Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm in one of those moments where I don't know how to feel while the only thing I *know* that I feel is an unexplained anxiousness. There are times that I have a strong faith that things are going to fall in to place and then there are times I really struggle. I can't deny that I am truly blessed to have what God has given me and at the same time I feel that I am bot equipped to handle those things ... And it scares me.

Sometimes I worry that I'm in this all alone. I refer to that as is on this earth. I know that God is with me but on this earth I'm all alone. I want (need?) someone to be there with me to rejoice with me and someone to be beside me for all the confusing and trying times. The thing that I really struggle with is that God recognized that Adam needed a helper and He provided that by creating Eve. God doesn't want us to be alone on this earth - yet I am. And why has God given me such a strong passion to be the best father and husband I can be and yet I don't have the opportunity.

I think that all of that, however, is only part of everything. No matter what it is that I do I also become taken for granted eventually. All of a sudden everything that I once enjoyed doing becomes a chore and then I start questioning what purpose I serve. What is it that makes me different than anyone else. If something happened to me today, what part of this world would not be able to replace me or who (aside from family) would be left with a void in their hearts.

There is no easy solution to the way I feel. There really isn't even a descriotion of how I feel. God has certainly provided me with a lot in the material world which are, no doubt, great tools to use for Him.... But I'm still empty. I lack a purpose and I lack importance to anyone else's heart.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Today there has been a discussion on a mailing list that I am on regarding viruses spreading across the internet. It prompted a reply to me but by time I was done I decided that it was entirely too long to send on the list so I am posting it here and giving a link on the list because I believe that there are many other people out there that can benefit from this information.

The majority of viruses that are spread today are more of a "terroristic" threat than they are actual threat to your computer. While it is very true that there are viruses and spyware that can create huge issues with using your computer it is rare that you become infected in a serious way if you have programs like AVG Anti-Virus installed and updated. Many of the viruses you read about or you get forwarded on to you are nothing more than someone's power trip. The scenario is that someone just makes something up and sends it to a large list of people explaining this "new virus" and then signs the email as someone who sounds important. The people that receive that email have a lot of good in their heart and they pass it on to all of their friends in order to protect them. The sad thing is that the person who created that email has just been given what he wanted. The email goes on from person to person and now he is sitting at home gloating about how he started that email -- meanwhile mail servers everywhere are having to deal with the issue of increased load.
There definately are viruses out there that can do damage to your data but if you have a reputable virus scanning program active on your computer, there is no need to fear. Yes, there is a chance that a virus can get around a properly working virus scanner but the fear that people have over the possibility ends up being a greater risk than the actual possibility it's self.

In some cases, the virus is "coming" from someone that is a friend or relative or from a reputable company. This is done typically by one of 2 ways. If a computer becomes infected with a virus, that virus will prey on that person's email program (in almost all cases its Outlook or Outlook Express) and read the address book. Because the virus has affected the programming of the email program it's self, it has the ability to send an email without the owner of the computer even knowing it was sent, thus, someone you know has sent you a virus -- but it's actually just their computer that sent it. The second way this is done is by "forging". Someone with enough equipment at their disposal can actually manipulate the headers of an email. As an analogy, consider your mailbox in front of your house. Every day you go to that mailbox and you get mail out of it and you assume that your postman put that mail there. All of your mail is always addressed to you and the return addresses are all from people you know or from companies that you know and trust. The thing is the return address may not be accurate at all. I could easily write my friend's address that lives in PA on an envelope and mail it from here in VA. When you receive that you may not even think to look at the post mark. If you notice that someone from PA is sending you a letter but the post mark says it's from another state you have to ask if the person you know would have any business in VA. It's possible your friend really was visiting someone in VA and mailed a letter from there, but, if you know there is no way that person ever would have been in VA then there is cause for concern. Another possibility in your mail box scenario is that your post man delivers your mail but someone else sneaks by later and puts a letter in the box that appears to be delivered by your post man. Someone else was posing as your post man whether you saw that person or not and the same can occur on internet mail systems. Some mail servers pretend to be other mail servers. There are forensics that can actually still trace these types of forgeries.

The MOST important thing is this (as I continue the mailbox analogy): Think of the odds that someone snuck something into your mailbox and the odds that it would have actually been some type of communicable disease. It's rare that you would be the receipant of something such as this but even in most cases, you would recognize something wasn't quite right and would have, at the very least, taken corrective action immediately. This is exactly what your virus scanner is doing. The larger concern in the reality of what you get in your mailbox are things such as scams, unwanted advertisements, requests to do something (such as cash a check) that gives the sender the right to some of your information or to sign you up for something. It's also possible that you get something requesting personal information about an account that you have and you fill it out and return the information and the receipant of that information wasn't actually your bank or other company you deal with. These issues are very present in email and no virus scanner can help you from them -- and none of them contain a virus at all. You may ask "If I get an email from First National Bank and I do have an account there, how did they know?" ... The reality is that email may have been sent to 2,000 people and 1,990 of them deleted it because they didnt have an account there. The sender of the email doesnt have a clue but they send the email to a large enough list of people that at least a few are bound to have an account and willingly provide the information -- those few people are enough to make it worth his time.

There are things you can do to protect yourself (and the internet):

1> Never panic and send emails to others warning them of a virus. The largest percentage of these emails are actually more of a chain letter than anything else -- or designed to inflict fear. If you get something and you are concerned that it really might be legit the best thing to do is check http://www.snopes.com and do a search for the email you received. Your likely to find a copy of the same email you received.

2> If you are running Windows, make sure you have an anti-virus program installed. Grisoft has a free program called AVG Free Edition that works extremely well -- even better than Norton and McAffee. You can find it at http://free.grisoft.com

3> Use email programs other than Outlook or Outlook Express. Most actual viruses prey on the programming inside of those applications -- they are written that way because the author knows thats what most people use. A great alternative is Thunderbird from Mozilla. Mozilla also has a great web browser called Firefox which protects your computer a lot more than Internet Explorer. You can find both programs at http://www.mozilla.com

4> Never click on a link inside an email. If there is a link inside an email copy the text of the link you see and then paste that into your web browser. The internet allows for you to create a link to a page but instead of actually displaying the link you can put a description of what the link is to. Scammers often use this to their advantage. If your bank is www.mybank.com then you are more likely to click on a link that is http://www.mybank.com/login/index.html ... But the person who authored the email may be using the description feature and creates a link to http://www.myscam.com/login/index.html but when he describes it, he doesnt use a sentence or a word but a fake address. The result is you click on a link that looks valid but the hidden link is actually going to somewhere else. If you copy and paste the text you see rather than just clicking the link, you eliminate this possibility.

Hopefully this little tutorial helps you folks out and hopefully it was clear enough for even non computer literate users to understand.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Myspace is no longer a place that I am participating in.
A while ago a friend and I were talking about both of us just deleting our myspace accounts but that person has decided not to.... over the last couple of days I have realized that my reason for not wanting to be part of it any more was not dependant on that person. Actually, I have found a lot more out about real life and I like it a lot better.

When you cancel your myspace account, they want you to fill in a box with comments on why you are deleting your account. Here is what I wrote:

There are two points to the reason for me canceling.
The first reason is because the site is a technical nightmare. It's overwhelming flash content will tax even the most advanced computers and the focus of myspace seems to be add new features to compete with possible competitors rather than making sure what they already have works. There is seemingly no spam protection inside of the site it's self. While it's true that you can disable email notifications I can't log in to the site without seeing spam comments or messages. Oh, and the "Unexpected error has occured" has become more than expected.

The second reason is the attitude of people on the site. I have seen entirely too many friendships and relationships destroyed because of jealousy. Myspace.com seems to be the greatest collection of petty and self-centered people..... or maybe it's just that everyone on myspace knows how to use the site so well but they can't understand how to use "real-life" and there is a reliance upon how many people are on your friend's list because they don't understand what it means to have real friends and it's the only way they can close the gap.

No matter what the reason, the idea of social networking (and especially myspace's paticular style) is harmful to society in the long run. While I believe that a lot of good can and has happened on the site, I don't believe that most people have the idea of making it that way so this is my decission not to be a part of this any longer.
I keep starting to write something tonight but I always end up getting nowhere. There are a lot of good things going on right now but not really anything I need to tell the world about. In some ways I think my life has always been purposed for the comfort of others and I've loved that... But for right now, its not about that. Maybe God is working on the relief and the dreams that I have been looking for or maybe it will all end tomorrow and ill have yet another lesson to have learned. My hope is that it doesn't end - but my problem is I'm scared of the past repeating its self. Oddly, it seems I experience more anxiety when things are good for the fear that ill lose those things.

I guess it seems that I never did complete the last turn on the path that is my life - I'm still en route. The interesting thing is it seems the second half of the turn is all mental. I have the house and everything else but now that I have more tools, its time to learn how to use them.

I posted an away message a couple days ago that said "I guess you can't do everything to help someone, but if you truly care that won't stop you from trying". One concept I have learned kind of relates: the more you care about someone, the less you care about yourself.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I guess you can't do everything needed to make someone happy but if you care, that won't stop you from trying
Mind the Gap

Holy freaking crap! Just what we need.... another way to erase responsibility. Ok, so maybe there are SOME uses for this but the whole idea of it is ridiculous! What happens to us and what we do makes us who we are and now all of a sudden, we're able to become someone that we are not. If someone needs help with PTSD then I really think that if they had a horrible experience that shouldn't have happened then they should get the counseling and grow from that experience. No, I'm not being insensitive but how many people have had a really bad experience and ended up helping so many other people because of it.

But all of the PTSD aside, I think it would be horrible for such a drug to exist.... it can and WILL be used inappropriately -- a lot more than it would be useful.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dangit! I forgot today was when the new schedule started at church. Looks like I'm missing it today :(

Friday, June 15, 2007

If you've ever found yourself saying "ok God, what's next" then you might have an idea of how I feel right now. Of course my personality drives me to new things all the time and I know that isn't an accident. God says in Isaiah "see, I am doing a new thing" and no matter what my purpose is, I'm here to be on the frontline of it.
I'm progressing on getting my house set up. I've switched jobs and I'm pretty much settled in there (which most of the time that is my house anyway). The only thing that is still to be accomplished is finding a pick up truck.
So... What now? God has given me more than I could have dreamed for; more than I asked for. He has set me up for something big and I guess I really am anxious to do something with all of this. I want to do something nice for someone... I want to know what's next.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I can't understand why I have to have these days where its just constant reminders of how much of a screw up I am from the beginning of the day until the end. Yes, I do make mistakes but why must I have these entire days of being made to feel like I have screwed so much up. There were 3 main conversations I had today.... not one of them made me feel in the slightest bit like a good person.... quite the opposite actually. My drive home was horrible.... I shed quite a few tears along 66 and, in great tradition of who I am, I just continue to beat myself up.... once someone gets the ball rolling I'll pretty much take it from there..... and we you have 2 people adding momentum to that ball and not one single person to give me something positive to slow that ball down.

Actually, whatever.... I hate the world right now and there isn't going to be anything else I can or will say here that is going to make anything better.... I might as well go to bed now -- its not like there is anyone that I'm going to affect anyway.
There really are times when someone can impact your life in ways that you never dreamed possible. One thing I am learning as time goes on is that the people you least expect to be the ones to impact you are usually the ones that make the greater impact.... and actually, it's usually in ways that you never imagined or thought to be possible.

I guess in my psycho-analyzing mind, I'm realizing that the failure of relationships may just be the fact that they are designated as relationships. All of us limit ourselves in ways that each one can't realize. There is something that we allow to control us... and often, there are things that we believe will always control us. This isn't the way God intended it tho.... Actually, God gives us all our own free will so that we can make our own choices. This is the way that we were designed and when we allow anything to control us, we are held to expectations of whatever it is that controls us. The person or object that controls us will vary between person to person. Some are addicted to drugs, some pornography, some alcohol.... some let a parent or an ex or a friend control them.... others allow situations to control them. Each one of these controlling factors carries some sort of an expectation.... drugs have the expectation that you will give your body more drugs.... pornography has the expectation that you will spend hours at your computer throwing time away.... when you get into another person controlling someone, the expectations that are possible are and endless list. The point is, while so many of these things can be great at first, it eventually comes to a point where the expectations are greater than you wanted and all of a sudden you are trapped and the relationship with that person, addiction, or thing suddenly isn't all that great.... disaster ensues.

If you think of the social scenario of "dating", it doesnt take long before you see where expectations come into the picture. In one look at the other person, expectations (and assumptions) are made instantly.... sadly, it's often all based on physical attraction. Before even your first words are said, each person has at least one expectation.... from there on out, that game seems to be convincing yourself that those expectations were wrong.... You're already behind the gate because your not starting at 0 ... you're actually starting at a negative because your not going into the scenario trying to learn who someone really is but your going into a scenario where you have to first realize that they are not who you thought they were.... if you make it past that point, then you can begin learning who someone is.... but I think most relationships die before this point. The second that we form a "relationship" (meant in the romantic sense), we essentially doom that friendship from flourishing. Oh, it's true.... many people go on to get married..... but don't you think that may explain why the divorce rate is so high?

I've been told so many times that I shouldn't go looking for love and that I should just let it find me.... maybe the answer to a relationship isn't love but finding someone that you can share your life with. Oh, love is an important part -- but we're supposed to be loving everyone. And sure, there is love in a marriage ... there has to be. But maybe the problem is that we are so focused on loving and being loved and at the same time we're focusing on finding someone that is completely unlike anyone else inside of that love.

I guess the point is this.... even if I'm waiting for love (romantic) to find me, I can not be expecting it because any expectation at all can truly taint the awesomeness of what is possible. Instead, maybe it is best to look for the love that we should love everyone with and find someone that makes sense for us and someone we can trust and they can trust us.... Before Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they had no knowledge of good and evil and they were taken care of..... things were as they were and they had no shame..... I guess maybe if we completely close the idea of what romantic love is and isn't, it really will find us -- maybe long before we even realize it found us.... and that, quite possibly, is the scenario that would result in the best marriage ever -- a marriage with no expectations of what the other person should or shouldnt be but only expectation of commitment (ie. being faithful to that person and not cheating, etc).

Friday, June 08, 2007

Tell me all about yourself
Tell me all about your favorite bands
How they're super-indie-neo-hardcore
Tell me all about your favorite hobbies
And the way you love sunsets
Well who doesn't?

Still I'd like the chance to really see
If what you say is true and has integrity
Cause I could know everything about you
And still know nothing at all
I know that it's wrong to form an opinion on only what I see
But in my defense it's really hard to know
When MySpace is the only thing that you ever show

So it seems you've got a lot of friends
How many of them know you
Or even care if you're alive or dead?
When was the last time you were honest
Instead of posting blogs of fake emotions?

Still I'd like the chance to really see
If what you say is true and has integrity
Cause I could know everything about you

And still know nothing at all
I know that it's wrong to form an opinion on only what I see
But in my defense it's really hard to know
When MySpace is the only thing that you ever show

When you finally resurface to the point of finding purpose
We'll begin to see just who you are

I know that it's wrong to form an opinion on only what I see
But in my defense it's really hard to know
When MySpace is the only thing that you ever show

"MySpace" by Eleventyseven

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Barn fire in Salem Township - WPXI

Barn fire in Salem Township - Tribune Review

Barn fire in Salem Township - WTAE

Last night my great aunt and uncle's barn caught fire -- so large that it made top stories in Pittsburgh.

Please lift them up in your prayers
Cingular is now the new AT&T.....
and all the junk that is AT&T comes with it

So a little over a month ago I left Cingular and moved to T-Mobile. A week after I ported my number, I logged on to the cingular website and payed the balance due. Last week I finally got my final bill.... and in the same mail pickup was another letter from Cingular indicating that I needed to make payment immediately or my account would be handed over to collections. I called them yesterday and made a payment over the phone with my credit card. They said there were no issues and that my account was satisfied and was closed with a $0 balance. Today I get a phone call from Cingular's collection agency telling me that they have an account that was transfered to them on Monday. End result, in order to keep them from reporting to my credit report, I had to make ANOTHER payment to them today..... Now I'll have to wait until Cingular refunds my money.

I had figured that with things switching back over to AT&T that crap like this would start happening.... I didnt realize how bad the reality was. For all of you that want the iPhone, you might really want to think twice because it's simply not worth it if you have to deal with AT&T ethics.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ok, I think there is a huge need for me to upgrade to an intel mac. Look how smoothly Windows apps integrate into the OSX operating system.

Saltwater into fire?

Monday, June 04, 2007

So eHarmony worked really well for me last year when I found Kim (even tho things didnt work out because of family issues) so I decided to try again. I still wonder if the fact that I joined eHarmony makes me pathetic or not? Oh well, this is me.... God will find me the right girl and He can use anything to do that -- including the internet.

Since I'm an open book, you can check out my profile here (and you should consider getting your own profile whether or not your looking for people because it really does help you understand more about yourself):

My eHarmony Profile

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Today really was a good day. Matt came down from PA last night and today we went to Shenandoah National Park. We did some hiking and stopped by Dark Hollow Falls which was really incredible. I'm pretty sore right now but it was worth it. Tonight we went to Winchester to stop at wal mart and got lost for a good while but it was a good time.

The thing that is sucking right now is stuff in the background. When I was having panic attacks a few years back, they happened even despite good things going on. Tonight I am feeling really anxious and I'm somewhat bordering on panic. I'm laying in bed right now completely unable to sleep. I know for one thing that I am worried that I am losing things. Look at my last post and see all the amazing things God has done - yet it seems everytime things this great happen, I start losing things one by one. I fear that process has already started. I know that I pretty much bring it on my self because I can really be a horrible person - I just am affraid that I need to change but will never be able to.

I can't understand all of this at all. I want things to head more towards my dreams. God has really given me more than I could have imagined and I am truly gratefull.... But there are things that I have dreamed of all my life but when there is a glimmer of hope for any of those dreams, that hope is removed rapidly.

I guess I should try to sleep again. I'm really hope this anxiousness ends soon.

Friday, June 01, 2007

So much has been going on. My life has so drastically changed and it all really was totally unexpected. Let's recap:

* new house *
I am now a homeowner! I bought a house in Linden, VA way up on a mountain and in the woods. Its the closest I've felt to home since I moved to Virginia. I've got a ton of stuff to do tho. Everything is stacked everywhere and needs to find its place in the house or at least the crawlspace. Lots of work to do in the yard as well. I own 1.8 acres but most of that is woods. Who knows what God has planned for me to do with all that land!

* new jobs *
Things at Fox Mill Pets got really rough in the last month. I desperetly needed relief and God provided that. Saturday was my last day there. I am still technically an employee but its only when I feel like going in. I am now contracting for MFC / Readnews again and I am also contracting for Pull the Plug Technologies. The scenario plays out very well. The majority of my work is from home or anywhere I have access to a computer. The awesome thing about this is I can work from the New Life office which allows me to do a lot more volunteering for them. Ill only be doing 3 days at MFC so ill drive into NoVA in the morning to New Life on those days and head to the data center after that. Things fit really well.

* new friends *
I have met quite a few people while working at Fox Mill. Many of those were nothing more than talking while there. A few of those have developed into really awesome friendships. One of those in paticular is an amazing connection with someone who feels the same way as me on a lot of different things. I have to say this is the first time that I have focused on building friendships than being concerned about finding "the one". I have always focused on the friendship side of things but this is the first time that I am culturing friendships with more than one girl and any of them could progress if God sees fit. No pressure - just awesome people that I can call and talk for hours or go hang out with. I still have some great friends from New Life Dulles Campus. A lot of people there have made a huge impact on my life. The toughest debate for me right now is if I should go to the Haymarket campus which is closer or if I should keep going to Dulles. Either way, there are more friends to make!

* new area *
I now live in shenandoah which is an amazing area that I haven't even begun to explore. Mountains, caverns, rivers and falls... Its just incredible!

* new experiences *
Lots of new things. I feel different. I feel more in control but I feel God involved in that. I am yielding my control to God more than I had been and that is a phenominal feeling. He is doing amazing things in my life and those around me. He is getting ready to do something really big. Its an exciting time.

* new pets *
I now own 3 birds. Lisa is a cockatiel, Cracker is a quaker parakeet, and Bacardi is a sun conure. Ill have 3 tanks in my home. My semi-aggresive community is set up. Its a 55 gallon with a fluval 305. I have 2 tanks under consteuction. One of those is a 37H with a fluval 205 which will be a discus tank and the other is another 55 which will have a fluval 405 as well as a full lighting system with actinic and will be an african cichlid comminiy tank.

.....

So many things to come. Its amazing how much has changed as well as how much God has been in control of it all and what He has done. I am a different (better) person and a lot of that has a lot to do with some really amazing friends.