Thursday, January 31, 2008

Still at it

Well, I have a little something to share with everyone tonight, but I'll be brief because I only got through the letter D with my CD's last night. So I'm gonna be at this for a few days, it seems.
Bob went and got himself grounded this weekend, so his mother isn't letting him come to visit. Why do I get punished for Emo Bob's mis-behavior? Go figure.
Actually, that's OK with me. I'm gonna be working for 6 hours on Saturday morning. And then I'll come home and do my laundry. And maybe, after I finish my laundry, JT and I can do another Geek-n-Tell movie night. Of course, we won't be doing the Meet The Spartans/300 double-take like we originally announced in our premier episode. But we should be able to find something decent to watch and comment about with out Emo Bob. Who knows, maybe we'll find someone else to join us in Emo Bob's stead.
Sounds like a plan...

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tying up some loose ends

Don't mind me. Just stopped by to say I don't have much to say tonight. I'm gonna spend some time downloading my CD's to the hard-drive tonight. It'll be nice to have all of my music back in one place again. And it'll give me a reason to get an mp3 player now.
And speaking of music;
JT has his Indie Christian Music Podcast up and running now. If you're so inclined, check it out. I've already heard a few of the songs that he's featuring over the next few episodes. I like it!
Oh, and on a similar vein;
Our Geek-n-Tell Podcast is up now, too. Give us a listen. We're not as funny as we were hoping to be. But we're getting there.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Quote for 1/28/08

"Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it."
M. Scott Peck

This may well be the only Quote... you get for this month. But it struck a chord in me, and so I shall comment with my thoughts about this in my next post.


Time is money

I really like the Quote I have posted above. Especially in light of the way I've made some major changes in the way I spend my time.
It's kinda funny that we always refer to our usage of time as something we "spend". But when you think about it, time really does have a tangible value. Our employers pay us for our time. We express the value of the people that we have relationships with by how much time we dedicate to them. Or else we can waste our time on things that don't really accomplish anything productive.
Until my computer went down, I never realized just how much time I spent online, or goofing off with games. But since I've had the opportunty - or to be more honest, since I was forced - to find other ways of using my evenings, I've discovered just how little value I was actually placing on my time. And just how little I must have valued my self as a result.
I have to admit, since I've been back online it's been hard to stick to my guns about riding my stationary bike and getting into my bedroom by 8:00. But I've been doing it, because I have come to value the way I spend that time. I have placed greater value on myself and how that time is benefitting me. And I'm really shocked that I never made this connection before.
You see, I've always considered time as something to be used wisely, even when I didn't. And I've always agreed that none of us is really capable of "killing time" because everyday brings all of us just "one day closer to death". And these are reasons why I've always considered the time I spend at church (that isn't directly related to what I get out of the service) to be a "tithe" of my time. Because my time will eventually run out on this Earth. And when my time's up, my time's up. There will be no more for me.
So, if I truly value this life, this wonderful and amazing gift from my Almighty Creator, then perhaps one of the best ways to show Him how much I appreciate this life, and value it, is to make better use of my time when I know I'm not spending it wisely. Or just to make better decisions about why I spend my time on the things I do. And if I can't say that I believe God would pleased with my choices, then I'll have to make better ones.

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Quotes from 12/2007

Quotes from 2007

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Life is grand

Oh, what fun we had last night.
And by we, I mean, myself, JT, and Bob - my son, who hear-after will be referred to as Emo Bob (I'll explain later).
I had to pick Emo Bob up at his mother's last night. She wasn't home from work, nor did she have the gas to make the trip herself. So, if I wanted to see my son this weekend - and I did - I had to get him myself.
Well, as it turned out, JT was planning on watching movies at church again and asked if we wanted to join him. We thought it was a great idea, especially when we arrived and asked JT if he felt like grabbing a bite to eat. So off we went to a relatively new chinese buffet.
For those of you familiar (or, maybe not) with the greater Pittsburgh area - particularly the Monroeville, and surrounding areas - there's a chinese buffet right next to the Hooters in Wilkins Township. It's ownership has recently changed hands, so there's no longer a concern about stray cats ending up as the "secret ingredient".
Anyways, we've been there once or twice since it's changed hands and it's really good. Always a nice selection, plenty of seafood, sushi, and traditional chinese food to choose from, as well as other favorites for any buffet. But last night was an exceptional night for us. They had frogs legs on the buffet last night. None of us had ever had frogs legs before, so we had to try them - not Emo Bob, but JT and I did - and, man, were they good. You know the way people always joke about "it tastes like chicken"? Well, apparently, frogs legs pretty much do. Thus, I've preserved my reputation for being willing to try just about anything when it comes to food.
OK, so after the buffet we headed back to the church...

Now, at this point I'm sure some of you are wondering why I'm not linking to my church each time that I've mentioned it previously in this post. Well, just allow me to say this;
The site I link to when I'm speaking of church services is not the same church we go to for movies and youth activities like Lock-In's and such. Instead, the church that I always link to is an outreach of our home church, which has no web site. While our outreach site does. I hope that clarifies any confusion and sets everyone's mind at ease that I'm not "dissin'" my church after donating this nifty new computer to me.

Where was I?
Oh, movies at church. Right!
Now, it was originally JT's plan to watch Transformers, which is an awesome movie. And the reason was because he started watching it at home, but after getting so far into it, he realized that a little TV screen just doesn't do the movie justice. And that's why he wanted to watch it at church - because of the projection equipment and the massive screen available, not to mention the sound system. It's good to be an Elder of the church.
So, anyways, there was a slight change of plans after we got back. Instead of watching Transformers, JT wanted to know if Emo Bob or I had ever seen a movie called Dark City. The answer was "no". And since niether of us had seen it, he was wondering if we'd care to watch it, then critique it with him for his newest podcast, Geek-n-Tell. And that's exactly what we did. We watched the movie, then afterwards, we all went upstairs to record our vocalized thoughts for the podcast.
It was at this point that we all decided to take on nicknames for the podcast. JT, which is actually short for Just Terry, took upon himself the name of Geek Terry. I guess, if you're gonna put together a podcast, and a supporting blog, called Geek-n-Tell, you ought to identify yourself as a geek of some sort.
Emo Bob, of course, I'm sure you all know by now what he chose to be his nickname. And that, because he's got some strange fascination with being emo, but without the whole "I cut myself so I'll at least feel something" thing. On the contrary, he's much more like the anti-emo. He's one of the happiest, easy going kids I know. But he still likes having his hair dyed black, and wearing black clothing with skulls and whatnot on his shirts and caps (even if his mother is trying to break him from this "phase" which I've come to respect as Bob - excuse me, Emo Bob - just expressing himself creatively).
Now, yours truly has taken the nickname Critic X. Why? Because, I'm sorta pretending to be a critic or something like it. And my last name (Cross) often being represented by an "X", even though I prefer a "+".
Needless to say, if you feel so inclined, there just might be a podcast available at the above link to Geek-n-Tell. If not, just give JT (or Geek Terry) some time to do the editting before posting it. He does have a lot of "irons in the fire" right now with his other podcast and the one I mentioned previously, that we haven't started yet. So, please, be patient.

Now, today was also a rather wonderful day. Since I've changed departments at work, I've missed out on spending time with my dear friend/sister, Merry. So today we went out for breakfast, kinda. We actually went to Starbucks for coffee and pastries - apple fritters to be precise - and to get caught up with each other from conversations we no longer get to have since I'm in a different part of the building now. It was very enjoyable, and very uplifting, since we have some very intense conversations about spirituality and faith and all sorts of metaphysical stuff. We don't agree on everything, but we do both recognize transcendent truth. And that's always the common ground we stand on together.
We also went to Borders to find some new reading materials. She gave me a present, a book called Starving Jesus. She felt led to buy me something, I felt drawn to it. I've finished the first chapter and it's very intriguing. So far the message of the book is a call to action. The Church ought to be doing something, not just hiding inside the church buildings. And the idea that The Church needs to be painfully honest about our own sins. And all of this dovetails with so much other stuff I've been reading, hearing, seeing, etc... for months now. I can tell there's going to be a really significant post coming out of this. And I'm sure it'll be a part of that other significant post that I've been putting off. Maybe it's because God wanted me to find this book before I posted about all of this. Who knows? All I know is I'm really geeked about whatever it is.

Oh, speaking of "geeked". As if this isn't an indication of just how big of geeks me, JT (Geek Terry) and Emo Bob are. Did anybody else notice that we three single guys chose to go to the chinese buffet next to Hooters and that we didn't go to Hooters?
Yeah, we're geeks.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

While I was away

OK, here we go. You may as well get comfortable cuz this is gonna be a fairly long post.
First off, I hope that all of you had a very, Merry Christmas. For those of you who blog, I expect to read all about your Holidays shortly. For those of you who don't blog (or who have blogs but never post to them; right, Faith?) I'll simply trust that yours went well.
Allow me to tell you all that my Christmas was a rather twisted event this year.
Things began about a week prior to Christmas when Bob got himself into trouble at school. Not really big trouble, but enough to get himself suspended for 3 days. In light of that situation, I then grounded him for 2 weeks. He didn't take it well. The most significant reason for Bob's dismay at his grounding was that he had a concert and some other social event that fell during that 2 week time period. Needless to say, he didn't make it to either. And that left him quite upset with me.
In fact, Bob was so upset with me that he decided to runaway to his mother's during his suspension. I came home from work after his first day to discover a note saying he was there. Then later that evening he called to inform me that he wanted to move in with her now.
Yeah, talk about a bombshell.
I knew things between us had been slightly strained lately, but I didn't think it was that bad. And to be completely honest, they really weren't. But Bob had his reasons for wanting to, and since I know how much he's missed his mother, I didn't try to stop him. It would've been easier if he hadn't chosen the middle of the school year to make this move, but I let the Ex take care of all that paperwork and just made sure to let him know that I wasn't mad about his choice - well, I was at first, and then still a little bit after we sorted things out, but right now I'm OK with it. And as I told him when he visited for his first weekend with me, "I don't like it, I don't have to be happy about it, but I'm OK with it."
So now I only get to hang out with him on the weekends, and that, only if he hasn't made plans with his friends. So far, he's been pretty good about keeping some time open for us to hang out together.
Anyways, I didn't let that spoil my Christmas. I still did my traditional visit to my brother's house with his wife and kids, and Mom too. We had an enjoyable Christmas Eve, except that my grand-nephew, Conner, is scared to death of me. Go figure.
I also returned to my brother's house, with Mom again for dinner on Christmas night. My brother splurges for Christmas night and had a wonderful fillet mignon roast with king crab legs. It was truly magnificent. And getting to spend more time with my family is always good to.
Oh, and lest I forget - and I never could forget this part - I got a really great present from Santa. Wanna see it?
OK, here it is...

It's a collector's piece called The Sword of Mithrodin. One of 2500 made. Mine is number 2238. These pics really don't do it justice. I made sure to get the wall switch in this pic so you'd have some scale to measure with.

And just look at the detail of the engravings.

Very nice.

And the additional detail on the handle. I'm also quite fond of the way the grip is wrapped on the handle.

This baby is sweeeeeeeeeet...
Don't you think?
And that was Christmas.
During the week that followed my daughter and I discussed her proposal to rent my downstairs from me. She'd already been staying there for the most part because her bedroom is so cluttered. So we came to an arrangement and she moved my furniture upstairs and her own furniture downstairs and that's where she lives now. At least one of my kids still loves me...
Just kidding.
Next up was New Years Eve. Bob was home (I mean, here with me) for the weekend and since New Years Eve fell on a Monday he stayed for the holiday. As usual, JT was here for the festivities and our Annual DVD Marathon. We had plenty of good food. I broke with tradition and tried something really different this year. Instead of making a pork roast or kielbasa and saurkraut, I made a turkey. Being that it went over so well at Thanksgiving I figured "Why not?". It was most delicious. But we also had our otherwise traditional fare of taquitos, shrimp, cheese and crackers as well as wine, Capt Morgan's Spiced Rum for mixed beverages, and I also had whiskey.
As for the DVD's; we watched Team America; World Police and the Grindhouse Double Feature, Deathproof and Planet Terror. Kinda freaky, on all counts, but what can I say. We're just weird like that sometimes.
Now, during the course of our New Years Eve, JT and I discussed something that he had been thinking about doing for quite some time. And he had begun experimenting with his idea a few weeks prior to this conversation. But after he explained what he had in mind, we agreed that we ought to do a podcast together. Currently we don't have anything done yet. But JT has an Indie Christian Music Podcast already up and running (I'll add a link later on). Still, it won't be too long before we start recording our own stuff. Now that I'm back online, I can start looking for material to use as content for the podcast. It going to be called The M & T Show, and I'll eventually have a link to it so you'll all be able to hear our voices and laugh along with us at the rest of the world.
Now, back to other matters at hand.
I've finally changed departments at work. This has been in the works for several months, and it's finally happened. While I'm still a production grunt, I'm no longer a part of our Sleep and Home Respiratory group. I'm now a member of the Children's Medical Ventures group. I've been enjoying it very much. I already have a passing familiarity with some of the products that we make in this division. I've worked on some of them before. But I'm also being cross-trained on a few others as well. And it's a satisfying thing to say that some of the products I'm working on now help babies and their parents to live better lives. I have such a cooooooooool job.
OK, I'm trying to think if there's anything else I need to talk about.
I suppose that's about it. No reason to try to recapture any of the little things that made my life amusing during my absence. I'm sure other ones will pop up now that I'm back to my old self again.
Oh, there has been some significant spiritual growth going on in my life lately. But I'm going to have a special post to discuss that, eventually. But for now, I'll just say g'night.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My apologies

I know, I know...
I promised to get everyone caught up with what's been going on, but it just won't be happening tonight. I'm still not done with everything I have to take care of yet.
Actually, what I have going on this evening has nothing to do with my computer, it has to do with my car. I'm in desperate need of an oil change and I've got less than 75 miles left before I pass up that "magic number". And since my car is still under warranty, I don't want to void that warranty by not having the oil change done in accordance to the manufacterers guide lines. So, shortly after I post this I'm heading off to get that taken care of.
As for the rest of the evening. Well, since I've developed some decent off-line habits in my absence, I'm inclined to maintain those habits even though I'm back online. I've made a serious, concious effort to ride my stationary bike for at least a half an hour every night (instead of the hit-or-miss approach I had previously). I've also gotten into the habit of going into my bedroom at 8:00 everynight to do some reading before I finally call it a night. It's made a world of difference to me, especially since my chosen reading materials have been my Bible and other devotional/spiritual/inspirational writings.
So, that's how things are right now. I do fully expect to have a full post tomorrow that will let everybody know what's been going on in my life since I've been away. And I expect that it will still take a few days to get caught up with all of yinz. But just hang tight. I'll make it worth your wait.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Guess what !!!

I'm back online !!!
That's right, people. I've got another computer - thanks to P.Dave, and Revolution Church - and I'm back to blogging.
I've missed everyone so much. I can't wait to get caught up with all of yinz. But, alas, I don't have sufficient time to read or post anything really significant tonight. I have some real work-type "stuff" (church business, if you can believe it...) to do on the computer tonight before I can actually have any fun. So don't dismay, I'll be back to full-force blogging in a few days. Til then, be Blessed !!!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It won't be long, now

If everything goes as hoped for, I'll be back online some time next week.
I'm getting another computer. In fact, it's being donated to me by my church. Which is really waaaaay cool.
Somebody donated their used computer to the church. And it's kinda funny that P.Dave offered it to me because the "Unofficial Blogs" page is one of the most popular pages on the church's website. So he figured it serves the church well to keep one of our bloggers (me) blogging.
So, keep your eyes open. And if you feel like it, stop by the Revolution Church website (contact info available there) and drop a "thanks" to P.Dave for helping out.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Can't stop the shakes

Not having a computer really sucks !!!
I'm still hoping to get a new one soon. But it's beginning to look like I may have to wait until I get my tax return. Oh, well...
I think the thing that sucks most is not being able to share what's been happening in my life lately with all of you. Not to mention not being able to keep up with everyone else. It feels very much like falling out of contact with old friends.
Of course, the plus side is that I'm getting an incredible amount of non-internet related reading done. Mostly books of a philosophical or spiritual nature. But I'm not as news-concious as I used to be since so much of what I consumed was from internet sources.
OK, that's about all I have time for today. I'm going to try to post occasionally from work as time permits. But it'll still be few and far between. In case you haven't already noticed that...
Peace and Blessings to you all.

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