Thursday, August 31, 2006

From the Trenchers

So I finally get long enough at a computer to attempt some kind of coherent without further introduction:


Things started well with an aisle seat near the front of the plane with the adjoining seat empty! There are many theories on which seats are best. My firm opinion after trying them all is middle block, aisle seat. That way you don't have to clamber over anyone (a big problem if you take the window - by the way you can't actually see anything for 95% of the flight). And you only have a maximum of one person clambering over you. You can more easily access your overhead luggage and maintain proper ratios of urinary relief.

Had the cool as personal movie screen so watched V For Vendetta and Sione's Wedding. Enjoyed both.

The LAX layover was 9 hours - the price you pay for a free ticket. So I walked to my next terminal and basically killed time - reading, sleeping, eating... The remaining 2 flights were fine and without drama.

Except my bags didn't make it...


It was great to see Kristen and Rhys again. Rhys was very eager to show me a Tiger in an advertisement on the wall, which he dragged me to! He was priceless on seeing me: He half smiled/cried, looking bewildered as if to say, "What is Daddy doing here?"

The bags arrived later that afternoon.

A happy day spent hanging out with the fam. Renewed rough housing with the boy. Chris and Marcia have a great new home and Rhys had certainly made himself at home!

Next day wasn't so grand. Somehow I caught something and spent the day spewing. Oh and into the night. Friday was listless and lacking. I finally managed to eat something that night. I wasn't looking forward to the wedding but was about 60% by then so did OK.


For those of you who like these things. Shortest ceremony in history. Bride wore a dress. Rhys was awesome, diligently following the cart that was pulled up the aisle by one cousin carrying another. Kristen sang and did a reading. She was excellent.

Rhys is certainly his father's son, bringing all manner of crazy dance moves to the dance floor. In fact he stole the show and demonstrated commendable stamina.


Next day we visited Impact, cession's partner church. This was a lot of fun. I did an interview style message with Phil, looking at the importance of engaging with the stories of others as part of connecting their story to God's story. It seemed to go well. We used one of the "Upside Down Religion" DVD's as an example of a story. Lots of people to say "HI" to and the chance for some more meaningful connection with the Impact leadership over an extended lunch. It was great to see the foundations for their new auditorium taking shape.


Next day we headed north to Mackinac Island (pronounced Mackinaw). This was where we had our honeymoon 3 years ago. Kristen and I spent Monday evening on the island and were joined next day by Rhys and the grandparents. The big thing about Mackinac is they don't allow cars. So its all bikes and horses with a fair bit of history. Very romantic destination. We completed a horse drawn tour which was fun. Rhys loved the horses. Mackinac is also the home of fudgemaking (I kid you not). So there was the obligatory tasting and purchasing (although as a non sweet eater I did not overly participate).

Today we came back via a wildlife exhibit. All stuffed animals but very well done and a great way to get to understand the Michigan fauna - Elk, deer, wolverines (a type of weasel), coyotes, wolves, bobcats, lynx etc. Lunch was Michigan whitefish (from the lake) which I had been wanting to try. It was good. We also raced Go-Karts and I acquitted myself well with a stunning last lap to take the chequered flag. But who's competing...


We're back here in Lansing tonight but head away to Missouri tomorrow for a Bluegrass Festival and Family Reunion. The bummer is we have to drive 12 hours! More on that to follow...back next week, so don't expect much from me from the hillbilly country...

Hope everyone is having a great time!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Idle Chatter

So I was watching the end of NZ Idol last night and I heard 2 outrageous comments.

The first from Dominic Bowden which left me speechless: In introducing the all time classic from Elton John, more recently re-engineered by George Michael, Dominic named the title of the song as “Don’t Let Your Son Go Down On Me”…I couldn’t believe it! The song is of course, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me”, a quite different sentiment. Oh the buzz of live TV.

Then Megan Alatini described the singer of this great ballad as “the total package”. She was right: he was good-looking, humble and engaging. Just one problem, he couldn’t sing! I was praying for an early sunset, believe me.

Actually, speaking of Megan Alatini nee Cassie, I always feel some degree of proprietary interest concerning her career (?). When I was a student I delivered a piano to her family home. It all started there.

Driving home from the airport today (boo hoo – I am a bachelor for 2 weeks), I heard something on the radio that breathed new optimism into the Israel-Lebanon situation. It was a relief to know that they have quality people bringing great wisdom to bear on the process. A UN advisor made this sage pronouncement: “Unless we can find some common ground, we are not going to get a resolution.” Amazing.