Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Change

Christmas is here, and I for one am glad that it has arrived. Hopefully this will mean a reduction in the nonstop mass media holiday blitz that ensues every year. But, in truth, it likely won't end until after New Year's Eve. That's when the world seems to go back to normal.

And that is both a good thing and a bad thing.

The Christmas holiday season, which lasts from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, tends to bring out the good in people. For the most part.

Yes, there are those of us who can't stand the glitz and the never ending commercialism. But we can avoid that by staying away from the malls during the worst of the holiday rush, and by changing the channel when that Christmas commercial we can't stand comes on for the 100th time.

But the truth about Christmas isn't about those things. It's about spending time with family and friends and finding the good things in life to remember. It's about remembering those that aren't with us anymore, and the good times we had with them. (Rest in peace, dear brother.)

Christmas is about faith, for many, and believing in something more than just yourself. Personally, I believe in God, but way beyond what the Christian faith tells me. God isn't based only on a book, IMO, but a way of living.

Many times I take that for granted and don't behave as "faithful" as I should. (The Lord knows I'm not perfect.) Hopefully I make up for these shortcomings at other times of the year by being a better person during Christmas.

Now, this attitude isn't the best way to live, but it is the way of the Western world. Especially the North American world. We live a very fast lifestyle and it tends to make us indifferent to the rest of the world, and even to each other.

Money is God for many on this continent, and that's too bad. There is way more to life than money, as I have learned over the last few years. I use to define my life by how much "green" I had or could earn. This was because I didn't know any better.

Yes, we need money to live in this world, but we don't need it every minute of every day. This is what the Western world has forgotten. Too often we define ourselves by the things we possess. Instead we should be defining our lives by what we can give the world in return.

I often suffer from this, as I'm addicted to eating too much and buying too many books and CDs. Yes, those things are great to have but they don't keep you from being alone. And I guess that's what I worry about the most, at this time of year.

I'm no longer 10-years old and struggling to fall asleep because I can't wait until Christmas morning comes. At that age, there is an innocence regarding the Christmas tree and the presents under it. Sure, we want to see what might be for us, but it isn't based on a need to consume products in order to feel like we have a life.

It's about paper, ribbons, and bows, and about the joy of opening a gift and seeing the wonder that lies beneath.

Now, I am 35-years old and struggling to fall asleep because my bones and muscles don't work like they use to. And there is no way that I'm getting up at 9am to open gifts unless somebody forces me at gunpoint. I have become an old person, and I often find myself scratching my head in confusion.

Where the hell did my "joy" and "wonderment" go?

That question rings in my head year round, even during the Christmas season. Yet, it is now that I often find a bit of that "joy" and "wonderment". The things that bring out those emotions in me aren't the same as when I was 10, but they are still there. You simply have to turn away from the commercialism, and look at the things that really matter — family, friends, and spirit.

It can be a simple as watching your mother smile at you when you arrive at her house for dinner on Christmas Eve, or feeling the "joy" wash over you as Paul Potts sings Silent Night on The Hour, or watching classic Christmas cartoons, that you loved as a child, with a sense of humor and nostalgia.

It can also be as complex as putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the house/apartment, or spending several hours finding gifts for your family. (Those are less enjoyable for me.)

For me, this year, it was being able to sleep in today, and not having to worry about whether or not a relative was going to knock on my door and say "why aren't you up yet?" I guess that's how Christmas has changed for me. I use to be that person waiting for the grownups to get up, so Christmas could "start already".

That is what I have learned. Christmas isn't about presents or candy. It is about taking time to be merry. It's about the little "joys" in life. It's about the renewing of faith in something more than wealth.

It's learning to love ourselves and each other.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's Been Too Long

Wow, it's been ages since I've written anything here. Well, I can honestly say I had better things to do. I've just finished registering for two night classes at Grant MacEwan College. The classes are part of MacEwan's Bacelor of Applied Communications in Professional Writing program, which I intend to enroll in, eventally. I'm not mentally or physically ready to enroll in a full-time program, but hopefully I'll be ready to "go" full-time in September. (Knock on wood.)

My D&D game came to an abrupt end several months ago. Everyone was feeling the stress of trying to push the game into Epic levels, and I shouldn't have tried to force the issue on them. The guys and I haven't really hung out since the game ended, as there was some bad blood between me and one of the players. It's too bad, and I hope the fence can be mended, eventally.

My dad just moved into a house as of December 1st. He is renting the house from a friend of his from church. He's a lot happier where he is now, as the apartment building he was living in before can only be described as "icky". The building's hallways smelled like dead skunk.

My sister is still working for the government and might be in line for a promotion in April of 2008. The new job would be more work and she's not sure if she wants that.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


So, I finally finished reading Foundation and Chaos, the second book in the Second Foundation Trilogy. It was an excellent read, and Greg Bear has a new fan. I'm taking the book back to the library today, and hopefully they will have the third book of the trilogy for me to take home.

I've also been reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It's a fascinating tale of practical magic set in England in the eighteen hundreds. The writing is very unique and the various footnotes throughout the text is an interesting touch.

However, swimming first, library second.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Shutter Bug 2

Okay, so I'm going a little clicky-crazy. Photography won't ever be more than a hobby to me but it's fun! I'll never be as good at it as my friend Dave. Check out his Windows Live Space for some of his amazing photographic talent.

Anyway, the attached image is one I took the other day. And since I can only upload one image a day at Renderosity.com, I've decided to post a few images here instead, from time to time. I call this one, "From the Balcony".


So I've joined a couple of new Internet sites today. The first is a site called LinkedIn and it is similar to Classmates.com. So far, however, I like it a lot better. You can actually list your websites. "Classmates" doesn't allow this. Plus you can choose how much of your full profile is available to others.

Anyway, the second site I've joined is the new beta version of Windows Live Spaces. It's a good site, except that it really slow! I joined it after upgrading Windows Messenger to version 5.0.

I like the various lists for the site nad that you can create customized lists, as well. Very handy for keeping track of various websites, book and music interests, etc. Check it out.

I won't be having another blog on Live Spaces, since I already have this one and the one on AFF. What's AFF? I'll let you figure that one out on your own. Heh.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Shutter Bug

Well, I've been bitten by the photography bug once again. It must be the nice weather, although today I took my sister's camera to WEM to take some shots of the mall's more unique features.

I went to the mall to meet my friend Dan to go and see Rise of the Silver Surfer. It was a good movie but not as good as the first FF movie. It was a 6.5 out of 10. I have to admit they did the surfer really well.

Before the movie Dan and I went to Hooters for supper, although we didn't really go there for the food. Heh. Hooter girls are always so great and they let me take a photo. I love that place, but I almost never get a chance to go there. Thanks Hooters Edmonton for being a great place to hang out!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I got this e-mail today...

Okay, so I joined Classmates.com as a free member many years ago, just for the hell of it. However, I never really used it and decided to quit the site. Then in the last few years I went back to it, still as a free member.

The free membership is very limited and you barely use any of the site's functions. I can't read profiles or contact anyone, which is very annoying. I was able to post on my school's messageboard but now it says you have to have a Gold membership to post anything. (Grrr!) People can post in my guestbook but I can't read the posts. And I can receive e-mails but I can't read or respond to them.

Case in point...

I got an e-mail from a FHS classmate, today, and I can't read it. It's very annoying!

I'm considering getting a 3-month Gold membership just so I can read the damn e-mails and guestbook signings but I'm not sure if it's really worth it.

It's a strange occurance on today of all days. I was telling my friend Ken that I've been thinking a lot about Forestburg lately and have been considering going there to visit for a weekend.

However, the logistics of such a visit have kept me from going back. Plus, I'm not sure that I want to go there again. The last time I was there was a bit of a letdown and I felt some major closure after leaving.

Part of me would like to see how Duke is doing, but who knows if he even lives there anymore. Plus, I've never felt very welcome there the few times I've gone back. Plus, I get this surreal chill down my back while there. It's almost like I'm 13 again, the outsider, who's family dared to move into town from somewhere beyond the horizon.

It's a little disturbing.

The truth is the Forestburg was the closest thing I had to a hometown, growing up, but I don't really consider it my hometown now. I've now lived in Edmonton longer than I lived in Forestburg. My immediate family are all here, in the city. Hell, I live with my sister and my dad lives only a few blocks away!

Edmonton is my home. Yet, I still feel strangely connected to Forestburg.

So, what do I do? Do I go back and feel out of place and slightly unwelcome? Or do I ignore this feeling in my gut and concentrate on the here and now?


The e-mail from the FHS classmate is intriguing. Specifically, who it's from.

Food for thought...

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Get this.

I went to see a urologist on the advice of my GP, in order to figure out why I've been getting urinary tract infections over the last 4 or 5 years. So I'm there and they take some urine and blood samples and book me for what I thought was going to be a simple ultrasound, on June 28th.

Well, I guess I should have paid more attention to what the receptionist was saying. Today, the Miserocordia Hospital called me to confirm some information and while talking to that lady I noticed that the checked procedure is a Flexible Cystoscopy.

Uh, that's not what I thought I was going in for!

I've had an endoscopic procedure done before so I know what "flexible" and "scopy" mean. So the lady from the Mis told me to call the urologist's office and have them actually explain the procedure to me.

Well, I decided to go online first and read all about the procedure before I called them to make sure I hadn't misinterpreted or missed some clue while booking the appointment. After reading the information on Wikipedia I'm pretty sure they didn't "explain" it to me in detail enough. Either that or they just assumed I knew what I was getting into.

Anyway, I called the urologist and left a long, unabridge message about my concerns before running a few errands. After getting home I was not surprised to discover that the receptionist had called me back. So, I returned her call and she explained to me that the procedure was very required and that the doctor would not book something that wasn't so.

Yeah, right.

Regardless, the procedure is still a go, due to the fact she told me that the other tests confirmed the urologist's suspicions and that it would be a mistake to cancel it. So, I'm going to trust this doctor's judgement and go through with it.

Hopefully, this will answer some of my health concerns, not that I'm looking forward to having a "scope" inserted into my... well, you get the idea.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New Look

Okay, so I started playing with this blogs settings and came across a template I liked, so RPB now has a snazzy new look. I know it's not much but it looks way better than it did. Other new content will be added as soon as I figure out what I want to add and what is just fluff.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Well, it's official. I'm sick as a dog. I've got this nasty sinus infection that is completely draining all my energy reserves. The worst part is that I've been feeling "off" for several months now, and was just getting back to where I was feeling better. Hopefully, this will run in course in the next few days and I can get back to swimming everyday. (The doctor told me not to go swimming while I have a sinus infection.)

Plus, today is suppose to be D&D game day, but I'm not feeling up to it, which will disappoint my friend Brian, considerably. He hates it when a game gets cancelled. I don't like it either but sometimes a person's health has to take precedence. Plus, I don't think they want to catch what I've got.

That would be bad.


One of my favorite websites is the Art Community site known as Renderosity.com. The site is place where artists from all walks of life and from all over the world can post their artwork online.

My Gallery

I've dabbled with such graphic programs as Bryce and Poser, but my best additions to Renderosity are in the photography section. I like taking scenic photos, and Edmonton is a great place to find such shots. However, I do like to take the occasional oddball photo, which is reflected in one of my most recent uploads to Renderosity.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Health issues...

Okay, things were spiraling out of control for a while.

The month of april was not a good one. I went to the hospital 12 times in roughly a three week period. I had a endoscopic procedure done to check out my insides. I've been having terrible stomach and gut pain. It's a little better now, but I still feel "off".

The worse part is that the doctor's kept telling me there was nothing wrong or that it was all in my head.

Great, just great...

Sometimes, I really hate doctors.

Not all of them are bad, however. My GP is one of the good ones and he's been as helpful as humanly possible. I've been ordered to go swimming every day, which has helped with the pain issues.

Just before the gut pain started, I twisted my right knee a bit. Then just lat Sunday, while walking the library, I twisted my right ankle. I didn't worry too much about it at the time, as I've done that before, many times, to that ankle. The constant reoccurance of the "twisting" is a direct result of breaking the ankle when I was a teenager.

The doctor at the time, who's now passed on, refused to put my ankle in a cast. He told me and my parents that I was "too big" (i.e. fat) for a cast. It's never healed, and been a real problem ever since.

Like, I said, sometimes, I hate doctors. However, I will not speak ill of the dead.

May was a better month, but not by much. Hopefully, June will be a good month.



Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's been a while...

Since I posted anything here. I've been really busy running my weekly Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in my homebrewed World of Kulan campaign setting. The campaign is based on the Shackled City Adventure Path from DUNGEON Magazine.

I've also been busy trying to get my health back in order. It has been a tough six months. I've tried to get back to walking and swimming on a regular basis, but the chronic pain in my right hip and leg just won't go away.

It gets overworked so easily that I'm having trouble keeping a rhythm going. I've had two cortisone shots since the beginning of December 2005. One into my hip and one into my sciatic nerve. They've helped but only so far. I've had to start going back to physical therapy, but the benefits haven't been as good time time around.

Hopefully, it will get better.



Walk the Road

This blog is now associated with my Walk the Road wiki site.

Walk the Road (the Wiki)