Oh what a night

Well, it was not all that great. Yesterday i forgot to take my start-up dose of Strattera in the morning, got to work before i remembered, got home and forgot again, began my bedtime routine and remembered. Well, a lot of Rx have you take the next does as soon as you remember and are able. Well, as i groggily got into bed and was watching a little of the Australian Open. Well, as the match between Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova moved from the 1st set into the 2nd i gradually became more awake. In the end my beloved fell asleep and i fell awake. I struggled to allow my tired body to relax enough - the body was tired, but the mind was not. To make a long story short... i fell asleep around 0345 this morning... only to have to awake at 0515 for a morning conference call that i had to cover for my boss. I am 'hurtin' right now. My eyes hurt.


What a bummer of an off season for the Carolina Panthers

First it was made public that Julius Peppers is not interested in signing a long term contract with the Panthers. :( The man grew up in the Carolinas! Still, i can understand - a little - he wants to move to a defensive scheme that he can better demonstrate his athleticism. He's not getting any younger, and i think he realizes he has an outside shot at the Hall of Fame. Then most of the defensive staff has left for "greener" pastures. I think this was on the wall. You could tell the defense was waning the last quarter of the season. Some of that is the players on the field... but some also comes from the staff caring enough to figure things out and make adjustments and keep the players motivated. I am NOT blaming the collapse in the playoffs on the Defense. This is a team game, and the offense was the ones who made all six of those turnovers. Since then the Panthers have gone out and hired Ron Meeks. I know he was the Colts D-coordinator when they made the Super Bowl and all... but the Colts defense has never been... well, agressive. I'd like to see a Steelers or Ravens like defense in there. Maybe sign Peppers to a one year deal, ask him to put forth a good effort, but then put him out there to do his thing! I mean... when his first couple of years with the Panthers he was a monster! He is a monster! He needs to be let loose more! Only time will tell...


Not so Musical Monday - 20090126

What a week, weekend, and Monday. I have been unable to shake a cold for over ten days now. In the overall scheme of things this is a minor inconvenience, and i feel like a whiner even mentioning it. My beloved has been suffering with (so far) unexplained severe headaches - so far NOT classified as migraines - for almost eighteen months. She will be seeing an allergist on Wednesday, but we've been 'warned' that we may need to remove the carpeting from our bedroom - possibly the entire house. But to add some pressure from the world, this morning my employer announced that there will be no raises again this year. This will make two years in a row my base salary has remained stagnant. Again, i am acting like a whiny little kid. I am employed, and assuming i am picked up by the incoming vendor, i will remain employed until at least 2018. This is so much more than many others in this time of recession. This is a time i need to really start preaching to myself, and stop listening to myself. God's grace and mercy is abundant in my life and all i am focusing on is the negatives.
My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less written by Edward Mote (1834) music by William B. Bradbury (1863) My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness I dare not trust the sweetest frame But wholly lean on Jesus’ name On Christ the solid Rock I stand All other ground is sinking sand All other ground is sinking sand When darkness hides His lovely face I rest on His unchanging grace In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil His oath, His covenant, His blood Support me in the whelming flood When all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay When He shall come with trumpet sound Oh may I then in Him be found Dressed in His righteousness alone Faultless to stand before the throne
What more can one truly wish for?


It is a new day

200901201200 EST - or more commonly known as - Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 1200PM EST (noon) - will be a history making moment for the United States of America. Our President Elect Barack Obama will become our nation's 44th President. It is fitting that it takes place one day after we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr day. Today is historical if you are African American, Anglo American, Asian American, Hispanic American, or an alien from another planet. It marks the first time an African American has held the office of the President of the United States. And i think this is a good thing. There are a great deal of issues that i do not agree with President Obama on, and one of the really good things about America is, that's OK. I like how our soon to be President has made an effort to reach across the aisle to make the effort to work together with the Republican party. Now, will the Democrats and Republicans play nice and get along? No, not completely. How can they? In general they have different agendas, different priorities, different ideologies. There are two trains of thought here... on one hand it is touted that such things is what makes this country what it is... on the other it is said that a house divided cannot stand. I don't feel that our differing opinions and objectives is what make us "great". I feel it has always been our ability to roll up our sleeves and work together to reach a goal in spite of our differences. In the early years of our country (comparatively) we banded together to form this Nation, to get it off the ground, out from under foreign rule, and get on our feet. Then the Civil War decided if a "confederation" (if you will allow me the use of the term here) of individual states would remain banded together under one Federal government. (Foot note here: although it did not start out as a war to free slaves, that was one issue, and it became a defining background and overall achievement of that war.) Then America industrialized and learned how to make factories highly profitable. Eventually we were drawn into stopping a group of countries from oppressing it's neighbors, not once - but twice. Since then we've tried to play policeman to the world. Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Cuba, etc. I am not so sure this is a role we can play effectively. It has slowly drained our morale as a country, weakened our influence around the world, and really driven a wedge into partisan politics that has affected practically all areas of division between the two major political parties in this country. America, if she is not careful, will continue over the edge of a very dangerous precipice. There is a line on an old Jethro Tull Album i have where Ian Anderson says, "It was a new day yesterday, but by God it's an old day now". We, as Americans (and that includes my fellow Americans in Canada, all the way down to Chile and Argentina) cannot rest on accolades that fade. We need to find common objectives and put our resources and efforts - and make them happen. So, although i do not agree with President Obama on most issues, i do support him as my President. After all God has allowed his Presidency for whatever reason it will ultimately be used for His glory. He has also placed me in a country where i can voice my opinion and not be jailed for it (although persecution does not always mean imprisonment), i can even work to help effect change towards such goals. May God grant President Obama grace, wisdom, strength, insight, and protection. May God watch over him. May God help him to lead effectively, and may the history he makes not just be for being an African American - in a good way for all Americans. But ultimately may God grant us, as a nation, a unifying vision.


Music Monday - 20090119

Wow what a week. I have been dealing with a strong cold for about four days now... and my mind has been fuzzy and my head feels like a bowling ball. Today it's snowing outside and my beloved is giving me guilt trips for not being able to take the kids outside to play in it. To be honest, even if i was home i am not so sure i'd want to be outside right now. Yesterday as i avoided the masses at church because of my cold, i sat and listened to a sermon by Robin Boisvert. It was a sermon he did at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD back in December, titled "The Divinity of Jesus Christ". What a great reminder. I think if you ask many Christians today, "Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God", most - if not all - would answer yes. If you asked them, "Do you believe Jesus Christ was God", i am not sure what the percentage would be. I hope it would be overwhelmingly the majority. Too often we as Christians (and i am certain that i am among this group, so i struggle with this too) move away from "the main thing". What is our faith based in? Where does our hope belong? Is it that God will give us peace and prosperity? A trouble free life? I know i have to work on my own heart daily. Lately i've struggled with the unknown of an upcoming employment change. God willing my job will not change, just my employer. God has consistantly proven to me that He is moving in my life in the area of my career, and yet when this little bump comes i begin to get fearful. Why!?! Hasn't He shown what He can, and has, do(ne)!?! Ultimately my peace and prosperity is not to be found in this life. Any bank account/portfolio i accumulate is dust. Any possesions i "own" now will someday lie in ruins. I can't hold onto either if it came down to it. I can be a good steward and do things to hold on for a while, but in the end i will have to let them go. Jesus has said that He is going to prepare a place for us (either a mansion, or a room - does it really matter? If we are in the Kingdom of God does it matter if it's an efficency, or a spacious manor?) - and that is where my ultimate peace and provision lay. To be a street cleaner in the Kingdom of Heaven would be a grand thing! After listening to Robin's message i scrolled down to my praise and worship section on my little MP3 player and despite me having the thing set up to random shuffle, two songs kept playing. One was...
What a Glorious Mystery by Stephen Altrogge from the All We Long to See albumn Who can comprehend Your holy ways O Lord Your glorious power without end From which the stars were born How could we ever understand The moving of Your hand? How could we ever come to grasp The One who never began? Oh, what a glorious mystery You are Oh, what a glorious mystery You are Though we only see in part You’ve completely won our hearts Oh, what a glorious mystery You are Who can comprehend Your gracious mercy Lord Great loving kindness that would send A Savior to be born? Why would you, Jesus, die for us Who cursed Your perfect name? Why would You come to reconcile Those who caused Your shame? © 2002 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).
Ultimately this is the "food" we should "chew" on. Everything else we seek to know about God should all be centered around, and return to, the cross. For without it, there is nothing sustainable in our lives concerning the things of God. Thank you Robin for such a beautiful and poignant message.


The blahs

This whole week i have felt my body getting more and more fatigued - it was definitely fighting something. Well, yesterday i lost some ground. I even went so far as to hit the store to pick up cold medicine. I usually like to try and fight it off, but when it starts to affect sleep and concentration a work i try and do something about it. When i get like this it feels like my brain is in a fog. I hope to have more soon... God bless


Today i am avoiding the Sports pages

*sigh* Wow "We picked a bad day, to have a bad day", pretty much sums it up. Before i type anything more... Congratulations to the Arizona Cardinals who pretty much "owned" my Carolina Panthers on Saturday night. I had a hard time getting my hopes up all of last week. I didn't care what the "professionals" though. Carolina struggles when it is favored by more than 3 points, and they were favored by 10. This is the post season and there is never a team that has not earned their place there - no matter how "weak" their division is. A co-worker put it in perspective... it was like the old Sylvester and Tweety cartoons. sad, but true... No matter, i am still a Panthers fan. :) Last week i had started two blogs about the Panthers and their history and owner. For anyone who is interested the Panthers are 15 years old, and here is a little bit of their history (from the Charlotte Observer). Ironically that story posted just before the first game between the Panthers and the Cardinals. A second article i would like to link to is about the Panthers owner, Mr. Jerry Richardson. It reminded me a lot about my father-in-law - but that is for another blog, maybe. I was really hoping for the Panthers to go all the way. Not so much for me as a fan, but for Mr. Richardson. Only God knows what the next season will bring for the Panthers and Mr. Richardson, but no matter what, i pray for all to feel God's grace and mercy. I cannot imagine what Jake Delhomme is going through right now. I pray he does not take it too hard. I imagine he is going to be getting a lot of hate mail over the next few weeks. It's an ugly side of sports if you ask me. People who take the game far too seriously. People who are not out there on the field, who are not doing things in the off season, who give up sleep to study game film and memorize playbooks. People who wrap themselves up in how well a sports team does, or doesn't do. And i have to confess, i struggle with that very thing myself. It's not something i am proud of and i try and work through it with God's grace. In the end, it's just a game. On February 2nd the tarnish will begin to form on the 2008 Lombardi trophy... in a little over 3 months the 2009 draft begins, two months after that summer training camps begin to open... a month longer and the pre-season starts... then September comes and there are 32 teams all pushing towards the same goal. I enjoy watching the sport of profession American Football, but in the end... it's just a game.


Fallout 3 - side tracked and loving it

I have begun tracking my Fallout 3 (and other gaming experiences) over at "Gaming Ramblings" After buying this game back in late October, and then saving my pennies and purchasing Dad's personal laptop in late November, i have been able to clock in a whopping ten hours of game time (+/- an hour or so). This is fine by me as i can take my time and enjoy just playing when i get the chance. Racing to complete the game is not a particular goal of mine. There are plenty of reviews, etc. of the game around the web so i am not going to go into detail of how the game starts, etc. Any commentary i have here will be solely based on what i have done, and/or what i will be doing. My time in Vault 101 (where you begin the game) was spent being as thorough as possible. I tried to explore every conversation tree, look in every corner, open every door/desk/locker/whatever. I know i still missed a lot of things, and that is what makes this game so interesting to me (and many of the fans out there). As far as the character i am playing i am focusing on repair, science, and small guns. I also took a hit on the character's strength to add a point to 'luck' because that one stat affects everything else - even if it's just a little bit. I am 'smugly' happy with myself in that i didn't resort to fighting once inside the vault. With a gift of a birthday present to a bully, and then talking to said bully's friends i managed to avoid any direct confrontation. That is up until my friend Amata woke me up to tell me that the Overseer (her father) was looking for me because my father split for reasons as yet unknown (i have seen some inklings as to why, but the character has no idea yet). I had to fight my way out of that one (although i've heard that it's possible to play the whole game without killing anything except one bug). On my way out i managed to hack into the Overseer's terminal and found that he was keeping files on several of my fellow Vault Dwellers. This definitely had the feeling of the McCarthy era. Apropos for the feeling of the over all game. He also had some files on my father! It was not very specific, but apparenly good old Dad was not always a resident of Vault 101. Once i was done in there i made my way to the Wastelands. This is where i had to do the most fighting. For me i had to face no less than three Vault security guys. Unfortunately Amata wanted to stay and deal with her father's heavy handed ways. Once i made it outside it was already past sundown. This is where i really got into the atmosphere of the game. As i exit the Vault i can see the gray outlines of the both the Capitol building and the Washington Monument. Very cool. I need to be up front here that i am still not very good with the interface of the game. I am still learning how to bring up my Pipboy (the game menus) and i still haven't figured out how to set up "hot keys" (if anyone can help me out here it would be greatly appreciated). I know i am supposed to immediately set out to find dear old dad, but here i took a quick detour to check out Springvale. Although, i didn't hang around long. I just breezed through town and just looked around. I wasn't really sure what to do anyway, and then moved on the Megaton. The first stop in my search. Somehow i approached the town from the side and ended up following the wall all the way around until i literally stumbled across the entrance. I learned a valuable lesson... that little 10mm pistol and baseball bat are NOT very good out in the Capitol Wastelands! Them Mole Rats and wild dogs are vicious! To make matters worse, the dogs run in packs! Once inside Megaton i was immediately met by the local sheriff who let me know who was boss. He was still a likable fellow. Like in the vault i took my time and explored as many conversation trees as possible. I did this with everyone in Megaton so i'm not going to go into it all. The short version is i found a place to live and a possible lead on Dad, but since i was not going to pay the informant for the information (i didn't have the caps to pay anyway) i found a couple of side jobs while i searched around for more information. Three of them to be exact. The first one was helping a local guy fix leaking water pipes all over town, the second was to help a 'ditsy' woman who runs the local store with some kind of research project, and lastly another woman wanted some help delivering a letter to her family out in the Wasteland. I had barely gotten started and i was having trouble keeping track of all the quests. I am very grateful for that Pipboy as it helps keep it all sorted out. Once i got comfy in my new home, and some much needed supplies from my new butler, i headed back out into the wastes. With two of my quests out here i opted to focus on the research project first - with a side detour to look around the immediate vicinity of Megaton, Vault 101, and the small town of Springvale. There is a whole lot of this and that i could go into here, but to save time (and space) i will only give the highlights. I accidently stumbled across Fairfax Ruins and promptly got my butt handed to me. While running from Raiders i stumbled across access to some kind of underground location. By now i was running for my "life" so i chose to run away for now and come back when i was more of a tough guy. I was so beat up i had to head back to Megaton to rest up. After that i headed back to Springvale to look around. Here, i found an old school building and decided to check it out. Here i found yet more Raiders, but these guys were trying to find a way to break into Vault 101! I dealt their aspirations a serious blow and moved on. from there i just did a once around the hill above my old home. Atop the hill there was an old farm where i ran into my first ghouls (aside from the bartender in Megaton). They had apparently just killed someone over some purified water and when i opened the wrong container they decided i was hostile. After all of the excitement i moved on towards my objective of checking out an old Super Store. Before i got there though i meet up with a kid wandering around by himself. He's all frantic to find his own father, which i agree to help him find. Yet another side quest to keep me busy! \o/ I had a really tough time dealing with the Raiders in this place, but i found out just how useful sneaking and the frag grenades could be! :-) I even had the chance to hack another terminal and active an old store robot. :-) My geeky side REALLY enjoyed that. That's about as far as i've gotten so far, and with some additional downloadable content coming to expand this pretty cool game even further, i feel like a kid in a candy store! If you are into computer games that are played solitaire and has a good story line, and you don't mind a little graphic combat, this is a fun game to play.


I am a rambling man

So many things cross my mind that i do not have a single thread to post about... :/ And now there are eight. After the "wildcard" weekend of playoffs for the NFL it has been determined that the Arizona Cardinals will be coming to Charlotte for a rematch of their previous meeting (26-Oct-08). The previous results don't mean anything. Kurt Warner has proven that he's dangerous, and with the apparent resurgence of Edgerrin James the Panthers will have to play heads up football... which should be expected in the playoffs. I am really looking forward to watching the game (Saturday starting at 1930 on Fox). I am not a superstitious person but i was surprised to learn that the Panthers will be wearing their black jerseys for the first time ever in the post season. Traditionally the home teams get to choose which jersey they wear, and the previous two home playoff games in Panthers history were both against the Dallas Cowboys - whose preferred jersey is White. So to spite them, the Panthers opted to wear white and force the Cowboys to wear their blue jerseys. I am getting frustrated with myself. I have had a decent story line idea that i've wanted to get on "paper" for going on a year now. Part of the reason i bought my own laptop last November was so i could sit down and just type whenever the mood struck me. I've not done anything more than transfer over the few files i have (notes, rough outline, etc.). I doubt it would ever get published, but that's not why i write my stories anyway. I've had a friend who i've even bounced character names off of, story arch ideas, etc. What an encouragement... but i have not followed through - and that is what is making me mad at myself. Recently my beloved has encouraged me to get some testing done. Not in a mean way, but she has been gently telling me that she has noticed some "similarities" between DS2 and me. We both think that if i do indeed have Aspergers that i have learned to adapt fairly well over my previous 4+ decades. With the economy as it is, and my career as it is, i have used a myriad of excuses to not get tested... it costs too much... takes too long... The truth of it is - i don't want to be diagnosed with Aspergers, or even ADD. My own pride has hindered me from pursuing such things... and yet i see signs on my own. I often have read several pages of a book, especially technical type and ones i've already read before (like the Bible) only to realize that i can't remember the last four pages because my mind has wandered. Same thing at work... i will be working on some problem, get interrupted, and then either forget what i was working on... or move on to some other thing altogether. My beloved has said that i could probably just go to our primary care doctor and see what he says at the very least... a plan of action to move on... and yet... i don't want to... I have taken measurements for my future "man cave". Over all it is going to be about 10' x 20'. It will have book shelves, a 1/2 bath, my own desk, and hopefully a hookup for satellite TV. :) Fortunately it will NOT be something out of "The Man channel" or something. And my beloved will be allowed to come and go as she pleases. It is only intended for me to have a space to decorate and have my own quiet corner in the house. But this project will be slow in moving forward. Probably years even, so... Well, that's it for today... God bless


Music Monday - 20090105

I downloaded a sermon by C.J. Mahaney titled "The Troubled Soul" yesterday. C.J. gave this sermon back on May 25th of 2008. It was based on Psalm 42. Unfortunately i missed a lot of the details because i was listening to it while at the gym. But some points i do remember:
  • It is possible for one who hungers, thirsts, and is actively pursuing God to feel distant from God.
  • No matter who you are, the person that has the most influence in your life is you
  • We need to retrain ourselves so that we talk to ourselves and not listen to ourselves
I will be revisiting this sermon in a more subdued time so that i can listen more intently, and take notes. So, for today, my song will be the Psalm that was the basis for this sermon:
Psalm 42 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me continually, "Where is your God?" These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: "Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, "Where is your God?" Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.


And the new year begins!

My beloved and i spent a relatively quiet night at home with a few other families. We just played a few games, chatted around the fire place, and ate until our tummy's ached. ;-) A good time was had by all. We even managed to crawl into bed before sunrise. One thing though... when one stays up so late, it would be smart to turn off one's alarm clock. ;-) I failed to do so and when it went off at my normal time i turned it off and started my normal work day routine... only to realize... i didn't have to go to work on New Years day! lol It took me almost 20 minutes for the fog in my brain to clear enough to realize what i was doing... My poor beloved was feeling very run down from the ramp up to Christmas and then hosting her parents for the week, so i took all three of our young 'uns and headed out to Toys R Us so they could get something with their gift cards, etc. The geek that i am picked up a Scolastic Book on Obi Wan Kenobi. Ok, so it's written for ages 9+... he's my favorite Jedi! The rest of the day we sat around and watched movies and snacking on popcorn. When i woke up this morning i could have sworn it was a Monday instead of Friday. I think the fog has yet to fully lift. ;-) Still there's not much going on this weekend. I hope to get a few more boards nailed down for my deck. I only have about 8 to go, but these are the ones i will need to notch for an exterior PVC pipe, and make up a hatch for a sump pump access. That, and to watch some NFL playoff games. ;-) I am rooting for for Arizona but i doubt the Cardinals defense will be able to contain Turner and Ryan. But with Kurt Warner anything is possible. Then i think Colts are going to take Chargers. this one is hard to predict. Both teams are riding winning streaks - but i'm pretty sure Payton manning will take 'em. On Sunday i am rooting for the Ravens. Mostly out of loyalty to my old army buddies - most of which where/are Baltimore Ravens fans. I am not real confident that a team that went 1-15 a year ago can go very deep in the playoffs the next year. Should be some good games no matter who pulls out the victory.