Soundtrack of My Life – Awkward Age


Highlighting some of the songs that have been part of the soundtrack of my life.

When I was young I would see older people as having it all together. I wondered when I might reach that point when I knew all I needed to know and had life completely figured out. I’m still waiting for that time and unless I’m very much mistaken, so are you.

Sure, we are constantly growing in knowledge and life lessons but I think we’re always on a journey.

Most of us have felt the weight of unrealistic expectations and as life goes on we find more and more there are times that we’re left with a gnawing feeling that we’re never going to have it all together. Many are left wondering when that pressure will finally crush them.

I reckon British singer/songwriter Joe Jackson described it pretty well in his song Awkward Age where he identifies with a fifteen year old who’s struggling with life. He tells her she’s just an an awkward age before admitting that some of that awkwardness never wears off.

The Youtube clip below is only the audio and a picture of the album but have a listen anyway. The lyrics are below.

Awkward Age – Joe Jackson

I should have know that you were only just fifteen
You had a scowl like a Klingon beauty queen
Old enough to stand out but too young to stand with pride
So uncomfortable in your messed-up skin
And the cool parties never let you in
I can still relate to being left so high and dry
So don’t cry, you’re just at an awkward age

We’ll all be fine, disgraceful under pressure
Don’t toe the line, you’re just at an awkward age
Don’t cry

You look at me like I know what’s going on
I’m looking back and I wonder what went wrong
I really thought by now a few things might just clarify
I got a mind that goes out to lunch for days
And a body that sometimes disobeys
I get into the parties but I hate them ’cause I’m shy
Oh my, I’m still at an awkward age

We’ll all be fine, disgraceful under pressure
Don’t toe the line, you’re just at an awkward age
Don’t cry

We’re supposed to be happy, supposed to be tough
Supposed to be flawless and buy the right stuff
They want us all swimming don’t care if we drown
So don’t let ‘em take you down
It’s a scary mountain to climb up without a guide
Besides we live in an awkward age

We’ll all be fine, disgraceful under pressure
Don’t toe the line, you’re just at an awkward age
Don’t cry

Towards the end of the song he sings, It’s a scary mountain to climb up without a guide. I agree. That’s why I’m glad I have someone who’s a guide, in fact far more than a guide, who helps make sense of my awkwardness. In times of pressure or confusion the words Jesus spoke around 2000 years ago are of great comfort.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or illfitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. – Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)


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A Long Way to Ride a Bike

breakmeneck

Earlier this week I posted a video of my first trip to India in February 2003. That’s now got me thinking of later that same year when I cycled in a team from Perth, Western Australia, to Hobart, Tasmania. 4233.77km in 32 days.

I’ve cycled the Nullarbor five times in all. My first trip was a ride from Perth to Canberra in 1987. I did the same journey with a different route the following year. In 1990 I was part of team that cycled from Perth to Adelaide. It was a decade before my next crossing in 2000 when a large group cycled from Perth to Sydney, arriving just before the start of the Sydney Olympics.

The ride from Perth to Hobart in 2003 is my most recent Nullarbor crossing and I reckon it’s about time I went for number six.

Each of the rides was with The Bible Society as part of their Bike for Bibles program.

Check out the video to see 32 days of riding reduced to three and a half minutes.

So … 2016? Do you want to come for a ride? I’m looking at the possibility of Perth to Newcastle, raising money for Compassion.


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Australia and India Celebrate

Australian-and-Indian-flags

While in Australia millions are celebrating Australia Day, half a world away India is celebrating Republic Day.

Though India became a free nation on August 15, 1947, it declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state with the adoption of the Constitution on January 26, 1950.

A salute of 21 guns and the unfurling of the Indian National Flag by Dr. Rajendra Prasad heralded the historic birth of the Indian Republic on that day. Thereafter 26th of January was decreed a national holiday and was recognised as the Republic Day of India.

The Constitution gave the citizens of India the power to choose their own government and paved the way for democracy. Dr. Rajendra Prasad took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled the National Flag. – Know India

I’ve had the privilege of visiting India three times over several years. It’s a truly amazing place. Below is a video of my first trip to India in 2003. I was joined by several locals to ride from Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, to Delhi, as well as cycling around Delhi. I was there as a guest of the Bible Society.


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Soundtrack of My Life – If I Ain’t Got You


Highlighting some of the songs that have been part of the soundtrack of my life.

Remember those annoying websites that used to play music as soon as you opened them? Most of the time it’d be some horrible electronic noise and you’d immediately jump for the mute button or the volume control. I must admit to closing many websites as soon as the music started. I figured that if they were prepared to assault me with something like that there probably wasn’t anything worth seeing on the site.

There was one time, however, that I didn’t head for the hills after hearing a website cranking out some music. In fact I turned the music up and listened to it a number of times. It was absolutely stunning and I was hooked from the first notes I heard. I then began a quest to discover the name of the song and artist. It was If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys.

The song was released in February 2004, a single from the album The Diary of Alicia Keys which had been released a couple of months earlier. The lyrics contrast those who chase after riches with someone who seeks what really matters.

The song has won a number of awards including a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

It’s certainly one of my very favourite songs of all time. Alicia Keys is remarkably talented and this is an incredible song. If you’ve never heard the song before, check out the video below. If you have heard it before watch the video anyway just to remind yourself how good it is.

Unfortunately they’ve cut the end of the video and I wasn’t able to find a full version but it’s still worth checking out.


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Is your online data safe?

passwords2014

I wrote about online passwords just last week but since then Internet security firm SplashData has released their annual list of worst passwords. Each year they look at how easy we’re making it for hackers to take our data, our money and in many cases our identities.

The big news last year was that for the first time since they started compiling the list, ‘password’ didn’t come in at number one. It slipped into second place with ‘123456’ rising to the top position. It would seem that we haven’t learnt much over the past twelve months because they’ve taken the number one and two positions again.

SplashData has announced its annual list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet – thus making them the “Worst Passwords” that will expose anybody to being hacked or having their identities stolen. In its fourth annual report, compiled from more than 3.3 million leaked passwords during the year, “123456”and “password” continue to hold the top two spots that they have held each year since the first list in 2011. Other passwords in the top 10 include “qwerty,” “dragon,” and “football.”

If you see your password among the top ten in the picture above, you’re data is in serious danger. In fact, you should take the time to check out SplashData’s full list for 2014. If anything there is familiar, it’s time to change your passwords or get ready to get hacked.

SplashData’s list of frequently used passwords shows that many people continue to put themselves at risk by using weak, easily guessable passwords.

“Passwords based on simple patterns on your keyboard remain popular despite how weak they are,” said Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData. “Any password using numbers alone should be avoided, especially sequences. As more websites require stronger passwords or combinations of letters and numbers, longer keyboard patterns are becoming common passwords, and they are still not secure.”

For example, users should avoid a sequence such as “qwertyuiop,” which is the top row of letters on a standard keyboard, or “1qaz2wsx” which comprises the first two ‘columns’ of numbers and letters on a keyboard.

If you’re looking for a better solution you might like to try a password manager application.

SplashData has SplashID Safe which, as they say, offers solutions for people and organizations who care about keeping passwords and other information both secure and accessible.

I’ve been using LastPass for several years. It’s another password manager which makes web browsing more secure and I highly recommend giving it a try.


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