Monday, November 29, 2004

Thanksgiving Recap

I think it is most people's goal to spend Thanksgiving with family. Last year we went to Muncie to visit Abigail's family, and I was very happy that this year we got to go visit my mom and dad in Washington. The church they are at does a Thanksgiving meal for the community so we helped out with that. Afterwards, Abigail, my brother, sister (and her fiance), and I went to see National Treasure. Which for an almost actionless action movie was actually fairly decent. Late Thursday night and Friday morning/afternoon was spent playing video games with my brother. Specifically Star Wars Battlefront, in which we engaged in a truly epic conflict (For those in the know about the game it was Galactic Conquest as the clones on hard). I also got to finally experience the joy of taking down an AT-AT in a snowspeeder. Friday night we went to an Amish BBQ place in the middle of nowhere and then to see a play. We came home Saturday early afternoon, AFTER I got to finally have a fried twinkie.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Filler (or Yet another video game post)

Tomorrow I am leaving to go to my parents for a few days for Thanksgiving, so I probably won't post anything while there, and I didn't want to let a week pass in between post so this is here. As of tomorrow we find ourselves a month from Christmas. I will probably get one or two new games for Christmas (woot!) so it is my goal to beat everything I have not yet beat by that point. I am off to a good start because last night I finally beat the two battle that had kept me from having total mastery over Star Wars Battlefront. That still leaves the following games:

1. SOCOM- I have not beat the last level, but someone in the youth group currently has it and apperently his cousin swiped it along with about half of his games, so I probably won't get it back until after Christmas

2. Kingdom Hearts- I have not played this game forever, because of one boss who I just can't beat, and from what I have read the next major boss after this one is even harder

3. Half Life- I am close and it is just a matter of time.

4. Serious Sam- I am on the very last boss, so I just have to beat him and that is done.

5. Legend of Dragoon- a RPG I am about 65% through, I finally hit the inevitable spot where i have to run around and level up before I can beat the next boss to advance, it is becuase of this reason I have a love/hate thing with RPGs.

6. Kessen II- I actually just got this game from trading in two other games at Book and Music Exchange. This is really a good game for me because it is like the battle simulation part of Total War combined with a story instead of a strategic risk type mode.

Speaking of video game a whole bunch of watchdog organizations released a list of the Ten Most Violent Video Games that includes
Doom 3
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Gunslinger Girls 2
Half Life 2
Halo 2
Hitman: Blood Money
Mortal Kombat : Deception
Postal 2
Shadow Hearts: Covenant

Now this list really doesn't make much sense, because there is no qualifier on it that says most violent video gaems this year because there are older games much more violent than some of these. This list also doesn't make sense because Gunslinger Girls 2 is a Japanese only game, and I am guessing the whole idea of this list is so that watchful moms (since the vast majority of organizations that made this list are feminist groups) can keep evil influences from their kids it doesn't make much sense to include a game that will not be released in this country. Personally, I think hype influenced putting games like Halo 2 on there. The game Red Dead Revolver more blood and gore than Halo 2 and in that game you shoot people as opposed to alien scum. Also, Hitman: Blood Money doesn't even have a scheduled relase date yet and only 1 screenshot has been released. Finally, the most wacked out thing on this list is Shadow Hearts: Covenant. The game is rated T and is a turn based RPG. I am not sure why this is considered to be one of the most violent games. Especially considering when other turned based RPGs like Shin Megami Tensi: Nocturne which very heavily features the occult and gruesome images. This list really is harmless, and its aim of informing otherwise ignorant parents so they do not expose their children they really shouldn't be exposed to is a good one. However, their list also proves they have no bloody idea what they are talking about.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I hate lock-ins.

Well hate might be a strong word, but I really don't like them. In fact, I think all youth ministers dislike lock-ins. But teenagers love them because they are fun. Today (well actually yesterday, but I am still awake so it is today) I successfully held my 5th lock-in. This one was different because it was held completely during the day. The teens had a half day of school, so they immediatly came to the church and stayed until 11:30. It was still very much a typical lock-in. A flower vase was broken, I had to ask some people to leave the church grounds, People fought and cussed at each other because of a game, someone got a whelt from a rubber band, I had to constantly break up a couple who were way to close, and a huge mess was made. But the kids had fun. I shared the gospel with over 20 teens (most had already heard it, but planting seeds is planting seeds), and thanks to two wonderful volunteers I got to spend most of the time actually interacting and getting to know youth instead of being a patroling policeman, and since the lock-in was all day I won't be ultra tired for Rusty's Wedding. It is a win-win.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


I am waiting for the dryer to stop so I can leave . .. and this seems as a good of a way to kill time as any.

A few days ago I had a temporary lapse in good judgement and got sucked into watching a Fox show that wasn't Simpsons. It was an episode of Trading Spouses, and while I did end up feeling like I wasted an hour, it was also modertly intersting. They traded moms from a cultural, non practicing but very big into the idea of "being" Jewish mom with what in my mind is a very sterotypical Mega-Church mom (2 Cradle Christan kids who's social life is the youth group, well off financially, stay at home). The Jewish mom made me laugh because she purposefully distanced her self from every Christian by starting off EVERY conversation with "Hi I'm (fill-in name). I am Jewish". Then she compalined about how distant everyone was. However, what really, really got my interest is that in two instances the Christian mom tried two of the oldest object lessons in the Youth worker's play book. First she tried explaining to the dad that he should talk to his daughters about sexual purity using a candy bar (pass the candy bar around a lot it eventually gets really gross. . .this is what you are like after having sex and being "passed around" do you want to present yourself to your husband like this or like a new candy bar). The Father's thoughts was this was weird and that he had no right talk to his daughters about something so personal. Which made me think he is smoking crack, but I digress. Second, the kids in the jewish family were very negative towards each other. So she gets a tube of tooth paste and has them squeeze it out everywhere, then tells them to put it back in the tube. Obviously, it is impossible and the point is that harmful words are the same way once you say them you can't take them back. The mom thought she was clever and had done a great service to the kids and made a difference. However, the kids thought she was psycho and a direct quote that she is "a hateful, judgemental, bitch."
This really got me thinking as a youth minister, because after I make some kind of point that I thought was well illustrated and well recieved do teenagers turn around and say something like that. . .

I really have no conclusion to this, but the laundry is done and so am I.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A random question or two (or 45!)

It has been forever and a half since I answered one of those email forward question things (though technically I got this off a message board) so for those who care, here you go:

1. What is your favorite "toy" at this point in life?
Without a doubt I would have to say the PS2

2. What is the title of the last book that you read?
The last book I read from is the Family Based Church. The last book I completed is America (the bok)

3. What leisure time activity pleases you most?
:) it involves a wife and I will leave it at that

4. What is the ugliest thing you know?
6 month old Spagetti

5. What is the greatest problem in the United States today?
it is to darn selfish

6. What is the best regular program on television?
The Simspons

7. If you could smash one thing and only one thing, what would you smash?

8. If you could travel to any place in the world where would you go to first?

9. What emotion is strongest in you?

10. What do you think people like in you the most?
I dunno, people like me?

11. What do you think people like in you the least?
I talk to fast

12. Who has most influenced your life?
that would have to be my parents

13. What would you like to be talented at that you are not at the present time?
I would like to draw (even though I know I can't)

14. What TV advertisement bothers you the most?
The ones with Carrot Top.

15. What color is love. if you had to paint love?
Some shade of green

16. What one day in your life would you like to live over?
The day I got in a car accident would be a good one to repeat

17. Who is your biggest hero?

18. What is your strongest fear about being a college student?
heh. . . I guess it is obvious who this list of questions was targeted to. . .my biggest fear then was that I would not make any friends

19. If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what one item would you most want to take
A solar powerd lap-top computer, with Internet connection via satelite (if that is even possible)

20. If you could have a dinner conversation with anyone alive today, who would it be?
The President would be cool

21. If you could build one thing, what would you build?
My own house

22. Who do you think is the most important person who has lived in the last few years?
Even though I really don't like him, the legacy of Ronald Regan is going to last a long, long time.

23. What is the best movie that you've ever seen?
The Empire Strikes Back

26. What is the most important thing that guides your life?

27. What do you want to be doing five years from now?
I just about went clinically insance because of this question several months ago so I know it is best not to worry about it.

29. What is your biggest worry?
That I won't ever again make new friends (looking fairly justified thus far. . . )

30. What is the most beautiful thing that you have ever seen?
Abigail :)
32. If you could change anything about the world, what would it be?
I would ban all people who lack common sense to France

33. What one day in your life have you enjoyed the most?
May 24, 2003

34. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three people would you like to have along?
If Abigial is one the other two don't matter

35. What one thing about yourself would you change if you could?
be smarter

36. What four words best describe you?
I dunno

37. What one adjective, that starts with the same letter of you first name, best describes you?
succulent (just to get a confused expression from those still reading)

38. What have you never been able to do?

39. What is your most prized possession?
I don't think I really have one

40. If you discovered you had only one year to live, what would you do differently?
I would be more sure to share what I believe to be truth with more people

41. If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be and where would it be?
I under no conditions ever would get a tattoo

42. What color is hate?

43. What is your favorite cartoon character?
Calvin and Hobes

44. What program(s) on TV do you stay at home to watch?
The Amazing Race
45. What do people who know you say about you?
Ask them.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The effect of staying up to late

It has been a good while since I have written anything resembling a poem, so I will post the discalimer again. I am not a poet (and I am fine with that, because on the rare instance I write poetry it is to clear my mind not to make something artsy). Thus, if you consider yourself poet you probably should quit reading because my structure/word use/ general poetic imcopetence will probably make you shiver

I am a desert flower
Longing for a reviving shower
Covered in dust
lonely on a great plain
afraid to rust
griping to al that is sane

I am a desert flower
seeking redemptive power
covered by truth
loong hot days and cold nights
afraid of lost youth
trying to keep the good fights

I am a desert flower
streching to be an ivory tower.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Video Game Tournament Results

If you want the full, play by play results then check out the church blog (you can find the link by scrolling down). Anyway, 24 teens showed up. The competition for Soul Caliber II was the best, and the finals of Halo were really impressive (1 on 1, Hang 'em High, system link so no screen watching and no radar. The two guys were so into it they even had the sound on their TV turned off so they would not give away their posistion.) In the end $150 was raised for Voice of the Martyrs ( Also, a represenative from the group came out and spoke at the church. He didn't make to much of an impression on the teenagers at the youth service, but he spoke to the adult Sunday School classes and that went really well, and opened a lot of people's eyes.

All in all a big success. Now I just have to find volunteers for this week's lock-in. . .

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Impressions of Halo 2

After playing a good deal of Halo 2 both multiplayer and Campaign mode here are my first impressions be warned SPOILERS FOLLOW

Multiplayer: These maps are freaking huge!!! It is very obvious that they were made with online play in mind. To play most of them with 4 or less people is a recipie for frustration. That being said, they are reall cool. My personal favorite has to be the remake of Blood Cultch, just because the Banshee battles it creates are really fun. Incidently, vehicles play a much bigger part in combat this time, and I personally think the ghost is overly powerful but that is just me. Thankfully the pistol lost it's ability to zoom so pistol sniping is no more! There are a lot more weapons and they seem a lot more balanced, though in the games I played the Shotgun always owned (and double needlers rocks! as does the plasma sword). Finally, I really like how you can customize your armor and make your own battle emblem. Mine is the Legend of Zelda Tri-force over the cross of St. Andrew.

Singleplayer: The story thus far is really, really cool. However, I am just mildly disapointed because the advertising campaign has set up Halo 2 as the fight for Earth, and that fight involved one level! However, the level variety is much improved, and in addition to that there are two playable characters. You actually play a member of the Covenant, and cut scenes take the game from a generic action game to an actual story universe. One of the biggest changes that was made is there is no longer a health bar. You now just have a shield (which can take slightly more damage), and after that is gone one or two hits and your done. It does make it a tad harder, but if you play smart it is not a problem (and this did get rid of a problem in the first game of being stuck in the middle of a level with one health bar and no health packs in sight). I have not beat the game, but I am sad to say the blasted library level made a return (I am in it right now) though it is nowhere near as annoying as the first one.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Just under 14 hours to go . . .

Until I play Halo 2! Even though I technically already bought it, but it just wasn't for me. ..

Allow me to rewind. A few months ago one of the kids in the youth group laid out for me his plan to skip school to go buy Halo 2. I told him that if he went to school, then as soon as it was over we would have a massive Halo 2 party at the church. That was cool, but this posed a problem . .. how could he get the game and get to the church right after school. Thus, I said I would buy it for him if he gave me the money. So I went and got IN LINE at Wal-mart to get Halo 2 at 11:50. That is right the Wal-Mart in little Corydon, IN had a line of people waiting to buy Halo 2 at midnight. In fact, a Louisiville Police officer even came all the way up here to avoid the crowds. Due to a wal-mart pricing error I was able to get him the commerative edition at the same price as the regular one. Now I am just waiting for the 14 hours to pass and it is on!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

For the truly bored (or blog addict)

I now have TWO blogs (well technically I have three because the ujournal one is in the theoretical process of being transferred to another site). I have started another one for the youth group I work with. So if you are looking for a blog to read that contains random information (and lots of announcements) go to:
(of course now there is only one post, so it is kind of boring, but it will get updated once the youth acutally know it exist)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Election Reflection

So I should have realized that the after 2000, the networks were going to be very, very sure before they declared a winner. Despite that fact, I still watched the coverage to see who the new president would be. I fell asleep around 2 in the morning and then woke up at 4 am just see that an official winner had not yet been declared. Though I was still surprised to see Dan Rather on the air, I then went to sleep again feeling bad about by myself because an old man like him stayed up later than me.
I did notice it was interesting that Fox News (otherwise known as GOP-TV) was the first one to declare Bush the winner of Ohio, while CBS (considered to be the most liberal) was the last.
However, what I found most interesting in this election was the local stuff. I officially live in Republican held territory. This is odd because southeast indiana is conventionally considered a democrat stronghold. However, Indiana's new governor, Mitch Daniels, is the first Republican Governor in 16 years. More shocking Baron Hill, the incumbent Represenative for my district lost. Mike Sordel will now be the first Republican Congressman from this area in over forty years. Going more locally, The Republicans control the county council and the county commisioners, and the incumbent State Represenative, Paul Roberston, barely held onto his office. All indiciations is that nationally the Republicans beat the democrats like a red headed step child this election. This goes completely against political conventional wisdom, because all indications is that this is going to be the highest voter turnout in a long, long time, and conventional wisdom says that higher turnout favors democrats. Appearently, Nixon's silent majority has once again spoken.

Personally, my ballot was split half democrats and republicans (with one Liberterian!) For the president, after much deliberating, I finally voted for John Kerry. For Governor I voted for Mitch Daniels. My vote for senator was cast in favor of Evan Bayh, and finally I voted for Baron Hill for the house.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A Public Thank You

So other than my wife, 100+ miles seperates me from everyone I would consider a friend. Despite that fact I have really awesome friends. Point in case: After an anomynous poster pointed out that I was in need of a remedial government education, Stephen ( was very troubled by this. He took it upon himself to fix my educational deficiancy by sending me a Government text book. Starting tomorrow I will begin reading America (the book): A citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction As presented by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. So thank you very much Stephen.

The Act of Improvisation

So yesterday had the unique distinction of being both Halloween and a Sunday. So I thought for youth group what would be better than having a murder mystery? So everything was set but people who were suppose to be there didn't show. Not only that but they had there character books (with all the clues) with them. Thus we couldn't even get by because the clues are all dependent on each other. So I was stuck up the creek. Trying to come up with something to do I thought of the game clue. It would have been lame to just sit around and play the board game. What I did (after my wonderful wife drove the game out to me) was hide the clue cards in various rooms in the church. Each room got assigned a room from the clue mansion. The youth in teams took turns exploring different rooms literally looking for clues. In between turns they would get one clue from another team. I am sure something like this has been done before (only much better) but it worked and everyone went home happy.