Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Three Questions

Hello Chickens, I told you I would be back. I told you.

Guests frequently (as in, every day) ask me these three questions:

  1. Where are you from?
  2. How long have you been on Iona?
  3. What are you going to do when you leave?

The first question is straightforward, or at least you'd think so. You know I'm from Australia. It really should be obvious that I'm Australian. I'm pretty Australian after all. Guests do not realise this. The British ones think I am from America and the American ones think I am from England. You cannot win.

The second question is rather more complicated. You see, after I stayed with Liam in Edinburgh, I went to volunteer with the Iona Community on the Isle of Iona. I was a housekeeper (my mother finds this hilarious) for three months and I had a really good time. By the end I didn't want to leave, and I probably wouldn't have had I not been looking forward to VidCon, but as it happened I bundled all my stuff together and got on the ferry. I thought it would probably be years before I ever set foot on the wee pebble again.

Then VidCon happened and I went to visit my sister afterwards. I thought everything was going pretty swimmingly because I had applied for a job I was feeling confident about happening in Glasgow but then it fell through! What was I going to do? I didn't have anywhere to live!

That was when I saw on Facebook that my friend and old line manager Becki had an 'interesting knee'. Later on I found out that meant she had a nasty infection. I offered to go back to Iona and help out, so I was designated Mac Housekeeper Cover and ran the housekeeping side of things for three weeks until Becki recovered. I didn't know I had this lined up until I was actually in transit back to the UK. I don't recommend doing that.

During this time I applied for a resident post on the island, which meant if I got it I would live on the island for the duration of my stay in the UK. I had my interview while I was on Iona and then finally got the job.

And that's how I came to live on Iona. I don't tell that whole story to guests though. Usually I just pretend like I've been here the whole time. I'll be here until February of 2013.

The third question is sort of annoying because honestly I have no idea. Will I apply for my UK ancestry visa and move back here? Will I travel to South Korea, braving the prospect of nuclear war to teach English to children? Will I travel to live and work in Canada?

Or will I settle back in Australia? Where? On the Gold Coast again? Or Brisbane? Or somewhere else like Melbourne? Will I study? Will I find a job?

So many questions.

Monday, 2 January 2012


This post would have been more impressive if it had been written on the 1st of January, but no matter. I spent the 1st of January doing what any self-respecting 23 year old would do: I was asleep.

I was asleep and then I watched two-thirds of the first season of Sherlock.

You see I am not usually one for making many new years resolutions, but this year I had, like, a lot. The list, which reads like a set of instructions from an overbearing mother, reads thusly:

  • Stop dropping your clothes on your bedroom floor, especially if they are clean.
  • Start doing your push-ups and sit-ups again; you're getting skinny.
  • Read that daily devotional that's sitting, looking forlorn on your bedside table.
  • Make it to morning service more than half the time okay?
There've been a number of reasons I just couldn't bring myself to blog for most of 2011, but the biggest one was that I had no freakin' idea what I was doing. All year. This isn't a negative thing, it's just a thing.

(I had a really good 2011, just so you know. It was much better than my 2010, definitely.)

Anyway, 2012 is looking to be a year where I know almost exactly what I am doing all the time. I feel like maybe this is a good environment for blogging, kind of like it was in high school and university. I knew what I was doing, I knew I could do the blogging. This is my hope for 2012.

I sort of hoped that I could start AFRESH with a brand-new blog on a brand-new platform, but alas that was not to be. Wordpress is amazing apparently, but I find it difficult to get used to. Right now I need as few barriers to doing the actual blogging as possible. Also I couldn't think of a good name for a new blog. Such a shame, really. Also, designing new websites is super, super annoying. Do not want.

So here are my aspirations for a NEW Fillet Skillet:
  • Topical posts
    • I'm not going to do away with conversational posts like this one altogether, but I want to write on point more often than not.
  • Updates twice a week
    • I mean, this isn't unreasonable is it? I used to update my blog every day, but that was before Tumblr came along.
  • This is a 12 month thing
    • This is going to be a blog about my experiences and thoughts about living on Iona. It is going to frame much of my other creative output (YouTube especially) for the duration of 2012.
Three things. This is achievable. It's achievable. This really is achievable.

Okay. This is pretty well it for now. My next post will be about what I've been doing since I last updated this blog. I'll see you then.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Derry and Durham

I am currently sitting on a train coming back from a two-day jaunt to Durham. Funny story, the train I bought a ticket on didn't come and I got on the next train without realising more than one company operated on this line. I got on the next train thinking it was the late one I had a ticket for, but it was run by a different company. The ticket inspector was not impressed and suggested I buy another ticket but relented in the end. I suppose it was because I am quite literally the only person in this carriage. Silly.

Anyway, I've been TRYING to blog from my iPhone but this app has made things rather difficult. More than once I have written 3/4 of a blog only to have it crash on me, losing the whole post. Even now it is acting jittery because of the patchy mobile coverage on this train line, so I'm saving regularly. Maybe I'll shell out actual money for an app in future. Then it might be better.

Um, I'm supposed to be writing about travel. I've left Northern Ireland now, obviously, and I'm staying in Edinburgh with Liam. Just like I'd been told, Edinburgh is the coolest city ever. I can't wait to explore it properly over the next week or so. Belfast was lovely and leaving the friends I've made there was hard, but that's the nature of this thing I'm doing.

While still in Northern Ireland we went for a day trip to Derry/Londonderry, whose name has become a shibboleth for what side of the Nationalist/Unionist divide the speaker stands on. It was certainly the most obviously divided place I'd been in Northern Ireland; the tensions there are still quite high. I tried to broaden my accent as much as reasonable so nobody would mistake my Australian accent for an English one and spit in my food or anything. Everything was fine though and we had a good day.

My two days in Durham were lovely as well. I had a good look around the town with my friend Joy and we went to the Good Friday service in the Durham Cathedral today. It was a "high church" service so it was a new experience for me, but really good. It was really beautiful.

I've just read back everything I just typed and realised it sounds really inane. I think I'll stop here, but I'll return soon when I'm feeling a bit more describe-y. Or something.

Okay bye.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Blogging from the iPhone

Woaaaaah I have just discovered how to blog from my iPhone. I am legitimately excited about this even though I've already written out this post once and lost it because I accidentally hit "cancel" instead of "post". Still, this is a revolution in blogging; a golden age for The Fillet Skillet is dawning upon a flurry of phone-typed travel blogs each funnier and more informative than the last. I got a UK SIM card the other day with the MOST GLORIOUS prepaid data plan this Australian has ever seen. I've stopped using my computer for Twitter and email. I've started tweeting pictures on the go. How did I ever consider myself a communications geek without this beautiful fount of data buzzing away in my pocket all day?

My trip so far has been just lovely. Chilling here in Belfast with Paige (hopeonatenspeed) and some of her friends from uni. I also see Adam (whataboutadam) from time to time because he lives in a nearby town. Catching up with these two has been so good. They're some of the best friends I've made through this while YouTube malarkey.

On Saturday Paige, her friend Hannah and I went to Dublin where we caught up with Stephen (3sixty5days). We went to the Leprechaun Museum where we were told many a-story from Irish folklore (SPOILER: Everybody dies. Always.) and the Guinness Factory where we partook of (supposedly) the freshest pint of Guinness in the world. It was an epic day with more walking than I've done in a long time. I've only just recovered.

Finally, today I bought a pair of Doc Martens. I've since taken to clomping around saying things like YOU WILL BE DELETED. They make me feel 20 feet tall and I have to be careful I do not accidentally tread upon and kill any children or small animals. I promise to use my newfound power responsibly; only evil children will be slaughtered.

And that is pretty much it for now. Supposedly you can upload pictures to posts using this app but that is what got me in trouble the last time so that is just going to have to wait until there is less at stake. Until then, see you next time!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Nuanced Reading

A few weeks ago at my aunty Linda's birthday she told me, "Rohan I love to read your blog! I'm very interested in your postmodern position." In light of this high praise, there are a few things that are now obvious to me:

  • I am from a family of academics
  • Aunty Linda reads my blog, something of which I had previously been blissfuly unaware (Hi Linda!)
  • I am now somewhat justified in posting my philosophical hot air
So! I wrote a thing that might be of interest to you, and maybe food for discussion and thought. On Tumblr I follow a lot of atheists. I didn't mean for it to work that way, it just kind of happened. As such, I see a lot of stuff like this:

Usually I don't respond to stuff like that. Not because I am "trying to be the better person" or anything, but usually I just don't have anything interesting to say. In response to that image, however, I waded in:
This is a deliberate paradox in Genesis. The writer of this part of that book is trying to distinguish capital-G God, the El Shaddai — God Almighty — from the other creator-gods prominent at the time such as El and Ra, who were associated with the sun. This writer is saying that God is the master of even these god-kings, and that all light and life spring first from God and nobody else. Nuanced reading, man. It rules.
After I posted that I received a question in my ask box: "I'm confused. Are you christian?" to which I responded:
Yep. Although I should say, in the previous post to this one I was dealing with the idea of God according to Judaism, which is very similar to that of God in the Christian sense, but not exactly the same. Like, I know that the creator of that image is trying to piss off Creationists, but I’m trying to say that a nuanced reading of the Biblical texts is necessary for both the religious and non-religious (and the religious that do not happen to follow an Abrahamic faith). Like, nuanced reading is why I don’t actually hold to the six-day creation idea. While Genesis contains a creation story (actually, it contains two) the authors of those stories are not just trying to tell the reader about how things came to be, they are trying to paint a much broader picture of who God is and his relationship to people. These authors are doing so long after the world came to be, so they’re really writing about their present experience, and not necessarily about the past.
I should point out that these ideas are not entirely my own. I am re-reading Rob Bell's (in)famous book Velvet Elvis on my lunch breaks at work. My co-workers ask, "What are you reading, Rohan?" and I say, "Oh, it is basically an argument for the application of postmodern philosophies in modern Christian theology." Then they back away slowly and I get to read in peace! I'm so good with people.

Anyway, if you haven't read Velvet Elvis yet you should because some of the ideas in there are just beautiful, and it's really easy to read. And it's only AU$16.24 from! Don't anyone tell my boss I'm sending people there on my blog, or I'll be in trouble.

Oh who am I kidding? I'm handing in my resignation on Friday! Blabber away!