For those who are anti-religion, i am about to lose you.  If my faith offends you, there is not much i can do about it, but i ask that you give this blog entry a chance.
    Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
        vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
    What does man gain by all the toil
        at which he toils under the sun?
    A generation goes, and a generation comes,
        but the earth remains forever.
    The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
        and hastens to the place where it rises.
    The wind blows to the south
        and goes around to the north;
    around and around goes the wind,
        and on its circuits the wind returns.
    All streams run to the sea,
        but the sea is not full;
    to the place where the streams flow,
        there they flow again.
    All things are full of weariness;
        a man cannot utter it;
    the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
        nor the ear filled with hearing.
    What has been is what will be,
        and what has been done is what will be done,
        and there is nothing new under the sun.
    Is there a thing of which it is said,
        “See, this is new”?
    It has been already
        in the ages before us.
    There is no remembrance of former things,
        nor will there be any remembrance
    of later things yet to be
        among those who come after.

    (Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 ESV)
This blog post was actually started in rough draft form several weeks before the tragedy that took place in Newtown, CT on Friday.  I have been concerned with a tendency to over legislate ourselves here in America.  When things are not working out our legislators pass some law, hoping to curb whatever behavior that has caused the issue.  There are times that something comes up that that needs some additional guidance and a new law should be passed, but i feel we over compensate.  Granted, lawyers often search out the most miniscule detail and will exploit it for the gain of whoever their clients are.  They rarely concern themselves with "intent" of the law, etc.  This is what propagates new laws being on the books to correct previous omissions, etc. The problem is, you can not legislate moral behavior.

We have all encountered the layman lawyer.  The person who always knows the answer, who always knows the 'truth'.  We also know a person (probably more than one) who feels that it is only illegal if they get caught.  More restrictions on the purchase of firearms may help, but i feel where we are failing as a society is that we are not teaching our children.  We have lost the right and wrong mentality, but too often it is not backed up with consequences.  

I have no idea, yet, of what Adam Lanza's mind was like.  I don't know if he had mental issues, or what set him off, but i do know that Connecticut has some of the most stricter laws in regards to gun ownership - and - he didn't own them.  He killed his own mother and stole them from her.  Now the call for more gun laws are being shouted even louder.

I am sorry, but more laws will not fix these sorts of problems.  Man is the Apex predator on the planet.  He is set apart, not only by opposable thumbs, but a brain that can work things out.  Some better than others, but basic problem solving is wired into every human's brain, and within that problem solving it includes how to get around boundaries and obstacles... such as rules.  A child does not need to be taught how to lie, or covet, or even steal.  Granted, not EVERY child does ALL of these things, but they do at least some of them - and i am willing to bet that if the first child thought they could get away with it without any consequences, they would do all of them at some point.  Timothy McVeigh didn't use a gun, he used diesel fuel and fertilizer.  On the very same day as the gun attack in Connecticut a man wielding a knife in China attacked kids in a school there

I am going to be honest here.  I have no crystal ball here.  I have ideas of what might work, and what might not.  I will not proclaim to be as sure as many who shout out in the media - from both sides.  One thing i do know for sure, the issue lies at the heart of the perpetrator.  It is impossible to legislate morality.  For decades now there has been an eroding of Judeo Christian values within the United States and the world.  Now, i will be among the first to say that us white - Anglo Saxon - protestants AND Catholics have not been the most inclusive, understanding, gracious, representatives of the God we proclaim to follow (the Crusades and Inquisition immediately come to mind, as well as other more recent historical examples), but we are being told a fallacy.  That man is a basically moral creature.  That we have developed these moral senses of right and wrong as we became more civilized.  To this i say - hogwash.  Just look at any country where law and order break down.  One could even take a deeper look at any social dynamic, even within a body of church goers, to see that selfishness and envy and anger are constant struggles.  It's not matter of what laws are in place to keep these things from 'exploding', it comes down to a matter of teaching what is right and wrong and how to deal with such issues - BEFORE - it gets out of hand.  One cannot teach that right and wrong is a matter of perspective without expecting a conflict to eventually arise.


I need to confess something.  I struggle with condemnation of others, of those who i feel should know better, but for whatever reason just don't.  There is no way i can possibly justify these feelings.  For some reason i got into watching a series of YouTube videos depicting several people and families who have left the Morman church.  I learned some new things, but I am still comfortable on my views of that faith as a whole.  If interested, you may see the videos for yourself here - YouTube Video and more.

No matter where someone else is, even if it is an area that the Bible is clear on, i have no right to condemn anyone.  (“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." (Matthew 7:1-2 ESV)) That is clearly in the Bible.  That does not mean that the other person is not in sin, or in error, but that i have no right to condemn that person for being where they are in their walk through life.  We all have a sense that we are not "there" yet, and we get down on ourselves to some degree, and so we try and 'place ourselves' within the context of others.  If they are messing up, than you must be better than they are, right?  In the end, only God the Father will be our Judge, and we will all be guilty before Him.  That is, unless we have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ to be our substitute, our propitiation.  Even then, it is not anything we have/had done.  We can only be faithful with what He has entrusted to us and share as we can. 
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  (Ephesians 2:1-9 ESV)

While listening to WTOP (an all news station out of Washington, D.C.) i heard a report about G and PG rated movies are significantly less this year compared to last.  I am still not sure of the reason, but i do remember hearing that most, if not all, of the other studios have cleared the way for The Hobbit to be mostly unopposed in regards to opening weekends for the upcoming date.  I thought that was pretty funny.  My beloved and i are really looking forward to this movie, but after looking over our schedule it looks like we will not be seeing the movie until Sunday evening at the earliest.  I am out of touch with the general vibe of most of America, so i am not sure how well the Hobbit being expanded to three movies over all.  Personally i am pretty stoked.  I've always known that Peter Jackson did his very best (along with his fellow screen writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens) would do their very best to be as faithful to the book, as well as find ways to incorporate a lot of the 'back story' from the various true canon sources.  The listed run time of "The Unexpected Journey" is 2:46, which i am quite thrilled about - AND, the 'extended version, on BluRay to be released later, will have an additional 25 minutes.  Love it.


I am trying to set goals for myself in regards to running.  There are four running events in the coming years i hope to do.  Two are 5k races, one is an 8k race, and the other is a 10 mile deal.  To be honest, i have not met my goals for this year (which were to walk 300 miles, and run 150), but each race entered has an entrance fee and would be added impetus.  Each race has something that is attractive to me.  One is for cancer research,
when in shape
One is to raise donations for under privileged children, and one is to promote wellness among children in my area (sort of like the Play60 campaign, but a lot more localized).  The 10 miler, is the Army race run every year.  That one is really hard to get in to, and i do not have confidence in myself to actually be ready for it this year.  I spoke with my beloved, and i received what felt like a half hearted endorsement... but, i think she is behind me.  Especially if it helps me get DS2 in better overall shape.  More to follow - i hope.


Video compilation

After wrapping up the month of November, and taking the time to remember the things to be thankful for in my life i wanted to resurrect this blog - sort of.  I mean, since it is not an actually living being, it never really dies.  Well... at least not in this world... but obviously in the world of TRON it would be derezzed eventually.
 :-B nerd:)) laughing

Well, over the course of time i had saved a few videos i absolutely found fun and wanted to share them somehow.  Well, sure, Facebook is the normal way to go, but hey, i never claimed to be normal, so, i thought, why not share them here.


The first one i want to share is an NFL Play60 promo.  I first saw it while watching the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins play on Thanksgiving Day.  First, as any regular reader of this blog knows, i am a fan of the Carolina Panthers, and this one features Cam Newton, their 'prodigal quarterback'.  In his first year he set all kind of rookie records.  I was able to see him break 4 records last year, in person:
  • First rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season.
  • Most total touchdowns by a rookie NFL player: 35 (21 pass, 14 rush).
  • Most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback: 706
  • Most rushing touchdowns in a single season by a quarterback: 14
As well as a few Panther Franchise Records:
I am liking that he is growing a sense of humor. He just seems to be growing into a really nice young man. A well rounded team leader, on and off the field.  I completely agree that a Rookie, and even a second year player - even one as talented as Cam is - should not be a team captain.  There are just too many other things on their shoulders to take on that role and responsibilities.  Let them mature and grow as a football player, and let them learn from the veterans around the locker room.

Anyway, i love this commercial.  It has a great message about kids eating right and exercising, along with a great tongue in cheek humor.  I am snickering even as i type this and think about the video.
:(tv) tv

The kid is priceless.


The next one a friend shared.  I really laughed hard enough to have ice tea come out my nose when i first saw it.  It's just so NOT me and my family in style, but in content it was spot on.

There are so many times as a parent, and you are up to your eyebrows in insanity and you just snap.  There is nothing even remotely funny...not until you can put some distance of time between the present and the event.  There are quite a few things that happened around my 'dojo' that i was truly peeved... but now, it brings a smile to my face, and a laugh with the family.  The key is, don't take things too seriously.  Be honest with yourself, that you are not perfect -- and then just learn from the mistakes, and enjoy life.


The last video in this blog entry for todayis titled, "How Bad do You Want IT!".  It is straight up a motivational deal.  There are some people that think i am like this, that i drive and drive and drive, but the truth is, there are a lot of times i take my eyes of the prize and look at the 'storm' that is surrounding me.

In one of my 'Being thankful' blog posts, i mentioned how i ran on my High School's Cross Country team two years in a row, and both years the team went to the state championships, and both years i dropped off the team - just stopped showing up to practices and everything.  Fortunately for the team, i was not one of the top runners, and this really didn't impact their performance at the finals (if memory serves they one both years).  This was not the only time i had done something like this.  In the sixth grade i had the role in a class play, and i think i was pretty good, but on the day of the play, i refused to go on.  The teacher had to get the understudy.  In many ways... i feel like i let everyone down, over and over again.  I see this video, and i want to charge right out and never let anyone down again, but i know i can't go about it that way.  But, what this video does, partnered with the grace of God i experience everyday, gives me incredible motivation to pick myself up.  To begin again, to do what i can, then get up the next day and do it again, and when i trip and fall - to get up and get on again. 

Right now, i am not there mentally... but one has to have an objective to aim for.  In driving you do not stare at the road right in front of the vehicle, you look up the road so you can anticipate the corrections needed.  When i was taught to perform land navigation in the Army, i was taught to not stare at the compass, but to use the compass to get a direction and then to look out and find an objective along that line, and then aim and head towards that objective - all the while navigating the obstacles of the terrain as needed.  I am working on this, but i have formed a saying that helps at times. 

"If you aim at nothing, you will hit it everytime."

There is, i believe, something in each of us, that want to make a difference, to make our mark in some way, but unless we actually get up and do something... we will fulfill that saying above.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."  ~ Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt ~ "Citizenship in a Republic," Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910 


Well, that is all i have for today.  If so inclined, please pray for me as i too strive to "take no days off", all the while, keeping a proper balance in my life with my relationship with God, with my family, and with my career.  Thank you for reading.


Being thankful, Day #30

I have saved for my last 'Being thankful' post, to express thanks for my Beloved bride.  I still remember the day that we met twenty one years ago.  Neither of us where supposed to be where we were.  I had a last minute invite to travel to see a friends baptism and when i arrived i had been informed that i had been set up on a blind date and would meet her at the nearby home coming college football game, she was supposed to be on a camping/canoe trip.  My blind date was her roommate, and since my (then future) beloved had nothing else to do, ended up being at the game to hang out.

We spent that afternoon, the three of us, discussing the sovereignty of God.  I think i may have watched 3 plays of the entire game.  After the game my date and i went out to dinner with a slew of other students, and then to the dance - which, i don't dance.  The whole Christian Student Union crowd hung out though, and afterwards we all went out to Denny's.  I ordered a hot fudge sundae, she ordered french fries with Ranch dressing (admittedly, i didn't learn about the Ranch Dressing part until later).  I only remember two people being there, my (then future) Beloved and her friend who had led her to Christ.  After Denny's we traveled out to a nearby historic park.  We wandered around in various small groups.  I left and headed back home, clueless as usual.

Three days later, i am standing on a ladder, holding up and cleaning a house's gutters because that was my job as a Carpenter's Apprentice that day, when a little light bulb  lit up right over my head.  You know, a real AH HA! moment.  I distinctly remember the Holy Spirit asking me, "where you paying attention back there"?  When i got home that night i called my friend who lived out where she was going to school and asked him to get her telephone number (this was back before e-mail was very wide spread).  He said he would get it for me and get back to me.

Three weeks later! he finally gets back to me.  I learned later that she was MAD at me for asking for her for her telephone number - which he had asked her for, the day after i had asked him - and then never calling her!  I am still not sure what took him so long to get the number to me.  Well, i called her immediately following and made arrangements to head up to meet her again that weekend.

I didn't see her until Sunday services, she was wearing a beautiful white dress with blue flowers, and her hair was on fire in the sunlight.  We went to a Ponderosa (i know, big spender here) and we chatted.  After we hung out with a married couple who she was friends with and also were leaders in CSU.  She invited me to go to her five year High School reunion Thanksgiving weekend, ironically, it would be one year before our wedding. I don't remember much about that first date other than we spent the evening with her friend from High School.

The next six months where a whirlwind.  I introduced her to my singles bible study friends, she introduced me to all of her friends, and we to each others parents. I checked in to the National Guard's tuition assistance, etc. and proposed on her the day she graduated from college - although, by then, she had already known i would.

For over twenty years now, she has endured sixteen years of me being in the Army National Guard, my quirks and short comings.  Not every moment, well, sometimes for a few weeks, things have not always been the most pleasant, but i know there is not one second i would trade or discard.  I truly feel lost when she is not around.  In so many ways she truly completes me.  I love her, and she loves me... and what better life could one hope for?


Being thankful, Day #29

I am not sure what to write about today.  It's not that i have run out of things to be thankful for... i am just not sure which one to write about... the first thing that comes to mind is my enjoyment of running.  I know, non-runners tend to think of those who do run as crazy - i think my beloved is one of the former. I've invited her to come running with me,or just come along with me on a bike.  She has turned me down on each occasion - so far. :P tongue

I have no idea how, or why, but i have enjoyed running for as long as i can remember.  While living with my father and step mother in Brooklyn, my dad took up running and thought it would be a great idea to take my step mother, my brother, and me with him out running in the unrighteous hours of the morning.  I complained (i'm pretty sure), but i remember liking it somewhat.  It didn't last long though. Running is primarily a mental sport.  Speed while running is mostly about putting the feet down and pushing at faster cycles, but when the muscles begin to burn it is about pushing through and keeping the legs moving. Granted, my childhood was spent more outdoors.  I rode my bike everywhere, and spent a lot of time playing 'Maulball', etc., but i never played football or soccer, or any other form of organized sports activity.  I remember getting a wild hair up my nose one day, to race my school bus from the first bus stop, to mine - which was the last one of a route that was like a giant letter C.  A check of Google Maps, and a little bit of estimating, the route was about 1.25 miles.  I have no idea how long it took me to run it, etc. but i just remember racing the bus and enjoying it.  When i reached the 9th grade, i went out for the Cross Country team, but before i could get too far along with it, my family up and moved - twice, between the end of the 8th and beginning of 9th grade.  When the dust finally started to settle heading in to the 10th grade (after moving another six more times, yes you have read that correctly, between the end of my 8th grade, and the start of me entering the 10th i moved a total of eight times), i gave it another try.

I am not sure if the coach was trying to discourage me, or what, but the first day of practice the team ran twelve miles!  Then we ran eight sets of hills, then eight sets of wind sprints.  Looking back, I am amazed that i didn't quit!  I was the slowest member of my team.  My only goals were to be in the top 50% of whatever field of runners we were running against.  If memory serves, i was successful in this goal, but the one goal i never achieved, was to break the 20:00 mark.  My best time ever was 20:03.  I dropped out of the team just before they went to the state championships.  I remember feeling like i didn't belong and like i hadn't earned a spot on the team.  My last name is abbreviated in the yearbook's team picture that year.  I did something pretty similar the next year.  While still in the team picture, my name was omitted entirely that time.

After dropping out of High School and joining the National Guard i got back in to running.  At Basic training we were divided up in to three groups of runners for PT.  Slow, medium, and fast.  I made the 'fast group' by a slim margin.  Man that sucked the first few days.  Then i made a boneheaded choice.  Each group had four road guards,their job was to run on the outside ranks, two to the front, and two to the rear.  When the group approached an intersection they would sprint up to the intersection, stop and then stop traffic until the other road guard caught them, or the group had passed.  Well, one of the road guards hurt his knee and i offered to relieve him of this duty until he healed.  He never took the vest back.  I ran the two mile course at the end in 12:39.  Not a stellar pace, but not shabby.

Since then, my running 'career' has been spotty at best.  I am trying to get back in to running regularly, but it has been hard.  I have been hindered by age, weight, and family life.  I am going to continue to try and carve out time, because i know that once i get back in to the habit, i will love it like i once did.  Besides... if my father, who is over 70 years old can do it... i can too!  /:) raised eyebrows


Being thankful, Day #28

I once was asked, "when you hear the word 'Church Steeple', what do you see in your mind"?  I thought this an odd question, i see a church steeple.  Doesn't everyone?  Apparently not.  This was, and to a large part still is, perplexing to me.  I cannot think of concepts, or ideas, in words.  My communication comes to a complete stop.  In many ways this has been extremely helpful to me in my line of work.  

I work in IT, but not 'on computers'.  I work on the part of the IT industry that helps a computer in Springfield, anywhere USA, to servers or webpages, anywhere else that is not in the next room.  As i try and prepare myself to pass some industry certifications and recall the information later when working on various tasks - if i were to try and regurgitate the info i read on a page, i would get hopelessly lost.  But, when i get the chance, i can usually pull the processes up in my mind, like a movie image.  I see the packets enter an interface, get handled by the card buffers, get moved to the system backplane, get dealt with by the system's internal systems, moved on to the exiting interface and dealt with the outgoing queues and buffers, etc. and on through the path from receipt to delivery.  I even have the ideas of the upper protocols and how they are encapsulated within the packets the systems are handling.  This presents problems for me in studying and taking tests.  Why?  Because a large part of the information is contained in book form.  Any time i read large quantities of information, it only takes a few minutes until the words on the page and the ideas in my brain are blurring and the concepts.  This happens when taking the test as well.  I will read the information for the question, and then get flustered as i read the potential answers.  I actually do better (i think) with essay like questions.

Today, i am thankful for how i am 'hardwired'.  It is very much a part of who i am, quirks and all.


Being thankful, Day #27

I was a little stumbled on what to write about.  It can be pretty hard to come up with something for 30 consecutive entries.  Some may have noticed i have not had an entry for my Beloved yet.  That is by design... i am saving her for last. :)  Like i always tell my kids when they eat, pace yourselves and save your favorite part for last.  That way the last memory you have of the meal will be of that deliciousness. :)

Anyway, today i wanted to write about how thankful i am for being creative.  Well, at least somewhat.  I enjoy writing, and i enjoy sketching.  But in neither case am i able to just create something out of 'thin air'.  I have to have a base of some understanding, or vision of the object.  For example, my sketches are only of things i can see in front of me, either a picture of the item, or the object itself.  My writing is similar, i have often tried to create a setting up in my own mind, but it is very two dimensional, not very deep, thus my stories are based in genres and settings i am already familiar with.  Still, i am grateful for the ability to be creative.  In some very small degree it reflects an aspect of the Creator.  After all, we are made in His image, and to be able to reflect anything of Him is glorious to me.


Being thankful, Day #26

Looking back over a lot of 'Being Thankful' entries, there is not a lot of substance to them.  In truth, there is little anyone can really take through life.  Each breath is a gift, everything else is a bonus.  Enjoy what you have, no matter what it is, but you should also be willing to let it go in a moments notice if the need was great enough.  Do not sacrifice the essential, for the trivial.  "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." (Jim Elliot)  So, a quick note that, while i am truly thankful for each of the things i have posted, they are not all of the same importance to me.

Today, i am thankful for the Carolina Panthers.  My mother was, and my father is, a huge Washington Redskins fan.  My first memories of American Football was of the Washington Redskins.  I grew up with the likes of Sonny Jergensen, Sam Huff, Art Monk, Joe Gibbs, and many other names that escape me right now.  My mother was IN to watching the Redskins, and it sometimes got pretty intense.
Carolina Panthers' Jonathan Stewart (28) runs as Denver Broncos' Mike Adams (20) pursues during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
(AP Photo/Bob Leverone) *

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/11/11/3659041/panthers-vs-broncos-111112.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy
  My dad is a much more subdued observer of the games, but when they lose, you can see it affect him some.  Well, around when i got married i came to the realization that the only reason i was a Redskins fan was that my parents were fans, and i was pretty much only a half hearted one.  Well, when the NFL announced the expansion of two new teams, i decided right there and then, that i would follow which ever team ended up in the NFC, for no other reason than the Redskins were in the NFC, and the AFC were just a bunch of pretenders anyway. (joke btw)  I didn't even know the cities that would be given a team, or even what the potential team names would be, but when Charlotte was awarded the team for the NFC, and the team name was the Panthers (basically a melanistic color variant of any of several species of larger cat) - man, it just fit.  I still remember the quizzical looks, and my father not understanding, but i was determined to 'make them my own' - insofar as me claiming a team to be a fan of.

That first season, my father took me to the first meeting between the Washington Redskins and the Carolina Panthers The 'Skins still played at RFK then, it was Christmas Eve, 1995.  My dad scored seats just a few rows up in the endzone!  The Panthers lost that game 17-20.  I didn't have any Panthers gear except an old fashion pennant like deal.  But each time the Panthers scored i waved and shook it, and i was fortunate enough to see each score in the endzone right in front of me.  I still have the ticket stub.  It was cold, it was loud, but my dad took me, on Christmas eve, to see his son's favorite team play against his favorite team.  It was pretty cool, and will always be a great memory of mine.

* Picture used from the Charlotte Observer's website; Carolina Panthers' Jonathan Stewart (28) runs as Denver Broncos' Mike Adams (20) pursues during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) - used without permission

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/11/11/3659041/panthers-vs-broncos-111112.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy


Being thankful, Day #25

When i first started this series of thankfulness, i wanted it to help me get back in to blogging some, even if it's just a little bit every day.  I set out and listed thirty different things i was thankful for and figured i would just pick one a day, mostly at random, and blog a blurb.  It has been pretty helpful for when i have been stuck, and while i will not have something for everyday when this month is over, i think i will do a similar thing to what i am doing for my Fallout 3 Wastelander's Journal where i jot down a few bullet items and then take time to flash each point out.  Not sure.  Anyway...

Today i am thankful for modern medicine.  For one, i wear glasses, and without them, i might as well be blind.  I can barely read a page a few inches from my face.  These glasses give me the ability to see and read, and do things.  Dentistry, i have shattered (yes, more than just a chip) at least 3 of my teeth.  Without dentistry i would look like the old prisoner in the dungeon with Aladdin.  And then there is the overall skills of research, etc.  It is amazing to thing that only one hundred years ago the flu could be fatal.  Today, the are skills to see in to the brain, in to the heart, where ever a problem might be.  I personally have survived serious head injuries, broken bones that have been set so they could heal properly, an appendix removed, infections of the blood, etc. that not all that long ago, i would have been dead multiple times over.  I know that the availability of these miracles of science are not universal throughout the world, and i am not all that happy about it.  There are a lot of factors in this, but i am proud to be a citizen of a nation that reaches out to help when disaster strikes.  I am not going to even try and outline the why's and wherefore's of the geopolitical and geoeconomic disparity.  The human body is an amazing machine in and of itself, but the abilities of the doctors of today is also mind blowing.


Being thankful, Day #24

My first introduction to the Tolkien-like elves was when i was in High School.  I was a new kid, but got invited to play Dungeons and Dragons.  The first time i played i had never even heard of an Elf or a Dwarf, let alone Lord of the Rings.  As a matter a fact, i was just a social oddity and not the proud geek writing before you today.

My first impression was one of mystery.  Dwarves came across as gruff, grumpy, and loved Beer - no, nope.  Gnomes, please.  Halflings, well, they seemed small, timid.  Orcs (well, players could play a half-breed version), were uncouth, rude, and barbaric. Elves on the other hand came across as elegant, sleek, stealthy.  My new friends tolerated the tons of questions i threw at them.  Eventually the 'threw' Tolkien back at me and encouraged me to read it.  Being my slothful self, i didn't (not yet anyway).  I continued to ask questions about them, etc.  Then as my interests drifted to other games, etc. i tried other slants, other races, but with only a few exceptions, i found myself always coming back to play elves.

Since then, i have continued to read about various 'incarnations' of Elves - almost exclusively of the Tolkien-like variety.  Fairies and sprites type 'elves' interest me very little.  I am thankful for elves because of their longevity, their apparent immortality, their love of music and desire to study whatever catches their fancy with complete focus, and when they have learned all they desire on that subject they look for something else.  And i like their desire to be a peaceful race (in general), but if it comes to it, they are capable of defending themselves and their friends admirably.

All of this is fantasy of course, but just like most of the heroes of old, they are but legend, flights of fancy.  I am thankful that Elves lift my thoughts above the drudgery of the mundane and give me something to aspire to, if nothing more than an in a general sort of way because, obviously, i will ever yet be human.


Being thankful, Day #23

When i married my beloved around twenty years ago, cell phones where big bulky things, with very limited accessibility for the average Joe.  Today, there is practically one for every man, woman, and child, in the United States.  And not just simple 'reach out and touch someone' deals, today's phones can surf the internet, navigate to a distant relatives house, make and check flight/hotel reservations, accept payments for contractors, pay for things, play movies, stream music, and even contain multiple books or magazines to read, almost anything one might want to do entertainment wise.

While i struggle with keeping the space between really loving this tool, and that is exactly what it is, and interacting with the real people around me, i am thankful for these little devices.  In many ways they have opened up the world to me, and made my life easier.