Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Suffering Loss

 Before anyone panics (does anybody even read my blog anymore?), no this is not our house, nor have any loved ones passed on. The Lord has been very merciful to us. But I do feel like I just lost two weekends (and change) of my life, and it made me think of 1 Cor. 3:11-15, and I thought I should (finally) blog about it. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.  I've heard some use these scriptures to argue that everyone goes to Heaven, after spending some time in Purgatory, or something like that. I don't think that's it at all. Leading into this, Paul is talking about missionary work, and the wood, hay, and stubble are teachings or doctrines that missionaries add to the basics of the Gospel. I take that and extend it a little further, into other aspects of our lives. Unquestionably, The Great Commission applies to us all. After all, everything on this earth has an end, except for our own souls. What other lasting work can there be, beside leading a precious lost lamb to Jesus. He is the Good, nay, the Best Shepherd. Next to that, everything else we do is wood, hay, and stubble. But what about working to provide for our families? Is that stubble, too? Well, I would argue that being my family's sole bread winner enables us to raise and educate our son (in the nurture of the Lord) and blesses us with a financial abundance that we can pass on to others. My computer skills, though gained through a world largely made of wood, hay, and stubble, have been put to good use at our homeschooling co-op. Ultimately, as Brother Paul points out, God's fire will be the true test. And on that day, everything I've ever worked on that has not furthered His Kingdom will burn. I will surely regret seeing it go, as many have before me. But that Final Judgment seems so far away, that I'm not really concerned... until I see something I spent time, money, and energy on burn up right before my eyes. Case in point... Several years ago, my lovely wife and I made a little video, starring our son, in which he did everything backwards. We filmed him getting out of bed, eating, playing, and helping me garden, and then we used a video editing tool called Pinnacle to reverse all the footage. It was a real hit in her co-op class of 7-to-9-year-olds. No, that's not what I've watched burn. Please read on... A couple weeks ago, she asked if we could do a sequel, for another co-op class. "Sure!" I said. "It'll be even better than the original!" We planned all the scenes and then spent the better part of a weekend shooting. Then, I pulled a near-all-nighter with Adobe Premiere Elements 8, cutting footage, reversing it, slowing it down, and speeding it up. It was fun, and it gave me an excuse to get serious with this editing software, for the first time. I spent most Saturday finishing up the video portion and adding some funny songs for the soundtrack. Things played well in the editor's preview window, so, on Sunday, I decided to try rendering: no sound! "Must be the audio settings," I naively thought. I tried changing those, but to no avail. "Ah," sez I, "it says I should use AVI if I want to keep editing it in Premiere." That seemed to work, except now part of one of the songs would cut out at some random point and I would hear nothing until the start of the next song. HOW FRUSTRATING!!! No problem if the sound is natively part of the video, but playback of music brought in separately was majorly flakey. I fussed and mussed with it, until I finally produced a DVD-R. We sat down together around 7:00PM to watch it. The sound was fine, but to our horror, the bulk of the video was nauseatingly stuttery! It seemed like every frame was the result of two overlapped consecutive frames. It was nowhere near the quality of the older movie, which was filmed under similar light conditions and with the same camera! Oddly enough, the few parts in the movie that I left running forward looked just fine. There was something about the footage that was reversed and saved to AVI that Premiere could not handle. 7:00PM the night before Farrah's class, and I did not have a video I could present. Do I cut my losses and just have her show the old one, or do I resurrect our old computer that had Pinnacle on it and try doing the reversing on that? Never mind that (1) I already had to set up and tear down that computer once that day, for a different reason, and (2) I had had to re-install Pinnacle a few months ago, and the version on the disk had some major bugs that I no longer had the patches for. I decided, instead, to try a different approach using Premiere. Big mistake. Here's the burn... It was midnight by the time that I could see the fruits of my labors. Not only did I not fix the stutter, but the sound cut out about a minute into the video. AAAAAAUUUURRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!! Farrah ended up showing the kids the original video, with the only new content being a couple cool logos I made months ago, and I ended up feeling like I just wasted several days of my life. There is nothing salvageable from the new video, as nearly all my work was done on the suspect reverse footage, that did not exhibit stutter until it was saved to AVI or burned onto DVD. All I can do now is vent and hope that I've learned something valuable from the experience. Yes, yes I did: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:19-21).
But seriously, I got to ask you, dear reader, do you know of a decent video editing software for Windows that won't make me rip my hair out???