Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar : or light relief from marking? ::

Have you seen LibriVox?

It's either: How do I know?

Well, I'm still in full marking crisis mode (except when I am required to take time out for "important" [so they keep telling me, so important the students can wait another few hours...for their marks] meetings ;) So, naturally after weeks of this I need a break from time to time, recently I took an evening when Barbara was at her choir Mid-winter Christmas (don't ask, it's a Southern Hemisphere thing) and I joined the club, got the secret handshake and read a chapter of The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar. I did chapter six, but if you what to listen it is a big download as it is an hour at 128kbps, they'll make it 64 kbps as well once it goes public... in the meantime the sneak preview is a BIG file.

Maurice Leblanc (Writer) 1864-1941
image from Wikipedia

BTW Arsène Lupin is great stuff, a sort of Gallic super Sherlock, but on the wrong side of the law, if really on the right side of life... full of nice irony aexaggerationion, with an unreliable narrator and everything! (But from a century ago...) Just to whet your appetites, how's this for a blurb:
Arsène Lupin in our midst! the irresponsible burglar whose exploits had been narrated in all the newspapers during the past few months! the mysterious individual with whom Ganimard, our shrewdest detective, had been engaged in an implacable conflict amidst interesting and picturesque surroundings. Arsène Lupin, the eccentric gentleman who operates only in the chateaux and salons, and who, one night, entered the residence of Baron Schormann, but emerged empty-handed, leaving, however, his card on which he had scribbled these words: "Arsène Lupin, gentleman-burglar, will return when the furniture is genuine." Arsène Lupin, the man of a thousand disguises: in turn a chauffer, detective, bookmaker, Russian physician, Spanish bull-fighter, commercial traveler, robust youth, or decrepit old man. . . ."
Now, with stories like these to read, while liberating historic culture, who could fail to become a LibriVox volunteer (even if you have surpassed your own marking crisis)!

Saturday, June 24, 2006
Not 42 (or insert your own figure, mine is 58) but 15½ ::

New Scientist has an article (the whole thing is "premium content" but theypublishedd a teaser that was repeated in The Globe and Mail) titled "Your amazing regenerating body" (HT to the always stimulating collection at Mirabilis.

The writer Gaia Vince asked:
HERE'S a question: how old are you? Think carefully before you reply. It's a lot trickier than you might imagine. The correct answer, it turns out, is about 15 and a half. According to recent research, that's the average age of your body - your muscles and guts, anyway. You might think that you have been around since the day you were born, but most of your body is a lot younger.
The teaser also points out that there is an urban myth that "human body completely renews itself every seven years" it now seems we don't!

BUT 15½ is a whole lot better and younger than I'd feel this morning, even if I did not have a cold and a sleepless night. And that fact, that our bodies, the material stuff of us is not old, though we (or at least some of us) undoubtedly ARE, is one of the motives for my desire to consider and perhaps in the fullness of time write about the "Theology of Aging". Not "how to cope with aging" but what does aging mean in a theological context, what is the function of aging in a theological framework...
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Monday, June 19, 2006
Tim's homepage ::

Looking at some other Biblical Bloggers' material I suddenly realised that although I've been publishing to the web since 1995 I've never had a "Homepage". So, while Barbara was at choir this evening, and not feeling up to prolonging a day of marking any further... I've begun to create one.

So, here it is, the skeleton of Tim Bulkeley's homepage.

At present it's simply an ugly list of stuff, papers, webpages and the like, later I'll try to make it look better, and make it more personal. Any comments or suggestions welcome!

Saturday, June 17, 2006
Mini-break ::

I may still be in the thrall of one of the year's major marking crises, (Though by the number of meetings people seem to hope/expect I'll attend you would not think so!) but I've decided to take most of today "off". Barbara is at the NZ Christian Counsellors Association exec. all day, so after a bit of necessary tidying and cleaning I'm playing with a new toy...

The toy is CamStudio an Open Source screencasting application. CamStudio records either a selected area or your whole screen along with either the sound output from the PC or input from a mic. It then makes an AVI file which it will convert (in a separate module) into a Flash video. It is neat and works well, except:
  • the HTML files it creates do not play in Firefox :( so one has to make them manually
  • it tends to create rectangular artifacts in the video
I've been making short intros to how people navigate the Hypertext Bible Commentary material. But I've used Windows Movie Maker to convert the AVIs to WMF as well so people have a choice.

Try them and see:

How to move through the Bible text and comment [Windows Media] [Flash]

Navigating to Bible Dictionary material [Windows Media] [Flash]

The main Menu and Word studies [Windows Media] [Flash]

PS: Continuing the theme, I've also completed the Just So Stories by reading the last one "The Butterfly that Stamped" for my children's bedtime story collection.

Friday, June 16, 2006
Bolstering the Bible? ::

Well, we've had Goliath's signature, David's abecedary AND his very own palace, and still it seems the Bible needs "bolstering"! The latest attempt to gain publicity for archaeological excavation work - which is highly expensive, and so no doubt needs the extra publicity a good bit of Bible bolstering is sure to bring - is the much less sexy copper works at Khirbat en-Nahas.

No, they haven't found the very bench where Abigail's jewelry was made, nor that new torque that Deborah ordered but never collected because she was busy over Tabor way.

Actually Khirbat en-Nahas (reported in the New York Times - Science Section) isn't even in Israel, and the site being excavated seems to have been a copper processing works and fortress. The excavation was first reported two years ago (so hardly front page news any more ;) and is being debated (as is right and proper for such finds). The interesting thing about Khirbat en-Nahas is its location in time and space, Khirbat en-Nahas is 30 miles from the Dead Sea and 30 miles north of Petra, so in what was Edomite territory, and the ruins under discussion were operating in the 12th to 9th centuries. So, at issue is whether the Edomites were, or were not at that time "a complex society such as a paramount chiefdom or primitive kingdom".

Now, to anyone interested in the Levant in that period, this is riveting stuff. And whichever way the discussion about Drs Levy and Najjar's archaeological claims goes, the excavations are throwing light on the period.

The trouble is they go on to do "Biblical Archaeology" and claim: "the biblical references to the Edomites, especially their conflicts with David and subsequent Judahite kings, garner a new plausibility."

Ah! What a nice Bible-bolster! Bet it'll bring the sponsors flocking to the University of California, San Diego, hurray for the Bible-bolsterers ;)

But seriously, it is "only" a heated battle over the historicity of David that drives this approach. Sure the state of Israel needs "bolstering", but does the Bible? Wouldn't the stories of David communicate just as well and clearly what God intends humanity to hear, whether David's historicity is "bolstered" or not?

I like my Bible straight, as it comes out of the packet, please please all you well-meaning people stop bolstering my precious book!

Thursday, June 15, 2006
Where has all the time gone? Or whence will the future arrive? ::

According to CBC News (h.t. to Christine at Mirabilis) the Andean "Aymara people have a reversed concept of time". The story says they put "the past ahead and the future behind". The discussion of culture and gestures is fascinating stuff. My gripe though stems already from the second paragraph:
Until now, all studied cultures and languages in the world mapped the future in front and the past in back, said Rafael Nunez, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego.
It is commonplace in discussion of Māori culture and language to say things like:

Quoted from
article on "tikanga" = custom, tradition etc.

All Tikanga stems from this time. I nga wa o mua translates as from the times of front but this phrase means the past. Therefore the past is always in front of us, there for guidance and the future is behind us, as very few can see the future and what it has in store for us.
So, unless I've misunderstood Prof. Rafael Nunez should scale back his claims...
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Sunday, June 11, 2006
I'm busy and stupid - so I've read a children's story and changed a postgraduate assessment ::

It's the marking season, heads down read-comment-grade and finally email dozens of assignments back. For teachers it's the silly season, most of us go slightly "mental" at these times of year.

So to keep myself sane I've taken the weekend off! Yesterday as well as little jobs around the house I read and recorded some more Just-So-Stories "The Crab who Played with the Sea" (never a favourite of mine) and "The Cat that Walked by Himself" (I think my all-time favourite, and somewhat ironic as I spent much of the morning fixing Quizzy with a new cat door!).

[PS, all my audio and video children's stories are available at including especially the Just So Stories and several Beatrix Potter - though these last should not be downloaded in Europe for copyright reasons!]

The only "work" I've done is to rearrange the assessments for my postgraduate course on Bible in an Electronic Context instead of an "evaluative review" I'm asking for a "reading blog". I found this worked very well with an undergraduate class, and it will also get the students using the technology from the start, and raise interesting questions - I hope - about the medium.

Sadly (though, the open source, Moodle will have a blog feature from version 1.6, due shortly) Cecil version 7.0.10 still does not. So we'll just run them in the discussion forum feature, means comments look like posts, unless I can persuade the students to make each post a new thread...

BTW if you are fed up with these rambly and occasional posts, normal blogging is likely to resume in a wee or three once marking is over!

Thursday, June 08, 2006
Transparency in Advertising ! ::

Amnesty International are running a brilliant ad campaign in Switzerland, using transparent adverts on bus shelters. Just brilliant! I'm really too busy with marking and retreats and business meetings etc. to post, but couldn't resist noting this.

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