Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Interesting Fact No.3

That American casinos use some interesting features to keep gamblers gambling:
  • a lack of clocks and natural daylight in order to make the gambler lose track of time
  • music on a loop and not individual tracks in order to maintain "a womb-like atmosphere" that induces a trance like state
  • free alcoholic drinks and nibbles to keep you furnished at the tables/machines
  • extra oxygen and sometimes pheremones can be pumped in for alertness and aggressiveness
  • near misses
Full story here

Monday, May 29, 2006

Interesting Fact No. 2

Brad and Angelina's baby is called Shiloh Nouvel, which means New Messiah

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Chelsea Flower Show

I have really enjoyed the coverage of the Chelsea Flower show on the BBC this year. I used to live directly opposite the Royal Hospital grounds where the flower show takes place every year and it never ceases to amaze me how something so big is created from nothing and how it is impossible to tell that anything of that size was ever there for the rest of the year. I watched this year as adults received medals for their exhibits, their faces creasing into tears (of relief mainly) when receiving the highly sort after Gold. The immense release of pressure after at least a year's work. Two highlights for me were involving children: one was a nine year old who had his own allotment and grew his wn veg. The other was a school that were experts in the field of orchid growing, young people involved in the propagation, research and business side of selling. Fascinating and inspiring.

Interesting Fact No.1: Rule 2.25 of the Chelsea Flower Show regulations bans entrants from including garden gnomes in their displays. Bunting, balloons and flags are also banned.
Well, I never knew that. However...
A gnome has been secretly smuggled into the famously gnome-unfriendly RHS Chelsea Flower Show in a prank staged by a BBC radio reporter.

The Today Programme reporter sneaked in the gnome, dubbed Nicholas, yesterday and photographed him on exhibits in the Great Pavilion and in show gardens.

The RHS prohibits the use of gnomes by exhibitors in show gardens, along with ‘brightly coloured creatures’ and 'materials exuding a foul or unpleasant odour'. The sport of gnome-smuggling has become something of a Chelsea tradition ever since.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Stevie G recently blogged about heaven and it got me thinking. I do occasionally think about heaven and often, it worries me. However difficult life on earth is, it is familiar and there are very lovely aspects of it. The thought of leaving in order to "go somewhere else" and "do somthing else" fills me with an uncertainty and fear. Fear of the unknown is understandable: death and what happens afterwards is a mystery, it's quite natural to feel apprehensive. We will (usually) only experience it once and it'll be a one way ticket. But God assures us that heaven is a great thing:
Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away
Revelation 21: 3-5
An experience of our existance without pain or tears sounds like a better version of what we have now. Run through the fields and the nettles won't sting you. Get to the shop before it closes. Eat oysters without being sick. All the things that make our experience of earth troublesome will be wiped away.

Or will it? Those in the know seem to be quite keen to tell us that heaven will be a completely different experience to what we currently know. That heaven is the irresistible opportunity for us to worship God for eternity. I'm guessing that this is where I start going off the idea. However much I enjoy being in the presence of God, the thought of singing worship songs and hymns for all eternity just doesn't do it for me. My earthly experince is of distractions, my throat starting to feel sore, feeling fidgety, not liking certain phraseology in songs, wanting to sit down. But of course I now know that those distractions will have been wiped away. Constant singing that God is wonderful because I will be in His presence and I won't be able to help but sing praises to him is how it will be.
Hmm, no wonder I'm not able to sell this brand "Christianity" if that's what I'm offering! WHich is why I do like to think of a new improved earth type of heaven and I think there are several bible passages that hint at that. Here in Isaiah, we are told that we may have the option of heaven or earth:
Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
Isaiah 65:17
But the imagery that I like the most is that concerning living in the house of God. In my mind it isn't just a picture, but we are quite emphatically told "If it wasn't like this, then I wouldn't say it!".
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14: 1-3
So here's to living in God's house. There are so many rooms to explore and discover and maybe one day. I'll get to look round the garden too! Now that's a heaven I look forward to being a part of!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chris Cheek- hero

Manager of a London sports shop, Chris Cheek is the saviour of London. No really! The historic London Stone mentioned by Shakespeare, William Blake and Dickens has been protected by Mr Cheek in the unlikely sports shop on Cannon St. Now the sports shop is to be demolished, it will be interesting to see where the stone will end up but legend says that if it is removed from London or destroyed then London will crumble. Having lived in London for many years and never previously heard of the London stone, maybe it needs a bit of TLC and a more fitting resting place for the years to come.

BBC story here

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dreams and Visions

On reading this month's Christianity magazine I quote from Steve Chalke jumped out at me:
A dream flatters the dreamer, a vision hurts
Not meaning to patronise you, more to focus myself on the gems contained within I'm guessing he was saying that it's easy and comfortable enough to dream but a vision is costly and painful. That's worth thinking on...

Saturday night TV

Doctor Who and Eurovision: What a classic Saturday night combination! Doctor Who is a brilliant programme which I love because we all come together as a family to watch it and there are very few programmes that do that. The last couple of weeks have been about Cybermen in a parallel universe and I have enjoyed it because it has gone back to a more traditional plot driven style rather than the sassy, self aware humour that has become the trademark of Russell T Davis' scripts. All good stuff.

Eurovision is sheer camp humour and last night was no exception! I decided very last minute to turn it into a family competition and allocate countries to each member of the family and award prizes for the person with the most and least points. The BBC website had forgetten to remove some countries that were eliminated during the week so we all had countries that weren't competing in our portfolios but it was great fun to have a reason to cheer Moldova and Lithuania on! It was great fun to speculate who would get loads of points not based on song quality but on gimmicks, political reasons and the attractiveness (or otherwise) of artists. In the end the monsters of Finland won (I had them!) and to be honest with you, having seen them on Breakfast News in the week, knew they were headed for success, if only the rest of Europe got the joke (which isn't always the case!). You just have to consider the Lithuania entry titled "We are the Winners (of Eurovision)" to see which countries have a quirky sense of humour and judging by the boos that came from the audience when they scored well, it wasn't a joke that everyone appreciated.

I think next year, I will have a party and everyone will be allocated a country or two to support and there will be prizes, our own chance to vote and general silliness. Either that or write a Eurovision song...Hmm now there's a thought...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Feeling odd

Have heard about my new job and feel a mixture of relief and trepidation. So much energy has been put into the other job description and definition that no one really knows what job I'll be doing. It seems so incredibly vague and in many ways it is nice to feel I will have a hand in shaping the role for myself but actually that isn't really meaty enough to get my teeth into now. I have no idea when I will be starting, when the team change around will happen etcetera etcetera. It seems likely that I will be working alongside a good friend of mine Debbie who is very skilled so that's all good. I know that'll be based in the Central area which is good and my team leader is someone comes very well recommended. Just knowing what I'll be doing on a day to day basis would be nice- is that too much too ask? ;)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

word verification

I find the word verification sequences when you add a comment on a blog very odd. Sometimes they have incredibly long and hard to read letter sequences, sometimes you have a proper word. Recently I seem to have to write a novel everytime I post a comment. It's also interesting that they have also aknowledged that interpretation may be difficult for some and have added a function for those who cannot read the jumbled letters. Trouble is, when the wheelchair symbol is clicked on, you get a totally incomprehensible oral rendition of the letters. Great! Maybe you could post your

  • Longest and wierdest
  • Shortest
  • And best actual word, word verifications

Monday, May 08, 2006

I DID IT!!!!

The last folder was signed off today! Yay! I only have one more essay to do and then that's it!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Nearly there!

I have just had three folders signed off and only have one remaining folder to do for Monday! Yay! There are several people from the course who are not going to be able to complete for different reasons, which is a shame. I'm glad I made the extra effort and pulled out all the stops.

Just to reiterate: 1 more folder and 1 more essay to complete.