wilberforceI’m ashamed to say I’ve only just watched the movie "Amazing Grace".

As the story finished, as the piper slowly marched, left then right foot arching slightly inward .. As each section of the band came into view and joined the symphony of sound that began with a bagpipe, I was lost in wonder and awe of the song.

Amazing Grace.

If ever there was a movie that respectfully gave Christians an uplifting account of God’s good Grace, it is this one. While "Chariots of Fire" is a wonderful film, "Amazing Grace" is surely the most intelligent and thought-provoking movie about a man used mightily by God.

The humanity of Wilberforce was so evident. His sickness, his frailty. But equally so was his fervour, his passion, his dedication. How simple and potent was the prayer (or the beginnings of) to God as he lay in the grass, and the following conversation with his butler-fellow.

And the way they cast John Newton as an older man, humbly mopping the floor in almost sackcloth and ashes .. It seemed right. A little bit grumpy, full of care for Wilber, a man driven to speak the Word of God against the evils of that day.

It’s a great movie. But it points to an even greater reality.

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.

Cobwebs For Al? (Round 1, 2011 – Waratahs vs Rebels)

Thanks to a glorious meeting of Xbox and Foxtel, I’m now able to watch the rugby from the comfort of the lounge. Rock on!

What can you say about the first round of games that won’t be washed away over the next few weeks? Well, I guess it’s all opinion and comment, so .. Here’s my two cents into the fray.

The Rebels performed the way you would expect (but not hope) a new team to. They were ill-formed and mis-type-cast, kind of like the bug-ridden code I write.

It would have been interesting to know how Greg Somerville’s thoughts were proceeding over the course of the game. Probably something like:

Greg Somerville’s Thoughts In Real-Time Game Time

(00:40)     Feeling good. Still got it.

(5:34)     Phew. Bit harder than I remember.

(16:12)     Young punks. I’ll teach em.

(36:48)     Boy do I miss playing with Richie and the boys.

(49:20)     Wasn’t this Cipriani fellow supposed to be good?

(65:43)     Morty’s blowing as hard as me. Nice.

(74:23)     At least I’m getting paid a filthy amount.

(80:03)     I’m too old for this .. game.

** True story.

Quite a few of the opinions I’ve read talk about The Waugh-horse and how well he played. It’s true, he did. Orc Commander on the Battlefield.

The two blokes in the piggies who impressed me were Ben Mowen and Kane Douglas. You could see the "go-forward". They made impact when they hit the line.

Barnes was okay, Mitchell and Beale pursued excellence and Damien Fitzpatrick made a wonderful George-Smith-Style steal 77 minutes into the game.

The "almost the whole team" maul try was pretty cool to watch. I bet it was a cauldron of ferocity in there.

Sam Cordingly made some strange mistakes. I watched a bit of the Toulon / Biarritz game, and watching Michalak was like watching Cordingly. Just wierd.

Speaking of wierd, when you come off the field you have a bloke there holding out a water and a gatorade. Since when did hard rugby blokes need the pampering .. oh wait. Money. As Mr Crabs would say .. "Money money money money money!" Changes things. It just seemed so out of place. Here we have the greatest sport in the world, in the universe (except if there is some form of space-rugby), where we pit brawn and brain together in battle .. And when you come off the field you are asked politely by a waiter-type-bloke if you’d like a spot of tea.

A few years back I remember propping against a Barraba prop who was fairly reeking of intoxicating liquidity, who apparently came out of the bush to play rugby. He was beering it up and half-time. A real man’s man. Not really. Also, not sure where that story is going, but ..

I guess none of it matters.

Whether you play with half a tank of beer or get the choice of placebo-replenishing vitamin drinks, what matters is the game.

So take your gatorades and your waters and the bloke that hands them out .. And win! Play hard. Not Brett Sheehan "punch a bloke in the face once per half" Hard, but "John Eales / Richie McCaw / Martin Johnson – win a crap-load of silverware" Hard.

Stu’s Rating:

5 / 10


** 5 / 10 is a game where, although there was great play, it wasn’t a great game. In Stu Ratings, 5 is good. Very watchable. 6 has a couple of fist-pumps. 7 is Ashley-Cooper swan-diving. 8 is our scrum dominating. 9 is Beale falcon-ing, kicking, chasing and catching. 10 is George Smith winning the world cup with a chip-kick, regather and pass to Latho for his tenth leg-pumping, gut-busting try of the tournament.

"The Questioning Ones" – My First Blog (From 2002!)

Check it! Discovered a link to the Way Back Archives (which log just about everything) which hold my very first blog. It was a hack of php and html, mashed together from tutorials found on the web. Not pretty.

It had a problem with quotes and backslashes, the editor was a "Title" field and a "Body" field. But hey, it was a blog!

The archive doesn’t hold most of the images, or the background color. But here ’tis:

The Questioning Ones

All of these posts have been added to stuandrews.com, so you can take a gander at the Archives if you like, or go to "the questioning ones" tag.

Writing A Story Online In Real-Time

Brandon Sanderson, author of many fine books, wrote Warbreaker in a rather unusual fashion.

He wrote it on his blog, in real-time, going through the entire process (writing, annotating, editing) with amazing transparency.

It was a really cool thing to do, especially given that at that time he was quite a successful author. He was under the Tor banner, and was a rising star. Not an easy thing to convince people about the wisdom of I imagine. But he did.

I’m not even an unknown author. But, this still inspires me. I’ve had a story rumbling in the back of my mind for a while. A number of chapters have been written, and the Synopsis is weakly fleshed out. I think I’m going to give it a crack.

Perhaps the reason why Brandon Sanderson could do it was that he was successful. That’s okay. Have never been one to not attempt something for fear of failure. You just have to read back over this blog to see all the crazy ideas I’ve had and tried .. and failed :)

But anyway.

Just have to work out how it will work, practically, in terms of the blog mechanics.

The story is about a girl who lives in a world where Magic is the Dark Father and the Dark Father is Magic. It’s a story that isn’t quite right, where those telling the story are scattered not just across the world, but across time. Also, it has zombies. Sort of.