back later". When I was in labour with TJ I told Thomas that I would come back later to do finish this off. To my rude shock, there is no turning back......

I love my husband, but gee, some of these were funny!!!

  1. Don't imagine you can change a man - unless he's in diapers.
  2. Never let your man's mind wander - it's too little to be out alone.
  3. Go for the younger man. You might as well, they never mature anyway.
  4. Women don't make fools of men - most of them are the do-it-yourself types.
  5. Best way to get a man to do something is to suggest he is too old for it.
  6. Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.
  7. If you want a committed man, look in a mental hospital.
  8. The children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years. Even in Biblical times, men wouldn't ask for directions.1
  9. If he asks what sort of books you're interested in, tell him checkbooks. 1
  10. Remember a sense of humor does not mean that you tell him jokes, it means that you laugh at his.
This last point is interesting, because I have been informed that it is my marital duty to laugh at Thomas' jokes, and he'll tell me how stinky my farts are (that is very important to me!). Further more, his mum emailed these to me..... what does that suggest????


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