Warm ramblings of a festive kind

What a year... i still have a few blog posts in me before i flip the calendar, but... it has been a long crazy year for me.  Someone... other than me, because i will either forget to do it, or lose the piece of paper, write down where you are, what you are doing, and where you think the year will go... then, around Christmas time... pull it back and and see how much is the same and how close you are.  Speaking of which, i knew the Panthers weren't going to go to the playoffs next season, i knew that Julius Peppers would be gone, but i never dreamed i would be rooting for them to LOSE their next two games!  I never thought they would be 2-12 at this point.  Denver and Cincinnati are still their closest contenders for the #1 overall draft pick in April, but the Steelers (who the Panthers play on Thursday night) need to lock up their division, and they are probably still smarting from their loss last weekend... so that will mean the Panthers will get to pay.  Now, New Orleans is still pretty close to snatching the Division from the Atlanta Falcons so the Monday night game on the 29th should be pretty good.  I have to say that i am rooting for the Saints in this one because if the Falcons lose on Monday night, they will play HARD in the final game on the 2nd and take it out on the Panthers... again.  Now, no one knows what the future holds in regards to the NFL or next years draft... but... i am catching Luck fever (Andrew Luck out of Stanford)...  this season is shot... but i can dream of a brighter season next year.  GO PANTHERS!  At least my teams in Blood Bowl continue to win... usually.

Speaking of Christmas time... some people prefer the more politically correct term, Winter Festival.  Well, over at MouseHunt on Facebook, they are having a pretty extensive Winter Festival event.  It has been a blast.  A lot of new event mice (two of which are pictured here), as well as new treasures that can be used to collect and/or obtain a new trap.  The developers of this game have made it a very enjoyable game to play over time, and i am looking forward to continue my march towards Zugzwang's Tower.  One of my favorite things in this years "Festival event" has been the Scrooge Mouse and his three companions... the Mice of Winter Past, Present and Future.  A Christmas Carol - the one with Patrick Stewart - is my all time favorite Christmas movie.

I have no idea on how to bridge from A Christmas Carol to the movie TRON: Legacy, but here i go anyway.  This past week Disney released a long anticipated sequel from their (depending on who you listen to) flop of 1982 titled, you guessed it - TRON.  However, that rough first edition into a world within a computer has spawned a very loyal following.  One of them being me.  I was careful to reign in my anticipation while watching and reading news tidbits leading up to last Friday.  When i finally had the opportunity to get to the theater and see it this past Sunday i did indeed love it.  The story line was somewhat predictable and the acting was not great, but it was better than a lot of science fiction movies have been in the past.  What i loved the most was the concept, and the visuals of the movie over all.  I enjoyed the 3d as it was not over the top, but was present in most shots.  It also didn't go out of the way to throw things "at" the audience.  I would really like to go and see it in the theater at least once more, and really want it when it comes out on Blu-Ray next year.  8)  Movies like TRON and The Matrix just really fascinate me.  One thing i was not over all pleased with with the overt Buddhist references.  But that is the Christian part of me.  I am a big proponent of "balance in all things", but only when it comes to life in general.  In regards to good and evil, there is no doubt - good must (and will) win out over all.  Christ is first and foremost, while i work hard to balance my life, when it comes to the things of God and His Son... there can be but one "balance"... Christ full on, no room for anything else.  "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:5 ESV)  One thing this movie did get me to thing about was preconceived notions.  Most of the reviews that gave the movie a less than stellar review seem to stem from the movie not living up to the hype.  It seems that the more eagerly hyped the movie, the more it fails to live up to the expectations.  There are few critics out there that i really trust to give an actual unbiased review.  For many years i have worked hard to get myself to think in a completely neutral way - to set aside any bias i might have.  I am not perfect in this, but i do feel it helps me see things more clearly.  It helps me step away from something, look at it from various angles, and appreciate something for what it is.  It also helps me better evaluate something through "God lenses"... not that i am God because i am NOT, but for me to put on what God has revealed to me so far in my life, and then size up whatever i am looking at by what He has revealed to me.  For example, i can appreciate the graphics and enjoy the story line better because i have not prejudged what it should be, and then also ensure i am not being led astray down a path that may lead away from God and what He has for me.

As i am spinning back up to begin writing some short stories again, and along the lines of thinking about sin, etc. i was reminded of one of the things that draws me to the Eldar within Games Workshops universe.  It is a theme that actually runs through each of the genres (fantasy/science fiction).  The Elves within the GW genres have essentially taken a logical path for a race that lives for thousands of years.  The Elves allowed themselves to explore each of the various aspects of life to extremes.  Meditation, art, love, etc., are all explored in minutia.   The depths of depravity within the human heart are incredible, now imagine a sentient race that lives ten to twenty times as long (at least) as that of a human being.  The explorations of the things of depravity have led to schisms within the race, led to civil wars, etc.  So, while elves are generally viewed as being graceful and generally good if not indifferent, they are also capable of exploring the depths of depravity... which i do not even want to think about how far down that road one could go... i am pretty sure this is why our sin has effected death and limited the number of our days in the real world.  While i admire the mythical stories and history of pretty much all things elvish, this is one area that truly brings a revulsion.  Not because it is in the background material, but because i can see that in my own heart. I am somewhat appreciative of the lengths that those who have not fallen into darkness to pursue the evil veins of exploration.  It is interesting to me on how they steel themselves and use a firm mentor/student type of relationship within their society to help keep such passions in check.  Here, on Earth (in real life), we have the Holy Spirit to help guide and mentor us. This Christmas i am grateful for a God that took the time to reach out to me.  A God who wants to mentor me, who wants to help me avoid pursuing paths of evil and debauchery, a God who wants to bring me unto Himself and present me with the very best of life.  A life spent with Him for all eternity.

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