Archive for March, 2010

Pay for what you get

My brother had a friend in 1997 who came back from America brandishing a copy of Crash and a few weeks later I was printing tabs off the internet and furiously trying to play the fiendishly impossible slides and hammer ons of So Much to Say. Me and Woodsy invented the word nequethiel to describe the mood of Two step. I played Crush very loudly the day I passed my driving test

I was a big Dave Matthews Band fan. Till Everyday and I kind of lost interest.

I am still not sure why they are so damn popular. Who would want to listen to obscure drum viruoso rhythms accompanied by violin and sax with a lead singer who looks like an Accountant (direct quote from wee Liz). It’s hardly “what the kids are listening to.”

So finally I got to see them last night. In the very neat and tidy but horribly sterile and commercialised O2 Arena. Incidentally I like the way they still call it The Point on the LUAS.

And they are as brilliant as they sound. The quality of the songs they’ve produced in recent years is far below the old days in my opinion but my those boys can play. Though maybe not dance.

Leroi Moore (the sax guy) died a couple of years ago and this coupled with the arrangements of the new songs appears to have left the wonderful Boyd Tinsley (violin) some what out in the cold. He spent most of the first half of the gig standing at the side of the stage holding his violin while being drowned out by an overly loud Tim Reynolds on electric.

Dave – I say this for your own good, Tim is great and all that but you don’t need him. Stick to the brass and violin, it kind of made you more interesting and less like a band led by an accountant. I’m just saying.

We left before the encore (just after All along the watchtower of course) so we didn’t get locked out of our car park. We missed two songs I’d never heard of. I’m not bothered.

So I’ve had my old Dave Matthews Band on repeat all morning. I’m not sold on the new stuff. If Dave goes back to writing Two Step again and I go back to being 16 then we’ll both be happier.

Mission of GOD – 6

environmentalism –  as a movement, or an articulated concept is a fairly recent idea. The idea that we need to look after the place, environment and planet that we live in is hardly new. In fact it was a great unwritten rule and only when we developed the technology to destroy our environment did its protection become a topic of discussion.

There has been a recent explosion in writing and talking about how we protect the place where we live and how our lifestyles impact it.

This has got a lot of attention in both secular and Christian circles.

Here Chris Wright gives a theological articulation of what GOD’s mission is in relation to the earth itself.

The obvious place to begin is Genesis where we are told that the earth was created and that it was good.

He goes on to talk about the important distinction that was stated in Israel’s belief about the physical environment – that it was sacred but not divine. This was of course one of many things that set them apart from the nations around them who typically divinised the earth, the moon etc…

The earth itself is a part of GOD’s mission. The great redemption and “making new” that GOD is doing includes the creation. We will not be siphoned off as spirits to be with GOD. GOD comes to be with us and is making all things – both our bodies and the creation around us – new.

If this is how GOD’s mission relates to the earth then that affects how we as the people of GOD relate to it. If we are trying to build the Kingdom of GOD then how we treat the physical environment is important.

to avoid overconsumption and unnecessary waste…

And we as the great consumers on our planet shoulder perhaps the biggest responsibility for change.

It’s all gonna break

Maybe I could start a blog called “things that go wrong with my apple products and how to fix them with common  house hold items”. Max O’Malley would like it at least.

I’ve noticed the trackpad and keyboard on my MacBookPro has stopped working for no apparent reason of late. This leaves a fully functioning computer and programs working but no way of controlling it without plugging in an external keyboard.

Most of the time a hard reset solved the problem.

Until 3am on Monday morning when I got back from work and wanted to read up on all the obscure medical conditions that i’d misdiagnosed in work.

Several hard resets later i was no better off. A quick google search on the phone found lots of people with similar problems all of which were resolved when the people concerned took their computer to Apple and paid 250 quid to have a new keyboard and track pad fitted.

Till I found this guy

I’ll reproduce his fix with photos from my computer here

  • Get a small piece of sticky tape and roll it up
  • With the power on, battery out and machine on:

  • Place the Sticky tape onto the ribbon cable whilst pressing the caps lock key to identify that the keyboard is working

  • Close the screen and turn over your mac book.
  • Replace the battery so that it presses on the sticky tape and ribbon cable

Note the slight dent on the ribbon cable in the photo –  it was there before I even began fiddling. I found I didn’t even need the bit of sticky tape, just a bit of fiddling with the ribbon cable did the job.

Kid go get it

Been a while since I’ve had any new music worth talking about.

Inevitably when it comes it’s all Northern Irish indie bands

Just before Christmas SixStarHotel released their new album. These guys have been about fro years and their musicianship goes from strength. With Tides and Tides I think they’ve perfected it.

Two Door Cinema Club are annoyingly young and talented and make me wish I’d dedicated my youth to floppy hair and playing crappy indie venues instead of wasting my time in education…

They’ve received a lot of press and have been on tour since some time before they were actually born it seems. They finally have a deal and an album and it rocks.

And last and of course best we have the Lowly Knights. It has been a pleasure seeing these songs develop live and  become the wonderful creations they are on the Hollows EP. In an ideal world I’d love my music to sound like Mumford & Sons, but it would have to be with a hefty does of the Lowly Knights. Sharing a house with the pianist probably makes me a bit biased but hey.

The beginning stages of

I say this a lot but I got into medical school for wont of anything better to do.

I blame Gilly Carson. Me and Ricky Mayes spent a day with himin A&E when we were 16 and I remember sitting in the foyer of Craigavon Hospital with Mayesie and the pair of us were talking

“so do you fancy doing medicine?”

“aye why not, seems fun…”

That was 12 years ago. Mayesie is driving endoscopes around the large bowels of the population of East Belfast and cutting out the tumours he finds.

And I’m trying my best to kill as few as possible in the same hospital I worked as a cleaner in for 4 years.

Seems fun.

The selection process for medical school was the UCAS form. That was it. Not even an interview. I had no human contact to get into medical school.

I spent 5 years in medical school having an awful lot of fun, playing a lot of footy and guitar and doing precious little study. I didn’t attend a full week after the first one. I never got a mark above average. No one ever told me that wasn’t really good enough.

I now consume medicine like oxygen and spend an awful lot of time studying and reading and learning all the things I should have learnt in medical school.

I now know really quite a bit (though never enough) and believe that I am above average in how I do my job.

That I actually ended up in a job I like was – like I suggested at the beginning – more by chance than design.

Which brings me eventually to something resembling a point.

This week’s BMJ carries an article on selection for med. school. The UK recently introduced an aptitude test (the UKCAT) to assess people for being doctors – you need a certain score to go in.

So some very smart people looked at how this has impacted on who gets in to medical school.

Bottom line – it still selects white, middle class, smart kids. The only difference being it seems to be a bit better at picking out cognitive ability than A-levels.

The accompanying editorial concludes that there is still a gap when it comes to

information on the non-cognitive characteristics and personal qualities that are fundamentally essential in the generic good doctor

Who you are – your personality, your disposition, your interpersonal skills are a huge part of what you do as a doctor. We have been, and still are in danger of breeding generations of doctors who have the brains (or at least the ability to get the right scores) but couldn’t talk their way out of a paper bag.

Every now and again I give a patient to many (or just the right amount) drugs and they mention as they leave what a nice doctor I am. I always respond with the question – would they like a nice doctor or a good one?

I think we deserve both, i’m just not sure how to pick them out yet.

If it ain’t broke, break it

Not sure if this is a common problem with other phones but I’d recently noticed problems with getting connections between my head phones and the socket on the iPhone.

It finally gave up completely today and I managed to pull all of this out with the tip of a sewing needle. Now works great.

Remarkably similar consistency to belly button fluff.

Mission of GOD – 5

the common opinion that the Bible is a moral code book for Christians falls far short, of course, of the full reality of what the Bible is and does

The Bible is essentially the story of GOD, the earth, and humanity; it is the story of what has gone wrong, what GOD has done to put it right, and what the future holds under the sovereign plan of GOD.

Wright spends a large portion of this chapter addressing the first part of the quote – yes of course the Bible has ethical implications for us, just because it is not it’s sole purpose does not mean that the ethical demands are irrelevant.

There is a big focus on Gen 18:18-19, Wright’s own translation quoted here:

Abraham will indeed become a great and mighty nation, and all nations on earth will find blessing through him. For i have known (chosen) him for the purpose that he will teach his sons and his household after him so they will keep the way of YHWH by doing righteousness and justice, for the purpose that YHWH will bring about for Abraham what he has promised to him.

In this verse Wright finds election, ethics and mission tied together in theological sequence.

And in doing so I find one of the really useful things that this book has reinforced. That the process of GOD’s mission through us did not begin in the great commission at the end of Matthew but that it was always there, right from the beginning. GOD’s plan and mission never changed, it was fulfilled.

The chapter covers a lot more biblical ground in relation to the ethical mandate and commands GOD has given us – with particulat focus on their purpose. That is to declare the character of GOD, for the benefit of the nations.

Again, even through what we see as obscure ritualistic commands we see GOD laying out his purpose of using Israel as a light to the nations (ring any New Testament bells?) for the benefit of the nations. Again and again we see GOD’s mission as being universalistic – GOD’s mission has always been to include the pagan nations.

As usual all the OT background overflows into the writings of the NT with Paul and the apostles, sometimes quoting, often alluding and always referring to how the OT scriptures were understood in their context.

Wright summarises three points about the the ethical life of the people of GOD to close the chapter:

– a people who are a light to the world by their good lives
– a people who are learning obedience and teaching it to the nations
– a people who love one another in order to show who they belong to.


March 2010