Some bittersweet news…

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sad pumpkinI guess I should go ahead and let people know, before the first of October hits and anyone is actually expecting it:

There will be no HALLOWEEN’ING series this year.

ThereĀ was going to be one this year; I had the entire month of October mapped out, with over half of the articles already written and scheduled.

But, the reality is, my heart just isn’t in this at this time. The reasons and the standard ones: Fatigue. Health issues. Burnout. Also, I really don’t want to have to constantly justify my love of this particular season over the Big Two Christian holidays I’m expected to prefer.

I just want to chill out this year, enjoy the Halloween season without feeling the need to blog about everything. I want to peruse all the wondrous and spooky things without constantly formulating how I’m going to write the article.

I’m telling you, having a strong writer’s mentality is both a blessing and a curse sometimes.

So, yeah. No HALLOWEEN’ING this year. That doesn’t mean I won’t be posting anything related to Halloween. If I see something cool, I’ll have to say something about it. I just won’t be spending every day of the month doing it, if at all.

In the mean time, I’ve been scheduling next year’s movie and music review posts, getting them out of the way for other things. Until next time, cheers everyone, and stay freaky.

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A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT SCREAM…

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punpkin screamSo, I thought I’d take some time to bring whatever readers I still have up to speed in the life and times of your Uncle NecRo. It’s been a while, and I thought a bit of venting is in order. In a matter of speaking.

First, with the lack of postings since house sitting for my sister’s family whilst they were vacationing in Nevada: Currently, I’m in the midst of writing and scheduling the daily posts for this year’s HALLOWEEN’ING 2018. I’m almost halfway done with that; all that remains is waiting for the stores and seasonal attractions to open up and let me pursue for the remaining posts. This year marks the return of the Shadow’s Edge haunted attraction, after a two year absence. I can’t wait to check that one out. I also want to hit some places I hadn’t made it to for the decorations and costumes. But, there will probably be visits to my standard favorite places, more because of familiarity. I’m old. That’s my excuse.

old metalheadSpeaking of being old, I probably won’t be able to make the Metallica show on the 6th. My health has been not good, and my eyesight is that driving at night and in the dark is getting kind of wonky for me. I’m scheduled for an eye exam later today (as I write this), but the new glasses won’t be back in time for the show. Also, there’s the regular middle age guy things, like I have to work the next day, it’s an hour’s drive, that section of Lincoln is difficult to navigate in the daytime, let alone post-show congestion in the dead of night. And quite frankly, my knees are all shot, making it difficult to make the hike from the parking garages to the arena. If they would have played in Omaha, maybe. Ten, maybe twenty years ago, I would have been all over this show. Now, though, I’m in my mid-fourties. I wasn’t able to find someone to go with me, so I’m probably going to sit this one out. Yeah, I’m probably pissing away my only chance to see them live. I’m at peace with this. Metal up your ass.

As far as blog postings for the rest of the year: I’m holding off on the standard Movie/Book/Music reviews until next year. Right now, I’m focusing on the HALLOWEEN’ING 2018 posts, and getting some of the standard brain dropping style articles take care of. I’ve had quite a few percolating for a number of years that keep bubbling back up to the surface ever now and again. So, bit of a relaxed schedule for the blog, here.

Anyway, if anything else comes up, y’all will be the first to know. That you know of. Until then, God bless, my wonderful freaks. Cheers and all that…

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House Sitting, Day 7

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existential pizzaDay Seven of the House Sitting.

Last day. Doing the laundry one last time, getting things packed away. Spending one last night here, then headed to work tomorrow mourning, all of my things tucked into the NEKRON 7. Headed back to the Haunted Victorian afterwards.

Tonight, though, I plan on watching the newest Preacher on the AMC channel on the Dish Network setup (as opposed to waiting until Monday evening to watch it on the Amazon streaming). Only three more episodes left to this season. I hope they actually get to the point of all this. Judging by last season, though, probably not.

The existential realization of heading back to the reality tomorrow looms just above and behind me, like the realization of my own mortality. It’s more of an intangible black cloud, reminding me that, like life itself, the holiday is fleeting, a mere blip in the grand overall scope of time and space. I exist, and that existence has meaning; and yet, when compared to the vastness that is time, and the fact that time itself is speeding along faster and faster, so that to give the illusion of blinking and seeing much of my life and experience go by, a blip in the history of Everything…makes me want to just order a pizza and chill out a bit.

Mmmmm…taco pizza from Casey’s…make this a reality, when the laundry’s done and I have socks again…

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House Sitting, Day 6

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clutterDay Six of the House Sitting. Saturday. I didn’t go into Omaha for the standard Lunch + Writing. I was planning on doing so, as I had the Lappy and a couple of notebooks packed up in the bag, but decided when I got inside the NEKRON 7 to just go into Blair and pick some things up at the Family Fair, and just do the writing at the homestead.

Discovered that Blair’s Family Fare is the only one I’ve been to that doesn’t carry the A&W Diet Cream Soda in 2 liter bottles. Minor setback. Just picked up a 12-pack instead, as well as a 4-pack of the IBC brand diet root beer. That stuff is more on the wintergreen side of the taste, instead of the creamy side.

Steve the Hamster keeps getting his hamster ball of DOOOOOOOM stuck. Extension cords, between a yarn basket and the wall…it’s almost like he’s now doing this on purpose, just to get the thrill of me unsticking him out of his predicament. I’m on to you, Hamster Steve.

Watching the 1991 sci-fi-ish action flick Firehead. Why do I do this to myself?

House Sitting Day 5

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me and duchessDay Five. Got a bit of the ol’ cabin fever, so I opted to go have a shorter Lunch + Writing session at Sean O’Casey’s. Had the Breakfast Bacon Cheeseburger, with peanut butter. Onion rings with 1000 Island for the dippin’. Not bad, but didn’t set my world ablaze with flavor.

Kicked things old-school with the writing, meaning I didn’t bring any of the two laptops (I’m typing this on the Linux Lappy, in case anyone was morbidly curious), only a couple of notebooks and my pen. Made sure it had plenty of ink this time. Mostly listened to some albums and taking notes for future reviews. One Disciple EP and a couple of Dead Artist Syndrome albums.

Steve the Hamster rolling around in his Death Ball. Duchess off brooding somewhere. Had some fun running around while I watered the flowers. Back to watching the movies on my Windows Lappy by way of the Prim streaming…horrible, horrible movies riffed gleefully by the guys who brought us the original Mystery Science Theater 3000…even then, sometimes that barely helps…

House Sitting, Day 4

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abandoned spooky houseDay Four of watching the Rinas household while my sister’s family visit our father down in Nevada. I have finally acclimated to sleeping on the couch, as last night I was able to sleep through, instead of tossing and turning most of the time.

Went into Freakmont to pick up a bit more grocieries; the trip reminded me why I don’t go into Fremont too often anymore. I couldn’t get back to the homestead and away from interacting with society fast enough.

Continuing on with the steady stream of writing, napping, and watching really bad movies on the Amazon Stream; as I metioned to my nephew earlier today, the 80s was a magical time for bad movies, as we watched the over-the-top fight scene in Deadly Prey…someone gets his arm chopped off and is beaten up with his own arm. That’s going to factor in somewhere in my dreams.

Up in the air with going into Omaha tomorrow for the standard Holiday Lunch + Writing at Sean O’Casey’s. The dog seems to get along fine with being alone for a few hours; Annie wasn’t kidding that she seems to be a bit clingy, though. She is eating, though, which is one of the things to keep an eye out for. Steve the Hamster rushes around inside his Death Star.

Mesa Of Lost Women plays as I pound out my brain droppings. The cheese level is very high on this one.

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My First Calvinist Encounter

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john calvinAs I have said before, I missed out on a lot of the alternative rock back in the 1990s, not because I was unwilling to branch out from my preference for metal, but because so many of the fans and adherents to the exploding alternative scene were obnoxious douchenozzels about it. The overall sense of elitist snobbery from the fans utterly turned me off from wanting to check out the music for myself.

It’s essentially the same experience I’ve had with Calvinism, while attempting to investigate and understand this particular theological branch of Christianity, instead of an enlightening discussion on the topic, I usually walk away with the feeling that my own salvation was questioned due to my lack of understanding the particular brand of theology, while a nagging feeling that they were merely parroting memorized talking points rather than engaging questions.

But, this really isn’t a post about my thoughts on Calvinism. Let me, instead, tell you about my first actual encounter with a Calvinist. This should amuse you.

There was a time, a decade ago, when I didn’t know what a Calvinist was, let alone Calvinism. As a matter of fact, most of my theological studies stemmed from my study of the scriptures themselves. I adhered to the Apostle Paul’s sentiment in 1 Corinthians 1:12-15, as I identified myself as a Christian in and of itself. I still do, it’s just now I’ve done much investigation and studying the various branches of Christian theology since then, in an effort to understand.

Anyhoo, all this to say that my first encounter with Calvinism was when I met my now-ex fiance back in 2007.

We initially met online, by way of one of those Christian alternatives to MySpace, named Shout Life. We were both hanging out in one of the chatroom boards on the sight; she was impressed with my ability to spell correctly and actually hold a somewhat intelligent dialogue. Also, I made her laugh. We both held interesting and in-depth conversations in the chatroom over the months, which led to chatting on IM late at night.

One evening, I fixed myself a bit of dinner, took it to the computer, and began chatting on IM with her. She started things off by asking, “Do you believe in the existence of free will?”

I was not expecting that question. Nor was I expecting her response when I answered to the affirmative:

“Oh, that’s okay. We can still be friends.” Then she put in one of those smiley-face emoticons at the end, there. How whimsical.

When I pressed her to explain in a bit more detail, she merely stated that free will is an illusion, that God has preordained everything and everything is out of our control. This statement completely blew my mind; not by the profundity of it, but from the completely half-baked nature of the statement. It was then that she identified herself as a “hyper-Calvinist”. To which I responded, “Cool. What’s a Calvinist?” To which she began explaining to me…completely omitting any mention of John Calvin or his writings. Just a lot of words including that of “predestination”, “limited atonement”, and something about the ESV translation. In other words, she wasn’t very good at explaining this thing she claimed to adhere to.

Since I have the terrible gift/curse of overthinking things when it comes to wrestling with my faith, I began talking of my own ponderings on the subject of free will and the sovereignty of God, and how the two didn’t have to be mutually exclusive if we consider our own finite understanding of God…and after less than five minutes, I swear I could hear the audible *POP* of her brain ‘sploding all the way from Kansas. After that, when we were dating, the topic never came up again.

So, there we have the first, and sadly only time I’ve encountered a self-defined Calvinist in real life and in person. I’ve met several self-described Calvinists online over the years, through message boards and on social media and blogs, but never someone I could sit down with and have a civil exchange of questions and discussion, one-on-one, in a genuine effort to understand. Mostly I get pelted with a barrage of soundbites and memes from those online Calvinists who view John Calvin as having done no wrong and every word he spoke was gilded with shiny gold and delivered with a backing Wagnerian choir.

There are a few exceptions, mind you. For example, I find Dr. James White of Alpha Omega Ministries has a gift of explaining Calvinism (and teaching the Scriptures in general) to be both scholarly and edifying in a way that never sounds condescending.

So, to end all this prattling on, I would encourage you who are maybe consider yourself a Calvinist to go beyond your scope of understanding and have a discussion with someone who is a fellow brother or sister in Christ Jesus who doesn’t necessarily agree with everything about Calvinism. I understand the tendency to surround yourself with friends and associates that only believe the same thing you do about the faith, as I did the same thing once. But, trust me, as Proverbs 27:17 states about iron sharpening iron, there is so much benefit in doing so.

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