Sunday, September 25, 2005

We're off to the UK tonight. I'm still not packed yet, and am now sending the last of the emails which I need to do, with contacts in the UK, and so on.

I've got all my references sorted, and am finishing off the last one or two questions on the OM application form. I will hopefully be going for an interview on the 17th of October about joining Doulos. All very exciting!

Anyway, I probably won't have much chance to update the blog for a few weeks or more. But I may, and I definately will once we get back from the UK (25th of October).

If anyone feels like praying, that'd be awfully nice.



Wednesday, September 21, 2005

This is a 3d representation of the Doulos Toaster:

Strange things happen with this machine.

I'll explain how ought to work:

1) You put your bread on the metal mesh conveyor belt at the front.

2) The conveyor belt slowly slides the bread inside, where a double grill toasts it.

3) The (now) toast reaches the end of the conveyor belt, falls off it, and slides back to the metal toast-catching tray at the front (just below where you put the bread in).

4) You pick up your perfect slice of toast, a happy smile upon your lips, and head towards your table, while others in the dining room cast admiring glances at your beautiful slice of gastronomic delight.

There. That's how it ought to work. This is what actually happens:

1) You stand in a medium sized queue waiting for your turn at the toaster, while people push past you to put their finished trays onto the rack, napkins in the bin, and so forth.

2) You eventually reach the toaster, and now have to wait while the bread already on the conveyor belt moves forward enough for you to fit yours on.

3) You put your bread on the conveyor belt, and realise someone has changed the speed that the conveyor belt moves at, so now it is too fast, and your bread wont get toasted at all!

4) You set the speed back down to the slowest speed again.

5) Someone comes along with their bread, peers at yours sitting on the conveyor belt which is just entering the toaster, and they push your bread forward so that they can fit theirs in.

6) This really annoys you, because it means that YOUR bread won't get as much toasting as you want!

7) They then set the speed up to the fastest.

8) This annoys you even more.

9) You patiently and with loving brotherly kindness explain that the dial changes the SPEED that the bread goes through the toaster, and NOT how hot the toaster will be, and that they just made their bread get less toasted, which wasn't what they wanted, was it?

10) It wasn't, and so they set it back to slow again.

11) Your toast pops out of the toaster.

12) You pick it up and...

13) Wait a second, this isn't your toast! You put in brown bread, from the middle of the loaf, and this is a white crust!

14) You put back the toast into the toast-catching tray, and peer inside the toaster to see where your toast is.

15) There is no toast in the toaster. It is now empty.

16) Puzzled, you pick up the white toasted crust, and wander around for a while holding it, and asking random people if it is theirs.

Eventually you give up, and confusion oozing from every pore, head back to your table.

18) You trip over someone who was pushing their chair out, and drop the toast on the floor.

19) Someone treads on it, and appologises.

20) You sigh, say "A little dirt never hurt anyone. Especially on Doulos!".

21) Everyone in the near vicinity nods sagely.

22) You pick up the crushed white now-cold crust, and continue on your way to the table.

OK. So that's what actually happens. The question is :


Now, we could either conclude with a rather trite, but possibly true conclusion that it is all part of God teaching you about patience, but my answer is slightly more believable.

The Doulos toasters (referred to now as "a") are actually a multi-dimensional hyper-space teleportation and transformational location-modification device, which maps your bread ( now "b" ) through a quantum-bread meta-matrix and returns it utilising a state-switching algorithm which aligns the spinless iso-toast ("c") with a 7 digit hexadecimal Glenn-Mann style vectoral frame reference so that, obviously, the anti-toast ("d") particles of the sub-heliotropic "b" (also known as "your bread") are accelerated to a state where by critial mass is reached simultaneously with the point where another semi-random peice of toast is displaced from the meta-matrix, and arrives in the toast-catching tray.

So keep this in mind next time you want some toast on the Doulos.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Man, I really have abandoned this poor blog, have I not?

I spoke at church, last Sunday. Seemed to go OK. I was quite nervous, but managed to make people laugh a few times, and a lot of people have said how much they liked me talking at church. Thing is, I don't actually like the whole "Sunday Morning Church" thing. Particually having a 30 to 45 minute "Sermon" or lecture shoved in the middle. I talked for 20 minutes, and feel kind of guilty for taking so long.

I've got the OM application form, and thus far have not yet filled it out. I really need to. We're going back to the UK in about a week, for an entire month. I wonder if they can post the next set of forms to me there? Hm.

One of my friends from the STEP sent me some photos of my cabin! I'll see if I can put some online over the next few days. Here is a picture of the bathroom of our cabin...

I was going to go on a 5 day woodwind repair course in Wales in about 3 weeks, but 2 days ago I phoned them because they had still not sent me the accomidation details, and they said "Ah, yes, well, you see, the tutor we have hired just told us that he cannot come until a week later. We were just going to phone you later today to tell you..." Well. A week later than the course is the week we come back to Cyprus! So not a whole lot of use! The guy says we will get a full refund, and he is trying to see if he can find a woodwind repairer friend of his to take me on as an apprentice for a week... Who knows.

This is one of those things, you know, when all your plans just jump right out of the window, and there is nothing you can do at all. I just have to trust God again in this. I know that He can change dates and things, like He did with the Doulos when I joined, with them having a place for me in June rather than later in the year. So I know He can do the same now too. Both ways. If He wants me to do this course, He can change the dates back again, and provide the accomidation. And if He does not want me to do the course, again, the same thing. So this could be His way of saying "Not this time, boyo" (He'd say "boyo" because the course is in Wales). So yeah.

On a lighter note, it looks like I will be able to buy my new clarinet in about 2 weeks! Woo! There is a shop in Worthing which is right close to where my Grandmother lives, and we will be visiting her for a while, and will try to visit then to go clarinet shopping. Yeah! I'm currently planning to get a Buffet RC Greenline. We'll see. I think a greenline would be best for being on the Doulos, with all the crazy humidity and other conditions and all.

So. Signing off...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

This is a photo from my E-day in (I think) Beira, where we spent the morning clearing up rubbish from the roads, and then from the beach area by the hospital, and then did an open-air outreach in the afternoon. We were told what to do with the rubbish by the local volenteer (who was told by the municipality rep he knew).

Dig a great big hole, and bury it.

The europeans in the group thought this was very funny. Anyway, so we did. The photo shows Yours Truely in a deckie uniform (that blue thing). I spent most of the 2 months wearing that thing.

Kind sexy, isn't it? Well... OK, not really. The shoes are alright though. Nice solid things, with steel tips. I was quite glad of those steel tips at one point. During Sabbath Week while I was on watch, the Bosun called me over to help move a cargo converyor belt, just the two of us, and it dropped onto my foot. The deckie manual says that one should always wear deckie boots while on watch, even though I was told by other deckies "Naw, don't. Just wear black shoes, so it looks smart. Your deckie shoes are all messy, so you'll get shouted at if an officer comes up."

I'm quite glad I ignored them, actually. That conveyor belt was heavy! But thanks to wonderful super-magic deckie shoes, I didn't feel anything, and we just then lifted it up again and put it up where needed.

I went to Karate last night, at the local centre. I started attending (once a week) about 3 months before leaving to join the Doulos. I hadn't really had a chance to keep it up while on board, although I did try to do some excersize some days. Right up on top of the ship is the "Sun-Deck", which is for crew only, and has some excersize equipment, an excersize bike, weights, a punching bag, and so on. There are also some hammocks, which aren't for excersize, but are nice anyway. It's quite noisy up there, because it is right above the engine room hatch, so you can talk privately if you want, and it is out of the way of visitors. Some of the guys would go up there every night to work out, do weights, and so on. Weights have never really been my thing, but I occasionally did some stretching, juggling, push-ups, and so on. It's amazing how much better you feel if you do some excersize each day, or every other day, or so. It's so easy on board the Doulos to just ignore that kind of thing, as the work on board (deck, catering, etc) is quite hard, and can leave you feeling quite tired, but without actually working out your whole body. Anyway. It's well worth it.

And this is a photo from the same day as before. You can see me in the background, watching the other two who were doing a drama, during the outreach bit. They didn't really want to do the drama, much (Statue drama), but they had organized it without asking if I wanted to act, and so when they found out that I love acting, they were a bit annoyed afterwards... Oh well. It was OK.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

I hadn't posted much for a few days. So I thought I would just start randomly typing and see what happens.

When I was on Doulos, with working in the Deck and all, I had to learn a few knots. Just simple ones. I'd always liked knots, and all sailory (nautical is a better word, isn't it...) things, but had never been particually good at remembering them. I'd always learned them before in situations where someone showed me the knot, and then I had a few minutes to practice with about 6 other people all wanting the same rope, and then no chance to try again for weeks and weeks. Well, on Doulos, we had to use these basic knots every day, and funnily enough, I learned them quite quickly. Like this first knot, the "Bowline" (pronounced bo-lin). It's called this because apparently some time in the depths of time, for some reason lost in the bowels of obscurity, they used this knot to tie the bow (the front) of a boat, or ship, to whatever they needed to tie it to. The dock, presumably. And for some other weird reason, almost all ropes are called "lines" by nautical people, whenever the rope has a use.

When we loaded (or unloaded) things from the Ship using the crane, we always tied another rope from the item being loaded (or unloaded), which would then be held quite tight to make sure the item didn't swing around in the wind, or crash into things. This rope is called a "Messenger Line". Sometimes we used 2 messenger lines, for big things (like the Doulos mini-vans, which had to be loaded and unloaded at every port.) Funnily enough, we actually used that knot (the Bowline) to attach a messenger line to the object being loaded (or unloaded).

Here is another picture. This is a knot which is in fact, a bowline, but so modified that it has become absurd, and no one would ever use such a knot. It does look kind of pretty though, I guess...

Working on Deck, I began to really like knots a lot, and when I got back to Larnaka I went and bought a small ammount of rope, and have been practicing knots and such, and inventing crazy things with them and all. Like that monstrocity here. Terrible, isn't it.

My father just saw a mirror dinghy advertived on a notice board in the local supermarket... not very expensive, either. Second hand. My father and I have wanted for ages to get a small boat. So. We will see what happens...

Oh, by the way. I have started contacting the Doulos people again, to begin attempting to apply to join them again. And next week I will be speaking in church about my experiences on the Doulos over the last 2 months. Should be fun. Again, we will see what happens...