Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
I took 131 Photos while I was away in Nelson. This is incredible as the three weeks in Russia I only take 100 photos. But this could also be becuase I could take up to four hundred or so photos while in russia at maximum I could have only taken 120 or so photos.
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 2:03 PM
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
These Are pictures from my week away in Nelson
The opening to the Malborough sounds
Cruising on the Interislander!
Tahuna Beech Yesterday. Doesn't it just look like a tropical getaway?
Picture taken today at the Japanese Garden
Cool Freight Plane that is in the founders museum @ Nelson
A bit of Nelson History for you
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 2:57 PM
Friday, October 21, 2005
Finding a good christian is at times like sifting for Gold. It takes hard work and sometimes your efforts are fruitless, but when you find that CD, you cry "Eureka I've found it."
Anberlin's Sophemore release 'Never Take Friendship Personal' follows up Blueprintsfortheblack market in great fashion. It is an intriguing album that I can not stop listening to (Which I do with a number of great cds). This CD is a complete CD, The production is awesome an is a sweat-flowing album that keeps you on your feet dancing and your head thrashing from start to finish. Anberlin reminds me of rock groups such as Jimmy Eat World with thier awesome melodys and awesome quitars. These guys though step it up a notch with hard hitting drums and cruching guitar. They then top it up with the vocals. The vocals I will have to say are not as good some groups. The album has been impressing critics in america and recieving astounding reviews for a relatively uknown band. For Example Rip It Up (4 1/2 Stars), Real Groove (4 1/2 Stars), and the allmusic.com website (4 Stars).
This album is a highlight from start to finish. The songs are all great numbers.
Never take freindship personal is the first song on the album. It is a song about hurt and pain. It is a wonderfully powerful rock song. Starting off with strong heavy guitars and continuing in that flow of mind. It carrys the emotion of hurt and the loss of trust from start to finish. It is a great opening track.
The Album then flows into Paperthin Hymn again typical anberlin on this album hardhitting guitar chords accomplishing good rock. I don't exactly know what the songs about so I will say it is just another great song.
Stationary Stationary is about a relationship that going no where. This is a bloody good pop rock song. It is one of the stand out songs for me on this album and if the record company had the same taste in music as I do it would be a single. This song gets me bouncing up and down from start to finish.
(The symphony of) Blase, Is a Beautiful slow track (Slow for Anberlin.) It is very emotional and brings a tear to my eye. It is a great track
A Day Late is the first single off the album. This song is how I discovered the band that has changed my listening habits. Again typical Anberlin.
The Runaways is another great typical anberlin track. It is very heavy but is a song that you can still bounce along to. It shows the vocal variety of the lead singer for the band.
Time and Confusion is a song about following after you dreams. It is a great song I love it. It is just a really fun and great song. It is hopefulled and dream-making music
The Feel Good Drag is about lust, sex and temptation and society. It is dark at times in its music and lyrics.
Dance Dance Christa Paffgen is the final track on the album. It is a beautiful track about love and chemistery. This is a wierd love song but it is my favourite track on the album. Too long to be a single but it captivates you for the whole seven minutes of the song.
You need to listen to this album. These guys impress me a whole lot and i'm excited to see them coming down to Parachute 06. They will not disappoint you. I promise
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 4:17 PM
This is for all you who enjoy the form of popular democracy called Reality TV Shows.
This came from Maxim Institutes online weekly magazine 'Real Issues'.
1.Those you voted off last week would be back on the list.
2.Contestants would start every sentence with "When I'm NZ Idol, I'll...".
The bottom five candidates would be kicked off in the first week for failing to reach the threshold.
3.Jackie and Frank would announce they had worked out a three-way deal to support one of the contestants on confidence and supply, but this did not mean they were in any way supporting one of the contestants, but planned to work constructively with all of them, for the sake of the competition.
4.It will emerge later in Investigate magazine that Nik and Sir Howard Morrison were in a secret conspiracy to thwart Rosita with an infamous "Rosita is fat" smear campaign.
5.Petra will demand that Jean be given a space in the bottom three, and if this does not happen, she will threaten to quit the competition.
he losing contestant in the final two will say it's fine, because the country has called him to other things.
6.Contestants would attack their competitors throughout the competition, using phrases such as "No talent hack" and "unstable lunatic", but "come together" in the last week to declare that they are the best of friends, and looking forward to working together.
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 4:08 PM
Friday, October 14, 2005
This is Emery's sophomore release on Tooth and Nail Records. Emery is a Hard Core rock band who are classed in the Screamo category. This means they have girl sounding guy vocals mixed with screams in their songs. The Album is produced by Aaron Sprinkle, know for his work on albums such as Anberlins Never Take Freindship Personal. This album is full of what I call Chaotic Rock. From Start to finish this album does not flow or carry. The Album is introduced well with a hard hitting screamo track "So Cold I Could Hold my Breath", which talks about lust and sex and the struggles that people hide. The album then meanders through the next couple of tracks where Emery can't decide what rhythm to stick to or what style to stick to. The Fourth Track, the single, Studying Politics, is a classic emery track full of great harmony with hardhitting rock and scremo. This track is one of the highlights of the album, talking about relationship breakups and the hurt behind it. The album then picks up again from here but tracks still seem to meander because of Emerys lack of ability to keep a style or a rhythm in their tracks. "Listening to Freddy Mercury" is a great track and brings another set of hard hitting lyrics about sin and life, and the fact that we all sin This song starts strong and concludes. "The Terrible Secret" is then another classic emery track. Starting of with a strong introduction then flowing into a chorus and actually not flowing into chaos. This track shows what emery can do when they don't try to become complicated and arty, and just stick to the basics of style and rhythm. The Last two songs, a "Win Win Stituation", and a "Lose Lose Situation", show what earlier songs lacks, that is a constant rhythm and style. A Win Win Situation is a classic emo track, containing nice chords and piano pieces, again showing that the band has the ability to write good tracks and make good albums It is a beautiful song that finishes a chaotic album off with class and makes you forget about the earlier shockers of the Album. The weightlessness of the Album for me are "So Cold I Could See My Breath", "Studying Politics", Listening to Freddy" Mercury" and "The Terrible Secret." The Lowlights for me is this albums lack of flow and that the potential of this band wasn't lived up to on their second album
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 3:03 PM
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
If you are like me you will be dissapointed to see that there are only three big bands coming to parachute this year. Sources have told me that the reason why this has occured is that the Sonfest music festival has gone under. This means that fewer big christian bands are willing to come and play parachute becuase of the long and expensive trip from thier home countries. There is also the increased global threat of terrorism that can make bands make long trips to the southern hemisphere.
So was last year the peak of Parachute Festival, with many major bands and recording companies there for the concert. We will see. Parachute will drop in numbers this year and probrably platua for a few years but if australia gets another big festival it will all be on again. Parachute will still be a huge place for youth groups and the whole of hamiltons youth to hang out(becuase there is nothing else to do in hamilton ;-]) It is an awesome time away with freinds and always a good time.
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 9:09 AM
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Democracy has improved from the rise of the internet and blogs from the amature demcracy. This can be seen in the salient vs victoria university case. Victoria university has tried to stop the student magazine from publishing information regarding fee rises next year. Salient went to court yesterday, stopping the magazine from being released on onday morning. The article has gone through the great network of ASPA and has reached the reading public of all the other major student magazines in the country.
The article is obviously important for victoria university students and it should be released to the victoria university students. Bloggers and internet websites have released the information and the magazine critic have released it online. Unfortunately critic has had to take its site down becuase it seems they have been embargoed aswell. The University's attempts to try and stop the information from being released has meant that the information has spread like wildfire across the blogosphere and many people will know the real details behind the plan.
This is the strenght of the blogosphere. The state and corperate information cannot censor information that is deemed sensitive becuase of its effects. Clinton was impeached as a result of one article on a early blog. Information these days is free flowing. Borders and big buisiness and the state can no longer stop information after its released to the public. If the try to embargo the information it spreads like wildfire.
THe fact of the matter is, the university is going to hurt its reputation through this. As Keith Ng the writer of the article has said, they have shot themselves in the foot and overreacted. They are going to be made out by the media, who will have there own vested interests in this case, to be heavy handed and against the freedom of speech. It is also going to cost them a whole lot more money, while the article has already been released to the public and those who want to know whats in it already know.
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 2:33 PM
Monday, October 03, 2005
I was talking to an insightful freind a couple of weeks ago about Pai Marire and Maori Prophetic Movements. These movements took parts of christianity and married it with Maori tradition as an expression of Maori Autonomy. On the east coast the North Island, members of the Pai Marire fought against the settler government as the settler government attempted to destroy Maori movement of autonomy so that they could move towards racial amalgamation of the Maori people.
The Pai Marire movement was seen as a perversion of christianity, becuase it picked and chose the traditions of christianity it would accept, while keeping traditions that christians either saw as sinful or accessive. Thier religion was seen as excessive and at times immoral. Pai Marire was misunderstood by the missionary William Williams who saw it as a Denunciation of traditional anglican tradition and as anti-christian.
I don't believe this is so. Many of these leaders were sincere christians. Te Whiti took on christian teachings of pacifism in his movement, while fighting for looking after for both the material and spiritual needs of the people of Pariaka. Before the settlement at Parihaka was destroyed it was the largest and most prosperous Maori township in the Country. But becuase it resembled a threat to Pakeha Culture and the Settler Government, it was destroyed.
So is our friend Pope Brian Tamaki a Maori Prophet. That is an question to be answered. He fulfills some of the criteria. He is a political and spiritual leader, who is aiming to service both the spiritual and economic and social needs of the Maori people for his movement. The Destiny Church and Party are supportive of the Treaty of Waitangi. The excessiveness of the leader of the church has been seen as immoral and his personal involvment in politics has been criticised. I also beleive he is a sincere christian with sincere convictions, who wants to see the best for this.Are we again seeing a Maori Prophet who is missunderstood by the Pakeha people conservative and liberal christians. 'Pious' christianity has tried to seperate christianity from the state, is this really right? Should we stop seeing religion through our cultural paradigm, and see what people are trying to acheive for the good of New Zealand and the good of their people.
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 5:45 PM
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Is Parachute 06 looking like its going to be a total flop. I was expecting more big name bands this year. The Bands that are comming are high quality. But there are only two big well known bands. Both of them have come before. They being Delirious and Day of Fire. They are both awesome bands, but there are so many great bands. Everyone wanted switchfoot to come which would have been awesome. Look out for Anberlin though. They are an awesome up and comming band. I expect that they will find great success in the mainstream music industry. They are a great band who are reminiscent Jimmy Eat World but are much more edgier. I think they will outshine Day of Fire at parachute this year and will be the talk of the festival
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 5:41 PM
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 5:59 PM
This is the picture of the Russian and Western conquerers at the top of the peak of love. This was a hard trek. We got up this peak on a stomich full of buck wheat (yuck!) and a drink bottle of water. It was interesting when we got to the top only having a small sandwich each to eat knowing that you really needed more food. But we lived
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 5:52 PM
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 5:49 PM
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 5:48 PM
This is basically an email I sent to my American friend Kristin after my trip to siberia. It talks about my joys and trials in siberia. Enjoy!
The time spent preparing for the trip to Siberia was invaluable for me. My biggest tension when reading the culture shock articles came over whether to bring my cd player or not. I decided not to bring it as I was worried I would use this to zone out of the troubles and out of the culture. I am so happy I didn't bring it as I believe it would have been more of a help than a hindrance to me. I am so happy that I looked through all the resources though. They gave me a better understanding of the big picture when it comes to missions.
The flights were great and were really interesting. This was my first test as it was my first time out of New Zealand and didn't really know what I was meant to do. Even when coming back I still had some holes in my thought. The most interesting experience was going through Chinese customs and having to get a stay pass so we could go on a domestic flight from Beijing to Shingyieng. It all worked out and we had help from Ernie back home who knew how the Chinese system worked.
Another interesting experience was when in the flight to Irkutsk a compartment in the roof of the airplane came down when we taking off. This had to be the most exciting and scary experience of the trip. I remember the feeling of my stomach dropping as the airplane lifted into the air. I was in a state of prayer through the first five to ten minutes just hoping the plan would last the flight to Irkutsk. I know I was overreacting but I was happy I got safely to Irkutsk.
The First night in Irkutsk was great. I remember though the first drive in Irkutsk. From Irkutsk to Ublini, this was interesting because this was my first taste of driving on the opposite side of the road and also the first taste of Russian driving. The great thing is that Russian driving is that it is comparatively good. There are some dubious road actions but other than that it is pretty reasonable. My eyes were popping at the sites. One thing you do notice in Irkutsk is that one there are lots of traffic cops that operate on the bridge and 2 that there are heaps of little crashes on Russian roads. This is something I noticed as time went on.
The flat was quite cool. We went there and got briefed by Yakov and asked him questions. We then made a quick dinner after Yakov and Sym went and got food. We had pasta so that was great. The next day we spent most of the day waiting for Yakov. This was a whole day activity so we had to adapt to this idea. I spent the day reading and relaxing or listening to a sermon from Grace Community Church.
Tuesday we went into town and visited the church where Sym got a huge hug from Dasha. Me and Briar ended up buying a few things from the church shop On Wenesday we went into town again. We met up with Natasha who is a Russian who works for campus crusade at the linguistics university. She showed us around town and we just spent time talking with her. We then met up with the youth group on Wednesday night. They were practicing for the concert that was going to be the next day. I really enjoyed this time as they were doing Russian rock songs, but they also did alive by P.O.D in Russian which was an experience in a half for me. They also sang a number of worship songs that had been translated into Russian from English. This meant we could try and sing along to them. This was great as up to this point I had felt really out of it and didn't know what part I had to play.
Sasha who was one of the musicians in the band also gave us his testimony. This was awesome and he had so much Joy while he told it. I also started talking to André that night which was great. His friendship and worshipful heart would be a blessing to me throughout the rest of trip. The next morning we met a tired Chris at the airport. He spent the day resting then came out with us to the concert at one of the university halls. Again this was an enjoyable time.
The next morning (if I have my days and times right still) we went away on camp. I spent the time in the front seat next to Yulia. For me at times this was a frustrating experience. If I was in my comfort zone I would have been sitting in the back of the minivan speaking in English to Chris or briar, but I was sat in the front talking to Yulia who can speak good English but at times couldn't understand me. I’m really happy with the situation as it got me talking to someone from Russia and also helped get me out of my comfort zone quite early on and made the struggle at camp maybe a bit less.
The first few days at camp were rather enjoyable. They were spent just relaxing and getting to know the camp organizers. It helped me get through some of the struggles with having to use a squat toilet and language issues. The first night at camp for me was the hardest period of time in my life. This was the closest point to where I could have blown it. The issues were for me that you feel your space has just been invaded. It was invaded by campers who were trying to put their stuff anywhere and everywhere. My sleeping area which used to be rather comfortable was now made into a small patch on the floor. We also had to deal with Dora the puppy. Dora the puppy is Russia version of Gemma the cat. It decided also that It liked me and this created a lot of fun for me. The first surprise was the puppy coming out of a bag that was brought by valentine. I had to enjoy valentines 6.30 wake up call and then endure the puppy deciding that it liked me so much that it would lick and kiss me in the morning to wake me up. Luckily by the third day of the camp valentine decided the puppy was not a good idea and was causing me and others a considerable amount of distress.
I really enjoyed the time at camp. The only thing that probably started to get me down was the food. I didn't enjoy stogg and a little bit of meat everyday. I learned a lot about God, others and myself over camp. One thing that was a real shock 2was one night I was showing pictures of my home back in New Zealand. I realised when I was showing these pictures of my house just how lucky I was. When I saw the picture of my the TV in the corner of our house and the drum set I realised how wealthy and lucky we are in New Zealand.
My favorite times were my worship times with Andrew. One night we were just sitting at the camp fire and me and him just started singing songs that we both knew. Another day I had been having a quick wash down by the river. He had come down as well. I had just finished my quiet time and he asked me if I would like to do some worship with him. We worshiped for about 30 minutes together and this was just an awesome time together.
Another great experience was the work up the peak of love, or what ever its called. There were some really beautiful views of the Ashan region from this peak. I enjoyed the trip up and down. Sym was really worried about the weather packing in and also about Serges' duaghter Dasha who came with us. At one point we had split up as a group and as a result this caused interesting comments back at the camp site from Yakov. Another interesting part of the trip was being some of the most prepared people for the conditions. Me, Briar Chris all brought extra clothes and supplies. But we all lived on 800 mils of water and a small sandwich to get up and down. This was interesting to people who are used to bringing even more supplies than needed just in case you got into trouble, thank God everything worked out well.
The last night of camp was really sad. We told people what we found special about each other. It was really sad and as I write this the memories and tears come flooding back. The Russians really opened up on the last night and you saw things about them that you never saw before. That night me, Chris and Sym had a farewell Vanya. The Vanya is a Sauna and turns into a very social experience for the guys. We then spent the night dancing away and spent the night listening to music. Around 1 O’clock at night we had dinner which was pork kebabs. This was a great time.
The next morning we had our farewell. We gave out postcards with notes to the campers. We also had a huge farewell at the bus stop which was really awesome and sad. I just hope the time at camp had an impact on those who I grew close to. They are awesome people and I miss them a lot, especially Yulia, Andrew, and Sasha. I hope that I will see them, God willing, next year.
We went back to Irkutsk and tried to meet up with Yakov. We had dinner at our favorite pizza place, domino's, where I think I managed to get a bit ill from the food there. We then got hold of Yakov who was back in Ublini so we went back there where we had surprise guests. We had valentine who had preached at camp and his wife, his child, and the Puppy. Thankfully relations between me and the puppy had cooled down a little since I had last seen Dora but it had been a rather ironic meeting and caused a lot of surprise to me. We had a good time talking with Yakov and valentine. It was great to spend time relaxing. We got to bed at the usual time of midnight and had to get up at 5.30 the next morning.
Flights went well the other way. We got delayed in Irkutsk because of military operations at the airport, Jo managed to get her flight in Beijing to Thailand and me and Briar had a relaxing trip back to New Zealand without as much turbulence as the other way.
I miss the people in Russia, especially my friend Andre – who just has an awesome heart for God and just loves to worship God using his guitar. I've also found the pace of life kind of daunting. I just really want to spend time with people, to catch up with people and talk with them, but I have a tension of getting the load of work done that I have to get done (thankfully I got this all done in the last week so that was awesome!) and spending time with people which to me seems the more important priority out of the two
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 5:37 PM
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Well Here goes. Hopefully this second blog will be a better attempt at blogging than my first one.
Last attempt failed becuase I wasn't that serious.
This blog aims to be funny, informative and hopes to give a unique perspective on a number of different Issues. Enjoy
Posted by Nathanael Baker at 6:25 PM