Research, pubs and diaries

I’ve been spending time doing more research in the Psalms of Solomon… It really is going to be quite hard work to write this dissertation but I’m sure I’ll manage; after all I do have enough time.

Went out to the pub last night as it was Tessa’s birthday. The Stauntons, Camilla, Ian Mac and Jim were there too. It was good to see Ian (my former youth-worker, now the Oxford diocese youth advisor) as I’ve not seen him since easter.

I’ve just put my diary up on this site and written a program to update it as it updates on my computer, so if you wonder what I’m doing when I’m in Cambridge, you can look! Nothing particularly exciting up at the moment though.

Some new piccies

I’ve finished a few more panoramas today – these ones were from Shanghai. They’re up in the gallery. I will write a howto soon because I’ve discovered a lot particularly in the way of getting rid of half-cars and boats and avoiding obvious edges. I was also messing around with some of the effects plugins for the gimp and made a photo of Tom… Go and have a look 🙂

I’ve also written an article about some of my experiences in China.

Killer dolphins on the loose…

A very scary story for divers in the Guardian today – killer dolphins have been released. Also found a story on the BBC about a typhoon hitting Hainan (Hainan was the island where we stayed for debriefing!).

In other news, I went to the dentists this morning for a checkup – he spent about 2 seconds looking at my teeth and then said ‘see you next year’… How easy it is to be a dentist!

Yesterday not much exicitment happened although Helen gave a very good talk on 1 Corinthians 7 all about sex, relationships and marriage. Went down the pub with the Emmaus group after church – was good to see all of those guys again.

Traffic jams and google adverts

Sorry for the lack of update in the past few days.. I”ve not been particularly busy so there’s really no excuse for that.

On Thursday I went to my church’s 20-30 year olds group called Emmaus. This was good fun but we had to get back reasonably quickly so we couldn’t stay to go down the pub afterwards 🙁 Oh well always lots of time after evening church today! We looked at Acts 3 and 4.

On Friday, myself and my mother drove to see my grandparents. The journey there took about 1h20, which is pretty much average. The grandparents were fine – my grandfather seemed much improved after all of his drugs for Alzheimer’s. I took my grandmother shopping whilst my mother and grandfather cleaned the house. I then spent quite a long time showing them pictures from China. We left about 2:40, just in time to hit all of the traffic on the M25, so we took some shortcuts through Guildford which turned out to be even more congested! Oops! In the event the journey home took almost 3 hours.

On the way home we passed (at very low speed) a church which had a really good advert for the alpha course. It was a picture which looked remarkably like the google frontpage. The text in the box was something like “The meaning of life”, and the links along the bottom were “Read the Bible”, “Come to the Alpha course” etc. The title at the top was simply “Searching?”. It’s a relief to see the church finally doing some decent advertising.. I’m sure everyone can think of many cheesy adverts outside churches and I’m sure it doesn’t do anything to help people find Jesus.

Saturday was spent mostly reading and I spent some time in the office fixing the computers there. I also bought the Top Gun soundtrack – what an amazing CD! I’ve been learning to play some of the songs on there on my guitar, particularly the theme tune (which is very easy) and some of the Kenny Loggins stuff.

Computers and parties

Had a nice day today. On Monday I’d booked another appointment for Wednesday on the instructions of the nurse. The conversation went something like “I’ve been told to get another appointment for the nurse on Wednesday” “Ok, is 9am ok?” “Yes” “OK, 9am Wednesday”. I therefore got up at 7:30 (the earliest yet this week) especially for this. I went to the surgery and after several minutes of them searching their systems to try to find a trace of my appointment, they discovered that it had been booked for Thursday… Oh well. This meant that I got a reasonably early start to work as I had walked home by 9:10.

I spent the rest of the day working on our home cluster succeeding in upgrading virtually everything on it in an attempt to get samba working with windows 2000. I finally succeeded and then set up a test network with several domains and so on, to prove that we could use different networks for the office and home. It’s always nice when something you’ve been working on for a while works properly, although I’m sure we’ll have more problems in further days as this is the nature of computers…

In the evening, I went to Rachel Coward’s with lots of our ex youth-group and some other nice people. We had a top-rate evening with a candle-lit supper cooked by the remaining two Coward girls and then chocolate fondu. Following Rachel’s visit to a funeral director’s today there was about an hour-long talk about death and funerals which according to the “how to act in England” book in China, was one of the things you must not talk about over dinner. It didn’t feel strange anyway, especially as we were all Christians and I really cannot understand why anyone would want all these special coffins and fancy arrangements… it’s not like anyone’s going to see it anyway!

Research and other fun

I’ve spent today actually getting down to doing research. I’ve done my notes upto Pss14 now and I guess I”ll write the introduction to my dissertation in the next few days. I’ve learnt a lot by reading the Psalms of Solomon which I think helps to understand the New Testament (and the Old) better.

I had a play with kmymoney2 and it’s been vastly improved since I last used it. It can now download stock and share prices from the internet and update all that stuff automatically and I’ve also written some scripts to make it download my bank account statements from the bank websites and import them into it automatically.

Still not much remarkable happening but I’m sure that will start when I go back to uni in 10 days! Can’t wait to see everyone again, especially the ISEC peeps!

Avoiding work…

I’ve spent the past few days trying to avoid work when I really should be doing my dissertation. I’ve managed to do a few hours today but not as much as I really ought to do. Oh well!

I’ve read a few more books in the past few days, and yesterday I went to church in the evening and saw lots of the former youth group. We all went to the pub afterwards and had some fun there. I went to the surgery again today and yet again the plaster didn’t stick. She just shoved the tubey grip over it so quickly that it didn’t have a chance to fall off. I’ve also been trying to get my Barclays account to work on the internet and failed to apply for a nationwide account. Why can’t banks get ever get their websites to do even the simplest of tasks? It really isn’t hard and I could do it for very reasonable rates…


Spent a day doing some research. I’ve created a research page here so if you click on the research button on the side and then click on “Psalms of Solomon” you’ll be able to find links to various notes and other things which I’m working on at the moment, if you’re interested in that stuff. I’ll put the dissertation itself up there as well as it evolves.

I went to the doctor’s earlier today to get my arm dressing changed, which was quite a faff. To start off, I had to fill in several forms stating that I was temporally resident at home. Apparently they can’t work it so that I am resident in two places at once… Anyway after quite a bit of form filling (although not as much as in China, I’m sure) I finally went through to see the nurse. The wound seems to be healing quite well so she put some more antiseptic on and then put a plaster on. However, apparently today my arms are just not sticky. We tried holding the plaster down for about 5 minutes while blowing on it and so on (apparently heat makes it stick?!). Finally we gave up on that plaster and she got out what looked like a sheet of selotape and she said this was the stickiest plaster in the world or something, and that fell off. Finally she got another type of plaster and tried sticking it on. It didn’t stick but she just quickly put the tube-grip back on my arm and pushed me out of the door before it could fall off a third time. I wonder how I can get sticky arms…

Wendy and Darrel came this evening, we had dinner with them (after my mother forgot they were coming and had to cook a dinner at 5 minutes notice!) and then told them about China.

Heard that Lillian and Lindsey (from our China team) are coming over from the states during November! Yay – it will be good to see those guys again 🙂 Also got an invitation to my cousin Jonathan’s wedding in December – should be fun.

I’ve been very impressed with unison a tool which synchronises two trees of files – it seems to handle deletes and changes on both ends very well; I’ve been using in for the past few weeks to keep my laptop and home computer in sync and it really works – I was fearing I’d have to start running a SVN like subversion or CVS to keep my stuff in order.

Also started re-learning French, German and Greek grammer. I learnt the French verb conjugations in 7 tenses for the 3 standard types of verb because we were never really taught it properly in school; it was much easier than I remember it being. Also started reading Mark in Greek as it turns out I didn’t do well enough to be able to do the fun advanced Greek course next year so I have to do Mark’s gospel instead… Oh well.

Back home again

Had a wonderful night last night at Jesus college grad formal. The food seemed much nicer than normal formal and to cap it all we had a cheese course as well as pudding. The main course was salmon which apparently Patrick has been eating for the past week due to the “Buy 1 get 1 free” at Sainsburys. We lived the past few days on such offers which was one of the reasons I got through 15 chocolate-chip cookies yesterday… The other reason was that they were delicious.

Anyway, I’ve just got home and written a little bit of code to change the picture at the top of this page. There are now 5 different pictures that you could get, so keep hitting refresh until you’ve cycled through them all 🙂 I’ve also changed the layout of this website and put a few new pages up detailing some of my research and perhaps putting up some of my lecture notes etc..

Also, isn’t the internet amazing? My supervisor recommended a PhD thesis to me last night about the Psalms of Solomon, just giving me a title and an author. Using this I worked out it was written in Durham and checked the library up there to see if they had the book; which they did. They can’t lend it to the UL in Cambridge so I managed to find out that the author is now working in Hawaii. I went to that website, found his email address and he’s now sent me a copy of his 250 page PhD thesis over email… Amazing.