Work today

I’ve spent quite a productive day in the Divinity Faculty library with about 20 books trying to finalize what I’m going to be doing my dissertation on. I met up with my supervisor earlier and we decided to do it about the word group based on “righteous” in a set of Psalms written about 80-40BC and how the usage in that compares to that of Paul in the New Testament. I’ve got lots and lots of books out of the library to allow me to start work, including the latest critical edition of the text of the Psalms of Solomon which was published in 1895… Not much work has been done on this book of late!

Tonight, myself and Patrick will be going to grad hall at Jesus College which should be good fun. We met up with some people from Holy Trinity and Toby and studies 1 Peter today at lunch time in Greek which was quite scary because it reminded me how little Greek I know. Oh well! I should be coming home on Thursday but I’m not sure at what time.

Sausages and pseudepigraphical works

χα?ις π?ος τον βλογον Μα?κου

Decided to change my blog title to something a little more Biblical and Greek after Patrick’s influence of the last few days. We spent a while this evening looking at the league of reformed bloggers which is rather strange and in some places disturbing. One of the sites had a list of “‘Pelagian’ links” down the side including YWAM for example.

Last night we had Yumi over for some dinner which was really good fun. I made a stir-fry with anything we could find in sainsbury’s on special offer. Today we had sausages with some weird curry source and some weird brown rice. By lunchtime tomorrow myself and Patrick will have eaten 15 slices of ham and 8 large sausages each in the space of 24 hours.

I spent today in the library looking at various Jewish writings from between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New to decide what to do my dissertation on. Probably something to do with some Psalms attributed to Solomon but written about 50bc, but hopefully I’ll work out what tomorrow or in the next few days. ttfn!

Back to Cambridge

Sorry for the general slowness of updates the past few days but I’ve not really been doing much of note. I’ve read a few Terry Pratchett books and I read a wonderful book by Tony Anthony called “Taming the Tiger”. Basically; he was a kung fu world champion but did some bad things and got put into a Turkish prison. While he was there, he came to know about Jesus and became a Christian and helped many other people in the prison become Christians too. After he got out he returned to England, but was put in prison again for accidentally killing a lady in a car crash. It’s good to see that he is honest about the things he still struggles with and about how life is not all roses when you’re a Christian. Not that other books hide that but they don’t tend to show it quite as well as he does.

On Saturday I went up to London to Ellie’s party. It was really good fun; the main party finished about 1am but we stayed up watching some films after that. I went to bed about 3:30am but some people stayed up until 5 or 6 I think. I went to her church in the morning which was the local Anglican church. It was really good to see the work it’s doing out there in London and it was a really nice service about how God will be challenging people who claim to be “religious” but aren’t following him (reading from John 3:1-16). After that, we had a BBQ in her garden with a few people who remained from the party and also her parents, and then I headed up to Cambridge to stay with Patrick. I went to Eden in the evening and it was another really good service.

Today I’ve started work on my dissertation reading. I’m still not too sure what I’ll be doing it on, however I think it might be something to do with looking at righteousness and justification in Paul and comparing it with its use in some literature written a bit before that in Greek. I’ll be staying up in Cambridge until Wednesday or Thursday, so if you’re in Cambridge at the moment and would like to see me just give me a ring or an email and we’ll see if we can meet up.

Cycling

Had a wonderful time yesterday afternoon cycling around Greenham Common with Jim. It’s such a large place – used to be a US airforce base until the troops left in the early 90’s and since then it’s been demolished and they’ve put in nature reserves and gravel footpaths. We had a nice long cycle around the place on our mountain bikes just playing around on the piles of gravel and things like that and stopping every few minutes to have a chat or change bikes.

Anyway, I was riding Jim’s bike on the way back to the car and I’m not too sure what happened, but I must have touched one of the breaks (on his bike they bite a lot more than on mine) and this caused the bike to stop with me carrying on going forwards. I flew over the handlebars, and fortunately put my hands out as I skidded a few meters along the gravel (last time Jim did this he didn’t put his hands out and ended up with gashes all down his chin). I cut my right elbow quite deeply, bashed my left wrist so I can’t really use it at the moment and have minor cuts on all my other limbs but other than that I’m fine. I managed to cycle the mile back to the car and drive the few miles back to the house. When my mother saw my right elbow she fainted and wanted to take me to the hospital/doctors but I just picked the bits of gravel out and we bandaged it ourselves. Oh well it was good fun biking while it lasted.

Reading, hacking, sleeping

Again a rather boring few days although I’ve been doing some interesting stuff. Read “Chasing the Dragon” which is a really awesome book about a Christian working with druggies in Hong Kong – a really recommended read. I’ve also just started re-reading “The fifth elephant” by Pratchett as I’ve not read anything by him in a while and I just love his books.

I also started writing a program to keep a list of friends I really ought to write a letter or email to – it stores a list of them and the last time I sent them something and the last time I received something from them and tells me who I should write to. Development with KDE is really easy and because of kabc I can integrate it with the photos and so on stored in the address book so the infomation retrieval is very simple… I’m actually starting to like C++ which is a very scary thought.

I spent yesterday fixing problems with the cluster at home. I built this last year and it worked reasonably throughout the year but broke recently. I’ve got dhcp with failover and dynamic dns updating running, and also failover samba, ldap syncing across the network and fixed a problem with zope that I couldn’t figure out last summer. Also been trying to fix some problems with drbd clustered disks. I found a really great tool for syncing my laptop to my computer called unison which seems to work very well. I’m always impressed by how easy it is to do such powerful things for free with linux. Now to start work on the office cluster I suppose.

Return

I’ve spent the past few days at home not really doing very much. On Sunday I got a laptop and I’ve been installing Gentoo Linux on it. Hopefully I’ll be able to use it a lot next year as I think I will have to spend a lot of time in Tyndale House library and the UL doing research for my dissertation.

I went to church on Sunday; it was very good to see lots of people again although strange to see how some of the young ones had grown since Easter when I was last at home. Not much to report other than that though – life has carried on without me. Met Jim on Saturday night and went down the pub for a catch up. We then went back to his and watched some Ali G – such a funny guy although some things go too far. His interview with Posh and Becks was hilarious though!

Safely home

Well I’m back home at last and have been spending the day trying to unpack, catch up on emails and msn and sort out my photos as well. I’ve just put about 40 more photos from China up in the gallery including some panoramas – more to come, especially some great wall ones but they’re not quite ready yet.

Anyway, several people have asked about the Korean family. It turns out after much negotiation that they actually wanted to sleep on the floor, so they just had two of the large spare rooms and slept on the floor whilst we slept in nice comfy beds. On the Monday, Ellie came to stay with us; it was really nice to see her again and she seemed to have had a good time in her travels around China.

We went into town about 11ish, met Jenny and then did the tourist thing around the forbidden city. It was really amazing, but I was feeling quite tired so I couldn’t really appreciate it too much. When I had had a 15 minute nap in the gardens however, I revived somewhat and we then went home and cooked dinner.

On Tuesday, we (myself, Ruth, Anna and Ellie) went to the great wall. We found the craziest driver in the world. We argued him down to a reasonable price of 90RMB/person unlike the 400RMB/person that many people seemed to pay. His people-carrier had one spare seat in it so he was forever picking up pretty Chinese ladies and taking them along with us to wherever they wanted to go. This, coupled with the heavy traffic meant that it took us three hours to get to the wall. His driving was seriously scary though, he would just go over the grass when there was a traffic jam and he had a siren and loud speaker fitted to his car so that he could scare all the other road users. Anyway, we eventually reached the Great Wall.

The first thing that strikes you about the Great Wall is that it is well… a great wall… There’s not really any other way to describe it. At 3,946 miles long it’s about 6 times longer than the height of the UK. However, the second thing you notice is that it is full of people trying to sell things. In our four hour walk we must have been asked if we wanted to buy some water or a t-shirt about upwards of 100 times. It’s not just that but these people follow you along the wall and frequently refuse to go unless you buy something from you. Fortunately we realized this reasonably early on and made sure that they understood we were not going to buy anything at all from them. It’s not just the hawkers that you have to watch out for but also the people setting up toll booths anywhere along the wall. We had to pay to enter and we asked if this would be sufficient to get us up to the Wall itself (using the cable car) and along the wall and were assured that it would be. We then found that we had to pay for the cable car, several stops along the wall we also had to pay to go through and then the bridge across the river. What annoyed me the most was not that they did this but that they didn’t tell us beforehand. In England if you have to pay for something, you would be told beforehand so you could choose to do it or not. In China at least in their treatment of tourists they don’t seem to care about this and keep on adding in extra charges. It’s just decency that you say beforehand how much something will cost. Anyway, the wall itself was amazing but was rather spoilt by these people.

On the last day we spent the day in Beijing central just pottering around the shops and buying things. In the evening we went out to a very expensive restaurant and had Peking duck, the best that Jenny had ever had and so therefore probably the best in the world. After this, we went to an acrobatic show which was simply amazing – see some of the pictures I took. It’s the Chinese idea that if you practise at something long enough (ie from birth) you will be good at it, and in this it seemed very true. A good way to end our trip to China. We had some issues getting back into the house and had to wait outside for about an hour but otherwise it was fine.