Friday, December 31, 2004

The Top Ten of 2004

I can't believe that this is the third time I am making a year in review top ten list. This past year was the first one I spent as an "adult". I can also say that personally this past year has been a very hard one. I had a lot of unresolved issues with my self and God that got resolved and that is never easy. However, most of that was the first half of the year, since August my life as felt like a continous blur, where everything just melds together. Anyway, here are the top ten experiences I had in 2004.

10. A funeral: Funerals themselves are not fun, or really good experiences. However, I need to conclude the funeral of my grandfather on this list because it is significant. It was the first funeral I have ever attended.

9. Returning to UE: One of my greatest longings I have right now is for friends. I so greatly enjoyed going to Andrew's recital and staying at UE. I greatly enjoyed being able to spend time with friends I had not seen for so long, and cutting two liter bottles full of water with a sword is just good wholesome fun.

8. The Invasion: there were several really good Youth group events that were highlights this year. Including a July Mission trip, an all day lock-in, the Video game Tournament, and the Winter retreat I just got back from. However, this one is where I was most blown away. The Invasion was a mix between a lock-in and a retreat. It was held at the church and lasted about 26 hours, and 32 teenagers showed up!

7. Friends in March: I don't know the day but on a Saturday in March Rusty, Allen, Andrew, and Stephen came and spent the entire day hanging out at my apartment. This was a time when I was in the darkest depth of one of the darkest places I have ever been emotionally. Spending time with friends that day was a huge, huge therapy for me. so thanks guys.

6. Practice Parenting: Well it wasn't really, but it was the closest I have been. At the end of June, Abigail's brother and sister spent close to a week with us. We went to Holiday World, made a movie with the youth group, and played a lot of Champions of Norrath.

5. Casting Crowns: I attended three concerts this year. However, the best was by far Casting Crowns. I would say this concert was the best worship service I have experienced.

4. Thanksgiving: It had been a really, really long time since I had been able to spend any decent amount of time with my family. So I really enjoyed staying with them a few days over Thanksgiving (and winning a hard fought battle for the clone armies of the Republic!)

3. 150 Worship and The Zone: These aren't tecnically single events, but they are two huge undertakings that I was part of. 150 Worship is a youth focused worship service that has been going on since May. It never really took off but it has met the needs of the church youth, and I believe helped lead to the church taking the step to starting a true alternative service, and the Zone is a Friday night hangout which so far as reached close to 50 youth and I beleive it is still picking up strength.

2. 1 Year! 1 Year!: Abigail and I have been married for a year! (well actually a year and six months now) So we spent May 24th this year celebrating at the gorgeous Grand Old Opery Hotel. It was really fun and very cool

1. Johnson Family Vacation: Abigail and I took our first family vacation to North Carolina and it was great. We went to the Highland Games at grandfather mountain which was really fun. Then we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway which really is just amazing in it's beauty. Our final destination was Asheville, or Hippie capitol USA. Abigail attended her conference during the day and we did stuff at night like go to this awesome waterfall that we could stand under.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Wait has ended

After two and a half years I can finally say I have returned to Online gaming, and what a sweet return it is! I guess technically I returned a week or so ago, but all I played was Runescape and Return to Castle Wolfenstein (but people playing that still are all super experts, and I had no idea what I was doing so it was more of a return to getting slaughtered as opposed to a return to online gaming). However, after spending two days trying to get my PS2 online (and I figured out major computer problems on my own!), last night and this morning I got in like four hours of gaming. I played Mortal Kombat: Deception and got my butt kicked, really bad. I tried out SOCOM II just to meet confusion (appearently you don't respawn. . .which kind of sucks). I briefly played Medal of Honor Rising Sun and did alright, but the true joy was playing Star Wars Battlefront, where I dominated. I had forgotten just how good it felt to see the score board at the end of a game, and be at the top. Sadly, (well not really sad because the retreat will be cool) I am leaving for a few days tomorrow and I have to prepare today, but when I get back I am completely imersing myself in the online gameplay.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Snowed In!

Literally! There is currently sixteen inches of snow on the ground in Corydon. It is so bad they have closed down I-64 in this area. If we wanted to leave we couldn't right now because earlier this morning they plowed the parking lot and put snow in front of the cars and now there is more on top, meaning there is about 2 feet behind both of our cars. The good news is that it stops tonight (and our final total will be between 20 and 30 inches). They should get most of the snow off the roads by Christmas when family is suppose to come. However, we have to get supplies tomorrow. Currently the plan is for me to dress warm, strap on a back pack, and take a cross country polar expedition to Wal-Mart.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A Double Post!

And this is for a very special reason: I can! And it does not take forever! For Christmas Abigail gave me a cable modem so I am no longer a technological Pariah! It also means that I can now be Stephen's friend again because I finally downloaded Mozilla Firebird and I can finally after two years play games online again!!!! I may not be sleeping tonight (if I can find anyone to play on the outdated games I have.)

An EPIC Level of Nerdiness

I know that a few have already done it, and now that most colleges are out and high schools get out this week, I will be joined by many, but today I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy. . . all of it. All three special editions back to back to back. I must say the Lord of the Rings is truly a masterpiece. It is really amazing how each movie has it's own feel, yet they make a truly unified epic. In this regard, I must say that it even outshines the Star Wars trilogy. Of course this means that I also saw the Return of the King extended edition, which I know not to many have done yet. There is a lot of reincoprorated stuff. By far the Coolest is Eowyn and Merry chopping down Orcs, though the Saruman stuff is interesting as well. However, I find it funny that the Tolkien Purists got all up in arms that the character was removed from the the theater release of Return of the King, and the re-incoporated scene could not deviate more from the book than it did. All in all, I spent the entirety of today from 11 am to 10:30 going There and Back Again, and it was well worth it.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

In case you miss it

For the first time we are sending out Christmas cards this year. That of course means that it has the obligatory letter that sums up an entire year in one page. Several (of the few) that actually read here are probably already getting the card/letter in the mail. In case you don't (and if you don't and despertly want a christmas card to raise your fragile self esteeem, give me your address and I'll hook you up). Here is the contents of the enclosed letter:

Dear Friends and Family,

The calendar accurately reports the month to be December, and the vast amount of traffic around just about every retail store confirms this fact. The Christmas season is a time of remembrance and tradition, and with that in mind we now join countless other is the nigh impossible act of recounting a year out of our past life in just a few short paragraphs. However, we care deeply about each of you and regret that we do not get to see any of you near as often as we would like. It is our hope that this letter will give you a decent answer to the question, “So, how are you doing?”

Abigail greatly enjoys her job teaching special education at Corydon Elementary School. She currently has nine students under her care ranging from students with autism to a physically handicapped student who is homebound. Each day presents new challenges, but Abigail truly enjoys working with each and every student. In addition to that, she is teaching 2nd grade in an after school program. She works with those who need extra help in language arts two days a week. If that were not enough, she is also providing respite care for a six year old boy with Cerebral Palsy. When Abigail does find free time she enjoys feeling it with logic puzzles and planning fantasy vacations.

Sean has been working as the youth minister at Old Capitol United Methodist Church for over a year now. Since he has been there the youth group size has more than doubled. In addition to that, for most of the year Sean has been in charge of planning and running a weekly “youth service”. Also, just recently an outreach to community teenagers was started called The Zone. It is hard to believe how time consuming youth ministry is as a “part-time” job. Sean also continues to substitute teach on the side. Currently, he has not found a full time teaching job, but Sean is happy that he recently began teaching in the same after school program that Abigail is involved with only on the fourth grade level. In his free time Sean likes to read and still greatly enjoys playing video games.

Together as a couple, our life has been very blessed. As of this writing we have been married for one year, six months, two weeks, five days, and approximately four hours. In July we took our first family vacation together to North Carolina. We spent two days attending the Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain before taking the breath taking, gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville. Abigail attended a special education conference during the day and during the evening we took in the sights of Asheville including the Biltmore House, the artistic downtown, and numerous waterfalls.

All in all, we can say that this past year has been a great one. We are now looking forward to a very merry holiday season, and look forward, with great anticipation, to what lies ahead in 2005. It is our hope that our paths may cross with yours in that new year. However, if we do not meet please remember we continue to think about and remember you. Together we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

I'm officially a geek!

I am sure you have all suspected this to be the truth for quite some time, but there is now irrefuteable proof and it is in print. I am quoted in the latest PSM (Playstation magazine). The issue in question is tJan. 2005, Issue 93. On page 92 you can find a litle black box at the top of the page with a heading "The Point" The first quote in that box reads "As someone who is crrently in a room full of Star Wars figures, I would have to say Battlefront is my favorite gavem ever! It captures the feeling and joys of Star Wars perfectly. -Sean"

That's all me!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Don't waste your time with . . .

Ocean's Twelve. The movie for lack of a better word sucked . .to the 12th degree. Whoever made this movie didn't get it. What made Ocean's 11 so great was the heist. The fact the characters were cool was bonus, but it was all about seeing the heist. However, this one seems to focus completely on the characters, and sort of forgets about things like a plot. Speaking of the plot it has one of the all time stupidest plot tricks ever used. I won't spoil it, but it involves Julia Roberts. Actually, I will spoil it because if I do my job correctly you won't waste time with this movie. Julia Roberts as Tes impersonates . . . Julia Roberts! How Brilliant! Really do not see this movie, your brain just might start to bleed.

However, do waste time with renting Killzone for the PS2. The game is really good and really fun. I just rented it today and I am already sad I only have it for a week.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A sad end to a long streak . . .

The referenced streak is 23 years without attending one funeral. This sadly ended today, because my grandfather passed away on Saturday. He lived to 87 and his life is really a legacy to be proud of. He helpd more people in more ways than could probably ever be recounted. He didn't do it for glory or because of his posistion, but because it was the right thing to do. The sadest and most heart ripping part was watching my grandmother because they had been married for over 65 years. The pain she must feel is unfathomable after loosing her best friend that she literally spent a lifetime with. However, It is hard to be sad, because he was a dedicated Christian. At the funeral the hymn in the garden was sung and as the words were sung it was impossible for me not to picture him (not as an old man but as he was in the prime of his lfe) with Jesus as the song describes:

I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses; And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses.

Chorus: And He walks with me and He talks with me And He tells me I am His own And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.

He speaks and the sound of His voice Is so sweet the birds stop their singing. And the melody that He gave to me Within my heart is ringing.

I'd stay in the garden with Him Though the night around me is falling. But He bids me go; through the voice of woe, His voice to me is calling.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I am uncultured savage

Or at least that is what you might think after reading the following. Basically, I consider stage productions and especially musical theater an inferior art form to cinema. I have always thought this, but was reminded of this last night when I went with Abigail to see Chicago. Compared to the storytelling and production values of the cinematic version the stage production was found despertly wanting. Now one could respond, "of course it was better they had more money, weren't confied to a stage and could do as many takes as they needed to get it perfect." And that is exactly why Cinema is better. In my opinon all art has three purposes. 1) To tell/communicate a story 2) to entertain 3) This is optional but it is what can set apart that extrodinary from everything else, and that is to somehow express or discuss a deeper truth on the human condition. A movie has the ability to do these three things far better than any stage production. I am aware that someone could argue that I am missing the point, that what makes the stage so great to see is the talent displayed by the actors. I am not belittling the actors I can be amazed by and appreciate their talents but still not find their story very compelling or entertaining.

You might also think Iam uncultured savage by the fact that I think musicals by their very nature suck (the only musicals I have enjoyed are Godspell, The Lion King, and to a degree Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,but that one is probably due more to how it was done than to anything else). Needless to say, I didn't care to much for Chicago (considering that I really don't like the basic story of it anyway), but Abigail did and we went for her anyway so it is all good.