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Felines and Phones

28 April 2005

On Friday night, I found myself in the Enmorish parts of town, in front of the Cat Protection Society of NSW building. As they say, 'Every cat deserves a responsible home'. Whilst enjoying the inimitable Cat Protection experience, I randomly noticed a rather large crowd of friends and acquaintances lining up accross the road, in front of the Enmore Theatre. Not only did they greet me with expressions of joy, but they also had a ticket they had purchased for me. What a glorious set of coincidences (coinkidink?). Guess who was playing the Enmore? None other than the Cat Empire. Irony++

The show was a case of the Empire strikes back - I had only been mildly interested in some of their recordings, but had heard that they were much better live. 'Much better live' is an understatement, to say the least - it was one of the best live shows that I have ever seen.
Not only is it truly a group effort, with each of the 9+ musicians being great at their craft; they also know how to throw a party vibe together. The way they can turn a 3 minute radio hit into an 11 minute fusion of jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, rap and pop makes for a great night out. If you can get along to see them, do!

In other news, my blatant greed has been uncovered this week!!
Recently I've been thinking about how greedy I am and, really, how our whole society is. Our economy works because people want more than they currently have. If suddenly everyone were content with what they have (or only what they need), my guess is that the range of goods and services being pedalled by merchants would reduce to the necessities - food, housing, clothing. And even then, those industries would be shrunk and shrivelled compared to their currently fattened counterparts.

My Dad enjoys reading books about economic markets for fun - woo!! (maybe that's where all that nerdiness comes from?). I remember speaking to him about one book in particular, that followed the economic development of China from communism to communist-regulated capitalism.

The country used to be in a state of straight communism - where everyone who works gives their produce to the state for it to be distributed according to need. The problem was, the produce was not meeting the required quotas to fill everyone's stomach. Economists argued that workers needed to be given incentive to work harder, that they needed to benefit directly from the amount of work they put in. So the government allowed workers to keep any excess food they produced. Almost overnight, the quotas were met. I don't know if you can call that outright greed, but it certainly says something about humans and contentment.

Now, you may be wondering, why on earth am I ranting on about economic development of China blah blah blah... Well, it all has to do with everyone's favourite online bargain hunt - ebay!

Yesterday I was bidding for a second hand PDA/phone that Joe alerted me to. Bidding was going fine (read: I was the highest bidder) until about 10 minutes before the end of the auction - that's when my internet connection died.
I switched to another, much slower, connection by which stage there were only moments to go. Being my first time on ebay, I wasn't savvy enough to be ready to throw in a higher bid at the last minute. Someone bid $20 above me with 30 seconds left. I frantically tried to place a higher bid.... but my connection was too slow. I was pipped at the post.

So what? Everyone gets outbid now and then, right? The only problem was, I got angry at the esteemed gentleman who outbid me - I wanted to write to him and offer a range of expletives for him to digest. I was shocked by how much I cared for such a small thing. Am I too attached to 'things' rather than people? I think so. Am I content with what I have? No, but I'm learning.

What about you....?

Author: Martyn » Comments:

Wakey, Wakey..

21 April 2005

Woke up late today. Again.

Why is it that I seem to go through weeks when I just can't seem to get out of bed on time?
I have tried putting the alarm clock on my desk, across the room. The only problem is, the alarm will go off I will get up, turn it off and get back in bed. Perhaps I need clocky...

Author: Martyn » Comments:

Damaged Emotions, Damaged Men

20 April 2005

How many men suffer from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem?

I have recently been reading a book called 'Healing for Damaged Emotions' by a man named David A. Seamands. The author is not a psychologist, but a Christian minister, and he writes on what he has observed over many years of relating to people. His main thesis is that most of us are walking around with an inner conviction that 'I am not OK'.

The most liberating, and disturbing experience I have had whilst reading the book is the way that his description of people's behaviour so closely matches my own, and that of so many people I know. It seems that so many of us are anxious, are worried that we don't measure up, are down on ourselves.

In particular, I was reminded last night of one young man I have known, who is almost a classic case of low-self esteem, anxiety and depression all in one. Being the selfish man that I am, and despite my sincere efforts, I have found it very hard to befriend him. This book made me realise that, no matter how hard I try, I cannot make him feel OK about himself, and it leaves me with a great sadness.

How many other men are the same? How many other men are secretly, silently facing depression or anxiety? As a generality, we are less likely to seek help - and to some extent, can you blame us? From day one we are told that men must be strong, and keep a stiff upper lip.
The successful man is the self-made man, not the honest man who gets help. How can men help each other help each other?

This whole issue has also got me thinking about two other topics.
The first is the relationship between the mind and the body. When we feel things, where do we feel them? We almost certainly experience them in the mind, but there are also congruent physical feelings associated with the experience. When someone is depressed, they are depressed in the way they perceive life, but there are also chemical imbalances involved. Which triggers which? How close is the relationship? We are strange beings...

The second topic I have been ruminating over is the difference being a Christian makes to self-esteem and anxiety, etc. I realised that I had been totally misunderstanding Jesus' words, to my own harm. Famously, Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was to love God with everything you've got, and to love your neighbour as yourself. Just think about those words 'as yourself'. Jesus actually pre-supposes that Christians will have a healthy self-attitude when he tells them to go and love others. Instead, I had been reading Jesus' command as 'hate yourself, and love others'. A similar idea is found in Ephesians 5 where husbands are told to love their wives as their own body - 'because no one ever hated his own body, but nourishes and cherishes it'. This was quite a personal revelation for me!

Anyways, I'll get off my soapbox now...

Author: Martyn » Comments:

I've always wanted to be a bachelor...

18 April 2005

Time is a strange thing.

Sometimes you notice it, sometimes it's in the background like white-noise (which reminds of when I used to work near Wynyard, and go and sleep in the park at lunchtime when I was tired...and the really noisy, but constant volume/pitch vent in the park....but that's another story).

I graduate this week. Four years of blood, sweat and coding, and I will finally get a piece of paper. Seems rather ludicrous sometimes. At least now I get the title Bachelor of Computer Nerd. Now all I have to do is remove myself from my female-populated flat dwelling state to a Bachelor pad, and I'm all set. Oh, to not have many female hairs in the bathroom! Still, general guy hygiene is much worse, so I really shouldn't whinge. My flatmates are actually quite insanely clean now that I think about it.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. As I look back over the last four years, I see alot of change in me, and none at all at the same time. At one level, I feel I have grown alot, mostly through the harder moments. Still, I don't like suffering, even though I know that I never grow in the good times - in fact, in the good times, I'm usually a total butthead to the people around me.
But it is clear that I am, in many ways, a different person to the one I was four years. I've grown as a man, as a Christian, as a musician, as a nerd (doh!).

On another level, though, I'm still the same old Newcastle-music-beach-and-laziness-loving Martyn. You can take the boy out of Newy, but you can't the Newy out of the boy.

What freaks me out the most, though, is the way that one decision can affect the rest of your life.
The rather flippant decision I made over fours years to study Computer Science at UNSW has literally changed the course of my life. If I had made a different decision, there are so many experiences I would not have had, so many people I would not know. And in their place, another set of experiences and people would have shaped who I am now.

Either God is totally in control of all of this, or this whole existence thing is just one big spastic randomness, in which I have ended up with a pretty darn good lot, and most of the world have not.

Speaking of which, I am late for Bible study. Time is a strange thing...

Author: Martyn » Comments:

Welcome to the Blogosphere

13 April 2005

Hello World!

Being a computer nerd, I felt it was only fitting that my first post on my first blog would begin with that semi-famous-in-nerd-circles phrase.

Now, to the real stuff: this is my blog. What's it for?

Partially, I have merely sucumbed to peer pressure. I was feeling left out, so I thought I'd do something about it. But there is another reason: I occasionally have thoughts about various things, be they witty thoughts, or contemplative, or blah blah blah. You get the point.

So, what can you expect? Sometimes you won't get anything at all for a while - I am a very busy man. I thought I better be up front about that.
But you can also expect musings of Seinfeld-esque randomness; considerations of God, life the universe and existence; brazen and unabashed polticial commentary, the way I see it; expressions of exceeding joy or utter frustration at my latest musical discoveries and exploits, or lack thereof; 'n' stuff.

Though I work as a computer nerd, I don't often go searching for brand-fangled-new techy stuff, so unless I come across something that really floats my boat in the real of nerdom, you won't find it here.

So, without further ado, I hereby wish me a warm welcome to the Blogosphere. See you soon...

Author: Martyn » Comments: