Thursday, November 29, 2007

College Football Rant

I love college football. Love it. Since I've pretty much been out of commission for weeks on end now I've been watching nothing but football and SportsCenter. I was caught up in the chaos of it all before, but an overdose of SportsCenter has given me a little more perspective on it all. You may not call it perspective, perhaps insanity, or stupidity. This is, no doubt, the place for my opinion, the place to say whatever the heck I want. I will continue to do so.

I don't like Missouri. They aren't that entertaining to watch. I predict that they will lose to Oklahoma, not just because I want them to, but because I honestly feel like they are a little boys team in a man's league. They remind me a lot of South Florida. Talented? Yes. For real? No. And no, I won't take them for real if they beat Oklahoma.

West Virginia is a seriously good football team. They are one of those teams from a not-so-huge conference (Big East) that could play any team from any conference and put up a good fight. Plus, White really is exciting to watch, unlike Chase Daniel. Plus, Chase is chubby, not like Mangino chubby, but he has an excessively doughy face for a QB. And, there was no reason that Missouri should have jumped WV in the polls after beating KU. That is pathetic, but not as pathetic as we'll get here.

Ohio State. The Big Ten has it so easy. Weren't they done in October? Seriously. Ohio State hasn't played in weeks and they keep moving up in the polls and might slip into the big game. The BCS...what a mess. This team does not deserve to play in the championship game. Period.

But wait, there is worse. There is so much worse.

Hawaii. #12. There are demands from players and fans that they should be considered for the national title game, are you kidding me? They play in the WAC. The only teams anyone can name in that conference are Boise State and Hawaii. I also know that Utah State is in the WAC, but that's only because Wyoming often played them early in the season and the game was often a joke because Wyoming would trounce Utah State. It was a joke for Wyoming to play a game against a team that Hawaii is saying they have built a championship season upon. That is pathetic. I'm even reluctant to give Hawaii a BCS bid. Please, file them away in the bowl.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oh, it's what you do to me...

I feel like I've been gone from blogging and writing for months, even thought it has been closer to three weeks now since I had to completely abandon sitting in front of a computer.

This is where I give you an update. It'll have a lot of holes in it, the update, but I'll cover the important stuff for now.

I had an MRI last Friday. We got the results yesterday. They were good. The neurologist didn't find any abnormalities and he wasn't concerned about my minor chieri malformation. You can look that up. It is very common. A lot of people have it, and only a percentage actually need surgery on it.

My headaches are gone for the most part. I feel like they are there, but the pain has been zapped. It is hard to explain. I am taking Topamax every night for those. The doc thinks that they are migraines. I am going to continue with that stuff and see him in two months if necessary.

I saw an eye doctor on Monday and he took a brief look at my eyes before telling me I have Iritis, which is an inflammation of the iris. The cause is mostly unknown, but I think it might be allergy related, possibly something in the apartment. The doc gave me steroid eye drops. They are helping a lot with the redness. When the patient has Iritis in both of their eyes, like I do, there is a 20% chance that it comes from an auto-immune disease. I am not currently showing any other symptoms of something like that. That is good. I know a lot of you pray, so pray that continues to be the case.

I am surprised I haven't collapsed from stress or a panic attack at this point. There is not much here in Milwaukee to keep my mind off of my health and every little ache and pain I have.

Kate is going to Las Vegas on Saturday for a national meeting of pharmacists. Yep, they are all into drugs. And I have been given a surprise trip to California. I'll be going to San Diego on Sunday and staying until Thursday. My sister is due on Sunday. Hopefully, while I am there, Brooklyn will be born.

Word. So, that's where I am at. You might have been expecting more. I can't blame you. There's more, but it is not ready to come out. I need to see my family first. I need to take a deep breath first.

There is some figuring out to be done.

Monday, November 19, 2007

For Dry, Red Eyes

This picture doesn't really do the redness justice. It can be better and worse throughout the day. So many of you have asked, "Just how red are your eyes?" I thought putting a picture up would show that I'm not just dealing with a case of mild redness that can be washed away by Clear Eyes. People take a step back from me if we make eye connection. That's a bit annoying. to work for a little bit. Kate and I are celebrating Thanksgiving tonight with the other pharmacy residents.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On the shore

I took this picture a week and a half ago. It is, without question, one of my favorites ever of Kate. I had to share it.

Some of you may have noticed a dip in the amount of blogging going on here. It is not because I am keeping up with the novel-writing endeavor. It is due to some very bad headaches I've been having for 11 days now. We are in the process of figuring out what might be causing the headaches and how we can get rid of them. It's a somewhat slow and frustrating process, but I'll keep you posted.

I have basically had a migraine for a week and a half with a major case of red eyes. Seriously, I look like a vampire or something. A bright room is not my friend, and neither is a glaring computer screen.

So when you return here tomorrow, or the next day, or the week after that, and there is no evidence of my being here, you will know why.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Grace and Peace

A verdict is going to be read this week. I feel so far removed from the man on trial, that time, and those involved. I feel weird saying that because people I love are intimately involved and invested in the outcome of all this. They deserve to be heard, but what has been heard by me are just second and third-hand accounts, for years. That doesn't make them false. That makes them all a little less real, at least it did until last week when I could read his name in the paper, read about this trial, this real trial, in which my best friends are taking the stand and facing this man and his problems head on like they have never been faced.

My friends, my brave friends and family even, are presenting him with a side of himself that he even refuses to come face to face with. I don't know what is best for this man. Years and years of isolation? Maybe. Maybe not. A chance to do it again? No. Freedom? No.

I guess what he has left in my life is a swath of confusion and hurt. And maybe that is all I will ever recognize it to be. I knew a kind man, invested in my upbringing, and concerned about my health. I knew a friend.

A friend I could vent to any time I wanted.

A friend who bought me a hundred Chipotle burritos.

A friend who absorbed my tears and anguish on the morning of August 13, 2000, when in front of a house that my friend had just killed himself in, hugged me. He was there. He didn't ask questions. He knew I just had to scream and sob into his shoulder.

A friend who always signed off with "Grace and Peace."

A friend who signed a Bible that rests on my nightstand to this day with "Bryce, May God's words always direct your life."

A friend that I sent this to in an email, my last ever contact with him:

Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul
May keep the path, but will not reach the goal,
While he who walks in love may wander far,
But God will bring him where the blessed are

A friend that made me choose between him and the rest of my friends. No matter how much I may have loved him, that was an easy decision.

The friend became a stranger in stories, mugshots, and newspaper clippings.

He became a great deceiver, a splinter, a fissure that is to this day splintering a once solid and calm church family.

He became that confusion and hurt.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Strike

The Writer's Guild of America strike has indefinitely postponed my favorite show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Without question, I side with the writers on this one. I ventured over to Comedy Central's website today and found this. A writer for the show wrote a piece for the NY Daily News.

It's worth checking out.

Is it absurd to see writers picketing? Perhaps. We realize things could be worse. We could be lawyers, and this could be Pakistan, and then we'd have to get dressed up in those black suits and throw rocks. But picketing writers are less absurd than writers not getting a cent for their work.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Little List on Marriage...

There are a lot of great things about marriage and being cut loose from parental support, you know the support I am talking about.

Disclaimer 1: Having spent less than five months in a marriage, I have a lot more to discover about it, but that can’t keep me from now offering up commentary on the experience thus far.

Disclaimer 2: I love my parents, and besides from the recent aid Kate and I received from them, we are financially independent.

  1. A big shock when you get cut loose is realizing how expensive living in this world is. There is health insurance, car insurance, utility bills, rent, gas, food, and any other additional bills like cable, cellular, or internet to pay for. Once over the initial shock of all that stuff (I am over that shock), it sort of feels good because I know where every single penny of ours is going. Since I am the one that doesn’t work 60 hours a week around this joint, I do all the bill-paying, a healthy chunk of the grocery shopping, and a majority of the financial monitoring. It is sometimes very stressful to see how expensive just living can be, but being cut loose and realizing that you can survive just fine away from home is a good feeling.
  2. Grocery shopping. Often it is an annoying errand, but I get in there with that shopping cart and there is no one keeping me from buying anything. That’s a beautiful thing. If anything looks good, I can put it in my shopping cart.
  3. That leads us directly to coupons. Before, well before I didn’t have to grocery shop, and I didn’t have to buy my own food. So, when I see a coupon for a dollar off any General Mills cereal in the Sunday paper I cut it out, and I use it on some cereal that I haven’t had in 15 years, like Apple Jacks. I think the stuff is going to be great, like it’s going to take me back like a real comfort food, but it’s not that good. I don’t care really, it’s edible, and I got a dollar off the Pick N Save’s asking price.
  4. When you are married you really share interests in a much different way than ever before. Example, I always knew Kate was an NPR listener, but it wasn’t until recently that I started listening too. She has sort of got me hooked. I even found it yesterday on this gimpy radio we have in the shower. I don’t listen all the time, I still like cruising in the Maxima to my own tunes, but every once in a while I make the switch to NPR and hear interesting things like the world’s fastest speaker. He can recite 655 words in a minute. Serious, he was on today. Freak.
  5. If I feel like walking around the house naked, I do it. I just have to pay attention to the trains though. I’m pretty sure an Amtrak saw my backside just about an hour ago. I’ve mooned them before on purpose, but today’s exposure wasn’t planned.
  6. Simple things like making the bed take on a whole new meaning. If it was just me here, I would still make the bed everyday, but I wouldn’t make it the way I do for Kate. I flatten the sheets. They are wrinkle free. I tuck the corners in nicely. I tuck the sheet in tight all the way up to the head of the bed. I fluff the pillows. I turn the bed down. And, after I wash the sheets, I spend a good ten minutes making the bed just right so I can see and hear Kate squeal into the bed out of pure enjoyment. She loves a well made bed.
  7. Cooking with your spouse is awesome, especially when your spouse can cook as well as Kate. This is another thing she has gotten me more interested in. I love preparing any dish from scratch, especially when I am surprising Kate. There is something so natural and primitive about real, healthy cooking. You know … the washing, the cutting, the innovation, and the final creation. I feel like I have built something after I cook. It gives me a real sense of accomplishment, and, it always tastes that much better if you make the dish yourself.
  8. I always hear new parents tell me that having a kid is so humbling. “You never realize how much you lived for yourself until you have a kid. All of a sudden it’s all about them and not about me anymore.” Getting married has given me that kind of feeling, not on the level that having a kid would, but marriage has certainly humbled me in that way. And we all know how much some good HT can be. (That is Humility Training for all of you too young to have taken part in HT sessions at core group meetings at Doug Johnson’s house.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NaNo : Day 7

NaNo update: 12,848 words

Since I don't have that much dialogue, those words aren't very spread out. Right now the thing is 29 pages.

I refuse to call it a novel. It is a thing, a jumble of words, the past, and the present.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

From the Video Archive - Collin on St. Vrain

I'm catching up to Collin on St. Vrain Road in this video. That's not too surprising. He was carving. I was not. I am much bigger than him and I am on Luke Nosewalker.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bella, The Movie

When I was going through the blogs this morning David Kuo's link to this review of Bella caught my eye. If you haven't heard of Bella, it's a movie, and you can watch the trailer at this site. I first saw the trailer a couple of weeks ago and thought it was sort of vague. It did arouse a curiosity in me though, and that is part of the reason I read the whole review Kuo linked to.

The reviewer, Barbara Nicolosi, is clearly not a fan of the movie. As David Kuo points out, she hasn't seen the final cut of the movie. Maybe the movie has improved in the editing room, but maybe not. That's not really why I enjoyed her review. I enjoyed it because of paragraphs like these:

The "Cream of the Crop" percentage for Bella over at Rotten Tomatoes is a "25%" Which is about right. And no, I don't think the industry critics are panning the project because of its Christian worldview, although I know that many Christians will make that case. If only they were panning this film as propaganda. But they're not. They are panning it as bad art. Bad storytelling...and that should really matter to us Christians who are raving about this project, shouldn't it? Should we Christians be throwing ourselves on the ground in front of a movie just because the filmmakers are Christians? Should we rally around a project that is ambiguous about the "right to choose," simply because the filmmakers meant to make a pro-life film? Does wanting to make a great Catholic pro-life film equate with actually making one?

How do we respond to the serious charges against this piece from the secular critics? Should we just ignore what they say as the threatened snarling of jaded, hedonistic, pagans? I'm hearing people tell me that, anyway, movies are all just a matter of taste. "Movies are like food." Oh, so now, we Christians are going to be the ones making that case that there is no such thing as the beautiful and that beauty is all in the eye of the beholder? Be careful with that. I promise you, you're not going to like where it goes.

Regardless of whether or not I would enjoy the movie, I do agree with Nicolosi that Christians have a tendency to blindly follow anything that is Christian. By doing so, many of us have weakened the critical voice that is present in all of us, the one that helps us determine between good art and not-so-good art. We sort of need to do an about face when critiquing one another's work. It isn't solely about the Creator anymore when it is you and I doing the creating, it's about the creation.

Just because it might be Christian, doesn't mean it's great.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

NaNo : Day 3

Day 3 of NaNo writing is done. Word count: 5,352. Yeah, it's just three days in, but I am doing pretty well by averaging 1,784 words per day. I figure the more words I can tap out everyday in the beginning will make the end of November, or just those really busy days between now and then, a little easier.

I don't really know where I am going with this. To tell you the truth, I don't think what I am going to have come November 30th could be called a novel or a book in any way, shape, or form. I believe I am going to have a big piece of writing that could be trimmed down to several short stories or essays. However, it is too early to tell.

When 50,000 words are demanded from you, you need to write, and do so without looking behind you. It is writing with reckless abandon. Although I am just a tenth done with the goal, I have noticed how crappy my writing can get when forced into this kind of output. There are a few sentences and a couple paragraphs scattered here and there that I am happy about, but I suspect the crappy writing will continue.

I hope I can feel happy about at least a few sentences each day.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Barack Busts A Move

Like many of the clips I put on here, I first found this through Andrew Sullivan's blog here. I love You Tube, this being one of the many reasons. I would never see this otherwise. Barack can dance. Seriously.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Video Archives

I have all these old videos on my computer from my digital camera. You may have seen the first one of the guys bombing St. Vrain Road. Here is another cool one. Sorry it is sideways. I can't figure out how to rotate video. Actually, since I don't have any video editing software I probably can't.

This is from the summer of 2004. A bunch of us went up to the usual cliff-jumping spot on the Poudre. Erik is the first one to jump, then Chris, and then Amanda. Anyway, I always wanted a picture of the first frame because Erik is going for it right there. Look at that extension.