peep this

Have you ever been in an argument with somebody, and felt like you were pretty much right? You're going along with your argument, they make some good points and so do you, but in the end you're pretty sure you're on the right track? Then the guy that's wrong about everything comes up and starts arguing for you and defending your position with his own wacked out ideas? That's how Augusta National must feel today. Unless they really are the misogynistic misanthropes some people want to make them out to be.


waiting for something to open my eyes

Okay, first of all, Trader Joe's makes some potent garlic pasta. I ate it a few hours ago and I can still feel it. Now, I love garlic. I consider it one of God's many blessings on us all. But it's only a blessing to the person eating it. Everyone else has to suffer for it. So I eat it carefully. Why does that stuff have to emanate from your pores after you eat it? Wouldn't it be hilarious if every food did that? People at Weight Watchers meetings would be able to sniff out cheaters. And we'd be able to do a bit of early detection on our extra skinny friends. "My, you're particularly odorless today!" Umm...anyway.

I stopped by Nate's Bible study tonight. He was pretty stoked about doing a study on Genesis and the creation story(ies) there. As it happened though two kids showed up about a half hour late and one fifteen minutes later. Nate postponed his lesson for later and we decided to go over a couple other things. First, I talked to the kids about some presentations they'll be doing at youth group this weekend. More on that later.

One of the students is totally blowing my mind. She's been devouring the Bible lately - she brought it to the study and the thing looked like a porcupine, it had so many tabs sticking out of it every which way. She's tearing through it, that's so awesome. Well in her reading, and partially related to the student I talked to earlier in the week, she came up with some questions that were really bugging her. So what happened? The five of us sat down, opened our Bibles, and went through the questions. It was freakin' awesome. Just being able to talk through it with them, see that they want so badly to understand - it's so the bomb.

On another note, I'm listening to a very cool "I Don't Wanna Be a Playa No More" by Incubus and Big Pun. Never heard of Big Pun before but this song rules. Does anyone know who does that cover of Ms. Jackson? I need to get my hands on that. And what about the cover of Boyz in the Hood?

I'm subbing at my alma mater tomorrow. Man their website sucks. Ah well. It'll be hilarious being in a classroom next to my old Econ teacher, and down the hall from my old English/History teacher. Next week I'm subbing for my old French teacher. Growing up is weird.
two things

1. MOO3 is ruining my life.

2. I heard a great quote at bible study last night. "Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other guy to die."

That is all.


i'm wishing my life away

Today started off slow but ended well. I met with a student about some youth ministry stuff. The conversation could have gone very badly, but thankfully I think it was a big success. I had to talk to him about some stuff that was going on that was causing division and disunity in the group. He was very receptive and it was clear God had been working on him in regards to the situation too. Sometimes things like this help me to see God in everyday life; clearly God prepared the student to hear what I was going to say, and we ended up having a good long conversation.

On another note...I disagree with a lot of what this kid is being taught as far as doctrine is concerned. Things like the "baptism of the Holy Spirit," speaking in tongues, healings, and whatnot. We spent a lot of time talking about these things and I believe I got across a couple of very important points. The first being that it is possible for us to be deceived, even if we're honestly seeking God. When we think that it's impossible for us to be fooled, I think it ironically opens us up to be fooled by anything that makes a little sense to us or sounds good. Another was that it's important to look at the Bible and develop our doctrine from it, not the other way around. We shouldn't come to the Bible with preconceived notions of what it says and do our best to get it to fit and support our ideas. We should read it and decide what it says, then form our doctrine. I pointed out where the student was doing that - funny enough, he pointed out when I was doing it a bit later in our discussion. It's somewhat disappointing how easily any of us can try to bend what we see or read or hear to fit our own perceptions and ideas of The Way Things Should Be. How many of us are really interested in the truth, or intellectual honesty?

One thing I noticed is that it was very tempting for me to try to appear like I knew everything when talking to the student. As someone in a position of spiritual leadership I feel sometimes like I'm supposed to know everything and I'm supposed to be able to argue with every bit of doctrine I believe to be unbiblical. It's a sort of prideful thing that can sneak in and at first it doesn't sound that bad.

I'll just tell him the Bible says this, because even though we're reading it now and it appears he's right, I just know he's wrong.

I mean, my motivations are good. I want him to learn truthfully about God. But I don't need to pretend I know stuff I don't, nor do I need to be too prideful to admit when I don't know, or when I have to concede a point I'd been arguing for. This kind of spiritual pride is hard to notice and I think it's bad for the people involved, even if my motivations are good. Perhaps especially if my motivations are good. Sacrificing intellectual honesty and integrity for what you to believe to be someone else's good is ridiculous. Then you're not interested in their good anymore, you're interested in being right.

So, a good discussion with the student. I believe God's put him in my life to challenge me and inspire me to study a bit more. Hopefully he's put me in the kid's life to help him start to be discerning with the doctrines he believes. But I'm not viewing the relationship in those terms. We're both people just trying to follow Christ and want to build the other up. Good stuff.

I got to watch the final episode of Joe Millionaire with Jeannette and her fam. We sort of made a tradition of it, me heading over there on Monday nights, I'll miss it. She has a cool fam. After that I hung with Ang cause it's her birthday and she's leavin' for home in Chi-town tomorrow. Erin and Lauren (whom I just met, seems like a cool girl) were there too, we sat around making fun of just about everything in Ang's room and trying to identify the curious smell emanating from one corner of the room.

Okay kiddies I'm out of here. One last thing before I hit the sack though. I just want to say that my bud Jesse rules. I asked him to bring me something to eat to worship band practice tonight because I didn't get a chance to go home between meeting the student and heading to practice. So here I am thinking he'll bring me a Promax bar but instead he brings me two grilled chicken breasts with some bbq sauce for dippin', some bread, and lemon bars. He rules.


Earlier today I saw a dog barking at a mailman.
cut those chains in the middle of the night

I'm pretty sure I enjoyed my weekend. Nothing particularly exciting happened, if you don't count Ang visiting. I got to see Erin too, who I haven't seen since the last time Ang was in town. We had a good time at the Bay...much of the old crew came by. Ang and I reminisced a little about John's Niles house too. I think there are times in your life you'll look back on and recognize as really good times, special times you'll never be able to relive; and you never know it when you're in the middle of those times. Only afterwards when you wish you could hop over to the Margery house or Niles place but can't do you realize how cool it all was when you had it.


the sun's been kind

Freakin' Bears. UCLA sucks this year! Why does it always seem like my team is the one that loses the games it should win? It's almost as if my support is some sort of karmic bane on athletic organizations.

Subbing today was incredibly easy. I only had three classes, and there was a guest speaker for all of them from FIDM. Everyone thought she was the sub cause she looked like a grown-up. Hehe. Anyway she was very cool, good up in front of the class. Second period was prep so we sat in the teacher's lounge and talked about random stuff before heading to our next two classes. It's amazing the kinds of people you can meet. I spent most of today with a gorgeous semi-retired model that's working on starting up a modeling/talent agency, loves to work on restoring cars, and wants to become a published motivational speaker. Who says subbing is a hellish experience?

I even got to leave early, because my last two periods were some kind of "independent study" where the students didn't have to show up so I came home around 2. Sweet. That's one song in the bank. Next song.

I did a fair bit of reading about CSS today and I'm going to start fiddling with it. I wish I had Dreamweaver 4. That would be wonderful. Until I have the 400 bucks or whatever it is I'll content myself with pretending I'm a real coder and using simpler editors. I don't see myself ponying up that kind of scratch for a computer program though, so it looks like I'll have to do without.

Man, as if today weren't already a good day, I just used the phrase "ponying up the scratch" in a sentence. Rule.

One final thing. I'm thinking about changing to Movable Type because Blogger annoys me periodically. This CSS thing is complex...I won't be able to do dramatically cool things for a while. So this is what my site would generally look like for a while if I went to MT. I'm not sure if it's worth it or not. I kinda like the way it looks right now. Comment and let me know what you think about the different layouts.


productivity central, right here

Today was quite different from yesterday. I got a fair amount of stuff done. Michael is calling me to sort of keep me accountable to not wasting my time, so that spurred me on a bit. Some highlights of the day include...

I picked up a book on DHTML and CSS. Provided I don't lose my gusto for it I'll work my way through the sizeable tome and become halfway competent with them. That will mean good things for you because my site will become all sorts of nifty.

Talked to my good buddy John Pack. It seems things are going well with them at their new church. Initially they felt like they didn't belong because Willow Creek is a church of 10,000 or some ridiculous number - they just sort of blended in. It took a little time but they found out how to get plugged in and involved in smaller groups. I won't go into specifics but it turns out Willow Creek has a very nifty system in place for keeping the big church small. John and Becca were not made to be consumers at church either, so I was glad to hear they're finding ways to do ministry too.

I was the ostensible foreman at a church paint party tonight. We finished painting the upstairs much faster than anticipated, because we probably had 15-20 people there and they were all freakin' eager to help. To tell the truth I wasn't really looking forward to it but it turned out to be fun and I got to spend some time with people I don't necessarily usually talk to at church. It's funny how conversation flows so much better when you're doing something besides talking. Not only that but I got some paint on my clothes and that just made me feel more manly.

To top it all off I got a call and I'm going to be subbing tomorrow at Irvington. I've been wanting work so here some is. It will feel good to get up at 6am and get ready for work. It will feel weird going to bed at 10pm. But here I go.
Speaking of Iraq...
games are cultural exchange

So I've been playing Generals lately. I was initially put off by the game's ponderous engine and inconsistent multiplayer, but it just has too much cool stuff to ignore. How cool is it to have Rangers dropping down ropes from a Chinook into the middle of an enemy base? Or commit a melankey bit of anthrax bombing?

Anyway I played a game this morning and I was partnered up with a guy from Germany. As it happens there appear to be large numbers of Germans playing this game online. So he asked where I was from and I told him California, and he started asking me about the war with Iraq. We're blowing stuff up together and he's telling me that Bush Jr. is arrogant and stupid, that France and Germany are trying to show him the right way, etc. Of course he didn't develop any sort of cogent case but he made it quite clear he thought Bush was in error.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the pending war with Iraq. Obviously I'm not a big fan of largescale suffering or death. Though that appears to be happening under Hussein anyway. Since my brother's stint in the army war has become a little more personal to me, especially considering his unit was in Afghanistan. That being said, it's entirely possible that war with Iraq is justified. However, since I'm not going to read 13,000 page documents out of Iraq I'm going to reserve total judgment on the issue. As far as I can tell Saddam is stringing the UN out and has been doing so for years. We can't tolerate that kind of crap, especially with weapons of mass destruction involved, if we want to be taken seriously.

Aside from that, I think it's unfortunate that Bush is suffering from such a profound lack of respect from just about every side. That may be a sign of the times more than anything though - public figures and leaders, especially when they're making controversial decisions, are subject to massive amounts of ridicule and second-guessing. Cynicism and a disdain for authority are popular. And maybe I shouldn't lament the fact that we lack respect for our leaders so much as I should lament the fact that there are so few leaders worthy of that respect.
games are cultural exchange

So I've been playing


webdesign for dummies

I have decided to do my darndest to learn about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Apparently they're all the rage among web designers these days. It's going to take a bit of work...but I just may enjoy it. I need to pick up a book on the subject I think. If you know any good CSS books, let me know.

On a different note, Bible Study was really good tonight. Michael made a study based on a parable Jesus told to his disciples. It was a challenge to live a life of service, working hard for your master. Not unhealthy hard, but working good and honest and hard. It was convicting to me, because I feel as if I've been squandering the free time God's given me over the past however many months. I mean, it's good to be rested...and I have been busy at different times. But in general I've wasted a lot of time lately and I'm not down with that. I felt really bad about it today, and then the bible study kinda capped that off.

There is plenty for me to do. I should be using this time to get the student leadership and adult volunteer programs off the ground for the youth ministry. So that's what I'm going to do. It's not an option - that's my job until it gets done.

Anyway I suppose that I've just come face to face with the fact that I (and I know I'm not the only one) often congratulate myself overmuch when I'm short on sins of comission (not that I'm short on those) - that is, when I'm doing overtly doing things I know are wrong, etc. But sins of omission, that is, not doing what you could, what you were made for, what God wants you to do - are serious as well. I'm the last person to be a sin tee-totaler, I'm not counting my sins or anybody elses. But my life needs to be marked by extraordinary service (a spiritual act of worship) to God more than anything else. "To whom much is given, much is required." Wasting what God has given us is as bad as any other thing we can do wrong.

I'm just sort of trying to put into words what I was feeling tonight. Personally I'm at a place in life where I need to be taking advantage of my time instead of wasting it. For a while I've felt like I've been giving God 75% or so of myself. That's crap. I was asked the questions: are you ready for the master to return? If I died today would I live my life differently? Would I live the past six months differently? I didn't like my answers.

It's so amazing that one little parable I've probably read half-a-dozen times could never strike me one way or the other but one night discussed with the right people it can send me babbling and determined to change the way I live. I guess that's what they talk about when they talk about the power of God's Word.


I am a horrible, time-wasting person. And I just can't leave well enough alone. For the past few hours I have been fiddling with a program called Moveable Type and trying to get it to work. What does this program do? Exactly the same thing Blogger does, pretty much. Except I don't need an intermediate service like Blogger if I use MT. It's hosted up there on my own server and all I need is for my hosting company to be functioning.

It seems to be working for the most part, I have some permissions issues to sort out I think. I'm not completely familiar with them and I think my solution was less than safe. So we'll see how that goes.

But anyway, enough of this. I'm going to do worthwhile things now. I'm this close to meeting bum qualifications. I'd better get some sub phone calls soon.


waking hour

There is a wonderful super-rich chocolatey-moussey-orangey pie like thing with a chocolate crust and chopped almonds in the fridge right now. It's mostly uneaten. On a normal day I might cut myself a fatty slice of that and chow down on all its saturated glory. Instead I look longingly at it and reach for my chicken breast and nonfat mayo. At least there's a chocolate flavored ProMax bar. Some days it's harder than others...but in general I'm pleased with my change of eating habits. I feel healthier, I crave water, and I can tell when I eat something that's absolutely terrible for me. And those times are exceptions rather than the rule. So this is a good change and I think it's going to stick. I need to work in some regular exercise and I'll actually be able to call myself a healthy person.

Speaking of healthy, now that I have my own health insurance I'm going to make a foray into the world of dentistry. I haven't visited ye olde dentist for 8 or 9 years. I almost fear the inevitable lecture more than the inevitable needle-to-the-gums.

Watch the seconds of your life tick away!
you're in love charlie brown

Tonight was the finale of Joe Millionaire, it was. I'm glad he picked who he did - that woman Zora seems too good to be true. Clearly they edited it to make her look angelic, but she really seems like a good-hearted woman. The story probably doesn't end wonderfully in the end but it's nice to pretend for a while.

I mean, now I'm reading stuff that says Zora's an actress and it's all staged etc. I don't know. All I know is the character Zora on the show was cool and I liked how it turned out.

As I was driving home tonight I realized that this morning seems like it was last week. My day has been all discombobulated. Tomorrow should start me back on a semi-regular schedule.


call me morbid or absurd

Last night was coolio. The youth group had a sleepover kinda thing where we talked about guy/girl stuff. We were all together for the first part, then around 11 the guys headed over to Nate's, where Mike joined us. We had a good time playing the new Mortal Kombat game and getting in depth about some of the issues we have to fight. It's good to get below the surface with the guys, I enjoyed it much. We ended up staying up past 4 and I actually woke up (the last time) one minute before the alarm at 7:15. Then the guys went back over to the house with the girls and we ate breakfast together and hung out a bit more. I really enjoyed everyone's company last night.

Really cool kids in this youth group I tell you what. Really freakin' cool. Je suis blessed. God knows just when to give me what I need, when I need to be reminded of how awesome the people in my life are, He pulls through just about every time. He rules.

And now I will wander through today in a semi-conscious stupor, stumbling ever closer to the Joe Millionaire finale I shouldn't watch but will anyway.


no one summons megatron

Overall I'd say I had a pretty good night. We gave cooking ribs a try at Kevin's with little to no forethought. Once the ribs were on the grill Kevin pulled out the cookbook. They turned out fine though; it was obvious that with a little prep they would have been stellar. And praise Costco for reasonably priced meat in large quantities.

We watched Friday and Transformers. Both were good for some laughs. I swear there are a few scenes in Transformers I want to memorize so I can quote and amuse myself at any time.

"The point is, Optimus Prime is dead! And the matrix with him!"

"The point is, you are a fool."

Does it get any better than that?

Anyway, I hope you had a happy Valentine's Day. Good night.


it's not what it seems, it's just what you think it is

You know those mornings where you wake up and you know you got a good amount of sleep? Where your eyes, instead of crying what the heck are you doing?! Close us! Cloooooose ussssss!, say yeah, you're right, let's go. This morning my eyes have said the latter. So woohoo for that. The only problem is I woke up with a headache...but the miracles of modern medicine will take care of that. I used to just gut out headaches and whatnot, refusing to take medicine for some unknown reason. A headache is no way to start a day however and I will gladly pop somethin' to get rid of it.

I finished A Storm of Swords last night in one of those fits of reading you undergo when you realize you've reached the near-end of a book. This thing was over 900 pages long. And the third book in the series. Now I have to wait till September or something ridiculous for the next book. How annoying. If you're looking for great fantasy to read, read George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire because this guy is spectacular. His characters are morally ambiguous which allows you to revile them one moment and then grudglingly respect or even admire them the next. But they aren't schizophrenic...they're just human. The books are pretty graphic with sex and violence - but I don't believe it's ever for the sake of sex and violence. They are tools to humanize the characters and demonstrate the brutality of their world. Anyway, it's stellar and I haven't enjoyed fiction this much since Tolkein.

My good friend Michael G has joined the world of online journaling. If you know him then you know he often has things worth listening to. If you don't know him you should. As is apparent by the triple-post he's started off his journal with Mike's still learning how to work this journal thing; but once he gets it going that guy has enough challenging thoughts running around in his head to keep you thinking and I'm sure he'll put 'em up there often. I've linked to him on the left over there, so check him out periodically.

While driving home from Vacaville yesterday something totally random struck me and I was looking forward to posting it up here. Unfortunately it was so random it has since escaped the confines of my head.

Two things were heavy on my mind last night before I went to bed. As it happens I had three dreams I can remember quite clearly about these things. One was disappointing, another frustrating, and the last one frustratingly good. I've never before so clearly seen what was on my mind as I struggled to sleep transfer into my dreams. It's kinda cool when that happens, even if you don't always like the results your subconscious cooks up.


the amazing flying...

You don't have to know much about much to think this is funny.
the key is to hit really hard...with the bat

This week has gone by really fast. But it's been a really good week. I must've downloaded about a dozen Sealab 2021 episodes. This is one of the most hilarious cartoons I've ever seen. Seriously. You've got to get involved with adult swim.

I also went up Mission Peak yesterday. That's the local hill here in Fremont. As I hiked up with Jesse, I considered how awesome it is to be living here. The hills were so green! And it's February! Here are two pictures to make you drool in envy. You can't make Jesse out too well in one of the pictures, and they're big, but you get the idea. The days have been this beautiful all week. Except for that layer of smog...

I saw Boondock Saints on Tuesday night, which I loved within about five minutes of viewing. As my friend Lo said, "I wish this movie was five hours long." The movie had several things going for it. Religious imagery. Prominently featured irish accents. Professional criminals. Long coats and sunglasses. And, of course, a toilet falling from several stories up. That's a recipe for quality cinema no matter who you are.


by far the meanest, most self-righteous post i've done to date

I think I need to start developing bastardly opinions on a number of issues. That will allow me to write as if I'm a perpetually upset individual, and thereby entertain you with my incisive commentary.

Unfortunately I'm just not that pissed off at life. I do occasionally have something to say, though.

I've heard something similar to this from a few of my friends so I know I'm not alone when I say this, but I think the space shuttle tragedy is being blown out of proportion. Of course it's sad that seven people lost their lives during a shuttle mission. They died trying to bring about the advancement of humanity the way they knew how. I recognize it's sad. But you wanna hear something worse?

Read these stats. Freaking AIDS. Read them.

All these people are going out to visit space and aviation museums so they can leave flowers and get their pictures taken in front of bronze space shuttles. They love to believe that we're living in a beleagured society where we have to fight off one tragedy after another.

Hey, I bet they'll be able to buy SS Columbia swag at Wal-Mart by next week. Then they can really show their social consciences. The news outlets can talk about how we as a nation have really pulled together in honor of these fallen heroes. They can interview people at the gas station as they fill their SUV with Premium and moan about the tragedy. They can talk about how what makes our nation great is still here, this indomitable American spirit that strives for freedom, equality, and justice around the world. Almost brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

At least we don't live in Zambia, where one hundred people die every day from AIDS. I mean, that's sad and all, but I'd hate to be surrounded by all these people whose deaths are meaningless. I doubt they were involved in any kind of space program. We'd much rather mourn seven fallen scientists than millions of uneducated pagans in Africa. That way we can go to the museum, leave a bouquet, shed a tear, and make a day of it as we discuss the tragedies of our fair nation over a vanilla latte before sleeping well in our Pottery Barn homes.

steps down from his soapbox

Time for me to go eat a sandwich and be smugly satisfied at my self-righteous diatribe against the apathy of others.


i am jack's racing mind

I had a great weekend. That's two in a row. Three may make it a trend, we'll see. Friday night I had a lock-in all nighter with the youth group, we teamed up with another church and it was a pretty good time. I think sometimes we (I) make youth ministry more difficult than it needs to be in my head. These all-nighters are reminders that you don't need to have huge productions. I mean, they're far from perfect...but you can still do things when you don't have the ideal conditions. Perhaps I'm only making sense to myself.

I spent a large portion of Saturday recovering before heading out to exotic Vacaville. I had a wonderful time with a wonderful person. That's all you're getting out of me for now, nosy monkeys.

Last night we broke the youth group up into small groups for our discussion and the reviews were pretty much unanimous in favor of splitting up like that again. I think we've maxed out the Starkey's place - I don't think we can grow much more there. There's some kind of social rule when you fill a room to 80% capacity you're pretty much done adding new people. Well we don't have enough space in the room we're meeting right now. We can do some things to make it bigger - I know though that before too long we'll probably want to move to someplace a little bigger. After youth group I took a couple students home and enjoyed the conversation. God is pretty amazing, and seeing what He does in students' lives is incredible sometimes. The coolest part is when they just can't stop talking about it, and you can tell He's doing something. Last night was also good because I really felt like I was teaming up with Nate and Frances for ministry like I haven't before. I mean, they've been ministering to the kids for a while but I didn't feel like we really teamed up on a Sunday night before last night. This will only improve as time goes on too. I really want to work on developing an adult volunteer team; it's cool that I get to start with a couple of my best friends.