Four Years On

Today marks the fourth anniversary (blogiversary) of TheGeoffRe(y)port. A lot has changed personally in the past four years. I have:

  • Met a girl, flirted with her, started going out with hertaken a trip with her, got engaged, married, had our first anniversary and are now approximately 22 months into marriage.
  • Grown tired of my job, commenced a new job, decided that job wasn’t for me and that I wanted a new career and signed up to become a teacher.
  • Taken on a bunch of different roles within the youth ministry at YVV, then stepped back from youth, then moved to Ranges, and are now soon to be looking for a new church in the Northern suburbs.
  • Moved house three times, and setting up to move a fourth
  • Seen the engagement and wedding of my sister, and the engagement of my littlest sister-in-law

Kind of feels like I’m just about due a chance to take a proper breath. But life continues at break-neck speed, so hopefully we will have things to write about here for a while to come. Thanks for reading these past four years, and commenting intelligently (for the most part), and making it worth sharing thoughts, ideas and stupid little YouTube videos with the rest of the world.

Weightless Shoulders

The end of last week has been such a relief. I was able to a) find out where we’d be living next year, sale and b) let work know that I’d be finishing up work in mid-November. Surprisingly, even the second of these two things went a lot better than I’d have expected: work understood that I wanted to have a go at a different career path.

But I think I’m beginning to understand just how much the shadow of these had been hovering over me. Friday was a crappy day in terms of workload during the day, but I really just felt at ease and peaceful: despite a bunch of pressure and a deadline that could well have meant staying back late. Then this Sunday we took a bit of a look around at potential houses, and checked out the school I’m going to be teaching at (from the outside anyway). Pieces are falling into place, and there’s more flesh on what was really only a vague concept.

The world is a happier place with less weight on your shoulders.

The Cat Exited The Bag

For some this won’t come as a surprise any longer: either because you already knew a while ago, or because you’ve been monitoring Facebook, Twitter, or my wife’s blog in the past 24 hours. But we’re ready to announce a little bit of upheaval in the Matheson household.

I’m becoming a teacher.

And.

We’re moving to Northern Melbourne – somewhere around Mill Park.

It’s a big upheaval: work, church, in all likelihood some friendship groups are all set to change. We signed up for the Teach for Australia program, which [places recent (or relatively recent) graduates into disadvantaged schools. There will be a 6 week intense (and it will be intense) training period, and

Fortunately we’ve been lucky to get our top preference for “region”: Northern metropolitan. If we’d been less fortunate we could easily have been looking at going quite rural: Shepparton, Horsham, Sale, etc.

Regardless – the other news that I should tease out is that I’ve decided to blog this journey separately from my personal and theology stuff here. So if you a) want to follow my progress in becoming a newly minted teacher, or b) want to find out interesting educational theory stuff (hopefully) you will be able to at……

http://sonofateacherman.com

So go check out my new blog (there’s a better explanation of the Teach for Australia program there too). So, Son of a Teacher Man – should be a fun journey!

A Picture In Need Of A Caption

>>YOUR CAPTION HERE<<
>>YOUR CAPTION HERE<<

This picture was taken at a wedding on the weekend. This is a photo that needs a caption.

(The girl with the awkward looking expression is Bec – my wife. The bearded monster holding onto her is yours truly.

Return to regular service

Dreamhost eventually sorted me out. They’d been moving my databases onto a new host and missed the most important one – easy mistake to make. So I’ve just re-added yesterday’s post, and now we’re essentially back to pretty much where we were. Not that you care that much, but I just had to share.

Decreasing the Geoff to Universe Ratio

All throughout my school years, I was skinny: proper skinny. Naturally, this allowed me to pick up a bunch of habits that really didn’t help me once the body stopped being as co-operative. So for the past seven years my weight has been increasing fairly steadily. About 2.5 years ago I hit an unfortunate milestone (100kg) and was prompted to do something about it. I ended up losing about 7kg; and probably kept most of that off for a good five or six months.

Perhaps more of a long term goal.
Perhaps more of a long term goal.

I’ve well and truly passed that mark now: in fact the medium term goal is to get back to 100. Regardless, the time has come to do something about it before my weight gets unhealthy, and fortunately this juncture has coincided with similar (though not all as dramatic) epiphanies from other members of the Matheson clan. So the contest is on: between now and Christmas Eve to see who can lose the highest percentage body weight. While I think this puts my wife and brother out of the running (for Bec to lose more than a few kilos would border on being unhealthy),  it’ll be good to have some people heading for the same goal.

Not really certain this needed a blog post, but if I seem grumpier or more lethargic: it’s because I’m patiently working on the reduction of the Geoff to Universe ratio.

Top 5 reasons it is fun to have friends with kids

One of the fun things about the last little while is that our social circle has altered a little bit to include a number of friends with young kids. With that comes a bunch of complications, but I thought I’d put together my “top 5 reasons why it is fun to have friends with kids“.

  1. Someone to play with: Lets face it – there are a bunch of things you can’t really do unless you’re hanging out with a little kid. For starters, reading Grug.
  2. Gets you out of helping with dinner: Whenever you have people over, there’s always that awkward part where Bec is sorting out dinner and I’m there trying to look like I’m ready to be helpful, while also trying to be the entertaining host. Once you have kids involved, I can play with them whilst holding a conversation and there’s no chance I’ll be needed to set the table.
  3. A great distraction from awkward conversations: Nothing changes the subject quite as well as “was that a child falling over?” or “was that a child crying?”. Absolute lifesaver.
  4. Source of competition: I’ve already lost count of the number of times we’ve come away from someone’s house and the conversation immediately goes along the lines of “<Child’s name here> remembered my name”, “I can’t believe <Child’s name here> let me pick him/her up.” “I totally got <Child’s name here> to push her sister over”. Way too much fun. Plus I’m winning (according to me anyway).
  5. Reminds you why you don’t want to have children yet: They don’t talk about “all care and no responsibility” for nothing. The beauty of wrestling with someone else’s kid is that if it all goes nasty, it won’t be you they are depending on to patch up their bleeding little head. And “I did a poo” is only funny when you know that you’re not the one who needs to clean it up.

The importance of losing face

As a part of my IT degree at uni, try I managed to sneak in a few marketing subjects. Marketing is one of those subjects that are really fun, but also make you inevitably become a more cynical person: like when you find out that the puppet has some person’s hand inside it, or when the guy in the Santa suit swears because someone kicks him in the groin. Finding out just how manipulated we are towards consumption, and specifically consumption of “luxury items” is one of the most galling discoveries I can remember making. I definitely had lectures that I felt dirty coming out of afterwards.

But naturally that didn’t mean it all went to waste. In fact in the days, weeks, months and years that followed, I (very) slowly came to a realisation: I am naturally a marketer. Not in a useful, make lots of money kind of way, but rather in the way that I attempt to control the perception that others have of me. When I’ve struggled with identity, I’ve tended to look to the perception that others have of who I am, rather than in something more central.

Sometimes the blog is a part of that. I’ve even caught myself having internal dialogue about how I “brand” myself on the internet. For quite a while I was very careful about who knew my blog address, and which circle of friends that related to. Some of that was around managing who I was vulnerable with, but for the majority of the time it centred on being a very deliberate marketer: knowing exactly what image I wanted to present to which person.

Gradually though, as I (hopefully) mature and grow as a person; I’m starting to be able to change that. Sometimes the blog has helped with that: there’s plenty of stories up here that could almost have constituted blackmail material a few years ago, and I’ve been partly using the blog as a way of breaking down some barriers I’d been putting up. I gave up being anonymous on here a fair while ago, but for the past little while I’ve made it easier and easier for people who know me to find my thoughts: regardless of where I know them from.

But more than that, it feels like God’s been taking opportunities to wake me up with bouts of losing face. The pattern goes pretty much like this: I’ll do something stupid, or act poorly, or just throw a good old fashioned 3 year old tantrum – inevitably in front of people I respect and want to respect me. And there’s obviously something really bad about that situation. But at the same time, I’m starting to see these moments of madness actually picking away at my carefully marketed image. When I lose face, when people find out that I’m not always the way I’d like to portray, I’m forced to re-evaluate whether that picture was worth painting in the first place. And even better, with some very accepting, forgiving (and fortunately equally vulnerable and broken) people around me:  I can see that there is still something people can respect underneath the carefully positioned masks. Somewhere in there, somehow, I’m worth loving.

Wow.

New Broom – a theme by Geoff Matheson

So, if you’ve just shown up to the site, you’re probably looking at a whole lot of red and brown and wondering what happened to the white, maroon and grey that you’re more accustomed to. Well, after following the How To Create A WordPress Theme tutorial on the Themeshaper blog, I’ve delved into the realm of creating my own theme. It’s probably still a little rough around the edges, and likely to be a little inconsistent in places, because I’ve rushed it through to get something up.

Screenshot of the new theme for the lazy RSS readers out there.
Screenshot of the new theme for the lazy RSS readers out there.

There are a few things you might want to be aware of, and possibly might need to let me know if they become an issue for you, oh devoted readers:

  1. Like the pretentious snobby geek that I am, I’ve selfishly ignored the fact that if you’re using IE6 then chances are the picture above, and what you see on your screen don’t come close to resembling one another. This is because a) I’m lazy and b) IE6 is stupid. Or for a more technical reason: IE6 doesn’t support transparent PNG images. If you are one of the people who does use IE6, consider this a cordial invitation into the world of using a nicer browser. Update your computer. Please.
  2. I’m also aware that the header image is pretty big. In fact, I’ve probably got too many images that are too big in size. I’m actually interested to hear if that does become an issue for people, and I plan on doing what I can to “optimize” those images. No promises.

I actually started the “look and feel” part of this theme with the idea of going for a Communist propaganda look: thus the color scheme. But after some nasty words from my wife about how what I was trying looked crap, I eventually came up with this. Now that I’ve done it once, I feel like I could probably do it again pretty easily. So, feel free to let me know what you think.

That’s far too many words for a non-theology GeoffRe(y)port post. My apologies.

PS. There’s not a good reason the theme is called New Broom. But it is.

PPS. The whole theme works a lot better if you have a font called “American Typewriter”. I realise most people don’t, but it really does make it look much prettier.