Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All Blacks - Experience and a Kicking Game

So the AB's team for the rematch with the Aussies is out:

Leon MacDonald,
Mils Muliaina,
Conrad Smith,
Ma'a Nonu,
Sitiveni Sivivatu,
Dan Carter,
Jimmy Cowan/Piri Weepu/Andrew Ellis,
Rodney So'oialo,
Richie McCaw (captain),
Jerome Kaino,
Ali Williams,
Brad Thorn,
Greg Somerville,
Andrew Hore/Keven Mealamu,
Tony Woodcock.

Reserves : Hore/Mealumu, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Adam Thomson/Daniel Braid, Cowan/Weepu/Ellis, Stephen Donald, Richard Kahui.

Experience is the key here with all the new boys except Kaino (who played well on Sunday) gone. Muliaina is on the wing simply because he has to be on the field, but MacDonald adds his experience to the mix plus his kicking game. So'oialo returns to 8 where his security at the back of the scrum will enhance distribution. The Centre combination is restored and given a chance to function properly from the start of the game. Oh...and the captain is back.

This is a solid team with a much better balance. I'd have loved to see Afoa in, but if you're going to play Somerville and Afoa in the same game, then Somerville needs to start.

Lauaki has s(l)unk from sight.

Mortlock is back for the Aussies. Elsom is out with Phil Waugh in for him. That will increase the Aussie mobility in the loose, but they will lose some of their destructiveness with the ball in hand and on the tackle.

Look for an AB win at home as the boys come out hurting.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Its My Birthday and I'll Scoff If I Want To

I think she likes cake...

I Like Cyberpunk

Now the comment from Vania on the last post forced me to admit that the xeromag link is a bit dodgy but ONLY if you surf away from my link - thats your choice! I'm certainly not into xero and its more grubby emphases, but I am into cyberpunk which was one of the original foci of the magazine.

Cyberpunk is a sci-fi genre. The name is derived from - you guessed it already - cybernetics and punk. The term was originally coined by Bruce Bethke as the title of his short story "Cyberpunk," so you can read an example by clicking on the link. Cyberpunk is dark sci fi usually set in anarchic societies with a lot of high tech wetware in evidence (cybernetics).

So yes, films like Matrix and the groundbreaking Bladerunner are examples of cyber punk on the big screen. Johnny Mnemonic would be another less well known example.

Its all very anti establishment, with lots of hackers, faceless corporations, mercenaries, AI's and androgynes. One of my favourite writers is William Gibson. His Neuromancer is perhaps the most well-known work in this field. And the quote down a few posts from Bruce Sterling is also classic cyber punk. If you like edgy fantasy, chances are you'll like cyber punk. But it tends to be a bit more "heady", gritty and downright disturbing. Most often though its funny with its dark satirical overtones. I like laughing when I read.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Life of Brian

I sat down with a degree of anticipation to watch the latest interpretation of the life of Bishop Brian Tamaki. I was disappointed. I later discovered the footage was dated - 2005 vintage which explained some of it. But mostly I was disappointed by the banal approach of Ross Jennings who's doco it was. An example makes the point:

Jennings commented on Tamaki's flame-decorated Harley: "That looks like a bike the devil would ride."

Tamaki: "What sort of a question is that, Ross?"

Jennings: "Do you feel as though you've got a monster between your legs?"

Tamaki: "Shucks, what sort of question is that?"

Silly stuff.

The shallow approach persisted throughout. Just when it was threatening to get interesting and informative Jennings moved on. For example, the structure of the Destiny trust board and the relationship of Tamaki inc and the Destiny Gym, Proton was briefly canvassed and then lost amidst another banal observation: you mean the church pays no tax on its tithes? Of course it doesn't you idiot - no church or charity is taxed on its donations. But you can bet the Tamakis pay their share of tax on any income they receive from the church. Both of which Jennings knows only too well.

What seemed to be coming from the Tamakis was they are shareholders in the company that runs the gym, completely separate from the church. Which is OK by me. And that Tamaki makes money off his books and things - which is also OK by me (although it is a matter of degree and personal taste how much one buys into this - he's certainly not alone though!)

The most interesting comments were the very learned and charitable comments by openly gay Christian academic Peter Lineham, who brought a deal of understanding to the table. Of particular interest to me were comments on the Maori and Pacific cultural elements to Tamaki's role-status. Only I couldn't decide who had the more flamboyant hair style - Tamaki or Lineham with his red dyed perm! Lineham also noted that tithing, reformed substance abusers would likely be much better off financially with Tamaki, even paying the tithe. The appearance of ex gang members with stories of reformation, repaired marriages and legit jobs reminded me that there are winners in the Tamaki story.

Tamaki showed just a little of the hurt he perhaps feels at his villification, with an amusing anecdote about being seated next to the late Maori Queen, forcing Helen Clark and other high brow Labourites to acknowledge him to their chagrin (as Tamaki tells it). He has a photo on the wall.

I found some of the church scenes a little disturbing. Perhaps just personal taste? Perhaps a concern at what could be interpreted as manipulation and play acting. Almost impossible to say. So I won't.

But all in all, a disappointment. I've met Tamaki on a number of occasions and enjoyed dealing with him. It seems to me the most real picture we saw of him from Ross Jennings was when he was hanging with his mates, out on the harbour fishing, and eating raw mussels off his bait knife. There's still a sense for me - you can take the boy out of Tokoroa, but you can't take Tokoroa out of the boy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Am Not An Evil Overlord!

It's true! I swear! Recently I've been delving into my inner world just a little as part of my ministerial supervision. This has proved to be a good experience. Especially in recent weeks completing and then beginning to process my MBTI profile. Somewhere along the way I got mis-categorised as an ENTJ - which is fine - ENTJ's are good people too. And for me, its an easy mistake to make if you see a more externalised view of me. But as you get closer its pretty clear that the J is really a P which takes me away from "The Evil Overlord" description and into "Mad Scientist" territory (check out the alternate definitions). It is actually a very pragmatic tool for understanding "fit" in certain roles and how you relate to others who may be different to you. It has already led me to initiate a conversation with a person to rationalise my involvement with what they're doing - so they get the best out of my limited availability rather than the worst!

I found a good description of the ENTP which captures much of the stuff I'm discovering:

The Visionary

As an ENTP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things rationally and logically.

With Extraverted Intuition dominating their personality, the ENTP's primary interest in life is understanding the world that they live in. They are constantly absorbing ideas and images about the situations they are presented in their lives. Using their intuition to process this information, they are usually extremely quick and accurate in their ability to size up a situation. With the exception of their ENFP cousin, the ENTP has a deeper understanding of their environment than any of the other types.

This ability to intuitively understand people and situations puts the ENTP at a distinct advantage in their lives. They generally understand things quickly and with great depth. Accordingly, they are quite flexible and adapt well to a wide range of tasks. They are good at most anything that interests them. As they grow and further develop their intuitive abilities and insights, they become very aware of possibilities, and this makes them quite resourceful when solving problems.

ENTPs are idea people. Their perceptive abilities cause them to see possibilities everywhere. They get excited and enthusiastic about their ideas, and are able to spread their enthusiasm to others. In this way, they get the support that they need to fulfill their visions.

ENTPs are less interested in developing plans of actions or making decisions than they are in generating possibilities and ideas. Following through on the implementation of an idea is usually a chore to the ENTP. For some ENTPs, this results in the habit of never finishing what they start. The ENTP who has not developed their Thinking process will have problems with jumping enthusiastically from idea to idea, without following through on their plans. The ENTP needs to take care to think through their ideas fully in order to take advantage of them.

The ENTP's auxiliary process of Introverted Thinking drives their decision making process. Although the ENTP is more interested in absorbing information than in making decisions, they are quite rational and logical in reaching conclusions. When they apply Thinking to their Intuitive perceptions, the outcome can be very powerful indeed. A well-developed ENTP is extremely visionary, inventive, and enterprising.

ENTPs are fluent conversationalists, mentally quick, and enjoy verbal sparring with others. They love to debate issues, and may even switch sides sometimes just for the love of the debate. When they express their underlying principles, however, they may feel awkward and speak abruptly and intensely.

The ENTP personality type is sometimes referred to the "Lawyer" type. The ENTP "lawyer" quickly and accurately understands a situation, and objectively and logically acts upon the situation. Their Thinking side makes their actions and decisions based on an objective list of rules or laws.

The ENTP, who does not naturally consider the more personal or human element in decision making, should take care to notice the subjective, personal side of situations. This is a potential problem are for ENTPs. Although their logical abilities lend strength and purpose to the ENTP, they may also isolate them from their feelings and from other people.

The least developed area for the ENTP is the Sensing-Feeling arena. If the Sensing areas are neglected, the ENTP may tend to not take care of details in their life. If the Feeling part of themself is neglected, the ENTP may not value other people's input enough, or may become overly harsh and aggressive.

Under stress, the ENTP may lose their ability to generate possibilities, and become obsessed with minor details. These details may seem to be extremely important to the ENTP, but in reality are usually not important to the big picture.

In general, ENTPs are upbeat visionaries. They highly value knowledge, and spend much of their lives seeking a higher understanding. They live in the world of possibilities, and become excited about concepts, challenges and difficulties. When presented with a problem, they're good at improvising and quickly come up with a creative solution. Creative, clever, curious, and theoretical, ENTPs have a broad range of possibilities in their lives.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The One Year Old

Raegan Emma Claire was ONE today! She had a Happy Birth-day largely on account of her special gift to her parents: sleeping through the night! She then proceeded to develop a chesty cold as the day went on and it doesn't look like tonight will be as good a night's sleep...highlights of the day for Raegan included her new "Little People" house which she has very much enjoyed playing with (when her big brother will let her) and her full contact experience with Chocolate cake!

The photo really says it all about Raegan - she is a very smiley, good-natured person - a grin is never far from her face. She loves people in a way that is different from Rhys - he loves their attention - she's happy with their company. That said she'll take attention when its offered!

She is taking her first steps these past weeks. Mad dashes between people and objects, often capped with a desperate lunge. Words like "baby", "bye", "Ta" and "amen(!)" are amongst her repertoire. The last "amen" is not in any way due to an excess of spirituality but rather her love of food! Her first recognisable sound/word was "mmmmmmm" - which for her meant food. So she will often say "amen" before grace, so eager is she to eat.

She is both curious and determined. Quite the climber - in fact she climbed one of our flights of stairs recently when someone left the gate open... When she sees something she wants to explore or grab she will make for it with single-minded intent and climb over or through anything thats in her way!

She's quite happy rough-housing as well - comes from having an active little brother! But they are great mates and at this stage at least will happily play together for much of the time. We are very fortunate to have such wonderful children - Happy Birthday Raegan!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

AB's Team Named

The team is

1. Tony Woodcock
2. Andrew Hore
3. John Afoa
4. Anthony Boric
5. Ali Willliams
6. Adam Thomson
7. Rodney So’oialo (c)
8. Jerome Kaino
9. Andy Ellis
10. Dan Carter
11. Rudi Wulf
12. Ma’a Nonu
13. Conrad Smith
14. Sitiveni Sivivatu
15. Mils Muliaina

Reserves:16. Keven Mealamu 17. Neemia Tialata 18. Kevin O’Neill 19. Sione Lauaki 20. Jimmy Cowan 21. Stephen Donald 22. Leon MacDonald

I would have pretty much gone down this path with two exceptions - Cowan in for Ellis who is too small to play the Boks and Tuitivaki in for Sivivatu who is playing crap. Good move on Afoa - Somerville is slow around the field and hands let him down badly. He might shade Afoa in scrummaging, but the Boks front row is hopeless by their standards, so a good selection to go for more mobility and grunt in the tight where its needed in the absence of Brad Thorne.

Just one question who in the world is Kevin O'Neill?

(I do know, I was being rhetorical)

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Recently, I've had the opportunity to do some guest spots on Radio Rhema's morning show with Aaron Ironside. I met Aaron at the Vision Network Congress earlier this year, and while we are quite different people, our church planting backgrounds and that intangible connection with a kindred spirit meant we "clicked". So he rings me up when the real heavyweights go away on overseas trips or something (I'm hoping that over time the RBG empire will pay me thousands of dollars so I can do the same).

This week the topic was thankfulness. Which was fine. Except that I had a funeral to go to. And, it was the 6th anniversary of my wife Claire's death.

Which was perfect really. Cos I am very thankful on this day, perhaps more than any other? So I gave thanks on the airwaves for Claire:
  • I gave the thanks for the early years of our marriage - all those "firsts" you do together
  • I gave thanks for her time of illness and the strength that brought to our relationship
  • I gave thanks for her death - her body was so worn out, it was time
  • I gave thanks for the testimony of her life and death - such a serenity and faith
  • I gave thanks for the example of her strength and care for everyone struggling around her
  • I gave thanks for the selfless way she made sure to release me to my life that would go on
  • I gave thanks for a new love that is big enough to provide me space to remember
  • I gave thanks for a daughter who will be one this month, who bears Claire's name although not her genes, but I hope, her character.


Claire Jones 1969 - 2002