Based on the following…

…I think the next three years should be fairly interesting:

“I will be teaching preaching, systematic theology and…evil.” 

“I can teach you how to sail a dinghy. I can teach you how to row. And I’m very interested in learning about bee keeping.” 

“My literary idols are Kierkegaard, Tolstoy and Spiderman.” 

Today was my welcome day at theological college. The above are quotes from the session in which the teaching staff introduced themselves – they’re a diverse bunch who seem to collectively possess an excellent sense of humour. This is most definitely a good thing.

What is possibly not a good thing is the continuation of the curse of classical education…

When I was in my first year of secondary school, I did well enough in French to be identified as a ‘potential linguist’, prompting a letter to my parents conveying this good news and offering me the opportunity to take extra-curricular Latin. What self-respecting parent would turn down such an amazing educational opportunity? Certainly not my parents. The catch? The classes were before and after school – i.e. ridiculously early or ridiculously late (and I already had to catch a bus at 7.15 to get to school on time). Yes, Latin was beneficial, but I was very glad when, with the news that my new school didn’t offer it, I was allowed to drop it in favour of choir rehearsals.

Today, we heard about the optional Greek course. Every fibre of my body knew that it would be in my best interests to take it – and that my parents would reinforce this. The catch? It’s before classes start. In fact, it’s even before the breakfast that kicks off our day of classes. Oh, and it’s on Mondays.

Hopefully the early start won’t affect my attitude to Greek in the way it did Latin. I can’t remember an awful lot of it now, aside from the first page of the Oxford Latin Course text book (‘Scintilla mater est. Quintus puer est. Scintilla in culina est, Scintilla cenam parat…’) and how to say “I can’t hear you, I have a banana stuck in my ear”. Super useful if ever there’s a lull in conversation.

[I mention the following only because my friends will inevitably discover this in conversation and will find my dislike of the early class laughable, but Greek will start at 8.30am. I appreciate that this isn’t actually that early. In fact, it’s later than most of my teaching friends start work every single weekday. But have you met me before 10.30am? I’m not pleasant and I’m not sure I’ll be in a fit state to learn a new language…]

Friday Fun to keep you calm amidst the Christmas chaos

It’s been a rare week of discovering multiple items for today, which means it’s a slighty eclectic assortment and my links between them may be more tenuous than usual, but still, I’m sure there’ll be at least one that will tickle your fancy.

Yesterday I mentioned the cute nativity video shown at Happy Birthday Jesus. ‘Tis, of course, the season of nativities – just last Sunday we had our own featuring a pantomime camel and a classic line of “being a shepherd is soooooo boring!”. As our service was beginning, our sister church in Auckland was finishing up their huge carol service (complete with glowsticks rather than candles, what with it being so hot in the southern hemisphere at this time of year) of which a nativity video was a highlight. Its been doing the rounds on Facebook this week, so you may have seen it, but it deserves to be shared again. It’s gorgeous, not just because of the kids and their awesome accents, but the way it’s shot and how the story is told. You’ll be entranced.

How cute is that kid in the sheep costume? Awwwww! 

HBJ also provides the link to this next gem. Its page on the Greenbelt website featured this photo:

On Wednesday, while noting down all the practical info I needed to get there, I noticed the following sentence: ‘Astounding – and potentially highly inappropriate – image above comes from Awkward Family Pet Photosand thought to myself that it was probably worth a quick look. It really was. Truly bizarre and exceptionally awkward, this is a British procrastinator’s dream. A personal favourite was this one:

Yes, that would’ve been my reaction too. 

Of course, what we need most amidst the chaos that is the week before Christmas, is some calm. Which leads me onto a collection of 14 of the best ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ spoofs
The poster’s become fairly omnipresent in recent years, but how many of you know the story behind it? Yes, it’s a Ministry of Information poster from WW2, but it was never actually used during the war – because it was only intended for when Germany invaded. Two other posters were commissioned at the same time, and were used throughout the war, but this one remained unknown until a chance discovery in 2000. The bookseller concerned framed it and hung it next to the till, where it attracted so much attention that they printed copies, sold them like hot cakes and the rest is history. 
The original trio
I have two favourites amongst the spoofs: 

And finally, some truly immature humour that has no link with any of the above. All of us will probably have suffered at the hand of auto-correct in text messaging at some point. Usually, it’s not too mortifyingly embarrassing – I was pretty amused recently when I received a text in which the dictionary had turned ‘kiss’ into ‘lips’, it felt like quite an appropriate mix up. However, some corrections are just plain wrong and on this website, you can see some fairly immature examples. 

When technology goes wrong

At work, we have a regular whole team gathering (that’s 100+ people) that takes place on the first Wednesday of the month. It’s rather inventively known as ‘First Wednesday’ and is a cunning combination of nice lunch (to get people to the meeting) followed by an hour of presentations on assorted work-related subjects.

For some reason, I’ve had the dubious privilege of presenting at this function several times. I had the pleasure again today, and this morning while tidying up my script could be heard bemoaning the fact that we didn’t have a remote control with which to manage the PowerPoint slides. Usually, someone else does them for you, but that never quite works out the way you’d hoped it would.

On arriving at today’s meeting, I was informed that a remote control had recently been acquired and that June’s First Wednesday was to be its inaugural outing. I was both exceedingly excited and relieved that I wasn’t going to be the first presenter using it. As the meeting wore on I grew more and more concerned. No one was having much luck with the remote – it went too fast; it didn’t work at all; it shut the laptop down…all generally a bit frustrating.

I was the penultimate speaker and only had one slide in which timing was crucial. What was the one slide on which the remote went too fast? That one. Sod’s law! It also turned off the screen completely, but by that point I’d decided to carry on regardless. Stupid technology – who needs it?

The other problem with this function is that attempts at humour are sometimes lost on the audience. In our first joint presentation, C and I adapted a classic Simpsons quote – Troy McClure’s catchphrase: “You may remember me from…” and didn’t raise a murmur (though one colleague did e-mail her appreciation of the reference subsequently). Today, I described my Missing Generation project [I could go into this in detail, it’s honestly fascinating, but could bore the pants off you] as sounding like an Enid Blyton mystery, but I feel few noticed or found amusing the subtle reference…serves me right for trying to be funny. I should know better.