New year revolutions

Close-up of a bicycle chainset
Bicycle Gear by donjolley at Stock.xchng.

Today was the first day in weeks that I’ve not woken up with a sore throat. So to celebrate Jane and I cycled down to her aunt’s to deliver a card.

I read the other day “a quarter of all car journeys are under two miles”, and that “cycling for fifteen minutes a day halves your rish of a heart attack”. I really need to cycle more.

Gosh it felt good to be back out on our bikes: new year revolutions, indeed. I just need to keep it up. Here are some of the other things I’d like to achieve this year:

  1. Spend more time with God in prayer
  2. Spend more time with Jane
  3. Exercise regularly: cycling and free weights
  4. Eat more sensibly, and cook more often
  5. Get a new job (for those who don’t know my current post ends in April 2006)
  6. Keep in touch with friends more faithfully, and not just by email
  7. Read more
  8. Play guitar more (maybe even start a band?)
  9. Be more environmentally aware and friendly
  10. Play more Mah Jong
  11. Finish the backlog of websites that I’ve promised people
  12. Learn PHP and MySQL more thoroughly; learn how to setup and administer an Apache server under Linux; improve my CSS knowledge

What am I doing still sitting here?! I’d better get on and start doing these things!

Emerging Church

Resource logo

Now this is the kind of stuff that get’s me excited. I followed a link from Jonny Baker’s blog — I used to play bass guitar in the worship band at St James the Less, Westminster about 10 years ago with Jonny, though I doubt he remembers me; I always remember him as being the worship leader that brought copies of music for the rest of the band, and didn’t (like some) expect us to know every-worship-song-under-the-sun™ off by heart — which took me to the Resource website, where there is this amazing quotation:

“We need to stop starting with the church. Rather, we should plant the seed of the gospel in all sorts of new and emerging cultures and contexts — and make disciples of what sprouts. The fruit will be all sorts of new expressions of authentic church – that is, Jesus communities of disciple-making disciples.” Bob Hopkins, ACPI

How that quotation makes my heart sing. I would love to get involved deeply with something that engages with church and culture. I would love to do something that uses my gifts and passions for Jesus, theology, writing, computers and the internet, and music. Anyone out there with that perfect job?

As it happens, Neil Costley blogged today about postmodern church and culture.

Powerpoint (December 2005)

Looking at the crowd from the stage at the Powerpoint youth event
View from the stage near the end of Friday’s Christian “Powerpoint” youth event. (Photo on Nokia 5140i)

Despite feeling unwell on Friday (I’m still not 100% and tomorrow will call the GP to make an appointment) I still turned up to Powerpoint (the SU Scotland co-ordinated monthy youth event) to play electric guitar.

The experience of worship was incredible. God was most definitely present, and the response from the young people encouraging beyond words. There were around 340 young people there, how incredible is that!

One of my highlights was playing the descant to the Christmas carol O Come, all ye faithful which I’d transcribed during the afternoon, using the excellent Guitar Pro 4 software. You can download it, and use it if you like. It’s the version arranged by NYCGB President Sir David Willcocks

The only disappointment about the evening — apart from feeling utterly exhausted at the end of it — was that I think my amp (Laney GC80A) is needing a serious overhaul. It’s buzzing terribly, and began cutting out while I was playing.

Band rehearsal

Photograph of the band in rehearsal

Two photographs from the Powerpoint (monthly Christian youth event) band rehearsal this evening that I’ve ‘stitched’ together using the wonders of Paint Shop Pro X. Why are Andrew (drums) and Tim (keyboards) both hunched over so?!

Neil Costley

Here’s an action shot of Neil (acoustic guitar and vocals). He looks nothing like a folk singer, I don’t know what you mean!

The rehearsal went really well, with some quality prayer time before hand. I’m back on my Burns Brian May guitar through the Vox VBM1 treble-booster and Digitech GNX2; the last few months I’ve been playing my Fender® Stratocaster® (though mine is a Mexican Strat rather than American).

I’m looking forward to the Powerpoint tomorrow evening. A time to worship God through playing guitar and singing.

How to clean cat pee from a guitar amp

Laney GC80A in the midst of being cleaned

On Thursday I have a rehearsal for a monthly youth event called Powerpoint, which is now being overseen by SU Scotland. The next Powerpoint is on Friday evening from 19:30.

Imagine my dismay the other evening when I got my guitars and amps out to check them over to discover that one (or more) of our cats have pee-ed on my Laney GC80A amp. This afternoon I carefully removed the front kick-grille and washed it and the cabinet down with Simple Solution’s Cat Spray & Urine Stain & Odor Remover.

What a marvellous liquid! For years I’ve been looking (obviously not hard enough) for something that effectively deals with cat stains, and now I’ve found it. I’ve already used it on a carpet, my wardrobe doors(!), and now my guitar amp.

The science bit: Cat urine is made up of three parts:

  1. urea, which is the sticky part,
  2. urochrome, which is the pigment or colour part, and
  3. uric acid crystals and salts, which is the er… salty, crystally part.

Seemingly a lot of products will work on the first two parts but not the third, and the crystals and salts just dry and become dormant. But as soon as the area gets wet again the smell returns. Simple Solution’s Cat Spray and Urine Stain and Odor Remover is biological and works on all three parts. And do you know what? It really does work. It’s great.

Now I can be certain that the only thing that will stink on Friday night is my playing!