why yes, it has been a while

It's a little late, but I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I had a fairly nutty week, what with the holiday, John and Becca being in town, and preparing for the church service my youth group was taking over this weekend. I was right, the best Christmas gift I received was the visiting of my Chicago buds. And Angela's still around for another week or so. As Nate would say, w00t!

The service at church went well, though I believe Sunday morning's service was better than Saturday night's. I was pretty discombobulated on Saturday night and didn't know the sermon very well, I felt like I was stumbling around a lot mentally and verbally, wading my way through it. By Sunday morning I had gone through the message a couple more times and edited it, all that, and I had a much better command of it. I think Sunday went much better because I was able to worry less about where my message was going and more about how to really convey it, if that makes sense to you.

Overall I was very proud of the youth because they did a stellar job all over the place this weekend. It's such an undeserved privilege for me to work with them like I do.

Switching gears...the 49ers have to play Monday Night Football tonight against the Rams in St. Louis. This game has absolutely no importance to the team - it has absolutely no bearing on the playoffs, which start next week. I wish they could just chill and take the week off. I know if I were on the team I wouldn't be thinking that way, but I just don't want my boys getting roughed up on an astroturf field, and then having to play a playoff game on a short week! Because of a pointless game. Harumph.

In other football news, the Packers suck.


gangs of trying to figure out what i'm trying to say

It's 2:24 am and I'm awake. This is because I went out to see The Gangs of New York. Don't make the same mistake I did. Not only did I endure the near three-hour movie, but I missed out on homemade snickerdoodles. Augh!

On the good side though - John and Rebecca were at the movie with me, along with Frances. It's been far too long since I had Becca asleep next to me at a theater and exchanged that bug-eyed, "did we just sit through that?" look with John.

I think the best Christmas gift I'll get this year is John, Becca, and Angela visiting home.


christmas blitz

Today I was at Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton, trying to get some shopping done. Today I realized that Christmas is actually only a few days away, what with it being this Wednesday and all. That kinda caught me off guard, so I was at the mall tonight with a couple friends. While we're in Brookstone I say "excuse me" to get past this girl, because the store was crowded and such things were necessary. This particular girl though looked familiar, so I looked back at her after I passed and sure enough, it was Jordan from mtv's "Sorority Life" show from the recent past. Not that I recognized her from me watching the show. No, no. But it was her. So, semi-famous person sighting. Whoooo.

Hope you're enjoying this last bit o' time before Christmas. It only comes once a year. So get an egg nog latte. You know you want to.


cheesecake good

Monday was a good day, save one screwup. First, the screwup. My clothes dryer broke today. Not broke as in it stopped working though. Broke as in it has decided to redecorate any articles of clothing unlucky enough to be tossed inside of it with nice streaks of blackness, likely ink, randomly placed about the garment. My favorite pair of pants was thusly decorated today, as were a few of my most favored t-shirts. There was much frustration and annoyance.

But the rest of the day was good, especially the evening. After spending some time with Brandon and talking about the upcoming church service our youth group is overtaking, I went out with a group to have a bit of a farewell dinner for Melissa. We ate at the glorious Cheesecake Factory in San Jose - and while the food was wonderful it was secondary to the company. It was great to see Sara again, who I haven't had dinner with in a while. There were numerous weeks not too long ago where more nights than not we were at the same dinner table. Those days are gone but it was like being with an old friend seeing her again, so I appreciated the heck out of that. In general we just had a good time at the table, there were 14 or 15 of us, lots of cheesecake, and lots of laughing. What more could you ask for? Maybe a bigger stomach so you could finish your dinner and your cheesecake...but that bigger stomach comes with some side effects that may not be so favorable. Can you tell I'm tired?

I am incredibly stoked because tomorrow night will kick off my Two Towers feeding frenzy, wherein I spend 9 of the following 24 hours watching said movie. Overkill? Probably. Fun? Definitely. Besides, it's not like I'm watching Zombie vs. Mardi Gras nine times.


someone else's two cents on jewelry

Last week I was talking to a friend of mine about how little I understand the fascination many females have with jewelry. I was trying to convey to her how useless I felt jewelry was. I think it's fine to have a necklace or two, a few bracelets or whatever - you know, a little variety, akin to having a few different pairs of shoes or something. But in general, Zach over at Shaw Island said everything I wanted to say about jewelry on his site today:

"First of all, men don't like jewelry the same way women don't like sports memorabilia. Jewelry does nothing. Its job, if you can call it that, is to look good. It does nothing and it's always expensive, which is a terrible combination. For that same amount of money, I could buy something that does stuff. You could build a computer that can play games, you could buy a Tivo that records your shows, you could buy a digital camera that lets you take pictures of cool stuff, you could buy a better bed and sleep more soundly, you could even invest it, etc, etc etc. Instead we're supposed to take that money and buy something that looks pretty. Fantastic. That's one nice aspect of being single, you don't have to even think about jewelry, unless you're mocking it."



Arrrrrrrggh! Why do my Niners have to go an ruin an otherwise great day? I will admit, to all you Packer fans out there that yes, your team beat mine. Today the Packers made enough plays to win, and the Niners did not. I won't talk about the horrendous pass interference call that led to one of the Packer's touchdowns by converting their fourth down attempt. I won't make excuses...Niners lost. I can't even bring myself to watch NFL Primetime, which is just about my favorite show, because I can't bear to watch the highlights from this game.

But! I had a good day otherwise. The play at church went over well again; it's interesting seeing what one crowd will laugh at compared to another. Some lines that received absolutely no response last night received uproarious laughter this morning. Tonight we had our youth group Christmas party which was a good time too. An incredible amount of junk food, but that's to be expected. The kids surprised Nate and I with these cool calendars, where the pictures for each month are pictures of our youth group at different times. Very cool. I wish there had been more first-time people at the party, but in general I enjoyed it and am really happy to see how everyone's like a huge family. Lots of love and acceptance round these parts.

So even though my Niners did their best to ruin my day, my students did a good job in reminding me what's really important.

And I'm now that much closer to seeing


i still function

Well, my first day as a sub has come and gone. I was broken in easily, methinks. Much of what I read regarding being a sub seemed eerily similar to what a convicted criminal might read before his first day in prison. I was essentially supposed to walk in, stab a few students in the eyes with a fork, and tell the others to behave lest the same happen to them. Smiles? Not until you have established yourself as OverLord.

Those of you that know me know that I'm many things and a hard-ass is not one of them, so I wondered how I was going to fare. As it turned out my first class was stellar, I was able to gel with them pretty well. It was an english class and they had to do a couple assignments - I let them work in groups and talk, but they never got too loud and did the work. They chatted with me a bit, laughed at my attempted humor, and didn't try to pull anything too nutty on me. There was a steady stream of students to the bathroom, but that was it. A good start to the day.

It was pretty nifty to see some people I knew at the school, like Alecia and some of her friends. I thought I might have some trouble connecting with students I didn't know from church but I was able to gel with the students pretty well in all the classes. The department head warned me about my last class, because it was basically a remedial reading course and the kids were low-scorers that might cause trouble. Well, they acted like angels for me, keeping quiet for all 20 minutes of silent reading, and the 20 minutes of busywork after that, and not getting up till I said they could talk and move around till the end of school.

So end result...no kids were stabbed by forks, the most stress I experienced was the result of trying to escape that travesty of a parking lot, and I look forward to my next chance to sub. I like to think God was watchin' my back, since I asked Him to have the kids take it easy on me today. Hopefully He's not lulling me into a false sense of security.

dun dun dun

Ye olde day of reckoning has come. I got called in to sub and I'm takin' the job. It's at American High school, and I believe it's a block schedule. I'm an english teacher today. Muaha. Keep me in your prayers today. I hope the student's haven't gotten wind of how much I make fun of their school, or I may be a stabbing victim. Hehehe...


therefore vicariously he loves you

You would not believe how badly I want to see The Two Towers. The TV mocks me with its incessant previews, Cate Blanchett's voiceovers, and snapshots of Legolas' buttkickin'. Arrrrrrrrgh.

I'm usually not home to watch South Park but something possessed me to do it tonight. It's not always a miserable display of how low the human sense of humor can go. Strangely enough this episode is giving me a hankering to see Blackhawk Down again. Last time I saw the movie my brother was in the Army. That sort of interfered with my enjoyment of the film. I liked it - but every time I saw a soldier go down I was reminded that each one was a real guy. And each one was someone's brother. And that it could be my brother soon. That lent the movie a certain weight - the people in the row behind us laughed at a few points in the movie and I was actually annoyed. Well, thank God Dave is out of the Army, because his very unit is in Afghanistan right now, and has been for a while.

Back to this South Park episode...it appears to be a 'tribute' to Blackhawk Down. Santa was shot down over Iraq; Kyle and Company went to find Jesus, because He can save everyone. So they get Jesus in the backup sleigh and head over to Baghdad to save Santa, who's being tortured by an Iraqi (once again a la Blackhawk Down). I just watched an animated Jesus die from a gunshot wound in an animated Santa's arms, after saving Santa. As Stan put it: "this is pretty f*d up right here."

Haahaa - the end of the episode made me laugh pretty hard, actually. At the end of the episode Santa tells everyone how "a brave man named Jesus died for him. So from now on, December 25th shall be a time we remember this man named Jesus and thank Him for what he did!"

So after a half-hour of what some people would call sacrilege, the creators of South Park ironically remind everybody what Christmas is supposed to be about. Jesus. In a way that would connect with some people today much more than any production a church put on to remind them that Christmas is about Jesus. I'm not sure what to think about that.
coffee is for closers

A little commentary on the movie Equilibrium and its negative reviews from Penny Arcade, profanity removed:

"If you don't like Equilibrium I'd say you are just too fancy for your own good. That's understandable though, I mean every one is fancy about something. Tycho won't read a book if the author's name is bigger than the title. I think Thomas Kinkade is a [freakin] hack. If all the moms between the ages of forty and sixty were to disappear tomorrow the man would never sell another print. I am sure that everyone feels like they are an expert on something and that only the best of that thing will suffice. The problem is that most people who review things are the very people who seem to have the most hang ups about that thing. This makes their reviews worthless to the rest of us who simply enjoy watching movies or reading books. So Mr. Moviereviewerman, you think Equilibrium had a "derivative, punch-the-keyboard plot." You think it was "crude, but occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, merely for its sheer ridiculousness." You think that a movie like Equilibrium is just too far below your standards. Well I bet you twenty bucks you have a painting in your house that you bought because it matched your couch, how pedestrian."

I like what the man says when he declared "i liked it when he shot that guy." Not all movies are meant to be taken seriously. Sometimes you simply have to enjoy inanity at its height and enjoy a lame movie for its own sake. This is not to say there's no such thing as a bad movie. Mortal Kombat 2 definitely wasted two hours of my life. But don't take yourself or your movies too seriously and you can enjoy a lot more.


two for one

My hosting company was having issues last night, so the post I wrote up wasn't published. You can now see it below this one, of course. True to their reliable form my hosting company got everything back up soon. Addr.com really has great service.

Tonight was Crossroads' Christmas Banquet (missed you Frances!). Bunch of people from my church get together and we kinda celebrate Christmas-like, with a big potluck and whatnot. The food was good as usual...everyone was harassing me about the yams though. I gave the sermon last week and mentioned how much I loved yams - so literally two dozen different people made yam comments and/or jokes to me. It's all good though. I really do love the people at my church - we're like a big family. Time after time I hear new people come and give their testimony and mention how Crossroads just "feels like home." That rules. That's what a church is supposed to be like.

On a side note in the world of shy Jackson, a couple brought their neice to the banquet. The neice looked to be about my age, and the uncle (who I know) came up to me and said his neice was there and wanted to meet me, and to come over and introduce myself when I got the chance. Well, I wussed out and never went over. I'm not entirely certain why - and by the end of the banquet when I'd resolved to say hi they had already left.

The last few days of my life have been characterized by wussing out. Gotta do something about that.

Tonight I went to see xtina's play, called "The Billy Club Puppets" I believe. It was pretty darn good, and entertaining - the right length too. Maybe the best part of the night though was afterwards when we saw Christina. She looked totally genuinely happy and excited that we were there. Which made me that much more genuinely happy and excited to be there (which I already was). So good vibes abounded and Christina made us feel uber-welcome, everybody wins.

I guess that's all. I'm eating a chicken sandwich right now on sourdough cause we're out of regular bread. I like sourdough and all...but this sourdough's really strong and it's sort of drowning out the flavor of the chicken.

Shut up, you know you love reading about what I eat.


falling apart together

Updated a few links on the left. A link to Dan Hughes' blog (nobody I know but interesting to read so far) and Melissa's new one.

I wussed out on another substitute opportunity, this one at Thornton Jr. High. That one probably would have been good. I just got the call 40 minutes before school started so that would have been a little pushing it. And the thought of being in charge of a classroom for a whole day was a bit intimidating. I've been reading a fair amount of sub resources today and I've determined that I need to put together a little kit and/or have some sort of plan to fill the class in case the teachers don't provide me with good stuff. That way whether or not I need to use my material I'll be more confident going into class. And what do you wear as a sub? Jeans and a button-up shirt? Khakis and a polo? Oh well. I at least won't have to worry about it till the middle of next week.

I'm hungry. It's past 2 and I haven't eaten a thing all day. What the crap.

I was woken up this morning at 5:30 by my phone ringing. When I answered it I discovered that I was definitely on Fremont's substitute list. It was an automated system offering a job as a sub for a Mr. Belotti at Mission. It sounded like I would have been subbing English and Social Studies, he had these different instructions about teaching the different classes different things. I sorta panicked cause I'm not supposed to be on the list in the first place and refused the job. Then I went downstairs and only caught the last part of another phone call, too late to pick it up but it was the sub thing again with another job. I sorta wussed out of the first one and had resolved to give the second one more consideration, but since this is the time some people might already be awake, "subfinder" no longer finds it necessary to call. I was a little worried about taking the first job because I'm not even supposed to be on the sub list and I want to make sure I don't really screw up the first job I take. Don't want to give anyone reason to check "how the hell did he get on the list?!"