So I'm going out of town tomorrow, down to San Diego. I'll be back Sunday, January 4th. I'm away from e-mail and all that good stuff for these days, but I will have my phone. Happy New Years!


oh yeah

I can't believe how much more devastating earthquakes are in Third World countries. This earthquake in Iran has a death toll maybe as high as 40,000...and it was around the same magnitude as the one we had here in California just a few days ago, which had a death toll of 2. I mean, 40,000?! How does that happen?! That's a huge tragedy. Apparently in 1990 50,000 people died from an earthquake in Iran. That is simply crazy.
you have been more faithful

The youth group is running church services this weekend. Tonight went fairly well, and I am looking forward to tomorrow. It's a lot of fun being able to minister alongside the students. I'm excited for this upcoming year. I know my leadership skills are going to have to continue to grow, and I want to grow the youth ministry. I have such a great team of volunteer adult staff - I just need to harness all of their powers! I am not yet the leader they deserve, but I will try. I don't know, I just had a good night, I'm having a good time of things. Get to fly down to see Janelle in a few days...all is well.


The Holy Observer. I haven't extensively read through the site, but on the surface it appears fairly amusing. Satirical evangelical news. Obtained via link from Jordon Cooper.
curse you pearl jam

So Pearl Jam was getting big during my Jr. High years and experienced the height of their popularity during my time in Jr. High and High School. Their album Ten hold a special place in my heart. Eddie Vedder's voice is also fun for me to sing along to.

About ten minutes ago Jesse left for work, and Evenflow started blasting from my computer. I of course, assuming nobody is home, begin to sing along with gusto. About a minute later I hear Jesse knocking on the door to my room. I opened the door and we sat there for a moment, staring at each other in silence. A sheepish grin crawled onto my face and my eyes darted from side-to-side. The two of us then burst into laughter.


Yahoo! News - Chirac to Seek Law Banning Head Scarves

Okay, I'm not a huge fan of the "humiliation of women" thing or the subservient place it appears Islam puts them in. But this has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I've read. A quote from Chirac - "Secularism is one of the great sucesses of the Republic. It is a crucial element of social peace and national cohesion. We cannot let it weaken."

I hardly think people wearing scarves is going to screw up your social peace. Unless you demand everyone else be like you and want to impose your own moral rules on them. It's ridiculous to me how far some governments will go in order to remove any hint of religious devotion in order to "preserve freedoms" or some other such garbage. I am all for not having state-endorsed religion, but this is the state-endorsed religion of secularism. Puh-lease.

I don't have time to be more detailed or thoughtful in my criticism of the French.


those were the days

Right now ESPN is playing an "NFL's Greatest Games" that's recounting the 1998 Wild Card game between the 49ers and Packers. That was an awesome game. Steve Young was still the QB, Garrison Hearst was in his prime, and TO didn't have an ego yet. Not to mention that the Niners were a) in the playoffs and b) winning games. Watching the replay is pretty sweet.

Um, yeah. So the A's get rid of Tejada, Foulke, Hernandez, and Long...and they retain Rincon? The same Rincon that almost lost Game 1 of the ALDS for us last season? The same Rincon that is good for about one homer per time he's up on the mound? Harumph. As Netters chants to herself, I must chant to myself..."Billy Beane has something up his sleeve..."

Other than those sporting woes life is good. Janelle is in town and we're getting to spend time together. Return of the King opens tonight. Christmas is around the corner. Ministries in full swing and I'm busy, but not overwhelmed. Yeah, things are pretty sweet. Everything's not perfect but things are definitely good.

Also - up to this point at most staff meetings (which I have on Tuesdays) I have been missing Janelle. I am either planning stuff and wishing she were at least in town and not down in Santa Barbara or if she was in town wishing she were right there with me. Well today staff meeting was good - and I was really encouraged by the fact that I would get to go home to Janelle after it. My heart and mind were totally engaged in the meeting and I was stoked that my fiancee was in town. Okay maybe that doesn't make sense to you. But it does to me.


Please please please. Sign Tejada! Sign Foulke! Ditch Rincon! We already got rid of Hernandez and Long...waaaah... I want it to be baseball season and I want the my beloved Athletics to stop breaking my heart by overachieving in the regular season and the first 3 games of the playoffs only to implode. Last season really hurt, especially after that extra-innings Game 1 against Boston. Just thinking about it annoys me. Oh well.
not that any of you care

This BCS stuff is a little annoying. I don't particularly care about the way the National Champion for college football is determined, considering Cal won't be anywhere near a title game for the forseeable future. I do, however, like to complain about things and I do like to try to point things out that I think are a little silly. I think it's silly that there's no playoff in College Football. This whole idea of a BCS is kinda stupid if you ask me. A playoff would really help the situation, or at the very least eliminate a lot of the whining that goes on in the sports world. Of course some people would just moan about the way playoff participants are chosen, but I'm sure more people would be pleased with a playoff. Whatevs...I'm just happy Cal is in a bowl this season. Hooray for Tedford. I hope we get to keep him around for a while.
Passion. The movie website is up, much of the content is still not functional but it's up nonetheless. I am really looking forward to this film.



Yikes that's a long post. Are such things too long to even consider reading? Maybe I should just put up little bits of stuff. I'm still learning about this whole "content" concept.
okay so every day might have been a little unrealistic

But I can still put stuff up here periodically. Once again the internet connection at my house is down, or so sporadically functional it's as good as down. Harumph I say. Harumph.

So I've continued to read through 2 Chronicles and 1 Corinthians. I have a thing for numbered C-books, what can I say. I also just realized that I've been sittin in the coffee shop with my headphones on for about 35 minutes, but I haven't been listening to anything in the headphones. I should try to fix that, or something. iTunes has a radio function, it seems to work rather well. Better than any streams I got from Winamp.

Yesterday as I read 2 Chronicles 9 a couple things stood out at me. Basically this chapter is talking about how magnificent Solomon's kingdom was. First the queen of Sheba visits, she is totally overwhelmed by Solomon's wisdom and his kingdom, and in verses 5-8 it says:

She said to the king, "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw it with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the LORD your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.

Emphasis mine, of course. I think it's awesome how the queen visited Solomon and saw all these wonderful things but Solomon made sure she understood why he had them all. He made sure that she understood it was because God was with him, that God provided it all. Not only that, but it was clear to her - she saw his life and what God had given him and actually praised God because of it. That's what I want my life to be like. Not that I have all these things or am particularly wise...but I want to make sure I am always giving credit to God for the good things in my life. I want people to look at my life and praise God, and be able to see him.

Now on to 1 Corinthians 5. Paul spends this chapter talking about "expelling the immoral brother." I note that this letter is addressed to the church at Corinth which apparently is going through some division and lack of unity. People within the church are trying to get supporters for themselves, they're carrying out their own selfish agendas within the church and messing it up. So Paul may be specifically talking about these people. He definitely does speak rather harshly about someone claiming to follow Christ but living differently. I tend to err on the side of mercy and not judging at all, though it would seem Paul wants me to think a little bit about that.

He differentiates between people that claim to be Christians and those that don't. He says:

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people - not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you." -1 Cor. 5:9-13 (NIV)

I'm glad this isn't the only passage dealing with intrachurch discipline. There is a process to go through, you don't just 'expel' people when they do something wrong, because we all do wrong things. But this does communicate the idea that there comes a point when you have to tell someone that what they're doing is wrong and you will not tolerate it within the Body, especially if they are causing strife.

That's all for now.


let's see how this works

I've got this idea to post up here each day what I've read out of the Bible and some of my thoughts/reflections/questions etc about part of what I've read. Not because I am the holder of any particularly useful insight, but because I think it'd be useful in the very least for me. It will help me to consider more fully what I'm reading and to process it a little bit. Maybe you will get something from what I write, or maybe you can help me with questions I may have, or maybe you'll get bored by it all and not pay attention. All of those things are fine...that's just something I want to try to do with my site here. I will still post as much as I currently do about other things, but I want to add this as a constant to this blog. That way I may have some kind of reason for people to come back regularly. Anyway, blah blah blah, that's the deal with this.

I am currently reading through 2 Chronicles in the Old Testament and 1 Corinthians in the New Testament.

Today I read Chapters 4-6 of 2 Chronicles, and Chapter 2 of 2 Chronicles.

In 2 Chronicles 6 Solomon prays to God to ask Him for various things. His prayer seems to focus on asking God to forgive those who honestly ask for it. The passage that stuck out to me most though was this:

If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath, and he comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this house, then hear from heaven and act and judge Your servants, punishing the wicked by bringing his way on his own head and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness. - 2 Chr. 6:22-23 (NASB)

This is similar to Matthew 5:22-24 where Jesus tells people to set their relationships right with others before they worship God. To me this shows a God very concerned with the way we treat other people and with the status of our relationships. We can't treat other people poorly, hate them or hold bitterness against them, and at the same time worship God in the way He wants us to. That's a pretty big thing. I also like how it communicates a constancy between the God of the OT and the God of the NT, who so many people like to say are night-and-day different.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 talks about how when we talk about God it's not about being clever or convincing others with what we know. Preaching/talking about God should be about Him and His power to change hearts, not about our own cleverness. I wish I would have learned that lesson in high school when I was so concerned with arguing the right way to win people over to my point of view.


The happy couple. I'm tired right now so there isn't much ado about the picture, I just wanted to put it up because I finally got my home computer's internet connection working again. This pic was taken in October at a diner in Carlsbad - we didn't even know about the Coke poster in the background until it was developed.



Okay so I have now notified the proper authorities and I can post this here: I am now officially engaged to the most amazing woman ever to walk the earth.

On November 14th I called Janelle around 6 in the morning as I usually do. She was in Santa Ana at a conference for Campus Crusade and I told her something was supposed to be delivered to her room. When she opened her hotel room door to check for the delivery she found me with a dozen roses and an engagement ring. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. So yeah, I'm engaged now. Just thought I'd throw that out to share with y'all. I meant to post it up here earlier but wanted to make sure that I told everybody I was supposed to first. AFAIK that's been done. So yeah I'm lucky, luckier than you. Or maybe I should say blessed, because lucky doesn't really give God the credit the way it should. So yeah, I'm blessed, big time.


mike yac

Mike Yaconelli died a few days ago. You may not know who Mike was, but I certainly do. Mike was the founder of Youth Specialties and a totally amazing man of God. I suppose I can't really describe how much this guy inspired me; not as a youth minister but as a follower of Christ. Mike was so all about being real, being honest, and falling at the feet of Christ. He has had a big influence on me and the way I live my walk. Mike constantly reminded us to love God and love kids. Don't worry about numbers in your groups, cheer when smoking druggie kids come to your church, be honest about how messy your life is. Live a life radically devoted to Christ, walking with Him daily and resting in Him. Being real when you are far from God, and realizing that you are such a work in progress. I have never really been sad before at the death of a celebrity, or an author, or speaker, or someone I don't personally know. I met Mike once at a conference but he was such a real guy and honest heart that I felt like I knew him in some way. He inspired me so much and I am truly sad to see him go.

You owe it to yourself to read his books and listen to any of his tapes that you can find. This man was honestly visionary and such an inspiration. I will miss hearing him and I look forward to seeing him again on the other side of eternity. I sincerely hope that Jesus is patting him on the back, and I fully believe he is hearing "well done good and faithful servant."

One thing I loved about Mike was the fact that he challenged others to think differently but at the same time he was such a humble man. Truly a sinner saved by grace, and he never let himself forget that. From the above article:

Last year, Yaconelli wrote in his latest book, Messy Spirituality, "I just want to be remembered as a person who loved God, who served others more than he served himself, who was trying to grow in maturity and stability. I want to have more victories than defeats, yet here I am, almost 60, and I fail on a regular basis.

"If I were to die today, I would be nervous about what people would say at my funeral. I would be happy if they said things like 'He was a nice guy' or 'He was occasionally decent' or 'Mike wasn't as bad as a lot of people.' Unfortunately, eulogies are delivered by people who know the deceased. I know what the consensus would be. 'Mike was a mess.'"

I hope I'm as messy as him when I grow up.
the niners are so schizo

Halloween was a better time than I initially imagined. Had some random people over for a party at Laura's behest. Turned out well, I enjoyed playing the host and explaining how awesome Janelle is to interested people. The wallpaper in my room survived its first real exposure to the general public and I made it out with very little actual ridicule.

Saw bits and pieces of "The Big Hit," enough to realize I need to watch the movie all the way through. I love movies that don't take themselves seriously. There's a lot to be said for that kind of attitude, in life and in art. Not that I'm calling that movie art, mind you. I'm just saying. Pretentiousness is lame.

I'm still alive, just letting you know that. I swear at some point in the future I'll have interesting things to say to you all. This is a very interesting time of life. It's weird, I'm busy but I'm not entirely certain where all the time goes. I sure don't spend it typing in here.

Oh yeah, you should all read the Old Testament. It really has some good stories. And I swear, I feel like I'm learning so much about God's character through reading it. The way He deals with people and whatnot. Also, you may be familiar with the sentiment that God changes character in the Bible. That is, in the Old Testament He is a vengeful, lightning-chucking deity, while in the New Testament He is a docile hippy of a Creator. Those are both mischaracterizations, evidence of a sad misunderstanding regarding (1) who God is and (2) what the Bible says. God is totally stinkin' awesome, and loving, righteous, just, perfect, and holy. That is such a constant throughout the Bible. Anyway.


watch your mouths, children

I read this passage this morning, 2 Kings 2:23-25. Enjoy.

From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. 'Go on up, you baldhead!' they said. 'Go on up, you baldhead!' He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

Seriously - bears! Who knew Elisha was so sensitive about his head? Makes me a little more wary about teasing my buddy Michael, who shares Elisha's condition. Hopefully he doesn't also share his bear-summoning powers.


craig's list has weird stuff too

Trying to be productive today, getting various things done. Sometimes I'm a little too proud of myself for not sitting on my butt on a given day. For example, this morning I proudly listed my accomplishments before 9:30am to Janelle like a little boy who was happy he'd used the toilet all by himself. I realized it after I told her I'd even shaved, and she started to laugh at me. I guess I sorta deserved it.

No big post here, just wanted to share a little thing from Dan Kimball, as he was talking about emerging churches, a movement oneeighty is ostensibly a part of. I think Kimball may be right, concerning me even here. It's a little challenging to read.

...what the definition of "church" is. That needs to shift. I already explained this, but the shift of thinking the church is the meeting, and the building to the church is the people on a mission. Some emerging church leaders sadly say these words but are focusing all their time on the "meeting" still. What will this communicate to the people in their churches if we say "the church is the people on a mission" but the leaders spend all their time getting ready for the "meeting"?

You can read the rest of his interview here.


fly by the seat of your pants

Well I had a spare moment here so I figured I'd let you all know what's going on. Man I have been a bad blogger and website-maintaining-guy as of late.

Jesse, Nate, and I have moved into our new place. This place has many good qualities, but internet access is not one of them. This situation should be rectified come Tuesday morning, but until then my access is limited to the coffee shop and the unreliable bubble of wi-fi on church campus. I will be busy this upcoming week too, since oneeighty is kicking off on the 19th. When did it become October? When did it become 2003?

What's funny to me is how quickly time can seem to flow for one area of your life but how slowly it flows for another. For example, in all things ministry related I can't seem to blink without a week going by. Those same weeks, however, crawl by at a snail's pace in relation to when I get to see Janelle again. The 16th seems like forever to my heart, but to my day planner it's right around the corner. Funny how that works.

As a final note, I went to that A's game mentioned in that entry down there, and it was truly a great game. One of the best I've been to. Sadly the A's managed to find a way to lose that series to Boston, and have therefore earned my scorn for a period of time yet to be determined. Netters and I were going to do guest-authoring accounts of the game for one another's sites, but I'm not sure about that anymore. So many hilarious things happened at the game, I may have to recount them at some point. But I just don't have the heart to think about it that much since the A's blew it in the end.

I will just say this...have you met emotion eric? I have. So n'yah. Although I must admit the experience was somewhat sullied by the fact that he seemed to be rooting for the Sox. He got his in the end though. He should do a new emotion called "realizing your team sucks." Yeah. So there.

Oh wait, the Sox won in the end.


I'm off to the A's - Bo Sox game in a few. Never been to a playoff game before...and really I can't imagine it gets much better than this. Hudson and Martinez - two of the greatest pitchers in the game - battling it out on a clear October night? Yeah, baseball is teh rule. Now if only the A's can pull out a victory.

I am excited about seeing this game...but about twenty times as excited that tomorrow night I'm heading down to So Cal to meet up with Janelle; then we're heading down to Carlsbad for her best friend's birthday and to surprise the Bridge peeps. I love San Diego.

Life is busy, life is good.



I'd just like to say that God is good. Really good. I totally don't deserve the blessings He gives me. I'm not really sure what else to say, so I guess that's that. Except one thing I've been thinking. Sometimes I consider good things in my life, or maybe good things I want, and I think that maybe I need to do things to deserve them. Even on a subconscious level - I think that if only I am better at this or that God will deign me worthy for something. One thing I have learned in the past month, on a heart level, is that I will never be worthy of the great blessings in my life. And God has chosen to bless me with a relationship not because I'm worthy, but because He loves me. I am able to see new dimensions of that love through the relationship, appreciate God in new ways, and in fact praise Him more because of it. Janelle makes me want to be a better man and serve Christ more. So God blesses me not because I am worthy - I am not - He blesses me and then I become closer to worthy. It's like a reminder that it's God that does the transforming, the justification, the healing - not me. Or something.

The 49ers are pretty much doing everything they can to avoid a winning season. After the drubbing they gave Chicago I was expecting good things - but it's not looking good. Thankfully, the 4-12 and 6-10 seasons we endured a couple years back have prepared me to deal with losses. Still though, I was expecting better and it is disappointing. Maybe they'll get scrappy and fight for a playoff spot. But they are not playing Super Bowl caliber football and even if they get to the playoffs I'd be disappointed if they didn't win it all.

Thank goodness for the other sports in the Bay Area.

My beloved A's are in the playoffs and looking good. I actually get to go to the first game with Netters on Wednesday evening, that should be a good time. I've never been to a baseball playoff game, so I'm greatly looking forward to it. Playoff intensity games yes, but actual playoffs no. Did you know there's an A in playoffs?

Aside from that, Cal knocked off #3 ranked USC this weekend! I was explaning to Janelle this weekend, I love it when my little local teams get national exposure.

I should be moving either this week or early next week into a new place, my first new place, with Jesse and Nate. I am really stoked about that. Finances will become quite a bit tighter - but I'm ready for that. Having my own place will mean we can have bbq after bbq - and that's really what life is about.


there is a hole in your mind

Last week was just about the craziest week of my life. Oneeighty got off the ground and I think it was a success. In general the feedback was positive - of course there are many things we can improve, but I am satisfied with what we have so far. I was most touched by everyone pitching in the way they did; I am truly blessed with an awesome group of people to minister with.

Anyway the real thing that inspired me to post was this. Many of you may have seen the Star Wars Kid (as he has now been dubbed). This poor 15 year-old in Quebec taped himself pretending to be Darth Maul, and now everyone knows about it. Anyway over at jedimaster.net they have a bunch of remixes. And this Matrix one is too cool.

It's still freakin' hot in the Bay Area.


the name of the game

It has been a while. I've been wanting to make my post a good one but if I wait forever then I'll just never post again. So you're stuck with what you get. Finally this new church start I've been talking about has a name and a website. You can see it here. The website is still under development, but we've got it. We are practicing the service this weekend and youth group, and then next week we have our preview service. The preview service is to give us a little more leeway as we finalize what we're working on. It will make Oct 19th the 'kickoff' service where we have printed invites and programs and all that good stuff. Last night Janelle asked me what the scariest thing I'd done in my life was - and starting this new church is definitely it. There's a lot going into it and I am just hoping (praying) that I am a good steward of where God has placed me.

This weekend Crossroads is doing the concert, wherein the entire church service consists of the band performing songs. I'm singing backup in a few songs which is no biggie, singing Good Riddance and doing Mike Shinoda's part on Somewhere I Belong. I was worried that the LP song would come out lame, but I think it's going to turn out okay. I just need to figure out how to entertain myself on stange for the 1:30 or so that is left of the song after I'm done. Heh.

It is freakin' hot in the Bay Area.


he was reaching through the morning air

So the past few weeks of my life have been pretty crazy. I think this is when life starts to get back to normal. I mean, it's different...but not different like the past few weeks have been. Someone pretty amazing came into my life and now she's going to be down south for the upcoming school year and then may even be out of the country for a couple months after that. I was blessed to be able to have some time down in Santa Barbara with her Monday. In fact I'm blessed by the whole relationship. It's funny how we can find ways to even make the most wonderful things into things to complain about though. When we said goodbye yesterday morning it hadn't really hit me yet. Driving home, I was primarily concerned with getting back in time for my meeting, which I did. At the meeting I looked at my calendar and we started discussing all the upcoming stuff this month (it's a crazy busy month) and always on my mind was how she won't be here, and I'm not going to be able to see her for four weeks best case scenario. It's a different kind of loneliness than I've felt before.

Okay, okay, okay, that's enough emo. Dangerously close to getting whiny and wistful here. Yeesh.

Anyway I have a lot of work to throw myself into and I feel prepared to do it. Almost energized even. Really the worst thing going in my life right now is the fact that this amazing woman that cares about me is down in So Cal instead of here with me. I've felt close to God these past few weeks and I am eager to continue this on. I really feel His hand on my life right now and I'm pretty stoked about that.

Just checkin' in I s'pose. Kevin did send me a reply a couple weeks ago for this conversation and I'll put it up sometime soon. I may even respond to it sometime soon. I haven't forgotten...I've just had more important things on my mind of late.


look who's laughing now

Yesterday I was able to go to the Raiders game with my pops. The game was decidedly subpar but I still had a good time. First, it was hanging out with my dad, which I realize I appreciate more and more every time I do it. I definitely have a cool dad. I was also able to partake of a Hot Link, which was a pleasure of a dog. And finally, we got to sit by two of my favorite types of fans at the game.

The first kind of fan is usually a big guy, and by big I mean fat; and he has something to say about just about everything. His way of talking is particularly amusing, too. Most of the time he is stuffing his face with food and commenting "I told you this boy would be our boy this year" or "How much that boy makin'? 7 million? He better be showin us somethin soon." While my account of this fan's commentary may not be that wonderful, I assure you this kind of fan is a pleasure to sit near. Well, this guy was behind us last night with his wife. He was big and jolly and loud and friendly. Perfect combo.

The second kind of fan I often enjoy sitting near is the angry fan. Not angry at other people, but angry at the team and whatever situation they find themselves in. This guy bellows obscenities at every opportunity, berates the coach (who is out of earshot) for every call, and mutters complaints under his breath about the vendetta the refs have for his team. Bonuses if the guy stands up every time he yells. Again, this guy was in full effect to our left. Big angry white guy with a shaved head and a long goti, lots of tats - sorta reminded me of my friend Brian Quinn in the way he yelled. And Brian was always appreciated for the way he could yell.

It was maximum AC! Inside joke. And absolutely nobody that reads this journal will understand it. Score.

This is very bad news. Mulder was having a Cy Young-ish season too. With Hudson hurt, Zito's 10-11 record...I'm not sure how this bodes for my beloved A's.


Major strugs with the e-mail. My home e-mail appears to not be working, but for those of you who wish to e-mail me you can still follow the e-mail links off this website and get in touch with me.

I know I haven't been around on the website much lately. I've been incredibly busy lately, but don't worry I still love you all. Before long I'll be back to my regularly pontificating about nothing in particular. Be good!


he goes out to see the world

Last week was a pretty good week. I attended via satellite the Leadership Summit with a team from my church. I've been the past few years but this year felt applicable to me moreso than any other year. Now that I actually have a ministry team for the youth, and with me needing to get cracking on a team for the new church, a lot of what was said can help me out. I enjoyed Erwin McManus the most, he's a pretty awesome guy. He spoke twice and both times I was riveted. One thing he said that stuck with me was that so often we can make the Christian life just that of being a good citizen. Pay your taxes, follow the rules, be nice, and you're pretty much being a good Christian. Erwin reminded us that Christianity is not about the elimination of sin - it's about the unleashing of a powerful, unique life. I'm going to try to implement a lot of what I heard last week. It's a lot of work...but I believe it's the most important work in the world, so it's got that going for it.

Attendance at youth group has been up the past two weeks, we're going through movies and we've probably had 3-6 new people each week. Pretty awesome, and pretty challenging. We need to step up in a few areas to be able to keep and really minister to all these kids. That's why I'm glad I have such a great team of people. The other day I was just sitting back and thinking about it, and really everyone on the team is exceptional, servant-hearted, and I'm lucky to be able to work with them. Maybe I should tell 'em that or something. You know, encourage em? Naaaah.


Some of you might consider me a computer geek. I might even consider myself one. And I play my share of video games. But at least i'm not like this. It's short, it's worth it. There's a saying in gamer guy circles about gamer girls - all the pretty ones are insane. This would seem to help build that case.
tell me now what should i do

Yesterday's A's game was spectacular. My voice is still a little hoarse from that finish. It was a consummate pitcher's duel; Mulder only made two mistakes and I was afraid it would cost us the game. Somehow Tejada came through in the bottom of the ninth though...just amazing. Walking through the hallways toward the parking lot to spontaneous chants of "Yankees Suck!" is a wonderful thing. You couldn't wipe the smile off half the faces in the Coliseum. Sports pwn. I almost went to Friday night's game too - then I would've been present for both of Miggy's walk-offs in one weekend...tis a shame.

I much prefer doing youth ministry as a team. I have a totally awesome group of volunteers and I am looking forward to growing into a stronger team and I want to be a better leader for them. Last night was good in that the different bases were all covered by different people for youth group. There's some fine-tuning to be done for us meeting at the sanctuary for this month but I did appreciate it. The real bad spot of last night was the urinal in the men's bathroom overflowing. Why in the world would someone put tp in the urinal? It makes no sense.

Oh yeah, I forgot about the whole overflow thing. Guess I should call Ricky and let him know he may wanna do an extra-nice mop on that floor today. Muaha.


i want the bash brothers

I got to watch the A's game on TV today. Great game. Piece of crap ending. I turned it off after Bradford gave the Angels two runs. There's no reason a great pitcher like Zito should get a no decision after pitching lights-out for seven innings. Seattle lost tonight too, so the A's would've been able to pick a game up if they'd managed to win. Well, now we get to play the Indians while Seattle beats up on Detroit.

So I finally formatted that e-mail conversation about Calvinism I mentioned earlier. You can find a link to it on the left there, as well as right here. Hopefully it's readable and interesting for ya. I appreciate comments and feedback, both on the formatting and on the ideas within the e-mails. I'm glad that I can discuss these sort of things with Kevin and have it remain just as a discussion and not turn into some kind of ad hominem fest like so many theological hot-button issues can. Anyway, give it a look if you're so inclined. I think it's terribly interesting reading, with two stellar authors. A-hyuck.


Snapster. Could this be the future of music? I wanna get in on that IPO, man.

Harden is off to a great start. If this guy develops as everybody around the A's hopes...we could have a fourth ace. I mean, dude...Mulder-Zito-Hudson-Harden? Now if only the A's would pick up some good offense for these guys. Who could stand in our way?


This is sad to see.
My old commenting host, KlinkFamily, appears to have suffered catastrophic failure. They have failed me and now must pay the price. They've been replaced by HaloScan. We'll see how that goes. The good thing is you can now say wonderful things about me with your comments. The bad thing is all the old comments were lost.


hands down

As previously mentioned I'm carrying on a long e-mail conversation with Kevin about Calvinism and all that good stuff. It's pretty interesting and quite the time sink. I think I'm going to try to get the formatting right and pretty so you all can read up on our exchange if you're interested. It feels so good to be exercising my mind again, geeze. It can be so easy to go through life secure in what you think and/or believe and never really examining the what or why. Not even just introspection - it just seems like a lot of the way the world works is geared towards not having to use your head. I've heard people say that e-mail and IMs have destroyed literacy and written communication. May not be too far from the truth. We need to work hard to keep our minds sharp since we don't really need to use them to survive.

I am having trouble determining whether or not I am productive on a given day. That's probably a sign that I'm not being productive. I did a fair bit today to get my office ready, I might work on it some more tomorrow and finish that up. I will soon institute office hours and force myself to do certain work at certain times.

Saw somebody yesterday while driving that I hadn't seen in over a year...and before that it had been about a year...and we hadn't really talked. I was happy we were able to smile at one another.


it shouldn't be this hot at 1am, really

Saturday I had two parties to attend. One was Marla and Justin's engagement party. I ended up leaving about 15 seconds before the food was served, but I had a pretty good time anyway. I did feel somewhat out of place, as I didn't know the majority of the people there. I did get to see a couple people I haven't seen in a long time so that allowed me a bit of social respite. Before they showed up I spent most of my time walking between the snacks and the couple people I did know, trying not to look or feel pathetic for not hamming it up with strangers. It was good to be able to celebrate a little with Marla and Justin though, I am really happy for 'em and they deserve the best. The coolest thing I saw was Justin's son Luke running up to Marla when she was showing us into the party. For some reason I thought that was Very Good (TM).

I went back to Adam's going-away party after leaving Marla's mansion in Sunol. Adam of course is one of my best, oldest friends, the loan shark from 7th grade turned buddy. He's traveling to Japan for at least one year with the JET program. Again at this party I saw a few people I hadn't seen in a long time and that's always nice. The party did inspire certain weird feelings in me, however.

I never went away to college, having attended a junior college in Fremont and then Cal State Hayward. Adam was at Cal and for a while I visited him and his friends up there often, often enough to the point where I considered many of them my friends. I associate them heavily with college memories and fun memories, as getting out of Fremont immediately makes doing anything that much more exciting. I could go sit at a coffee shop in Berkeley instead of a coffee shop in Fremont and feel like I did something 10 times better. But anyway it was one of those times where in my head I was getting the feeling that one part of my life was definitely closing up. Never again would the bunch of us sit around in Adam and Andy's sty of an apartment trying to decide where to go. I mean, Chris lives in San Jose, Andy in Emeryville, Jasmine in San Mateo, Nancy in the City, Adam in freakin' Japan...so even though I never lived up in Berkeley with these guys I felt a sense of...nostalgia(?)...at Adam's on Saturday. How much moreso for them? I am excited for where my life will be heading soon, but that doesn't stop me from missing what's just passed. Seeing Jeff and Matt also sparked such feelings in me, as these were guys I spent much of my time with from, in Jeff's case, 5th grade, and now we barely ever see each other. Sometimes growing up is overrated. So many different people and relationships to keep up, that I want to keep up - and that's not to mention work responsibilities etc.

I suppose that's enough unformed thought for one evening.

I've been in a 'discussion' with a friend of mine for the past week or so talking about Calvinism. It has challenged me to delve into the Bible like I haven't in a long time and to do some investigation, so that's good. Our responses are taking longer and longer to get back, as we get more and more into it. The funny thing to me was that my arguments with Kevin regarding what I see as a lack of free will in his viewpoint seem similar to Adam's discussion with me about free will. Maybe I'll elaborate more on that later. I personally think everyone should just admit that I'm right about everything and make the proper adjustments in their lives. That would make everything better.



it should be a lot harder to get and keep a driver's license

This is a sad news story. The thing I noticed though, was that the Police Chief for Santa Monica is named James Butts. Can you imagine growing up with a name like that? I'd imagine it'd either drive a person to a sociopathic criminal life, or into law enforcement. Thank goodness for the choice this guy made, and thank goodness for small miracles: like the fact that I wasn't born with the name "Butts."


i wished it all away

While at Cornerstone I picked up the new Brave Saint Saturn CD. I am really fond of it, been listening to it almost nonstop for the past few days. There are a couple of tracks that are poems, between the songs. Here is one of them.

deepest oceans of despair
this vast and somber charcoal night of space
have you given up yet
what hope lingers in the crevasses and corners of your soul
i know you
you haven't given up yet
you are brave in this darkness, saint saturn
sometimes the bravest thing of all is to hope
~Atropos, Brave Saint Saturn


binary star, you're the brightest blue by far

Everyone's going to the hospital these days. Kirstin, one of my students, ended up there last night. Her parents didn't know exactly what was up. She's had a bad fever, rash, platelet count, etc. The last couple days she's had to answer the same questions over and over, have countless things poked at her, and been mostly bedridden. I went with Rudy to see her today and she looked alright, she's handling it like a trooper. We are hoping and praying that whatever's wrong isn't too serious and that she'll be back up and spazzing in no time.

I found an interesting article today, courtesty of pjammer. A guy at a video game site posted a review of real life as if it were a video game. You may like it, especially if you're into video games. I found it amusing, the way he translated a lot of game terminology into real life (such as calling bad parents "griefers" and so on). The funny thing is, reading it, I'm thinking "dude, what a kickass game."

So I am in the process of devising a name for the new church-within-a-church that I am a part of starting this fall. I have a number of candidates but I'm not sure what to go with. I want the name to sort of encapsulate the idea of what life with Christ is supposed to be. I think that's what I want anyway. I don't want to fall into the trap of picking some cheesy name though, or using a latin word cause it's cool to use latin words. That being said, I have a number of latin or latin-sounding words as candidates. If you feel so inclined, and the commenting utility is working, let me know what you think about some of these. If you can't comment, feel free to drop me a mail about it.

consummo \ contineo \ libero \ libertas \ anhelo \ anima \ vita \ vivo \ renewal \ awaken \ wake \ essence

Right now the title of "be" has been in my head, but I've received no responses other than people laughing at me when I tell them about it. So those are the ideas running through my head right now. Ideas, suggestions, etc are welcome.

On an unrelated note...I think I should change the banner up atop my site. I don't know if I can still call myself a "recent college grad." Aside from that it seems a little pretentious to me. I think I made it on a day when I'd looked at a bunch of other blogs, some of which took themselves quite seriously, and it may have rubbed off a bit.


that's CAPTAIN Jack Swallow

Yesterday I got a call from Laura, who I haven't seen in too long, and we ended up seeing a couple movies with her cool cousin Paul. For a 12-year-old that guy was a big storehouse of movie quotes. Not only that, but he knew when to use them. The boy will be a heartbreaker; especially with that dye job on his hair. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean and I spent much of the time marveling at how gorgeous Natalie Portman was. At first I wasn't sure it was her, but about fifteen minutes in I decided it was, it had to be. So I get home and I start reading a few reviews about how this Keira Knightley starred in the movie...and it turns out Natalie Portman was nowhere near it. As it turns out Knightley played Sabe, one of Amidala's decoys, in the Phantom Menace. So there is precedent for the two of them looking alike; I mean, they could be twins. Anyway, Pirates was a very entertaining movie, and you should go see it, if only for Johnny Depp's awesome performance. We watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen late last night. It was a pretty good action movie I suppose - definitely no POTC - but entertaining enough. Anyway, a good day in a surprising way, didn't expect to see Laura - and I managed to fit in dinner with Adam, Danny, and Masa.

Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it to speed. Well, here's Jesse's take. Because LJ sucks I can't link directly to his entry - but find the one titled "speeding" and behold a snapshot of how Jesse works. I find it somewhat amusing that he spent a number of days in San Diego, and Kansas City - but he doesn't get around to updating his journal until the day he's canoeing in the bayou.


supernovar in the sky

Yesterday Chris, a recent addition to the youth ministry team and all-around great guy, fell from a ladder and broke two vertebrae in his back. He had surgery last night, from what I know he's doing okay. But he apparently lacks medical insurance and the worker's comp situation is iffy at best. Frances and I may go visit him today. Anyway if you pray, toss a few up for his family.

On a lighter note Canada appears to be upset that they were ranked below the United States in a quality of life report courtesy of the UN. "Canadian media reported that 89 percent of the country had 'an absolute conviction that we have a better quality of life than the United States.'" I'd say sour grapes, but they probably don't even have grapes in Canada. Well, no grapes besides the ones we export to them. Muaha.

Have you seen this? There are very short clips from indian movies, and you get to put subtitles to them. All of the Shokatas (the preferred name for these shorts) I've seen are directly related to Planetside and would therefore not be funny to any of you. Feel free, however, to create your own, send them to me and give me hearty chuckle. Hearty chuckles are too few and far between in this workaday world of ours.

This doesn't really have anything to do with anything, but those of you that played any of the Zelda games should find it halfway amusing.


From this article:

Ebony Sunshine Jerido, 23, who is studying dramatic writing at New York University, says that telemarketers symbolize the loss of privacy in her life, and she said she wonders whether they are gathering information about her and how they might be using it. She is so concerned about privacy that she will not sign up for do-not-call lists because she does not want the government to have her number. She plans instead to get caller ID and call blocking, services that give her more control over the calls she answers.

If this woman is so paranoid, it's pretty stupid to tell all this stuff to the press. I'm just saying.


don't kid yourself, you need a physician

Okay, so I'm home. My two weeks of craziness are over. I don't especially feel like writing an in-depth review of everything, and you don't much feel like reading it. So I'm glad we're seeing eye to eye here. I will give you some of the highlights, and some thoughts that are running through my head as a result of the last couple weeks.

While at camp I was overcome with a certain something. While listening to a speaker's sermon, I realized I'd already heard it about a hundred times. And so had most of the kids in the tent. I was struck by the futility of it all; in the church so many times we tell and re-tell ourselves the same things, but it never makes a difference. We continually pound into our heads these various principles, but our lives are rarely changed. So what in the heck is the point of giving these sermons? Why do we bother? People aren't changed by it. I want to discover how to inspire people, including myself, into living life for Christ for real. I'm tired of banging my head against a wall, and I'm tired of living life the same old way. Something must be different.

My thoughts regarding Cornerstone... Everything there seemed so simple. Of course I was going to talk to and be friendly with those people I didn't know. Of course I was interested in finding out about the people next to me. I wanted to put a sign up at my campsite that just invited people to stop in and say hey, to have a chat with a total stranger. What's keeping me from doing that here? When I return home everything seems to become more complicated. So how much of that is actual complication and how much is me just adding layers and stress that don't need to be there? I want to be a part of a community like the one I experienced at Cornerstone, where I can just be concerned with caring about the people around me and enjoying them, rather than looking good or worrying about anything like that. I want to be just as welcoming IRL as I felt there. I want things to be as simple here as they were there...is it possible?

I'm keeping this short because I myself don't tend to read very long posts. So I have more thoughts, but I'll end this post with a few bands that made an impression on me at Cornerstone. I could list off all the bands I saw but instead I'll just give you the few I feel you must check out.

Anathallo. My jaw literally dropped when I heard these guys play. They were absolutely incredible. You can download a couple songs from their website and hear what I'm talking about. Not only was the music great but their hearts were incredible - they were clearly worshipping on stage and their hearts were so about God and so not about being Rock Stars. But they were even honest about the temptation to feel like Rock Stars. I was terribly impressed; it almost felt like I was hearing music again for the first time.

Cool Hand Luke. Similar to Anathallo, these guys blew me away and I wasn't expecting it. The show I attended was actually their guitarist's last; it was very emotional and I almost felt like I was intruding on family business. They're stellar though and you should check them out. Their CD's only ten bucks and well worth it.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band. If you ever have a chance to see these guys live, do it. The energy they created was enormous and everybody in the tent was moving. You knew they were having a great time playing too. A good mix of funk-blues-rock...the most fun I had at a show, aside from John Reuben.

Demon Hunter. They're hardcore, and with a name like that you know they rule. I was expecting to hate them because I just wanted a shirt of theirs very badly, but they are in fact a pretty cool band if you're into the hardcore stuff. Now I can wear a shirt and not be a total poser. Rule.


hey kids rock and roll, nobody tells you where to go

I haven't updated much lately, I know. My adoring public is withering away without my golden nuggets of wisdom. It's been partially due to laziness and partially due to the fact that I've been preparing to leave town for a bit. The next couple of weeks for me are as follows...

I leave tomorrow morning for summer camp in Anaheim. We're driving down in two vans, rented from Pleasanton. We spend four days at camp, driving home on Sunday. We leave Sunday around noontime from Anaheim. After we arrive home, the kids are situated, and the van is returned to P-town, I will call up Tedro and he'll drive me to SFO. My plane departs at midnight, and after a layover in Dallas I arrive in Kansas City around 8:30am local time. From there Nate and I will drive the six or seven hours to Cornerstone, where I will be for the week. On July 6th the festival ends and we will return to Nate's home in KC for some quality BBQ. I'm told Nate's dad's BBQ rivals my dad's...which is no small feat. I am therefore already looking forward to a meal that is two weeks away. After that Nate and I will catch a flight back to SFO and my two weeks of camping insanity will be over. During that time I doubt I will be anywhere near internet access. So you all take care now.

I'll leave with a couple things for you to take a look at...

An article on home churches in the Seattle area. They basically seem like small groups...but more formal? Or is it more informal?

A quote from someone else's blog, I don't remember whose. I thought it was amusing:

"Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fishburger and I realize, Oh my gosh... I could be eating a slow learner." - Lynda Montgomery"

I just picked up Disputed Questions by Thomas Merton. I've heard a bit about him and he appears to have been quite the prolific author. After this book I plan on checking out some more of his stuff, provided I like it. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, is supposed to be some sort of classic. Who knew?

I look forward to being away from my responsibilities for a while. Summer camp won't be that, as it sort of is a bunch of my responsibility manifest into one trip. But I'm really hoping my trip to Cornerstone is relaxing and rejuvenating. When I come home there will be many changes with my position at the church, and I will be kicking into high gear not only with the youth ministry but with starting up that new church some of you have heard about. More to come later...I hope and pray God will speak to me a bit on this trip and help to clarify this vision He has given me only fleeting glimpses of so far. Take care, y'all.


but i see them, round the front way

So Crossroads is doing a message series on the Simpsons. We started this past weekend talking about "Homer and God." This upcoming week I'm preaching and the message is titled "Flanders and Faith." That's about all I know right now. So I'm going to be preparing that this week. The clips I've been able to get are basically a quick run-through of the episode where Homer gets jealous about Flanders family, and ends up betting Ned that Bart can beat his son in a miniature golf tournament. What I'm thinking is I'm going to point out some of the positive aspects I see in Flanders' portrayal of a Christian life, and then some of the negative. We'll see how it comes out as I write it.

I can't believe I'm supposed to leave for summer camp next Wednesday. That's insane. Since when is June almost over?



A plague of Book of Mormon-esque proportions. Just once, I want to use the phrase "slickening highways with their carcasses." One person's reaction to the kajillions of crickets was "It's yucky...you drive down the street and they pop like bubble wrap." I'd freakin' waste a tank of gas driving around town if I had that opportunity. Why are good things always wasted on people who can't appreciate them?


daisy was a genius in waitress disguise

A few days ago I had the pleasure of hanging out with my buds Adam and Nate, disc golfing for the fourth time in seven days; two of those times were even in Illinois. I feel like such a national traveler. Earlier in the week I'd gone with Jesse and picked up a new disc to try to improve my game. I'm still workin' on it. In Illinois John sort of ribbed me about my disc of choice and its n00b qualities. So far I like the Tee-Bird and look forward to learning how to throw it straight more consistently.

After golfin I sat down with Adam and we talked for a while about free will. I enjoyed it, and it gave me a good opportunity to exercise my brain. Adam brought up a number of good questions etc., and I found myself wishing Kevin were there. Not to argue for me, but rather so I could hear his take. He's a smart guy and all too. Some of the good questions raised in the discussion included -

Could a world devoid of suffering have been created wherein people could still have had the ability to choose between God or not-God?

Does not-God = suffering? What about in the natural world - what role do diseases and other afflictions clearly not a result of anyone's choice play?

How can free will exist if God knew ahead of time that if we were created a certain way we would do things a certain way? Has he already made the decision for us that we would live out that role?

A funny thing to me is the way I react to these kinds of questions now as opposed to how I did in high school. In high school I often felt attacked by my friends regarding my faith. In my 4th period painting class - one of my favorite classes ever, and in fact one of my fond memories of high school - it was often Jackson vs. 4 other guys defending the sins of the church and explaining God. Sometimes the questions were honest and sometimes I think they were meant to annoy or make me feel stupid. Regardless, I often responded by getting defensive and frustrated. That was largely due to the fact that I had never considered many of these questions before and thereby didn't really know how to answer them or even wrestle well with them. It was an unsettling feeling having my worldview almost pulled out from under me; I went through a couple years of serious doubting where I wasn't sure whether or not I believed in God. I read like crazy and continued to live as if I did...but I wasn't sure if I was just refusing to admit what my heart knew, that is, that God isn't real.

Well here I am five or six years later with a faith stronger than ever. I know what faith is now; I can admit there are things I don't know or can't explain. But I can't explain away the things I've experienced from the core of my being regarding God. There is enough to convince me that God is real and there's a rational basis for believing in Him. That is not to say He is wholly understandable - I'm not sure any truly infinite God could be wholly understandable - but it is to say I believe it's the best explanation for the world I live in. So many things in my life have convinced me that God is here and cares about me - that it's okay when I can't explain everything. Before I would have viewed that as an intellectual cop-out. But now I realize it isn't. So now I approach questions as an attempt to understand the world around me better, and people around me. They are good to exercise the brain and hopefully you come out of a discussion learning more and thinking more. But I don't have to leave a conversation with people thinking I'm right, or agreeing with me. I can't understand or explain everything. The world is a much more exciting place to live than that.


Did you know a consulting firm was paid millions to come up with a name for this new NBA team, and this is what they end up with? It doesn't sound like the uniforms are going to be much better than the name, either. Well, the owner will have noone to blame but himself if they flop.



Jambas were not made to be consumed in under 20 minutes. My stomach is in rebellion over the smoothie flash flood I just inflicted upon it.

In other news, I am subbing at Irvington today and it's easy as pie. Most of the students are off at Great America. It's sunny and beautiful outside. I'm not in school as a student anymore but I can already feel the pull of summer.


so, like, this is real

I'm not entirely certain I'm comfortable with this game. I'm a fan of video games and all, but I mean, one based on spanking people? Look at this brochure! Strange things are afoot in that crazy place we call Japan.

Hey, wanna see a frog eating a kitty? I thought so.

You also have to read about Oolong.
doubt your doubts, and believe your beliefs

I'm back in sunny California and trying to re-acclimate myself to the time here. I didn't think it would be much of a problem, but as it turns out I was desperately tired by 11pm both nights I've been home. I also woke at 5am yesterday. That is not okay. I'd imagine after today I should be in pretty good shape as far as all that goes. I did have a pretty tiring week, so that probably has something to do with it too.

In all the trip to Chicago was a good one. It was great to see everyone out there, to hang out with John, Becca, and Ang again. Not to mention the rest of the Pack family, Josh, and Mandy who was awesome in giving me a ride to the airport. Westmont isn't home to me but with my friends there it certainly feels like it. Life is different with them gone.

Realizing some parents of the particularly paranoid persuasion might take issue with me posting pictures of their children on the internet I just have a few here to put up. We went on a hike through the greenest, lushest woods I've seen. Initially I argued with John about it (because on principle everything in California has to be better than everything everywhere else) but eventually had to acquiesce. While on the hike we stopped by a riverside to mess around for a bit. While there I learned that my rock skipping skills have declined drastically and I absolutely must do something about that. Aside from that, Illinois has a decided dearth of stones suited to skipping. (Two alliterations in one sentence...that just came out.) As you can see just about everything out there was green. Finally we have Rufus. John and Rebecca's beloved bulldog. That thing is a noise and gas machine. He snores more than almost any human I know and farts with such frequency I wonder if there isn't something terribly wrong. One night in the house Rufus was overcome by his desire to be a sex machine and ran around the living room, humping no less than two kids and had to be forcibly restrained from hopping on more.

Afterwards he was seen walking around with something resembling a cigar in his mouth. I'm sure this is just a coincidence.

So it was a fun trip and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone out there again. Now I'm back home with my responsibilities and finding it difficult to get the proper motivation to fulfill some of them. While in Chicago I had a talk or two with John about some stuff I'm doing out here and got motivated - so I'm sure it's just a little fatigue playing itself out. I'm going disc golfing....oh yeah, disc golfing! I almost forgot.

I went disc golfing a few times while I was gone. Ang and I paid a visit to the course in Downer's Grove. That course was fairly weak and I lost one of her discs in the long grass. It was still a good time because we got to tell ourselves we did something with the day and pretend we did enough to eat the Coldstone we had on the way home. Friday and Monday I played Joliet's course which was verra nice. It's no Dela but it was a good course. Friday I actually beat John, but Monday he regained his rightful place as pwner of me in the realm of disc golf. Today I'm heading out to Santa Cruz with Jesse to play a round. Still working on a new throwing motion to increase my distance. John suggested I get a new disc, as my preferred driver is "the easiest to throw." Tougher discs cut through the air better and increase your distance; so I may want to experiment with that a little bit.


panzarotti = good

I have fully immersed myself in Chicago cuisine. I'm almost sick of eating this stuff. It'll be nice to get back to California and suck down a Jamba or seven. Tonight I had a panzarotti, which is a calzone except it's fried instead of baked. Had it with some jardinaire, which is vegetable-spicy-stuff. This definitely is an awesome place to visit as far as eating goes, but it'd be very bad to live here.

The trip to the lake house was good. I noted it's sort of odd when you're visiting somewhere, then you go away for the weekend and come back, but you're still not home. I enjoyed the time with the kids - as it turned out there were 17 or so kids, all of them at the end of their sixth grade years. It was hard to tell whether or not I was having an impact on them during the different talks I gave, but I think for the most part at this age it's all about planting seeds. I was encouraged today as all the kids were clamoring for me to get in their vehicle on the ride home; but moreso when a girl gave me a little note thanking me for coming and saying she really liked when I talked about God to them. So hooray for that, in the end I had an awesome, and exhausting, weekend. Pictures definitely to follow - my camera decided to behave itself this weekend so I have some good ones.


it's fun and i miss you

I'm in Chicago right now, I'm not entirely certain why I'm not in bed. It's past 1am here and everyone else is asleep. I foolishly had some caffeine a few hours ago, before we went to see, oddly enough, "Chicago." There is a freakin' cool theater in Downer's Grove, the next burb over; it's just what we need in Niles to spruce it up a bit.

It has been great so far seeing Angela and the Packs. The four of us picked up on the hanging out as if we were together just yesterday. Tomorrow I'll be chillin' with Angela and getting ready for the weekend at the Lake House. Get to have some of Teresa Pack's legendary home cookin.' Woohoo!

Well you all have a good night. I will be on here sporadically. I hear there are fireflies up at the Lake House. If so, that would be teh rule.


i'd sing to you every day and every night

Jeannette reminded me of a song tonight. It's always good to embrace your middle name. I used to think I had a weird name, Jeremiah Jackson. Now I think I'm fond of it. So here's for embracing your names, first, middle, and sur. When I think of Suzanne, Weezer comes to mind, not old folk songs. Weezer rules. Drunk wannabe frat boys at Weezer concerts do not. Do they Ang and Nate?

It was a good, and busy weekend. I spent most of today at the park with a bunch of people from church. Sunday and Monday felt like an extended party. Sunday all day at Jesse's, and Monday all day at the park, with many of the same people, many of the youth. Definitely summer-y. The park was fun today, I got some football throwin in, some softball, some laying around, and just foolin' around relaxin with many of the people I love the most. I emerged with only a mild sunburn and but one jammed finger. I do believe I'll be sleeping soundly tonight.

I leave Wednesday morning for a week in Chicago. I'm really stoked to be heading back out there. The weather should be a bit more bearable, since it's not August this time. I'm also looking forward to the weekend at the lake house in Wisconsin or wherever it is. I think it will be awesome to be leading with John and Becca again; but I want to sit outside around a campfire at night, and just get away into the woods to relax and look at a lake at nighttime again. I bet you can see the stars well from out there too.


it's no big surprise that i will wait for you

Congrats to Jesse who as of today is a college graduate. You will want to view his post from yesterday. It pretty much encapsulates how I felt when I took my last final. What an awesome feeling that is. Now I'm looking at grad school, but nothing can rob you of the pure unadulterated joy of handing in your last final and your last fatty term paper.

Tonight the youth ministry is doing a spaghetti dinner fundraiser thingy. I'm not entirely sure how it's going to turn out. I just hope and pray it will go well. The weather appears to have chosen today of all days to crap out, so I'm not sure how our whole "eat outside at 7:30pm" thing is doing to work. We'll make do though. I can just say I am looking forward to about a month from now when all these various fundraising things will be over with. But I need to enjoy the ride.

Wednesday I'm flying out to Chi-town for a week. Going to take some junior highers on a little weekend retreat with a few of my greatest friends. It's gonna be freakin' awesome. Not to mention I get to visit for a week and enjoy the sights and sounds of Westmont and Chicago yet again. I still have a train ticket I bought last year when I visited that hasn't expired. It'll get me from Westmont to Chicago. Score! There's also an outfit member or two in the vicinity that I might pay a visit to. In all I'm hoping for a good week.

I am very thankful for Frances and Nate, and (aside from their friendship) their involvement with the youth. Without them I don't think the ministry would be half as good as it is. They do a lot and help me out not just materially but help to keep my morale up too. They make it so I can take these trips and not worry or stress overmuch. I can simply miss them and the kids and that's it. So cheers to you. I'm stoked that I'm going to be building a team too. Good things are afoot.

One last thing before I head off to the rest of the day. Yesterday I was subbing for Mrs. Kamei, my old french teacher; I sub for her regularly and her classes, especially 3rd period, are fond of me. I really dig them too. So in third period these three girls (who were among those sitting at the table) gave me a present. They knew I was going to be there Friday and they brought what they made. It's a bit of painted foamboard with some construction paper sculpture - not exactly sure how to describe it, they made it with leftovers from a project. But it does say "Mr. Action Jackson" and they gave it to me in "thanks for being like, the best sub ever!" It will definitely go on my wall. Stuff like that totally makes my day.


i've got a feelin, it's a feelin, i'm concealin, i don't know why

I subbed at Irvtown today and officially broke up my first girl fight. I have to say Irvington is the only school I've been at where I've had to break up fights. A month or two ago one kid just came into my room after the lunch bell rang and started punching another kid. Today I was waiting in my class during brunch and I hear a little commotion outside. I look and there are two girls halfway in my doorway's field of vision and their hands are flailing at one another. I started to walk toward the door to make sure they were in fact fighting; one girl had apparently done this before. She knew just how to grab the other girl's hair and use a little momentum to send her opponent to the ground. Right as the girl hit the ground I reached their little fracas and separated them.

Somehow my hand came in contact with hair and emerged from that hairspray-ridden place slightly sticky. I separated the pair, got one girl into my classroom, and told the other (clearly the agressor) to buzz off. The poor girl was crying and her mascara was running; the teacher I was subbing for didn't even have kleenex for me to give the girl. Thankfully there was a sympathetic student that saw it happen and she escorted the other girl to the office.

In the break between third and fourth period I had to poke my head out the door and glare at some students to get them out of each others' faces.

My fourth period class was a bunch of kids trying to learn english, of varying ethnicities. One asian girl's name was pronounced with a sound that resembled "achoo." After I called her name, one of the kids in the front row repeated her name and faked a sneeze to make fun of her. I gave him a mean look and told him to knock it off.

Why can't kids just get along? Little punks. Makes me want to crack their skulls. Hehehe.


Out of left field. Up to the end I had no idea what this commercial was about. I just knew it was funny, and I had to share it. Interesting strategy for marketing the product.
i've got you under my skin

Tonight I went to see the new Matrix movie and for the most part wasn't disappointed. The action sequences were great, especially when Neo was beating the crap out of the many Agent Smiths with the metal pole. Good foley artists, good foley artists. Laura would be proud of me saying that. Overall I liked the first movie better, maybe because it was new or something. But also because, as Jesse mentioned, the philosophizing in the first movie was a bit more subtle than in this one. This time they seemed to be beating you over the head with armchair philosophy rather than suggesting you think differently about things. If that makes sense. If not, back off, it's past 1 am.

This morning (yesterday morning?) I also had a great meeting with Brian Berry. I've had a kinda rough couple of weeks and he helped put a lot of things in perspective for me and gave me a lot of wise advice. He really is an awesome man, a humble servant. Brian rocks. And God does too for using Brian to speak to me. I still have anxiety and annoyance and sadness about what's up but I feel better about it. And really I suppose that's all I can ask. Didn't I just sing a song about this a couple weeks ago? God is in control.


I am officially the biggest smacktard I know. I'm missing my laptop and my current leading theory is that I left it in the Safeway parking lot. I hope this week gets easier.


Oh yeah, one more thing. I went to the A's game last Friday night and it was a lot of fun. First, the company was awesome. Second, the game was great. Third, we were in a section where the trash talking was plentiful and fierce while never becoming actually ugly. Basically, Friday was the kind of night that embodied all the good things about baseball fandom. And I watched Marshal devour TWO Big Dogs (these suckers are like 12 inches long and I don't even know how big around). I can barely finish one, yet this wonderful man inhaled two in the time it took Jeannette to eat 3/4 of her Nachos. All hail Marshal. And all hail the A's. Death to the Yankees.
there but for the grace of god

On the way home from dropping my pastors off at the airport today I stopped by Safeway to pick up some groceries. Safeway is really close to my house, and today I noticed an EB Games next to it.

As you may know, I like to go to as many places regularly as I can. I've had the same woman cutting my hair for five or six years - except for one haircut when her shop was temporarily closed for repairs from a fire. I'm a regular at Bay St. Coffee. Whenever I buy hobby stuff I'm at Scenario. Anyway I appreciate making a place "my place" so to speak, where I can get to know the employees and all that. So with thoughts of perhaps making this EB Games my game stop I entered the doors.

The store itself was very small and was only occupied by three employees. Normally I might like to check out a place anonymously to see if it's worth returning to but that wasn't a choice here. The workers were warm and said hello. I made small chat with em for a minute and proceeded to browse around a bit. They had a big cutout for Planetside (which I may make a play for later on) so I asked them about pre-ordering the game. Five bucks down and I did so. As the guy put my name in the computer, the woman assembling xbox displays engaged in a bit of what I will heretofore refer to as "Geek Bragging," or "GBing." Those of you not in the geek culture may not know exactly what I'm talking about. Those of you unabashed geeks will immediately recognize what I'm talking about.

GBing is characterizing by lauding one's self for deeds that in just about any other arena would be considered reason for pity, or in extreme cases, fear. I'd imagine the geek culture is not unique in this, for example the hunter who brags he has an underground complex with 1457 types of firearms of varying legality, but that man is a geek himself. But I am specifically referring to gamer GBing. The Magic player that brags about his $20,000 collection of cards. The computer gamer mentioning his outrageous gaming rig with glowing parts and tweaking accomplished only through countless hours of tinkering. A roleplayer grandstanding on the sexual conquests of his 47th level Bard when he has yet to master even the most basic skills of personal hygeine. You get the idea.

So I place my pre-order, hand the man my five dollars, and express my doubt that the game will be ready for its planned release date of May 20th. Xbox woman says the game I really need to get involved with is "Galaxies," which she casually mentions she "saw at E3 last year." I immediately knew she was a big time gamer geek because (1) she shortened "Star Wars Galaxies" (SWG) to "Galaxies," and (2) dropped her attendance at last year's E3 at her earliest opportunity. Anyone with the inclination has been able to, for the past 6+ months, watch the development of Galaxies without having seen whatever primitive build they showed at last year's E3. E3 is not open to the general public; it is where game developers show off new things they have under development to people in the gaming press so their game will get buzz. Last year is old news though. So this woman mentioning her presence at last year's E3 would be like the guy in front of you at the baseball game repeatedly shouting to his friend about the one time he met Jose Canseco. Sure, it's cool, but you don't have to try so hard to let me know about it.

I tell this woman that I am probably not going to get involved with SWG because it will have a monthly fee of 12.95 or more to play. I'm already going to be paying to play Planetside and I simply could not justify even in my own mind paying to play two games, let alone find the time to play both of those games. This is where the GBing comes in. She says:

"It will be worth it! Let me put it to you this way." (Dramatic tone ensues.) "I have FOUR Everquest accounts. I have TWO Dark Age of Camelot accounts. And I keep them all up." Here comes the gamer coup. "AND that's not even counting my fiance's accounts, he has as many as I do."

I wasn't really sure what to say. This woman just engaged in the biggest bit of GBing I'd seen since the last 40k tournament I attended. She was trying to show me up by telling me she spent at least $84 monthly on two video games, and spent enough time playing them to where it felt worthwhile. So I said "well, your dedication is, uh..."


Well, since you said it.


he's on the roof again

Check your twitch! My best time was 0.17 but my average is 0.21-0.23. I think Adam will rock my time at this. It's a fun little thing to check out anyway.

I'm not exactly sure how it happened but my nonfat mayo appears to have gone bad. It is well before the date printed on the label, and I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to look for when analyzing said product to see if it has gone bad. The smell was pretty awful but I figured - hey, it's mayo, it's supposed to smell awful. Only after I took a bite of my sandwich are barely suppressed the heaves did I make the decision that this mayo was, indeed, bad. I'm not even sure what there is in that stuff to spoil. I'm not sure how it went bad either. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone else in the house used it and left it out for an extended period of time before putting it back. Disappointing since it was a huge jar, but oh well. I'll pick up another, smaller jar tomorrow. It's less sickening digging mayo out of a smaller jar anyway.

Summer camp is coming up fast; Frances and I are trying to figure out how to do enough fundraising to allow all the kids to come that want to. I must say I don't enjoy fundraising much. It involves work and begging for money, two things I'd rather not spend my time doing. Regardless I think we'll have some good experiences as a group raising the money and hopefully it will make us all appreciate the experience more. Time absolutely flies sometimes - the camp is creeping up on me.

Today at staff meeting I learned that I will be preaching one of the sermons during the summer message series "The Gospel According to the Simpsons." Paul and I have a meeting tomorrow wherein we will discuss the content of my message a bit more. This should be a fun one.

John Pack once said something about complaining that I thought was really good and I need to remind myself of it sometimes. Unfortunately this is a paraphrase more than a quote, but basically he said "a complaint has never been made that somebody wanted to hear." I don't think anybody leaves a conversation saying "man I wish that person would've complained more." And yes, there may be certain instances where you might want a negative opinion, such as when you're critically evaluating something, but you get my point.


you have much to learn, young padowan

There's a video sweeping across the little portion of the net I frequent. Apparently some poor, poor soul used a school video camera to record his best imitation of Darth Maul. Unfortunately for him, someone else got their hands on the tape. Back in the day, his embarrassment may have been limited to his school or town. In this day and age, however, he has his shame posted across the internet for all to see.

Part of me hopes this kid did it on purpose, because that would mean he probably is not considering suicide after seeing people call him "Darth Haul." There are two versions. The original, in which the kid provides his own sound effects, or the remix, where someone uses post-production tools to give the kid a real double-sided lightsaber. Both are worth watching.

May God have mercy on my soul.


deep thought of the day

Oranges are cool. They're like eating orange juice in little packages, and you can pick how much you want at once.


It had to be done

I don't usually post those little quiz things here. But this one, well, it's necessary. Not because I'm happy about the character, but because it's Homestar Runner, and everybody should know about it.

you are pom pom!
You are Pom Pom. You are Homestar's best friend.
Your IQ is incredibly high and you came from
the Isle of Pom where your 27 girlfriends live.

Which Homestar Runner Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


One more thing. I changed the layout here so that posts will be listed chronologically by date rather than reverse chronologically. That means that under each day the posts will be sorted in the order I wrote them, rather than the newest at the top. Get it? Good. And yeah yeah I'm going to mow the lawn already.
nothing that is broken cannot be made new

I've decided that today is a pretty good day. I got productive early and took my car in to America's Tire Company. As it turns out the murderous curb only managed to screw up the valve stem on my tire, so the net cost to me was ten bucks. Plus I discovered I have a faulty spare tire; because you see, last night I was informed by a number of people that my spare looked awfully unhealthy. As it turned out the spare was mostly flat and Frances was kind enough to let me use hers in the meantime. Also mad thanks to Jesse who had the right tools in his car for my spare both times and he even got down and dirty changing them for me. He owns. So now I need to acquire a new spare tire and spare tire jack, so when a real flat tire emergency pops up I'll be prepared. So I now view all this flat tire junk as good because

1. I found out my equipment for a real flat emergency would be insufficient.

2. I have learned to always keep my trunk clean. A messy trunk cost me 200 bucks.

I also paid off my phone bill. Other productive things I will do today include mowing the much-neglected lawns and practicing for the church band. I'm singing a solo song this weekend, but the original was too high for my voice. Daniel used some software to drop the recording a couple keys (or whatever increment you drop things by) so I could actually sing it. The amusing thing is, the voice on the recording now sounds like some sort of shemale.

My digital camera has once again decided to enter the realm of the living, and for that I am happy. It's pretty temperamental, ever since I dropped it. Sure holds a grudge a long time, I'd be over it by now.

This is actually turning out to be one of my more productive days since my acceptance to the Planetside beta test. It even prompted me to purchase a headset and join an outfit.


It really is just about everything I've wanted out of a computer game for a long time. The short of it is that there's a persistent online world wherein three factions fight over various continents, facilities, etc. You get a number of certification points to spend that allow you to do various things like be an engineer, medic, hacker, pilot, driver, etc. Then it's best when you join up with squads or outfits and go wreck shop together. You really get to do all sorts of fun things.

Hot drop into bases with your squad from a flying transport. Cross a bridge after a prolonged firefight to take a tower on the other side, from where you can better attack a larger facility. Be escorted by squadmates in flying things as you race to restore power to one of your facilities that's under attack. Breathe a sigh of relief when you run into a base where you're protected by teammates in big armor suits. Stuff like that. It's cooperation on a mass scale, and being able to wear a headset and communicate via voice with your squad makes it that much more fun. It's still a beta so it's still pretty freakin' buggy, but it still freakin r0x0rs.


Off to mow that lawn.