29 April 2006 

Let's go Wii!

So, like most people, my initial reaction to Nintendo's new name for their upcoming console was pretty dubious. I mean, it's the Wii. As in "we." Like us inclusive. Like pee. It's a weird name for a console. I mean, at first you think... "am I going to call it the Wii?" Like, "hey guys, come over and play some Wii!" It just is weird. The internet is going crazy with bloggers and gaming sites trashing Nintendo. No one likes it no one. Everywhere people are arguing about what a stupid name it is and how Nintendo has finally made the huge mistake that is going to crumble them in the face of Sony and Microsoft.

Then I thought... wait a second. It's two weeks from E3, the biggest event in the gaming world, and all anyone in the industry is talking about is the Wii. Nintendo are a bunch of geniuses! I actually had an hour long discussion with a group of my friends in the dorms tonight about the name "Wii." And in the end we all agreed that if it comes out at under $200, plays all the old Nintendo games we miss and offers some new and fun gameplay... we are all going to be lining up to buy it when it comes out. Something that none of us would say about the PS3 or Xbox 360.

Personally I think it would be brilliant for Nintendo if this were all a big joke. In some ways it is, but I just can't imagine a company worth billions of dollars would actually name a console something that sits so absolutely horribly with its fans. I mean, this is why they have marketing research, to tell them that if you name your console Wii, people will laugh at you. And so consider this...

Nintendo announced this name two weeks before E3 for no other reason than to stir up debate, and in that they have succeeded beautifully. This is reinforced by the sheer laughability of the name and the fact that according to several gaming news sites and blogs, Nintendo hasn't registered the trademark "Wii" with any marketing organizations in the US or Japan. So, as the hype builds around the name Nintendo, tight lipped as always, hits E3 with a fully functional console and a huge build of games, culminating in their 2 hour press conference at center stage of E3.

Imagine this... the Wii emblem glowing over the crowd of journalists and fans, boos and cheers alike drowning out the noise... then... the emblem implodes revealing.... well, I don't know, but something besides Wii. The people that hated Wii will love the new name, whatever it is. The one's that had come to grips with it won't find it hard to get over the short lived Wii. Shockwaves will ripple through the gaming news channels. And still... it's not over yet. They can go on to show off the first glimpses of all new Mario and Zelda games, new and wacky gameplay mechanics, their new online distribution and matching service and the list of thousands of games that will be available to download with the new console. And then, when the crowd is on their heels they announce the price. $199? $149? Either way, with the price point of the 360 at $399 and the PS3 projected to be $499 or higher the crowd will be floored. And just as everyone prepares to walk away, the final bombshell. The Wii, The Revolution, The Console will be available ahead of schedule... get your very own this summer.

It would be a publicity coup! No matter how amazing the graphics of the PS3 and Xbox titles, Nintendo would own the show and the headlines for weeks. A company releases a bogus name to stir discussion and fools everyone... thats free publicity in every news publication in the western world for a week! Combined with the price point, retro angle, and imminent availability, the gaming world would be in a frenzy. Talk about a way to generate some powerful publicity.

Now, I might be wrong. Maybe Nintendo is really going to call it the Wii. And maybe we will all get used to it. But something tells me that the big N didn't get where it is by being stupid. And... Revolution or Wii, I'll still be standing in line to get mine, and with any luck I'll be wearing shorts while I wait.


The Day is Mine

I want so much for this blog to be meaningful. It's hard for me to distinguish between what ramblings I would list as being my day to day thoughts, and those topics which I might really feel moved to write something significant about. I have this toy of a thought in my head. It tells me that I can write things that people want to read, and that maybe, with enough practice, that I could be good at it and make money. Toys are fun, but the thing about them is, you either have to grow up, or find more professional toys. That's what I feel like right now, I'm searching for some way to "grow up" and still keep all my toys. I've enjoyed this college life, but I also feel it's futility. Like playing with a day you've outgrown, it might still be fun, but you see the end, and you know there's not really a point anymore. I am ready for something more practical, but I feel trapped here in a lot of ways.

I am ready to transition to the world of the living and working alumni, but that's a transition that fills me with trepidation. The world out there is appealing, and so many of my life goals are out there, but to me it's like crossing one of those little rope bridges, its not the other side I fear, it's the crossing. Mary and I have been talking recently about dreams and goals. We both have a number of them, and we share a number of them, but one that she has that I don't have and can't find is the career dream. I've never wanted a specific career. I've always felt like I would be able to tackle whatever came my way and that whatever that was, if I could be good at it and enjoy it, that would be enough. Recently though I've begun thinking about purpose. Now, I don't think that you have to find purpose in your career, but I don't think it can hurt. I mean, if you are going to spend forty or fifty years of your life doing something, it should matter, and you should be suited to it.

Which begs the question... what am I suited for? Now here I am open for suggestions. I have a bin full of ideas in my head, but what do you think? (I'm asking for suggestions here, seriously, you should comment.) Like I said above, I have this toy idea that I'm a good writer. I also happen to think that have an innate ability to understand certain concepts and explain them in ways that people can relate to. I think I'm a good planner and organizer and that I work well with people. I also know that I don't want my career to consume my life, I want to care, but I want be able to "leave it at the office," so to speak. I know that I need to work in proximity with others, I may not be the most chatterly guy, but I need people around me to give me energy. Now, to me that doesn't really sound like any specific career. Teaching still appeals to me, but I don't feel passionate about it. Writing appeals to me, but I'm not sure I'm talented enough in that area. I'm curious, what do my friends think?

25 April 2006 

Perspective Part II

In the last post I talked alot about perspective, but I think I may have spoken too soon in some ways. I'm having a really hard time right now dealing with the repercussions of this back injury. And I think I'm letting fear and anger get the best of me right now. I could conceivably end up earning only 3 credit hours for this semester, which would require me to stay her even longer then this summer, and cost me thousands of extra dollars. It's going to take a lot of favorable circumstances and hard work for me to come away from this in decent shape and right now it feels like an unclimbable mountain. That may be the negative view of things, but right now I am really struggling with it, and I don't feel okay with the possibility that this last semester could just be all for naught.

I understand that it doesn't matter in a large scale sort of way, but the problem is that right now, it does matter to me. A lot apparently. I don't want to be here in the fall. I don't really want to be here in the summer. And I hate that right now graduation seems like an unreachable goal. In my history 354 class I am going to be missing anywhere from 15-30% off my final grade before I even start, which is going to require me to do very well on the final to pass. Honestly if this were my sophomore year or junior year I would probably take medical incompletes in these classes and make them up later, but I really don't have that option right now, I'm in these, for good or bad at this point. I'm meeting with that professor later today to see about making up the in class presentation through some other assignment and I can only hope that she shows me some grace there. I'm pretty convinced that it's going to take a miracle for me to pass Spanish now too. I have a C+ in that class, but I missed 3 online assignments the first week I was injured, and by the time the final rolls around I'll have missed the last 4-5 weeks of class so I'll have to teach myself all the material for it and pray for rain on the oral exam. I am just praying to get by with a D, how sad is that?

One of the hardest parts is that even though I'm feeling good enough to do some things, many things even, I can't really work at 100% right now. I need to be meeting with the emergency dean, professors, and my advisor to work out my options and make the most of this situation, but the problem is that I still can't really walk that far, at least not all at once. Most of this is just aimed at doing something about the helplessness and frustration I'm feeling right now. And pretty much all I can do at the moment is vent about it here, so don't read this and think that I'm horribly off, just at the moment I'm having a hard time seeing the silver lining.

21 April 2006 


I think that when we get too wrapped up in our own lives we lose perspective on what life really is. Life is so much larger than each of us... "No man is an island," perhaps you've heard it put before, but the danger is that we often can't see out of our own little sphere, and when that happens it's good to remember that there are others walking with us. I've been obsessing and worrying a bit privately recently. As a result of my recent back injury I've missed a large amount of classes this semester, and I may end up having to withdraw from some of my classes for medical reasons. At first this just compounded my frustration at having hurt my back and being stuck in a bed for 3 weeks. When you spend the better part of 3 weeks lying in bed with few people around you really can work up your mind. My mind had recently been wondering how I would possibly accomplish all the work that remains to be done this semester without putting too much of a strain on my still very fragile back. I've become so focused on this... so focused on graduating, on other people's expectations of me, that I've forgotten that the date on my diploma really doesn't mean anything.

Yes, I'd like to finish school. Yes, I'd like to get started in the "real world." But no, it's not the end of the world if I have to stay here to take summer courses. It's not the end of the world if it takes me five and a half years to finish school. It feels like failure now perhaps, but I am going to graduate with a degree from a Big Ten school, even if it ends up taking me a while longer. It's not that important. I've got the rest of my life to worry about the rest of my life, I'm going to concentrate on now, and now means one more semester of summer courses in Champaign. That's okay.

We had a speaker tonight at IV large group who really gave me some perspective; he actually sparked a lot of thoughts for me, but in particular he said something that really made me stop feeling sorry for myself and my "inconviencing injury." He told us a story about his son, a young man who had lost his way and gotten wrapped up in a life of drugs and poor decisions. His son one day found out his girlfriend was cheating on him and took a 9mm pistol, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He lived. The speaker told us with tears in his eyes what it was like in the ICU waiting to hear what would happen to his only son. The pain and suffering in his eyes was obvious, and yet that man was able to conduct himself with joy and confidence in his faith in Christ. I went to large group thinking that it might give me some advice to deal with the depression and worry I'm feeling in the wake of this back injury, but I got more than that, I got a kick in the butt.

What is this injury besides 3 weeks of annoying pain and dependence on my friends. Yay, my back hurts, and it's humbling to have to ask people to help me do things... but is it as humbling as it would be for the creator of the world to come and be killed by the people and things he created? Is it as painful as watching your son struggling for life or being hung on a cross? If it continues for another month or year even, is it going to change the fact that I live in a country full of freedom and food and prosperity? Is it going to change the fact that I have been given new life in Christ? No. It's not. It's a trial, sure, but this injury, staying in Champaign another 3 months, postponing a career and family a couple of months... what is that going to change in the big picture?

Sometimes we just need to look around our little islands and notice that we're not the only ones and be thankful that the water isn't higher. I think I'm beginning to understand how David could praise God after the death of his son in 2 Samuel and the words to Blessed be Your Name. The Lord gives and takes away, and when we can't see the sense in it, maybe we just need to trust that we are not the author of this story.

15 April 2006 

Elizabethtown is...

An amazing film. I borrowed it from Bryan a couple of weeks ago and just tonight ended up watching it with Matzo, Jonell and Ryan upstairs. I'm sorry I waited so long. It was a really good movie. It was able to make me simultaneously laugh out loud and be introspective. It was not so emotional as I expected, but it was real in a very ideal way. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that it is all completely plausible, but only in a very perfect setting. No one talks like them really, but people could if they said what they wanted or had the time to go back and think about it. There were a number of moments where I was the main character, and a number of moments where I was thankful that I wasn't. It made me think alot about relationships in my life. Especially with my Dad and Mary. I've never really thought about what a blessing it is for them to know each other, for her to know that part of me. And I don't think enough about what a blessing it is to have the oppurtunity to take rides with my dad and talk. I can think of several roadtrip talks my dad and I have had over the years, and the trip at the end of the movie would be custom made for us I think. I think the point is that you can be buddies with your dad someday I want to have that relationship with my son. I'm glad that I watched it, and I hope to soon acquire the soundtrack and the DVD eventually. It was that good, something I want to watch again... something I want to share with my dad, and Mary. A five out of five.

14 April 2006 

What is scientology anyway?

Yikes, I just spent ninety minutes reading up on Scientology and boy is it creepy. But it makes me wonder, just how desperate for truth do people have to be to get caught up in something like that when the gospel should be right in front of them. It makes me sad.

Here's one of the articles I read, from TIME magazine in the early 90's. Link.


Mary's new website!

yup. could she be any more talented? <3


My Review of The Alchemist

I just finished The Alchemist. And while its a beautiful and fantastically crafted narrative (I read it in two sittings), I simply disagree with most of it. The book evokes a feeling of truth, and it's not hard to imagine that what it says is true. But ultimately I look at what the book is telling me..."One's only obligation in life is to realize one's destiny." Well, that depends. I don't believe in omens, I don't believe in luck, and I don't believe in divination... even the biblically sanctioned divination that The Alchemist discusses. I don't believe that the universe conspires to help people reach their Personal Legends, and I don't believe that all that was created by the hand of God has the same soul in it. In many ways the book angered me, because while I do believe that we all have a personal calling from God and that very few people actually take up the call and seek that path, I have a hard time reconciling that with the simplicity of Santiago's Personal Legend in The Alchemist.

Some of the biggest things that I can't endorse in The Alchemist are 1) the idea that true happiness is only found in seeking and realizing your Personal Legend (as its presented in The Alchemist), 2) that you should listen to your heart and let it guide you, and 3) the notion that there is one perfect match to your soul that you will meet if you pursue your goal and the connotations of "love at first sight" that that brings up.

1.) True happiness is found in God, and while The Alchemist comes close to this by saying that "all those who he saw were happy he realized had part of God in them," it ultimately indicates that if you aren't chasing this one certain dream.. you can never be happy, you can never realize your "potential for evolution" as from lead to gold in alchemy. There are many purposes you can pursue and be happy. The bible clearly states that man's only purpose is to bring glory to God and rejoice in Him. Thats it, there are as many ways to fulfill that as there are grains of sand and stars combined and then some... but the fact is that only in bringing God glory and not just in seeing God's glory can we find fulfillment and happiness.

2.) Your heart is a traitor. The boy in The Alchemist realizes this, but the Alchemist tells him that "your heart is only a traitor when you stop listening to it." I don't like this line of thinking. When we come into this world our hearts are not capable of leading us. Our hearts are deceitful and malicious, full of every kind of evil according to the bible. Our hearts become hard like stone when we close them off to God and they will only lead us to ruin and death if we listen to them. It is only when we recieve a transformed heart from God that our hearts, through the Spirit, are able to guide us. Listening to your heart and not God's heart will only bring you to pain. Now there is room to draw the parallel that our hearts recognize this void and that emptiness might bring us to God... to the source of happiness, but I don't think that parallel is drawn in The Alchemist.

3.) When the boy meets Fatima he experiences love at first sight, as if the "Soul of the World" were speaking to him through the "Language of the World" that Fatima is the only woman he would ever need in his life. I like that idea, but no the situation. I don't think that there is a perfect match for us out there... I think there is someone that God has chosen as a spouse for all those that are meant to be married, but I don't think that one person matches your soul infinitely better than all others, or that you can know that in a glance. Maybe sometimes that could happen through revelation, but I think if you live your life like that... trusting in the "Language of the World" to show you who to love, you will miss out on a lot of good people, and you will end up covering up a lot of bad characteristics.

That said, I didn't dislike the book. It's a good read, but read it cautiously. I wouldn't recommend that young people read this book, and I don't recommend that you read this book unless you know firmly what you believe. It was fun to read, gripping and exciting, and with elements of truth in it. One line that it uses over and over is straight out of the gospel of Matthew... "where one's heart is, there is one's treasure also." That is true... and indeed many parts of this book borrow from the Truth and weave it in and out, but many parts also borrow from lies and misleading teachings. In the end that's all I can say... The Alchemist, like so much very good literature, speaks of the Truth in some ways, but if you turn to this book for Truth, you will be sorely mislead. And that's all I have to say about that.