Friday, January 30, 2009

Copied from Facebook

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.
(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

I think it goes without saying that if you have been tagged, and already did this then you are exempt.

1. I am a rarity in that I am a die hard Star Wars fan and I actually like Episodes 2 and 3.

2. In college I created my own card game. It simulated action film style martial arts fighting and was semi-customizable.

3. I consider my greatest accomplishment in high school to be part of the group that formed and created the N.H. Underground, a student ran and distributed paper that was not endorsed by the school.

4. The first girl I kissed is the one I married :)

5. In Brothers in Arms, a video game on the PS2, I was ranked in the top 20 players.

6. I was once investigated for identity theft. It was an amazingly improbable coincidence and a big misunderstanding.

7. I doodle a lot. It is really hard for me to have a pen in my hand, a piece of paper in front of me, and not draw on it.

8. In high school a lot of my money went to playing the Star Wars CCG. I even played in multiple tournaments, and I won one once.

9. When I quit working at Pizza Hut in Corydon I hid stickers all over the store that read "Work is overrated." A couple of years later when we moved back to Corydon, I found one of my stickers was still up in the dining room.

10. I read comic books seriously for a little over five years. I quit because Marvel declared bankruptcy and because I was tired of the plotlines being unresolved.

11. Of those comic books I read four series regularly: Uncanny X-men, X-men, Spiderman 2099, and Primordials. Sadly Primoridals was canceled after a year, and the story was left hanging.

12. It is no secret to anyone that I like video games and play a lot of them, but I like board games more and I would rather play a board game over a video game any day.

13. In 4th grade I created a fantasy world in my head called Giam. Anything I have ever written or created in a fantasy setting has taken place in that world. Interestingly enough, I did this well before reading Lord of the Rings and my fantasy world had its own Dark Lord who at one time lived in the land of Meduka. The similarities between that and Tolkien's Mordor were coincidental.

14. I don't like talking on the telephone. If I have to call someone, especially if it is to ask them do something I get a lot of anxiety over it.

15. I once cheated on a 1,000 word essay by writing 500 words and then recopying the same 500 words. I Got an A+. .

16. I played Civilization III once where I started the game at about 8pm, and I did not move from the chair at all until 5am. The next day I finished the game, and the day after that I got rid of it.

17. I think that using games and play is one of the most effective ways to learn, and I am happy that youth ministry allows me to use those techniques.

18. Speaking of youth ministry, my favorite youth group game: Silent Football.

19. My second favorite: Monkey Ball

20. When I spent two years subbing, I think I told the "Purple Ape story" every day that I was in an elementary school room. When I tell that story it is always about my friend Adam (who I always mention is really tall, I think several of you can figure out who that is)

21. I like to read, and my favorite books to read are licensed science fiction such as Star Wars novels and even the Halo novels.

22. Despite that my favorite book (after the Bible of course) is The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

23. Speaking of the Bible my favorite non-gospel book in the Bible is a toss up between Romans and 1 John.

24. My biggest guilty pleasure is listening to a video game podcast while playing video games very late on Friday night (though technically I guess it is Saturday morning)

25. I am making this list instead of reading for my senior thesis/research project which is about using video games as an educational tool in youth ministry.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Defense and Explanation of the United Methodist Doctrine of Trinity

I think this is one the best papers I have written in a long time. In fact, I liked it so much I actually used it three times. This paper originally started out as my "God" paper for systematic theology. For that paper I focused on Trinity and used the Articles of Religion as a starting point. Parts of that paper were then used in my final for that class. For my Methodist History and Theology class I had to write about one of the articles or religion, so I took the systematic paper as a base, gave it a more Wesleyan tone as well as being a bit more argumentative. The results is what follows. Interestingly enough I got a B+ on the systematic paper but an A with glowing comments on this paper. I know only a couple of people might actually read the whole thing, but enjoy anyway.

A few years ago a comprehensive study was done to examine the religious views of teenagers. The National Study of Youth and Religion shows that there is a dramatic shift in the religious landscape in the United States. The vast majority of teenagers, ninety percent, identified that they view God as something such as a “divine butler who exists in the background of their lives waiting to be summoned when they have a problem.” Perhaps it is this sort of thought process that has led to the popularity of T-shirts that express statements such as “Jesus is my homeboy”. These alarming trends put several traditional Christian doctrines at risk of being left at the wayside. One of the most critical and uniquely Christian understandings of God that is at risk is that of Trinity. In some ways the doctrine appears to be safe. A survey conducted by Group magazine of teenagers who attend service project trips they run showed that currently 87% of self identified Christian teenagers have been taught that Jesus is God. However, of that number 38% believes that good deeds can merit eternal salvation and 22% believe that Jesus committed sins on earth. There is a clear disconnect between what they have been taught and what they believe, and some of those beliefs are in direct opposition of the idea of Jesus being God. Another threat to Trinitarian doctrine is that for decades, seminary trained professors have been taught theological positions such as that of Paul Tillich or Process theology which denies a Triune God. All major church traditions have a doctrine on Trinity but the one that will be used for this discourse is that of the United Methodist Church. The doctrinal standard of the United Methodist Church are the articles of religion compiled by John Wesley, and article one states the church’s position on Trinity: “There is but one living and true God . . .And in unity of this Godhead there are three persons, one substance, power, and eternity-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” The doctrine of Trinity is one that is vital to the United Methodist Church and all Christian expressions, because it is a cornerstone that many other core beliefs are grounded in. Trinity needs to be better taught and understood in the United Methodist Church so that the church can strongly proclaim the unique gospel of Jesus Christ in a continually post-modern, pluralistic culture.

To address the matter of Trinity is to address the very nature, character, and essence of God. To fully and properly address the whole subject of God’s nature would require hundreds of pages. The point of this discourse is to examine the Methodist doctrine of Trinity. Thus, to deal with the validity of the doctrine of Trinity there are certain presuppositions that must be made as a starting ground. All of these presuppositions do have their own basis in tradition, and have their own valid critiques as well as their own supporting arguments. The first presupposition that must be made in understanding Trinity is the infinite nature of God. The Methodist’s confession of faith encapsulates the vastness of God’s infinite nature: “[God] is infinite in power, wisdom, justice, goodness, and love.” The second presupposition that must be made is that God has Divine sovereignty. This presupposition has to be made to consider Methodist doctrine because Wesley gave more emphasis on this aspect of God’s nature than any other. Divine sovereignty can be a sticky subject and one that is open to interpretation. For Wesley God’s sovereignty over creation was not separated from God’s other attributes such as justice and love. Wesley’s idea of Divine sovereignty is not one where God’s control is an overpowering iron fist. In explaining Wesley’s practical theology on this subject Randy Maddox writes, “the best way to capture Wesley’s conviction here is to say that he constructed God’s power and sovereignty fundamentally in terms of empowerment, rather than control or overpowerment.” Thus, Divine sovereignty is absolute but it is utilized in a loving way that brings people to respond to God instead of being irresistible. There is a final presumption that needs to be made in order to properly consider Trinity, but this presumption is so crucial to Trinitarian doctrine that it needs to be considered itself.

The final presupposition that needs to be made is that God is fundamentally relational. The idea that God is relational entity was crucial to Wesley. Stanley Grentz also asserts the relational nature of God, but Grentz ties this nature back to Trinity. Grentz writes: “The doctrine of Trinity declares that God is relational.” Grentz then continues: “not only is the immanent Trinity relational, the triune God enters into relationship with the world he creates.” To speak of Trinity in any context requires the presupposition that God is relational by nature. As has been shown, many theologians from a variety of persuasions affirm this relational nature of God. However, a doctrine of Trinity, such as that held by the United Methodist Church, requires that the relational nature of God originates in and pours out of the intimate relationship that exists within the Godhead. Thus, there is a presupposition that God relates to creation, but this presupposition is a natural result of the Trinitarian doctrine to which considerations now turn.

Relationship is the basis of the Trinity. The doctrine of Trinity expresses the experienced reality of how God relates to the whole of creation. A valid and often leveled criticism against Trinitarian doctrine is that a fully developed concept of Trinity does not appear anywhere within the scripture. However, as Grentz points out, “no dimension of the Christian confession is closer to the heart of the mystery of the God we have come to know.” Trinity may not be explicit in the scripture, but scripture does support the doctrine. Trinity was born out of multiple experiences that the early church community and scripture testified as true. The first of these testimonies is the oneness of God. God as understood by Christian tradition, is the God of Israel, and God declared boldly to Israel, “Hear, O Israel; the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Christian tradition embraces this decree. The second testimony is that Christian tradition also recognizes the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Arian controversy was fought early in church history over the divinity of Jesus. Scripture identified Jesus as a unique agent. The first chapter of John identifies Jesus as the Logos or the Word which the gospel reports: “In the beginning was the word. The Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” The Arian controversy debated if Jesus was God or was merely the first creation of God. The controversy eventually ended in favor of the divinity of Christ. Thus God was one, but God was also two. To further muddle the issue was the Holy Spirit. The scripture witnesses to the Spirit as that which connects the individual to God. The church understood the workings of the Spirit as those of God. Thus the one God had related to and been understood by the community of faith in three different ways. Yet the scripture communicates that these three entities are not merely modes of one another, but are unique and interdependent on each other. An example of this interdependence can be seen in one of the epistles of John: “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” Another scriptural example of this interdependence is present in Jesus’ discourse at the last supper: “All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” The doctrine of Trinity takes the three scriptural testimonies and experiences the early church had of the divine and holds them together in a way that honors all three testimonies. God is One, but God is also equally Father, Son, and Spirit. For this to be then the three persons of the Trinity must be unique persons but of the same substance, and it is the issue of substance that should be considered next.

The Methodist doctrine of Trinity affirms that the Father, Son, and Spirit are three persons of one substance, power, and eternity. The paradox of three persons derived from substance is perhaps the most troubling aspect of the Trinity for many. The substance of God is that of God which makes God Godself. This substance is present in all three members of the Trinity, and it is this combined substance that creates God’s essence. Grentz explains, “The one God, therefore, is not an undifferentiated, solitary oneness but subsist in multiplicity, the three members of the Trinity. In fact, there is no God but the triune God; God is none other than Father, Son, and Spirit.” The essence of God’s self is Trinity. Thus, when Christians affirm that the God is one, they affirm that this one essence of this one God is the combined Father, Son, and Spirit. Furthermore, these Three are all from the same substance.

While the three members of the Trinity are inseparable as one, they are also all unique. However, all theologians who support a Trinitarian doctrine do have to cede a point brought up by Clark Williamson. The Bible is not very clear as to what unique roles the various members of the Trinity fulfill. Williamson writes: “The Bible is a lovely mess on this point; it will not allow an easy sorting out of the separate roles of the three persons.” This is a true observation, but it does not need to be a hindrance to understanding Trinity. It would actually be problematic if the members of the Trinity had clearly defined roles. Clearly defined roles for the Trinity members would mean they were either separately unique persons or modes of one person. Thus, when the triune God relates to creation, individuals may identify with one aspect of Trinity, but all three members are present. For example, many Christians understand Jesus as the entity that makes forgiveness of sin possible but the Spirit and the Father are also present. Another example is that when God declared the “Lord is one” all three members of the Trinity were simultaneously making the declaration. This inter-dependence and mutual working of the Trinity in relating to humanity is understood as the economic Trinity. Grentz once again explains, “the economic unity of the Trinitarian members also means that each is dependent on the work of the others for the fulfillment of the one divine program.”
The doctrine of Trinity, which the United Methodist Church subscribes to, stands on a strong basis of tradition and has well supported theological legs under it. Despite that, the doctrine of Trinity may be considered controversial in some circles. Greg Stier, a youth ministry expert, observes a trend that teenagers are increasingly individualizing their faith understandings. Comparing teenager faith to Starbucks, Stier sarcastically writes: “When forming their opinions about faith based matters, picture most 13-18 year olds ordering up a Grande Carmel-Kabbalah latte with a dash of Buddhism and a Hindu Krishna cookie on the side” This individualization of religion is taking place in a vastly pluralistic marketplace of ideas where all religious expressions are given the same value. Trinitarian doctrine can be considered controversial because the doctrine is uniquely Christian. The current President of the United States, George W. Bush, has publicly stated on multiple occasions that he believes all religions pray to the same God. This line of thought has gained a lot of adherents in the post-modern world. Yet the doctrine of Trinity stands in opposition to this. Trinitarian doctrine refuses to keep God characterized as something nebulous that can apply to all situations. Instead the doctrine, out of the experience of the church, defines God character. If the United Methodist Church is t to take Trinity seriously, then to speak of God is to speak of Trinity. Thus, it is faulty to say that all religions pray to the same God unless all religions pray to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Taking Trinity seriously will set the church apart and above the pluralistic religious climate that characterizes the times.

There is another angle from which Trinitarian doctrine can be controversial today, and it is once again because the doctrine of Trinity sets Christianity apart from other faiths. A recent report, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, showed that 70% of Americans affiliated with a religion believe that multiple religions can lead to eternal life. The doctrine of the Trinity states that Jesus is fully God, and this is vitally important because Jesus divine nature is essential for salvation through atonement. In the Methodist tradition, Trinity takes an especially strong Christological understanding. Maddox writes:

“When Wesley considered the Godhead specifically in light of the needs of fallen humanity, the second and third ‘Persons” of the Trinity moved to the forefront. They both came into consideration because of our twofold need: it is through the Incarnate God that we are graciously reconciled, and through the Indwelling God that we are graciously empowered for our healing.”

Wesleyan doctrine holds at its heart that justification, which is right relationship with God, come through faith, and “the work of Christ, therefore, is the foundation of the entire doctrine of justification.” Any theological framework which has a Christology that sees Jesus as wholly necessary for justification must also have a Trinitarian doctrine.

There is significance that in the United Methodist articles of religions that t is article one that address Trinity. The doctrine of Trinity is vital to a Christian understanding of God. For this reason, this doctrine should continue to be a shaping factor in the church today. The doctrine of Trinity guides the United Methodist church to how it should understand and relate to the God that the church gathers to worship and serve. More importantly, the doctrine of Trinity is one of the most foundational doctrines that makes the United Methodist church Christian. The draw of a post-modern pluralistic culture mixed with desperation for new members to cut off the bleeding out of members that the church has been experiencing for decades is the recipe for a perfect storm. While it is unlikely that the United Methodist Church as a whole will drop its doctrinal basis it is very possible that some pastors or even full congregations will move away from a Trinitarian understanding of God. To do so is to essentially abandon Christianity. In the end, Trinitarian doctrine must stay a shaping factor in the United Methodist Church because Trinity is the uniquely Christian understanding of the God that loves humanity enough to redeem its fallen state by the sacrificial act of God’s very self.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Favorite Games Ever

I officially decided that I have a new favorite board/card game. I could just post what it is and be done with it, but this isn't twitter. I fool myself into believing that people occasionally read what I write for its incredible entertainment value, and nothing is more fun to read than lists! (Seriously, as an aside have you ever noticed how many magazine/website articles are organized as a list?)

So I am not going to just share with you my new favorite game, but every game that has ever held that position. We will start early and work our way up. Also, if you really want to waste time at work, you can go here and look at pictures and read about each of the games listed.

1. Chutes and Ladders

I have an elementary school memory book and in that it list my favorite game as a kindergarten student as Chutes and Ladders. Oh well, I guess you have to start somewhere, and Chutes and Ladders is better than Candyland

2. Dino Bones
By time I was in 1st grade my favorite game apparently changed to Dino Bones. Until I read that, I had zero recollection of the game. After I looked it up, I remember the board but I remember very little about how to play it. I loved Dinosaurs at that age though, so it is no surprise that I would list a dinosaur game as my favorite.

3. Hero Quest
Now we skip ahead a bit to 5th-7th grade, and during that time my favorite game was without a doubt Hero Quest. I loved this game. Sadly, I loved it far more than anyone else in my family, and it was only played a handful of times. However, I did have access to a copier so I amused myself by creating dozens of my own dungeons. In high school I really got into being a GM in role playing games, and Hero Quest probably had a lot to do with that.

4. Star Wars CCG
Star Wars CCG is without a doubt my favorite game of my high school days. I experimented with Magic, got into the more simplistic (but more accessible) Spellfire, but it was Star Wars that became my cardboard crack of choice. During high school my parents were very supportive of this hobby. They took me to tournaments over two hours away in Indianapolis, and my dad even jumped through the hoops to become certified to host and run official tournaments. The only reason I got out of it is because going to college was to expensive to justify spending $3 per pack of cards.

5. Stratego Legends
Coming off of Star Wars CCG, I really liked the customizable element of games and I have always been a fan of Stratego, so making it customizable was a good move for me. I had a room mate who really liked playing this game was well so I got a lot of games in.

6. Diplomacy
I have only played this game twice, but the experiences were both so great that if asked for a couple of years after graduating college I would have said this is my favorite game. The first game I played all seven people were new to it, so we knew nothing going into it. The back room deals, betrayals and strategy was excellent. I won that game, and the second game we never finished but I was on my way in that one as well.

7. Memoir '44
For the last few years this has been my favorite game. I love games that mix strategy with luck, and this game does it very well. I am also a fan of the WWII theme, and the ability to create my own scenarios. Plus, my wife has always been willing to play it with me so that is a plus. I had really thought that Memoir '44 was the perfect game for me, until . . .

8. Race for the Galaxy
This is my new favorite game. I got it for Christmas and my wife and I have played it twelve times thus far in less than a month. We both really like it. For me this scratches the same itch that playing the Star Wars CCG scratched, and the Sci-Fi theme helps it. I really like that there are multiple strategies to go with, and what strategy one employs really depends on what they can make of their starting planet and starting hand. This game is ultra addictive and I look forward to all of the future plays we have in store.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

+2 Internet Fame has a resource library that people can contribute to. They published a list of their Best of 2008. Under the Top Ten Freebies, look at #4.

yay me :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Top Ten Games I am looking forward to in 2009

Reflecting back over 2008 is done, and I am ready to look forward to 2009. Because the budget is law AND because video games are so gosh darn expensive I can't really make spontaneous purchases. This means that I have a really good idea of what games I am looking to get. So in the typical dramatic descending order here are the top ten games I am looking forward to in 2009.

10. Tekken 6
One of the neatest (and honestly most unexpected) gifts I got for Christmas was a controller specifically made for fighting games, so I now have an excuse to get more fighting games :) I know that technically the biggest fighting game release is Street Fighter IV, but I am passing on that one and instead waiting until August or so for Tekken 6. I played a Tekken Tag a ton on the PS2 and I look forward to beating people up online with a giant panda bear.

9. Blood Bowl
I fully intend on getting Blood Bowl the day it comes out and it will technically be for the first Sports game I have ever bought new. Blood Bowl is actually a strategy miniature board game based around the silly concept of orcs, trolls, and elves playing football. This game will have two modes an arcadey realtime football game and the turn based, full rules strategy board game. I'm getting it for the turn based version.

8. Ghostbusters
This game was actually on a similar list I made for 2008, but it got delayed a year. The Ghostbusters game is meant to be the official sequel to Ghostbusters 2. I plan on getting it, but since the game is single player only I might wait a bit.

7. Operation Flashpoint 2
This shooter promises to be hyper realistic. I have enjoyed other shooters that skew realistic such as GRAW 2 and Brothers in Arms, plus a lot of the people I play online with are planning on getting this game .

6. Dragon Age Origins
This is an action RPG that promises to have a compelling, player driven story. I know if you don't play video games that does not mean much to you, but that sentence gets me plenty excited.

5.Wolfenstein/Alien Colonial Marines
There is a good chance that I will get one of these two games but not both. In college Return to Castle Wolfenstein ignited my love of online play, but the single player was average at best. This game promises to have class based multiplayer, but it will also introduce supernatural powers into multiplayer which makes me a little hesitant. Alien Colonial Marines has an awesome concept(shoot the aliens from the Alien movies) and it is being done by the same people who make the excellent brothers in arms game. However, the hesitation is that Gearbox has yet to truly nail online play. I will probably follow both of these games closely, read all the previews, and decide which one to get much closer to the time they come out. . . which is some nebulous time this year.

4. Lord of the Rings Conquest
Several months ago I listed my top twenty five video games of all time, and #1 was Star Wars Battlefront 2. This game is made by the same people and has the same concept, only Jedi and stormtroopers have been replaced with elves and orcs. I am sold! Plus this game comes out in a week, so it will be the first game I get in 2009.

3. Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 4 was one of the better games of the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube era. I liked it but I did not love it because I constantly fought with the control scheme. This sequel promises to have controls more akin to games like Gears of War, plus the entire game is built to be played in co-op, which is also a big plus.

2. Alpha Protocol

My favorite game of 2007 and one of the best games ever is Mass Effect. Alpha Protocol is often described as Mass Effect meets James Bond. That description alone is enough to elicit a pre-order from me!

1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
It would appear that I have fallen into the corporate trap and I am destined to get a new Call of Duty each year, of course I am not complaining much. After the minor misstep of Call of Duty 3, COD has been getting better each year. This COD is being developed by Infinity Ward is often considered "the good" COD developer, and I bet they will just build upon the improvements that this years Call of Duty game made over last years.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Top Ten Memories of 2008

Happy New Year to all. With 2008 over and 2009 beginning it is time for Abigail's favorite annual blog post that I make. Overall, 2008 is the closest think I can definitively say as an "ok" year in my adult life. There was nothing really bad about the year, but there was enough stuff to kind of drag the overall annual experience down. The first half of the year was plagued by the fact that Abigail and I did not see each other much due to unaligned class schedules. The second part of the year was plagued by health problems that put me waiting in an emergency room twice in a month's time. In between these bookends was a summer that saw host to falling trees and basement flooding. To top it off, I had a bit of a professional downer as I had to cancel a few big youth group events. One for a chaperon dropping out and two for lack of participation. Despite that, I am not really complaining. It was still another year that I got to be alive, and despite the previously mentioned setbacks, the year was still over all positive.

10. True Deep Dish Pizza
This is a late entry to the list. At the end of the year (Dec. 30th to be exact), Abigail and I went to Chicago for the day. The reason for this trip was to have true Chicago style deep dish pizza. We had originally talked about doing this over Abigail's fall break but due to her fall that did not happen. So we went to Gino's East for the pizza. It was good, excellent in fact. However, in my mind Noble Romans Deep Dish is still the kings of pizza.

9. A Winner is me!
I am morally opposed to eating competitions. Outside of the occasional dare to eat something spicy, or eat more white castle's than my brother (Worst. Idea. Ever.), I avoid them. However, this year someone had the idea to have a pie eating contest to raise money for missions. As the church youth minister I was told I was participating. A common known fact about me is that I am a fast eater, and when I try to eat fast the results are quite frankly inhuman. Needless to say I "won" by a mile.

8. Crazy Weather
If you live in central Indiana, then you know this June was one for the books. I read somewhere that we had a 500 year storm. That storm managed to flood our basement and take down a tree. The clean up of the basement was annoying, but it was memorable.

7. Not Being Crazy
As part of the ordination process I got to be psychologically evaluated not once but twice this year. The good news, is I was found to be perfectly sane and normal both times! I was also excited to officially find out that my personality type is INFP

6. Youth Group Mission Trip
I suppose as long as I go on these, they will make this list. This year we returned back to the Mississippi coast. What made this trip extra special for me is that a young man we know as Moon got to come. Moon and his brother were very involved in the youth group for a couple of years. They moved back to South Korea in August, so I enjoyed spending this trip with him.

5. 5th Wedding Anniversary
Abigail and I reached five years of marriage in 2008. To celebrate we took a weekend get away to Holland, Michigan. I think I am good not every going back to Holland, but the trip was friend and the company was unbeatable :)

4. Stephen and Amanda's Wedding
I got to be a groomsman for a second time. I felt honored being asked and I greatly enjoyed taking part in this wedding. It was a good ceremony, and it was very nice to see and spend time with so many people. A month or so after this wedding, I got to see most of those people and some others at Andrew and Coleen's wedding.

3. Rock Band Nights
One of the true highlights of this year has been playing Rock Band with Abigail. We have roughly played the game together 75 days this year. Several of those days were marathon sessions that lasted late into the night (and once or twice on a school night). If I were to pick out a single memory related to this it would be the night that we purchased the Jimmy Buffet track pack, played the heck out of it and then late at night went to Cheeseburger in Paradise for drinks and Chocolate covered nachos. In case you are curious if we have a favorite song from Rock Band that we play the most, it is probably one of these two

2. Gen Con
For the past two years before this one, I did not go to Gen Con because of the price. However, this year Abigail worked really hard to convince me to go, and I am so glad that she did. I had a TON of fun this day. There is no reason to recount in detail here why it was fun, if you are curious you can read about it here.

1. Florida Vacation
My number one memory from this year is the vacation we took to Florida. We stayed at my Uncle's Condo and did almost nothing which was excellent. The whole week was great, but the biggest highlight was that Abigail humored me and actually attempted to ride a wave. Abigail HATES water in her face. I really can not stress how much she dislikes it, so I was shocked when she decided to this. It did not last long, but it happened.

So there it is. 2008 is in the books and nothing but memories. Here is to a great 2009.