Friday, April 27, 2012

What do you make of this?

According to the Systemising/Empathising theory, dearest blog readers, you are an unusual bunch.

Guys who hang out here tend towards Empathy and Girls seem to tend towards Systemising.


Any thoughts on this?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Test Time!

Systemizing is the drive to understand the rules governing the behaviour of a system and the drive to construct systems that are lawful. Systemizing allows one to predict and control such systems.

Empathizing is the drive to identify another person's thoughts or emotions, and to respond to their mental states with an appropriate emotion. Empathizing allows one to predict another person's behaviour at a level that is accurate enough to facilitate social interaction.

How do you score? Take the test. Post your results in the comments!

UPDATE: I think the results section of that test might not be working. I'll look for another site.

UPDATE #2: Take the tests here - - the ones you want are the EQ and SQ-R. Then plot your scores on this graph:

UPDATE #3 : Can't get the graph to paste in. Find it on page 52 of this article.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is it un-Australian to not like Anzac day services at school?

Joel says no. It is un-human to like them.

Are you E or S?

Hi Friends.

Anyone want to amuse me for a bit?

Simon Baron-Cohen (a psychologist) has this theory that classifies people on the basis of their scores along two dimensions - systemising and the empathising. It's a bit women's weekly, but interesting nevertheless.

According to Baron-Cohen, there are 5 brain types:
  • Extreme Type S, whose systemizing is above average but whose empathy is below average (S>>E).
  • Type S, whose systemizing at a significantly higher level than their empathy (S>E).
  • Type B (for balanced), whose empathy is at the same level as their systemizing (E=S).
  • Type E, whose empathy is at a significantly higher level than their systemizing (E>S).
  • Extreme Type E, whose empathy is above average but whose systemizing is below average (E>>S)
He reckons there are sex differences in these - very roughly as follows:

Ex S - 5% men, almost 0% women (Many ASD are in this category)
S - 50% men, 15% women
B - 30% men, 30% women
E - 15% men, 50% women
Ex E - almost 0% men, 5% women

If you studied engineering at uni, you are probably in the S category. Or extreme S.

I'm interested in how this theory may be useful in thinking about church. My denomination is one that appeals to S types. Systematic theology is what we're famous for. There is a rule and procedure for everything. Many of our ministers used to be engineers. And they are all men. I think it likely that we have a disproportionate number 'S' brains among us. What difference does this make? Does it matter? How do 'E' types feel about this?


Want to know what kind of brain you have?

You can do this test here - you have to pick someone's emotions from looking at a picture of eyes. It is meant to measure empathy. 

Post your results in the comments.

Big Doug W. on Effeminate Christianity

Yes, I know, I know, but I've been hanging out over on this blog recently.

Yes. I know.

I find his take of the US primaries fascinating. That's why I've been there.

But while visiting, this little piece came up: Your Worship Services Might Be Effeminate If...

Here's the thing. I read this blog post last week, took on board what he was saying (kinda) and tried to make the current lyric I'm working on less effeminate. It's called While We Wait and it's a song about godliness now while we wait for Jesus' return. I took out the lines I had written about us being God's own possession etc etc. (DW would think them effeminate) and replaced them with battle-type references. Then I went back to the original passages I had been looking at and realised that draft one of my lyric was a whole lot more biblical than draft two.

The church is the bride of Christ. Sometimes it's going to feel feminine.

And I like the Em to C major chord progression.

What is life about for you right now?

I'm not after super-spiritual answers.

Just... what's your thing at the moment?

Finish the sentence.

"After I get all this other stuff done, I'll be able to..."

Sleep? Have a cup of tea? Watch TV? Do some gardening? Work some more?

For me, more viola practice is the end of all things at the moment. I've got it in my head that after 60 hours more practice, I'll start sounding good. How fast can I clock up those hours? (I have a lesson at 9am. If I have a really quick shower I can squeeze in ten minutes before I go.)


Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Romantics Anonymous

I saw this movie today.

Love it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Viola Update

I'm still having fun. Hoping to have a lesson this week (my second!)

Tonight I've been playing along to this song. I can play the melody and put in various harmony parts. It's nice and slow which helps. Alas, it still sounds pretty bad, but is improving.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Guidelines for those living on a hell-mouth

1. Write a will right now. Don't put it off. And get life insurance.
2. Don't go out by yourself at night.
3. Don't ever go to the local night club. Someone dies there every week.
4. Quit school. Someone gets killed there every week.
5. I know it's hard, but avoid the graveyard, especially at night.

Vote for Vanishing Point

Ben's blog has it all.

If you don't read it, you should.

If you do read it, you'll understand why you'll understand why you should vote for Vanishing Point in the  Best Australian Blogs competition.

So do it!

Cynicism on Demand

I'm enjoying this blog. Love the Queensland pictures.

I'm remembering how painful it is to write talks.

Who would be a minister?

[Or sign up to do something like this?]

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I've been reading some stuff (research articles) on gender differences in cognition.

It's all pretty interesting and I've become convinced that there are differences in how men's and women's brains work.

But why is it that I can read gender stuff in scholarly papers and it (mostly) doesn't get me mad, whereas when I read American mega church pastors or popular theologians saying kinda the same(ish) things I blant (blog-rant) for days?

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'd never do it, of course, but...

... sometimes I feel drawn to the homeschooling option. For whole minutes I'll sit and imagine how cool it could be.

1. There would be more time for music practice. Lessons and practices could happen during the day instead of being crammed into afternoons.

2. Rather than learning the very basics of the Australian political system again (3rd year in a row!), Nathan could write opinion pieces on the US republican primaries.

3. I'd have time to teach Joel how to spell or to teach him strategies for how to not let bad spelling stop him from conquering the world. And we'd write stories together.

4. Micah and I could play duets. We'd do this instead of the boring bits of SOSE and Science.

5. We'd never, ever have school assemblies. This, in itself, makes home schooling worthy of consideration.

But I'd never do it.

Here are five reasons why.

1. I'm an extrovert. Schools are places full of people. I can't imagine robbing my children of the opportunity to go there.

2. I'd be really, really bad at making my kids learn things that I thought were boring or pointless. Under me, my kids would have a skewed education.

3. Schools have bands and orchestras and choirs. Right there. On site. Free(ish).

4. I think I want my kids mainstreamed as much as possible. The christian thing is weird to the world. I don't think I want other stuff to be too.

5. I couldn't work if we homeschooled our kids. This would mean we couldn't afford to pay the rent. Homeschooling would be bad if you did it while living in a car.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Excellent holidays.

1. The kids have spent half their time being helpful (doing washing, scrubbing mould off walls, taking dog for a walk) and half their time in front of a screen. I thought our holiday EM policy would limit screen time. It didn't - but the house is much cleaner and the dog is much fitter.

2. I've spent a good bit of each day asleep.

3. Micah spent a few days with our friends and we had one of their boys in lieu. Worked well. Our kids are nicely interchangeable! But we're really glad to have Micah back home now!

4. Heath Scotland is going really well tonight. Yay for Carlton and the Mighty Penguins (my AFL dream team!) Dane Swan is scoring nicely for me too.

5. I am getting better at viola. I don't hurt my ears quite so much. My bowing arm is developing some control, but it still doesn't sound good. I look at the music, hear in my head how it ought to sound, but I can't. quite. get. it.  It's actually a really good exercise for me as a music teacher. I understand my year 4 recorder kids better. We sing the song, they play the song, they get the notes right, but something is still missing.

6. We went away for a night (with the dog) and came back to find rat poo on the floor. I am grossed out. The dog has become obsessed sniffing a particular built in cupboard. I don't want to look inside.

7. I've become really interested in a particular theory of mind and how it relates to gender. I'm incorporating it into my flourish conference workshop on music. Come to the conference if you want to hear about it. It's heaps of fun and has interesting ministry implications (I think.)

Can't. make. my. viola. sound. good.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Don't Be Proud

Lately I've been thinking
There's too much to do
Don't be proud of drinking
It's beaten better men than you.

Lately I've been thinking
There's so much to see
I won't be proud of drinking
It's beaten better men than me.

Tim Freedman, Don't Be Proud.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Easter everyone!

Good Friday kids' talk

It's not last minute yet.

Church doesn't start for another 10 hours!

Here's an idea for a kids talk if you haven't got it sorted yet.

This one is pitched at little kids.

Good and Bad

Use google to find yourself a set of pictures of things. I'm using - Present, kid crying, cake, friends, and scary dinosaur. Print them out, or powerpoint them onto a screen. I beam up a pic, kids have to say if it is something good or something bad. Final one is Jesus on the cross. I ask kids if that is good or bad. We talk about how it hurt Jesus a lot when he died, so that was bad, but how he died for us so that is good. Then say that today is good friday, explain why it's good - because we remember that Jesus died and that is very good for us.

Go well and happy easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Take a deep breath, people.

The world is not going to end if:
- Gay marriage becomes legal
- homeschooling is outlawed
- our society becomes cash free
- the greens pick up more seats at the next election
- ethics is taught in schools
- the school chaplaincy program is scrapped
- Barak Obama gets a second term

Can we please calm down?

Crazy, crazy stuff.


Oh man.

A viola milestone

Tonight I transcribed a piece of cello music (bass clef) into alto clef so I could play it on viola. This is a big step forward.

A couple of days ago read Petrina's advice (see comments below) about not worrying about what the notes were called. Now I just focus on playing them. I can read notes on the G, D, and A strings pretty well. Thanks Petrina!

I also had my first lesson today. Bow hold, it seems, is important. Something to work on.

thoughts on quilting.

Just because you have 179 different sorts of fabric, you don't have to use them all on your very incredible quilt.

I just saw a very clever and awful creation.