Wednesday, 22 December 2010

has just received this and having a wee trip down memory lane

It's very odd thinking this was one of *those* albums from my time at school. It was released 17 years ago.

Ouch...

Still, one advantage is that it only cost £0.34.

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Friday, 3 December 2010

has put up the advent calendar with the weeWeir

Almost on schedule...

Posted via email from theweir's posterous

All Change.

Earlier this year, Jenny, Beth and I moved house. It's been a stunning move and we are grateful every day for this new home. I've also been privileged enough, in the midst of significant organisational change at work, to get a new role.

It's not been an easy process to walk through, thinking about leaving a great team, trying to create a CV that told my story in an engaging way and thinking about the opportunities in my current role to have good fun producing some good work, but I was feeling like it was part of this season of change we are walking through.

One if the biggest things I want to take with me in this role is that just because ive been offered something new, doesn't mean I've made it. It doesn't mean I have it all figured out. I'm just joining a new team to continue my learning.

It's been fun reminding myself that im not all that (whatever that is!).

A wise friend once said "never believe your own press" and that's very true. Never take too much out of what people say about you. Recognise who you really are and how much we can all grow.

That said, I'm still excited by what's next.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

There's a flag flying high.

I can remember the first time I heard a Brooke Fraser song. It was Shadowfeet, from the album Albertine and I heard it on a commercial radio station while touring the South Island of New Zealand.

Unbeknownst to us, a friend had bought us the album as a gift for our arrival in the country - we went to visit them a couple of weeks later.

In my view, Albertine is a great album with some stunning moments that still speak into a deep place in my spirit.

Fast forward four years (!) and there's a new album from Ms Fraser. I'd been following the development of the album on twitter & Facebook and was keen to hear the final product, but avoided the sneak peeks on line. I like to hear the whole piece in context, rather than just bits...

I was completely blown away.

The quality of songwriting is staggeringly high. The performances captured on the recordings are true to the material, being beautifully arranged and produced, with such sensitivity that I was breathless - in fact I was in tears at some points.

It's not rushed or forced. It reminds me of the production of Matt Redman's album Intimacy - not for style, but for the amazing artistry of songwriter and producer in total flow together.

What I love most is the subject matter. It's not easy or simple, black and white love songs or faith songs. These are songs about the completixties, the grey areas, the things that make us ask questions of what we believe.

I can't say how much this album means to me as it's only been in my ears for relatively few days, but it has made a mark on my heart, there's no doubt about that.

It is going to be one I will return to again and again and again and again.... drawing me to a deeper place and exposing the fragility of emotion that we can all bury behind layers of coping, calling it maturity.

If you need something to do in the midst of snow and uncertainty: give these songs a real listen.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Stop whining (and change your life)

I can't tell you how much this resonated with me:

Two problems with whining

The first is that it doesn't work. You can whine about the government or your friends or your job or your family, but nothing will happen except that you'll waste time.

Worse... far worse... is that whining is a reverse placebo. When you get good at whining, you start noticing evidence that makes your whining more true. So you amplify that and immerse yourself in it, thus creating more evidence, more stuff worth complaining about.

If you spent the same time prattling on about how optimistic you are, you'd have to work hard to make that true...

What we fix our eyes on is ultimately what we become, and the sooner we stop blaming situations for the reality of our present, the sooner we can get on with making a difference.

Sound fanciful and un-realistic or suspiciously like truth that we can all benefit from living by?


PS - words came from Seth Godin, here.


Friday, 29 October 2010

Senses

At work today, we got talking about the idea of having cows in the office.

In fact, we got talking about the idea of a cow on each desk. Then in a splendid moment of connected thinking, we got talking about this and this.

In a sweeping generalisation that is bound to raise the heckles of some, I would think that most Northern Hemisphere, city-dwelling folks will find the smell of cow dung pretty a little unpleasant. I'm not overly bothered by the smell, if I'm honest, how about you?

ANYWAY.

My point was that later on this afternoon, I was thinking that how do we learn what is a good or bad smell. A good or bad taste. A good or bad feeling? Anthropologists will have the minutia of this ready to educate us, I'm sure!

As the weeWeir is growing up, I'm finding myself aware of not passing on (too many of) my preferences for sensory stimulation - but equally I want her to share the joy of a delicious meal, an amazing view or an invigorating aroma.

I guess I'm learning to try and teach her what she is sensing and how to interpret that. That there's some senses there to warn about danger, I'm sure - but that as a parent I have the opportunity to shape how my daughter interprets the world, I'm certain.

What's your take?

Saturday, 23 October 2010

On such a day as this eleven years ago...

Eleven years ago, just about now, Jenny and I were climbing into the back of a car (driven by my brother-in-law, Graham) and heading off on honeymoon.

Eleven years ago today, Jenny and I got married, looking a little like this and completely unaware of what lay ahead for us.

Eleven years ago today, Jenny and I left our old experiences of our families behind and became a new part of the same families.

Eleven years ago, I cried saying my vows and later a wedding toast that makes me shudder to remember how poor it was (I'm grateful that YouTube wasn't around back then...!).

Eleven years ago, my Nokia 5110 was pretty cutting edge...and now I'm typing this on an iPad! Crazyness.

Eleven years ago, Jenny and I committed ourselves to each other and a lifelong journey of supporting each other through the highs and carrying each other through the lows.

Eleven years ago, Jenny and I might have strained to believe that we'd have had so many wonderful experiences in life, work and home.

Eleven years ago, Jenny and I may have struggled to think that we'd have such a tremendous weeWeir, that Jenny would be a Midwife and i'd get to do whatever it is I do for a living. We'd have been confident of having such great friends and loving family though. ;->

Tomorrow, year twelve of our great adventure together begins as the journey continues.

You are part of that journey, and we're glad that (most) of you are in it with us. For those who have helped us get this far, we are grateful. For those who are still with us now, thank you. For those who've just joined the fun, welcome.

C'mon, Mrs theWeir...let's go...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Memories

There's often talk about parents building memories fortheir children. While I think that is valuable, I'm thinking that many of the memories we've built with the weeWeir have done us as much, or more good than they have for her.

I'm thinking about when we had a few nights away last month and she wouldn't settle to sleep on our first night. We tried our usual arsenal of tricks, but nothing worked. Eventually, after four hours we out her in the car and she was asleep in seconds. Literally seconds.

Literally.

I look back and find it completely fine, cute, understandable and all that. At the time, it was none of those things.

What did I learn from that memory? What do I need to leave behind from that memory?

I learned that the moment can be hard to separate from the context. That being away from home a few weeks after you move to a new home is pretty unsettling for a weeWeir. And that being awake until midnight one night will result in no problems the following night.

I learned that getting worked up by the lack of sleeping child is understandable but almost as futile as the lack of sleep itself. It's part of the process and next time, we'll try the car about three hours earlier in the process...

It would be easy to jump to a conclusion that we should never go away from home again, or never try and get the weeWeir to sleep in a strange bed. But that's not the real memory.

We had a great holiday and learned some new stuff about going away from home when you have a small person involved.

Have you ever been there? What are your memories telling you?

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Reason for reaction

Isn't it interesting how our first reactions reveal a lot.

When I feel accused of something, or that I need to defend my position, it's normal that my reaction will be "no..." followed by a rationale, reasons or circumstances that at extra context to the actions or words I feel are being confronted.

It's almost like I am looking for someone to blame. That it can't possibly be my fault. Or at least if it is then there's good reason (ahem: excuse!)

But so often the person we are dealing with is wrong. ;-p

How can we be gracious in our interactions? Or is that not important? Sometimes people aren't interested in a gracious, respectful conversation. Maybe that's not worth the effort.

Maybe there's a better way to respond, even when we are right. Maybe I should be more appreciative that people actually listen! Maybe there's room to say thank you for pointing that out.

Clearly there's a need to be truthful and honest. But there's a power in deferring to another out of respect and (dare I say) love.

Lots of questions today. Got any thoughts?

Blink is an interesting book on the topic too. Particularly about the source of our instant responses.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Let's be honest, flickr, you don't really miss me do you?

I like flickr.com.  I think it's a great way to store, share and index images.  I like the way the site looks and (mostly) how it works.  I even paid for the pro version 18 months ago to get more sets and more storage.  Earlier this year my pro status expired and I haven't yet had the inclination to renew it.  I've not been taking that many pictures of late (which isn't the best, I'll admit) so I've not had much sense of urgency about it.  Lots of other things to be doing!

Every time I log in to flickr.com I get a cheery greeting and a wee reminder to sign up.  But today I noticed something a little more awkward.

You can see the picture.

Let's be honest, flickr, it's not me you miss is it...?

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Sunday, 19 September 2010

those three words

There's a line in the Snow Patrol song "Chasing Cars"

"those three words, are said too much, they're not enough"

At our church gathering this morning, we sung a song with the line "Jesus, I love You" I was struck by the lines from both songs this morning. I sit here reflecting on the question "what does it mean to sing that?".

We can reduce it to a glib thought or a fleeting thought. What does it really mean. What do you think?

Answers in the comments...






Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Did anyone else notice how the bank are helping small businesses? #lloyds

Take a closer look at the bottom of the frame. Are they sharing a moment of chemical happiness? Is that how their "relationship managers" help their customers?

Sounds like they've found a new way to keep their customers loyal!

Posted via email from theweir's posterous

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The shadow of couches past.

So our couches are gone to their new home now. This moving house thing is becoming all the more real...

Posted via email from theweir's posterous

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Amen, Daddy

Yesterday, the weeWeir got herself all upset over something. I wasn't in the room at the time, and I'm not sure what the *something* was.

Crying, she came running to find me, saying "Daddy" and other words I couldn't quote interpret at the pace and insistence she was using. Kneeling on the floor, I asked her why she was crying.

"Daddy...[insert toddler ramblings here]" was the response. But I knew it wasn't my fault.

"Where is is sore, I asked".

Same reply.

As I held her and she calmed down, I listened again. "Amen, Daddy". It made a little more sense now.

Since before she was born, Jenny and I have prayed with the weeWeir. Before bed for sure, but at other times too. Particularly if she had hurt herself or was unsettled. That and singing with her.

So as I knelt with her on the floor, I prayed a few simple words asking Father to come with Grace & Peace in Jesus name.

An "amen" from Beth (yes, I used her name which is unusual) and she was calm.

A lot of thoughts on the back of this precious moment, which I'll unpack soon, but what's your view. Yes you. Add a comment and share your thoughts.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

There are lessons here for all of us

At the weekend, I dropped my HTC Desire from my hand and onto the ground. This was the result:

There were no tears, but it took a moment or two to overcome the temptation to "blame" somebody. In the end, it's just something that happened to a thing. Not the end of the world. Not even close.

Especially as I'm still able to use the thing...

So, I'm thinking that life is about learning and wondering what lessons can we learn from this?

I'll start:
don't hold your phone in the same hand you are using to open the car door.

Please join in - add your "lessons" in the comments!

Friday, 16 July 2010

you are not alone

A couple of weeks ago, I got a wee bump in followers on twitter.

Then later that day, I got a message from someone saying:

"@theWeir I read "the egg" today and it blew my mind. How did you come up with that?" (it's here)

I didn't recognise the author of the message, and more importantly, didn't remember writing anything called "the egg". A quick check of blog
titles and writings confirmed that I was being mistaken for someone else.

But who were they looking for, and what was "the egg"? I replied thanking the person, but suggesting it was a different Andy Weir. They passed me this link.

Now I knew that this wasn't me as my relationship with God doesn't lead to reincarnation...


I thought not much more about it until I opened up Google Reader and found a whole load of results in my "tracking" RSS feeds. I'm sad (or vain?) enough to keep an eye on what my name shows on Google and twitter searches.

Not because I expect to find some scandal about me, but just to know what's being picked up about people with the same name as me. Mitch talks about it a lot in the area of Personal Branding. While I'm not in the game of building a brand of Andy Weir, I do want to be aware what Google says about me as that can impact the perception a prospective employer might have of me.

And here we are ten days, and an 800% jump in website views for my homepage later and I'm still getting results about "the egg" and a steady stream of new twitter followers. When I tweet about Jesus, do you think they'll be confused?

Too late.

I posted this earlier:

"thoughts of future, possibilities and faith mingle with weariness and uncertainty to leave me open to grace & peace. a re-drawing of things."

And got a reply:

"@theWeir Dude, did you write "The Egg" or not? Am I following the right Andy Weir? :) But seriously..."

The answer, was clearly "Nope"...

What's my reply to "the egg"? I have a future and a hope in Jesus that lasts longer than I can understand. There is enough Grace and Peace in the Love of God to calm the most tormented soul and there is one life to live for the Glory of the King and that's what I am all about.

I have no pity for the other Andy Weir. I have respect for his writing. It's a beautifully created narrative. My worldview is different and I can cope with his being different too. Some of the ideas in "the egg" resonate with truth I can agree with.

But my hope is built not in my attaining God-likeness but in being given the gift of life in God, of losing my self and finding wholeness in Christ.

Of being reborn into His likeness...

Thursday, 1 July 2010

What's your story?


I spent some time clearing out my desk today.

Fortunately, this was not at the request/instruction of someone else or a prelude to leaving the building. It was time to clear out some old clothes. By clothes I mean mostly paper.

With the recent departure of my director, there is a sense in which a chapter is over. I've written before here and here about how this chapter started.

There's a new day ahead. It is time to close that chapter of my work. Not the end of the story, nor the end of the relationships of that chapter, just preparing what is next.

There were loads of old memories in the folders I emptied today. The notes from my review meetings from 1999 to 2005 tell the story of my contribution to the business in that period.

There were notes from previous projects - some completed, others abandoned.



There were also stickers. Lots of stickers. I used to have all of these 'round my old CRT monitor as far back as 2003. Why did I keep them? Some kind of desire to remain connected to my younger days, I guess. And then earlier this week, McColleague A1tch found a picture of me from back then. Well, didn't I look young...

Most of the material - notes, papers, plans has now gone to be reused or recycled. Why? Most of the stuff doesn't matter. It's part of the story, and that's it. It's part of what got me here. To this point. The next stage is what's next.

I've been thinking about my story, about what it means to be me. I want to update my LinkedIn profile.

The question I have been keen that people I work with answer the question: "what do you need me to do you?". Perhaps another, equally relevant question is "what would I like to do now?"

 LinkedIn 

Monday, 28 June 2010

Shorts. Are. The. Future.

I created a petition and like your support. What's it about?

Shorts.

We work in offices.

We spend time at our desks.

We want permission to wear shorts.

Please change your business dress code or guidelines to make it happen.

We will respect the need for professionalism when we're meeting clients. And for no socks to be worn with sandals. Ever.

Sign the petition online here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/shoffice/

Thursday, 24 June 2010

You have reached your destination

"Really?", I ask.

"You have reached your destination" chimes the Satellite Navigation again.

"I think you're lying".

How often do we think we've made it. We've cracked it. We can do it.

Then we realise we're nowhere. Or at least not where we meant to be. And we have to re-adjust. I was thinking about the conflict of Maps and Satellite Navigation and GPS. Sat Nat works well when we need to get somewhere and don't have time, but maps let us understand where we're going and why we're taking certain routes.

For the past wee while I've been a little uneasy about work - what am I doing, is it fun (which is important, right?), do I enjoy being there. Just when we think we've arrived, we often find that there's much more to come.

The journey makes life interesting, the people we share the journey with are all the more important.

You share the journey with me and for that, I thank you.

Grace for the road.


W

Authenticity: Slick

I like things done well, and I agree with Tom's clarion calls for Excellence.

However, slick is not always a good thing.

I think this post by Seth really captures what I am looking for.

"So I guess instead of slick we're now seeking transparency and reputation and guts."

Oh yes, we certainly are. And maybe, just maybe, the way we are behaving will become more and more authentic.

Read Seth's short musing here.

What do you think? How do you see it?

Thursday, 17 June 2010

I never knew you

Isn't it amazing how people are great?

Too often we hear how we're hard done to, cheated out of what we're *entitled* to and generally at the wrong end of the wedge of happiness.

Well, it's not really like that in the real world. We all face challenges, sure, but we are very seldom alone and I'm wondering if we do find ourselves genuinely alone and facing a significant problem, it's maybe because of the choices we've made. Of the distance we've kept from others.

So it's with a grateful heart I say thank you to those who supported us with concern, empathy and basically love over the past few days.

I posted some messages on Twitter & Facebook about us taking the weeWeir to hospital at the request of the Doctor, as well as sending a few SMS messages to close family and friends.

The replies brought me to tears, realising we were not alone.

While we were not on our own, we knew that God was with us through it all, we also knew you were with us too. And for that we can only say

Thank you. You know who you are.

The weeWeir is doing better thanks. We continue to keep an eye on her and see how she does in the days ahead.

can't believe how light it is for 3:30am.

I almost feel like going for a walk in the cool of the morning. Almost.

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Saturday, 12 June 2010

Don't look at me!

Now, isn't that odd.

People complaining about a service they receive from that Great British tm Telecommunication company - BT - have complained about the company reaching out to them through the very same media that they used to complain.

Imagine that.

People made noise and the company listened.

Okay, so the "facts" are in the Daily Mail's article here. However, we could probably drive a couple of aid convoys through the gaps in their arguments.

People weren't happy that companies were spying on them.

Wait, that means you are spying because your looking at the same internet as the company can. And let's define spying, shall we:

to watch or observe closely and secretly, usually with unfriendly purpose: often without

Is looking at what people post online spying? Then Google is the biggest spy ever known.

The Mail's premise falls foul of the reality that when people post to networks like Twitter and Facebook, they set their own privacy levels (okay, let's leave Facebook out of that bracket for now) but I find it hard to call it spying when anyone can access what you chose to publicly post online.

Okay, the mail does have a point about companies turning Twitter into broadcast, but as many online strategists keep saying, you chose who you listen to on these networks. You can give permission and can remove it as quick as you like.

Oh yeah, and no matter what anyone says, this is all happening in the early days of these tools. We don't know where it's going. Sure, we need to find out soon, but reporting like this doeajt help anyone, except drive fear, maintaining the status quo and generally not adding much to the conversation.

Let's face it, it's clear that the Mail doesn't understand what's happening online.

They are like someone walking past a dog and grabbing it by the ears. They don't help anyone.

Friday, 11 June 2010

A-B-A-B-C-A

I was listening to an episode of Spark the other day and Nora was interviewing Jay Frank. He was talking about how the use of online channels is changing the way that pop songs are written. it's well worth listening to. That's here, if you missed it earlier.

I've been interested in how songs are written for years. I've struggled to write songs for years too. I have, however, been alright at arranging other people's ideas. When part of IndigoEcho, the guys used to talk about how I'd come along and "augment" a simple idea... probably true?!

So, listening to the interview - an particular where Jay talks about the way songs are being arranged to keep people's attention, it got me wondering. I've not been a fan of pop music since the 1960s. I wasn't around in the 1960s, but you know what I mean, right? So I'm not familiar with a lot of pop. I am, however, fairly familiar with a lot of christian music that takes some of it's cues from pop music.

And that's where I got to thinking about how much of our contemporary music in churches has become formulaic. There's a point in the interview where Jay says that at 1:45 in a pop song you need to do something different to keep people's attention. So it is in many contemporary christian songs. It's got a standard, A-B-A-B-C-B structure. And invariably, the most engaging part of the song will be the C-section.

Perhaps it's the artist in me that finds this utterly bewildering. Why would I want to intentionally use a formula to create music. I think that's why I've struggled to write as I find it hard to do anything original!

Now, I'm not saying that all *those guys* who write these songs are following a formula. Neither am I saying it's wrong. I just find it hard to think that this is how we have to do it. There's more. And we're doing more.

We move beyond the song. We push past the boundaries of familiar lyrics and start to sing the songs that speak of where we are at - of how we are living. It's there that we can breathe more authenticity into what we're doing.

I completely understand where Jay was coming from. If you're trying to make engaging songs that will sell - and make money for the label, then go for your life. If you're trying to express your heart, your soul, your song. Forget the formula and see where you end up.

You can keep your world cup...

I've not had the most enjoyable week at work for reasons I can't quite get my head around. Am I bored? Not really. Do I feel like I'm not working hard enough? Possibly.

Whatever the story, it's done now.

The perfect antidote to it all, after a headwind-tactic bike ride home, was making tea for the weeWeir, getting almost as wet as she did without actually being in the bath and then drawing fish, sharks and crabs for half an hour before bedtime.

You can keep your world cup, just let me play.

(PS, I have nothing against sport or the world cup, I just enjoyed un-mediated interaction!)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

That's no moon

Yesterday, @headphonaught wrote about the ADIDAS/Star Wars Cantina advert. You can read his post here.

I commented:

From watching it on my Desire, the clip looks really well made. That's a good thing. I'm with you in feeling slightly uncomfortable about it though. For long enough, the Star Wars universe was a mystery. It was hard to watch the films as there were limited runs of VHS tapes, and very seldom shown on network TV. That air of mystery added to the experience of actually watching the films.

In recent years as George Lucas has opened up, and as culture shifts online and more of the visual media we consume is remixed then this kind of thing is inevitable. Sure, it may cheapen the experience a little, but we call that progress, don't we? It's almost like you including a bit of classic Miles Davis or Herbie Hancock in a crazy mixtape!

Funny I enjoyed the
Chad Vader sketches more than this - Maybe because it was more original?

Today, I came across this (via JD Walt). It's way lower budget, but somehow seems to capture the intent of Star Wars more than the Adidas short.


(on YouTube here)

Maybe, it's because it's faintly ridiculous, but clearly made with a lot of love. Maybe it's because it's about sustainable farming. Maybe it's just 'cos I'd like to make fun stuff like that. Whatever reason, there's many many worse things to do with five minutes of your life.

What do you think?