DIY – a few tips

Someone holding a Bosch electric drill

These last few weeks I’ve been doing some DIY on the new house and thought that you might appreciate a few tips that I’ve learned.

  1. When drilling through bathroom tiles make sure that the drill isn’t set to the ‘hammer action’ setting.
  2. While preparing to drill through bathroom tiles — say for example in a shower cubicle — don’t stand in the wet cubicle shower tray in your bare feet while asking your wife to hand you the corded electric drill because invariably she won’t. Instead she’ll instruct you to first dry out the shower tray and then put on a pair of rubber-soled shoes.
  3. While drilling into a door — for example to add a coat hook — make sure you don’t drill all the way through the door as this doesn’t lend itself to a professional-looking finish.

And this one isn’t a tip just an observation: Unibond’s Ultimate Anti-Mould Shower and Bathroom Sealant (Ice White) smells like salt and vinegar flavour crisps.

Andy McKee – an inspiration to guitarists

I think what makes the video appear more remarkable is his unorthodox guitar-playing style, his rhythmic, over-the-neck tapping, hammer-on and pull-off techniques. But not only does he have a creative technique the beauty of his music is astounding and quite inspirational.

Check out his other videos on YouTube for more guitar delights and look out for the guitar harp (guitharp?) too. (While you’re at it why not also search for Eric Roche videos? Another extraordinary guitar player, who regretably died last year of cancer.)

You can download no fewer than six MP3s from his website too. He’s both talented and generous. (And in my opinion looks less like Meat Loaf now that he’s shaved his head — looks almost as cool as his guitar playing.)

Moby interview: Everything is complicated

Photograph of rockstar Moby in front of a fence
With new glasses and a crash diet I could look like Moby.

This has been sitting in my “to blog” bookmarks folder for ages: a really superb and honest interview with musician Moby about life, faith, celebrity and music. Here’s a snippet from the first couple of minutes of the interview:

…and so I read the New Testament and, well, specifically the gospels, and I was just struck at their divinity. That feeling that like humans could not have figured this out on their own. We’re just not bright enough.

And also was struck at how utterly difficult so many of the teachings were. You know, I was expecting a pat on the head, like ‘go be nice to people’ and ‘be forgiving’ and ‘be friendly’ and that’s all.

But instead we get: not only should we not kill someone you shouldn’t be angry with someone. And how many times should you forgive someone? As many times as you can forgive someone. No matter how many times someone wrongs you you’re called upon to forgive them one time more…

You can either listen online via embedded the flash player or download the following MP3s:

  1. Moby’s testimony (MP3, 4.44 MB)
  2. Christianity and celebrity (MP3, 4.69 MB)
  3. Music and motivation (MP3, 3 MB)

If you do, in your own way, recognise the divinity of Christ, then what? You know. And for a while for me that meant going to church once a week and teaching bible studies and trying to be like a good, conventional Christian.

And then that started rubbing me the wrong way cos it seemed like … it seemed very restrictive. You know, that the world is such a nuanced and complicated place and a lot of the religion I was encountering didn’t want to talk about how nuanced and complicated the world was. And so then I spent some time studying quantum mechanics and looking at other religions to try to get a better sense of things.

And now I’ve come back to this state of like being a clueless Christian, you know? Like what do you do? Like, you know that something is true but how do you live it? You know, because there’s so many different ways.

Do you become a snake handler? You know, do you read Kierkegaard? Do you go to Russian Orthodox churches? Do you move to Calcutta and bathe the wounds of the poor? Do you go to strip clubs and minister to strippers? Who knows what? Do you give away all of your money and all of your possessions or do you keep your money and your possessions?

These questions that I … it’s driven me crazy that I can’t figure them out. So the only answer I have is like well I can’t figure this out, I don’t know what to do. So, you know, God do your will. I might not like your will so much. I might be frightened of your will. But it seems like if you made everything there’s a good chance you know how things should work.

There is a genuine honesty and reality about Moby’s faith that appeals to me. A real desire to be true to God and true to himself. Not afraid of the blurred edges of life, not afraid to recognise that life is hard and complicated and at times utterly confusing. I’m attracted to his not looking for firm and fixed answers other than that God is the answer … whatever that means and wherever that takes us.

How to look slim, according to HP

Before and after photo with the words: With the slimming feature, anyone can appear more slender - instantly!

In a week where it was reported that experts writing in the British Medical Journal want overweight clothes shoppers to be given an obesity helpline number at the checkout, unhealthy foods to be taxed and school leavers given a health check maybe Hewlett-Packard have come up with the perfect solution: a camera that makes you look slimmer.

So rather than being confronted at the checkout by a waif-like, spotty, emo teenager behind the till telling you that you’re a fat, lazy, lardy-arsed heart-attack candidate who should be spending his money on a gym lesson rather than on a jumper that looks like the Millennium Dome they would rather that you simply pretended that you are slim by digitally manipulating photographs of yourself.

Doctor: Now Mr Jones I’m quite concerned about your weight, you’ve put on 12 lbs since your last visit. On Tuesday.

Mr Jones: No, it’s alright, look at these photographs of me. They were taken only yesterday. I look slim and svelte.

Doctor: My word, so you do! Sorry about that, it must be my glasses. I’m due for an eye test next week anyway. My apologies. Well … there’s nothing wrong with you. No need to make another appointment.

Mr Jones: That’s great news! And on my birthday too.

Doctor: Oh congratulations! Are you doing anything to celebrate?

Mr Jones: I’m having an all-day party. At McDonalds.

The Doctor begins to look worried.

Mr Jones: Oh, don’t worry: I will be taking my camera.

Doctor: Phew!

As someone who sadly is somewhat overweight I’m really not convinced that that is the right solution. I think they should market it as “The Slimming Camera — the camera that does lie!”