Monday, July 31, 2006

Conspiricy against Canadians

Okay, so I'm slow at getting the pictures on the blog. I've downloaded them onto the computer at home but I don't usually blog from there. I usually use the computer at work on my break. Today I am taking my drivers licence test at 11:41. Why? It's because the UK won't recognize my ability to drive a manual (standard) car. I had to trade in my Alberta drivers licence because it was expiring but when I did they said that I had to prove that I took my licence on a manual car or I would only qualify for a licence for automatics. This rule does not apply to Americans. Only Canadians. So, since I have a manual car I have to take the test again. They will allow you to have a manual licence if you can prove that you did your test on a manual but the Ministry of Transport in Canada doesn't keep a record of that and refuses to send a letter to verify what it cannot prove. Have you ever tried to drive like you did when you were trying to pass your test since you actually did your test? It's surprisingly hard. You just do things reflexively, like signalling and checking your mirror at the same time. Apparently here you also get marked down for gearing down instead of putting it in neutral and using the brake, something I failed my licence for not doing the first time around in Canada. I'm fairly confident that I can do it. If not, I'll be sure to wave when you pass me on the bus.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ink blot tests (it's not rude)

This is pretty cool. Concentrate on the 4 small dots inthe middle of the picture for about 30 secsThen look at a plain wall and start blinking.Who do you see?

I'm really fascinated by optical illusions. There must be so much more that we don't know about how the mind works.

coming soon

I will finally get around to posting some pictures of our trip to Brugge (rhymes with bruise) either tonight or tomorrow.

Everybody's going to war

So, there's more fighting in the middle east. I don't believe that we will ever see a lasting peace in the region. Generations that grow up with hatred don't easily let it go. I used to feel that there was hope for Northern Ireland but until the intervention of God's mercy there will be no peace. It's kind of hard looking from the outside in to understand what makes one man's hatred for another become their all consuming thought. It seems that being forced to be in close proximity to other people who have fundamentally different philosophies combined with poor or slow economic growth is a receipe for disaster. An us vs them mentality that becomes about blaming all your troubles on someone else. The kids in the high schools here hate immigrants because they feel that they reduce their chances to get a council house (social-subsidised housing). The level of ignorance here sometimes astounds me. I think that it is so dangerous when people start to think that because they were born somewhere, that gives them certain fundamental rights that nobody from the outside should have as well. I think that all of us who've had the privilege of living in north america should be thankful that we can live without the fear of hatred. Yes, I know that there is racism and gang warfare and the have vs the have nots but for the most part most of us are worried about if we are going to miss our favourite show, or if our team is doing well, or if our kids are going to get place on that team they were trying out for, not will one of my family die today. To summerize I'll quote Moxy Frouvous (a canadian band from the 90's) "What makes a person so poisonous righteous That they'd think less of anyone who just disagreed? She's just a pacifist, he's just a patriot If I said you were crazy, would you have to fight me?
So we read and we watched all the specially selected news and we learned so much more 'bout the good guys. Won't you stand by the flag? Was the question unasked. Won't you join in and fight with the allies? What could we say...we're only 25 years old? With 25 sweet summers, and hot fires in the cold. This kind of life makes that violence unthinkable, we'd like to play hockey, have kids and grow old.
Fighters for Texaco, fighters for power, fighters for longer turns in the shower. Don't tell me I can't fight 'cause I'll punch out your lights and history seems to agree that I would fight you for me that us would fight them for we."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

food folk and fun (without McDonalds)

okay, so now I'm getting some flak from my family for not telling them that I was doing a blog. Well you can all just settle down because I haven't told anyone that I was writing a blog. I was just going to write a few and let there be a little bit of a build up before I announced to anyone that there was anything worth reading. So, quite frankly, I'm surprised that you even found it in the first place.
Now that I have your attention, I might as well have your help. As mentioned below, I don't have a clue with all things computer related. I would like some help with the following: Change and update my profile page, change my background, learn how to post other things (like some people I know have cool background music when you log in to their blogs) And yes, both of you can link me to your blogs. If you tell me how, I'll do the same for yours.
Anyway, here's the update for the week. Last night we had people over for dinner. Rach met this guy at the library who is from Minniapolis and he and his partner are both living and working in Beverley for the next 3 months. We had them and Ed and Lesley over. Ed is a british boat pilot, and his wife Lesley is from California. So, we had a big ol' America fest in our backyard last night. We made great food. Starters was garlic bread but try this next time. Crush garlic, add butter and add pesto. Add in liberal amounts to fresh french bread and grill. Mmmmm. Then we had a split pea and sausage soup that Rach made up with Raspberry Mojitos that we invented. Try it next time you go out. Have them make you a Mojito and ask them to add some raspberry puree. Mmmmm. Then for dessert we were going to have Pavlova but it got too late so we had coffee with Timtams. If you've never had a timtam, you've obviously never known any real australians. They are a chocolate covered biscuit that you bit opposite corners off and use as a straw to suck coffee up into it and then shove the whole thing in your mouth as it melts. Hmm. I'm obviously going to have to take some pictures and post a sequence of how to do this.
Anyway, we had good food, new friends and a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Me and the wife.

Monday, July 17, 2006

the black stuff

My wife and I went to London this past weekend. I had a two-day conference, which after a week of work left me pretty exhausted. I actually took a nap between patients this morning. Going to London is always a slightly surreal experience. On the one hand, it's kind of like being on vacation because there are things to do and see there that you can't do or see where we live. On the other hand, London is just a big dirty city. It's outrageously expensive and heavily polluted as evidenced by going back to the hotel at the end of the day and blowing your nose. My nose was filled with black junk like I had been down a coal mine or like when you are following a friend down a really dry single-track trail on your bike and you just eat dust the entire time. I can't imagine what it does to you if you live there.
It got me thinking as to what else is the black stuff in my life spiritually. What little things do I not even notice that I let into my system that affect my health? The only time I notice is when I pray and I blow a load of gunk out. It's funny how I'm perfectly willing to walk around with my spiritual nose full of junk, affecting my ability to 'smell' but I can't stand to have my real nose dirty. I guess the answer, as always, is to spend more time in prayer.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

You may actually learn something

I admit it. I am a technophobe. When you are a 32-year old male, this is seen as decidedly uncool. I have never owned a playstation, I don't know how to use any computer programs outside of word and excel. I like gadgets but I don't know anything about computer related stuff. Possibly the thing in this world that I loathe the most is the telephone. I don't even like talking to my wife on it. Why? I don't know.
It seems that when guys get together the way that they determine a pecking order is through the demonstration of knowledge of a particular mutual interest. Musicians do it, sports nuts do it, poets, doctors and even guys that just sit and watch tv do it. I just can't get excited about computers. Obviously I'm using one right now, I get the irony, but if walk into a group and they are talking processor speed or which phone is the best I just tend to nod my head and look for someother people to talk to.
There's nothing worse than being stuck in a conversation with someone who wants to prove their worth to you by displaying their vast knowledge of a subject that you are completely uninterested in. I catch myself doing it sometimes. The other person answers you with an "uh,huh" or just nods. The more excited you get about finding someone who finally agrees with you about why Macs rule, or why the canucks can't get their defence together or how Josephine's Aramaic text is flawed but still superior, the less the other person engages and they get that eyes-glazed-over-i-wonder-if-I-can-pull-the-fire-alarm-and-get-away-with-it-look.
We have a friend who whenever he talks to Rach and I at church launches into some really exclusive obscure rant that leaves Rachel completely out of the conversation. At first, I didn't even recognize it but now I recognize that this guy doesn't know how to talk to women so he talks at me in an attempt to open a conversation. The only way I've found to include Rachel is to interrupt and explain what he's trying to say and have him explain to her what he's trying to tell me. More and more, this guy will actually try and start a conversation with Rachel if I'm not around and she has been patient enough to try and listen to his techno-ramble. What a wife.
Anyway, I guess the whole point of this babble is that be aware of your audience. Don't mistake shared mutual interest as friendship and don't be afraid to be the one in a group where you might know the least. You may actually learn something.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I just stepped in a big pile of shed

Not a typo. This weekend I helped my landlord build a shed that she bought from B&Q (the UK equivelent of Home Depot). That would have been fine, but she insisted on helping me, despite my repeated subtle attempts to suggest that I would rather do it on my own. The whole thing took both Saterday and Sunday afternoon by which point I was more than a little exasperated. The thing that surprised me the most was how grumpy the whole experience made me. I mean, what do I really have to complain about? My life is one that most people in the world would gladly trade for so why am I getting bend out of shape over a flat pack shed that isn't square and a landlord who's home improvement skills are limited at best. I should be happy to help her out and glad that I have somewhere dry to store my tools and other stuff. I should be happy that I even have tools and stuff to store.
Hmm, maybe the reason so many people blog is that it seems to be theraputic. I've never got on with journalling. It always seemed like something that really spiritual christians did, but I just couldn't get into it. Maybe something about the fact that other people might actually read it and sympathize with you has something to do with it.
Apart from that, Rach and I went to a wedding this weekend which was fun. English weddings are different from American weddings and apparently this was an atypical english wedding but it was still fun and both sets of parents were really happy. The bride and groom looked suitably both happy and nervous which I think makes for a beautiful day.
On a sad note, France lost the world cup yesterday. One of my alltime football heros (don't call it soccer) Zinedine Zidane ( how's that for a cool french name) played his last game and ended it with disgrace. About 10 min before the end of extra time he got into an arguement with an italian player and ended up headbutting him in the chest. This is the first time I've ever seen anyone do this and it knocked the other player clean off his feet like he'd been hit with Rocky's uppercut. It wouldn't look out of place on a Don Cherry's Rock 'em Sock 'em Hockey Highlights reel. Now instead of being remembered as one of the greatest players of all time it will be as the guy who headbutted a player in the world cup final. Could you imagine if Gretzky hacked down a player in the stanley cup final, or Michal Schumacher drove someone into the wall on the last race of the season? I'm really disappointed.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Well, you have to start somewhere, so it might as well be here. This is the blog of Mark Colvin, aka Riptide, the ripper, Dr Colvin. I'll be musing about all kinds of things. Mostly I'll deal with the little things, when the mood strikes me I'll talk about other more serious or pressing issues. I'll not be remeniscing too much about times gone by. I prefer to live in the now.

My 'now' is life here in Hull, UK. I'm not really that keen to stay here for too long. I think that I'm just sick of england in general. Sure, it has the history, and sometime it has the culture and that dry English wit, and it's close to mainland Europe, and so on. But life is basically the sum of your experiences and I want my experience to include more adventure, more travel and less rain.

Hull is not the worst place to live. In general, the people are friendly, the air is pretty clean but it's far from spectacular. Most of the city looks depressed. It just looks like things were built without any consideration for what they would look like in 30 years. It is very flat. Holland is hillier than Hull. The water of the Humber river is always brown (it is a tidal estuary) In short, I would like to live somewhere that is pretty again. I've lived in Canada (amazing), Germany (pretty, and very efficient), Nigeria (not an experience to be repeated) and now England (like your grandma's house, nice to visit but you wouldn't want to live here)

Well that's enough rambling for now. I'll be linking some other cool blogs with this site. Hope you can stick around for the journey for awhile