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The Sunday Summary [11-24]

Wow, this week has been really busy and intense…

Monday was the double act of N E X U S and the aftermath of the server upgrade. I was pretty much non-stop G.O. from about 8am. It wasn’t a stressful preparation for the conference with some last-minute sign-making, nametags and final room setup. The other side of the coin were questions relating to the use of our computer network, which had gone through some significant changes, for the better, over the weekend, but weren’t totally complete. I had the great opportunity to say “No” to various requests and questions, passing them off to Craig. I got out to have lunch with some of the guys before entering zero-hour as guests started turning up. The talks from the day were really good, looking at what the church is, and ways in which we can improve and make changes. Last year for dinner, I went and ate by myself, and I made people aware of this fact because it was such a disappointment. This year I had 5 groups of people ask me to eat with them, a significant change up from last year. I ended up going with Gary and Pearl with a few older guys up at Carlingford Court.

On Tuesday morning, there was again some computing issues (something that would ‘plague’ me all week), but we got to discussing a fair bit of the things that were said at N E X U S, especially at graceat6 meeting. One thing that was of note was the church and it’s mission: whether evangelism, and holding an evangelistic meeting, was part and parcel of that.
Tuesday night I went home to pick up my dad, before heading out for dinner at Fook Yuen in Chatswood via Macquarie Uni to pick up my mum. We were out for my sister’s 28th birthday, which was happening on Wednesday. Dinner was tasty; dishes of note were the spicy & salty pork chops, and the pigeon.

Wednesday night at growth group, despite intending to start at 7pm, we got going at 7:30ish and read through a great chunk of Matthew; the main concentration being on chapter 24. We split into groups and creatively worked out ways to explain the passage as well as come up with questions for the sections we were assigned. To be honest, I found it detrimental to the study, as I’m not a fan of the creative, and I’d prefer that we just go through the passage and discuss it as a group. I do see the reason why our leaders are doing it though; it gives our less vocal people a chance to interact and speak up, whereas they may not do so whilst the main group is together, either because they’re a bit shy, or more vocal and opinionated people constantly speak up, something that I think need to be addressed, or they need to be made aware of…

Thursday night was the last night of lectures for college for this semester, and sadly the last night of college with Nicky. In the lectures, Peter spoke about preaching biblical theology, something that is commonplace at St Paul’s, but apparently less so at other churches, by the way people were asking questions. There were some interesting (practically pointless) questions asked by some of my classmates again… I’m really going to miss Thursday night college with Nicky, she is a great sister in Christ and always helped to calm me down, listen and talk through things over the last semester. I really really value her friendship, but at the same time need to be quite cautious in how much I tell her/rely on her since her main male relationship is, and should be, with Steve. If God does bless me with a significant other, I hope and pray that she is as kind, caring, thoughtful and loving as Nicky (And no, I’m not writing this just because I know she is reading this).

Friday was a long long day. More computer problems, quite demanding ones, which I still managed to avoid, before talking to Rose and Toni about some of the duties they may need to cover in my absence over the next three weeks. At the end of the day, I got onto the usual touch footy. Numbers were down, I think a combination of long weekend absentees and ‘wet weather’. We ended up with probably 13 people. I managed to score 4 tries coming from a few intercepts and a few well timed runs. At SALT we had Pat Jones from Menai Anglican come to speak for an evangelistic talk from John 3. After SALT I headed out to The Argyle with Nicky for Random Soul Recordings’ first Sydney party called Takin’ It Back. Yogi and Husky AKA Random Soul pumped out a great mix of funky, deep and jackin house tunes, warranting some great dancing.

Saturday morning I got a good sleep in, something that is rare in my world… After a little bit of room organisation, I headed down to the bowls club in Denistone for part 1 of Hamish’s bucks. It was a good bit of fun, and I got to rekindle some of my lawn bowling skills. We wrapped up mid-afternoon and I snuck in a quick nap before heading out to the Red Oak Brewery in the city for part 2 of the bucks, aka dinner and drinks. Traffic in, and parking were a bit chaotic; I took a good 40 minutes to make it from Milson’s Point to parking the car. For dinner I had the bread board, quite the tasty light meal consisting of 4 types of breads with a pumpkin dip, avocado dip, Asian marinated olives and garlic oil.

This morning, Nic and got to read Acts 16 and talk about a number of different things, including Hillsong and the way that we approach it as Anglicans… In the afternoon I headed to the movies to use up another movie ticket that I had, due at the end of June, to see X-Men: First Class. It was a good film, looking into some great X-Men lore. Some of the effects were a little off, I don’t recall seeing Stan Lee, and unfortunately there wasn’t a post-credit scene. There was also a scene in which Raven/Mystique is speaking to Hank/Beast about living in the world, but not being a part of it, which I thought rang true with the Christian experience.

Tonight at graceat6 I tried to do as little as possible, quite a difficult task really, hopefully to gear up everyone to ‘cope’ in my absence. I got to sit in the ‘pews’ with the regular people and experience church without tasks or jobs to do. I managed to hold myself back and not touch any equipment, or get up to correct errors, in the hope that people would learn to fix things themselves. Our preacher tonight was one of our overseas ministry partners: Kent. He spoke from Mark 1, which, after introducing Jesus, goes on to speak about guilt and shame in the healing of a leper and a paralytic. There were some great insights into the text, drawing out the deliberate actions of Jesus, and helping us realize/remember the relational nature of God.

This week will be an extra extra short week with tomorrow being a public holiday, and I have Wednesday off as a make up for the Saturday server install. I have quite a bit to do, and I’m flying out to Hong Kong next Saturday for just under three weeks. I’m looking forward to the time off, but then I am also aware and a bit fearful of the fallout that this will cause and I’ll have to sort out on my return.

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Surgery

Last Thursday the 10th of September I went under the knife to have an Arthroscopy and an ACL reconstruction. I was booked as the second in the operating theatre, so it was an early start, arriving at the Sydney Adventist Hospital (SAN) at 7am. After heading to the Day of Surgery Admissions area, my Dad and I sat down to wait for things to kick off….

First up was the Anaesthetist who took us off to run a patient history and check to make sure that what was planned in the drugs department would be alright. Then it was back for a short wait before the clerk took us through the admission, mostly paperwork and money….

More waiting before a nurse took me through to be weighed, changed and put into a bed to wait to be prepared for surgery. This involved getting my right knee and surrounds shaved, washed and sterilised, and having a teds stocking on my left leg. Not long after that a porter came and took me upstairs to the operating floor, saying farewell to my Dad in the process…

After being placed in the operating queue, I was quickly whisked away to the outer operating room, kind of like an air-lock on a space ship. The Anaesthetists came and stuck a catheter in my left arm and then it was into the theatre to see Dr Hope, with a few last minute checks, like which knee was being done, it was G.O. time. The last few moments of consciousness began with the words “Think of your favourite place on earth“, my inner monologue went along the lines of “What’s my favourite place on Earth?? I wonder if Heaven counts??“…..

The next thing I know, I’m in the hospital bed in a ward with an oxygen thingo in my nostrils, a drip in my left hand, and little to no feeling in my legs. There’s also a cord with a green button tied to my right hand, which I soon work out is the pain relief drugs…. Throughout the afternoon I became accustomed to my new surrounds, drifting in and out of sleep…. I also worked out that intravenous pain drugs and I don’t mix particularly well when they make me vomit up any water that I’d drunk…. It kinda felt like the hamster experiment where it tries to eat the food with an electric current through it. After a couple of attempts, it just leaves it alone, preferring the hunger to the shock. I preferred to put up with the pain than to vomit and get hot and light headed. The nurse did offer a shot in the bum OR a pill up the rear to stop the vomitting, but I quickly refused those too… It was a shame that the nausea was still present at dinner time, resulting in a watery dinner tray, because the only mouthful of soup I had tasted very nice: a creamy tomato soup.

The night went very slowly, drifting in and out of sleep and having the nurses check oxygen, blood temperature and feeling in my toes every once in a while…. When the morning finally arrived we got breakfast and I was very relieved when I was actually able to stomach it. The cornflakes with apricot halves and skim milk, wholemeal bread with marmalade and Orange Juice went down nicely. Then the discharges started, with all four guys in my ward being discharged that day.

My discharge was the longest: After Dr Hope came and saw me, telling me how happy he was with the surgery and that he wished all his patients were like me, the nurses finally came round to unplug all the tubes and whatnot…. and then when they went to take the dressing off of my leg, we found out that the bandages over the stitches had soaked through, so they needed to be re-dressed, which took a bit of time… Then the Physio came to give me some exercises to do and teach me how to walk on crutches…. Her phrase for stairs was helpful, but not quite right:

The good go to Heaven, the bad go to Hell

meaning that when approaching stairs, the good foot goes up first when ascending them and the bad foot goes first when descending. Then it was another wait for the pharmacist to tell me what drugs I had to take, one for anti-inflammation and a pain-killer. And then I had to wait for my Dad to come and take me home…

Since I’ve been home I’ve been in bed for most of my time, sleeping and watching television…. I’ve had to battle my way through some headaches as well, mostly just with sleep…. On Sunday Mike came over to visit in the afternoon which was enjoyable.

On Sunday night despite wanting to go to church I wasn’t able to, but I did attend via Skype and was able to hear the majority of the service. Wazza spoke on 2 Peter 2, and I was able to catch up with a couple of people after the service through the chat window….

So for the remainder of my time off (2 more weeks) I plan to:

  • read
  • write – specifically my Engage posts
  • some design work – CHONGLAND, and maybe SALT
  • play games – Marvel Ultimate Alliance comes out soon and I’ve a copy on order
  • setup some computer stuff, if my body allows for it

Thanks goes out to all that have been praying for me during this time, it mean alot and I love you for loving me in this way

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DIARY

Announcements

A couple of announcements from companies that have registered on the CHONG radar in the last couple of days:

  1. Apple
    • Copy & Paste text
    • Copy & Paste photos
    • New Spotlight – This will enable searching for anything in the phone, no matter where it sits
    • Search in Mail, Calendar, and iPod
    • 3G Tethering – Finally, and especially after the app was taken off the app store shortly after making an appearance
    • Landscape keyboard
    • Multimedia messaging AKA MMS. This may not actually make it to
      Australia, given that the visual voicemail feature never made it, I won’t be surprised if this feature won’t either.
    • Support for new calendar types – CalDAV (supported by Google and Yahoo) and .ics format (Apple iCal)
    • Improved stocks application
    • Stereo Bluetooth A2DP audio – An awesome addition, although battery life will need to greatly improve for this to be particularly useful and functional
    • Note synching with iTunes – I’m a big iPhone notes user, so this shall be very useful. It’ll be interesting to see how well it will integrate into iTunes
    • Automatic login in Safari
    • Shake to shuffle music
    • Wi-Fi auto-login
    • Anti-phising
    • Extended parental controls
    • NEW APPLE APPLICATIONS

    • Voice memo application – A great app addition, especially considering the 16GB iPhones with plenty of room to move. Voice memos will be a great time-saver, next thing will be some kind of dictation or conversion from voice to text.
    • Send and receive files
    • NEW THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS FEATURES IN iPHONE OS 3.0

    • Peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connectivity
    • Browse remote content
    • Use your iPhone/touch to control peripherals
    • Maps inside other applications
    • Turn-by-turn directions – Finally, the ability for developers to put the GPS to the uses I believe they were intended for.
    • Push notification
    • Voice communication in applications
    • Rumbling
    • Audio recording – Another great feature that hopefully developers will utilise to it’s full potential
    • Access your music from applications

    They held an event to showcase their upcoming iPhone OS (Operating System) 3.0 on the 17th in America which was about 6-something this morning in Australia. It was long awaited and anticipated that copy and paste functionality would finally arrive, since being left off the iPhone since it’s launch almost 3 years ago…
    The list of features and amendments is quite impressive and will utilise some great functions of the iPhone which were slated for a long time ago:

  2. Marvel
    • Spiderman 4
    • Released on May 6, 2011.

    • Iron Man 2
    • Released on May 7, 2010.

    • Thor
    • Released on May 20, 2011.

    • The First Avenger: Captain Marvel
    • Released on July 22, 2011.

    • The Avengers
    • Released on May 4, 2012.

    There was a few announcements for upcoming movies and revised release dates:

    On top of that they’ve agreed with a company to make a number of Massively Multiplayer Online (MMOs) games featuring their superheros. This was slated for a couple of years ago, but fell through, and now they’re in the works again for both PC and consoles. I’m excited about this, and it will be an interesting time to come with rival studio DC Comics soon to launch their MMO with Sony Online Entertainment.

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The Incredible Hulk

Tonight I saw the latest release from Marvel with Geoff.
Having not seen the HULK (I don’t think….) I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’ve enjoyed a fair bit of Edward Norton‘s previous work, and Liv Tyler what else can I say…. (Beautiful girl indeed!!!!) I went in with an open mind, and I can say I was fairly happy with the overall affair…

The movie was well done, it flowed fairly nicely, although it covered some parts fairly quickly and skipped time, but it was well covered up with some onscreen graphics – ‘Days Without Incident”. The villain(s) are thrown in, however not quite showcased badly throughout the film, and there’s a couple of cameos to be spotted, no need to concentrate on them cause they’re REALLY obvious!!! For those that have seen Ironman there’s some good tie-ins there, especially with the Marvel Movies goal set out in a couple of years, and try to find references to S.H.I.E.L.D. in the film as well if you go to see it. There’s also a couple of small patches leaving it open to sequels, nothing too obvious that screams for one, well at least not as a singular Hulk movie, but you’ll find out if you see it!!

Hulk has always been an interesting Marvel Comics character, being a scientist that gets caught up in an accident and being ‘cursed’ with this power which is not particularly consciously controllable, and having a longstanding loving girlfriend, who eventually becomes his wife. It’s actually a really twisted romance story….

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IRONMAN

I hope people has had the opportunity to get out and see Ironman, it’s a great little movie with plenty for everyone!! I saw it about a couple of weeks ago with Geoff on a complimentary double pass… If you haven’t yet seen it, go and have a look-see, and make sure you stay for the additional scene after the fairly long credits….

I suppose if you boil it down, it’s a standard first superhero movie where they introduce the hero with all their flaws and complications, then they build in some tragedy that forces them to react and evolve into said superhero, at which point they go and avenge/settle their issues around the tragedy. Of course, somewhere along the line there has to develop a love interest as well.

Robert Downey Jr. plays really well as Ironman AKA Tony Stark; the rich weapons manufacturer & distributor, as does Gwyneth Paltrow as Polly Pepper; Stark’s P.A.. It was good to see the inclusion of …. who is a good friend of Tonys and will eventually become War Machine. I liked the heap of satirical humor dropped throughout the movie, as well as the numerous sequel hints spattered throughout the movie… (for those that haven’t read: Marvel Movies)

Effects wise the movie stands up really well… The Ironman suit looks really really cool, especially when he gets it on, with all the clicking and locking and screwing of everything in place…

I’m not too sure how well the movie follows the original comics, but it is something I’m keen on exploring…. I’ve recently signed up to Marvel’s Digital Comics service which has thousands of comics available to be read online for either a monthly or yearly subscription. They have the original Iron-man series on the site, so I’ll report back on my findings at some point.

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Marvel Movies

On the back of Iron Man doing so well there’s been announcements of more Marvel based movies coming out!!! How Exciting!!!!!

This year we have The Incredible Hulk and Punisher: War Zone due to release: sequels to Hulk and Punisher from 2003 and 2004 respectively. Next year sees hopefully the first in a series of X-Men Origins films with X-Men Origins: Wolverine releasing, definitely a great and mysterious character to get a movie treatment.

2010 has been proclaimed as the year that Tony Stark will return in a second Iron Man movie as well as Thor the mythical God of Thunder to appear with his mighty hammer.

Then in 2011, Captain America will hit the big screen in the Red, White and Blue, followed by The Avengers around July!!

How exciting is all of this!!!  Marvel and DC getting involved with movies is definitely a good thing!!!  For more Marvel madness, be sure to check out their site: www.marvel.com