Don’t Forget…

In the weekly Bible study we hold over IRC, we have begun going over Psalm 119 as a study of some of the basics of the Christian faith. This is sort of a spoiler of tomorrow, but almost no one who attends reads my blog, so it’s not like they’ll try to steal any talking points.

If they do, then maybe there will be more opportunity for discussion.

Anyway, I was reading the section again and have been thinking on verse 16.

I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word (NASB)

There are many things I have heard or learned in my life, which I have already forgotten. I cannot even give an accurate estimate of what all these things may be, because I do not remember what all I have forgotten. Names of classmates whose faces I recall but names I do not serve as examples. So do lessons from my school days, and odds and ends at work. There is so much information out there that it is impossible to retain all of it.

Why is it forgotten? It is forgotten because it is not used. It is pushed aside to make room for other bits of information that my current situation calls for, or after years of disuse it becomes mixed up with other old pieces of information.

What is remembered? It is either the things I keep at the forefront of my mind all the time, or those things I value enough to recall from time to time and, because they interest me, I do not forget.

Enough of that. The psalmist declared that he delighted in God’s law and made a decision not to forget God’s word. Is this not a noble goal? Not only is it noble, it’s within the reach of anyone who wishes to attain it.

All it takes is the decision that God’s word is important enough to read and know, and to refresh your memory of it often.

A Bizarre Dream

My dreams are often either confusing or the type that would cause a mental breakdown in normal people. Below I am giving a summary of one or two dreams from last night, adapted from a Skype conversation I had with a friend earlier.

I suppose we should begin with the first. It involved some sort of altercation involving the police, at night. The setting was near Clemson University, I think, although it looked nothing like the university campus. The police were randomly checking and interrogating people who passed them on the street, and there was something I wanted to keep back, although I do not know what it was. We had an argument because I was not going to tell them whatever it was.

I woke up after that one, on the verge of overheating and unable to sleep for a couple hours afterward, although I am not certain of the time. I just know it was a little after midnight when I looked at the clock, because I wondered if it was time to get out of bed. I did this a couple times.

Then comes the next dream, or maybe two dreams. Exactly what is uncertain.

They were also both at Clemson, although involving different people maybe. It was hard to tell. After reading this, if your mind has not imploded, you may be able to resolve some of the conflict, although something tells me it’s impossible.

I was exploring the library from the top level to the bottom. Now for those of you who do not know, the lower levels of the library are underground, and feel it too. No windows, no natural lighting, just cinderblock painted industrial white with old carpeting and no attempt to make the place look like something other than a dungeon. In the dream, they had done some renovating work on the bottom floor, converting space into a Confederate history museum and adding a student lounge that looked more like a prison cell, although it did have some old chairs and couches in it. The museum had no lighting, and there was a secondary lounge at the end of a curved hallway. This lounge was painted dark green. No one seemed to care how oppressive the room felt.

In the museum part, I was with a couple black students dressed up in white sheets, and was talking to them about how this wasn’t here at one time and wondering why it was added. Someone saw us and accused us of being in the Klan, so I pointed out that the people I was with were black and the accusation made no sense. I recalled later on in the dream that they had been wearing pointed hats. I have no idea where that came from.

About that time the second plot went underway.

Someone with a gun and intent to kill was pursuing me, although I was not running and neither was he. Instead, I used the library layout and shelving to my advantage, keeping just out of sight and the line of fire. We went through this on several floors. Strangely, no one else noticed what was going on, and I didn’t warn anyone. I was the only one in danger.

The dream shifted again, and introduced a Digimon theme into it. A few other people were at the student center and were concocting a way to merge with digimon and become digimon themselves. I shifted back and forth from being one of the participants, to being a disembodied observer unconnected with the whole thing. This segment of the dream came complete with an anime-style segment where the desired merge and result was shown. (I have not watched Digimon in months by the way.) A couple characters from the show were involved.

The library chase and attempted murder changed settings to the student center (there were some in-between scenes I will omit – but by now it was daytime). There are more people there, and not as many places to hide.

The shooter was annoyed and started to open fire, injuring at least one lady and probably others. I only saw blood from one person. The intended victim was also shot and presumably fatally injured, so the dream POV changed to that of an observer. Somehow, the shooter was also shot several times, and he stumbled to his death somewhere else in the building.

The police showed up with their DO NOT CROSS tape and taped off the path the murderer had taken, and had paper on the floor to collect blood samples from every drop.

Back to the digimon plot. The people involved with that somehow got a hold of the victim, whose body had been reduced to a powdered-sugar-like substance, and only about a tablespoon of that. He was somehow still aware.

My dreams ignore physics and logic.

They put the victim’s remains on some sort of fruit and dissolved the whole thing in some liquid in a 2L beaker. They were hoping to use their merging attempt to revive the guy, and maybe have him end up with the ability to shift to a bluish dragon/wolf thing in the end. It did not work and they could see it was going to go too far. My perspective shifted back and forth from being in the beaker and outside it. The liquid formed two layers, and the top layer had a bluish tint to it. The beaker’s contents began to glow and form a vortex in the container, and the somehow-aware liquid was trying to communicate to the people outside, telling them he was fine. His voice had shifted up several octaves though and he sounded like a child. They were hoping that would make him end up a child- or adult-level digimon, but the victim was too weak and ended up as a jelly-like egg.

Then my brain decided to rescue me from its insanity and woke me up.

I promise I did not consume any unauthorized substance before going to bed last night. My dreams are just this way.

Transformation and Christians — Intent to Write

For some time I have wondered about the appropriateness of Christians partaking in transformation art, not just when it becomes the defining characteristic and a time-waster, but transformation art in general. Some have made comments connecting TF-related media to the Christian faith, viewing transformation in a positive manner, so I have considered those as well. Over the next few weeks you will begin seeing some more detailed thoughts on the matter.

Thoughts on April Fool’s Day

Now that it is no longer April Fool’s Day, there may be some out there who are wondering why I am waiting until now to write this post. Part of it can be explained by my work schedule (I am a coyote working full time) and general busyness yesterday afternoon. For the rest, I wanted to be able to talk about this outside the pranks and other chaos.

In keeping with my species, I am not above the occasional prank. When I was younger, I would engage in silly acts such as sewing a victim’s socks and undergarments together and placing them back in the drawer, putting a very-visible rubber band around the spray nozzle beside the sink, or put food coloring in the milk. A couple years back, a friend and I swapped nicks on an IRC channel and kept it up for a while, leaving a couple hints that we were not who we said we were, but still confusing some who came in. Part of the challenge there was making sure we adopted each other’s mannerisms and vocabulary.

But I do not do this much anymore.

Humor and jokes have their place and are okay, but especially around 1 April it is too easy and common for jokes to get out of hand, and become humor at another’s expense. This is not good. It cuts the victim down and makes him appear to be a fool, and the one devising the prank to be superior. It goes against what Paul told the church at Ephesus as well: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29, NASB) Does your humor edify? If not, then you should not do it. It is not loving.

There is also this proverb: Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows and death, so is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “Was I not joking?” (Proverbs 26:18-19, NASB) This includes not only humor that makes fun of a friend, but also when people tell very-convincing stories to make others worry or be upset, and then follow up the stories with an admission that the story was a lie. This is cruelty. It is not acceptable any other day of the year, so why have a day where it is permissible to lie to another?

Spring is here

Spring is here… I think. It is the beginning of April as I write this, and as hard as it may be to believe, I have to consider using a qualifier or three when making my declaration. Is it truly spring? In my post a month ago, I speculated that the end of winter was near, based on the budding trees and warmth in the air. What I did not expect was a cold snap lasting through most of March, making March colder than January according to TWC. It remains to be seen what happens to the local crops. I hope they have not seen too much damage. This is still a largely agricultural area, and we can’t afford to see a crop failure.

What will the season hold? The WagzTail crew has recorded a future episode about springtime, which will be released sometime this month. It… had a few issues but it should work out okay in the end. There’s bound to be a high pollen count for the next few weeks, which makes me glad to be inside, but if the weather stays pleasant, you can be sure I’ll complain a little bit — just not here.

I have other posts in the works. I will be posting them in the next few weeks.

Re-revising a novel

I have been working on a novel for the past year, almost, and am on the second version of the story. (No, I won’t tell you what it’s about. If you know, good. If you don’t know, or think you might know, then you’ll have to wait.) Originally I wanted to experiment with some things. For example, the story has only one POV character, and as a first for me, none are believers.

The story is not working.

Once this current round of revising is completed, aside from tweaking the plot a little more, I will be adding a second POV character and doing what I can to make the characters a little less faithless, even if they are not believers. I am not ready to have only one POV character for longer works, but it is more possible in short stories.

We’ll have to see.

Sweet Tea

A few weeks ago, Wolfin posted his personal sweet tea recipe and challenged me to do the same. His was a little too complicated for my tastes, so I’ll give a more simplified one below:

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop sugar (currently 2/3 cup)
  • enough water to fill a tea kettle
  • 3 family-size tea bags (I use whatever is cheapest at the grocery store)

I won’t insult you with directions on preparing it. You can figure that out for yourselves. But so you know, I let the tea steep for 30 minutes to an hour, and add enough water at the end to make about three liters of tea.

It’s winter…

It is nearing the end of January, which means in this part of the world there is a half-and-half chance that winter is on its way out and we will start to see flowers blooming next month. There is also the possibility of a late-season snowstorm.

Southern winters are not known for their consistency.

Just last week there was the chance of two to four inches of snow, which became an inch of snow, which became snow mixed with rain, which became rain. The rain moved out before the cold moved in. But just days before that, it was hot and muggy, and the damp clung to my fur.

Today the meteorologists had another go at it, but this time they were a little more accurate. With the exception of the out-there Weather.com, most outlets were predicting a glaze of freezing rain. Of course just this is enough to cause the Upstate to go into a panic; all the schools in the county were closed before noon and I am sure the shelves will be empty if I buy groceries in the morning. Even coworkers were nervous.

True, having to scrape a layer of ice off your car just so you can go to lunch is not fun, but as long as the roads are clear that’s more of an inconvenience than anything else. (This also gets to be one of the days that I make everyone freeze. I have fur, why do I need anything more than a light shirt?)

In the end, there was a glaze of ice on plant matter and elevated surfaces. The roads were fine. Somehow I suspect this is the last of real winter for the year.

Convention Planning

It’s the beginning of the year, which means it’s time to start thinking about what cons I want to attend, if any. That is not something I have done much of in the past (attended four in the past four years, so averaging one a year) due to a combination of lack of funds, lack of time, and general disinterest. Cons aren’t something that I find fun unless going with a large group of friends — or at least one good friend. Here is a list of some of the cons I have attended in the past or am considering now, along with my thoughts for each:

Furry Weekend Atlanta: Attended 2009, impressed because it was my first con, not impressed enough to return again without going with friends. It was a little too adult for my liking as well, and I don’t particularly like Atlanta. I may return this year because some friends want me to join them, but it looks unlikely.

Anthrocon: Attended 2010, enjoyed being with and meeting new friends, will not attend again without being accompanied by a group of friends. Anthrocon is too big to be fun, and also very expensive. While I won’t deny the fun had, it isn’t worth going up there again.

Megaplex: Never attended, considering this year. I like the thought of a “smaller” con and have heard positive things about it. The downside is perceived close association with the Funday Pawpet Show, which I find sophomoric at best.

Camp Feral!: Attended 2012 with my friend Wolfin, and loved it so much I wanted to return the next year. I gave no promises because of scheduling and cost, but it was worth every cent and every minute. It’s an outdoor con with maybe 100 – 120 people so you get to meet almost everyone, and there are actually things to do, unlike a hotel con. The only way I’m not going is if something major comes up.

Fangcon: Attended 2012 with Tikaani, WagzTail guest. It was a first-year con complete with its own hiccups and quirks, with a lot of room for improvement but not enough to inspire me to return. I was very disappointed in what I had hoped would be a more family-friendly con, but wasn’t.

That about sums it up. Leave a comment below if you’d like to share your own plans.

New Wagz site

I’m going to follow Wolfin’s lead and let you all know about the Wagz team’s new splash page: Wagz.me.

Well, it is not entirely new. It’s been around for a while but was either a list of links (Lucky you, those who did not see. Those who did, reminisce) or could not be reached at all because it was so bad we didn’t want you to see it. Now we do.

Wagz.me will serve as the hub site for all the Wagz products you have come to know and love: WagzTail, FurTalk, ChristianPaws, and FurryChat. Who knows? Maybe there’s more on the way.