Thursday, April 24, 2008
I have made this before, and I made it again today, and I have to say: this dish has some AMAZING flavor! I love the taste of these ingredients, so I thought I would share it with you. Be sure to tell me if you made it, and how you like it!

Matthew's Cheesy Sausage and Rice
1 pound of rice (make it easy and buy a 1 LB bag so you don't have to measure, oh, and don't use instant... if rice takes less than 10 minutes to cook it means that all of the nutrients have been removed, and besides, for this recipe you will need time for the sauce to cook)
1 pound of ground sausage
1 jar (1 pound) of Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan (in the store it is with the spaghetti sauce)
5 dried red peppers (optional, this cost me less than five cents, and I think it adds a better texture than "crushed red peppers" and it doesn't add too much heat)

1) Start cooking the rice (the water will take a while to boil).
2) In the meantime, brown the sausage. Drain well.
3) While the sausage is cooking and the water is starting to boil, cut the peppers into tiny pieces (the smaller the better).
4) Add the Ragu and peppers to the sausage. Let it simmer at least 10 minutes, or until the rice is done.
5) Serve with lots of rice and a little sauce... the flavor of the sauce is enough to cover a lot of rice.

Oh, and on a side note: on the back of a bag of rice, be sure you are looking at the "water" column, not the "yield" column... umm, ya...



Tuesday, April 22, 2008
This is a reply to a supportive e-mail that I received about my last post, but I wanted to make the reply public. Most of the songs that I listen to I like because of the music: the beat, the melody, whatever it is. But there are a few songs that have some amazing lyrics that I just love.

"Cannonball" by Five Iron Frenzy (iTunes links) is one of those songs. Read along with me the words:

Wind passes right through my skin as I fall down, this furious speed will only destroy me.
Crippling and devastating momentum, approaching maximum velocity.
And this is how it's going to be, the point of it all.
'Cause this is what was meant for me, recklessly I fall.

Hulking, smashing, I come crashing, nothing like when I was small.
I am unstoppable, I am the cannonball.
That feeble coward that you knew, has undergone an overhaul.
I am unstoppable, I am the cannonball.

Thirty-two feet per second I increase, as the exponents will multiply.
I'll never stop to look back behind me, cutting through the bright blue sky.
And this is how it's meant to be, untethered I will soar.
I'll barrel towards the earth below, it's what I was made for.

Hulking, smashing, I come crashing, nothing like when I was small.
I am unstoppable, I am the cannonball.
That feeble coward that you knew, has undergone an overhaul.
I am unstoppable, I am the cannonball.

[pause for a second]
Let me pause it here for a second. What is the song trying to say? "I am a cannonball and I will destroy everything in my past?" Yup. But what does that mean? Well, of course, the bridge explains it. Read it slowly:

And everyone will say it's just an accident, like some mishap or a tragedy.
I think that failure has a purpose, and I don't believe it's chance if I fall.
And I know that if I ever do fall, He will catch me.
And if He ever lets me fall down, for the good of those who believe Him,
He will make me into a cannonball.

Unblemished, and faultless. A burning luminescence.
Unequaled precision, beyond your scope of vision. Cannonball.

This song, while lighthearted, gives me great support. It reminds me that even when I fall short of the Glory of God, I can still do amazing damage to Satan.



Monday, April 21, 2008
I have to say that besides my pornography/lust addiction, the absolute most frustrating/infuriating/asinine thing that I have ever had to deal with is my insomnia (I don't like that word, but it is the best word to describe the problem).

Let's take today for example. I woke up after eight hours of sleep, yet while I was with Cathy taping all morning I could hardly stay awake (and not because of Cathy). I took a two hour nap in the afternoon, which helped me get through working on stuff for Stephen, but by eight I was pretty tired. I stayed tired until ten, at which point my eyes perk up and I am wide awake. It is now 11:30 PM, and I know that I will be nice and perky until at least 2 AM.

This is actually a routine for me. I sleep eight hours at night (sometimes plus a nap), by late evening I am dog tired, but by midnight I am wide awake, sometimes wanting to go running (at midnight?). If I stay up, I will get around to being tired at two, but if I try to sleep at midnight and fail, I get up at two and am awake until four.

Question is, why am I so dog tired during the day and so awake at night? I have tried my best to go to bed at the same time every night (around 12:30), but it gets harder and harder.

I am so jealous of people that can just lay down and go to sleep. I, on the other hand, have the privilege of often laying in bed for two hours until I am so tired of hearing myself talk that I get up. And this isn't a new problem; I remember when I was in middle school laying in my bed (under the train table, if anyone remembers that) and crying through the night because I couldn't sleep (until dad came in and held me... somehow that made me go to sleep).

OK, this rant isn't coming out as well as I thought it would. It isn't expressing the utter frustration that I have with this. To lay there knowing that you are wasting precious hours of your life and yet you can't do anything about it... it angers me. I want to cry, I want to punch something, I want to scream, all so I CAN GO TO SLEEP! And of course I rile myself up, getting angrier and angrier, making it harder and harder to sleep. But what else can I do? I only have me to talk to, and I only incite myself!

How can a body that is SCREAMING for sleep refuse to go to sleep? How can I be more tired at 10 PM than at midnight? How can my eyes be so heavy yet my mind can't slow down enough to rest?

Half of me thinks I need to go to a sleep doctor (again). The other half thinks I need a psychiatrist.


"... that's Popeye."

Sunday, April 20, 2008
(Pam talking about her ex-boyfriend)
"I'm happy for him. I hope he gets the job. I really just want him to be happy. And I know that sounds cliché, and I know saying "it sounds cliché" sounds cliché... maybe I'm being cliché, I don't care, because I am what I am.... [pause] ...that's Popeye."
~Pam from "The Office"


Things I won't be telling you about...

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Wow, I just realized how long it has been since I had posted last. A lot has happened since then, including a lot of stuff I wanted to blog about but never did. So, one day when I have a sane moment ask me about what vehicle I decided I wanted (hint: it has personality), what I ended up deciding about the whole vehicle situation, about the good news at AUMC, about the cell phone pic I took in the parking lot... all that stuff (and more!) will be yours to keep if you CALL NOW! OPERATORS are STANDING by! (I thought that they were sitting in chairs?)

Anywho, I don't want to talk about those things right now, I want to talk about something else tonight. I was just laying down to go to bed (at 2:45 AM) and started going on this long rant/prayer/soul searching thing. Actually, it was my nightly prayer that turned out to be more revealing than I had originally planned.

First I realized how my body has bad timing. It likes to not sleep on important nights, or get tired when I have plenty of sleep... or, like this week, get sick at the most un-opportune time. I could have been sick last week, or the week before, or the week before that, or ALL THREE WEEKS, and I wouldn't have missed a beat... I had nothing going on those weeks!

But this week has been a hive of activity. I have gone to tape with Cathy in Gainesville for the first time in almost a month (she has been sick). I have been at church several times this week for different meetings. I have been working for dad doing office stuff. Stephen wants me doing internet research for him. All of this on top of trying to find a new vehicle, and/or deciding what to do with mine. Compared to last week, this week has been a tornado of activity.

And of course, it is this week that I got sick. But I am really not sick... real sickness I could understand and point at decisions I have made (like playing "Freeze Flag" (a combination of "Freeze Tag" and "Capture the Flag") in a muddy field after a thunderstorm in 50 degree weather). THAT I could understand. But no, this is allergy/sinus sickness. The kind that makes me not be able to breathe at night but gives me a runny nose during the day, that makes me cough and hack all day, that upsets my stomach so much that I can't run because the bile comes up (and at night it gets worse).

I could understand if my sickness were due to my body not being in shape or because I have been mean to my immune system. However, this sickness would have come this week, this day, no matter what... It would have come if I were busy with five jobs or if I were sitting around doing nothing. It is just my luck that it came the week/day that I have five jobs. Sorry to tell you like this Stephen, I REALLY want to be working on your stuff, but I have not been able to yet. Give me a few days and I will... (of course staying up late to write long blog posts isn't helping much, so I will make this quick)

Getting back to the prayer... Actually, I had more stuff to say, but I have forgotten it now... let me try to remember... There was something in the prayer about how when things hurt it is the hardest time to have faith, but it is also the most important time to have faith. That faith is built most during the low times when one's faith is under attack (BTW: understanding this doesn't help one have faith during the low time, it only gives hope). Faith tends to be easy for me in the good times but very troublesome in the bad times.

It was somewhere in this prayer of mine that I decided to stop whining and start listing all of the blessings that God has put in my life. I realized that for several weeks (months even) I have been praying for financial help (a steady job, maybe?), and here I am this week with an abundance of jobs! Granted, none of them are "stable", but...
Cathy gave me a raise,
I have been working for dad,
Stephen has offered to pay me for work (if I ever get around to it),
AUMC won't be paying me any more now, but I have secured my role in the church for many years to come...

And as I think about all of the money blessings that God has given me this week alone, I put two and two together... in the same week that I decide that I need a new vehicle (and thus I need a job), God gives me lots of odds and ends to make a little money. Granted, the jobs from Stephen and dad might have been because I need money, but Cathy had already decided to give me a raise (she told me that she felt led to do it). Am I just pulling coincidences together and trying to read the tarot cards, or is God trying to tell me something? And if he is, what is he trying to say?

It was at this point in my rambling prayer that I decided I had an epiphany big enough to share it with the blog-o-sphere. I half wish I had kept going on my path down my inner self; the other half of me is glad that I stopped when I did, or this blog post would be much longer, and I would be going to bed much later than 3:15!


PS: thanks to proofreading, it is now just before 3:30... I hope I can get to sleep sometime tonight, because I have to be at church in 12 hours to run the Saturday night service, one that I don't normally go to... just one more thing scheduled in this busy week of mine.

Bananas, sleeping, my tuck, and something new?

Saturday, April 12, 2008
You know, for not doing anything all day long, I sure am writing long posts!

So, after my last post, someone said that bananas have a lot of serotonin. I take it that serotonin helps fight depression, so Wednesday night I went out and bought 5+ pounds of bananas (13 of them). I have been eating them, and only have a few left. Good thing I like bananas (at least I do so far).

Moving on...

The parking break lamp on my truck has been blinking since the day we received 7 inches of snow in March. I was told that this "might mean that one day you can't stop," so I thought it would be good to take it in and get looked at. I took it in Tuesday afternoon, but the shop said "we are booked up and can't get to it until morning, so you can leave it now or bring it back in the morning." I had church that night, so I said I would bring it by Wednesday morning (8 AM, they told me).

Being optimistic, I thought "To get it in by 8 AM, I should go to bed by midnight to get plenty of sleep." Good idea, since my usually I sleep until noon, and I am trying to break that habit. So that night I laid down just after midnight... and couldn't sleep. I laid there for well over an hour, and finally got up to "get some work done" (IE: play computer games). I finally got to sleep at 4, and I slept until noon... which sounds late, but I only got 8 hours of sleep.

Needless to say, I didn't bring my truck into the shop that day. That night I again tried to go to sleep at midnight, I again failed and got to sleep at 4, again I slept until noon. I again didn't bring it in.

Thursday night I tried AGAIN to go to sleep around midnight. I tried real hard. So hard in fact that nothing happened. 4 AM here I come! But I was determined to wake up and at least bring the truck in. So at 7:30, the alarm went off, and at 7:50 (after two snoozes) I got up to bring the truck in.

Usually, when I get little sleep, I am fine; it doesn't usually bother me. Case in point: the night before State DI (a job I worked for dad last weekend) I got 3 hours of sleep and yet worked all the next day without being too drowsy. That is why I was surprised when I got up Friday morning to bring in the truck. I wasn't too drowsy, but my mind was playing games on me. It felt like every 5 seconds, my brain would turn off for half a second. It wasn't a headache, it was more like I was dizzy... but only for one out of five seconds. Very weird.

Thankfully, I was able to bring in the truck at 8 AM, and they said that they would look at it. Their free shuttle brought me home, and I went back to sleep. I figured that sleeping would fix the dizziness.

When they called at 12:30 PM to ask my permission to run a $50 diagnosis (I thought that that was why I brought it in...), I woke up and tried to get about my life. Remember, by this point, I had had my 8 hours of sleep (4 AM - 8 AM, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM). But the dizziness was still there. It was really bothering me... it was hard to concentrate, to really do anything. My solution: go back to bed, of course!

So I again slept from 1:30 to 4:30. My dizziness was gone (for the most part), and I was able to "go about my life" (IE: watch pre-recorded TV and play games).

Then I got the phone call.

The mechanic called back about my truck. He said that:
the anti-lock brake system (ABS) was bad and needed to be replaced (remember my last post, when I said I slammed on my breaks going down the highway and there was that big poof of white smoke? this explains the white smoke)
the break pads are worn down and need replacing
something is leaking onto the break pads, so that needs fixing.

All said and done, it would cost $997 to get it all fixed. They want a thousand bucks from me, but I currently have $21 in my bank account. So what do I do?

I call my dad. Not to ask him for money because I am broke, but to ask him for money because I am broke AND because he owes me (for the last two jobs that I did). He tossed out the idea that I might just want to get a new vehicle, and he would buy the truck from me (which we have talked about before; I have always planned on the truck going to him after me). It made a lot of sense. According to, my truck is worth just over $2,000, more than I thought it would be. But is it worth putting $1,000 into a $2,000 truck that will only cost me more money as the years pass?

So I am currently looking for a good deal on a used car. I am thinking between $5,000 - $10,000, and between years 2000 and 20005. If you know of any good deals, or if you are trying to get rid of a vehicle that is in good condition, please contact me.

On a side topic: what car do you see me driving?


My Mundane Life

Wednesday, April 09, 2008
OK, I know I haven't posted in a while (I am making up for it with a big post). Mostly it is because I haven't had anything big happen... which really isn't true, but it is the way I feel. Let me break it down like this:

Lately, I have felt myself falling into depression. The good part is that I can tell that I am falling (in the past I didn't notice the depression until it was too late). The bad part: depression sucks! For example, I lay in bed at night and get all teary eyed because I don't have any close friends (which isn't true), but when I have the chance to go and hang out with people, I don't want to. And when I do go hang out, I tend to sit in the corner, watching everyone else be happy, while I just wish that I could be as happy as them. It is a paradox, and it sucks.

But like I said, the good news is that this time I can see it coming. I understand it now more than I ever have... and I don't mean "understand" as in clinical, because I have never talked to a doctor or done research about this. I understand what it does to my body and how it makes me feel and react. The bad part is that I still don't know what to do to get out of it. How do I get to feeling better? And no, Stephen, throwing me a surprise party and writing all over my wall with stickers won't cheer me up. I used to feel bad that you would go to such great lengths to cheer me up and yet it wouldn't work. But now I understand that it is the depression that kept me from enjoying those times.

So, how do I get out of it? Is it a mind game? Is there anything I can do? Or do I just have to rely on drugs (the doctor recommended kind)? I know that it doesn't help that I have nothing to motivate me right now. I have no steady job, Cathy has been sick for two weeks now so I haven't taped with her in a while... my typical day is sleep late, play games all day long, then go back to bed. I hated working at UPS, but part of me wants to go back to work if only to give myself MOTIVATION! But here is another Catch-22: I can't get a media related job until I have a demo reel, but I don't feel like making a demo reel because I am depressed, and I have no direct need for one. I understand that it needs to get done, but it is going to be a lot of work re-importing old footage and editing it... plus, when I am depressed, I am not creative, so now is not a good time for me to do it anyway.

Sorry to talk in rambles, but this is pretty much how my mind works these days. And it is a downward spiral: because I am depressed, I hang out with friends less and I have no motivation, which makes me sad, which makes me more depressed, which makes me more reclusive... you get the picture. And none of this is good for my spiritual life. When depressed, it is hard to have faith of any kind.

On a side note: even through all of this, I praise God that I was not depressed on my trip to Hawaii. That trip was an oasis of happiness that I won't forget no matter how depressed I am. I am so thankful that I was not depressed during that time.

OK, moving away from the depressing topic (sorry, bad pun), here are a few random things that have been going on in my life:

I am not the only one to have a whack mark anymore! Now, Rhonda has her own. OK, story time! Last Thursday I was driving down to Austin for a job. I was driving down I35 south of Waco when I saw someone on the far left median changing their tire. I don't know what all was going on, but there were several cars stopped there. I was looking over at it as I passed it, then I looked forward again, but it was too late. The truck in front of me had to break to miss the car in front of him, so I slammed on my breaks, making a big white puff of smoke like in the movies. I slammed into the back of his truck. We then pulled over to survey the damage. Thankfully, he had a trailer hitch that stuck out a foot from the back of his truck, so my bumper just hit his hitch. His truck was not hurt, it was my fault, so we shook hands and he left. What happened to Rhonda was superficial: her bumper is dented pretty bad, but nothing else is wrong. Of course, I thank God for protecting me and my truck during this time.

Moving on... I wanted to see what it would look like if I didn't shave. So I stopped. For almost two weeks I didn't shave, and what did I get? NOTHING! I mean, I got some hairs below my nose and under my chin, but that was it! *sigh* So I shaved it all off so that it will stop reminding me that I am aparently still going through puberty.

As stated before, I have been playing a lot of WarCraft... no, not World of WarCraft, I am playing the old fashioned and no-cost-per-month version. I had created a script that would tell everyone random Ancient Chinese Proverbs. A few examples:
Ancient Chinese Proverb: Man who keep feet firmly on ground find it hard to put pants on.
Ancient Chinese Proverb: Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.
Ancient Chinese Proverb: Folk who make Confucius joke speak bad English.

It was fun to put together. I use a program called ControllerMate to get it done. Here is what it looks like in the program:

But I wasn't content to stop there. I wanted a way to tell everyone what I song was currently playing in iTunes (because I listen to iTunes while I play). To leave the boring details out (too late), I found out a way! It looks like this:
Playing now on iTunes: "Never Let Me Go" by Family Force 5
Playing now on iTunes: "How Great Thou Art" by Chris Rice
Playing now on iTunes: "Angelise" by Russell Martin

Works well! I got it working thanks to an AppleScript. Here is what it looks like in the program:

Umm, OK, that is enough off topic rambling for now. Tomorrow I am going to take my truck in to get the parking break lamp looked at (it flashes). I was going to take it in this morning, but I couldn't sleep, so I was up until 4 AM, so I slept until 1 PM, so... ya, I will take it in tomorrow (lets hope I get more sleep tonight).

Thanks for pretending to read all the way down!


Stuff Christians Like

Wednesday, April 02, 2008
(this one is for Sara)

I stole this (word for word) from Think Christian:

I just can’t stop reading Stuff Christians Like, a takeoff of the Stuff White People Like blog. It’s amazingly dead on, whether it’s talking about serious or silly issues. A few of my favorites:

#106: The side hug
#100: MC Hammer’s “Pray”
#26: Songs that sound Christian but aren’t
#5: Bootleg cookies
Hilarious stuff. The blogger is apparently writing a book, too.


OK, that is what Think Christian said. How, here are MY favorites:
#20. Psalty
#28. Rob Bell
#46. Super, happy shiny Christian radio.
#53. Saying "I'll pray for you" and then not.
#65. Ending emails with God shout outs.
#84. Stock Photography
#103. Singing "Our God is an Awesome God."