James Ogley

My Blog

30 Jun 2007, 17:25: Big day tomorrow
So the big final clock is ticking and in under 17 hours the service starts. The weasther stinks here at the moment so I can't see the post-service photos being taken outside. I'm going to get an early night tonight because it's an early start tomorrow.

I think I've survived anyway and I've had time to both pray and watch (so far) all but the final three episodes of season seven. I'm just looking forward to getting the service done and the move out of the way so I can get on with the job.

Have kept in communication with members of the Naughty Table and Tea Club as well as phoning Amanda a lot so the latest entry in my list of how to survive the retreat is:

  • Keep your mobile phone on. Getting a text from a colleague on another retreat will brighten the afternoon and calling your spouse (or, if you're single, close family members) will get you through.
The best thing about tomorrow is going to be that I get to see Amanda and Callum again because I miss them terribly.
Watching "Internal Displacement" from season seven of The West Wing on a break in the afternoon and the wonk baiting line just issued forth from Josh's lips.

Had my interview with Bishop Michael this morning and thankfully he's still going to ordain me on Sunday. On Monday, the removal company are now not only going to pack our stuff but also move it all to Bursledon. Very cool apart from the fact that I've arranged a night in the Cadland for that night before driving down on the Tuesday. So, the Monday night will see me sleeping on a lilo in a sleeping bag.

That's right, I made it to the end of day two. The biggest thing today was that at Evening Prayer today it was the turn of the deacons-to-be to lead the service (the retreat is for both those to be made deacon and those to be made presbyter [priest]). There's a few of us from the New Wine style and so we decided that we would add a bit of balance to the more traditional style of worship that there's been so far. It ended up falling to me (as the guy with the guitar and more worship resources than you can shake a well-greased stick at) to lead worship during the service. It went pretty well and I think it helped those of us for whom that is our natural position while also opening horizons for those for whom that's not to where they would naturally gravitate. Also today I arranged for a Sky engineer to come out only a couple of days after we move into the house in Bursledon to install a dish there. We're going out for a curry tomorrow night - rar!

And now, some more tips for surviving the retreat:

  • Don't allow yourself to get hung up on the aspects of churchmanship that those around you may display that you yourself may feel profoundly uncomfortable with. I did at first (almost screamed when the bishop used the word altar at the rehearsal) but it's simply not worth it. Moreover, it'll get between you and making the most of the retreat.
  • Be sure to remember everything you need and/or want to have with you. I remembered my robes. Just. On the downside, I forgot the small crate of Hobgoblin ale I'd bought to bring with me. It's the little things that make the difference.
First day of ordination retreat and I'm glad I survived. So I thought I'd start putting some thoughts down on how to get through this thing. I expect this list will grow over the course of the retreat. First of all though, I need to recount the day itself.

Drove down very early this morning with a car full of musical instruments which I deposited at the vicarage. Then I headed the bishop's house for lunch followed by the rehearsal at the cathedral. Right after the rehearsal it was straight down to the retreat and I just got back to my room (23.15 in case I don't remember to preserve timestamps on these posts).

Okay, so how to survive the retreat:

  • Pray that you have a good bunch on retreat with you. I honestly don't think I could have done any better unless I was with the Naughty Table or the Tea Club from college. The people around you will always make a huge difference in any context, especially this.
  • Take a book. Not something published by Kingsway, not something on the subject of theology, something totally unimproving. This is the same rule as for selection conference. Then I took a Pratchett book, this time The Book of Dave by Will Self.
  • Take other forms of entertainment. I have with me season seven of The West Wing on DVD and my DAB radio. If you have an iPod or other digital audio player, take it.
  • Go to the pub. Just go. That's where I just returned from. Go to the pub. In case that wasn't clear: Go To The Pub.
  • Then, once you've made sure you'll stay sane, pray and make the most of the space the retreat affords you.
27 Jun 2007, 07:14: Just to clarify

As of 0730 (+0100) today I expect to be offline until late Sunday. Please do not expect emails to be read, never mind responded to. I expect that all mailing lists will effectively be transferred to /dev/null upon my return so if you have a query that you want me to read, please send it to me directly and be patient.

I don't know why I thought of this today but about a month ago I was walking home and as I turned into my street I spotted a bunch of chavs walking about fifty yards ahead of me with their canine companions. I heard one of their number call out to his pet, "Oi, Quaver!" I couldn't help but think "I bet he doesn't have other dogs named Minim and Crotchet."

I bought myself a little present, a Pure PocketDAB 1500 which is just brilliant. It means I can now listen to 6music when I'm out and about or listen to Five Live without being subject to the vagaries of AM reception.

I go on pre-ordination retreat tomorrow and I suspect there may not be internet access so this may well be my last post until after the service on Sunday.

22 Jun 2007, 18:20: Friday

My ordination stole arrived from Emma today and it looks fantastic, I'm utterly thrilled with it. I'm not putting a photo here so that it can remain a surprise for people coming to the ordination (I promise to post tickets over the weekend).

I also ordered a book from Amazon to read during the pre-ordination retreat, The Book of Dave by Will Self and bought myself a new pair of shoes for the service.

So, I'm just about ready. Final duty up here on Monday night (I'm helping with a training night at St Luke's for the new evening service), hair appointment on Tuesday and on Wednesday I head down for the retreat.

21 Jun 2007, 22:11: Endings


  • Had supervision with John over breakfast
  • Made amendments to dissertation based on that supervision
  • Chatted briefly with Christina to check some facts
  • Got the actual title of the dissertation signed off
  • Had lunch with Amanda and Callum
  • Submitted final version of the dissertation
  • Cleared out my college room
  • Emotional farewells with Karen and Rachel as we all departed college today
That's it, 33 months doesn't seem enough preparation for what starts in six days time with my retreat.

Oh, and I'm still involved with the production of college's Learning and Teaching Strategy (as is Rachel).

So, maybe it's not really an ending but really a point to pause for reflection.

20 Jun 2007, 22:20: Wednesday catch-up

  • Commissioning Service and the associated social activities were great - so good to have the rest of the Naughty Table there supporting Rachel and me as we were sent out.
  • Down in Watford on Sunday. Went to the morning service at SSW and saw loads of people which was superb. They made the mistake of giving me the microphone half-way through the service to share where we're going to. I almost preached [:)]
  • After the service we had lunch and then afternoon tea with Carole and Andrew. Just lovely to see them. Delivered a bunch of ordination tickets too while we were there. Must put the rest in the post...
  • Monday until today I've been working on my dissertation and I submitted the first complete draft to my supervisor today. It's due on Friday and I'm hoping to have it done and in tomorrow so I can go to the Nottingham Open tennis on Friday.

16 Jun 2007, 08:14: Commissioning

Today's the Commissioning Service at college where those of us who are leaving are prayed for and commissioned for the next phase of our lives in ministry and mission.

Yesterday I submitted MM310 and MM320. MM310 was the first module of the year and had been waiting for a tidy-up for quite some time. MM320 was my final module of the year and I surprised some very clever people by having written it all (including doing all my reading) within four days while also attending the leavers' course. That all means that, with the exception of my dissertation which I need to finish by Friday, I managed to complete and submit all my work by the deadline. Rar!

16 Jun 2007, 08:14: IT in Retail

We had Liz over for dinner last night which was lovely. It meant that in the afternoon I went to Sainsbury's to buy ingredients for cooking. The weather yesterday afternoon was foul, torrential rain and a heavy thunder storm. The storm caused a brief power-cut (under a second long) at Sainsbury's which in turn caused all the tills to reboot. They took an inordinate amount of time to come back up. Some thoughts:

  • If your sales depends on electronic points of sale such as these, put them all on UPSs.
  • Upgrade the hardware so that they boot more quickly. The Windows 2000 (eugh!) boot screen took an age to clear as did the .bat script that ran at login. The EPOS software itself started very quickly when it was launched but the machines had caused a delay before that point.
  • Don't use Windows, just don't.

12 Jun 2007, 09:08: 11-Up

It's not often I blog solely about poker but I just had to this morning. Overnight, Phil Helmuth won his eleventh World Series Of Poker bracelet. He won Event 15 of this year's WSOP, the $1,500 no-limit Hold'em event.

Now, the challenge is for number twelve to be in something other than Hold'em...

11 Jun 2007, 13:06: The final push

Yes, five days until the deadline. This actually won't be the final push but it sure feels like it at college at the moment. Started MM320 (Hermeneutics) this morning and should hit 400 words before lunch. That may not sound like much but I always start essays slowly and then hit my stride around 500-600 words. The next 1700-2000 words or so normally flow and just leave me to tidy-up at the end and wrap it up.

Haven't really commented on what's been going on the world in a while, so a brief pause from the essay to do just that. The G8 leaders met last week and announced $60bn to relieve suffering from Aids in Africa. A joke. Of that $60bn, only $3bn is actually new and they're behind already on the 2005 commitment. Read more.

An interesting piece in the Independent's Information supplement on Saturday (doesn't appear to be online as well) about one of the hostages at Guantanamo Bay. Not that remarkable except that the reason he is there is that he is an al-Jazeera journalist who was snatched while on assignment in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He tells of the life of torture endured by the people held in America's Gulag. I note that this morning, Colin Powell has called for Guantanamo's immediate closure.

On a less heavy note, was interested to read the account of the World Series Of Poker's 7-Card Stud final table. Greg Raymer and Barry Greenstein from Team Poker Stars both made this table that went through the night. A remarkable table to observe no doubt and I hope that the ESPN coverage reflects that.

10 Jun 2007, 07:51: Magnetism

I just wandered through the kitchen to get myself a coffee and I noticed the door of the fridge as I put the milk back in it. We have those magnetic letters on the fridge which we use to spell various things from time to time[1]. A few weeks ago, while we were down in Bursledon, the people who are going to be our tenants from this summer came to look around the house to check it over and all that. They had rearranged the letters on the fridge to spell "NICE HOUSE". Isn't that sweet?

And the coffee is Cafe Direct Kilimanjaro - yummy!

[1] How cool are these Periodic Table magnets from my Think Geek wishlist?

09 Jun 2007, 18:25: Saturday

  • Today was the Focus Leavers' Retreat which Amanda was at (and she took CJ with her) so I had the day to myself.
  • Tried mowing the lawn but it's a little bit of control. Add to that the fact the grass was all heavily laden with pollen just waiting to be released and my double-dose of antihistamine this morning didn't stand a chance. We do at least now have a path to the shed but I think I may have to borrow a strimmer.
  • Had a haircut and then tried to go buy some new shoes for my ordination. Failed miserably in Beeston and didn't have the right change for a bus into Nottingham (how dumb is it to require the correct change?). Going to have to go into the city at some point though because the pair I'd wear otherwise have worn through the soles.
  • The libpurple, pidgin and finch packages in GNOME:Community now match up with the packages in GNOME:UNSTABLE (which in turn were based on my packages in G:C) so that the meanwhile and mono plugins are now subpackages of libpurple. While I was at it I created a new package, gconf2-rpm-macros, which provides the new macros that will be in 10.3 on older products in G:C. Packagers can read more details here.
  • Tomorrow's our last Sunday at St Luke's. It's also the final Sunday in the current service pattern so it's going to be quite a day.

08 Jun 2007, 11:15: Progress

  • Submitted the first draft of the first chapter of my dissertation for supervision. Also submitted the final version of my Hebrew assignment. Aiming to arrange a title for my Hermeneutics assignment today. Deadline for all my work is a week today and I also have a couple of things that need tidying up before submission. Going to need a week's extension on the dissertation I think.
  • Support for Pidgin has now been added to Gimmie. openSUSE packages are in GNOME:Community.

04 Jun 2007, 17:26: Quiet? Pah!

  • Leavers' Quiet Day today. I'm not a fan of quiet days at the best of times and when I have a dissertation to be getting on with, even less so. Thankfully I was able to write just over 700 words over lunch so that made it a bit better.
  • Uploaded more photos of Callum taken on my phone. Learning that the phone's camera is great in optimal light and when totally still, a bit dodgy otherwise.

03 Jun 2007, 22:16: Sunday

  • Last week I got my purple and green stoles from Michelle and Amanda was good enough to take a couple of photos. I've used one of these to create myself a new hackergotchi which appears below. I've changed the Planet SUSE config to use this.
  • Good Sunday. Church in the morning, some housework this afternoon and then, after we put CJ to bed, pizza and champagne for supper. Watched Two Cathedrals and got misty eyed during Brothers in Arms as always. Then watched the penultimate episode of 24 Day 6 (the final episode is recording right now).

My new hackergotchi

02 Jun 2007, 10:18: Musings

I had another Facebook email overnight (no link for reasons that will become apparent). Over the last few months a number of my friends (real friends, people I actually know, this isn't spam) have "added me as a friend on Facebook". This I find fascinating as I don't use Facebook, I never have used Facebook, I am not registered with Facebook, I have no desire to be registered with it (because, obviously, I really need another online pursuit to consume my time, don't I? I only just got the Slashdot monkey off my back!). So, how is it possible for people to "add me as a friend"? Shouldn't Facebook say

Hang on, that person isn't registered. You can't add him but you can invite him to join
Getting invitations from these people would make a lot more sense. I'd still ignore them but it would make more sense.

It's been the Half-Term Reading Week this past week and I've been working on my dissertation. Didn't make as much progress as I'd hoped but it could have been worse. Leavers' Course starts on Monday with a Quiet Day then, over the next two weeks, I'll learn about doing funerals, weddings, baptisms, clergy tax, the ordination service itself and lots, lots more.

Alerted HantsLUG to my imminent arrival in their neck of the woods. Not sure how often I'll actually make it to meetings but it's good to make the contacts. I'm going to get myself added to their planet too - so that's one more thing for me to read.

Have decided not to cable-up the house in Bursledon for data - that's just so last century. The wired portion of the LAN will all exist in my study. Amanda's going to have an office upstairs so I'm going to have to get a wi-fi adaptor for weasel. Obviously it needs to work with Linux and preferably with Free drivers. If I have to resort to proprietary drivers or ndiswrapper that'll be a bit of a pain. Also, ideally I'd like it to be USB because in the midst of moving house I don't want to have to bother opening up a system unit. The hunt begins...