Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Enough to Love

Last night JD had the Tuesday Night Family Service. I know that I've spoken about how much I enjoy it when JD has the service in previous posts, even if I didn't get to play my bass with him last night.
He chose the topic of Arrogance this week. He brought up the idea that we are used to having rights; human rights, constitutional rights, civil rights. We all want our rights, demand them, no less. And we flaunt those rights in God's face when we declare Jesus to be our Saviour, but not our Lord. We hesitate on letting Jesus be our Lord.
I admit that I have a hard time with this. And it became painfully aparent to me today as I listened to The Choir's, O How the Mighty Have Fallen. I've mentioned this band before as one of those bands that really speaks to me. And today was no different as I found myself contemplating JD's message as I was listening to the lyrics to Enough To Love.

Enough to Love (Hindalong, Daugherty)

If I could touch with my fumbling hands your scars
If I could know in my rebel mind your heart
If I could see with my lusting eyes your face
If I could taste on my withered tongue sweet grace

Would I trust You near enough
Would I trust You near enough
Would I trust You near enough
Enough to die
Enough to love

If I could hear with two muffled ears your voice
If could find in my troubled life true joy
If I could feel with numb fingers your spirit
If I could drink for my barren soul your tears

Would I trust You near enough
Would I trust You near enough
Enough to die
Enough to die
Enough to love

If I could touch with my trembling hands your scars

Would I trust You near enough
Would I trust You near enough
Would I trust You near enough
Enough to die
Enough to live
Enough to love

It's easy enough to say that Jesus is my Saviour, and to live, within my rights, as I please. And it's easy to say He's my Lord and be willing to die for my faith. Because I trust Him to be my Savior and to rescue me from my sins, and to be my Lord and accept me into His kingdom when I die. But do I trust Him enough to say He is my Lord if that means I have to live for Him? Do I trust Him enough to surrender my rights to Him? And do I trust Him enough to love in His name? To truly love those to whom He has sent me, those whom He has given into my care to love for His sake, in His place, on His behalf? To love as He has loved?
Those words, those lyrics ought to be my daily prayer.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas display, revisited

Well, here are the pics I promised everyone.

In the above photo you can make out Rudolph on the upper left side of the tree. Yukon Cornelius is on the middle right, and the Bumbles is kinda dead-center. On the lower left you can just make out Hermie the Misfit Elf. In the shot below you can see Hermie a bit clearer, and Clarise is slightly to the left. Don'tcha just love 'em all?
Of course, let's not forget that there is the central theme; the Nativity. And the train actually runs, too - if you wind it up. And it's smoke stack goes up-n-down as it rolls around the track. This is sooooo coooool!

I must say, I am still so very proud of this little tradition I maintain. It's been 10 years here at Respironics, and there were two or three years prior to that at my previous job. It's been moved around a lot into different areas, because I get moved around a lot. But it's held up pretty good. This year my display is sitting peacefully in the PLV area, even though I'm currently working on the Humidifier lines. I still keep a few personal effects there for the time being, so it only seemed appropriate to put it there. But I would've liked to put it in a more "high traffic" area. Oh, well, not much I can do about it now. At least the people who are already familiar with this little tradition will know where to find it. That, or they'll find me and ask about it.
I am so ready for the Holiday!

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Dreading this moment

Thus ends my extended holiday.
I left work on Monday last week and haven't been back since, but it all ends today. It's going to be difficult getting back into the swing of things after having a week off.
Of course, today is the day that I put up my Christmas display. So, I have that going for me at least.

I'm thinking that I should get a few more shots of it this year. Then I'll have a new profile pic for this Christmas season. Watch for the pics tonight or tomorrow.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Quote for 11/27/06

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."
Douglas Adams


Can you believe it?

I just found this story. This is so freakin awesome!
Somebody has actually bought and remodeled the house from A Christmas Story. The guy is trying to turn it into a tourist attraction for fans of the film. The only problem; it's in Cleveland.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

As opposed to twiddling my thumbs

Curse my internal chronometer!
Awake too early (once again) on a Sunday morning. And you all know what that means...

Your Five Factor Personality Profile

You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."

You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.

You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.

You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:
Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

So, with all of the "mediums" I suppose this is telling me that I'm mediocre?

You Are a Auditory Learner

You tend to remember what you hear, and you have a knack for speaking well.
You excel at debating, foreign languages, and music.
You would be an excellent diplomat - or rock star!

Diplomat or rock star? I'm not getting the connection between those two, but if I had to choose one it'd be rock star.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

And that's why I blog. It would also explain being a part of the Writer's Workshop with JT, and Becca.

You Are 36% Nerdy

You're a little nerdy, but no one would ever call you a nerd.
You sometimes get into nerdy things, but only after they've become a part of mainstream culture.

I suppose I'd have to be a bit nerdy with the selections I picked for this posting.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

Blacker than any I've ever experienced before.
This is the first time I've ever gone shopping on Black Friday without some sort of "back-up". Last year I didn't go out on Black Friday. But it used to be that Jo and I would go shopping for the kids together. We would always do the lay-a-way and I would take a cart to stand in line with one or two "big" items (fairly expensive and plainly visible). Then Jo would go through the store and bring back everything else One time, that even included my breakfast. All of the people around me were so envious of that one.
But today was a new experience for me. I faced the crowds alone. I stood in line knowing full well that I was on my own today. And I think I did OK. Managed to get everything I went out for, and that's not bad at all.
I also made some interesting observations while I was out, too;
* It's never too early for a mob scene at Wal-Mart.
* With Wal-Mart's decision not to do lay-a-way's this year, there's much less order in the aisles. It looked like a war scene in there. Bodies (and shopping carts) everywhere!
* Early morning on Black Friday is a great time to go grocery shopping. Everybody else is at Wal-Mart (or Target, or the Mall).
* It's difficult to enjoy eating out when the Christmas muzak has Band-Aid urging me to "Feed the World"...

I guess that's all I have for now.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

I feel it rising within me

The Holiday Spirit has really kicked into high gear for me now.
It was a great day. It started out early. I had to get some laundry done for Bob so he'd have clothes to take to his mother's for the weekend. Lounged around for the better part of the morning while I waited for the kids to leave for Jo's sister's, and my time to go to my brother's. It passed quickly enough.
I drove past the cemetery where my dad is. It's along the way to my brother's house. Couldn't help thinking it's the 2nd year without him. But I wasn't really saddened by this thought because it really lead me to remember the best times of holiday's past. I miss him, but I have all of the fond memories to offset the depression that might have fallen upon most people.
I like my brother's new house. Two fewer cats than previously, which is really good for me since I'm allergic and have asthma. So I actually managed to stay for almost 5 hours today.
The food was wonderful, and that's typical for the holidays. Even though the rolls turned out like hockey pucks. I think that must be a holiday tradition. There must be a rule about this carved in a stone tablet somewhere;
"Thou shalt forget about the rolls while they are in the oven until they are burned beyond recognition as a food item and have the general consistency of charcol or hockey pucks - whichever takes the longest amount of time."
But that was only one batch. The rest of them turned out fine. Those, however, ended up on the "kid's table" - which was really weird for me since I had forgotten that there were several kids there this year.
As is the tradition, I said grace. It's expected of me, especially since my mother can't make it through grace without breaking into tears - don't ask. I have a knack for keeping it short-n-sweet while still covering all of the necessary aspects of giving thanks for family, food and all of the other blessings we've been given throught the year. It's what I do.
I got to watch my brother be a grampa today. I was really impressed by it. My brother is a notorious hard-ass. A real bastard at times. But watching him with Conner, his grandson, really allowed me to see a side of him that is rarely visible. And it reminded me of my father and how he was as a grampa to our kids.
I stayed long enough to watch some of the 007 Marathon on Spike TV. Something else that reminds me of my dad. So it would seem that he was truly with us in spirit all day.
When I finally left, several of the houses in my brother's neighborhood had their Christmas lights on. It was really nice to see, even if I am one of those who believes that Christmas lights ought to wait until the day after Thanksgiving. But that's just me.
The ride home provided even more lights for me to admire. Including coming over the top of a hill and getting a good look at Monroeville being all lit up. And those aren't even Christmas lights, it's just the way Monroeville is always lit up. But for some odd reason it just looked so much brighter, and so much more colorful tonight. It must be something in the air.
Or is it just me?

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Quote for 11/23/06

"Thanksgiving is a time when the world gets to see just how blessed and how workable the Christian system is. The emphasis is not on giving or buying, but on being thankful and expressing that appreciation to God and to one another."
John Clayton

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Quote for 11/22/06

"Happiness is the realization of God in the heart. Happiness is the result of praise and thanksgiving, of faith, of acceptance; a quiet tranquil realization of the love of God."
White Eagle

My thoughts on this below


Why I am thankful

I'm going to post this today because I don't know if I'll be able to do it tomorrow.

I have so very much to be thankful for. So many aspects of my life are right where they need to be. I can truly say that at this moment, for the first time in a long time I am absolutely content with the direction my life is going in.
I can honestly look at my life and say that I have it good. I still have my bills to pay, but I have enough money to do that. I'm still going through my divorce, but I've found myself surrounded by loving friends who are supportive of me. I have a good job, a decent house (even though it needs a lot of work), a great car, kids that love me (as much as any teenagers can love their father), a fantastic church family (and great fellowship), and I've even been able to meet, and befriend, some remarkable ladies as I search for companionship. All in all, God has truly blessed me. And I am sooooo thankful for that. Especially in light of the way I've been arguing with Him so much over the last few months.
That being said, I think I'll take this opportunity to tell everyone that I'm finally ready to let go of the "burden" that I've been holding onto for the last couple of months. It's time for me to show my true appreciation for all the blessings that God has poured out into my life. And, if you're reading this, you can count yourself among those blessings. Many of you have been there for me at times when I truly needed someone. Even if it was simply because I vented here and you left supportive comments, or didn't stop reading.
What about you? What do you have to be thankful for this year?

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

God moves

Well, I'm sure you all read my post from Sunday, the one about helping out a friend this holiday season. Well, I'm pleased to announce that this aspect of the Holiday Spirit is spreading rather quickly.
I already have one regular visitor who has stepped up to meet my challenge. Missunderstood, please take a bow.
As for my friend and his family; I mentioned my plan to another co-worker, who is also friends with my friend, and he in turn mentioned it to a few others. They've all decided to try to help out as well. So things are starting to look good for my friend. I hope we can come up with enough to make this Christmas an unforgettable one for his family.
But please allow me to clarify something here. I keep refering to my co-workers as co-workers because if I just call them all my friends then there would be too many friends referenced in my posts to keep them all clear. But, believe me when I say this, they are all my friends, and I am happy to know this because so many of them were very generous to me and my family when we had our fire. I'm really excited about this.
I can't wait to see what else God does this holiday season!

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My quest is ended

I have found the Holy Grail !!!

... or something not unlike it.

A listing of all of the specials that will be broadcast on TV this holiday season. See the TV Holiday Guide and rejoice with me!

Just click on the TV Holiday Guide for the daily updated listing.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Getting a head start

Is this not a beautiful bird, or what?

That was dinner last night. My own little family tradition ever since Jo left. I make a turkey for me and the kids so we don't have to worry about not getting any leftovers on Thursday.

That's right, ladies. The man can cook. And he's good at it too!

Actually, we did this even before Jo left, but I figure this is one tradition that deserves to be kept. The kids will go over to Jo's sister's on Thursday while I go to my brother's. It's not likely that we'll be getting very much in the way of leftovers since my brother's in-laws are coming in for the weekend. But Jo's family still loves me so they'll probably send a little something home with Bob. Unless he spends the weekend with his mother, in which case I won't see any of the leftovers
It turned out nice and tender, and really juicy. In addition to the turkey we had the stuffing (of course), mashed potatoes, candied yams, and I opted for frozen corn on the cob. And there was a pumpkin roll for dessert. A very nice Thanksgiving dinner, indeed.
Now, without looking at my sidebar profile pic, can you tell what I went for first? Too bad there are only two of them. I'm just waiting for the day that some genetic engineer somewhere figures out how to create a four legged turkey. That will be one of the greatest days of my.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's what I do

The holidays are upon and it's time to start thinking about giving. I only bring this up because I've been given a rare opportunity to do something exceptional this holiday season.
I have a friend, who used to be a blogger (he hasn't blogged for a long time), who has fallen upon hard times recently. He lost his job several months ago and has been working as a "temp" since then. But temp agencies don't pay well enough to support a family. While he's making ends meet, he also realizes that Christmas is going to be somewhat disappointing for his kids this year.
This is where I step in.
After reading my friend's most recent e-mail, and sending a quick reply to let him know I would keep him and his family in my prayers, I sat down to ponder over his situation. I prayed briefly to ask God for some guidance, and soon had a plan to help my friend out.
Yesterday when I went in to work I immediately found one of my co-workers, who is also a friend of my other friend, and told him about what I felt God was leading me to do. Together the two of us are going to do what we can to help our friend out by buying him a few gift cards for Toys-R-Us. This will make the burden a little easier on him. I've already sent my friend an e-mail to let him know about our plan to help. I'm just waiting for his reply.
I'm not telling you this to pat myself on the back, or to demonstrate my piety to everyone. I'm telling you this because I want to encourage everyone that reads this to keep in mind what this season is all about. I want to encourage all of you to be generous this year to those who are less fortunate than yourself. If you know a family in a similar situation, struggling to make it, please show some compassion and give them whatever you can spare. Offer to help them in some way, like me and my co-worker. If you don't know of anyone that needs help then please send a check to a charitable organization that will be able to provide help to someone who does need it. I highly recommend the Salvation Army, they do the most good with your donations.
This is where our faith becomes most real. It isn't in the words we say, or in going to church every Sunday. It's in the nuts-n-bolts of doing the things that Jesus told us to do - and that means watching out for those around us who are in need, and being willing to help them in any way we can. Our faith is defined by our actions, it's what we do that counts most. Even though our salvation isn't based upon our actions, our actions express our salvation to those who are watching us. And at this time of year the whole world is watching us. Let's give them a good show.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Quote for 11/18/06

"Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities".
C. S. Lewis



Labels and whatnot

I've finally managed to put a label to every post. It was a daunting task which I felt compelled to complete. But now I'm ready to make some more changes.
I came to the realization that so many of my labels either overlap or don't really address the topic of the posts. So, now I'm going to go through them again and try to come up with some more distinctive labels for the ones that I think need a bit more "individuality".
This, too, will be a daunting task, but I don't mind.


Friday, November 17, 2006

It's not the heat, it's the humidity

Not quite what you expect to read about at this time of year. not from here, anyways.
Actually, this is a commentary on work, not the weather.
They've shut down the PLV line for the next 10 days to try to get our humidifier lines fully staffed while people have been using vacation time to lengthen their holidays. So I'm currently being trained on one of our humidifier lines. Me, and everyone else that works on PLV.
And it is the heat that's killing me...
For some odd reason, the "climate control" system for that part of the production floor seems to always be turned up to 78. This is the time of year when I typically wear a sweatshirt to work. These two factors, in combination with one another, have me sweating my weight off without even trying. That, and the fact that on the humidifier lines I'm constantly moving.
I've gone from a cushy, sit down job where I test life-support devices for about 45 minutes each (longer for the units that use O2), to a stand up, move around constantly, one unit per minute job. There's never a moments rest. But at least the day goes fast. I'm just not used to the pace, or the sweat, or the not having a chair.
I just keep telling myself, "It's only 10 days." Of course, I'm one of the people who will be extending my holiday, so this doesn't make as much business sense as it should.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lacking inspiration

Last night's Writers Workshop didn't seem to have the enthusiasm that we usually have. Can't quite figure out just what it was, but none of us felt like writing much of anything while we were there. Which is really odd for JT since he's always writing something.
We did read our short stories, and discussed them with each other. But when it came time to do an exercise we all just sorta went "eh...". So we'll do more writing for next Wednesday.
I really have been enjoying the workshop. It's done a lot to help me expand some of the ideas that I already have in my head. And I find the company to be truly inspirational, as well. But I also seem to find something to be missing.
At the moment our writing is focused on stories, whether they be short or part of a larger tale. And that's all good because I have begun to entertain the idea of writing the books that are bouncing around in my head. But I'm hoping that we can eventually explore poetry or other forms of prose.
I find myself gravitating towards shorter, but more indepth descriptives. Which would work well for poetry, but would come across as too long-winded for a short story. I want to convey emotions but not by attaching them to a character. I'm having a hard time with putting characters into situations where the emotions are so intense. But with poetry I can work with those emotions without trying to make them fit into a character who might not be suseptible to such intense emotions.
I know that probably sounds weird to those of you who don't write, but those of you who do, "get it". I can't really explain it except to say that I just can't do that to the characters that I already know.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No freakin' way!!!

I'm part of a work sponsored weight loss program with about 100 other people. We do a weigh-in every other Wednesday. This was week number two for us and it was a weigh-in day. According to the scale at work I've lost 14 pounds in two weeks...
And I'm barely even trying!
I'm having a hard time believing this since I haven't been losing much size. I am right on the verge of getting into 38 waist jeans, but if I really lost 14 I should be there by now, shouldn't I?
I guess I'll know for sure in two weeks from now when we weigh-in again. If I've lost even more then I'll know that I'm doing something right.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


"It's the Concentrated Evil!"
from the movie Time Bandits

That's me tonight, concentrated evil. I decide to skip church tonight so I could stay home and finish my homework for tomorrow night's Writer's Workshop. And I'm going to do the same thing that Adam did in the Garden; I'm going to blame the woman...
This is all Becca's fault!
She invited JT and myself over to her house for the evening on Saturday. Originally that was going to be the night that I did this homework, but since we were over at her house I didn't get to do it. Sunday was the Steeler game and laundry day, so it didn't get finished then. And, since we had a meeting/visioning session at church last night, I didn't get it done then either.
So, here I am, I've finished the story and I have it printed up. And the only thing I can think to do is complain about why I didn't get it done sooner.
Feels like high school.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Quote for 11/12/06

"Don't let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you're crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you're lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you're greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn't understand."
Robert G. Allen


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hearts of the Innocent

Last night was incredible!
JT, P.Dave, my son Bob, Ray (one of the members of our church's youth group) and myself went to the Hearts of the Innocent tour. It ROCKED!!!
Four hardcore alternative Christian bands in three and a half hours. Decent sized venue - a rather large church - with plenty of space in front of the "stage" (you'll have to excuse my loss for words on this one since it's actually the church's altar, but I don't feel right refering to it as that when I'm telling you about the concert). The MC announced that the area was open to anyone who wanted to be up close to the show, so a lot of the kids that were there rushed up. Bob and Ray were in the thick of it, too. Meanwhile, JT, P.Dave and I decided to play it safe and found some seats with a good view.
The MC also told everyone that moshing was perfectly acceptable, but that they would prefer "verticle" moshing (pogoing) to regular moshing (slam). Didn't want anyone getting hurt at a Christian concert.
First up was a new band called Run Kid Run. Pretty good as newcomers go. Their music was hard, but it also had a bit of a pop-alternative feel to it. Some nice guitar riffs, decent speed playing blended with solid percussion and vocals that fit well with the style. I looked for Bob and Ray to see how they were doing, both of them had their hands up in the air and were pogoing. JT picked up this band's CD at the end of the evening.
Next up, the band that P.Dave and myself were most excited about seeing, Red. I've managed to get several people hooked on this band, P.Dave being one of them. At work we say "They do Linkin Park better than Linkin Park." (Merry coined that phrase).
I knew that they were originally from this area, and it showed last night when their drummer came out wearing a Steelers jersey - Polamalu, no less!
They kicked things off with their bassist and lead guitarist standing on top of the speaker stacks on either side of the stage. Did I mention they're twins? So they kinda looked like bookends. But it was so cool to see them up there jammin' away until the music really started to move. The lead vocalist really worked the crowd into a frenzy. The mosh pit become more than just pogoing at this point, but nobody got out of hand so the security guys let it go for the most part. As far as I'm concerned these guys were the best band of the night. They kept the crowd going the whole time. The music was pretty true to the CD, crunchy guitar riffs, heavy percussion, edgy vocals - awesome! Too bad they only got to play 5 songs. And P.Dave finally bought their CD.
P.Dave, JT and I all got up to move around after Red's set. We wandered around by the merchandise tables that were set up and mulled around until the next band was ready to start. But this time we decided not to get seats. We were heading into the crowd at the front of the "stage".
Disciple came on next. They were kickin'-it, too. More moshing broke out, but the three of us only did pogoing. These guys were really good. Kept the crowd up and excited and never slowed down. They took a break halfway through the set to do a little bit of preaching, which is becoming more rare at Christian concerts these days, only for a few minutes. It was a good message about God's love and forgiveness. Then they went back to the hardcore music. And everytime I looked for Bob and Ray I saw them with their heads bangin', their hands up in the air, or moshing. They were definitely having a good time.
Once again, the three "old" guys went out to wander about and get some air between sets. We talked to a few of the people who had other booths set up in the hallway. One of them was an internet radio station, 180 Knet, for Christian rock. Just what we've been looking for. I'm hoping to check it out soon. I picked up the new Disciple CD before we went back in for the last set.
Final act and headliner of the show; Kutless. Very hardcore, which means the vocalist practically screams, the two guitarists were laying down some very heavy sound, and the bassist, who stayed in the background for most of the set never stopped moving. The drummer, however, had one intense solo for several minutes. It was absolutely incredible watching him hammer it out.
Now, I have to say at this point, the crowd was doing a good bit of moshing, off-n-on, through the whole set. But the security people were starting to crack down on it. And wouldn't you know it, Bob and Ray were asked to stop. They were just a bit overly rambunctious. And that's OK, because they weren't the only ones. The Boy is a lot like his father, even though I wasn't in the "pit" with him.
When the show ended, and after the encore, everyone was filtering out to see the bands, who were now all out in the hallway signing autographs and meeting people. I managed to get the guys from Disciple to sign the sleeve from the CD I bought. But Red had run out of posters for sale, so I had them sign a sticker instead. Go to talk to the guys from Red for a minute or two. Their drummer had a Boondock Saints T-shirt on. I was very impressed.
Piled into P.Dave's SUV and headed home. Bob and I made it home shortly after midnight - which sucked for me since I had to work this morning. But Bob had a great time. I was so glad that Bob got to see these bands as his first live show. I'm also glad that he had such a good time, we all did. And now we'll all be looking forward to the next one we can get to.

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More of your patriotic duties

Today is Veterans Day.
If you know a vet, thank him/her for their service. They deserve so much more than that, but of all the ones I've ever met a simple "Thank you." is good enough for them.
Never forget that you owe the freedoms that you enjoy to a veteran. Someone, somewhere paid for our liberty with their own blood. We ought to always remember that, and be willing to honor those who've served everyday.
But that's just my humble opinion.
Thank You!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Your patriotic duty

I trust that you've already done your patriotic duty once this week. Now it's time to do it again.
No, I don't mean vote. Instead, it's time to wish the Marines a happy birthday!
They've been doing their patriotic duty for over 200 years. So, if you know one - or happen to see one - show them the love and respect they deserve.
Semper Fi!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

New discoveries

Last night went well as JT, Becca and myself met once again for our weekly Writers Workshop. We've been enjoying a little wine during these meetings and I think it's been enhancing the whole atmosphere for us all.
We started out by reading our homework assignments before moving on to some other writing. Actually, Becca was still finishing her assignment. So, JT and I sat down and wrote a few things as we waited.
JT has been coming up with some really incredible stories, most of which are based upon real life or real people he's encountered downtown and elsewhere. The tales are always so strange and wonderful because they do deal with actual people and not made up characters. Which is almost scary when you think about it.
As we sat discussing our ideas and our writing we discovered the distinct styles that we each use in our writing. JT is plainly a storyteller. He works with both real and unreal, not to mention the surreal, to create brief tales of life that few of us would ever imagine. Short stories and poetry seem to be his strong points. Becca is definitely a fiction novelist. Her technique blends descriptive elements with emotional catches to weave a story that cannot be told in a short order. And me, I'm an essayist. I can tell a story but I do it with a distant sort of observation. I can be a part of it, but I tell it from the perspective of someone who is removed from the tale. Just like I'm doing now. It became exceptionally obvious with what I came up with while JT and I were waiting on Becca;

I love words. Not necessarily the same way that most writers would say they love words, but in a way that really brings out the "me" in my writing.
I can remember reading Edgar Allan Poe when I was in elementary school. I will never forget the way my eyes fell upon the phrase "the tintinabulations of the bells". It captured me, even before I fully realized what "tintinabulations" meant. I, in turn, captured those words, and have been doing so with many others ever since. I dare you to ask me about triskaidecaphobia, or onomatopea.
It is not enough for me to simply know words, what they mean, how they're used. I am compelled, by my love for them, to use them as often as possible. I relish every opportunity I have to reach into the musty treasure chest of my mind to pull out one of these baubles and show it to everyone around me. I want to allow them to admire them as much as I do.
While I understand that not everyone is so enamored with words. I can't help feeling that I am so much richer for my appreciation of them.

Next week's assignment; to write two short stories that evoke at least three emotional responses from the reader.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Quote for 11/8/06

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."
Winston Churchill

See below


Now that it's over

I can't say that I'm particularly happy with the the overall results of the election, but I am extremely happy that it's all over.
I will not sulk about the unfavorable outcome. I will, however, say this;
When the economy falters, because none of the small businesses in this country can afford to pay entry level workers the new minimum wage, and because we will see tax hikes across the board to fund all of the new social programs that the new legislature will want to implement, don't cry to me. I warned you.

OK! Back to my normal happy self. Either later on tonight or tomorrow.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Not something I usually do

Well, tomorrow is Election Day.
Typically, I simply tell everyone to, "Get out there and vote.", "Let your voice be heard." or some such drivel. This time I'm not going to do that.
Instead, I'm going to say, "If you don't know what the issues are, or you don't know where you or the candidates stand on the issues, DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME!"
If you're not informed on the issues, don't vote!
If you don't know the positions of the candidates that you plan on voting for, don't vote!
Don't get involved in the political process if all you're doing is trying to vote some benefit to yourself!
And, if you're voting for someone simply because of their party affiliation, without knowing where they stand on the issues, don't vote!
But please keep the following things in mind if you are going to go to the polls tomorrow.
One of the political parties claims to be for the little guy. But their leadership has already admitted that they will repeal the tax cuts that have enabled the average american family to retain $2300 of their own money each year - instead of paying it to the IRS.
One of the political parties gives lip-service to our national need for energy independence, but they refuse to allow our own energy companies to pursue domestic sources of coal, or oil.
One of the political parties claims that our economy is faltering, or unstable at best, while the NYSE lingers above the 12000 mark, unemployment is holding at 4.6%, and the trade deficit has been cut nearly in half.
One of the political parties believes that it's OK to kill unborn children as a form of retro-active birth control - including partially delivering the baby just before ending its life.
One of the political parties is willing to allow the institution of marriage to be un-defined to appease a small, but very vocal group of activists in their desire to achieve extra-constitutional rights for themselves.
One of the political parties refuses to acknowledge the fact that we have been engaged in a war with radical Islam for several decades, and would rather we turn-tail and run than defeat our enemies.
One of the political parties has been endorsed by the same terrorists that would like to see our way of life destroyed.
And let's not forget that many of the judges that have been appointed by this political party have been instrumental in trying to remove any traces of our judeo-christian heritage from the public discourse. From nativity scenes and the Ten Commandments to In God We Trust and One nation under God, nothing is sacred except their ideology.
That is all.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Quote for 11/5/06

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
Yogi Berra

Strangely enough, this almost makes perfect sense!


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Wish you were here

Things couldn't have worked out better if we had planned them.
To start with, Bob decided to spend the weekend at his mother's, and Aliesha has been working all weekend. So I have the house to myself until I decide to pick Bob up. And just what have I been doing with the weekend so far? I'm glad you asked...
Aliesha left for work yesterday at 3:30. My sister-in-law, Lori, came to get Bob at 4:00. Since I was going to be alone I saw no reason to make dinner. That's when JT called and I asked him what he had planned for the evening. Neither of us had any plans, so we decide to hang out together. Since neither of us had eaten dinner yet, we opted for Red Lobster. You can't beat their Endless Shrimp.
I will say, however, it would've been nice if they hadn't stuck us into a booth that we barely squeezed into. But the weasley little host scurried away so fast that we didn't have time to laugh in his face at the foolish notion of having the two of us trying to fit our fat asses into a tiny little booth. So, rather than make waves, we just sat there and dealt with the mild discomfort.
Meanwhile, both during dinner and afterwards, JT and I had been discussing our writing. Our weekly Writer's Workshop has really done a lot to stir up both of our imaginations. JT has been working on some short stories, and I've been trying to formulate some more ideas for the books I've been thinking about writing. This is going to be a good thing for all of us.
After I dropped JT off at his apartment, I came home and started to write a little bit before heading to bed. But some of the stuff was just not working right, so I woke up at about 3:00 AM with some new ideas and started to fix some of the stuff that I wasn't so happy with. I got back to bed at about 5:00 and slept til almost 8:00.
When I got up this time it was time for me to get ready for our monthly Board of Elders meeting at church. That went pretty well. Then JT and I asked each other what we had planned for the day. Once again, neither of us had any plans so we decided to hang out again.
We started by heading to Wal-Mart for a few things. I desperately needed a pair of jeans. My weight loss thing is really starting to show results now. My other jeans are getting way too big for me. It's a good predicament to be in, but I'll admit that I really don't see it in my gut, just my waist - which is really weird.
While we were there we also picked up a few DVD's from the bargain bin. I grabbed Friday the 13th, JT picked up Barbarella. I also picked up a couple of bath towels. For some odd reason I can never find more than 4 in my house at any given moment, but I know I should have more than that. I just can't seem to find them. So I desperately needed these too.
Stopped at the Dollar Tree so I could find a few candles for around the house. Also wanted to see if there were any more miniature decorations for my Christmas Display at work. No luck on that, but I did get the candles. I'm using three odd wine glasses that I have no other use for as candleholders. They look really nice in my gameroom.
Stopped at Aldi's for the last bits of grocery shopping that we both needed to get out of the way and then we came back to my house for a movie-fest. We even bought a few frozen pizzas to make for a quick lunch.
Started things off with Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Hilarious! If you don't already love this one, go rent it. If you don't love it after you've seen it, then just stop reading my blog altogether because you just don't belong here.
Then we moved on to Barbarella. In case you're not familiar with this particular "gem", it's a Jane Fonda movie from 1968. It's a ridiculously, B-grade, sci-fi flick, laced with sex and cheap special effects. It would've been painful to watch if we hadn't been laughing so hard at it.
From there we moved on to Walking Tall. A decent action movie starring The Rock.
Then we paused to have dinner. We had grilled cheese and tomato soup. It was just something we were both hungry for, and it went so well with the chill of the day.
Our final selection for the evening was a seasonally appropriate choice; Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas. Tim Burton's take on all of the Rankin-Bass animated Christmas specials. It's the perfect movie to make the transition between Halloween and Christmas.
So now that I've takien JT home, here I sit blogging about how great it was to just hang out today and relax. I could use more weekends like this one. I think we all could.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Quote for 11/3/06

"Reason can answer questions, but imagination has to ask them."
Ralph Gerard


Quotes from 10/2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Writing Workshop

Last night was our weekly Writers Workshop. It went fairly well considering the two bottles of wine that the three of us killed. Or maybe the wine was what made our writing flow like... well... wine.
I didn't have anything to take with me for the first part of the evening. JT brought a printed version of one of his recent posts. And becca had a sample of something she had written awhile ago.
We discussed the importance of a good opening paragraph and spent some time working on the beginnings of stories that we might write. Below I will offer my own attempts at catching your attention with story openings:

The scent of gun-oil was heavy in the air. Swatches of soiled cloth laying on the edge of the table barely hinted at the work that was at hand. He held no malice, no anger, no ill-will toward anyone. But he was certain, beyond all certainty, that what he was about to do was not only just, but it was necessary. As necessary as oxygen.

She stared into the flames. The heat seemed to roll like waves over the glowing embers. Red and orange light washed over gray coals and rose into yellow flame as she sat mesmerized by the dancing light and warmth.
Slowly she lifted her eyes to look across the clearing, through the fire and into his eyes. The firelight sparkled there like stars. Their eyes met and suddenly she found herself moving towards him.

He stood at the edge looking over the jagged, rocky precipice. It was a long way down. Even to the trees which sparsly jutted out of the mountainside.

The limbs of the barren trees lashed out at the clouds as they rolled tumultuosly across the sky. The sun refused to break through their ever darkening countenance. And the wind seemed to carry an ominous chill as it whipped through the valley.

I will admit that some of these have been in my head for a long time, just waiting to come out in a story or a series of stories - possibly even a novel. So I was pretty happy to finally get them out. Now I suspect that I'll have a bit more motivation to finish the stories they begin.

Next week's asignment:
Write about an incident that could be used against you if you were running for public office.
I don't think I'll be posting that particular writing next week...

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Mr. Popularity

What an incredible day I had!
It started out simple enough, nothing worth noting as unusual. But it took a quick turn somewhere around 7:00 AM. And it wasn't a bad turn, either.
It began when one of the engineers came out to the production floor to ask me if I could help him out with something. He had a PLV that he was doing some experiments with, and since I seem to be the resident expert on PLV's he thought I might be able to help. So I spent a good half hour helping him out with his set-up before I pointed out that some of his equipment wasn't right for the tests he wanted to conduct. So, I returned to my work-station to get back into my normal routine while he went to hunt down the equipment he needed.
When I got back another one of our engineers approached me with a series of questions regarding the test procedure for the PLV's. Fortunately for me he was willing to wait until I got back from my first break of the day for his answers. That's when his cell phone rang and it was his boss wanting to ask me a few questions of his own. I answered the bosses questions then began to address the engineers questions. He too was having some difficulties with testing a PLV so he asked me if I could run throught the procedure for him real quick. Unfortunately, there's no "quick" way of running through the test he wanted to see. So, that occupied another 45 minutes of my day.
That's when the other engineer returned to tell me that he had everything he needed. We returned to his lab and set everything up, but the tests still weren't working out. At this point we decided to bring some of his equipment out to my work area and set it up at one of our empty stations. That's when we discovered that it was his equipment that was faulty, and not the unit under investigation. Another 40 was minutes consumed by this.
The day followed a pattern of a little bit of production and a little bit of distraction by one of the engineers. Much was accomplished in the way of getting the engineers up to speed on testing, but I didn't get much production done today.
Not a bad day. Every once in awhile it's nice to have a little bit of variety thrown into the day. Especially when it's the last official day of your week - 3 day weekend! WOOHOO!!!

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