This is my second attempt at getting a blog entry done this week. :) Yesterday was spent catching up with e-mail, and being blindsided by an issue that took all day, and the fix was a reset of a routing peer. *sigh* As a result i have not chosen a song for this weeks "Musical Monday", so, let's try this again... Unfortunately i am going to pass on this weeks song. :/ Things are still pretty hectic and it's hard to stay focused. What a football weekend! The Buccaneers did not make it into the playoffs despite the Cowboys giving them an opening. That left it wide open for the Eagles! Although the Vikings won, i am not sure i would get all too excited about the playoffs... the Giants were not playing a lot of their starters... either the Giants have some really good depth, or the Vikings really need to step up their game for a deep post season run. Speaking of which... The Panthers are in as the #2 seed, and i did get my Christmas wish... the NFC South championship for them. \o/ I was especially happy for John Kasay who kicked the game winning, 42 yard field goal with only 0:01 left on the game clock. I was hoping this would happen for him since he missed the 50 yarder in New York the previous week. What i liked even more is how is put it all in perspective, "By God's grace, this one went in". I am happy that the Panthers are in the playoffs (for only the 4th time in fourteen years), but i am also keeping it in perspective... only twelve teams even made it to the post season. Eleven of them are going home without the Lombardy Trophy. In any event, they get a week to rest up and prepare. Hopefully the guys don't make up for lost time at the holiday meal tables before their January 10th, 8:15 EST game. lol One more parting note before i wrap this up for today. This past weekend i was able to take the family, including my in-laws, out to Fallingwater. If you love architecture, or Frank Lloyd Wright, and you can get out to western Pennsylvania, i highly recommend paying a visit to this spectacular home. My sister has study architecture and design, but i have not. Words even fail me when i try and describe it. I absolutely LOVE this house and its design. What made the trip even nicer was that God granted us some spectacular weather and a wonderful tour guide. We took the "basic" tour which was great, even my two youngest loved it! But, someday i hope to take the longer one... even if it's just me and my beloved.
Wow it has been a whirlwind of a week. My vacation started last Friday so that my beloved and i could knock out our last minute Christmas shopping. The mission was a success. Sunday night i stayed up, wrapping presents, and watching the Carolina Panthers lose to the New York Giants 28-34. :-/ I do not play the game of football (fantasy does not count), i am not a professional sports writer, and i do not know any of the players on the team personally (or even second hand... i even have my doubts about the six degrees of separation). I am disappointed in the result only as a fan of the Panthers. But as a fan of football that was a good game. With :04 left on the clock i watched as John Kasay lined up for a game winning kick, only to see it get blown wide left. My heart sank for Kasay. As a fan from the very beginning he has been my all time favorite Panther player. I have to tip my hat to the Giants. They had worn the Panther defense down and when it mattered most, they dominated the line of scrimmage. God willing, the rematch next month should be an excellent game. Speaking of John Kasay, my absolute favorite gift that i received for Christmas this year was a replica jersey (pictured above). I had picked up Panthers jersey (#85 Wesley Walls - black) years ago, but this was the one i've wanted for a long time. So much so i'd be willing to part with ol' #85 - if the price is right. ;-) I really need to get that "man cave" started in the basement. I need a place to hang up my Panthers and Army stuff. LOL This week has been a joy. Time at home with the family - including the in-laws, time to relax with my beloved, play games with the kids, just sitting back and enjoying the time with each of them. Alas such things are not meant to last forever - which makes them all the sweeter when they come. Tis back to work for me...
I can't remember exactly when, or the situation i was in, i first heard the phrase "Soup Sandwich". Go ahead... let your mind turn the phrase over to decipher it. I can wait... I served over twenty years in the Army National Guard. Before i joined i had never eaten eggs. I guess i had formed some sort of food prejudice against them or something, but a funny thing happened in basic training. We were being fed for breakfast: two pancakes or slices of French toast, two slices of toast, a piece of fruit, a bowl of cereal, two pieces of bacon/sausage, two glasses of juice, a glass of milk, and 2 eggs. Now after reading all that you would think... that has got to be enough even without the eggs... but you know what? It wasn't. I learned to two things... to barter, and to make a sandwich out of them. To this day it is still the only way i eat eggs. On average i was in uniform 40 out of 365 days, expected to train to the same standards as the full time Army, and all that while coordinating my duty with a full time career (and/or college) - not including being called up for active duty, flood/natural disaster duty, or other "critical" state missions. As you can imagine there were times when something unsavory was being "crammed down your throat" (not necessarily food - i think you get the idea). But when you are in the military you do not have the option of saying "no". You suck up whatever cards you've been dealt and drive on. It was a life lesson that has served me well over the years. But there are times when the situation you've been dealt does not have a "win" option. You are going to dive in, get messy, and look like _____ when it's all over. Now picture what happens when you try and eat a soup sandwich and i think you get the idea. :-) Well my career has been served up a "soup sandwich". My employer managed to position themselves out of the running for the contract which i currently work under. The good news is that my government "handlers" have expressed the desire to keep the people in place... \o/. Unfortunately it looks like my soon to be new employer has differing ideas as to what we should get compensation-wise. Don't get me wrong... i am very, very happy to know that i still have a job - especially in these tough economic times. The news is filled with layoffs, bankruptcy, bailouts, company failures, so to know that i will still be employed is huge, i just wish the situation was a little bit more palatable. There are times when you just need to scoop up that soppy bread and take a big honkin' bite of slop, let it dribble down your chin onto your nice collared shirt and khakis, and move on. Sure, you're messy, sure your not happy with the situation, but at least you are still up and moving. And for that i am very grateful to God. I am just still working on my attitude...
As Christmas day gets closer it seems i have less and less time to blog. It also doesn't help that i usually blog from work so my time is even more limited. It has been a huge help fasting from direct Facebook access as i have been able to refocus on the things i am supposed to. Last week i blogged about my feelings regarding "a tale of two Christmases", and a gaming and WWW acquaintance, sent me an e-mail regarding some points of the history of Christmas. So that i do not misquote i will past a copy of it here:
Hiya. The main reason I asked the question I did, is because your comments about people losing the "true spirit" of Christmas struck me as somewhat humorous, in a wry, twisted way. Being a Christian, you may not like what I'm about to say, but I hope you will take it as openly as you have everything else in all the discussions I've seen you in. *** WARNING: religiously contentious issue below *** Simply put, Christmas is a "stolen" holiday. Most of the traditional Christmas trappings come from an older, pagan winter festival. With the exception of Santa Claus, who was originally St. Nicholas, a very real Christian figure, who has since been corrupted and re-imaged thanks to commercialism (iirc, the current image of the fat guy in the red-and-white suit came from a Coca-Cola ad). It has even been argued that it is impossible for the holiday of Christmas to truly match with the supposed time of Christ's birth, because middle-east shepherds did not "watch their flocks by night" in the middle of December. So, in my eyes, the Christ in Christmas is nothing more than the artificial add-ons made by a church intent on conquest by conversion. Indeed, many of the Christian holidays and events are repackaged pagan festivals. And, granted, commercialism has made large and somewhat unsavoury inroads to all these holidays. So much has been lost or altered through time and meddling, that nobody can say what the "true" spirit of any holiday is. All that remains for sure is that Christmas/Yuletide/whatever-you-want-to-call-it is a time for friends and family to gather for a feast (meaning good food, plenty of booze, and a bucketload of fun) and restrengthen bonds that may have weakened over the year past. And that, more than any influence of any faith, is the best reason for a holiday I can think of.I quote his e-mail not in an attempt to pick it apart, because that is not why i did it. I quoted it because i wanted to make sure i did not mis-represent what he did indeed say. I appreciated his e-mail because he was not trying to lambaste me for being a Christian. He was not trying to belittle my belief in Christ. What he was trying to point out that the Christmas "season" and my point of lamenting the loss of Christ in "Christmas" has no basis because in its origins this season had nothing to do with Christ. This is not some humanistic attempt to undermine my faith, it is the truth. For brevity i am not going to go into it here - but there is little doubt that Christ was NOT born in December, but that the "Christ Mass" was implemented during this season by the church of old in an attempt to help ease the conversion of "pagans" and "barbarians". His e-mail helped me realize that the loss of Christ in "Christmas" i was lamenting really has nothing to do with the loss of influence of Christians during this time of year. It was never really "ours" in the first place. He helped me see what i was really trying to say... That we as Christians need to keep the season and remember why we celebrate Christmas. We have a tradition of celebrating Christ's birth during this time of year and that is not a bad thing, but we cannot expect the world to conform to how we want to celebrate. We are to be "in the world", but "not of [the world]". Here was my response to his e-mail:
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. Life can get in the way of simple correspondence. :-) I, in turn, had to chuckle at your e-mail. I was already aware of the holiday we currently call "Christmas" being a "stolen" holiday and that it is pretty unlikely that December being the actual time of birth of Christ. I had actually blogged about this (albeit not very in depth) not too far back. Your points are quite true, and they did get me thinking about other areas of the season if you will. ***Religiously contentious content to follow*** ;-) In my opinion the church has done this sort of thing all too often. I mean, most of the "Holy sites" in the middle east (referring strictly to the Christian ones) are highly suspect at best. ... yea, like forcing your will upon a populace converts anyone... not to mention the amount of damage done to probably the most "civilized" cultures of the day - and the loss of knowledge when the Europeans moved through and the Middle East. Sad really. Oh, another thing about the Christmas traditions... no where in the scriptures does it say that there were three wise men (magi). It does not mention a number, but only refers to them in the plural sense, and it merely lists three gifts. I am by no means a Biblical scholar. I guess what i really want this time of year, especially for Christians, is that this should be a time of reflection of why we celebrate the birth of Christ. We do indeed need to know that this season is a "borrowed" ;-) season, but it is less important to know the exact day as it is to know the who, and what His life ultimately accomplished. In many ways [my friend] the American church as a whole really has strayed from the . The focus has turned away from God being the focus, to mankind being the focus. These are very broad statements, and I am not really sure how effectively I could discuss such things. I appreciate your willingness to share your points below. I hope you have a great holiday season, and that you get to "feast" and renew your relationships that you have allowed to lapse over the past year. from your "religious" friend. -[samurai]This, along with a few other conversations i've been having lately, have been helpful for me to be more aware of what Christ may be doing in my life lately. Where He may be leading me... hopefully i won't let fear get in the way... this time. Ok... on to my other thoughts... i want to take advantage of my time since i may not get to blog again tomorrow... Recently it was announced that McG has already begun work on a sequel to next May's Terminator Salavation. wOOt!!! \o/ I had heard that they were probably going to try and make it another trilogy in the Terminator story line. I also was able to see the second movie trailer: (http://rss.warnerbros.com/terminatorsalvation/) There are several other movies coming out around that time that i am really looking forward to... but this is my "big" one. I recently had tried to run a separate blog on my Fallout 3 experience, but it just wasn't working. I am also having trouble capturing and sharing my screen shots, so instead of boring people in a separate blog i thought i would just bore people here from time to time. LOL Anyway... I am going to run for now.... May God our out His Spirit upon all who stumble upon this blog.
While catching up on blogs I frequent I came across some thought provoking posts over at Pure Church: The first one i would like to reference could be titled, "Would you come to Jesus if it cost you your life?" I have listened to the two video clips of interview between Kirk Cameron and John MacArthur. I have really been struggling with my attitude between my own church, and many churches that are in the "spotlight". 'Seeker friendly' services are such an anchor to the gospel... that is probably not a good description. What a travesty. What a false gospel! Are you willing to give your very life in service to Christ for your soul? Are you willing to deny yourself? The second is this proclamation by Shai Linne. To be perfectly honest i do not normally walk in this "circle"... but this man "gets it", and he is good at telling it like it is. In the past i have posted a personal dislike of Rap music in general, but i could get into this.
My post today is going to be quick... My song for today is tied into my Music Monday post from last week...
Mary Did You Know lyrics by Mark Lowry, 1984 music by Buddy Greene, 1990 Mary, did you know That your baby boy will one day walk on water? Did you know That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? Did you know That your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you've delivered Will soon deliver you Mary, did you know That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? Did you know That your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand? Did you know That your baby boy has walked where angels trod? And when you kiss your little boy You've kissed the face of god Mary, did you know? The blind will see The deaf will hear And the dead will live again The lame will leap The dumb will speak The praises of the lamb Mary, did you know That your baby boy is lord of all creation? Did you know That your baby boy will one day rules the nations? Did you know That your baby boy is heavens perfect lamb? This sleeping child you're holding Is the great I amA powerful song...
It's Friday so it must be time to talk about Football or Fallout 3 right? Not necessarily. :) My last blog entry had a touch of the Panthers, so there is no need to go over that again. I will touch, briefly, on Fallout 3 a little bit later. Last night in my sleepy stupor i thought briefly about a "tale of two Christmases". In my life time i have seen a steady waning of the reason behind the holiday of Christmas - the celebration of the Christ child's birth. Over time is has become a holiday "season" - "Season's Greetings", or "Happy Holidays". Christmas trees are acceptable, but not manger scenes. Santa carrying presents, but not angels proclaiming the coming of the Savior of the world. Now, i don't go around like a crusader wishing everyone a Merry Christmas - no matter how it may offend someone. Unless i can tell that the recipient is of a Christian 'bent', i will usually wish them a Happy Holiday. It's not that i am ashamed of my Savior, but i am keen to not and try to push someone away either. There are times when we do need to be zealous about our faith and our God, Christ. But i imagine we also need to be careful in guarding our heart behind WHY we wish someone a Merry Christmas. Are we doing it to be spiteful, or are we truly wishing that the Holy Spirit would be upon them to spread the joy and wonder of the Savior's birth? I started this blog entry to express my concern about how much Christmas is no longer about Christ among the population in general. It is about good cheer, giving of gifts - which is spurred on by greed in general. To a large extent, when experience through the "world" it feels empty. It feels hollow - at least to me. With out Christ what exactly is the meaning behind this "holiday season"? A time to promote good will and generosity towards our fellow man? What is goodwill? What is generosity? good⋅will -noun - 1. friendly disposition; benevolence; kindness.; 2. cheerful acquiescence or consent. gen⋅er⋅os⋅i⋅ty -noun, pluralities - 1. readiness or liberality in giving.; 2. freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character.; 3. a generous act.; 4. largeness or fullness; amplitude. I have serious doubts that mankind can achieve this on our own. Firstly, there are subjective definitions of both words. What is a friendly disposition? What is liberal giving? When one gets into quantitative definitions it can be left up to a person's interpretation. Anyway... I truly hope those few who stumble across this blog would take a moment to reflect on Christ - no matter your opinion. Think about the things he taught, and His life here on earth. Now, on to some more mundane and trivial things. Bethesda Software announced the release of their "editing" software humorously titled G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) and the upcoming release of Down Loadable Content (DLC). There are three expansions announced so far... one is apparently an in-game simulation of the battle for Anchorage Alaska (part of the game "history"), another titled "The Pitt" - i am not sure how this one will be added in, and then a final one that will truly expand the current game beyond it's current ending. I am looking forward to all three, but i am concerned about the cost. If it is in the $10 range i will most likely shell out the cost to expand the game beyond it's current setup. I have been blogging about my experiences in the Capital Wastelands on another blog. It's ver bland reading and i doubt there would be much value in reading it. I've been having trouble getting screen captures to share, but i'm sure it's just a layer 8 issue (ref: OSI model of computer networking). Suffice it to say that i have enjoyed my three hours of game play thus far (over the past three weeks). I can already tell it is going to take me a long, long time to get through it, but that's ok. Well, i am going to run. May God grant each of you a peace filled weekend, and may you all enjoy an overwhelming sense of peace. Geaux Panthers!
Of course this scene started with Amata waking me up, alarm klaxons blaring in the back ground. I will not repeat the conversations as i do not remember all of the specifics, and most of them can be found in the various Fallout 3 walkthroughs and guides. I kept to my 'good' side (i.e. not making crude remarks, etc.) and even when Amata offered me her 10mm pistol i turned it down. Not sure that was a great call in regards to my overall success in getting out of the vault, but since she seemed to be in jeopardy i just let her keep it. Once she left i moved around the room trying to me careful to look in/around everything. I collected up my baseball bat and hat. There was a medkit on the wall and picked up a few "stimpacks". I also collected up some extra clothes since i felt i might need them outside. Once outside my room i was accosted by one of the security guards who wanted to take me into custody. Orginally i was going to just move around him because he was immediately assaulted by some radroaches, but they blocked off the end of the hall and i hesitated too long. The guard managed to fight off the four radroaches by himself and then turned his attention to me. I was forced to fight him off with my trusty baseball bat. After stripping the officer of his helmet, etc i moved on. I didn't get very far i meet up with Butch who tells me his mother is being accosted by Radroaches and asks for my help. I chose to help him of course and managed to fight off the three bugs. Butch then gave me his Tunnel Snakes Jacket. Before i left the apartment i took the liberty of taking all of the booze laying around. 1) She doesn't need it, and 2) i might be able to use it to barter with. Moving on from there i came upon Stanly and Andy also fighting off Radroaches. Andy managed to dispatch the pests before i was able to help out. I tried to interact with Andy some but he moved off into my father's offices, so i follewed him. There Stanley was working on trying to repair the robot (Andy) and i could not get into any dialog trees. Since it seemed like i had some time i moved around the offices and picked up miscellanious junk to sell once i was outside. I managed to scoop some more stimpacks and clipboards. The prize though was a "Medical Bobblehead". These things are like 'easter eggs' that help give the charecter a one time boost to a stat or skill. In this case it was for the medical skill - especially handy since i was heading out to a dangerous environment. :) I then moved on trying to find my way to the atrium as this was the intermediate goal of the quest. At one point there was a guy banging on a window screaming at me, something about my father causing all of the problems. It didn't really do anything to provoke me, but it did draw my attention to investigate the room. There was a guy dead on the floor. He had a pair of sunglasses which i took. When i found a set of stairs heading up to the atrium i was shot at by a pair of security guards. Since i had let Amata keep the pistol earlier i didn't have anything to shoot back with. After trying to figure out how to get down the hallway i just gave up because it was obvious they were not going to pursue me. Eventually i ran across a room that had the overseer's voice coming from it. I thought i heard Amata's voice as well, but when i entered she was no where to be found. This confused me but i didn't have time to reflect on it as another guard attacked me. After i dispatched the guard the overseer stepped up and i thought he was going to attack me, but instead we entered into a dialog. I tried to convince the old man to give up his password and key to the outside. He was not going to release it short of killing him, or threatening Amata... which i was not going to do. When we moved back to game time he began shouting for guards to come to his rescue and i just went back to searching around. After that i turned left and found the overseer's office. I ran into Jonas's body. Yup, he was dead as a doornail. I searched his body and took the note from my father and his lab coat - hey, it gives me +5 to my science skill. Searching the surrounding area i found some "prewar" money and more stimpacks. Sitting in an adjacent area of the lab Amata was sitting holding her head. There was a brief interaction before she ran off again... From here i managed to find the overseer's office. I had already discovered the key so i didn't need to pick the lock. A nice clean space, using browns instead of the steel blue of the rest of the vault. Several monitors and terminals lined the back wall, with a pair of lockers in the back right corner. Without delay i attempted to hack into the terminal. Since I am fairly new it took me a little while to figure out exactly what to do. But one thing i did know was that if i failed all four attempts, the terminal would lock down and i would not be able to proceed. After three miscues i backed out and searched around the room some more. In one of the lockers i discovered some more ammunition for the pistol, and the terminal password. Going back to the terminal i was able to log in and review all of the files. There were several "security" files of vault dwellers. Interesting that "Big Brother" was keeping so close a tabs on so many people. There were files of a scouting party sent out into the wastes which was interesting... and information regarding a nearby town called Megaton. Once I had read each of the files i went ahead and opened up the "secret passage" to the entrance way. After proceeding down the stairs i ran into Amata again. Here i invited her to come with me, but she declined stating that she needed to be there to keep her father in check. Once i opened the door to the outside i was set upon 3 more security guards. I am a complete novice when it comes to first person shooter games, and i am still learning my way around the keyboard for the V.A.T.S. part of combat. One valuable lesson i did learn was you do not get your action points back very quickly - especially since i did not tool up the character to be combat oriented. It took a little while, but i managed to dispatch all three of my oppressors. Looting their bodies for more things to sell was easy, but again - my weak strength stat limited how much i was able to carry. Heading out into the wastes i turned to look back and the vault door was already closing. No turning back now. Stepping out into the world beyond it was night time. No blinding light, and no enemies ready to pounce upon me. Even through the dark i could see the outline of the Washington Monument and the The Capital Building - very cool! It was here that i saved the game and turned in. I played up to this point in two sittings for a total of 2:04. I was deliberately taking my time... searching, playing with the various things like the Pip-boy and exploring the conversation trees. I have played since this point, but the next entry will have to wait for another time...
Wow what a game on Monday Night Football last night! Going into it i really only wanted a close game. After the 3-27 drubbing the Bucs laid on the Panthers back in October i was a tad concerned. I just wanted a close game if the Panthers didn't win... and i was NOT disappointed. Through 3 quarters of play that game was always within 7 points. With 15:00 left to play it was tied up at 17-17. And then the previous 45 mins of play showed its toll on the Bucs defense and that 90 yard, 4 rushing play, drive was just awesome! 299 total rushing yards... 301 from both Running Backs. A 100 yard receiver... and most importantly for a Panthers fan... a win on Monday Night Football! Some highlights for me where... Steve Smith's sideline catch where he jumps up in the air, turns, catches the ball, continues turning, and gets both feet down in bounds - what a catch. Any time John Kasay put it through the uprights. Jonathon Stewart's hand print being planted into Ronde barber's chest and then shoving him to the ground. All four rushing touchdowns - against a defense that had allowed only one all year before last night. And the final play where Jake Delhomme took a knee. I want to give props to Antonio Bryant. What a game he had. Several really nice catches for long gains, two TD's - one of which was an incredible diving one handed grab! A very talented athlete. Steve Smith had another good game. I especially appreciate hearing him handle the press at the end of the game. He commented that the season is not over. He mentioned how much he likes being a blocker for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart. He gave props to Muhsin Muhammad. It is important to note: The Panthers have NOT locked up anything yet. They do have a one game lead for the NFC South title, but there are three very hungry opponents left to play. The Denver Broncos come into Charlotte next Sunday and need to lock up the AFC West. Then the Panthers travel to NY to face off against the NY Giants and it is very possible that #1 seeding could be at stake for the NFC playoff picture. Then, to round it all out the Cats travel to New Orleans to finish out the regular season. And the Saints don't sit idle against the Panthers when they have a shot at playing spoiler to anything, and Drew Brees is having an incredible season. I like what Steve Smith said to the question, "How does it feel to be 10-3 and in control of the NFC South". He said, "It just means that we have to get ready for our next game". One game at a time focus. Don't listen to the ESPN hype. It was only one game. There are a few more to play, and God willing more will be tacked on to the end. A parting comment for today... i really liked the new Army "enforcer" uniforms unvielled at the Army navy game this weekend. I know that the navy has won the last 7 games, and they totally embarresed Army in the 0-34 shutout, but i really liked them uniforms at least.
Well my quest through Fallout 3 continued last night, and while i made it through the Escape! quest i am back tracking a tad to catch myself up. To give you an idea, it has taken me slightly twice as long as i've read around the web on how long it should take to make my escape from Vault 101. While my adventures are not perfect in the thoroughness, or best path, i am deliberately taking my time. Having said that... When this sequence started i was of course staring at my father. Apparently i had tried that "i'm not feeling well, do i really have to go school" excuse that i hear my own real life children try and pull from time to time. I took this opportunity to explore most of the conversation trees as possible. Unfortunately my memory has dimmed as this was a little over a week ago now. Suffice it to say i still went to take the G.O.A.T. :) After my conversation with Dad i wandered out to check on Jonas and his patient. It is obvious that the patient is sick (i don't remember his name), but by the time i went over to talk my interactions were limited. I didn't bother to look around for things to pick up as i knew i was not making for the exit at this time. Why bother grab things that i will only lose later. Once the door was opened to the hallway i overheard the "Tunnel Snakes" giving Amata a hard time. As i approached the confrontation Paul Hannon turned to face me and we had some interaction. Mostly it was unproductive as i wanted to avoid a direct confrontation with all three of the "Snakes". Seeing as i was getting no where with Paul i backed up and maneuvered to talk to Wally Mack. With this guy i managed to tell him that people thought Butch was the real leader of the gang and not him. This resulted in my desired result of the Snakes walking off and not bothering Amata any more without me having to fight them. Amata was grateful, but that was the end of that mini encounter. From there i moved on to take the G.O.A.T. It seemed pretty useless, but i answered the various questions for fun since i already knew which three skills i was going to focus on. In the end my "career" was shown to be Pip-Boy programmer. My recommended skill sets were: Explosives, Repair, & Science. This was actually pretty close to what i wanted. In the end i opted to take Lockpick over Explosives. Further attempts to interact with the other Vault dwellers, even the teacher, were met with only one line reposnses and no conversation options. This ended this quest...
Yesterday i drug my family out to my (old) National Guard unit's last "Holiday Meal". It is a sad occasion for me because my last nine (of twenty two) years in the National Guard were in that unit. A lot of the guys have moved on to find their new "homes", but there were still several "old timers" there. I think the saddest thing is that the table of true old timers - World War II veterans - had to be told that this was the last one. It was always an honor for those men and women (and their families) to come and join us each year. Today is Monday, and thus time for me to pick up on my typical theme... Today's selection has been a song that will bring awe to my heart every year as i meditate on the lyrics, and it doesn't (usually) matter who sings it...
Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining It is the night of the dear Savior's birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! Fall on your knees Oh hear the angel voices Oh night divine Oh night when Christ was born Oh night divine Oh night divine Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming Here come the wise men from Orient land The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger In all our trials born to be our friend Truly He taught us to love one another His law is love and His gospel is peace Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother And in His name all oppression shall cease Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy nameI have never figured out the exact date of the Lord Jesus' coming to Earth. I'm pretty sure no one else has either. Be that as it may, we know that his coming is a fact. For me this song inspires my imagination. Imagine the awe of the shepherds when the angels appeared to them to proclaim His birth. Imagine when the shepherds found the Savior in the form of a baby. Imagine the things going through the heart and minds of Mary and Joseph. Living nearly two thousand years after this event i am limited to the imagination of my finite and time/distance removed mind. How can such an event not inspire awe? I know there are many in the world that are not awe stricken, not inspired, still would argue if Jesus ever truly existed... and my heart weeps for such people. But this is the season i get to celebrate His coming, celebrate His life, and celebrate His death on the cross - for without that final act... all of His previous ministry would have been moot in that my debt would never have been paid in full, and i would never get to fully appreciate such monumental things.
As the game jumped to my character's 10th birthday i began the "Growing Up Fast" mini-quest. It was a short deal with the main goal of learning how to use and review the 'new' Pip-Boy. The interactive tool that the player can review things like maps, inventory, quests or notes, review stats and perks. For me, i wanted to check out everything. First i talked with my friend Amata and thanked her for helping my father in setting up the birthday party. She kindly gave me a copy of Grognak the Barbarian comic book - which when read increases the melee combat skill by one point. I made my way around the room and talked with everybody. When Butch demanded the sweet-roll that i received from Old Lady Palmer i opted to just give it to him. I know that it would have led to a fist fight but i didn't want to be bothered with it. Once the interactions got redundant i made my way down to the reactor level where my father had a surprise for me. This is where i first met Jonas - seems to be a nice guy. I was also to use V.A.T.S. for the first time. A very nice interface to help this game feel more turn-based. I have read a lot of gripe about how this game is not a very good "first person" shooter type of game - i am pretty sure this was never the intent of Bethesda Softworks. One thing i know is that i want to get better at looking around and exploring. I feel like i am missing a lot. On a parting note - there was a blog review posted from a Christian point of view. Although i am not sure it as in depth and Biblical as it can be, but it was still refreshing to read it. You can read it here.
Well, it has been 22 days since i last logged into Facebook via my PC. I still check on friends via my cellphone so that i can keep in touch - but i am not a very good "text typer" so my writing to them is limited. I will not be logging back into Facebook until the 23rd of December. Before i go i want to share a sin of doubt going on in my heart. It is the sin of unbelief - that God is not sufficient. I am in the middle of a transition at work and i am fearful in my heart - even though there is evidence everywhere that His hand has continued to shield me. More to come in the future.
Although I picked up Fallout 3 on the day it was released i was unable to actually install and begin play until the week of Thanksgiving. I then spent about an hour just messing around with the graphics settings and doing a quick play just to get the feel of the controls and game play. Well, over the weekend i finally started up my first adventurer - Braham. He is a slightly geeky guy. I choose to take a deduction to Strength, but put 2 points into Intelligence and Perception, then 1 point into both Charisma and Luck. This was a good thing because of how i wanted to orient my initial three skill sets. Once the character was "born" i choose to play a male character, and named him. I messed with the facial stuff, but was not really sure what to do with it. It was nice to have that kind of control and all... it was just too much for this gaming geek to far removed from the "hip and up to date" games. LOL The first scene is of course (for those who know the game) is when your dad leaves you to run to his office. This is a handy situation to learn the movement controls. I wandered all around and practiced picking things up, etc. and looking around before moving to the purpose of the scenario - that of adjusting your stats. Eventually I picked up the "Your S.p.e.c.i.a.l." book and tweaked my stats: Strength -1, Perception +2, Endurance +0, Charisma +1, Intelligence +2, Agility +0, Luck +1. The last one was because it affects everything else the character does. I especially enjoyed the fact that there is a Bible verse referred to (Revelation 21:6). I realize that does not mean anything to most people, but it was something that i liked about the game. I especially like that it is referring about Christ - "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." To me the whole book of Revelation is an awe inspiring book. It is the completion of created time. I need to run for today... but I have played up through taking the G.O.A.T. - I will post more on that later.
I am not sure what it is but when my family latches on to a movie they (we) love to watch it over, and over, and over, and over... you get the idea. :) It may have started when my DD3 spent a week in the hospital in 2004. (It's a long story, and not one i would like to share here) While she was there she watched Finding Nemo repeatedly. I can understand that. She was in an unfamiliar environment, strange people coming in at all hours to poke and prod. It was something to latch on to. Since then she has not watched it all... again totally understandable. Last year i received the DVD Ratatouille for Christmas (by request). For the next three months that movie was watched at least once a week (often more than that), and is still watched with enjoyment now. Well, last night it was Kung Fu Panda. My DD3 received this as a birthday present last month and i am pretty sure the laser from the DVD player is getting ready to burn through the disk! LOL Now, I really liked Wall-E this summer and have asked for it for Christmas... so, maybe we can let the Panda have a rest.
Wow... it's 2 December already. So much going on after a long weekend that I am just going to ramble some points... I am halfway through my self imposed Facebook fast. I did this because i really had to step away and curtail the amount of time i surfed, etc. Facebook is a great tool IMO, but it can easily become a distraction. The Panthers managed to pull out an emotional win in Green Bay this past Sunday. Still, the Panthers almost managed to lose this game. Up 21-10 at the half the Packers took the lead with less than 2:00 to go. If not for a great 45 yard kick-off return by Mark Jones, and then an incredible 54 yard catch (over the shoulder at full stride) by Steve Smith ending up with a 1st and goal - the Panthers lose this game. Personally i think this is a good team win, but the Buccaneers are coming into Charlotte with 1st place in the NFC South up for grabs. And right now the Bucs own the tie breaker with a 3-27 victory in their house in week 6. Overall i am quite pleased that the Panthers will post an overall winning season (only their 4th in their short 14 year history). I want to believe that the Panthers can take the NFC South this year, but it will HAVE to start next Monday night with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! I am slowly getting my self organized. My deck passed the framing inspection yesterday \o/ so i can now turn my attention to the deck boards and step (or two). As a result i have actually had a chance to start playing Fallout 3. For me this game is really good to play with my sort of schedule. I have been able to pick it up, play it for 30-45 minutes and then save it and walk away. In my opinion that makers of this game managed to capture the turn based aspect of its predecessors as well as the overall atmosphere. I am also enjoying how they captured the 1st person games that are popular today. So far i have not had any trouble playing the game as a "goody two-shoes". I have managed to avoid getting into the fights that were set up as part of the pre-wandering storyline inside Vault 101. Although i know this will not be the case throughout the entire game i like the fact that you can make choices like that. The past six days were really nice. Having taken both Wednesday and yesterday off from work gave me a six day mini-vacation. Even though the first five were filled with our normal family/holiday running around yesterday was to be 'dedicated' to just me and my beloved. It was the first opportunity i had to focus on just her and celebrate our 16th anniversary. The original plan was for us to enjoy a nice lunch and catch a movie, but no plan ever survives "contact with the enemy" (in my case - real life). We did manage to get out for a nice brunch, but then spent the rest of our time shopping because my beloved hates to shop. More importantly, she hates to shop alone. With Christmas coming, not to mention two out of three of our children's birthdays coming up there was a lot to do. *sigh* To me that is not focusing on one another, but that seems to be the season of life we are in, and attempts by me are being sort of diverted in order to save money. I need to get better at looking for 'cheaper' ways to get out... Well, that is all i have for now... i have to get back to work... God bless you all...