Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's A Jungle Out There

Went to The Pointe Church's first service today in order to get to the company picnic on time.

The picnic was at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. It was basically a "go to the zoo and then come to the tent and eat when you want" thing, as opposed to the traditional "get everybody together for horseshoes and a softball game" day. Each model has its own strengths and weaknesses, to be certain.

So, I went to the zoo. Walking into a children's zoo, I really didn't expect much. Maybe a pony ride, some antelope, and an animal-themed playground.

In fact, what I saw was completely unexpected: a world-class zoo. Having grown up in San Diego, I know the world-famous San Diego Zoo like the back of my hand. And although the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo is much smaller in size, the design, exhibits, and atmosphere rival the best.

Warthogs, giraffes, tigers, leopards, red pandas, African wild dogs, lots of fun monkey species, sea lions, penguins, sea otters, zebras, and lots more were all readily viewable and impressive.

Okay, well, "impressive" is a relative term. Sometimes, seeing something up close isn't impressive so much as it is educational...

"God has made the ostrich forget wisdom, and has not given her a share of understanding." (Job 39:17)

If you're ever in this part of the U.S., I would highly recommend this as a family vacation destination.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Good And Perfect Gifts

Today, we had a four-hour training on digital audio workstations by Mark of the Unicorn's "Magic" Dave Roberts. I learned a TON.

He's gonna mail me a copy of Digital Performer, MOTU's $800 challenger to Digidesign's Pro Tools. It's not the "industry standard" that Pro Tools is, but it's got a way more flexible interface, and looks like it could easily become my most-used digital audio workstation software, since it doesn't require being hooked up to any hardware in order to run (my only current complaint against Pro Tools).

But I imagine most of you aren't logging onto my blog to hear about my music technology adventures and ever-increasing library of cool free stuff...

Speaking of cool stuff, I wanted to extend a huge "thank you" to those of you who are mailing me cards and gifts. Just today, I got some Eileen's Colossal Cookies and an awesome item from my wishlist. Thanks SO much!

Please continue to pray for me, especially in the areas of my study workload, and my house selling.

Above all, don't forget what I told you for years: "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (James 1:17)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Not Bad For A Monday...

We started our ProTools training today. Tons of great information, connecting the dots regarding equipment I've worked with but never really understood what it was doing (or how), as well as gear that I've always wanted to try. Tomorrow begins lots of hands-on time in the studios, so that's really cool, too!

We were handed a daunting assignment today: design an entire studio retro-fit with ProTools equipment, including writing up a bid with all equipment, diagramming the install, and writing a detailed essay stating why each piece of gear was chosen. (There's LOTS more to the assignment than this, but that's the basic concept.) I'm really excited to think that three weeks from now, I will have accomplished this.

Also, I got my test back much earlier than I was told to expect it. My grade was 98.36% - much better than I expected. Yay!

Alrighty, back to studying...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New Start

Yesterday, I got up at 5am (new daily schedule), lifted weights (thanks for not buying my rack, everybody), and then started my new job.

What can I say but, "Wow."

I've never worked for an organization even close to this one. The training is top-notch, comprehensive, intensive, and long (13 weeks). All the company systems in place are custom-designed, well thought out, and always evolving for the better. The people are hand-picked and high-quality.

It has been a rare occasion that I meet someone with similar drive and approach. And only once in awhile do I encounter a person who inspires me with their work ethic. However, the owner of this company leaves me in the dust (that's not an exaggeration, either. If anything, it's a gross understatement). An old boss of mine once said I was a "Renaissance man." Sorry, Bill, but yesterday I encountered the real definition of that phrase.

This morning, I went for a dark 5am run with Dakota in the mist, which turned into a wonderful rain about 5:30. I've never run in the rain before... it was beautiful and refreshing.

As a heads-up, my new work schedule is going to severely limit my ability to return phone calls and e-mails with any sort of length or regularity. Rest assured, I AM reading everything, and thankful for the voice mails, e-mails, and letters.

And special thanks to Mike for the good Word:

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. (Lam. 3:22-23)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Sunday Best

I visited The Pointe Church this morning. As a matter of fact, I just got out about ten minutes ago. Today was their first birthday as a church.

My first impressions?

My impression is that I've been too free with critiques and accolades for ministries for too long.

But there was a multitude of plusses and very few minor minuses. Overall, I believe that this is a place I can heal and grow.

That's all you're getting from me today. Have fun, people.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Still Here...

Oh my... I have a bad mood and too many people freak out!

Okay, people: I'm not suicidal or anything! Sheesh! I was just trying to say that I didn't feel like talking on the phone and pretending to sound cheery when I'm not. Yes, I do appreciate the caring, and no, I'm not returning phone calls and emails for awhile.

But for those who need a fix, here's my update:

Right now I'm out and about (still don't have internet at home), and need to buy clothes for work. I even thought ahead and took these photos an hour ago...

This is my apartment building (I'm on the lower right of the six). Each building has three of these sets of six, and there are lots of buildings. This is the view from my desk...

Each of the buildings also has park-like amenities on either side. Here are two pics of the one to the left of my building:

Dakota is free to use these as long as he's on the leash. (And of course, I gotta pick up after him ick!)

There's also a pool, hot tub, and a fitness room in the community area. Suprisingly, there's a free 24-hour restaurant, unlimited free tanning, and complimentary daily massages! Okay, that whole last sentence was a complete lie - but at least I don't have to pay for water and trash!

Annnnywayssss.... I'm still alive. There are certainly worse things in life than loneliness. I am looking forward to church tomorrow, and hoping for human interaction. And of course, work will be a flurry of learning new stuff and meeting new people.

So... no more worrying!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bye For Now

My internet access disappeared late this morning, so I'm sitting in front of a Panera restaurant to post this.

No pictures today. As a matter of fact, I'm in such a downward spiral emotionally, it will be best if I don't post in my blog, answer the phone, or check email for awhile.

I've been trying to be chipper for those who've called, but I just don't have it in me, and I can't keep wearing yet another mask. (Have I mentioned how much I really hate masks?) So I'm gonna drop off the radar for awhile.

Total honesty: I have never felt so absolutely alone as I do right now. In my entire life, I've never felt so abandoned, lost, and useless as I do today.

I can acknowledge intellectually that this feeling will someday pass. I can read emails that say "your life hasn't been wasted." I can listen to words of encouragement on the phone. But right now, it just doesn't help. Maybe I'm just Rachel, weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more." (Jer. 31:15)

Anyway, I start work on Monday, and I've got years of experience at throwing myself into projects and tasks to push emotional torment into the background. So don't worry about me - I'll get through this.

And don't freak out if you can't get ahold of me for the next week or two, okay?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another Boring Update

Big excitement today: I opened a checking account... AND the gas company came out to put the meter in my name! Woo hoo!

I also took Dakota for a nice long walk around my apartment complex this afternoon.

(Actually, this picture is pretty deceiving. The angle makes the little pond look like a huge lake.) Overall, the place is landscaped like a park, with tons of grass and trees. I'll have to take some photos soon to show you.

On the slightly more interesting side of things, I had a really good time of fellowship with the lead pastor of The Pointe, a church here in town that meets in a movie theater. We spent a couple hours together, and he seems like a really nice guy. I promised to visit on Sunday, so I'll give you the update soon after.

Fort Wayne does have a lot of churches (it's known as "The City of Churches"). And it's got a lot of restaurants (more than 300!), parks, and festivals, too. But one thing is noticeably missing: hugs. Haven't been able to find a hug in town since my sister left. They've gotta be around here somewhere...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Apartment Update

Hi all...

I'm still unpacking, but I've got some of the rooms mostly put away. Here's some visuals...

Everything is very full, except of course for the dining room, which is empty. That big blank wall on the right will be for photos of family and friends. (It'd be great if you mailed me photos to put on there! My address: Ron Daniel, 4680 Craftsbury Circle Apt. B, Fort Wayne, IN, 46818)

And sorry, but I still can't email out. I'm gonna have to find internet access somewhere that's not behind a firewall.

And now, before you send me something saying "it's great that you're all settled in"... here's a glimpse of what the other half of the apartment looks like:

Monday, September 04, 2006

Safe And Settlling

Hi all - just a quick update:

We got in last night before dark and got to look around. It's a great apartment complex. We unloaded the truck for about 2 hours so we'd have beds, then unloaded the rest this morning (with the help of two guys I hired). That only took about an hour and 15 minutes, and we've been sorting, organizing, moving, and assembling ever since.

We just got back from a midnight trek to Wal-Mart and are now going to crash out for 6 hours before getting up to take Ocean to the airport.

I still can't e-mail out yet, so don't expect any answers from me for a few more days.

PS: Dakota loves his new home. He'd tell you himself, but he's on restriction because I caught him using the computer without permission last night.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Shh... Don't Tell

Hi, this is Dakota.

Today I got to go on a byebye that was the bye-bye to end all byebyes!

Usually, I just get taken to Lowe's, or to the Burger King drive-thru (where the girls give me bacon!). But today, I got to go on a 12-hour byebye that covered Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa!

Now that we're in Des Moines, I'm pretty beat, so I told my daddy and his sister to go to the restaurant without me. And now I'm up to no good, doing things like getting on the bed and surfing the web.

But I'm getting kinda sleepy...

PS: My daddy will write when he can, but I know he loves and misses a lot of you, because he did a lot of crying yesterday and today.