Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Janus and Karl's wild weekend

Ok, it wasn't wild. I am not wild anymore and neither is Karl, but "Janus and Karl's pretty mellow weekend" didn't have the same ring to it.
Friday he got here in the afternoon and we spent a wild day of watching TV, eating pizza, and playing the old Playstation (Yeah the original Playstation.) I would of prefered going someplace really but he didn't feel up to travel the first day so I played video games until I coughed static.
Saturday was a little more active, we went to the casino in the next town and played slot machines. I am not much of a gambler so I took a whopping 20 dollars with me so I wouldn't go hogwild. I came home with 80 dollars, Karl lost his 40 dollars. To top off our evening we went to a baseball game and watched our local county team get clobbered 11 to 1. The fireworks were good though.
Sunday he left at 9 in the morning, and I went back to normal.
I hope he is feeling better since visiting, despite losing his forty bucks.

It was like old times, and he left and felt a bit better. Just thought you wanted to know. I am still waiting for news about his marriage. Keep them prayers and good thoughts coming!

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Love of the game, hating the game

My first day of my automated Thursday thing went well, no serious mechanical problems. Thank goodness. Got done in record time, which is even better.
I watched the Cardinals kill my Cubs tonight and wished I could turn off the television but you can't do that when you are working and your client is a Cardinals fan. I don't hate the cardinals really, they are just my 4th string team. I love baseball pure and simple.
Of course the Cubs are my favorite, I was raised by a Cubs fan and it is genetic. When I volunteered for a role in Creative Arts I pointed out that I was patient and used to disappointment, and being a Cubs fan proves it. Still I never give up.
This may seem strange but my other teams I like in order of pref is the White Sox, The Brewers, The Cardinals, and the Royals. (I know people in Kansas City and Missouri so they are my 5th pick) I want to see any one of them win the World series but in that exact order.
Like I said, I just like a good game. Tonight wasn't a good game, 11 to 1 is a cruel joke. If it close than I find it exciting, if my favored team is getting killed I just get annoyed.
Still at least I got paid for sticking around. That makes up for the massacre and hearing about how "No one throws a curve ball anymore, just straight balls, that's not real baseball."
They still won, who cares.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The quest for rest update and weekend plans

Well today I went to the dentist to get fitted for my Bruxism appliance.

That is the medical term for "mouth guard that fits your mouth when it is a weird shape."

He asked me if I was being fitted for the Bruxism appliance and I gave him a clueless panicked stare.

"You mean the mouth guard right?"

He smiled and said yes. Bruxism Appliance sounds like some device in Frankenstein. I wanted to be sure. So before he stuck a horseshoe shaped device with a sort of disgusting plastic substance in it, I said "Bella says hi." (She used to work there, so I always have to say hi to the Doc from her.)

He then did what no one else has been able to do for a long time but wishes they could.

I had to keep my mouth closed for a whole minute.

So I get to go back in two weeks to get my new mouthguard and since I have a strange shaped jaw I have to come in to make sure it fits for about an hour. Hopefully this will keep me from grinding my teeth when I sleep which will help me sleep better and hopefully keep my jaw from hurting so much all the time.

As for my weekend, Karl is coming for the weekend. Which means the trouble with Karl is far from over. I shall do my best to be a fun and supportive friend this weekend. So I have made arrangements with work and my other commitments to make sure that I can spend my undivided attention with him.

Keep dem prayers and good thoughts rolling this way.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Drastic surgery

I know I am a few weeks behind, but this is based on a the things I wish Jesus never said topic that has been put on hold a little in Janusland.
Over a year ago and on another blog that has gone the way of the dodo I was talking about my Dad's cancer (remission and counting for over 3 years, thank God.) So when I talk about this uncomfortable theme today I don't want anyone to think that I am using poetic license to make my point more vivid.
Here is a tough verse to swallow. Mat 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
I really don't like that verse, I have probably skipped that one to a more heartwarming part at least a dozen times. Does he literally expect us to do that? Manny asked me that once and I told him that you would have a lot of blind amputees walking around if that was what we were supposed to literally do.
This is an example of extreme language, and removal of body parts are about as extreme as we can get. We are not to literally do it (I can hear some sighs of relief out there), but if anything were to keep you from a relationship with God, let it go rather than let it hold you back. "I can't believe in God because then I might have to give up my beer bong partying and maybe make a few other changes." That may seem like a bad example, but here is mine from a few years ago.
"I can't truly believe in God and I am afraid to get closer to him because then I might have to give up my desire for revenge and anger towards people." Now looking back I realize that this sounded like a stupid reason, but at the time it made more sense. I actually avoided reading the Bible because I was afraid I would find out more things I am not allowed to do. Does keeping the anger really make me more alive? Not really. Does it help me? No. Why do I want to hold on to it? Because it is a part of me.
Going back to the cancer reference. My dad did not just wake up one morning and Shazam! he had dangerous cancer. Years ago it started out with a little heartburn, which he didn't really take notice of and just took extra tums. Then he couldn't swallow food so well, so he started avoiding harder foods and thought about seeing the doctor..A few years later he was in the ICU of a hospital and they weren't sure if he would survive.
Cancer of the esophagus was the official problem, and it nearly killed him. In fact the local doctors said it couldn't be cured and told my mom to make arrangements. My mom wouldn't give up and found a doctor that would help her. He lost half of his esophagus during the surgery when they cut out the cancer. Did he want to have them remove part of his digestive track? No. It was the only way to keep him from dying though, so that is what they did.
Sin is like a cancer. It starts out minor but eventually it gets stronger and stronger until it becomes a part of you that will destroy you. No one starts out in life generally planning to be the most corrupt and evil person they can, it starts with a little heartburn. It goes to scar tissues and sores, and eventually it hardens into cancer. If you don't do something about it eventually your minor problem will end up killing you.
Get rid of what holds you back, because it doesn't just slow you down, it eventually will stop you. I don't want anyone to do some civil war era surgery on themselves after reading this so I will make it clear. It isn't the body part that is causing the problem, it is choices and the things internally that are causing it. If something is holding you, ask God to help you remove it, and work on it when is just a little itch or a little heartburn.
Dad is still doing well but we have to constantly wonder if it will come back. Sometimes you will have to remove it several times, but you will be glad you did. I am not instantly a better person, I still get angry and mean spirited from time to time. It gets a little easier each day I take the treatment though. My surgery in the heart saved my life too.
Do you need to see a doctor?

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Janus summary

I have to hurry because I got to go so I will give you the Tarzan summary of today and tomorrow.

"Went to music festival, Janus like it"
"Going to baseball game today, Janus like it too"

Tonight I am also getting the call from Karl,
"Janus hope all is well"

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Gone for the day and the number 13

Today my sister in law Lynn comes out and we are going to a concert. I forget who is actually playing but I am going along. I enjoyed my last concert so I am not too worried, I like to be pleasantly surprised. My cat will still be around though if you need to drop off a package.
I read in yahoo about people having a fear for the number 13 (Triskaidekapobia) as one of the feature articles today. It is a slow day for news when the highlight is that the president is recovering from a procedure involving a scope. (Ow)
With Triskaidekapobia I often wonder, who sits around and names the new phobias when they come up. This is an old phobia but they name every phobia when it happens. For example, if I fear Sea Monkeys I would have Artemiaphobia (The fear of brine shrimp.) Hopefully that is rare.
The fear of 13 doesn't make sense of me unless I live near Camp Crystal Lake during the summer. So I wonder how many people still fear the number? a lot of buildings don't even have a 13th floor. Well they do but they call it the 14th floor. So whatever evil power that will harm me on the 13th floor won't happen because I renamed the floor to another number? That sounds like hiding under the blankets from monsters because werewolves can't get me through Snoopy sheets or something.
They don't really know where this fear is from anyway. Some say the number of disciples at the last supper (Judas was 13) some thing has something to do with the execution of the Knights Templar. I have no idea, so it seems silly to me to be afraid of something that I don't know why I should be.
Now snakes, I can understand the fear of that. They are just plain creepy.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Empathy and Focus and Downtown Madness

I had a good day today but found out my good friend Karl is going through a rough patch with his life. I have felt down since. I am not sure if it is healthy to get depressed about other people being depressed.
I was smiling and talking at work as usual, but I felt fake and detached. I couldn't really think about where I was but more about how I couldn't fix Karl's problems.
They say God loves us but also grieves when we grieve.
Being so many of us, he must be quite miserable at times.
I am still feeling a bit down about things, but I did get a little better after I drove through downtown. Which took me a half hour longer than normal.
I saw people dressed in costume waiting for Harry Potter's book and I suddenly realized that I could be worse.
Not to offend anyone of course, but I have never actually gotten to the point where I dress up a book character and wait 5 hours for them to start selling a book. I can wait about 5 months when they have about 1,000,000 copies for sale and no line.
Lord Voldemort the Dark Lord jaywalked in front of me and almost got sent to the deathly hollows by my Buick. Honestly I like the books too, but I am not willing to die to get them before everyone else.
At least this is the last book and the insanity is almost over. That is unless she decides to write "Harry Potter and the Jr. College of Certain Death" and work it another 4 books. Millions of dollars per book I certainly would consider it. Call me a hack but I wouldn't mind being her agent.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

A year already?

We got done on time today for my Thursday thing so I said goodbye to my friend and supervisor as she was going on vacation for 2 weeks. She is going to Disneyworld!
Today was also exactly the one year anniversary when I started the Thursday thing. Back when I was wondering where I was going and I asked where I could do something. I was only going to help out on Thursdays until I found a job and then I would leave and do my own thing.
Well I got my job last October, but I am still doing my Thursday thing.
Truth is, I love it. The couple weeks when I couldn't do it, I felt something missing. So I planned it around my job so I could continue.
I get satisfaction from working with something with visible results, I enjoy working with wonderful people that are living with a purpose, and have met some wonderful folks through my Thursday "Temporary thing."
While my supervisor is gone for the next few weeks I am going to be stepping up to run the machines on my own. I am a bit nervous but excited.

I know it's weird being excited about that, but I am not exactly Mr. Wild anymore.

Warning to temporary thing seekers, be sure you don't like what your doing or you will never leave.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Janus finishes school today..for now.

I finished class today with my first "A" since World History in High School. Yay me!

I am kind of relieved that it is over at least for a while, since I loved it but I stress things more when I know that grades are important.
Well important to me at least. I don't want to take a course and do second rate job. So acing the class gave me a great sense of satisfaction. I am actually more fanatical and picky with my standards when it comes to school. (Something that never used to bother me.) Last night my wife Bella and I were up late finishing up my two assignments for today, and that made me look forward to the vacation.
Yet today when I got the affirmation from my classmates telling me that I should send things into publishing and people that were gone last week asking to see my assignment so they can read it...well that makes me feel good. My Mom was always a great fan of mine, but she is a bit biased towards me. To have peers and other writers give me such honor really feels great.
So when I was complimented and felt a bit embarrassed I said "Thank you for the affirmation" and let them know what stuff they wrote that I liked. Thanks to Troy for teaching me the "Thanks for the affirmation" answer at our last coffee. I don't know how to take compliments well at times. I like them better than insults though, so I better learn to get them.
So what's next for Janus? (I always get asked...What's next.)
Well I got plenty of books and website material to work on, so no rest for the wicked.
I am also going to see what classes to maybe take in the fall.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Janus slacking off again as usual.

Yes I am am aware it has been a whole week.
I tend to wander.
This is great for getting ideas for writing at times, but makes me a really lousy babysitter.
So you don't think I am totally useless I will just fill you in a little bit with what I have going on at the moment in Janusland.

Last week I was social!? It's true, I met with several folks for dinner or caffeine consumption sessions. I was determined to get out of my house and break my pattern of sitting on my chair all day and staring at this screen. Besides I love hanging out with these guys and hearing about whats going on with them, truthfully I have to make myself go out also. I am a net junkie at heart. That's why I prefer coffee and Applebees and not just sending long winded emails. Getting to know people better is good right? right.
I was volunteering. I enjoy contributing on other things, it gives me a happy warm feeling. Remind me of that when I have to get up at 6 in the morning to do it. Mcdonalds has some great cold coffee though. Mmm ...Hazelnutty caffieny goodness.
I am finishing up school. Last day of class this Wednesday, and I am doing 2-3 assignments per week. Creative writing isn't too much pressure, but since I am trying to get an "A" I am taking it a little serious probably. This week I have 2 assignments left. I hope I get ideas soon. They normally happen about Monday night though, giving me time to belt things out.
I am sleeping. Yes, I finally got sleeping pills after 30 years of putting it off. They really work too if I close my eyes and turn off the lights I am off. I feel refreshed much more and less foggy. The only side effect is I have more energy so I am more hyper at times. Sorry to everyone else around me.
Other jobs need my attention. Game reviews, getting others in for meetings, writers conference in November to plan, Reading 120 pages of design notes in a sitting from Manny, and tracking Jose across the United States to ask him to clarification on something he sent me a week ago.
I got a day planner and an inbox now, I am really on the fast track! Just don't ask me how full the inbox is.
I am avoiding thinking about stressful stuff. I wish it worked.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

What is better than having a McMahon on my blog? How about two of em.

A little update before I go to work today, I am adding another blog to my links roster. Today I bring you Troy McMahon.
Troy was one of the first people I met when I joined my church (CCC) a bit over a year and a half ago. Besides my wife Bella dragging me in kicking and screaming to church, Troy was one of the main reasons why I stopped fighting and started loving going to church.
At a class for new folks that wanted to learn about the church I met Troy. He not only was a pleasant person to talk to but he showed me that you can be crazy about God without being a nutcase. His sincerity and glowing heart showed me that I was in good company. After that I stopped making excuses to avoid going to church.
He was there for when I was grieving for a friend and talked to me and even tolerated my insane rambling. He was the man in charge of leading me to my Thursday thing, which I love so much and can't imagine leaving it now. He is also the man that honored me by officially uniting me and my wife Bella in marriage this last January.
Sadly (well for us in Naperville), Troy and his family are going to Kansas City to launch and plant churches there. They will be terribly missed here, but Kansas City needs some McMahons, we will have to learn to adjust.
I can count myself as one of the many people that the McMahon's have blessed with their friendship and warmth. Troy and Janet are proof that just a few people can change worlds. So I hope you visit their blogs and get to know them as well.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

The only thing worse than saying goodbye is saying it twice

This day has been coming for almost a year now, but I still don't think I could ever be ready for it. Today we say goodbye to Bella's mother again in a memorial in Wisconsin. We are going to disperse her ashes after a year of waiting and hopefully give some sort of closure to the family.
Last year we wanted to do it a few weeks after the services, but not everyone was ready for it. Today is the day and I am a little of a wreck. I thought I was pretty good about this until about Wednesday, than I started feeling a bit sad and under the weather. It might be a stomach bug, but this morning I am sure it is sadness and nerves.
I normally love going up to the lake but today I am dreading it. I hate to say it but I almost wish I could stay home, I wouldn't miss this of course unless I was in a coma, but I wish I could go back to sleep and wake up and have it be a new day with this behind me. I feel like a coward today. I'm embarrassed to be myself today also.
So I am going to do what I can to comfort my wife, sister (sisters in law technically), and my father in law. I don't know how I am going to hold myself together yet though, plus my head and stomach are killing me today. So just pray I get to Sunday.
Sunday will be better.
Hurry up Sunday.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A very scofflaw Fourth of July to you all.

Happy Fourth of July, even though it will probably be the 5th of July when you read this.
Today I will remind you of why not putting my name on the site is a good idea, because I am going to talk about a fine family tradition today. That is going to Wisconsin and buying illegal fireworks.
I live in Illinois, I admit that in several places. I actually like living here despite the fact that my team never wins any baseball championships, despite the insane cost of living compared to the mountain states, and despite the fact that air conditioner isn't working today. (Why does it break on a holiday when you can't call to get it worked on and has to be about 90 degrees in the living room.)
I can forgive all these things about Illinois but I hate the fact that fireworks are illegal here and I have to smuggle them in.
If anyone says "Janus they aren't illegal, I see them in Jewel all the time..." I will reach into that screen and smack ya around. Smoke bombs, those annoying snake things, and the little popper things you throw on the ground are not fireworks.
If the fireworks that are so illegal that you need a fireman to use them are Nascar fireworks, and the ones in Wisconsin are Mustangs street racing cars...the ones you buy in Jewel in the state of Illinois are the moped of fireworks. You might think they are great if you didn't know any other fireworks existed...but honestly you wouldn't be caught dead with them if you got the good stuff.
So about everyone in the state of Illinois is a law breaker this time of year. I can hear people firing bottle rockets outside my window as I write this. I don't have a thing about breaking the law so much as the fact that the law is kinda dumb. If you can afford to buy fireworks, you can send someone up to buy them just across the border. They make sure you are of legal age, and you show them your drivers license that says "Hey I am from a state where this is illegal" and they sell them to you without any trouble. If you think that is a bit hypocritical I can tell you about the time that we had a block party and the two local cops brought some great illegal fireworks to the party. So why is it illegal?
My theory is to keep Wisconsin from going broke.
Now I am not for unsupervised kids playing with fireworks, honestly some kids shouldn't be allowed to handle tree branches because they are so stupid. You also shouldn't handle fireworks when you are drinking. People are stupid enough, but drinking and playing with things that explode is a really dumb idea.
The danger with fireworks is that they tend to get less exciting if you light them one at a time like they recommend. That is why I call bottlerockets the "gateway" firecracker. They aren't very dangerous really unless you stick it your mouth and light it off, but as people light off a few dozen they start trying to make them more exciting. Light off three at once, five at once, before you know it people are sticking dynamite into the exhaust pipe of a car because they need something exciting. It gets crazy!
I wish to close with the Janus Torrell Historical Grand Finale of 1995, which I can now share because the statute of limitations is on my side. One year I bought about 300 dollars worth of fireworks (This is in 1995 mind ya, so you can get quite a bit) and we brought them back down
to one of the tenant farms (No one lives for a few miles in any direction.) I lit a bottle rocket to kick things off, and it shot straight up...and fell straight down into a the big crate of fireworks while it was still lit.
I spent the next 20 minutes on the ground watching the most colorful display of fireworks shooting all over the place above our heads. We managed to survive it without any injuries though. God Bless America.
P.S. My English friend Rob told me about Guy Fawkes night on November 5th, in which England burns a bonfire of a dummy of Guy Fawkes and sets off fireworks. I am only about a 1/10th English due to my mongrel family, but I believe in tradition so I am trying to organize our own bonfire and party out in my hometown where it is easier to do that sort of thing. I also believe in the tradition of fireworks for any damn reason I can.
God Save The Queen!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

House Shopping with Janus

Take a look at this beauty, for only about 135 million dollars I could be the proud owner of a fine castle. Sure it's Dracula's castle, and Transylvania is a bit of a commute, but if I bought this in Naperville or something it would probably closer to a kajillion dollars. So I could just fly to work every day or so, and save so much in property tax.
The view is good I hear, as long as you aren't trying to escape. I don't know about the local stores though, but I am sure they have a KFC or something nearby. The neighbors suck though.
So I might have to talk to a few hundred people and borrow a few hundred million because my Visa debit is a little short for a purchase of this size. I wonder if the Habsburgs take a check.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

That one too? aww come on!

Yesterday the message was about loving your enemies. I truthfully don't do this one well, I am better at the "ignore them and hope they go away" approach.

The truth is we not only all have enemies of some sort, but we have two kinds. We have active and passive enemies.

Active enemies are the ones that are flagrantly against you such as a petty coworker, the bully that picks on you in school, or even the guy in the other lane giving you the finger because you are reading this blog on your laptop instead of watching the road.

Passive enemies are much harder to find or even identify, this is because they don't really do anything intentionally (or if they do, you can't prove it.) This could be the guy that when you see his car in the parking lot makes you wince, the person you roll your eyes at if the number comes up on the caller ID, and even your own family member that you only see on holidays (you know...because you just have a problem talking to each other or something.)

Active or passive can be divided up on the blog, but they are all the same with Jesus. So lets clear a few things up before cutting to the pointers. Saying I dislike that person but I love them is a pretty good catch all, but it is usually utterly full of crap, especially if you feel that way for about twenty years without changing. Avoidance is also not the answer because if you avoid going places so you don't run into people there, soon you will run out of places to go to. When you do run into that person all those old stifled feelings will come flooding back. So now that we got that out of the way, let me see if I can actually give you something to work with.

Realize your own debt and shortcomings.
Oh! That is not a fun one by any means, but it is important anyway. Most of the things that drive us insane with other people are usually things that we don't do well ourselves. I hate it when people are late and make me wait, and I am always late myself.

As for debt and shortcomings, looking inside your own heart long enough will reveal a lot of things you wish you didn't do or couldn't remember. Ok, now that we have done that, let us stop before we get carried away. Whew....I am glad that no one else knows that stuff.

Well God does actually. Sorry that makes me uncomfortable too, and I promise to move on soon. What if every dark thought or action you ever did in secret was printed up in a local newspaper and read by the people that you directed the thought or action to? I know, it's scary. Now for the good news, God already knows about them (He does wear big ear plugs and a blindfold) but he still loves you with all his heart and wants to be close to you.

Yes, he really does. Even though he knows about that terrible lie you said back in 19- so and so. Realizing this is the key to loving and forgiving other people, because you realize that you yourself need to be loved and forgiven.

Pray and do good for your enemies.
This is going to be hard, even harder than the last one. I am not that delusional to think that this easy.

Most of our state of mind and our perception of enemies (at least for passive ones) is under our own control. What? Yes, it's true! If I have a bad start in the morning my whole day stinks. Your outlook controls most of your day.

When you do good and pray for your enemies, it does a few things that are extremely powerful.

When you do good and pray for someone and do it long enough you will find that your attitude towards that person will begin to change for the better. It is hard to hate someone that you are praying for on a regular basis, prayer doesn't just overcome the enemy outside, but the enemy within. If you do good for someone when you don't feel like it, eventually you will feel like it. Neither of these are in an instant usually, but will lead you on the road to recovery.

The second thing these things do is that it might change the heart of the enemy towards you as well. To get Biblical about it, you are pouring hot coals on their head. I prefer the term though that you don't overcome evil with evil, you overcome evil with good. This might not happen in a way that you will always see, but people have a problem trying to hate people that are good to them.

Finally doing good and praying for your enemies is good for yourself. Like unforgiveness, to despise your enemies does you more harm instead of them. Doing these things will break their power and control over you. Stop harming yourself and opening old wounds, and work towards healing them. If you are like me you tried the anger and hating thing before, and it doesn't work.
Now don't just sit there and read blogs, go out and apply it.

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