Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ahhh! Lemon Harangue Pie!

Can you feel it? Sunday's almost here... Reminds me of that Carman song "Sunday's On the Way". I used to like Carman, back when I was a baby Christian. I went to a concert of his once, and I wished it would never end. I wanted to make a T-Shirt that said "Why can't life be one big Carman concert?" Of course, I have since come to grips with the fact that he's a mediocre singer with predominantly suspect theology, but still, I keep a spot in my heart for him. His song "Hunger For Holiness" is one of my all-time favorites, so on that song alone, I can't fully dismiss him...

Got a smattering of random things done today:

- Finally got my hair cut, though you won't be able to tell in the video I post... since I filmed the clip before said haircut took place. In the clip, I still have that unruly mop on my head.

- Signed up for a "Facebook" thingy today also, though I'm not exactly sure why. If you're on there and want to be my "friend", why, send me a link and I'll "accept" it! Still not too sure what the Facebook thing is all about, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually. They probably have a section for old dudes like me.

- Bought a new hard drive for Crown Stealer at Fry's today too. Spent half the money I planned on spending, and got twice the size hard drive I wanted to get. So I guess I shouldn't complain. Vye assures me I made the right purchase, and I trust him completely.

- Finished the newsletter for Piranha. Still waiting to hear back from Miki about a title for the Interview Transcript. I think I'll make one up and send it, just to be done with it.

- Tweaked the blog appearance somewhat, as you might have noticed. New header art, a couple new "gadgets," etc.

- Hope to get some invoices out tonight, so I can get some $$ soon. First of the month, and all that.

Here's today's episode of These Are A Few of My Favorite Scenes. Went for a light-hearted clip today, picking the cop car chase scene from the Bill Murray comedy The Man Who Knew Too Little.

Probably doesn't make as much sense if you don't quite know the premise for the movie...

Sorry about the shaky, shoddy video editing. The lighting looks fine in the editor, but the final product always seems so dark. Plus, I need a new "Pirate" clip at the very beginning... you can barely see Captain Jack there. It just takes soooo loooong to import clips into the editor. But I'm willing to make that sacrifice for you! Provided I remember...

Made the mistake of sitting down with the family to watch Wanted a little while ago. Guess I should have thought to check what it was rated first, eh?! Needless to say, we made it about 10 minutes in before it was shut off. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about...

The other Netflix I got was disc one of a series on wrestler Kurt Angle, who is (IMHO) the best professional wrestler of all time. It's a shame he wrestles for TNA now... I can't stand TNA. I've always wondered why WWE never put out a DVD for Kurt. They've done several for all the other big names, and even some for some of the "lesser" names... there must be a story behind that...

Yeah, I know, I know... "wrestling is fake/stupid," I get it, and I agree. Still, there's something about it that still mildly intrigues me, and keeps me at least checking online every week or so to see the latest industry news. I don't really watch it anymore, but I track it from a distance.

Well, I think I'll hit the road and prep for tomorrow. I've blogged for a solid month, and I haven't lost interest or motivation yet! Let's see what February holds. The trick is to pretend that I have regular readers that actually like to read this every day! It's easy for me to imagine... I've had an imaginary audience in my life for as long as I can remember...

Until tomorrow, all rise for the Honorable Judge Knott!

Friday, January 30, 2009

With All Due Respect to The Smiths, Hang the DJ...

Yowza, what a day. Posting late today.

Computer issues are popping up en force lately. The big one, of course, being the meltdown of Crown Stealer. The hard drive died on me last night - apparently the drive I got for it has an issue with suddenly going bye-bye. It can be fixed, apparently, with something called a "firmware update"... of course, I have no clue what that is, but Vye said the drive can be salvaged, so that's good. It will just take a while. So I think I'll buy a new internal drive, give it to Vye this Sunday along with my system and all the driver disks, etc, and let him put the new one in and get it running again... and then take his time doing what he needs to with the frozen drive, and once it's fixed, stick it in as a secondary drive.

My iMac is having issues as well. So is my 500 GB external hard drive! Good thing I backed up all that data - if it dies altogether, I'd be out of luck. I think I'll get a solid-state external hard drive to replace this one. Maybe they're more reliable...

So much for not making any more big purchases until April, lol... Just doing my part to stimulate the economy, I guess...

But I'm sure you don't want to hear about my computer woes! Let's see, what other woes can I detail for you...

Had a meeting at church tonight, to try and get a plan going for Easter. I'll be hammering out a script, methinks. Not sure what I'll write yet, but I do know the theme. I'll be keeping it small (3 actors) and it will be in three parts (calling it "three acts" is kind of stuffy...), and it will be spaced between some songs. We'll see...

Still reading The Name of the Wind... it is rapidly becoming a terrific book... I can't see how it will keep this pace and level of quality... if it does, it will easily take it's place among the best books I've ever read. The story and the writing, and the depth of the characters. I can see why it won the Quill Award.

I do have a question about names in Fantasy stories... why do they have to be so off the wall? Every time I have to read a weird name, it detracts a little bit from the story in my mind, and reminds me that I'm reading a story... In Robin Hobb's The Assassins Apprentice, the hero is named "Fitz," which is short for FitzChivalry Farseer. Gimme a break. In Across the Face of the World, the names are a bit better: "Leith," "Hal," and "Stella"... but then with The Blade Itself, you have "Sand dan Glokta," "Jazel dan Luthar," "Logen Ninefingers" and the wizard "Bayaz." And now, in The Name of the Wind, it's "Kvothe," "Bast" and "Chronicler."

What is up with that? What happened to regular names, eh? lol. Of course, Tolkien is to blame, with his Gimli and Aragorn and Legolas and all. When I write a fantasy novel, it's going to have regular names for the characters. I'll take a Bill over a Bilbo anyday...

I'm sure I'm missing the point...

My technical problems with my mac are delaying my ability to post a Favorite Scene at the moment. I'm still working on it - if I get it done tonight, I'll pop back in and edit it into this post. If not, I'll post it tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, here is a YouTube video of perhaps the most incredible break dancer you've ever seen:

If you're anything like me, you won't be able to watch that video only once... you'll need to watch it several times with your mouth open, and your head subconsciously nodding to the beat...

Tomorrow, I will have been blogging for a month straight! Happy anniversary to me! Well, sort of...

Until tomorrow, pump up the volume...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Get Crazy With the Cheese Whiz

Heel toe, heel toe...

:O AAA!!!! Angst in the house! Drives me insane! But *certain* unnamed people in the house seem to thrive on it, and if I try to step in and bring an end to it, I pay for it. Some people need drama; I am not one of those people.

Dad called today to thank me again for helping him move. I'm glad they're getting settled in to their new place ok. With all the chaos in a move, there's something cool about finally relaxing and sitting down in your new place and taking it in.

I've been sifting through a bunch of new music lately (well, new to me, in any case) from both my mom's CD collection and a bunch of mp3s that Yanni gave me. Some of it doesn't agree with me, as is to be expected with such a wide array of music to choose from, but some of it is pretty cool. There's a song called "Loser" by a singer named Beck that is pretty cool, not just musically (pretty catchy) but because the lyrics are pretty much nonsense statements that don't really tie together, but just sound cool as they roll off the tongue.

Paul Simon writes his stuff that way, too. I read an interview with him once where he described his music writing process, and in most cases, he comes up with the music first, then kind of hums along to the music and finds a cool line for lyrics to follow, then comes up with words to follow that line, regardless of what they are, or really if they make sense or not. Kinda cool.

I guess there's nothing really unique about liking a wide array of music. I'm sure that could be said for just about anybody. Here's a clip from an amazing pair of guitarists, who call themselves Seis Cuerdas, and play in Southern California (mostly Santa Monica and Huntington Beach, apparently). From YouTube:

My step-dad first introduced me to them, and I have one of their albums. As amazing as they are on CD, they are apparently 10 times as amazing live. I have yet to see them live, but there are plenty of clips of them on YouTube like that one.

Man, the videos are loading slowly tonight...

Got the interview transcript edited last night, will format it tonight so I can hit tomorrow's deadline. Scattered in there, I'll be harvesting content for the newsletters, which should have been done by now.

Well, I suppose it's time for today's episode of These Are A Few of My Favorite Scenes. Today's scene comes from Titanic.

Epic. Great movie. One of those films I can't watch very often, because they wring too much out of me. Like Saving Private Ryan, the Abyss, Braveheart, Aliens, Sixth Sense, etc.

Yes, I just put Titanic and Aliens in the same league. So? You wanna fight about it, eh? Quick, name something else those two movies have in common! Yup... Bill Paxton. An actor whom I normally avoid, cuz he's such a dingleberry. Like Nicolas Cage and Woody Allen. Ironically, Paxton was also in another of my favorite films: Tombstone.

Sorry about the little technical glitch at the end of the clip there... it kind of cut me off as I was talking... bah, no biggie. I wasn't saying anything important in any case...

Anyway, got a long night ahead of me, so I better get to work.

Until tomorrow, chin up, soldier!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We Who Are About To Cry Salute You!

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!

Except clean them off first, eh? That's kinda gross.

Actually, keep your ears, that's ok...

I will take a PB&J sandwich, though...

Here we are, Tuesday the 28th of January, or rather what's left of it. Went into the rug shop today and got some shtuff done for mom. Had a slow ride home, a solid meal, finished editing tonight's Favorite Scene and now I'm typing this, my first blog post from Crown Stealer, my new computer! Feels awkward, actually. Like I'm walking around the shoe store in a pair of shoes I'm trying on...

The remainder of this week is going to be crunch time, as I need to finish the March newsletters for my clients, have to edit & format an interview, and finalize the redesign for the Rug Care Central site. May not seem like a lot, but trust me, it is. I wanted to get some things together for my Wagnervana site too, if possible. We'll see. I work pretty well under pressure.

Read some more of The Name of the Wind, it certainly picked up steam quickly, which is a good sign. I like it; the author writes like I wish I could. Crisp, clean, strong, fluid. When I find a good, relatively short example, I'll post it in here. I guess technically, I'm not really supposed to post even little snippets of other author's writings without permission, but hey, I'm not really supposed to post movie clips either. I'm already living life on the edge, so why not!? MUAHAHAH!

Besides, if it's OK for me to post YouTube links to movie scenes, why shouldn't I be able to post the scenes themselves, eh? It's impossible to believe all those people on YouTube all had permission to post clips.

Speaking of clips, I might as well post tonights clip, which is from the movie Gladiator.

I like the video/sound quality on the Flip Video better than my MacBook webcam, but the file sizes are much larger as a result, unfortunately. If I continue to use it, I'll have to keep it brief. And I already want to change the intro! After three episodes! Well, there's something to be said for tinkering until it's right...

Not much new to add; things are going well.

Until tomorrow, strength and honor.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Forever and Ever Endeavor

Greetings and salivations!

Thought I'd post today a bit early, since I feel the urge to... I'll write some shtuff, then later tonight, if I think of more, why I'll tack it on!

Helped pop move today, as I mentioned last night. Grueling - but not because he had too much stuff or something. It was because I'm so flippin weak! Man, my arms turned into Gumby arms about half-way through. It was so embarrassing. Too much time in front of a computer has led to the atrophication of most of my main muscle groups. But we got most of his stuff moved in, so it worked out well in the end.

Yes, I know that atrophication isn't a word, but hey, I've been known to make up words before, so it's hardly unprecedented...

I stopped at a gas station before heading home after the move, and I saw something amusing. They have an automated car wash at the gas station, and a guy pulled out of it in a nice new Mercedes 2 door sedan. He pulled into the parking spot next to mine, got out, took off his shirt, and proceeded to dry his car off with it. He had a blue-ray thing in his ear, chatting to someone on it, shirt off, tattoos, piercings, having a grand old time. It was odd.

Anyway, I edited together another of My Favorite Scenes for y'all today. I modified the intro some from yesterday. I'm sure it will continue to evolve. Today's clip is from the movie The Fifth Element.

Love that little clip of my kids at the end. They found the "video effects" built into Photo Booth and were playing around with it the other day.

I have a Flip Video unit in my drawer. I may take it out and about with me, and record some footy for my video clips in different locations. The outdoor lighting might produce a better result, visually... These two experimental clips are a bit spotty in the lighting department. Fun stuff. I'm enjoying it tremendously - I hope you don't mind if I continue for a while.

Anyway, all is good again today - no complaints. Got a full week ahead of me, work-wise, which is more than some people can say. Man, people are losing jobs and houses and having a rough go all over the place. It has yet to touch me; I'm counting that among my blessings, and I'm making sure I'm diligent in doing what is requested of me by my clients, just to keep them all happy.

Until tomorrow, remember, great mimes think alike...

Current Book: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Current Film: The Assassination of Jesse James
Current Game: Fallout 3
Current Bible Study: John 5
Current Music: Sifting through a ton of music Yanni let me "borrow". Jury's still out.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dave-O... Da-a-a-ave O...

Davelight come and me wanna go home...

Ah, 'twas a good day today. Are you sick of hearing about my good days? Do you wish I'd have a bad one now and then? Well, I'm sure my time will come. In the meanwhile, I'm gonna enjoy my day in the sun, ok? Is that all right with you, pal? Eh, tough guy? Yeah, that's what I thought!

My days of late: Work, play & errands. Dinner. Then more work, some play, perhaps a movie, and then reading on the couch until I pass out from exhaustion in the wee small hours of the morning. Lately, I've been doing my Bible reading right before my novel reading. Every time I've picked the Book up, I feel compelled to re-read John chapter 5. I read it aloud, softly and slowly. It's like a gold mine. Each time I read it again, there's something else to dwell on, and dig deep into. It makes for some interesting late-night conversation between the King and I...

I decided not to wait for Book 2 of the First Law series, and picked up The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss last night. Just started, of course, but what I've read so far is solid. Looks like it's going to be a good read. The book has accolades from just about every corner of the literary world... it's supposed to be terrific. We'll see.

Of course, what will happen when, later this week, I get the email from Barnes & Noble saying First Law Book 2 is in? Well, we shall see. Not a bad problem to have; too many good books to read!

I did something a bit different today for my daily episode of These Are A Few of My Favorite Scenes...

Yep, that's goofy ol' me, and my sweet Katie at the very end there. Let me know what you think. If it's too annoying/lame, I'll go back to clips only, but if you enjoy it (or even can simply tolerate it), I might continue... I have more ideas. MUAHAHAHA!!!!

Just to clarify a small thing from last night's post: I hope I didn't come across as being divisive, or against the Pastor in any way. Obviously, I stand firmly behind him, and he has my support 100%. He's one of the most important people in my life. I just think he's not quite thought the video game thing through completely, as far as the most practical and effective way to address the issue, that's all. And really, it's a small issue - a quibble, really. Still, I want to make sure anyone reading this that goes to Zion doesn't misinterpret my questioning as dissension.

Going to help dad and Linda move tomorrow. They're moving up to Murrietta so dad can be closer to his job. I wish them the best. Not sure why I don't spend more time with the man. He's also one of the most important people in my life. I just always feel like I'm bothering him. I'm that way with everyone, really. I love people from a distance, and leave them be. I'd hate to think when people see me or hear my voice on the phone that they go "oh, great, it's Dave... hope he makes it quick, whatever it is."

I guess in that way, I'm not a very good friend. People mean a lot to me, and I have many, many friendships that I consider valuable, but I don't really invest time in them, for that very reason, primarily. I don't want to be a bother, or have my attempts at interracting be misinterpreted.

My mom tells this story about my brother John, when he was younger. As he was growing up, he was really never around any other kids, just adults. Mom took him to the park one time (what was he, mom? 4?) and another kid came up to John. Mom thought John would want to play with the other kid, but instead, he was fascinated by him; like John had never seen another kid before. Mom said something like "go on, Johnny, play with the little boy." But instead, john stepped up to him and began feeling the kids' face, like he was investigating some odd new thing.

Anyway, I feel like that sometimes, when I try to be "friends" with someone, in a traditional sense. I feel like it's so foreign. I don't really know what I'm doing. So instead, I stay holed up in my little world, convincing myself that everyone else is the same way...

Bah, I'm rambling again, never mind.

Until tomorrow, there is no spoon.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

She's the Type of Gal that Likes to Run Around...

The Dave of the Lord is here!

Well, it was another solid day today, methinks. Wifey ran her half-marathon today; finished in 2:12, which is about what she was aiming for. I'd like to post a pic of her crossing the finish line, but I didn't see it... I was driving around for a half-hour looking for a parking space. Then I was wading through wall-to-wall people, trying to find either my wife, my kids or the finish line. I dropped the girls off as close as I could get to the finish line, thinking at least they should try and see her cross, while I drove around the vast parking lot, looking for a spot... they saw her cross, but couldn't get a pic.

Wifey didn't care - she was happy that we were there, and I was happy that she was happy. Still, it was incredibly frustrating, especially for me, since I really don't like crowds.

It made me think of that passage in Daniel (also in Revelation) that talks about the vast sea of people gathered before God's throne, etc. I think it said "ten thousand times ten thousand", which is a hundred million people, if my math is correct. Here I was, freaking out around a couple thousand... I can't even begin to fathom a crowd of a hundred million. I may give up the ghost just thinking about it!

I took wifey and family to Red Robin near our house to celebrate. Nothing says "congratulations" like the gift of a nice hamburger!

Went to church tonight. Got some work done, listened to the sermon. Pastor "suggested" all the people get rid of all video games, especially ones that have anything to do with supernatural things. My gut response was to dismiss it out of hand... I mean, according to that standard, the gospels would have to be gotten rid off, too... plenty of supernatural elements going on there. Also, the idea that real warfare is ok, but simulated warfare is somehow evil. I don't know... who determines what is ok and what isn't? I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all thing.

Besides, I kind of think it's the wrong approach to begin with. Even Pastor has stressed before that it shouldn't be about figuring out what we will do or not do for God... it should be about asking "Father, what do you want me to do right now?" Maybe games are ok today! Maybe they aren't, and He'd have us do something else! You can't really make a blanket condemnation of otherwise neutral hobbies and activities, and make it stick in light of the "what do you want me to do now" mindset.

Granted, it's hard hard hard to develop such a habit - if for no other reason than the uncertainty behind learning to hear His voice and know that it's Him, and not your own brain, or some other voice.

"God told me to stop doing A."

"Funny, God told me that A was ok."

Who heard from God? Neither? Both?

Bah, I don't know. Learning to become a servant is difficult for people born with free will.

I'll leave that for now. I didn't dismiss pastors advice, but I won't embrace it outright either. I'll pray about it. (Note: when a Christian says "I'll pray about it", that means he's not going to change a thing, lol.)

These Are A Few of My Favorite Scenes:

I was working on something special for the movie clip of the day, but it's not ready yet. So instead, I'll post another great clip from Duck Soup, with the Marx Brothers. This scene is a classic.

Love it.

It's looking to be a good week. Got my work schedule set up, which includes another set of newsletters for my three clients that get them, and the Rug Care Central redesign. Maybe I'll send out some invoices at the end of the week, and get some cash flow movement.

February's coming... do you know where your Valentine is?

Until tomorrow, add a half-cup sugar and mix thoroughly.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Man, I Need To Get A Porkpie Hat...

Saturday in the park... I think it was the month of July...

Let the youngsters scratch their heads over *that* reference! MUAHAHAHAHA!!!

I sit before you now, hooded sweatshirt on, hood up, glass of Red Bull + grape juice at hand, ear plugs in (to block out the squabbling kids in the background), as another unplanned, stream-of-consciousness-type blog post works it way quickly from my brain to my fingertips and onto the keyboard, thus sounding the trumpet to signify the passing of another January day.

Another mellow day unfolded today - I guess I should be counting my blessings. In fact, let me do so now...

Terrific kids, great wife, big warm house, 2 reliable little cars (one paid off), a great job set-up, food in the kitchen, a solid church full of good people, good friends, and plenty to keep me occupied. I'm in good health, as are my wife and kids. I have a great extended family. There is no one that I can honestly say I hate, or even that I don't like. My life has been inundated with blessings - these are the good years.

And yet, many people I know, including many on forums I frequent, are having a really rough go of it. As trite and religious as this sounds, I pray for them. I don't know what else to do. It all seems so random. How does God decide who lives and who dies today? How does He decide who rides high and who hits bottom? How does He decide who stays healthy and who gets hammered with a potentially life-threatening sickness? Is any of it random, or does He really make the call in every single case?

I don't know which half of the conundrum is harder to dwell upon. If He set the world up so that people randomly experience hardship, sickness and death, such that even He occasionally shrugs His shoulders and says, "Well, that's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes" then what's the benefit in that? If He really decides each case, who to let go about their business and who to drop the hammer on (and how hard), then it seems that would be a full time job - 6 billion people to monitor daily...

Just how involved is He in every person's day-to-day trials and tribs? Or does He just let it play out, and make Himself available to people when things are rough? Does He involve Himself in the lives of a handful only, and let the rest deal with life as it comes?

Ah, questions, questions...

Tomorrow, wifey runs her half-marathon. Gonna take the kids out there to see her cross the finish line. She starts at 8 am, and is aiming for 2.5 hours or faster. Running for 2.5 hours straight... I admire that she can do that. I might be able to run for 2.5 minutes without stopping - and then keel over, since my endurance level is lower than Congress' approval ratings...

I'll see if I can talk wifey into letting me post a pic of her crossing the finish line in tomorrows blog post.

These Are A Few of My Favorite Scenes:
For today, I set out to make good on my promise to post the street shootout scene from the movie Heat, but as I ripped it and reviewed it, it struck me as kind of a depressing clip. I mean, there is no dialog, just 5 minutes of cops and bank robbers shooting each other in the streets, with civilians running around. Cops get shot, cop cars get shredded with high-powered assault rifles, running and screaming and chaos and blood. Yeah, really uplifting Dave, thanks for sharing!

So I decided to ditch that plan and post something else instead. So here is a clip from Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up routine I'm Telling You for the Last Time. That's a bit more amusing than the gun battle, I'd say. But for those that might be bummed, here's a link to the gun fight on You Tube. For the rest, here's Jerry!

Besides, the gun battle clip was 50MB, which would have taken an hour to upload, whereas the Seinfeld clip was a much more manageable 15MB. It makes me wonder if there's a limit to how many files I'll be able to upload to this blog. I may reach a point where I have to delete some of the older clips - or at least replace them with You Tube links to the same clips...

I'm tired... Just thought I'd throw that in there.

I watched American Gangster last night - a thoroughly forgettable film. I wish I had checked the run-time before I started watching it. 2.5 hours? Are you kidding me? The movie wandered, dragged, scooted, sputtered, not knowing what it wanted to say, or how it wanted to portray the good guy(s) and the bad guy(s). Who was pathetic and who was noble? Beats me. Bah, I don't want to bore you with a synopsis of the storyline - let me just say it was 2.5 hours that, all things considered, I wish I could have back.

Now I'm eyeing the other film here (The Assassination of Jesse James), which also weighs in at 2.5 hours, and I'm wondering if I should bother with that one... I used to eagerly watch Netflix arrivals the day they arrived in the mail, rubbing my hands together in excitement. Now, if I watch one within a week of its arrival, that's quick. These two discs got here on the 13th. Here it is, the 24th.

I may cancel my account, who knows.

"Ah, gee, fascinating, Dave!" My apologies - that was probably tedious reading, if you even made it that far. Better wrap it up, I suppose.

Until tomorrow, Captain Dave, signing off.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Are the Shades of Pemberly to be Thus Polluted?

Greetings, space traveler!

More Coldplay music on iLike

The weekend is upon us: thought I'd start off with a nice, mellow song - Amsterdam by Coldplay. Give it a listen if you wish (Mom, hook up your speakers!) - but just 'cuz I like it doesn't mean you have to too! Coldplay and Creed are both bands that people love or hate, I don't know why. I happen to like both.

What has me in a melancholy mood, here on the preferable end of a weekend? Well, the Waldenbooks at the mall is closing tomorrow! Ah, how bittersweet when a book store closes! It's sad to have one of the only stores I like to go into at the mall shut down... but at the same time, 40% to 75% off all merchandise Woohoo!!! Picked up some great deals today! Gonna go back tomorrow and see if the discounts are higher still. I got Book 3 in the First Law trilogy (the series that started with The Blade Itself), and a copy of The Talisman by Stephen King, and a book that has been sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for weeks now - The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It's supposed to be terrific.

Finished The Blade Itself last night; now I face a dilemma. Do I wait patiently for the ordered Book 2 to arrive, or do I start a new series in the interim? I now have about a dozen books lined up, waiting for me to read. There's a couple other books that I didn't buy today that I might pick up tomorrow if they are discounted further, including the rest of the books in the series I read a few weeks ago by Russell Kirkpatrick.

Here's a question for ya: We all have a book collection of some size or other, I'm sure. It would interesting to know how many of the books in your collection you've read completely, how many you've read in part, and how many not at all. Are there any that you've read several times? Any that you read that you enjoyed enough to keep in your collection, but you'll probably never read again?

Ah, I love a good book! Hey, it's OK... it's legal in California to do that, I think... we're crazy liberals out here...

Took wifey and the kids to the Runner's Expo in San Marcos this afternoon, so she could register and get her number for the half-marathon she's running on Sunday. The most impressive thing (to me) about what I saw today was the vast sea of porta-potties they have poised and ready for action on Sunday. Sorry, I'm not a runner, so the rest of it was a bunch of people milling around, looking fit, giving off that "look at me, I'm a runner" vibe, like they all belonged to a big, unofficial club or something.

Of course, I belong to such a club as well: Windy Lumbering Nerds Addicted To Starbucks and Narcissistic Blogging. It's a proud group, with a vast membership as well, but normally doesn't hold Expos or conventions, since we're all pretty anti-social, and smell vaguely of Red Bull, beef jerky and B.O. ...

Well, since I'm in a mellow mood - and to counter the very testosterone-heavy clips I've been posting of late - today, I give you a scene from the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. You won't find any swords, bullets or car chases in this clip, just some strong dialog and stronger acting. It's the face-off between Elizabeth Bennet and Lady Catherine in the garden. Good stuff. I almost posted the next scene, where Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy finally express their love for each other, but I didn't want to destroy my manly reputation completely... just dent it a bit, I suppose.

Fear Not, movie violence fans! Tomorrows clip is going to be the street shoot-out scene from Heat!

Well, not sure where I should take it from here, so I guess I'll just bid you farewell for now. If I think of more to say, I'll pop back in and edit this post, and make it longer.

Until tomorrow, beam me up, Mr. Scott.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's A Little Wind Between Friends?

It's official: The Blade Itself shifted gears last night, going from "a good read" to "fasten your seat belt, this is terrific!" Finally, after all these years, there is another author to take the edge off my disappointment in George RR Martin, as the interminable wait for Martin's next book (A Dance With Dragons) grinds on and on...

Like Martin's books, The Blade Itself contains a bit more profanity than I'd like, but the characters are not only solid, they are memorable and distinct, and the battle scenes are very potent. It is smart, action-packed, memorable, and very well written. I'm nearly done with the first book, and have books 2 and 3 on order at my local Barnes and Noble.

The author, Joe Abercrombie, has a nice website with a blog as well, which is a fun/funny read.

Well, today the Oscar nominations came out. Heath Ledger got his nomination for his portrayal of The Joker in the Dark Knight, as everyone anticipated. No surprise to me; it was one of the best performances I've seen in years, and a perfect example of what acting is all about. He was given a role that had near-bottomless room to flesh out, and he did a world-class job at it, I think.

Of course, coincidentally enough, Heath died a year ago today. I read an interesting article about him today in Entertainment Weekly magazine, which seemed to dispel the rumor that his death was tied into his performance of the Joker - meaning, he got so deep into his role that he couldn't get out again. The article suggested that he was actually suffering insomnia and angst because of the imminent breakup of he and his wife, and that he was going to lose his daughter, who meant everything to him. He was taking an ultimately lethal combination of anti-anxiety meds, sleeping pills and ... um, some other prescription pill that escapes me at the moment.

Robert Downey Jr got nominated for Tropic Thunder, which I also watched, believe it or not. Crude, but clever. Haven't seen the other nominated roles, but I can't imagine anyone beating out Heath.

Anyway, about acting... I love to act, since it gives me a chance to be someone else for a while, and do and say things I might not otherwise get a chance to do or say. I also love to entertain people. When I write a play, for instance, I write in part from the perspective of an audience member. "Would I find this fun to watch?" I ask myself. And I write each role from the perspective of the actor. "Is this a role I would enjoy performing?"

So with both the audience and the cast in mind, once the idea is there, the play basically writes itself. It's like I'm taking dictation. Same with writing in my novel, when I get around to it. And actually, I try and do the same thing here... "If I took some time out of my day to stop by and read this blog, would it be interesting and entertaining, or would I quickly skim the paragraphs, then navigate away out of boredom?"

I was going to post a scene from Dark Knight, but there must be some encrypted something-er-other on the DVD, since it won't let me rip any of it. I refuse to post the scene from YouTube - I want to rip it fresh and clean!

So, in leiu of a clip of The Dark Knight, I present a different of My Favorite Scenes - this is the Death of Boromir, in the Fellowship of the Ring. Of all the great characters in Tolkien's awesome trilogy, I like Boromir the best, and his death scene is really strong - not like that nonsense in Return of the King, with the death of Theoden. Or Sauroman's death in the beginning of RotK. Lame.

Viggo's a great actor, and a perfect Aragorn. Apparently, he has a great performance in a mediocre new film called "Good". Much like Eastern Promises, which was also a mediocre film, in which he acted superbly. Of course, the first thing that pops into mind when you mention that movie is the fight scene in the sauna. Great... something new I have to worry about! Getting jumped by two guys with knives while in the sauna, wearing nothing but a grimace. I'll add that to my List of Things I Hope Never Happen To Me.

I'm experimenting with the webcam on my MacBook, so you might see a video-blog post sometime soon, just to see how it turns out. Hey, I'm having fun with this blog - I might as well try stuff out. If it turns out lame, hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. But if I can make you laugh and brighten your day a smidgen, then it would be worth it.

Here's a random choice from my collection of cool pictures:

Until tomorrow, "So be it, Jedi."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Go! Fight! Win!

Well, howdy! It's me, Dave. You know....Dave? Goofy, crooked teeth, large nose...Yeah, that one, that's me.

One of the cool things about having a big nose: bushels of nose hair! If I could, I'd make a donation to Locks of Love every month, at what I like to call "harvest time". Of course, I doubt there's anyone that would want a wig made out of nose hair...

I know, that's in poor taste, on many levels. I apologize. Blame it on the mood I'm in.

The new season of LOST starts tonight. I'm trying valiantly to summon enough interest to actually watch it. The first season of LOST was amazing, the second season held up pretty good. It went downhill after that. It always seems to be that way. A great show can never seem to maintain momentum very long. Must be the running out of new ideas that kills it. Heroes was that way - season one rocked (well, except for the season finale, which was a real fizzle), season two was pretty weak, and now, forget it. Same with 24.

Actually, movies are the same way. Sometimes you get an outstanding film that does well and makes a lot of dough. They announce a sequel (or more) and you get excited. Then the sequels are lame. Matrix was that way - great first film, lame sequels, as was Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, the only series that I can think of that held strong throughout was the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I love those movies thoroughly, warts and all. What an incredible cinematic accomplishment.

Well, I guess the first Star Wars trilogy deserves an honorable mention, but I still think Lucas deserves to be publicly flogged for that second trilogy, which I consider a "turd hat trick," if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor.

Well, we're talking movies, so I might as well show today's episode of These Are a Few of My Favorite Scenes, brought to you by your Favorite Dave. (edit: well, as long as I'm in the top 5, I'm good... please consult your List of Favorite Dave's and get back to me if I'm not on there... I'll send you some cash.)

Today's scene is from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It's the chick fight scene! Actually, I enjoy the fight choreography itself - it could be two dudes for all I care, it's a great fight. I label it the chick fight so you'll know right away what scene it is.

Speaking of awesome chicks that kick serious butt, I went with mom to an amazing school today in La Jolla, called Bishops. Incredible campus. Must cost a fortune to go there. Can't imagine going to high school there - I'm pretty sure I'd just walk around with my mouth open, staring at the place, exploring. Anyway, we went there to look at some of their rugs, so we can give them estimates for washing & repairing them.

My mom kicks serious butt.

And she likes my jokes! I told her my joke today about how "our country made history, finally electing it's first Irish President - Barack O'Bama" and she laughed! So cool. My mom could kick both those chick's butts in that movie clip, using just a tape measure and an issue of HALI magazine.

A funny thing happened last night as I sat down to read more of The Blade Itself... I picked up the Bible instead! Ain't that funny? Why aren't you laughing? Oh, I get it... the Bible is not a laughing matter. I see. Well, I decided to read from my favorite section of the Bible, which is John chapter 6 through chapter 9. I backed up a touch too far and read chapter 5 instead.

There were times when Jesus healed everyone that came to him - vast crowds of people, who came from everywhere wanting to be near Jesus, to be healed. Of course, these were the same people that were crying out for Him to be crucified later on in the story, but we'll leave that for now... There were other times when He walked away, leaving apparent needs unaddressed. John 5 starts out with one of those times.

Scene: there's this pool in Jerusalem that local legend says is a healing pool - that occasionally, an angel comes down and splashes in the water, and the first person to go in the water after the splashing occurs will be healed. So picture the pool, tons of people around it, watching, waiting for the troubling of the water, so they can race to try and be first in. Here's Jesus, strolling around, looking at all of these people... this is early in His "ministry" so people don't realize who He is and what He can do... they're watching the water, not Him.

But the point is, Jesus could have healed everyone there if He'd wanted to. But He walked up to one guy, had a brief conversation with him, healed him, and then left.

Kind of odd, ya think? How wild would that be, to be able to heal someone? If I had that gift, I'd head straight to Children's Hospital and get to work. Anyway, later in chapter 5 of John, Jesus explains His MO.

John 5:19: I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

I picture Him walking around, having a constant internal conversation with the Father. "Where to now, Father? What do you want me to do now?" God was directing his steps. "I came to do what you want done, Father." What a way to live.

Well, sometimes that meant healing everyone. Sometimes it meant walking away. Sometimes it meant raising someone from the dead!

I was thinking about death again today. lol, don't worry, I'm not getting all morose on you. I was thinking about this idea that the best definition of death is separation. My brother Bryan (for example) is fine wherever he's at right now... what makes his death suck is that he is separated from us, and we from him. Take it a step further, "sin" keeps us separated from God, and that sucks, too. The gospel really is about God dealing with the cause of our separation, so we can be with Him again, and with each other again.

OK, enough theology for today... you're getting a headache, I can tell. That's ok, just pop an ibuprofen and get some rest. You'll be all right in a bit. And watch that clip from Crouching Tiger again... that will restore your will to live. Or at least your will to chop at someone with a sword!

That's it for now. Until tomorrow: Go! Fight! Win!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

...But I Can't See the Stove...

It is finished.

No, I'm not quoting Jesus on the cross (though I probably should), I'm referring to my office! Carey came over today and I took him to Frys and to lunch (in that order), and then we returned and got my office in order. My new monitor arrived via FedEx while we were gone, at long last.

Hopefully, that's the last time you'll be forced to view my desk. I know it is painful, but you can endure! I believe in you! (or is it "I be leavin' you"? I always get that mixed up...)

So I've got my two systems, my dual 19s, my nice new 24, and off to the right, just out of view, I set up my iMac. Can you say "overkill"? Well, I'll be keeping it this way for the time being, until I get my new rig set up to do what it needs to do, for work as well as play, and I see that it runs smoothly and solidly, with no hiccups. Then I'll decide what to do with my old system. I may sell it, or set it up at mom's house, for Johnny boy to use. I may sell the iMac too, since it is somewhat redundant as well. I have a mac notebook that does everything the iMac does, and better.

Oh, and that square black box between the monitors is my wireless router, so all of my computers are now online. Well, I guess it's better to have too many options than not enough.

So, the day was pretty much spent setting things up and getting stuff installed, with a healthy dose of Fallout 3 added as well.

I feel kind of self-absorbed going on and on about this stuff... then again, this is my blog, and so it's more appropriate here than in some forum thread somewhere... besides, I have no real agenda with this blog - I'm kind of winging it...

I might as well post a video clip. Here's today's episode of A Few of My Favorite Scenes. This one is from Duck Soup, with the Marx Brothers. So many great scenes from this film, it was very hard to pick. I thought I'd go with Groucho, since I like him the best.

We had to buy a new vacuum yesterday. I've been spending/charging quite a bit since the holidays... at least the computer equipment is a tax write-off. Still, I think I'm going to try and implement a spending freeze for the next month or two, until I see how things shake down, as far as debt-to-income. We're planning a trip to Albuquerque in May, and I'll need to budget for renting a vehicle to drive us out there and back again. I'd like that to be my next big purchase, if at all possible. Meh, well see. It's all just numbers on a paper, when you think about it...

I've got a couple Netflix sitting in my drawer, waiting a viewing. I'll have to watch them soon. One is American Gangster, with Russell Crowe and Denzel. Supposed to be pretty good. The other is The Assassination of Jesse James, with Brad Pitt and others in it. That's also supposed to be good. When I give them a watch, I'll let y'all know.

Wifey runs a half-marathon this coming up Sunday. Gonna be there at the finish line to watch her cross. That reminds me; I better make sure someone is there Sunday to run the video, since I'm going to be missing church.

Another mellow day.

Until tomorrow, crack a window, eh?

Monday, January 19, 2009

This Is the Dave that the Lord Hath Made

It was a dark and stormy night. Somewhere in the world, I'm sure. Not here in San Diego. It's warm and beautiful here! Must be global warming! Run! Run for your lives!!!

Phew, that was close. A beautiful, icy cool picture (taken conveniently from National Geographic... shh! Don't tell) restores peace and order to the blog...

Still, something is not right... hmmm... I think I know what it is... can you feel it? Somewhere in this house, the Wagner women are watching American Idol. This is not good, not good at all...

Well, another Monday has spun itself out, unraveling like fishing line. It was a good day. Not a great day, but good. Hey, I'll take good over miserable any day!

Hooked the screaming beast up today. It's a beauty, that's for sure. When I get my new monitor tomorrow (knock on particle board), I will post a pic of my setup. My old high school pal Carey is going to come over tomorrow, and we're going to go to Fry's and pick up some networking equipment (a router, cat 5 cable, etc.) so I can get all my systems online. Whee!

Harsh segue! Ouch!

I was reading The Blade Itself the other night, and I came across a terrific monologue that I'd love to perform onstage some time. The character is a barbarian named Logen Nine-Fingers, and he is lamenting the bloody path his life has taken. Here's the passage; it's kind of long, sorry...


I've fought in three campaigns. In seven pitched battles. In countless raids and skirmishes and desperate defenses, and bloody actions of every kind. I've fought in the driving snow, the blasting wind, the middle of the night. I've been fighting all my life, one enemy or another, one friend or another. I've known little else. I've seen men killed for a word, for a look, for nothing at all. A woman tried to stab me once for killing her husband, and I threw her down a well. And that's far from the worst of it. Life used to be cheap as dirt to me. Cheaper.

I've fought ten single combats and I won them all, but I fought on the wrong side and for all the wrong reasons. I've been ruthless, and brutal, and a coward. I've stabbed men in the back, burned them, drowned them, crushed them with rocks, killed them asleep, unarmed or running away. I've run away myself, more than once. I've pissed myself with fear. I've begged for my life. I've been wounded, often, and badly, and screamed and cried like a baby whose mother took her tit away. I've no doubt the world would be a better place if I'd been killed years ago, but I haven't been, and I don't know why.

There are few men with more blood on their hands than me. None, that I know of. The Bloody-Nine they call me, my enemies, and there's lots of them. Always more enemies, and fewer friends. Blood gets you nothing but more blood. It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it. I've earned it. I've deserved it. I've sought it out. Such is my punishment.


Anyway, it's not that I'm into violence, per se, but I am kind of big on self-reflection and self-discovery. I think you could pack a lot of nuance into performing this piece, which would make it interesting to watch, methinks. He's a great character, actually, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he develops throughout the series.

I'm always on the lookout for good monologues. You never know when you'll need one, right? I mean, you can never be too prepared, right? Right? Sometimes the opportunity to perform impromptu monologues just present themselves in daily life, right? Or am I the only one? :D

I have other monologues saved; perhaps I'll share another when the mood strikes...

OK, here is today's episode of These Are A Few of My Favorite Scenes. It's a scene from the movie Tombstone, which has a brilliant back-and-forth between Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) and Johnny Tyler (Billy Bob Thornton, in his chubby phase).

Tombstone is a terrific film, with many great performances that aren't immediately evident on the first viewing. The first time you watch it, Val Kilmer's performance as Doc Holiday really captures you, but on subsequent viewings, other roles begin to shine. I'm of the opinion that Russell's performance as Earp is actually stronger and deeper than Kilmer's Holiday.

Good flick.

Another harsh segue! Ouch! Stop it, Dave!

Random Political Observation: Inauguration Day is upon us. I'm kind of neutral when it comes to Obama. I don't think he's the savior, but I don't think he's the antichrist either. I'm certainly willing to give him a chance to get in there and get his hands dirty under the hood, so to speak. What I find intersting is that he's universally referred to as "the first black President" even though everyone knows his parents were mixed, black and white. He's as much white as he is black; why isn't he also called "the 44th white President"?

I'm certainly not saying his race affects the way I view him, or the way he'll be able to perform as President - I mean, back in the '04 elections, when he spoke at the Democratic convention, I remember being impressed with him (like everyone else), and I thought "Someday, this guy might make a good President." I thought it was a huge mistake to run so soon in '08, instead of waiting to get a few terms as senator under his belt first, but hey, he won, so there it is.

I just find it amusing that such a disproportionate amount of focus is placed upon the more politically correct half of his racial composition.

That reminds me, I saw a great T-shirt today on Boing Boing.

It's probably more amusing to those (like me) who were fans of Run DMC back in the mid-eighties. It's put out by pro-Obama people, so it's not meant to be negative in any way.

Well, I wish I had something witty, amusing, profound or entertaining to say today, but this is it. A mellow mood produces a mellow post.

Until tomorrow, God save the Queen!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Me? A Weiner?

Once again, I take keyboard in hand to type out a blog post of inconsistent substance. This time, I am armed with a bowl of chili (liberally sprinkled with shredded cheddar) and Mango-Orange flavored Rockstar energy drink on ice. Ah, life doesn't get any better...

Yes, it does! I have my new computer back, woohoo! Haven't hooked it up yet; I'm afraid. I have some work-related dregs to polish off first. I just know I'll get sucked into gaming nirvana once I boot the thing up, even when using one of my old 19" monitors (until Tuesday, hopefully). So I think I'll wait, play the responsible adult, and finish up my lingering responsibilities first.

Yet the new screaming beast - which I think I will affectionately name "Crown Stealer" - sits there, taunting me, in a deep, baritone voice, which mixes harmoniously with the sharp tenor voices of my new games on my shelf, taunting me as well. "Open me! Play me! You know you want to!"

Um, yeah... actually... I do want to. I really do.

In fact, here, let me pause and snap a couple pics... prepare thyself... you are about to enter my inner sanctum. My "sanctum sanctorum", if you will...

You'll need to click the pics to enlarge them, so you can read the text, eh! I'm sure you figured that part out on your own, sorry...

Miracle of miracles! I was able to listen to the whole sermon tonight, even though I was upstairs, in charge. Perhaps it was because I was alone up there most of the time... although Anthony joined me after a while, but he played Neves on my DS most of the time, so he was preoccupied.

Anyway, it was a great sermon, I recommend listening to the audio link of it, if you ever are bored and have an hour to kill. In other words, I might as well not link it, since no one will likely click it! Can't link it yet anyway, since it likely won't get added to the WOR site until mid-week...

I've been giving more and more people the link to my blog. I told myself initially that I was just going to write it without letting anyone know, so that I would just write whatever came to me, like a journal, and I wouldn't be hamstrung by the idea that someone I know might be reading it... you know, in case I say something about someone and it gets back to them. But I'm having too much fun with this to keep it to myself. I'll save my full-on, no-holds-barred, brutally honest stuff for off-line journaling... and hope that none of y'all hack my system, thieve the file and post it on Drudge or something...

Besides, if I kept this blog to myself, how could I share funny little things like this with people?

Come on, admit it... that's funny.

Then again, I am a fan of absurdist humor. That's taken from the webcomic "White Ninja" by the way... don't read it unless you're not easily offended, since sometimes, it crosses the fine line between "brilliantly simple absurd humor" and "uh... that's gross".

My other favorite web comic, of course, being The Order of the Stick, which will only appeal to people that play Roll-Playing games (like D&D), and also occasionally crosses the line, unfortuantely.

Here is today's episode of "These Are A Few of My Favorite Scenes," from one of my favorite movies, Mel Gibson's Hamlet.

I'll probably eventually put up many scenes from this movie, since I love it so much. Also, it's fun to memorize passages from Hamlet and quote them in different real-life situations. Extra points if the passage you quote actually is appropriate to the conversation.

Funny thing about that film - it was released the same year as Godfather 3, which is a thoroughly fetid turd of a film. Hamlet was infinitely better. Yet GF3 got a "Best Movie" nomination, and Hamlet was snubbed. What were they thinking?

We bought the first season of Burn Notice at Target tonight for $18. Maybe my family will get hooked on it like I am. Fun show. They're in the other room, watching it right now.

Nothing else today, methinks. But who knows what tomorrow holds! MUAHAHAHA!!!

Until tomorrow, exit our hero, stage left.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Saturday" has the word "turd" in the middle of it...

Well, the contest is over. The contest, of course, being between me and the bushes out front: which of us would get a badly-needed trim first... And the winner is:

Yay! Nothing livens up a boring blog like pictures of shrubbery! A "before and after" picture, no less! Wow, such an impressive display of my graphic artistry! Note the bold, daring black arrow with the soft, golden outline! Notice, in the bottom shot, the haphazard hose, and the red cord from the cheap electric hedge trimmer (complete with the "Purchased at a Local Target" vibe) which seems to subtly mimic the haphazard nature of the hose.... ahh... I smell a possible Pulitzer for this shot...

Or it could be the after-effects of this afternoon's pizza lunch I'm smelling...

I better segue out of this before it gets gross...

I guess my haircut will have to wait.

I bet you're dying to know if I summoned the discipline and the intestinal fortitude necessary to turn in early last night, as I threatened in my last post. I bet it nagged at you all day, like a tooth ache...

The answer is: Nope. In fact, I was up until almost 4. In my defense, I finished editing and formatting a 40 page interview for a client, which is always tedious work. But I finished it, though it was well after midnight by that time. Then I took a quick tour of my favorite forums, and read my book (The Blade Itself) on the couch. It's impossible to keep adequate track of time when you fall into a good book...

Gotta go take Chris to work right now. I shall return and pick up where I left off, in approximately 30 minutes! Then I'll edit this part, and you'll never know it happened! MUAHAHAHAHA!!!!!


Aaaand, I'm back. And I'm armed with a ridiculously large plate of left-over spaghetti... Nothing says "long night ahead" like overloading on carbs at 9 pm... I gotta get up at 5:30 am so I can go get Chris from work. She's working a graveyard "floor set" shift at the mall. Which means she won't be attending church tomorrow morning with us. That's OK, I'll tell Jesus she said "hello", so it's all good...

I think I'm gonna start something new. I'm going to start posting some of my favorite movie scenes here. Hey, why not sponge some entertainment benefit from other people's hard work, so my blog will be a little more interesting, eh?

I'm going to call this "These Are A Few of My Favorite Scenes", with all due respect to Julie Andrews..

The thing is, I'm not going to try and track them down from YouTube - I'm going to rip them and edit them myself - that way I can be sure they are *exactly* what I want. The first scene here is actually from the TV show 24, the second season, I believe. You know, before the show got borderline ridiculous. Anyway, I thought this scene was very strongly acted.

I'll try and post clips each day, if I can. You know, for fun, that sort of thing.

I figured out how to do little animations in Photoshop, too... that could be fun also. I have an old copy of Macromedia Flash that also does animations - I may have to dust that off and see if I can't get all creative on y'all.

Warning: I'm gonna get all theological on you for a minute here.

I watched a video sermon by David Wilkerson last night. It was given to me by a long-time attender of our church, who has a long-standing beef with our Pastor over his position on righteousness. It's a classic Calvin/Arminian debate at heart, but with a twist. Pastor believes once you "get saved", you're supposed to live right, and wrestle with your sins, in the power of the Holy Spirit, until you overcome them. This other person believes it's all grace, start to finish, and all we have to do is accept salvation, and rest in it, forever, since there is nothing good that ever comes out of our "flesh" and out of the efforts of our will power.

Of course, that's what Wilkerson preached in this sermon as well, which is why copies of it were being passed out to the elders of our church (myself included), so we can watch the sermon and be "set free" from the erroneous belief that God expects righteous behavior out of His people.

I don't know why the distinction is so hard for people to discern. Yes, without God, we are nowhere. He is responsible for initiating the plan of salvation, and it is through His guidance and patient hand that we move from dark to light, so to speak (wow, that was a lot of "christianese" langauge there, sorry... hey, I did warn you!).

No, we can't "save ourselves" and no one is saying we can, especially not the Pastor. But what he is saying is that with God, we can overcome sin - and that by definition, that is what salvation is! What's the point of taking a miserable sinner into a nice new place (Heaven) if he/she isn't changed? You gonna mope around heaven, depressed, selfish, drunk, gossiping, lusting, whining? That all comes from inside you, not from your environment! Salvation is about changing what you are, as a person, so that wherever you are, you are alive and free from the habits and personality idiosynchrasies and "sins" that keep us bound and miserable.

Salvation is about change. We can't do it on our own. But with God, we can. Some people just can't see that. They think that means we are "saving ourselves" without reference to God. Misses the boat completely.

OK, end of theological rant.

To make up for it, I will post this cute picture I found online:

Until tomorrow, live long and perspire.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Josh For President!

Kind of a catch-all post today... hope you won't mind.

My new computer will hopefully be back in my grubby little hands by Sunday, woohoo! And my new monitor is *supposed* to arrive via FedEx on Tuesday. That's the last time I order anything from I ordered it on January 3, for crying out loud! If I'd ordered it from instead, I would have paid less and got it in a couple days. So much for trying to help out the "little guys".

Anyway, it will be nice to have that screaming beast back in my office, getting some lovin'.

Watched a great little "best of" clip of my favorite skateboarder Rodney Mullen today on YouTube. Thought I would "favorite" it and use it to test my ability to embed YouTube videos in my blog posts. You don't have to watch it... unless you want to see the best skateboarder in the world, that is...

The video quality is a little sketchy... it's obvious that whoever uploaded it ripped it off an old VHS. Still, Mullen is amazing to watch. I skated for years and years, to the point where it literally was all I thought about, unless I absolutely had to be thinking about something else. All my free thoughts went into tricks to try, tricks I've done, looking for new spots, looking at magazines and video... you name it. Even so, I still can't figure out some of the tricks Rodney does... and most of those tricks, he invented himself. He's from another planet, I believe.

I don't have many pics of myself skating, but here's a pic of me when I was in Phoenix back in 1989 - also known as "The Year That Changed Everything." Sorry about the lack of shirt. Phoenix is a hot place, ya know...

Yeah, I was skin and bones when I was 19... I have other cool pics somewhere, I think. I'll have to track 'em down. Hey, I could post some old video footage too! Ok, this could be fun....

On a completely unrelated note, I was reading The Blade Itself last night, and I read a passage that had me laughing out loud at 1 am. I'm going to post it here, even though it likely won't make as much sense without all of the previous story:

The Prince heaved in a ragged breath, coughed and reeled to his feet, stumbled for his horse and hauled himself up into the saddle with a deal less grace than he had got down. He shot a murderous glance over his shoulder as he made for the gate, but it didn't have quite the same weight with his face red as a slapped arse. Logen realised he was grinning, wide. It was a long time since he'd enjoyed himself this much.

I thought that was a very amusing simile, a face as red as a slapped arse.

As the book progresses, the writing seems to improve. I'm pretty much at the point where I can recommend the book. Still, I withhold my final say until I finish the book.

I'm feeling pretty blah today. I can't quite decide if I'm heading toward "under the weather" or not. Slight headache, slightly nauseous, slightly tired... it may be that too many nights staying up really late are catching up with me, and I just need a solid night's sleep to reset. I popped an ibuprofen; it remains to be seen if I can summon the discipline to turn in early tonight or not.

Was looking the "blog gadgets" today. Most are pretty lame. I did add an Ansel Adams gadget to the bar there, as you probably saw, but I don't know how long I'll keep it. I like Ansel Adams, but that Gadget doesn't show the whole pic, at least on my screen. Part of it is chopped off, which is kind of annoying. I wish I could find an MP3 player that would let me play a song from my own collection - just upload it like a picture or something, instead of having to go through a third-party program like iLike.

I'd also like to try out an audio blog post now and then, just to see what it's like. Not sure how I'll be able to do that, if at all.

There's the song for today - Broken Wings by Alter Bridge. I've listened to that song so many times, it ain't even funny. OK, it's a little bit funny, but not much. Not sure what I'm doing wrong with the song link there... it's supposed to just play the audio when you click the link... instead, it redirects away from this page and plays a video. Same thing happened yesterday with Garments of Praise.

As a rule, music videos are retarded. "OK, look into the camera and pretend to sing! Cool! Now watch as we cut back and forth between a half-dozen weird locations really fast while you sing, with a fan blowing your hair around! Now, like, gaze deeply into the camera and hold that note! Oh, yeah, we can feel the emotion!" Bleh. Spare me.

I better wrap this post up and get back to work. Gotta format an interview and send it off tonight to one of my clients. Until tomorrow, fare thee well.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy St. Bryan's Day!!! Have a Lemon!

Stayed up ridiculously late last night. For me, that was about 2:45 am. Part of me thinks it's because I wanted to let my wife get a few solid hours sleep before I lay down next to her and snore her awake. I wish I knew how to fix it - it bothers me when, like today, I wake up and she and her pillow are gone, downstairs on the couch. She says she's amazed sometimes that I don't wake myself up with my snoring.

Well, one of the drawbacks to having such a big nose, I suppose. Still, I think I'll take the couch tonight and let her get some uninterrupted sleep.

The real reason I didn't want to go to bed is likely because I didn't want today to start.

Took the girls up to see Bryan's grave today. Had to cut the trip short because the 3 year old needed a potty, and there wasn't one at the cemetery. But we got to say hi to Bryan and walk around, grabbing some pictures.

Me and Bryan in the first pic, my two eldest daughters in the second pic. Wifey doesn't want her pic online ever, so I won't post a pic of her, but she was there, as was my sweet, full-bladdered 3 year old.

This was 1999, I believe, not long before Bryan died.

He was/is truly a good guy. I'm sure whatever he's doing right now, he has that smile on his face.

I wondered if I would write something today about the day he died, but I don't think I'm going to. It was devastating, of course, but I think I'd rather just rejoice in the memory of him alive rather than the day he left.

I picked the lemons today.

Who would have thought so many lemons could come off such a small bush. Hey, whatever happened to the idea of a "lemon tree"? Why do we have a lemon bush? I don't get it. Is it still technically a tree, but is stunted or something? I tell ya, the small size does nothing to limit the bushels of lemons it produces (pardon the pun).

What do the lemons have to do with my brother Bryan? Well, nothing, I guess... unless you go with the "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" angle, but that's kind of corny.

The Revival In Belfast worship album was what Bryan and I listened to the entire time we were at the conference in the days before he died. We went up to LA on Thursday the 13th of Jan and drove back Saturday the 15th, in the afternoon. We listened to the CD on the way up, the entire time we were up there, and the entire trip home. I'm pretty sure he died within an hour of the time he dropped me off that day. He could have had his seizure at any time in the previous 3 days and I would have been there to help him, but no, he had to wait until he was alone, lol. Punk.

So any song from the album reminds me strongly of Bryan and that trip. We played The Garments of Praise at his funeral service. And Jesus, All For Jesus at the graveside.

So much for not writing anything about the day he died...

Well, tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

But Not Tonight

Ah, classic Depeche Mode! But Not Tonight is perhaps my favorite DM song. I have everything they did (and I mean everything) up to and including the Violator album. I'm talking remixes, imports, interviews, weird experimental stuff they did in studio just farting around... even a recording some guy made of Martin Gore playing an impromtu song on a piano in some hotel lobby somewhere.

Hey, there's a top 5 list for ya: Top 5 Favorite Depeche Mode songs:
1. But Not Tonight
2. Get Right With Me
3. Tora! Tora! Tora!
4. Stories of Old
5. It Doesn't Matter

As with most things, my "favorites" list would likely change a bit, depending on mood, but for today, I'd say that's accurate...

Another beautiful day in SoCal comes to an end. Took Kid #2 to school, went in to the Rug Shop, got some work done on the web site redesign... it's surprisingly hard to work on it. I really feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Kind of wish I had a second graphic artist to work together with me on it, in person, sort of bouncing ideas off of each other, feeding off each other's energy (so to speak). I'd have probably been done by now, eh! But progress is being made, so it's all good.

Got some other odds and ends done today.

Watched a Gawd-awful movie last night called The Forbidden Kingdom. It was literally painful to watch, but I forced myself to watch it all, so that I could, in good conscience, write a scathing review of it for Netflix. People should be punished for making really bad movies... punished by making them watch the movie all the time. The review won't likely post until tomorrow, but I'll try and link to my review page anyway... although I'm pretty sure you have to be a member of Netflix, and signed in to access the review page...

Netflix is terrific, I love it. I mostly love being able to watch movies streamed directly to my computer, in nice, high resolution, woohoo! Not all movies, mind you, but a lot of their library you can access instantly like that. Very cool.

Dori and I had an interesting conversation today via email about the nature of relationships/friendships/acquaintances, etc. Once the conversation resolves itself, I'll post some thoughts and conclusions here.

Boy, tonight's post seems kind of stiff for some reason...

Tomorrow is St. Bryan's Day...