Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aunt Bethany Should Say Grace

Grace? She passed away thirty years ago.

They want you to say grace. The blessing!

Mae Questel as Aunt Bethany
and William Hickey as Uncle Lewis
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (2009)

I spent the past weekend at a campground in Clay City, working as a volunteer at a Walk to Emmaus Christian retreat. If you have never been on one - and there are Emmaus communities in every state so your location is no excuse - I highly recommend that you go. They're among the most enlightening and enriching spiritual experiences I can imagine having here on this earth.

Getting to work at the Walk, though, that was something different. It rained on us all weekend, for starters, so I spent the weekend walking around in the mud. I was on my feet more than someone clocking in at 232 pound at my height probably should be for the four days. I was routinely one of the last people on the campground to go to bed and one of the first to get up. The first day, it rained so hard as we got set up that I had to change all of my clothes, as they'd all been soaked through. The cinder block cabin I stayed in was, from all appearances, the birthing place of all spiders.

And I would not change any of it. It was, with no exaggeration, the most spiritually fulfilling thing that I've ever done.

I was privileged to spend those days in the company of thirty-three guys seeking to have a deeper walk with their Lord. I was able to serve them in whatever capacity I was needed, and got to see them change from their arrival on Thursday to their departure on Sunday. And, true to His form, God found plenty of time to work in me while He was doing His thing with the acutal Pilgrims. I spent the weekend surrounded by love and filled with the Holy Spirit, and got to expend every ounce of myself in service to my Lord and my fellow man. I honestly don't know how it could get any better than that.

I was unsure what to expect going in. I didn't think it would be nearly as enriching as actually experiencing the walk as a pilgrim was. It turned out to be even more enriching and more meaningful for me, though, which is one of God's little miracles considering how fantastic an experience it was the first time.

Alright, enough gushing. Go to a Walk if you've never been. Work one if you have. The experiences will change your life.

Friday, September 18, 2009


In a loud voice they sang:
   "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
   to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
   and honor and glory and praise!"

Revelation 5:12 (NIV)

It has been a crazy week. I spent the week sick, but then had to stop being sick when Holli got sick (becuase only one parent can be sick at a time). While still partly sick, I walked around the church's neighborhood on Wednesday, met some of the awesome people in the community we've moved into, and invited them to our block party on Sunday. I busted my tail yesterday at work trying to catch up on what I missed, still not fully well but well enough to sit up, work, and cough occasionally. Today I went to WVIHOP for my weekly set there, and now I'm trying to plow through some more work. Did I mention I started writing songs this week, too?

Yeah, it's been kind of nuts. I don't normally look forward to the end of the workweek like the rest of humanity does, because my days just kind of run together. From where I work, I could make it to my bed and take a nap without the use of my legs. It sort of makes the concept of "going to work" as opposed to "staying home" obsolete, so the weekend just happens to be the part of the week where I don't work, not the part where I don't have a boss yelling at me. I've got more time for the Lord and more time for my family, but it's not like those days are unrecognizable from the rest of the week.

This week, though, I need the rest. I'm pretty much just worn out from the sickness and the post sickness scrambling to catch up, and I need to just relax. I look forward to my Sabbath starting in a few hours.

What's keeping me going right now? Number one, Holli's grooming me, which is awesome. Number two, we sang Revelation Song - my absolute favorite song right now - for like thirty minutes during the set at WVIHOP this morning. Those two things are powering me through the day right now.

Blargh. See y'all next week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Justice in 140 Characters or Less

That must be weird. Talking about that with a policeman on Twitter.

Brianna Swank

Yesterday, I was going to Wendy's with Holli and Connor for dinner. Holli was driving, because I hate driving and avoid it whenever possible whereas she loves it, so that works for us. We pulled up to a stop light right in front of Honey Creek Mall, where US 41 northbound gets funneled into one lane because of construction, and traffic just stopped. People were inching forward into the intersection, cutting other people off. Those people were in turn then breaking as many traffic laws as possible to wedge between cars and get to their destinations. We sat, with zero exaggeration on my part, for more than fifteen minutes at this light, which is dumb. While we were sitting, of course, we saw a sheriff pull through on his way to get somewhere instead of doing something about the mess.

So I tweeted about it. It's kind of my thing. This morning, when going through Tweetdeck as part of my daily routine, I got a response back from an actual law enforcement officer informing me that it was THPD jurisdiction, not the county's.

I vacillated back and forth on whether or not this was awesome or Big Brother style scary, and I think I'm settled on awesome. The possibilities here are kind of mind boggling, actually. Could Twitter replace 911 in my never-ending request to destroy landlines and run Verizon out of business? Seriously. Think about this:

Just got into a wreck. GPS coords in profile. Send officer, please. #THPD

That is pure, unfiltered awesomeness, my friends. Especially with the total lack of social filter and common sense that so many people have on the internet. Because for every handful of polite tweets like that one we'd have requesting help from our neo-911 system, we'd have one like this.

Just smashed a car and punched the guy. I'm drunk. GPS on tweet. Send cop, idiots. #THPDsucks

Watching more deserving people go to jail for being rude and speaking their mind without the imminent threat of a police officer in their faces would make me happy. And can you imagine an episode of Cops? "We're responding to a tweet in town. Woman said her husband was threatening to pwnz0r her like a n00b." Priceless.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My New Office

I hate your bookshelf.

Holli Swank

I moved some furniture last night. Took a bookshelf out of Connor's bedroom that was housing toys and replaced it with some plastic tubs that serve the same purpose. Then I put that bookshelf, which was a little old and ratty, and put it in our back hallway. It replaced a second, nicer, and somewhat smaller bookshelf, which was just the right size to move into our bedroom. It now houses most of my junk in our bedroom, leaving our other bookshelf back here for Holli's stuff.

I love it, of course, because I've got a place for my stuff which satisfies the part of my brain that craves orderliness. It's also allowed me to reclaim desk space, something I greatly desired. Getting a bunch of my gaming junk off of the desk, where it formerly resided because I had nowhere else for it, has given me tons more breathing room here. It's making working much more enjoyable.

The most unexpected and, quite possibly, most awesome benefit of it, though, is that it's basically given me a little cubicle area to work in. It's fantastic. I can't explain why I love it so much, but I am absolutely enthralled by it. Boxing myself in is, apparently, full of win.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

La-bor (n) 1. productive activity, esp. for the sake of economic gain. Labor

In the United States, today is Labor Day. It's the most poorly named holiday in existence. Today is not for labor. Today is, in fact, a way for most people to get out of their labors. I don't understand it, quite frankly.

Nevertheless, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, so despite my boss - vis a vis, me - not insisting that the office be closed, I'm still not working today. So, I'll find something to do - play some guitar, play some Wii with the kids, maybe work on some terrain pieces for use at Scott's house when we play AT-43.

So, happy Misnamed Holiday Day, everyone!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Makin' Tiles

It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

Mike Myers
as Wayne Campbell
Wayne's World (1992)

Last night, I went over to my friend Scott's house for our weekly game night. We get together with a couple of other friends once a week, bust out our tiny plastic replicas of giant robots, and blow the snot out of one another's armies. I've largely given up video games and I don't watch TV, so this - along with my guitar - comprises most of my recreation.

Circumstances had it down to just me and Scott last night, so rather than play, we decided to be productive. Scott and another friend of ours had printed up a bunch of awesome paper tiles that you use to make terrain to play on - roads and cityscapes and that sort of thing. And the plan was for Scott to take those tiles and glue them to a bunch of foamcore into intricate patterns so we could have a set of five or six fixed boards that we could mix and match two of at a time to make our play area.

As he was doing this, though, my mind got to working (as it often does) and I wondered why we didn't take the little 7x7 tiles and cut them out individually so the whole thing was much more modular and flexible. I was informed it was because many people said they got jostled and knocked out of place easily. I replied by noting that if we just put down some sort of rail or framework, it's not really going to move. Scott took a few minutes to evaluate things, and then in short order we got to cutting. After a productive three-hours session, we had a mountain of tiles to work with, and were subsequently able to lay out a 3' x 6' board of interconnecting roads, railways, and black tiles representing buildings we have yet to construct. For a wargaming geek like myself, it was, how you say?, awesome.

I play with Connor here occasionally at home. I showed him the picture I took of what we did, and after he realized what had happened, his eyes bugged out and he got excited. I'm pretty well mandated to build some tiles to use here at the house now. It'll be a fun craft for Connor and I to work on after school together, and when it's finished, it'll be awesome. I even plan to build a little board for them with a wooden lip around the whole thing to hold them in. Varnish it really nice and have it look like a good piece of furniture, that sort of thing. Could be fun.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nine Years Later ...

Now that the fight has started, try not to get hit.

Expert Advice on Topics I Know Nothing About: Boxing

While Holli was in the hospital after giving birth to Brianna, I had an idea to write a book. The book would be full of advice on things I had no business giving advice on. The idea seemed hilarious to me at the time, and so I vowed to one day do it.

Today is that day. Well, kinda. I mean, it's not a book, but it's a blog, and blogs are the new books! I should stop typing. Just go visit the blog, please:

Expert Advice on Topics I Know Nothing About