Thursday, December 25, 2008

A little taste of Christmas

Hello, all. Thanks for stopping by. There are a few readers who are waiting for videos/pictures of our tribute to greed and gluttony last night, so here you go. Just feel fortunate that I took time away from playing with my camera, portable printer, new lenses, spy 90 degree angle adapter, DVDs and Wii to put this little post together!

(Rich, Jen and fam... thanks so much!)

And Grammy, you are so special and we love you so much! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Blessings in the new year. Stay tuned for an update with more pictures and a year-end recap. Love you all!

Monday, December 1, 2008

time for a crazygonuts quiz

So I got this email....

1. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag 10 friends who might enjoy doing the meme as well as the person you got the meme from.


The Motions by Matthew West
It’s all okay when you’re just going through the motions.

You’ll be in my heart by Phil Collins
I’ve been told that I have the bad habit of finding the best in people…

Everyday People by Billy Joel
I like people. Leave the pretension at home

Made to worship by Chris Tomlin
And everyday!

Life means so much by Chris Rice
Hahahaha I was just thinking, “Man, these are deep questions for a random quiz to answer!”

Smell the color 9 by Chris Rice
That’s how I roll…

Sea of Faces by Kutless
Who is my mother? My father?

Race car ya ya’s by Cake
… where you can’t change lanes. Where fuzzy dice still hang proudly like testicles from rearview mirrors

9) WHAT IS 2+2?
Sometimes love by Chris Rice
Would you believe I have several Chris Rice albums in my playlist?

You are my king by Newsboys
My best friend… Jesus is my best friend… Jesus is my best friend… I am not alone.

12 days of Christmas by Reliant K
It is still only 1 day, Amelia, no matter what the song says…

Cornerstone by Day of Fire
I knew it was pivotal to my history…

Safe and Sound by Matthew West
And happy… and rich… and …

Back where you belong by Newsong
…. By my side, baby.

Sadie Hawkins Dance by Reliant K
Dunno… I got nuthin’

You raise me up by Josh Groban
Innuendo, anyone?

I go to extremes by Billy Joel
If it is my funeral, apparently, I did!

Opera Singer by Cake
I play the part of the Fat Lady ™

I’m Lion-O by Reliant K
Thunder, thunder, thunder cats! Ho!

Why does this always happen to me by Weird Al Yankovic
If you met them, you’d understand.

I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas by Reliant K
Apparently, I ain’t been nuttin’ but BAD.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Clinical Depression

The holidays are a warm and happy time for many people. However, the same time of year is lonely and depressing for others. There are many reasons for depression, from the obvious grief and loss of loved ones and relationships, but for some people who suffer from chronic clinical depression... bipolar disorder... dysthymic disorder... the reasons aren't so obvious.

I don't understand depression. I'm a glass half full kind of guy. I once had a friend who struggled with depression who told me, "Jeff, you're a nice guy. You just don't know. Depression is a place you might visit, but you won't ever live there. I've lived there." He was intimating that the experience of clinical depression is beyond description. He could have spent all day trying to help me understand what it was like, but I still wouldn't understand.

In the past few years, I've been studying therapy and how to help people who are hurting, who are suffering. I've been taught about depression, the chemical imbalances in the brain that lead to cycles of mania and depression, about the dysfunctional patterns in families, in relationships that lead people to despair.

Every now and again, though I know that I can't hope to completely understand, I come across something that gives me a glimpse into the unknown hurt that some people experience:

David Foster Wallace, a novelist, who suffered from clinical depression wrote in Infinite Jest that depression is "lonely on a level that cannot be conveyed ... Everything is part of the problem, and there is no solution. It is a hell for one."

What a terrible place to live.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Guy's weekend update

Hello, dear readers. This weekend I'm visiting with several of my good friends. We're eating unhealthy foods, staying up way too late and engaging in one of the geeky-est things we do: role-playing games.

By the numbers:

Miles driven: 182
Ounces of liquids consumed: 66
Oreos eaten: 1 package (not sure how many in there) The others may have a had a few.
Hours slept: 5
Dark Side Force Hssiss (lizard like thing) slain: 5
Times a "natural 20" was rolled: 2
Odd and disturbing children's books read: 1 (see below)

Jay came across a book that he checked out from the post library and he saved it just for me. Enjoy the story time! More later.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween & No Shave November

Hello, all. Enjoy the video and look for the results at the end of the month.

Note: I do realize that November only has 30 days.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Party Slideshow

For the past three years, we have hosted a Halloween party for our kids and their classmates. We really enjoy putting on the party and it is a big event around here. Below, I've embedded a slideshow of the pictures I took (and edited) from the party.

Enjoy the show! Click through the links to go directly to the Flickr page and view the photos one by one. (There are almost 200 photos!)

Please comment on the photos you liked!
Also, visit my photo business page and keep me in mind if you need some portraits!

Emery's Memories Fine Photography


Friday, September 19, 2008

A hard night

Whew, I am exhausted. It is about 1am and though that is not unusual for me to be awake at this late hour, it is not the source of my exhaustion. I'm drained.

I just got back from the hosptial where I work as a chaplain. The work shift itself was not difficult, just long. It was about 11:30 when I got home and I was hungry because I'd only had a salad for dinner. I scrounged up some leftovers and nuked 'em, loaded up a show to watch on my laptop when *beep*beep*beep* my pager went off.
I called in to find out what was up and the operator told me, "They need you in Labor & Delivery.... please hold and I'll connect you."

My heart sank. Usually, when I get paged in the middle of the night to come back up to the hospital, it is not good news, but to get paged to Labor & Delivery meant that a baby was dead.

All death is tragic, but the death of a newborn/stillborn seems especially pointless and difficult.

The patient was just weeks from full term, with all indicators being that the baby was healthy... until earlier today. When I got to the floor, the nurse gave me additional information... they are a young couple, no other children, no family nearby... she is in shock...

What do you have to offer someone in that situation? There is an expectation that the chaplain is going to have some words of comfort, some insight that eases the pain. The only reference point I have is a miscarriage that we suffered when our first child, Mary Hannah, was about a year and a little bit old. I remember being devastated. I remember thinking that I *shouldn't* feel so bad, after all, it wasn't even a fully grown baby. I remember thinking it was a little creepy that the fetus was still inside Amelia, no longer alive. We had to schedule the procedure for several days later. I remember .... it was awful. And this... this situation I was walking into... I can't even begin to imagine how much more terrible it must be for this young couple.

I talked with them and prayed with them and tried to plant seeds of ideas of things they're going to experience in the coming days; emotions and hurdles and well-meaning friends and family who will offer platitudes and empty comfort. I reminded them that God is still good and he loves them very much. That, being a Father, he knows the pain they are in, even if I can't and no body else can hope to understand. I encouraged them to mourn a baby, a real, fully formed baby that deserves to be honored, remembered and cherished. We asked God to give them peace knowing that He is holding the baby in His arms now.

I left their room and encouraged the nurse who called. Not every night in Labor and Delivery is a night of joy.

I returned home and checked Ethan's blood sugar... 314... that is high, so I gave him some insulin. Tiptoed into the girl's room and gave them both kisses on their foreheads and watched them sleep for just a minute. I looked around their rooms at their mess, their toys, their clothes and was filled with gratitude to God that I had three messy, noisy, fussy miracles to love and hold.

God be with that young family. God be with me and help me to bring your comforting love to hurting people in a tangible way. Thank you, God, for loving us all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Google Docs: Forms

Hey there, faithful readers. Do me a favor and help me out. I'm experimenting with the new Forms available in Google docs. The Forms function allows you to embed questions in blogs or emails and then return the results to a spreadsheet. Thanks for taking a moment to fill out the form below. You can make up the data if you like, as this is just an experiment.

THANKS! - Jeff

Monday, September 15, 2008


By the numbers:
Hours this weekend I worked on Academic stuff: 9
New photographic prints I put up in my office: 32
Items I checked off my to-do list: 17
New apps installed on my iTouch: 4
Chapters read for class: 4
Episodes of House, MD watched: 6
Hours of audiobooks listened to: 1
Miles run: 5, 1 walked
Time spent with family: wife-6 hours (sitting in the hospital counts, right?) kids - 12 hours
Case notes written: 4

Why is it that I hit my highest productivity between 12am and 2am? *sigh*
Time for bed.

Friday, September 5, 2008

On the other side of the wilderness...

In 2001, a little over a month after my 1st baby was born, I embarked on an epic (for me anyhow) journey to a distant land. My quest was three-fold 1) Conquer the mountain 2) Encounter God 3) Come back in one piece. I was successful.

Many people have gone on Wilderness Trek and lived to tell about it, so I wasn't really worried that I wouldn't make it. Then again, everyone had an opinion about it. One of the ladies at church expressed skepticism,
She: "Jeff, I heard you are going to climb a mountain with the youth group?"
Me: "Yes, we're all pretty excited about it!"
She: "Oh, um... it is just that.... well, I thought you had to be in shape to do that sort of thing."

ouch... Anyhow, I knew I'd be ok, physically. I was concerned for my wife and baby with me being gone for a week. I was concerned for the kids that we were taking with us. I was excited and nervous all at the same time.

The week was fantastic. Our guides were remarkable, they guided us not only up the mountains but through the process of changing our perceptions. For some in our group, it was a time to face physical limitations and overcome them. For others, it was a time to recognize the social barriers that prevented close friendships. For all of us, it was a time to recognize the beauty and majesty of God in the mountains of Colorado.

Over the course of 6 days, our goal was to hike and camp on the 2nd tallest mountain in the lower 48: Mt. Elbert! Unfortunately, on our summit day (pictured above), a storm moved in and prevented us from reaching the peak, so we had to have a quick picture and then hot-foot it back to the tree line. It was an amazing experience, one I'll not soon forget.

The Bible has a lot to say about wilderness experiences. It is a common metaphor used to convey the change process for God's chosen people. For some characters in the Bible story, it was an actual wilderness (Read Exodus, if you like) and for others, it took on different forms. Basically, it is a time of testing our faith and our reliance on God. Can we be trusted to trust God to be faithful?
In therapy, we talk a lot about the process of change and how it happens. Many people come to counseling because they get stuck in the process of living and can't seem to move on. They get lost in their wilderness wanderings and don't know how to find the other side of the wilderness, the land flowing with God's blessings. Some begin to doubt it exists. They are OK with the idea of complaining to God about their situation, but they've forgotten his promises.

I don't feel like I am in a wilderness, per se, but I do feel like I'm being tested. Instead of removing all the luxuries in life to help me rely on him, it feels like God is allowing Satan to fill my life with stuff and busy-ness so that God's influence will be choked out of my life simply by my trying to do keep up.

Change me, O Lord. Mold me and shape me daily, to conform to the image of your Son. Don't let the worry and busy-ness of my life sprout up as weeds to choke out the seed you have planted in me. Give me of your living water and let me grow in your light.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Repost: Devotional from Mark

Greetings, here is another post from my past... a devotional I wrote while in Enid, OK.

I’ve been teaching the high school class at church lessons from the Gospel of Mark. Mark is a great book and is full of great lessons from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Two weeks ago, I faced a big challenge on how to present chapter 13 of Mark. The chapter contains teachings on the second coming of Christ, the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and signs of “the end of the age”. That is some pretty weighty stuff for teenagers. When I was in high school, some of my biggest concerns included facial blemishes, pre-calculus homework and what I would do at prom (this boy can’t dance). So I wrestled a bit with how to present a lesson on Mark 13 to teens. But I did it. Now, here I am, two weeks later, again faced with a tough problem: Mark 15. This is the story of Jesus’ trial before Pilate and his subsequent death on the cross. You may think that this is an easy story to teach. “Come on, Jeff!” you may say. “This is the easiest story in the world to tell.” After all, it is the basis of our hope, it is the central story of Christianity, we hear it all the time in sermons, everybody knows this story. And that is precisely the problem. How do I present this story to my students and help it to be significant? That is not to say that it is not significant all on its own, but sometimes, familiarity with something tends to make it less significant. For instance, have you ever noticed that the period is missing after the Dr in the Dr Pepper logo? It is so common as to be unnoticed. I wanted this story to be so important to my students that they’d sit up and take notice, even though they’ve heard the story many times before. That is my hope for you as well. I know that the Easter holiday is coming up. It is a time when most believers remember the awesome and terrible story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. So my challenge for you during this season is to see this story with news eyes and hear it with new ears. Receive it with a open heart, and God has promised that your life will changed… forever. Matt 13:13-16

with love in Christ, jeff

Ice Skating devotional. Repost from earlier notes

Note: I wrote this devotional to be published in the Enid News and Eagle in April of '03.

I took a group of kids to the city to go ice-skating during spring break. Before we go any further, I have to explain my athletic ability. I don’t have any. I am devoid of virtually all talents physical. So, you may understand that I brought along a bit of “extra” equipment for our ice-skating. As the rest of the kids were putting on their skates, I donned a pair of wind pants over my jeans and then pulled out a pillow and stuffed it between the waistband of the wind pants and my blue jeans. Thus equipped, I put on my skates and headed toward the rink. I know I looked silly, but an hour’s worth of silly was worth not breaking my tailbone. As I was about to step out on the ice, I noticed that one of my teens was nervously regarding the ice. She’d never been ice skating before and so I offered to help her out. She is a smart girl and in any other circumstance I’m sure that she would have examined the situation better before taking MY hand for help in ice skating. After all, it should have been obvious to even a casual observer that I didn’t have any confidence in my ability to keep myself upright, much less another person. But she apparently didn’t consider any of this and she willingly took my hand and together we slipped and slid around the perimeter of the rink. Later, I asked myself what kind of faith it must have taken for her to place her hand in mine and step out on the slick surface. She trusted me, obviously (perhaps her faith was a bit unfounded…). In trying to draw a spiritual application from the afternoon festivities, I realized that it takes great faith on our part reach out and accept the hand that God offers. The difference if we trust God and follow his ways, we can have confidence that God will keep us from falling. Psalm 37:24 I pray that we will all reach out and take God’s hand and follow where he leads us. Love through Christ - jeff

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Jeff's 5 minute speech as 1st year representative at the 2008 MFT graduating class banquet.


Welcome, family and friends. There is an old therapy joke:
Q: How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one, but it has to want to change.

Change is kind of a buzzword around here. We research change, we write papers about the “theory of change”, we try to help clients work through the changes in their lives and find the change they need to grow and thrive.

When clients come to see us, they may not be ready for change. But when you came to this University, you knew that it was going to change you, but perhaps you didn’t know how it was going to change you.

Tomorrow is a special day where you’ll be changing once again. In a matter of hours, you will be transformed, almost like magic, from graduate students into… who knows? Some of you will go on from here to further your education, some of you have just gotten married, some of you just became or will soon become parents, most of you will jump right back into the struggle for hours and supervision as you work toward your license. A couple of you are going to return to your previous vocation in the mission field, better equipped to do the work you were called to do.

The MFT department may be most invested in helping us to learn about change and how to help others, but the University is also invested in this concept. ACU’s mission is : to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. Looking out at our graduates tonight, I know those goals have been met.

I don’t really think that anyone will remember the words I offer tonight, except perhaps to recall that I told you you wouldn’t remember what I said. Even so, I hope to give you one encouragement to take with you tonight.
It is one of my favorite scriptures: Ephesians 2:10
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV) We were handcrafted by God, created anew in Christ, for a purpose. I want you to focus on “God prepared in advance these good works for us to do…” because He has been preparing you to do them. You’ve been called, created to do good works. To touch lives, to walk alongside hurting people and give them hope.

The past year has been a whirlwind from a 1st year’s perspective. We’ve watched you, observed you, sat in on your sessions, picked your brains. When the time came to do co-therapy, we got to sit with you as you mentored us and helped us to understand all the book learning we’d done. Thank you for that. Thank you for your example. Thank you for your encouragement.

In a week, in a month, in a year… no one will remember much of what is said here tonight, but you will remember the relationships that were formed during your time here. So, thank you for being our friends, our classmates, our mentors. We know that you have been equipped and that you are ready to move on to face new changes and new challenges. Good night and God Bless.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My wife is funny

Quip: a clever or witty remark or comment.

I was telling a friend of mine about my recent attempt to help a classmate whose hard disk had crashed. I'd looked up the problem and found out that Macs can connect via firewire and the host computer can use the target computer as an external hard drive. As I was spinning the tale of my dramatic data retrieval attempt, my wife interrupted with a curt summary, "What he's trying to tell you is that he attempted Mac-to-Mac resuscitation."

My wife is so funny.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Perfect Dozen

Chin up, hunny.

Amelia has learned, like the kids have, that when I have the camera out, she just needs to humor me. So, when I pointed the camera at her and commanded, "Smile!" She graced me with the above photo.

12 years ago today, we stood before a group of family and friends and vowed to support, cherish, love, put up with and otherwise endure the passage of time with each other. I would like to point out that the woman in the picture above is NOT the woman I married. Shocked? Read on...

The woman I married 12 years ago was kind and generous. She was smart and quick to laugh. She worked hard and saw things through. She was helpful, gracious, and gifted. The woman that I wake up to each morning is not the same. She is more. Much more.

In twelve years, she has become a closer friend, a confidant. She's seen me at my worst and taken me by the hand and helped me to stand again. She has taken my shattered ego and put it back together. Amelia had to learn to see past the facade I put up and see the real me and she kept loving me through it all.

In twelve years, Amelia has become more beautiful to me. I asked her tonight if she considered herself to be beautiful. She told me that she did... to some extent, except when she is 'frumpy' (which she claims lasts most of the winter). But in my eyes, her beauty is unsurpassed. It encompasses not just her outward beauty (her eyes, her smile, her freckled shoulders, her shapely legs, etc), but her Christian spirit as well. If ever I need to see compassion, grace, courtesy, hospitality, hope, joy, endurance, patience... I don't have to look farther than my wife.

In twelve years, she has changed from being my best friend to being my wife to being the mother of my daughter, Mary Hannah, my son, Ethan, and my youngest girl, Eleanor. Motherhood has triggered some changes in Amelia. She is more patient, more loving, more diligent, more steadfast. What an even more amazing woman she's become!

In twelve years, my wife has organized my life as we moved from Abilene to Coleman back to Abilene to Plainview to Enid (3x in Enid alone!) back to Abilene. Amelia has encouraged me to persevere with my dreams and seen in me strengths I didn't know I possessed. Her gentle loving has wrought great changes in me.

In twelve years, this incredible woman has adapted to everything that life has thrown at us and has helped us forge a family. We've had our share of hardship (both natural and self-inflicted) but she keeps us going. She is not the woman I married, and, thank the Lord, I'm not the man she thought she was getting. God has been good to us. God IS good to us, everyday.

Thank you, God for this woman, Amelia. Thank you for giving her eyes to see me despite my attempts to cover up. Thank you for giving her a heart to love me and our children even when she's worn out and at her breaking point. Thank you for molding and shaping her and forming her every day in your image. Thank you for the past twelve years, Father. Help us to live each day for you.

I love you, Amelia. Thank you for being you, every day. You are the woman I love today, tomorrow and always.

We ate at Outback Steakhouse on our honeymoon and here we are, celebrating our 12th anniversary.

Behold, the empty plate, formerly known as a plate of Aussie Cheese Fries.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cute 3 yr old daughters = innate manipulative abilities

It is midnight. I've come home from working at the hospital. Eleanor is still awake, so I talk to her and hold her for a few minutes and then send her back to bed. I sit down at the dining room table to work on the backlog of homework I have due on Monday for an upcoming summer short course. Ele comes back into the dining room..."Daddy, I'm not tired. Can I sit here?" She is referring to a once-tried method of compliance I used on a past sleepless night. Because she kept getting out of bed, I had her sit in the middle of the floor while I worked on my laptop. She had to be quiet and be still until she was ready to go back to bed and back to sleep. Tonight, she was just using the ploy as a stay-awake tactic. "No, Ele... go back to bed." "Oh, alright!" she pouted. Minutes later, she's back with a new strategy: "I forgot to give you kisses." Come on! What is Daddy supposed to do? "Ok, give me kisses and go back to your bed." *smooch* "Daddy, I'm not tired." Me: "Baby, I'm sorry you're not tired... but you'll be in trouble if you get out of bed again. You don't have to go to sleep yet, but you have to stay in your bed." Minutes pass then...."Daddy..."

In exasperation, I sharply tell her, "Eleanor Layne, you are going to get a spanking if you can't obey. Get back in your bed!"

She hands me a balloon creature she got at the mall earlier tonight, "This is for you, Daddy. It is for happy Father's Day. Good night."
With that, she turns and goes back to bed. I just checked... she's asleep. Sheesh.

-dormi bene

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Who is The Mole?

Last week, on June 2nd, ABC network launched a new season of The Mole. For the record, The Mole is my favorite reality TV show. I loved the first season and was upset when the show was dropped three episodes into the second season. I somehow missed subsequent seasons and would love to see them on DVD (hint, hint). At any rate, I think that as far as reality TV shows go, this show has the right mix of physical challenges, mental challenges and intrigue that the others shows have to manufacture by casting polar opposite personality types and fostering dissention. The Mole's concept is that there is a saboteur in the mix and so it incorporates by design what the other shows have to get via overly dramatic personalities.

With that brief introduction, here are my initial thoughts on this season's game:

1) John Kelley is a dud. Boy, do I miss Anderson Cooper.
2) For all my (above) talk about not needing any drama amongst the contestant's personality types... this season has it in spades... c'mon, casting officer... why stoop to this low?
3) I can't wait for Bobby to get eliminated.
4) I also don't like Mark... but as he is a good player, he'll probably be here for a while.
5) So far, their teamwork stinks... it will probably take a few more episodes to eliminate a few of the more vitriolic players before they can gel and get to work actually adding some money to the pot.
6) My guess for the Mole so far.... Alex. Why? In episode one, at the dinner before the elimination the following exchange occurs:
Mark: "...leading up to the quiz, everybody is going to be miserable."
John Kelley: "And that is music to the Mole's ears."
Mark: "Of course it is."

Ok, I may be reading too much into it, but the producers have a penchant for slipping in clues where they remain hidden in plain sight (or plain speech). For instance, in season one, they had Anderson Cooper munching on an apple during one scene. The apple was the state fruit of Washington, the home state of that season's mole. So.... Alex is a musician... I think John Kelley was given that phrase to slip into conversation... That and Alex acted pretty suspiciously in this last episode... I guess we will have to wait to see if my intuition is true.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Up in smoke

Ok, you know that sinking feeling you get when you've done something that you don't understand with your computer and now you are afraid that you've done something to cause irreparable harm to your computer/files/life. Are you familiar with phrases like, "Blue Screen of Death"? Although I didn't employ any intentional method to destroy my data, I did have a heart-stopping moment this weekend.

For several years now, as my collection of personal digital photographs has swelled to the tune of tens of thousands of pictures, my lovely wife has delicately encouraged me to back up our precious memories onto a more durable medium (CDs, DVDs) rather than using a fragile magnetic hard drive. In the past 5 years, I have gone through three hard drives on my PC and ALL of my Emery's Memories work currently resides on one 400 GB external drive. Amelia has expressed her trepidation about losing data at key times such as my clean install of two years ago (I only managed to lose my .doc and .pub files from 4 years of youth minsitry - well 30% of them that weren't backed up onto CDs). I have reassured her that I am fully aware of the situation and it is under control. But I must admit that on Saturday, I was sweating bullets.

Here's the low-down: I've been increasingly depending on my trusty Macbook Pro since I acquired it in September of '07. Unfortunately, the video and photo files I've been doing with Emery's Memories have quickly whittled down my available 120 gigs of hard drive space to about 20 gigs. Soooo... I decided to clean up a bit. First of all, I went through and tossed duplicates or bad photos. Next, I got the external hard drive from my PC (I have one for my Mac, but it is just for backing up the Mac) and set about dumping all the Emery's Memories Projects onto the PC external drive. Because I have an Intel based Mac, it read the FAT32 partition with no problems and I happily transfered gigabyte after gigabyte of information. Skip forward a few days... I had just a few more files to transfer to the backup PC drive and then I was going to take it back to the PC and hook it up to make sure all the files got transfered and were readable before dumping the 40 gigs of data in my Mac's Trashcan. I reconnected the firewire PC backup drive to the Macbook and got this message: "This volume is not initialized. Initialize now? YES NO" For those of you who are strictly PC users, this is akin to formatting (essentially erasing any existing data on the hard drive to have a clean slate). I selected "NO" and took the external hard drive upstairs to the PC to see if it would read it there. Amelia was sewing and saw me come upstairs to the PC and hook up the drive.
Am: "Hi, honey. Whatcha doing?"
Me: (nonchalantly) "Oh, I'm just checking to see if the files I backed up transfered alright."
Am: "You know, I really wish you'd go ahead and put all our old pictures on CDs."
Me: (thinking - SHE KNOWS), "Oh, I know, I know. I'll do that soon. Promise."
----I reboot the Windows Machine and wait. The drive comes up..... I click on it to open up the file explorer window, waiting to see the almost 300 gigs worth of pictures, videos and music I had stored on the drive unfold gloriously before my eyes. Nothing doing. My PC mocks me with the following message: "This drive is not formatted. Format now? YES NO" -----
Me: " Ahhhhh... nuts!"
Am: "What's wrong, honey?"
Me: "Um.... well, I had this drive hooked up to the Mac to transfer a bunch of files and now neither computer is reading it."
Am: "Is that the hard drive with all our pictures on it?"
Me: (almost whispering) "yes"
---------pregnant pause-------- (for reference, ladies: HERE # 72)
Am: Can you fix it?
Me: Um... I'm looking into it now.
------ Furiously searching Google (no, I'm not feeling lucky), I found a forum that explained my problem. It seems that even with Intel based Macs, if you attempt to move a file that is more than 4 GB, the FAT32 system doesn't handle it very well... so the Mac tried to use it's file handling protocol to tell the drive how to handle those files. The next time I tried to access the drive, the partition table was corrupted with data from both the Mac's way of reading files and the PC's way of reading files. Therefore, neither one of them recognized that the drive was formatted at all. Luckily, all the data was intact. I downloaded some free software that analyzes the drive and recreates the partition table and Volia! 30 minuts later, my PC can read all my glorious data. -----
Me: (with newfound confidence) Ok, sweetie, it is all there. Not a byte missing. I just had to (and here I launched into a long winded explanation of the difference between NTFS and FAT32 which she promptly cut me off)
Am: So... will you please back up all our pictures onto CDs now?
Me: Sure.... soon (tm) .

Needless to say, I really worried for a while there that I'd really messed up and lost all the digital copies of our pictures for the last 5 years or so....

So, I'll leave you with this little joke:

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan replied, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my Son, Jesus? With all the technological advances on earth, he has proven himself adept at mastering all of them." Satan said, "You've given him every advantage, it is not a matter of mastering technological skills, he already knows it all. If you kept yourself out of the equation, I'll bet that he couldn't even beat me in a typing test." "Very well," said the LORD. He called Jesus and arranged for them to each have a computer brought before them and told them the rules of the typing test.... the first to finish with the fewest errors would be declared the winner. It was no ordinary typing test and their fingers flew across the keyboards. After 15 minutes, Satan began to break a sweat. After 30 minutes, he crowed, "HA! I'm almost finished!" Just then, the power in Heaven winked out and then back on. "NOOO!", Satan screamed. "Not fair! You can't have a power outage in Heaven!" The LORD said, "Well, it appears that Jesus is the winner." Satan yelled, "That is not fair! How can you say that he won? We both lost power and all the test data!" The LORD replied calmly, "Yes, but Jesus saves."

Moral of the story: Don't be a moron like me.... back up your important data.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Semester's End

Well, it has been a while since I posted anything here and I thought I would give you an update.

It has been a busy month or so. My last post dealt with my experience with "Ne'igalomeatiga", my kidney stone. Turns out that it is a common type: a Calcium Oxalate stone. That means that I'm likely to get another one if I don't watch it... soooooo... I hope I can minimize the risk.

Since my last post, it feels like the level of academic work that was due, impending or otherwise looming at the end of the semester has all been compressed into the space of a week or so. I'm on the downhill side of the onslaught though, having attended the last official class session this morning. Now all I have left are two write-ups for my Assessments class, a take home essay test from Internship 1 and a final exam from Advanced Psychopathology between now and next Wednesday. Oh, and supervision and clients and work and sermon prep and processing about 800 wedding pictures for two different clients. Shouldn't be too tough.

I'm actually in a kind of melancholy mood right now. It might have something to do with the fact that it is midnight and I should be either sleeping or working on something that will make my life less hectic tomorrow (paying bills, doing homework or such). Nevertheless, I am blogging so I'll share my emotional state with you.

Firstly, I know that counseling can be an emotional drain on a therapist, and I expect that downt the road it will be, but right now, I feel pretty energized with the few sessions that I've gotten under my belt. Part of the reason is that it challenges my mind to process the stories I'm being told and to push them through a filter of all that I've learned in the past few months and try to make connections and see patterns and make sense of the jumble that spills out in front of me in the therapy room. As this happens, it is not just my clients who are in therapy, but I am there too, so I'm part of this process of examination and exploration. I walk away from a therapy session having been subjected to new information and I have to find some way to make it make sense. Therapy changes people... mostly the therapist, I think. Perhaps I'm still too new to the process and so that is why I feel like I'm taking so much away from each session. Time will tell.

Secondly, my family is undertaking a shift in our level of comfort. As you may know, we have been living with Amelia's parents for a little over three years now, since we moved back to Abilene. What was a short term plan has turned into a long term proposition as it quickly became apparent that living rent-free was a wonderful way to begin the process of getting out of debt. Part of the debt was self-inflicted, part of it was medical emergencies and part of it was sudden job loss related. However we got there, we didn't intend to spend so much time leeching off of Amelia's extremely gracious parents. So, three years later, we've decided that despite the lousy housing market, despite the rising cost of food, gas and general living expenses, that we need to be a household unto our selves. This will not be easy. So far, it has mostly been discouraging. I was supposed to spend some time tonight getting our expenses lined out, calculating our debt and monthly expenditures, but after doing my required duties at the hospital, I only managed to watch LOST and work on my sermon for Sunday. I'd appreciate any prayers you could send our way.

Thirdly, I've been giving a little thought to a paper that I'll have to turn in later this summer called the "Theory of Change" paper. We have been instructed to formulate a theory of change based on what we know from some experts we have studied (Prochaska, primarily and his theory of Transtheoretical change). We are supposed to integrate two of the therapy models we've studied and weave them into this model and come up with our own "meta-theory". It should be an interesting exercise. Recently, I've become wrapped up with a song that is occupying my mental processes and informing my outlook. I have, in fact, set up another blog just to explore this train of thought, so I won't blog about it here, but direct you there to read those ramblings, if you care to:

Finally, I'm really, really, really enjoying doing Photography. I shot my first solo wedding last weekend and it went great. In yet another shameless plug, go visit my page for my budding business and tell your friends. I give awesome discounts to friends, poor college students, families, complete strangers everyone who asks... I'm just enjoying it so much. I appreciate all the affirmation and validation I've gotten from the work. Have a great weekend.

Emery's Memories : Fine Photography

Monday, April 7, 2008

This, too, shall pass...

Amelia tells me that I'm a lousy patient. I don't like to admit I'm sick and when I finally admit it, I don't like to take drugs because in my convoluted thinking, how will I know I feel better unless I know when the pain stops? Nevertheless, I had to revise my drug-taking philosophy this past week. Let me back up and tell you the whole story...

Wearing the little white gown that doesn't close in the back

Ok, so last Sunday, I was driving home from Galveston where I'd spent several days at a conference. I'd worked in three side trips to see friends along the way and I was pretty tired. Enterprise Rent-a-Car had set me up with a nice little Chevy Cobalt which I was enjoying, but toward the end of my trip I began to wonder if I wasn't getting a little saddle sore after racking up almost a thousand miles in the blue beast in three days. About an hour away from Abilene, I actually stopped and bought some Ibuprofin because my back was hurting so much. I arrived home and put a cold-pack on my back and it helped a bit. Monday arrived and I felt fine all day, but in the evening, my back was hurting me so much I laid on the ground and cried for a bit. It was at this point Amelia began prompting me to make an appointment to see a doctor. Loathe to spend money on a deductible just for a lil ole backache, I declined. Tuesday, apparently vindicated, I boasted to my beautiful bride that I felt fine. In the evening, we took a walk around ACU on the Lunsford Trail with all three kids in tow. Each of the kids had some vehicle they were riding and I bent, twisted, pulled and ran alongside them as they rode along. I was feeling fine. Amelia witnessed my limber form and told me that I wasn't allowed to complain of a backache any longer. Wednesday found me feeling great once again and I was glad that my nagging back pain was gone until..... church time that night. Once again, my lower left back began to ache deep inside and I couldn't make the pain abate. I tried putting pressure on it, I tried sitting differently, I tried breathing deeply. Finally, I got home as quickly after church as I was able and took some painkillers and hooked up a heating pad and whimpered as I tried to get comfortable. Thursday, a full four days after I first noticed my back pain, I had my first real spasm. It was at about 4:30 pm while I was working at the MFI clinic. I broke out in a sweat and got nauseous and couldn't sit comfortably. The pain in my back was sharp and acute and worse than anything I could remember. It lasted for about 10 minutes and then I went back to feeling pretty normal. I was scheduled to work at the hospital for my chaplaincy job that evening and hoped that I would be able to function until my shift ended at 11pm. So, I went to the hospital and as soon as I got a chance, I went down to the Trauma Center where I found the charge nurse, Judy. "Judy, " I began rather innocently, "If I were to tell you that I thought I had a kidney stone, what questions would you ask me to screen for that?" Judy raised her eyebrow at me. I described my symptoms and she told me, "Yeah, it sounds like a kidney stone. Do you want me to check you in?" I assured her that I felt fine and that I was hoping that it was not going to be a bother that night. She smiled and said, "Ok, but I predict you'll be back tonight. Let me get you some stuff." She walked off and a few minutes later was back with a handy dandy paper funnel/filter thingy and a sterile urine sample cup. "Strain all your urine and try to catch it, so you can let your doctor determine what kind of kidney stone it is." I accepted her gifts and went along, full of ominous foreboding. "Don't feel bad, chaplain! Bigger men than you have come in here crying for morphine. There's no shame. Don't try to tough it out!" She called to my retreating form. At about 10:20 that night (40 minutes before my shift ended), I'd been trying to walk it off and take it easy and hope that the pain subsided, but I couldn't take it any more. I had to get some relief. I called the backup chaplain... only to discover that earlier in the day, he'd had a steroid shot in his neck for a slipped disk and had taken some prescribed sleeping pills. So, I called his backup... only to be reminded that my backup's backup's wife had recently been discharged from the hospital... But I was told to go ahead and go to the Trauma Center and we'd all hope that none of us got paged. So it was, at 10:30 on Thursday, I was pacing in the waiting area to be called to triage.

They put in an IV so I could get some good drugs and then pumped me full of saline to try to help me flush my system faster. There was a drug aptly named, "Flomax" that was designed to help my urinary tract do it's thing better and more painkillers that you can only get from the hospital or through illegal means. They also had me fill out a form, where for the first time in my life, I admitted that I was experiencing pain that, on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is "I have no pain" and 10 is, "I'd sacrifice endangered Rhinos to the dark gods of the 18th dimension to make it stop", I came in at about 9.8.

Later, I looked it up on Agony [ag-uh-nee] noun :
1.extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering.
2.a display or outburst of intense mental or emotional excitement: an agony of joy.
3.the struggle preceding natural death: mortal agony.
4.a violent struggle.
5.(often initial capital letter) Theology. the sufferings of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.

and the little known 6th entry: The process of passing a kidney stone.

So, as I've related my little tale to others, one common theme has emerged: many people liken the pain of passing kidney stones to that of giving birth. Some say it is as close as men will ever come to knowing the pain, while some females even admitted that having experienced both childbirth and kidney stones, they'd opt for childbirth. So, I've come to a decision... if it is a girl, I'm going to name her, "Lo-Ruhamah " and if it is a boy, "Ne'igalomeatiga".

Peace, love, and no kidney stones be unto you, good reader.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I've been mulling this blog around in my head for a long time. One of the greatest blessings God has given me is a regular swift kick in the pants. I'm speaking metaphorically, of course, but the idea is that whenever I get so wrapped up in myself that I begin to harden my heart, God somehow opens my eyes my giving me a glimpse into someone else's life. Now, I'm not trying to brag that my life is so much better than others around me, what I want to convey is that we all have our own stories. I sometimes get so caught up in how mine is unfolding that I forget that my story is interwoven with those around me. I find that when I lack the perspective of my story among those other stories, I lose something.

One of the things I enjoy about my job at the hospital is that I get to leave when my shift is over. Sometimes, it is a difficult job. Sometimes, when I get up at 7 am on Thursday and I know that I won't get home till after 11pm that night, I start my day weary. By the time I get to the hospital after class, work, family, study, everyday life... I know I still have a few hours of visiting people who are sick, lonely, depressed, traumatized, etc. And yet...and yet... on days like that, when I lack the empathy to see beyond myself, God shows up with a swift kick to get me back on His path. Most recently, it was a young lady who delivered her baby at 19 weeks. The baby had major developmental problems and she delivered it stillborn, but it was a fully formed little thing. The family requested a chaplain to pray over it and bless it. What do you say to a husband and wife in this situation? I don't remember my exact words, but the gist of the prayer was that God knew this life and formed it and held it in His hands and for whatever reason, God chose to bring that life back to Himself. I called the baby by the name its parents had given it and asked God to honor his family with a blessing of peace, with the knowledge that the One who gives and takes away is still in control and can give them peace and comfort. They thanked me for the prayer and shortly after, I left them with their family and friends who had come to visit. Perspective... when I got home, I quietly visited my babies, my precious heavenly gifts and softly kissed them while they slept. I thanked God for them and for giving me empathy so I could pass on some measure of comfort to that family.

Tonight, Amelia and I were talking to a friend and she mentioned something about her family and when we looked puzzled, she realized we weren't up to date on what was going on with her. She shared some details of her life and the struggles she was facing with her relationships and parenting and finances and her desire to please God in how she handled it all. As she shared with us, I wished that I could give her something to help her bear up under the load she carried, but there was nothing I could realistically do for her. I offered her a blessing and expressed that I wished we could do something more her and she said, "Oh, I just appreciate you listening. I'm sorry I kind of dumped all over y'all." Perspective... while we drove home, I thanked God for the woman of character sitting in the passenger seat who loved me in spite of my shortcomings. I thanked God for giving me empathy to be able to listen to a friend and be a blessing of encouragement in her trials.

The last lesson of perspective relates to why I'm studying counseling. It was a rare reminder from Hollywood. A little background: the TV series Friday Night Lights is about a town and the people who live in it. The story centers around the local football team and the characters are all embroiled in their own drama (which attracts viewers which attract advertisers...yada yada) Anyhow, in a recent episode, the quarterback has had a series of setbacks in his personal life and kind of withdraws from his responsibilities and friends. When the coach comes to his rescue after he gets drunk and skips school and has to pick his grandmother up from the hospital after she fell, the viewer is not all that inclined to feel sorry for the quarterback. After all, he's made a series of bad decisions and has let his grandmother, his teammates, his friends... he's let them down. The coach pushes him down the hallway into a bathroom and into the tub and turns the water on him, as he sits in the tub, fully clothed. "Do you know how many people depend on you to make good decisions?" the coach asks. "Huh? Do you have any idea? Your grandmother, your teammates, your friends. You'd better start making them. You'd better stop being so damn selfish. And stop feeling sorry for yourself!" The quarterback shouts, "SHUT UP! You don't care about me! You left me for a better job! (last season, after mentoring him into being the 1st string quarterback) Your daughter left me for a better guy! (again, last season... his first romance and a bitter breakup) Carlotta left me for Guatemala! (his most recent girlfriend) My dad left me for a damn war! (His father is a soldier fighting overseas)" .... long pause.... "Everybody leaves me!" ... long pause... "What's wrong with me?" The water continues to pour down on him and the coach realizes all that this 17 year old is shouldering. Coach: "There's nothing wrong with you. There's nothing wrong with you at all." What started out for both the coach and the viewer as a delinquent kid getting a good talking to turned into a reminder that we all carry our burdens. Sometimes, our burdensome stories spill over into other people's burdensome stories. It gives me pause... and perspective.

Whenever I lack empathy, it is because I don't know enough of someone's story. I probably just need a swift kick. Thanks, God.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse 2-20-2008

According to NASA, the last time there was a total Lunar Eclipse was in August of 2007. I pulled out the ol' camera tonight and took pics of the one that happened. The next one isn't until Dec 21, 2010. Maybe by then, I'll have a 1600mm lens and I'll get some better shots. :)
Enjoy the slideshow.



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Some Random Thoughts on Valentine's Day

Love. Four little letters with so much baggage...
My day began with a fast stop at Wal-mart to pick up some inexpensive roses for the day. Now, I don't usually start my Thursdays out by trading a couple of hard earned sawbacks for flowers, but today was special. Today is the day that love crass commercialism abounds. On Valentine's day, we have been conditioned (or coerced) by society to spend money to demonstrate the love that we have for others. Today is a day when bachelors everywhere sigh with relief that they don't have to fork over their dough on some sentimental hogwash and bachelorettes sigh because they don't have a guy who'll fork out some of his cash to "show" how much he loves you. And the odd thing is, it isn't even really about getting something on Valentine's day... it is about other people seeing you getting something on Valentine's day. If the gift is thoughful enough or complicated enough that it shows effort, a guy can get away with something really cheap. Ok, I think it is safe to say that the Valentine's day experience, while it may vary from person to person, is mostly superficial.

I had a conversation with the mother of my son's kindergarten classmate about a flyer that was sent home two weeks ago. It was from the PTO regarding a fund raiser they were advertising. For about $2 each, parents could have the PTO deliver to their child's classroom on Valentine's day: A) a helium balloon and a love note from Mommy/Daddy B) A small stuffed animal or C) a small bag of Valentine-themed candy or any combination of those three . The mother said, "So, if I don't do this for my kid, I'm some sort of bad parent, right? 'Cause you know that other kid's parents are going to do this and so if I don't do it, my kid is going to think we don't love him! Sheesh." The power of crass Valentine's commercialism at work... even in such an innocent venue.

I had a conversation with a friend who is in a long-distance relationship about Valentine's day this afternoon. I asked how she and her fiancee were going about doing the holiday "thing" considering they were hundreds of miles apart. She told me, "He really objects to the whole Valentine's day idea. He doesn't feel right being 'forced' to do something artificial to somehow prove that he loves me on any certain day just because. " >insert pregnant pause< "But I told him that although I understood and I didn't expect him to spend lots of money... he'd better do something today."

I must admit that I have lived at both ends of the spectrum. I have righteously raled at the injustice of a superficial holiday and it's negative effect on my slim income and I have gone overboard with an obsequious display of romantic verisimilitude. This year, I kind of made do with what I had. The wife and I went out earlier in the week because I had to work tonight. I picked up a dozen roses at the supermarket to deliver to special people today. I took roses to my daughters and gift to my son, a rose to my wife, mother, mother-in-law, some other key people and even gave a couple of roses to a buddy who needed a quick gift for his wife but couldn't pull together the cash to get her some on his own.

But none of what I did today was about love. It was about crass commercialism. Love is when I tell my wife to go on to bed because she's had rough day and I offer to bathe the kids and put them to bed. I was loving when I offer to go out of my way to help a friend with a difficult chore. I was loving when I held my tongue instead of criticizing someone when they made an honest mistake. I think that we demonstrate love when, out of genuine concern for someone else's well being above our own, we give... our selves, our time, our energy, our effort, our concern, our encouragement.

So, here's a bright idea for us to try: Let's strike a blow at crass commercialism every day for the next year by being intentional about how we choose to go about our day. Look for opportunities to show love to someone tomorrow when they least expect it. It may be a pre-meditated show of love, or it could be a target-of-opportunity kind of thing where it just kind of happens. Let's turn every day into a day that we can love and appreciate each other and see what kind of world it can become.

/idealism off

Whew.. was getting kind of sappy there for a minute. Seriously, for four measly letters, love is a pretty misused word. The English language use of the word: Love covers so much ground, you almost need qualifiers to give it context. The notion of love that we focus on for Valentine's day is a commercialized romanticism. Being off the market, so to speak, has helped me shift my focus to a more filial definition. I want my kids to know a definition of love that isn't defined by the marketplace or mass media. Despite the best intentions of the PTO, I don't think they are doing anyone any favors in the self-esteem department by offering this service for valentine's day. Remember high school? Yeah... I hope your experience was better than mine. Not only did I not ever get any of the "pre-packaged" love from anyone, I was also too poor to manage to scrape up enough to let that girl know that I liked her... ANYHOW, now that I'm a daddy, I want my kids to know that they are loved, but not by the world's standards, but by God's standards... unconditionally. So I took the time to do Valentine's day my way... by not doing the PTO thing, but by hand delivering a special gift to them and reminding them that I don't just love them with roses and gifts, but with every thing I do for them. Did I succumb to Mass Marketing? Yeah, kinda, but I did it on my own terms.

One more story before I leave you. On Sunday, I was paged to the ER by a patient who requested a visit from the chaplain. When I got there, I met a guy who seemed to be perfectly healthy. He spun me a story about how he had been down and out, bouncing from town to town and how because he was pretty sick (he listed about 5 things that are terminally ill diseases), and how he basically didn't have anything, if I could help him out. I expected him to ask me if I could give him some money or food or something, but I was caught off guard by his request. "So," he said, "I was wondering if you might could help me track down my mother." He told me that his mom lived here in Abilene and that the last time he saw her, he had done wrong by her. It involved him lying to her and taking money from her and using it poorly. "I know she may not ever want to see me again, but I just want to make things right with her." Still expecting some sort of shakedown, I agreed to help him make some calls of names from the phone book. Amazingly, after a few calls based on some sketchy memories of where she lived and what name it might be under, he reached his mom. She agreed to pick him up after he was discharged. He thanked me and told me again his plan to try and make things up to her. I wished him the best and went on about my business. ----> today, I started my shift at the hospital and I had a note that a patient had requested a visit from *me*. When I got to the room, I discovered it was the guy from Sunday. We visited for a few minutes and he told me that the ER had called him to tell him that they had cultured his blood and he had some bad stuff they needed to treat right away... so he ended up back in the hospital after all. I asked how things went with his Mom. He smiled and told me that it was like heaven. I asked, "What do you mean?" He told me, "When she picked me up, she told me that she was only going to say it once... I'd better not lie to her. That is it. That is all she said about what happened before. I know I have to earn her trust back, but it is like it never happened. She wants to help me out. She is helping me get on SSI, she set me up with a room in her apartment. I don't deserve this, man." He went on to tell me about the few days they'd spent together and how, for him, it was overwhelming to be loved by his mother after he'd spent all this time thinking that she was angry with him and hated him for what he'd done. "I don't really care now, if i kick off, Chaplain. All that matters is that things are right now." That was the icing on my Valentine's day cake.

Score one for God's love being channelled through a parent. Happy V-day everyone


Monday, January 28, 2008

Family Fun

Two fun projects to share with you tonight (or very early morning, as the case seems to be):

First, we took the kids to see the new VeggieTales movie: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. We all enjoyed it and I used my little camera to capture the first impressions upon leaving the movies. I enjoyed Eleanor's reaction the most. You'll laugh again after you see the movie for yourself, but to explain: it is her impression of the monster cheese puffs from the movie.


Next, after I put together the little video review, I was waiting for it to render and upload and I read a post on "Light Graffiti", or using long shutter times and flashlights to "paint" with light. So, I pulled out the tripod and gave it a go:

My first attempt at writing my name wasn't very good.
My second attempt used a flash to capture the image and then left the shutter open... but not long enough for me to finish spelling.I got the word spelled, but backwards and a really weird "half-way standing" pose.

Finally! Success. Could I do it again?
Indeed. Now, with some practice, maybe I could do something really impressive.
At this point, MH woke up (it was about 1am) and wanted to know what I was doing. So I showed her.
I was trying to draw a smiley face. It is harder than it looks...

MH wanted to try and did a great "kitty cat" for her first attempt.
My last picture before I sent MH back to bed. I had her spotlight me as I moved around. Pretty cool. I'll have to play some more with it.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Redneck Pirate

I see lots of funny pictures on the web and sometimes wonder, where do people *find* this stuff? I mean, c'mon... you don't find cute kittens with limes cut up into a helmet shape in nature... it was staged. Cute, but staged. Budding graphic artists with 1337 skilz in pirated copies of Photoshop are nothing if not creative and prolific. But occasionally, you stumble across something in real life that reminds you that *they*are out there... people who actually keep 100 ceramic deer in their front yard. People who have their electric hibachis floating on makeshift rafts of buoyant flotsam in the midst of their 5 ft. above ground pools while they grill hamburgers. And you laugh at them and you marvel that they can function in everyday life. Such was my delight when I drove past this trailer house: 3 parts redneck and 1 part pirate.

Enjoy life, and don't let any stupid elitist blogger tell you what colors you can fly.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Found! Lost and other TV shows available online

Less than a year ago, I could honestly say that I didn't watch much TV. I was simply too busy and my interest in all things TV was pretty low compared to my interest in MMORPGs, photography and other hobbies. That all changed the day I discovered that most of the major networks have started making prime-time offerings available for free online.

It started with Ugly Betty and when I had exhausted the previous episodes, I started trying out shows that I never got to see because I didn't have time to watch them at 7pm on Monday or 8pm CST Thursday. Heroes got me hooked next. I am a Heroes-ophile (as all of you who have added the My Heroes Ability on Facebook know...). Then came Bionic Woman, Life, Rules of Engagement, Big Shots, and even though I was kind of burnt out on it... Grey's Anatomy.

Recently, as I was sadly (I say "sadly" because there were no new episodes and the writer's strike seems to bode no good for the near future) trolling the Major Networks for episodes of shows I liked, but hadn't seen, I noticed that ABC was trying to drum up interest in it's hit drama series: Lost by offering up all three previous seasons in High Definition Streaming. I never watched it because it always came on when I was at church or otherwise committed. So I decided to give it a try. Wow! What fun! I love the storytelling, the blend of characters and issues... the tension between science and faith! I'm midway through season two right now and I'm loving it. The only real drawback for me is that I can't multi-task while watching Lost. You really have to watch it for clues and visuals because each episode builds on previous ones. Unlike Chuck (which I also love) or My Name is Earl, which have running themes and an overall timeline, but can be watched as individual stories, shows like Lost and Life need addicted audiences who compile Wikis and fan-sites full of trivia and background info.

Anyhow, I didn't have a full 50 minute to watch another episode of Lost, so I decided to ramble on the blog, but now it is time to go home and cuddle up with my.... laptop in bed and squeeze in one more show before I fall asleep (Amelia appreciates when I use my headphones).

Leave me a note and tell me which shows you're addicted to and whether you've discovered the joy of online TV viewing. It's almost as good as TiVo (and cheaper!)