Thursday, August 27, 2009

Challenge 2 - Met

Alright, this one was a bit of a rush job. I had solid days of interviews, work, and running around town trying to settle everything- I'm still pretty proud of what came of it, though.
This angle, you can see the freehanded Dark Angels crest on the left shoulder. I applied it with a toothpick (the stirring stick you see at the bottom of the picture) because I don't yet have the brush control I'd like. You can also see, on the base, the crosswalk and road lines - even part of the left turn arrow, though his foot is placed right over it. That was happy coincidence, on my part, because the bits I did get were a pain.
This shot didn't have very good lighting- there's lines of black on the Oath of the Moment, or the Purity Seal (never sure which is which) and the tanks on his meltagun arm were based with dark grey, covered with boltgun metal, then a thin coat of Scab Red was applied. The metal doesn't shine through as I'd hoped- probably should have mixed the two and then painted for the real effect I wanted. On this one, again, you can see details of the road lines. (As I live in the US, my only reference is US road markings, so that's what I've done them as.)
Shot of the front- shows the scrollwork on the leg quite well, actually. His name was originally Brother Davidicus, but there was no way I was fitting that all there- his name is now simply Brother David. You can also sort of see the red that I went over the lenses with, and the light grey of the hoses leading to the sarcophagus- I really like the contrast between those, and the ones lower down or on his arm. They indicate that what they're funneling power, etc. to is different than the rest of the suit, sort of a cut above simple leg motor cables.
Shot of the back, here- you can see the extent of the Boltgun Metal on all the assemblies down there (the codex didn't have any rear views of it, for which I'm disappointed- I had to guess) and you can sort of see the back of the meltagun tanks, and the cable to the close combat weapon which I painted Bleached Bone just for the contrast.
Here, I tried to go with a shot involving everything I'd painted for the TOEMP so far. Tried to arrange them in a fashion where all the road lines matched up, which worked fine except for the sergeant.

Well, there you have it- my dreadnaught. Points:
Walker - 5 pts
Icons - 1 pt
Lenses - 1 pt
Walker Details freehand - 5 Pts
On time - 1 pt

Total - 13 pts

A whole week!

Sorry it's been so long since I updated. I've been rushing to get my hiring paperwork done at a new job, and scrambling to find both a new place to live, and someone to replace me at the current apartment, in addition to working nearly full-time. Unfortunately, my internet is usually the one that pays the price, so I haven't had a chance to do my in-progress shots and dialogue for my TOEMP. (Just finished the dreadnaught, will have pics up on the next post in a sec)

The new job is at Express Scripts- the company itself handles medical benefits packages for corporations- say you get health insurance from work, we'd deal with the details of it. When someone has a higher copay than normal, or wants to see if a prescription is covered under their plan, we'd be the ones called- specifically, I'd be the guy on the phone. Training will either start Monday morning, if someone drops out of the already-full class, or the 28th September with the next class.

As to the new living situation, I'm going to be moving in with a couple friends (and the sister of one of them) in a house a bit farther than campus. Rent, utilities, and internet will only be 300 a month instead of 385 for rent, 34 for internet, and ~45 for utilities. The house has a garage, attic, and pool, with a few places I'm going to turn into gardens. The bedrooms are decent-sized, but the living room and dining room are positively huge. Kitchen's fairly large too, and the bathrooms are actually in nice condition. Will post pics of all this at a later date, and we've decided to name the place 'Hive of Scum and Villainy' as the majority of us are Star Wars fans. For a shorter name, we go with Mos Eisley.

Anyways, time for my TOEMP post. It'll be up in a couple minutes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

In time, depending on time zone.

I packed everything up last night, thinking I was finished, but the uploading of pictures was taking forever. Probably for the best; when I woke up, I realized I hadn't painted the Deathwing symbols on their free shoulder pads. The first couple pictures were pre-that, but I like them and didn't want to have wasted the effort.
Here's a shot from behind, to show that I dropped some Chaos Black on the accordion joints between the limbs, also pre-Deathwing markings.
Here's one of them laying down- trying to get a decent shot to show off that I hit both their eye slots and the auspex lenses with some Scab Red.
Here's one showing the actual work on the shoulderpads. Had to freehand it, no transfers, and I discovered that early in the morning, my hands are shaky as all get out. I tried using a pencil to draw guidelines, but they didn't show well enough, and my hands didn't have the control to stay with them. They still turned out okay, I think.
Final shot of them, and you can even see the basing. I decided that, since I like cityfighting so much, I would just put their bases back to black and draw road markings on top. Was slightly hampered by not having a yellow, but they turned out decently enough, I think.
So there's my entry- I had finished painting at 12:15 PM on Monday the 17th, and am posting this at 3:28 PM on Monday the 17th.

One thing I'm not sure of, for the points- I did the Deathwing icons freehand, and I also painted the purity seals, Crux Terminatus, hoses, and things like that. Would that be 1, 5, or 6 points per model?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Battle report!

This battle saw me pitted against my friend who initially got me into this game. He was playing his Tyranids, mostly a monstrous creatures army (6 carnifexes and a hive tyrant!) and I was marching my Dark Angels, both of us at 1500 points.
I had forgotten the camera in my pocket, so the first picture I took was after I had moved, and shot, and he had taken out half my veterans in his first shooting phase.
This was his army after the first moving turn. What he didn't field in 'fexes, he made up for with genestealers.
Tried to show the beginning of the serious engagement with this shot, but it doesn't seem to have worked that well.
After the fiasco of the first turn, I dropped one squad of my tactical marines back to secure my objective.
Bugger managed to immobilise my rhino after the first shooting phase, and through the next five turns, never got it working again. He also took out both storm bolters on it, making it essentially useless.
The squad of scouts was a bad idea- tried to flank around him, but never had the movement to shoot, then assault, giving me the charge. Which, I learned in a minute, would have been worthless, as the genestealers have I6 and my scouts, only I4.
In this shot, you can see my lone Terminator captain, after the deep striking worked perfectly and they failed to actually damage any of the 'sniper' 'fexes. I had to charge a veteran sargeant in there with a power sword to get those wounds you see just past his ass. The assault marines also dropped in fine, and unloaded into the genestealers- getting a single wound, which was saved against, and nearly killing one of mine from a bad plasma weapon roll.

Pretty much my final hope, at this point- his genestealers still weren't at their objective, and I had mine secured. I don't have any more pictures, but he had to run his carnifexes across the board to blow the living daylights out of my last squad, and in turn 6 he finally secured his own objective. My last ditch effort in 6 was to drop a couple of frag missiles into them, see if I could get them to run- he'd left them out of synapse- but I only managed to kill one of them, and his 'fexes wiped me out.

Next time I'm up against monstrous creatures with toughness 6 or 7 and four wounds apiece, I'm throwing more meltaguns into my squad, and replacing the scouts and rhino with my Dreadnaught. I really need to get a drop pod for him, so I can field him deep enough to make a difference. I could also use a serious devastator squad, 2 lascannons and 2 plasma cannons, so I can put the missile launchers back into the squads just in case I need them.

Also, sorry for the blurry pictures- I'm still getting used to the camera, and some days are better than others.
Sorry about the lack of posting yesterday- Photobucket's bulk uploader was being fiddly. This picture is after I've touched up the designs on the front of their chests, and put some red on the eyes/guns/auspex whatchamahoosit.
This is them all assembled and pretty.
Since these pictures were taken, I've also put some black into the joints between plates, behind the knees, places like that; and put Chainmail on the metal parts of the guns and sword. Don't have pictures of that, yet, but I still need to do a flesh color on the face, put a strong gray on the Crux Terminatus, hoses and auspexes, and touch up where I was over-enthusiastic with the Bleached Bone.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And I continue the post avalanche.

Time for some terrain shots.

This was the crashed Aquila lander that came in the Battle for Macragge box set I got to start off my collecting. (Yes, they now sell it as a standalone piece, but I got those darned space marines!) I painted it a few days ago, or at least started, this is what I've done so far.

That was the main body of the lander- going to eventually paint it DA green, but for now, I'm basecoating it black.

That was the cockpit, with some blue painted on the windows. You can just barely see behind it how it was a light tan color first; I was originally going to just make it a neutral color, but now that I'm fully behind the Dark Angels, I'll kit it up to look like it belongs to them. It'll go well with the Monastery that 73rd held onto the templates from. As a side note, I emailed GW about the article, to see if it'd get published as a book, or put back online, but they said negative.

This is an example piece I did to show the color scheme once finished. I'm going to freehand the red lines, and a big red sword, on the back of the shuttle so it has some nice, pretty sword-and-wings iconography.

And this is a collected shot, with the pieces in (more or less) the right places. I'll post as I continue with it, but it might take longer, since I've got the TOEMP going on keeping me busy.

Tomorrow at noon, I've got a game set up at the local store; have my friend Greg, who plays Eldar, that I normally game against, and invited my friend Ishmael (who has complete Ork and Tyranid armies- guy must really like hordes) to come along as well. With the Emperor's blessing, I will be victorious.

Bleached Bone time

To start off this post, I'll put up a picture my lovely girlfriend snapped as I worked.
This is after I got the bleached bone on them all- before assembly, and after.



Still need to paint their storm bolters, the Sergeant's face and power sword, go over the joints with black, the aquilas with green, and the Crux Terminatus in some nice gray shade. I'm going to the game store tomorrow, and might grab a Chestnut wash to try and even out the color- there's still brush strokes all over, and places where the white shows through, but not as bad as they gray did through the white.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Basecoating the Deathwing

This is a shot of the Deathwing before I started, just standing all together. It's a tad blurry, but the Sergeant has a power sword, the rest have power fists, and they all have storm bolters.I hadn't glued them together (they came from the space marines battleforce box, plastic push-together models) which made my life so much easier. It'll also make things easier to swap out the weapons for lightning claws when i get a few.
Same stage, different angle.
This is, as you can probably see, when I stuck everything back on after the Skull White basecoat.
Different angle of the same thing.
You can't really see it in the pictures, but the paint job is fairly terrible. Spots show through like mad, there's brushstrokes everywhere. My biggest problem, I think, is that the paint is too thick- I didn't want to water down the whole pot of Skull White just to basecoat these guys, and I didn't have a handy palette to do it with just a little. I'm going to go back over it, give them a second coat, sometime this afternoon when they finish drying.

By the way, 73rd, I'm playing the assault card- that one with bonus points for more than half again the points value. Hopefully starting off strong will keep me interested and enthused as we go along.

Quick runthrough of my army

Here's a few shots of my army, in all its Unforgiven glory.


Company Master Rafael is standing at the fore, with his veterans (disrobed, lawl) right behind him. To the left is my four 10-man squads of tactical marines, with their sergeants; all are kitted out with a flamer and rocket launcher. The blue squad was traded for my termagaunts from the Battle for Macragge starter set. Front right is my Scout squad; right behind them, my Assault marines, with a standalone company of veterans to their left. In the back is their Rhino transport (as yet unnamed) and the Dreadnaught containing the remains of Brother Davidius. To his left, a squad of Deathwing terminators, and to his right are a few scattered marines- one with a meltagun, and a couple of people that came from the Macragge set I haven't done anything with. Freestanding in the middle is my converted Chaplain, and freestanding to the right is my converted Librarian.

Here's a closer view of the librarian. (For the record, it was a pain in the ass to get it there <-- so hopefully you enjoy it) I pretty much went with a standard marine, but I glued a book from something I got onto one shoulder pad. Hey, it counts, okay? The other shoulderpad, the picture I took didn't come out, but it's the standard bearer shoulderpad with the sword bisecting the laurel. I'm going to make the background green, and the sword and laurel either red or white- haven't decided- to make what looks to be, at a distance, the Dark Angels crest. This is my converted chaplain; the shot turned out blurry because I'm still trying to figure out how to work my girlfriend's camera. She says to zoom in electronically, rather than hold it next to the thing, so I'll try that next time. His backpack is from the DA veteranse box, and I don't remember where the mace came from, but it was floating in my bits tub. Gave him a plasma pistol as well, but I never really use him because I've got the librarian and the Company Master.




Unfortunately, none of the other shots turned out that well. Doesn't really matter that much, though, because none of them are really painted yet that I want to show off. Anyways, next post will be my first step of the Deathwing Terminators.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Step one- sorting.

So, I sat down with my codex and tried to sort stuff out for my TOEMP 'competition'. I use quotes only because it isn't really people trying to beat each other, it's several of us working together to keep each other encouraged.

My Dark Angels are going to be from the 3rd Company; partly because the squad distribution works for my common army list, and partly because the iconography is the easiest available. The terminators will be from the Deathwing, of course, so that's pretty well laid out; I'll have several squads of tactical marines to sort, though. And I'm not sure, in the chapter organization, if the 'squad' it refers to is the 5 or the 10 man variants, because I plan to have a squad of 10 devastators, and I'm not sure if that'll be 9th and 10th squad, or just 9th. I also have some assault marines, but only 5 of those, so they'll just be 7th squad.

For colors, I have Dark Angels green, Chaos black, Bleached bone, Skull white, Chainmail, and Scab red. (The GW store was out of Blood Red and Boltgun Metal, so i'm improvising) I also have a standard brush for painting, a fine detail for painting, and a standard brush that has become my drybrush.

I think that I'll start out with a few wide shots of my full force, assembled for departure. Should be fun! Keep an eye out for them coming soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

TOEMP

Wow, I'm going to actually have visitors to my blog. I'd better put some pants on.

I've been asked to participate in a little, fun 'contest' that Unforgiven 73rd is running on his blog- a Tale of Even More Painters. Hopefully, it'll motivate me to get the rest of my army painted up.

Currently, I'm looking at about 3 full 10-man squads of tactical marines, a squad of jetpack-equipped assault marines, a squad of terminators, and a squad of scouts; in the less tedious category is my converted Librarian and Interrogator-chaplain, my Company Master, a Dreadnought and a Rhino. However, they've all been assembled, so I'll have to be painting around bolters and all sorts of fun things already stuck together- should be a nightmare. I mean fun! fun. right, I mean fun.

But it'll be nice to have the motivation to finish painting, so I no longer have an entire army that is mostly plastic gray and a little bit of basecoated black. Darn, this means I'll have to hook up my digital camera, or get a better one, and show you lot pictures.

Anyways, stay tuned, for some fun will be had.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Camping!

Just got back from camping, I had a blast. Only a couple pitfalls- Adam broke my mom's camp chair, but said he'll pick up a new one to replace it; I chipped a tooth, bottom right molar, on my bacon Saturday morning; and all my hot dog buns were gone so I had to use bread Saturday night. Went on a couple hikes that were pretty enjoyable, got some of the first really solid sleep I'd had in months, and got to chop a bunch of firewood with a handaxe. Which, unfortunately, gave me blisters- totally worth it, though.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

slight... confusion?

I see obituaries, or just remembrances, posted occasionally- or more than occasionally- in the various catholic blogs I read, asking for a prayer for the repose of his soul. I've usually just said whatever strikes me at the moment- saying the sign of the cross, a hail mary, or something off the cuff and not 'standardized' (I use the term for lack of a better one- like how the 'our father' and such have words already, i just say whatever's on my mind). I need to track down what prayer is recommended for the situation, or if there's one; there may be a specific one I'm just not aware of.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Penance

Food on Fridays
03/28/2009

March 28, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

With a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, Jesus fed thousands. It was a sign of how he would himself become the Bread of Life, true life for those who believe in him.

We cannot become literally other Christs. [Though by ordination a priest is, when he celebrates Mass for example, alter Christus... ] We can be transformed by his life and be instruments of his life for others. Just as he accomplished salvation through his supreme sacrifice on the cross, we can fulfill our Christian mission through sacrifice. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, fast and care for the poor as types of sacrifice.

Maybe we separate these three activities into distinct functions. Jesus drew them together in feeding the multitude. He took the meager food of the apostles, prayed over it and distributed it to the poor. On Calvary, after a day with no food or drink, he gave his life for us sinners, all the while praying to his Father.

We can do the same in a very simple way. I am inviting the Catholic people of the Diocese of Steubenville to resume the practice of abstaining from meat on all Fridays throughout the year, but with a twist. I am asking that this be not only a penitential practice but also an experience of prayer and service. This can happen by connecting abstinence with our witness to the sacredness of human life. [St. Pope Leo the Great (+461) in his preaching during penitential times always connected fasting to almsgiving. In the ancient Church fasting was not just penitential. It was a dimension of the Christian’s works of mercy.]

The Church teaches, in harmony with divine revelation, that every human life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death. Yet, abortion is widely accepted and legalized. Wars abound. Suicide bombings, terrorist attacks and public shootings kill innocent people. Domestic violence, human trafficking, racism, assisted suicide, capital punishment and so many other acts and attitudes degrade what is made in the image of God.

We must continue to teach the truth about life without ceasing and without hesitancy. But actions often speak louder than words. Abstinence from meat on Fridays, for the sake of life, is one such action, especially when done in solidarity with one another. [Remember the distinction in law between abstinence (giving up certain foods) and fasting (cutting back the quantity of food). Both are tools of discipline.]

Abstinence is a form of fasting—a discipline of the body. It can remind us of the beautiful gift of life that God has given to us personally. It can also remind us and each other of how sacred everyone else’s life is. As a public witness, it can be a service to those whose life and human dignity are at risk.

Next to Sunday, Friday has always been a special day in the Catholic Church for prayer. [We Catholics were famous for not eating meat on Fridays. It was part of our identity both for ourselves and Catholics (ad intra) and for the rest of the non-Catholic world (ad extra).] Offering prayer for life—praising God as the source of life and begging him to turn away threats to life—is a fitting addition to abstinence. This prayer can be in the parish setting, in the family or alone. Abstinence itself can be offered consciously as a prayer for life and in reparation for sins against life.

Abstinence can also be service if we eat simple meatless food and donate the financial savings to the poor or to pro-life efforts. [Which would require people a) to do this consciously and b) keep some sort of record. For example, when preparing supper calculate the difference in the cost of the meal if the, say, pork chops were substituted with, say, scrambled eggs.]

The resumption of year-round abstinence in the Diocese of Steubenville will begin after this coming Easter, one week after Good Friday (April 17). Although the practice will not be a requirement of law, and failing to keep it will not constitute a sin, I hope every one who is old enough to receive Holy Communion and well enough to come to church will take it seriously. Our parishes, schools and organizations should provide meatless food at their Friday activities.

Until 1966, Catholics around the world were required to abstain from meat on all Fridays. That year, Pope Paul VI determined that the rules for fasting and abstinence should be set by the various episcopal conferences according to local circumstances. At the same time, he reminded us that doing penance was commanded by Christ himself and is an important part of our spiritual life. [More on this below… a lot more…]

The bishops of the United States eliminated mandatory abstinence from meat on Fridays except during Lent. However, they insisted that all Catholics should observe some penitential practice on Fridays, in remembrance of the Lord’s passion and death, and they highly recommended continuing abstinence from meat. [But…. wait for the coin to drop…. Do they? Do Catholics actually do penance?]

So, the present challenge to the people in our diocese is not really radical. It is a call to what many if not most of us have put aside. And it is a way for us, like the apostles, to give up a little food and help Jesus feed the world. [It’s the Catholic thing to do!]

May God bless you and your sacrifice. May he protect the life he has so lovingly fashioned.

Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon
Bishop of Steubenville

Abstaining from meat on fridays is difficult for me, since work provides my meals, and the vegetarian entree is a salad. Usually not enough for me, which yes, I realize is the point; it's supposed to be a noticeable, and meaningful, sacrifice. It's a simple enough one to do, and easy enough to remember- but i don't wanna! I guess it'll require more thought, perhaps packing a lunch on Fridays. Problem with that being that I've got Stargate with Richard right beforehand, so temperature-sensitive items won't be happy. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches, maybe?

I didn't know about the penance thing, though, that it was still required- I just thought Mike was awesome for holding meatless Fridays year-round of his own volition. Definitely something to think about, though.

e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Space Marines, ahoy!

So I got to play Warhammer 40k against Greg today- pitted my Dark Angels against his Eldar. 1500 points, well, I had 1440 and Greg had about 1450, but we called it close enough. He had 30 snipers, essentially, and I had 40+ well-rounded troops. I won the day by softening him up with rocket launchers, and then charging in to keep them occupied in melee.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fr. Z found a good one.

Under another entry commenter "Allan" posted the following, which is worthy of consideration on its own. My emphases and comments.

I’ve been wondering where to post this, but under the theme of “brick by brick” I think there’s a lesson here in not undoing the foundation by pulling out the bricks. [Right. Sometimes people, perhaps in their zeal, harm their causes.]

I took my 14 year old son to his first EF Mass on Easter Sunday. [You know the old phrase about how many chances we have to make a first impression, right?] We sat off by ourselves and were engaged in a quiet pre-Mass discussion (whispers) about the divinity of Christ (14 year olds have a lot of questions, and parents take these opportunities as they come given teenage attention spans).

Well, from long across the church this lady approaches us, speaks directly to my son telling him to “Shhhh!” and hands him a pre-printed card telling the reader it is inappropriate to talk in church and to “Be quiet!” [Wow…. I would be tempted to buy a couple of cases of those, actually. But this delivery was not very well thought through.] Now this lady was nowhere near enough to have actually been able to hear us talking, but clearly lived for the opportunity to hand out these cards and assume control of the church and the people in it. Not exactly a “welcoming” atmosphere.

I explained to my son afterwards that:

1) As his father, it’s my standards of public deportment he needs to worry about, not what some stranger in a church thinks
2) This person was not speaking on behalf of anyone in authority (i.e. was not clergy, a rector, etc.)
3) There was nothing inappropriate about the topic or quiet nature of our conversation
4) One person does not a congregation make: there were a great many people there (well, not too many) who did not (apparently) take exception to us, and the whole congregation should not be judged by the actions of one old lady

I think we should be careful not to remove any bricks during the construction. IMO.

There are a lot of good points to discuss here, so long as you are very careful and really think about what you are tempted to post as a comment.


My comment:

I have been attending Mass with my ex-girlfriend since before she was my ex. My first few times, I had no idea what was going to occur, and so I had questions; I made certain to ask them at times, and volumes, that would not disrupt those around me. However, if I had been treated as the poor child was, given a card and rudely shushed, when I was trying to gain a greater appreciation for what I was witnessing- I would have walked out then and there, and likely not returned. I would not have had the chance for salvation I do now; the holier-than-thou (I believe the term appropriate here) woman would have chased me away from everything. If your prayers, meditation, and faith is such a shaky thing that a potential/recent convert attempting to learn more about the faith they are approaching can disrupt it… does the problem really lie with them?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hmm.

Well, Lent is over, so now I'm not sure what to talk about- I'm thinking about analyzing the Sunday Gospel readings, and their connections to the other readings. Probably post more about other random stuff, too. So no, I haven't forgotten about this- I simply don't know what to say next.

Glad I didn't go with my original idea to post several blogs, about religion, WoW, etc. I don't even have the content to fill up one.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Five About Holiness - Friday

"Do you have a special person you can talk to about anything?"

I suppose Leah is the closest I have. Greg would be second. Greg, however, I really can't talk to about romantic woes- and Leah I have trouble talking to about woes involving her. Other dilemmas I can bring to her no problem, and she'll give me her insight on the situation. It's becoming harder to bring things to her, though, because sometimes I just can't reach her. I tried talking to her about what she was doing, how unfair it was to Tony, but I couldn't get her to realize what she was doing to him was wrong. She insisted that because there was nothing romantic about it on her side, there was nothing improper to her behavior- and I wasn't strong enough to take a stand myself. I made a choice, but it was the easy choice... and I'm not certain it was the right one. But it's the one I'll stick to until something else changes it- I doubt Tony will be as copacetic as she is. And then she said that she would make him see there was nothing wrong with it. That honestly smacks of hubris- that she was so sure she was right, even though she said she gave consideration to his feelings... that no matter how he stood, she would make him be on her side of it. And she, after that deliberation, decided not to tell him- but not to hide it from him. That's dangerously close to lying by omission.

I tried to make her see that, but she wouldn't. She initially tried to guilt trip me about it, in a quiet way, but quit trying to do that- then simply said she would abide by my decision. The decision wasn't the point- trying to get her to see what she was doing was. But I suppose it's always been a lost cause. I love her, but I can't reach her- and her pride keeps her from seeing her errors. :/

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Five about Holiness - Thursday

Can you choose to love someone today who is hard to love?

Yes- I will choose to love my callers, and do everything in my power to help them- even if they are not charitable themselves. They are, after all, my neighbors for a short time- and we didn't get award-winning customer service by being jerks.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wow. Touching.

So the lady who is always at inquiry laid out a pamphlet of common Catholic prayers at every place this week. I already had one, and said so- so she instead got out a blessed medal of St. Benedict and gave that to me instead. I gave her a hug and nearly cried- then she talked about what it actually meant, how it was the medal used in exorcisms.

Five about Holiness - Wednesday

"Can you think of something that might happen today when you should be ready to ask, 'What would Jesus do?'"

I think I'd get an answer- though not necessarily the right one. I have a lot more to learn about Christ before I'd have anything approaching a right answer- but having him close at hand, and in your thoughts, is a lot more likely to prompt you to take a good action. Even if it isn't necessarily the one he would have done- it means you're trying to be like him, take his teachings into consideration in any situation- and who knows, God may see fit to grant you the answer. Whether or not I'd be able to carry it out is a different story, but hopefully.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Catch-up time.

Wednesday: Can you think of a time when you saw someone who needed help and you didn't help them? How do you feel about that?

There was an old, impaired guy they hired to work at the bookstore- he always had balance issues, and really wasn't that useful. They had him as a janitor to back Gary up, who was fairly old himself. One day I was walking around outside, and he fell over against the bench- I didn't see until he had already fallen, and two or three other people were helping him up. Looking back now, I wish I'd at least stayed to make sure he was okay- I don't think I was in a terribly big hurry, wherever I was going.

Thursday: How will you decorate your Least Coin container?

I didn't know this was going on- I have a little box of pennies from when I used to buy things in cash, I suppose I can donate that. I'll have to check with St. Thomas to see if they do something like that.

Friday: Do you think kids should give money in the collection at church?

Yes, I do- pennies add up, and dollars- if they put a dollar every week, that's nearly $50 per kid. It also sets the habit for them to continue donating as they get older.

Five about Reconciliation

Monday: Can you remember a time when part of you wanted to do the right thing and another part of you just wouldn't give in? How did that feel?

Depressing- I knew what should have been done, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

Tuesday: Can you remember a time when you knew what you should do, but you did the wrong thing anyway? How did that feel?

Yes- it felt terrible. And the aftermath is still plaguing me.

Wednesday: God gives us a choice between good and evil and God wants us to choose. What are you going to choose today?

Good- and I've been choosing it more and more often. That's not to say that I don't still choose bad occasionally- but progress is brick by brick, and I'm improving.

Thursday: Why is not feeling bad when we do bad things dangerous for our soul?

Because it implies a certain level of moral erosion. If we are able to do things without it feeling wrong, then we no longer have God whispering the right choices in our ear. It also means we will be capable of much greater wrongs without feeling bad about them. It means we have gotten distant from God, as well.

Friday: What do you like about going to confession?

I haven't gone yet, but I really look forward to it.

Five About Holiness

Monday: What do you think it would be like to be a saint?

I think it would be wonderful- both before and after the physical death. To be a close, personal friend of Jesus. And after death, to be able to petition to God for intercessory miracles in your name- I do have a bit of a fame complex, and want to be well-known and well-regarded.

Tuesday: Do you think you can choose to do the right thing even if other kids tease you?

It'll be difficult- a large amount of my mental state revolves around other peoples' opinions of me. Hell, I haven't even told Todd or Melanie that I'm converting because I'm afraid of their reactions, and their actions in response to it. Hopefully, once I'm a little stronger in faith myself, I'll be able to stand up for the views that I've recently come into- but for the moment, I need to explore them myself.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday- almsgiving

it specifically references Matthew, chapter 25, regarding how Jesus said we can get into heaven.

"Ask yourself, 'Do I really believe this?'"

Yes. But I only believe it because it is what Jesus said- I'm still at the stage in my faith journey where I must take everything in faith, and I don't yet know it fully. I have not yet fully internalized things; I don't feel them to my core. However, I feel them, and I can know them- the rest will simply come in time.

Leah said that RCIA, once the actual classes start, will be a bit more structured. That's good- the ladies in inquiry mean well, but the questions they tend to field, I've already asked after and gotten my answers. And when I bring up a serious question, such as baptism in the extraordinary form, they have no good answer. Probably something that I'd be better off asking both one of the priests, and the RCIA instructor about directly. Fr. Patrick just seems more approachable, out of all the ones I've seen say Mass. He's the one who is most energetic in his sermons; he also seems a little more down-to-earth, while still being respectful and... sacred, for lack of a better term, when he says the Mass.

Monday, March 16, 2009

There wasn't a question on Sunday.

Five about Almsgiving

"Is it hard for you to share what you have? Why?"

I have a problem giving money to the homeless; the vast majority of the time, they're comfortable where they are, and my money will go no further than the convenience store. There's a fair number of them who are actually well-off, and beg for change because a) it's fairly profitable, and b) it's not taxable. I don't know of any other way to give to the poor- I could probably volunteer at a soup kitchen, but Leah says there really aren't any in Tempe. I generally wear my clothes out to the point where they wouldn't be any good to a thrift store. I suppose when I buy at a thrift store, I'm technically helping the poor- but I'm also helping myself, at the same time, by getting something I want or need. Though it helps them, it's still not quite charity.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

From Deanna at work

im actually really happy to hear that you realize that you deserve to be treated better that you shouldn't have to face the brunt of a catagory 5 tropical storm. I always thought that you could find whatever girl you wanted, and since it was obvious to me that you were a very compassionate person I figured that you would eventually find a really cool, open minded, likeminded girl who understands you accepts you and lets you be you. In time you will find a girl who not only makes your heart soar, but also totally unconditionally, and nonjudgementally loves you for exactly who you are, and lets you be who you are. Keep striving for that you will find it

She's kind of a hippy, but that's not to say she doesn't have valid points. I may deserve to be treated better, but I need to treat myself better first- when I do, my self esteem will be at a place where I recognize and avoid that kind of treatment before I have to try and deal with it. I am rather compassionate, I would say to a fault, as it prompts me to stay much longer than I should in painful situations- or make me stick my hand into the dog cage again, only to have it bitten once more. All things in moderation, though- there's a point where it becomes harmful, where the other party resents the offer of assistance, no matter how sincere the motives for it. As to finding a cool, open minded, like-minded girl- there's a limit on how open-minded I would be interested in, especially with my current conversion progress. Like-minded is very important, but I think will come naturally- there will be too much friction between me and someone who is dissimilar enough to be noticed. And if I find someone too similar, I'd drive myself too crazy being driven crazy. As for the rest... I'd have to know who I am before someone could love me for it. The wind no longer calls to me- I need to remember my name.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Five About Prayer

"Why do you think it's important to make an appointment to talk to God every day?

There's no short answer to this one- there's a lot of reasons. A major one is to make sure that everything we do, is done for Him. It suggests prayer before bed, in which you can contemplate your day, see how what you did was for Him, and if it wasn't then it gives you a chance to make that right. You can right then apologize for it and be forgiven.

If you no longer pray daily, then God is no longer foremost in your thoughts, and you are more likely to offend him. It's the whole 'out of sight, out of mind' thing; I, at least, need reminders to keep me in the right frame of mind. Once you miss a day, it's easier to miss the next day, and slide away from it entirely.

It also helps deepen our relationship with God- I'm much closer friends with people I talk to every day, versus those I talk to weekly or monthly. It reminds me that He's there in my life, and I will more likely turn to him when I need him, as is only right and proper.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spectacular.

Riding to work today, I get almost to the last stretch- coming up on University and Priest, only another mile or so to get to work. I hear a weird metal crunch noise from my bike, and the whole thing starts making a grinding noise as it rapidly decelerates. I hop off, inspecting the chain and pedals- both still move freely, and everything seems fine. Figure maybe a gear just got stuck but is fine now, hop back on, same deal- look back, the back axle is at a funny angle to the bike frame. Well, I figure, this has happened before, the back axle broke. Hop off, start walking it the rest of the way- about 10 minutes until my shift starts, and it's about a 15 minute walk.

Waiting at a red light, I look closer, and realize that the frame itself that held the wheel snapped. The part that braced the wheel was still intact, on the right side, but is no longer attached to the rest of the frame- broke in 2 places. So I walked here, was like 7 minutes late, and sat down at my desk. I'm stuck on foot now, for a while, or taking the bus places.

Just the sort of thing that I don't need right now, with being $150 in the hole from overdrafts, and getting my hours cut to 24 a week. I won't even get my 'congrats on your raise' party as a consolation. :(

But things will get better, they always do. Or else we'll get zombies, and I'll get to be all heroic and smart and stuff.

So, onto the daily bit.

"Try this for just a minute or two. Just sit quietly and think about God. Breathe in slowly. Breathe out slowly. Can you do that for one minute? Just...sit."

I tried something like this on the way to work- when I was walking, imagined he was next to me, walking as well, and it lifted my spirits- I was still feeling pretty low. forgot how messy breakups can be, even if the friendship is maintained.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Slacking, need to work harder on this.

"Do you ever pray alone?"

Yes- almost exclusively. I have prayed the Rosary twice, with Leah, and we both happened to be praying at the same time on a couple occasions. But other than at Mass and RCIA, I always pray on my own. I make the distinction because we never pray alone; we have God there with us. So we are never truly alone at all, but most people don't realize that. However, it's aimed at kids, and probably doesn't expect them to take the difference into account.

"What is one good thing about knowing some prayers by heart?"

You have them quick at hand when you need them. At a moment's notice, you can chime in without having to reference anything. Also, if you're praying the Rosary, you can simply follow the beads, put the prayers on automatic, and spend your time meditating on the particular messages that it has to impart.

Leah brought up another point in her 'yay catholics' post about them being weapons of spiritual warfare; and in times of crisis, having the prayer memorized means you're much more familiar with it, as you would be any weapon, and that can make the difference between life and death.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Five About Prayer- monday

"What does it mean to be 'privileged' to pray the liturgy?"

It means several things. First, that the Catholic Church is the only one who has it, and we are lucky to belong to it instead of some other one. Second, it is a celebration of sacred mysteries instituted by God; we flawed mortals are allowed to witness, and even participate, in a miraculous happening. Hmm, I'd thought of some other one but forgot it :/ When I remember, if I do, I'll try and post about it- though nobody is reading this, and may never, I still like to put things down in words, if only to reinforce them to myself.

Watchmen

was absolutely amazing. Now I need to sit down and read the graphic novel, because holy cow, the movie was spectacular. Very well done, though quite violent and bloody- also very dark. Bits of nudity, and one very present- but not terribly graphic- sex scene. Also, Dr. Manhattan's little John swings around like a friggin monkey, it's nearly a character in its own right.

I would definitely recommend it unless you have issue with any of the points I raised. Be warned, it is a comic book adaptation.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Second Sunday of Lent

Transfiguration.

"If there is someone you find difficult to like, go to your desert place and ask God to open your eyes and see that person the way God sees him or her."

I suppose this'd be better as a blanket, for me- there's nobody I can think of that I especially can call out, but there's a lot of people that I could treat better if i understood them more. Including myself, I suppose.

Mass this morning was different- sort of bittersweet, because there was a quite obvious space next to me where someone should have been sitting. It got to the point of distracting me from who I was really there for- such will not happen again.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Five About Fasting

Apparently I didn't notice yesterday and forgot to do my regular entry. I'll do it today, instead.

"Today, can you remember not to eat meat and maybe one other favorite food so that you are poor for God?"

Well, I didn't eat meat. It was one of the days where we're provided food, and so I just didn't eat the chicken in that meal- passed it off to Gumby so it wasn't wasted. I think on Fridays I'm also going to fast and only have the one meal a day- honestly, the fasting rules aren't that difficult, and between my desire for holiness, and lack of funds, skipping all but the one meal on fridays will be good for me.

Next Lent I think that I'll fast every day, and not eat anything on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday at all. Along with the no meat on fridays. Hopefully by then I'll be at a job that doesn't quite compromise my soul like this one does. :/

Grr.

Do you know those days you have, when you're just in a bad mood and nothing will get you out of it? I'm totally having one of those today.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The last Five About Fasting

"Have you had that temptation yet? Can you laugh at it?"

Yes, I have, and yes, I can. Unfortunately, I don't do so often enough, and occasionally succumb. I find it works amazingly well; ridiculing that temptation makes me less likely to give in to it.

RCIA was interesting- we had a gentleman from the RCIA proper join us, and he was able to better answer the Scriptural Protestant (I feel terrible for not remembering her name) and her specific points addressed. Not that the ladies don't do a good job, but they don't always answer the question that is asked- it's as if they're expecting us to be asking a different question that they are ready to answer.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Character Bio

This is a character I've always wanted to play- I've never found anyone who had the time, inclination, or skill to run a game where I thought he could be done justice. I may as well write things out to get them cemented, and in the off chance I write a story/get a game to use him.

The True Evan Fardreamer

Born on Tatooine, of course. Brother Cole works for the New Republic eventually (in one of the actual novels- they don't give any history, though, so I'm inventing :D) but Evan was never interested in galactic politics. Fascination with the Jedi very early on; used chore money to send off for archive searches. Nearly caught once by anti-Jedi hunters, and learned discretion. Continued his searches, aided by HoloNet hackers and their ilk; told nobody what he was truly searching for.

Eventually got enough amassed to leave the planet and make his own way- took with him grandfather's paperweight, which turned out to be a dormant Holocron. Not nearly as impressive as most, as the art of Holocron creation has become lost, it simply gave directions to a distant outer rim planet. Upon arriving he found his grandfather's stronghold, with many tomes on Jedi lore and meditations; his Force sensitivity chose then to manifest, and he spent several years learning there.

He has since sought out other Jedi to learn directly from them, but such meetings are fraught with danger, so they are infrequent and remote. He has also honed his combat skills, against a variety of training aides, and occasionally other sparring partners. He has focused mostly on his subterfuge, remaining hidden from all but the most dedicated of searchers- and he has defended himself against a fair number of other practicioners, steeped in the Dark side of the Force.

Five About Fasting again

"Is there some behavior you, or maybe you and everyone in your class, could give up for the rest of today, or this week, or even all of Lent? What behavior would that be?"

Well, I'm not currently in classes, so that point isn't applicable. I think I'll give up wasteful spending- when I'm not that hungry, I won't buy a big meal. When I have other commitments for my semi-hard earned cash, I won't splurge and buy more Warhammer minis. This will be made easier on me by my hours getting cut at work- now I'll have less idle money to spend on things I really shouldn't be spending them on.

RCIA inquiry tonight- I'll be able to ask about the washing women's feet business that Leah wouldn't explain. I'm not always happy with the answers they give, which honestly will usually drive me to research them myself. To explain my comment- they will often answer the wrong question; when asked about the Ashes on Ash Wednesday they explained the use of the ashes, not the symbolism behind them, even when asked several times. (I have since found several lovely sites explaining such things.) Leah lamented about the state of knowledge the Church was currently in, where such things were no longer everyone's knowledge, and I can definitely see that being a problem, though I don't have enough experience to make such a claim.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ding

Lock is now 76. Time to try and remember why I'm leveling, so I can grind out these last four with a minimum of agony.

Exploring theme/ setting story elements.

I also happen to enjoy writing short stories, even if I don't tend to do so very often. Going to be lifting a lot of ideas from Max Brooks' amazing publication- though it isn't necessarily a definitive treatise, it's currently the best item out there to aid in surviving a zombie outbreak.

The background for my angle of the story is going to be sudden windfall- I win the lottery jackpot and find myself with plenty of money, so I do my best, in a short period of time, to get myself to a sustainable level of preparation. I include very few people in my preparations- only those people that I trust implicitly in a crunch, which is currently only two- one of them likely already has other plans in such an event, though, so I'll have to be discounting that for story purposes.

Preparations are made and underway when the 'unthinkable' happens and we experience a class 2 outbreak here in town. Our plans, mettle, and skills are tested as we flit from safehouse to safehouse- a total of 4 had been established, one of them a house i purchased, one of them here at work. Two other groups meet up with us for common defense, having had the same idea. Eventually zombie population goes down and we scout; meet other outposts/bastions, exchange limited dialogue.

Creativity and muse dried up, more in the future.

Five about fasting

So I picked up a guide to Lent for kids, when I was at Stations of the Cross with Leah last week. Fairly juvenile, but explains things simply and well. It suggests keeping a journal- I'm going to go ahead and do that. And, since nobody will be reading this until after Lent, I can post my Lenten resolutions (hopefully) without giving in to pride or vainglory.

"Is there anything you could give up- even just for the rest of today or this week?
And what will you do instead?"

I feel comfortable enough, with all the talk of not necessarily giving, but sacrifice, which can mean adding something for my Lenten devotion. I've added going to the Wednesday daily mass (which reminds me, I need to print a copy of the Litany of Mary so I have something to reference, as they will go through that after the Mass is ended) prior to my RCIA inquiry class. Since I'm not officially Catholic yet, I can't receive the Holy Eucharist, but I can still attend the Mass. I think that, since I'm at a difficult time, going twice weekly will aid me in growing closer to God, but going daily, as someone mentioned, isn't really feasible.

Going to start going to the 9 AM sunday masses- so it's all the more important that I get my permit, then license, then the car from my parents- because as it is, it'll take me nearly an hour and a half to take the light rail from my apartment, then catch the bus north the rest of the way. And considering that I won't be home until nearly midnight on saturday nights, it'll probably be about 6-7 hours of sleep. Well, I guess it doesn't sound that bad when I put it that way.

I'll go ahead and end it here- hopefully I'll be posting daily, or nearly so, for the rest of Lent, and the rest of the book.

My first entry.

I should warn anyone who's starting to read this blog- not that I expect people will- that it will cover a variety of topics, a lot of which people probably aren't interested in. A brief sampling will include World of Warcraft, Star Wars, my budding Catholicism, my sordid romantic life, good books I've read... things of that nature.

So yeah. I can post about almost anything, at any time. You have now been warned, and I hope you enjoy your reading.