Random Firings of Neurons

The rest of your life is going to be spent getting back up after life has knocked you down again. You might as well just get used to it.

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Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

On sickness

I'm still sick. Ugh.

I'm hoping that I'll be better in the next day or two.

I hate being sick.

Monday, March 28, 2005

On life

I hate it when life gets in the way of my plans.

I had some neato plans to do an intro over at SHTM, and a post or two here. But, it appears that, over the weekend, I managed to pick up a mild cold. Colds make my brain work about as well as tapioca pudding.

So, I'm not going to post anything tonight. Hopefully, I'll be better tomorrow.

I can't afford to miss work. I hope this is a mild cold.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

On more announcements

For those of you who don't know, I hate where I currently live. Over yonder, under my personal profile, I list my location as Middleton, WI. The City of Middleton, WI, is a suburb of Madison, WI...or, as it is known in more knowledgeable circles, Berkeley North, or Boston West. It is also known around Wisconsin as 64 square miles surrounded by reality. It is not a pleasant place, especially if one has a brain, and the will to use it.

So, last year, I hatched the plan for the Great CheeseHead Invasion of the Republic of Texas, and set the start of military operations for 2006. I had hopes that the Approprations Committee would release funds to make the Invasion possible. With some arm-twisting, I thought I might be able to invade in early 2006. Plans were made for a delay until 2007, if funds weren't able to be released.

Well, circumstances have forced me to change those plans. When I visited Dallas/Fort Worth, for Texas BlogFest, on the weekend of March 18-20, I fell in love. With Texas. With Dallas. With any place that isn't Madison, or it's surrounding communities. With any place where snow is an event, rather than a certainty. So, sometime this year, I will be escaping FROM Wisconsin, rather than TO Wisconsin. (Sorry, old tourism slogan...I've been here a LOOOOOOONGGG time.)

In the mean time, due to my nearly overwhelming distraction, due to daydreaming about living in Texas, posting will not be up to the (already low) normal quality you have become used to. I plan on posting frequently, due to having to get something up to earn my (literally non-existent) pay from STHM. But, I may not be able to get much up other than a "Good Lord, I miss Texas" post.

In addition, I will be moving out of my current place of residence, to live in a motel until I move. So, until I figure out how to get high speed service, I may not be able to get anything big up, due to the slow upload times of dial-up. I'll be home a lot more, and a lot sooner, since the motel will be about 1/2 mile from my work, but, it's still a flop-house motel. It's owned by a friend of mine, so, I may be able to swing getting a cable modem hooked up, but, I'm not planning on it.

To those of you in Texas, be forewarned, The Great CheeseHead Invasion is an occupation exercise, and it's possible I may be bringing other CheeseHeads with me. Quite a few of my acquaintances up here had their interest piqued by my descriptions of Texas. Many of them had just assumed that the rest of the US was just as screwed up as Wisconsin. I was happy to dispel those myths.

On announcements

Okay, I've put this off long enough.

I have been asked by Pastor Rick Hill, Jr to join Serenity Through Hope Ministries as a "pastor". Rick and I have had some wonderful conversations over the past few months, and the other day, he asked me if I wanted to fufill my dream and minister to ministers. I only had one answer I could give. Of course I will.

So, starting on Monday, March 28th, I will be writing sermons periodically for Serenity Through Hope Ministries. I probably won't be as eloquent or as moving as Pastor Rick, but, I hope I can get y'all to think.

There is also a discussion forum that I will be contributing to, as well. On Monday, I'll get links up to all of the relevant sites, so y'all can visit me, and mock me, at your leisure.

Keep it fucking civil, though. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Kirk, or Curt, or Dirt, or whatever your name is today. You want to be a prick, do it here. I'm a big boy, I can take it. You do it in my fucking church, even if it is a virtual church, and I'm going to get pissed. You are free to be a prick every where else in the world. You don't have to inflict your prickness on others who are trying to improve their lives. Just because you are a hopeless twit, doesn't mean you have to try and convince others to be hopeless twits. STHM doesn't force anyone to go there, and it doesn't force anyone to convert, and it doesn't force anyone to believe what we believe. Remember that, the next time you think that we HAVE to allow you to post. We don't.

On March Madness

Okay, we are now at the Final Four of the NCAA's Men's Basketball Tournament. I had been planning on doing a March Madness post quite some time ago, but, events had a way of distracting me. (More on that later) But, for what it's worth, here are my observations and thoughts about the Tournament.

First of all, I was pleasantly surprised to see my Wisconsin Badgers get as far as they did, and to play the teams that they did as tough as they did. I have always had a feeling that Coach Bo Ryan was going to do good things for Bucky, but, I couldn't have hoped that Bo was going to turn the Badgers from a dangerous, got-to-beat-them-if-you-want-to-be-taken-seriously team, to a near-powerhouse team within the NCAA, or even just the Big 10. Three straight appearances in the Big 10 Tournament finals, Big 10 champion, or co-Big 10 champion, for three straight years, three straight 20+ win years, appearances in the NCAA Tournament for five straight years, two Sweet Sixteen appearances...and Bo's only been the coach for five years. Within the next three years, I have a feeling I will get to see my Beloved Badgers in a Final Four game, and maybe even the Tournament Finals. Bo knows winning...he was the winningest coach in NCAA basketball in the 1990s, but, at Division 3 UW-Platteville, where he *only* won four Division 3 National Titles.

I have also been pleased to see the Big 10 make such a strong showing in the Tournament. Big 10 basketball is a different style of basketball than most of the other conferences play. It's not as athletic, it's not as high-scoring, it's not a casual fan friendly. But, it's a winning style of basketball. The Big 10 plays it's basketball the same way it plays it's football; hardnosed and defense oriented. Big 10 teams tend to use their defense as an offensive weapon: if they force enough turnovers and force enough low-percentage shots, the Big 10 team will get the ball, and start running the clock out with it's SLOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW offense. More possessions means more points, which means more wins. Don't get me wrong, the majority of the Big 10 stunk on ice this year. But, the top 3 teams in the Big 10 (Illios, Michigan State, and Wisconsin) have proven in this tournament that they are the equals of any team in the nation.

This tournament has also been one of the most exciting tournaments in recent memory, possibly even ever. We've had upsets, thrilling finishes, come-from-behind victories, overtime, and buzzer beaters...and that was in the past two days alone. Illinois coming from 14 points down with 4 minutes left to beat Arizona was a thrilling finish. Michigan State outlasting Kentucky in double overtime to advance was a nail-biter. North Carolina winning a heavy-weight slugfest against Wisconsin was a game where each team wouldn't quit. Louisville coming from 20 points down to beat West Virginia was near-miraculous. The whole tournament has been like that.

If forced to make a pick on the Finals, I would have to say Illinois will beat North Carolina by 6. I know every one is impressed with North Carolina's athleticism, and I would agree, except that North Carolina has to beat 2 Big 10 teams in a row to advance to the Finals, and I'm not sure they will have anything left after that. If Illinois beats Louisville, which I'm sure they will, because Illinios is just that good, North Carolina will have to beat a 3rd Big 10 team, in a row, to win. Athleticism got North Carolina this far, but, I think that it will fail when their athletes have to be pounded into hamburger by yet another Big 10 team. It's hard to be athletic when your body is a bruise. So, if I was a bettin' man, Illinois by 6.

I really want to see a Big 10 Finals, though. Illinois v. Michigan State. Maybe that will shut up all the Big 10 haters. Probably not, though. But, I can hope, can't I?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

On Texas BlogFest 2005

Some of you know, but, for those who don't, I spent the last weekend in Dallas, Texas, for Texas BlogFest 2005. It was a weekend that I will not soon forget, for many reasons. Not least of which is the fine and wonderful people I met while there.

Since many of the other attendees have put up much better After Action Reports than I can, I'm going to limit myself to what my impressions of everyone was.

First of all, the man who was the reason we went, Emperor Darth Misha I (Long may he reign) is grace and dignity personified. He is kind, and pleasant, and has a zest for life that just oozes from him. I count myself blessed to have been able to meet him. I would count myself cursed if I don't get to do it more often...

One of the organisers, Lord Spatula I, King and Tyrant (Long may he reign) is truly a good man. His TrainWreck Stew should be declared a national treasure, and I look forward to many more meetings with him.

The other organiser, Beth, is so charming and cheerful, it's sickening. Many a time, I found myself dragged kicking and screaming back towards cheerfulness, due to her insistence. She also seems to approach life with a zeal that is contagious, and infectious. Her husband, who could not attend, is a lucky man. I hope he knows that.

Mamamontezz and Delftsman are two of the more happy people you would ever meet. They seemed bound and determined to enjoy whatever they could while there. People like that are few and far between, and we need more of them.

Susan was grace and charm on two legs. She also had a smile that would light up the darkest room. I know I wasn't the only one who acted like an idiot schoolboy trying to get her to smile...ah, to see that smile again!

Nancy, her sister, was also a wonderful person. I must apologize to her, though. When we actually had a chance to talk, I was experiencing a rather drastic drop in blood pressure...which meant it was impossible for me to pay as much attention to what she was saying as she deserved. I hope to be able to make it up to her in the future.

ZiPpo The Pirate...my buccaneer friend, it is truly fortunate that you and I didn't spend more time together. I have a feeling it would have ended with a Butch and Sundance moment...or, rather, several of them. "You think you used enough dynamite, there, Devildog?" Soon, we'll have to test my theory out...

El Capitan, unfortunately, was not inflicted with my presence enough for me to form an adequate opinion of him. My first impressions of him are that he is a bright and intelligent man, with much caring in him. Plus, I always like a man who packs a .45. An armed society is a polite society.

The Randoms, of Random Numbers, are two very sweet people. At times, I felt like I was intruding on their time together, because their fondness for each other was so overwhelming. I regret that I didn't have more time to speak with them. But, I am glad that I got to see what two people who seem devoted to each other look like. I'll not forget your example. It was inspiring.

Andy, Andy, Andy. While our brief conversation was VERY brief, and consisted of me lecturing you quickly, I have to say that I'm glad that we didn't talk much more. Because of my experiences with liberal 'tolerance', 'openmindedness', and 'caring', I find I have very little patience with those of your ideals. It's not your fault. Truly. I'm glad that our conversation was as short as it was, to prevent either one of us from saying something to the other that would have left a bad taste. Sometimes, the best way to remain friendly with someone is to let them live their life, away from you. Maybe, after I escape Wisconsin, we could sit down and discuss things. But, in such a short time, it wasn't possible. I'm willing to make the effort if you are.

I had already had a chance to meet Deathknyte, but, within the confines of the state of Wisconsin. If there was anyone there who was sadder to return home than I, it was Deathknyte. You've outgrown your home, my friend. You may want to consider leaving it. You seemed more happy than a man has a right to expect while you were there. Consider it.

Denita and Eric are another couple that I feel blessed to have met. They are two people who are so different, yet, so similar. Denita is outgoing and fun, Eric is quiet and somber. (Although, with a judicious application of Scotch, Eric can loosen up quite a bit.) That is not to say that Eric is a killjoy, or a stick in the mud. More, it seems that he has as much fun watching his wife entertain, and be entertained, than if he were to actually be entertaining himself. I'll get a chance to observe more later. Sooner than I mentioned to you, Denita...possibly MUCH sooner.

To those of you who I did not have the chance to meet, or talk to, or talk to enough, I'm sorry. I had a too little time, and too many people to meet. I will be correcting that soon. VERY soon.

To those of you who I did have the time to talk to, thank you. Time is the most precious commodity a person has, and I am awed that y'all felt that I was worth the cost. I'll do my best to return the favor when I can.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I feel sick

The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to review the case of Terri Schiavo.

Don't blame them. They are just doing their job, like we asked them to. All of us like to delegate our unpleasant tasks to others. I hope it was worth it to us this time.

Don't blame Micheal Schiavo, either. All he is doing is taking our behavior to the extreme. All of us like to treat others as objects rather than people. I hope it was worth it this time.

Don't blame Judge Greer. All he is doing is giving us what we want. We want courts to ignore justice when the law works in our favor, and to ignore the law when justice works in our favor. I hope it was worth it this time.

Blame yourself. And your neighbor. And me. All of us have acted like Micheal Schiavo at some time. And we'll do it again. And again. And again. I hope it's worth it.

If you will excuse me, I have to go throw up. And then, I'm going to take a shower. And then, I'm going to pray.

After that, I'm going to look for a power sander and some bleach, to get the stains and smell out of my soul.

And then I'm going to cry.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

On one last excuse

Sorry, guys. I'm still hurting from having to return to *here*. I hope the pain will die down to a dull ache by tomorrow. If it doesn't, I'll post anyway.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

On changes

...I have just taken the most amazing phone call...I'm going into ministry! I'll have some more details soon...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I'm Homesick

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Homesick by Mercy Me

Sunday, March 13, 2005

On To Reign In Hell

To Reign In Hell, by Steven Brust, is a fantasy novel about how The Fall of Satan may have occured. I bought the book because I've read most of the Vlad Taltos series by Steven, and enjoyed them immensely. So, picked up this book to see if his other stuff was just as good.

It is.

As Roger Zelazny said in his forward, The Fall of Satan isn't exactly what one would call a "safe topic" to do a novel about. One would have to walk a very fine line to keep from offending a significant portion of one's readership. Milton may have done it, in Paradise Lost, but few would even dare to try and recreate that success. Steven does, and not only walks that fine line between canon and heresy, he walks it, and doesn't stumble in the least.

The central plot of the story is that Yaweh and Satan are basically tricked into The Fall, by a rogue angel. The scheming and plotting that takes place between the two sides is set into motion by an angel that is jealous of Satan. So, he contrives to knock Satan down a notch by setting him up. Events quickly spiral out of control, forcing both sides to openly declare their hostility towards each other, and each side doing what they MUST do, to insure their survival and success.

Yaweh is not a simpleton, nor is he an autocratic ogre. He is a leader who forces himself to look at the greater good, and then forces himself to make the sacrifices neccessary for the greater good. He is so consumed with love for his "subjects" (he's really more of the first amongst relative equals), that he is willing to sacrifice some, possibly many, of them to insure the survival of the greatest number of them. It is a decision he doesn't like, yet, it is one he HAS TO make, because of his love.

Satan, on the other hand, is Yaweh's best friend. While Yaweh was first, Satan came second. So, Satan and Yaweh have known each other for longer than any of the other angels have existed. The act that created Satan also created Heaven and the other angels, so, Yaweh and Satan are the first amongst the angels. When Yaweh asks Satan to do something that Satan doesn't really want to do, it immediately causes strife within the hosts of angels, because if Satan doesn't want to do it, it must be bad, yet, would Yaweh really ask Satan to do something that bad?

None of the angels, with Yaweh or with Satan, are really portrayed in a bad light. They are more like people, who react to situations, AS THEY SEE THEM, in the best way they know how. Mephistopholes, in particular, is a rather enjoyable character, who is quick of wit, and slow to judge. His choice, in the end, is more forced upon him than chosen.

In all, I seriously rank this book right up there with I, Claudius for the scheming. It's not quite as good, but, the characters are more enjoyable, and the scheming is a little better to keep track of. If you like fantasy, or like light theology, or just like a good political scheming tale, I think you will really enjoy this book.

If you are a Christian, it could cause you to look at Satan in a different light, and Jesus as well. Not an Earth-shattering, loss-of-faith light, but, a different way of looking at the two of them. They are enemies, not so much because of any personal animosity towards each other, but, simply because they have completely different goals, and viewpoints, that do not lend themselves to compromise with each other. In essence, they are enemies because they HAVE to be enemies.

If you aren't a Christian, it's still a good read, and will give you a glimpse into why God allows bad things to happen. Yaweh's reasonings for why he allows things to happen is logical, and based on caring, rather than autocracy and dictatorship. I'm not going to say it will convert you, but, it will give you an idea of why God allows bad things to happen.

On excuses

Sorry about the lack of posting recently. I've been tuckered. Thinking has been too much of a strain on my brain, much less trying to think enough to put something up.

Monday, March 07, 2005

On Quizie-poos.

Okay, thanks to Delftsman, I just HAD to take a stupid quiz. Just.had.to. I took it, and was pleasantly suprised by my result. It's an English quiz. Take it, and find out how well you know the more confusing words in the English language.

My results will be in the comments.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

On Unintended Side Effects

This weekend, I had my first two unintended side-effects of being a (not-so-diligent) blogger. I finally got to see an old friend of mine, from about six years ago, on Saturday, and I got to meet a new person on Sunday.

Harvey, of IMAO and Bad Example, used to be an employee of mine, when I was a manager of a pizza joint. Although, our roles should have been reversed. He knew far more about successful management than I did, and I'm a much better employee than employer. But, anyway, Harvey and I used to close the store down on Friday nights with some beer, cigars, and war stories from our Navy and Marine Corps days. Saturday night, we got to reprise those nights. It was more fun than should be legal.

Sunday, DeathKnyte drove down to visit for a couple of hours. Poor guy. He had to drive 3 1/2 hours to spend about 3 1/2 hours listening to me flap my gums, to drive back another 3 1/2 hours. I could have given him some suggestions of better ways to spend his time than listening to my yap, if he had just asked....

Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to God, Corps and Country