Wednesday, 28 January 2009

I am now 21 years of age.

Yeah. 21. Good stuff. Today, in fact. :P

My friend Dave just turned 30, and posted his highlights and lowlights from the first 30 years. I was thinking about doing something similar, but I haven't actually thought about it yet. If you have any ideas let me know. How about:

The most defining moments of my life so far?
Or a facial hair line-graph?
Or maybe I should go back in time and take a photo of me every day from the day I was born, turn it into a video and post it online?

Saturday, 24 January 2009

The Pope is on YouTube

So, I noticed on the news yesterday that the Pope has set up his own channel on YouTube, so I had a brief look. It seems that The Vatican are really moving with the times now, they've uploaded twelve videos already but I only watched one. You can witness such delights as "Benedict XVI blesses lambs for the feast S. Agnes" among others. According to the channel, "This video-news presents the Catholic Churchs position regarding the principal issues of the world today."

I didn't realise that the blessing of lambs for the feast St. Agnes was a principal issue in the world today.

To be honest, I'm just waiting for something controversial to come out of it, like "secret videos of Benedict XVI doing the macarena leaked onto internet." Currently, I'm finding all the roman numerals a bit of a turn off.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Responding to the evolution debate

As far as evolution is concerned, I'm not certain about much. However, I am more or less convinced of one thing: if we find proof one way or another it will result in a huge amount of people looking more silly than any group of people have ever looked.

It worries me slightly to think that some people might actually choose which side of the debate to side with based on how silly they think they will look if they are later found to be wrong. That's no way to decide your opinions, even if you might end up looking very, very silly indeed.

However, will we ever find evidence that is conclusive enough for both parties? Would either group accept their silly-lookingness and move on, or would they stand defiantly until the end?

High stakes such as these amount to very exciting debates, I find. So, I am preparing to be excited by Honest to Darwin - the case for intelligent design! It'll probably be a key event in determining how my opinions will evolve.

Oh dear. LOL.

[Update: totally got a deja vu when I posted this... wierd.]

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Critiquing Newton Faulkner

I decided to write this so I could complain, but then thought that I shouldn't be moaning all the time, so let's start with the positives!

Netwon Faulkner is one of the best mainstream singer-songwriters I've heard. Not just currently, but in my life so far I have heard few artists with such dexterity on the guitar who also manage to write a variety of catchy, melodic, interesting songs. In my opinion, Mr. Faulkner strikes a perfect balance between the niche lap-tapping stars of the internet and the more traditional, mainstream pop ballad artist.

It is also good that he tries to make songs more lyrically interesting than, "oh, in my heart I feeeeel, a love that is so reeeeal..." etc. However, it's his lyrics that disappointed me recently. Specifically, this line in People Should Smile More (an otherwise brilliant song):

"I can't change the world, cos trying to make a difference makes it worse." Talk about a defeatist attitude. It might be understandable to hold the point of view that one person cannot make much of a difference, but where did he get the idea that if he did put in the effort it would make things worse? That's just nonsense. Not your Edward Lear kind of nonsense though, this is nonsense that people might actually believe, and apply to their lives. Grrr.

But he does make exceedingly good music. Gone in the Morning, for instance.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

YouTube

Firstly, I must state that this post is in no way an attempt to advertise my own Youtube videos, which can be found here.

No, instead I've decided to have a quick rant about the culture of YouTube, and similar "online communities". Basically, I think it's shocking how much abuse people dish out when they can conceal themselves behind a screen. I don't get many "haterz" commenting on my videos but that could be because they don't get watched very often.

Nevertheless, I don't have to look far to come across two angry YouTubers having a no-holds-barred comment fight. It might go something like this:

pwnnoob911 says:
is tht a fender strat or a squire hes plying?

1337K1ng says:
it's a freaking telicaster u retard

pwnnoob911 says:
at least i can spel telecaster dumbass

1337K1ng says:
i hope your mom gets run down by an ice cream truck

etc. etc. etc.

Now, you also get a lot of positive comments, and you can flag any as spam if you don't like them. However, that doesn't resolve the issue that you have a bunch of 14 year-old kids sitting at their PCs being incredibly malicious. I think they need to hear about unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness. And probably a good lesson in humility. Honestly, young people these days...

They're nothing like this chap here.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Highlights from YFC staff conference

This Friday signalled the end of another Youth for Christ staff conference, which brought hundreds of youth workers from all over Britain to Bodelwyddan castle hotel to celebrate, and get motivated for 2009. All in all it was a fantastic week, but here's eight things that made it particuarly enjoyable for me (in no particluar order):

1) YFriday
Undoubtedly the best Geordie Christian rock band in the world, YFriday joined us for the week and lead our times of worship. This was brilliant throughout, especially on the final night, which saw a collaboration between the band, DJ Hoolio and a couple of MCs. Bangin' beats, phat bass and the presence of God. Mmm.

2) Breakfast
The only reason I was able to get up each morning was the hot full english buffet that awaited me downstairs. Having said that, one morning my alarm failed me and we only arrived in time for toast.

3) The Bible as Apple, Orange and Ostrich Egg
The keynote speaker was a guy called Leonard Sweet. I believe his middle name is Freekin. Apparently he writes two books a year, and I'd recommend getting hold of some, on the basis that his talks were all awesome. Without going into too much detail, he was saying that we need to treat the bible holistically, like biting into an apple, instead of disecting it like a orange and isolating each part. Part of the challenge is to replace memorising bible verses with memorising bible stories. The ostrich egg reminds us to keep our eyes fixed on Christ in everything we read.

4) Clapclapclapclapclapclapclapwooooclapclapclapclap...
Roy Crowne, national director of YFC is stepping down this year, after decades of leadership. As such, this was his last conference, and he was presented with gifts, before receiving a standing ovation that went on longer than Lord of the Rings. It was quite a special moment (despite the fact I'd never heard of him til 2007).

5) Coincidences
I met a bloke called James from somewhere and it turned out we were both at a friend's wedding in the summer. That was not all however, as it was also revealed that we entered the same Christmas film competition, which I blogged about here. His film actually came 3rd overall, fortunately it was one of the really good ones so I wasn't too jealous. However, it really made my day that he thought my film should have been in the top ten and his youth group were "outraged" that it wasn't! I felt vindicated.

6) Sex with Elaine Storkey
One of the guest speakers, Mrs. Storkey, delivered a seminar on the above topic. I didn't actually go, so it only made the highlights list because of the lol factor (which Roy Crowne capitalized on, having previously given a talk to students that was advertised as "Maximum sex with Roy Crowne").

7) Celebration with Michelle Guiness
Another superb talk, this time on the theme of partying. It really is crazy that having been saved from death into eternal life, we don't have many parties. "Isn't it splendid to be a child of God? Shall we break out the cucumber sandwiches? Jesus really is rather lovely, isn't he?"

8) Beating Texans at Boggle
Yeah. Having played "scramble" on Facebook and lost more than I won, I was wondering whether I was losing my touch. As it happens, I absolutely pwned their faces. I'm sure they still enjoyed it though.



Saturday, 3 January 2009

Poll Results

Here's a confession... I voted twice on two PCs to bias the results of my American comedy ballot in favour of Scrubs: the best American sitcom ever, IMHO.

With jiggery-pokery accounted for, it was a tie between Friends and The Simpsons for first place, ammassing a grand total of TWO VOTES EACH!!! A veritable clash of the titans.

Watch out for the next survey.

Friday, 2 January 2009

When a vicar's head revolves...

In my first ever post I mentioned a comedian called Tim Vine, whose latest DVD I have just bought. For me, this was probably the highlight of his act...

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy new year!

As I was heralding the coming of 2009 last night, I was thinking about the reasons why people celebrate new year's. Since most people don't seem to enjoy being reminded that they are ageing, why do we mark the passage of another year with a special event?

Is new year's eve just an excuse for wild partying, or is there something significant about fresh starts and an "out with the old, in with the new" mentality? Basically, I'd like to know why people are so excited about it.

For me, I guess it's an opportunity to look to the future, which is exciting because I have most of my life ahead of me (hopefully) and I know that God has plans for the years to come.

I'd like to waffle on for ages about resolutions and auld lang syne and stuff but I'm absolutely shattered so I'm not sure how coherent it would be. Have a good year guys.