Friday, September 28, 2012
At the end of The Search for Fierra, our intrepid lost crew of fugitives from Earth led by historian Orion Treet, had found the fabled city of Fierra. In contrast to Dome, Fierra is an absolute paradise and its people lovely, vibrant, cultured, and giving. Unlike the paranoia and power struggles rampant in Dome, Fierra is a completely open society that has known peace for more than a millenium. However, only Orion Treet truly understands the history of the Fierra people and why their civilization grew on the far side of a vast, uninhabitable desert, leagues from the original Dome colony. It is this dark and deadly history that is threatening to repeat itself that he is desperately trying to avert. It is also the reason why he feels so compelled to return to Dome to do what he can, a return trip that he ultimately makes without Fieri assistance.
The story then flashes back and forth between the worlds of Dome and Fierra. Dome is quickly crumbling from within even as it moves to destroy the Fieri. Treet is working with the resistance to help topple the meglomaniacs leading the government and to stem the tide of hostilities. Back in Fierra, the people are taking their ease and living their lives as they have for centuries. The comparison of the two realities could not be more opposed. Will the resistance survive to
stop the threat? Will the Fieri leaders, now that they have understood the danger that their people and their world are in, commit to end the evil in the land? Good story-telling, a unique perspective, and well-played message make this one worthwhile.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Today's blog came about from random odds 'n ends of things that I have noticed over the past few weeks.
- A bearded dude who I shall refer to as Stephen, told me about a real book entitled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The book description contains the awesome line, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read." Classic.
- I have collected the fluff from my dryer's lint trap from the past 4 years in a bag in my laundry area.
- I have found it is so much easier to get motivated to cook a nice dinner for someone else than for myself. The same dishes also taste much better when I share them with others.
- Working in my office on a Saturday or Sunday has a noticeably different feel to it, not because there is nobody around, but because I struggle to maintain concentration. It's like my body and mind are rebelling because they think that I am cheating them out of their rest.
- My office walls are covered in artwork that my daughter made for me when she was very young. Nobody that I know from work who has kids has anything on display in their office. I wonder when I am supposed to take it all down.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I soon found out that the increased security force and police presence was caused by a fired worker who had apparently made convincing threats about killing the people who were responsible for his plight. It seems that they have not yet caught up with this person as the site lockdown has been going on for more than a week now.
Yet even though I realize that the increased attention to monitoring the personnel on site is for my own good, I cannot help but remain in a heightened sense of alert. Not because I fear for my safety, but because I have the sense that if I make one little slip up, I will be arrested. I have been particularly careful to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and to be especially mindful of the speed limit postings. If I have to walk or drive past one of the sentries, I make sure that I do not make eye contact and I try not to draw suspicion to myself. It feels a lot like the mindset of a motorist driving past a parked police car. Regardless of how fast they are going, folks always seem to subconsciously slow their car even further for fear of the man.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Certainly I started out with the best of intentions and a servant-minded attitude. On the Friday evening before I picked my daughter up, I went to the grocery store and bought some treats that she would like and planned some dinners that would taste good to her. After we got home on Saturday morning, I set my daughter up on the couch and covered her with a soft blanket. I placed a glass of her favorite juice, some throat lozenges, and a new box of tissues on the table next to her. We then watched a few T.V. programs before I made our lunch. As the afternoon went on, it was clear that my daughter was more than content just to lay on the couch and rest in front of the T.V.. I found myself starting to get bored and I kind of dozed off. This is something that I don't like to do when I am with my daughter because I would much rather be doing something active and engaging in our time together. By the late afternoon, I was not only starting to climb the walls, but the sicker my daughter got, the more I started worrying about catching whatever she had. After I put my daughter to bed on Saturday, I kind of moped and stewed about for a few hours feeling like I got cheated out of a perfectly good day.
On Sunday, we basically replayed the day before. At 5:30 p.m. when we normally leave for church, I asked my daughter if she felt up to going. She didn't say no but looked at me with her puffy face, red nose, and glassy eyes. Even though I knew that she was quite sick and felt like crap, I felt frustration and anger beginning to bubble up inside me. I walked into the kitchen and took about 10 seconds to regroup and remember who the patient was and to put away my selfish attitude. Tenderness, compassion, and a spirit infused with TLC then washed over me. Once I re-focused my mind, I think that I did much better for the rest of evening.
Monday, September 24, 2012
My life as a Christian sometimes feels to me very similar. I go to church each Sunday and sing the songs, listen to the sermon, and give an offering. To the casual observer, it might seem that I am a sure-footed, put together follower of Jesus Christ. Yet all too often I feel completely powerless when it comes to sharing my faith with others. It seems like I just never have an opportunity, or more likely, I am so absorbed with my own issues that I miss the few opportunities that come my way.
Yet just when I feel like an inert and impotent believer, keeping to myself and living my faith in solitude, something happens to me that helps awaken me and energize my spirit a bit. The other day at work I spoke to a new colleague about my faith and it brought him noticeably out of his shell. Later in that same afternoon, I gave counsel to a young colleague of mine who is struggling badly in his new marriage. It felt good to finally be able to make even a small difference in people's lives, not to just look like a Christian going through the expected motions on Sundays at my church.
Friday, September 21, 2012
The story involves a historian named Orion Treet who is recruited by the chairman of the Cynetics corporation to travel to a distant outpost that has been established on a planet called Empryion. The reasons why Orion is so sought after for this trip and why a colony on a planet some 10 light years from Earth would make any fiscal sense for a private corporation is never fully made clear. Ultimately, we learn that contact with the outpost was lost very shortly after the settlers landed and that the discovery of an apparently unstable wormhole by the Cynetics folks is what makes the trip possible in a finite time period.
Upon passage through the wormhole, the small ship with its captain and three passengers lands on the planet. To their great surprise, they find a vast domed city that could not have been erected by the settlers in the short period of time that they had allegedly been on Empryion. However, the people that they encounter are clearly humans, yet their history extends back over three thousand years. Furthermore, the travelers are treated as dangerous spies from a land called Fierra that most folks believe to be the stuff of legends. The appearance of the outsiders and their clearly advanced spaceship, causes the leadership of Dome to believe that the Fieri have developed new technology that will lead to their destruction. In the frenzied environment of paranoia, the travelers flee Dome and cross a vast desert in search of the fabled city of Fierra. Their mission is not just to seek sanctuary, but to seek help to save all of Empryion. Now, onto the finale, The Siege of Dome.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
- God's Not Dead - Newsboys (2011) - I learned about this song when Stephen Haggerty sung it at my church. While his version is better than the original, which relies far too much on post-production layering and chicanery, I still enjoy its message and spirit of strength.
- Lay Me Down - Passion (2012) - Another song introduced to me by Stephen Haggerty. The version released by Passion sounds like the singer is using a tin can for a microphone. But this is still a good, positive song that gets my feet a tappin'.
- Thy Word - Amy Grant (1993) - I first heard this song based on Psalm 119:105 a few years ago at my old church. It is a beautiful piece that really is a wonderful piece of worship.
- Faith - Celine Dion (2003) - I think that the size of her hair-do on most of her albums is well past the comical stage and I would love to introduce her to a real drum kit instead of the soul-less synthesizer pap. However, this song is a gem from her 2003 One Heart album. Soaring and beautiful.
- Top of the World - Mitchel Musso (2010) - I almost did not post this one because I know you will all point and laugh. Well point and laugh away, cause this auto-tuned theme song from Disney's Pair of Kings T.V. show is infectious and I really pick up the pace on my elliptical when it comes on.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
My usual motus operandi is to quickly lose contact with folks after a move, but in the case of my old colleague, I felt separation of any connection with the past and those old wounds was best for me. Thus I have had very little contact with him over the last few years. In fact, the last time that I saw him was about 3 years ago when he traveled to the lab where I work to give a lecture. During his visit we had lunch and chatted for a few hours, yet because we parted when my life was in tatters and this was his last point of reference for our relationship, he returned to that same point. In truth, I did not enjoy the lunch very much because he wanted to talk about things that still caused me pain. The last thing that I wanted to do was talk about the past and rekindle its presence in my mind.
A few weeks ago, my old colleague visited my lab again to attend a multi-day workshop. I knew that he would try to seek me out to say hello and "catch up". When I knew that he would be attending, I stayed far away from any place where I was likely to run into him. I had to protect myself and guard my heart and mind.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Hygenist - Sir, your home care is some of the worst that I have ever seen.
Me - Glurgh ...
Hygenist - I bet that you must suffer from really bad breath all the time.
Me - Urgh?
Hygenist - I am from New York and I was raised to keep it real. Your mouth is disgusting.
Me - Flauf.
Hygenist - I can't believe this. I have never seen anything else like this.
Me - Hrumf.
Shortly after the hygenist completed her beat down, the dentist came into the room to do his usual quick look-see.
Dentist - Wow, your teeth look great. I wish I had a set of chompers like yours. Keep doing what you have been doing.
Me - Geez, your soul-stealing succubus had a vastly different opinion.
Dentist - Succubus you say?
Shortly after I was done with the hygenist (who was not the regular one I normally see), I went down to another lady to get some new x-rays taken. She could not have been more sweet or welcoming. She actually spoke in a way that showed me respect and caused me to listen to her and take her advice seriously. I think that there is a lesson here.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Today's blog came about from random odds 'n ends of things that I have noticed and noted over the past few weeks.
- I found a common house centipede on the wall in my bathroom. When I wonked it with my shoe, it exploded in a storm of falling legs. As they hit the ground, they all proceeded to pulse and flex in time with each other. Gross and cool ("grool") at the same time.
- A judge ruled that the state of Massachusetts must foot the bill for a sex change operation on a prison inmate who is serving a life sentence without parole for brutally murdering his wife. In his ruling the judge stated that this was necessary to correct the prolonged violation of his Eight Amendment right to adequate medical care.
- At Open House night at my daughter's school, the gym teacher told the parents that the two most important classes that our kids will have in high school are gym and driver's ed.
- I become a menace to all other drivers on the road whenever I find a mosquito in the car with me.
- Sometimes when I know that I won't see my daughter for a few days, I find myself missing her even when she is sitting right next to me on the couch.
Friday, September 14, 2012
his later works.
The main setting is in the near future, aboard the orbiting space station Gotham. There we meet Dr. Spencer Reston, a young and talented researcher who is studying the long term effects of space travel on human brain functions and sleep patterns. Yet while life on the station seems normal, Spence is plagued by increasingly powerful dreams that are slowly beginning to control him. When he stumbles across some anomalies in his sleep research, he begins to suspect that something troubling might be going on in his lab, not thinking for a moment that he is becoming enwrapped in schemes unfolding on a much larger scale and with much greater stakes than he could ever imagine.
To get away from the station for a time, he accepts an invitation on a research trip to Mars. Shortly after arriving he has a blackout and awakens to find himself on the Martian surface with the buildings of the colony nowhere in sight and the plunging temperatures of night quickly approaching. While desperately trying to get his bearings, he finds the entrance to a cave that leads deep into the planet. As he wanders from one pathway to another, he stumbles into the remains of an ancient and long dormant city. This discovery is but the first in a series of radical findings that will forever change the
life that he has known. We are then taken on a tangled web of population mind control, aliens, world domination, the great divide between the affluent few and the poverty of the teeming masses, and the origins of religion on Earth. All topics that are explored from a unique and interesting point of view that are used to tell an enjoyable story, but will also make you think about what you believe and why.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Recently, I read a story that Amanda has had more than half a dozen run-ins with the law since March of this year. She seems to be struggling with alcohol and depression, and her life is going down a destructive path that is playing out in the checkout line rags. In one online news forum, I came across the following reader-posted comments:
- That one's not going to age gracefully.
- She's not hot at all, rather ugly in my opinion.
- She was stupid when she was a kid, she's still stupid!
- Typical Hollywood type, no morals.
- Another self-absorbed snot-nosed little starlet.
- Another train wreck in Hollywood.
- Why is she considered a "star"? She's dumb, she's ugly, and she's a loser.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The next day when we were working together, I was going over what happened and noted the damage. We discussed how it occurred and then I talked about how I thought the loading procedure was flawed and needed to be reconsidered. Somewhere in the conversation, my mind registered that the technician got kind of quiet and his mannerisms became much less jovial. At the time it didn't really sink in given all that was going on, as my mind was focussed on the de-briefing and how things could be done differently. When I got home that evening, it dawned on me that something had happened. It was like my spider senses suddenly began tingling that something I said had wounded this man. It ate at me through the evening. I resolved to talk to him first thing the next morning.
I found him at 7:30 a.m. the next day and pulled him aside. I told him that I sensed that I had said something that hurt him and I apologized. I immediately could see his whole body relax and his happy spirit return. In my younger days if I felt that my words had negatively impacted someone else, I would have rationalized to myself that I meant no bad intent in my remarks and the other person would just have to get over it. My feelings and how I acted upon them in this instance clearly demonstrated the kind of growth that I have been striving after for a long time.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Volumes have been written about the differences between the sexes
Advice is broadcast from every square inch of the checkout magazine racks
Love is seemingly just a scheme to sell copy
Just when you start to be desensitized to the inherent beauty of love
Along comes a wink and a pretty smile that sets your heart to thumping
Nothing else matters in your world suddenly but making two one.
Mind lost in the clouds thinking of unicorns and crazy futures
Instant metamorphosis in your thinking and mien
Nothing makes sense and everything makes sense
Kant's "Critique" aimed to unite reason with experience
And in such times as these found to be untenable
Nothing compares with tumbling head over heels over head over heels
Monday, September 10, 2012
For many years, I have kept my feelings on this topic to myself, lest I inadvertently cause trauma to another. However, a recent headline caught my eye and I knew that I was far from alone in my distaste of this foul breed. The producer of the Teletubbies was responsible for a recent movie release entitled "The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure". Over its first 3 full-days of release in 2160 theaters, the movie earned $448,000. That amounts to about $70 in ticket sales per theater per day, or less than 10 folks added up over all showings. At a cost of more than 60 million dollars to make and distribute, I sense we shan't be seeing any more movies featuring this sort of "puppetry" any time soon. Whew!
Friday, September 7, 2012
I read somewhere that Pastor Lucado's books really don't have much to do with theology, they are really just his avenue to tell his stories and anecdotes, and to tell us about God's love for us. After nearly all of Lucado's books that I have read (with just a couple of notable exceptions - see On the Anvil and He Chose the Nails), I have completed my reading and thought to myself, "He didn't tell me anything that I don't already know." Yet I have found his books provide value added to my devotional time reading.
In God's Story, Your Story, Lucado focuses on how we go about our existence, traveling along with the day-to-day currents of life, doing this and doing that. This is our story. Yet from the perspective of heaven, God is viewing a story that looks so much different. We likely do not realize it, but our lives are following a divine narrative. This book provides an opportunity to appreciate this fact just a bit more, and may allow you to see God's hand in your life where you saw only the same old-same old.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
or perhaps you really heard:
Hmmm. Quite a conundrum. Is this person in need of rescue from the assailant or are they having the time of their lives?
In this same vein, I recently came across the following sign stuck in the ground at an intersection. As I read its contents it struck me that there was an unfortunate issue with the punctuation. However, who can tell? If you cannot read the words in the above photograph, the sign says:
But when you are raking in a cool quarter mil per year sitting around in your bathrobe and bunny slippers sipping your choice of decadent General Foods International Coffees, who needs an edumacation?
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
What's worse, the peppy "barista" on the other side of the counter actually understands this nonsense. Wow, this world we live in is clearly off its collective rocker.
In the old days folks were satisfied to keep a small Mr. Coffee coffee maker in their office. A scoop of Maxwell House, a splash of water, and poof, a cup of foul-smelling mud. You didn't care what it tasted like, it only mattered that this go-go juice gave you the fortitude to make it through your incessant day without drooling all over your keyboard or hanging yourself from the fluorescent light fixtures. But today, I witnessed with my own two eyes a new and disturbing trend in utter java-ocity, the personal espresso shrine. In a co-worker's office, sitting on a sturdy brass and polished chrome table, was a coffee maker the size of a 1978 Yugo. This behemoth was outfitted with more plumbing lines, steam towers, gauges, dials, and buttons than the control room at the downtown power plant. What's next?
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Also, as has been our tradition for some years now, we had a sit-down father/daughter talk before she headed back out into the fray. I feel it is important to take some time to remind her to be true to herself and her values, to be wary of negative peer pressure from those around her, and to review a few of the critical issues that she may be faced with. Certainly high school is a time when most kids fully shed the innocence of their younger years and seek greater levels of freedom and independence. They are faced with problems such as bullying, violence, drugs, and sexual pressures that seem to come at them all at once. I think this year's talk was likely the best one yet, for both of us. What is said is secondary to letting her know that I love her and am available for her at any time.
Even now, as my daughter begins her first day of high school, I cannot believe that we have reached this moment. Her life to this point really does seem like a blur. I always seem to find myself wishing that we had more sand in our hourglass. I am already sensing the reality that our time together is coming to an end. I am doing everything within me to give her what I can. But I do know this, a father could not ask for a better daughter to send off to high school.