Glen Valley, Easter 2006

For our Easter break this year we headed up to Olivia's parent house in Glen Valley, officially in the Mt. Wills Historic Area of north-east Victoria - a 6.5 hour drive to genuine, almost untouched high country (I took the picture at left, a place called "Bogong View", about 2 kilometres down the road from where we stayed).

"Glen Valley" itself is made up of a handful of houses and an empty hall - there's no water, electricity, police, shops, etc. It's about an hour north of the nearest small town - Omeo - by very windy roads. Back in the 1890's, Glen Valley was a gold settlement, reaching a peak of around 100 people, and seems to be often linked with the larger town of Glen Wills, although both are now abandoned.

Olivia's Dad Ted built their three-storey house and surrounding buildings. I don't have the time or space to tell you what sort of effort he's put into the place, but I reckon it's amazing - solar panels for energy (which can also charge by moonlight), water from the old mine, a slow combustion stove for cooking and a pot belly stove for warming, and a diesel generator which Ted has also tried using home-made bio-diesel in. The bottom storey is a garage (with workshop and washing machine); the next storey has a verandah, kitchen, bathroom, dining room, family room and the master bedroom; and upstairs, in the a-frame roof, is another 3 bedrooms.

The weekend's weather was great, the hospitality was fantastic, and it was very peaceful to just "get away" for a bit. We ate a lot: sadly, for me, at least 33% was chocolate or choc-related! Olivia's Mum Marijke is tireless with the youngsters (Olivia's sister was also there with her husband and kids) and is a great host and cook. None of us wanted to leave when we eventually did, just after morning tea on Monday, and for the first time (we have been every year, except last year) I think we all could have spent a lot longer there.

On a side note, our little Camry did 700 kilometres to a tank of petrol (435 miles), and the trip's physical distance is almost smack on 430 kilometres (267 miles) - petrol is also at a frightening AUD$1.30/litre (US$3.61/gallon).

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[Listening to: Some Of Us - Starsailor - Silence Is Easy (03:38)]

Happy Easter

I hope all and sundry had a great Easter 2006!

The Williams family did, especially TJ and Maya definitely did - Maya is seen here looking eagerly at the Easter Egg basket - and boy did we all eat our fill of chocolate...

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[Listening to: J Train - Tobymac - Momentum (03:28)]

TJ Gets A Haircut

This was just too much of a proud moment for me as a Dad not to post it - TJ getting a haircut, short (like he wanted it, to spike it), trying not to move his head and being very, very serious!

It's handy having a mobile phone that can take photos. This moment was priceless.

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[Listening to: Scar - Missy Higgins - The Sound of White (03:36)]

Sven and Natalie's Wedding

Sven was one of my good friends at high school, but up until today I hadn't spoken to him for something like 10 years. Last Thursday, out of the blue, his Mum called and invited Olivia and I to Sven's wedding at the family's house. Sven had been living and working (and meeting Mrs. Right!) in Indonesia since, well, forever, but he was going to be back in Australia for one week, to get married.

So today I had the pleasure of attending a good friend's wedding - my man Sven and his (now) wife Natalie. It was great to catch up with the boys - Matt, Leigh and Sven - and laugh, joke, and re-tell school stories. I also heard some stories for the first time :-)

We all hung around and enjoyed the fantastic hospitality of Sven's family (Indonesian food is enak sekali - delicious) until it was time to go pick up the kids. What a great afternoon. Sven and Natalie, if you read this, Terima kasih atas undangan anda - Menikahi ini bagus sekali (which I hope means, "thanks for the invite - the wedding was great").

The photo is of "The Boys" under Sven's back verandah - Matt, Sven and me at back, and Leigh at front, loosening up before some serious poses. We didn't get any good photos of the couple; we were honestly too busy yakking. The yakking reminded me that we'd all changed yet stayed the same out of high school. I hope we can all keep in touch!

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[Listening to: If Things Were Perfect - Moby - Play (04:19)]




Compendium of Posts from Williams World 1: October 2003 - September 2004 (The First Year)

I've noticed with blogs I visit in my web browser, that I rarely stray past the front page. Blogging seems to be more about the immediate present, "what's now". Past posts are "past", "old".

This is in contrast to personal websites that may have a whole stack of articles or editorials where the content and timing are both important.

So it was interesting when I went through some of my old posts, trying to group them, to see what was current and interesting for me back then. Here's what I found, in rough order of oldest posts first - I haven't indexed all my posts, just the ones that fit into broad themes.

Posts with an asterisk ("*") are Olivia's posts.

I introduced myself on Friday, October 31, 2003. Back then my blog was called Christian Computing.

Posts about IT (before I started my IT-related blog on dotnetjunkies):
Other Christians In Computing, Part 1, The relationship between programming and music, IT-related Writing, or Lack Thereof, IT User Groups Open Day, The History Of Clippy, Less "Computing" and More...

Posts about blogging:
What A Blog Is, Blogroll, Comments and RSS, What is Blogging Revisited, Number of links to "Christian Computing", Blogs I Visit, and RSS, I "discover" Rodney Olsen, Three New Blogs, Female Bloggers and How To Link, Weblog Redesign, My Development Environment, Why do people blog, Survey of Christian bloggers (1, 2), Seeking Serenity (Michelle), Write from the heart not the head, GetReligion, No Blogging For One Week, Back Online, Less "Computing" and More..., Olivia's first guest post*, Olivia's A Blogger Now, New Look Blog (where I lose all the past comments...very sad)

Me:
Sunburn, Social Ineptitude, Where am I on the Political Compass, Fat, Fat, Fat, Languages, What Makes Me Do What I Do, Cyber-me, Shower and Shave, Diets, Sport, Competitiveness, and the 30-ish-year-old

My Faith:
My church - Real Life Community, My Personal Rebellions, Accountability Questions, Ultra Short summary of the Bible, What Would Jesus Say, Church Failings, Art Exhibition at Real Life, Worship Music Wars, Ghandi's Seven Deadly Social Sins, Church Online

My Job:
My Blog Title, A Take On My Job (Computing), Other Christians In Computing, Part 1, A Take On My Job (Computing), Part II, Requirements for an IT Job, My Job Description

My Family:
My brothers, my wife, my son TJ, No New Baby...Yet, Mum and Dad, Happy 4th Anniversary, Maya is born, Maya Update (1 month old), Parenthood, Website for my Bro (Simon), the Arguing Pro, Maya at 2 months, Simon starts a blog, Nathan turns 25, Olivia's an INFJ, Family Reunion 2004, Maya Smiles, TJ and Maya in her rocker, TJ sitting on arm of chair, Maya at 16 weeks, Our family (March 2004), Grandpa and Grandma Self Portrait, Adventures of TJ, So what can you expect from a nearly 3-year-old? (TJ), Olivia's first guest post*, Hannah Nicola, Olivia on Music*, TJ Is Three!, The Cat, TJ smiling for the camera, Maya - The Eighth Wonder of the World*

My Friends:
Leigh, Long Lost Friends, and Names, Tejas Patel, Things I Wish I'd Said to Past Friends

Movies, Books, Entertainment:
The Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, I see "Return of the King", CDs I'm listening to (February 2004), Chess, Videos We Own (February 2004), Paul Colman Concert, "The Passion" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 - I finally see the movie), Moby, Purpose-Driven Life, Wild at Heart, Man in the Mirror (1, 2), Barbershop, Iron John, Cool footpath art, Beaten in chess by my wife, The Apprentice Starts To Interest, Finding Nemo, I, Robot, Olivia on Chess*

Humour:
searchfight.com, New words for the English language?, TOM programming language, Terrorism Preparedness, Favorite Sayings, I was walking across a bridge one day..., No-Name Disaster Movies, Worth1000.com, Translation to lesser-known dialects, Mucking Around With Google, Finance Lessons for 10-year-olds, I love my husband, but gee, some of these were funny!!!*

Other:
Lego, Christmas 2003, Christmas Reading, Secret Santa at LivingRoom, New Year's Resolutions for 2004, Valentine 2004 ("Valen-time"), Easter 2004 (1, 2, 3), Ocean Grove Holiday (March 2004) (1, 2), Happy Mother's Day 2004, Weblogger Meetup, Guitaring Resource, New Amp, A Trip To The City, Google Searches That Ended Up At My Blog, Magpies vs Cats, Collingwood Loses and my Dad is Happy, Family at Queen Victoria Market, Life in the Fast Lane*, Looking at Primary Schools, Scruncher or Folder???*, Scrunching or folding...(cont)*, Half-Ton Man

Friday 5:
1, 2, 3, 4, Friday Five Finished

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Cassie The Cat


Cassie our beautiful rag doll, on our bed.

I just had to post a picture of her. It seems like she misses out when I think about our "family".

Christian In Culture

I often find it hard to reconcile what I believe is good and right with the society and culture I live in (Australian, democratic, western, capitalist, middle class, etc.)

This has something to do with the fact I call myself a Christian, but also has a lot to do with the world around me. You don't have to look very far to find war, excess, waste, want, hate, meaninglessness and lots worse.

At one stage, I suppose I thought being a monk or hermit in my own little "back to basics" culture would be ideal - no TV, only spiritual music, no films, no distractions...but then from time to time, along come elements of this modern world, the time I was born into, that I really resonate with and want to include in my faith even though the source may not necessarily be "Christian".

Maybe it's got to do with outlook. Can something intended for bad be good? Is there such a thing as "neutral"?

There are plenty of examples of modern culture that have affected me, and I can think of some in the "entertainment" category off the top of my head, like: Eminem's song 8 Mile, which I found very moving and poignant (I don't really know why); the film Once Were Warriors; the music of Moby (who claims to be a Christian); science fiction novels; the list goes on.

In addition, I've really appreciated some of the secular psychological-type stuff I've seen and heard, and perhaps it's helped me in my life and informed my faith - things like Gardiner's multiple intelligences, De Bono's Thinking Hats, and Jane Elliot's Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes (as far as I know, none of these people are Christian).

One other thing that bugs me: it seems like care of the world and resources (that old-fashioned word "stewardship") isn't as high on the list of priorities of church groups as other non-Christian organisations. I could never be called a "greenie" (whatever that means), but I do appreciate that, left to their own devices, big business or big governments won't necessarily prioritise conservation, sustainable development, recycling, etc.

I'm getting off track here, and it's a long-winded way to introduce an article I really enjoyed about Christianity in culture from emergent kiwi. Here's the intro:

I was with a lecture class a few weeks ago, talking about gospel and culture. We tend to polarise into two camps; withdrawal from culture or assimilation into culture. This duality blights the emerging church. We get accused of assimilation; of buying into postmodernity. I think a much more subtle process is at work, and I offered the class the following three symbols...


Steve goes on to talk about juxtaposition, subversion and amplification in a very short post. Well worth the read, even if you aren't a Christian, but like me, struggle with modern culture.

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[Listening to: In This World - Moby - 18 (04:03)]

Leigh and Anna Come To Visit


We got to catch up with Leigh and his wife Anna last night while they were in town. Leigh was one of my best friends in high school and went on to be the best man at my wedding. He and Anna lived in Japan for 3 years, but are now living near the Gold Coast (and expecting their first child). They stopped by while on a "business holiday" down in "Shivertown" (Melbourne), as Leigh calls it.

It was great to revisit old times, share a bottle of fine wine, listen to tales tall and true of surfing, share photos, and finally, have my butt kicked playing Streetfighter II!

The kids enjoyed interacting with Leigh and Anna too, especially when Leigh brought out his cool Nikon D70 camera, sat down in the toy room with them, and started snapping away. He had a great manner with the kids - in preparation for being a father himself, surely - and perhaps because of his stint as a photographer at Australia Zoo. I like these two pictures he took because Maya has a typical cheeky look on her face, and looks more beautiful than any model; and TJ has one of those down-to-earth grins (he looks like a fair dinkum Aussie) and is playing with his beloved blocks. Thanks Leigh!

Tonight we celebrate TJ getting to the next level in swimming. Well done son! His swimming has really improved over the past couple of weeks, spurred on by watching the Commonwealth Games (I reckon). McDonalds, here we come!

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[Listening to: Money - Frank Bennett - Cash Landing (03:58)]

 

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