The FENX and the Trenches

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

If there’s something I have learned over the last five years since my college days, it is that REAL Life is hard. I know it’s true because of the clever ways we as human beings try and evade and or escape such a reality. I do it with video games, comic books, and distractions of general geekery – yes, sometimes adventures with the FENX is that needed distraction. Others vie for the same sort of escapism by way of choices and substances that are magnitudes more destructive. Many of us escape though movies (guilty – Neverending Story, anyone, anyone). Who hasn’t felt like Bastian, Alex Rogan, or Luke Skywalker at some point in their life? Sometimes life throws us huge curveballs, challenges we didn’t see coming (that’s no moon…). One could argue that my entire existence has been exactly that for my family.

I’ve spent a lot of the last five years (since college at Cedarville University) walking in various valleys amidst some pretty high and steep mountains. While those mountains have been fewer, the freshness and clarity upon the apex is a marvel unto its own. I’ve trudged though tough trenches of pain and veered though dark vortexes of confusion, wondering if and when difficult aspects of my life will change or cease all-together (they haven’t yet). Aside from facing the pain, discomfort, and difficult head-on and try and bend it to the might of will power and tenacity (fueled by Christ in me, the hope of Glory – this is the banner we raise – I know no other way) the toughest part of any trial is to face it alone.

Read more

The FENX and the White Warlock (Old Man Winter)

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, Star Wars, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Imagine for a brief moment that you are standing on the sidewalk in a busy city as the snow falls fast and the wind whips, grasping at you with icy talons. All of the sudden in the midst of nature’s temper-tantrum of frigid pandemonium emerges a clean aerodynamic form as it roars past; you cannot see into it and whoever (or whatever) might be within its confines (presumably) cannot see out of it. What are you thinking in that moment? What do you do? How do you react? Do you suddenly think we aren’t alone in the vast cosmos? A week ago that was me. I wasn’t the bewildered bystander though, I was the unseen one inside the all white alien form, and that form was the FENX.

Last week was baptism by snow as I slowly made my way home across the treacherous “Hothscape” that Washington, DC had transformed into over a matter of hours one afternoon. The government shut down around 3 pm that afternoon and I left “early” at 5 – already too late as I would soon learn. As I locked myself into the FENX; inserted keys; flipped switches to activate displays and check lights; set the Blue-tooth on the phone so I could catch-up on Star Wars: The Clone Wars Round-table discussions, all of this was routine but I knew this was going to be an adventure and visions of The Empire Strikes Back started to dance across my cortex. The snow was falling and it was sticking to the FENX with no place to go. Before too long I was having a tough time seeing and often opened the canopy so I knew where I was headed. My memorized route was being altered by law enforcement as there was too much snow to know what to do with and I was praying safety a mile a minute even though the FENX is a veteran survivor of storms (but of the summer sort). As I slowly went along the weight of the snow gave my muscles a run for their money in lifting the viewport for sight (but I empathized with Luke Skywalker’s plight of the downed Snowspeeder and trying to open the canopy to escape the oncoming Imperial Walker). I can only imagine what passersby must have thought as they saw me roll by. In the end (thanks to much evident grace) I made it safely home and away from the world of Wampas outside. I knew the White Warlock of Old Man Winter had returned and caught me unawares; thus one of my greatest enemies had returned and our struggle began once again – and I was clearly losing.

Read more

The FENX and the Media

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Life so far has been full of many crazy (some even fantastic – in the older sense of the word) adventures. As much as this shouldn’t surprise me considering I read things like Dune, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings – and thoroughly enjoy the TRON universe – many times it does. Worth is one of the greatest things humanity struggles with (both internally and externally; self worth and the worth of another) and I sometimes wonder if I am worthy of the adventure I find myself on. From a proper perspective of humility in relation to the Creator and Master of the universe, I’m not – but rather blessed to be on said journey.

Greatest amongst the recent adventures is obviously The FENX Project. I was reminded of this a few nights ago when I had dinner with Carl Sears and his wife Sheila. Carl is the producer behind the NBC News story on Dad, The FENX and I and his wife is the one who helped “discover” us on that late summer night in 2009 when I was driving home from the Capitol and her camera crew spied something coming toward them which they considered to possibly be a UFO, and in a sense the FENX was – in being an unidentifiable object flying past them. (To my friends to who secretly wonder if I’m really from somewhere else, here’s your shot but I am sorry to disappoint.) At dinner we shared memories of that night in July and the surrounding circumstances when it came to working on the NBC project together, such wonderful people. I shared with them a number of unlikely stories involving places like the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Capitol Hill, and reactions from Members of Congress. It occurred to me, as it has many times, that I don’t lead a regular life – even if it seems so normal to me. (I’ve the Creator and my family to thank for that.)

Read more

The FENX and Physicians…

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December: the greatest and worst month of the year. It’s a period of 31 days filled with great hope and wonder. The hope of a coming Savior now arrived and fulfilled. The wonder of grappling with those implications and seeing the bright faces of children during the season as it washes over them (or in some cases folks who just grow old but never bothered to grow up). It’s also filled with Winter, with snow, and with cold; the older I get the less I like that – it makes my life harder. In the midst of this period of days stand days long remembered, never forgotten. Every year I spend time reflecting on the two and a half weeks that changed my life, where a young boy persevered though pain and trial and came close enough to Death to shoot the Reaper’s eye out with a paintball gun; much better than a BB gun, I don’t care what a kid who stuck his tongue to a pole and yet wants said armament at Christmas says.

Read more

The FENX and the Master(s) of the Universe: An excercise in Sovreignty

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, NBC News, Star Wars | Leave a comment

Two days from now I will be sitting at a table with (almost) my entire family eating turkey, enjoying their company, and reflecting on what I’ve been thankful for in 2010. It’s been a tough year in some respects, just like the previous year was. It’s sometimes easy for me to let the things that happen to me which are difficult or downright unjust crowd out everything else. I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons in 2010, lessons which the Master of the Universe sees fit to have me learn, lessons about identity; contentment; perseverance; trust; and owning who you are – embracing one’s destiny and calling no matter where it may lead, knowing it can alter and morph, even if it puts you in places you’d rather not be and you reside there longer than you want, often facing things which seek to damage the core of who you are, to diminish the person you are wired to be.

Passengers hate it when they are flying on a big commercial airplane and the captain comes over the speaker system to inform them the tower on the ground has put them in a holding pattern, forcing all those passengers on board to have to wait longer to reach their destination – and not one of the passengers on the plane has the power to change what is happening to them; the ultimate authority in air traffic gives a directive and it puts a wrench in things – I say this as someone who is flying home to celebrate thanksgiving and I’ll be at the airport a dozen hours from now. This is just on a plane; imagine such a scenario invading the rest of your life and not just your travel plans.

Read more

Yellow Jackets, Airplane Passengers, The Force(cast) and The FENX

Posted on by Aaron in Cedarville University, FENX 4.0, NBC News, Star Wars | 1 Comment

Although it has been a month since I’ve written in this space it has been a very interesting and adventurous month for The FENX Project. Almost a month ago exactly NBC Nightly News went live with the piece produced by Carl Sears. Since then some very interesting things have happened:

1. Cedarville University has thankfully taken it upon themselves to promote the story in conjunction with a story on me earlier this year.

2. Other opportunities to tell the story of the FENX Project on radio and TV have arisen and right now I’m waiting to see if these opportunities come to fruition

3. I received an e-mail recently from a gentlemen whom I had met on a plane headed to Michigan for Easter this year (and wrote about here) telling me he got to see the FENX piece by NBC and showed it to all his family and friends – making sure they knew he met me on a plane.

Read more

The Story of the FENX and NBC News II: Going Live

Posted on by Aaron in Cedarville University, FENX 4.0, NBC News | Leave a comment

Last Friday I received an unexpected but welcome e-mail from Carl Sears, the NBC Nightly News producer who has worked tirelessly to create the NBC story on The FENX Project started in 2004 by my Dad and I. (I wish all folks in the news business were as great as Carl has been.) In the body of the e-mail Carl informed me that the story had gone live on the Internet that morning and that it had been sent to all the local affiliates around the nation. To say I was surprised was an understatement – it had been over a year since the process of creating this news piece started and no one was sure if it would ever air (the hope was always there but the reality of the news business and the need to maintain continuity within a broadcast can make it tough).

Read more

The FENX and the Commander: James Bond and Screen on the Green

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Screen on the Green at the National Mall began last night for 2010 with Goldfinger, the second and probably best of the presently dead James Bond movie franchise (thanks to MGM’s management and budgetary troubles). Powering up the batteries of the FENX, I headed down for this screening with some friends. As often happens taking the FENX down to such a public venue attracts attention, but the one behind the butterfly always has to focus on the drive and ignore the onlookers. Unfortunately, about halfway through the film the rain came with crashing sound and blazing light. In the end Screen on the Green was shut down just like it was last year when screening Rebel w/o a Cause starring James Dean. Last night, like last year, the FENX was my saving grace from the torrent of water, light, and sound. While many others were scattered, sopping, and screeching their displeasure at the turn of events I focused on seeing through the rain and singing Star Wars parodies like Yoda, The Saga Begins, and Star Wars Cantina on the drive home. Once again, the ingenuity of my own personal Q Branch known as DAD shone through brighter than lightning and I navigated my way back to the Fortress of Solitude while silently lamenting the inability of the masses around me to coherently mind their surroundings as Bruce Wayne was taught and be something other than huddled masses yearning to be dry and spurred on by group-think. This adventure did, as others have, highlight the future possibility of more additional passenger space in the FENX to keep my friends safe and dry though; a thought for the next iteration.

Star Trek and the FENX: Undiscovered Country

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is one of my favorite Star Trek movies. But anyone who knows me knows I’m more of a Star Wars fan (kinda like J.J. Abrams; didn’t he direct a Star Trek film?). At this point I can hear the “snap/hiss” of lightsabers and phasers being set for kill all over the world-wide-web. How in the word can a Star Wars fan love a Star Trek movie? Well, the sci-fi genre has always been one to take issues of the time away from Earth and tackle them in a safer environment; Star Trek VI does this. At the time Star Trek VI released (12.13.91) the Chernobyl incident had occurred, the Berlin Wall had come down, and the Iron Curtain had recently fallen. The story in Star Trek VI mirrors this with a energy disaster on a Klingon moon and the need for peace between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets. Add to this plot great performances by the Trek cast and additions like Christopher Plummer as General Chang and David Warner as Chancellor Gorkon and things get better. Throw William Shakespeare quotes into the dialogue and make it relevant to the plot and it’s amazing. Now, how does this relate to the FENX? Well, one of the themes to Star Trek VI is fear of the unknown. Peace between the Klingon Empire and the Federation was a scary thing for some because it would change the galaxy.; it was something folks just couldn’t understand.

Read more

The FENX and The Users: A TRON Tale

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This December the much anticipated sequel to the original TRON releases to theaters. Originally released in 1982, it was the story of a video game designer who got transported into the world he created. IMHO, the Terminator and Matrix franchises may not have existed if TRON hadn’t come first. One of the highlights of the original movie was the sequence with the lightcycles (and the lightcycle sequence in the coming sequel looks even better). About two months ago, Free Comic Book day happened on a Saturday. That morning I jumped in the FENX to take a trip to Union Station, intent on stooping by Fantom Comics to pick up some comics. I always park the FENX right out front of the store and it tends to attract a lot of attention. As I was leaving Fantom Comics that morning, a gentlemen came up to me with his five-year-old son and tells me “my son really likes you’re vehicle, when he first saw it he looked at me and says ‘DADDY DADDY, IT’S THE TRON CAR!!!’” I was floored, utterly shocked – a five year old knew a movie that was 20+ years older than he was. It pretty much made my day.