Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Always Do Right. This Will Gratify Some People and Astonish the Rest." -- Mark Twain

Hello everyone! And welcome to another death-themed blog post! Hopefully, this will be the last one for a while. I'd love to just come in with a light, fluffy, goofy post, but what can I say?

Of course, the biggest event that has occurred lately has been the death of my stepmother Linda, who died on 1/29 due to flu complications. She and my dad had been down here in San Diego visiting and they both picked up the flu bug before heading back up (to Oregon). A few days later, she was in the hospital with lung-related complications... and never left.

She and my dad have been married since (my best guess) the mid-1980s, so I've known her a good three-quarters of my life. I've never been as close with my dad and Linda as I'd like to have been - there's always been something between us. Still, her passing was a shocker to say the least.

Death makes me mad. I want to treat it lightly, with humor, just to show it disrespect, as though that's my way of getting back at it. But I don't want to be misunderstood, especially by my dad, who is understandably having a hard go of it. He says he feels like half of him is missing. He also told me it isn't any easier, having gone through the same thing already with my brother Bryan a dozen years ago. It's as hard as that, all over again.

But my dad's strong, and his faith is solid. He'll be all right, I'm sure. It'll just suck getting from here to there.

There, a row of puppies makes everything better...

So speaking of death scenes, I witnessed two separate ones in the realm of entertainment that left huge impacts on me... I don't normally see really powerful, Boromir-caliber death scenes very often - maybe once per year, but I saw two on the same day... both a couple days before my stepmother passed. Maybe there's a reason for the timing, I don't know.

First was in a movie called The Grey, starring Liam Neeson, which is sort of a survival/adventure movie. A group of oil-rig roughnecks working in Alaska board a plane to travel from a-to-b, and end up crashing in the middle of the Alaskan nowhere. About 8 of them survive the crash, and set out to try to survive the weather while being harassed by a wolf pack. But right after the crash, when the survivors are gathered inside one of the fuselage fragments, one guy is badly injured and is bleeding out. So Liam talks him through his death, in an amazingly riveting scene, the rest of the men staring open-mouthed. I wish I could find the scene somewhere online so you can see it. Trust me, it would leave its mark on you.

The rest of the movie is ok. Kinda predictable and often far-fetched. But it's worth it for that scene alone.

The second scene was in the latest episode of Downton Abbey, in which Lady Sybil's character (Jessica Brown-Findlay) dies after childbirth, in a remarkably ugly, unexpected death scene. I found it ironic that they had the "pretty" daughter put herself through the ringer like that, visually. Man, what an acting challenge, not just for her, but the rest of the cast. They could have gone the soft route and played it safe... sweaty, covered with a blanket, out of breath, reaching out for her hubby's hand, etc. But she was screaming and wrenching, back and neck arched, veins bulging, while the room was in an uproar... it was shocking, especially for PBS.  Not sure how long I was holding my breath without realizing it, but the slow, shaky sigh afterwards was shared by Wifey, watching beside me. The details surrounding the death are sure going to have some interesting ramifications for the rest of the family, immediately. It was an interesting storyline choice.

So, yeah, two heavy, powerful, memorable death scenes in one day. It seems to be in the air.

I suppose I could wax eloquent about the subject, and throw some scripture out, and talk of heaven and life and death, but no doubt I'm testing the limits of your endurance as it is, so I will spare you. But Easter is 8 weeks away, so it's Easter Drama time. The Lord's death and resurrection. I want to come up with something that fits with the season, without being focused on death. I don't want to minimize it either.

Wish me luck.

I finished a book called The Shadow of the Wind, by author Carlos Ruiz Zafon today. It's about a boy in post-WW2 Barcelona who finds a book that changes his life, and embarks on a quest to find out the mysteries behind the enigmatic author. It was a highly recommended and well reviewed book (the Zafon book, I mean) so I've long wanted to read it. Bottom line, it has a lot going for it - a memorable character and an abundance of great word choices and tasty sentences, but ultimately, I found the book tedious and grueling, and couldn't wait for it to end. The author (Zafon) relied way too much on lengthy exposition to reveal the convoluted story, robbing the story of it's sense of "mystery"... I don't know... I'm glad I finally read it, but likely won't ever read it again. (3 out of 5 stars)

I think I'm done for now. Hopefully, the "death" theme will be limited to January. It wears down the heart after a while.

Hope your weekend is a great one,

Dave the Dreary

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Oh, How Cute! A Little Blog Post!

"Oh, what the heck... let's go for it!"

Yeah, still sick, blah blah blah. Don't worry, I'm just mentioning it in passing for one reason: You'd think, in a way, it would be awesome... Unlimited time to play games, read books, watch TV or movies, and otherwise saturate myself in mindless entertainment. Nope. Believe me, I've tried.

Gads, listen to how pathetic I sound... *shudder*

But most of my symptoms have tapered way down, or disappeared. About the only thing left are the chills and aches. I can handle that. Should be back on my feet again soon, I hope.

lol, nice...

So I talked to my brother Johnny on the phone today, from boot camp. Surprise! He's sick, too! Only he still had to do his swimming qualifier, sick or not. He said he passed, but was so cramped and exhausted in the effort, he had to sit out a while... before beginning the other physical training qualifier of the day (he didn't tell me what that one was, but he said he passed it as well).

Uh oh.... am I supposed to be talking about this? I don't know the rules about boot camp and top secret level stuff. Better stop, just to be safe. All that to say, he's plugging along. Chin up, bro!

They just released a new Kid History clip online today (#10), but I don't know.... it didn't really work for me. That's the odd thing about something cool becoming too successful... it changes the underlying vibe... just doesn't feel right. Too forced, too self aware. Same thing happened with Epic Meal Time. The first year it was unique and fun.... now they're all about products and famous guests and reused jokes, etc. They got too big, and lost what made them cool to begin with. I think that's what's happening with the Bored Shorts group.

Not sure how I feel about this next video clip I'm going to show you... on the one hand, I think it's a really funny prank... on the other hand, I'd hate to be on the receiving end of it... Although I guess that could be said about any prank...

What do you think? Thumbs up or down?

Well, anyways, I guess that's it for now. One of the drawbacks of being holed away in one's office for near on a week is that very little worth mentioning in one's blog can happen. Hopefully I'll get my head together soon, and things can get back to normal in my little corner of the world. Until then, thank you for both your patience and your patronage...

Adios for now,

Dave the Phoenix

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Thousand Pardons, M'Lady...

So I intended on updating the ol' bloggeroo a day or two ago, but I've been under the weather (yet again) with an entirely weird and different malady. This isn't the thrice-damned head cold I've battled since the fall... this is something that brings with it dizziness, electric pulses in my brain, debilitating chills, cranial pressure and a complete lack of appetite. If it was just me facing this beast, that'd be one thing... but Youngest is battling it too. Poor thing.

Anyway, I'm betting that's the last thing you want to read about, so I'll move on. I will tell you one thing, though... nothing makes a day drag on into eternity for me like being sick. My gosh, I feel like these past 2 days have been two weeks.

Maybe it's the hypochondriac in me (I spelled it right the first try! Woohoo!), but I've been pondering death again. Of course, my brother's passing has been on my mind of late, and then that first night I was sick, when I sat teetering on the edge of sleep all night long without once toppling in, I found my mind drifting in that direction. Probably all those weird electric pulses in my brain, which I've mentioned on this blog before over the years, but these past two days, they've been going off like a fireworks finale, and the only way I can deal with them is to sit still with my eyes closed and wait for them to pass. I have this weird disconnect with my body going when it happens, like I've had way too much to drink, and my brain has trouble communicating with my limbs. It isn't painful, it's just unnerving (and still happening, as I write this)

Anyway, during my night-long vigil, I decided I'd write a little document with all of my important info for my wife, in case I kick off. You know, passwords to various sites (bank, paypal, insurance, etc), how to contact my life insurance guy, stuff like that. Practical, and probably useful in any case. Of course, then my mind went to things I'd like to say to certain people in my life that I haven't got to say yet... a group of docs I'd write up and stash, with instructions to send off if I should kick it... that one I know is probably not as good an idea, lol...

In any case, I know once I get this weirdness behind me, I'll look back on this post and laugh. I tell ya, I can't wait for Spring...

So I might as well spill a little bit of that "good news" I've been teasing you with over the past month or two, since it seems to be solidifying and moving forward. My good friend Todd's dream of starting a Christian movie production house is becoming a reality. I'll stay mum on the details for now, but it looks exciting- and he wants me involved. So who knows? Very soon I may shift careers and start making movies (a dream of mine as well).

That's a tease, more than anything. But at least it's something!

So I love my car. I mean, the one my brother John gave me, the Subaru. I'm torn. I'd love to keep it...but I don't know if that's the smart play or not. I need wisdom!

By the way, I also love my new wireless headphones. I can have something going on the computer, and go get a drink in the kitchen, or take a restroom trip, and come back, and be listening the whole time! How cool is that!?

Well, it sounded cool before I wrote it. Now that I've read it on screen, it sounds pretty sad...

So after my latest reading spurt, I've entered a cooling off period... it's typical. I read several titles with enthusiasm, then hit the wall and just stop. Usually the stoppage doesn't last too long - a week or three at the most. But I likely won't have much to say book-wise in the interim.

LOTR reference for the win!

Well, I'd say that's enough nonsense for now. Hopefully I'll have something interesting to say next time...

Dave the Addlepate

Friday, January 18, 2013

Throwing it at the Wall, Seeing What Sticks

Greetings, fellow travelers!

It is I, Dave the Lumbering, Snaggletoothed Nerd, coming to you live from my reinforced underground bunker/rumpus room/entertainment hub (aka "The Seat of the Scornful", aka "The Dave Cave"), with another coffee-induced (-enhanced?) blast of verbal nonsense.

Man, how was that for an awkward intro?

I feel like this is how that intro went...

Yeah, that's about right, I'd say...

So my last three reads can be summarized thusly: One really good book, one great book, and one awesomely great book.

The Really Good: King of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence

The sequel to one of my favorite reads from last year, the dark and gritty fantasy tale Prince of Thorns, this book follows the travails of the Honorous King Jorg, as he fights various overwhelming forces to retain his tenuous grasp on the throne he took from his uncle, as revenge for killing his mother and brother (and almost young Jorg as well). The tale takes place on Earth in the far future, so it is an interesting mix of fantasy and sci-fi, as Jorg finds ways to take advantage of long-gone "ancient" technologies, combined with his magical abilities, to help even the odds against those bent on destroying him.

The only real problem I had with the tale was its disjointed telling. It bounces back and forth between the current events, and events from four years earlier, and then also events that took place during a time in which his memory had a big blank gap... It's hard to keep track of what is happening when. Anyway, the writing itself and the dialog are well done and easy to read. Took me a good two-plus weeks to finish this one, but ultimately I enjoyed it. (4 out of 5 stars)


The Great: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

This one had a lot of hype surrounding it last year, and it turns out it was for good reason. I tore through this book in about 24 hours or so. It is Cline's first book, and hopefully not his last.

In the future, the world is in rough shape due to a combination of energy crisis, financial crisis and environmental crisis. Lucky for everyone, a computer whiz that grew up in the 1980's had invented a virtual world called OASIS, where people can log in with full VR gear and live in a better world, sort of like the Matrix, only cooler. Well, this inventor of the OASIS was a recluse, and rich beyond imagining... and when he died, he announced a game... hidden inside OASIS were three keys to three gates... if you could find the keys, solve the challenges to open the gates, and solve the challenges inside the gates, the ultimate reward was all of his dough - to the tune of 260 Billion dollars. It's open to everyone, and all you need to do is solve the first riddle, and then begin your search of the thousands of planets and worlds scattered throughout OASIS.

Yes, this formula has been done before (dirt-poor kid with super-smarts somehow manages to win the impossible contest and win wild riches), but this story is especially cool for folks my age, since all of the challenges and riddles and puzzles have to do with the 1980s - the movies, games and music mostly -- so it was a very fun adventure combined with a trip down memory lane for me. I read it very quickly, all the way through to its very satisfying conclusion. (4.5 out of 5 stars)


The AWESOME: The Last Dragoon, by James Daniel Ross

Last year I read a book called I Know Not, by indy author James Daniel Ross that impressed me greatly, even though the book was rife with typos and grammatical quirks. I liked it so much I re-read it at the very beginning of this year. Typos-shmypos... the guy wrote a great story. Well, he recently released a new book called The Last Dragoon, and from the first chapter I was blown away.

The premise is extremely cool, lemme see if I can summarize it in one sentence: A necromancer is attacking the Ivy City from within, by raising the dead in the catacombs beneath the city and using them as an army... but in doing so he has also raised a long-dead hero who is determined to stop him. I don't know how that strikes you, but please take my word for it - this is an amazing tale, non-stop action, redemption, and ironically it has a moving love story at its heart. It's told from the perspective of Matthias Reinhart, the last Dragoon, sworn by his order to protect and serve the King with his life. His love for the king's daughter leads him to die in scandal - and his resurrection gives him a chance at redemption (and then some). I won't spoil anymore of the story. Let me just say that this little-known author has broken into the top ten of my favorite fantasy authors, right up there with the big names. He tells a heck of a story. I Know Not was not a fluke - I think this guy's going to be big. Be forewarned if you track this one down - because the necromancer involved is quite creative, some of the scenes cross over into the "horror" genre for a bit. (5 out of 5 stars)

[EDIT: OK, confession time. I wrote the mini-review of The Last Dragoon before completely finishing it. I was so caught up in the ride that I assumed it would stay consistent throughout. Well, it wavers a bit toward the end, and crosses into melodrama and becomes occasionally redundant as certain story elements are reused to accomplish similar things. I still really enjoy both the story and the premise greatly, but the story does suffer a bit from the lack of variety in the final quarter. Still highly recommended 4.25/5 stars)


Man, I didn't really intend to let mini-book reviews take over the post tonight, but there it is. That's what happens when you blog as the wind moves you...

I guess I could post a cooking video...

Perfect! Steak anyone?

Other than reading and tinkering around in Minecraft, not much to report. I still haven't forgotten about the potentially really awesome news I hinted at a month or two ago. In fact, great developments afoot. I may have an announcement soon.

Hmm.... maybe a Funny Picture or two, and then I'm out...

First, a pic that combined three of my favorite things: movies, computers and puns...


Come on, that's awesome... wish I'd thought of that one...

Next, a dog takes a self-portrait for his Facebook profile...

And finally, a Smart Car owner paints his car to look like a toy Playmobil kiddie car...

That's probably what it feels like to ride in one to begin with...

OK, I'm out for now.

Oh, wait! I forgot to mention, I got an email update from the makers of that competitive eating documentary I was filmed for back in the day. The film is near-finished, and has been submitted to several film festivals. I'll apparently be getting to see it very soon. *fingers crossed*

Adios for now,

Dave the Meanderthal

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

St. Bryan's Day: The Memorial That Wasn't

I've been going back and forth all week - and especially all day today (1/15) about whether to go through with my planned detailed retrospective of my brother Bryan's passing on this day in 2000. I'm torn. Part of me wants to share a wide array of stuff from my archive from that event. Pictures, text, audio, etc., everything. The other part of me balks at being that open in such a public forum about something so deeply personal and meaningful to me. Friend of the blog Diz (100 Fold Christianity) once wrote a deeply personal blog post about a tragedy she experienced, back when she started her blog, but then removed it shortly thereafter, saying she felt too exposed... I think I know now what she meant by that...

It certainly was one of the pivotal events of my life, finding my deceased brother in his apartment like I did. I'd spent the past three days with him at a conference up in LA... drove up with him, roomed with him, ate with him, went to classes with him, etc., basically every waking minute... then when we drove back to San Diego, he dropped me off at my house, and took off... and I didn't see him alive again after that... when I saw him that night, he'd been gone for many hours...

But sooooo much happened in those days we spent together, and in the turmoil that followed, I was going to go into detail here. I was going to share the audio clip of his answering machine tape from that night, with various folks calling to see where he was and if he was ok (he'd not shown up for a church event he was in charge of). I was going to share the text of an email I wrote to him that night, after I'd returned home, my world reeling. I was going to share an article I wrote about his passing, that was submitted to the Foursquare monthly magazine. And of course, photos... of his life, of his funeral, of his memorial... I had video clips too...

But I can't. I'm sorry, I just can't. I thought I could.

But I can't.

I learned so much through that fire 13 years ago. A lot about myself, about life, about family, about friendship, about pain. Enough surrounds that event to fill a book. Maybe that's where it will end up someday.

Bryan, you were a man of many strengths and talents, and I miss you. If you were here, I'd give you a bear hug.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Captain Obvious is a Shallow Sap! Who Knew?

Brrr! That photo reminds me of how cold it's been of late in San Diego! Yes, yes, I know... complaining about "cold" in San Diego is like... like what? Like complaining about getting only three pieces of bacon with breakfast instead of five, when some folks have nothing to eat at all. I get it, everyplace else would consider our current weather practically summertime. Still, you settle into wherever you are in life - that becomes the norm -- and any deviation is apt to lead to an uproar. So, yes, even though 46 degrees would be cause for celebration elsewhere, to me it's 4-layer weather.

I'm reminded of Downton Abbey, for some reason. Here you have this upper-class family, with lords and ladies and all, living upstairs, and the wait staff downstairs, two different worlds, settled into two different "levels" in life and society... they all have stuff to be thankful for and stuff to complain about.

Yeah, I know, I'm being Captain Obvious here, sorry. Just trying to let it sink into me a bit deeper... compared to some, I live like a king... compared to others, I'm practically a pauper. If my worst complaint is about the weather, I'm doing pretty good.

OK, enough nonsense. Time for some nonsense!

Don't let the video thumbnail put you off... you MUST watch this video...

OMG, I can never watch that video just once... every time I see it, I have to replay it immediately.

Here's another funny video for you...

The guy mounted a GoPro camera on his trombone. Genius.

And now...

A Long Story With A Boring Payoff, by David Wagner III

So a disparate convergence of events has led to a bit of awesomeness for me... first, I got a new pair of shoes for Christmas. Big brown leather(ish) clodhopper shoes that I like, even though they make my feet feel clumsy and heavy. Second, my good old pair of gaming headphones, which a friend bought for me a year or so ago, and are nice, even though the cord gets tangled on the arm of my chair, and often I'd stand up to go walk off to get some thing, forget I had them on, and the cord would yank the phones off my head, making me feel like a complete imbecile.

Third, I was wearing the clodhopper shoes the other day at the computer... my headset was on the desk, the cord around the arm of my chair without my knowing it. I got up, yanked the headset onto the floor, where I proceeded to stomp on them with said clodhoppers, breaking them thoroughly and sparking a ball of rage in my chest. I duct taped them together again, which was ugly as sin and only barely worked, which just served to constantly remind me of my bonehead maneuver.

All that to say I spent the rest of my Christmas Amazon $$ not on books, but on a new headset.


... are a dream. Logitech G930 Wireless Gaming Headset w/7.1 Surround Sound. They are AMAZING. Not just because they are wireless, but because I've never heard sound from a headset like this. It's hard to explain... it's like having a great set of surround sound speakers lining the walls around me, rather than close to my head, like usual headphones. I keep wanting to turn the noise down so I don't bother anyone else with the music, etc... my brain thinks they are speakers that everyone can hear... I wish I could explain it better, you'd really have to hear it yourself to "get it"...

End of Story

Wow. Did that make me sound incredibly shallow or what? I would be humiliated if I had any pride left to begin with... I better divert attention with a cool tornado photo...

There... now the Boring Story is forgotten and you can respect me again...

Except I just brought the Boring Story up again, and you remember it now! So I better divert attention again with a photo of a lion walking into the wind...

Ahh, there we go.

So my brother Johnny gave me his car when he left for Boot Camp. And I don't mean "let me borrow it," he gave it to me as a gift. That means the two best cars I've ever owned have been given to me by my brothers. I got my brother Bryan's Mercury Mystique from him when he passed away (13 years ago! Dang!) and now Johnny gave me his Subaru Impreza WRX. Honestly, I don't know if I should keep it or sell it. He said I could sell it if I wanted to, and I just might. I'll keep it for a few weeks and see if I like it enough to want to keep it. It's a nice "problem" to have...

So friend of the blog Logan sent me a gift in the mail... a kid-friendly Bible to read to my youngest! How cool is that? We've been making our way through the Book of John. I'd have to say John chapters 6 through 9 is my favorite section of the entire Bible. It will be fun to go through those chapters with Mags and see what she thinks...

Check this photo out...

I haven't been as moved by a photo in a loooong time. On the one hand, my heart breaks that kids have to deal with cancer and leukemia... man, if I had one wish in life, it would be that cancer and leukemia would disappear and never come back. Or at the least, leave kids alone. Other than war, I can't think of anything that has brought more pain to families. That girl can't be much older than my Youngest... if my Youngest had to go through that... anyway, on the other hand, looks like that little girl beat it! Yay! Makes my heart sing. Look at that smile. Can a heart break and sing at the same time? You betcha...

OK, that's enough. Do me a favor, and scroll back up toward the top, and watch that first video again. It will make you laugh, and if you read through this whole post to this point, I'm sure you could use a laugh about now...

Adios for now,

Dave the Shallow

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ahhh! Brain Freeze!

Take a gander at that pic full size for a moment or four... I'd say "wow" could cover it... Is it safe to assume that was taken on a plane, as opposed to a higher mountaintop, eh?

That reminds me, did y'all see that massive (gigapixel) zoomable panorama shot of Mt. Everest? For obvious reasons, I can't post it here in this blog, but do yourself a favor and check out the link.

Or click that thumbnail right there, let the site load, and prepare to be amazed. You can use the onscreen controls if you want to, but it's easier to click-and-hold the left mouse button and drag the photo around, and use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out. The coolest part for me was to find the massive tent city on the glacier... looked like tiny bits of litter at first, then I zoomed way in and was amazed.

Anyway, yeah, that sort of thing. Doubt I'll ever get into mountaineering, but I still find the subject interesting. From what I understand, there are still around 200 dead bodies on Mt Everest. I read an article on the difficulties involved in trying to retrieve the bodies from the mountain. Crazy.

"OK, enough with the mountains already, Dave, you mouth breather!"


Alright, who said that?

Bah, doesn't matter. Whoever said it was right...

So everyone is leaving! Sheesh! And by "everyone", I mean Abbie J. and my brother Johnny Boy. Abbie's off to, like, Maine or Iowa or Minnesota or something, I don't know... (just kiddin' Abs). She's going to Kansas City to intern at IHOP! Yep, to make proper pancakes takes a lot of intense training. I mean, too much buttermilk in the mix and it's just RUINED!!!1!

Actually, she's going to intern at IHOP in Kansas City, which is the International House of Prayer... an evangelical ministry that has had 24/7 nonstop prayer and worship for over a decade now (since 1999, if I'm reading the website correctly). Anyway, there really is non-stop prayer, praise and worship going on at their Kansas City campus. You can watch the video footy streamed live on your computer if you wanted to. Abbie's dad is a pastor at our church, and he likes to have the live stream up as much as possible. It's pretty cool, actually.

Anyway, not exactly sure what she'll be doing there, but that's where she is. She promises to update her blog frequently, detailing her exploits, and that link, my friends, is RIGHT HERE!!!1!

And my brother John leaves Wednesday (1/9) in the wee hours of the morning, heading to boot camp in Great Lakes, Michigan. I hope he brings a sweater and his Uggs! Cuz it will be cold!! I'm sure the Drill Instructors will let him wear his Uggs during training, right? Right?? I'm so proud of him. He'll do well, I'm sure.

All this text and no photos to break up the monotony!! One thing to do... OVERDO IT!! Woohoo! Here are some tree-related photos... Click them if you want, to get a good look, eh!

Nice colors! 

My favorite genre of music is "mossy rock"...  

That... is a big tree... 

 I shall name this tree "Precarious" and I shall lean against it regularly...

What say you? Legit? Or Photoshopped?

There... that should keep all of my tree-loving fans happy for a while...

"Enough with the trees already, Dave, you pit-sniffer! Go step in dog cheese and track it on your carpet!"

False! I haven't smelled an armpit in a long time. And we don't own a dog! Who said that, anyway? I don't recognize your voice... Bah, whoever it is was right again... too many trees...

My beard is growing back in nicely. Yes, I know it's a mess! So what? I like it anyway! So there!

So the Steam holiday sales are over. Are you saddened? Well, it was a success for me! I got through it with only 7 new games added to my collection! See! That's a huge step in the right direction, right? I'm practically cured of my game addiction! Of course, I won't admit how much time I put into Minecraft over the holiday season... What can I say? I am a creator! If God hadn't made me in His image so thoroughly, I wouldn't feel the creative compulsions as strongly as I do!!!

"Quit blaming God for your shortcomings, Dave, you simpering nitwit! You smell funny, and your burps are girly!"

Well, say what you will about tonight's Mystery Insultor... he/she calls it like it is.

So, yeah, it's not God's fault... He's perfect and awesome and all that.

That reminds me... being made in His image... do you think that's an unintentional handicap? I mean, He's a Creator, a Judge, He Loves and He wants His Will to be performed... look at us. We create. We judge. We love. We want our own way... In each case, we get into trouble when we do them without Him... odd, isn't it?

We create, and we find great satisfaction in the works of our hands. We're told not to judge by what we hear/see... but we are promised we'll sit on His throne with Him, judging the angels/world... "don't judge! Until you know how to do it the right way! Then, judge!" We love. But if we love something/someone more than we love God, it's idolatry and a sin. We want our own way. In fact, in this country it's held in high regard when a person is a take-charge type. Get things done!

He creates us in His image, and then plops us into a world that is cut off from Him! No wonder we find it so difficult to overcome all the nonsense in us and in our lives!

"Enough with the poor-man's theological gibberish, Dave, you imbecilic stoop-shouldered mumbler! Go get your teeth professionally cleaned!"

Great, more unbroken text and no pictures... let's see what else I got for ya....

OK, I guess that's it.

Good luck, Abbie and Johnny! I hope in each case, you experience rampaging success...

And good might, Mystery Insultor, wherever you are...

"End the post already, Dave, you unwashed wind-sniffer! Go perform an appendectomy on yourself!"

Adios for now,

Dave the Gone

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Are You Near the New Year?

Happy New Year!!!!1!!1!

I thought I'd lead off the post with a bleak, though oddly intriguing photo, which begs for symbolic interpretation... does it speak of journeys, cold and unclear? Does it speak of division, between those on a "path" and those doomed to wander aimlessly in a "field"? Does it speak of hope, represented by the way of escape from a cold, wet situation? Does it speak of a man-made barrier, keeping people locked on a fixed path when freedom beckons from just out of reach?

Or was it a random pic I grabbed, for no reason at all? MUAHAHAHAH!!! You decide!!!

Sheesh! Making you work for it today! Will you ever forgive me? Come on, it's a new year! Time to forgive old grudges, like times when your Favorite Blogger makes you work for it. Or when he makes you wait forever for a new post. What can I say? Over the New Year's weekend, when I had time to kill, I would say, "Hmm, should I blog, or play Minecraft?"

Well, you know the answer, eh? Doesn't mean I don't love you, I do! It just means, temporarily, I loved Minecraft a bit more...

Back in the day, when I was clan captain for an online game called Unreal Tournament, I had a teammate named Dagger, who joined the clan back at its inception, right before I did. Anyway, the clan died away back in 2003, but I stayed in touch with Dagger. I recently found out he has a Minecraft server, so I've been hanging out there this past weekend, building up a storm, and brought Middle Daughter and another couple friends along. It's so much fun, I'm sorry. I'll grow up someday, I promise...

So I thought I could squeeze King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence into my 2012 Read List, but I'm still only 30% through it, so I'll start the 2013 List with it. I'm surprised by it, actually... it's considerably more dull than I'd hoped. I'm finding it difficult to maintain interest. At this point, I'm reading right before going to sleep, mostly, which means I'm on the edge of zonking out to begin with, so maybe that's part of the problem... but during the day, when I contemplate a few minutes of reading, I find it hard to generate sufficient enthusiasm for the story.

All that to say, I'm still plugging along. When I'm done, I'll let you know the verdict. Since, I know you're dying to know...

So after spending a few months reading the Winnie the Pooh collection to my daughter over and over again, we've moved on to The Bible. I tell ya, it's a challenge. Do I just read it as it lay, or reword it on the fly, to adjust for her comprehension level? I don't have a Kid's Bible, all I have is the New King James Version, lol... but she wants to read it with me, and I want to read it with her, so we're giving it a go. Started in Genesis 1, then skipped ahead to John 1... wish me luck. The good thing is, she's full of questions (as befits a 7 year old), so it shows me she's listening...

So I found out this past weekend that a friend of mine at church (Cathy O) had a father with an amazing war career... he fought in three battles in particular, any one of which would be cause to lower one's voice in reverence when discussing it... he fought in both Guadalcanal and Tarawa in WW2 and he also fought in the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War... She was telling me some of the details that she knew... holy mackerel... she said he also served in Vietnam... so by the time he was my age, he'd fought in WW2, Korea and Vietnam. Can you imagine that? And I mean, in some serious situations. Much respect. First and Second Marines. Semper Fi indeed.

I told her I'd send her the info on that Chosin documentary I watched in 2012. Thanks for reminding me...

OK, so let's say you're on Facebook, and you notice that your number of "Friends" has decreased by one? Do you ever wonder who it was? Do you pull up your Friend's list and scroll through, trying to figure out who's missing? The only reason I ask is that I finally achieved 200 friends, and thought I was someone extra special now! I just noticed it dropped to 199 recently... I'm not special anymore... and I want to know who to blame!!!1!! I mean, who wouldn't love me?! I'm perfect!

Resolutions, eh? I know, tis the season, and all that. I could swear off of Starbucks again, and see how long that lasts (I count the victory in hours in that case...). I could vow to write more and play games less. But that seems to go in phases, regardless of how I'd like to structure my time. I could vow to be less windy... but as much as my wife and Youngest would LOVE that, I simply find too much enjoyment in it, so I doubt that vow would last either. (I'm typing "vow" because it's less unwieldy than typing "resolution/resolve")... I could vow to buy fewer games/books... that would be easy -- at this point, I have more games than any reasonable individual could play in three years (and get money's worth, I mean)... same with books.

Ah, well, I guess I'll just keep bein' me! I'm so good at it!

I had more to cover, but I'll have to hit it next time.

Adios for now,

Dave the Gump