21 November 2007 

Recent Goings On...

My sister was married to Mr. Ryan Ballinger this past weekend. It was a very nice wedding, and went off without almost any hitches, aside from the cake being dropped during transport. Except for that minor disaster it was a really happy time. We all looked great in our tuxes, and my sister was absolutely beautiful. I was an usher, and I even put gel in my hair for the event, which makes now two times in my life I've deemed an event significant enough to break out the product. So, she's not Lisa Ballinger and that's certainly strange to me, she grew up while I was at college and I think I might always consider her that 15 year old girl I used to know, but she's really a woman now, and I am very happy for her and Ryan.

This past week at my weight management class my weigh in was 268.2 lbs. For anyone keeping track, thats a total loss of 41.8 lbs since I started the program in September :-). I feel really great, I got a lot of nice compliments at the wedding from friends and family, and I feel now that it is really obvious to others that I'm losing weight and not just to myself. It actually nearly caused a little bit of drama as the tux I had ordered two weeks ago was quite a bit too big and had to be reordered on 20 hours notice.... but they did get me a new one, and it fit great. My jacket size dropped from a 58 to a 48, the pants from 53 to 44, and my neck from 18.5 to 16 :-) It was a good problem to have, and I am just feeling very good about my physical health in general for the first time in a long while.

Speaking of physical health, I spent part of this past weekend in the emergency room as well with some severe abdominal/back pain. I wasn't sure what was causing the constant, intense pain all of Saturday night, so I finally gave up and went to the hospital. They shot my up with some morphine and did all sorts of fun tests that involved taking my blood and running me through tubes and generally poking me everywhere. In the end, I had some pain so intense that it made me scream in agony through the 5 mL of morphine they gave me, and then it was over. They suspect I may have passed a kidney stone, which is supposed to be one of the most painful things possible, but luckily, I was high on the morphine, so I only got a partial jolt. All the same, it was the worst pain I've ever experienced, and I've spent the last 3 days recovering.

This weekend I'm going home for the traditional Thanksgiving at my great grandfather's on Thursday and then up to my dad's with my sister and her husband for a weekend thing. It should be fun. I'm also looking forward to playing through the rest of Super Mario Galaxy and Mass Effect in the upcoming weeks. Mass Effect so far is one of the most cinematic games I've ever played, and the story is something worth paying attention to as well.

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone, thanks for reading.

13 November 2007 

Quarter Century Mark.

Welp, I'm older. I'm glad these days only come once a year.

06 November 2007 

The Spark that Starts the Fire

Every so often I start to feeling like I should have been a journalist. I have no idea where this comes from, as I'm not particularly investigative or a gifted writer or especially curious, it's just that I see a great deal of value in that field, and secretly I wish that I had the talents to pull it off.

I don't think I would have found journalism so intriguing in the past, even ten years or so ago, the mediums by which journalism came across to it's audience were very stolid and intimidating to anyone not in the biz. It's most likely that when I am feeling journalistic it's because I've been recently participating in social journalism or journalistic communities. Things like social news networks, blogs and podcasting have made journalism something of an everyday hobby for many now, even if their "readership" is limited to their mothers and 3 whackjobs with the same point of view.

In particular, podcasting intrigues me a great deal. I would really like to start a podcast, the problem of course, is picking a subject and finding like minded people to join me in producing it. I suppose I can think of a great number of topics to debate over and a great deal of information that I could be discussing and broadcasting over the interwebs, but the problem is I don't know that any of it is particularly interesting or that I have a particularly unique point of view that would intrigue people to actually listen.

The two topics that come first to mind when I consider this idea are tech/gaming and theology. The guys over at Penny-Arcade have done the tech/gaming thing so well, they turned a hobby of blogging, podcasting and comic drawing into one of the most popular websites for commentary on the video game industry on the web. I would love to be able to turn my own hobbies and passions into such a productive vehicle for the exchange of ideas.

There is a need in each of us I think to express creativity in some special way like that. I have never really considered myself a creative person, a creative wannabe perhaps, I tend to gravitate to the company of writers, artists and musicians, because I so enjoy that process. Creation is a divine activity. It's one the foremost characteristics of God, and being made in his image, we all have the spark of creative desire in some form or another.

Sometimes when I think on this I am amazed at the seeming lack of creativity in Christian "culture." I use the quotes there because I don't feel like there should be a Christian "culture," but since there is, I think it needs to be set apart somehow. The primary reason I don't listen to Christ centered music or read Christ centered literature is that it is so incredibly unoriginal most of the time. Occasionally I run across those rare groups who are truly creative, and I love those moments of discovery, but most of the time I am just saddened by the lack of anything new in these mediums.

There is something sacred about new experiences. Think on it, we measure life by firsts, first steps, first words, first love, first kiss, the birth of a child, the first time you saw your favorite movie, read your favorite book, or heard your favorite song. There is the magic of originality in those moments, and once untapped, cannot be gotten back. It is so sad and a shame that our society seems so in the practice of recycling everything into a state of gray mush. Sequels and the same old TV shows. The same 3 chords in every praise chorus.

Where does my journalistic desire come in? I'm not sure. I certainly enjoy exploring my hobbies to the fullest extent possible. To enjoy something for me is to really know it, I just don't know how to casually dip into hobbies. And to share that joy and knowledge for me is in many ways a fulfillment of purpose. I want to take these things that I'm passionate about and know them thoroughly and then share that with others. Is that creative? I suppose it can be.

I think for me, this creative calling will exist in contextualizing my passions to make them more accessible for others, be this technology and games, or, as I feel is truly my calling, the Word of God and his gospel and glory, there is an impulse within me to do these things that comes only from the original creator. So praise God with your creativity, enjoy the new things in life, and shout for beauty when you find it.