Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lots of skating

I've been going skating at night a lot recently, to get myself tired enough to sleep well. Took these last night:

Melbourne Show

Yesterday afternoon some of us went to the Melbourne Show. Ben took a mango from a fruit display in the main pavillion, and we cut it up and ate it.

And we found this sign in the shed that has all the farm animals:

Ben came up to our appartment just before, and saw me and Nate Dawg standing in our doorways, talking to each other.

Unfortunately Nomes is away on leave, so it wasn't a complete transfiguration scene. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Practice of the Presence of God

Have just been reading The Practice of the Presence of God. It is about Brother Lawrence, a 17th Century monk who was constantly aware of God's presence. This bit explains how he managed to consider God in everything he did:

When he began his business, he said to God with a filial trust in Him, 'O my God, since Thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience to Thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech Thee to grant me the grace to continue in Thy Presence; and to this end do Thou prosper me with Thy assistance. Receive all my works, and possess all my affections.' As he proceeded in his work, he continued his familiar conversation with his Maker, imploring His grace, and offering to Him all his actions.
When he had finished, he examined himself how he had discharged his duty. If he found well, he returned thanks to God. If otherwise, he asked pardon and, without being discouraged, he set his mind right again. He then continued his exercise of the presence of God as if he had never deviated from it. 'Thus,' said he, 'by rising after my falls, and by frequently renewed acts of faith and love, I am come to a state wherein it would be as difficult for me not to think of God as it was at first to accustom myself to it.'
Seeing as we're an activist organisation, it's quite easy to just get caught up in doing lots of stuff, and to become disconnected God, who initially motivated us to do these things. So I am thinking that we might find Brother Lawrence's disciplines particularly helpful.
If you want to read the book, there's an online copy here.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

'I will make you fishers of men.'

Have been reading Ched Myers' book, Binding the Strong Man, which is a sort of socio-political reading of Mark's Gospel. This morning was reading Ched's analysis of this bit:

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 'The time has come,' he said. 'The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!'
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
(Mark 1:14-20)
The only interpretation I'd heard of the 'fishers of men' bit was that it means that Jesus is starting a new religion, and he wants these fishermen to come and help him convert people (catch them).
However, Ched reckons that Jesus is making a reference to passages in the Tanakh (Jewish scriptures) that talk about 'fish' being caught:
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria,
you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy
and say to your husbands, 'Bring us some drinks!'
The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness:
'The time will surely come
when you will be taken away with hooks,
the last of you with fishhooks.
You will each go straight out
through breaks in the wall,
and you will be cast out toward Harmon,'
declares the LORD.
(Amos 4:1-3)

In the tenth year, in the tenth month on the twelfth day, the word of the LORD came to me: 'Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. Speak to him and say: "This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
'"I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt,
you great monster lying among your streams.
You say, 'The Nile is mine;
I made it for myself.'
But I will put hooks in your jaws
and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales.
I will pull you out from among your streams,
with all the fish sticking to your scales.
I will leave you in the desert,
you and all the fish of your streams.
You will fall on the open field
and not be gathered or picked up.
I will give you as food
to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the air.
Then all who live in Egypt will know that I am the LORD.
'"You have been a staff of reed for the house of Israel. When they grasped you with their hands, you splintered and you tore open their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke and their backs were wrenched.
(Ezekiel 29:1-7)
Both passages talk about God catching powerful people like a fisherman catches fish, because they've mistreated those who don't have much power. So Ched reckons that when Jesus says, 'I will make you fishers of men,' he is asking them 'to join him in his struggle to overturn the existing order of power and priviledge.' (p132)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Zero tolerance

Midweek weekend

I had yesterday and the first half of today off, because I didn't get Sunday and Monday off this week, due to Mission Exposure Week. So I went to Ballarat yesterday morning, and had a rest, and did a lot of writing.
In the evening I went down to Geelong. Trav has blogged about what happened there. We got back to Ballarat at about 1:30 this morning.
Caught the train back to Melbourne with one of my former classmates, Sophie, who was going to Melbourne for an English test. She had to do it as part of her application for Australian residency, and had to get at least 70%. The test alone cost over $500.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Art in Baptist Place

Noticed on the weekend that someone had done this in our laneway:

Looks like a person with a halo, with money coming out of their mouth.
Was on my way to Spencer Street Station, to catch the train to Ballarat, and saw that the piece from the weekend had been scrubbed off, but that two new pieces had been done:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Magic pudding cake and nerdgames

This week is Mission Exposure Week, so we've got five people staying with us to find out a bit about what we do at Urban Seed, and about some of the thinking behind what we do.
Tonight they got to be part of our community dinner. Ray made a cake for Marcus, in the shape of Albert the magic pudding, because it was his birthday yesterday.

Marcus likes The Magic Pudding because he reckons it's like the kingdom (or economy) of God, because even though it keeps getting eaten it never runs out, and it doesn't like not being eaten. Pudding thieves often try to steal it, to control it, but it will always run away, because it wants everyone to eat it.
After almost everyone had left we played some short-lived nerdgames (roleplaying games, like Dungeons and Dragons) based on Mark's Gospel and the G20.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Books about anthropomorphic vegetables

In 2004, I got this book for $7, at a bookshop in Ballarat:

A couple of months ago I took it to the Urban Seed staff retreat and made sure everyone read it, saying that it has stuff in it that I thought would be important for our organisation's future.
A few weeks ago, Mark (our receptionist/director) got back from Aotearoa and the US, and had obtained his own copy of Dr Pompo's Nose, as well as several other books by the same people. He also gave me this book as a birthday present:

(That means I've had three birthdays so far this year.)
This evening Ray and Ben got back from Broken Hill and gave me this book, which they found in an op shop:

The blurb says,

Boris is big, intelligent and one of the most popular vegetables in Mr Lymer's greenhouse.

But this is not enough. Boris wants power. He wants total tomato supremacy - in and outside the greenhouse.

Soon Boris and his tomato troops are squeezing the life out of all the other plants.

Will Boris rule the day? Or has he got too big for his skin ...?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Australia calling Washington

This week George Bush is trying to get a bill through the American Congress which will stop Guantanamo Bay detainees (including David Hicks, an Australian citizen) from being able to respond to witnesses, or even told what evidence is being sued against them. The changes will also mean that evidence that has been obtained through torture can be used against them, and that they won't be able to give evidence about being mistreated while in prison. There's an article about it here, from the Des Moines Register.
GetUp! are running a campaign trying to get people to write to George Bush, Senator John McCain (a former prisoner of war, possibly the next US president) and Senator John Warner (Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee) asking them to to let the bill through. Click here to find out how you can get involved.

Friday, September 15, 2006


At the market, the dustman is selling sacks of dust. He is doing quite well out of it too. Who on earth would want to buy dust, you ask? Why, a man in a suit, of course. Here he comes, and he's going to buy an awful lot of it too. (The dustman is very happy about that.)
The man in the suit has the dust delivered to his factory, where he uses it to make a whole heap of people.
You were made from dust, and one day you'll be dust again. So respect the dust. (You probably also contain a fair bit of lint and carpet fluff.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Someone did this in our laneway yesterday. Hope the neighbours don't mind. Hope Mario doesn't mind hanging out with injecting drug users.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A waste of slow

This morning me and Nomes went to visit Uncle Smithamsy (one of our most dependable volunteers from Credo)'s church.

Afterwards, the three of us went with Karen to A Taste of Slow, which was a slow food (sort of the opposite of fast food) festival at the Abbotsford Convent. Slow food's supposed to be about stuff like preserving traditional ways of growing, preparing and eating food, which are threatened by golbalisation. It's also supposed to be about making people aware of where their food has come from, how it has produced and how it's gotten to them, and it's supposed to be about creating community around shared meals. The festival, however, turned out largely to be pretentious yuppy rubbish. There wasn't really even very much real food. Most of it was wine and cheese and jam and stuff. Not much of the plates or cutlery were reusable, which is why I called this post 'A waste of slow.'
All this said, the Ark of Taste was really good. They had a whole heap of foods in there that are in danger of becoming extinct, and you could find out a whole heap of stuff about how they were made, from the people who made them. Did you know that vinegar is (traditionally) made by adding mother of vinegar ('a slime composed of yeast and acetic acid bacteria') to alcohol?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Brunswick and back

Went out to this exhibition opening in Brunswick this evening. Got Tomsy to take this on the tram. (The tram was quite crowded, and I wasn't in a good position to take a picture.)
Attention inspectors
I didn't find the exhibition all that interesting, so I didn't stay that long. Walked home along Sydney Road, and saw this:
Seemed like something out of Blade Runner or some other cyberpunk film. I've been quite amazed recently at the lengths people are going to to in order to try and get us to buy their rubbish. I suppose car companies would be pretty desperate to sell stuff, seeing as less and less people are going to be able to afford to drive, as all the oil runs out...
Also saw this:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It rained

It rained an awful lot last night and this morning, particularly considering how dry the winter was. I was thinking this morning about how when it does rain everybody gets it, and you don't have to pay anything for it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Back East

Caught the train out to visit my parents today, because it was Fathers Day. My parents' place is about half an hour's walk from Ferntree Gully Station. When I was about halfway there, this reasonably large dog came running at me from further up the footpath. I stopped walking, and it started barking at me, and jumping and snapping at me. At about this point I was thinking that there was something you're supposed to do when you get attacked by a dog, but I was extremely tired, not to mention frightened, and had no idea what that thing was. One thing that came to mind was kicking it in the face, but I didn't know how hard I'd have to kick it, and I really didn't want to kick it. I had my laptop because I'd wanted to do some typing on the train, so I tried to shield myself a bit with the laptop bag. The dog was coming pretty close to biting the bag, so I ran back the way I'd come from, but the dog ran after me, still snapping at me, so I ended up running across Burwood Highway, after which the dog left me alone.
Me and Adam and Justin spent the afternoon helping Dad at this community nursery were he volunteers every second Sunday.

(Note that Adam is doing a Trav-style Superman pose.)