Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanks, Barry!

This Thanksgiving season, one of my longtime co-workers got some welcome news: The monthly premium on her family's healthcare plan was only going up $12!

Of course, the deductible went from $1000 to $7000, but hey: eggs, omelets, etc.

Of course, with my somewhat conservative bent, I reminded her who told her this was going to happen: Not just me, but pretty much every conservative in the country.

She, like me, is something of a medical miracle: neither of us would be alive if it weren't for modern medical science. So, I gently reminded her of the millions of dollars that the Death Panels could save by refusing us care as "Not worth the expense involved."

On the bright side, after 60 years, she now can finally get free birth control.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Alea Iacta Est

The die is cast.
In these latter days, it's imperative to know where one stands, and to commit to it.

So I did.

I have now been baptized into my church, becoming a member. I wouldn't have guessed I would be doing this a year ago, but there you go.

Now, when any asks me which side I'm on in the battle between Good and Evil, I will tell them I stand with God.

I, naturally, have pictures of the event.

These are the two missionaries who were with me for most of my instruction.
I'm the fat guy in the middle.
The one on the right was Elder Elwood, which is funny.
It's funny because I called both of his partners Elder Jake.
They're on a mission from God 
 These are the two missionaries prior to my baptism.
 This Brother Owens, who performed my baptism.
He's an awesome guy.
 Me, immediately post-immersion.
 Then I bore testimony to the things that lead to my conversion.
Well, some anyway.
 Brother Owens and I
My wife showed up and brought the kids, which was not a forgone conclusion.
I quoted them in my testimony, by name.
They were instrumental in my conversion.

Anyway, it was a pretty good evening. We had more people than seats to put them in, and more who couldn't make it for various reasons. My new church mates are friendly and awesome.

An interesting factoid: The confirmation the next day involves the laying on of hands and a blessing. Ever since that happened, I have had a strange but wonderful feeling. I feel almost as though I could shoot lightening bolts from my fingertips. It's a good feeling,

Sadly, my mom didn't make it nor did the friend I said hated me enough to defininitely not want to come. Other than that, good time was had by all.

I really love my new church and wish I had someone to share that with.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Music Time: Asylum Street Spankers - Lee Harvey

A day late and a dollar short, here are the Asylum Street Spankers with a song about everyone's favorite communist assassin and the shooting of JFK.

It's pretty good, but content warning for one f-bomb in the intro. If you skip to the music, you'll miss that entirely.

If you haven't heard the Spankers, I'll post more later. One of the best live bands EVER.

And if you like that one, I've got a serious NSFW below, Shave 'em Dry, a cover of an old blues tunes from Lucille Bogan.Filthy, but awesome.

Told you it was awesome.

Friday, November 22, 2013

An Invitation to My Suicide

Growing up Catholic, I have always thought of baptism as the obvious symbol of the washing away of sins, in the view of Catholicism, that's generally viewed as the Original Sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. But as I studied and read more, I realized that that's not the main purpose of the ordinance.
Baptism is referred to by Paul in Romans 6:4 as a burial. We are buried witrh Christ into death through baptism. Then we are resurrected into life, through faith in Him, symbolized by rising from the water.

I had never before thought of baptism as a metaphor for the resurrection of Christ. But it is.

But, in order to be buried and rise again, one must first die. And this is by choice, at our own hand.

So, in that spirit, I would like to invite anyone out there who happens to be in the Greater Akron (Ohio) area that is interested to attend my (highly symbolic) ritual suicide. It will be Saturday, November 23rd, 2013. The church is at 106 E Howe. Rd in Tallmadge.

I hope when I "rise again," it's as someone better. I've known me for many years, and I have to say: Not a fan. I'm not really sure why God wants me, but he's been calling to me pretty strongly, and if He'll have me, maybe I'm not as bad as I think.

There will probably be a bunch of people from the Rootstown Ward there, and maybe a few from the Tallmadge Ward, and I managed to talk my wife into attending and bringing the kids, as well. I think my mom will also be there. So, a pretty good crowd.

The only dark spot on the day is, sadly, the one person whom I would most wish could attend now hates me so badly as to never want to speak to me again. That has ripped my soul into pieces, the edges raw and bleeding. I wish there were some way to atone, but I guess some things are unforgiveable.

So it goes.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Settled Law

I thought that with the Obamacare meltdown in full swing, and Queen Nancy and others out there still letting us know that It's. The. Law. and that it's "Settled Law," that I might take a look at other laws that were "Settled Law," at least until they weren't.

Remember, it's only "Settled Law" when the "Progressives"  and democRats like it, otherwise, it's only a suggestion.

So, bearing this in mind, here are some "Settled Laws" throughout history. (Warning: One pretty gruesome image after the jump (or maybe two))

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Music Time (with Pictures!) GWAR - Slaughterama!

I had the opportunity a few nights ago to spend an hour or so in the Slave Pit at the House of Blues in Cleveland. It was a bloody mess, and AWESOME! I'll post a few pictures that I took, in order to complement the video, Slaughterama, which GWAR didn't play on Wednesday, alas.

(Total content warning, for language as well as massive blood flow)

Pictures follow.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Music Time: New Model Army - Family

This song has been going through my head for a couple of days now. It's from one of my favorite bands, New Model Army, off what I consider one of the best albums of all time, Thunder and Consolation,

It's about alienation, loneliness and trying to find someone who accepts us. It's called Family.

Another Day, Another Anti-depressant

Well, I have another appointment with my doctor tomorrow, the first since I almost got pinkslipped and sent for a three-day vacation. I'm going for an evaluation of the efficacy of my anti-depressant, which are having minimal to no effect. I'm wondering if it's going to do any good.

I've been on meds now for almost 6 months, and they seemed to have some effect at first, but by mid-August, I was back to feeling way down.  And it's only gotten worse since. I've been depressed for over a year, and this last month was the worst of all, even with the new meds.

I don't know if anyone is out there listening, or if anybody cares. I seem to have alienated pretty much everyone I care for, and that cares for me (or that I thought cared for me). I can't think of one person that I've spent any significant time with that could, over the last year, say that my presence in their life has been a net positive, on balance. If I could take a magic eraser and erase my presence from everyone's lives over the last year, the happiness level of the world would rise significantly. I'd do it if I could.

I've pretty much alienated everyone, I guess.

I wonder if the way I feel is my New Normal. Sometimes I wonder if I've had another stroke that destroyed the happiness center of my brain. I'm tired and feel really alone. The only consolation is that I'm pretty sure I'm over halfway through. I can't imagine another 44 years.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Military Homecomings

This is a week or two old, but I just saw it a few hours ago, and figure it's totally awesome for Veterans' Day (Which ended a little while ago).

Hey Everybody, It's Music Time

I wanted to share this tune. It starts out like a pretty good Metallica cover, then takes a left turn into bizarre.

Make sure you stick around at least through the first verse.

It's amazing how well this fits together.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans' Day Turnabout

Today is Veterans' Day and I thought I would turn things around here a little bit.

I spent over four years in the Navy, though I'm almost embarrassed to admit it. Why? you might ask. Well, I feel I got so much more out of it than I put in. In my time, I got an education, an Associate's Degree, on the job experience and I got paid while I was doing it all. Essentially, I got the tools necessary for the job I'm doing to this day, more than 15 years after I got out. (I'll be 20 years (!) from my ship-out date on Wednesday.)

So, I get a little embarrassed by all the people thanking me. What I want to do is take this opportunity to thank YOU.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Thank you for the experiences and education I had.

Thank you for giving me a nation worth serving.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Building a Testimony

Today in church, I ha a chance to share the story of my alcoholism, from its inception 20 years ago to my eventual sobriety in 2005. Through the last 6 months or so, I have done a lot of reflecting and a lot of praying, which is a very new experience for me. However, it has given me a lot of insight into my past and the places and times where the Hand of God has truly had an effect in my life.

It's funny, really. I have known my story for years. I ought to: I've lived it. But in the past six months, I've come to see it from a new perspective, sort of like the second Back to the Future movie, where we get to see future Marty McFly running around behind the scenes while past Marty McFly is doing all the stuff from the first movie. Or maybe those Making of Star Wars specials they had on TV when I was a kid, where you'd think, "So THAT's how they did that!" I look back and see where the Holy Spirit has rewarded me for making difficult decisions, often nearly immediately, and I can see where bad decisions have resulted in negative effects.

Lots of bad decisions. I've made a few recently that I would give pretty much anything short of my soul to make right.

It's a little like that old Footprints poem, where God says, "Where there is only one set of footprints is where I carried you." I have some perspective now to see those places, and I can see a good number of them, as well as a number where he dragged me kicking and screaming.

As I looked back, I could see numerous inflection points where my life had been improved by Divine intervention, and if I were to plot a curve through those points, that curve would lead straight to the baptism I have now scheduled for the 23rd of November. I don't know what lies beyond that for me, but I've learned you can never see the top of the mountain before you actually attain the summit.

It felt really good to tell everyone about the trouble I'd had, and the help I'd had in overcoming it. There are a lot of converts like me, and one gentleman told me that I'm "not alone" in the troubles I'd had. There was a lot of support and many comments afterward. I felt relieved. I wanted the people there to know that the guy they're getting isn't perfect, not even close, but he's trying.

For the first time in my life I've found a church that I can believe in. A church that makes sense to me. A church that feels right to me and FOR me.

And for the first time in a long time, I can see a future beyond the next few weeks.

P.S. If anyone is going to be in the Akron area on the 23rd of November and would like to attend, you can feel free to drop me a line. We would love to have you.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reading List: Kaleidoscope by Ray Bradbury

In his collection of short stories, The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury included one entitled Kaleidoscope.

The recent movie Gravity is similar enough in concept to have a number of people wondering if the movie was based on the story. I suspect that the concept was inspired by the story, as so much of modern science fiction is influenced by the works of Bradbury, but the two are dissimilar enough to warrant no more than an "inspired by," rather than a "based on." 

Go ahead, click the link and read the story. It's a worthwhile read.

See the movie as well. In 3D. Definitely in 3D. The story is alright, but the cinematography will blow you away. The feeling of utter isolation and despair is palpable, and one I am very familiar with.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Double Entendre Theater

This conversation actually took place, between my 7-year-old son, El Boyo Loco, and I.

We were discussing a rather difficult trail on our annual Fall Hiking Spree.

Boy: I bet you and me are the only ones in the whole family who've been on that trail.

Me: No, your mom hiked it once, but she won't do it again.

Boy: Why not?

Me: Because it's too hard.

Boy: Mom doesn't like hard things?

Me: Um. I didn't say that...

Hooray for Boobies!

Whenever I get to feeling down, which seems to be every day recently, I I go to my computer and look at pictures of one of my favorite photographic subjects: Boobies.

Thanks to the internet, I can look at boobies any time of the day or night, at home or at work. Heck if I had a smart phone, I could look at boobies on it while I was on the road.

I thought that, if it works to cheer me up a little, it might work for you, so I'm going to post some of the pictures of boobies that I like the best, that keep me from going insane.

Here they are: