Thursday, November 08, 2007

In Todays New: Playstation releases a console that can't play Playstation games.

Crime: 40GB PS3s don't have the 'Emotion Engine' chip that allows them to play PS2 games (unlike the 60- and 80GB models). Playstation says they may potentially never release the software to emulate PS2 games on these deficient machines.

First Problem: Fully-functional PS3s, say with the original 4 USB ports (cut to two) and Emotion Engine chip (cut to... well, just cut), cost a lot to make.

Second Problem: Playstation runs at a loss (at RRP$1100??) with their intially excellent wave of consoles hoping to make it all up on game sales.

Playstation's solution: Release under-functional, crappy 40GB PS3 consoles for RRP$799.

Iain's solution: Release more and better games.

P.S. I've just bought an older, properly-functional 60GB PS3. Well, theoretically, if the TradeMe Seller actually emails me back... it has been over 48hrs now. I'm hoping this means they're just not as geeky as me and are taking their time to email.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The ear in my pocket

I have an ear in my pocket. I take it wherever I go.

It mostly knows when I go to sleep, and always when I wake.

It listens - even if somewhat muffled - to all of my conversations.

It pays attention when I travel and always knows the suburb that I'm in, sometimes the street.

It listens to most of my phonecalls and it even reads my texts - even the private ones.

Sometimes I hear it talking in its silent voice and funny language.

I don't know who its talking to, and sometimes I wonder what it says...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

if (Faith.query() = true) then Social.setAction(true)

Some fellow called Urs von Balthasar says "spirituality" is,

The way a person understands their own ethically and religiously committed existence, and the way they act and react habitually to this understanding

[male pronouns modified to gender neutral ones by myself]


I like this - ethically and religiously committed existance.

Now, I'm currently doing some readings on the Pietists for BCNZ, and they seem moderately onto it. What I find weird is the question my tutor wants us to answer for the week, "does your faith have a social dimension?"

How does it not?

Prayer, relationships, 'mission', compassion, conversation, persecution, love, justice, anger... they all have an essential social component. So what gives with the question?

I mean, presumably we should slap anybody in the class that answers to the negative, right?
Have I missed something and am I presuming too much? Is this a tautology or have I been caught up in my own little Jesus-as-normative-ethical-standard world for too long and need to wake up and smell the pungent Realpolitik of Christian society?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Theology in Blog-O-Community

A blog is NOT a conversation. It is, by its very nature, one sided.

It is a notice board, a trumpet, a tool.

However, blogs (plural) are a conversation, however distributed.

So as a Christian trying to make my way in the world, figure out what it means to serve Jesus, and blog about it... how do I replicate community on the internet?

Keep track of thousands of blogs?

Make one massive blog and invite all my friends as contributors?

In a sense, perhaps I can!



How about a wikiBlog! Done with a free, Open Source wiki as the core, so ANYBODY can freely contribute IN-COMMUNITY without the pesky necessity of tracking invitations. An OPEN forum! Of course, wikis have their advantages too, such a the ability to post notices and forums in certain sections, and EVEN the ability to sit alongside blogs by individual members of the community. Everyone has an equal voice, everyone has a space for individualism, everyone has a marketplace to share, view, and create ideas.



I GIVE YOU....



Stayed tuned to this space... or, quite possibly, to this space...

Let me know what you think!

groupTH!NK, it's the way Jesus would e-vangelise

Monday, July 30, 2007

MySpace, the final frontier

These are the voyages of a man trying to make his way through the internet.

Blogspot, bebo, meebo?, facebook, myspace... all of them want your soul.

I've decided to add to my blog here by having a MySpace page for better networking and photo-albums and so forth.

So, here is my MySpace Page!

"Check me out. No, seriously, check me out." ~ Strong Bad, homestarrunner.com

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Remarkable marks

The title is more of a pun than an act of arrogance.

I got my BCNZ results for Church History A last semester:

A-

Woot!

For those without any historical knowledge of my Bachelor of Ministries study, I did Church History A once before and failed.

HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA

Yes!

Honestly, I was so happy when I got this result (since I was convinced I performed so badly I was on the brink of failure) that a tear literally came to my eye as I leaped for joy.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Inconveniently holy: kiwi men

I was praying with El Paulo the other day at church, and we were talking through some issues regarding an upcoming "Men's Camp" (to be held at Hanmer Springs, w00t) as well as kiwi masculinity.

Background Info: As you might know I have an audio bible, so while I did a double shift at work the other day I also managed to listen to the whole of Proverbs. A weird experience, I can tell you, but one that I have come to enjoy (listening to vast tracts of Scripture versus hand-selecting only favourite/popular, single verses). A verse jumped out at me then that I felt was good to mention to Paul...

Proverbs 17:17 says,

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.


A brother is born for adversity.

That resonates somewhere really deep inside me. It's the same part of me that would put myself in danger to save my sister.

I want to feel that way towards the other guys at Opawa, and I want us all to feel like its okay to return the sentiment and still be a 'man'.

I don't want a mate who has my back just whenever its convenient for them, when they have the time, or when it doesn't put them out a bit. I want a friend who will be there for me come hell or high water and, damn it, they were born to do it.

As a Christian, I call that being, 'inconveniently holy'.

And I want to be that friend too.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thought # 27 - Making History

Making history.-- Think of all the people who shall be forever remembered in history, their names seared into our collective consciousness by the fires of their greatness. Did they wake up one morning and consider all those who had come before them, too? Did they know that it would be their names, from among entire generations of their peers, that would be spoken in awe down through the ages? Is it they who chose their destiny with clear design, is it God, or is it us that select whom we shall revere?
From my own Thoughts for the Thoughtful, aphorism #27.

I do fancy myself as a philosopher. I even quote myself in my own email sig line:
"To be a good philosopher, one has to be so creative as to see the world differently from everyone else, so arrogant as to presume that you above all else are correct, and so conceited that you think everybody else should know about it."~ I.D. McMahon, Thoughts for the Thoughtful, #14
Are you familiar with 'unbearable fears'? They are those things that you fear that you drive yourself away from ever seeing, feeling, or experiencing. They drive you largely subconsciously, and you may never recall feeling those feelings for years simply because of your own efficacy at avoiding them. Perhaps they began in a bad experience as a child, and your adult self has subconsciously vowed to avoid them - with success.

I think, perhaps, I know at least one of my unbearable fears: mediocrity.

This is why Church History holds a strange allure on a personal level, while at the same time I despise the learning of vast tracts of information in order to pass as an academic pursuit.

I fear having my life lead to nothing. As a person who finds a lot of sense in existentialist philosophy while also believing in a Supreme Being (the Christian God) I feel like a man strung over a void - grasping on to the only single reference point that exists, however absolute.

If I live for God, I want to live well and achieve whatever I can with as much passion and purpose as possible, because the alternative would be admitting irrelevance, meaninglessness, oblivion, relativity, and hedonism.

C.S. Lewis, and many people like him, have achieved great things for the world. I mention him because he has my respect. Something in me wonders whether a person can elect themselves to be so great, or whether it is chance or something else outside their control. Perhaps it is nothing at all, and simply the fact that every generation must look on some as their best (because 'best' is only better than the person who wasn't).

In The Free Man's Worship, the ardently atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell said this:
Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins--all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built.
Like something out of the Bible's Book of Ecclesiastes (my favourite book along with Psalms), Russell acknowledges that one day everything we do will grind to a halt, everyone we have loved and touched and blessed and laughed with will fade away, along with those that they in turn had also touched.

The deepest part of me yearns to escape this hopelessness, and I find this release in God.

So I serve with all of my heart, wondering whether it will be my name spoken across the dinner table in centuries to come. Perhaps it will be yours.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why YouTube scares me!

YouTube disturbs me.

I've said it on the video so i won't say it all again.


Above: YouTube privacy spiel


Also, I have finished semester 1... my exam is finished! Huzzah!

I think I did okay, i'll find out when I get the result. By okay I mean, "i hope i passed". I certainly dont mean high-B...

Poem: 'Pieces of a Dreaming'

Pieces of a Dreaming


by Iain McMahon




I take a piece of me,

Wrapped in inky cords,

As a gift to you.

That piece I will never take back,

Though I will always feel its absence

My Love is deep and free.

The words have changed,

Your face as well,

But in my heart is it still you?

You were never her,

But perhaps you always have been.

I take a piece of me,

holding it gently enough for you to share again.



IMAGE: Sakura (2006), DigitalBlasphemy.com

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Truth Spoken in Jest: Famous Women

Hidden behind a layer of jokes in this excellent clip from Stephen Colbert's Colbert Report is an insightful comment about the essentially sexist framing of our news discourse.

Newspapers will talk about a woman's makeup instead of their point, an athletes number of children ("this mother of two...") instead of their sport achievements and, it seems, a politician's clothes over the headline issues that she is promoting:

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Reaching

(The Bather, William Morris Hunt, 1877)


No human relation gives one possession in another - every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.

~ Kahlil Gibran's words quoted from Mary Haskell's journal dated 8th June 1924

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
~ Carl Jung

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Poem: An Unclouded Smile

Ahead of me a wooden door, white paint flaked now with time.
Before me? Dark, a way unknown; but also dark behind.
For action grants my only sight, and naught else save my God,
Until that day when, looking back, I'll see just where I stood.

And doing so I'll swell with joy, for having made a stand
To go with grace and hope and peace when fortune took my hand.
With no regrets to cloud my smile when my race has been run,
I'll thank my God for everything in providence He's done.

New Blog: CantabrIAIN

In order that I may have a way for my friends and relatives to keep track of my adventures in Christchurch other then via email, I have created a blog for it: CantabrIAIN!

http://cantabriain.blogspot.com/

This blog, phrenicphilosophy, is and will remain my 'real' blog, with bloggy ponderences both inane and theological (or both); while CantabrIAIN will have more serious posts about my life, my adventures, and my friends as I attempt to survive in Christchurch.

Stay posted to it if you want to see how I get on!

Meet Senator Barack Obama

I don't usually care about politics per se, especially not international politics.

But I'd like you to meet Barack Obama, a black democrat at the start of the long road to possible USA Presidency...

Obama on The Daily Show, with Jon Stewart:



Obama's speech about himself and his upcoming plans:



Wow, I think I really like the guy. I have grown cynical about America's politics from my small NZ perspective, and this guy gives me some hope in integrity still remaining possible.

But it's not like I can vote ;)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Chaser's War on Everything

Thanks to Sharyn for finding these guys and introducing them to me!

Now allow me to introduce you to The Chaser's War on Everything.



They seem to be an Australian series that played in at least 2006. I say this because I on one episode they gave the website of their archives (i'm going to check wikipedia about them anyway, hopefully they're still going).

For a series of clips from each episode in 2006, check here.

I love Stephen Colbert and his pals, and now i think I love these guys. Of course, if you check out the 'Airport Pickups' from 8 Sep 06 episode, they do go a little bit to far sometimes for my liking. Granted, being mean to Japanese tourists is funny, but it feels a little bit too much like collateral damage in the name of humour to me.

Make sure you check out the Surprise Spruiker from 17 Feb 06 and 24 Feb 06.

Monday, January 29, 2007

My Tribe

Hat Tip: SubversNZ

Hooray, more superstition, labelling, and oversimplification! :D

Not only am I sagittarius and ENTP, but i'm also from the Grey Lynn Tribe!

Yes! Each day I pick up my club, put on the latest fur loincloth, leave my prehistoric yet newly-renovated cave, and head down to Ponsonby Tarpits for a half-skull of Java-Berry Juice. As I sip away I like to watch the passing Brontosaurii and chat about new theorums with Pythagorus.

The site, 8 Tribes, says of me:

Your dominant tribe is Grey Lynn

You're dedicated to the idea of making a difference and living in a principled way. You love culture and ideas.

The Grey Lynn Tribe - Intellectual

The highly educated intelligentsia who value ideas above material things and intellectualise every element of their lives. Their most prized possession is a painting by the artist of the moment, they frequent film festivals, secretly wish they had more gay and Maori friends, feel guilty about discussing property values and deep down are uneasy about their passion for rugby.

For more details of the Grey Lynn Tribe, see here.

Well, well, well... they seem to think i'm pretty highly "Grey Lynn"!

So what do you think of that?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Push Play - with Nintendo Wii!

Some of you may be aware of the campaign to get NZ more active called 'Push Play'.

It's basically trying to build physical activity into people's days in fun ways.

I have discovered the ultimate way: Wii Sports (shop, or wiki).

The Nintendo Wii (shop, or wiki), in my opinion, is absolutely amazing.

The Wii's main controller can sense pitch, roll, and yaw, as well as detecting rapid lift. The main controller, looking something like a TV Remote, functions as a pointer and a main menu selection device through its D-Pad, A and B (under the remote) buttons, and its Home, - and + button. The Nunchuck attachment, on the other hand, senses vibration and houses the analog joystick plus the C and the old underneath Z button (for those familiar with the N64).

Used with Legends of Zelda: Twilight Princess, this means that you slash with your right hand to make Link attack (the sword sound even comes FROM the handpiece), and you can fire arrows, the boomerang, or the slingshot by POINTING with the actual controller! The controller & nunchuck method is remarkably instinctual and doesn't have a very steep learning curve at all. The bonus of course is that your two hands aren't together, they can relax on either arm of the chair or in your lap or whatever.

That means that you can relax and take a breather from Wii SPORTS

There is not one time that I have played Wii Sports in the last few days that, if i play more than one game, I have not broken a sweat.
It could help that Auckland is so humid we're all wearing rebreathers now, but nevertheless Wii Sports can be so strenuous (I say 'can be' because sissies who want to lose to me can always put less effort into their game) that I developed a sore elbow from bowling too much one night, and my shoulder and arm muscles ache at this very moment from too much golf and tennis!

Wii Sports has Tennis, Baseball, Golf, Bowling, and Boxing.
In Tennis you hold the controller (minus the nunchuck attachment) as you would a tennis raquet, doing forehands, backhands or serves as you may expect to do in tennis.
Baseball makes you think that your controller is a baseball bat or a pitchers hand. Your onscreen avatar, or Mii (which you create), holds the baseball bat at the same angle that you do! I find Baseball notoriously difficult, but maybe I suck at it anyway.
In Golf you now hold a golfclub, which you can transform into a driver, iron, wedge, putter... whatever. I find this really fun, and do much better at it than normal golf ;)
Bowling, in my opinion, is totally amazing. Holding the controller up in front of you, you push B and swing back then forward, releasing B as you would the ball. The controller understands the speed and motion of your swing, as well as the curve that you put on the ball on the follow-through. With Wii Bowling, i perform the same mental calculations with the ball and pins as I do in real life... it really "feels" like bowling. My friend Mike (who's brother owns the Wii) says that when he picked it up the very first time and bowled, it hit the pins in the same way that it does with his particular quirks/spin IRL. We're both impressed. I can play it much longer on the Wii without getting a sore arm or fingers, of course, so I have managed to develop a spin technique that i actually want to go and try out on the real lanes sometime!!
Boxing is nuts, and uses the main controller as your primary hand and the nunchuck as the offhand. I'm sure its great, but is just too much effort for me to bother with. You can dodge and weave etc, which is pretty cool. You can even land head shots, body shots or kidney punches. Very clever, very tiring ;)

I guess i'm unique in that I put so much effort into my games that i even find myself ACTUALLY doing jump shots in tennis. I jump and smash down, and my avatar actually does too. When i bowl I find myself moving on the floor as though i'm actually there. It helps with consistency.

I know that you could put less into it, but the more you give the game the better you'll do. I definately feel like I'm getting my quota of "Push Play" 30 minutes a day-ness.

If you can get your hands on a Wii sometime then try it out, I recommend it. They're the ultimate party machine for groups of people with options like the silly and random games that come on one game CD and especially Wii Sports. There are also more serious "gamer" titles like Red Steel, Need for Speed Carbon, or Twilight Princess - they're pretty funky too.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A holiday, or a recon mission? Nay, sabbatical!

I have just returned from a week in Christchurch!

I have had the most fantastically awesome time!

I met all my blog-O-buddies from there, well not quite all. I didn't meet Karen... i think... or did I...
I didn't meet the Pastors of Exsxsxspresso, but they aren't really my blog-O-buddies yet anyway. But they will be soon!

However, I *did* meet (in alphabetical order) Anita "Super-Nice Nita" Robertson, Eco-commie Sharyn, "Civil Union" Simona (yeah, ok, so I'll get the bash for that one), and John "Foxy" Fox.

I even saw my old pal Ben Whale and several other people who have come down from Auckland to live.

Guess what I'm doing?

I'M MOVING TO CHRISTCHURCH

Yes.

It's official. I've actually tendered my resignation with work, with ABT. I've told my sister, my Mum, and my Dad. I've set a date to drive away from these oil-soaked roundabouts: 9th of February (after my friend's wedding, after my sister leaves for Australia, and before BCNZ starts).

Now I expect two things: fallout and elation. Elation from my newfound Cantabrian family who think that its the best thing an Aucklander could do, expecially all the Ex-Auckies there! And fallout from my fellow Aucklander Pals who still worship The Land of the Silver Snake (cypher: think rush-hour(s) traffic).

After having my application to do MINTY (ministry internship year) with TSCF turned down, it has given me pause for thought on how to make good on my promise to God to undertake some year-long offering of service to Them.

So I'll give 2007 to God; to Christchurch, to 'Espresso' (an emergent congregation), to BCNZ Christchurch, to - possibly - Opawa (a church), to Paul & Anne, to good and welcoming friends down there waiting for me to make my mind up on the matter.

There are people in Auckland that I shall be glad to leave behind.

Sadly, however, there will be people that I will sorely miss; people that I wish I could spend time with whenever I wanted (people I wish would come with me!). But, alas, I cannot to do things. I cannot be in two places at once, however deeply I wish to be.

The potential flat opening near Paul & Anne, the excellent job opportunities (Steppingstone Trust and possible Website Admin / Developer jobs), the easier way of life and the kind and gentle people there... it all makes it seem like so many pieces have already fallen together.

If I could have one super-power, I would choose to clone myself. I would work, sleep, play, and see five different groups of friends all at once. But I'm only one man, and will never be God.

And so I make my choice, at least for 2007.

Hello, Christchurch; farewell, Auckland.


The Road Not Taken ~ Robert Frost, 1920


TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same, 10


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back. 15


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference. 20